Bala Fria: The End?

Dear visitor,

Thank you for your visit.

I no longer have a twitter account. I am retiring from blogging and will just leave this blog up as a memento in cyber space. I have been leaning towards deleting this blog but I put some hard work into this at times and there are some useful links and stuff so balafria will remain for now.

Wishing you all the best

Yours sincerely

Tio

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Gil Scott-Heron is back‏

Gil Scott-Heron, without doubt one of the most important voices in 20th
century music is back. It is his first new material in 13 years and sees
him sounding as vital and forward thinking as ever. Check out the new
single “Me and the Devil”, taken from the forthcoming album “I’m New Here”
(Out February 8th (UK) / February 9th (USA)).

Available via digital download, ‘Me And The Devil’ is also accompanied by a
stunning video by Coodie & Chike with Michael Sterling Eaton, the team
behind numerous Kanye West and Mos Def videos. See the video at

http://bit.ly/meandthedevil


You can pre-order the album from:

UK — http://tinyurl.com/GilScottHeronUK

USA — http://tinyurl.com/GilScottHeronUSA

For information, and to keep up to date with the latest Gil Scott-Heron
news please visit:

http://www.gilscottheron.net
http://www.myspace.com/gilscottheron

On a Socialist Camping Trip

G. A. Cohen
Why Not Socialism?
Princeton, 2009
92 Pages
£10.95
ISBN 978-0691143613

As a teenager, Jerry Cohen was a counsellor in the Montreal Jewish socialist summer camp Kinderland, where, in the words of one of his young charges, “the sons and daughters of 1950s leftists spent July and August waging class struggle against mosquitoes and boredom”. These summer expeditions left a lasting impression: decades later, Cohen fondly recalled campfire songs from Kinderland at his inauguration as Chichele Professor in All Souls college chapel; and a camping trip serves as the prime illustration of the virtues of socialism in his latest and last work, a lively discussion of political morality.

While Jerry Cohen made a career out of intellectualising his personal journey from pro-Soviet schoolboy to doyen of Oxford political theory, it is in Why Not Socialism?—more than any other text—that we see as a whole his considered stance on justice. For this life-long socialist, socialism’s infeasibility does not entail its irrelevance, for its most basic merit lies in its encapsulation of an ethic of care for other human life. In a period when we are re-evaluating our economic priorities, this is a timely call for personal integrity—and a reminder that in necessarily compromising with self-interest, we must not lose sight of our ideals. Continue reading

No fare deal for London or Venezuela

Remember this?

Boris Scraps Venezuela Oil Deal

Canceling London-Venezuela Deal: Mindless Vandalism

Not many Londoners can be happy as they grope through the frozen murkiness of the commute to their first days back at work after the winter break. Adding to their misery is London’s mayor, Boris Johnson, who has made their journey much more expensive with huge fare rises.

Critics of Johnson’s transport policies have highlighted how these massive increases – 20 percent for single bus fares alone – would not have been so high if Johnson hadn’t trashed other sources of funding for London’s transport. Continue reading

Why Ecological Revolution?

It is now universally recognized within science that humanity is confronting the prospect — if we do not soon change course — of a planetary ecological collapse. Not only is the global ecological crisis becoming more and more severe, with the time in which to address it fast running out, but the dominant environmental strategies are also forms of denial, demonstrably doomed to fail, judging by their own limited objectives. This tragic failure, I will argue, can be attributed to the refusal of the powers that be to address the roots of the ecological problem in capitalist production and the resulting necessity of ecological and social revolution.

The term “crisis,” attached to the global ecological problem, although unavoidable, is somewhat misleading, given its dominant economic associations. Since 2008, we have been living through a world economic crisis — the worst economic downturn since the 1930s. This has been a source of untold suffering for hundreds of millions, indeed billions, of people. But insofar as it is related to the business cycle and not to long-term factors, expectations are that it is temporary and will end, to be followed by a period of economic recovery and growth — until the advent of the next crisis. Capitalism is, in this sense, a crisis-ridden, cyclical economic system. Even if we were to go further, to conclude that the present crisis of accumulation is part of a long-term economic stagnation of the system — that is, a slowdown of the trend-rate of growth beyond the mere business cycle — we would still see this as a partial, historically limited calamity, raising, at most, the question of the future of the present system of production.1

When we speak today of the world ecological crisis, however, we are referring to something that could turn out to be final, i.e., there is a high probability, if we do not quickly change course, of a terminal crisis — a death of the whole anthropocene, the period of human dominance of the planet. Human actions are generating environmental changes that threaten the extermination of most species on the planet, along with civilization, and conceivably our own species as well.

What makes the current ecological situation so serious is that climate change, arising from human-generated increases in greenhouse gas emissions, is not occurring gradually and in a linear process, but is undergoing a dangerous acceleration, pointing to sudden shifts in the state of the earth system. We can therefore speak, to quote James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and the world’s most famous climate scientist, of “tipping points…fed by amplifying feedbacks.”2 Four amplifying feedbacks are significant at present: (1) rapid melting of arctic sea ice, with the resulting reduction of the earth’s albedo (reflection of solar radiation) due to the replacement of bright, reflective ice with darker blue sea water, leading to greater absorption of solar energy and increasing global average temperatures; (2) melting of the frozen tundra in northern regions, releasing methane (a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide) trapped beneath the surface, causing accelerated warming; (3) recent indications that there has been a drop in the efficiency of the carbon absorption of the world’s oceans since the 1980s, and particularly since 2000, due to growing ocean acidification (from past carbon absorption), resulting in faster carbon build-up in the atmosphere and enhanced warming; (4) extinction of species due to changing climate zones, leading to the collapse of ecosystems dependent on these species, and the death of still more species.3 Continue reading