28 August 2015

Destroy and remake education?

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A recent open response to an email posted by Center for a Stateless Society writer Kevin Carson advocates that rather than guaranteed access to education, there should be a more radical act of destroying present institutions to build an alternative model for education.


Carson argues that the values present in current educational institutions and state-supplied education are wrong, putting corporations and the state above individuals. Education should instead serve the interests of the individual, and new technology, new media and ultimately a radical departure from old values governing education and educational reform would enable this shift of values.

Describing corporations (rather than students) as the real customers of current educational institutions, Carson advocated:
Our anarchistic vision involves not simply abolishing the educational system as we know it, but also abolishing all the institutional customers for that system’s product. One thing I constantly emphasize is that, in an economy of self-managed cooperative production, self-employment, and direct production for use in the informal/household sector, the kind of education being demanded for employment wouldn’t be driven mainly by the needs of corporate Human Resources departments. They’d be set by the actual recipients of education, which in turn would be set on an ad hoc basis by individual workers negotiating as equals with small, self-organized production groups.
This type of advocacy fits with Carson's broader recommendation of shifting power away from institutions to individuals, as is increasingly current in some intense political battles such as that of information media and entertainment, as a result of the Internet. Carson sees the world's peoples, creativity and resources being eventually freed from the stifling "radical monopolies" of powerful corporations and the states they govern through lobbying and corruption.


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China caused new Wall Street crash?

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Most media coverage has portrayed China as the center of new stock market difficulties, but a recent analysis at Counterpunch says otherwise.


An op-ed authored by Mike Whitney and published on 24 August explained that the economic woes haunting the stock market as a systemic problem with the world economy. The cliched reaction of seeing this as an exclusively Chinese-caused problem only diverts attention away from the fragile situation of western economies, Whitney implied. From his conclusion:
Whether the troubles started with China or the credit markets, probably doesn’t matter. What matters is that the system about to be put-to-the-test once again because the appropriate safeguards haven’t been put in place, because bubbles are unwinding, and because the policymakers who were supposed to monitor and regulate the system decided that they were more interested in shifting  wealth to their voracious colleagues on Wall Street than building a strong foundation for a healthy economy. That’s why a simple correction could turn into something much worse.
Whitney believes that what is being dismissed a temporary hiccup on the stock market and an exclusively Chinese problem is the start of something more like the 2008 financial crisis. At the heart of it all, he sees a system of greed, fraud and debt-shifting based at Wall Street as the offender, rather than China or its Central Bank.


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25 August 2015

US-corporate global dispossession

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Kevin Carson, antistatist writer at the Center for a Stateless Society, pointed out in a post that the US government has not only supported the dispossession of indigenous peoples in its history but continues to do so in current events.


The US, whose colonial state was founded on the dispossession of Native Americans whose land it stole, is still involved in dispossessing indigenous people to this day. Accusing western civil society entities like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation of involvement in the same practice, Carson wrote:
some 130 million hectares of land (or 500,000 square miles) in the developing world has been bought by foreign investors over the past fifteen years, most of it to produce cash crops for export and a great deal of it involving the dispossession of people previously cultivating it to feed themselves. For example, the Prosavala land grab in Mozambique will evict 500,000 people.
The post concluded that these works, often labelled as a "model investment project", rely on a state enforcing the will of corporations, and that the best solution would be to "smash the state, and with it the parasitic capitalists it serves".


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The Mont Order sends some gifts

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The Mont Order global politics and publishing society distributed gifts to top members, and hints at more to come.


At the Mont Order website, L'Ordre wrote that black gold apparel would be dispatched to members featuring the seal of the Mont society. L'Ordre had earlier called the seal "a symbol of humanity" creating textile artwork featuring it and encouraging the seal's popular use across the world.

