Monday, 31 December 2012


Indian rape case shows lack of genuine equality


Global Times | 2012-12-30 23:04:05
By Lin Xu
Protest in India grew as the news that the young victim of a gang rape this month had died spread. The 23-year-old medical student was raped and viciously attacked by six men for nearly two hours on December 16 while she was riding a bus with a male friend. Both victims were severely beaten with an iron bar and eventually stripped naked and thrown from the moving bus.

The abuse of women in India is shocking. It has been reported that 572 rapes were recorded in New Delhi in 2011, and rape cases increased seven times in the past 40 years. However, those are just the tip of the iceberg.

A recent report by the New York Times cited a 2010 survey on Indian women's safety in public places, pointing out that more than one third of the women questioned in New Delhi had suffered sexual harassment in the previous year, but less than 1 percent had reported it to police.

Over the past few weeks, violence against women in India received prominent attention worldwide, most of which dwelt on the root causes of the problem. The street protests in New Delhi also offer a lesson to China.

Six decades ago, China and India maintained a similar development level, but there has been a widening gap after China explored reform and opening-up. Analysts hold that India is about a decade behind China in economic development and three decades behind in social development.

However, as the world's biggest democratic country, India is seen in the West as having great potential due to its superior system. But an inefficient and unequal democracy is unlikely to be able to mobilize this potential.

The Indian government is criticized for having reacted slowly and India's law enforcement system is considered sloppy. Rape cases in India have a conviction rate of as low as 26 percent even when they reach court. Moreover, the traditional social culture that devalues women should be condemned.

The Indian democratic system seemingly can't solve these problems but provides legitimacy for them. India's democracy is now manipulated by a small number of elite and interest groups. This easily ignites massive grass-roots protests like the current ones and the anti-corruption rallies in August.

Democracy should ensure effective public participation in national politics and supervision of the government. Efficient democracy means more than electoral politics.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

IMPERIALIST VULTURES GATHER OVER SYRIA

The News Line: Editorial - http://wrp.org.uk/news/8240 -Workers Revolutionary PartyHAVING failed to overthrow President Assad of Syria by force of arms, the imperialist powers are now turning to Russia, and are seeking the support of President Putin for a diplomatic deal to force Assad out of office.

Assad is to be replaced by what is being termed a ‘transitional regime’ that will run the country until the Syrian ‘opposition’ feel that they will be able to win an election, a process that could take decades.

Putin is taking some persuading to play the role allotted to him by the US, after his Libyan experience.

This was where Russia and China failed to veto a motion for UN intervention into Libya, allowing it to pass, only to see the intervention hijacked by NATO, which bombed and destroyed Libya’s infrastructure, organised the murder of Colonel Gadaffi, and brought an Islamist pro-imperialist regime to power.

Attempts to duplicate this operation in Syria have, up till now, dismally failed. Russia and Iran appreciate that the removal of Assad will see the US pressing ahead to attack Iran and Hezbollah openly, while Russia faces being driven out of the Gulf and the Middle East.

UN peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has been sent in to try and make the deal. On Thursday he called for a ‘real’ change in Syria and the installation of a transitional government with full powers until elections can be held.

Meanwhile, a Syrian government delegation, led by Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Muqdad, on Thursday held talks at the Russian Foreign Ministry, while Moscow denied the existence of a joint plan with the United States to end the crisis in the country.

It was not immediately clear who was present at the closed-door meeting but the ITAR-TASS news agency on Wednesday said Muqdad’s visit would include talks with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Lukashevich said the talks with Brahimi would be ‘directed at ending the violence and launching a national dialogue in the country between the authorities and the opposition’.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Amr was also due in Moscow later on Thursday for a visit that will include talks and a news conference with Lavrov today. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood president, Mursi, is an open supporter of the US war to overthrow Assad.

Lukashevich vehemently continues to deny the existence of any such plan to try to force Assad out.
‘There was not and is not such a plan and it is not being discussed,’ he said. However, Putin has always stated that he will not prop up Assad’s regime and that while Russia cannot accept the resignation of Assad as a precondition for talks, such a conclusion could result out of unconditional talks between Assad and the Syrian opposition.

Brahimi is also due in Moscow today and has said he also expects to have a third joint meeting with US and Russian officials soon.

Meanwhile, there has been a secret meeting between Israeli leader Netanyahu and Jordan’s King Abdullah to discuss the ‘risk’ of Syria’s chemical weapons falling into the hands of Islamist militants, and to discuss their own plans for intervention into Syria on that pretext.

The News Line is opposed to any Russian, Libyan-type about-turn to betray Assad to the imperialist powers in return for some minor concession or promises of concessions elsewhere.

