Thursday, December 30, 2010

In redefining housework as WORK, as not a personal service but the work that produces and reproduces labor power, feminists have uncovered a new crucial ground of exploitation that Marx* and Marxist theory completely ignored. All of the important political insights contained in those analysis are now brushed aside as if they were of no relevance to an understanding of the present organization of production.

There is a faint echo of the feminist analysis –a lip service paid to it– in the inclusion of so called “affective labor” in the range of work activities qualifying as “immaterial labor.” However, the best Negri and Hardt can come up with is the case of women who work as flight attendants or in the food service industry, whom they call “affective laborers,” because they are expected to smile at their customers.

But what is “affective labor?” And why is it included in the theory of immaterial labor? I imagine it is included because –presumably– it does not produce tangible products but “states of being,” that is, it produces feelings. Again, to put it crudely, I think this is a bone thrown to feminism, which now is a perspective that has some social backing and can no longer be ignored.

But the concept of “affective labor” strips the feminist analysis of housework of all its demystifying power. In fact, it brings reproductive work back into the world of mystification, suggesting that reproducing people is just a matter of making producing “emotions,” “feelings,” It used to be called a “labor of love;” Negri and Hardt instead have discovered “affection.”

The feminist analysis of the function of the sexual division of labor, the function of gender hierarchies, the analysis of the way capitalism has used the wage to mobilize women’s work in the reproduction of the labor force–all of this is lost under the label of “affective labor.” - Silvia Federici, "Precarious Labour and Reproductive Work"

*Marx of course didn't actually ignore this but sets it out quite plainly in Capital:

When treating of the working day, we saw that the labourer is often compelled to make his individual consumption a mere incident of production. In such a case, he supplies himself with necessaries in order to maintain his labour-power, just as coal and water are supplied to the steam-engine and oil to the wheel. His means of consumption, in that case, are the mere means of consumption required by a means of production; his individual consumption is directly productive consumption. This, however, appears to be an abuse not essentially appertaining to capitalist production.

The matter takes quite another aspect, when we contemplate, not the single capitalist, and the single labourer, but the capitalist class and the labouring class, not an isolated process of production, but capitalist production in full swing, and on its actual social scale. By converting part of his capital into labour-power, the capitalist augments the value of his entire capital. He kills two birds with one stone. He profits, not only by what he receives from, but by what he gives to, the labourer. The capital given in exchange for labour-power is converted into necessaries, by the consumption of which the muscles, nerves, bones, and brains of existing labourers are reproduced, and new labourers are begotten. Within the limits of what is strictly necessary, the individual consumption of the working class is, therefore, the reconversion of the means of subsistence given by capital in exchange for labour-power, into fresh labour-power at the disposal of capital for exploitation. It is the production and reproduction of that means of production so indispensable to the capitalist: the labourer himself. The individual consumption of the labourer, whether it proceed within the workshop or outside it, whether it be part of the process of production or not, forms therefore a factor of the production and reproduction of capital; just as cleaning machinery does, whether it be done while the machinery is working or while it is standing. The fact that the labourer consumes his means of subsistence for his own purposes, and not to please the capitalist, has no bearing on the matter. The consumption of food by a beast of burden is none the less a necessary factor in the process of production, because the beast enjoys what it eats. The maintenance and reproduction of the working class is, and must ever be, a necessary condition to the reproduction of capital. But the capitalist may safely leave its fulfilment to the labourer’s instincts of self-preservation and of propagation. All the capitalist cares for, is to reduce the labourer’s individual consumption as far as possible to what is strictly necessary, and he is far away from imitating those brutal South Americans, who force their labourers to take the more substantial, rather than the less substantial, kind of food.

Hence both the capitalist and his ideological representative, the political economist, consider that part alone of the labourer’s individual consumption to be productive, which is requisite for the perpetuation of the class, and which therefore must take place in order that the capitalist may have labour-power to consume; what the labourer consumes for his own pleasure beyond that part, is unproductive consumption. If the accumulation of capital were to cause a rise of wages and an increase in the labourer’s consumption, unaccompanied by increase in the consumption of labour-power by capital, the additional capital would be consumed unproductively. In reality, the individual consumption of the labourer is unproductive as regards himself, for it reproduces nothing but the needy individual; it is productive to the capitalist and to the State, since it is the production of the power that creates their wealth.

