Feb 282013
 

El análisis de James Petras, 99GetSmart

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“El detonante fue que Israel asesinó a otro preso político palestino; Israel mata o desaparece a los presos y luego dice que sufrió un infarto o que se suicidó. El tema es que un patólogo israelí informó que no fue un infarto, que tenía huesos rotos, en el cuello, en la espalda, quebraduras que no tienen nada que ver con un infarto. Entonces, este proceso va más allá de las violaciones de los derechos humanos, las cárceles israelitas son una gran cámara de tortura y no reconoce ninguna norma de cualquier país civilizado”, señaló este lunes 25 de febrero el sociólogo norteamericano James Petras en su columna de análisis de la coyuntura internacional que emite semanalmente CX36, Radio Centenario (*).  Además, Petras hizo una puesta a punto de la situación en Siria, las elecciones italianas, opinó sobre la realidad de la justicia uruguaya y la actualidad cubana. Lo que sigue es la transcripción íntegra de sus aportes.

Diego Martínez: Tenemos el contacto directo con Nueva York, allí está James Petras a quien estábamos esperando con varios temas para abordar hoy. Buenos días, Petras.

James Petras: Buenos días, ¿cómo están?

¿Por donde comenzamos entonces?

DM: Nos gustaría comenzar por un tema local, de Uruguay, pues ha creado mucho revuelo e incluso hoy desde el seno del propio gobierno se llama a una movilización por la declaración de inconstitucionalidad que ha hecho la Suprema Corte de Justicia sobre una ley que interpreta la Ley de Caducidad; lo que habla una vez más de la hipocresía del gobierno frenteamplista porque en realidad son los mismos que han tenido la oportunidad de derogar o anular la Ley de Caducidad en el Parlamento y no lo han hecho. ¿Esto tiene repercusiones a nivel internacional?

JP: La justicia uruguaya está muy desprestigiada desde hace tiempo. La Suprema Corte de Justicia está muy mal vista hace mucho tiempo y antes de ayer la Comisión de Derechos Humanos de la Organización de Naciones Unidas (ONU) ha criticado fuertemente esa intervención de la Suprema Corte, diciendo que no tiene ninguna base en la Ley ni nacional ni internacional.

En mi opinión es una especie de golpe de Estado institucional, porque desplaza el sector legislativo y la Presidencia, y trata de imponer una impunidad que no tiene solidez ni en la Ley ni en el consenso de la sociedad civil. Es una vuelta hacia este tipo de injusticia que sabemos que existía en Uruguay durante los años de la dictadura.

Más allá de eso debemos entender que la transición a la democracia tuvo siempre este gran tema, de mantener la impunidad, particularmente en el sector judicial de todos los sectores antidemocráticos y represivos. Por eso, debemos entender que hay necesidad urgente de renovación en todo el sector judicial, una reforma judicial y el reemplazo de jueces para que esto no se repita.

En ese marco, quiero expresar toda mi solidaridad con la marcha y espero que el gobierno tome algunas acciones para anular este golpe de Estado que no permita que los jueces sustituyan al Poder Legislativo que fue electo por el pueblo. En cambio a estos jueces nadie los elige, están actuando sobre la base de sus vínculos con golpistas y torturadores del pasado.

DM: Un dato más, las organizaciones convocantes señalan que estos jueces fueron nombrados por este mismo gobierno que ahora además, algunos de sus integrantes se quiere desmarcar convocando a la movilización.

Seguimos adelante, ¿en qué está la situación en Siria?

JP: Allí continúa la intervención masiva de Turquía, Europa, Estados Unidos y de las monarquías absolutistas que en Siria están financiando a todo un grupo de terroristas que vienen de varios países, incluso Libia, de Arabia Saudí, Afganistán, de todas partes que están poniendo bombas, realizando atentados terroristas.

No hay dudas que el gobierno de Siria y el pueblo, están resistiendo todo lo posible, pero es muy formidable el apoyo multimillonario, las armas que reciben los terroristas, los actos terroríficos que cometen contra la población. Y los medios de comunicación de masas están saturando a los medios, diciendo que son “rebeldes”, que son “revolucionarios”, que están “buscando la libertad”; mientras que las áreas que ocupan esos terroristas cometen todo tipo de barbaridades, desde descabezando hasta torturas y violaciones de la población que no está de acuerdo con sus metas, que no es otra cosa que la formación de un  Estado islámico vinculado con los países imperialistas.

Esta es la situación que existe y es una gran vergüenza que todos los políticos y periodistas supuestamente demócratas, son cómplices de  estos actos bárbaros. Están destruyendo un país, están destruyendo los valores seculares, están destruyendo a un opositor a Israel y un gran apoyante a Palestina.

Como pasó en Irak, no va a quedar ninguna tranquilidad ni ningún progreso después de esta guerra. Al contrario, queda un país destruido y va a llevar decenas de años volver a reconstruir algo civilizado.

DM: Mencionaba a Israel y se informa que hay 4.500 presos palestinos en huelga de hambre en las cárceles israelíes.

JP: El detonante fue que Israel asesinó a otro preso político palestino; Israel mata o desaparece a los presos y luego dice que sufrió un infarto o que se suicidó. El tema es que un patólogo israelí informó que no fue un infarto, que tenía huesos rotos, en el cuello, en la espalda, quebraduras que no tienen nada que ver con un infarto.

Este proceso va más allá de las violaciones de los derechos humanos, las cárceles israelitas son una gran cámara de tortura y no reconoce ninguna norma de cualquier país civilizado.

Lo peor es que las organizaciones sionistas en el mundo, que aglutinan un porcentaje importante de la comunidad judía justifican estos crímenes. En Estados Unidos las cincuenta principales organizaciones judío-americanas, apoyan incondicionalmente estos asesinatos, estas torturas, estas cámaras de torturas, estos crímenes, estas violaciones a los derechos humanos.

Israel no solo está provocando la ira de los palestinos sino que choca en todo el mundo la forma tan insolente en que Israel actúa, pero la gran prensa no pone el dedo sobre este tema, porque dicen: ‘mueren en cárceles en condiciones sospechosas ’. Sin tomar posición de principios y diciendo que Israel está violando las normas, asesinando presos políticos, tienen miles de presos políticos encarcelados sin acusación, en lo que llaman ‘detención administrativa’ y por lo cual pueden quedar años presos sin ser acusados ante un Juez. Es la peor injusticia, estar encarcelado sin tener oportunidad de enfrentar al acusador.

Eso es Israel, lo que los judíos sionistas llaman ‘la mejor democracia del Medio Oriente’, es un chiste de muy mal gusto.

DM: ¿Qué pasó en las elecciones? ¿Cambia algo en Israel?

JP: En Israel las elecciones son entre todos los partidos sionistas.Con alguna excepción los grandes medios de comunicación liberales, conservadores, tienen sus peleas internas, pero al final de cuentas todos defienden la ideología sionista, la superioridad judía y contra los derechos humanos de los palestinos.

Hay dos niveles, entre los sionistas hay debates y elecciones para ver quien entre ellos sale electo; pero frente a los palestinos, frente al problema de colonización de Palestina y frente a la represión y tortura, son todos como un mismo coro, todos gritan juntos. Y eso hay que reconocerlo: democracia para los judíos y totalitarismo para los palestinos. Es un sistema de doble moral.

DM: Nos vamos a Europa, hay fuertes debates en España sobre la institucionalidad de Mariano Rajoy.

