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About Rippounet

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  1. I'm not famous. But in high school I did become kinda famous for something... My school had an exchange program with a Polish school. The first year we went to Poland, and the following year the Polish kids came to France. So they arrived (by bus), and the following evening we had a big reception inside my school with the consul of Poland making a nice little speech, with a toast and everything. After the speech we were all supposed to move to the dining hall (for dinner, obviously). But with two Polish girls we felt more thirsty than hungry (it didn't hurt that they were rather hot). You see, the toast was done with some nice champagne or sparkling white wine (I could never tell the difference between a bad champagne and a good white tbh), but most of the bottles were far from empty. Out of the goodness of our hearts we decided it was our duty not to let all that booze go to waste. And so we finished. Every. Single. One. I can't remember how many bottles there were. Half a dozen at the very least, but possibly up to a dozen (though some were almost empty). I remember thinking we were drinking the equivalent of about two bottles each before losing count. And then we went to the dining hall. By the time we arrived a few things had happened: - The consul had left (thankfully). - Everyone had sat down for dinner and our seats were conspicuously empty (so that our arrival could not go unnoticed). - We were so drunk that we could barely walk. In fact, my memories stop after arriving at my table. But I remember arriving there, completely wasted, barely standing up, with my two girl-friends, in front of 60+ other kids, at least half-a-dozen teachers, quite a few parents, and possibly a few officials. And then walking home with my correspondant (a giant of a girl, over 2m tall), three or four hours later. I forgot everything in-between, though I vaguely remember giving shit to my ex, and people telling me to stop shouting so much. The weird thing is that I never got in trouble for it. My mom mentioned it at some point (one of my teachers must have told her about it), but only in passing. It's as if it never happened (for the adults at least). My guess is that the teachers felt responsible (they should have been watching us), and possibly my mom as well (since she wasn't there). So that was the one time I got publicly wasted at school. The kicker? I was 14 (kind of a wunderkind). So that was the night when the nerdiest, most awkward kid at school spent his evening flirting and drinking with two hot 16 year-old Polish girls, to everyone's surprise. I still chuckle about it.
  2. Most people also believed smoking was good for health when cigarette companies claimed so. I'm not sure why you of all people would dumb things down here.
  3. And I'm saying that point kills any discussion: if the Soviet Union was communist no one in their right mind could ever defend communism again.
  4. Sure. But this discussion (this thread) is in fact academic, isn't it? By that I mean that if we are to discuss the merits of "communism" we can't focus on Stalin or Mao... or the discussion is moot. This thread can only make sense IF we make the difference between "Marxism-Leninism" or "Maoism" on the one hand and actual communism (whatever that may be) on the other hand.
  5. It really isn't. Reagan himself was aware enough of the difference to joke about it, and he was hardly a sympathizer. Understanding that the USSR was not a communist regime is pretty fucking basic.
  6. I get that this is "for the sake of argument" but nonetheless I'll point out that the USSR certainly never came close to being a "communist state," not by any accurate definition. As far as I know it always claimed to be *socialist* (it's like... right there in the name) which is bad enough - for socialism that is.
  7. It might be good to bear in mind that there has never been a large-scale communist experiment. Going by the literal definition, "communism," cannot work above a certain scale: the "communal ownership of property" can only be a reality if the community can debate and decide efficiently, which is -as yet- impossible to do with millions. Another way of putting it is that a "communist government" might be an oxymoron since you can't "delegate" "communal owernship." I like philosopher Alain Badiou (with Zizek) presenting of communism as an "idea," i.e. not a given structure for a society (even less for a state) but an idealist principle for small societal structures (corporations of course, but any and all means of production, really). In other words, communism could be seen as i) less specialisation for humans, ii) the absence of social classes and hierarchy, and perhaps even iii) the end of feelings of scarcity. Ironically,point i) aside, it seems difficult to imagine a utopia without points ii) and iii). It's kinda the irony of communism: as a structure it seems almost incompatible with modernity, but otoh is absolutely unescapable for any idealist endeavor. Or, to simplify, that communism could never "work" today, but is the only future worth considering.
  8. They do, just not at the scale of a modern state. But you take any human group in a given socio-cultural context and, bar a few counter-examples, there is a strong pressure not to act selfish ; we have countless examples of a strong sense of community allowing functioning communist structures or societies, but it seems to break down above a certain scale. More pragmatically there's also the simple fact that public service does not only attract crooks, so you'll also always have a significant proportion of administrators and bureaucrats who genuinely believe in what they do. That's at least in part the reason why Western governments achieved so much after World War II.