From a social point of view, therefore, the working class, even when not directly engaged in the labour process, is just as much an appendage of capital as the ordinary instruments of labour. Even its individual consumption is, within certain limits, a mere factor in the process of production
- Marx, Capital, vol 1, chapter 23

The Bronx Slave Market! What is it? Who are its dealers? Who are its victims? What are its causes? How far does its stench spread? What forces are at work to counteract it?

Any corner in the congested sections of New York City’s Bronx is fertile soil for mushroom “slave marts.” The two where the traffic is heaviest and the bidding is highest are located at 167th street and Jerome Avenue and at Simpson and Westchester avenues.

Symbolic of the more humane slave block is the Jerome avenue “market.” There, on benches surrounding a green square, the victims wait, grateful, at least, for some place to sit. In direct contrast is the Simpson avenue “mart,” where they pose wearily against buildings and lampposts, or scuttle about in an attempt to retrieve discarded boxes upon which to rest.

Again, the Simpson avenue block exudes the stench of the slave market at its worst. Not only is human labor bartered and sold for slave wage, but human love also is a marketable commodity. But whether it is labor, or love that is sold, economic necessity compels the sale. As early as 8 a.m. they come; as late as 1 p.m. they remain.

Rain or shine, cold or hot, you will find them there – Negro women, old and young – sometimes bedraggled, sometimes neatly dressed – but with the invariable paper bundle, waiting expectantly for Bronx housewives to buy their strength and energy for an hour, two hours, or even for a day at the munificent rate of fifteen, twenty, twenty-five, or, if luck be with them, thirty cents an hour. If not the wives themselves, maybe their husbands, their sons, or their brothers, under the subterfuge of work, offer worldly-wise girls higher bids for their time.

Who are these women? What brings them here? Why do they stay? In the boom days before the onslaught of the depression in 1929, many of these women who are now forced to bargain for day’s work on street corners, were employed in grand homes in the rich Eighties, or in wealthier homes in Long Island and Westchester, at more than adequate wages. Some are former marginal industrial workers, forced by the slack in industry to seek other means of sustenance. In many instances there had been no necessity for work at all. But whatever their standing prior to the depression, none sought employment where they now seek it. They come to the Bronx, not because of what it promises, but largely in desperation.

Paradoxically, the crash of 1929 brought to the domestic labor market a new employer class. The lower middle-class housewife, who, having dreamed of the luxury of a maid, found opportunity staring her in tee face in the form of Negro women pressed to the wall by poverty, starvation and discrimination.

Where once color was the “gilt edged” security for obtaining domestic and personal service jobs, here, even, Negro women found themselves being displaced by whites. Hours of futile waiting in employment agencies, the fee that must be paid despite the lack of income, fraudulent agencies that sprung up during the depression, all forced the day worker to fend for herself or try the dubious and circuitous road to public relief.

As inadequate as emergency relief has been, it has proved somewhat of a boon to many of these women, for with its advent, actual starvation is no longer their ever-present slave driver and they have been able to demand twenty-five and even thirty cents an hour as against the old fifteen and twenty cent rate. In an effort to supplement the inadequate relief received, many seek this open market.

And what a market! She who is fortunate (?) enough to please Mrs. Simon Legree’s scrutinizing eye is led away to perform hours of multifarious household drudgeries. Under a rigid watch, she is permitted to scrub floors on her bended knees, to hang precariously from window sills, cleaning window after window, or to strain and sweat over steaming tubs of heavy blankets, spreads and furniture covers.

Fortunate, indeed, is she who gets the full hourly rate promised. Often, her day’s slavery is rewarded with a single dollar bill or whatever her unscrupulous employer pleases to pay. More often, the clock is set back for an hour or more. Too often she is sent away without any pay at all.

- Ella Baker and Marvel Cooke, “The Slave Market” From The Crisis 42 (Nov. 1935).

Monday, December 27, 2010

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Laurie Penny expresses her abhorrence of sectarianism in her characteristic witty and aphoristic style:

Of course, the old left is not about to disappear completely. It is highly likely that even after a nuclear attack, the only remaining life-forms will be cockroaches and sour-faced vendors of the Socialist Worker.