The overthrow of Assad by imperialism will open up the door for new imperialist wars throughout the Middle East and the Gulf.

We urge the Arab people to rise up and to come to the aid of the Syrian people by overthrowing the US agent regimes in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain, and the pro-US Mursi regime in Egypt.

We urge the UK trade unions to tell the government that they will call strike action in the event of any UK troops being withdrawn from Afghanistan to fight in Syria. The workers of the world and the peoples of the oppressed nations must take action to defend Syria and defeat imperialism, Zionism and Arab reaction in the Middle East.
 

‘THE SYRIAN PEOPLE ALONE DECIDE WHO RULES THEM’ – message from Damascus

The News Line: Feature - http://wrp.org.uk/news/8245
Syrian youth outside their embassy in London last August showing their support for president Assad
‘WHAT Are the Real Reasons of the Western Positions Vis-A-Vis President Al-Assad? Or Why Has President Al-Assad Become an Obsession for the United States?’ asks the Al Thawra Syrian government website in Damascus.

It answers: ‘Those who follow the political and diplomatic activity concerning the international crisis in Syria almost believe what the Western media and their Arab followers are promoting. They are led to believe that everything has been settled and that only one point remains to be resolved: President Bashar al-Assad’s situation in the coming solution.

In order not to go far in our imagination, it is useful to return to the early days of the aggression on Syria. Everyone remembers that as soon as reform demands were raised, President Bashar al-Assad began taking steps to bring in those reforms, beginning with a revision of the constitution and ending with every detail related to the building of the state and the formation of its powers.

But the party that controlled the decision of the activism responded to this official position by militarising the protests and quickly calling for the toppling of the regime. It focused more on its demand that the president step down. Here, the shouts of the internal alleys of the field harmonised with the whispers of the external corridors of diplomacy, all focusing on one idea: bringing the term of the constitutionally elected president to an end and delegitimizing him upon a US decision that was made in the first weeks of the crisis.

The Hebrew League (formerly Arab League) got involved in the implementation of the mission that the Americans assigned it; namely, providing a solution to the Syrian crisis based essentially on President Al-Assad’s departure from the Syrian scene.

At the Geneva meeting, the United States tried to impose this will. But when it failed and the Geneva Declaration did not include that condition, Hillary Clinton rushed – before the ink of this international declaration dried – to distort it. She said that the agreed-upon transitional solution begins with Al-Assad’s departure.

When the United States, Russia, and the United Nations met in Dublin to discuss a mechanism for the implementation of the Geneva Declaration, the three parties reportedly agreed on a solution of which President Al-Assad will not be part.

In light of this recurring position and central intention we ask why the Americans are focused on President Al-Assad’s position in his country.

To begin with, the United States has no right or power to make such a demand. Presidents of independent and sovereign states are appointed and accredited by their peoples; foreigners have no say in this. Does the United States, for example, accept that Russia, or any other country, dictate to it who its president should be?

Of course it does not accept this. Yet it allows itself to do this in every country. And now it is doing it in Syria for two reasons: the first is related to the US mentality and the second to the interests Washington seeks to achieve in and through Syria.

As far as mentality is concerned, it is now known for sure that the United States does not recognise the national sovereignty of any country.

In the past two decades it promoted the theory of international intervention, used its troops and diplomats to violate the sovereignty of other nations, and tried to appear as the sole leader of the world.

As far as interests are concerned, we find from a review of history, a look at the present, and a forecast of the future, that the US interests, in and through Syria, conflict with the presence of a state headed by a president with a sovereign and independent approach like President Bashar al-Assad.

The United States believes that the removal of this sovereign president helps it achieve more than one objective and interest. It gives it a chance to take revenge against the president who foiled its policy in the Middle East and to continue to spread the destructive American instability, which is today rampant in the countries of what it falsely called the Arab Spring.

The removal of President Al-Assad also helps the United States cover the crimes that were committed by terrorists that Washington sent to Syria from the beginning of the crisis. The situation can be reviewed in the following points:

A. The United States mobilised tens of thousands of world terrorists and prisoners from 29 countries implementing its orders and dictates and sent them to Syria on a mission of killing and destruction to wipe the country out of the regional equation that threatens Israel.

Through those who were misled and deluded into believing they are fighting for Islam, freedom, and justice – and naturally their actions have nothing to do with any of this – the United States implemented a mission that was translated into crimes in the field. As the planner and instigator, the United States should be held responsible for these crimes.

Now Washington wants to cover these atrocious crimes or blame the Syrian State for them because President Al-Assad’s remaining in power will definitely lead to pursuing those who committed the crimes against Syria, which resulted in:

1. Killing thousands of Syrians, promoting the culture of criminality, and distorting bodies in order to undermine national unity.