  9. Credible, but factually incorrect again. About half of the cases of arson involve churches that are centuries old. The one in Orléans for instance (the one with the penises) is from the XVIth century. The Observatoire du Patrimoine Religieux (OPR) lists recent cases of arson for churches dating back to the XIth or XIVth century. There was also a fire (negligence or criminal, 'tis not sure) at the cathedral of Rennes just a month and a half ago (just in case you want to pivot to the "cathedral" label ). And again, thinking about it for two or three minutes might help one remember that France has an insane amount of old monuments. We have about 100,000 religious buildings most of which are centuries old. I can't even give you precise statistics because it seems no one knows how many of these we have, the OPR has only listed a bit more than 70,000 of them! What is certain is that they face degradations all the time, there are hundreds of cases every year, most of them graffitis. And yes, some do say "Allahu Akbar," but many are also symbols of other movements like the circle-A of anarchism, the Nazi swastika, or even nationalist and satanist slogans... etc. The original problem is that you're desperately trying to base a narrative on your idea of the way French people should see their religious monuments, but that idea is already wrong to begin with. In fact, given your stubborness in the face of actual data on this from a local, one has to wonder just why exactly you want this case to be seen as exceptional or extraordinary: there are literally hundreds of cases every year, but that one case where the culprit is a Rwandan guy really has to be something special for some reason... But what I'm saying is that it's not the only factor leading to competition for jobs. Like, I don't see why today, in 2020, you'd want to blame immigration or immigrants for unemployment rather than outsourcing/relocation and automation, when it's obvious that these two are far more consequential today in almost every single Western country. However you put it, the bottom line is that there's no way immigration is an existential threat.
  10. I guess... ? I honestly tend to view 2020 as far more complicated than 1980, so I'm a bit wary of simple explanations. I'm sure Employers' Federations saw refugees as economically profitable, but otoh France and Germany's respective economic and demographic situations are different, so the motives of French and German CEOs could be subtly different as well. Generally speaking, I'm inclined to think that immigration doesn't have that big an impact on the macro-economic level, in the sense that benefits and costs largely cancel each other over time. Since we don't actually face scarcity in Europe, more human capital is likely to be a net positive, regardless of its impact on the labor market(s). Funnily enough I would personally focus on consumption & production rather than labor, because one way or the other we probably have too much labor already, even though we should be lowering our production anyway (or our environmental impact at least). I've seen various estimates saying at least 30% and up to 50% of jobs are becoming obsolete ; in that context, immigration will be a drop in the ocean in most countries. I suppose a short version of this is to say that even if some anti-immigration or anti-globalist discouses have some truth to them (and that's still a big if), it's not too important in the grand scheme of things. In the grand scheme of things we should be rethinking our consumption, our production, and thus the very definition of labor. Another way of putting it is that our societies are facing structural changes that are far more consequential than anything immigration entails at the moment. In fact, I'm not sure the debate around immigration has fundamentally changed in the last 50, 100, 150, or even 1000 years. The caveat to all this is that Germany may be a counter-example, because taking in about 1 million refugees at once is exceptional, so I have no idea of how that affects economics there. But on the "cultural" side, so far, it seems to be going well. Yes, truly. There are many anecdotal incidents, but apparently few negative patterns threatening the entire experiment (in other words, you can find many bad examples, but statistically speaking they tend to be almost irrelevant). Contrary to what the far-right would have us believe, it seems it is perfectly possible for Western countries to manage mass migration. In sum, humanity seems to have evolved to the point where one imagined community can take in 1 million humans from another imagined community. If one forgets about bigotry for a few seconds that is a remarkable achievement. Another caveat is that global warming might lead to an explosion of refugees, thus making some discourses far more pertinent than they are now.