JP: Hay una gran mayoría que dice que toda la clase política, pero particularmente los reaccionarios del PP son corruptos, son una mafia de podridos, podridos políticos que no deben mandar y están reclamando la renuncia. Pero Rajoy y su camarilla no van a renunciar porque tienen problemas criminales pendientes y buscan quedarse en el poder para evitar los juicios. Pero también están ahí para defender a los grandes banqueros, los siguen defendiendo como el último resorte frente a cualquier cambio.

Por tanto, hay una gran mayoría que quiere desplazarlos, y hay una minoría pero con el control del ejército y la policía, que va a quedarse hasta que de una u otra manera los echen del poder. Pero no tienen ninguna legitimidad, incluso las páginas financieras traen bastante detalles sobre las coimas, las transferencias de dinero, el robo; más allá de la política que han generado más de un 30% de desocupación que trepa al 50% entre los jóvenes.

Hay muchos niveles, el económico es un desastre; el moral es corrupto; y sin capacidad de enfrentar y poner el país en un sistema de justicia social. España vive un proceso de injusticia con un gobierno que actúa como el viejo Franco: utiliza la fuerza frente a las grandes masas en las calles para mantenerse en el poder, sólo por quedarse en el poder y cumplir con los mandados de los banqueros.

DM: Nos venimos al continente, ayer Raúl Castro dijo que estos son sus últimos años en funciones. ¿Qué se puede esperar?

JP: Pienso que es la hora de renunciar. Yo tengo 76 años y si bien trabajo, escribo, ya no estoy tan activo en las luchas cotidianas. Cuando uno pasa los 70 o 75 años es el momento de de abrir paso a las nuevas generaciones, si uno hace el trabajo bien tiene unos acompañantes capaces de mandar el país. Creo que Raúl está actuando correctamente, anunciando su jubilación y parece que están en la onda de renovación junto con la política la coherencia. Porque existen actualmente muchos funcionarios y políticos que no quieren adaptarse a las medidas de reforma, introducir el mercado, bajar el centralismo, efectivizar la producción, siguen pensando en el viejo modelo burocrático e ineficaz.

En esta pugna entre lo nuevo y lo viejo, la renovación del socialismo y  el estancamiento, esta transición, este recambio es para crear coherencia de la nueva política y nuevos dirigentes.Es correcto en este momento.

El gran peligro siempre en un proceso de renovación es que infiltran liberales, neoliberales, como pasó en Rusia y China, donde los renovados muestran primero una cara de socialistas pero después actúan como neoliberales. Siempre hay peligros en cualquier cambio, pero siempre hay que correr los riesgos.

DM: Me quedo en cuba, pero para hablar de los diálogos de paz en Colombia que se realizan allí. ¿Cuál es la situación?

JP: Estamos llegando al nudo del problema.Los insurgentes de las FARC sostienen que la reforma agraria, la expropiación y la reubicación de cuatro millones se campesinos en tierras para cultivar es parte de la transformación y debe ser una de las soluciones del conflicto.  En vez de enfrentar este tema directamente, Santos y su equipo gubernamental, anunciaron que son las FARC las que controlan cuatrocientas mil hectáreas de tierra y dicen que están involucradas en el desplazamiento de campesinos. Es totalmente absurdo.

Es el gobierno el que gobierna en más de veinte millones de hectáreas de tierra no cultivadas, tierras de latifundistas, y es el que tienen la responsabilidad de resolver el problema de reforma agraria. Es un desvío, es un teatro para distraer a la gente.

Las FARC responden diciendo que van a conformar una comisión de expertos, de profesionales, para investigar dónde quedan las tierras para cultivar, e instalar los campesinos, hacer la reforma agraria e invitaron a esta Comisión a visitar los territorios donde le gobierno dice que los guerrilleros desplazaron a lo campesinos. Y Santos no respondió, porque sabe que esa acusación es una simple distracción, porque él y su equipo siguen defendiendo a los grandes latifundistas y a los paramilitares y militares que desplazaron a los campesinos de sus tierras.

Entonces, es muy crítica la situación porque si Santos sigue con estas desviaciones, este circo político, es obvio que está preparando la quiebra de las negociaciones, que no quiere entrar en temas clave, como son la reforma agraria y la expropiación de tierras y para evitarlo hace acusaciones provocadoras para que terminen las negociaciones.

Es un momento muy crítico en el proceso.

DM: Tras la llegada de Hugo Chávez a Venezuela, se han conocido más datos no sólo de la salud del Presidente venezolano, sino de la incidencia que tiene en las actuales decisiones de gobierno.

JP: Para decir la verdad, no tengo suficientes datos para hacer un juicio.

De un lado tengo los informes del gobierno respecto a que Chávez está tomando lugar en la formulación de políticas. Del otro lado dicen que el presidente Chávez tiene problemas respiratorios y muy graves, según dice los propios informes oficiales. Y la oposición sigue tratando de explotar esta incertidumbre sobre lo que realmente está pasando. Necesitamos una clarificación en profundidad, no podemos quedar en esta oscuridad en momentos en que la derecha hace todos los esfuerzos en  explotar la incertidumbre y algunas declaraciones aparentemente contradictorias.

Lo mejor es decir la verdad, con la verdad marchar hacia delante.

Es importante para evitar la avalancha de propaganda, tratando de explotar la situación del presidente Chávez. Si está bien, si está mejorando deben decirlo; pero si está en condición más precaria, también deben decirlo y debemos prepararnos para un avance con nueva dirección, nuevos líderes para seguir el proceso.

Hugo Chávez es un gran líder, va a pasar a la historia como los grandes líderes del pasado.

Pero no es un hombre el que determina la historia, la historia marcha a partir de la lucha de clases y el liderazgo renovado de un proceso de transformación.

DM: Muy bien, Petras, para terminar como es habitual le dejamos el espacio para que nos hable de otros temas en lo que esté trabajando.

JP: Bien. Ayer presentaron los premios ‘Oscar’, los premios al cine, y debemos decir que la película que ganó el gran premio se llama “Argo” que es una película que glorifica a la CIA, precisamente en momentos en que la CIA está involucrada en asesinatos en todo el mundo a partir de los drones.  Hollywood como cualquier institución aquí, se ha derechizado. Antes la CIA aparecía como una conspiración contra la democracia, la CIAaparecía involucrada en acvtividades en las sombra de la legalidad, y ahora, de repente, una película que presenta a la CIA como grandes héroes, operadores en un rescate, sale a la luz con el máximo premio.

La  glorificación de la CIA es una expresión de la derechización de la política bajo el gobierno de Obama, que utiliza a la CIA cada vez más como instrumento de política de desestabilización, intervención, asesinatos y masacres.

Y ahora Hollywood está implicada, con esta película supuestamente dramática, en el sentido de mostrar la gran capacidad de Estados Unidos de rescatar sus políticos capturados por el demonio islámico. Irán simplemente estaba defendiendo su soberanía y la intervención de la CIA en territorio iraní era un crimen y debe ser condenado, pero en vez de condenarlo, la película celebra este tipo de intervención de la CIA.

Es algo más, la parte cultural ahora en Estados Unidos está muy corrupta, involucrados de una forma u otra en pintar a los Estados Unidos como un país de grandes éxitos tanto militar como político.

Y el otro tema es sobre las elecciones en Italia, que no van a resolver mucha cosa.

Pero una cosa que debemos anotar es que el candidato de los grandes bancos, Mario Monti, va a recibir máximo el 10% de los votos, pues el 90% de los italianos van a votar por otros candidatos. O bien por los ex comunistas, el partido Demócrata; van a votar por Berlusconi que ha tomado una posición demagógicamente populista; van a votar por el partido Cinco Estrellas, de Beppe Grillo. Debemos decir que Italia está en una situación de rechazo a las políticas del gran sector financiero, pero no hay ningún acuerdo sobre el camino a tomar, y queda todo igual.

