Human-ities · Social/Politics

Radical Centrism: Uniting the Radical Left and the Radical Right

Pragmatic Centrism Is Crony Capitalism.

Neoliberal crony capitalism is driven by a grand coalition between the pragmatic centre-left and the pragmatic centre-right. Crony capitalist policies are always justified as the pragmatic solution. The range of policy options is narrowed down to a pragmatic compromise that maximises the rent that can be extracted by special interests. Instead of the government providing essential services such as healthcare and law and order, we get oligopolistic private healthcare and privatised prisons. Instead of a vibrant and competitive private sector with free entry and exit of firms we get heavily regulated and licensed industries, too-big-to-fail banks and corporate bailouts.

There’s no better example of this dynamic than the replacement of the public option in Obamacare by a ‘private option’. As Glenn Greenwald argues, “whatever one’s views on Obamacare were and are: the bill’s mandate that everyone purchase the products of the private health insurance industry, unaccompanied by any public alternative, was a huge gift to that industry.” Public support is garnered by presenting the private option as the pragmatic choice, the compromise option, the only option. To middle class families who fear losing their healthcare protection due to unemployment, the choice is framed as either the private option or nothing.

In a recent paper (h/t Chris Dillow), Pablo Torija asks the question ‘Do Politicians Serve the One Percent?’ and concludes that they do. This is not a surprising result but what is more interesting is his research on the difference between leftwing and rightwing governments which he summarises as follows: “In 2009 center-right parties maximized the happiness of the 100th-98th richest percentile and center-left parties the 100th-95th richest percentile. The situation has evolved from the seventies when politicians represented, approximately, the median voter”.

Excerpt from a text written by Ashwin at Macroeconomic Resilience. Continue HERE. Image via Wiki

Earthly/Geo/Astro · Performativity · Sculpt/Install · Sonic/Musical

Listen to the Surface of the Earth Transposed on Vinyl Record – by Art of Failure

FLAT EARTH SOCIETY proposes a transposition of the earth elevation at the scale of a microgroove record. This engraving of elevation’s data on the surface of the disk generates in consequence a subtle image of the earth. When played on a turntable, the chain of elevation data crossed by the needle can be heard.

“Can we hear the Earth? Not the sounds occurring upon it but the Earth on a geophysical scale? […]
The hill-and-dale technique was used in Edison’s phonograph, recording sound with a stylus that vertically cut a minute landscape into the grooves of the cylinder. […] Flat earth society takes readings from the stylus of topographic radar, cuts them into vinyl and then plays them back with a stylus. Phonographic hills-and-dales grow into the Alps, Andes, Himalayas, Grand Canyon, Great Steppe, Great Rift Valley, Great Outback and the Lesser Antilles. Where Enrico Caruso and Nellie Melba once sang one hears the Baja Peninsula, Antarctic Peninsula, and the bathymetric pauses of the Red Sea and Baffin Bay. […] Peaks and valleys, spikes and wells, spires and troughs, aspirations and depressions, all have their gradations in mythical and actual landscapes.”
– Douglas Kahn

Learn more about this project HERE

Education · Human-ities · Social/Politics

Eulogy for a Sex Radical: Shulamith Firestone’s Forgotten Feminism


A utopia without pregnancy or childbearing? That was the dream of the controversial Dialectic of Sex author, who was found dead on Tuesday at 67.

It’s hard to imagine that Shulamith Firestone and Helen Gurley Brown thought very highly of each other. Gurley Brown wore immaculate make-up and had a driver. There were needlepoint pillows in her office. She had sex. She told other women that they should have sex, too.

Firestone, on the other hand, did not have sex. In fact, she was a political celibate. She encouraged other women to become celibate. Some of them did. She wore owl glasses; she looked like the 70s radical she was.

Firestone, whose death was reported yesterday, will not receive a fraction of the encomia Gurley Brown did after her death earlier this month. Why? Both women were feminist pioneers. Both wrote canonical feminist texts that became bestsellers when they were published about a half century ago. Both shaped absolutely the ways we think about gender, education, and the family today. Both put sex at the center of their analyses.

Excerpt of an article written by Emily Chertoff, at The Atlantic. Continue HERE

Architectonic · Art/Aesthetics · Book-Text-Read-Zines · Design · Education · Public Space · Social/Politics

Strelka Press

Strelka Press is a radical publishing house for original writing on architecture, design and the city. Its mission is to promote a new wave of thinking on contemporary issues in architecture and design. The publishing house has a global perspective, but it also has a special interest in how the international discourse can influence the Russian context. Apart from printed books, Strelka Press offers a new platform for long-form writing in the shape of short e-books that give readers instant access at affordable prices.

Strelka Press is the publishing arm of Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design. Based in London and Moscow, Strelka Press publishes books in English and Russian.

Strelka Institute is a non-profit organization aimed at generating knowledge, producing new ideas and making them come true. Its lecture halls and studios provide free tuition for international young specialists with backgrounds in architecture, design, social sciences, etc. Its courtyard hosts open lectures, conferences and film screenings. Its bar provides both a place for the social networking of creative people from around the globe and a source of Strelka’s financial backing: what the bar earns goes to support the institute.

Strelka is an educational centre that is open to the world and ready to share. What happens here spills out into social exchange.

The output of the institute is multidimensional. It includes graduates and their projects. It involves a growing network of creativity. But, most importantly, it helps shape the reality of tomorrow.