Sunday, December 30, 2012

Buzludzha, Bulgaria

http://humanplanet.com/timothyallen/2012/02/buzludzha-buzludja-bulgaria/

Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com







Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com








Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com









Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com








Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com








Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com







Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com












Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com











Photo: Copyright Timothy Allen . http://humanplanet.com

Salon interviews Žižek, DEC 29, 2012




http://www.salon.com/2012/12/29/slavoj_zizek_i_am_not_the_worlds_hippest_philosopher/

[…]

Salon caught up with Žižek, who still calls Ljubljana home, over Skype. On the agenda: the improbable celebrity of Slavoj Žižek.

You’ve given a number of interviews over the past few years. I was hoping that we could take this one up a few levels of abstraction and discuss the phenomenon that is Slavoj Žižek.

Ah, if you want to.

Most recently, Foreign Policy named you one of its Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2012.

Yes, but at the bottom of the top!

Right, you were No. 92. Do you deserve to be on the list?

No! You could not get that out of me if you tortured me! I know the polite thing is to say no.
Isn’t the first one on this list that Myanmar girl? I always forget her name. Who is that?

Do you mean Aung San Suu Kyi?

Yes! Nothing against her, but can you explain to me: In what sense she is a philosopher or intellectual?

Well first, to clarify, this is a list of “thinkers,” not “philosophers.”

Yes but in what sense is she a thinker? She just tries to bring democracy to Myanmar. OK, that’s a nice thing. But you can’t just accept an ideal as ideal. Oh, democracy! Everyone gets an orgasm so let’s bring it to as many people as possible.

Thinking begins when you ask really difficult questions. For example: What is really decided in a democratic process?
I recently had a look through The International Journal of Žižek Studies, and…
I never opened it! I promise! I never even opened that site.

What do you think of the idea?

I have good relations with Paul Taylor, who edits it. We are friends. Ironically, he thought that this would help him in his academic career, but it only brings him trouble.
As you can see now — or in any of the shitty movies that I make — I’m a nervous guy. I find it absolutely unbearable to see myself on a screen. And when people write about me, I never read it — unless there is a brutal attack and my friends think I should answer it.
I have a sense of shame here. I am afraid of seeing myself.

You’ve said this before. And you have noted the tendency for journalists to portray you as clownish or buffoonish. But I have to wonder: To what extent are you flirting with that?

You know why I do it? Because I’m terribly afraid that if people were to see me, to put it naively, how I really am, they would be terribly bored.
You know, in my private life I am an extremely depressed guy. Look where I am now! Look around. I’m in Paris.
[Žižek lifts his laptop, turning it to reveal his surroundings: a sparse hotel room, with simple bedding and a single window.]
You see? I’m in a small hotel room. I escaped my home for a week; I needed it. Here, I go out just once or twice a day to eat. Except for you, and another friend with whom I Skype, I haven’t spoken to a living person for a week. And I like it so much!
My big fear is that if I act the way I am, people will notice that there is nothing to see. So I have to be active all the time, covering up.
This is why, incidentally, I claim that reality TV is so boring: because people are not themselves. They are acting a certain image of themselves, which is extremely boring and stupid and so forth. I cannot see why people are attracted by reality TV. I think it should be prohibited. And I think Facebook and Twitter should be prohibited. Don’t you think?
You know, the only photos I have of myself are on official documents, like my passport.
But wait! This doesn’t mean that I massively despise myself. No, I like my printed work. I live for that — for theory, really. And shamelessly. I hate this leftist humanitarian attitude: People are starving! Children in Africa! Who needs theory? No! We need useless theory more than ever today, I claim.

You say you haven’t watched the 2005 documentary “Zizek!,“ which you star in. I watched it recently. There was a scene in it that struck me. It’s when you bring the director, Astra Taylor, into your kitchen — to show her that you store your socks there.

Yes, to shock her! It was a very naive thing that happened. I had mentioned that my socks were in my kitchen. She didn’t believe me. She thought: “Oh this is one of his postmodern extravaganzas.” I wanted to say: “No, fuck you; they’re really there!”
Some idiots made a lot of another clip from the film… Remember, when I’m lying in bed naked (from the waist up only, of course) giving an interview? Some idiots asked afterwards: Oh, what was the message in that?
It was so vulgar. [The director] was screwing me all day — screwing in the sense of annoying me —  I was tired as a dog. She wanted to ask a few more questions. I said: “Listen, I will go to bed and you can shoot me for five more minutes.” That’s the origin of it.
Now, people look at it and say, “Oh what is the message that he’s half naked?” There’s no message. The message is that I was fucking tired.

But isn’t that what you do in much of your writing? Take the half-naked man on-screen and attribute meaning to his half-nakedness?

That’s true!

Let’s go back to the socks in the kitchen. Surely you understood that showing this to the director would contribute to her portrayal of you as a befuddled philosophe who can’t quite function in normal life?

No, no. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a well-organized person. I’m extremely organized. Up to the minute, everything is planned. This is how I achieve so much. Quantitatively. I’m not talking about quality.
I am very well-trained. I can work everywhere. And I learned that in the army.
I may look half abandoned, it’s true. Because I find it extremely obscene to buy things for myself: like trousers, jackets and so on. All my T-shirts are presents from different colloquia. All my socks are from business-class flights. Here I totally neglect myself.
But my apartment has to be clean; I am a control freak. That is why I was disappointed when I did my military service. It wasn’t that I was a confused philosopher and I couldn’t handle the discipline. My shock was that the old Yugoslav army was, beneath the surface of order and discipline, a chaotic society where nothing functioned. I was deeply, deeply disappointed with the army for being too chaotic.
My ideal would be to live in a monastery.

Let’s run with that. You have said before: “I am a philosopher, not a prophet.” And yet, your followers are remarkably pious; many worship you as a prophet. Why?

Well, I’m ambiguous on this. On the one hand, I return to a more classical Marxism. Like: ‘It cannot last! This is all crazy! The hour of reckoning will come, blah blah blah.’
Also, I really hate all of this politically correct, cultural studies bullshit. If you mention the phrase “postcolonialism,” I say, “Fuck it!” Postcolonialism is the invention of some rich guys from India who saw that they could make a good career in top Western universities by playing on the guilt of white liberals.

So you offer respite to the 20-something who wants to escape the fruits of postmodernism: political correctness, gender studies, etc.? 