Después de las elecciones es difícil ver una salida a la crisis económica, la recesión que vuelve a golpear a la clase obrera.

En estas elecciones también vamos a ver una gran abstención. Ayer sólo votaron el 50% de los electores y si bien hoy día votan, en todo caso es seguro que el abstencionismo va a estar en el orden del 30%, más la oposición.

Por tanto, tenemos una situación de frustración y empate, donde Italia no encuentra una salida, un político capaz de abrir un nuevo camino más hacia el socialismo que al capitalismo.

Mario Monti ha sido rechazado de forma contundente con su política neoliberal pero más allá hay gran incertidumbre.

DM: Petras y eso parece que se traslada al resto de los países europeos cuando tengan sus próximas elecciones.

JP: Si, Europa está ahora otra vez en una recesión con crecimiento negativo, aumentando la desocupación y creando un polvorín que podría volar en cualquier momento; sea en Grecia, Portugal o Italia. No estamos en momentos de estabilidad política, cualquier cosa puede pasar en cualquier momento.

DM: James Petras muchas gracias por este contacto, nos reencontramos el próximo lunes.

JP: Muy bien, compañeros, un abrazo

(*) Escuche en vivo los lunes a las 11:30 horas (hora local) la audición de James Petras por CX36, Radio Centenario desde Montevideo (Uruguay) para todo el mundo a través de www.radio36.com.uy

Feb 272013
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* TROIKA DIRECTIONS

Source: youtube

… featuring the showroom dummies of the Troika, that are implementing the “Program” in countries like Greece, Ireland or Portugal : Poul Thomsen (IMF), Matthias Mors (EU) and Klaus Masuch (ECB).

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0OXDTnwWo8

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* GREECE: BLACKWATER MERCENARIES GUARDING GOVERNMENT AND OVERSEEING POLICE; COUP FEARED

Source: Salem-News

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Blackwater mercenaries are currently overseeing the police in Greece as rumours of a coup abound. We understand the situation is extremely tense and that the mercenaries are there mainly to protect the Government and parliament should trouble break out either in the form of a revolution or counter-revolution. Already, a destabilisation plot involving the far-right and police has been uncovered. 

Over the last 12 months or more Greece has seen wave after wave of mass demonstrations, riots, battles between police and protesters, armed attacks on Government premises, attacks by fascists (i.e. Golden Dawn ) on migrants, as well as, of course, the complete collapse of the economy. The Government has been beset by scandals (e.g. secret bank accounts in Switzerland) and journalists have been arrested. Most people now exist day by day via co-operatives ; workers are taking over the factories .

As we have said, there is a revolution taking place – a messy revolution . And it’s going to get messier, for the situation in Greece has now entered a critical phase – here is a summary (with further details below):

* Strategy of tension has already commenced
* Government is under siege and is protected by mercenaries
* Military coup is now talked of openly
* Insider warns that revolution (or counter-revolution) is imminent […]

READ @ http://www.salem-news.com/articles/february252013/greece-coup.php

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* GREEK GOVERNMENT MAKES EXTRAORDINARY AND UNDEMOCRATIC ATTACKS ON FREE SPEECH

By Yiannis Baboulias, NewStatesman

Greek pensioners demonstrate outside the Labour Ministry in Athens against pension cuts and the downgrading of the social health services. Photograph: Getty Images

Greek pensioners demonstrate outside the Labour Ministry in Athens against pension cuts and the downgrading of the social health services. Photograph: Getty Images

There’s no element of surprise in the fact that things move faster when going downhill. In the wake of revelations such as the alleged torture of detained anarchists and the crackdown against activists in Skouries (Northern Greece), the Greek government and especially New Democracy has decided to use the “rule of law” in order to tighten its grip of the Greek media while at the same time winning back some of the voters they lost to the Golden Dawn.

Following PM Antonis Samaras’ own anti-immigrant rhetoric, 85 New Democracy MPs proposed a bill which would see only citizens of “Greek race” hired in police and military. The Golden Dawn was of course quick support it and to claim the proposed bill as “a major victory” for them. “The honourable uniform of the Greek armed officer will not be handed to the Albanians, the Asians and the Africans and the country’s armed forces will not come under the control of foreign spies,” the statement released by the party on Tuesday continued.

This follows weeks of extreme anti-immigrant and anti-leftist messages released by minor members of ND in social networks and interviews, their futile attempts to out-flank the far-right only strengthening the neo-nazi party’s current, that now sees six year-old kids brought in to it’s HQ’s for classes on “patriotic awareness”.

But this is only one side of the PR machine the coalition’s ruling party has set in motion: we’ve also had major moves against journalists and newspapers that speak out against their plans. Most striking example is the case of UNFOLLOW magazine, an independent left-wing publication, who saw its writers receive life threats after publishing an investigation on oil smuggling that appears to implicate Aegean oil and its owner Dimitris Melissanidis. A man who identified himself as Melissanidis threatened to “blow up” the reporter behind the article. The magazine went ahead and sued the oil magnate whose business ventures include contracts with the US Navy. But what is interesting here, is that after the magazine published the incident, Melissanidis requested the retraction of the article through his lawyer who none other than Failos Kranidiotis, personal friend and advisor to PM Antonis Samaras.[…]

READ @ http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/02/greek-government-makes-extraordinary-and-undemocratic-attacks-free-speech

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* NEOLIBERALISM AND HIGHER EDUCATION IN GREECE

Source: leftunity

 Panagiotis Sotiris, Vice-president of the University of the Aegean Teachers’ Union, explores the problems of Higher Education in Greece

Students at the gates of the Athens Polytechnic in 1973

Students at the gates of the Athens Polytechnic in 1973

First of all, I would like to express my deepest feelings of solidarity to Egitim Sen regarding the recent wave of arrests. Governments all over the world want to get rid of trade union resistances and attempt to criminalize trade union action. Solidarity and struggle are our weapons! Secondly, I would like to thank the organizers of this conference for this opportunity to share with you some thoughts and experiences regarding the neoliberal attack on Higher Education in Greece and the struggles against this attack, in a particular conjuncture marked by economic crisis, austerity and the imposition of draconian cuts as part of the loan agreements with the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.[1]

Higher education in Greece has always been a highly politicized terrain. Until recently the sole responsibility of the State because of an explicit constitutional ban on private Higher Education, it has been considered one of the main forms of upwards social mobility and this can account for the social pressure to broaden access to Higher Education. Currently there are more than 75,000 posts to Universities and Technological Educational Institutes offered ever year. For the average Greek family entrance to a University Department, traditionally associated with obtaining better employment prospects, has always been a major goal. This can also explain the importance, in the public sphere, of events such as the university entrance exams or the high cost of extra tutorial courses a family is ready to bear in order to achieve entrance to a good University Department (Medical Schools, Law Schools, and Engineering Schools).