2. Killing human elites to deprive Syria of its resources. Humans are the basis of Syria’s wealth.

3. Destroying hundreds of thousands of Syrian homes and displacing Syrians at home and abroad.

4. Destroying thousands of Syrian factories to undermine the Syrian economy, especially in industries that compete with Turkish industries.

5. Destroying large parts of the Syrian infrastructure to complicate the lives of the Syrians and waste the national resources.

6. Destroying and disrupting dozens of national civilian, military, security, and economic installations in order to turn Syria into a failed state.

B. As for the relationship between the United States, the aggressor, and Al-Assad, the president resisting this aggression, the United States wants to take revenge against President Al-Assad because he foiled its policy in the Middle East and deprived it, through his work with his allies in the resistance and opposition axis, of the chance to control the region. In particular, the United States does not forget the following:

1. When he assumed office, President Al-Assad underlined Syria’s commitments and regional and international status, consolidating the strategic alliance with Iran and sponsoring the Arab resistance against Israel.

2. When the United States occupied Iraq and presented a list of demands to Syria – demands that can be summed by one sentence: you have to surrender and join the US convoy or else… – Al-Assad refused to surrender and adhered to Syria’s position in order to safeguard Syria’s independence, independent decision, and commitment to national and pan-Arab rights.

3. When the United States tried, upon its own decisions or upon international resolutions directed against Syria, to put into practice its theory that international intervention takes precedence over national sovereignty – which conflicts with the UN Charter – Al-Assad rejected this and adhered to Syria’s national sovereignty, saying that no sovereignty rises above Syria’s sovereignty.

4. When the United States tried to reshape the Middle East in a way that serves its own interests and chose to start this effort by destroying the resistance in Lebanon at Israel’s hands, Al-Assad supported the resistance and provided Hezbollah with weapons that hit deep into Israel and forced Israel to stop and announce its defeat in Lebanon in 2006, which added to its defeat in 2000.

5. When the West staged a strategic coup and brought its agents in Lebanon to power, a power they exercised in an exclusionary mentality; and when the West pushed its agents to take provocative decisions with a view to disarming the resistance, forcing the latter to respond to defend itself, with this situation causing instability in the country, Al-Assad intervened to save the situation. His intervention deeply influenced the Doha conference, which resulted in an agreement that ended the monopoly of power by the pro-America team.

6. When Israel launched its aggression on Gaza, Syria, along with its allies in the resistance axis, supported the Palestinian resistance, which managed, with the available resources, to prevent Israel from realising the objectives of its aggression.

C. As for Syria’s future after this crisis, the United States believes that President Bashar al-Assad is able, through Syria’s own capabilities and international alliances, to address the repercussions of the American aggression on Syria and even create a better Syria - as happened to Beirut’s southern suburb after its destruction at the hands of Israel in 2006 – especially since the United States knows that the huge psychological warfare and all the media efforts failed to change the convictions of the Syrian people and their support for their president.

An unpublished Qatar-financed poll conducted secretly by a European organisation upon a US request revealed that 56.7 per cent of Syrians would elect Bashar al-Assad in any free election held now (the percentage in a poll conducted in the same way eight months ago was 55 per cent).

This is why the United States and its Western group reject any solution based on ballot boxes and insist on a settlement in which rulers are imposed on the Syrian people (even if against their will).
For a ruler rejected by his people would have no choice but to throw himself in its lap in order to gain protection, and he would deprive his country of stability and the ability to develop, and would not be able to secure wellbeing for his people or maintain their sovereignty and national rights.
This is exactly what the United States wants within its policy of bringing nations to their knees. Because the United States knows that Bashar al-Assad’s stay as the head of the state guarantees the unity of Syria and the return of the country to its status on the strategic regional map, and leads to the failure of the entire plan, President Bashar al-Assad has turned in the eyes of the United States into a symbol and a decisive factor in the success or failure of the Western plan.

D. With these facts in mind, we ask: Will the United States be able to realise its objectives in Syria?
It is not difficult for us to answer in the negative. We are confident because we know for sure that Syria can proceed successfully with its defensive battle leaning on its own power, which is made up of its people, Army, and political leadership, and on the resistance axis, in which it is the central pillar, and benefiting from the support of an international front that knows that its interests are served when Syria stands firm and succeeds in its defence and that realises that Syria always rejects foreign dictates and does not accept a decision made by others, even if a brother, a friend, or an ally.

For all this we say that the Syrian people alone decide who rules them. The enlightened Syrian people will not listen to deception, dictates, or tricks, and they are ready to make the small remaining sacrifices before declaring their imminent victory.’
 