It's true the left/communists=cockroaches image is a bit tattered and tired, not even freshly retro since it's become a Glenn Beck favourite, but this doesn't significantly detract from Penny's bracing, piercing, mind-expanding brilliance of insight and analysis when she applies her theoretical powertools to received ideas. According to Penny, it is not necessarily, as the standard wisdom would have it, high income high net worth white baby boomers who commit acts of vandalism during street protests and throw rocks at mounted police. No in fact her investigations have uncovered that teens from the most materially deprived communities who come from social spheres saturated with violence are in fact the culprits.

Every sentence is a work of staggeringly original, brave and courageous thought of this type.

As for the cockroaches, one can only hope one day for them to adopt a sense of humour about themselves and learn to read in a less egoist and paranoid style:

Jennifer Izaakson-Jones Laurie, if you have political disagreements with democratic centralism and essentially, Leninism, then write political analysis about it...but that's not what you did. You compared SWP members to cockroaches. Maybe I missed the joke.

Laurie Penny I didn't compare you to cockroaches! The only similarity is you'll still be around after the nuclear holocaust. I'll be disappointed if not. Say anything about the SWP, your tenacity is endearing.
Friday at 2:53pm

Of course the official SWP line now is that Jenny and Laurie, being both female, have no subjective dimension at all, no moral, rational or egoic agency after years of self-commodification. They're putes hawking more than a nasty dirty newspaper as they walk the streets. Also they cannot converse with one another in a non-hostile manner on any topic other than their boyfriends, babies, vibrators or cosmetics. Perhaps Izaakson-Jones was constrained by this dictate to rebuke Penny rather than congratulate her with appropriate gushing on another brain-meltingly enlightening column.

If you come within a yard of these folks' prose, sarcasm just invades and overwhelms you.

Apart from reminding us that reds are roaches - which Guardian readers have surely not forgotten - Laurie Penny's article might give the impression that what she defines as the networked youth movement without organization has achieved something beyond media attention.

It put me in mind of an unofficial visit paid to a Vico seminar I attended at University by the great Umberto Eco. He was lamenting then the fading of certain interpersonal levelling or democratisation that had been adopted in American higher education over the sixties and seventies and the return of the daily rituals and customs of traditional hierarchy. Today we see all this podium use and speaker/authority addressing polite and attentive auditors established and reproducing the hierarchies of unmerited authority even more intensely and effectively than before the disruption. That is, the typical scene of pedagogy in the 50s university was more democratic and egalitarian than the scene today, with a slavish deference afforded to mere celebrity and the podium's status alone. I was also reminded of Zadie Smith complaining to Charlie Rose about how her American students at Harvard - not elementary school kids, but undergraduates - addressed her as Zadie not Miss Smith, and how she found this disconcerting. This last feeble vestige of a (then judged highly compromised by the military-indutrial complex) mildly democratic culture irked her as informal and disrespectful, denying her the emotional benefits of her ("earned", I suppose) superiority. She made this observation even while performing her self-abnegation as a beginner, mere apprentice in her profession, etc.. - that is, her desire to sneer down the ladder was accompanied by a display of eagerness to grovel up. This startlingly reactionary posture was apparently invisible to its producer, its critique imaginable of course but only as a familiar blurr in the course of being waved by with the stanchly self-satisfied liberal's yes, but. It is impossible to imagine earlier literary wunderkind behaving quite like this, but White Teeth had hit chick lit level sales and a mini-series adaptation. Smith's politics, small scale and large, harmonize perfectly with her wealth and the status of such wealth in this historical moment (a moment of historically low capital gains tax and asset bubbles guaranteeing the rapid growth of such fortunes and the rapid immiseration of those without them, supplying those with them with an environment of fawning and servility).

It is difficult no doubt for those Laurie Penny's age to grasp what a profoundly democratic culture and democratic social interactions are really like, and so they mistake mere disorganization and the loose assemblages of "fans of" (what those who sell to them call "markets") for something both excitingly new and in itself democratizing, egalitarian, "revolutionary". Even a shallow thinker taking the question serious can see this is not at all the case, and the most comical aspect of Laurie Penny is how contentedly ignorant she is of how old a cliché her delusion is.