Struggle and protest has been an integral part of Greek Higher Education. The history of Greek Universities has been marked by the intervention, since the 1960s, of a highly politicized student movement,[2] which was highly esteemed because of its role in the struggle against the 1967-1974 military dictatorship (epitomized in the 1973 Occupation of the National Polytechnic School which was brutally suppressed by the military dictatorship). After the fall of the dictatorship, the student movement was a crucial aspect of a process of radicalization of Greek society, producing not only victorious movements (such as the 1979 movement of occupations that forced the government to repeal the law 815/78 – one of the few cases in the past 40 years that a law that had been passed was subsequently repealed because of protests) but also important elements of the general social and political culture. Most aspects of Greek post-1974 left-wing radicalism emerged from Universities. In the early 1980s a wave of extensive reforms – and especially the 1268 frame law introduced in 1982 – combined a modernizing, technocratic aspect with the introduction of a democratic system of extensive faculty and student participation in the administration of University students, which included high representation in University Senates and Department Assemblies and a particular weight of student vote in the election of Rectors, Deans and Department Heads. […]

READ @ http://leftunity.org/neoliberalism-and-higher-education-in-greece/

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* LITTLE CLARITY IN ITALIAN VOTE, ASIDE FROM ANGER

By Rachel Donaldio, NYTimes

Voting officials count the ballots at a polling station in Rome on Monday at the end of the second day of Italy’s national elections.

Voting officials count the ballots at a polling station in Rome on Monday at the end of the second day of Italy’s national elections.

ROME — Italian voters delivered a rousing anti-austerity message and a strong rebuke to the existing political order in national elections on Monday, plunging the country into political paralysis after results failed to produce a clear winner.

Analysts said that the best-case scenario would be a shaky coalition government, which would once again expose Italy and the euro zone to turmoil if markets question its commitment to measures that have kept the budget deficit within a tolerable 3 percent of gross domestic product. News of the stalemate sent tremors through the financial world, sending the Dow Jones industrial average down more than 200 points.

Although analysts blamed the large protest vote on Italy’s political morass and troubled electoral system, the results were also seen as a rejection of the rapid deficit-reduction strategy set by the European Commission and European Central Bank — from a country too big to fail and too big to bail out. […]

READ @ http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/26/world/europe/Italy-elections.html?_r=2&nl=afternoonupdate&adxnnl=1&emc=edit_au_20130225&adxnnlx=1361828247-EdcqEfkHx2W16mJS7ubjTQ&&pagewanted=all

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* AUSTERITY, ITALIAN STYLE

By Paul Krugman, NYTimes

Italy-election-11

Two months ago, when Mario Monti stepped down as Italy’s prime minister, The Economist opined that “The coming election campaign will be, above all, a test of the maturity and realism of Italian voters.” The mature, realistic action, presumably, would have been to return Mr. Monti — who was essentially imposed on Italy by its creditors — to office, this time with an actual democratic mandate.

Well, it’s not looking good. Mr. Monti’s party appears likely to come in fourth; not only is he running well behind the essentially comical Silvio Berlusconi, he’s running behind an actual comedian, Beppe Grillo, whose lack of a coherent platform hasn’t stopped him from becoming a powerful political force.

It’s an extraordinary prospect, and one that has sparked much commentary about Italian political culture. But without trying to defend the politics of bunga bunga, let me ask the obvious question: What good, exactly, has what currently passes for mature realism done in Italy or for that matter Europe as a whole? […]

READ @ http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/25/opinion/krugman-austerity-italian-style.html?hp&_r=0

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* GREECE AND SPAIN HELPED POSTWAR GERMANY RECOVER. SPOT THE DIFFERENCE.

By Nick Dearden, Guardian

People exchanging food for tickets in 1923 Germany. 'Many, including Keynes, argued that [reparations imposed on Germany following the Versailles treaty] led to the rise of the Nazis and the second world war.' Photograph: Keystone/Corbis

People exchanging food for tickets in 1923 Germany. ‘Many, including Keynes, argued that [reparations imposed on Germany following the Versailles treaty] led to the rise of the Nazis and the second world war.’ Photograph: Keystone/Corbis

Sixty years ago today, an agreement was reached in London to cancel half of postwar Germany’s debt. That cancellation, and the way it was done, was vital to the reconstruction of Europe from war. It stands in marked contrast to the suffering being inflicted on European people today in the name of debt.

Germany emerged from the second world war still owing debt that originated with the first world war: the reparations imposed on the country following the Versailles peace conference in 1919. Many, including John Maynard Keynes, argued that these unpayable debts and the economic policies they entailed led to the rise of the Nazis and the second world war.

By 1953, Germany also had debts based on reconstruction loans made immediately after the end of the second world war. Germany’s creditors included Greece and Spain, Pakistan and Egypt, as well as the US, UK and France. […]

READ @ http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/27/greece-spain-helped-germany-recover

Feb 262013
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

Source: CADTM International

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Responding to direct racist threats from the nazi party Golden Dawn against one of the founding members of CADTM Greece Moisis Litsis*, the international CADTM network wishes to highlight how serious a danger the rise of fascism is, a development that is the direct consequence of the deterioration of social conditions imposed by creditors claiming that paying public debts is more important than fundamental human rights.

The neonazi magazine Stohos published a ‘biographical note’ on Moisis Litsis that list all his TU and political activities over the past two decades. Under the title ‘ESIEA (the journalists’ trade union) has a Jew as treasurer’, their racist libel further states, ‘he speaks perfect Hebrew, he loves Israel though he claims to be antisionist (but who would believe him)! … At the general assemblies of ESIEA, instead of talking about problems met by Greek journalists, Moisis Litsis will hold on about the Holocaust and the need to condemn the Golden Dawn’…

The steady deterioration of the social and economic crisis makes it possible for the far-right to demonize foreigners (immigrants, asylum seekers). It uses anti-Semitism so as to find scapegoats and obscure the real causes of the problems Greek people have to face behind a smoke screen. The brutal austerity measures enforced by the Troika on the Greek people lead many to try and find new ways of coping, not always shying away from the dark paths of fascism.

It has to be remembered, however, that the objective of Golden Dawn, a racist, violent and pogrom-inciting organization, is the destruction of any TU, political or cultural workers’ association, the crushing of all citizens’ resistance, the negation of the right to difference, and the extermination of those who are different or weaker, including physical extermination.

This racist, backwards, authoritarian and discriminatory backlash is one of the most worrying consequences of the ongoing process through which creditors destroy our social state for the sake of repaying a largely illegitimate debt.

The international CADTM network wishes to state again its complete solidarity with the Greek people in its struggle for sovereignty, against austerity policies, for the assertion of its rights and the cancellation of an odious and murderous debt. We cannot tolerate the murdering, bullying and provocative actions of a nazi party now represented in Parliament.

We join the many voices that are raised all over the world against the rise of fascism in Europe. Our struggle against austerity measures enforced to repay public debts cannot be dissociated from our struggle against fascism in Europe.

Our solidarity goes to Moisis Litsis, the Greek CADTM and all the left-wing forces fighting austerity policies and the system that breeds them.

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* Moisis Litsis was one of the leaders of the eight month struggle fought by the workers of the Eleftherotypia newspaper. He is also a founding member of AIS (the Greek committee against the debt-CADTM http://www.contra-xreos.gr/ and one of the main initiators of the European antifascist manifesto. (http://antifascismeuropa.org/manifi… )

Feb 252013
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* SPAIN’S SADO-MONETERISM: WILL IT LEAD TO REVOLUTION? PART 1

By Antonio Marcantonio, newsjunkiepost

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The facts

As a measure of austerity supposedly meant to rescue Spanish economy, stifled by the debt and by a deep recession, on July 10, 2012, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced a set of public spending cuts and tax increases amounting to €65 billion in two years and a half. The cuts are affecting key sectors like education and health service; the tax increase is boosting the prices of food, medicines, transport, and leisure. The retirement age will be extended as many are forced to retire earlier.