Of the gold badges given to members of the Mont Order Security Council, L'Ordre wrote:
This is not a medal, but it is a gift and should be considered an award to our most devoted members to encourage them to do even more for the good of the Order. We don't want the Mont Order to become like so many other organizations demanding money from their members, and we will instead make efforts to circulate all gifts and knowledge we possess to our members without any cost. If you put something into the Order, the chances are you are going to get a lot more out of it.
L'Ordre also hinted at secret books authored by Mont Order members exclusively for use by other members of the enduring Order. These would explain "the ideal plan and purpose of the Mont Order, as well as tactics and success indicators for us to refer to as a group".


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21 August 2015

D. Helene wins Global E-Book award

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Author D. Helene's novel, Diary of a 99%er, has achieved 3rd place in Global E-Book Awards in the Fiction-Spiritual/Metaphysical category.


Diary of a 99%er is a fiction novel that focuses on a couple who both belong to the 99% - the Occupy movement's term for the majority of America's working people. While set against the backdrop of the US economic recession, the book also has a strong spiritual dimension that sees spirituality and yoga as means to cope with economic hardship.

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From the description of the book at a website dedicated to marketing this work of fiction:
If you’ve ever had a micro-managing boss, you can relate to this novel. 
If you’ve ever asked yourself, how did I get into this dead-end job, and how can I get out of it? you can relate to this novel. 
If you’ve ever yearned to express yourself creatively and make a living doing so, thereby extricating yourself from the 9-5, paycheck-to-paycheck treadmill, you can relate to this novel. 
If you turn to spirituality and yoga to cope, you can relate to this novel.
Inspired by Obama's recognition of the 99%, the book "takes a humorous look at the contrast between struggling to survive financially and expressing oneself creatively".

D. Helene is a journalist, political activist, yoga instructor and a member of the global Mont Order society.


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Free trade to be crushed by the TPP

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So-called "free trade" treaties like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are anti-free trade, historical social scientist Immanuel Wallerstein argues.


Countries claiming to create free trade areas are in reality just looking to entrench their political power by protecting the domestic markets of signatory states and stifling the economic performance of other countries outside their bloc. Because free trade treaties are necessarily exclusive, they are protectionist measures aimed at protecting the domestic markets of their member states.

When we see the world as a whole system, as Immanuel Wallerstein teaches in his world-systems theory, we cannot focus solely on the free trade within a specific bloc of countries when describing free trade. The world-system has in fact never known free trade. It will not now know it by signing more protectionist measures into effect that are based not on uplifting other countries but on advantaging the political and economic stature of some countries, most commonly the United States itself.

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Wallerstein concludes in his post, " So-called free-trade treaties are about managing the protectionist interests of the various parties to these treaties. Whatever they do, the results are anti-free trade."


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18 August 2015

US political freedom an "illusion"

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Writing for The Rutherford Institute, US writer John W. Whitehead argued that the US democratic political system is fake.


From the article, titled "Don't Be Fooled by the Political Game":
Now we find ourselves once again caught up in the spectacle of another presidential election, and once again the majority of Americans are acting as if this election will make a difference and bring about change—as if the new boss will be different from the old boss. - See more at: https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/john_whiteheads_commentary/dont_be_fooled_by_the_political_game_the_illusion_of_freedom_in_america#sthash.2b7at5Fr.dpuf
Blaming the ability of the elite to consistently deceive the American people largely via the media, Whitehead described the American people as a "permanent underclass" that does not see any political power. Failure to stay informed or take to the streets in protest when successive governments ignore the opinions of the people and stampede the country to war based on lies against the judgment of the people results in a corrupt regime that ignores the will the people.


Democracy has been hollowed out on the American homeland to the point of being a farce that serves to crown a system of dictatorship, according to Whitehead. If so, then this raises questions about what exactly the United States is trying to teach other countries when it wages wars for the purpose of spreading "democracy".


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Syria Kurds being "used", or using you?

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Turkey, the US and the Kurdish people have differing goals in Syria, with the US trying to recruit the Kurds against ISIL and the Turks trying to recruit the US against the Kurds.