  11. Recently started a rewatch of Avatar, the Last Airbender and it's amazing to see how good this show is. Finally got around to watching the Handmaid's Tale. I loved the first season, but the beginning of the second one seemed -to me- to destroy the characterization of June and played for cheap shock value, not sure if I'll keep watching. Started Mrs America. Wow, great show! I was always fascinated by Phyllis Schlafly and Cate Blanchett is absolutely fantastic in that role. Also, finally finished Breaking Bad (yes, it took me years), ironically, after having recently watched all seasons of Better Call Saul. Both are great shows but man, can they be slow... The older I get and the harder it is for me to slog through this type of "atmospheric" show, despite the fact that they are objectively awesome. Oh, and almost forgot I kinda watched Hunters, though I dunno if that counts since I accidentally started with the last episode and thus spoiled myself the whole show... Didn't seem great to me though, but of course I can hardly give a truly informed opinion about it. Also, one of my guilty pleasures is trying to find a good "teenage" show with supernatural elements, perhaps because I'm somewhat nostalgic of falsely light-hearted shows like Buffy. Anyway, watched the first season of Motherland... And though the pitch was decent, the teenage elements (romance/sex) were far too heavy compared to the rest, and the plot twists so predictable that they aren't even worthy of the name. Bad. Sad. Would definitely not recommend. OTOH, was pleasantly surprised by Warrior Nun. At first it seemed to have the same awful defects as Motherland, but in a twist worthy of Shyamalan it subverted the tropes of the teenage genre in several ways and moved to a decently executed initiation story instead. The finale was a bit disappointing though (I dislike cliffhangers). The faith-based elements (and the war between Church and scientist(s)) were a bit annoying at first but as the season moved on, the manga-like elements dominated to such a point that by the time you reach the last episodes it feels that this fictional "Church" has little in common with the Catholic Church we know, and is closer to a potpourri of all Western religions, while "science" is closer to science-fiction in that world (in which all European countries somehow blend into a single cultural ensemble). And of course, there is one decent plot twist in there. Alba Batista adds a fun Ellen Page-vibe to the whole thing, and her duo with Toya "Shotgun mary" Turner is hilarious. So... Not bad. I could be tempted to try a second season if one ever comes out. Really wondering what I'll try next... I'm thinking of starting Killing Eve, but that's because of @Zorral's comments on it. There's lots of Black Mirror episodes that I haven't watched, and in the same vein I've heard good things about Upload. Also curious about Space Force and Messiah. There's also Chernobyl that I've yet to watch, but that one seems a bit too serious for my current mood, so I might just end up watching the last season of Supernatural instead ^^.
  12. A credible narrative, but factually incorrect. On the contrary, in France at least, degradations (and even arson) of churches occur on a regular basis. An anarcho-libertarian group set fire to a church in January 2019 in Grenoble. In 2018 there was a case in Orléans (with penises drawn and a poorly spelled "Allah ou Akbar," which says a great deal). I also found two fires started by teenagers and at least four by men with "mental problems," all in the last few years. And this is thanks to a 10mn search, if I were to dig deeper I am certain I would find many more. I did also find numerous articles claiming that France is in the midst of a wave of arson and degradation of churches that should be attributed to "barbarian" immigrants (no doubt Muslims). All of them seemed to be, to make it simple, full of shit, either from far-right (the "fachosphère") or Russian sources (which are the same, on this topic), compiling erroneous lists that do not stand up to scrutiny, or outright lies. About half of the fires reported are actually believed to be accidental and I couldn't find a single proven case of arson for "cultural" or religious reasons, the recent Nantes case being the closest to that, even though it's really not close at all. In fact, if you think about this for the entirety of 2 or 3 minutes you should realize that such a narrative is invalidated by actual attacks. If you look at "terrorists" (including the smallest attacks, i.e. a lunatic with a knife shouting "Allahu Akbar" in a train station), they pretty much never target churches. Concert halls, bars, restaurants, train stations or airports, markets and supermarkets... all seem to be higher on the list. I vividly remember one counter-example, and the reason I remember it so well is precisely because it was a counter-example, that one case when two guys attacked a church and a priest for some reason (and failed miserably IIRC). And of course, anyone who knows France and French culture would know that the deeper reason is that French people are overwhelmingly non-religious (anti-clerical even, for quite a few on the left) and view churches as monuments to visit (like castles, basically), rather than as sacred cultural/religious symbols. For many of us, attacking the terrace of a bistrot is really more of a blasphemy than trying to burn a church! And maybe Notre-Dame de Paris would have been a decent counter-example (considering its mystique) if that one was actually proven to be criminal, except it's not... Point is, yes, you are indeed spewing far-right talking points, or at the very least, a far-right narrative. If I had the time I could probably prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, or if you were honest, you'd admit that you get your information from dodgy sources. BTW there was a case of a far-right nutjob attacking a mosque because he believed Notre-Dame had been burned down by Muslims, so spreading bullshit narratives is not without consequences. Something to think about for the other thread on "cancel culture" and free speech, perhaps? Because you and I can't both be right on this one. Narratives or perspectives may differ, but numbers and statistics are objective, which means one of us is spreading misinformation. At least when it comes to France, since the cathedral case is a French one. Whether your narrative could hold in other countries (say, Poland or Sweden) is a different question, and it might take a Pole or a Swede to answer that one. But historically speaking, the narrative of the "immigrant" (or foreigner, or "other") as a barbarian (godless, primitive, savage) is pretty much always rooted in