The day after the introduction of the austerity measures, an outburst of indignation shook the country. Thousands of citizens marched through the streets of its main cities: Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Bilbao, Pamplona, Seville, Málaga. In spite of the efforts made by a criminal police repression to label the protesters as violent criminals, actually a huge number of them were public sector workers, retired people, teachers, health workers, cultural activists, “rebel” policemen and firemen who do not stand by the side of an abusive government. The protests targeted the huge sacrifices imposed on the people who are already facing an unsustainable situation, with wages that are among the lowest in Europe and an unemployment rate that exceeds 25 percent of the total work force — over 50 percent of the youth. The unemployed also suffered the consequences of these cutbacks since even the subsidies they receive were reduced.

Many of the manifestations turned into violent riots, feeding fears about the opening of a new era of political unrest and turmoil until maybe another civil war will ensue. However, as will be pointed out in the next paragraphs, Capitalism has learned how to maintain people in a state of submission and precariousness, preventing them from falling beneath the critical level below which they would be classified as poor, as proletarians, and strive to get out from their low status and take their rights back. That would be the end since, as the Capital learned both from history and from Marx’s works, revolution is done by empty bellies. However, capitalism has been able to establish a political system in which a fake democracy gives the people the illusion of choosing between a left- and a right-wing candidate: both of them proposing impossible things during their campaigns. Once elected, independently from their faction, these politicians do nothing to boost the economy but feed the chests of those very same institution that are strangling it and benefiting from recession. They rescue the banks that triggered the crisis, profiting of the neoliberal wave of deregulation which allowed them to offer great loans at huge interest rates to people who — as they perfectly knew — would not be able to repay them. Those people are returning to the banks their properties after they paid part of the mortgage, and they still have to pay the rest of the debt. […]

READ @ http://newsjunkiepost.com/2012/11/14/spain-sado-monetarism-will-it-lead-to-a-revolution-or-another-civil-war-part-i/

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* #23F SPAIN

Source: youtube

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=3RRscC-XTlg

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* CAPITALISM’S TOP 1% ARE THE NEW ARISTOCRACY

Source: Scriptomite Daily

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The central promise of free market capitalism is that anyone can make it if they try.  It’s appeal over the old model of landed aristocracy and feudal society was the emancipation of land locked peasantry to enjoy the fruits of their labours based on meritocracy – in short: those who can, will.  However, with social mobility in decline and the wealth gap widening to ever greater degrees – have capitalists become the new aristocrats, lording over a globalised neo-feudal system?

Life under Feudalism

Feudalism was the economic system exercised between the 5th and 15th century across Europe and parts of Asia, which structured society around the holding of land in return for service and labour.  Those living at the time did not consider feudalism as a formal structure for their society, but through the lens of history it can be viewed as nothing else.  The society was a pyramid with Monarch at its head and peasant at its base.  The Monarch in theory owned the land and parcelled it out to Lords in return for loyalty (military and other support).  The Lords in turn allowed peasants access to the land in return for their labour and services upon it.  Feudal rights of Lordship were hereditary and passed from the landowner to the eldest son automatically on his Lordships death. The labour of agricultural peasants was the foundation and lifeblood of the society, the surplus of which was used to increase the wealth of the aristocratic ruling class and generated the development of towns, non agricultural craftsmanship, and education.

No one reading Feudalism at even the most rudimentary level can fail to overlook the entrenched caste system generated by it. One feels a sense of entrapment even briefly entertaining the thought of being referred to as a peasant, or of being part of a clearly stratified society and the idea of needing to know one’s place.

It might then come as some surprise that social mobility is no greater now than under feudalism in the middle ages. […]

READ @ http://scriptonitedaily.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/capitalisms-top-1-are-the-new-aristocracy/

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* GOLDEN DAWN ‘CELL’ IN THE MUNICIPAL POLICE OF ATHENS

By Icantrelaxingreece

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Local government unionists reported the existence of a far-right cell named ‘Group K’ that functions in a para-state fashion and is in co-operation with Greek police.

Local government unionists from the Municipality of Athens reported the existence of an organised cell of Golden Dawn in the force of Municipal Police of Athens, active under the codename ‘Group K’. One week after the death of Senegalese immigrant Cheikh Ndiaye while being chased in Thisseion [Athens] by a group of municipal police officers, the Union of employees in the Municipal Authorities published an angry statement where for the first time they reported the existence of a Golden Dawn cell in the municipal police force.  They also reported that 15 members of Group K, bullied one of their colleagues that spoke out against them during the meeting of the general assembly of municipal policemen on the 5th of February: “The group is known and tolerated by the Local Authority of the Municipality of Athens; they enjoy special privileges and specialise in the area of ‘illegal trade’ [an area that mainly involves immigrants]. They are also engaged in joint operations together with the Greek police”. […]

READ @ http://icantrelaxingreece.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/golden-dawn-cell-in-the-municipal-police-of-athens/

Feb 242013
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

Betrayal: A Critical Analysis of Rape Culture in Anarchist Subcultures

Source – pdf @ Words to Fire Press

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Disclaimer:

We’re fucking sick of disclaimers. We resent having to provide apologies and justifications for our words before we even speak them. We’re bitter about how specialized discussions of rape, sexual assault, and abuse have become. We feel insulted and embarrassed that we have to constantly point out that we aren’t speaking on behalf of all survivors, as though that were even possible. Sure, we appreciate a well placed trigger warning. It’s just good etiquette. But when fanatical attempts to avoid triggering each other serve as tools to relegate discussions of interpersonal violence to the margins, to wrap the issue in a neat little box which is only brought out on special occasions, when an illusion of “safety” can be guaranteed, well…then we start to get pissed. If we only speak of our oppression from the position of safety, we’ll be forever silent. If we can’t learn to work through being triggered amongst friends and comrades, we’ll be ill equipped to work through it in their absence. An atmosphere of nervousness permeates the discussion, and we confer to the advice of specialists partly out of fear of saying the wrong thing. But all we’re talking about are our own experiences, a topic on which we are all experts. So we long for the day when we won’t need to place ourselves under disclaimers, or any other banner for that matter.

But at the same time we recognize that we’re not there yet. These topics are still so charged, and the support available still so sparse, that our words hold the tremendous potential to do harm. So in the meantime we must take care when we speak, so as to not become inadvertent allies of the forces we mean to oppose. With that in mind, we offer a few clarifications before we begin…

Some of the authors of this piece are survivors, others are reflecting on their own role as people who have been abusive in the past, but they all share a commitment to the struggle against a Culture of Rape. When we say “we”, we are not referring to “survivors”, or even to the authors, but to everyone who agrees with the statement made, and perhaps more broadly, to everyone who sees themselves a part of this struggle. There are surely survivors whose experiences will seemingly contradict the arguments made here. But of course the examples cited throughout this text are not meant to be exhaustive or all encompassing. We do not see our own experiences as exemplary of the experiences of all survivors, or even most survivors. They do, however, provide examples of how Rape Culture has materialized in our own lives, a point we thought worth sharing.

We would be rightly criticized for focusing so heavily on the anarchist milieu, which of course most survivors will not identify with. But we saw little use in trying to extend ourselves beyond our own experiences in the hopes of becoming more “relevant”. It is also our hope that an anarchist analysis of both Power and struggle provide a useful framework for deconstructing the functioning of Rape Culture, and could perhaps provide insight even to those who are unfamiliar with the anarchist subculture. It is our belief that the dynamics we described will be echoed in other milieus as well.