In the middle of all this is also an odd (alleged) attempt by Israel to develop some kind of treacherous alliance with the Kurdish people against Iran (a longtime friend of the Kurdish people). If true, this would itself clash with both the interests of the US and Turkey in Iraq and Syria and make the situation even more complicated.



Commenting on this controversy, the Wave Chronicle stated that the Kurdish people are being "played as pawns" by Israel, the United States and Turkey (a NATO member).

While many countries including the US claim to have recruited the Kurdish people for their own agenda, the main priority of the Kurdish fighters has consistently been to defend their historic homeland in parts of Syria, Iraq and Turkey. While anti-Assad fighters in Syria claim that the Kurds will help them remove Assad from power, so far the Kurds have shown no deviation from their original goal of defending their homeland from anyone who tries to interfere with their national goals.


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14 August 2015

US torture of Chelsea Manning goes on

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Fight For the Future (FFTF) has helped circulate a petition demanding that the US government stop torturing Chelsea Manning with solitary confinement.


From the petition draft circulated to FFTF members by email and social media:
"Dear Boards Branch, Directorate of Inmate Administration: putting any human being in indefinite solitary confinement is inexcusable, and for offenses as trivial as these (an expired tube of toothpaste, and possession magazines?) it is a discredit to America's military and its system of justice. We demand that these charges against Chelsea Manning be dropped, and request that Chelsea's hearing on August 18th be made open to the public, to ensure she is treated fairly."
The appeal to FFTF members also discussed the ridiculous "crimes" being cited to justify the torture of the brave political prisoner who languishes in a jail cell of the American regime. Among these, Chelsea is accused of "sweeping some food onto the floor and then asking to speak to her lawyer when a guard confronted her, having books and magazines in her cell about politics and LGBTQ issues including the Vanity Fair issue with Caitlyn Jenner on the cover, and "improper medicine use" for having a tube of toothpaste that was past its expiration date." FFTF noted that Chelsea's persecution is punishment because she "did something brave [by leaking the Collateral Murder video and other evidence of US war crimes] and now the government is punishing her for it. It's not just Chelsea's basic rights that are at stake, it's all of ours".

The US state ignores the battle cry of freedom from its own most patriotic citizens, and refuses to grant political prisoners like Chelsea Manning their most basic human rights. The specter of such torture contributed to Edward Snowden's asylum in the Russian Federation, itself one of the causes of America's paranoid "new Cold War" against its own people.


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Collective punishment in Kashmir

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There are thousands of cases of Indian forces using collective punishment against Kashmiris to suppress the region's national aspirations.


This was the argument of a blogger who contributed an op-ed at Voice of East magazine on 3 August 2015.

Writing at the magazine, Samreen Mushtaq referred to Vikram Batra, arguably a war criminal responsible for torture and other atrocities in Kashmir and yet commemorated as a war hero by India. Making use of testimony provided by a survivor of the torture inflicted by him, Mushtaq drew a more sober image of the much-revered Indian military officer.

While Batra's actions are elusively referred to as courageous by Indian media, the details are consistently omitted. Mushtaq argues that this is because the details reveal a coward and a war criminal who preyed on civilians during his service, and that this is typical of India's military occupation of Kashmir:
One wonders why the story of the ‘bravery’ of such heroes, displayed by torturing women in Kashmir, is never made public! Torturing a woman must be for the Indian army ‘the most conspicuous personal bravery’.
While much of the violence in Kashmir appears to have died down in official statistics, the root causes of this conflict and many similar conflicts between a military regime and an oppressed people denied human rights and national sovereignty - from Palestine to Yemen and even Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka - go largely ignored by the international community. India itself militarily occupies not just Kashmir but a number of other territories to suppress the self-determination of the peoples in these territories.


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11 August 2015

The terrorism of intellectual property

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Antistatist writer Kevin Carson took aim at the weakest link in Ron Bailey's "free market" economics, in a post at the C4SS think tank.