Yes, yes! That’s good!
But here I also have a bit of megalomania. I almost conceive of myself as a Christ figure. OK! Kill me! I’m ready to sacrifice myself. But the cause will remain! And so on…
But, paradoxically, I despise public appearances. This is why I almost stopped teaching entirely. The worst thing for me is contact with students. I like universities without students. And I especially hate American students. They think you owe them something. They come to you … Office hours!

How very European. 

Yes, here I’m totally for Europe — and specifically for the German authoritarian tradition. England is already corrupted. In England, students think they can simply stop you and ask you a question. I find this repulsive.
That said, I quite admire the United States and Canada. In some ways, they are better than Europe now. France and Germany, for instance, are currently in a very low state intellectually — especially Germany. Nothing interesting is happening there. Yet it surprises me how intellectually alive The United States and Canada are. Let me give you an example: Hegelian studies. If Europeans want to understand Hegel, they go to Toronto or Chicago or Pittsburgh.

What would Hegel think of your popularity? 

He wouldn’t have any problems with it. He even wrote — I think at the end of “Phenomenology“ — that if, as a philosopher, you really articulate the spirit of the time, the result is popularity … even if people don’t really understand you. They somehow feel it. It’s a beautiful dialectical question: How do the people feel it?

You’re a devout Lacanian. Would it be awkward for you if [psychoanalyst and psychologist Jacques] Lacan were alive today? 

Definitely! Because he was such an opportunist. And he would not have liked my direction. Theoretically, he was completely anti-Hegelian. But I try to prove that, without being aware of it, he was actually a Hegelian.

When you write the popular books that you claim not to like, who do you imagine to be your reader? 

Prohibited! I never ask this question. I don’t care. Another prohibition is that I never analyze myself. The idea of doing psychoanalysis on myself is disgusting. Here, I’m sort of a conservative Catholic pessimist. I think that if we look deep into ourselves, we discover a lot of shit. It is best not to know.
In “Zizek!” I was very careful that all the clues about my personality are misleading.
Why bother? For fun? 
Because they are idiots! I hate journalists! Filmmakers! I think there is something obscene about it. Of course, now you catch me again: Because if I’m really indifferent, then why do I bother to lie? Yes, there is a problem there…
You know, when I got married in Argentina, I was very embarrassed. People thought I orchestrated the leak of my wedding photographs. It’s not true!

I’ve seen those photos. For someone who describes love as violent and unnecessary, you seem to have pulled off quite the affair. Your wife [Argentinian model Analia Hounie] wore a long white dress and held a bouquet. How traditional! 

Yes, but did you notice something? If you look at the photos, you can see that I am not happy. Even my eyes are closed. It’s a psychotic escape. This is not happening. I’m not really here.
I planted some jokes in my wedding. Like, the organizers asked me to select music. So when I approached wife at the ceremony, they played the second movement from Shostakovich’s 10th Symphony, which is usually known as the “portrait of Stalin.” And then when we embraced, the music that they played was Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden.” I enjoyed this in a childish way! But marriage was all a nightmare and so on and so on.

So you did it for your wife, this big wedding? 

Yes, she was dreaming about it.
You know what book I really didn’t like from this perspective? Laura Kipnis’ “Against Love.” Her idea is that the last defense of the bourgeois order is ‘No sex outside love!’ It’s the Judith Butler stuff: reconstruction, identity, blah, blah, blah.
I claim it’s just the opposite. Today, passionate engagement is considered almost pathological. I think there is something subversive in saying: This is the man or woman with whom I want to stake everything.
This is why I was never able to do so-called one-night stands. It has to at least have a perspective of eternity.

You seem to hold up [feminist philosopher] Judith Butler as a kind of antithesis. You’ve mentioned her several times already. She’s your straw woman!

Yes, but personally we have great relations! Judith once told me: “Slavoj, you must think I’m a mean woman.” I said: “No, when somebody likes Hegel like you, you cannot be a total idiot!”

Are there historical figures that you relate to?

Robespierre. Maybe a bit of Lenin.

Really? Not Trotsky?

In 1918-19, Trotsky was much harsher than Stalin. And I do like this in him. But I will never forgive him for how he screwed it up in the mid-’20s. He was so stupid and arrogant. You know what he would do? He would come to party meetings carrying French classics like Flaubert, Stendhal, to signal to others: “Fuck you, I am civilized!”

You write that we need to think more and act less. But in the end you identify with Lenin: a famed man of action.

Yes, but wait a minute! Lenin was the right guy. When everything went wrong in 1914, what did he do? He moved to Switzerland and started reading Hegel.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Welcome to the Slavoj Zizek Show



By Philipp Oehmke

http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/the-most-dangerous-philosopher-in-the-west-welcome-to-the-slavoj-zizek-show-a-705164-2.html

[…]

Part 2: 'He'll Have to be Sent to the Gulag'

His repertoire is a mix of Lacanian psychoanalysis and Hegel's idealist philosophy -- of film analysis, criticism of democracy, capitalism and ideology, and an occasionally authoritarian Marxism paired with everyday observations. He explains the ontological essence of the Germans, French and Americans on the basis of their toilet habits and the resulting relationship with their fecal matter, and he initially reacts to criticism with a cheerful "Fuck you!" -- pronounced in hard Slavic consonants. He tells colleagues he values but who advocate theories contrary to his own that they should prepare to enter the gulag when he, Zizek, comes into power. He relishes the shudder that the word gulag elicits.

"Take my friend Peter, for example, fucking Sloterdijk. I like him a lot, but he'll obviously have to be sent to the gulag. He'll be in a slightly better position there. Perhaps he could work as a cook."

One could say it's funny, especially the way Zizek delivers it, in his exaggerated and emphatic way. But one could also think of the more than 30 million people who fell victim to Soviet terror. Those who find Zizek's remarks amusing could just as easily be telling jokes about concentration camps.

"But you know?" Zizek says in response to such criticism. "The best, most impressive films about the Holocaust are comedies."

Two Posters of Stalin

Zizek loves to correct viewpoints when precisely the opposite is considered correct. He calls this counterintuitive observation. His favorite thought form is the paradox. Using his psychoanalytical skills, he attempts to demonstrate how liberal democracy manipulates people. One of his famous everyday observations on this subject relates to the buttons used to close the door in elevators. He has discovered that they are placebos. The doors don't close a second faster when one presses the button, but they don't have to. It's sufficient that the person pressing the button has the illusion that he is able to influence something. The political illusion machine that calls itself Western democracy functions in exactly the same way, says Zizek.

