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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 27 August

by afew Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 04:40:28 PM EST

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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 03:39:52 PM EST
Two members of Pussy Riot flee Russia - Europe - Al Jazeera English

Two members of the anti-Kremlin punk band Pussy Riot have fled Russia to avoid prosecution for staging a protest against President Vladimir Putin at a church altar.

A Moscow court sentenced three members of the all-female opposition band to two years in prison on August 17 for staging a "punk prayer" at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in February and calling on the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of Putin.

Police said earlier this week they were searching for other members of the band.

"In regard to the pursuit, two of our members have successfully fled the country! They are recruiting foreign feminists to prepare new actions!," a Twitter account called Pussy Riot Group said on Sunday.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 03:47:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OKaaayyyy!
Let's see now who is going to deport them to Russia because they are convicted criminals as opposed to  Assange who is wanted for interrogation ... or maybe they are to get political asylum in Sweden ( or elswhere in western world). Oh yeah...Putin must be another dictator ...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 11:10:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is it two of the sentenced that has fled? I thought it was two of the others who are being searched after by the cops.

If they can get extradited depends on what extradition treaties are in place. The EAW-system is very far reaching in comparision to many treaties.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 02:24:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's two of the others.

The three who were convicted are in prison.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 05:55:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Since Russia is not in the EU, the EAW does not apply. If the Greeks charge you with blasphemy, however, it's a different story.
In a more recent case, Austrian cartoonist Gerhard Haderer was accused of blasphemy under Article 198 for his satirical book The Life of Jesus, which depicted Christ as a heavy-drinking, marijuana-smoking hippie. The book was originally published in Austria, and Haderer was allegedly unaware of its publication in Greece until he received a court summons, but he was tried in absentia in January 2005 by the Magistrate's Court of Athens. He was found guilty of malicious blasphemy and received a six-month suspended prison sentence, and the court imposed an injunction on distribution of the book. Since he was living in Austria, Haderer fell under the jurisdiction of the European Arrest Warrant system, which obliged any EU member state to honor Greece's arrest warrant for him. In March 2005, Haderer went to Greece to appeal his conviction, and in April 2006 the Appellate Court of Athens acquitted him of all charges on the grounds that the humorous quality of the book precluded it from being malicious.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 05:01:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But:

EUR-Lex - 32002F0584 - EN

4. For offences other than those covered by paragraph 2, surrender may be subject to the condition that the acts for which the European arrest warrant has been issued constitute an offence under the law of the executing Member State, whatever the constituent elements or however it is described.

And blasphemy is not in the list (nor anything similar as far as I can see). So either it is a crime in Austria, or there is something covered by that little word "may".

Gerhard Haderer was not arrested and extradited to Greece, so the case does not tell us if the EAW was really relevant.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 03:09:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blasphemy_law

Austria

In Austria, two sections of the penal code relate to blasphemy:
§ 188 : Vilification of Religious Teachings
§ 189 : Disturbance of Religious Practice (This is protection of freedom to practice religion. It is not Blasphemy.)

And from the german language wiki we learn:

"Gegen den Karikaturisten Gerhard Haderer kam es zu mehreren Anzeigen wegen seines Buches Das Leben des Jesus (2002); das Verfahren wurde 2003 von der Staatsanwaltschaft Wien eingestellt."

So a prosecution of Haderer on exactly this book was demanded but after a while dropped by the prosecution.

So yes, a similar law does exists in Austria.

by IM on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 03:17:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So yes, a similar law does exists in Austria.

And has even been used, against (who else?) Oskar Panizza, or rather, against a film of Die Liebsekonzil.

Völlig überraschend kam im Mai 1985 ein Verbot des Filmes durch die Tiroler Landesregierung, weil er die christliche Religion beleidige. Als das Otto-Preminger-Institut für audiovisuelle Mediengestaltung (OPI) das Liebeskonzil sechs Abende in ihrem Kino in Innsbruck zeigen wollte, erstattete die katholische Diözese Anzeige gegen den Direktor des OPI, Dietmar Zingl, und fand die Unterstützung des Staatsanwalts. Trotz harscher Reaktionen der österreichischen Presse wurde der Film, wie kurze Zeit vorher Das Gespenst von Herbert Achternbusch, in Tirol verboten. 1994 bestätigte der Europäische Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte diese Entscheidung
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 01:48:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They are not "convicted criminals".

Putin is some kind of democrat?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 05:56:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is calling the three, er, convicted criminals  musical geniuses   champions of liberalism "convicted criminals" the same as claiming Putin was a democrat?
by Katrin on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 06:02:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vbo:
Oh yeah...Putin must be another dictator ...
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 06:40:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll read more slowly next time
by Katrin on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 09:03:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe I should be less laconic. ;)
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 09:45:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OK I am not sure if those two are convicted but they seem to be charged by Russia's law (we may call Putin whatever we want but it is Russia's law). Are we going to question this law? Well in that case we may very well question Swedish law about rape and sexual assault or whatever they want to put Assange in the interrogation for, simply because seems like that kind of law can hardly be found in any western let alone other country.
And in my opinion of course Putin is very far from being a democrat all tho he was voted and elected in to the power...similar like any other election in western world where in a similar way people actually have no real choice. Just do not pretend that everything is OK in your "democratic" world while in Russia everything is so bloody wrong. Not much of the difference in many ways.
Let's just as an example try to put punk group singing obscenities against whoever at the church in Paris , London or Berlin and see what will happen...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 10:02:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's just as an example try to put punk group singing obscenities against whoever at the church in Paris , London or Berlin and see what will happen...

They get arrested for disturbing the peace in these places, and they get a week in jail, at most. Not two years for terrorism.

I would certainly oppose their extradition if they were, for example, arrested in France. Extradition supposes that the offense will be judged in a manner which is consistent with the way it would be treated in the host country (extreme example : you wouldn't want to extradite a woman to Iran on an adultery charge).

But the real reason that your "Paris, London or Berlin" analogy doesn't work is that they were denouncing the rather sinister alignment between the Kremlin and the Orthodox Church which is emerging. This has absolutely no parallel in the places you mentioned, where the church doesn't have much political influence.

I suspect that if a similar event happened in a church in, for example, Portugal or Spain, to protest against collusion between the Church and government on abortion law, then that would gather a lot of sympathy and support on this site.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 10:18:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can understand what you mean but still can't totally agree with you.

Extradition supposes that the offense will be judged in a manner which is consistent with the way it would be treated in the host country (extreme example : you wouldn't want to extradite a woman to Iran on an adultery charge).

Well in that case because in UK (as long as I understand) there is no such a law about being raped while having concessional sex how the hell they are obligated to deport Assange to Sweden? And if so how can they have double standards about Iran's law? Do not get me wrong I am not in favour of Iran's or even Swedish law...just an example.
sinister alignment between the Kremlin and the Orthodox Church  

Well I am not sure how "sinister" it may look to you or them but there is definitely alignment between many of the churches and governments all over the world (let alone in ex-communist states where church was practically destroyed as institution during those years) and I would not bet on your assumption that in France, Germany or UK is a different story. However they can have arrangements,  it is not against the law. We may like it or not, we can protest but not in this manner. Personally even if I am religious person I am not a big fan of this alignment going too far...
 

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 10:57:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Separation of church and state is a fundamental progress of civilisation. If it is being rolled back in Russia, it is a very serious thing, and worthy of being protested against, and those protests are worthy of our support.

Even if a majority of Russians want to increase the influence of the Orthodox church, that doesn't make it right : what about the atheists, what about the Jews, what about the Muslims, the Catholics etc? What about those among the Orthodox who are happy for religion to be a private matter, and don't want to be told how to behave by Church and State united? Putin and the Orthodox patriarchs have formed an unholy alliance, and it's all about power :

An evil collusion between a tyrant and a man of God | Nick Cohen | Comment is free | The Observer

"Holy Mother, Blessed Virgin, chase Putin out," they sang. The Holy Mother remained as elusive as ever, but Kirill I, Patriarch of Moscow, is more than content to keep Putin's money launderers in the Temple. He has struck a deal. Putin offers the Orthodox church a partial restoration of its tsarist privileges: state aid for the restoration of churches the communists destroyed; and the return of priests to the schools and universities. Kirill returns the favour by making support for the Kremlin kleptomaniacs a quasi-religious duty. Everyone quotes his statement that Putin's rule was a "miracle of God". But they miss the hysterical assertion that before Putin's divine intervention Russia was in as bad a state as when the Nazis invaded in 1941. Those who protested against Putin's rigged election, continued Vsevolod Chaplin, spokesman for the Moscow patriarchate, were comparable to foreign agents. They were "under the influence of puppet masters" - manipulated and suspect.

I make no assumptions about things being different in France, Germany or the UK : I know it for a fact.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 11:17:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I do not think that separation of church and state has been rolled back in Russia (all tho maybe some people here would know more about it). If it is anything like in Serbia it is more about "state aid for the restoration of churches the communists destroyed; and the return of priests to the schools and universities"... I agree that after those beautiful churches has been destroyed by communists they deserve help for restoration (even as a historical monuments if not for those faithful). And about schools yes they have priests back (or religious classes) but it is on voluntary bases for students to attend or even contact priests or teachers. Students (or their parents are able to choose if they want religious education classes or some kind of secular, civil (moral) classes. It is the same in New Zealand and I believe here in Australia...and I am talking about public schools .I wouldn't know about Europe.
Anyway I remember when it was a dispute in France about Muslims and veils that some of the leading politicians there actually were OK with students wearing cross as jewellery and for school to have Christmas tree and stuff like that that outraged Muslims.
You can call me a resist or whatever you want but my view is like this: Religion is a private matter. Public schools should be secular with no priests or symbols of any kind. Private schools should be able to have priests and dress code as they want as long as they follow states curriculum in learning.
But that's just my opinion...reality is different in most of the world and I have to live with it.
France may not be Christian state any more officially but still majority of the people are Catholics...
----------------------------
It is estimated that between 51% and 88% of France's population is Catholic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Catholicism_in_France
-----------------------------------
As I appreciate others who may not be religious or are members of other religions and I would give them a freedom of choice to practice whatever they want in their spare private time and space, still I would ask them to appreciate that they now live in a country that has so to speak "Christian culture"...until further notice, ha-ha.
This discussion would take us far away from what is the topic here so I will stop here.


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 12:06:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interestingly enough, this is pretty much the way it works in France too: church buildings restoration is partly financed by the state or local governments as historical buildings. Religion classes (optional) are also allowed in school, public or private, and the designated chaplain is actually the only person who can enter public school premises wearing "ostentatious religious symbols". So not much different from what you know in OZ and NZ.

As for people wearing cross "as a jewel" while at school, one can argue that "ostentatious" is in the eye of the beholder: small jewels were deemed OK (essentially: if you have to peer into a lady's cleavage to recognize whether it's a cross or a David start or...), but, say, big wooden crosses worn on the outside of a shirt or sweater are not, same for Muslim headscarves or Sikh turbans... Kind of arbitrary and creates more problems than it solves; we have already debated this issues ad nauseam here on ET...

As for Christmas trees (and Santa) as religious symbols: ???

by Bernard on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 03:46:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As for Christmas trees (and Santa) as religious symbols: ???
-------------------------
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_tree

They are ...at least in the eyes of people from other religions. Interestingly during years of communism in ex YU / Serbia we were allowed to have Christmas tree and Santa would come to practically all state companies with gifts for employee's kids but on New Year day (probably because they had nothing to do with Serbian Orthodox church celebration of real Christmas (we do not have that tree but branches and dry leaves from Oak tree and dry grass tied together and our Santa has different name ,but similar clothing, ha-ha). Our Christmas is on January 7th.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 04:51:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
how the hell they are obligated to deport Assange to Sweden?

Four different levels of British justice determined that there was a case to answer and that it was consistent with British law. But yeah, whatever.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 11:24:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They could (in theory, though probably not in practice) get 3 years in Germany, as a jurist has pointed out in today's SZ.
In Deutschland wäre eine Verurteilung wie die der russischen Punkband "Pussy Riot" kaum vorstellbar. Oder doch? Auch hier macht sich strafbar, wer "beschimpfenden Unfug" auf Kirchengrund verübt. Und drohen dafür auch zwei Jahre Freiheitsstrafe? Nein - bis zu drei.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 10:57:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"up to" is of course the important word here.
by IM on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 01:01:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Only if their political demands don't hit a nerve. There was a group of copycats
in Cologne. They will probably get away with the one week. If the neonazis who drove a pig into a synagogue a few years ago (and on Jom Kippur at that) had ever been caught, they would have got more, I assure you.
by Katrin on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 11:01:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A almost perfect test case. Won't end in two years detention, I am sure.
by IM on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 01:02:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Their previous gigs did nothing but raise a few eyebrows among an educated, cosmopolitan minority. Putin wants to consolidate his authoritarian rule by appealing to the prejudices of the "silent majority", and certainly wants to avoid public debate about such things as the role of the church or the role of women in society.

Pussy Riot verdict: Two years in prison as a compromise | The Economist

Over recent months, in a small, however nascent way, conversations about previously taboo topics--feminism, the role of the church--began to take shape in Russia. As a university classmate of Ms Alekhina says of the women, "everyone wants to call them fools or little idiots," but with their performance and the uproar that ensued, "it turned out they found in a spot in society that was really sore, really sensitive."

Yet is also worth remembering that much of the country remains ambivalent, to say the least, toward Pussy Riot itself. Although recent polling by the Levada Centre shows that many question the court's objectivity and see the hand of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Kremlin in the prosecution, fewer are ready to support Pussy Riot: 51% held negative or hostile views toward the group's actions, another 20% were neutral or indifferent.



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 04:30:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"51% held negative or hostile views toward the group's actions, another 20% were neutral or indifferent."

Hardly numbers that should back a 2 years sentence.
I can name you a whole lot of things that would give me (and probably more than 51% of the population) negative or hostile views but that I would be shocked to find leading to even a day in prison.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 04:38:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, they did use a religious building. Can religious communities expect that one respects their rules a) in the public b) in their buildings?

If you decide to use disrespectful behaviour in a religious building for your protest, you will either be ignored (e.g. the Cologne copycats) because your issue is a non-issue for most people, or you will get a very excited, emotional reaction, which is probably why you chose the site. In this case you will only get away with it if your issue is right and urgent for a majority of the population.

Pussyriot chose a form of protest that most Russians reject for an aim that most Russians reject. Stupid actually.

by Katrin on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 05:27:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pussyriot chose a form of protest that most Russians reject for an aim that most Russians reject. Stupid actually.

Oh, so you think guerilla political theatre should only be used for subjects that people already agree with?

So what would distinguish that from prime-time TV entertainment?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 06:09:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How about positions that people agree with, but that the government disagrees with?

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 06:14:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd applaud if the neonazis responsible for the pig in the synagogue were caught and sentenced to the full three years. Where is the difference?

"Oh, so you think guerilla political theatre should only be used for subjects that people already agree with?"

Let me give you an example: the child abuse scandal of the Catholic church. People already agree in their opinion on child abuse. How much the Church's attitude towards hierarchy and their image of priests contributes is controversial. In this case a protest can be provoking and still not be condemned by a majority.

Pussyriot is entirely a fringe matter. That's why they will go to jail, if Putin doesn't want to give a show how generously he is giving an amnesty.

by Katrin on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 06:23:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd applaud if the neonazis responsible for the pig in the synagogue were caught and sentenced to the full three years. Where is the difference?

I think I must be misunderstanding you here. Are you really comparing Pussy Riot to neonazis? Have they called for the extermination of Orthodox Christians? I must have missed that.

What I get from your example is that you are resolutely in favour of the status quo in any given society (whatever the majority thinks is acceptable), and resolutely against any provocative action which may stimulate debate and lead to opinions evolving...

Do you consider yourself a progressive?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 07:46:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am comparing degrees of unpopularity, fully aware that my words are provoking and might incite a somewhat venomous answer. Apparently you have narrow views where provocation is appropriate and where it is not.

I assume you have watched the video. So have I and I found the behaviour outrageous. So I asked if the aim of the protest justified in any way the disgusting form of it and found no.

What I get from your example is that you are resolutely in favour of the status quo in any given society (whatever the majority thinks is acceptable), and resolutely against any provocative action which may stimulate debate and lead to opinions evolving...

Do you consider sloppy thinking progressive or what else are you suffering from? Do you find religious feelings are not entitled to protection? If you put yourself in front of an altar in a cathedral and make a disgusting noise there (Sargon, thank you for your explanations about the translation), you will have to put up with the echo you get. I happen to like pigs, they are cute animals. Apparently you, like me, respect that Jews don't want them in their synagogues. Why can't you condemn disrespectful behaviour in a church as well?

Is it because you identify with Pussyriot's agenda? Liberalism? Free market? And in Russia at that, which suffered so much from liberalism in the 90's. I am astonished.

Do you consider yourself a progressive?

by Katrin on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 08:14:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't disagree with the general thrust of your argument but:

Liberalism? Free market?

Source?

by generic on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 08:43:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Katrin on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 09:17:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And this Mises fellow is a member of Pussy Riot, is that it?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 09:23:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That doesn't prove that liberalism is inherently capitalist so much as it proves that the Mises fanboys are sanity-challenged.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 09:24:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, you're quoting the Mises institute's hijacking of liberalism.

I see your Mises and raise you a John Stuart Mill.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 09:24:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, common wisdom. Probably we need another diary "What is liberalism"?
by Katrin on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 09:28:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Ein pereat den Liberalen" and therefore Pussy Riot should be jailed, as late punishment for whatever one doesn't like about 1848?

Now that is truly unusual and cruel punishment.

by IM on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 09:50:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is disingenuous, IM. And I wonder how you all can completely disregard that a majority of churchgoers and beyond understand the target of Pussyriot's attack is themselves and their church, not their pope and his political aims.
by Katrin on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 09:56:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're really going to provide some backing material. Winging it on your own intuition is not working here.

The punk prayer is an attack on churchgoers? It is a prayer for capitalism?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 10:00:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, it's a mock prayer for a fringe audience. Viewed as political activism: worthless. Taking into account the behaviour in the church: disgusting.
by Katrin on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 10:36:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, it is funny. You started the irrelevant excursions into the 1850s.

In my opinion the political views of Pussy Riot, whom you interpret in a very uncharitable way anyway, should not matter. For this kind of disturbance two years is just too much. And their action was mostly political: anti-Putin, anti-patriarch.

And if you want to protect religious feelings with the penal law - a somewhat dubious idea anyway - this is clearly a minor cause.

by IM on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 10:05:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This certainly seems to descibe the FDP pretty well (Großer Lauschangriff?), but I don't see how that has anything to do with the Mises quote.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 11:00:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Mises quote is a correct description of liberalism: progressive as long as capitalism was in the ascent. Fighting for freedom as long as it is the freedom of the capitalist class. Giving up all that when convenient. There is only one constant in liberalism: property.
by Katrin on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 11:10:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is a remarkably uncharitable interpretation of the intellectual history of what can broadly be called Liberalism.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 11:27:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And Ludwig von Mises joined pussy riot at what point exactly?
by IM on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 09:28:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But is that PR'S agenda? Or only the agenda of the western comentariat that is now lionising them?
by generic on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 09:43:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Okay. It is remotely possible that their message was something completely different and they just fucked it up to convey meaning. Very remotely.
by Katrin on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 09:58:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Have you read the words yet?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 10:01:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. Obscenity and mockery.
by Katrin on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 12:21:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Freedom's phantom's gone to heaven,
Gay Pride's chained and in detention.
KGB's chief saint descends
To guide the punks to prison vans.
Don't upset His Saintship, ladies,
Stick to making love and babies.

etc... yes, irony, mockery, obscenity, directed at Putin, and at the patriarch who intervened in the political realm declaring Putin a "gift from God"...

I'm having trouble deciphering the Ludwig van Mises sub-text about property, can you help me to find it?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 12:28:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Come on, you must admit that he is much more lucid than PR. And I note that you tried to quote as much political message as you could find in that text, but the quote is mercifully short. The rest of the text is unmitigated obscenity and mockery.
by Katrin on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 12:55:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well, comparing people to nazis... there's a special term for that on the internet, and the general consensus is that the discussion is over and you lost it. But let's forget that and continue.

Your threshold for outrage is in fact a whole lot lower than mine...

And in Russia at that, which suffered so much from liberalism in the 90's.

Yes, it's clear that what Russia suffered from in the 90s was an excess of feminism and gay pride.

The weird thing is that you seem to be arguing against what you suppose is Pussy Riot's hidden agenda, rather than the ideas they are actually expressing. If you want to appear credible, you will need to provide some backing for your view.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 08:59:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Taken together with the Assange and wikileaks, and with both of their contributions to the blog on other topics, I think this debate between Katrin and eurogreen is fascinating and perhaps revealing (though I am not quite sure of what yet :)

We should pick this apart. Maybe one of the two could write a diary about Assange, Pussy Riot, and the hidden fault lines of the green left, just to get the process started...

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 09:19:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you find religious feelings are not entitled to protection?

I agree that religious feelings are entitled to protection. However, given that religious power is emerging as a major force within Russia, in mutually-reinforcing alliance with an authoritarian leader, I find that using a religious site for provocative political theatre is a courageous and appropriate act. An illegal act, clearly, but apparently not a huge deal until politicized by the government :

Pussy Riot sentence: How did it play in Russia? - CSMonitor.com

The three women, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, were picked up outside Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior last Feb. 21, after entering a priests-only section of the church and performing a 40-second "punk prayer" that called on the Virgin Mary to expel Putin. Police initially just took down their names and let them go, probably because the church was largely empty at the time, no one was hurt, no property damaged, and the women had left voluntarily when asked to do so.

