It’s Going Down: Twilight of Statecraft: Carne Ross on Crisis, Climate Change, & War

A terrific discussion on a radical podcast, It’s Going Down. You can hear it here.   It’s Going Down https://itsgoingdown.org It’s Going Down is a digital community center from anarchist, anti-fascist, autonomous anti-capitalist and anti-colonial movements. Its mission is to Continue reading It’s Going Down: Twilight of Statecraft: Carne Ross on Crisis, Climate Change, & War

Diplomacy, War and Anarchy: “Hidden Forces” podcast

Demetri Kofinas interviewed me for his “Hidden Forces” podcast.  You can hear our discussion here.  Demetri has added a useful reading list too, covering some of the subjects we discussed.  Thank you for a great discussion Demetri!  (Note, the web-page uses a very old photo of me.  I am unfortunately rather older than this pic suggests.)

Continue reading Diplomacy, War and Anarchy: “Hidden Forces” podcast

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Nine Principles for Action (from The Leaderless Revolution)

I thought I would post the chapter from The Leaderless Revolution called “Niine Principles for Action”.  I welcome comments on anything here on my FB page: https://www.facebook.com/carnewross/.

 

Here is a short list of principles that may guide action, along with a few practical examples.  The principles are by no means exclusive, nor comprehensive: mere pointers, not instructions. 

 

Continue reading Nine Principles for Action (from The Leaderless Revolution)

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Interview with Cornell International Affairs Observer

I always really enjoy talking with students.  A few weeks ago, I gave a talk at Cornell and was interviewed by Marc Masson, a French post-grad there.  This was the result.  The interview covers the UN (and the new SG), some of the problems with diplomacy and some advice for those interested in careers in international relations.

Continue reading Interview with Cornell International Affairs Observer

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The Paris Talks and Independent Diplomat

Reuters, in Paris, on the work of Independent Diplomat.  This is the fruit of six years of relentlessly hard work by an extraordinary group of young diplomats, led by the brilliant Dean Bialek:

“The Marshall Islands and the bloc of 44 island states rely on pro-bono advice from New York-based Independent Diplomat, a non-profit consultancy started in 2004 by former British diplomat Carne Ross.
Continue reading The Paris Talks and Independent Diplomat

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The Report: Peter Oborne’s Iraq Inquiry

Today’s news that the UK Iraq Inquiry’s report will be further delayed stimulated the journalist Peter Oborne to conduct his own inquiry.  I was interviewed for this, as I testified to the so-called Chilcot Inquiry and the release of my evidence to the earlier Butler Inquiry is one of the reasons the full inquiry into the war (Chilcot) was established.  The programme is good, and offers clear details and testimony about how the Blair people lied about the war and how it was illegal.

Continue reading The Report: Peter Oborne’s Iraq Inquiry

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The Failure to Question the bombing of Hiroshima means that nuclear war is more likely

The Failure to Question the bombing of Hiroshima means that nuclear war is more likely

The New Yorker has reprinted this remarkable John Hersey essay about survivors from Hiroshima. Until it was published in 1946, the American public had very little idea of what had taken place.

Continue reading The Failure to Question the bombing of Hiroshima means that nuclear war is more likely

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Massive Mondragon shows that coops can work at scale

This is a good report on Mondragon, Spain’s massive coop in the Basque country. Teeth-suckers always argue that you cannot take coops to scale i.e. have big ones. Mondragon proves them wrong. It’s one of Spain’s largest companies, from buses to banking. The bosses are paid no more than eight times the lowest paid. Their philosophy is that jobs are more important than making as much money as possible. Radical. Buck’s report is about how Mondragon dealt with a part of its business that was failing. Read on. Continue reading Massive Mondragon shows that coops can work at scale

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What showing up for Western Sahara says about Jeremy Corbyn

God, I’m enjoying seeing all the Blairite New Labour people writhing over Jeremy Corbyn’s success in the leadership campaign. I know Jeremy. He has been – by far – the most steadfast supporter of the liberation of the Western Sahara in the British parliament, for decades. I love him for that alone. The Western Sahara must unfortunately be close to the bottom of the list of fashionable international issues in the world. Continue reading What showing up for Western Sahara says about Jeremy Corbyn