His detractors accuse him of fighting liberal democracy and of wanting to replace it with authoritarian Marxism, even Stalinism. They say he is particularly dangerous because he cloaks his totalitarianism in pop culture. The jacket of his book "In Defense of Lost Causes" depicts a guillotine, the symbol of leftist terror decreed from above -- "good terror," as Zizek has been known to say. The Suhrkamp publishing house removed passages from the German edition of the book which reportedly toyed with totalitarianism.

There are two posters of Josef Stalin on the wall in Zizek's apartment in a new building in downtown Ljubljana.

"It doesn't mean anything! It's just a joke," Zizek is quick to point out.

He says that he'll be happy to remove the posters of Stalin from the wall if they offend his visitors. And he says that he is tired of being characterized as a Stalinist. He has been sharply criticized in recent weeks in publications like the liberal, left-leaning US magazine The New Republic, Germany's Merkur and the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit. His critics write that Zizek's thoughts on communism ignore history and are insufficiently serious, and that his theory of revolution is downright fascist. And now he has even been accused, once again, of anti-Semitism. Even Suhrkamp decided not to publish some of his writings, arguing that they could -- maliciously -- be interpreted as anti-Semitic. These accusations are opprobrious, but Zizek knows he isn't entirely innocent. His constant drilling, poking and questioning is truly subversive, but sometimes it makes him extremely vulnerable. He says that those who attack him in this way have rarely comprehended his thoughts.

For Zizek, philosophy means thinking out of bounds -- far removed from practical execution, as opposed to reality-based political science, which must have its limits. When American leftist liberals accuse him of making a case for a new leftist dictatorship, Zizek points out that it was he, not they, who lived under (former Yugoslav dictator Josip) Tito and, as a young professor, was barred from teaching.

The Itinerant Intellectual

Zizek's roughly 600-square-foot apartment looks as though Tito were still in power. It consists of three rooms and is carelessly furnished. A poster from a Mark Rothko exhibition hangs on the wall above the sofa in Soviet-era colors; otherwise, the furnishings consist of a rack of DVDs, bookshelves, mountains of "Star Wars" Legos and his laundry, which he keeps in his kitchen cabinets. He serves iced tea in Disney cups.
He lives alone in the apartment, except when his son from his second marriage stays with him. He also has a son from his first marriage. His last wife was an Argentine lingerie model, 30 years his junior, the daughter of a student of Lacan who, ironically enough, is named Analia.

Zizek wears jeans and a T-shirt, blue sandals from the Adlon Hotel in Berlin and socks from Lufthansa's Business Class. "I haven't bought any socks in years," he says. He stays in the best hotels, and he has just returned from a trip to China and Los Angeles. He spoke about Mao in China and Richard Wagner in Los Angeles. The Chinese had invited him because of his status as a communist thought leader, but he doesn't believe that they understand his theories.

"They translated 10 of my books, the idiots," says Zizek. The Chinese translated the books as poetry and not as philosophical and political works. The translators had supposedly never heard of Hegel and had no idea what they were actually translating. To make up for these deficiencies, they tried to make his words sound appealing.
The experience of meeting Zizek is initially fascinating for everyone (for the first hour), then frustrating (it's impossible to get a word in edgewise) and, finally, cathartic (the conversation does, eventually, come to an end). Zizek begins to talk within the first few seconds, and in his case talking means screaming, gesticulating, spitting and sweating. He has a speech defect known as sigmatism, and when he pronounces the letter "s" it sounds like a bicycle pump. He usually begins his discourse with the words "Did you know…," and then he jumps from topic to topic, like a thinking machine that's been stuffed with coins and from then on doesn't stop spitting out words.

Empty Battery

Zizek has created an artificial character. His appearances are performances, something between art and comedy. He says that he wants to get away from these standup comedy appearances, and that he wants to give a serious lecture in Berlin, mostly about Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, the subject of his new book. He says that he has already written 700 pages. It would take a normal person 10 years to write 700 pages about the man who may have been the most difficult thinker in the history of philosophy. Zizek wrote his 700 pages on airplanes in the last few months.

A comforting thing happens after exactly three hours in Zizek time. Suddenly his battery seems to have run empty, and the machine stops. Zizek has diabetes. His blood sugar is much too high, he says, or maybe it's much too low. The symptoms seem to be particularly severe at the moment. But Slavoj Zizek would not be Slavoj Zizek if he were to describe such a thing in such banal terms. Instead, he says: "You know, my diabetes has now become a self-perpetuating system, completely independent of external influences! It does what it pleases. And now I have to go to sleep."

On the way to Berlin, Zizek has not managed to put together his talk on the plane, as he had expected. While the speaker preceding him at the Volksbühne, a short man from Turkey with long hair and a long beard, is still speaking, Zizek is shifting papers from one stack to the next, searching, writing things down and furiously reading his notes. Strands of hair are pasted to his forehead. Zizek doesn't just sweat while speaking, but also while thinking.

It is now the second day of the conference, and so far Zizek has had to content himself by merely asking the speakers questions. Now, he immediately attacks Negri who, on the previous day, had accused him and Badiou of neglecting the class struggle. Negri's theory of the "multitude," that is, his concept of a revolutionary subject that sees commonality in the differences among individuals, assumes that late capitalism eliminated itself, and that this alone is the source of a revolutionary situation. This is far too concrete and pragmatic for Zizek and Badiou. Zizek arms himself with Hegel's concept of totality, with Plato's concept of truth and Heidegger's concept of the event. He argues that to one has to be outside the state to abolish it, but that Negri remains within the system, which is why his "multitude" can never start a revolution.

'Think I'm an Idiot'

Negri, furrowing his leathery brow, reacts testily. Zizek, he says, has lost the revolutionary subject, but without a revolutionary subject there can be no resistance. Badiou observes the argument with the face of an old turtle, as if he were wondering which of the two he would like to send to a labor camp first. The moderator asks Badiou whether he would like to comment. Badiou waves aside the question, flashes a wolfish grin, and says that he intends to comment on Negri, and perhaps on Zizek, as well, the next day. It sounds like a threat.