The women claim their song was a political protest targeting Orthodox Patriarch Kirill who, in the midst of an election campaign, publicly described Putin as "a miracle of God," thus allegedly violating Russia's strictly secular constitution (Article 14).

If the act in itself had been as outrageously offensive as people afterwards claimed, clearly the police would have arrested them when they had the opportunity. In fact, it was only when they broadcast their montage on the internet, with music added, and it went viral, that the government found it, retrospectively, outrageous.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 09:22:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Haven't you watched the video? I find it really distasteful. The place they chose, in front of the altar, the mock prayer... Do you endorse that? And what do they actually want, beyond becoming famous?

By the way, before you have more egg in your face than absolutely necessary, I have some experience in provocative actions against reactionary policies on the role of women and against surveillance of gays, and I find Pussyriot absolutely meaningless from a progressive point of view, but very much what western liberals find just nice.

by Katrin on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 09:37:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Haven't you watched the video? I find it really distasteful. The place they chose, in front of the altar, the mock prayer... Do you endorse that?

Arguing that it should not be a criminal offense does not imply endorsement.

I haven't seen the film, and I don't speak Russian, so I'll reserve judgment on the artistic merits and the political relevance. But bad art and poor taste in political activism should not be criminalized. And it's a public space which the Patriarch had already politicized. Sauce for the goose, etc.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 09:48:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
given that religious power is emerging as a major force within Russia

Source please...other then "liberal" western media...

The women claim their song was a political protest targeting Orthodox Patriarch Kirill who, in the midst of an election campaign, publicly described Putin as "a miracle of God," thus allegedly violating Russia's strictly secular constitution (Article 14).
 

C'mon. As much as I hate to see politicians on TV filmed with priests and babies, this is what happens regularly in election time everywhere including western world. Is it against the law? I wouldn't say that. Priests advising congregation how to vote in USA or elsewhere? News for you? They/I can protest this in any way they manage to but not in church. If I do it in church I would be arrested here in Australia.
As much as I hate to see naked asses during Gay parade on the street and on TV it is apparently not against the law to show your naked ass in this country  and what can I do? Where am I to protest against this and not to be instantly proclaimed xenophobic, antigay end blab bla bla.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 01:05:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They/I can protest this in any way they manage to but not in church.

Why not?

If the pastor makes his church a public political space, then he can't complain when others avail themselves of it to protest his political views.

What some religious people don't seem to get is that religion enjoys a special protection which is not extended to any other human endeavor in modern society. Hiding partisan political attacks behind this extraordinary privilege is a gross abuse of society's special treatment of what would, if it were any other form of activity, be a private eccentricity.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 06:30:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well you can do it in church but then be ready to be punished and stop crying out how you are repressed etc. And for me museum stands too as a place where your protest must be civil if you even should protest there. See in a western world/in democracy you are kind of allowed to protest against who ever you want/great stuff/ but you need to register place and time when you are going to do it and get permission.Why would Russia be different? Even worse, WHY you are expecting Russia to be different?

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 07:12:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well you can do it in church but then be ready to be punished and stop crying out how you are repressed etc.

When the preacher turns the church into a political space by peddling partisan political propaganda, then the church is a political space, and arresting someone for protesting the peddling of partisan political propaganda fucking well is repression.

If you don't like people making political theater - any form of political theatre - in church, then don't politicize the sermon.

Religious people do not actually deserve, nevermind are entitled to the special treatment of not being subject to the mockery and derision of their detractors. Nevertheless, we as a society generously grant religious eccentrics this extraordinary privilege. It is the pinnacle of arrogant disrespect for the rest of society to presume that this privilege is an inalienable right that can be wielded as a political cudgel against detractors.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 07:35:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This.

If you're not a theist, it's obvious that churches are primarily political spaces anyway. People should be free to believe whatever they want in private, but having experienced numerous explicitly political sermons while I was growing up, I have no illusions that religions aren't primarily in the business of opinion forming, persuasion, and politics.

It's a measure of the lingering power of theism that arrest and imprisonment would have been the likely (certain?) outcome of any equivalent performance in any major Western church. And equally that such performances are so protected by the lingering aura of theism in the West that they're almost literally unthinkable, no matter how vile the policies and politics being promoted.

Meanwhile, if the Russian Patriarch had a clue he wouldn't have had Pussy Riot arrested. He would have waited until their next happening, then ordered a gaggle of priests and nuns to elbow them off stage and windmill their guitars into the ground, with a YouTube clip to follow.

But I guess Russian Patriarchs don't think like that.

(A good thing - possibly. But still.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 07:57:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a measure of the lingering power of theism that arrest and imprisonment would have been the likely (certain?) outcome of any equivalent performance in any major Western church.

Then I suggest you go to the Tory party central (or any other party's headquarters), make obscene noise, call it feminist arguments, and see what answer you get.

Even if we pretend that there was a political message in the noise--and a progressive one at that--what did they expect, and what did they plan? Obviously the arrest and the trial and the punishment are part of the performance, so why this whining?

by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 08:17:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Obviously the whining is also part of the performance.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 08:23:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you undermine the seriousness™ of a political space, you get a political response.

The problem for me is it's a trite performance.

The churches are political sheepdogs, and Putin is the chief shepherd. But Pussy Riot have done nothing - nothing - to annoy the owners of the farm.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 08:40:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hang on, I thought you wrote somewhere that two years prison was excessive?

Have you changed your mind?

I don't think anyone is surprised or even indignant about the fact that they were arrested. But six months of preventive detention in solitary confinement, followed by a big show trial and a sentence of two years... you see nothing to whine about there?

make obscene noise, call it feminist arguments

Oh, so your argument is essentially aesthetic?  (Throwing a cake, for example, that is intelligent discourse!)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 08:27:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then I suggest you go to the Tory party central (or any other party's headquarters), make obscene noise, call it feminist arguments, and see what answer you get.

A fine for trespassing and disturbing the peace.

But of course a party headquarter is not a public building.

And a party headquarters is usually in use during the daytime. If there had actually been a sermon ongoing when they staged their stunt, or if they had pulled it in some parochial suburban church, I would have had a lot more sympathy for the argument that they were making a nuisance of themselves. As it is, they performed a stunt in a public building, at a time when it was not being used. This is not equivalent to staging a protest at a party headquarter. It is not even equivalent to staging a protest at the city hall. It is closer to equivalent to staging a protest in the square in front of the city hall.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 09:18:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But of course a party headquarter is not a public building

A church isn't either.

And a party headquarters is usually in use during the daytime.

This church was in use too, though this use wasn't a service (or is that the only acceptable use in your eyes?)

by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 09:58:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A church isn't either.

Some godforsaken parish church isn't.

An ancient historical cathedral renovated for public money is. Particularly when it is the central cathedral of the realm. And especially when the patriarch took the initiative to profane - and I use the term advisedly - that particular ancient cathedral by turning it into a platform for political propaganda.

Protip for distinguishing public buildings from private buildings: If you allow tourists or TV film crews inside a building on a regular basis, it's a public building.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 10:04:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Plenty of privately owned buildings are (at least partly) open to the public at some times. If they are on the list of monuments there are public funds to maintain them, too.
by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 03:16:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And nobody in his right mind would condemn, say, an anti-fur protest in a supermarket just because the owner of the supermarket disapproves of the form or content of the protest.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 03:48:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Do you find religious feelings are not entitled to protection?"

My answer to that will probably be more nuanced than a resounding yes.
But until people who climb on Uluro are sentenced to two years in jail (if you want, I'll grant you just 6 months for merely climbinb and 2 years for putting it on Youtube) I won't see that as a valid argument.


Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 09:42:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Whoops two typos.
A resounding no, and Uluru

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 09:44:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Funny. I can agree with you that the Putin regime is correct, within its own logic, in imposing a heavy sentence on people who are promoting an agenda which (perhaps wrongly?) I assume you support. That doesn't mean I condemn their actions, as you do.

By the same token : the US is within its logic in imprisoning Bradley Manning. His actions probably offended a majority of Americans. Does that make his courageous actions "stupid" too?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 06:22:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pussyriot pursues an agenda of liberalism, that is the defining ideology of capitalism. It is definitely not my agenda. I don't care which bunch of oligarchs is in power in Russia. Putin is a despicable dictator, but liberalism won't democratise Russia. Most Russians seem to be aware of that.

Bradley Manning on the other hand exposed war crimes. This agenda has my full support, the form of his action, whistleblowing, too. His only mistake was to trust a treacherous creep who turned out to be a government spy.

by Katrin on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 06:34:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pussyriot pursues an agenda of liberalism, that is the defining ideology of capitalism. It is definitely not my agenda.

They define themselves as left-wing feminists. You must have special knowledge : perhaps you could share it?

Perhaps you could point out the lines in the lyrics which are promoting a capitalist agenda? Is it the feminism you object to, or the anti-authoritarianism? Gay pride? You are against personal freedom of expression?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 07:53:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I could just as well ask you where they differ in any way from FDP positions. Liberalism IS the ideology of capitalism, I am afraid. Russian politics is a struggle of different oligarchies against each other and most Russians just yawn at the activities of opposition groups that fascinate western foreigners.
by Katrin on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 08:37:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So it's necessary to be against feminism and gay pride in order to be anti-capitalist? That will be big news to a lot of people here. Yes, I am in agreement with many of the FDP's positions on personal liberties. Sue me. And you, you are an authoritarian? And you claim to be a progressive? You'll have to explain that to me carefully.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 08:47:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So it's necessary to be against feminism and gay pride in order to be anti-capitalist?

So it's necessary to be anti religion in order to be progressive?

This looks like very large and wide topic that we should definitely discussed in separate diary...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 01:28:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting that you see no distinction between civil liberties and economic liberalism. Also, is there a place for feminism in socialism, according to you?

Anyway, this might be a good point to take the discussion into a diary: feminism, civil liberties and capitalism.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 09:12:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By all means, diary.
by Katrin on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 09:24:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, you diary.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 09:25:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, they did use a religious building. Can religious communities expect that one respects their rules a) in the public b) in their buildings?

That rather depends on whether the building in question is a public space. Denouncing the Pope in St. Paul's Cathedral is legitimate political activism, and it would be outrageous for anyone to punish that. Barging into a sermon in some random parish church of no great historical or public significance is not.

You can claim your building is a site of great cultural and historical importance, in which case it is of cultural and historical importance to every member of the public equally, or you can claim that it is a private house of worship. But not at the same time.

Just like you can make public political pronouncements or you can claim that your statements are private religious sentiments which it is uncouth to condemn for being neolithic barbarism. But not at the same time.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 07:57:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Denouncing the Pope in St. Paul's Cathedral is legitimate political activism

Didn't that use to be called a "sermon"?

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 08:28:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 09:32:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Denouncing the Pope in St. Paul's Cathedral is legitimate political activism,

Necessarily?

by Katrin on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 08:40:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, not necessarily - I imagine that it is possible to construct a sufficiently convoluted case to serve as counterexample. But in the overwhelming majority of imaginable cases.

Look, this case isn't that complicated: If the Russian pope doesn't like being insulted, he needs to stop peddling homophobia, misogyny and political propaganda. Until then, I have less than no sympathy for insults to his religious sensibilities. You can demand that people pussyfoot around your religious sentiments, or you can couch partisan activism in religious sermon. But not at the same time.

At least not if you want a functioning democracy.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 09:37:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
a) it is legitimate

b) it is also illegal

c) It would also legitimate for the judicial system of the vatican state to punish the transgressors

d) That is the price you have to pay for you action of civil disobedience

e) Two years in the dungeons of the vatican would still be unjust, though.

by IM on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 09:43:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree in principle about accepting prosecution for civil disobedience, but I'm not sure the Vatican's law prohibiting lese majeste against the Pope would survive a legal challenge in the European courts. Italy is, after all, a signatory to the European convention on human rights.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 09:52:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Vatican is not in Italy.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 09:55:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But they're riding on the coattails of Italy's EU membership.

I'm pretty sure that means they're expected to comply with Section III the Lisbon Treaty. Otherwise, I think I have a solution for the Italian bond spreads, involving monetization and the Vatican's central bank...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 10:07:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As far as the italian justice system is concerned, usually law-breakers in the vatican state are given over to them. That said, I am sure it is still illegal in Italy to insult the italian nation and it's institutions. Perhaps is is even illegal to insult the head of state. A lot of european nations have such laws -a especially stringent in spain about insulting the king - and so far the human rights convention doesn't seem to invalidate such laws.

So a possible pope insulter in St Peter could be sent to Italy and tried in the italian courts for insulting the pope, insulting the religious feelings of catholics, creating a disturbance in St. Peter etc.

by IM on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 10:31:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As you see, i actually assumed they would try the case in the vatican courts and use the vatican prison cell. They can't do it, right now: the vatican prison cell is occupied by the papal chamberlain.

More to the point,  lese majeste is only one possibility. I would add creating a disturbance in a house of worship. Or in secular terms, in a assembly hall where don't have the right to disturb.

by IM on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 10:11:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does Vatican law forbid putting two people in a cell?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 11:02:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A additional punishment of the untrustworthy chamberlain, to put an heretic in his cell? Clever.

All I know about the judicial system of the Vatican and its dungeons is from the Yellow Press. That the Vatican has a cell but hasn't used in twenty years or so and usually outsources criminal matters to Italy. So that they handled the leaking chamberlain themselves was a matter of much entertainment.

Sp perhaps they do have two cells, who knows.

But they are a sovereign state, if small, and so they can administrate criminal justice.

by IM on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 11:08:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not about the pope. Members of the Church feel insulted, and having seen the video, I am on their side.

I once (almost) took part in a protest in a church. They had deliberately invited an evangelical misogynist and homophobe pastor. Apparently our plans hadn't been secret enough, when we arrived there the speech had been cancelled. We would have thrown a large cake at the pastor, but we never even dreamed of any mock prayers or of hijacking the altar. Is the difference so difficult to understand, I wonder?

by Katrin on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 09:49:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is the difference so difficult to understand, I wonder?
*

Yes. Yes it is. Throwing a cake at a pastor giving a sermon is far more violent than performing a punk prayer in a nearly-empty church.

But the contradiction doesn't surprise me. We have already established that what you object to is Pussy Riot's agenda, not their methods.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 09:57:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My point isn't about violence. It is about attacking religious feelings without having a compelling justification.

It doesn't matter if the church was nearly empty: PR made sure that their noise was published on the internet, so that the people who weren't present to be insulted could be insulted later on.

by Katrin on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 10:02:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, so to you, protesting the intrusion of the Orthodox church into the Russian political space is not a compelling reason for hurting anyone's religious feelings.

Now, can you imagine the feelings of the conservative churchgoers who would have seen you push a cake into the pastor's face? Might not they have felt that you are insulting their religion? I rather think they would. Perhaps they shared that pastor's homophobia, and that they feel that this is justified by the Bible? In any case, you would have been desecrating a holy place, in the eyes of many.

But you felt you had a compelling reason for such an action, and I would support you (if you ever plan on such a thing again, let me know, and I will bring you oranges in prison)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 10:16:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now, can you imagine the feelings of the conservative churchgoers who would have seen you push a cake into the pastor's face?

Yes, vividly. But that would have been that one community. There was a crack in the Church's position and this was one of the actions to deepen it. Successfully, by the way. The conservative faction lost it. Sounds incredible that elsewhere churches have problems with female bishops or gay pastors, right? I am proud to have contributed a tiny bit to pushing this particular bit of the public into the right direction.

by Katrin on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 10:31:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And you are right to be proud! However, in any such direct action, there is always a danger that it might backfire and do more harm than good. It's a matter of judgement, I'm sure we agree.

So, insulting people's religious feelings in a holy place is actually just fine, if there is a compelling justification. I'm glad we've got that straight. It's therefore the justification you disagree with, and not the tactic.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 10:43:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not correct. The tactic must aim at exposing a policy and if it is clearly unable to do so it is nothing but an insult. The risk in political activism lies with the activist, and if you don't manage to get your message across, well, too bad.
by Katrin on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 11:33:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Again: If members of the Russian orthodox church do not want their religious feelings insulted, then they should write a letter to their Patriarch telling him that they disapprove of him bringing the church into political life, because doing so subjects their religious sentiments to insults.

Whether the Russian orthodox church wants to be a political activist organization or a private religious congregation is an internal policy decision of the Russian orthodox church, on which I will not presume to advise. But, right now they've decided to be a political activist organization, and until and unless they reverse that decision, they are no more protected from the back-and-forth of ordinary political criticism than any other think tank, political party or activist group.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 10:01:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't like your dichotomy "political activist organization or a private religious congregation". I find it reeks of "religion has no role in deciding where our societies go to". Disagree.
by Katrin on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 10:18:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, so you're in favour of the emerging political power of the Orthodox hierarchy!

At last I can understand your vehement opposition to Pussy Riot.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 10:21:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Katrin invents the political positions of pussy riot and now you invent Katrins positions.

It's the war on Straw II: The strawing!

by IM on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 10:40:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And how do we call your claim that my interpretation of this group was an invention, eh? Somehow this is symptomatic for the entire subthread.
by Katrin on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 10:59:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is. All other commentators on this subthread think that your interpretation of Pussy Riot as the official bulletin of the Ludwig mises foundation is very far-fetched.
by IM on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 11:01:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have never heard of them arguing in favour of free markets, corporations, private property, "free" elections or against state intervention in the economy. Why do you think they are proponents of real existing liberalism?
by generic on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 11:14:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose the "No Pasarán" T-shirt was clever camouflage.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 11:17:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Their political point seems to be against Putin and the Church and for - er - it's not clear, actually.

From Wiki:

"Pussy Riot's performances can either be called dissident art or political action that engages art forms. Either way, our performances are a kind of civic activity amidst the repressions of a corporate political system that directs its power against basic human rights and civil and political liberties."

That's dog whistle boilerplate. No one is going to claim to be against basic human rights and civil political liberties - certainly not Western governments, not even those with an inexplicably patchy record of supporting them in reality as opposed to supporting them rhetorically because it's expedient.

How about feminism?

"Occupy the city using your frying pans / Take your vacuum cleaner and get off on it, have an orgasm".

Politically, that seems to be setting the bar a little low.

Also worrying is the fact they claim Oi! bands as an influence. In the UK Oi! has close associations with skinheads and the far right.

So in what sense are they really progressive? They claim to be against a corporate political system, but they don't have a go at Rosneft, Shell or Gazprom - just the old bourgeois Russian establishment with its two patriarchs. They claim to be feminists, but I think they're more Dada than feminist.

And the Pussy Riot riot is probably the least interesting thing that's been done.

Wiki on Voina has more context.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 11:51:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If I understand this right voina and voina moscow, that is Pussy Riot are vulgar anarchists or dadaistic anarchists.

In other words, punks.

Now how useful this kind of activism is, is really in doubt. But if they belong anywhere then on the left.

Kropotkin, not mises.  

by IM on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 02:50:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I'm trying to provoke her into actually articulating her views clearly. It's a struggle making sense of them.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 10:59:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, you are struggling with sense. Ahem. Sorry, couldn't help that. Okay, two things: what fascinates western media, doesn't fascinate "little people" in Russia. Get used to it. And, I don't oppose religion being visible in society and having something to say in the political discourse. I am opposed to attempts to marginalise religious approaches. They must be part of the political sphere (headscarves included and so on).

I hope that helps you in your problem with sense.

by Katrin on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 11:05:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
what fascinates western media, doesn't fascinate "little people" in Russia

Garry Kasparov is a case in point (apparently he got arrested while protesting outside the court in support of Pussy Riot and he allegedly bit a policeman).

Since I wasn't a fan of his chess I don't have to be a fan of his politics either, I suppose.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 11:10:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect he's one of Putin's useful idiots. Insofar as he has been ineffective as a political organiser, he is allowed to continue (he was unexpectedly released on the pussy-riot-riot charge). Meanwhile, any potentially effective people are neutralised, leaving a complete political desert beween Putin on the one hand, and his other useful idiots of the Communist Party on the other.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 11:43:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, it helps to know what I'm arguing against. I see two main strands in our differences :

  1. you think that their protest was ineffective, and has had no echo in Russian society, hasn't provoked debate about the role of the church in politics. I strongly disagree, and I can provide numerous references if you're interested.

  2. you actually oppose the theme of their protest, which was to highlight and oppose the alliance between the Church and Putin. I don't want to put words in your mouth here, but that is the only way I can interpret your arguments : it seems that you actually are in favour of the rise of the influence of the reactionary Orthodox church hierarchy in the Russian political scene.

It might be helpful if you could clarify that second point.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 11:16:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am fine with opposition to an alliance between church and Putin, but whom do they want instead as an ally for the church?

You are fantasising if you think I was in favour of the Russian orthodox hierarchy or any other hierarchy. I am coming from activism in the peace movement and the anti nuclear power movement which included a religious angle too. I don't want a political discourse that denies the legitimacy of this approach.

by Katrin on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 11:42:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
whom do they want instead as an ally for the church?

Why should they want anyone as an ally for the church?? They see the church hierarchy as a reactionary force in Russian politics and society, and with reason.

At a guess (and I'm really only guessing), Pussy Riot would welcome the emergence of progressive forces within the Church to contest the reactionary hierarchy (just as you have, yourself, within your own church). But in the current state of Russian society, that looks like a long shot to me. I don't see anything in their discourse that denies the legitimacy of such an approach, however.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 12:21:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It has nothing to do with whether religion has a role in deciding where society should go.

