Tag Archives: uprisings

Trump is a Criminal, But the Democrats Belong to the Same Mafia

15 Jan

Glen Ford, BAR executive editor 09 Jan 2020

 

Trump is a Criminal, But the Democrats Belong to the Same Mafia

 

The Republicans and Democrats are united under the American imperial banner, and only differ on details of strategy to maintain Washington’s global domination.

None can be free of the scourge of war – the ultimate crime against humanity, from which all others flow – while the warmakers are in power in the Citadel of Capital.”

The grievously wronged Iranians have apparently fired a purposely harmless salvo of missiles into several U.S.-occupied bases in Iraq to avenge last Friday ’s U.S. drone assassination of Revolutionary Guards commander Qassi Suleimani. Although the Fars news agency  claimed, for Iranian popular consumption, that “at least 80 US armed personnel have been killed and around 200 others wounded,” American and other NATO forces in Iraq report no casualties, giving Trump an opportunity to claim victory and back off from further aggressions. Trump followed the Iranian lead, holding a press conference  to dance away from continued armed hostilities, on Wednesday.

Since there is no “peace party” with any influence on governance in the United States, a U.S. retreat from Armageddon is the most that the world can hope for, in the near term. Trump’s mafia-style hit on the revered Iranian general – yet another Nuremburg-level U.S. crime against peace and humanity, for which death by hanging is the historical punishment – seemed designed to set the stage for a reprise of George Bush’s 2003 “Shock and Awe” demonstration of U.S. imperial firepower, this time with an orange tinge.

“A U.S. retreat from Armageddon is the most that the world can hope for, in the near term.”

 

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Iranian national pride required a pantomimed military response, but the U.S. has provoked a far worse punishment by the Iraqis, on whose territory Suleimani was ambushed. The Iraqi parliament swiftly voted 170-0 to kick the 5,000 US troops out of their country, an exodus that would render Washington’s foothold in neighboring Syria untenable, thus sealing the fate of the remaining U.S.-backed al-Qaida “rebels” holed up in Idlib province and hastening the demise of ISIS forces currently shielded from Russian air attack by U.S. firepower. Donald Trump, who (correctly, but incoherently) charged Barack Obama with “founding ” ISIS, may well have fast-forwarded the definitive end of the U.S.-Islamic jihadist presence in Syria and Iraq.

Not that this was Trump’s intention. The Republicans and Democrats are united under the American imperial banner, and only differ on details of strategy to maintain Washington’s global domination. As BAR contributing editor Danny Haiphong writes, “There may be two political parties in the United States, but there is only one ruling class agenda.”

“Trump may well have fast-forwarded the definitive end of the U.S.-Islamic jihadist presence in Syria and Iraq.”

Yet there is a profound split in the U.S. ruling class – not about the necessity to preserve the empire, on which there is no debate among the rulers, but over how Washington should manage relations with its junior imperial partners in Europe and elsewhere, and over the modalities of One Percent governance within the United States. On foreign policy, the Democrats have since 2016 positioned themselves as the more aggressive War Party, constantly goading Trump to attack Russia and its Syrian ally and to “stand up” to North Korea, to prove he is not a “dupe” of Vladimir Putin. As the party of Barack Obama, the previous Super-Sanctioner of rebellious nations, the Democrats are vicious in maligning Venezuela. And as the party of Hillary Clinton (“We came, We saw, He died – Ha Ha Ha.”), the Democrats have killed hundreds of thousands in U.S.-directed and financed jihadist wars in Libya and Syria. They are the puppeteers and paymasters of terror on a scale that Donald Trump has yet to match, an orgy of sectarian beheadings, torture, rape and mass murder that Trump’s assassination of General Suleimani may inadvertently bring to a close, with U.S. ouster from the region.

 

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“The Democrats have killed hundreds of thousands in U.S.-directed and financed jihadist wars in Libya and Syria.”

