Down with capitalism, up with a sub-Saharan way of life

AndreasMalmBioRecently we catalogued a few of the more prominent Swedes who prefer tyranny to liberty. Here’s one more: Andreas Malm, who’s currently a doctoral student in human ecology at Lund University. But he’s not just any college kid – he’s a prominent guy with an already substantial résumé who’s been a top-level player in Sweden’s cultural elite for years. A quick précis: born in 1977, he helped launch the Swedish branch of the International Solidarity Movement, served on the editorial staffs of the syndicalist weekly Arbetaren and the Socialist Party’s weekly Internationalen, written books on the “occupation of Palestine,” “imperialism in our time,” and “Islamophobia in Europe,” and won a respected prize in recognition of his “solidarity with the Palestinian people.” Oh, and he’s publicly expressed his support for both Hezbollah and Hamas.

These days, however, his specialty is trying to get everybody extremely worked up about what he describes as the apocalyptic dangers of modern technological and industrial economies and their reliance on fossil fuels.

One of Malm’s favorite ploys is to compare the level of energy use in the developed world with that in the global south. “The 19 million inhabitants of New York State alone,” he’s written, to offer just one of many examples, “consume more energy than the 900 million inhabitants of sub-Saharan Africa.”

AndreasELWell, that’s likely true. For most people in sub-Saharan Africa, life is hell beyond the imagination of people in places like New York State (or Lund). It’s primitive. To borrow the famous line from Thomas Hobbes, it’s “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” In more than a dozen sub-Saharan countries, including Burundi, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the GDP per capita is below $1000 a year; in several more, it’s only slightly higher. In nations like Chad, Angola, Lesotho, and Sierra Leone, the life expectancy hovers around 50. Across the continent, tens of millions perish annually from pneumonia, malaria, whooping cough, measles, and other afflictions that are no longer major problems in the rest of the world.

What lesson does Malm take from this? Not that the desperate, destitute souls of sub-Saharan Africa need to be helped to develop their terrible economies, so that they can attain at least some fraction of the prosperity enjoyed by, say, people in the state of New York. No, what he wants is for the Empire State’s economy to be radically shrunk so that its inhabitants’ consumption will sink to levels closer to those of the people of sub-Saharan Africa.

Malm has spelled out his ideas in a recent book. We’ll look at it tomorrow.

Karl Vick, Hamas apologist

We’ve studied a few examples of Time correspondent Karl Vick‘s useful stoogery on behalf of the Castro regime as well as of sundry nefarious, primitive, and belligerent entities in the Middle East. But these efforts pale alongside his attempts to whitewash Hamas.

vick2
Karl Vick

In a November 2011 piece entitled “Hamas Edges Closer to the Mainstream: Agreeing to Nonviolence, Opening the Door to Recognizing Israel,” Vick wrote that on the Gaza Strip, Hamas had “largely enforced a truce with Israel since January 2009.” To be sure, Hamas had “signed a paper committing itself to ‘popular resistance’ against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories,” but Vick added: “That’s ‘popular’ in contrast to ‘violent’ or ‘military’ resistance. We’re talking marches here. Chanting and signs, not booby traps or suicide bombs.” But there was no reason whatsoever for Vick to interpret the word “popular” that way. As Pesach Benson of Honest Reporting (HR) commented at the time:

hamas
The peace-loving boys and girls of Hamas

When Palestinians say “popular” Vick hears “non-violent.” But what they mean is grassroots.

In the Palestinian dictionary, kids throwing stones at Israelis is grassroots “popular” resistance no less than adults holding a grassroots “popular” candlelight vigil.

Gilad Shalit wasn’t kidnapped by any old resistance committees. He was snatched and held captive by the Popular Resistance Committees. Their popularity comes from promising to kidnap more soldiers, not holding marches, witty chants, or clever signs.

hamas_4
A Hamas candlelight vigil

Vick served up more of the same nonsense in February 2012. “The mainstreaming of Hamas continues,” wrote Benson, “thanks to the obtuse dispatches of journos like Time’s Karl Vick.” The reference was to Vick’s article entitled “The Mainstreaming of Hamas Continues as Palestinian Unity Gains Steam.” In the piece, Vick unskeptically reported that Hamas, “which the West knows chiefly for its suicide attacks on Israel,” was putting violence behind it. Yes, Hamas remained “committed to the eradication of the Jewish State,” but Vick described this commitment as only “[n]ominal.” If Hamas had really changed its mind, why not publicly renounce its commitment to crushing Israel? Vick’s answer: “that’s an awful lot to expect of a militant group in the space of a few months.”

rachel-corrie
Rachel Corrie

It was Vick, too, who filed Time‘s 2012 report on the verdict in the case of Rachel Corrie, an American member of the radical International Solidarity Movement who was run over by an Israeli bulldozer during a 2003 protest, becoming a martyr to the anti-Israeli cause. The bulldozer driver said he hadn’t even seen Corrie; the judge agreed it was an accident. Vick’s take was predictable. Even the headline was tendentious: “Court Rebuffs Case of Slain U.S. Activist.” (As Honest Reporting’s Simon Plosker observed, “The usage of the adjective ‘slain’ or the verb ‘to slay’ usually means the violent killing of someone intentionally, the exact opposite of the Israeli court ruling.”) The judge, Vick wrote, “stood with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Israelis overwhelmingly do.” The implication, plainly, was that the verdict had had nothing to do with justice or the facts, but only with blind loyalty to the IDF.

No Time reader who’d been paying attention over the years to Vick’s reports from Jerusalem would be terribly surprised by his admission, in his article on the Corrie verdict, that his wife had actually worked as a volunteer helping Corrie’s parents while they were in Israel for the trial. That his editors knew about this connection and still let Vick report on the verdict – as if he could possibly write about it with any detachment – made it clear that not Karl Vick’s not the only Hamas stooge at Time. Or in the Vick household.