At the end of Zizek's lecture, an audience member asks a complicated and unintelligible question. "You made a good point," says Zizek, and continues to talk about Hegel. His response has nothing to do with the question, which in turn has nothing to do with the lecture. The game could continue endlessly in the same vein. Suddenly Zizek pushes aside the cardboard screen and interrupts his Hegel lecture. "Okay! It doesn't matter. As I said already, you made quite a good point. And the truth is that I have no response. In fact, my long-winded talk was also just an attempt to cover up that fact!" The audience seems grateful, now that Zizek has said that it's okay to say that you don't understand something and don't have a clue as to what something is talking about. Even Zizek does it.

"I know that people often think I'm an idiot," he says that evening, "that nostalgic Leninist. But I'm not crazy. I'm much more modest and much more pessimistic."
Why pessimistic? In fact, it isn't absurd at all to assume that capitalism and democracy have reached a dead end. "That's true," says Zizek, "but I believe that the left is, tragically, bereft of any vision to be taken seriously. We all wish for a real, authentic revolution! But it has take place far away, preferably in Cuba, Vietnam, China or Nicaragua. The advantage of that is that it allows us to continue with our careers here." He ends the conversation by saying that it's time for him to return to his hotel -- you know, the diabetes, he says.

'See You Tomorrow!'

Late Saturday evening, just as the US and Ghana World Cup match is in overtime, Zizek calls again. He sounds excited. "Did you watch my clash with Negri today? Unbelievable! What is he talking about! That late capitalism is doing away with itself?"
Zizek says that the revolution can never function without an authority, without control, and that this was already the case during the French Revolution and with the Jacobins.
He pauses. Zizek rarely pauses when he speaks, because it makes him feel self-conscious for an instant.

Finally he says: The thing about the state and revolution reminds him of women. "It's impossible to live with them, but even more impossible without them."

He seems about to talk himself into a rage again, but just as the machine is revving up he suddenly interrupts himself.

"Oh, let's forget about it. I'll see you tomorrow, my friend!"

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Žižek: A Brief bio



Personal Life

Žižek was born in 1949 in Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia which was at the time a part of Yugoslavia. He spent a great part of his childhood in the coastal town of Portorož. His parents moved back to the Slovenian capital while he was a teenager and enrolled him to a prestigious high school in Ljubljana. Žižek continued his education at the University of Ljubljana where he studied philosophy and sociology. After receiving a Doctor’s degree, he went to Paris where he studied psychoanalysis.

At the time Žižek began to study philosophy, the communist Yugoslavia was entering a period of liberalisation. But he was studying French structuralists even before he became a student of philosophy and sociology at the University of Ljubljana. As a high school student, Žižek published the first Slovene translation of Jacques Derrida.

Despite the fact that Žižek studied philosophy during the era of liberalisation, he was influenced greatly by his teacher, Slovenian Marxist philosopher Božidar Debenjak. The latter was a professor at the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana where he taught German idealism and Karl Marx’s Capital from the Hegelian (philosophy of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel) perspective.

In the early 1970s, Žižek became an assistant researcher at the University of Ljubljana and was promised tenure. However, soon thereafter the Communist regime removed liberal leaders throughout Yugoslavia including what was then the Socialist Republic of Slovenia. As a result of toughening of the regime and Žižek’s Master’s work being evaluated as anti-Marxist, he lost his position at the University of Ljubljana.

In 1977, after being unemployed for four years, Žižek found a job at the Slovenian Marxist Center where he worked as a recording clerk. At that time he also came into contact with a group of scholars who introduced him to the theories of Jacques Lacan, a French psychoanalyst and psychiatrist who had a major influence on his later work. In the late 1970s, Žižek returned to the University of Ljubljana and was employed by the Institute of Sociology.

In the late 1980s, Žižek attracted a lot of attention both at home and abroad. At home, he gained a lot of publicity as a columnist of the alternative magazine called Mladina (“Youth”) which was critical towards the Communist regime. Žižek who was a member of the Communist Party (like the majority of scholars and intellectuals at that time) returned his membership out of protest due to the so-called JBTZ trial. It was a trial held against two Mladina journalists, the magazine’s editor and a sergeant at the Yugoslav People’s Army for betrayal of military secrets in 1988. Žižek became active in political and civil movements for democratisation and even ran for Presidency of the Republic of Slovenia at the first free elections in 1990.

In the international scene, Žižek attracted attention in the late 1980s with his book The Sublime Object of Ideology and established himself as one of the most influential social theorist and contemporary philosopher.

Work

Despite the fact that Žižek was actively involved in the democratisation process in Slovenia, he is committed to the communist idea and describes himself as a “radical leftist” and “communist in a qualified sense”. His political ideas and criticism of the existing political and economic systems caused a great deal of controversy in the intellectual circles on the one hand, and earned him the title of one of the foremost thinkers of modern times and a near celebrity-status on the other.
[…]

Hitchcock: Rebecca

Hitchcock: Under Capricorn

Architecture: objects think for us

Ratlines (World War II)



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ratlines_(World_War_II)

Ratlines were a system of escape routes for Nazis and other fascists fleeing Europe at the end of World War II. These escape routes mainly led toward havens in South America, particularlyArgentinaParaguayBrazilUruguayChile, and Bolivia. Other destinations included the United StatesGreat BritainCanada and the Middle East. There were two primary routes: the first went from Germany to Spain, then Argentina; the second from Germany to Rome to Genoa, then South America; the two routes "developed independently" but eventually came together to collaborate.[1]

One ratline, made famous by the Frederick Forsyth thriller The Odessa File, was run by the ODESSA (Organisation der ehemaligen SS-Angehörigen; "Organization of Former SS-Members") network organized by Otto Skorzeny.[citation needed]

Early Spanish ratlines

The origins of the first ratlines are connected to various developments in Vatican-Argentine relations before and during World War II.[2] As early as 1942, Monsignor Luigi Maglione contacted Ambassador Llobet, inquiring as to the "willingness of the government of the Argentine Republic to apply its immigration law generously, in order to encourage at the opportune moment European Catholic immigrants to seek the necessary land and capital in our country".[3] Afterwards, a German priest, Anton Weber, the head of the Rome-based Society of Saint Raphael, traveled toPortugal, continuing to Argentina, to lay the groundwork for future Catholic immigration, this was to be a route which fascist exiles would exploit - without the knowledge of the Catholic Church.[3]According to historian Michael Phayer, "this was the innocent origin of what would become the Vatican ratline".[3]

