Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

24

[...] In his account of the age of coal, On Barak explains the prevalence of British coal by the fact that products mined in Wales or Northern England could be exported to the colonies in ships that would otherwise have been in ballast (or not carrying cargo). The vast trade in British coal overseas encouraged industrialisation at home, while the rise of mass democracy in Europe resulting from the materialities of coal mining was accompanied by the projection of authoritarian power over colonies overseas.

think more about what she's saying here

—p.24 Chapter 1 – Route-making (9) by Laleh Khalili 2 months, 4 weeks ago

[...] In his account of the age of coal, On Barak explains the prevalence of British coal by the fact that products mined in Wales or Northern England could be exported to the colonies in ships that would otherwise have been in ballast (or not carrying cargo). The vast trade in British coal overseas encouraged industrialisation at home, while the rise of mass democracy in Europe resulting from the materialities of coal mining was accompanied by the projection of authoritarian power over colonies overseas.

think more about what she's saying here

—p.24 Chapter 1 – Route-making (9) by Laleh Khalili 2 months, 4 weeks ago
32

The Suez Canal route, like so many other technological marvels of the nineteenth century invented to lubricate the machinery of empire, reproduced the empire itself through feedback loops and self-perpetuation mechanisms – popular revolts or starving labourers and peasants or indebted nations be damned. Because winds blew east–west across the Sinai – transversal to the canal’s north–south route – sailing ships could not navigate the canal. This meant that they were limited to the Cape route, and eventually the canal entailed the decline of oceangoing sailing ships in intercontinental trade.40 Like the railways crisscrossing colonies in Asia and Africa, the canal became an infrastructure constructed in service of further colonial extraction of commodities and capitalisation of global economies. The movement of capital in the era after the inauguration of the Suez Canal is stunningly instructive. In the period between the opening of the canal and the start of World War I, capital investment outside country of origin surged from US$9 billion to $44 billion. The vast majority of this capital was invested in mineral extraction in Asia and Africa.41

—p.32 Chapter 1 – Route-making (9) by Laleh Khalili 2 months, 4 weeks ago

The Suez Canal route, like so many other technological marvels of the nineteenth century invented to lubricate the machinery of empire, reproduced the empire itself through feedback loops and self-perpetuation mechanisms – popular revolts or starving labourers and peasants or indebted nations be damned. Because winds blew east–west across the Sinai – transversal to the canal’s north–south route – sailing ships could not navigate the canal. This meant that they were limited to the Cape route, and eventually the canal entailed the decline of oceangoing sailing ships in intercontinental trade.40 Like the railways crisscrossing colonies in Asia and Africa, the canal became an infrastructure constructed in service of further colonial extraction of commodities and capitalisation of global economies. The movement of capital in the era after the inauguration of the Suez Canal is stunningly instructive. In the period between the opening of the canal and the start of World War I, capital investment outside country of origin surged from US$9 billion to $44 billion. The vast majority of this capital was invested in mineral extraction in Asia and Africa.41

—p.32 Chapter 1 – Route-making (9) by Laleh Khalili 2 months, 4 weeks ago
71

[...] Many famous London trading houses had offices in Aden, including Cory Brothers, who by the end of the nineteenth century were the most important coal traders in the London docks. The best-known shipping companies of Aden in the early half of the twentieth century were owned by Antonin Besse and Cowasjee Dinshaw. The French-born Besse was a ruthless businessman who treated his workers poorly and had a monopoly on Shell products in Yemen. His donations went on to found St Antony’s College of Oxford. [...]

lol

—p.71 Chapter 2 – Harbour-making (49) by Laleh Khalili 2 months, 4 weeks ago

[...] Many famous London trading houses had offices in Aden, including Cory Brothers, who by the end of the nineteenth century were the most important coal traders in the London docks. The best-known shipping companies of Aden in the early half of the twentieth century were owned by Antonin Besse and Cowasjee Dinshaw. The French-born Besse was a ruthless businessman who treated his workers poorly and had a monopoly on Shell products in Yemen. His donations went on to found St Antony’s College of Oxford. [...]

lol

—p.71 Chapter 2 – Harbour-making (49) by Laleh Khalili 2 months, 4 weeks ago
82

The effects of land reclamation are not solely ecological. As shorelines shift and maritime cartographies change, so do sea borders, exclusive maritime economic zones, and other topographic features that are transformed into legal and political categories. Land reclamation can bring with it disputes over the drawing of maritime borders and exploitation of subsea resources.73 It can redefine what is meant by international waters. But land reclamation also creates value ex nihilo, giving those major investors access to land-as-commodity conjured out of the sea. Such value creation also gives those who reclaim the land disproportionate profits and the authority to allocate them. In Bahrain, investigative reporters have discovered shell companies established to allow the royal family to profit from land reclamation.74 The authority to magically create land out of the sea is also a form of accumulation by dispossession, an enclosure of a space held in common – the sea – for the purpose of speculation and sales.75