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Greece, Varoufakis and the danger to the European ideal

I recommend this profile of Yanis Varoufakis by Ian Parker in the New Yorker. Parker clearly spent some time shadowing Varoufakis, yet the portrait that emerges is not wholly flattering (but not wholly disparaging either). Parker adroitly uses the personality of Varoufakis as a device to tell the dismal story of Greece’s debt debacle, although – typically – there has been way too much attention on the man rather than the detail of the issue. Continue reading Greece, Varoufakis and the danger to the European ideal

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The reaction to globalisation – Stir magazine

”I see the desire for decentralisation and in some cases separation as a very natural and inevitable response to globalisation, where power has not only left people’s hands but also no longer seems to belong to national governments. Just look at Greece. Everyone feels a lack of agency over the circumstances that affect them and that matter to them. That desire to reassert agency and control will be manifested in many different ways. But the paradox is that decentralisation or separation, as in Scotland or Catalonia, will not really recapture economic agency. Continue reading The reaction to globalisation – Stir magazine

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“A rebel diplomat on the Catalans’ side”: Translation of Catalan “Vilaweb” review of “The Leaderless Revolution”

This review appeared on a Catalan website Vilaweb in 2013, but was recently and generously translated by my friend and colleague, Jan Hartman.  Please note that there are one or two inaccuracies about me in the article, including the timing of my work on Iraq at the UNSC, which in fact concluded several months before the 2003 invasion.

 

 

A rebel diplomat on the Catalans’ side

 

Continue reading “A rebel diplomat on the Catalans’ side”: Translation of Catalan “Vilaweb” review of “The Leaderless Revolution”

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A Short guide to the British general elections – for Americans

Published on Medium, January 28th 2015

Americans may just about have heard that Britain is to go to the polls to elect a new parliament in less than 100 days. Much about British politics is extremely obtuse and muddling, even to Brits. So here’s a short guide that may help pierce the fog.

Continue reading A Short guide to the British general elections – for Americans

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The privilege and nightmare of contemplating the future: My LongPlayer letter to John Burnside

Some time ago Esther Dyson chose to write to me as part of a series of letters organised by the Artangel arts group for the Long Now Foundation.  Letter writers were invited to consider the future – including up to 10,000 years hence (the perspective that the Long Now Foundation seeks to encourage).  I chose to send my letter to the poet John Burnside.  This is my letter:

 

Continue reading The privilege and nightmare of contemplating the future: My LongPlayer letter to John Burnside

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Ideas for “The Accidental Anarchist”

Liam Barrington-Bush, the researcher for the forthcoming documentary “The Accidental Anarchist”, is collecting ideas for the film.  He’s looking for contemporary examples of non-hierarchical and autonomous organization, both politically and in the workplace, such as participatory democratic processes and cooperatives.  If you have suggestions, please submit them here.  Thank you!

Continue reading Ideas for “The Accidental Anarchist”

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Politics and the Trust Conundrum (OECD Yearbook)

Rather remarkably, the OECD invited me to write – and then printed! – an article about trust and government. The article can be found here (http://www.oecdobserver.org/news/fullstory.php/aid/4371/Politics_and_the_trust_conundrum.html) and is pasted here.

Politics and the trust conundrum

Carne Ross, Founder and Executive Director, Independent Diplomat

Continue reading Politics and the Trust Conundrum (OECD Yearbook)

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Iraq exposes the west’s hypocrisy in the Middle East: my oped in The Guardian

The Guardian asked me for my views on US military intervention in northern Iraq. I took the chance to propose a new doctrine for western policy in the Middle East. (gu.com/p/4vk68/tw).

Here’s the text:

A friend from Pristina once told me that the happiest day of his life was when he heard Nato cruise missiles over his home town. This was in 1999 when Nato intervened from the air to stop the Serb campaign to drive Albanians from Kosovo. Often military intervention is wrong, but sometimes it is right. It was right in Kosovo, and Libya in 2011, and it is right today in northern Iraq.

