Market Fundamentalism as a Religion

Praying to the Bull

by Chet Gaines. Image from Wonkette of people praying to the Golden Bull on Wall Street for economic improvement.

Modern economic theory is presented as a science. Elaborate mathematics and diagrams are employed to derive principles that are assumed to be universal among economic actors, even though the specialized math used is a “dated version” (Keen 6) and such diagrams “often contain outright fallacies” (Keen 14). After a closer examination of the dominant economic theory and its critics, one might come to the conclusion that it is actually a belief system quite similar to a religion, not an actual scientific study. The following definition of religion is given by Clifford Geertz:

“(1) a system of symbols which acts to (2) establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by (3) formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and (4) clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that (5) the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic.” (Bowie 20)

Just a few thousand hectares of your land, please

by Nairi Porter

World map according to cropland

"Buy land, they're not making it anymore", Mark Twain famously urged his audience. These words have been the motto of the markets for agricultural land for a long time, and they describe the mindset of the active land buyers across the developing world.

During the last decade, agricultural land (mostly across Africa and South-East Asia) roughly equivalent to the territory of Germany (33 million hectares, according to the most conservative estimates) has been purchased by foreign governments and companies. They develop enormous estates for food-growing and biofuel processing, the bulk of that production either returning directly to the original market or being exported on the international markets.

Criminalization is the Crime: Part 1 - Original Sin Lies in the State

California prison overcrowding
In the 19th century, amid the turmoil of industrial capitalism's early development, French thinker Pierre-Joseph Proudhon exclaimed that 'Property is theft!' His political work is, in general, highly instructive. In particular, for those of us researching the connection between the criminalization of conduct and the existence of crime, Proudhon's remark is a fitting analogy: Criminalization is criminal!

For there to be a criminal, there must first be a crime, and for a crime to exist, there must first be an authority, namely the State, which purports to act on behalf of the public. Now, whether this means in the public interest or for the public is a different, though crucial point. Each crime recognized by the State calls upon a range of rationales for the so-called public interest. For instance, in criminalizing a drug, say marijuana, the State will muster forth an argument that draws upon moral and social concerns, as well as political and economic factors, some apparent, others perhaps hidden from first glance.

Why We Must End The War on Drugs

Sheep on Drugs logo

Greg Denham was a serving police officer in Victoria and Queensland, including 5 years as a project officer with the Victoria Police Drug and Alcohol Policy Coordination Unit from 1997-2002.

Greg left policing in 2002 and over the past decade has been involved locally and internationally in drug policy issues including seven years living and working in South East Asia and China as a technical advisor on policing, HIV prevention and harm reduction at the Burnet and Nossal Institutes.

Greg is currently the Executive Officer for the Yarra Drug and Health Forum in Melbourne, where there are significant issues related to public injecting, and has called for the establishment of a supervised injecting facility.

He formed the Australian branch of LEAP - Law Enforcement Against Prohibition - in 2010 which unites thousands of police and criminal justice officials worldwide who want to end the war on drugs and advocate for drug law reform.

Isocracy 2013 Annual General Meeting and The Decriminalisation of Drugs

The Isocracy Network will be holding its 2013 Annual General Meeting on Saturday, 21st September, 2013, at the United Voice union offices, 117-131 Capel St North Melbourne. Nominations are are sought for the positions of President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, and general committee positions. Please send these to public@isocracy.org by midnight of Friday 20th of September.

A committee report will be distributed prior to the meeting. Minutes of the last AGM follow some relevant articles on drug law reform.

Eight Pointed Star Movement

Eureka Flag
The Eight Pointed Star Movement takes its inspiration from the Eureka rebels. The Eureka rebels used the eight pointed star on their flag - the Eureka Flag.

