Ten highs and ten lows, circa 2012: my intensely biased list


  1. The definitive discovery of the Higgs boson particle that confirms our capacity to grasp the ways of the universe first through logic and theory and later empirically; a triumph of human reason
  2. Mitt Romney’s implosion at the ballot box
  3. At last, a decent James Bond flick
  4. A piece of graffiti in downtown Athens that read: “Our grandparents, refugees. Our parents migrants. We racists?”
  5. The reference to the National Health Service in the London Olympics Opening Ceremony
  6. The subtle emergence of a debate of sorts between the Chinese New Left and the Neoliberals both within and without China’s Communist Party
  7. Mario Draghi’s August admission that the Eurosystem was at an advanced stage of disintegration (which he referred to by means of the euphemism of ‘convertibility risk’) and that the ECB would do «what it takes» to stop it (a momentous declaration, despite the fact that nothing tangible has been offered)
  8. Aung Sang Su Ki no longer in confinement
  9. The almost one third drop in Facebook’s share price after its IPO (No, I am no Facebook fan!)
  10. The discovery of large underground aquifers in sub-Saharan Africa, capable of quenching the thirst of millions


  1. The sight of Bradley Manning at his Court Martial, after 930 days in solitary confinement, under conditions that can only be described as torture
  2. The rise of Golden Dawn in Greece and its success in shifting the established parties beyond the pale of civilised politics
  3. Eric Hobsbawm’s death
  4. The uncritical enthusiasm with which fracking, horizontal drilling and shale gas discoveries have been received – another example of how the roar of money making can silence the voice of reason at great cost to future generations
  5. The Wall of Silence in Greece that not only protected the owner of Pireus Bank from legal scrutiny (over the great scandal of the bank’s share offering, as revealed by Reuter’s) but also rewarded him with the cleansed part of state-owned Agricultural Bank of Greece (which Pireus ‘bought’ for a laughably low price)
  6. The arrest and compulsory HIV testing of migrant prostitutes in the Athens City Centre, followed by publication on the Internet of the photographs of those that tested positive
  7. Another war in Gaza, another year of oppression-expropriation for the Palestinians, greater alienation-plus-insecurity for the Israelis
  8. The Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the European Union. (I would not have minded this award if the Economics Nobel had gone to the Eurozone. Then I would have applauded the Scandinavians’ humour.)
  9. The consistency with which poisonous ‘rescue packages’ are imposed on Greece (e.g. February’s PSI or December’s debt buyback) with the Establishment both in Greece and in Europe celebrating each as the nation’s salvation.
  10. The exponential use of drones to kill at will from afar, piloted by secret agents (rather than soldiers), foreshadowing an Army of Robots accountable to no international law

17 thoughts on “Ten highs and ten lows, circa 2012: my intensely biased list

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  2. Pingback: 10 Highs and Lows of 2012 | WolfManStocks

  3. Pingback: Ten Highs and Lows | WolfManStocks

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  5. Interesting list. I’m slightly confused by 6 “The subtle emergence of a debate of sorts between the Chinese New Left and the Neoliberals both within and without China’s Communist Party”. —- My sense was that this debate has been going on for a good decade now, at least since the late 1990s. Why do you feel that that debate emerged in 2012 in particular? Admittedly, for much of the past 14-odd years the New Left-Neoliberal debate has been highly polemical (and often simplistic) rather than subtle. So maybe you meant that the debate shifted in some sort of important way? —– I’m not trying to play “gotcha”: I’m genuinely very interested in what you meant. Feel free to reply by email if you prefer.

    Many thanks and good luck for 2013


  6. The Highs:

    Mitt Romney’s implosion … How is the lesser of two psychopaths becoming President a “high”? A psychopath is a psychopath.

    Aung Sang Su Ki ( “Suu Kyi”) . . . She is a fraud. She is to democracy what Netanyahu is to world peace.

    The Lows:

    Bradley Manning … another war in Gaza … drones (assassinations) — See what you get when you have a psychopath in office, albeit a lesser of two psychopaths?

    Indeed “another” war in Gaza. This is Barry “the Drone Killer” Obama’s SECOND Gaza war. Moreover, “greater alienation for Israel – plus insecurity for Israel” should have been a “high,” not a “low.” Israel, like that shitty pseudo-republic in occupied northern Cyprus, belongs in the garbage heap of history.

    That said, I am with you on your other choices 😉

    I wish you and your family a warm and wonderful Happy New Year!

  7. You can’t be serious about the “discovery” of the aquifers in Africa. In Libya alone Qaddafi had been pouring millions of dollars into projects to access them and the huge engineering endeavor was specifically targeted during the NATO assault.

    *Apologies, please delete previous post, not meant to be a reply to above poster.

  8. Very good choice of items except No. 3. under “Highs.” New James Bond flick (Skyfall) is a piece of shameless security state propaganda.

  9. Having sent you title of Sartre’s essay Colonialism is a system’, which sort of tells the workings of Global Minotaur, be it in a colonial setting, I wish to give my top 3 High and Low

    1. novel of French-Algerian war published (av. only in Dutch, Een Parijse oktoberdag)
    2. Hollande visiting Algiers last week stating French archives will be opened to get the truth out
    3. the Bond-flicks beginning

    1. mail from a very charming, very engaged and very angry professor at a very esteemed Parisian Universitiy, stating Hollande’s promise is old news, and that the opening of those archives will lead to nothing
    2. PCM-conglomorate hasn’t payed attention to the J’accuse I wrote
    3. the Bond-flicks ending

  10. First of all, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year ahead!

    I’d take issue with your No.1 a bit. We’re still not at the “definitive” stage yet. It’s looking, walking and quacking like the expected Higgs Boson, but we need more data to make this as robust a statement as “definite discovery”. But a pretty big moment nonetheless!


  11. Good choices.

    One could add to the highs the following:

    – The coordinated anti-austerity strikes of 14 November in Italy, Portugal, Greece and Spain and the insight that the only possible reaction to what is happening now in Europe is precisely that: coordination at another level.

    And to the lows:

    The disturbing insight that what is happening in Greece serves as a model for other countries as well. Take as an unexpected example the Netherlands and the Dutch elections:

    – The left-wing SP (Socialist Party), grosso modo the equivalent of Greek SYRIZA, was leading the polls two months ahead of the elections. Its leader Roemer was already being presented as “the future premier”.

    – Then the big fear campaign begins: anti-Communist slogans and stereotypes from 40 years ago come back to life, people are terrorized into believing that Roemer will make out of Netherlands a “North Korea at the North Sea”.

    – SP falls quickly to the 4th place (!) at the polls.

    – The PvdA (centre-left socialist party) – equivalent of PASOK – uses anti-austerity rhetoric before the elections and takes away voters from the “more extreme” SP.

    – After the elections – and out of the blue -, the conservative party and PvdA miraculously agree that the situation is difficult and that austerity measures are necessary to reach the magical limit of 3%. PvdA voters are unpleasantly surprised at the U-turn of the party’s leader Samson.

    Are you experiencing a deja-vu?

    • You can’t be serious about the “discovery” of the aquifers in Africa. In Libya alone Qaddafi had been pouring millions of dollars into projects to access them and the huge engineering endeavor was specifically targeted during the NATO assault.

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