misinformation and ignorance. The other is always aggressive, lazy, sexually perverted... etc. So of course he will burn churches and rape/enslave women, because he is barely human, because his skin is of a different color... yada yada... That stuff gets boring once you realize the narratives have barely changed since the dawn of time. No doubt the first sapiens had similar stories about neanderthals, though we now know for certain that those two were not above fucking each other... It might have been true in the 1980s. I certainly read at least one well-sourced article on this, but what we're talking about is some large corporations deliberately employing immigrants to weaken their unions. In other words, while it is true that immigration was used as a weapon in class warfare, it was done at the level of micro-economics, because it could often be traced back to the management of specific factories. The conclusion that from the start there was a "grand design" at the highest levels (political and industrial) might be credible, but as far as I know it remains unsubtantiated. TBH I think they (industrialists) stumbled upon the weaponisation (both economic and political) of immigration thanks to de-colonization, the two being intimately linked, as Sologdin already pointed out. It's funny how often Marxists are proven right in this story... Anyway, flash forward to 2020 and it's a different world. Most of the factories are already gone, and many of the remaining ones are being automated. The weakening of the unions in the 1980s was successful and, combined with a concerted political and mediatic effort, resulted in a significant shift to the right in most Western nations. Point is, even if immigration was a powerful economic weapon once, there's no way you can see it as the major factor today. There are other trends that are far more important. On top of my head, since you mentioned inequality, the incremental disappearance of progressive (redistributive?) taxation has a considerable and well-documented effect. So if you're genuinely concerned about inequality, wealth and estate taxes should be your main focus, not immigration. If you are primarily concerned with inequality, of course. In my experience, what right-wing folks are really after is a good narrative, not justice of any kind. At a glance it might seem curious that meaning and justice could be opposed, but if one thinks of conservatism as stemming from the elites' opposition to the progress of social justice, then it follows that it has to find meaning in non-progressive narratives. QED, I guess.
  13. Your post contains so many far-right talking points that it becomes difficult to answer. I'm not too sure what you mean with the bolded. Usually far-right activists talk about rape culture (or polygamy) or terrorism to argue immigrants are dangerous ("incompatible"). I assume you're referring to the case of the cathedral of Nantes (my hometown btw), though with the information we have as of now the "cultural angle" is contrived to say the least. If other cathedrals have been victims of arson I'd like to know, google isn't telling me anything. Same for courthouses too, unless you're referring to the US, in which case I'm not sure what the link with immigration is exactly... ? I'm more sympathetic to the first part of your post, because it sounds exactly like the discourse of French left-wing unions in the 1980s. Though of course, the problem there is that we're in 2020.
  14. Taboo is a bit strong, but it's certainly a topic I would tend to avoid - though mostly because what I'd say isn't likely to get through. Talking about "Immigration" is usually talking about free movement of humans across imaginary geographical lines arbitrarily delimiting the territory of fictional ("imaginary") communities. Those who oppose this tend to have a specific idea of the community they feel they belong to (generally along ethnic and/or religious lines, though people often mention culture these days) and feel this sense of belonging may disappear (or has disappeared, or is disappearing) if immigration is unrestricted. There is definitely a root cause of distrust for "others" (the outsiders, the unknown, the foreign) but it's also quite often a pretext to defend a given narrative (nationalist, religious, or "civilizational") that provides meaning both for the members' (the "in-group", the tribe) identity and for the collective's existence. Despite the malicious minority at work (that wields political power or influence in quite a few contries), I tend to think xenophobia is rooted in ignorance and really fueled by the fact that modern life and history are obliterating the narratives that allowed our communities to make sense. After the disasters of several collective universalist doctrines in the 20th century, the dominant socio-economic ideology now emphasizes the importance of the individual (and pushes for constant competition with others) and denies the very existence of a society. Xenophobia is a terrible way (perhaps the worst) of re-building a sense of community that is in fact under threat. The answer would seem to be to rebuild communities and develop new narratives. But the first part is made difficult by neo-liberalism (that atomizes society down to its smallest components) while the second one is still in its infancy. We are only starting to think as global citizens, and the narratives that allow us to do so lack the seductiveness of the old ones (that often provided notions of election or predestination, if not wild promises like eternal life). Instead we have the narrative of global socio-economic competition (which is really supported by the people already at the top) and the narrative of global interdependency (which gives each of us far more responsibilities that anyone wants). There are also materialistic or hedonistic trends and fashions, and certainly some aspirations for the future of humanity (like space exploration), but there is no grand narrative that enough people agree on to truly aim for open borders. Questioning our -colossal- production of goods and consumption behaviors to end feelings of scarcity may very well have to come first. Which is just an elaborate way of saying that our values as a whole have to evolve to achieve a world of open borders. Assuming as a species that is something we can achieve at all. While there is a budding ideology of global citizenship in many Western (and I believe, in some Asian) nations (which many here obviously believe in), there are also strong reactionary forces working against global cooperation and solidarity, or simply resisting what would be momentous change. We still have a long way to go.
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