We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Petrodollar and a Dream

Click here to access article by Adam Hanieh from Jacobin.

Hanieh makes a valuable contribution to understanding recent events in the Middle East by dissecting the differences within and between various members of the Western allied Gulf Cooperation Council and the US Empire.
Western interests in the region are now largely articulated through the Gulf states in both a political and an economic sense. This does not mean that there are no rivalries or differing perspectives between the Gulf and Western states, or within the Gulf itself, but these rivalries need to be situated within a framework of shared interests that recognizes that the Gulf’s location at the apex of regional hierarchies is a consequence of the same processes that have generated the conditions for mass revolts in the first place.
These dynamics can be seen clearly in Egypt and Syria. In both countries, uprisings against authoritarian regimes have similar roots — the dispossession and exclusion of the majority of the population as a result of neoliberal reform, and the enrichment of a tiny layer of elites closely connected to authoritarian regimes, overlaid by a global crisis that considerably deepened the polarization of wealth and power.