Daily Archives: April 13, 2020

Decolonizing Post-Colonial Studies and Paradigms of Political-Economy: Transmodernity, Decolonial Thinking, and Global Coloniality

Grosfoguel, Ramón. 2011. ‘Decolonizing Post-Colonial Studies and Paradigms of Political-Economy: Transmodernity, Decolonial Thinking, and Global Coloniality’. Transmodernity 1 (1). ‘

Can we produce a radical anti-systemic politics beyond identity politics?1 Is it possible to articulate a critical cosmopolitanism beyond nationalism and colonialism? Can we produce knowledges beyond Third World and Eurocentric fundamentalisms? Can we overcome the traditional dichotomy between political-economy and cultural studies? Can we move beyond economic reductionism and culturalism? How can we overcome the Eurocentric modernity without throwing away the best of modernity as many Third World fundamentalists do? In this paper, I propose that an epistemic perspective from the subaltern side of the colonial difference has a lot to contribute to this debate. It can contribute to a critical perspective beyond the outlined dichotomies and to a redefinition of capitalism as a world-system.

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Failure of the American Left: Iron-Fisted Co-Optation – CounterPunch.org

Pollack, Norman. 2015. ‘Failure of the American Left: Iron-Fisted Co-Optation’. CounterPunch, 18 December.

by Norman Pollack

This week, Tuesday (Dec. 15) to be exact, I was a guest on Gary Null’s WBAI/Pacifica radio show, preceded by Chris Hedges, a solid analyst and critic of the contemporary social order, to discuss the failure of American radicalism to act as as a transformative political-ideological social force in opposition to repression at home, intervention abroad. As usual, Gary’s questions prodded interviewees through his penetrating insights to launch into orbit with mini-monologues on the given topic, and Chris was superb in his portion, focusing on Woodrow Wilson’s administration, its pursuit of repayment for Morgan and other bankers’ loans to European nations threatened by German victory as reason for intervention, its Creel Committee (CPI) steady propaganda to control public opinion, and of course its suppression of radicals, notably the Wobblies, as the genesis for modern-day US antiradicalism. This is persuasive but doesn’t go far enough either on Wilson or on America.

Let me here sketch out a more long-term analysis of the problem, not in criticism of Chris, for whom surviving radicalism is in debt for whatever life it still maintains, but merely as a further take on the situation of America’s declining Left. First, one must enlarge the historical context, Wilson simply one though perhaps pivotal step in the societal process of curbing and seeking to eliminate radicalism as having legitimacy in what, after all, has been the continuity of American capitalist development from the late 18th century through the present, which has narrowed the boundaries of structural and social change stifling the rise of ALTERNATIVE formations such as socialism and a more humane political culture and system of values. This is not a deterministic formulation, but only points up the conscious functioning and furtherance of class dynamics by which ruling groups have taken control through the normalization of capitalist fundamentals of wealth-and-power accumulation in a hierarchical framework. Exploitation plays a significant role, so does a market economy, so does the Constitutional, legal, and ideological protection of the property right, so does the suppression of labor violence, so does commercial penetration increasingly taking on global dimensions, so does the military factor, whether as the spirit of militarism, naval power in action, intervention, in ensuring the realization of a closed, one-track pattern of growth confronting and dismissive of all challenges to its moral rightness.

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Alejandro Cerón – Neocolonial epidemiology, Public health practice and the right t o health in Guatemala


Cerón, Alejandro. 2019. ‘Neocolonial Epidemiology: Public Health Practice and the Right to Health in Guatemala’. Medicine Anthropology Theory 6 (1): 30–54. https://doi.org/10.17157/mat.6.1.647.


The relationship between public health practice and the fulfilment of the right to health is often assumed to be synergistic. With the goal of understanding how exactly this relationship happens, I studied the everyday practice of epidemiology in Guatemala, seeking to understand how it shapes and is shaped by the notion of health as a human right. Here I present findings from my ethnographic investigation of the Guatemalan Centro Nacional de Epidemiología (National Epidemiology Center), created in 2004 with the explicit mission of contributing to fulfilling the right to health for the inhabitants of Guatemala. While the relationship between epidemiological practice and the right to health is influenced by the specific configuration of local and transnational flows (bureaucratic, economic, ideological, political, scientific, social, and symbolic), epidemiologists also play an important mediating role. There are four intermediate social mechanisms that shape the relevance of epidemiological practice to fulfilling the right to health in Guatemala. Given how the country’s economic and social inequalities translate into enormous health inequities, an epidemiological practice committed to the right to health should aspire to transform, rather than reproduce, the social hierarchies underlying such inequalities. The mechanisms I identified shape how epidemiological practice contributes to the reproduction or transformation of such hierarchies. These mechanisms shape what I call ‘neocolonial epidemiology’, and include: institutional chaos, disciplinary conformism, global health international relations, and social relations at the national level.

…(read more).

Social Science as Imperialism. the Theory of Political Development: Claude Ake


Claude Ake’s study is primarily concerned with what he terms ‘the most perinicious form of imperialism’ namely scientific knowledge. Ake analyses how Western social sciences, whether consciously or inadvertently, foist capitalist values and capitalist development on the Third World, and serve imperialist ends. He unravels the theory of political development/’westernisation’, exposing its ideological character and condemning ‘Western development studies as worse than useless’. He then develops his analysis of the imperialist and ideological characteristics of Western social sciences to posit alternatives which may more successfully overcome permanent underdevelopment; and advocates a struggle for a new model of social sciences which is socialist-orientated, and that developing countries reject Western models.