To supply the lack of negotiated goals and strategy for achieving them, a belief in the efficacy of some mystical unity of purpose is to suffice to ensure the success of the release of benevolent energies. The swarm is passionate and good and therefore must succeed in overcoming evil. The disgust for the Socialist Worker expresses not only age old liberal revulsion at those Reds, infestations of tenacious vermin whom even Nazis can't seem to exterminate, but a newly ferocious loathing of newspapers because they suggest that this adoreable naïve passion and goodness is not enough, that dancing and crying in the streets and tweeting about it is only a small part of the struggle to overthrow the ruling class and transform the society into one of cooperation providing justice, liberty, security and abundance. Laurie Penny works at her liberal msm publications to undo what remains of the press' function as historical record, a function still performed by an older generation (Monbiot, Younge for example) but which is not being replaced by youth. She is one of many young pundits working under the direction of savvy planners to transform these publications into stages for the entertaining self-display of personalities like blogs and facebook which distill the pleasures of Friends and Sienfeld, settings for the striking of rhetorical postures justified, if at all, by the shortest possible term efficiency (wouldn't it be more fun and entertaining and better for our brands if we just salute 'Violence' instead of trying to explain a complex thing like the difference between repressive and liberatory action? Doesn't my column seem edgier if I play up the proximity of tough boys and exaggerate their menace rather than be boringly accurate and decline to exploit all that delicious energy of racism available for use with such subtlety one has not the least obligation to avow it?) and utterly indifferent to accuracy, depth, coherence and all the criteria by which once judged both reportage and opinion journalism.

Laurie Penny has no conception of how doggedly traditional and hierarchical her milieu is, an environment in which the capitalist mass media has all the power to shape and prioritize, because she is an historical ignoramus. But her publishers understand this, and she is chosen for her suitability to their plans. What she thinks she is doing or wants to do could not be less relevant to the effects of her product.

She is on the one hand an exemplar, the youth colmumnist. She has a position then comparable to the one which began Naomi Klein's career in Toronto. The comparison is instructive. While reporting on youth and campus based politics for the Globe and Mail, Klein wrote No Logo which chronicled an evolution in student activism in Canada and the US mainly from the identity politics skewed toward issues of recognition and representation to altermondialist challenges to the power of expanding private tyrannies that are the multinationals. This turned out in fact to be a tale of an internationalisation and a convergence of student and academia-dominated cultural politics in the imperial core with international struggles against exploitation and expropriation by the same blocks of capital that were issuing that spectacle which so absorbed the attention of the dissident elites working in culture industries. Klein discovered and analysed patterns of organisation, strategy and tactics and how they reflected the developing political analyses and convictions of altermondialist militants.

As the voice and observer of dissident youth and now youth in revolt, Penny is like a degraded facsimile of Klein, borrowing a lot and mixing it with bits of intellectual roach poison, fan gushings for cocaculture shit, throwback gender discourses, blithely self-satisfied white solipsism, etc.. And in place of Klein's somewhat subtle and empirically scrupulous representation of altermondialist activism, Penny is engaged in embarassing exaggerations for self-dramatization and childishly fetishises the absence of an infrastructure binding the tweeted flashmobs into a militant movement and of collectively legitimized authorities which allow her to seize for herself a position of prominence and insert herself between the militants she is observing and the msm audience. In part she is celebrating as a revolutionary feature an absence of social relations around human nodes which is only an artifact of the recentness of this coordination of people. But to display this pedestal-perched improvisation in the Guardian as a value distinguishing "youth" who don't read newspapers (she doesn't seem to understand this is due to brain damage from new media - the same brain damage, or mind damage at least, which accounts for her own inability to grasp the difference between the celebrity of the protests and their success) from an old left of vermin whom the most advanced weapons devised by science for capitalists have yet to eradicate, is work in the service of an ever intensifying liberal media effort to obstruct and prevent radicalisation of imperial core populations as the transformation to neo-feudal plutocracy accelerates. The bourgeoisie really does worry about a resurgent revolutionary communist humanity; they believe, with reason, that the success of any vast social movement will require the participation of strata of political, culture and telecom indusry professionals. They consequently zealously promote perky pundits who will stir hatred in youth for the greedy fat pampered "baby boomers" with their nearly paid off mortgages, their pensions and winter heat subsidies and christmas turkeys and yearly holidays in Ibiza, all things too luxurious for sinful humanity. There's not enough suffering in the world! To divert the fury of downwardly mobile populations the liberal msms will sow divisions of every kind but especially seek to vilify and defame the possessors of the fruits of popular victories and the knowledge of struggle founded in success. To this end they will promote pundits who see in the successful struggles and their protagonists and participants rivals rather than models, competitors rather than comrades. They will promote new "feminist critics of feminism" to denounce feminism as encouraging women to lead a "race to the bottom" with men leading to everyone's ruin. They will promote the prophets of post-racial society who declare the entire working class, apart from white men, enemies and dividers of the working class and betrayers of their own struggle whose victories are defeats in disguise. And they will naturally love pundits who explain it was through the wicked sacrificng of their own babies to the devil that those fat greedy vibrator addict "baby-boomers" got their lazy retirement and their heated rooms in winter, their dvds and their days of rest, their malt on the weekends and their comfy chairs, and all the vile self-indulgences their shallow depraved natures covet. If instead of organizing they had networked and tweeted, they wouldn't be so soft and warm today, so secure and sure of their health care and their morphine to ease their way out of life, such fat parasites!