Spain, not Rome, was the "first center of ratline activity that facilitated the escape of Nazi fascists", although the exodus itself was planned within the Vatican.[4] Charles Lescat, a French member of Action Française (an organization suppressed by Pius XI and rehabilitated by Pius XII), and Pierre Daye, a Belgian with contacts in the Spanish government, were among the primary organizers.[5] Lescat and Daye were the first able to flee Europe, with the help of Argentine cardinal Antonio Caggiano.[5]
By 1946, there were probably hundreds of war criminals in Spain, and thousands of former Nazis and fascists.[6] According to US Secretary of State James F. Byrnes, Vatican cooperation in turning over asylum-seekers was "negligible".[6] According to Phayer, Pius XII "preferred to see fascist war criminals on board ships sailing to the New World rather than seeing them rotting in POW camps in zonal Germany".[7] Unlike the Vatican emigration operation in Italy, centered on Vatican City, the ratlines of Spain, although "fostered by the Vatican" were relatively independent of the hierarchy of the Vatican Emigration Bureau.[8]

The Roman ratlines

Early efforts—Bishop Hudal
Bishop Alois Hudal was rector of the Pontificio Istituto Teutonico Santa Maria dell'Anima in Rome, a seminary for Austrian and German priests, and "Spiritual Director of the German People resident in Italy".[9] After the end of the war in Italy, Hudal became active in ministering to German-speaking prisoners of war and internees then held in camps throughout Italy. In December 1944 the Vatican Secretariat of State received permission to appoint a representative to "visit the German-speaking civil internees in Italy", a job assigned to Hudal.

Hudal used this position to aid the escape of wanted Nazi war criminals, including Franz Stangl, commanding officer of TreblinkaGustav Wagner, commanding officer of SobiborAlois Brunner, responsible for the Drancy internment camp near Paris and in charge of deportations in Slovakia to German concentration camps, and Adolf Eichmann[10]— a fact about which he was later unashamedly open. Some of these wanted men were being held in internment camps: generally without identity papers, they would be enrolled in camp registers under false names. Other Nazis were in hiding in Italy, and sought Hudal out as his role in assisting escapes became known on the Nazi grapevine.[11]:289

In his memoirs Hudal said of his actions "I thank God that He [allowed me] to visit and comfort many victims in their prisons and concentration camps and to help them escape with false identity papers." [12] He explained that in his eyes:

"The Allies' War against Germany was not a crusade, but the rivalry of economic complexes for whose victory they had been fighting. This so-called business ... used catchwords like democracy, race, religious liberty and Christianity as a bait for the masses. All these experiences were the reason why I felt duty bound after 1945 to devote my whole charitable work mainly to former National Socialists and Fascists, especially to so-called 'war criminals'."

According to Mark Aarons and John Loftus in their book Unholy Trinity,[13] Hudal was the first Catholic priest to dedicate himself to establishing escape routes. Aarons and Loftus claim that Hudal provided the objects of his charity with money to help them escape, and more importantly with false papers including identity documents issued by the Vatican Refugee Organisation (Commissione Pontificia d'Assistenza).

These Vatican papers were not full passports, and not in themselves enough to gain passage overseas. They were, rather, the first stop in a paper trail—they could be used to obtain a displaced person passport from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which in turn could be used to apply for visas. In theory the ICRC would perform background checks on passport applicants, but in practice the word of a priest or particularly a bishop would be good enough. According to statements collected by Gitta Sereny from a senior official of the Rome branch of the ICRC,[11]:316-17 Hudal could also use his position as a bishop to request papers from the ICRC "made out according to his specifications". Sereny's sources also revealed an active illicit trade in stolen and forged ICRC papers in Rome at this time.

According to declassified US intelligence reports, Hudal was not the only priest helping Nazi escapees at this time. In the "La Vista report" declassified in 1984, Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) operative Vincent La Vista told how he had easily arranged for two bogus Hungarian refugees to get false ICRC documents with the help of a letter from a Father Joseph Gallov. Gallov, who ran a Vatican-sponsored charity for Hungarian refugees, asked no questions and wrote a letter to his "personal contact in the International Red Cross, who then issued the passports".[14]

The San Girolamo ratline

According to Aarons and Loftus, Hudal's private operation was small scale compared to what came later. The major Roman ratline was operated by a small, but influential network of Croatianpriests, members of the Franciscan order, led by Father Krunoslav Draganović. Draganović organized a highly sophisticated chain with headquarters at the San Girolamo degli Illirici Seminary College in Rome, but with links from Austria to the final embarcation point in the port of Genoa. The ratline initially focused on aiding members of the Croatian Ustashe movement, most notably the Croat wartime dictator Ante Pavelić.[15]

Priests active in the chain included: Fr. Vilim Cecelja, former Deputy Military Vicar to the Ustashe, based in Austria where many Ustashe and Nazi refugees remained in hiding; Fr. Dragutin Kamber, based at San Girolamo; Fr. Dominik Mandić, an official Vatican representative at San Girolamo and also "General Economist" or treasurer of the Franciscan order - who used this position to put the Franciscan press at the ratline's disposal; and Monsignor Karlo Petranović, based in Genoa. Vilim would make contact with those hiding in Austria and help them across the border to Italy; Kamber, Mandić and Draganović would find them lodgings, often in the monastery itself, while they arranged documentation; finally Draganović would phone Petranović in Genoa with the number of required berths on ships leaving for South America (see below).

The operation of the Draganović ratline was an open secret among the intelligence and diplomatic communities in Rome. As early as August 1945, Allied commanders in Rome were asking questions about the use of San Girolamo as a "haven" for Ustashe.[16] A year later, a US State Department report of 12 July 1946 lists nine war criminals, including Albanians and Montenegrinsas well as Croats, plus others "not actually sheltered in the COLLEGIUM ILLIRICUM [i.e., San Girolamo degli Illirici] but who otherwise enjoy Church support and protection."[17] The British envoy to the Holy See, Francis Osborne, asked Domenico Tardini, a high-ranking Vatican official, for a permission that would have allowed British military police to raid ex-territorial Vatican Institutions in Rome. Tardini declined and denied that the church sheltered war criminals.[citation needed]