interesting

—p.82 Chapter 2 – Harbour-making (49) by Laleh Khalili 2 months, 4 weeks ago

The effects of land reclamation are not solely ecological. As shorelines shift and maritime cartographies change, so do sea borders, exclusive maritime economic zones, and other topographic features that are transformed into legal and political categories. Land reclamation can bring with it disputes over the drawing of maritime borders and exploitation of subsea resources.73 It can redefine what is meant by international waters. But land reclamation also creates value ex nihilo, giving those major investors access to land-as-commodity conjured out of the sea. Such value creation also gives those who reclaim the land disproportionate profits and the authority to allocate them. In Bahrain, investigative reporters have discovered shell companies established to allow the royal family to profit from land reclamation.74 The authority to magically create land out of the sea is also a form of accumulation by dispossession, an enclosure of a space held in common – the sea – for the purpose of speculation and sales.75

interesting

—p.82 Chapter 2 – Harbour-making (49) by Laleh Khalili 2 months, 4 weeks ago
83

It may come as a surprise that sand is one of the world’s biggest traded commodities by volume (if not value). Of the nearly 59 billion tonnes of material mined every year, 68 to 85 per cent is sand and gravel. The world consumes more than 40 billion tonnes of sand a year – used for construction, land reclamation, shoreline development, and road-building – a rate far faster than the natural replenishment of the stuff by rivers or on beaches.76 Remarkably, the abundant sand of the Arabian deserts on the Peninsula is thought inappropriate for making concrete. Concrete mixing requires angular sand, which is either marine or riparian, mined from beaches or rivers.77 Desert sand, eroded by winds, is far too rounded and smooth.78

—p.83 Chapter 2 – Harbour-making (49) by Laleh Khalili 2 months, 4 weeks ago

It may come as a surprise that sand is one of the world’s biggest traded commodities by volume (if not value). Of the nearly 59 billion tonnes of material mined every year, 68 to 85 per cent is sand and gravel. The world consumes more than 40 billion tonnes of sand a year – used for construction, land reclamation, shoreline development, and road-building – a rate far faster than the natural replenishment of the stuff by rivers or on beaches.76 Remarkably, the abundant sand of the Arabian deserts on the Peninsula is thought inappropriate for making concrete. Concrete mixing requires angular sand, which is either marine or riparian, mined from beaches or rivers.77 Desert sand, eroded by winds, is far too rounded and smooth.78

—p.83 Chapter 2 – Harbour-making (49) by Laleh Khalili 2 months, 4 weeks ago
115

In 1985, Jabal Ali Free Zone hosted sixteen companies. After it lifted foreign ownership restrictions, out of 720 companies in 1995, only 25 per cent were Emirati.103 By 2019, it boasted of accommodating more than 7,000 firms. Foreign businesses, polled about why they preferred operating in the zone, cited ‘political stability’ as their foremost reason. ‘Political stability’ is of course a euphemism for governance predicated on a docile and policed population and deportable labour. Access to telecommunications, transport and banking services, and the absence of taxes also ranked high on the list.104

—p.115 Chapter 3 – Palimpsests of Law and Corporate Sovereigns (87) by Laleh Khalili 2 months, 4 weeks ago

In 1985, Jabal Ali Free Zone hosted sixteen companies. After it lifted foreign ownership restrictions, out of 720 companies in 1995, only 25 per cent were Emirati.103 By 2019, it boasted of accommodating more than 7,000 firms. Foreign businesses, polled about why they preferred operating in the zone, cited ‘political stability’ as their foremost reason. ‘Political stability’ is of course a euphemism for governance predicated on a docile and policed population and deportable labour. Access to telecommunications, transport and banking services, and the absence of taxes also ranked high on the list.104

—p.115 Chapter 3 – Palimpsests of Law and Corporate Sovereigns (87) by Laleh Khalili 2 months, 4 weeks ago
189

Undoubtedly, the casualised and subcontracting nature of the labour regime was the primary factor in the low productivity.9 A 1953 report from the docks of Kuwait clearly recognised that a better-managed port could not depend entirely on subcontracted labour. The report added that ‘with the growth of mechanisation it is desirable that the handling of mechanical plant should be confined to directly employed labour’.10 However, subcontracting gave the shipping companies and ports the alibi they needed to not provide their workers with basic wages and benefits. Once citizenship became a norm of governance, with its attached rights – however minimal – nationals began to draw on an expanded repertoire of claim-making for better wages and workplace conditions. Foreign workers (with carefully graded hierarchies of nationality and foreign citizenship) did not have access to this expanded repertoire. As long as foreign workers were cheap, abundant, and deportable, they could be used to build and run the transport infrastructures, instead of expensive heavy equipment and machinery. Walter Rodney had seen the same pattern in the European exploitation of Africa, where, instead of capital-intensive equipment, ‘sheer manpower had to take the place of earth-moving machinery, cranes, and so on’.11