The point is that in order to have a functioning democracy, you must be able to harshly oppose political views. Even to the point that people who have invested their personal pride in those views might be severely insulted. If religious sentiments are to demand special protection from the rough and tumble of ordinary exchange of ideas, then that means that religious sentiments can't be used as partisan political arguments if you want a democratic society.

Alternatively, religious sentiments can be used as partisan political arguments, but then they need to stand on their own like any other arbitrary ideas, and can't claim special, privileged protection from public criticism.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 10:39:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The point is that in order to have a functioning democracy, you must be able to harshly oppose political views

Sure. If this noise was meant as an attack on political views, it was a failure, though. The place, the offensive vocabulary, all this made it wrong.

You can attack a church's stance on political questions from inside that church or from the outside, but you must make clear where you stand. Calling your noise a prayer when obviously you come from outside is distasteful.

by Katrin on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 10:50:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Entirely possible. But it is not the place of the criminal justice system to judge the taste, the efficiency, the just cause of political actions.
by IM on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 10:53:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If this noise was meant as an attack on political views, it was a failure, though.

But that's not the point.

The point is that if religious opinion is brought into the political sphere, then its adherents must accept the rules of the political sphere. And those rules include that you can mock, ridicule and attack political views for any reason - you don't have to present a coherent, reasonable ideologically watertight case.

That people attack political views with puerile sloganeering is lamentable, of course. But nobody has ever been arrested for calling David Cameron a cocksucker or Jens Weidman a wanker.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 11:22:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The point is that if religious opinion is brought into the political sphere, then its adherents must accept the rules of the political sphere

Let's see what the position of Pussyriot is: they are calling their noise a prayer, that means they are arguing from inside the church. Additionally they deliver their "prayer" in a church, from the altar, facing the community, that is from a position of authority inside that church. And from this position they can't at the same time say the rules of the political sphere apply, and not those of the church.

by Katrin on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 11:54:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes they can, when the church inserts itself into politics. That's the whole point. If the church does not like that, then it is perfectly free to withdraw from politics.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 12:32:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So you think after Bishop Desmond Tutu's refusal to meet Tony Blair every warmonger is free to violate rules in all churches of his see, right?
by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 08:34:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That would be great political theatre!

Yes, warmongers protesting against a peace-loving bishop, by disrupting Anglican services in South Africa!

What do you think their slogans would be?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 08:38:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I have repeatedly said that if some they had staged their stunt in some random parish church, I would have found it improper.

But if Tory Bliar wants to stage a sit-in in St. Poul's Cathedral in protest of the Anglican Church's denunciation of his fuckup in Iraq, then he should feel free to make a fool of himself.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 10:13:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Superstitions of any kind should have no say in where societies go to.

People may still find them useful and should be free to hold them dear. But that's about that.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 10:53:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Religion is the only ideology that enjoys special protection.

The US takes this to the extreme: all religious ideologies enjoy special protection and you're free to call your ideology a religion. Which explains things like Scientology (L. Ron Hubbard is reputed to have said if you want to be rich, start a religion).

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 10:57:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Again: If members of the Russian orthodox church do not want their religious feelings insulted, then they should write a letter to their Patriarch telling him that they disapprove of him bringing the church into political life, because doing so subjects their religious sentiments to insults.

 How is it that you feel you have right to ask Russians to do something like this while you are not asking Americans ( or Danish or Brits or French etc) FIRST to do the same thing in their country and with their churches? I am puzzled how you people feel that you have right to criticize Russians for what ever you want and at the same time you do not see or ask for a change in your "own yard"...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 01:45:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, I overlooked this little gem. It reminds me of Muslims being told that Islamophobian abuse is in reality their fault for not preventing terrorism.
by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 02:32:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
do a diary : the return of religion into politics, and why it's such a good thing!

Forward into the Dark Ages!

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 04:47:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why the dark ages, I wonder?

Don't you base your political views on a system of values that you recognize as right? Why is such a system of values only legitimate if it has no nexus with religion?

by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 08:41:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why the dark ages, I wonder?

Well, you could choose any period you like to demonstrate how the intervention of religion into the political sphere is a good thing. For example, renaissance Europe, from mid 16th to mid 17th century.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 08:51:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought that was about territorial entities fighting for sovereignty from an international organisation setting the agenda and claiming a right to intervention. Religion played a minor role too, because the idea to base values on anything other than religion had not yet been invented.
by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 09:23:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't you base your political views on a system of values that you recognize as right? Why is such a system of values only legitimate if it has no nexus with religion?

Because religious views are protected from the ordinary back-and-forth of public debate.

Partly it's a matter of reciprocity: If you use your religion as the foundation of a political ideology, then you cannot claim any protection for your religion that you're unwilling to grant any other political ideology.

Partly it's a matter of the sound functioning of democratic society: If you use your religion as the foundation of a political ideology, then you cannot claim protections from criticism which would lock down the public's ability to debate your religion. Because you cannot have democracy if you are unwilling to permit debate of the different ideologies on offer.

And partly it's a matter of practicality: Ideologies which are protected from public criticism accumulate all sorts of crackpot notions and other intellectual detritus which cannot be cleaned out as long as the protection form public scrutiny is in place.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 09:39:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Katrin, I think you should re-examine your (perfectly respectable in itself) notion that religious beliefs are a legitimate basis for political action.

Germany is perhaps a special case with respect to religion : Catholics and Protestants fought themselves to a standstill during the Renaissance, and having failed to exterminate each other, grudgingly acknowledged each other's right to existence. When democracy came, religion was (apparently!) not much of an issue : parties could claim (or reject) a common Christian heritage, but because there were two main flavours with considerable differences, this did not lead to any sort of theocratic hegemony. [insert obligatory footnote about Jews]

In most countries however, you have one dominant religious entity. In France, for example, the Catholics having won the religious wars, it was necessary to break the political power of the Catholic church in order to have democracy.

Because what you get in the general case, when religion is recognised as a legitimate principle in politics, is a "democracy" which is the tyranny of the majority over the minorities, and which has a strong tendency to resist the notion of freedom of conscience. This is what they have in Iran, for example. (And this is what PR are resisting in Russia.)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 10:01:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not the "ideology" I want to see protected. It is the exercise of religious rites that needs protection and this includes necessary buildings that serve religious purposes.

You are free to deny that God created humans godlike which implies equality between all humans and makes the political fight for socialism a Christian duty. Fine by me. ;)

by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 10:13:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Was the exercise of religious rites actually interrupted by the PR? There was not a religious service in progress. Unless we want to argue that the presence of faithful at any time (even if mingling with tourists) constitutes a religious rite.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 10:16:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, a church is always there for prayer, or for philosophical thought while absorbing the atmosphere of the church, or for escaping the consumerism outside. Tourists have to respect that, why not Pussyriot?
by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 11:15:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's why they were evicted.

But now we're in the same province as if they'd started playing punk rock in a library. No need to appeal to religious hatred as an aggravating circumstances, or to offence of religious feelings as a crime.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 11:21:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't object to any of that, as long as those religious rites and buildings are not used to peddle partisan political propaganda.

But if they are, then I claim the right of reply to that propaganda.

And I also object to religious groups claiming sole custodianship and right of use of buildings which have wider historical and cultural significance. Such as medieval cathedrals.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 10:20:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Pussy Riot should have claimed in their defence that they were actually worshipping. That would have turned the trial into a heresy trial. Now that would have been a riot.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 10:22:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For me, the political fight for socialism is a human duty. And I don't need no boss man to tell me it's so.

(And, again, no religious rite was interrupted or hindered by the Pussy Riot performance.)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 11:06:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
see above, in my answer to Migeru.
by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 11:16:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because clearly, challenging the politically favored majority religion because its official, recognized leadership peddles partisan platitudes is just like attacking the politically disfavored minority religion because some nuts on the other side of the world preach their creed with a Kalashnikov.

I can't see why I didn't make such an obvious connection.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 06:19:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good that you are noticing your error now.
by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 08:38:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How is it that you feel you have right to ask Russians to do something like this while you are not asking Americans ( or Danish or Brits or French etc) FIRST to do the same thing in their country and with their churches?

I am demanding the same of Danish and British and French and American churches.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 06:15:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Much political protest is stupid (e.g., I was in Seattle during WTO.) and much of it is for unpopular causes.  Are those reasons for them to be illegal?  They trespassed and engaged in public sex acts.  Those are the legitimate crimes involved, and that's what they should be punished for.  I don't accept that there should be one set of crimes for religious property and another for other property.
by rifek on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 12:15:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
they get a week in jail, at most. Not two years for terrorism.

Well yes it is draconian punishment (it's just them those in power typically showing off) and will not stand, that is for sure. Girls will end up spending at worse few months and that is not big price for that kind of popularity worldwide (and the world is yet to hear any song or creation of theirs).
For those two that are abroad well great opportunity to get an asylum in Western Europe that they probably dreamed of,  for a long time. So everything will be fine and forgotten in a less than a year...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 11:11:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and will not stand, that is for sure. Girls will end up spending at worse few months and that is not big price for that kind of popularity worldwide

OK, so you're predicting their sentence will be reduced? You're well-informed on that.

And you think they did it for the publicity? You don't think they are actually political activists protesting against political regression? You think they're in it for the fame and money? Hello? I bet you never heard of them before they got arrested...

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 11:30:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Especially since they've already served 6 months pre-trial.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 12:13:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, I also do believe the sentence will be reduced on appeal, especially as the defense team stopped telling the court how despicable and useless it was and started to behave the way proper lawyers should. They have submitted an appeal today.

And, to remind those who never heard about them before the last couple of months, all previous political protests by PR or their parent art-group "War" were treated in a much more lenient way. Correlation is not a causation, but neither of the previous protests took place in a main cathedral of the realm.

by Sargon on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 04:35:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes I think their sentence will be reduced all tho the escape of two of the members is not playing well in this case...Probably those tree convicted will still get reduced sentence even more because authorities may want to show those two that escaped that it was not a big deal and those two will not be able EVER to come back to Russia and visit family and friends. They may get asylum, in 6 months nobody in western world will even remember them and they will end up probably as good cleaners somewhere in London area...
Well you may say I am informed but just because I am pretty old and have seen a lot...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 12:26:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can assure you they will serve the two years. Once the Western outrage machine went into overdrive the Russian authorities lost the chance to make a show of magnanimity. Now it would look like caving in to pressure. And note that not everyone, or even most of the people used in western propaganda is actually a plant. You don't stake open air protest orgies if your goal is fame in the west.
by generic on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 01:51:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Interestingly, Putin explicitly called for "mercy" in sentencing. Had he not done so, they might well have got the 5 years the prosecution called for.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 04:03:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It was three years, not five.
by Sargon on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 04:28:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not 2 years, actually - the pre-trial time will counted twice, so that's about 14 months
by Sargon on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 04:27:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Welcome back, Sargon.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 04:43:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Welcome back; it's been a while...
by Bernard on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 03:29:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 Well, we'll be able to see what happens soon.
And those orgies at the museum are total disaster...totally with no taste, pure pornography and nothing to do with art or even activism.
We have seen naked bodies before...in art and protests...this is off...
And yes I do think this is just for attention sake...
One of the commentators said
Pussy Riot was banished from Voina for professionalism. They took Western money and management; that's a no-no.

But again do not accuse me of loving Putin or Medvedev...cause it would be far from truth. I am aware of the problems in Russia...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 01:01:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not two years for terrorism.
I am afraid you are poorly informed. The charge was hooliganism, not terrorism.
by Sargon on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 04:39:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The charge was, indeed, of hooliganism inspired by religious hatred, punishable by a maximum of seven years.

As I recall, the prosecutor repeatedly spoke of "terrorism".

As for "religious hatred"... well, I don't know. Hatred with respect to Putin and to both the Patriarch and patriarchy in general. No disrespect that I can see to either the Virgin or to God :

Pussy Riot's Punk Prayer is pure protest poetry | Books | guardian.co.uk

Punk Prayer, English version by Carol Rumens

(Chorus)

Virgin Mary, Mother of God, banish Putin, banish Putin,

Virgin Mary, Mother of God, banish him, we pray thee!

Congregations genuflect,

Black robes brag gilt epaulettes,

Freedom's phantom's gone to heaven,

Gay Pride's chained and in detention.

KGB's chief saint descends

To guide the punks to prison vans.

Don't upset His Saintship, ladies,

Stick to making love and babies.

Crap, crap, this godliness crap!

Crap, crap, this holiness crap!

(Chorus)

Virgin Mary, Mother of God.

Be a feminist, we pray thee,

Be a feminist, we pray thee.

Bless our festering bastard-boss.

Let black cars parade the Cross.

The Missionary's in class for cash.

Meet him there, and pay his stash.

Patriarch Gundy believes in Putin.

Better believe in God, you vermin!

Fight for rights, forget the rite -

Join our protest, Holy Virgin.

(Chorus)

Virgin Mary, Mother of God, banish Putin, banish Putin,

Virgin Mary, Mother of God, we pray thee, banish him!



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 04:35:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps it sounds much better in English, or at least in this translation. I assure you the Russian text has nothing to do with poetry. And, well, 'God's shit' (what they actually said) doesn't strike absolute majority of Russians as respectful of God.

In other changes, congregations are 'crawling to bows' rather than 'genuflect', and the Patriarch isn't called a 'vermin' - it's a 'bitch'.

What non-Russian speakers don't realize is that Russian swear words are much more offensive than their English analogs. For example, were I to use a straightforward translation of "pussy' into Russian in a polite society, my reputation as a dinner guest would be ruined immediately. Everyone is trying euphemisms, more or less creative, or just stick to PR. In their texts, PR don't have such scruples. They just tell it as they see fit, which is about as offensive as their porno-session in a museum.

by Sargon on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 05:24:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you follow the link in my post, there's a discussion of all these points, and more, by the translator.

Pussy Riot's Punk Prayer is pure protest poetry | Books | guardian.co.uk

The Russian word "sran" becomes English "crap" in my version, rather than "shit". This line, particularly offensive for some, has been translated as "shit, shit, the Lord's shit". Not only is this ambiguous (it could mean either "the Lord is shit" or "shit from/of the Lord"), it's inaccurate. Derived from Gospod, meaning Lord, "gospodnaya," is an adjective. It could be translated as "religious", though I tried something different. "Crap" has a stronger metaphorical dimension than "shit" and comes a shade closer to "bullshit". The song is simply saying that all this state-controlled religious stuff is bullshit. It's interesting that these disgraceful sentiments would have represented, until recently, the official Communist party view of religion.

Beyond the actual vocabulary, which is indeed designed to shock, what is striking is that the song is constructed to avoid actual insult to religion.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 07:39:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Everyone is entitled to their opinions. To my ear - of a native Russian speaker and someone who lives in English-speaking environment for longer than I care to remember - this translation is a heavily sanitized version.
Derived from Gospod, meaning Lord, "gospodnaya," is an adjective. It could be translated as "religious", though I tried something different.
Sorry, this one is just pathetic.
by Sargon on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 08:30:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, this one is just pathetic.

You mean "gospodnaya" is not an adjective?

I accept that the language used is insulting to the hierarchy of the Orthodox church, and that religious people may find that it is insulting to their religious feelings, insofar as the make no separation between the church hierarchy and the religion.

However, I see it as legitimate propaganda technique, given that the Church is becoming increasingly active in politics, where (and here I cast aside all cultural relativism and speak sententiously in absolute terms) it has no business.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 09:51:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll just note that if they actually constructed their lyrics so as to not insult religious feelings then I'm revoking their punk license effective immediately.
by generic on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 10:22:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I saw the video and I found their music offensive. I'm not quite sure if that was because Pussy Riot is crap, or Punk Rock is crap.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 10:33:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Would sentencing them to two years of compulsory music lessons be an acceptable compromise for you?
by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 08:43:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wish Putin had thought of that.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 08:47:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Aesthetic totalitarianism.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 08:52:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A statement that "sran gospodnya" could be translated as something including so ordinary a word as "religious" is pathetic and reflects a total lack of feeling for Russian language.

On propaganda, opinions differ - I personally strongly object to strong obscenities being used in public discourse. Especially from porno artists who are trying to teach someone a "moral"lesson.

by Sargon on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 10:26:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Beyond the actual vocabulary, which is indeed designed to shock, what is striking is that the song is constructed to avoid actual insult to religion.  

I am sorry but this statement is BS...
And explanation of translator is even more then BS.
The only statement close to truth in this text is
It's interesting that these disgraceful sentiments would have represented, until recently, the official Communist party view of religion.

OK how is that that you are not linking them to a communist party then? They are sharing so many views including a bit of feminism because Communists loved to call girls comrades and to send them to hard work in factories and building sites ( but not on executives positions) to show them how they are equal to men.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 02:36:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OK how is that that you are not linking them to a communist party then?

Well, they are left-wing feminists. There is a certain amount of the communist legacy which is positive (anyone who claims to be on the left will recognise this), and much of this is being thrown out with the bathwater. The breaking of the power of the Church over the population is definitely in this category of positive legacy, in my view. I am for freedom of conscience, I am for restoration of historic churches, but I am definitely against according any temporal or political power whatsoever to any religious hierarchy, be it Orthodox, Catholic, Shiite or whatever.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 04:52:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am for freedom of conscience, I am for restoration of historic churches, but I am definitely against according any temporal or political power whatsoever to any religious hierarchy, be it Orthodox, Catholic, Shiite or whatever.

I do not know where did I say that I think different? This on the other hand does not mean that I would in any way (let alone using force as communists did) restrict people's right to be religious. Do you even know what communists did with churches? They confiscated a lot of them and made them places for live stoke (like cow or sheep sheds) or storages for ammunition...They used to ride priests like donkeys in front of whole village and stuff like that...no it is not positive in any way...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 05:26:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you even know what communists did with churches? They confiscated a lot of them and made them places for live stoke (like cow or sheep sheds) or storages for ammunition...

Confiscation of church property has been a constant of European civilizing efforts, from the Reformation, through the French Revolution, to Atatürk. As has the public humiliation of church officials.

Pretty? No.

Necessary? Usually.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 05:39:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Necessary? For what purpose?

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 06:58:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To break the pathological political and economic power of the church. When the church controls a quarter of all arable land and nearly a third of all economic activity, as was the case in some European countries prior to the reformation, then its economic power must be destroyed if you are to have any hope of having a genuinely secular society. And a secular society is a prerequisite for democracy and human rights.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 07:39:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You call the public humiliation of human beings necessary and part of civilising efforts. Wow. I am speechless.

Somehow I suspect you see it differently if your political enemies do it to you. So human rights depend on political expediency?

by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 08:50:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You call the public humiliation of human beings necessary and part of civilising efforts.

Yes.

I also call the beheading of the French nobility in 1793 and the execution of Nazi war criminals a necessary part of a civilizing effort. For that matter, I am not going to condemn Che Guevara and Fidel Castro for trying to assassinate Batista.

That doesn't mean I have to like political assassination or public humiliation of priests. I just means I like the alternatives less.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 09:58:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, Charlotte Corday was a heroine.
by IM on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 02:05:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Worse things happened in the French revolution. Overall, when an entire population is enslaved by religion, then there is no freedom of conscience. Today in Russia, there is relative freedom of conscience (atheists are allowed to be atheist, Orthodox are allowed to be Orthodox, not sure about Moslems). When the dominant Church starts interfering in politics, you can be sure that freedom of conscience is on the way out. This is what PR is protesting.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 05:43:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And when atheist start pushing their " religion" / ideology on others then same thing happens...freedom fly away...What a heck is concept of freedom in your mind?

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 07:01:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well obviously, the communists did not believe in freedom of conscience. They replaced one kind of slavery with another. That's part of the bathwater.

PR, however (to get back to your question) are not communists. They are left-wing feminists, and liberals with respect to freedom of conscience and other personal freedoms. Me too.

In the US, no president can be elected without professing to be a devout Christian. This is not the case in most parts of Europe. In Iran, you have to prove your Islamic credentials before they let you stand for election, and the official religion governs every aspect of society. I think Putin and the Orthodox church are tending towards this model. But even if they are only tending towards the American model, I think that's a bad thing. Nobody should use their religious beliefs to try to impose standards of behaviour on others.

That's my concept of freedom.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 07:13:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well do you really think that Putin (ex KGB agent) is a man of God? Religious Orthodox Christian? Huhh.I can't even imagine this in my wildest dream... He is using Church same way like others...Church is using him.

They are left-wing feminists, and liberals with respect to freedom of conscience and other personal freedoms. Me too.

Huh ...How contradictory this is...They/you do not respect my and personal freedom of many Russians and you are simply "demanding" that I/them have to think the same way you do about conscience...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 07:35:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Huh ...How contradictory this is...

Not at all contradictory. Mockery and derision are not repression, and do not at all challenge your freedom of conscience. Imprisoning people for mockery and derision is repression and does challenge their freedom of conscience.

Freedom to practice your religion does not mean freedom from criticism of your religion. Nor does it mean freedom to impose your religion on other people. On the contrary, freedom of conscience means that you don't get to impose your religious doctrines on the rest of society.

The rest of society may decide to shelter your religious doctrines from the harsher forms of dissent, but this is an extraordinary privilege, not a right, and the quid pro quo for that privilege is that the religious doctrine cannot be made the basis for a political platform. Once you make the religious doctrine the basis for a political platform, it is entitled to no more protection from mockery and derision than Tory Bliar or Bush the Lesser.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 07:47:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well you can criticize my Church as an institution and priests / as they are just men/ as much as you want but you cannot shit on my God / no matter how imaginary he may look to you/ and on my religious feelings. Mockery seems to be very weak word in this case.

freedom of conscience means that you don't get to impose your religious doctrines on the rest of society.