The study was first published in 1979, revised in 1982, is newly reissued, and for the first time, widely available outside Africa. Claude Ake (1939-1996) was one of Africa’s most distinguished political and social scientists and democrats of the twentieth century, writing widely and polemically on what were his life-long concerns of democracy and the future of the African continent.

Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply (Culture Of The Land): Vandana Shiva

For the farmer, the seed is not merely the source of future plants and food; it is a vehicle through which culture and history can be preserved and spread to future generations. For centuries, farmers have evolved crops and produced an incredible diversity of plants that provide life-sustaining nutrition. In India alone, the ingenuity of farmers has produced over 200,000 varieties of rice, many of which now line store shelves around the world. This productive tradition, however, is under attack as globalized, corporate regimes increasingly exploit intellectual property laws to annex these sustaining seeds and remove them from the public sphere.

In Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply, Shiva explores the devastating effects of commercial agriculture and genetic engineering on the food we eat, the farmers who grow it, and the soil that sustains it. This prescient critique and call to action covers some of the most pressing topics of this ongoing dialogue, from the destruction of local food cultures and the privatization of plant life, to unsustainable industrial fish farming and safety concerns about corporately engineered foods. The preeminent agricultural activist and scientist of a generation, Shiva implores the farmers and consumers of the world to make a united stand against the genetically modified crops and untenable farming practices that endanger the seeds and plants that give us life.

Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World

The New York Times bestselling, groundbreaking investigation of how the global elite’s efforts to “change the world” preserve the status quo and obscure their role in causing the problems they later seek to solve. An essential read for understanding some of the egregious abuses of power that dominate today’s news.

Anand Giridharadas takes us into the inner sanctums of a new gilded age, where the rich and powerful fight for equality and justice any way they can—except ways that threaten the social order and their position atop it. They rebrand themselves as saviors of the poor; they lavishly reward “thought leaders” who redefine “change” in ways that preserve the status quo; and they constantly seek to do more good, but never less harm.

Giridharadas asks hard questions: Why, for example, should our gravest problems be solved by the unelected upper crust instead of the public institutions it erodes by lobbying and dodging taxes? His groundbreaking investigation has already forced a great, sorely needed reckoning among the world’s wealthiest and those they hover above, and it points toward an answer: Rather than rely on scraps from the winners, we must take on the grueling democratic work of building more robust, egalitarian institutions and truly changing the world—a call to action for elites and everyday citizens alike.

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Noam Chomsky On COVID-19 And His New Book: Internationalism Or Extinction

The Real News Network

Apr 13, 2020

Noam Chomsky analyzes the coronavirus pandemic in the context of neoliberal capitalism’s failures, climate change, potential nuclear disaster, and Donald Trump’s authoritarianism.

Naomi Klein – Coronavirus Capitalism

Scientists Warning

Apr 7, 2020

We thank Amy Goodman and Democracy Now! for introducing us again to Naomi Klein, whose investigative reporting has for many years helped reveal the eroding of democracy by corporate globalization, where ‘transnational’ companies have increasingly become the real power structure of civilization, with national governments reduced to ‘fronts’ for what is really going on in the ‘halls of power.’ We hope to bring this work to a wider audience, and so are doing these re-presentations of the reportage of others as a public service. Your feedback is invited in the comments, and by email to contact

No “Planet B.” Only One Earth. Only One Chance: COVID-19 ~ “Shelter in Place” Underscores Crystal Clear Urgency of New Strategies for Sustainability



YouTube version

The “Shelter in Place” directives that the entire world has now experienced as a result of the impact of COVID-19 make it clear that as a human community we all now need urgently to direct our efforts to design and implement a transition to a just, solar-sustainable future.

This will require a rapid transformation of deeply-held beliefs and a substantial change in our habitual behaviors that are deeply embedded in the unsustainable trajectories of industrial society.  In reality, industrial societies have all become dependent upon non-renewable fossil fuels.  Moreover, current corporate business strategies are committed to the continuous expansion of human consumption and the ineluctable degradation of natural ecosystems across the globe.

If these patterns are not  reversed soon – that is, if the logic of economic behavior cannot be subordinated to the realities of ecological sustainability — our contemporary civilization will collapse in the near future as civilizations have repeatedly done in the past.

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Noam Chomsky on Trump’s botched coronavirus response: “The country is simply run by sociopaths”

Democracy Now!

Apr 12, 2020

“Countries have reacted to this in many ways — some very successfully, some more or less successfully. One is at the bottom of the barrel. That’s us,” says renowned linguist and political dissident Noam Chomsky of the COVID-19 crisis sweeping the globe. “The U.S. is the only major country that cannot even provide data to the World Health Organization, because it’s so dysfunctional.” Chomsky says the fault lies with neoliberal, capitalist logic guiding the for-profit healthcare system, compounded by the current “sociopathic” administration at the helm in D.C. “We have a freak show in Washington — a totally dysfunctional government, which is causing enormous problems.”