Sunday, 23 December 2012

U.S. surge in police and neo-fascist lynchings

U.S. surge in police and neo-fascist lynchings


U.S. surge in police and neo-fascist lynchings

By  on December 20, 2012 Oppressed have right to fight ‘by any means necessary’, part 3

An “unwritten law” in the U.S. “dictates that nothing unusual is happening when 13 cops shoot 137 bullets at an apparently unarmed Black couple in Cleveland, a Black-run city,” writes Glen Ford, the executive editor of Black Agenda Radio. (Dec. 5)
“Community members charged the victims were lynched,” Ford reported.
Ford’s online commentary is headlined “Massacre in Cleveland: Lynch Law Was Never Repealed.”
“Less than two weeks before, in Jacksonville, Fla.,” Ford recalled, “a white man who didn’t like Black teenagers playing loud music at a gas station fired eight or nine shots at 17-year-old, unarmed, Jordan Davis, killing him.”
Armed killers of Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin both claimed the “right” to gun down these unarmed Black youths was “self-defense” under Florida’s “stand your ground” law — which has emboldened vigilante, death squad terror.
“Young Trayvon drew his last breath in time to be listed among the 120 Black people known to have been extrajudicially executed in the first six months of this year — one killing every 36 hours.”
The damning evidence of these executions was compiled by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement in its report on the “Extrajudicial Killings of Black People by Police, Security Guards or Self-Appointed Law Enforcers,” posted online on July 9, 2012. The full report can be downloaded at mxgm.org.
This compelling study was the second produced for the “‘No More Trayvon Martins Campaign,’ demanding a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice.” It found that “sixty-nine percent of the lives lost belonged to people from the ages of 13 to 31.”
The online report states: “The corporate media have given very little attention to these extrajudicial killings. We call them ‘extrajudicial’ because they happen without trial or any due process, against all international law and human rights conventions.”
‘Institutionalized violence of white supremacy is intensifying’
The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement emphasizes that “this 6th month update proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the institutionalized violence of white supremacy is not only alive and well, but is, in fact, intensifying.
“To complete the picture, we must take into account the extrajudicial killings and other repressive policies directed at other targeted peoples and communities such as Indigenous peoples, Latinos, Arabs, Muslims, and immigrants.”
“Those few mainstream media outlets that mention the epidemic of killings have been … unwilling to acknowledge that the killings are systemic — meaning they are embedded in institutional racism and national oppression,” the report explains.
BAR Editor Glen Ford noted: “The report, compiled by a handful of people for the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, had to be pieced together from news clippings and other sources. That’s because there is no database on the extrajudicial killing of African Americans, a practice that is not considered a crime, based on America’s ‘unwritten law.’
“In fact, it’s treated even more casually than a sport — at least in sports they keep statistics.”
Ford concluded that Black anti-lynching organizer and journalist “Ida B. Wells kept statistics. She and a few colleagues tallied 3,436 lynchings of Blacks in the 33 years between 1889 and 1922. Eighty-three of the victims were women. Lynching reached its high-water mark in 1892, when 160 African Americans were slaughtered because of their race.
“That number will be far exceeded this year, at the rate the blood is flowing.”
CeCe McDonald punished for surviving racist lynch mob
CeCe McDonald — a 22-year-old Black (trans)woman — and her friends survived a white-supremacist attack by a racist mob on the streets of South Minneapolis. McDonald has been punished by sheriffs, jailers, prosecutor, judge and prison guards ever since.
McDonald’s web support site states: “Around 12:30 a.m. on June 5, 2011, CeCe was walking to the grocery store with some friends, all of them young, African American, and LGBTIQ or allied. As they passed a local bar, the Schooner Tavern, a group of older, white people who were standing outside the bar’s side door began hurling racist and transphobic slurs at them, without provocation.”
In the trial transcript CeCe McDonald testified that at least four or more white adults took part.
The website states: “When CeCe approached the group and told them that her crew would not tolerate hate speech, one of the women … smashed her glass into CeCe’s face. She punctured CeCe’s cheek all the way through, lacerating her salivary gland.” (supportcece.wordpress.com)
One of the neofascists, Dean Schmitz — a white man whose body was emblazoned with a swastika tattoo — was stabbed and died.
McDonald was the only person arrested that night.
Repressive show of state force against CeCe McDonald
After being arrested, her website states that McDonald “was briefly taken to the hospital where she received 11 stitches in her cheek. While McDonald was still suffering both physically and mentally from this traumatic incident, she was left alone in a room for three hours. She was then interrogated and placed in solitary confinement at the Hennepin County men’s jail.