After criticizing Bailey's (who is a transhumanist "liberation biologist" and a strong influence on The clubof.info Blog) attacks on Naomi Klein's theories of "disaster capitalism", Carson draws our attention to weakest and most paradoxical part of Bailey's economics: his paranoid defense of patent law while otherwise insisting that the state is not needed in economics. From Carson's writing:
Speaking of patents, “intellectual property” is the state-enforced monopoly which is most structurally central to global corporate capitalism. The dominant corporate players in the global economy are in industries whose business models center on “intellectual property”: entertainment, software, biotech, pharma, agribusiness, and electronics. And of course the ability of corporations like Nike and Apple to outsource all actual production to independently owned factories in the Third World, while retaining a legal monopoly on disposal of the product at whatever price they care to set, depends entirely on patents and trademarks. 
So Ron Bailey defends a system that depends, completely and utterly, on a boot stamping on a human face, and calls it the “free market.” I tell you this: If I thought the free market meant what Ronald Bailey calls “the free market,” I’d hate it more than a thousand Naomi Kleins and Michael Moores put together could hate it. The system of corporate power Bailey loves, the system he defends, was founded on robbery and enslavement, and couldn’t survive for a single day if it weren’t backed by armed thugs interfering with peaceful trade and cooperation between ordinary human beings.
"Intellectual property", a form of heavy state intervention in the economy, is legal terrorism by companies and individuals that are so lacking in creativity that they need "rights" to stifle the works of others by suing them for petty violations of supposed "ideas" they drew up. While rejecting other types of state intervention in the economy, Bailey sees this particular type of state intervention and attacks on creativity as a necessary part of his so-called "free market" despite it being blatantly prohibitive in nature.

Intellectual property is increasingly seen as a farce on the Internet because every other human economic contribution is based upon copying and all other remuneration is based upon labor rather than mere "ownership". Intellectual property, rather than offering monetary incentives to work and create, is instead a type of terrorism that allows companies and states to refuse to share information that could save lives and benefit mankind, and attack other people for their own works.

Along with "national security", "intellectual property" is the monarchy of creative works, an assault on freedom, a denial of humanity's right to prosper. It is worthless terrorism that shall enable the perpetuation of economic and power monopolies to be awarded based on nothing other than prior historic theft and possession of such monopolies.


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L'Ordre blog mocks US defeats in Syria

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The L'Ordre blog based at Beliefnet had the following commentary on the US's defeats and failure to train "rebels" in the Syrian Civil War.

Al-Nusra accused the US-backed rebels of trying to spread American influence and plotting against the other rebel groups. They were right. The other Syrian rebel factions are not as stupid as the American planners assumed. They know that the US-trained rebels are only in Syria to spread American influence, and will immediately hunt and kill them for this simple reason. The American-backed rebels will never get past their own Syrian rebel allies to begin attacking ISIL or Assad’s forces. The rampant paranoia that the CIA and US Military’s openly declared training program will cause among the already fratricidal and paranoid rebels will only cause them to kill each other at an even greater rate, increasing the likelihood that the war will end in defeat for the rebels. 
One wonders how the US government could make such an obvious error. It is hard to believe that they are really this stupid. One possibility is that Barack Obama is aware that the program to support Syrian rebels will fail, but that he is doing it anyway just to satisfy war-hawks like John McCain, who continues to promote senile delusions of toppling the Syrian (and even the Russian) government with American-made guns blazing.
Read more: http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/lordre#ixzz3iL0kTrkc 
Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/lordre#ShrXKuioHhl0VHFM.99
The US trained less than 60 Syrian rebel fighters at a cost of around 250 million dollars. These fighters were intended to fight ISIL and the Assad regime. However, they were killed or captured and the rest of them soon begged the United States to stop bombing the al-Qaeda linked militants, denouncing the mission that the US had given them to fight against jihadist terrorists. Despite this, the United States intends to continue the failed training program at a further cost of nearly billions of dollars.


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7 August 2015

Greece: long vs short-term poverty?

