India's rapid economic growth since 1991 seems like one of contemporary capitalism's greatest success stories, equaled only by the meteoric rise of China. The world's largest democracy has produced people like Mukesh Ambani, India's richest man, who built for himself the world's most expensive dwelling. Situated in the heart of Mumbai, it's a twenty-seven stories and contains three helipads, nine lifts, ballrooms, gyms, and six floors of parking, as well as employing six hundred (!) servants. India seems like it's flourishing with this new wealth. Yet, speaking to Evan Davis on Newsnight, Arundhati Roy argues that this success is built upon the misery of India's "ghosts" - those pushed increasingly into poverty, debt and misery.
In honour of the publication of Radio Benjamin, we bring you Esther Leslie's presentation from the event Radio Benjamin: Live Now held at Tate Modern on 5th November with Esther Leslie, Gareth Evans and Mark Aerial Waller.
Walter Benjamin involved himself, from the mid-1920s, in the practical business of making radio shows, usually lectures, radio-plays or experimental ‘listening models’, some of which were directed at children, others at the general radio-listening public. The themes were diverse, with topics such as liquor bootleggers, Berlin dialects, the petrification of Pompeii, counterfeit stamps, slum housing, manufacture, the legend of Caspar Hauser, the history of the Bastille prison, witch trials and the history of toys. Benjamin spoke about the history and curiosities of Berlin, about figures from the shadow side of life and about catastrophes. He also made radio plays and puzzle shows.
Alain Badiou, whose most recent book The Age of the Poets has just been published, has written the below response to Laurent Joffrin, Editorial Director of Libération, who has written an article in Libération criticising Badiou for his use of the Chinese Cultural Revolution in a recent debate:
In the context of a debate with Marcel Gauchet on the theme ‘communism and democracy’ I invoked certain characteristics of the Chinese Cultural Revolution in service of a complex argument. This proved sufficient for Laurent Joffrin to abandon instantly the toil that doubtless occupies all of his time – the soft laying-off of almost a hundred employees from the Libération newspaper – to give his verdict: Badiou is just a frozen dinosaur.
To what extent should the US disrupt the growth of ISIS? And should it be on the offense or defense? Wikileaks Whistleblower Chelsea Manning was an all-source analyst in Iraq during the beginnings of the brutal extremist group and writes in the Guardian:
Attacking Isis directly, by air strikes or special operations forces, is a very tempting option available to policymakers, with immediate (but not always good) results. Unfortunately, when the west fights fire with fire, we feed into a cycle of outrage, recruitment, organizing and even more fighting that goes back decades. This is exactly what happened in Iraq during the height of a civil war in 2006 and 2007, and it can only be expected to occur again.
On this day, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia around noon. Historian Douglas Newton, author of The Darkest Days, writes in the Guardian how "Britain itself was provocative; on 28 July, the fleet was ordered to "War Stations", before news of a Balkan war. The following day its "Warning Telegram" was sent across the empire, two days before the comparable German proclamation."
On Monday 27 July, war was just wind in the rafters. A week later, on Monday 3 August, Liberal Minister Sir Edward Grey would make the case in the House of Commons for British intervention in a European war. The next day, Britain would declare war. How did it happen that the last great Liberal Cabinet in British history chose war so quickly in 1914?