Continue reading Iraq exposes the west’s hypocrisy in the Middle East: my oped in The Guardian

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Diplomacy, Anarchism and the work of Independent Diplomat: my interview in The World Today

Interview: Carne Ross

August 2014, Volume 70, Number 4

The former Foreign Office high-flyer talks about his new career as a diplomatic entrepreneur, the need to give a voice to the voiceless, and how he helped John le Carré create a fictional whistle-blower

You resigned from the Foreign Office a decade ago over the Iraq war. What is wrong with diplomacy?
Continue reading Diplomacy, Anarchism and the work of Independent Diplomat: my interview in The World Today

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US Fingers in the Mangle: my analysis of the Iraq crisis

John Kerry must be cursing the neo-cons.  “If you break it, you bought it”, Colin Powell once said.  Iraq is spectacularly broken, with civil war on multiple fronts.  And the US has no choice but to try to put it back together.  Having backed al-Maliki despite his egregiously divisive behavior, it cannot now let him fall and with him any semblance of the state.  This is the post-imperial burden Powell predicted (though did nothing to prevent).  As the US sends a Continue reading US Fingers in the Mangle: my analysis of the Iraq crisis

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Through a Telescope, darkly: Esther Dyon’s Artangel Longplayer Letter to me

The Artangel Project and Long Now foundation have collaborated in a project called the Longplayer Letters where various thinkers and activists from different sectors are encouraged to write to each other about their thoughts about the future, a sort of long form debate about the long term.  Esther Dyson addressed her letter, No.4 in the series, to me.  Here it is:

 

Continue reading Through a Telescope, darkly: Esther Dyon’s Artangel Longplayer Letter to me

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Chomsky’s Brief History of Anarchism

The struggle for the common good has a long past.

BY Noam Chomsky

This broad tendency in human development seeks to identify structures of hierarchy, authority and domination that constrain human development, and then subject them to a very reasonable challenge: Justify yourself.

Humans are social beings, and the kind of creature that a person becomes depends crucially on the social, cultural and institutional circumstances of his life.

Continue reading Chomsky’s Brief History of Anarchism

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What makes a beautiful politics? My talk at Eyebeam, “Performing Change”, October 2013

Last October, I was invited to talk about “The Art of Performing Political Innovation” at an event called “Performing Change” at the Eyebeam Arts Center in New York City, at the invitation of the Italian artist Paolo Cirio (thank you, Paolo).  Although the video is over 50 minutes, my talks is at the beginning and lasts about 15 minutes.  I try to identify the common features of great art and great politics.  What makes beautiful politics?

Continue reading What makes a beautiful politics? My talk at Eyebeam, “Performing Change”, October 2013

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If you want to get into “international relations”, here’s my advice (New Statesman, November 2013)

This is from the New Statesman’s “Guide to Political Studies”.  They asked me what I would say to someone wanting to get into “international relations”.  You can download the guide, including my bit, here.  And here it is in text form:

 

Continue reading If you want to get into “international relations”, here’s my advice (New Statesman, November 2013)

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Capital Flight and what it tells us about how to address global problems

1.  Rapid capital flight from so called emerging economies like Brazil and India demonstrates the profound and inherent volatility of global financial markets

2. Also shows Minsky-ian nature of markets: speculators get out because they fear others may do so first, creating self-sustaining cycle

3. And it’s not at all clear that tools of international cooperation, including the IMF, are adequate to mitigate this volatility and prevent negative consequences (indeed, there’s a strong argument that IMF prescriptions in eg Greece have made things much worse)

Continue reading Capital Flight and what it tells us about how to address global problems

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Cooperative Banking is the Wave of the Future: Ellen Brown

In my Occupy banking group, we are gearing up to launch a fundraising appeal for The Occupy Money Cooperative.  More details about this will appear on this site, and on the Coop’s own site, in the near future.  Meanwhile, here’s a good article from 2012 about cooperative banks – and indeed an incisive critique of contemporary banks – by Ellen Brown.