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Explaining the dilemma facing Greece on whether to continue austerity to pay off debts, or to fight for "debt forgiveness", Immanuel Wallerstein offered the following commentary.


In order to put things in perspective, Wallerstein gives the following breakdown of the two sets of political actors and their arguments dueling over Greece's economic future:

The "reform" camp (i.e. the EU)

  • "Greece’s difficulties are self-created because successive Greek governments and Greek citizens have spent recklessly money they didn’t have in order to sustain a collective life style beyond their level of collective income."
  • Greece must cut "collective expenditures in order for it to repay its extensive loans."
  • "Over time Greece will emerge stronger."
  • Reform camp's "most vocal and uncompromising spokesperson has been Germany’s Finance Minister Wolfgang Sch√§uble. He has been making two main arguments: Greece should leave the Eurozone “temporarily” and Greece should be held to the strict payment of all outstanding debts."
  • Greece's problems started "essentially when the military dictatorship was overthrown in 1974 and a left party, PASOK, led by Andreas Papandreou, emerged as a major force on the scene. This date puts the blame solidly on Greece itself for adopting the social-democratic policies of successive governments."

Anti-austerity camp (i.e. Syriza's supporters)

  • “Austerity” is "cruel and heartless, forcing an ever-growing part of the Greek population into abject poverty." 
  • "A regime of austerity will not, cannot lead to an end to the present acute depression in Greece."
  • "Each successive loan has increased, not decreased, the rate of unemployment and has made it less possible to achieve its ostensible goal of restoring Greece’s “competitivity” in the world market."
  • "Call instead for substantial debt forgiveness and a reversal of the demands of creditors that Greece make cuts in pensions and other parts of the social security net."
  • Debt forgiveness has "increasing support from prominent economists like Joseph Stiglitz and from Christine Lagarde, the president of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)."
  • Greece's problems started "earlier, somewhere in the 1930s, when the West European governments, and particularly Germany, imposed a subordinate quasi-colonial system in Greece. This puts the blame squarely on capitalist and imperial forces."

Once it came to power in 2015, the (formerly) radical left party Syriza "had to face up to the dilemmas of being the government, which does not allow the easy positions of being a radical opposition movement".

Syriza betrays the Greek people?

  • Syriza promised voters it would not deal with the troika (IMF, The European Central Bank, and the European Union). However, Varoufakis found that no one would talk with him if he didn’t talk with the troika, and had no choice but to break this promise
  • Referendum ended in victory for no (OXI) vote against the terms of further austerity
  • Greek government committee voted down Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis' "Plan B" or "Grexit on Greece's terms" prompting Varoufakis to resign, despite that he had promised he would resign if the aforementioned vote resulted in a Yes, when in fact it resulted in a No (this confused many people)
  • Many now see Syriza leader Tsipras as a "traitor" for agreeing to even harsher reforms than Greece had faced at the beginning of the negotiations

According to Wallerstein, Syriza has proven to disappoint the Greek people through no fault of its own but because of the constraints on any national government that come from the world-system. Any national government has to behave a certain way within the international community and Greece is no exception to this.

Syriza never envisaged any alternative plan than seeking state power, and now that it is in government, it has found that it has almost no options at all. Of the options that do exist, all appear to be bad for Syriza and are likely to result in resentment and a sense of betrayal among Greeks.

The choice facing Greeks can now be narrowed down to the long-term poverty imposed by the terms of loans that Greeks feel they will never be able to repay, and the short-term poverty of leaving the Eurozone. Leaving the Eurozone will have disastrous effects on the standard of living within Greece but will free Greece from the chains of debt. According to Wallerstein, that is the choice facing the Greek people at this juncture.

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Walls and borders should be torn down

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GOP politicians favoring Donald Trump's idea of a wall between the United States and Mexico have forgotten why the Berlin Wall was wrong.