—p.189 Chapter 6 – Landside Labour (181) by Laleh Khalili 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Undoubtedly, the casualised and subcontracting nature of the labour regime was the primary factor in the low productivity.9 A 1953 report from the docks of Kuwait clearly recognised that a better-managed port could not depend entirely on subcontracted labour. The report added that ‘with the growth of mechanisation it is desirable that the handling of mechanical plant should be confined to directly employed labour’.10 However, subcontracting gave the shipping companies and ports the alibi they needed to not provide their workers with basic wages and benefits. Once citizenship became a norm of governance, with its attached rights – however minimal – nationals began to draw on an expanded repertoire of claim-making for better wages and workplace conditions. Foreign workers (with carefully graded hierarchies of nationality and foreign citizenship) did not have access to this expanded repertoire. As long as foreign workers were cheap, abundant, and deportable, they could be used to build and run the transport infrastructures, instead of expensive heavy equipment and machinery. Walter Rodney had seen the same pattern in the European exploitation of Africa, where, instead of capital-intensive equipment, ‘sheer manpower had to take the place of earth-moving machinery, cranes, and so on’.11

—p.189 Chapter 6 – Landside Labour (181) by Laleh Khalili 2 months, 4 weeks ago
202

What distinguishes many strikes at docks on the Arabian Peninsula is not only the depth of worker grievances about workplace conditions (as in the story that opens this chapter), but also the weaving of these workplace protests into political demands. Whether mobilising against colonial masters or authoritarian monarchies, strikers often justified their demands for better working conditions, rights, and dignity as being not only about bread-and-butter issues but also about politics. This perhaps explains the extent to which the Gulf monarchies were so terrified of workplace agitation.

—p.202 Chapter 6 – Landside Labour (181) by Laleh Khalili 2 months, 4 weeks ago

What distinguishes many strikes at docks on the Arabian Peninsula is not only the depth of worker grievances about workplace conditions (as in the story that opens this chapter), but also the weaving of these workplace protests into political demands. Whether mobilising against colonial masters or authoritarian monarchies, strikers often justified their demands for better working conditions, rights, and dignity as being not only about bread-and-butter issues but also about politics. This perhaps explains the extent to which the Gulf monarchies were so terrified of workplace agitation.

—p.202 Chapter 6 – Landside Labour (181) by Laleh Khalili 2 months, 4 weeks ago
203

Oblique accounts offered in the archives show that workers were deeply aware of the strategies of racialisation and hierarchies of labour meant to keep them in place. In Aden, during an Aden Port Trust dockers’ strike, the workers demanded paid transport to Britain once every five years. While the colonial officers dismissed this as a case of impudence by the natives, it was clear that the workers themselves saw their labour on an equal plane with their British counterparts, for whom paid transport was a perk. This demand for equality arose wherever the British or US companies had imported racialised regimes of labour, and led to worker protests and strikes. Housing, the quality of food, and the dramatically unequal rates of pay were often the source of grievances of the indigenous workers.53

—p.203 Chapter 6 – Landside Labour (181) by Laleh Khalili 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Oblique accounts offered in the archives show that workers were deeply aware of the strategies of racialisation and hierarchies of labour meant to keep them in place. In Aden, during an Aden Port Trust dockers’ strike, the workers demanded paid transport to Britain once every five years. While the colonial officers dismissed this as a case of impudence by the natives, it was clear that the workers themselves saw their labour on an equal plane with their British counterparts, for whom paid transport was a perk. This demand for equality arose wherever the British or US companies had imported racialised regimes of labour, and led to worker protests and strikes. Housing, the quality of food, and the dramatically unequal rates of pay were often the source of grievances of the indigenous workers.53

—p.203 Chapter 6 – Landside Labour (181) by Laleh Khalili 2 months, 4 weeks ago
204

In Kuwait, after the 1956 Suez War, workers at Ahmadi port brought oil transport and loading of British and French tankers to a halt, and protests and sabotage were so extensive that a nightly curfew was instituted.57 In Aden the same year, when Antonin Besse made a large donation to Oxford University, his workers went on strike to ‘protest at the donation to England of so large a sum of the firm’s money’.58 Adenese workers appear in the archives as some of the most persistently mobilised workers in the Peninsula. March and April of 1956 saw over 100,000 work-days of strikes in Aden, most of them in ports or shipping. A US consul described the leadership of the unions as young Arab men ‘imbued by the spirit of nationalism’.59 By October 1956, when the Suez War began, the protests and strikes reached a fever pitch.

lol

—p.204 Chapter 6 – Landside Labour (181) by Laleh Khalili 2 months, 4 weeks ago

In Kuwait, after the 1956 Suez War, workers at Ahmadi port brought oil transport and loading of British and French tankers to a halt, and protests and sabotage were so extensive that a nightly curfew was instituted.57 In Aden the same year, when Antonin Besse made a large donation to Oxford University, his workers went on strike to ‘protest at the donation to England of so large a sum of the firm’s money’.58 Adenese workers appear in the archives as some of the most persistently mobilised workers in the Peninsula. March and April of 1956 saw over 100,000 work-days of strikes in Aden, most of them in ports or shipping. A US consul described the leadership of the unions as young Arab men ‘imbued by the spirit of nationalism’.59 By October 1956, when the Suez War began, the protests and strikes reached a fever pitch.

lol

—p.204 Chapter 6 – Landside Labour (181) by Laleh Khalili 2 months, 4 weeks ago