“She spent the next several months in jail and had to wait almost two months between her initial doctors’ visit and a much-needed follow-up appointment.
“After her arrest, CeCe was quickly charged with second-degree murder. In short, she was prosecuted for surviving a violent, racist, transphobic attack.”
A Crime Library online article, posted Oct. 2, 2012, reports: “Prosecutors offered McDonald a deal: Rather than face trial for second-degree murder, she could plead guilty to first-degree manslaughter and serve just seven years in prison. She refused the plea bargain.”
The article added that on Oct. 6, 2011, “Prosecutors added a second charge of second-degree murder, this one ‘second-degree intentional murder.’
“Each of these two charges could damn her to as much as 40 years in prison if she were found guilty in court.”
The Crime Library article stated that McDonald’s lawyer and the Legal Rights Center charged that “prosecutors were retaliating for McDonald’s refusal to take a plea.” (trutv.com)
McDonald’s web support site points out that Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman — a white prosecutor “who describes himself as ‘the Michael Jordan of prosecutors’ — held the power to drop the charges against her.
“But in the face of powerful community demands to ‘Free CeCe,’ Freeman did not drop the charges: instead, he dug in his heels and escalated the attack against CeCe by adding an additional charge of second-degree murder.”
Crime Library notes: “Freeman continued to maintain that it wasn’t self defense. Schmitz wasn’t the one who’d hit McDonald with the glass, he pointed out. And nothing stopped McDonald from running away from the scene at any time.” ­(trutv.com)
Katie Burgess, executive director of the Minneapolis-based Trans Youth Support Network, said in April, “People were very enraged about what had happened to her and the refusal of Hennepin County to recognize her right to self-defense.”
Burgess continued: “And word has spread across the nation and across the world. We have seen local support from LGBT organizations and politicians and also national support from organizations such as the National Center for Transgender Equality and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. We have a petition that’s circulating with over 15,000 signatures asking Hennepin County to drop these charges.” (April 27)
She said that 44 percent of hate murders in the U.S. are committed against young trans women of color.
“And we would like to also point out the ways that this violence plays out in the courtrooms.” (democracynow.org)
Journalist Marc Lamont Hill wrote in an Ebony article: “The injustices of McDonald’s case continued inside the courtroom. Throughout the trial, the judge and prosecution consistently and intentionally misgendered McDonald, referring to her by masculine pronouns, further demonstrating a refusal to acknowledge her as a woman.
“Despite considerable evidence — including medical evidence, toxicology reports, eyewitness accounts, and unrefuted testimony that Schmitz initiated the altercation — McDonald’s self-defense claim was dismissed by prosecutors.
“Even worse, the judge ignored the fact that McDonald was the target of a hate crime, despite the racist and homophobic language used by Schmitz seconds before the fight began.
“The court even refused to admit Schmitz’s criminal record into evidence, not to mention the swastika tattooed on his chest, as evidence of his history of violence and bigotry,” Hill reports.
A May 22 article in Mother Jones points out, “The judge also ruled that the defense could not call an expert witness who would testify to transgender people’s experiences of violence in their everyday lives.”
Crime Library concluded: “Meanwhile, McDonald’s family and friends reported that they were being harassed by people connected with Dean Schmitz. They recounted threatening phone calls, and said that people they recognized from the Schooner Tavern had thrown bottles at them from a car” and yelled racist epithets. (trutv.com, Oct. 2)
‘By any means necessary’
It is always “legal” for ruling classes and their hired guns to attack and wage war against those they exploit and oppress. This same legal fiction deems it “illegal” for those who are oppressed and exploited to fight back.
The Emancipation Proclamation— signed Jan. 1,1863 — was necessary, for example, because the inhuman violence of the ­system of chattel slavery had been “legal.”
The Proclamation spelled out the right of Black people to self-defense. Yet McDonald was arrested for defending her life against white-supremacist attack, and later sentenced during the month of Juneteenth, a celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation — the formal abolition of “legal” enslavement of peoples of African descent.
McDonald was sent to prison in June — the month when the Stonewall Rebellion ignited in the streets of Greenwich Village in 1969. From the Compton’s Uprising to the Stonewall Rebellion, defense against oppressions is a law of survival.
During the month of March, McDonald and her book club supporters read “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” as told to Alex Haley. (supportcece.wordpress.com)
Black revolutionary Malcolm X spoke out repeatedly about the right to self-defense: “I’m nonviolent with those who are nonviolent with me.
“I don’t call it violence when it’s self-defense, I call it intelligence.”
In a speech Malcolm X gave only weeks before being assassinated on Feb. 21, 1965, he told an interviewer, “We declare our right on this earth to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.” (Quoted in “By Any Means Necessary.”)