I may not be well informed but I do not see that anybody is IMPOSING his religious doctrine either here on ET or in Russia. In contrary, seems like some people here (and those girls in Russia) would like to IMPOSE their ideology on others. It is not critic...not even mockery...ans certainly does not look like freedom.


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 08:05:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I may not be well informed but I do not see that anybody is IMPOSING his religious doctrine either here on ET or in Russia.

Well, that's the misunderstanding : you've got it backwards. You seem to see the Pussy Riot political theatre as oppressing Orthodox Christians, and somehow lessening their freedom of conscience. But it's completely the opposite :  the ideology they would like to IMPOSE (or preserve) is freedom of conscience. They are protesting against the re-establishment of an Official Religion.

You may deny that this is happening, but at the same time, you don't claim to be well-informed... I would inform you of how things are changing in Russia, but you won't allow me to use "liberal" information sources!

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 08:23:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the ideology they would like to IMPOSE (or preserve) is freedom of conscience.  

This is where we differ a lot and to use same vocabulary as your "stars", for me it is shit. And in a great light of "liberalism" ( there is very few thingies more right of the center in today's politic) they seem to be paid for what they are doing...obviously by west...So it is not only shit it seems to be fake...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 08:34:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why should religious feelings be the only feelings enjoying special protection against offence?

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 08:35:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I do not think they should be the ONLY feelings...
But to answer your question maybe it is because Freedom of religion is one of fundamental human rights...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 08:41:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The freedom to practise religion is not the same as the freedom to silence others on the basis of your feelings being hurt.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 08:43:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because when someone uses offensive language (not just real critic) with obvious purpose to offend your feelings you can take him to court and have him responsible for it ( even if it is not about your religion at all). In this case you probably wanted to ask why state/government is protecting church instead church having them in court?
Probably because church is still considered an institution and police is obligated to protect it...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 08:51:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because when someone uses offensive language (not just real critic) with obvious purpose to offend your feelings you can take him to court and have him responsible for it ( even if it is not about your religion at all).

Not in any civilized jurisdiction.

Most civilized jurisdictions protect you from people spreading knowingly mendacious falsehoods about you. But this is a much, much higher standard than mere insult and provocation.

Probably because church is still considered an institution and police is obligated to protect it...

In other words, the church has no claim to special treatment compared to any other political institution, which you can freely mock or insult at your pleasure.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 09:09:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
compared to any other political institution, which you can freely mock or insult at your pleasure.

Huh...try...and tell us what happened...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 09:52:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not in any civilized jurisdiction.
-------------
I would not say that you are very well informed on this one...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 06:10:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He just has a high standard of "civilisation".

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 06:57:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Public humiliations?
by Katrin on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 02:19:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Who did PR humiliate apart from themselves?

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 02:37:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am referring to the "he" in your post, Jake. He called public humiliations "necessary" and advancing civilisation.
by Katrin on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 03:09:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He also called them regrettable.

But his point is that blasphemy laws are not civilised...

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 03:51:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's nonsense. Blasphemy laws are superfluous, but they don't fit in the paradigm "civilisation"
by Katrin on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 05:37:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Precisely.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 08:28:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because when someone uses offensive language (not just real critic) with obvious purpose to offend your feelings you can take him to court and have him responsible for it ( even if it is not about your religion at all).

I don't think that's the case always and everywhere. But what's revealing is that the protection of religious feelings is usually a separate section of legal codes from libellous or injurious statements.

So my feelings as a vegetarian are not explicitly protected, but religious feelings are.

We have had a case of someone feeling personally violated by political criticism of the Catholic Pope's statements on AIDS. I honestly don't think "protection of religious feelings from offence" should shield the Pope from public criticism.

Recently in Spain, a singer was prosecuted (and had to post bail to avoid pre-trial imprisonment) for making a home video 30 years ago in which he cooked a crucifix, after the video was used without his knowledge for a documentary about his life which was then aired on TV. That was a pretty ridiculous case, but also quite scary (you can have whackjobs force you to post €200,000 in bail for making a home video because it "offends religious feelings").

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 09:16:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(for the record: I'm not a vegetarian)

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 09:20:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well you can criticize my Church as an institution and priests / as they are just men/ as much as you want but you cannot shit on my God / no matter how imaginary he may look to you/ and on my religious feelings.

You don't get to tell your detractors which parts of your organization and creed they can and cannot criticize.

In contrary, seems like some people here (and those girls in Russia) would like to IMPOSE their ideology on others.

The loss of extraordinary privilege is not an imposition on you. It is a loss of your ability to impose on others.

The fact that religious people take such grave offense at revocation of their special, unearned privileges (in response to religious groups' violation of the quid pro quo implicit in such privilege) is an argument for not extending such privileges in the first place.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 09:09:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On the contrary, freedom of conscience means that you don't get to impose your religious doctrines on the rest of society.

And you not your anti-religious doctrines on the rest of society! Don't you forget that.

The rest of society may decide to shelter your religious doctrines from the harsher forms of dissent, but this is an extraordinary privilege, ...

Do you find it right or wrong to prosecute persons who drive a pig into a synagogue?

by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 08:57:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you find it right or wrong to prosecute persons who drive a pig into a synagogue?

On what charges?

Animal cruelty?
Endangering public health and safety?
Trespassing?

Offending people's feelings?
Offending people's religious feelings?

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 09:02:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Offending people's religious feelings
by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 09:12:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure. I think the synagogue would have a better chance of convincing me by claiming trespassing or health and safety issues. I'm sure places of worship can bar people from entering as if they were any other public or private place.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 09:19:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sure places of worship can bar people from entering as if they were any other public or private place

Oh yes, can they? Even a church in Russia, a band of kakophonous obscenity-spouting women? And if they refuse to go and have to be forcibly removed (you have seen the video)? Mind, I am not talking about the extent of the penalty or the Russian penal system in general. My point is that PR don't deserve support.

by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 09:51:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, they were successfully removed by security.They were not charged with resisting being removed, or with assulting the security guards. (Interestingly, according to Wikipedia The cathedral is not owned by the church, which rents out space on the premises)

They were then charged with hooliganism, whatever that means. "Religious hatred" was cited by the sentencing judge, presumably as an aggravating factor.

I mean, some of the quotes here are pretty ridiculous

Judge Marina Syrova said the women may be corrected "only with a real [prison] sentence."

...

Syrova's describing one of the defendants' "mixed psychological disorders," including, according to Time magazine correspondent Simon Shuster writing on Twitter, "individualism, stubborn expression of opinions, unwillingness to cede positions."

...

Judge Marina Syrova is currently reading evidence of people offended as Orthodox believers by the Feb. 21 performance by Pussy Riot in Christ the Savior Cathedral. As legal news agency Rapsi notes, in the testimony of all the victims, it is noted that the women were dressed in bright, provocative clothing, which is "prohibited in church." Rapsi also cited the testimony of one of the cathedral security guards, who said the Pussy Riot women during their performance yelled "Virgin Mary, become a feminist!"

Horrors!

In any case

On Thursday, Tolokonnikova had said she was "not bitter about being in jail". But, speaking through her lawyer on Twitter, she said: "Politically, I am furious."
She knows she broke the law. The question appears to be one of selective enforcement. Did the weight of the law fall on them like a ton of bricks because Putin personally decided he was offended by the video, as has been claimed?

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 10:13:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Archived Live Blog: Verdict to Be Announced in Pussy Riot Trial | News | The Moscow Times
Bloggers took particular note earlier of Syrova's describing one of the defendants' "mixed psychological disorders," including, according to Time magazine correspondent Simon Shuster writing on Twitter, "individualism, stubborn expression of opinions, unwillingness to cede positions."

(my bold)

By that standard, each one of us on ET is liable to two years in Russian jail. Describes us to a tee, don't you think?

by Bernard on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 04:24:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
women were dressed in bright, provocative clothing, which is "prohibited in church."
*
Horrors!
 

Look are you now going after dress code of various Churches? How about you protest then about Amish's dress code? Well, some Churches are more "conservative" and sticking more to old tradition and some are not. This is even case with some priests and not with some other at the same Church. I had trouble with some more traditional priests in my own Church about dress code and other things that I believe should modernize but all I can do is to express my feelings. There is no democracy at the church and we can like it or not.

Off course judges are not that much independent in Russia and of course they will be biased if you are going after institutions...and people in power. Of course one have all the rights to protest but not by offending other people not relevant to this problem.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 06:33:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Look are you now going after dress code of various Churches?

No, we're going after churches who presume that it's the courts' job to enforce their parochial dress codes.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 08:07:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We can like it or not but they can enforce their dress code when one enter their church. I personally do not like it but...What exactly can I do if I want to enter some fancy restaurant in my swimming suit or shorts and they do not allow me to enter?

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 05:59:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How often does it need to be spelled out for you: Political protests get to violate private property privileges in ways you don't get to do if you're just being a dick.

If the restaurant is part of a conglomerate which holds a publishing house that publishes swimsuit magazines, and you protest the exploitative nature of such magazines by staging a swimsuit protest at the restaurant, then you are well within the norms of ordinary political discourse. The fact that the restaurant is "private property" or has a dress code has fuck all to do with it. You don't get to hide despicable political views or actions from criticism simply by paying for a cordon of "private property" around your despicable views or actions.

Because that leads to a version of "democracy" where wealthy wankers can bribe their way out of criticism.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 06:55:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
>Political protests get to violate private property privileges in ways you don't get to do if you're just being a dick.<

Legally speaking, no. Not at all.

by IM on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 07:01:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Inasmuch as the law is that which is written on paper, you're right.

Inasmuch as the law is that which is actually enforced in really existing jurisprudence, you're wrong.

(Of course, this also has a layer of class privilege, because the people who commit political crimes tend to be higher class than the average criminal brought to trial.)

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 07:15:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh yes, can they? Even a church in Russia, a band of kakophonous obscenity-spouting women? And if they refuse to go and have to be forcibly removed (you have seen the video)?

Usually, yes. But not if the church wants to use it as a major tourist attraction, which happens to hold services once in a while. And not if church officials have used that particular church to peddle partisan political propaganda.

Mind, I am not talking about the extent of the penalty or the Russian penal system in general. My point is that PR don't deserve support.

I think anybody who receives a sentence which is clearly unreasonably harsh deserves support. You don't?

Objecting to a month-long prison term or a hundred thousand €-Mark fine for littering on the street does not imply support for littering on the street.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 10:13:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A campaign for an amnesty or so would have my support, but not a campaign saying that this group was perfectly within their rights.
by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 03:22:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OK so this is Jake's theme, it isn't mine.  Ever since you revealed your own shady past as a wannabe theological terrorist, I have been trying to engage you on the subject of guerilla political activism as a means of shifting people's attitudes. And you have been sidestepping, ignoring my questions, refusing to respond.

You have admitted that it is not illegitimate in all cases to intervene in a sacred place, to interrupt a religious ceremony, to humiliate people and insult their religious sentiments, in order to challenge them to change their attitudes and to attempt to shift the balance of power.

You have even acknowledged that challenging the alliance between Putin and the Orthodox hierarchy is a legitimate political stance (I'm not sure you agree with their challenge however).

You have asserted that politically, PR's stunt was ineffective. I have presented material that tends to demonstrate otherwise; you have ignored it, and you have not presented any sources to back your own assertion (I can help : look here, or here, ou here. This is the level of information that most Russians are likely to have about PR : all those who get their news from state TV, for example.)

You have demonstrated that special protection for religion (religious places and the sentiment of worshippers, in particular) is very important to you.  I remind you that basic human rights are not respected in Russia : for example the right to a fair trial; the right to organize politically without persecution; the right to organise demonstrations, and many other rights that we in the west have acquired, and which require constant vigilance to defend.

Don't you have the feeling you're on the wrong team?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 03:33:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The actions I took part in were clearly inside the church. Many of the participants were gay and feminist theology students and all of us had the aim to move the church we identified with (in varying degrees) towards progress. That meant to attack some well organised reactionaries within that same church. I wouldn't have dreamt of doing the same in a Catholic church, because that would be foreign territory for me.

You can't compare that to the action of a group that most emphatically does not belong to the church they try to influence (I expect applause for the diplomatic wording here) and worse, are stooges of an enemy country (Btw, what of Clinton's political aims do you think I would support?!)

I have seen your assertions that PR was effective. Western media tend to interview passers-by in front of the Moscow office of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung who are just leaving the building. Don't get too excited about the results. The overwhelming majority of Russians does not live in Moscow or St. Petersburg.

Religious communities must be allowed to function in their own system of values and norms. It's not necessary that people outside a particular religion share or even understand the norms, but religious communities can demand that their norms are respected, so that they have their own religious sphere. In the political sphere a base in religion is as valid as any other base of values.

I know that basic human rights aren't respected in Russia. You seem to think that forcing the Orthodox Church to tolerate the antics of some atheists emitting obscenities in one of their churches changes that. Come off it.

No, I am definitely not on the wrong team.

by Katrin on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 04:22:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The actions I took part in were clearly inside the church.

Indeed, PR were not insiders. But they were not confronting the internal functioning of the church (which, arguably, would have been illegitimate interference) : they were confronting it as a political force. That is why their action is valid. It seems that you demand special religious protection for the political action of the church, against its political adversaries.

and worse, are stooges of an enemy country

Seriously, I want to see your sources on this. Unqualified controversial assertions get disregarded here.

I'm not categorically saying they aren't. I just want to see some evidence.

Religious communities must be allowed to function in their own system of values and norms.

So you're OK with Moslem men regulating the access of their women (wives and daughters) to the outside world? You are OK with excision as a religious rite? Buggering choir boys? I'm sure that, in practice, you accept that secular society has a right to intervene. But this is a complete side-issue with respect to PR, by the way. PR are protesting the intervention of the Orthodox hierarchy in the  political sphere. It's not even about whether Orthodox men are allowed to beat their wives or not (this may be a protected religious practice too?)

In the political sphere a base in religion is as valid as any other base of values.

So you're OK with the political set-up in Iran?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 04:49:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Look up the think tanks that support and fund PR, if Clinton's words aren't enough for you. Here's a list: http://www.demdigest.net/blog/2012/08/pussy-riots-stunning-victory-over-kremlin/

So you're OK with ...

Sigh. Can you stop putting words in my mouth? What has the behaviour you describe to do with values and norms in any religion?

So you're OK with the political set-up in Iran?

And where did I say that? Why are you distorting my position? Are you getting hysterical because I openly say that I derive fundamental values I adhere to from religion? Running out of arguments, perhaps?

by Katrin on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 06:17:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This only shows that the Helsinki group Moscow and the for human rights group are supported. But they only comment now on the trial. Like we do.

Voina, voina (Moscow group) and pussy riot have so far done their direct actions on their own, as far as we know.

by IM on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 06:25:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you running out of excuses to avoid answering my questions?

What has the behaviour you describe to do with values and norms in any religion?

These activities and behaviours are routinely defended as being prescribed by religion. Why do you have trouble acknowledging this? Ever heard of a burqa?

Religious communities must be allowed to function in their own system of values and norms.

In the political sphere a base in religion is as valid as any other base of values.

I'm trying to establish whether, in your system of values, it is ever possible to place any limits at all on the autonomy of religious communities. Buggering choirboys has been within the norms of the Catholic community for centuries, for example. And whether it is ever legitimate to restrict the political activities of religious groups. Because if the answer to the second question is no, then this logically leads to religious totalitarianism in the majority of cases (not only in Iran, but in much of the Arab world, deviation from the religious norms of the majority religion are punished, irrespective of the beliefs of the offender).

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 07:36:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Democracy Digest » Pussy Riot's `stunning victory' over Kremlin
The Moscow Helsinki Group and For Human Rights are supported by the National Endowment for Democracy, the Washington-based democracy assistance group.

As IM notes, you'll have to do better than that.

Some human rights groups (that you don't approve of, apparently) support PR. That is something that PR has no control over, as far as I can see; and if there's a money connection, it isn't mentioned in the article.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 07:39:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Being supported by Washington (group) tells it all...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 07:53:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Madonna likes them... Does this prove that Pussy Riot likes Madonna's music?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 07:54:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wouldn't have dreamt of doing the same in a Catholic church, because that would be foreign territory for me.

In other words, direct action against the Catholic Church's repression of human rights, spread of HIV/AIDS denial and general bigotry is off-limits to me because I am not and never have been a member?

I don't accept that. If the Church wants to shelter bigots, crackpots or rapists, it opens itself to the full spectrum of direct action tactics, by anybody and everybody.

If the Catholic laity does not like that, it can stop giving money and man-hours to bigots, charlatans, quacks and rapists. Which, as it happens, a lot of the Catholic laity is doing these days.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 07:04:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The direct action would have to be different: you are not part of a discourse inside that church. You come from the outside. That's legitimate, but it is not the same, and needs different sorts of direct action.

If the Catholic laity does not like that, it can stop...

This sounds as if you are aware that the action you have in mind does not only attack your target, but lay church members as well, as a kind of hostages or collateral damage. You are attacking the church, not some behaviour you have an issue with.

by Katrin on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 07:39:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's legitimate, but it is not the same, and needs different sorts of direct action.

<crumble>

That's the sound of your assertion of the illegitimacy of PR's action turning into dust.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 07:50:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The direct action would have to be different: you are not part of a discourse inside that church. You come from the outside. That's legitimate, but it is not the same, and needs different sorts of direct action.

Possibly. Probably, even. But totally beside the point.

If the Catholic laity does not like that, it can stop...

This sounds as if you are aware that the action you have in mind does not only attack your target, but lay church members as well, as a kind of hostages or collateral damage. You are attacking the church, not some behaviour you have an issue with.

I attack the organization which takes actions I have issue with. For the same reason I protest at Shell's gas stations, not at Shell's drilling platforms or at Shell's pipelines in Nigeria.

I don't have any particular objection to Shell selling petroleum distillates. I object to them dumping platforms and starting wars. By your standard for legitimate protest against a transnational corporation or religious group, I should direct my activism exclusively against those parts of the operation I dislike. Because customers who just want to buy gasoline and a hot dog might be inconvenienced or offended.

You're holding activism against a pathological religious organization to a standard that you do not hold attacks against a pathological transnational corporation to. And I'm not buying that distinction.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 07:59:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
More precisely: violating rules that have no base other than religion
by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 09:14:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How is religion different from any other ideology?

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 09:21:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Basically it is a way of defining where we are, and how we relate to other creatures. And I treat all attempts to do that defining, including the ones that don't need a deity, equally. Can you do the same? I have no sympathies at all for people who want to replace compulsory religion by compulsory atheism.
by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 10:34:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have no sympathies at all for people who want to replace compulsory religion by compulsory atheism.  

Bravo! That was my point...I used to live and I grew up in "compulsory" atheism and I do not like it one bit.
I do not understand how some people here can even imagine democracy with compulsory atheism? Democracy ( not being perfect at all) is about choice...Using stand of "freedom of consciousness" to achieve what? "Dictatorship of the majority" ? I already lived in " dictatorship of proletariat" and tank you very much I wouldn't like to experience more of dictatorships in my life.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 06:48:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 08:08:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jake :
How is religion different from any other ideology?

Katrin:
And I treat all attempts to do that defining, including the ones that don't need a deity, equally. Can you do the same?

That's precisely what Jake is advocating : no special protection for religious ideology.

(And can you give me a list of people here who are advocating compulsory atheism?)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 03:14:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"(And can you give me a list of people here who are advocating compulsory atheism?)"

Several of you argue that religion has no place in the political sphere. Of course political demands can be rooted in one's religion. What is wrong in emphasising that?

by Katrin on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 03:33:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Many of us believe that religion is exclusively a private matter. This means that explicit reference to religion in public affairs is always suspect, and must be subject to regulation, because it is almost always coercitive in nature.

This is not "compulsory atheism". This is "what goes on inside your own head is your own business".

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 03:54:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Many of us believe that religion is exclusively a private matter. This means that explicit reference to religion in public affairs is always suspect, and must be subject to regulation, because it is almost always coercitive in naturepractice.

FIFY.

But this guy said it better than I could:

Guard against those men who make a great noise about religion in choosing representatives. It is electioneering intrigue. If they knew the nature and worth of religion, they would not debauch it to such shameful purposes. If pure religion is the criterion to denominate candidates, those who make a noise about it must be rejected; for their wrangle about it proves that they are void of it. Let honesty, talents and quick dispatch characterize the men of your choice.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 07:31:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This means that explicit reference to religion in public affairs is always suspect, and must be subject to regulation,

So certain sub-set of speech is suspect and should be regulated? that isn't a good idea, generally.

by IM on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 09:34:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just because it's suspect doesn't mean it's subject to regulation.

Or maybe it does. Like advertising is subject to regulation and misleading or mendacious advertising can make you liable to administrative, civil or even criminal penalties.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 10:16:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Several of you argue that religion has no place in the political sphere.

You need to name names, here.

Of course political demands can be rooted in one's religion. What is wrong in emphasising that?

Nothing, in principle. As long as you don't claim any special treatment for your religious beliefs that is not extended to, say, Randroids. Or to the Marxian doctrine of inevitable proletarian revolution. Or to collectors of horse porn.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 07:31:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... unless you boss is a fundagelical.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 07:32:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"You need to name names, here"

You, strongly. Eurogreen and Migeru, partly.

