A nation outside the nation

“The Nation of Islam was by no means the first group to advocate for a separate nation, with calls to leave America tracing back at least to emancipation. Perhaps unsurprisingly, after being granted so-called freedom, ‘there is little evidence that for Blacks in general, being American was considered desirable, even if attainable, until well into the nineteenth century.'”

“Desire for separation has typically been seen as the radical alternative to integration into the existing society. However, advocating emigration from a Western nation state is not necessarily radical, because it does not always involve an overturning of the existing social order.”

“America itself is not the problem here; the issue is that because of prejudice Black people will never be accepted. Therefore it becomes necessary to leave America and replicate “modern civilized life” but with Black faces. The structure of the existing society is maintained, but Black people are given the chance to replicate its success, just elsewhere. It is for this reason that emigration was a popular solution of White politicians to the problem caused by emancipation.”

“It is no coincidence that the word colony was used; they [the white politicians] were attempting to create a colonial relationship such as existed with European countries and their territories.”

Weak Nationalism

He’s been talking about the ways the idea of Black Nationalism has been perverted and diluted. Then he mentions how Italians faced discrimination, so they created a community of Italian businesses which got strong enough that they were eventually integrated into “mainstream American society.” The idea here is a “nation within a nation”, which he calls “weak Black nationalism” or “community nationalism.”

Anyway, then we get to this quote from Carmichael and Hamilton’s book Black Power:

“Before a group can enter the open society, it must first close ranks. By this we mean that group solidarity is necessary before a group can operate effectively from a bargaining position of strength in a pluralist society… by building Irish Power, Italian Power, Polish Power, or Jewish Power, these groups got themselves together and operated from positions of strength.”

Then later, from Andrews:
“From a radical perspective, the fundamental problem with the idea of the nation within a nation is that it leaves the regressive structure of the nation state intact.”

Liberalism vs Radicalism

Liberalism: MLK and the civil rights movement as its generally considered. “Liberals acknowledge the problems of racial inequality but put them down to a lack of access to the system.” Black people are poor because they’re not treated fairly in the job market, laws are unfair because they’re underrepresented in the legislature, etc. “The system is not the problem in this analysis, just the fact that we are not fully part o fit. If Black faces were in high places then of course a different set of decisions would be made and equality would emerge.”

Radicalism: Malcolm X, who had no interest in being part of the “American nightmare.” “In the radical tradition, the system is the problem. There can be no reform, no adjustments, and we as Black people should not waste time daydreaming of equality.” … “the battle is not to get good jobs or to be elected, but to end the system of oppression and create the world in a new image.”

Malcolm on Martin

“At on time the Whites in the United States called him a racialist, and extremist, and a communist. Then the Black Muslims came along and the Whites thanked the Lord for Martin Luther King.”

Later, when Martin was mad that Malcolm had come to Selma right before Martin’s planned visit:

“I want Dr. King to know that I didn’t come to Selma to make his job difficult. I really did come thinking I could make it easier. If the White people realize what the alternative is, perhapst hey will be more willing to hear Dr. King.”

The plight of the Ghanian rice farmer

-“Rice farming was one of the successes of the post-independence economy, because it was supported by government subsidies and there was a ban on foreign imports.”
-In the 80s they wanted to improve rice production by developing irrigation systems, so they got loans from the IMF and World Bank on the condition it liberalize their markets. This meant ending the subsidies and allowing foreign imports
-Surprise! Cheap foreign rice now flooded the market, mostly from American farmers. Which is cool because guess what? America subsidizes its rice farmers.
-So now everyone buys the “cheaper, higher quality” rice from America and the Ghanian rice industry has collapsed.

Rise of Extremism

“In many ways the rise of extremism is in direct correlation to the decline of truly radical alternatives to Western domination. Once you give up on overthrowing the unjust social order it is easy to fall into the trap of trying to find spiritual salvation.”

For context, he’s been discussing Islamic Extremism, and this point seems to be mostly with regard to that.


“As Angela Davis explained, ‘radical simply means grasping things at the root’. Radicalism is based on rejecting the fundamental principles that govern society and creating a new paradigm.”

He’s using this to contrast against “extremism,” which “is based on taking the fundamental principles of an idea to the extreme. Making them solid absolutes with no room for flexibility or different interpretations.”

Common attributes of sector bubbles

“In a 2016 paper called Bubbles for Fama, economists Robin Greenwood, Andrei Schleifer, and Yang You identified a set of common attributes across 41 different sector bubbles in U.S. stocks going back to 1928. Among the recurring themes: A sharp increase in volatility, a sharp increase in share issuance, a preference among investors for new firms and an accelerating slope of the rally.”

-From Joe’s note in the Bloomberg Open email

Against Forecasting

“And in that strange profession of people who work with volatility, there were two types. First category, academics, report-writers, and commentators who study future events and write books and papers; and, second category, practitioners who, instead of studying future events, try to understand how things react to volatility (but practitioners are usually too busy practitioning to write books, articles, papers, speeches, equations, theories and get honored by Highly Constipated and Honorable Members of Academies). The difference between the two categories is central: as we saw, it is much easier to understand if something is harmed by volatility– hence fragile– than try to forecast harmful events, such as these oversized Black Swans. But only practitioners (or people who do things) tend to spontaneously get the point.”

p. 12-13


“Heuristics are simplified rules of thumb that make things simple and easy to implement. But their main advantage is that the user knows that they are not perfect, just expedient, and is therefore less fooled by their powers. They become dangerous when we forget that.”

p. 11