Our gentle reader will also notice that we have chosen to use gender neutral language throughout. Of course the majority of survivors are women or people who don’t conform to patriarchal gender identities, whereas the majority of perpetrators are cis gendered men. The neutrality of our language obscures the systemic nature of not only this, but also the way that interpersonal violence has consistently been a tool of colonial invasion, imperialist occupation, and the maintenance of white supremacy. It obscures the way in which organizing against interpersonal violence has historically been co-opted by white middleclass feminists, leaving women of colour, poor women, queer and trans folk with less access to support resources. It was not our intention to depoliticize the nature of interpersonal violence with language that is gender neutral (certainly, when it comes to gender, we are not neutral!). But having said that, we also wanted to recognize that people of all identities, from all walks of life, can be both survivors or perpetrators, or even both at the same time. We didn’t want those whose experiences don’t fit neatly into oppressive binaries to find themselves even further marginalized here.

Finally, we offer a few definitions, not so that we can dictate how these words must be used, but so that it can be understood how their use was intended here:

Rape Culture – A culture which seeks to excuse, condone, normalize and encourage interpersonal violence.

Interpersonal Violence – A catch all term commonly used to describe different forms of violence which are inflicted on an interpersonal basis, yet have their roots in expansive systems of power. Rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, as well as sexual, physical and emotional abuse within relationships are all examples of interpersonal violence.

Survivor – A person who has experienced or is experiencing interpersonal violence, as defined by the survivor themselves.

Perpetrator – A person who has inflicted interpersonal violence onto another person or persons, as defined by the survivor(s).

Survivor Autonomy – The theoretical foundation upon which most radical support work is based. Survivor Autonomy is the concept that a survivor should be given the power and autonomy to decide for themselves how to deal with their own trauma, and that the role of supporters is to empower and encourage this autonomy. This stands in contrast to other approaches which do not see the survivor as having the best understanding of their own needs or recognize each survivors needs as truly unique and different, but instead seek to impose the “proper” way to heal upon them.

Apologist – Those who, through action or inaction, seek to uphold either the power of a perpetrator(s) and/or the disempowerment of a survivor(s), thus reproducing Rape Culture.

Accountability process – A process through which a perpetrator attempts to be accountable to the people they’ve hurt, and engages in self reflection with the ultimate goal of making long term changes in behaviour.

It would seem that throughout the anarchist milieu, wherever you turn, there is a community being ravaged by rape, by sexual assault, and by abuse. These cycles are neither new nor unique to anarchists. At first glance it seems surprising that our communities find themselves at least as vulnerable as any other to interpersonal violence. After all, don’t we begin from the starting point of opposition to domination, without which interpersonal violence could not exist? And yet, the one thing that ties these communities together, a supposed shared politics or political analysis, is often the weakest point in anarchist responses to interpersonal violence. Despite being a community which is explicitly political in nature, anarchists often depoliticize interpersonal violence and divorce it from its roots in systemic power. For instance, the need for good consent practices becomes confused with the belief that informing people about consent will transform our communities, as though rape were the result of ignorance and misinformation, rather than deeply entrenched structures of power. Strategies that anarchists have adopted, such as the accountability process, more often than not fail to address the interpersonal violence in our midst.

The apparent failure of the accountability process to transform our communities is usually viewed outside the context of that failure, without examining the broader social forces that contributed to it. This oversight is a result of the accountability process and also a precursor to it. The accountability process narrows our focus; it both confronts us with expansive systems of power while reassuring us that dealing with individual instances will deconstruct them. We speak of patriarchy, colonialism, heterosexism, but we deal only with a perpetrator. In our casual conversations, we agree “power concedes nothing without the threat of force”, yet our attempts at accountability usually take the form of moral suasion, relying on liberal-bourgeois notions of choice. As if our choices were more than a calculated reaction to the material conditions we find ourselves in. Of course a perpetrator chooses to pursue or reject accountability, but what makes this choice possible? What conditions fostered their feelings of entitlement over another person? It is these conditions that, when viewed from the terrain of struggle, must be recognized as what they are: enemy territory. It is from this realization that we attempt to launch our attack.

The insistence that interpersonal violence is perpetuated by more than just the actual perpetrators is not meant to shift accountability away from those perpetrators. On the contrary, it’s a recognition of the many factors that entitle them to sidestep accountability. Just as the suburban yuppie requires a vast and complex social system to mask the negative consequences of their destructive lifestyle, a perpetrator who refuses accountability is often enabled by a similar social network. Such networks aren’t only comprised of those who explicitly defend a perpetrator, but of all those who ensure the balance of power remains tipped in their favour. What this looks like in practical terms will vary. Silencing, repression, recuperation, or most often combinations of several of these methods are used against survivors and their struggle. The defining factor will always be what most effectively reproduces Rape Culture.

SILENCING THE STRUGGLE

“In the end, it won’t be the words of our enemies we remember, but the silence of our friends.”

The term “silencing” has been popularized in our communities, but only with a limited definition. Calling a survivor a liar, conjuring their sexual experiences, deviancies, or style of dress to shift blame, or otherwise insinuating that they were “asking for it”, are all behaviours most anarchists would frown on, though they rarely bother confronting them. This hypocrisy hints at a larger problem, revealed by a closer look at our conception of what is “silencing”. The aforementioned examples only apply to the survivor who has called out their perpetrator, or else talked openly about their experiences. But of course many survivors never get even this far.

So what silences them? Is it the other members of their affinity group, who maintain a false separation between the struggle against the state and the struggle against other systems of Power (especially the ones they benefit from)? Is it the roommates who never acknowledge fucked up dynamics for fear of “triggering” someone, as if an offer of support would be more triggering than total isolation? Is it the other show goers who write off the struggle as petty, too personal, or mere “drama,” as if a survivor who struggles against their oppression is being dramatic? Is it the fellow collective member who regrets that they are “not in the place” to offer support, while still being in the place to hang out with a perpetrator on a regular basis? Is it the acquaintance who claims to be in no position to confront a perpetrator because they are not even friends, or is it the acquaintance who claims the same because they are? Is it the people who organized that event, the ones who say they know nothing about the situation, while doing everything in their power to make sure they never do? Is it the band mate who claims they can see “both sides”, or eschews sides altogether, as if this wasn’t a fucking war? We’ve even seen rape apologists turn survivor autonomy on its head, claiming that they’d received no explicit instructions from a survivor, so of course they had no choice but to carry on a completely uncritical friendship with their attacker! Perhaps it is not the silence of survivors, but of those around them, which is truly revealing. With no one to say otherwise, a survivor can only assume that they will be given the same treatment as every other survivor before them.

If we broaden our definition of what is “silencing” to mean everything that works to maintain silence, then we aren’t merely defining a few grossly insensitive remarks. Instead, what we’ve implicated is the totality of our culture.

So what then, of accountability? Abuse, assault, a total lack of accountability; all are business as usual in the world as we know it. But normalcy is more effectively maintained through the complacency of masses than through the brutality of their masters. While violence provides the foundation upon which Rape Culture reproduces itself, it also poses certain risks; that it’s shared experience can create bonds of solidarity, that lines of conflict will be drawn more clearly, that people will fight back. The process of normalization seeks to undermine these risks by making violence invisible. The obvious apologists, the goons who say “slut” like it’s a bad thing and think the perpetrator is the victim, don’t do nearly as much to further normalization as their more subtle accomplices, the ones who maintain complete silence on the subject. These more sophisticated apologists share space with the perpetrator; they march alongside them at demonstrations and dance alongside them at parties, without ever uttering even a single word about interpersonal violence. When forced to speak on the subject, they sigh and say “it’s complicated…” They may even claim to be disgusted by the violence, though mostly they’re sad that you had to disrupt their event to confront it. They lament, “If only I had known!”, while keeping their heads planted purposefully in the sand.