Your link may be work-safe, but is silly. If you want religion kept away from children like horse-porn, you would have to prove it is damaging for children. Actually it seems to be you who claims special repressive treatment for religious beliefs, the speciality being repression.    

by Katrin on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 07:54:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then you should argue against what we are actually saying, rather than your ... extrapolation of it. This is a good starting point :

eurogreen:

explicit reference to religion in public affairs is always suspect, and must be subject to regulation

If you assert that it should never be subject to regulation, then you have to address the question of how you are going to prevent oppression of minorities, religious or not, by a majority religion.

If, on the contrary, you agree that some regulation is necessary, then we can simply discuss where to set the bar.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 08:01:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I assert that reference to religion in public affairs is as suspect as reference to atheism in public affairs! How am I to interpret your statement other than that you suspect religion, but not atheism?
by Katrin on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 09:09:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And how frequently do you see reference to atheism? As opposed to secularism (which is not the same, the inability of some fundies' to tell the difference notwithstanding).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 09:31:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FWIW I never argue politics on the basis of atheism, and I think Richard Dawkins is being a fool, except when it comes to argue the point that non-religionists are people, too, and capable of moral behaviour, just like religionists, and should enjoy freedom of conscience.

You don't hear many atheists claiming the monopoly of morality as you hear religionists claiming that without religion humans would descend into sociopathy.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 09:32:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dawkins has three distinct projects, which he tends to fail to distinguish between.

One is debunking religious apologetics. Which he does very well. Though perhaps that is mostly because it's a little like hunting dairy cows with a high-powered rifle and scope.

Another is organizing an Atheist political community. This has been moderately effective, and it is absolutely necessary in places like the US, where attempts are regularly made, and occasionally meet with success, to relegate non-Christians to second class citizens. In France or Denmark, it's a distraction at best, and a nuisance at worst. But Dawkins is an Anglophone, so I find it hard to blame him for doing Anglophone politics.

The third is making his own apologetics for Atheism. Which are embarrassingly, nay insultingly, bad. Godawful, even.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 09:43:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You don't hear many atheists claiming the monopoly of morality as you hear religionists claiming that without religion humans would descend into sociopathy

Claiming that the behaviour is less typical for atheists than for religionists? Sure of that?

by Katrin on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 09:45:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You, strongly.

You need to prove that. With quotes.

What I have said, repeatedly is that IF religious groups want to make their religious beliefs the basis of political activism, THEN they have to submit to the full range of criticism which can be leveled against any political group.

You don't get to preach politics in church and then piss and moan about people who attack your religion.

Your link may be work-safe, but is silly. If you want religion kept away from children like horse-porn, you would have to prove it is damaging for children.

The context of that link is the American political system, in which people demand the privilege of imposing religion on other people's children.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 08:10:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"What I have said, repeatedly is that IF religious groups want to make their religious beliefs the basis of political activism, THEN they have to submit to the full range of criticism which can be leveled against any political group"

In combination with your view that religious communities lose the right to their buildings then, because these morph into being public buildings if the community or any part of it issues a political statement, mind.
And yes, I have a quote for that: "As it is, they performed a stunt in a public building, at a time when it was not being used. This is not equivalent to staging a protest at a party headquarter. It is not even equivalent to staging a protest at the city hall. It is closer to equivalent to staging a protest in the square in front of the city hall."

by Katrin on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 09:08:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In combination with your view that religious communities lose the right to their buildings then, because these morph into being public buildings if the community or any part of it issues a political statement, mind.

But of course that's not what I said.

What I said was that high-profile buildings, such as historical cathedrals, become part of the public space when high-profile representatives of the church, such as the pope or patriarch, make political endorsements. Just like churches that widely advertise that they invite bigots to speak become part of the public sphere.

You can't take steps to insinuate yourself into public life and then claim to be an exclusive, private gathering once public life takes you up on that attempt.

A random crackpot on the internet who claims divine endorsement for his crackpottery does not open every parish church to protest, for the same reason that bin Laden does not open every mosque to protests of his actions: They have no claim to speak for the organization. But the patriarch is not some random crackpot typing away in his mom's basement. Any reasonable observer will assume that he speaks for the Orthodox Church unless either he or the Church takes obvious steps to dispel that notion. Because, well, that's what it says on his job description.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 09:29:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My religion says I can't work more than three days a week. Is it religious discrimination to force me to work on Mondays if I want a job?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 09:39:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why should you be better off than adherents of other religions? Are you telling me that in Denmark (or elsewhere) people are entitled to a job that respects which day of the week they want have free?
by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 10:41:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
People usually will accommodate others' religious observances. But the question Jake is posing whether you're entitled to sue an employer for discrimination (or for hurting your religious feelings) for not making accommodations for your particular religion's holy days.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 10:47:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Employers have to accommodate their employees wishes if reasonably possible, and religious holidays are on the list of priorities. So are voluntary fire fighters or family duties, at least ideally. If Jake wants to pray on Mondays or you want to play in the football club that happens to meet every Thursday, obviously both is equally important, and what is wrong with that?
by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 03:31:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nothing's wrong with that, and I'll have the dude who wants to pray on Mondays' back, so long as the dude who wants to pray on Mondays has my back when I want to play chess on Thursdays.

But people who claim the right to pray on Mondays and then just shrug when I want to play chess on Thursdays, they really piss me off.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 03:48:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Intimidation and unlawful threats, with a side order of trespassing and disturbing the peace.

Context matters here. Neo-Nazis throwing a pig into a synagogue in Düsseldorf is intimidation and threats. Human rights activists throwing a pig into a synagogue in Tel Aviv is political activism. Because in the one case, Judaism is a disfavored minority with a history of being repressed. While in the other case, Judaism is a favored majority (if only barely) with a history of oppression.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 09:25:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You are avoiding the point. I am not asking about the context. I am asking if the law reflects that the people who run the religious building have special rules, or is putting a pig into a synagogue the same as putting a cat there?
by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 10:46:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is bringing a pig into a synagogue the same as bringing an animal in front of someone with a phobia of the animal?

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 10:51:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are people entitled to find one animal more disgusting than another without having their reasons examined by Jake or a committee of atheists or Peta?
by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 11:01:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But that doesn't make it more of a crime.

However, if you know a particular person, through psychological disorder or through religious belief, is unsettled by a certain animal and you deliberately bring it in front of them to cause them distress, that probably qualifies as intent to harm in legal terms.

But note I am putting psychological phobias and religious belief in the same category. Because you can cause a phobia in someone by indoctrination, religious or otherwise, or conditioning, or torture.

Oh, dear, did I just liken religious teaching to conditioning or brainwashing?

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 11:08:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I think you did. How short-sighted of you! I don't find that the demand to avoid cruelty of animals and to consider what one keeps animals for the same as conditioning or brainwashing. A ritual to remind people of this is quite in order too.
by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 11:52:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is that why the pig in the synagogue is an issue? I think not.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 11:54:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, that is the background. A chicken while alive gives eggs, and then you can butcher it for the meat too. A cow while alive gives milk... Only the pig is of no use while alive.
by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 11:58:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought it was about trichinosis and porcine fever.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 11:59:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
AFAIK, the text itself claims that it's because pigs have the wrong number of toes. Or something like that. I fell asleep halfway through Genesis from the horribly tedious writing style.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 12:05:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The list of taboos is a list of things crossing their definition boundaires, similar to the Minotaur in Greek mythology or well, a toiletbowl shaped serving plate in modern context. Would you eat out of a toilet bowl if it has never been used as such? Taboos are interesting as they say something about how we think.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 02:34:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So there's a thin line between taboo and humour.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 02:40:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are people entitled to claim fear of gays as an extenuating circumstance in hate crimes? If they claim that their fear of gay is the result of religious indoctrination, does it make it more acceptable? Or is it unacceptable to find one person more disgusting than another and act accordingly?

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 11:11:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why are you bringing up hate crimes here?

by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 11:55:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because you're arguing for one law for people who claim to be offended on religious grounds and another law for every other puke who claims to be offended for whatever reason.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 12:01:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Spontaneously" thinking of religious justifications for bullshit, or bullshit justifications for finding stuff "disgusting". And of said bullshit being protected because otherwise "feelings are hurt".

Now, are certain religious people justified in shunning women at certain times of the month (or all the time) for being religiously "unclean"? Is calling them on the bullshit a breach of their right not to have their religious "feelings" "offended"?

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 12:04:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I see your straw bear and raise you a Struwwelpeter!



If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 12:06:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is... subtly horrifying.

I'll forward it to a guy I know who likes playing fairies.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 12:12:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Struwwelpeter, also on Project Gutenberg (and in German)!

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 12:14:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the blackest of black pedagogics. Keep you finger-nails tidy or your fingers will be cut off.
by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 12:27:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a castration fantasy.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 03:22:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Very appropriate for a 3-year old.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 06:59:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't know why Mig brought it up here, though.
by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 12:28:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Struw sounds like straw to me. Bad language joke.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 12:30:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought it was just a clever trick to fix the margins...

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 12:32:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
struwwelig
Rechtschreibung Worttrennung: struwwelig Adjektiv Bedeutung strubbelig 5 Synonyme zu struwwelig strubbelig , struppig , unfrisiert , ungekämmt , zerzaust Aussprache Betonung: strụwwelig
http://www.duden.de/suchen/dudenonline/strubbelig
by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 12:37:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Trying to scare the discussion off into a new diary?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 03:24:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I did read or rather looked at one of the stories as a child and was horrified for years. Couldn't look at that story of Struwelpeter.
by IM on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 02:55:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The most remarkable thing about this is that the author (in the mid-1800s) thought this was all wholesome material for the moral education of his child and for teaching him to read. It's absolutely flabbergasting.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 03:08:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And the author was of course - a liberal! Now we are back on topic.

More astonishing: It is still used as a children book

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinrich_Hoffmann_(author)

"One of the short stories contained within Der Struwwelpeter, "Die Geschichte vom Daumenlutscher" or "The Story of Little Suck-a-Thumb" is the loose basis for the song "Scissor Man" by the British band XTC. The story involves a little boy whose punishment for sucking his thumbs is getting them cut off by the tailor. The song was more popularly covered by Primus."

And that was the story that scared me.

We shouldn't talk about Pussy Riot, we should talk about how XTC and Primus tried to violate my feelings.

by IM on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 02:18:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My mother told me the stories without the pictures, and that was bad enough.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 03:25:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
See also:

Edward Gorey's Gashlycrumb Tinies

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 04:51:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, because a cat would lack political content. You can't excise the context from political activism and consider it in some abstract vacuum. That leads to silly shit, like Gandhi claiming that anti-Nazis should have practiced only non-violent resistance.

A graffiti saying "Kilroy was here" on the ECB building is vandalism. A graffiti saying "Brünning was here" on the ECB building is a political statement.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 11:00:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A pig lacks political content too, but it has a religious significance.
by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 11:07:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When religion presumes to speak on political subjects, the pig's religious significance becomes political significance.

That's why it's a hate crime in Nürnberg and political activism in Jerusalem.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 11:20:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
JakeS:
like Gandhi claiming that anti-Nazis should have practiced only non-violent resistance.

[Source needed]

No, not for the discussion at hand, but if anyone has one I would be interested. I have seen this claim from time to tiem, but never a source (and I have been looking).

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 02:22:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Political Compass site, who are generally reliable in their facts, source the quote

The Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher's knife. They should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs?

to Gandhi, by way of his biographer Louis Fisher.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 03:43:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.gandhiserve.org/e/information/writings_online/articles/gandhi_jews_palestine.htm

(I've not read all of it. Martin Buber's letter is interesting.)

by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 03:44:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And you not your anti-religious doctrines on the rest of society! Don't you forget that.

Demanding that religion either remains non-partisan or submits to the same rules of public discourse that govern every other partisan political organization hardly strikes me as an imposition of anti-religious doctrine.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 09:43:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So according to you churches in Bishop Tutu's see are no longer entitled to protection after his political statement.
by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 10:48:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Without seeing the concrete statement, I can't tell whether he spoke in his capacity of bishop and couched the refusal in religious terms, or in his capacity of human rights activist and couched it in secular terms.

But ultimately, yes: He is no longer entitled to special protection from criticism of his religious views, because he uses those religious views as a justification for political action.

You seem to think that removal of the special, unearned respect accorded religious views is some sort of grave loss of liberty. It's not. It's society saying that if you want to argue politics like a grown-up, the rhetorical training wheels have to come off.

And I don't think Desmond Tutu is particularly afraid of having his views subjected to the ordinary criticism that everyone else has to live with. Nor that he would find it any grave imposition on his rights.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 11:13:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not about Tutu's rights, it's about the church's rights.
by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 11:36:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If the church believes, on balance, that Tutu is a net liability, then they should distance themselves from his political activism.

If they don't, then they are complicit, and fair game for critics of that activism.

Now, this particular activism is something that all decent people should be proud to be complicit in, but that doesn't make it not-politics, nor that those who endorse it through their actions or inaction don't open themselves to criticism (such as it is and what there is of it).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 11:42:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If militarists want to target a bishop because of his promotion of peace, I'm pretty sure the ordinary laws of South Africa will suffice to protect him in any required manner, without having to invoke any religious arguments. This was not always the case.

In any case, it's perfectly clear to me that he was speaking as a noted peace activist rather than as a bishop. He came to prominence in the 1970s because being a bishop gave him a pulpit (!) from which to make political pronouncements. That's because he was living under a regime that denied human rights, but respected special religious privilege (this often goes together).

I can say that the love I have felt for Tutu since I first saw him speak in the late 70s has no religious dimension. But I'm glad he has a day job that enables him to be politically active.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 11:45:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He is using Church same way like others...Church is using him.

well, exactly! And Pussy Riot are explicitly calling them hypocrites in their text :

Patriarch Gundy believes in Putin.

Better believe in God, you bitch!

So we're all on the same page now!

But it's always been like this, since at least the Dark Ages : the men of power and the men of religion strike pragmatic alliances to keep the people enslaved. It doesn't change anything if they are actually atheists.

you are simply "demanding" that I/them have to think the same way you do about conscience...

Damn right I'm demanding it! Freedom of conscience is not negotiable. A country which doesn't have it is a backward country (most of the moslem world, for example). A country which in danger of losing it, like Russia... well, that's what this whole fuss is about.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 08:14:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Damn right I'm demanding it!Freedom of conscience is not negotiable

Oh yeahh now I understand you want to change whole world in an image "of yours"...because you only know what freedom ( of conscience and otherwise) looks like. You want to be God himself...Great!

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 08:21:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm pretty sure that we can agree on a definition of freedom of conscience. It's not really a very controversial concept.

I have freedom of conscience in France. You have freedom of conscience in Australia. Iranians do not have freedom of conscience. North Koreans do not have freedom of conscience.

In various other countries, the situation is more complicated. We appear to disagree about the situation in Russia, but not about the concept itself.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 09:00:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have freedom of conscience in France.

In practice most people don't, because opinions are shaped by the media and by peer groups (including churches and corporations) and every culture has its blind spots.

I'm not sure what a culture with true freedom of thought looks like. I'm not convinced we've ever had one.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 09:12:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Speaking of France : The only exception to freedom of conscience, commonly accepted but with limits, is the right of parents to indoctrinate their children. The existence of closed communities where individuals do not have freedom of conscience is actively repressed (anti-sect legislation). The right asserted by certain Moslem men to exclude their wives and daughters from society is a subject for political and social debate, because it denies freedom of conscience.

Other than that, every person has the right to associate with whomever or whatever they wish. Football clubs, churches, brands, news media, whatever. No society is perfect, but to imply that no country is any good in this respect and that therefore "slight" differences are no big deal is to do a grave disservice to the notion of freedom of conscience.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 09:46:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
every person has the right to associate with whomever or whatever they wish. Football clubs, churches, brands, news media, whatever.  

I am under impression that this is the case in Russia today too...otherwise PR , War and similar wouldn't exist in Russia.
It is different story how much of the power and influence any of those associations actually have in different countries...
And as TBG said we are not even aware how much our mind and opinions are formed through media/propaganda /education etc.
 

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 10:08:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am under impression that this is the case in Russia today too...

Well, in that case you should ask the people who try to form political parties or hold street demonstrations in Russia. Your impression might change...

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 11:11:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As far as I can see there are political parties in Russia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_parties_in_Russia
Last years there were only 7 parties in Russia and every new attempt to register new independent party was blocked, but after 2011-2012 Russian protests the law was changed and the number of registered parties quickly increased to more than 35 on August 2012, about 200 parties are in creation stage now.

I am not saying it is ever easy job to make multiparty system after so many decades of one party system and I am not against the protests (I protested too) but there are so many different ways to protest and to be activist it is only that I don't like the one PR is using.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 06:01:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can understand that Christians are afraid about losing the freedom of religion that they have acquired since the fall of the eastern bloc. This explains your fear (and Katrin's apparently).

But you should understand that Russians do not have the other aspects of freedom of conscience that we do : forming political parties, demonstrating, freedom from arbitrary harassment and arrest, a fair justice system etc. And now non-Christians can legitimately fear the loss of other freedoms : a return to a pre-Revolution time where the Orthodox patriarch reigns like an ayatollah.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 03:41:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No. I am afraid of something else: a liberal image of humanity. The demand that humans have to be useful or else. You can't imagine how much that scares me.  

What is your image of humanity, and where do you derive that from?

by Katrin on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 04:31:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, to avoid having to publish a novel-length definition of what I believe, here's a starting point : the Amsterdam Declaration.

Humanism is my basic definition of what I believe. I don't think that's what you're frightened of (unless you've misunderstood humanism badly). I can't really grasp what current of thought you're referring to.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 04:54:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think Katrin means the commodification of humans as is common in liberal economic thought. Human resources and all that.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 05:33:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Right
by Katrin on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 06:20:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, my point in asking you where you derive your values from was something else: We all have some values and these have a source. The unpleasant portion of secularists does not accept religion as a source of values that lead to political demands.
by Katrin on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 06:32:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, secularists realise that using religion as a justification for political demands is meaningless because so many religionists disagree with each other so completely about ethical fundamentals.

I'd guess we agree with your values here. But we disagree - as you do - with the values of other religionists.

So what are religious values, exactly? Which values and ethics are religious, and which aren't?

Claiming that your values are religious while the other person's aren't is a futile exercise, because they'll just turn around and say the same about you.

All religionists believe their values are correct because they're religious and they somehow personally know what god wants.

But get a room full of them together and fights will break out. (Often literally.)

This makes the whole business a little unlikely.

As for politics - claiming to be speaking for god is a great tool for persuasive rhetoric, but usually questionable as a matter of fact.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 06:43:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All religionists believe their values are correct because they're religious and they somehow personally know what god wants.  

I wouldn't think so...they know what they want...the same way atheists know what's the best for the world...things that they want.

But get a room full of them together and fights will break out. (Often literally.)

Same with atheists...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 06:50:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but atheists will argue a point by - er - arguing a point. Like we do on here.

Religionists say 'I want what god wants and therefore it should happen, just because.'

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 06:55:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Again I disagree. Why? Because religious people are not ( all, as you assume) brainwashed by "God's will"...they simply agree with moral stand that Bible "recommend".
Also (some) atheist may be very well brainwashed by propaganda, education etc.
Point? What do you mean by point in the area of moral?

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 07:42:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, when arguing a point, it sometimes happens that I see merit in the argument of the other party, and my own views end up changing. Or else we end up finding some compromise that we both can agree with.

This is fundamentally impossible when your arguments are dictated by God : you're not allowed to change your views, and you're not allowed to compromise.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 07:53:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is fundamentally impossible when your arguments are dictated by God : you're not allowed to change your views, and you're not allowed to compromise.  

I wouldn't say so. We can witness how some of the churches modernize their views according to times all tho fundamentals are just that- fundamentals and are not going to change...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 08:01:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, when religiously-inspired people compromise, change their views, modernise... it's generally because they are not in a position of strength. When they are in power, they see no need to modernise their views. The Ayatollahs in Iran are an example.

The moral of the story : ok, you can discuss things with religiously-inspired people... just don't let them take power.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 08:17:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do we actually know how many leaders worldwide are actually "religiously inspired people"? In this country I have seen both right and left leaders being very religious and not hiding it at all...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 08:56:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In certain countries, such as the US, it is almost impossible to be successful politically without at least pretending to be "religiously inspired", as standard political discourse if full of religious language. In France it is highly unusual for politicians to talk about their religion in political statements - Sarkozy at the very least attempted to change that trend, though it's too early to know if he succeeded.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 09:05:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Again I disagree. Why? Because religious people are not ( all, as you assume) brainwashed by "God's will"...they simply agree with moral stand that Bible "recommend".

The use of scare quotes around "recommend" is rather telling.

Point? What do you mean by point in the area of moral?

Thank you for making my point for me.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 08:01:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I said recommend because obviously religious people are not saints automatically...
I prefer to think that those "recommendation" may help me to realize my mistakes...as opposed to atheist who think of themselves I suppose as saints...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 08:10:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Absolute rubbish. Atheists will whine that it's unfair to found a point on Christian (or another religion's) values. And then they will become nasty and demand one hides where one's values come from.

I assume you largely share my view that the respect for human life is not subject for that life's economic usefulness. We both fight against attempts to exclude the disabled, the old, whoever, from financial support and active participation in society. My respect for human life derives from religion. I don't know where yours comes from, but I don't know why one approach should have less value than the other.

by Katrin on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 08:07:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Absolute rubbish. Atheists will whine that it's unfair to found a point on Christian (or another religion's) values.

The atheists you hang out with must be of a lower quality than the atheists I hang out with.