Monday, 17 December 2012

When the capitalists go on strike: Banks and corporations that created the crisis politically benefit from it

When the capitalists go on strike
SOCIALISM AND LIBERATION


When the capitalists go on strike

Banks and corporations that created the crisis politically benefit from it

DECEMBER 12, 2012
Nonbanking corporations are sitting on $1 trillion in cash, refusing to invest their capital.
This article was published in the 'The Economic Crisis and the Class Struggle' Edition of Liberation.
View the complete issue.
Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein recently wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal about how the election offers an opportunity for Big Business to repair its “unproductive” relationship with the White House. The article ignores the enormous political value for the super-rich of having Obama as president during this economic crisis. But it does reveal how the capitalist class maintains its dictatorship over all of society, using its position to demand obedience from policymakers.
Blankfein explained that “There is more than a trillion dollars of cash that is sitting on the balance sheets” of non-banking corporations. (In addition, each of the four major commercial banks based in the United States controls more than $1 trillion.) He said that these companies would invest this cash and create jobs if they had greater “confidence in public finances” and “certainty about tax rates.”
Such statements, passing as normal commentary, reveal quite a bit. The head of the most important bank in the country, the de facto CEO of the business community, is admitting that at a time of enormous poverty, unemployment and suffering, there is plenty of profitable investment to be had. But Blankfein claims they are holding out until their terms are met: Use the “fiscal cliff” agreement to cut social spending and keep corporate tax rates low, and remove regulations and environmental considerations that are slowing down oil drilling and fracking.
‘Capital strike’
Significant sections of the capitalist class have deliberately withheld investment to engineer a more favorable tax and regulatory environment.
Well-connected conservative writer Charles Krauthammer outlined this strategy even more explicitly: “So, in every area, there’s going to be an increase in uncertainty, you know the increase in regulation. And when you don’t know what’s going to happen, you don’t invest. We are having a capital strike.”
In 2011, casino mogul Steve Wynn, a registered Democrat, let loose in similar fashion: “Everybody complains about how much money is on the side in America. You bet. And until we change … the conversation from Washington … those of us who have business opportunities and the capital to do it are going to sit … everybody’s going to be sitting on their thumbs.”
The Republican Party in Congress and during the presidential campaign repeatedly referenced business “uncertainty” to explain the sluggish economic recovery. A recent big business conference hosted by the Wall Street Journal was marked with apocalyptic statements from CEOs in every part of the economy demanding that a deal be made on the “fiscal cliff” or they would dramatically curtail investment.
“Uncertainty” is a misleading codeword for what is really going on—an insistence on the part of Big Business for more and more concessions. As Wynn indicated, he would sit “on his thumbs” and not invest in profitable opportunities unless the government turned away from the proposed new modest regulations and tax hikes on the rich.
Banks grow more powerful in crisis
Absent a mass struggle of poor and working people, it seems likely that a new austerity package will be passed. Wall Street will be downright jubilant if they receive a significant slashing of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in exchange for corporations giving up some tax loopholes. The great irony is that the capitalist class will have realized these long-held dreams at precisely the time that the populace appears to have taken a “progressive” turn and rejected the right-wing program of the Republican Party.
After Washington rescued Wall Street with a massive bailout and stimulus—moves that stopped the complete collapse of credit and banking institutions—the same corporations then took the political offensive to hold the rest of the economy hostage. As in the 1970s economic crisis, this crisis has revealed the dependence of the overall economy on the largest banks and corporations, which under capitalism hoard the social wealth and therefore are the only institutions truly capable of unleashing economic growth. Thus, Wall Street has more political power in the crisis, even though they created it.
Wall Street still controls the policymakers and the government apparatus that are theoretically supposed to regulate their industry. The top 14 entities lobbying on financial policy in 2012 are all banks, investment houses and industry trade groups. The top 50 lobbyists are almost entirely dominated by financial services corporations. Half of Goldman Sachs’ lobbying dealt with shaping tax policy or the Dodd-Frank Act, which was supposed to rein in their behavior. The fox truly has the keys to the henhouse.
This shows the absurdity of leaving the economy in the hands of big business. It is not just a question of regulations or tax policy, but who controls the vast resources of society, and thus the decisions of what jobs will be created, and when.
The Party for Socialism and Liberation has raised the demand for the big banks to be seized and put under the people’s democratic control.
Achieving full employment and economic growth, along with environmental sustainability and truly humane living standards, requires an entirely new system. We need socialism, a system in which the needs of society, rather than the profits of individuals, are the organizing principle, in which working and poor people are not subject to the whims of an endless boom-bust cycle, and in which Wall Street is removed from power.
Content may be reprinted with credit to LiberationNews.org.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Obama, you fucking hypocrite

Does Obama wipe a tear every time he orders a drone strike in Pakistan? Or does his heart only break for dead American children?

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Jacintha Saldanha: A tragic suicide - but who is really to blame?