In February 1947 CIC Special Agent Robert Clayton Mudd reported ten members of Pavelić's Ustasha cabinet living either in San Girolamo or in the Vatican itself. Mudd had infiltrated an agent into the monastery and confirmed that it was "honeycombed with cells of Ustashe operatives" guarded by "armed youths". Mudd also reported:
"It was further established that these Croats travel back and forth from the Vatican several times a week in a car with a chauffeur whose license plate bears the two initials CD, "Corpo Diplomatico". It issues forth from the Vatican and discharges its passengers inside the Monastery of San Geronimo. Subject to diplomatic immunity it is impossible to stop the car and discover who are its passengers."[18]

Mudd's conclusion was the following:

"DRAGANOVIC's sponsorship of these Croat Ustashes definitely links him up with the plan of the Vatican to shield these ex-Ustasha nationalists until such time as they are able to procure for them the proper documents to enable them to go to South America. The Vatican, undoubtedly banking on the strong anti-Communist feelings of these men, is endeavoring to infiltrate them into South America in any way possible to counteract the spread of Red doctrine. It has been reliably reported, for example that Dr. VRANCIC has already gone to South America and that Ante PAVELIC and General KREN are scheduled for an early departure to South America through Spain. All these operations are said to have been negotiated by DRAGANOVIC because of his influence in the Vatican."

The existence of Draganović's ratline has been confirmed by a Vatican historian, Fr. Robert Graham: "I've no doubt that Draganović was extremely active in syphoning off his Croatian Ustashe friends." However, Graham insisted that Draganović was not officially sanctioned in this by his superiors: "Just because he's a priest doesn't mean he represents the Vatican. It was his own operation."[19] On four occasions the Vatican intervened on behalf of interned Ustasha prisoners. The Secretariat of State asked the U.K. and U.S. government to release Croatian POWs fromBritish internment camps in Italy. The presence of some pro-Utashe clergy at this time is not surprising, but the Vatican itself condemned war crimes committed by the Utashe, as well as the Communists.

US intelligence involvement

If at first US intelligence officers had been mere observers of the Draganović ratline, this changed in the summer of 1947. A now declassified US Army intelligence report from 1950 sets out in detail the history of the people smuggling operation in the three years to follow.[20] According to the report, from this point on US forces themselves had begun to use Draganović's established network to evacuate its own "visitors". As the report put it, these were "visitors who had been in the custody of the 430th CIC and completely processed in accordance with current directives and requirements, and whose continued residence in Austria constituted a security threat as well as a source of possible embarrassment to the Commanding General of USFA, since the Soviet Command had become aware that their presence in US Zone of Austria and in some instances had requested the return of these persons to Soviet custody".[20]

These were suspected war criminals from areas occupied by the Red Army which the US was obliged to hand over for trial to the Soviets. The US reputedly was reluctant to do so, partly due to a belief that fair trial could hardly be expected in the USSR (see Operation Keelhaul), and at the same time, their desire to make use of Nazi scientists and other resources.[citation needed] The deal with Draganović involved getting the visitors to Rome: "Dragonovich [sic] handled all phases of the operation after the defectees arrived in Rome, such as the procurement of IRO Italian and South American documents, visas, stamps, arrangements for disposition, land or sea, and notification of resettlement committees in foreign lands".[20] United States intelligence used these methods in order to get important Nazi scientists and military strategists, to the extent they had not already been claimed by the Soviet Union, to their own centres of military science in the US. Many Nazi scientists were employed by the US, retrieved in Operation Paperclip.[citation needed]

The Argentine Connection


In Nuremberg at that time something was taking place that I personally considered a disgrace and an unfortunate lesson for the future of humanity. I became certain that the Argentine people also considered the Nuremberg process a disgrace, unworthy of the victors, who behaved as if they hadn't been victorious. Now we realize that they [the Allies] deserved to lose the war. (Argentine president Juan Perón on the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war criminals.)[21]

In his 2002 book The Real Odessa[21] Argentine researcher Uki Goñi used new access to the country's archives to show that Argentine diplomats and intelligence officers had, on Perón's instructions, vigorously encouraged Nazi and Fascist war criminals to make their home in Argentina. According to Goñi, the Argentines not only collaborated with Draganović's ratline, they set up further ratlines of their own running through ScandinaviaSwitzerland and Belgium.[citation needed]

According to Goñi, Argentina's first move into Nazi smuggling was in January 1946, when Argentine bishop Antonio Caggiano, bishop of Rosario and leader of the Argentine chapter of Catholic Action flew with Bishop Agustín Barrére to Rome where Caggiano was due to be anointed Cardinal. While in Rome the Argentine bishops met with French Cardinal Eugène Tisserant, where they passed on a message (recorded in Argentina's diplomatic archives) that "the Government of the Argentine Republic was willing to receive French persons, whose political attitude during the recent war would expose them, should they return to France, to harsh measures and private revenge". Over the spring of 1946 a number of French war criminals, fascists and Vichy officials made it from Italy to Argentina in the same way: they were issued passports by the Rome ICRC office; these were then stamped with Argentine tourist visas (the need for health certificates and return tickets was waived on Caggiano's recommendation). The first documented case of a French war criminal arriving in Buenos Aires was Emile Dewoitine — later sentenced in absentia to 20 years hard labour. He sailed first class on the same ship back with Cardinal Caggiano.[22]

Shortly after this Argentinian Nazi smuggling became institutionalised, according to Goñi, when Perón's new government of February 1946 appointed anthropologist Santiago Peralta as Immigration Commissioner and former Ribbentrop agent Ludwig Freude as his intelligence chief. Goñi argues that these two then set up a "rescue team" of secret service agents and immigration "advisors", many of whom were themselves European war-criminals, with Argentine citizenship and employment.[23]

ODESSA and the Gehlen Org

Main article: ODESSA

The Italian and Argentinian ratlines have only been confirmed relatively recently, mainly due to research in recently declassified archives. Until the work of Aarons and Loftus, and of Uki Goñi(2002), a common view was that ex-Nazis themselves, organised in secret networks, ran the escape routes alone. The most famous such network is ODESSA (Organisation of former SS members), founded in 1946 according to Simon Wiesenthal, which included SS-Obersturmbannführer Otto Skorzeny and Sturmbannführer Alfred Naujocks and in Argentina, Rodolfo FreudeAlois Brunner, former commandant of Drancy internment camp near Paris, escaped to Rome, then Syria, by ODESSA. (Brunner is thought to be the highest-ranking Nazi war criminal still alive as of 2007). Persons claiming to represent ODESSA claimed responsibility in a note for the 9 July 1979 car bombing in France aimed at Nazi hunters Serge and Beate Klarsfeld.[citation needed]According to Paul Manning (1980), "eventually, over 10,000 former German military made it to South America along escape routes ODESSA and Deutsche Hilfsverein ..."[24]