Because the atheists I hang out with will point out that a point founded on religious grounds is not convincing to anybody who doesn't share your particular parochial perspective, and therefore is not particularly relevant to any discussion of politics in which they participate. Since you don't get to demand that anybody accords your particular parochial perspective any respect that it does not earn on its merits.

Which leads to a similar conclusion, of course, but for vastly different reasons.

I assume you largely share my view that the respect for human life is not subject for that life's economic usefulness. We both fight against attempts to exclude the disabled, the old, whoever, from financial support and active participation in society. My respect for human life derives from religion. I don't know where yours comes from, but I don't know why one approach should have less value than the other.

Precisely.

Conversely, I don't see why your religiously based view should be insulated from the sort of criticism that any other political view may be subjected to.

Because that's what we're talking about here: You're protesting a direct action against the Orthodox Church that you would not have protested if it had been carried out at, say, the Shell or Newscorp headquarters.

And I don't buy that distinction.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 08:25:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interestingly enough, your religious-inspired values appear to be sufficiently compatible with those of secular humanists to make discussion possible.

Oddly, you seem to imply or presume that this is the general case for religious-inspired political activists. Would that it were so!

What about the USA? Russia? Iran?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 08:48:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
what about MLK? the society of friends?

we know from historical experience that religion can take one to many different places. We also know from historical experience that people who adhere to some religion or other are still entirely competent to compromise.

by IM on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 09:44:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Religion is an ideology like any other. Which is rather the point.

Well, not like any other. Religions tend to be totalizing ideologies, claiming to encompass everything from cosmology to anthropology to politics to ethics. Most political ideologies just claim to concern themselves with the good society.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 10:14:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The thing is your values are your values. You're calling them religious, but in fact there is demonstrably no such thing as 'religious values.'

Not to the point that you can get a room full of religionists to agree what they are, anyway. (I've spent a lot of time debating with Christians and it's ridiculously easy to prove this empirically - sometimes to the point of comedy, because if you leave everyone talking for long enough they eventually realise they literally have no beliefs in common about anything, especially not about the fundamentals.)

The entire history of religion is one long series of schisms, reinterpretations, power plays, pogroms, persecutions, debates, disagreements, wars, and general unpleasantness.

So ethically, there is no such thing. Most religions, especially the Abrahamic ones, are pure meta - a rhetorical process by which adherents justify values and/or prejudices they already have to themselves and to other people, and by which they get to feel included in a wider community.

But for every relgionist who believes the poor should be protected you'll find some random number who believe gays are evil, women are inferior to men, and abuse of children and foreigners is justified by the bible.

The only thing religionists have in common is the process by which they gain an unshakeable belief that their religion justifies their values, justifies their interest in promoting the values to others, and gives their values - and sometimes their actions - special protection from outside scrutiny and censure.

Obviously the latter is a useful thing to have, especially politically.

But spiritually justified it ain't.

The usual argument at this point is 'Well, all those others who don't share my values aren't true believers like me.'

But unsurprisingly, everyone says the same thing. So who is?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 08:48:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The entire history of religion is one long series of schisms, reinterpretations, power plays, pogroms, persecutions, debates, disagreements, wars, and general unpleasantness.

You could say the same about Trotskyites, though.

by IM on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 09:46:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you making some sort of distinction between Trotskyism and religion?

</snark>

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 10:05:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is the obvious answer.

>I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said, "Stop! Don't do it!" "Why shouldn't I?" he said. I said, "Well, there's so much to live for!" He said, "Like what?" I said, "Well, are you religious or atheist?" He said, "Religious." I said, "Me too! Are your Christian or Buddhist?" He said, "Christian." I said, "Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?" He said, "Protestant." I said, Me too! Are your Episcopalian or Baptist? He said, "Baptist!" I said, "Wow! Me too! Are your Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord? He said, Baptist Church of God!" I said, "Me too! Are your Original Baptist Church of God or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?" He said, "Reformed Baptist Church of God!" I said, "Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915?" He said, "Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915!" I said, "Die, heretic scum!" and pushed him off.<

 

by IM on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 10:12:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
LOL
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 11:22:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because religion is politics by another name, like economics.

That doesn't make it a bad thing, it makes it politics. Cue back to JakeS' argument about religious privilege in political speech.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 10:11:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, my point in asking you where you derive your values from was something else: We all have some values and these have a source. The unpleasant portion of secularists does not accept religion as a source of values that lead to political demands.

I've never actually met a Jacobin in real life.

What most "unpleasant" secularists insist is that if you make your religion out to be a source of political views, then we get to attack it with the same vigor and general unpleasantness that we get to attack Capitalism, Communism, Apartheid, Creationists, perpetual-motion cranks, and any other personal ideology or eccentric idea.

A great number of religious people find this extremely unpleasant, because they are used to having their religious ideas accommodated - even respected - by rote rather than because those ideas hold any discernable intellectual, moral or social merit.

This is not dissimilar to how businessmen who enter parliamentary politics often find themselves surprised and disgusted by news reporters who actually do their jobs: They are used to being fawned over uncritically in the business page fluff pieces where their word is taken as gospel.

Political reporters have many sins. But that's not one of them.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 07:12:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"I've never actually met a Jacobin in real life"

They live on the internet. :) More to the point, have you ever met a Christian or an adherent of any other religion in real life?

by Katrin on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 08:11:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. That is rather hard to avoid.

I've even met some who were pricks about it, but I tend to not hang out with them.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 08:28:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lese-majeste, however, is not a punishable offense in civilized countries. That, in fact, is one of the cornerstones of contemporary European civilization.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 07:57:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well - that's the theory.

Bradley Manning might have a different opinion about the practice.

The problem with Pussy Riot is the lingering suspicion they're useful as Western propaganda. Of course Russia is repressive, etc, etc.

But we might do better to recognise and support our own dissidents, including the conscientious objectors in the armed forces, the whistleblowers, the Occupy movement, and so on.

Most of those get much less media attention, for some reason.

And then there are the foreign horrors. I know some people in Zimbabwe, and after decades of rule by a sociopath the infrastructure of the country is close to collapse. Millions have already died, there's nothing resembling a functioning democracy, and it looks like there are more horrors to come.

And yet, barely a squeak about this from the media - possibly because as long as diamonds and platinum continue to be exported, no one important cares about the rest.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 08:24:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well - that's the theory.

Bradley Manning might have a different opinion about the practice.


Or about whether the US regime counts as "civilized."

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 09:28:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is no offense called "insulting the Lord" in Russian Criminal Code, either. But public disorder in religious buildings is a crime, as it is in many European countries.
by Sargon on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 08:33:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Disorderly conduct is not generally punished by several years in prison. And I fail to see the relevance of the building being used for religious ceremonies.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 09:27:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We agree that several years in prison is completely over the top. We probably agree that the Russian penal system is inhumane. My point is whether Pussyriot's action deserves support.
by Katrin on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 09:40:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, my own opinion is that progressive activism in a reactionary society is worthy of support, on general principle.

Your objection does not seem to be with either their tactics or their stated objectives, but rather with  what you see as their overall ineffectiveness. That is a legitimate position, but requires some sort of effort to see if we can determine if their action was effective or not. Many observers see some very positive effects :

Pussy Riot Case Promotes Public Debate | Chatham House: Independent thinking on international affairs

Since the imprisonment of Pussy Riot in March, public opinion in Russia has been rife with various analyses of the merits of the case. Numerous newspaper reports, television and radio talk shows and internet blogs have given the case publicity and highlighted its political underpinnings. The result of this wide public debate bore fruit early: if the initial assessment of the stunt by the public was desecration and blasphemy (an opinion which state-controlled media propagated), by the end of the trial this had shifted to the opinion that the musicians first and foremost were protesting at the involvement of the church in politics. The punk singers have thus succeeded in conveying their message, which was to draw public attention to the increasing links between the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and Putin's government and expose the anti-constitutional character of this relationship. 

Under Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, the institution has become more authoritarian and rigidly administered. Its endorsement of the personalised political rule in Russia is more prominent. Although church and state are formally separate, the Patriarch takes part in pro-government political events while the government places the church at the heart of Russian national identity. Since Patriarch Kirill entered office in 2009, surveys show that public perception of the ROC's involvement in domestic politics has increased. At the end of the Pussy Riot case, 16% of the public said that their attitude towards the church had deteriorated. The ROC's silence on the case and its unwillingness to appeal for mercy, against the backdrop of the recent cases of minor offences committed by Orthodox priests that were ignored by law-enforcement officials, have also served to discredit the ROC in the public eye. 

The Pussy Riot case has also exposed the judiciary. Corruption and the lack of rule of law are widely-reckoned as the biggest problems in Russia. Citing `devilish movements' and quoting medieval church councils by a judge during the trial ridiculed the judiciary in the public eye. Surveys suggest that two thirds of the population found the prison sentence incommensurate to the offence, and the discrepancy between the crime and the punishment exposes the political dependency on the judiciary.


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 12:37:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Progressives don't get the support of Hillary Clinton, so we can assume that Pussyriot aren't progressives. Western governments have a history of supporting Russian groups and policies against the interests of the majority of Russians, and if you think this is an exception you need very convincing arguments. But even if they were: Progressives must not alieneate their target audience. If they do they damage more than just the one point they were campaigning about.
by Katrin on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 01:13:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Clinton will support anybody who can be spun to make Putin look bad, as long as they are not effective enough to replace him with someone better.

The enemy of my enemy is my enemy's enemy, and all that.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 01:50:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Progressives don't get the support of Hillary Clinton, so we can assume that Pussyriot aren't progressives.

You know, with an argument like that, you are your own worst enemy. In fact I can quickly prove it to you, with a diagram : just give me a short list of your worst enemies, and I'll play the "five degrees of separation" game.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 05:00:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Western governments have a history of supporting Russian groups and policies against the interests of the majority of Russians

Good lord (please excuse my blasphemy). Are we in a time warp? Is the Cold War still on? Is the Russian government alleged to be the ally of progressives everywhere?

Hilary bloody Clinton supports a wide range of causes, some of which even you would be obliged to agree with.

To be less flippant, and more precise : since his re-election, Putin has cracked down hard on civil society, and this absurdly over-egged Pussy Riot show trial is part of that. However, this part has badly backfired, according to most reports, and he must be bitterly regretting it.

If they do they damage more than just the one point they were campaigning about.

Time will tell, but for the moment, the results are looking very positive in terms of provoking debate in Russian society.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 05:08:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Western governments have a history of supporting Russian groups and policies against the interests of the majority of Russians
Yeah, like Yeltsin.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 05:10:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is the Cold War still on?

Uh - US missile defence shield? Mass military spending in Russia on improving their nuke capabilities and getting around the missile shield?

Russia, China and the US permanently at cross purposes at the UN security council?

We don't have tanks facing each other down across Check Point Charlie.

But we do still have an unnecessary nuclear stand-off, continuing resource conflicts, with a Russian president who wouldn't mind increased prestige, and elements of the US establishment who still think of Ruskies as a significant enemy.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 05:58:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. And Putin manages this well, and the Russians appreciate that. Compare with Yeltsin or Gorbachev.
by Katrin on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 06:05:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, anything that Putin doesn't like (such as civil society, individual freedoms, aspirations to actual democracy ) is necessarily an evil plot fomented by the "West". And even if it isn't, it's a bad thing, because Putin doesn't like it, QED.

Thanks. It's all so much easier to understand now.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 07:01:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I note that when you start a sentence with "so", there will reliably be a grotesque distortion of my words following. Are you able to argue without resorting to such behaviour?

Western plots to weaken Russia do indeed give Putin the freedom to repress a lot of movements: Putin's authoritarianism is seen as the lesser evil.

by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 02:45:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, what I tried to do was parse your statement :
Progressives don't get the support of Hillary Clinton, so we can assume that Pussyriot aren't progressives. Western governments have a history of supporting Russian groups and policies against the interests of the majority of Russians, and if you think this is an exception you need very convincing arguments

So what you are saying is that PR are Clinton's stooges, unless I can prove the contrary. I reformulated this as :

So, anything that Putin doesn't like (such as civil society, individual freedoms, aspirations to actual democracy ) is necessarily an evil plot fomented by the "West".

It's not a very great jump.

The really amusing thing is that the themes espoused by PR (feminism, gay rights, keeping the church hierarchy out of politics) are things that you are explicitly OK with. What you appear to be fearing is

  1. there is a hidden economic-liberal subtext that nobody other than you has been able to identify so far,
  2. introducing liberal moral values will weaken Russia, thereby strengthening the hand of the USA.

Again, I'm extrapolating, I'm trying to tease out the real reasons why you so vehemently oppose something which (according to your beliefs) you should be supporting.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 05:04:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The really amusing thing is that the themes espoused by PR (feminism, gay rights, keeping the church hierarchy out of politics) are things that you are explicitly OK with.

As a matter of fact they are doing some disgusting things, say it was about feminism, gay rights, against the church hierarchy, and are discrediting real movements by their shit.

by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 09:07:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They are punkers, in other words.

You may object to their aesthetics, tactics and even to their ideological shallowness. But when did any of those things become a crime?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 09:17:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Political guerrilla tactics should be judged on their effectiveness, rather than on aesthetic values (for example, I think throwing a cake at someone is tacky, but that's only my opinion. I'm OK with it if it's an effective tactic).

From what I've seen, Putin's show trial (rather than the act itself, or even the video) has ignited a lively debate within Russian society about the place of the Church in politics. PR are also becoming a focus for dissent against Putin's renewed political and social clampdown. To me, that means that the action was hugely effective.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 10:27:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems that the trial has polarised attitudes with respect to the Church. So it is certainly not true that the PR action was ineffective. Whether the result is positive or negative is open to interpretation; insofar as the Church is now clearly aligned with the most reactionary forces, that's good. Because they can no longer hide behind a mask of consensus while enabling reactionary policies.

Why Putin Wants to Punish Pussy Riot | The St. Petersburg Times | The leading English-language newspaper in St. Petersburg

By initiating a Middle Ages-style witch-hunt against three young women, the Russian Orthodox Church has caused irreparable damage to its reputation in the eyes of the educated class. Meanwhile, nationalists and religious radicals support the church's campaign. Puzzled and perturbed by the actions of church and government officials, intellectuals and cultural figures even wrote a collective appeal in defense of the three girls. Their petition was ignored.

The text of the prosecution's indictment was also from the Middle Ages, repeatedly citing church decisions that were originally adopted from that era. And finally, many observers following the case have concluded that the young women are not being tried for committing the political sin of calling for President Vladimir Putin's resignation, but for blasphemously committing indignities in a Christian holy place. They are de facto being tried for violating "religious statutes" that do not even exist in the Criminal Code and have no place in a country that is defined as secular in the Constitution.

Interestingly enough, if Pussy Riot members had committed the same crime during the Russian Empire -- clearly a more conservative era when the church played a more prominent official role in government -- they would have faced a sentence of only three to six months.



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 12:56:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why do you deny a religious community the right to kick people out who misbehave in their place of worship?
by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 10:53:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But the Pussy Riot were kicked out by security.

They were not charged with trespassing or with resisting eviction.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 10:55:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So you would be okay with those charges, but not with the charge of offending religious feelings (by the same act of trespassing and resisting)?
by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 10:57:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, pretty much.

Have you read the quotations from the sentence handed down by the judge? It's pretty ridiculous. "individualism" is a "personality disorder" and "wearing bright, provocative clothing" is an offence to religious feelings (apparently a hideous outfit of leotards and a balaclava is "provocative"). And these "tendencies" (to talk back and wear leotards?) can "only be corrected in jail".

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 11:03:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They were questioned by police after they were evicted, but not arrested. Apparently the police made a terrible mistake, letting go these people who deserved a two-year prison sentence.

In fact, the intervention in the church was a mere curiosity, which according to common sense, did not merit even arrest, let alone prosecution (though a fine for disorderly behaviour would have been perfectly appropriate).

The crime of PR was to dub music and lyrics onto the video (they only mimed it in church) and publish it on the internet. So they are doing 2 years in jail for publishing a clip on the internet.

The religious outrage about what happened in church is retrospective.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 11:16:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, now you concede it was disorderly behaviour. Good.
by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 11:30:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Never denied it. Disorderly behaviour in a public place is often a misdemeanor.

Perhaps you would care to acknowledge that it was the video (and its popularity on the internet), not the events in the church, which caused outrage and led to the arrests?

We know this for a fact because of the timing of the events.

I think you'll find that it undermines your arguments substantially. What is being repressed is political speech (the clip on the internet), not outrageous behaviour in church.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 11:34:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Your interpretation again. How about: What is being repressed is bragging about outrageous behaviour in church, that initially the church generously refrained from complaining about?
by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 11:40:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It didn't generously refrain from anything. It tossed them out of the building they were disturbing. Which it was well within its right to do. Bragging about being tossed out of a library for being noisy isn't particularly tactful, but it's hardly a criminal offense.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 11:47:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, but it might well be the reason why the library lodges a complaint for disorderly behaviour, trespassing, or whatever illegal behaviour that was, although initially they would not.
by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 12:09:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But that wasn't what they were charged with, and it would in any event never have merited imprisonment.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 12:16:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, it's the stubbornly individualistic wearing of colourful leotards that warrants imprisonment.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 12:21:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I never said their behaviour merited imprisonment. I said it didn't merit support.
by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 12:24:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But their unmerited imprisonment makes them merit support.

Which is the point of their whole act, I suppose.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 12:25:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, you want special laws to punish people who brag on the internet about misbehaving in church! (not what they were convicted for by the way)

It keeps getting better...

You have no qualms about freedom of speech?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 11:48:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is it true or not that the Church doesn't actually own the church in question?

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 11:50:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No idea, but clearly they have the right to use it as a church. Property or lease, does it matter?
by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 12:10:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Shouldn't matter. The legal user - owner, renter, leasee - determines the use of the building. All other use is illegal and the user has the right to be protected against that.
by IM on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 02:47:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is being repressed is clearly a political crime, not a religious crime.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 12:14:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes.

Well, not resisting removal, because, eh, they didn't. That, and every time I see someone write "resisting arrest," or something similar, I read it as "vandalizing a police baton with his head." But maybe that's just me.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 11:24:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't.

I deny them the right to define what constitutes misbehavior in a historical site which is open to the public, and which they incidentally happen to use for their religious ceremonies.

If they hold their religious ceremonies in private, then I have no objection to them kicking out intruders. But they don't get to restrict the public's activity in public places just because they happen to use them to pray in, and it offends their thin-skinned sensibilities to have to share a public space with people they don't like.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 11:12:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I deny them the right to define what constitutes misbehavior in a historical site which is open to the public, and which they incidentally happen to use for their religious ceremonies.

They don't define it, the law does. You are free to advocate making museums out of churches, but so far they are churches. Open to the public as long as the public doesn't violate the special rules in a church. Not a public place.

by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 11:46:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The last time I entered a church (OK, a cathedral), they charged me a fee. That makes it a museum. That's ok with me, I wasn't there for religious reasons.

But they asked me to take my hat off. So I guess it's a church. Mixed use.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 11:52:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Last time I entered our city hall, they charged me a fee for the concert in the yard. It's still our city hall, not a concert hall.
by Katrin on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 12:22:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you invite TV crews into your church and make political pronouncements from the pulpit, it's a public place.

The Patriarch invited partisan politics inside (do you dispute his authority to do so, or to speak on behalf of the Orthodox Church in such matters?), because he found it expedient to do so. And when you invite inside partisan politics, you invite inside all expressions of partisan politics, including ones that offend you. This basic principle should not be difficult to understand.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 11:57:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you invite TV crews into your church and make political pronouncements from the pulpit, it's a public place.

No, you don't. the convention center or stadium or whatever the republicans are using right now in Tampa isn't a public place in this sense either.

by IM on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 02:58:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And if people want to stage a noisy political protest at the misogynistic apes gathering in Tampa, that would be perfectly fine.

Disrupting the proceedings would not be fine, but there were no proceedings being disrupted in this case.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 03:54:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And the hypothetical turns into fact:

http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/video-pro-choice-protester-thrown-out-of-ryans

"Paul Ryan's big speech at the Republican National Covention here Wednesday was briefly interrupted by protesters apparently angry at Ryan's stance on abortion rights.

"My body, my choice," the protesters reportedly shouted."

by IM on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 03:59:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A church is not really a public place. It is open only to worshipers (and sometimes tourists) according to the rules of the proprietors of the church.

Ant the same is true of shopping malls, museums, pubs and so on.  

by IM on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 02:52:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Shopping malls, museums, pubs and so on is precisely the correct analogy here: The Pussy Riot stunt was not beyond the pale by the standard of, say, anti-sweatshop sit-ins in Nike stores.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 03:55:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As I mentioned already above, under no circumstances will they spend more than about 18 months behind bars, and perhaps much less. I can't see "several" here, sorry. Please stick to the facts.

As Katrin mentioned below, Russian penal system tends to be very strict - there's a reason Russia is right behind USA and Georgia in prisoners per capita rankings. That's something that should be kept in mind when talking about the verdict. The bright side of the coin is that you could get away with copulating in a public space and then spreading reports of the performance for free - I'm not even sure they got a 500 rubles fine for that brave political statement.

by Sargon on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 10:35:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If I understand correctly, there's nothing about 'terrorism' in the verdict.

Some debates in Russian society are indeed revolving around presence of religious hatred. One theory states that you need to be religious yourself in order to experience religious hatred, thus the PR having no identifiable religion excludes this motive.

