Cryptocurrencies: A View From The Left

The use of cryptocurrencies is rapidly increasing across the world. In 2020, scholars at the University of Cambridge estimated there were 101 million people using cryptocurrencies worldwide, an increase from 35 million just two years previously. The rise of cryptocurrency is usually a story of pizzas bought with bitcoins now worth over a billion dollars, kingpins of darknet drugs markets ordering assassinations and hospitals being held to ransom by anonymous hackers. These new levels of activity however are pushing cryptocurrency, and its underlying blockchain technology into the mainstream – with significant consequences.

The first and arguably biggest impact so far is cultural.

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Five Reasons Why The Left Won In Venezuela

For the first time in four years, every major opposition party in Venezuela participated in elections. For the fifth time in four years, the left won in a landslide. Voters elected 23 governors, 335 mayors, 253 state legislators and 2,471 municipal councilors. The governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) won at least 19 of 23 governorships (one race remains too close to call) and the Caracas mayoralty in the November 21 “mega-elections.” Of the 335 mayoral races, the vote count has been completed in 322 of them, with PSUV and its coalition taking 205, opposition coalitions 96 and other parties 21. Over 70,000 candidates ran for these 3,082 offices, and 90% of the vote was counted and verified within hours of polls closing.

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The Politics Of Protection

The 2008 financial meltdown and the global economic crisis that followed put thousands of cracks into what Mark Fisher called “capitalist realism”—the idea that it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. The neoliberal era appeared to be at its end. But it staggered on; the next decade saw most Western states respond with the typical neoliberal playbook.

Now, the coronavirus pandemic has made it even easier to imagine the end of the world, and the response of those same states has been quite different. Is neoliberalism actually ending? And what comes next? Political theorist Paolo Gerbaudo explores those questions in his new book, The Great Recoil: Politics After Populism and Pandemic. 

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Voices From The African Left: China Vs The US And The New Cold War

Western governments along with their loyal media and think tanks warn that China is colonizing, exploiting, and forcing Africa into a debt trap. Is this true? Or is it Cold War propaganda? What is China’s actual role in Africa and how does it compare with the West’s?

To help us understand what’s really happening, Rania Khalek was joined by two leading African leftists: Mikaela Nhondo Erskog, an educator and researcher with Pan Africanism Today, a researcher at the Tricontinental Institute, and a member of the organizing committee of No Cold War. And Kambale Musavuli, an activist, writer, and analyst with the Center for Research on the Congo.

Read the report Erskog worked on, “Defending Our Sovereignty: US Military Bases in Africa and the Future of African Unity.”

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The Limits Of ‘Lived Experience’

Online, the “left” continues to find itself in a never ending series of bad faith arguments around self-determination. Many terms/frameworks that may have had a subversive character within their original context when first articulated, have now been incorporated and distorted by liberalism encouraging radical individualism and anti-materialism. More and more, analyses that are dependent upon identity and “lived experience” are propped up, ultimately resulting in ad hominems, mud-slinging, intellectual dishonesty, and the inevitable tried-and-true anti-communism.

Anti-communist rhetoric from self-identifying socialists/communists is not new, but the relatively recent trend of rejecting revolutionary theory in favor of “lived experience” shows a lack in our processes for political education.

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Whenever I wear one of my many shirts, necklaces, or buttons adorned with the faces of great leaders such as Hugo Chavez, Nestor and Cristina Kirchner, Che, or Evita, I will commonly get a comment in real life or on social media about how I am “worshipping” or engaging in a “cult of personality”. It’s not true, what I am exhibiting is loyalty, which is expressly different because of a simple fact; this political loyalty is a two way street.

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, two time president of Argentina and current Vice President put it succinctly on the day of her inauguration as VP in 2019. She says that “Loyalty, that value that some do not understand and think that loyalty is only following a political leader. No! Loyalty between a politician and the people must be two points. The People are not stupid.

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Evo Morales And Social Groups Create ‘People’s General Staff’

“The social, union and indigenous organizations decided to form the General Staff of the People for the people as a space to defend the sovereignty and dignity of our democratic and multicultural revolution (…),” Morales announced on Monday after a meeting of leaders, held in Cochabamba in the center of the South American country.

In this sense, the former president stressed that the “Estado Mayor” is made up of “national organizations affiliated and not affiliated to the Central Obrera Boliviana (COB),” including the peasant and indigenous confederations grouped in the Unity Pact, one of the pillars of the ruling Movement Towards Socialism (MAS).

The founding declaration of the “Estado Mayor” has been disclosed by the media.

