Revolution 2.0: Victory of the Hashtaggers

Revolution of the hashtaggers!

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i-Solation

By Saswat Pattanayak The association of loneliness with personal is based on a lingering myth. Far from being an individual symptom, loneliness is an inevitable outcome of an individualistic society. It is a state of being that prevents a person from exercising class prerogative and realizing revolutionary potential. And to that extent, loneliness is in fact a politically disempowered experience. Normalization of loneliness therefore typifies capitalism without reference to its deliberate construction. Instead of recognizing it as a contradiction within the irrational class society, it is glamorized, iconized and in many instances mourned as an aberration, as individual failing. From…

The Market

  By Saswat Pattanayak Real man Farhan Akhtar prevents violence against women on behalf of the Delhi Police, Al Gore makes millions to save the planet from temperature gain, Amnesty International recruits Peter Gabriel to be their conscience, Aishwarya Rai counters Polio and HIV/AIDS, Unicef heralds Aamir Khan as the expert on child rights, and Narendra Modi hires Amitabh Bachchan to spread ‘Khushbu Gujarat Ki’. And we lesser mortals, legends in our own minds, emulate our stars and wait for our moment to go viral on Facebook and Youtube, while these corporations churn out billions in our name via offering…

Our Rape, Their Rape

By Saswat Pattanayak The need is to change the entire language of rape. Not to just call it a rape, but as rape by men. Not simply that a Dalit woman was raped, but a Dalit woman was raped by a Hindu upper-caste man. Not just a woman was gang-raped, but six men raped a woman one by one by one by one by one by one. Not just Violence Against Women (VAW), but Violence Against Women By Men (VAWBM). Not just laws around gender discrimination or sexism, but specifically around men discriminating against women or laws to hold male…

Radical Roots of Gangnam Style: Psy, Kim Jong-Un and Challenges for the Fascist Standards of Sexy

By Saswat Pattanayak Psy has surpassed every artist in history by attaining one billion views, but that alone is not instructive. The measure of greatness in Park Jae-sang remains in his consciousness-raising about capitalistic contradictions and imperialistic warmongering in undiluted terms. In a Eurocentric world dominated by the disturbingly unifying English language, where American narratives grip past and the present times, it is easy to wonder why a Korean wields such an influence. The answer is as easy: why not. After all, Korea is like no other. It indeed is the center of the universe – the site for contestation…

On Einstein’s Acceptance of Communist Russia and Rejection of Zionist Israel

by Saswat Pattanayak With the “God Letter” recently auctioned for over $3 million, the world has started taking a renewed interest in Albert Einstein’s core philosophies. In the most conservative estimate, he has been described as the father of modern physics; and by most liberal counts, the most intelligent human being in history. But despite tremendous biographical sketches, Einstein has remained largely unknown as an activist, or terribly misunderstood as a statesman. Many dimensions of his life have been deliberately suppressed, some grossly exaggerated, and quite a few entirely concocted with blatant lies. This is quite natural considering the ruling…

Why is Hurricane Sandy a Political Issue?

President Obama and his administration have been exchanging high-fives and posing for stock images to bring home the point that Sandy’s aftermath is being dealt with successfully. Reassuring this to the rest of the world, the president then visits his campaign rallies. And after his inspiring speeches are registered the liberal media spins portray how neighbors should be helping each other, how communities should come together and how individual charities make all the difference in resolving natural disaster crisis. They paint the aftermath a victory for a president who hugs the visibly grateful citizens with a confident smile facing the…

Tales from Cola Land

Democracy is a system of oppression run by popular consent; its enabler, the electoral politics, is a spectator sport; the select audience for the rituals is retained through appeals, and the voting is an exercise of Hobson’s Choice. And yet such a system has unprecedented approval ratings, because in the Gramscian sense, democracy has become “the universally valid dominant ideology that justifies the social, political, and economic status quo as natural and inevitable, perpetual and beneficial for everyone, rather than as artificial social constructs that benefit only the ruling class.” Even when Abraham Lincoln extolled its virtues, democracy was merely…

Burma: In Exile

Aung San Suu Kyi has been rightfully recognized as the champion of nonviolence, democracy and free speech, but her celebrity stature has unfortunately overshadowed the revolutionary legacies of Burmese politics. At a time when the unabated political imprisonment of her country itself should deserve far greater attention than one individual, the inordinate adulations surrounding Suu Kyi have played right into the hands of the adversaries of the ideals once set forth by her father, Burma’s cherished leader, U Aung San. When Aung San Suu Kyi emerged in the political scene following the Four Eights Uprising, she was accepted in Burma…