  • Human beings are born with inalienable rights and liberties no Government can legislate away or corporation take away. Ultimate political authority rests in the hands of the people, not the State, the Government of the day or the Corporate sector.
  • Citizens should have the ability to initiate legislation through citizen initiated referendums and have the power to recall their political representatives in between elections.
  • All human beings have the same rights irrespective of race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, age or role in society.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders never ceded sovereignty. The 1992 Mabo High Court decision that recognised they had legal rights to land and sea has been drowned by bucket loads of Parliamentary extinguishment. A treaty is the only way to ensure reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians becomes a reality.

Converting The Tyranny of the Majority : The Egyptian Example

Egyptian Freedom
A coup d'état (or putsch, or pronunciamiento), the sudden seizure of governmental power by a small group, is almost invariably a detestable event. Typically a military event, as they have the resources to carry this out effectively, they are often associated with the overthrow of a popular democratic government by a military associated with an existing ruling class with foreign backing. The Pinochet coup against the elected socialist government of Allende in Chile in 1973 being perhaps the most well known example of this type. However this is obviously not the only type. Sometimes a coup can occur from the competing different factions within military-dominated governments. The latter case is often tied to a succession of civil wars, and is particularly the case in resource-rich developing countries where different groups aspire to control monopoly profits.

Recent events in Egypt bring certain questions to the fore. In January 2011, protests rose against the government of Hosni Mubarak, whose authoritarian social-democratic National Democratic Party was a member of Socialist International until these protests. Involving hundreds of thousands of people and with clashes with security forces resulting in over eight hundred deaths. Increasingly however, it became clear that the armed forces would not act against the protesters and in February Mubarak resigned with the military assuming control for a while, resulting in a constitution referendum in March and parliamentary elections in November and January 2012.

Achieving Freedom and Democracy for West Papua

Morning Star flag

Inhabited for some 45,000 years, West Papua became part of the Dutch East Indies in the 17th century. After the second world war, the Netherlands eventually recognised Indonesian claims for independence, excluding Dutch New Guinea. In the latter a national parliament was elected in 1961. Indonesia, under Sukarno, engaged in military interventions in the region without success. But the possibility of a conflict lead to a UN agreement transferring authority to the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA) and then to Indonesia in 1963.

In 1969, the United Nations supervised an "Act of Free Choice", where Indonesian military appointed elders agreed to be part of Indonesia. Released documents show that the decision of the hand-picked individuals to integrate with Indonesia was anything but an act of free choice. (c.f., http://web.archive.org/web/20110106101458/http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/N...)

Interview with Cham Shareef, in Damascus.

combined Syrian flag

Welcome to the Isocracy Network Cham Shareef, and thank you for agreeing to this interview. Could you describe to our readers who you are, and you became involved in the campaign against the al-Assad Ba'athist regime? How do you - and for that matter, other Syrians - survive in what is obviously very difficult circumstances?

Thank you for your interest to know what I think or what I want to say. I am grateful to learn that someone somewhere cares about my opinion.

For years my friends hated to talk with me around political issues or about the government. They always said that I am a talkative man and were worried that one day I would disappear.

I always knew that somebody listened to me, but the most thing I understood was; there was always a fight between me and those visitors holding in their hand a book to write about me, what I was doing, what I was thinking - everything they could learn about me in order to send me behind the sun. They could also threaten me and take money from me as a bribe. Those "intelligent" always treat us as we were the enemy, and we were under suspicion or accusation of something we might not know about ourselves.

They used to put their nose in everything or anything you might do for work or in your life. In simple words, in Syria with this regime the truth is their enemy. You can't talk about anyone in the government, not even about the smallest one there.

Isocracy Submission to the UN on Responsibility to Protect

UN Keeper in Sudan - Image from the UN
Please find attached the response of the Isocracy Network, Inc. based on the request for inputs for the 2013 Report of the Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect.

We understand that submissions were due on 19 April 2013, but have been informed that there has been an extension.

The Isocracy Network, Inc. is primarily an organisation of political and economic ideas. Nevertheless, the issues raised by the legal norms encapsulated as the responsibility to protect are of particular importance to us, thus our contribution. Due to our limited involvement in international preventative activity our contribution is limited to the first three and question eight.

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