It is truly tragic that a mother and nurse, Jacintha Saldanha, took her life as a result of a inane prank by a couple of fascile DJs. And it is right that they feel haunted by the unbearably painful consequences of their actions. Humiliating working people for the humour of others is pathetic, but is has become a mainstay of popular culture.

But that must be far from the whole story here. To take
 your life is no small leap. You must feel fear, desperation. To be left feeling that it is better to die, to leave your children and those you love behind, than to face what you fear is ahead of you, that takes something more than just a prank call.

So who spoke to that nurse after the prank call was exposed? Who left her feeling such fear and helplessness that she took her own life? Was it her managers? Was it the police? Security services? The minders and managers for the Royal Household? Who took their failings out on her and left he so distraught that she ended her life and left her children motherless?

It is understandable that anger is being directed at the perpetrators of the prank. But I do not believe it was their actions alone that led to this tragedy. Management. The police. The Royal Family. Bullies one and all. It at them that we should be looking.

We need to know who spoke to Jacintha Saldanha as they tried to save face after that phone call and we need to know exactly what they said to her that left her feeling she had no option left but to die.





Thursday, 6 December 2012

Cameron and Osborne laugh as they cut the incomes of the poorest.

They've just cut the incomes of the poorest in the UK and directly transferred it to the richest. So what have these smug pricks got to laugh about? Plenty.

They are laughing at you and they are laughing at Labour who they know will just carry on and implement what the tories started.


Saturday, 17 November 2012

Imperialism steps up the offensive against Syria


Saturday, 17 November 2012 09:24

Imperialism steps up the offensive against Syria

Israeli tanks in the Golan Heights Photo by: Israel Defense Forces
By Paul Roberts
Immediately following the US Presidential election the imperialist countries started to increase their activity to overthrow the Syrian government, which has continued whilst Israel is bombing Gaza.
On 11 November the US and its allies pulled together a new opposition coalition - the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces (SNCORF) to act as the political focus for rallying international support. This latest bloc, assembled in the Qatari capital Doha, replaces the Syrian National Council (SNC) as imperialism’s favoured opposition front.
The US insisted that the Muslim Brotherhood dominated SNC be subordinated within a more imperialist controlled framework and made clear to the SNC that the new coalition would be formed with or without their participation. Imperialism’s project is to install a reliable client regime – it coordinates closely with the Islamic currents fighting to oust Assad, but does not support them being handed overall control.
The SNCORF has already been recognised by France, Turkey and the Gulf States (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait) as the ‘sole representative of the Syrian people’ - effectively as the government in exile. The Arab League has only recognised it as ‘a legitimate representative’ – as several member states, notably Iraq and Lebanon, do not back imperialism’s regime change project.
Britain and other imperialist states have welcomed the new coalition and are discussing giving it formal recognition.
Britain has just started a new push to encourage greater intervention in Syria. Last week David Cameron visited a Jordanian refugee camp on its border with Syria and it was announced that Britain will have official talks with Syria's armed rebels. On 16 November Britain hosted a donor conference in London so Syria’s opposition could push for more financial support and weaponry.
Alongside France, Britain has launched a campaign for the EU arms embargo to be lifted so that it can directly arm rebel militias.
British ‘special forces’ are already active inside Syria and the population is being prepared for ‘conventional’ action. General Sir David Richards, Chief of the Defence Staff told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on 11 November that plans are in place for a military intervention this winter should it be required – he indicated the pretext that might be used would be a worsening ‘humanitarian crisis’ in Syria, as if Britain is not currently working to produce just such a crisis.
Prior to commencing its current assault on Gaza, Israel had publicly joined the military campaign against Syria’s government. On 12 November it started firing missiles at Syrian Army positions in the South of Syria. Rebel guerrillas are using Syria’s northern and southern borders as strategic fighting positions so that Turkey and Israel can claim infringements of their territory to justify making ‘retaliatory’ assaults.
So Israel claimed that Syrian Army munitions had fallen in the Golan Heights and shelled Syrian positions for three days. The hypocrisy of the Israeli claim is that the Golan Heights are part of Syria that has been illegally occupied by Israel since 1967.
Within Syria the conflict continues to be a stalemate - opposition fighters have been unable to consolidate control over any area.
Suicide bombings and guerrilla attacks into urban areas are inflicting immense damage. But there is no indication that the violent sectarian campaign is increasing popular support for the rebels.
Aware that ousting the Syrian government requires greater military commitment, imperialism is stepping up its intervention.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Meet the Real Sons of Anarchy — Greek Anti-Fascist Motorcycle Club Confronts neo-Nazis


Meet the Real Sons of Anarchy — Greek Anti-Fascist Motorcycle Club Confronts neo-Nazis

by WILL POTTER on NOVEMBER 7, 2012
Real Sons of Anarchy, GreeceMeet the real Sons of Anarchy. An anti-fascist motorcycle club in Athens, Greece, patrols the community, fighting neo-Nazis who attack immigrants.
As of June 2012 the far right/neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn is officially represented in the Greek Parliament with support from the local media. As we have seen throughout history, in times of “economic” crisis, far-right ideologies tend to increase their influence dramatically.