At home, the Democrats have spent the last three years constructing a New Cold War censorship of the Left, starting with Black Agenda Report and other radical web sites targeted only weeks after the 2016 election. As Black Alliance for Peace  national organizer (and BAR editor) Ajamu Baraka writes, the Democratic “opposition,” including the Democrat-leaning corporate media, is not anti-war – it’s anti-Trump. The Democrats, like their corporate and banking masters, are determined to preserve the neoliberal economic order – the global Race to the Bottom in which U.S. workers compete with super-exploited workers in the developing world. The only difference is that the Democrats would “integrate” the management of this dwindling wage economy through a policy of racial and ethnic “diversity.” Same downward destination, but with multi-colored overseers. Same police occupation of Black communities, and same racialized gaps in earnings and wealth for the masses of Blacks and browns – but rewards aplenty for the misleadership classes of the oppressed, whose job is to keep the social peace while oligarchs swallow society whole, as senior columnist Margaret Kimberley explains in this issue of BAR. Most of the Congressional Black Caucus joined other Democrats in awarding Trump yet another record-breaking military budget. Seventy-five percent of the Black Caucus voted to make police a protected class and assault on cops a federal crime, in 2018. Eighty-percent of the Black Caucus voted to keep the Pentagon’s 1033 program funneling military weapons and gear to local police departments, five years ago – and the Caucus has become even more reactionary and treacherous, since then.

“The Democrats would ‘integrate’ the management of this dwindling wage economy through a policy of racial and ethnic ‘diversity.’”

 

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Although many of the issues have changed since Malcolm X’s day, Blacks remain locked into much the same power relationships as half a century ago. Malcolm’s “foxes” and “wolves” are still on the prowl:

“The white liberals are more dangerous than the conservatives; they lure the Negro, and as the Negro runs from the growling wolf, he flees into the open jaws of the ‘smiling’ fox. One is a wolf, the other is a fox. No matter what, they’ll both eat you.” — Malcolm X, 1963

There is one big difference in the political landscape, 57 years after Malcolm spoke those words. The “Black Misleadership Class” – a term coined at BAR and its predecessor, The Black Commentator – now plays a pivotal role in the electoral workings of the Democratic half of the corporate duopoly system of governance. As I explained, two years ago, the Black misleaders are:

“…those Black political forces that emerged at the end of the Sixties, eager to join the corporate and duopoly political (mostly Democrat) ranks, and to sell out the interests of the overwhelmingly working class Black masses in the process. It is both an actual and aspirational class, which ultimately sees its interests as tied to those of U.S. imperialism and its ruling circles. It seeks representation in the halls of corporate power, and dreads social transformation, which would upset the class’s carefully cultivated relationships with Power.”

“Malcolm’s ‘foxes’ and ‘wolves’ are still on the prowl.”

Blacks are still at the bottom, and racing deeper into the abyss. But an opportunistic sliver of the Black population has aligned with banksters and oligarchs in Democratic boardrooms. They join with corporate Democrats in screaming that Trump is the existential threat – not U.S. imperial wars, in which most Democrats are complicit; not the Race to the Bottom, which is as much a Democrat as Republican project; not the Mass Black Incarceration State, which is mainly enforced by urban Democratic regimes of all colors; and not capitalism, a system that was born, like the white settler United States, itself, in Native genocide and Black chattel slavery.

The Black Misleadership Class has no solidarity with anyone. They are hustlers, who have hijacked the aspirations of a proud, brave and independent-minded people – a people that have historically sought social justice and peace for not only themselves, but all mankind. That people needs a new party, with themselves in the leadership, a party that will Fight the Power. There is a world of allies out there, sharing the same aspirations. But none can be free of the scourge of war – the ultimate crime against humanity, from which all others flow – while the warmakers are in power in the Citadel of Capital.

 

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The key to unlock all of our chains is right here, in the belly of the beast.

Power to the People!

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

 

‘Entire Species Are Being Wiped Out’: Ecologists Say Half a Billion Animals May Have Been Killed by Australia Wildfires

5 Jan

Published on Thursday, January 02, 2020 by

Ecologists at the University of Sydney are estimating that nearly half a billion animals have been killed in Australia’s unprecedented and catastrophic wildfires, which have sparked a continent-wide crisis and forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes in desperation.