Simon Wiesenthal, who advised Frederick Forsyth on the novel/filmscript The Odessa File which brought the name to public attention, also names other Nazi escape organisations such asSpinne ("Spider") and Sechsgestirn ("Constellation of Six"). Wiesenthal describes these immediately after the war as Nazi cells based in areas of Austria where many Nazis had retreated andgone to ground. Wiesenthal claimed that the ODESSA network shepherded escapees to the Catholic ratlines in Rome (although he mentions only Hudal, not Draganović); or through a second route through France and into Francoist Spain.[25]

ODESSA was supported by the Gehlen Org, which employed many former Nazi party members, and was headed by Reinhard Gehlen, a former German Army intelligence officer employed post-war by the CIA. The Gehlen Org became the nucleus of the BND German intelligence agency, directed by Reinhard Gehlen from its 1956 creation until 1968.[citation needed]
[…]

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

Worker’s Punk University


http://www.culture.si/en/Workers%27_Punk_University

The Workers' Punk University (Delavsko-punkerska univerza (DPU)) is an educational project run by the Peace Institute - Institute for Contemporary Social and Political Studiesthat provides opportunities for active education (lectures, discussion groups, reading seminars) on pertinent political topics tacitly ignored by most of the established academia. Since its establishment in 1998, its running slogan has been Nasvidenje v naslednji revoluciji! ("See you in the next revolution!").

DPU as an alternative university

In its socially-reproductive function the university is closely related with the existing social hierarchy; the university favours typifying and utilitarian knowledge and grooms the future work force by virtue of its examination regimes. Thursdays' public lectures – about 20 per year – are held at Klub Gromka in Metelkova mesto Autonomous Cultural Zone. As an "invisible college", this university seeks to provide an alternative to the established production of knowledge, not merely on the level of content but also in terms of its organisational structure. Consequently, the students themselves organise and lead it.

In collaboration with Retrovizor, DPU launched a film seminar called Filmski krožek in the season 2007/2008; its themes encompass film comedy, the new Hollywood, the American "black" film, Partisan film, etc.

Some of the previous lecture-cycles include topics such as Revolution, Neo-Conservativism, The New Right, The Left, Utopistics, May '68: reVISION, Post-Fordism, Totalitarism, Stupidity, School as Economy's Ideological Apparatus, and The Class Struggle after the Class Struggle.

Reading seminars

The reading seminars organised by DPU – some six per year – afford insights into topics such as Psychoanalysis, Theory of Art, Hegel and Philosophy, Asian Production Mode, and Transformations in Art. Together with the Museum of Modern Art DPU organised six lectures on the function of art in society. Twice to date DPU has also organised Prvomajska šola ("DPU 1 May School") on Marxism and the critique of apolitical economy with lectures and guests from Slovenia.

See also


External links

DPU website (in Slovenian)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Obituary of G.M. Dimitrov



http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/dimitrov/obituary.htm

Georgi Mikhailovitch Dimitrov was born on June 18, 1882, in the town of Radomir, of a proletarian revolutionary family. When he was only 15 years old, the young Dimitrov, working as a compositor in a printshop, joined the revolutionary movement and took an active part in the work of the oldest Bulgarian trade union of printers.

In 1902, Dimitrov joined the Bulgarian Workers' Social Democratic Party. He actively combated revisionism on the side of the revolutionary Marxist wing of Tesnyaki led by Dimitri Blagoyev.

The self-sacrificing revolutionary struggle of Dimitrov earned him the warm love of the revolutionary workers of Bulgaria, who, in 1905, elected him secretary of the Alliance of Revolutionary Trade Associations of Bulgaria. In that post he remained right up to 1923, when that alliance was disbanded by the fascists.

While leading the struggle of the Bulgarian proletariat, Dimitrov displayed courage and staunchness in the revolutionary struggles, was repeatedly arrested and persecuted. In the September armed uprising of 1923 in Bulgaria he headed the Central Revolutionary Committee, set an example of revolutionary fearlessness, unflinching staunchness and devotion to the cause of the working class. For his leadership of the armed uprising in 1923 the fascist court sentenced Dimitrov in his absence to death. In 1926, after the provocative trial, engineered by the fascists, against the leadership of the Communist Party, Dimitrov was again sentenced to death in his absence.

Compelled, in 1923, to emigrate from Bulgaria, Dimitrov led the life of a professional revolutionary. He worked actively in the Executive Committee of the Communist International.

In 1933, he was arrested in Berlin for revolutionary activity. During the Leipzig Trial, Dimitrov became the standard-bearer of the struggle against fascism and imperialist war. His heroic conduct in the court, the words of wrath which he flung in the face of the fascists, exposing their infamous provocation in connection with the Reichstag fire, unmasked the fascist provocateurs and roused new millions of workers throughout the world to the struggle against fascism.

In 1935, Dimitrov was elected General Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Communist International. He waged a persistent struggle for the creation and consolidation of the united proletarian and popular front for the struggle against fascism, against the war which the fascist rulers of Germany, Japan and Italy were preparing. He called untiringly on the masses of the working people of all countries to rally around the Communist Parties in order to bar the way to the Fascist aggressors.

Dimitrov did great work in the ranks of the international Communist movement in forging the leading cadres of Communist Parties loyal to the great teachings of Marxism-Leninism, to the principles of proletarian internationalism, to the cause of the defense of the interests of the people's masses in their respective countries.

During the Second World War, Georgi Dimitrov called on the Communists to head the national-liberation anti-fascist movement, and tirelessly worked at organizing all patriotic forces for the rout of the fascist invaders. He led the struggle of the Bulgarian Workers' Party (Communists) and all Bulgarian patriots who rose in arms against the German-fascist invaders.

For his outstanding services in the struggle against fascism he was, in 1945, awarded the Order of Lenin by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R.
[…]

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

ŽIŽEK agrees to debate Lotta


Apparently this will happen on April 15, 2013 New York City.
At stake is the meaning of “communism.”

Lotta, an advocate for Bob Avakian’s “new synthesis of communism,” argues that Žižek promotes anticommunism. 