UNLEASHING REPRESSION

This conspiracy of silence seeks not only to end a survivors struggle before it even begins, but also to provide the back drop for what will happen to the few survivors who refuse to be muzzled. For a survivor to speak openly of their experiences in such a climate can only be understood as an act of resistance, and as with all acts of resistance, repression is a likely outcome. This repression is more nuanced than the clubs of police officers or the guns of soldiers, though these too have been turned on survivors. The repressive forces are more likely to be mentally and emotionally devastating. The agents of such repression are not familiar to us through uniforms or badges, but as our supposed comrades and former friends. Many of us are accustomed to seeing only the police in this repressive role1, and of course they have their part to play in the reproduction of Rape Culture as well. But in our own radical communities, the state’s role in this reproduction seems downplayed. After all, there’s little point in the state expending the resources while so many self-described anarchists are willing to do the job for free.

Those who doubt the brutality of this internal repressive apparatus have likely never been on the receiving end. The “communities” that are so often turned to with the expectation of support are more often mobilized against the survivors on behalf of their perpetrators in a stunning counter attack. It’s difficult to properly illustrate what so many survivors have had to endure at the hands of their supposed anarchist comrades. To call it a smear campaign hardly does it justice. Of course speaking generally will never fully encompass all the complexities of a person’s experiences, but there are many patterns we can identify within the anarchist milieu, all of which faithfully reproduce the patterns of the broader culture.

1 Amongst most anarchists, at least, the police are a faceless enemy. We don’t have to see them tuck their kids in at night, they don’t tell us jokes over beers, they do not confront us with the contradiction of their own humanity. This is not the case for those who are called out for assault or abuse within anarchist circles, a reality which many perpetrators use to their full advantage.

One glaring example is the character assassination of the survivor. No aspect of their life is spared from scrutiny, all in search of any detail that can be used against them. These details, whether genuine or fabricated when necessary, are often used towards invalidating their experiences of violence and valorizing the perpetrator. Few will be so clumsy as to blatantly accuse a survivor of lying, though there are more self described anarchists willing to do this than even we care to admit. Instead, most will utilize any number of slight variations as a way of saying the same thing. Perhaps a survivor gave no clue of abuse as they endured it, perhaps they consented to certain sexual activity but not all of it, perhaps they felt the need to disclose certain experiences and withhold others, perhaps they needed time to process their trauma and only revealed it gradually, perhaps they have their own issues with power or boundaries. We could go on, but of course what’s important is not the details themselves, but how they can be twisted, taken out of context, or else used to undermine a survivors credibility. Past histories, addictions, coping mechanisms, debts, insecurities, even a survivor’s political identity, all are fair game2. When this strategy is successful, survivors are villainized and their attackers are recast as the victims of lies and manipulation. But even if the apparent objective of discrediting a survivor in the eyes of community fails, the process itself can still be effective at forcing survivors out of that community. Knowing that simply walking into an anarchist space means that nearly everyone there has discussed your personal life at length creates a tremendous barrier, regardless of the conclusions people may have reached. Survivors may feel compelled to pre-empt this dynamic by engaging their critics. Often, this plays into demands for “proof” or details of assaults or abuse. The retraumatizing aspect of this is yet another further attack on the survivor, and often feeds rather than undermines the conflict.

2 This same process is often extended to a survivor’s support network as well. In fact, focusing mainly on supporters sometimes allows the agents of repression to continue posturing as being supportive of the survivor, while at the same time sabotaging any genuine support. Such thinly veiled attacks, though possibly devastating to supporters, must still be understood primarily as attacks on the survivor, however indirect. In worst case scenarios, such attacks result in a degenerated conflict between the accomplices of Rape Culture and a support network, once again leaving the survivor sidelined and disempowered.

As tensions grow, it begins to spill over into new arenas. Previously uninvolved parties who may not even know the survivor or perpetrator become caught up in the mounting bedlam, and organizing becomes disrupted. Of course, at this point normalization has been broken, and the repressive apparatus no longer has anything to lose by not holding back. Anarchists who would otherwise scorn the politics of liberals now turn to their ideology for reinforcement. “These divisions are hurting us!” they cry. Of course, such divisions are never blamed on the perpetrator or their actions, but on the survivor for insisting that the trauma they’ve experienced cannot go unanswered. They are blamed for tearing the community apart and ultimately for undermining “the struggle”. The importance of this last point cannot be overemphasized. The previous dismissals of the broader community, which hinted that “the struggle” merely excludes survivors and their needs, are now clarified to reveal that in fact these struggles are diametrically opposed. To be perfectly clear, anarchists who feel their struggle is undermined by a survivor are in fact engaged in a struggle against survivors, they are active defenders of a Culture of Rape. They will often liken the survivor’s struggle to a “witch hunt”, when they themselves share more in common with the executioners than with those who burn at the stake.

As mentioned earlier, if a survivor can be silenced, and their experiences normalized into a culture of Rape, repression will become redundant. It follows that the lack of such outright repression, when paired with a lack of support for survivors and a lack of accountability for perpetrators, is not indicative of an absence of Rape Culture, but the opposite; it reveals a Culture of Rape that is totally ingrained, like an occupation that has become so entrenched as to render the tanks and soldiers unnecessary.

IF YOU CAN’T BEAT ‘EM

As alluded to earlier, these repressive measures can actually split the ranks of the more moderate rape apologists, undermining the common front against the survivor. At the same time, repressive measures are deemed necessary at the very least when the usual process of normalisation is broken. This points to one of the biggest contradictions within Rape Culture: that the very violence it relies on to reproduce itself also reveals its true nature for all to see. This contradiction is resolved by recuperative forces within radical communities which seek to co-opt support for survivors and redirect it against them. Many will claim to support a survivor while actually undermining their autonomy. This is usually done by limiting the possible scope of a survivor’s response to exclude anything that might further upset the social peace. These false supporters work to uphold the image of a supportive community, and in the process prevent any truly critical engagement with community. Their tools are the language and organizing frameworks which were forged by survivors and their supporters, appropriated for the purpose of disempowerment and twisted to usurp the survivors’ struggle.

Initially, the creation of words and new frameworks to use them was necessary, as the language for survivors to even talk about their experiences did not exist. Unfortunately, words are easily recuperated, and we can now see the inevitable limitations of relying on them so heavily. Once upon a time, radicals championed the use of the word “perpetrator” as an attempt to sidestep the stigma of harsher words. The once prevalent framework of Restorative Justice emphasised a person‘s ability to change. “Rapist” or “abuser” hardly underlined these values, and many felt it kept the rapists and abusers locked in those roles, just as referring to survivors as “victims” potentially kept them locked in a moment of subjugation rather than underlying their strength and perseverance. Of course now we are faced with a new wave of anti-violence activists, who lament the stigmatized nature of the word perpetrator, and now advocate the even more watered down term “person who causes harm”. Perhaps it’s time to realize that if a perpetrators capacity to change is not broadly recognized, that is a result of their own actions more so than the words we use to describe them. This is not to say that we should not choose our words strategically, or that we should not use them with strong intention, but only that our apparent obsession with language has serious drawbacks. At best, it leaves us caught in a never ending loop to find the right words rather than addressing our more meaningful shortcomings. At worst, it preserves the power dynamics of Rape Culture by attributing fault to survivors and their supporters rather than perpetrators and their apologists.

This bizarre reversal, where a perpetrators refusal of accountability is viewed at least partially as a result of flaws in a survivor’s response, is a common pattern seized upon by the recuperative forces of Rape Culture. Zines and pamphlets list strategies towards accountability which seek to avoid making a perpetrator defensive, which are perhaps better understood as strategies towards accountability which seek to accommodate a perpetrators defensiveness. The only thing such an approach avoids is a recognition that being defensive is not something forced on a person by others, but a reactionary response which must be realized and worked through for any genuine accountability to be possible. Many will use the term defensive without ever asking, “in defence of what?”