I'm now waiting for a clear expression of PR's regret or at least disapproval of the wave of church and cross vandalism that has swept Russia in the last two weeks in support of PR. Chances don't look good, as a significant portion of their supporters are finding ways of not condemning it.

by Sargon on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 06:27:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In desecration of crosses, Russia's Orthodox church sees dark warning - CSMonitor.com
But Pyotr Verzilov, a Pussy Riot activist and husband of one of the imprisoned women, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, told journalists the group has no connection with the latest episodes of vandalism and doesn't approve of them.


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 11:56:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm talking about condemning
by Sargon on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 04:29:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You were talking about regret and disapproval, and followers not condemning.

Now, admittedly, "why don't you condemn them" is a much funnier game for you to play, since you can always demand a stronger denunciation.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 05:10:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Roughly speaking, I demand from my counterparties to share the same set of moral decency standards that could be learned in a kindergarten. Not expressing an outrage connected with copycat vandalism suggests to me PR weren't educated in the same kindergarten as I.

But I knew that ever since their first porn performances, so there's nothing new here.

by Sargon on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 05:33:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Copycat" vandalism suggests vandalism on PR's part, which I have not seen documented. They've made perfectly clear that those people are not associated with them, and that they do not support or endorse such activities.

I'm not sure what else you want from them? Or why you think they are somehow responsible for some punks who overreact to this injustice? (Or just use the travesty of such a blatant witch trial it as an excuse to be punks...)

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 07:02:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you outraged by the political show trial PR were put through? By the refusal of the judge to let them call witnesses? I'm not sure if I remember you from kindergarten or not.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Aug 30th, 2012 at 03:51:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Peter Tatchell, well known UK gay and human rights activist, once attempted the citizens arrest of a prominent anti-gay priest in his pulpit.

He was charged under a similar anti-clerical law that still moulders on the stature books. Although he was found guilty, he was bang to rights, the judge fined him £18:60p, a derisory figure largely derived from 1860 being the date the law was passed.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 11:25:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The article does get carried away a bit when they quote the husband of one of the singers saying
"We have our hopes ... but you can never expect what will happen next. This jail sentence is basically Putin signalling to the world that Russia is moving not even toward China but toward North Korea".
I wasn't aware that North Korea was so concerned about upsetting the religious. Maybe Israel is a better comparison:
On August 19, 2012, police arrested and detained four participants of Women of the Wall during the monthly service at the Western Wall (Kotel). The women are being accused of two offenses: Disturbing the public peace according to regulation 201 A4 of the Israeli legal code, the punishment for which is six months in prison, and the violation of regulation 287A by performing a religious act that "offends the feelings of others." The punishment for the second crime is up to two years in prison.

On the Muslim holiday of Eid Al Fitr and the Jewish new month of Elul while Jerusalem's Old City and its holy sites were busy and chaotic, Israeli Police chose to become "fashion police", by arresting four women who wore tradition Jewish prayer shawls (white with black or blue stripes, commonly and traditionally associated as male). The Women of the Wall were arrested mid-prayer and stood amongst dozens of women who wore colorful prayer shawls and were left alone by police.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 02:37:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe they should try false beards next time

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 07:20:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect you could get five years for that.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 09:46:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Stoned to death more like



keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 10:59:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would say Ahmadi's Iran rather than North Korea.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 04:40:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nearly a quarter-century before Pussy Riot staged its now-notorious protest in Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral, a similar demonstration was brewing in New York City.

The protest began as Cardinal O'Connor was holding Sunday-morning Mass. Edward Koch, then the mayor of New York, was among the worshippers, sitting in a front-row pew. Teams of police officers were there as well, having been warned about the demonstration.

Only a few dozen of the Act Up protesters entered the cathedral. But their impact was dramatic. Several stood, chanting a statement of complaint against the Catholic Church. Others lay down in the aisles, chaining themselves to pews.

The parishioners began to recite a prayer of their own, hoping to drown out the protesters. What ensued was chaos.

http://www.rferl.org/content/before-pussy-riot-act-up-confronted-church-and-won/24668230.html

by asdf on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 12:33:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Merkel tries to calm storms over Greece, ECB policy | Reuters

(Reuters) - Angela Merkel tried to calm a growing storm over euro zone crisis strategy on Sunday after the Bundesbank likened ECB bond-buying plans to a dangerous drug and a conservative ally of the German leader said Greece should leave the currency bloc by next year.

The comments, from central bank chief Jens Weidmann and a senior figure in the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), Alexander Dobrindt, point to mounting unease in Germany with the policies being used to combat the three-year old debt crisis.

Domestic criticism has narrowed Merkel's room for maneuver at a time when Greece is in dire need of more aid and policymakers are scrambling to prevent contagion from enveloping big countries like Spain and Italy.

Two days after Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras visited Berlin and made an impassioned plea for politicians there not to talk up the possibility of a Greek euro exit, Merkel herself sent a warning to allies who have said the euro zone would be better off without its weakest link.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 03:49:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Analysis - Europe far right shuns Breivik's acts, flirts with ideas | Reuters

(Reuters) - Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik may have failed to ignite a race war with Muslims, but he succeeded in stoking anxieties about the stability of Europe's increasingly diverse societies.

Though his talk of an international underground of killers - latter-day Crusaders he called the Knights Templar - seemed to be mere fantasy, and while his methods place him far beyond the pale of mainstream politics, many of his beliefs are to be found within the fold of anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant populists.

"His ideological `manifesto' is a distilled representation of a cultural crisis that pervades the European continent and finds expression in an increasingly xenophobic populism," Kirsten Simonsen, a professor at Denmark's Roskilde University, wrote in "Bloodlands", a 2012 series of essays about Breivik.

Some notions - that Europe and its indigenous cultures are being weakened by immigration and multiculturalism - have been helping reshape the continent's right-wing politics for years.

These beliefs occasionally find an echo on the margins of centre-right parties, among politicians seeking support from communities plagued by rising unemployment.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 04:05:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I confess I've always been confused that right wingers extol the virtues of their societies, yet seem to believe they are so weak that a few immigrants will wreck them utterly

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 07:22:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"right-wingers" need enemies to point to so that you don't figure out that they are the enemies.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 07:33:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Renault to unveil high-end models - French minister | Reuters

(Reuters) - Car maker Renault (RENA.PA) is close to making announcements relating to high-end models, French Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg said on Sunday in an interview.

"A certain number of decisions are about to be announced by Renault in the upmarket segment," Montebourg said in a joint interview with BFM-TV, RMC and Le Point. "They are going to create, I believe, four upmarket models because they've decided to go and fight."

A spokesman for Renault declined to comment on Montebourg's remarks, adding that the only announcement the automaker had made so far in relation to upmarket vehicles was the next generation of Espace from 2014.

"In the very short term, the major steps are the Clio 4 and the Zoe," the spokesman said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 04:08:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IMF to probe Serbia over National Bank independence | EurActiv

The International Monetary Fund today (24 August) rebuffed a call by Serbia for quick talks on a new loan deal, saying a visit by officials next month would focus on concerns the government is eating into the independence of the country's National Bank.

The Socialist-led ruling coalition took power last month and called for immediate talks with the IMF, which froze a €1-billion standby deal in February over the country's rising public debt and budget deficit.

The IMF's resident representative, Bogdan Lissovolik, said a short fact-finding mission was tentatively scheduled for mid-September to assess Serbia's latest macroeconomic outlook.

The mission would not negotiate a new loan deal, he said, but instead discuss a move by the new government to step up parliamentary control over the National Bank of Serbia (NBS), culminating in the replacement of the bank governor by a senior lawmaker from the ruling coalition.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 04:37:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
English farmland prices treble in a decade as overseas buyers move in | Business | The Guardian

It is known as "gold with a coupon". English farmland has trebled in value over the past decade and now averages more than £6,000 an acre. While farmers still make up at least half of all buyers, estate agents have seen an influx of City bankers as well as buyers from overseas - crisis-stricken Greece and Italy, along with India and China. In the next five years it is expected to rise in value by more than two-thirds.

The appeal of farmland is that it is a safe-haven asset, like gold, but also gives annual returns of 2-3%. On top of that there are tax advantages; most importantly, agricultural land is exempt from inheritance tax as long as it is managed as a farm. And as Mark Twain said: "Buy land. They're not making it any more."

"Every time there is a wobble in Europe you see more buyers," says Christopher Miles, head of rural agency for Savills' eastern region. "Greeks, Italians and French are buying in central London and some of those are also buying farmland. It's just a movement of capital between different countries."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 04:38:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah right...Greeks (Italians and others going through the crises) are lazy bastards and that's why they deserve to suffer (or so we are told through western Europe media) ...so who the hell are these Greeks, Italians etc. that are buying " in central London and some of those are also buying farmland"...Oh wait a minute...they are "our" friends, banksters and other bandits that made this possible for us to robber those poor bastards in Greece etc. So welcome to UK guys...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 11:02:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Does anyone here know the context of the Twain quote? Based on his father's experiences, was he being sarcastic?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 01:51:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I checked Twainquotes and wikiquotes without seeing it. Misattribution perhaps.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 02:52:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mark Twain and Einstein must be the two most over- and misquoted quote-producers in history. Unless I'm forgetting anyone?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 06:02:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As Abraham Lincoln once said, "the problem with quotes on the internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity"

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 07:25:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Daily Morning Newsbriefing: German establishment attacks Mario Draghi (27.08.2012)
Jens Weidman says the planned bond purchasing programme was bordering on an unlawful act of debt monetisation; says bond purchases were addictive like drugs; claims that he is not the only member on the ECB's governing council opposed to the programme; CSU general secretary Alexander Dobrindt says Mario Draghi will enter history as Europe's money forger; Der Spiegel has a report that the ECB governing council is deeply divided over several aspects of the programme - especially whether it should be limited or not; Reuters has a report according to which the ECB is considering target bands; the Merkel-Hollande, Merkel-Samaras, Samaras-Hollande meetings yielded no announcements; behind the scenes there is some work on a mild relaxation of the programme, falling well short of Greek demands; Wolfgang Schauble reiterated his opposition to a new Greek programme; Fitch warns ECB about investor subordination; Spain introduces new economic reforms every Friday, when the cabinet meets; details have emerged about the latest measure for the long-term unemployed, who are facing onerous conditions; the results of the previous programmes have been disappointing; Mario Monti aims to stimulate the economy through a series of further supply side measures;  the Italian Democrats are pushing for the reform of the country's opaque electoral system; Italian spending on vacations has fallen dramatically due to prices increases and the recession; Merkel hopes that the December European Council will set a date for a treaty convention; Wolfgang Munchau, meanwhile, says the ECB should consider a broad QE programme, rather than targeted sovereign  bond purchases.  


If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 01:38:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ahead of the ECB's decision on September 6, the Bundesbank and the Bavarian CSU have significantly stepped up their rhetoric against Mario Draghi. The CSU's general secretary, Alexander Dobrindt, called Dradhi a "money forgerer", while Jens Weidmann said a decision to buy bonds was bordering on the monetisation of national debt. He did not go as far as calling the plan "unlawful", but his form of words leaves open the possibilty of legal challenge, which may be supported by the Bundesbank.

Weidmann's comments came in an interview in Der Spiegel. He said that bond purchasing programmes were addictive. In a democracy, he said, it should be up to parliaments, not governments, to decide upon such massive risks. He also said he was not alone among members of the ECB's governing council to oppose the plan.

I believe Weidmann just violated the Lisbon treaty:
neither the European Central Bank, nor a national central bank, nor any member of their decision-making bodies shall seek or take instructions from Union institutions, bodies, offices or agencies, from any government of a Member State or from any other body.
You see, Mr. Weidmann, the decision on ECB bond purchases cannot be in the hands of parliament either, because then the ECB would be taking instructions from a Union institution. And by saying that the decision should be up to the parliaments, you are yourself guilty of "seeking instructions".

Central bankers were granted sovereign supremacy in the Maastricht Treaty, and with power comes responsibility.

Now back to our regularly scheduled foaming at the mouth:

Bild am Sonntag has an interview with Dobrindt in which he says that Draghi is about to make history as Europe's money forgerer. He says the plan would finance sovereign debt through the backdoor. With this, he would turn the stable north of the eurozone into an overindebted south. And for good measure, he referred to the ECB as the "inflation bank".


If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 04:08:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He's also just whining ineffectually:

Weidmann winkt Draghis Anleiheplan durch... « Herdentrieb

"Zu nah", "Bauchschmerzen", "heikel", "möchte jedenfalls vermeiden" - das sind keine Begriffe, die Widerstand bis aufs letzte Messer nahelegen, sondern ein sich Fügen in das Schicksal. Die Bundesbank wird ihren Unmut äußern, aber sie wird nichts tun.
by generic on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 04:29:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What bothers me the most is that "bond purchases give me bellyache" and "they could become addictive, like a drug" are not economic arguments. They're at best, as you say, whining, and at worst rhetorica ammunition for BILD or dogwhistles for its readers.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 04:50:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It needn't bother you: he is not using arguments at all, he is just whining. In other words, he is admitting that he has lost relevance, the loser.
by Katrin on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 05:56:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not so much bothersome, but infuriating, to see on display the hypocrisy of these great moral authorities for whom central bank independence is supposed to be a fundamental article of faith.

Or perhaps we should just be glad that even the media will not be able to extract a clear pro-power narrative out of such nonsense.

Outside Germany, that is. While within, the media narrative will simply become even more dangerously removed from reality.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 06:22:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's because you're closer to Herdentrieb than to BILD.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 06:23:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess Bild has just altered its strategy. We will see.

I wonder, do we still need national central banks? Isn't having them a waste of money?

by Katrin on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 06:42:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They are needed as branches of the ECB - the ECB doesn't have the manpower for its functions.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 06:45:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You've just made a statement about Weidmann's relevance. I really think that was that.
by Katrin on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 07:02:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There was a comment to that effect the other day
Dombret against ECB as bank regulator

This is a story that really does not surprise us. We always expected that the ultimate opposition against a common European bank regulator will come from Germany. Yesterday,  Bundesbank board member Andreas Dombret said that the ECB should not be in charge of regulating euro zone banks on the ground that this would blur the line between monetary policy and financial regulation, and that it would affect its independence, according to Reuters."There are good reasons not to give the ECB final responsibility, but to another authority, which would be led by a council where banks' home countries are represented." (He means, of course, the Bundesbank. This is mostly about inter-institutional competition, as the Bundesbank has lost sense of purpose - beyond acting as the official opposition to the ECB.)

(Eurointelligence daily briefing: Shush! The ECB interest rate targets will be top secret, German media report, 23.08.2012)


If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 07:07:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How the do the wankers plan to keep their interest rate targets secret while conducting their liquidity management at the discount window?

(Leaving aside the fact that secret interest rate targets is about the dumbest thing to come out of Germany since the Grief and Stupidity Pact.)

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 08:24:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, that bit is absolutely flabbergasting. Any successful policy target should be obvious.

Their problem, of course, is that deciding that different countries will have different interest rate caps instantly becomes a political issue.

The only feasible policy is a blanket yield cap, such as 6% for everyone. If the market accepts German debt at 1%, good for Germany, but the capo for Germany should be the same as the one for Greece.

However, once the cap is in place the default risk goes away and the spreads narrow back.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 08:28:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Merkel insists on new Treaty

According to another Spiegel report, Angela Merkel hopes that the December summit could agree a concrete starting date for a convention. Der Spiegel said that Merkel['s] European advisors were floating at meetings in Brussels.

(That's not surprising given Germany's legal interpretation of current EU and its limits in crisis resolution. A treaty would, however, trigger referendums not only in Ireland and Denmark, but also in the UK, and is likely to prove divisive. Merkel seems determined to go down that route - a position we agree with in principle, provided the agreed revision is substantial enough and includes a change to the ECB's statutes, a new framework of economic policy coordination that includes policies to level internal current account imbalances, plus eurobonds. This is, of course, not what Merkel has in mind when she talks about a new treaty).

Spiegel: Kontrolle der Haushalte Merkel forciert neuen EU-Vertrag (25.08.2012)
Die Bundesregierung will die europäische Integration vorantreiben. Die Staats- und Regierungschefs sollen nach den Plänen von Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel noch in diesem Jahr einen Konvent beschließen, der ein neues rechtliches Fundament für die EU ausarbeitet. Das hat der europapolitische Berater Merkels, Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut, nach Informationen des SPIEGEL bei Gesprächen in Brüssel klar gemacht.

Ein konkreter Termin für den Auftakt des Konvents soll bei einem geplanten Gipfeltreffen im Dezember festgelegt werden. Merkel drängt schon seit längerer Zeit darauf, den in der Euro-Gruppe beschlossenen Fiskalpakt um eine politische Union zu ergänzen. Dadurch könnte beispielsweise der Europäische Gerichtshof das Recht erhalten, die Haushalte der Mitgliedsländer zu überwachen und Defizitsünder zu bestrafen.

In den meisten Mitgliedstaaten stößt der deutsche Vorstoß indes auf wenig Gegenliebe. Bei einem Treffen der sogenannten Zukunftsgruppe, einem informellen Gesprächskreis von zehn EU-Außenministern, lehnte eine Mehrheit die Forderung von Bundesaußenminister Guido Westerwelle (FDP) nach einem Vertragskonvent ab. Andere Länder wie Irland wollen nicht das Risiko einer Volksabstimmung eingehen, die bei einem neuen Vertrag nötig wäre. Auch enge Partner wie Polen sind gegen den deutschen Vorstoß, weil sie gegenwärtig wenig Chancen für einen Kompromiss unter den 27 EU-Mitgliedern sehen.

Budget control Merkel forces a new EU Treaty (25.08.2012)
The [German] Federal government wants to take European integration forward. Heads of State and Government should still, according to Merkel's plans, decide on a convention this year, working out a new legal foundation for the EU. That has been made clear in conversations in Brussels by Merkel's European policy advisor Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut, according to SPIEGEL's information.

A concrete time span for the start of the Convention whould be determined in a planned summit in December. Merkel has been urging for a long time, to complete the Fiscal Pack adopted by the Eurogroup into a political union. In that way for instance the European Court of Justice could gai the power to watch over the budgets of member states, and punish deficit sinners.

In most of the member states, the German proposal enjoyes little favour. At a meeting of the so-called Future Group, an informal discussion circle of ten foreign ministers, a majority rejected the proposal by German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle (FDP) of a treaty convention. Other countries like Ireland don't want to run the risk of a referendum, which would be necessary for a new treaty. Also close partners such as Poland are against the German proposal, because they see little chance of a compromise among the 27 EU member states.



If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 06:37:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Coming from the Deutsche Post on Sep 11: A stamp commemorating the circumcision of Jesus.
Einen nicht geplanten Bezug zum umstrittenenen Thema Beschneidung weist eine Sonderbriefmarke zum 200-jährigen Bestehen der Deutschen Bibelgesellschaft auf. Auf der im September erscheinenden 85-Cent-Marke zeigt eine aufgeschlagene Bibel das Zitat: ,,Und da acht Tage um waren, daß das Kind beschnitten würde, da ward sein Name genannt Jesus" (Lukas 2, Vers 21).
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 04:26:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Economic Times: Unilever sees 'return to poverty' in Europe (27 August, 2012)
Dutch food and cosmetics giant Unilever expects poverty to rise in Europe as a result of the eurozone crisis and is therefore rethinking its marketing, according to a newspaper report Monday.

"Poverty is returning to Europe," the head of Unilever's European business, Jan Zijderveld, told the Financial Times Deutschland in an interview.

...

Unilever would therefore use marketing strategies that it used in developing countries in Asia, he suggested.



If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 06:52:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 they're looking at 50 years down the road and realising the us economy that's left after the Great Offshoring will not support the kind of naval supremacy necessary to control all the world's sea lanes and resource supply lines. now they can, (wonderful thing, credit!) but china's rapid growth and economic future will dwarf the rest of the world's in 50 years, if the biosphere is still around.

maintaining that superiority is going to be increasingly expensive, as old ships rust and emerging countries avail themselves of newer tech, where's the $ going to come from?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 08:22:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
oops that was supposed to go under helen's comment. please erase...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 08:25:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
China is already stalling. I don't see how any economic growth will be sustainable given the resource constraints we're facing.

While China thinks it has future-proofed itself by buying up Australia and Africa, it evidently hasn't considered where the water is coming from

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 08:30:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
large scale solar desalination? drip irrogation rollout, massive tree plantings?

appointing bill mollison ag minister?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 11:25:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 11:00:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 03:40:13 PM EST
Wen Says China Need Measures to Promote Export Growth - Bloomberg

Premier Wen Jiabao said China needs targeted measures to promote steady export growth, which will help the nation meet its annual economic goals, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The country must pay attention to problems in imports and exports, Xinhua cited Wen as saying during an inspection tour in Guangdong, China's biggest exporting province. He reiterated the government needs to increase the intensity of macro-economic adjustments to stabilize expansion in the second half of the year.