The number of attacks on immigrants is rising every week, fuelled by the police’s complicitly apathetic stance and refusal to do anything to stop the perpetrators. This has led to a need for anti-racist patrols, as it is the only way of protecting immigrants from racist violence.
On the nights of the 15th and 22nd of September, the first two antifascist motorcycle patrols took place, with fly-posting and protest chants against neo-Nazi attacks. A third motorcycle demo passed through down-town locations on the evening of Sunday, September 30th, where it encountered a group of neo-Nazis smashing up immigrants’ shops. The antifa successfully attacked and stopped them, and were themselves attacked in retaliation by several motorcycle police units.
I wanted to share this because here in the U.S., anarchism is increasingly being linked to “terrorism” in the courts and in disinformation campaigns. There are currently two anarchists in prison for refusing to talk about their politics before a federal grand jury, and a third individual has been subpoenaed to appear today. Meanwhile, the Cleveland 4 are fighting a “terrorism enhancement” penalty that would officially reclassify them as terrorists in prison.
Minneapolis anarchist motorcycle rally supporting CeCe McDonald.
Minneapolis anarchist motorcycle rally supporting CeCe McDonald.
Of course, not all anarchists form motorcycle clubs. They also step in after natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy to provide relief and support that, in some cases, has been more effective than the government has been able to do. Check out Occupy Sandy Relief for more information.
There’s video below. If motorcycles aren’t your thing, there’s also an anti-fascist scooter gang in Athens.
Meanwhile, if this club decides to start a US charter, I’ll be the first to sign up.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Obama wins - world to get more of the same


Wednesday, 07 November 2012 13:32

Obama wins - world to get more of the same

Obama wins - world to get more of the same
By Jane West
The re-election of Obama as US President rather than a right-wing creationist Republican in hock to the Tea Party movement has naturally pleased progressive opinion in the West.
But the truth which ever candidate had won there would be little change, and the indifference to the result reported on the streets of Islamabad, and the coolness of response in China is a far more accurate response.
‘With or without an Obama presidency, US policies in our region will remain the same. The US will continue using drones to target our innocent people’, Sameer Khan, a school teacher in Islamabad told the FT.
The drone attacks on Western Pakistan – which have taken a fierce toll in civilian lives – will continue.
The failure to pressure Israel to reach a peaceful settlement with the Palestinians and its other neighbours will continue. Provocations from Netanyahu to call Obama’s bluff on the issue of settlements will likely persist.
The sabre-rattling on Iran will go on, with tighter sanctions and even military action more likely now the election is over.
The ‘pivot to the Pacific’ with its aim of encircling China and whipping up regional discord was invented by Obama and will be stepped up. As will the regular threats of trade wars and economic boycotts of China’s producers, as well as actions like the ban on contracts with Huawei and ZTE (two major Chinese telecoms companies) on the alleged ground of ‘security risks’.
In Latin America the hostility to the leftward advance across the continent will be maintained and as in Honduras, if a right-wing, pro-Western coup can be engineered, then the US will be behind it.
Guantanamo Bay military prison camp for America’s victims and enemies world-wide will remain open. So-called ‘terrorist’ suspects alongside computer hackers, and whistle blowers – like Bradley Manning, Talha Ahsan, and Babar Ahmed – will be held in conditions of semi-torture in ‘supermax’ prisons. The US state agencies will both openly and covertly continue their pursuit of Julian Assange to demonstrate that you can’t expose their secrets and get away with it.
Internally, the deal on the economy that will be done between a Democrat Senate and Republican House will be virtually the same as that Romney would have done – continuation of some tax breaks and of some government spending programmes. Not enough to make a difference to the dire state of the US economy, no new relief for the poorest, and no new steps against dramatically rising inequality.
Obama’s lacklustre campaign precisely reflected how little he actually has to offer the American people – or the people of the world.
Of course, on many social issues Obama is more progressive. On gay marriage, abortion rights, equal rights and racism, Christian fundamentalism and creationism, Koran burning and insulting the Prophet, a clearer and better view will come from this President rather than the alternative. This is why exit polls show Obama won 55 per cent of women voters, 93 per cent of African American voters, 71 per cent of Latino voters and 73 per cent of Asian voters.
But with the world economy in crisis, working people being forced to pay the price, while billions are wasted on wars and bombings, a better choice than that was needed.