Continue reading Cooperative Banking is the Wave of the Future: Ellen Brown

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“Our forms must reflect our fundamental political values”, Interview in The Guardian

Liam Barrington-Bush is exploring new forms of political action and organization, from Mexico to the UK.  His book, “Anarchists in the Boardroom” is out soon.  I met him at the Left Forum in New York City a few weeks ago, where he had invited me to a panel on horizontal forms of organization.  This led to this interview in today’s Guardian, which I am also pasting below, with apologies to The Guardian’s copyright guardians (all property, including intellectual, is th Continue reading “Our forms must reflect our fundamental political values”, Interview in The Guardian

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Why the West stopped talking to terrorists: a theory of the “Chicago Schools”

At a recent private meeting of peace mediators, I had a conversation I thought it worth recording.  My interlocutor, whom I shall call “C”, was someone with deep experience of the Middle East and terrorism: as a member of the intelligence service for a powerful country he had himself pursued direct contacts with Hamas, Hezbollah and others.  Now retired, he continues to do so today, but now his aim is reconciliation and mutual understanding among often-warring groups.  I asked him about something that has long bothered me.  For a long while, the West “talked to terrorist Continue reading Why the West stopped talking to terrorists: a theory of the “Chicago Schools”

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“The World: Decrypted” – Non-violent intervention in Syria

Continue reading “The World: Decrypted” – Non-violent intervention in Syria

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“The World: Decrypted” – Iraq and the Illusory Clarity of War

Continue reading “The World: Decrypted” – Iraq and the Illusory Clarity of War

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Translation of Catalan Review of “The Leaderless Revolution”

My dear friend and Catalan speaker Jan Hartman has translated the review of “The Leaderless Revolution” that was published on Catalanweb a few days ago.  I am naturally biassed but I found it an extraordinary discussion of the application of anarchist ideas to Catalonia’s independence struggle.  It is also of course striking because Catalonia is one of the only places ever to experience anarchist self-government in practice.

Begins

 

Continue reading Translation of Catalan Review of “The Leaderless Revolution”

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“un elogio del anarquismo” – a Catalan review of “The Leaderless Revolution”

The book (and indeed its author) is much inspired by, and cites, Spanish repubicanism and the “Spanish revolution” when anarchism flowered in worker-run farms and businesses (and was snuffed out by fascism, of course).  Here’s the link to the review.

Continue reading “un elogio del anarquismo” – a Catalan review of “The Leaderless Revolution”

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“The World: Decrypted” – how the UN is not dealing with the annihilation of states

Continue reading “The World: Decrypted” – how the UN is not dealing with the annihilation of states

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Building Peace: Five conditions for successful mediation

The Oslo Forum is an unusual gathering of high-level political mediators, organized by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue.  They have gathered a book of essays on mediation, by authors including Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt and Norwegian foreign minister, Espen Barth Eide.  I was very honoured to be invited to contribute.  My essay tries to specify exactly what kind of conditions are necessary for successful mediation, in particular what kinds of access, to both negotiations and information.  You can download the book, for free, Continue reading Building Peace: Five conditions for successful mediation

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The Tyranny of Structurelessness

This is the title of an influential essay by Jo Freeman aka Joreen about the many subtle and insidious risks of leaderless movements, including, for instance, the formation of unacknowledged and informal elites.  Her recommendations on principles to avoid such dangers are interesting, and are pasted below.  The essay does not discuss more structured systems of decision-making within leaderless movements (the Occupy General Assembly and Spokescouncil models are examples of such).  But Freeman’s observations are importan Continue reading The Tyranny of Structurelessness

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Occupy Niall Ferguson! My row with the Prof over better banking (on which it appears that we agree, despite appearances)

Occupy Niall Ferguson! My row over #occupybank with the Prof #ows

This has just been broadcast on the BBC in the UK, and will be soon on the BBC World Service.

Every year, the BBC holds the “Reith lecture” which is a major set-piece speech by some public figure on an issue of the day.  Niall Ferguson this year gave a series of talks on “The Rule of Law”.  He and I had a bit of a contretemps at the recording of the lecture a few weeks ago, in New York City.