Žižek quotes



“Words are never ‘only words’; they matter because they define the contours of what we can do.”
Slavoj Žižek, The Audacity of Rhetoric.






 “I’m a pessimist in the sense that we are approaching dangerous times. But I’m an optimist for exactly the same reason. Pessimism means things are getting messy. Optimism means these are precisely the times when change is possible.”
Slavoj Žižek on sex, politics, the economy, and more sex.





 “Liberal attitudes towards the other are characterized both by respect for otherness, openness to it, and an obsessive fear of harassment. In short, the other is welcomed insofar as its presence is not intrusive, insofar as it is not really the other. Tolerance thus coincides with its opposite. My duty to be tolerant towards the other effectively means that I should not get too close to him or her, not intrude into his space—in short, that I should respect his intolerance towards my over-proximity. This is increasingly emerging as the central human right of advanced capitalist society: the right not to be ‘harassed’, that is, to be kept at a safe distance from others.”
Slavoj Žižek, Against Human Rights










“Remember, the problem is not corruption or greed, the problem is the system. Beware not only of the enemies, but also of false friends who are already working to dilute this process in the same way that we get coffee without caffeine, beer without alcohol, [or] ice cream without fat. They will try to make this into a harmless moral protest.”
Slavoj Žižek at Open Forum, Occupy Wall Street, October 9.



“The other thing, you know, it’s a little bit boring to listen to this mantra of “Capitalism is in its last stage.” When this mantra started, if you read early critics of capitalism, I’m not kidding, a couple of decades before French Revolution, in late eighteenth century. No, the miracle of capitalism is that it’s rotting in decay, but the more it’s rotting, the more it thrives.”
Slavoj Žižek




“My relationship towards tulips is inherently Lynchian. I think they are disgusting. Just imagine. Aren’t these some kind of, how do you call it, vagina dentata, dental vaginas threatening to swallow you? I think that flowers are something inherently disgusting. I mean, are people aware what a horrible thing these flowers are? I mean, basically it’s an open invitation to all insects and bees, “Come and screw me,” you know? I think that flowers should be forbidden to children.”
Slavoj Žižek



“Your grandchildren will live under communism.”

Slavoj Žižek




Sunday, December 16, 2012

Kazakhstan dictatorship




Free all political prisoners!
Kazakhstan is a one man dictatorship. Workers across the country are paid starvation wages whilst a tiny minority become fabulously wealthy. When people stand up for their social, human, workers rights, they face vicious repression. Kazakhstan is constantly ranked amongst the lowest in the world for press freedom, human rights, but amongst the highest for corruption and embezzlement. Tony Blair has acted as an apologist for this regime, speaking on its behalf many times.

But this has not stopped people fighting back. The repression is met with a heroic fighback by many in Kazakhstan. Kazakh president Nazarbayev is preparing the way to become the next Mubarrak or Ben Ali.

Aron Atabek
Aron Atabek, a poet and dissident, has been imprisoned for 5 years now for supporting the struggle of residents of Shanrak. They were evicted with no offer of alternative accommodation. For the ‘crime’ of helping in negotiations with the authorities and the residents, Aron was sentenced to 18 years. He has been in solitary confinement for 2 years, denied access to his family. This is illegal under international law. We demand his immediate release, along with all those imprisoned as a result of the Shanrak struggle.

Vadim Kuramshin
Human rights activist and lawyer Vadim Kuramshin has recently been sentenced for 12 years in a retrial, after a jury threw out the charges a few months earlier. Getting rid of all pretense of a fair trial, neither Vadim nor his representatives were not allowed to attend.
Vadim is in prison simply because he is a throrn in the side of the regime, highlighting the many human rights abuses that occur throughout Kazakhstan. For more details on the campaign for Vadim, see our website below.

Who are Campaign Kazakhstan?
Campaign Kazakhstan fights for democratic, social and workers’ rights in Kazakhstan. Through its campaigning material and its web-site, it highlights the conditions facing workers there and organises international solidarity. Many trade union branches and human rights groups have supported Campaign Kazakhstan internationally. Paul Murphy MEP has raised the campaign’s demands in the European Parliament. Jeremy Corbyn MP, Alan Meale MP and Billy Bragg have all supported the campaign.

Campaign Kazakhstan appeals to human rights and press freedom organisations, trade unionists and all those who support democratic, social, worker and political rights in Kazakhstan to:

a) Add their names to the list of sponsors and supporters of the campaign
b) Send letters of protest about the denial of democratic rights in Kazakhstan
c) Spread the word about the situation in Kazakhstan
d) Join protests, lobbies and other campaigns
e) Make a donation through the website and ask your colleagues, family and friends to do the same


_____
Counterpunch

December 13, 2012

The World Bank Brings Nazarbayev University to Kazakhstan

by Allen Ruff and Steve Horn

A year ago, on Dec. 15, 2011,  Kazakhstan state security forces opened fire with U.S.-supplied weapons on oil workers on strike since the preceding May for increased wages and better conditions in the Caspian Sea company town of Zhanaozen. According to the official count, 15 workers died and upwards of 70 were wounded. Unofficial accounts reported much higher number of casualties.  Several hundred miles to the east in the capital, Astana, business went on as usual that day for the Western faculty members and administrators at the recently built multi-billion dollar Nazarbayev University, a joint venture involving the country’s authoritarian regime, the World Bank, and a number of major, primarily US “partnering” universities. This is the first of a three-part series, stimulated by news of the “Zhanaozen Massacre” and initial word of “global university” dealings in Kazakhstan.

Part One
A number of prestigious, primarily U.S.-based universities are quietly working with the authoritarian regime in  Kazakhstan under the dictatorial rule of the country’s “Leader for Life,” Nursultan Nazarbayev.

In a project largely shaped and brokered by the World Bank in 2009 and  2010, the regime sealed deals with some ten major U.S. and British universities and scientific research institutes. They’ve been tasked to design and guide the specialized colleges at the country’s newly constructed showcase university.

As a result, scores of academics have flocked to the resource rich, strategically located country four times the size of Texas. They remain there despite the fact that every major international human rights monitor has cited the Nazarbayev regime for its continuing abuse of civil liberties and basic freedoms.

Kazakhstan now serves as a key hub for the application of the World Bank’s “knowledge bank” agenda, a vivid case study of the far-reaching nature of a corporate – and by extension, imperial – higher education agenda. . . .

Read the rest of the article here.