China's export growth collapsed to 1 percent in July while industrial output and new yuan loans trailed estimates, heightening concerns that a slowdown in the world's second- biggest economy is deepening. A private survey on Aug. 23 showed manufacturing may contract in August at the fastest pace in nine months and a gauge of new export orders was at its lowest level in more than three years.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 04:24:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why the Gold Standard Is the World's Worst Economic Idea, in 2 Charts - Matthew O'Brien - The Atlantic
The greatest trick Ron Paul ever pulled was convincing the world that the gold standard leads to stable prices.
Well, maybe not the world. Just the Republican Party. After a 32-year hiatus, the party's official platform will include a plank calling for a commission to look at the possible return of the gold standard. There might be worse ideas than this, but they generally involve jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge because everybody else is doing it.
Economics is often a contentious subject, but economists agree about the gold standard -- it is a barbarous relic that belongs in the dustbin of history. As University of Chicago professor Richard Thaler points out, exactly zero economists endorsed the idea in a recent poll. What makes it such an idea non grata? It prevents the central bank from fighting recessions by outsourcing monetary policy decisions to how much gold we have -- which, in turn, depends on our trade balance and on how much of the shiny rock we can dig up. When we peg the dollar to gold we have to raise interest rates when gold is scarce, regardless of the state of the economy. This policy inflexibility was the major cause of the Great Depression, as governments were forced to tighten policy at the worst possible moment. It's no coincidence that the sooner a country abandoned the gold standard, the sooner it began recovering.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 04:35:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And in what may rank as the saddest irony in the intellectual history of the 20th century is that no sooner had economists realized this than they set about reinventing the gold standard in only a slightly different guise.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 07:19:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
cowrie shells, yams, heads of cattle, shares in GS, seems we have to peg to something tangible, and more or less fungible, why not energy  and responsible land stewardship credits as C Cook suggests?

can't hoard, pump'n'dump, bubble them?

such a shame...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 11:58:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"we have to peg to something tangible"

Sez who?

by asdf on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 11:45:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"money as a thing" is a compelling metaphor. Maybe too compelling.

But that doesn't mean we want commodity money, even energy money.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 11:50:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 12:26:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"This bill is good is convertible to one day of freedom from jail for tax evasion."

Then all you need to do is make jailtime for tax evasion strictly proportional to the amount evaded and you have your thing. Freedom is a thing right?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 03:38:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So how to disabuse peeps from that erroneous notion?
If it isn't a thing, what shall we call it? A process, a language of communication between relative worths and values? A useful chimera?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 04:42:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A token of state power used to mobilize resources.

It's actually a get out of jail [for not paying your taxes next year] card.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 05:52:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Europe, currently, money is a token of ECB power withheld to immobilize resources.

If you are not convinced, try it on someone who has not been entirely debauched by economics. — Piero Sraffa
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 05:54:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What do you think? Can currencies rise and fall unpegged to anything but each other, when that is seen as wise?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 04:38:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Coalition 'most unlikely' to meet key economic goals by next election | Politics | guardian.co.uk

The coalition is "most unlikely" to meet its two key economic goals before the general election, a conservative thinktank says.

In a report published on Monday, the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) said the coalition had already given up hope of getting rid of the structural deficit by 2015 and that the chance of ensuring that public-sector debt is falling by the time of the next election is now slim.

The CPS, whose claims are rejected by the Treasury, also said the government's problems were exacerbated by the fact that many people do not understand the difference between debt and deficit and that they will be shocked to learn that debt (the historic total owed by the nation) will be around £600bn higher in 2015 than it was in 2010 even though the deficit (annual borrowing) will be lower.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 07:25:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but did they have any footnotes where they detail how austerity is exactly the wrong thing to do during a recession ? Cos if they didn't, then their own analysis boils down to "....and then a miracle occurs"

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 07:31:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ceebs:
The coalition is "most unlikely" to meet its two key (PUBLIC) economic goals

the private key economic goal is doing just dandy... great value in crowd control & surveillance tech, and olympic infrastructure maintenance contracts offer great growth potential!

and flogging deathware to dictators, always a blue chipper.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 12:05:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Official James Petras website » The Western Welfare State: Its Rise and Demise and the Soviet Bloc

With economic recovery and post-war growth, the political, ideological and economic competition intensified: The Soviet bloc introduced wide-ranging reforms, including full employment, guaranteed job security, universal health care, free higher education, one month paid vacation leave, full pay pensions, free summer camps and vacation resorts for worker families and prolonged paid maternity leave. They emphasized the importance of social welfare over individual consumption. The capitalist West was under pressure to approximate the welfare offerings from the East, while expanding individual consumption based on cheap credit and installment payments made possible by their more advanced economies. From the mid 1940's to the mid 1970's the West competed with the Soviet bloc with two goals in mind: To retain workers loyalties in the West while isolating the militant sectors of the trade unions and to entice the workers of the East with promises of comparable welfare programs and greater individual consumption.

Despite the advances in social welfare programs, East and West, there were major worker protests in East Europe: These focused on national independence, authoritarian paternalistic tutelage of trade unions and insufficient access to private consumer goods. In the West, there were major worker-student upheavals in France and Italy demanding an end of capitalist dominance in the workplace and social life. Popular opposition to imperialist wars (Indo-China, Algeria, etc.), the authoritarian features of the capitalist state (racism) and the concentration of wealth was widespread.

In other words, the new struggles in the East and West were premised on the consolidation of the welfare state and the expansion of popular political and social power over the state and productive process.

The continuing competition between collectivist and capitalist welfare systems ensured that there would be no roll-back of the reforms thus far achieved. However, the defeats of the popular rebellions of the sixties and seventies ensured that no further advances in social welfare would take place. More importantly a social `deadlock' developed between the ruling classes and the workers in both blocs leading to stagnation of the economies, bureaucratization of the trade unions and demands by the capitalist classes for a dynamic, new leadership, capable of challenging the collectivist bloc and systematically dismantling the welfare state.

plunder, screw, decimate and defile for dummies.

the greatest tragedy of the C20th was the corrption and failure of state communism, it's nigh impossible to rekindle idealistic fervour when an intrinsically benign ideology is so utterly discredited fy historic fail.

which of course explains why hitler and franco did so well, financed by interests tied to church and business hegemonies.

mao was a murderous moron, stalin a genocidal tyrant, and communism was doomed.

when people spent months' salary on levi jeans, and risked jail to participate in illegal jazz jams, there was a cultural revolution alright, but it didn't need the sacrifice of millions to teh stupid and venal.

unless you include ronald mcdonalds as stealth WMD.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 12:22:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 03:40:29 PM EST
Flaming roadblocks set off in west Mexico - Americas - Al Jazeera English

Suspected armed gangs have set numerous vehicles on fire to block highways across Guadalajara, Mexico's second biggest city, amid a surge in drug-related violence.

Police confirmed 22 unauthorised barriers were caused by lines of charred, smouldering cars and trucks in the western Mexican state of Jalisco on Saturday. Seven of the roadblocks were in Guadalajara and the rest were in surrounding areas.

Luis Carlos Najera, police chief for Jalisco state, told reporters at a news conference late on Saturday that one man was seriously wounded by gunfire, but no arrests had been made.

"We don't know who is behind this operation," said Najera. He added that all of the roadblocks have since been cleared.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 03:47:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Assad's forces accused of massacre near Syrian capital | Reuters

(Reuters) - Syrian opposition activists accused President Bashar al-Assad's army on Sunday of massacring hundreds of people in a town close to the capital that government forces recaptured from rebels.

In the town of Daraya, southwest of Damascus, some 320 bodies, including women and children, were found in houses and basements, according to activists who said most had been killed "execution-style" by troops in house-to-house raids.

Activists uploaded several videos to the Internet showing rows of bloodied bodies wrapped in sheets. Most of the dead appeared to be young men of fighting age, but at least one video showed several children who appeared to have been shot in the head. The body of one toddler was soaked in blood.

Due to restrictions on non-state media in Syria, it was impossible to independently verify the accounts.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 03:48:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
US: Still #1? - The Cafe - Al Jazeera English
The US is the most powerful nation on earth, but its position of global supremacy is being challenged - economically, militarily and politically. And the person many Americans hold responsible for these failings is the president who promised them change.
 
The worldwide economic crisis of 2008 started in the US and the aftershocks are still being felt today. Unemployment is running at more than eight per cent, productivity is down and the national debt is a whopping $137bn.

Such turmoil makes it hard to honour electoral promises.
 
The country is deeply divided. The machinery of government has been tied in knots by partisan bickering and the rise of the right-wing, anti-state Tea Party and the street protests of the left-wing Occupy Wall Street movement are a reminder of how polarised the nation has become.
 
Despite this, Barack Obama, the US president, has pushed through healthcare reform and turned around the failing auto industry. He has stopped the war in Iraq and killed Osama bin Laden. But is this enough to win re-election for a second term?

And, whoever wins, will the next president have the unenviable task of overseeing the US' decline?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 04:03:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Militarily ????

With a spend which a exceeds then next 20 countries added together ?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 07:32:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well that's a decline of sorts, when they used to exceed all the next countries put together.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 08:11:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Storm Isaac hits Florida, threatens U.S. Gulf Coast | Reuters

(Reuters) - Tropical Storm Isaac lashed south Florida with winds and heavy rain on Sunday after battering the Caribbean, disrupting plans for the Republican National Convention in Tampa and threatening to interrupt about half of U.S. offshore oil output.

Isaac is expected to strengthen to a Category 2 hurricane and hit the Gulf Coast somewhere between Florida and Louisiana at midweek - on or near the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina - the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in an advisory.

A hurricane watch was extended westward to include New Orleans, which was devastated when Katrina struck the city on August 29, 2005, killing more than 1,800 people and causing billions of dollars of damage to the Gulf Coast.

Forecasters said a hurricane warning may be issued for parts of the northern Gulf Coast by Sunday evening.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 04:04:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Republicans Delay Convention Start as Storm Nears Tampa - Bloomberg

The opening day of the Republican National Convention has been postponed because Tropical Storm Isaac is bearing down on the site in Tampa, Florida, cutting into the amount of free television coverage that would benefit presumptive nominee Mitt Romney.

The decision was taken to ensure "the safety of our delegates and guests, members of the media attending the RNC convention and citizens of the Tampa Bay area," Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman, told reporters on a conference call last night. "Officials have predicted participants may encounter severe transportation difficulties due to sustained wind and rain."

The convention will formally convene on Aug. 27 as scheduled and then immediately recess until Aug. 28.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 04:20:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why aren't all the prayers diverting this storm to another locale? What's up with GOD these days? Doesn't she want to showcase her party?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 05:42:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
God hates republicans more than fags these days

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 07:33:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
God hates republicans more than fags  vagina and boobie averse males these days


They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 07:38:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Stupid comment.

But what else is new?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 11:08:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 03:40:55 PM EST
Risk of water wars rises with scarcity - Features - Al Jazeera English

In March, a report from the office of the US Director of National Intelligence said the risk of conflict would grow as water demand is set to outstrip sustainable current supplies by 40 per cent by 2030.

"These threats are real and they do raise serious national security concerns," Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, said after the report's release.

Internationally, 780 million people lack access to safe drinking water, according to the United Nations. By 2030, 47 per cent of the world's population will be living in areas of high water stress, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Environmental Outlook to 2030 report.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 03:57:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A war for water ??? How will that work ? Cos wars cause pollution which screws up the water and......d'oh

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 07:34:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IPS - "Operation No Back Way to Europe" Keeps Young Farmers at Home in Gambia | Inter Press Service

"In July I harvested 20 hectares of rice fields on my own farm, and our association harvested 100 hectares across the Central River Region. We earn more than what our ministers are earning today," he told IPS.

He earns 35,000 Gambian dalasi or 1,170 dollars every three months or so - half of what government ministers in this West African nation earn. Their monthly salaries are around 667 dollars, which amounts to almost 2,000 dollars over three months.

Ceesay is one of 50 young farmers from "Operation No Back Way to Europe", an association founded in 2008 that aims to discourage youths from illegally emigrating.

Indeed, some of the young farmers in the organisation have attempted to enter Europe unlawfully, but they were deported back to the Gambia. Edrissa Sane, 23, is one of them.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 04:01:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
good article, though i wonder what kinds of fertilisers/farm 'products' the EU is being so generous with, and if GM crops play a part.

still it makes a change from paying EU surpluses, dumping them in the third world, bankrupting local supply lines and businesses (poster child, Jamaica) and then wondering why people risk their lives to come to gold-paved europe and are then abused when they try to 'join the winners' on their own turf.

rhanks for the link.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 11:51:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Check out NERICA. It required plant tissue culture to achieve the difficult hybridation of African and Indian rice, but the result is not GM.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 03:56:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
that looks good! can it be grown on dry land, do you know?

now i know what heterosis is too, added bonus!

can it be patented, can farmers grow their own seed? any trials in europe?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 07:53:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Since it is not GM it can not be patented (afaik). There are older and far less restrictive rights connected with creating new seeds but they are not a problem to regular use (again afaik).

Since nothing else is said, I assume that farmers can grow their own seed. However, to maintain the effects of heterosis it may be necessary to to have fresh crosses of the original species.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 04:00:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
New Rice for Africa - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The new rice varieties, which are suited to drylands, were distributed and sown on more than 200,000 hectares during the last five years in several African countries, notably Guinea, Nigeria, Côte d'Ivoire, and Uganda, according to the Africa Rice Center.

New Rice for Africa - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Some NERICA lines show[2] high growth with low uptake of water and seem to be appropriate for long periods of cultivation in drought condition.

(my bold)

However, keeping hybrid seeds is not a particularly good strategy. The resulting culture will be heterogenous, ie the plants will revert to the original types (remember Mendel and peas) and you'll get the disadvantages of each without the vigour of the hybrid.

The situation here is that the Asian type needs a lot of water and doesn't otherwise adapt well to African condition; the African type needs much less water but has other disadvantages; the hybrid works in African conditions. The seed has been developed by an African international organisation, not by private-sector seeds 'n' chemicals outfits that shall remain unnamed. From the About page:

Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice)

Its mission is to contribute to poverty alleviation and food security in Africa, through research, development and partnership activities aimed at increasing the productivity and profitability of the rice sector in ways that ensure the sustainability of the farming environment.

The modus operandi of the Center is partnership at all levels. Its research and development activities are conducted in collaboration with various stakeholders--primarily the National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS), academic institutions, advanced research institutions, farmers' organizations, non-governmental organizations, and donors--for the benefit of African farmers, mostly small-scale producers, as well as the millions of African families for whom rice means food.
 

So, a priori, I'd go with that.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Aug 29th, 2012 at 04:36:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Soybeans Susceptible to Man-Made Materials in Soil

Researchers contend that manufactured nanomaterials--now popular in consumer products such as shampoos, gels, hair dyes and sunscreens--may be detrimental to the quality and yield of food crops, as reported in a paper in the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Manufactured nanomaterials are man-made materials produced by manipulating matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Their effects on human health and the environment are the subject of much scientific study.

"As MNMs are used more and more in consumer products, there is a higher likelihood that they will end up in wastewater treatment facilities," said lead researcher John Priester, an environmental scientist at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at University of California, Santa Barbara.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 04:17:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Local irrigation systems provide better food security: study

Farmer-led irrigation schemes provide better food security, protect millions of farmers from climate risks and reduce poverty in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, a new study showed Friday.

The findings are of particular interest as food prices escalate due to a weak monsoon season in Asia and a brutal drought in the midwestern and central US, where the world's largest corn and soybean crops are grown.

When farmers manage their small-scale irrigation systems themselves their yields can increase by up to 300 percent in some cases and add tens of billions of dollars to household revenues, the Sri Lanka-based International Water Management Institute (IWMI) found in its study.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 04:18:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Deadly Tin Inside Your Smartphone - Businessweek

The head of the village said the area where Rosnan was working was an illegal mine, and that it would be refilled and re-seeded. Yet even as Rosnan's family was mourning, three teenage boys, soaking in the rain, scraped for tin ore at the bottom of the same pit, right near the sapling. Two said they were 15 years old, the third 16. All were barefoot in knee-length shorts as they dug into the steep, sheer face. They were among about a dozen miners working in the immediate area. They knew about Rosnan's death, and kept digging.

Rosnan worked among thousands of Indonesians who wield pickaxes and buckets each day on Bangka Island, extracting the tin that becomes the solder that binds components in the world's tablet computers, smartphones, and other electronics. Police figures show Bangka miners died in accidents similar to Rosnan's at an average of almost one a week last year, more than double the rate from 2010.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 04:28:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe's resistance to shale gas could boost renewables | EurActiv

Europe has been unable to repeat the shale gas revolution that has swept the United States, and that could prove to be the unlikely saviour of long-term EU efforts to spur renewables and curb greenhouse gases.

The United States has managed to lower greenhouse gas emissions as well as energy prices as cheap shale gas has displaced coal, prompting calls from industry for Europe and others to follow suit.

The argument is that natural gas, which emits less carbon dioxide than coal, can be a friend, not a foe, to environmentalists. But investors say the shale gas revolution will not be repeated in Europe.

"I wouldn't completely write off shale gas development in Europe, but certainly the scale and speed at which it happens will not be like in the US," said Chris Rowland, an associate at Ecofin, a British-based investment manager with around €1.5 billion of assets under management, covering global energy, utility, infrastructure and alternative energy sectors.

"It's a good fuel for reducing emissions but not a good fuel for decarbonising," he added.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 04:39:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 03:41:15 PM EST
IPS - Israeli Soldiers Show No Mercy to Palestinian Children | Inter Press Service
Entitled `Children and Youth - Soldiers' Testimonies 2005-2011', a 71-page booklet has just been released for distribution by the group `Breaking the Silence'.

The NGO founded in 2004 by Israeli veterans of the Second Palestinian Intifadah uprising (2000-2005) is dedicated to documenting daily life under military rule in the Palestinian Territories through soldiers' experiences during their routine round of duty.

In order to sensitise Israeli 12-graders who, next year, will be drafted in the army, the NGO plans to distribute copies of the report at the gates of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv high schools. The school year started last Monday.

"Israeli children enjoy the protection of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Israel is signatory, whereas Palestinian children grow up without protection," says the brochure's preface.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 03:44:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IPS - Veil Falls Over Egyptian Media | Inter Press Service

CAIRO, Aug 25 2012 (IPS) - The former regime of Hosni Mubarak tightly controlled the press and intimidated journalists who dared to criticise it. Now it appears the Muslim Brotherhood has adopted similar tactics to stifle dissent.

Commentators have accused the once-banned Islamic movement, whose leaders have risen to control Egypt's parliament, presidency and many state institutions, of using its new political muscle to dictate media policy and appointments. In recent weeks, the group has extended its influence over the state press while allegedly attempting to silence journalists who hold critical views against it.

"We're seeing an escalation (in pressure) by those affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood against freedom of expression in Egypt," says Sherif Etman, spokesman for the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights (EOHR). "They're using some of the same techniques to repress the media as Mubarak."

Mubarak's authoritarian regime used draconian press laws and a complicit state media apparatus to vilify Islamist groups and other political opponents. Although the dictator was toppled during an uprising last year, Muslim Brotherhood leaders have accused public media institutions of perpetuating old biases. They also warn of a negative media campaign to undermine the country's newly-elected Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, who was a senior member of the Brotherhood's political wing before taking office.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 04:00:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IPS - Q&A: "The Trend in the Western World Is the Dissolution of Cities" | Inter Press Service

MEXICO CITY, Aug 23 2012 (IPS) - The prevailing trend in much of "the Western capitalist world is the destruction and dissolution of cities," which represents a threaten to democracy, "because the city is the place where public freedoms were born," warns urban planner Jordi Borja in an interview with Tierramérica*.

The current urban planning model confines residents to places that urban transport does not reach, and leaves public spaces abandoned, stressed Borja, a political scientist, sociologist, geographer and director of city management and urban planning at the public Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Open University of Catalonia).

Borja (Barcelona, 1941) lived in exile in France from 1961 to 1968, worked as an adviser for the remodelling of cities like Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago and Bogotá, and is the author of a number of books, including "La ciudad conquistada" (The Conquered City).

Tierramérica spoke with Borja during the International Forum on the Right to Mobility, held this month in the Mexican capital, where he was one of the speakers.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 04:10:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Apple Gets $1 Billion From Samsung--Nothing Changes - Businessweek
The smartest way to view this big Apple victory in the smartphone wars is that the Cupertino (Calif.)-based innovation machine now has an upper hand in a global negotiation being conducted via litigation. That's right: a negotiation. Apple and Samsung are using the courts to help them set prices for a series of cross-licensing agreements covering each other's intellectual property. In fact, it's broader and more complicated than that. Apple is engaging in this multi-dimensional negotiation-by-lawsuit with a range of device-making rivals that, like Samsung, use the Android operating system given away by Google (GOOG).
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 04:29:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 03:41:45 PM EST
BBC News - Rembrandt lost in post by gallery in Norway

A Norwegian art gallery has admitted losing a Rembrandt etching worth up to £5,400 in the post, after trying to save money on a courier and insurance.

The Soli Brug Gallery in Greaaker, 80 km south of Oslo, bought the Dutch master's Lieven Willemsz, van Coppenol, Writing-Master from a British dealer.

The etching, made around 1658, is now lost in the Norwegian postal system.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 03:54:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Town holds breath over 100-year-old package - The Local

Speculation is rife about the contents of the three-kilo parcel, sealed and bound in 1912 by the then mayor of Sel, Johan Nygaard, who wrote on the package that it "can be opened in 2012", newspaper VG reports.

Having kept it to himself for the first few years, Nygaard handed the package to council authorities for safe-keeping in the 1920s.

"We haven't the faintest idea what's inside," said Kjell Voldheim, who works at the Gudbrandsdal Museum where the package is held.

The missing Rembrandt?

</timewarp>

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 26th, 2012 at 03:55:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
apparently just banalities...

was the opening done in public, one wonders.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Aug 27th, 2012 at 11:44:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
According to Swedish tv, yes it was opened in public. Letters from America, newspaper articles, council protocolls and such. It's a time capsule.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Aug 28th, 2012 at 03:21:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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