Continue reading Occupy Niall Ferguson! My row with the Prof over better banking (on which it appears that we agree, despite appearances)

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A New Politics for a Disorderly World

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Published on The Nation (http://www.thenation.com)
Occupy Wall Street and a New Politics for a Disorderly World

Carne Ross | February 7, 2012
The global financial crisis has provoked a profound and necessary questioning of the prevailing political and economic orthodoxy. So pervasive is this disillusionment with the current order that it is hard to find anyone prepared to defend it. Disorder is the new order; disequilibrium rules, and old assumptions no longer hold.

Continue reading A New Politics for a Disorderly World

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Occupy Wall Street: Alternative Banking: The Commons concept note

This note was shared with members of the OWS working group on Alternative Banking today:

 

The Commons: A Good Bank 

 

112411 draft

 

 

This note has been prepared by the alternative banking working group of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement.  The note is for discussion with the OWS movement and more broadly. 

 

Continue reading Occupy Wall Street: Alternative Banking: The Commons concept note

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Alternative Banking – a new working group in #OccupyWallStreet

The other night, at the Occupy Wall Street “General Assembly”, I announced the formation of a new working group to examine alternatives to the current banking system.

The idea is to explore existing alternatives to mainstream high street banks (credit unions, cooperative banks etc), think about an ideal system, then try to set it up.  No small ambition.  But you’ve got to start somewhere.

Continue reading Alternative Banking – a new working group in #OccupyWallStreet

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Demand Better Banking – A suggested manifesto for #OccupyWallStreet

Here are some suggestions for a manifesto for the Occupy Wall Street protests, which are currently taking place.  The manifesto attempts to summarize common concerns about current banking practices and articulate a new agenda for a better system.  The banks are busy lobbying lawmakers and the Administration every day. Continue reading Demand Better Banking – A suggested manifesto for #OccupyWallStreet

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Palestine/UN – quick update: showdown at the Security Council less likely

After talking with a lot of people at the UN, and in the leader- and diplomat-packed corridors and lobbies of various mid-town hotels in a rainy New York City, the likely early outcomes of the Palestinian initiative are becoming a bit clearer.  Any observations now however must be stated with a very clear proviso that things are moving fast, and the diplomacy is hectic.  Things may change very suddenly.

 

Continue reading Palestine/UN – quick update: showdown at the Security Council less likely

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A simple guide to Palestine’s application for membership of the United Nations

There’s a lot of confusion about the PLO’s likely attempt this week to gain full membership of the UN.  In particular, many commentators (and the PLO itself) often refer to the initiative as an attempt to gain “recognition” by the UN, which it is not.  The UN does not recognise states; only other states can recognise states (however, UN membership would undoubtedly boost Palestine’s claim to be a state).

 

Continue reading A simple guide to Palestine’s application for membership of the United Nations

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An extraordinary example of what “The Leaderless Revolution” is all about

My cousin told me about this remarkable story.  It illustrates perfectly the arguments of “The Leaderless Revolution”: a tragic and difficult problem which an appeal to conventional insitutions could not solve; instead this brave and resourceful couple took matters, peacefully, into their own hands and addressed the problem, with great compassion, directly…

 

From shipwreck to solidarity

 

By Rafael Estefania
BBC News, Hansala, Morocco

Continue reading An extraordinary example of what “The Leaderless Revolution” is all about

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When Government is Broken

In the US and Europe, disillusion with politics is feeding the far right. We need a radical response that returns power to people

The recent debacle in Washington, where wrangling over the debt limit has triggered a downgrading of American debt, has underlined the deep incompetence of the US political system. Thanks to needless brinkmanship, particularly by the Republicans, confidence in US debt has been undermined, thereby likely increasing the cost of borrowing – a price that will eventually be paid by all Americans.

Continue reading When Government is Broken

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The Leaderless Revolution: The ongoing debate about bank regulation

One of the arguments of my forthcoming book is that one sign of the failure of government to agree necessary legislation is the seemingly arcane but vital issue of capital requirements for banks.  I discuss this issue in this recent column for The Guardian.  Such requirements arguably would have prevented the recent financial crisis. Continue reading The Leaderless Revolution: The ongoing debate about bank regulation

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