News Corp Australia reported Wednesday that “there are real concerns entire species of plants and animals have been wiped out by bushfires following revelations almost 500 million animals have died since the crisis began.”

“Ecologists from the University of Sydney now estimate 480 million mammals, birds, and reptiles have been lost since September,” according to News Corp. “That figure is likely to soar following the devastating fires which have ripped through Victoria and the [New South Wales] South Coast over the past couple of days, leaving several people dead or unaccounted for, razing scores of homes and leaving thousands stranded.”

The horrifying figures come as images and videos of animals suffering severe burns and dehydration continue to circulate on social media.

Mark Graham, an ecologist with the National Conservation Council, told the Australian parliament that “the fires have burned so hot and so fast that there has been significant mortality of animals in the trees, but there is such a big area now that is still on fire and still burning that we will probably never find the bodies.”

Koalas in particular have been devastated by the fires, Graham noted, because they “really have no capacity to move fast enough to get away.”

As Reuters reported Tuesday, “Australia’s bushland is home to a range of indigenous fauna, including kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, possums, wombats, and echidnas. Officials fear that 30 percent of just one koala colony on the country’s northeast coast, or between 4,500 and 8,400, have been lost in the recent fires.”

 

The new normal, except it isn’t. It’s going to get much worse.
And the longer we delay climate action, the worse it will get https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=12297648 

 

 

There are real concerns entire species of plants and animals have been wiped out by bushfires following revelations almost 500 million animals have died since the crisis began.

Ecologists from the University of Sydney now estimate 480 million mammals, birds and reptiles have been lost since September.

That figure is likely to soar following the devastating fires which have ripped through Victoria and the NSW South Coast over the past couple of days, leaving several people dead or unaccounted for, razing scores of homes and leaving thousands stranded,

 

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Australia’s coal-touting Prime Minister Scott Morrison has faced growing scrutiny for refusing to take sufficient action to confront the wildfires and the climate crisis that is driving them. Since September, the fires have burned over 10 million acres of land, destroyed more than a thousand homes, and killed at least 17 people—including 9 since Christmas Day.

On Thursday, the government of New South Wales (NSW) declared a state of emergency set to take effect Friday morning as the wildfires are expected to intensify over the weekend.

“We’ve got a lot of fire in the landscape that we will not contain,” said Rob Rogers, deputy commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service. “We need to make sure that people are not in the path of these fires.”

 

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Desperate to stem protests, dozens of governments shut down internet access in 2019

28 Dec

 

Published by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI)

27 December 2019

Amid a global upsurge of political protests and strikes, governments all over the world are shutting down the internet in desperate bids to stem the tide of popular opposition.

According to preliminary data from Access Now, 2019 likely saw more deliberate internet shutdowns than any other previous year. More than a quarter of the world’s countries have shut down the internet in the past four years.

At least 29 countries carried out deliberate internet shutdowns in 2019, including India, Sri Lanka, Russia, Sudan, Indonesia and Iraq.

 

Indian workers shout slogans in front of a police barricade during a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act in New Delhi [Credit: AP Photo/Altaf Qadri]

 

Since the 2011 uprising in Tunisia, dubbed a “WikiLeaks revolution” after the organization released information on the corruption of the country’s ruling class, governments have increasingly seen the internet as a threat, used by masses of people to organize strikes, protests and demonstrations. In recent months, workers and young people have used social media to organize mass demonstrations in Chile, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Ecuador, Honduras, Haiti, Egypt and Algeria.

Last week, police authorities in India shut down internet access in sections of New Delhi in response to a wave of popular protests against the Modi government’s Hindu supremacist citizenship law.

The Modi government has responded to the demonstrations, which have mobilized broad sections of the population across ethnic and sectarian lines, with a crackdown that has taken the lives of dozens of people and the imposition of effective martial law in broad sections of the country.

India has shut down the internet more than 104 times this year, up from six times in 2014. The most notorious of these actions is the ongoing internet shutdown in Jammu and Kashmir, which has now lasted 135 days, the longest ever in any country officially called a “democracy.”