Roderick Long at the Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS) argued in a post on 27 July that Republicans have "learned to love" the Berlin Wall and see it as justifiable for a state to impose totalitarian restrictions on movement on its citizens. This is coming from the same Republican ideologues who idolize and (in the case of Jeffrey Lord who is mentioned in the post) worked for Ronald Reagan, who decried state-imposed walls as totalitarian and fundamentally against liberty.

The C4SS post noted that Jeffrey Lord was correct about one important thing: there is no moral difference between a regime denying migrants the right to enter its borders and a regime refusing to allow its citizens to migrate. In both cases, the post argues, the state is acting as an unwelcome third party interfering in the liberties both of foreigners and its own citizens (who may either wish to depart, or allow migrants into their country).

In its conclusion, Long's analysis calls for the abandonment of borders and walls of all kinds in favor of a world with more freedom of movement.

In many ways, absolute freedom of movement and absolute freedom of circulation of property and information are all facets of late modernity and are inevitabilities of technology. Since the formation of nation-states upon national telegraphic and rail links, such polities have become untenable because of inexorable pressures from modern technology and communication infrastructure including the Internet and social media itself.

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4 August 2015

Can Snowden heal a broken democracy?

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Current democratic efforts to watch and rein in US government surveillance targeting American citizens wouldn't be possible without Edward Snowden's brave extralegal actions.


C4SS (Center for a Stateless Society) writer Jason Farrell argues that despite the White House's recent repetition of its claims that Snowden undermined US national security, "The reality is Snowden’s leaks revealed that the growth of state power cannot be constrained—even by normal legal means—without assistance from extra-legal measures."

In sum, relying on the current institutions of the US state is insufficient to maintain a functional democracy and the actions of whistleblowers who break the law are now necessary for any appearance of democracy. The development of the deep state - the de facto authorities whose power is embodied in unaccountable security forces and corporate sponsors rather than elected officials - is causing the architecture of democracy to crumble. Technology is largely to blame for democracy becoming almost impossible to practice, according to Farrell, who argues we are faced with "advances in technologies that, in the possession of states, give them enormous power to spy on their citizens without detection".

According to Farrell, effective safeguards on the technological capabilities of states are needed to limit regimes' access to the means to monitor all citizens and reduce democracy into a farce. Until these safeguards are apparent, extralegal actions such as Snowden's heroism and other whistleblowing will continue to be necessary deeds to produce even the slightest appearance of democratic accountability.

Further, any lack of transparency and reliance of a regime on secrecy to protect itself should be interpreted as an admission of guilt on the part of the regime until transparency is forced on it by whistleblowers' actions.


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"Muslim" bikini attack story "selective"

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News headlines discussing the recent story in France of an attack by "Muslim" women against a girl wearing a bikini were "selective" and discriminatory.


As explained in a recent post at the L'Ordre blog on Beliefnet:
We are told stories such as the recent one in France, where a girl in a bikini was assaulted by apparent Muslim women attackers offended by her choice of dress. However, we are not told of the comparable stories of the Muslim women threatened and attacked by racists in France or Britain even though we know such attacks are equally real. 
Read more: http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/lordre/2015/08/islam-is-part-of-the-west-now-live-with-it.html#ixzz3hfqrgobN 
Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/lordre/2015/08/islam-is-part-of-the-west-now-live-with-it.html#6OdJZLIBPMT1UBHO.99
The blog further argued that Muslims are part of Europe, and that arguments for discrimination against Islam on the grounds that it is "not a race" forget that neither are Jews or homosexuals a race. In fact the very argument that Islam is not a race is consistent with arguments employed by racists throughout history and it only serves to prove that the people using it are racists.

Beliefnet's L'Ordre blog argued that proponents of the argument that "Islam is not a race" actually "know nothing about why racism is wrong in the first place and are likely to justify segregation or even killing for the same reasons applied by racists in the Twentieth Century". According to the blog's analysis, racism is wrong not for attacking races per se but for being a form of discrimination, much as discrimination against religious and sexual minorities is also wrong despite these not being races.


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