From "The Threshold of Exchange: Speculations on the Market" in Radical History Review 1979, Jean-Christophe Agnew:

It is worth remarking that Marx' language is never more richly figurative than when he sees himself stripping away the veils of market relations. Figures of the player, the alchemist, the vampire suddenly appear on the stage of his thought. Commodities betray their thoughts in that language in which they alone are familiar and cast "wooing glances," in the form of prices, at money - money which circulation "sweats...from every pore." All told the imagery points to a sphere of life in which the categories of animate and inanimate, natural and artificial, are fundamentally confused, if not inverted. It is a rhetorical caricature of capitalist contradictions.

Yet even as the profusion of Marx' metaphors draws the reader more deeply into the complexities of the market - its antithesis of values, it paradoxes of accumulation, its inversion of causality - there lingers the suspicion that Marx' own "language of commodities" is itself a veil behind which lie concealed the hard-edged historical realities of production and class-conflict.Capital never makes entirely clear, in fact, where the market as a mode of organization ends and the market as a mode of mystification begins; where the analysis of capitalist production leaves off and the critique of political economy resumes.

For Marx, of course, no fixed line is possible between one sort of analysis and the other because the rise of capitalist production is inseperable from the forms of mystification by which its characteristic system of surplus-extraction is concealed. Moreover, the forms of mystification (or fetishism) are neither arbitrary nor capricious but are in a sense symptomatically related to the mode of production they seem only to obscure. What commercial crises reveal retrospectively, Marx' analysis - with its diagnostic kit of metaphors - aspires to demonstrate beforehand: that within the market-place, the production of commodities and the fetishism of commodities define and in effect empower one another. Marx' spectral imagery reproduces the animism implicit in the categories of 19th century political economy but in such a way as to display its spuriousness, its mystification. His figurative language operates, in effect, as a literary antidote, countering with its own selective incongruities the misdirections of market culture.
Would the ruling class and its managerial servants and courtiers sacrifice black men to narcotrafficking profits?

Don't be silly. It's their evil witch welfare queen mothers.

You can hear that white managerial class and courtiers squealing with glee at this. It's a brilliant critique of capitalism! An antidote to that other dull, moralising conspiracy theory.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Police Terrorism on Parliament Square

Today's Guardian features a newly-surfaced four-minute video from inside the kettle on Parliament Square. The police tactics are described, accurately, as "ghastly" and "appalling" - by Victoria Borwick, who is chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority's civil liberties panel and also a Conservative member of the Greater London Authority:

Monday, December 20, 2010

AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean by the "death of the liberal class"?

CHRIS HEDGES: The collapse of the pillar, the primary pillars of the liberal establishment, those liberal institutions—the press, labor, public education and, in particular universities, culture, liberal religious institutions and the Democratic Party—that have been under assault.

And I speak a lot about World War I and the rise of the Committee for Public Information, the Creel Commission, which was the first system of modern mass propaganda, very closely studied by the Nazis, used to sell an unpopular war to an American public, but also used to crush populist, radical, progressive anarchist, Socialist, Communist movements that had frightened the power elite on the eve of World War I. And they employed for the first time the techniques of mass crowd psychology studied by figures like Le Bon, Trotter and Sigmund Freud. They understood that people were moved or manipulated not by fact or reason, but by what Walter Lippmann calls the "manufacturing of consent" in his 1922 book Public Opinion. And we’ve never recovered ever since.