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ALBA Movements Issue Alert Over Coup Attempt In Peru

ALBA Movimientos is issuing an alert of a coup underway against the government of Pedro Castillo in Peru and is calling for international solidarity, saying, the removal of Héctor Bejar from the Foreign Ministry, just two weeks into government, “is a clear sign of the coup in progress in its political & military facet and expresses the linkage of right-wing parties with fascist sectors of the human rights violations [of past decades]”.

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Peru: A Coup Brewing

The onslaught of the Peruvian right wing against the government of President Pedro Castillo Terrones began long before he was proclaimed president after many delays—it began when his passage to the second round of the elections was confirmed—and has been intensifying for days with virulence and a frankly coup-like character. It includes, among other maneuvers, demands for the president’s resignation in small but very widespread demonstrations of Fujimorism, and requests from deputies for the replacement of Prime Minister Guido Bellido and Foreign Minister Héctor Béjar. The latter, by the way, has laid the basis for an independent and sovereign foreign policy, a defender of non-intervention, a promoter of unity and regional integration through UNASUR and CELAC, which is a distinct departure from the moribund Lima Group: “we condemn blockades, embargoes and unilateral sanctions that only affect the peoples,” he has said.

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From Elder To Ancestor: Remembering Glen Ford

Glen Ford, a brilliant and powerful force in the media throughout his life, died recently at the age of 71. In this century, Glen was the founder of the Black Commentator in 2002 and then Black Agenda Report in 2006. He was an activist as well on a range of issues, part of the Black is Back Coalition. In this program, Clearing the FOG compiles a few previous conversations with Glen about the state of Black America, systemic racial injustice, how power is organized and how to confront power. In the final interview, from November of 2018, Glen describes fascism in the United States and the lack of resistance to it. The interviews were conducted prior to the death of Clearing the FOG co-host Kevin Zeese.  Clearing the FOG extends its condolences to the family and friends of Glen Ford. His wit and wisdom are deeply missed.

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Digital Corbynism

The first time I saw protesters dancing on the roof of a police van was at a May Day demonstration in London in 2002. Over the dulcet acid techno beats of a bike-powered sound system, a friend explained that we were imitating the Reclaim the Streets movement of the 1990s—free parties on highways doubled as tactics of resistance against infrastructure projects in the name of halting ecological and capitalist crisis. I learned then that I had come too late for anything new. The late British cultural theorist Mark Fisher described this era as one of nostalgia (-algia, the suffix, signifies pain, distress). Thanks to the ideology of what Fisher called “capitalist realism,” faith in the future had been canceled.

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The New Green-Red Zagreb

In the local elections held in Croatia on 16 and 30 May 2021, a left-green political platform Zagreb je Naš/Možemo! (‘Zagreb is Ours’/’Yes, We Can!’) won 23 out of 47 seats in the City Assembly, and its candidate for mayor, Tomislav Tomašević, won a convincing victory, defeating his right-wing opponent with 65% of the votes.

The platform was formed in early 2017 by a group of activists from social movements and NGOs working on issues of public space, the commons, environmental concerns, independent culture, human rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ+ initiatives, workers’ rights, and more. Frequently presenting themselves with ‘one foot in activism, the other in electoral politics’, the motivation for fielding candidates in the 2017 Zagreb local elections was to advance a genuine alternative to the corrupt nationalist-populist politics that had defined local government in Croatia’s capital for two decades.

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Pedro Castillo’s Victory Raises Hopes Beyond Peru

Peru’s long-standing polarity between a large extension of coastal region, where the nation’s wealth is concentrated, and the much-neglected interior was on full display in the June 6 presidential election. But the polarity was not just geographical. It wasn’t just that the winning candidate, Pedro Castillo, received the lion’s share of his votes from the interior, known as the “Other Peru.” Nor that Lima and other coastal cities favored Keiko Fujimori, particularly in middle class districts. The election also pitted two candidates with very dissimilar backgrounds against each other: Fujimori, a former first lady and three-time presidential candidate with the solid support of the nation’s elite, against Castillo, who is the epitome of an outsider. Castillo, a primary school teacher since the age of 25, has never held an elected office.

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A Peasant-Teacher Just Won The Peruvian Elections

On the ground in Lima, the cloud of political uncertainty remains so thick it can be difficult to grasp the basic facts about this election and its historic importance for the people of Peru.

The election of peasant-teacher Pedro Castillo from the Perú Libre (Free Peru) party as the new Peruvian president on 6 June was a victory for the country’s popular forces – an outcome almost impossible to imagine even just a few months ago. Castillo’s win has seen Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of former Peruvian neoliberal dictator Alberto Fujimori, lose the presidential race for the third time in ten years – and to a coalition of rural peasants, the urban working classes, Indigenous communities from the Andes to the Amazon, and leftists of all stripes.

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