The ongoing internet shutdown in the Kashmir Valley now affects over seven million people, making the most routine aspects of life—from communicating with distant family to applying for a job—next to impossible.

The Kashmir shutdown was aimed at quelling opposition to the illegal abrogation of the semi-autonomous status of India’s lone Muslim-majority state. This constitutional coup has been enforced by the deployment of tens of thousands of additional security forces and the detention without charge of thousands.

In its latest annual report, Access Now pointed out that governments routinely lie about their motives in carrying out internet shutdowns. “[W]hen governments shut down the internet citing ‘public safety,’ it is often evident to observers that, in reality, authorities may fear protests and cut off access to the internet to limit people’s ability to organize and express themselves, whether online or off.”

It adds, “When authorities cite ‘fake news,’ rumors, or hate speech,” they are in fact most often seeking to curtail protests and control elections. “Using these threats as scapegoats, it appears that governments are leveraging shutdowns to shape the political narrative and control the flow of information.”

While outright internet shutoffs have remained rare in the major capitalist powers, many of the same false arguments—like protecting “public safety” and suppressing “fake news”—have been used to establish an apparatus of mass censorship by major corporations acting on behalf of state intelligence agencies.

In 2017, Google announced a series of changes to its search algorithm, internally dubbed “Project Owl,” that drastically reduced search traffic to left-wing, antiwar and progressive websites, in the guise of fighting “fake news.”

An investigation by the Wall Street Journal this year confirmed the allegations made by the World Socialist Web Site that Google operated internal blacklists of websites that it sought to keep users from accessing in search results. Facebook and Twitter followed Google’s actions, removing left-wing political accounts and pages with millions of followers on the grounds that they were “inauthentic.”

The Trump administration’s Federal Communications Commission has moved ahead with the gutting of net neutrality, giving private corporations a legal cover to censor and tamper with political speech at will.

Last year, Germany passed the so-called NetzDG law, which threatens to fine internet companies that fail to remove “illegal content,” turning, as Human Rights Watch wrote, “private companies into overzealous censors.”

The Spanish government is pushing through a law that allows the state to shut down at will digital communications, internet infrastructure and apps without a court order. The law follows a similar measure passed in France last year, spelling out massive fines for disseminating “any allegation or implying of a fact without providing verifiable information.”

The efforts to curtail the distribution of critical political viewpoints go beyond even these draconian censorship measures.

The British government has, at the direction of the Trump administration and with the full support of the Democratic Party, detained and isolated WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, under conditions that UN human rights expert Nils Melzer has called tantamount to torture.

The US has also imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning without charge. Both of these courageous individuals are being persecuted for nothing other than telling the truth about criminal wrongdoing by the US government.

All these measures represent the vindictive actions of vastly unpopular capitalist governments that feel besieged by a global upsurge of political opposition. This year, this latent opposition has erupted in a series of mass demonstrations, which the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) think tank dubbed an “Age of Leaderless Revolution.”

CSIS analyst Samuel Brannen wrote: “This awakening has been amplified by the digital information age with more than half of the planet—4 billion people—now connected to the internet. Facebook alone counts 2.4 billion active users. And among the most popular topics for users is politics…. And the ways in which people can connect locally and globally and draw comparisons and inspiration from events elsewhere is unmatched. The ability for individuals to connect, to inspire and coordinate millions onto the streets is without precedent.”

Capitalist governments all over the world see this communications revolution, which holds immeasurable promise for human society, as an existential threat. One recent survey observed, “There is now a geopolitical operating premise that the ills of the internet are potentially more consequential than its benefits.”

While the cliques of corrupt capitalist oligarchs that dominate society all over the world, from Washington to New Delhi to Madrid, recoil in fear at the growing interconnections of society, the freedom of speech, including internet communication, is vital to workers and young people seeking to express their grievances and organize politically.

As workers and young people enter into social struggle all over the world, they must take up the defense of the freedom of expression and the freedom of political prisoners like Assange and Manning as inseparable from the fight to defend their social rights, abolish inequality, and overthrow the capitalist system.

Andre Damon

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