So the assault and destruction of these populist or radical movements, which kept liberal institutions honest, and then the purges within liberal institutions, especially the anti-Communist purges of the 1950s. And many people who were expelled from these institutions were no way Communist, figures like I.F. Stone, arguably our greatest journalist of the 20th century, couldn’t even get a job at The Nationmagazine and ends up a pariah. He’s not alone—thousands and thousands of people. So that with the rise of neoliberalism and the corporate state under Clinton, these—we lost the radical movements, and we lost the liberal institutions that normally make possible incremental or piecemeal reform within the formal mechanisms of power.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain what happened within the universities.

CHRIS HEDGES: Well, there was—of course, one of the most egregious examples occurred here in New York City when Rockefeller went after City University. What they did is they destroyed the capacity for people outside the power elite to get great education. City University at one time was one of the great universities in the country and educated, you know, a huge swath of mostly first-generation immigrants. The corporatization of universities is far advanced now. You have a withering of the humanities, destruction of philosophy departments. Departments must raise not only their own research and grant money, but often their own salaries. Well, you know, who’s going to pay for that?

And so, what we’ve turned our universities into are essentially vocational schools. If you go to a school like Princeton, then you will become a systems manager and go to Goldman Sachs. If you go to an inner-city dysfunctional public school in a place like Camden, you are trained vocationally to stock shelves in Walmart. It’s a kind of solidification of a very pernicious class system, and one that doesn’t train students anymore to think but to fill slots.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Beyond provocateurs: masked thugs attacking students in the Parliament Square kettle

The last half-minute of this PressTV video includes brief footage of "a group of about 20 unidentified youths", masked with balaclavas, who were allowed to move through the kettled protestors in Parliament Square, "inexplicably attacking students".

When the reporter tries to investigate, they respond by attacking him and his cameraman, "within view of the police, who failed to intervene":

Conniving, bloodsucking Tory creeps

So the plan is explicit: to create a population of lifelong debt-slaves:

Only a quarter of all graduates will pay off loans

The rest in debt for life as Government's own figures suggest new university fees system is unsustainable.

By Brian Brady

Independent, Sunday, 12 December 2010

Only one in four graduates will pay back the full cost of their tuition fees under the coalition's new system for financing higher education in England.

Internal government figures, seen by The Independent on Sunday, reveal that a small minority of students paying fees of up to £9,000 a year are expected ever to pay them off in full. Ministers believe most graduates will spend their whole working lives making monthly payments to cover their loans and interest – without ever being able to settle their debts.

And they have the audacity to complain about "violence"! Well, they ain't seen nuthin' yet.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Thursday, December 09, 2010


It's not a revolution yet. Far from it. But the students (and schoolchildren, and lecturers, and teachers, and parents, and many, many others) are not taking this lying down, and god bless them for that.

Inevitably, and vomit-inducingly, the BBC hacks are condemning those protestors for their so-called "violence" (against windows and walls), yet no one mentions the brutal structural violence* of condemning an entire generation of human beings EITHER to gigantic and probably unpayable debt OR to a future with no formal education beyond the age of sixteen and a gruesome underpaid McJob or no job at all to follow.

This particular qlipoth (aka Anonymous) is heartened and inspired by what happened in London today. He supports it fully, especially the destruction of so-called "property" (it's stolen property: it's the former commons; it includes Government buildings). Good on those courageous, righteously angry and wise people for trashing, graffiti-ing and attempting to enter those government buildings. Good on them for defying the armed and armoured defenders of the corporate state and the brutally sanctimonious hacks who defend it no less. Good on them for understanding very clearly what the horribly-depleted BBC, the repugnant Aaron Porter and the fucking so-called Labour Party would love to obfuscate: that "peaceful" protest is worth considerably less than two shits.

Good on them, finally, for breaking the car windows of the heir-to-the-throne and putting the fear of god into him. And good on them, too, for neither killing nor injuring nor even slightly hurting him. (Who says they have no self-control? Who dares to call them VIOLENT?)

Today's London protests were the first battle in the international War on Thieves and Liars.

* one "Seventies" term that badly needs reviving. Babies should not be thrown out with bathwater.