A tip o the blog to Vive le Canada which posted a link to this excellent leftwing blog.
Marc W. Herold of the Departments of Economics and Women's Studies at the University of New Hampshire is currently publishing a series of articles on Afghanistan.
It poses questions about Afghanistan from the view of those forgotten by the politicians, the Progressives For War (PFW) and the rest of the MSM, main stream military, apologists.
The people in the empty State of Afghanistan, a land that is filled with nomadic peoples, whose civilization is outside of Kabul. Where our troops are now invading.
In classic capitalist fashion, those outside will be brought into civilization, that is the urban centres, to become proletarianized. This same policy was used in Indonesia for thirty years to move a mass of humanity from their villages towards the metropols to create a vast army of the unemployed.
Here are links to his three most recent articles. For those who think this war is about Timmies setting up a coffeshop in Kandahar, or who are deluded into believing we are actually doing something noble, well read on.
The perfect Neo-Colonial state of the 21st century. Part two.
Welcome to the "new" Afghanistan, and please, ladies and gentlemen proceed up these golden stairways. The forms taken by pseudo-development in Kabul are many and grotesque: construction of luxury hotels (photo above of elevator in the new Kabul City Center), shopping malls and ostentatious "corrupto-mansions," grinding poverty amidst opulence, pervasive insecurity, lock-down and deserted streets at night, an opium and foreign monies-financed consumption boom, pervasive corruption, alcohol and prostitutes for the foreign clientele, and the long list of "Kabul's finest" - foreign ex-pats, a bloated NGO-community, carpetbaggers and hangers-on of all stripes, money disbursers, neo-colonial administrators, opportunists, imported Chinese and Soviet Republic prostitutes, imported Thai masseuses in the Mustafa Hotel, bribed politicians and local power brokers, facilitators, beauticians (of the city planner or aesthetician types), members of the development establishment, do-gooders, mercenaries, fortune-hunters, enforcers, etc.
In this section, I shall address six inter-related aspects of Kabul's pseudo-development: (1). Opulence amidst destitution; (2). The absence of genuine governance in a culture of impunity; (3). Corruption; (4). Life in the ex-pat community; (5). Evidence of decadence -- alcohol and prostitution in Karzai's Kabul; and (6) The climate of generalized insecurity. Naturally, no aggregate data exists on these matters and so I shall rely upon scattered first-hand reports that form a coherent whole.
The perfect Neo-Colonial state of the 21st century. Part one.
Argument: Four years after the U.S.-led attack on Afghanistan, the true meaning of the U.S occupation is revealing itself. Afghanistan represents merely a space that is to be kept empty. Western powers have no interest in either buying from or selling to the blighted nation. The impoverished Afghan civilian population is as irrelevant as is the nation's economic development. But the space represented by Afghanistan in a volatile region of geo-political import, is to be kept vacant from all hostile forces. The country is situated at the center of a resurgent Islamic world, close to a rising China (and India) and the restive ex-Soviet Asian republics, and adjacent to oil-rich states.
The only populated centers of any real concern are a few islands of grotesque capitalist imaginary reality -- foremost Kabul -- needed to project the image of an existing central government, an image further promoted by Karzai's frequent international junkets. In such islands of affluence amidst a sea of poverty, a sufficient density of foreign ex-pats, a bloated NGO-community, carpetbaggers and hangers-on of all stripes, money disbursers, neo-colonial administrators, opportunists, bribed local power brokers, facilitators, beauticians (of the city planner or aesthetician types), members of the development establishment, do-gooders, enforcers, etc., warrants the presence of Western businesses. These include foreign bank branches, luxury hotels (Serena Kabul, Hyatt Regency of Kabul), shopping malls (the Roshan Plaza, the Kabul City Centre mall), import houses (Toyota selling its popular Land Cruiser), image makers (J. Walter Thompson), and the ubiquitous Coca-Cola1.
Trickle-Up Economics and Westernization in Karzai's Afghanistan
The evidence of class exclusion and westernization abound in the island called Kabul, the mayoralty of U.S.-anointed and DynCorp-protected Hamid Karzai.1 Liberation and civilization arrive through acts of westernized consumption and also participation in U.S.-modeled, organized and protected "elections," a topic explored elsewhere by others. The distinctive element of the Karzai reconstruction project – to use the memorable phrase of Ross Perot – involves a "giant sucking sound" meaning here transferring income upward in the social structure, e.g., trickle-up, well-lubricated by drug and foreign monies. The obscene, sickening spectacle of an import-dependent consumption boom in Kabul coexists with deep impoverishment and destitution, the whole sordid mess "protected" by close to 20,000 foreign troops.
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