Stand with George Ciccariello-Maher

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In case you haven’t heard, academic George Ciccariello-Maher is embroiled in a Twitter controversy manufactured by right-wing trolls. The academic jokingly tweeted: “All I want for Christmas is white genocide.” Note the term ‘white genocide’ was invented and promoted by white supremacists. It was clearly designed to mock hysterical racist fears, not to advocate violence. But the tweet was seized upon by trolls. And now Drexel University (his employer) has cowed to the eruption of phony outrage. It’s worth remembering that this could happen to any of us. A throwaway remark, or a crass joke can easily be misconstrued online. And … Continue reading

Unlocking the Trump secret

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Since Donald Trump won in November, there has been a lot of talk about the electoral college, so-called “fake news“, Russian hackers and third party candidates. We’ve heard that the electoral college is illegitimate and should be abolished (because it ensured Trump won), the next minute we’re being told that the electoral college can and should overturn Trump’s victory. Apparently, fake news on Facebook is responsible for people voting the wrong way. But then it turns out it was the Russians all along. Are we really so blind? The bitter truth is that the Clinton campaign was fundamentally weak in crucial … Continue reading

Did Castro hold back Cuba?

Cuban sign reading: 'To fight against the impossible and win.'

Alongside his depiction as a “brutal dictator”, negative reflections on Fidel Castro since his death on November 25 have focused on his “mismanagement” of the Cuban economy and the consequent “extremes of poverty” suffered by ordinary Cubans. This caricature is problematic – not only because it ignores the devastating economic impact of the United States embargo over 55 years, but also because it is premised on neoclassical economic assumptions. This means that by stressing economic policy over economic restraints, critics can shift responsibility for Cuba’s alleged poverty on to Castro without implicating successive US administrations that have imposed the suffocating … Continue reading