Of course many survivors who anticipate defensiveness and the repressive apparatus activated by it have made good use of such strategies in the short term to initiate dialogue, or else to make demands concerning immediate safety without the goal of transforming a perpetrator. We have no interest in questioning the choices survivors make or discouraging the dissemination of potentially useful strategies (because, of course, how useful any given approach might be can only be decided by survivors themselves). Our concern is when the accommodation of defensiveness or the strategies implied by it become a tool of false supporters to limit the possible choices available to survivors, or to criticize those choices they disapprove of after a survivor has made them. Discussions of how to call out a perpetrator rarely centre on the survivor’s needs. “Avoiding defensiveness” provides the pretence to shift the discussion back to the needs of the perpetrator. Once a perpetrator has been called out, a similar framework is used to undermine support for a survivor. The false supporters endlessly reassure us that they are not angry that a perpetrator was called out, it’s only the way they were called out. The fact that a survivor would speak openly about their experiences is seemingly taken as more violent and controversial than the violence of those experiences themselves, which warrant very little discussion by comparison. How a survivor’s public response might reflect their needs does not seem to occur to the false supporters as they are so preoccupied with their need to preserve an artificial social peace. Again we see liberal tendencies rearing their head, as the false supporters’ insistence on denouncing the resistance of survivors, on claiming to also despise the Culture of Rape while simultaneously diminishing any fight against it, is reminiscent of liberals who claim to agree with the grievances of protesters and yet condemn any actions they might take to address them. The liberal complains that intensity and ferocity sabotages the struggle, but of course the anarchist knows the real problem is that we haven’t gone far enough.

As mentioned earlier, this is all part of a larger pattern to maintain the power dynamics that Rape Culture relies upon. There are countless other examples. The accountability process itself can be a double edged sword. Radical communities often divorce the accountability process from its place within the broader Restorative Justice framework, offering it as the sole response to intimate violence while simultaneously avoiding any further attempts at pre-empting violence before it happens. This false support places the needs of the survivor secondary to the question of how to deal with a perpetrator, once again prioritizing the needs of the perpetrator and maintaining the pattern of domination. What little support is offered survivors often replicates this same dynamic. One of the most common models of support used, that of making demands of the perpetrator3, once again leaves all agency in the perpetrator’s hands, especially when there is no contingency plan if the perpetrator should refuse. Survivors who become emotionally invested in such models as a path for healing are often devastated when the demands yield nothing, or worse, when they incite a new barrage from the perpetrator and the repressive forces. In the anarchist milieu, where it is widely recognized that demands are mostly useless when not accompanied with the threat of force, it is quite revealing that such models prevail.

3 In some instances demands are made of the broader community as well, often to the same effect.

In addition to its role in the wider context, the internal workings of the accountability process itself have the potential to be hijacked and used against a survivor. The concept of Survivor Autonomy, which once formed the theoretical foundation of the accountability process, is often discarded, transforming the process into a toothless form of liberal conflict resolution. Without being informed by a clear analysis of the power dynamics at work, of course the default power of the perpetrator is upheld. The goal is still the rehabilitation of the perpetrator, and most likely their continued participation in the community, but the false supporters who have hijacked the accountability process can now do so at the expense of the survivor, selfishly defining the perpetrators “rehabilitation” in any way that is convenient for them. In the most extreme cases, accountability processes will be initiated against the explicit wishes of survivors, as an attempt to legitimize the perpetrator in the eyes of others. The pretence of making it a “community issue”4 allows the false supporters to not only take control out of the survivors hands, but also to portray survivors who refuse to cooperate with their own disempowerment as a barrier to accountability. The embarrassingly common farce of false supporters informing a survivor that actually, their perpetrator has “worked on their shit” stems from this or similar dynamics.

In less extreme cases, the survivor’s participation will be permitted but only so long as it falls within parameters set by their false supporters. Reprisals against a perpetrator, physical or otherwise, are completely off limits. Even questions of immediate safety, such as sharing space with a perpetrator, are subject to the discretion of false supporters. Again we see radical language turned against survivors, as their demands for space within their community are twisted by false supporters and likened to the prison system (for not making rehabilitation the only goal, or “punishing” a perpetrator) or openly referred to as an attempt to “banish” the perpetrator.

4 This is not to say that issues of intimate violence are not community issues, but that a genuine community will seek to empower its survivors and encourage their autonomy. Aspects of a community that find their own interests in conflict with that of survivors are revealed to not be part of an anarchist community at all, but of an enemy garrison in our midst.

Of course the insincerity of these concerns are revealed as they provide the pretext to banish the survivor from the community instead.

The perpetrator’s role in the hijacked accountability process5 also reproduces their power. In some cases they are allowed to make demands of the survivor or else place criteria on their own participation. Perpetrators, or their apologists, all too commonly respond to being called out by making defensive “callouts” of their own. As discussed earlier, they will accuse the survivor of any wrongdoing they can think of, or else make some up when actual misdeeds are not forthcoming. Rather than recognize these pathetic attempts at slander as the manipulative transgressions they are, the false supporters usually join the perpetrator in absurd calls for “accountability” from the survivor6. From this newfound position of righteousness, and with the complicity of the false supporters, the perpetrator is free to alter the very character of the accountability process. What began as a callout becomes more like a negotiation, as a perpetrator’s cooperation becomes contingent on the survivor addressing their concerns. Perhaps some of these concerns might even be valid, but of course what’s important is not their validity but their role in undermining the survivor’s struggle. The survivor must now earn not only the accountability they get from the perpetrator, but also the support they get from the community. Those survivors who are unwilling or unable to jump through all the hoops will be written off. In a final perversion of the accountability process, the survivor will be the one blamed for its failure, the one who was unwilling to “work things out”. By this point the so-called “Restorative Justice” framework has been so distorted that it succeeds only in “restoring” the power dynamics of a Rape Culture which had been otherwise compromised by the survivors’ struggle.

5 Of course once hijacked it is no longer a process towards accountability, and whatever words the false supporters use to describe it, whether it’s a mediation, a conflict resolution, or a healing circle, the result will not be accountability.
6 Meanwhile, the repressive forces are not so conciliatory, and instead use the defensive allegations solely to attack the survivor. Perhaps this explains why so many survivors engage with the charade of the false supporters, if only because they don’t seem so bad by comparison.

BAD APPLES

In radical communities especially, apologists will not always rally behind a perpetrator. In certain cases the contradiction of doing so would be so blatant that even their own self image as “anarchists” would not survive it. Once again, liberal ideology comes to the rescue. Just as apologists for police brutality will insist that it results only from a “few bad apples” as a plea to avoid any structural analysis of the police or their role in society, the Rape apologist will attempt to scapegoat the individual perpetrator, sacrificing them to the altar of Rape Culture. They may reference their own disgust with a perpetrator, or brag that they no longer talk to them, as though these things were proof of how “supportive” they are. Of course, disapproval of a perpetrator’s actions does not automatically equal support of a survivor. In some instances vilifying the perpetrator will contradict the survivor’s wishes, while in others the perpetrator and survivor can be ostracized simultaneously, as the repressive apparatus carries on the patterns of domination in the perpetrators absence7. The mere ostracization of perpetrators as the only response has been heavily critiqued elsewhere, but we’d like to emphasize that such an approach serves to protect Rape Culture by avoiding direct confrontations with it. In doing so, apologists can externalize the negative aspects of Rape Culture as something separate from themselves. By projecting everything onto a lone perpetrator (or perhaps all perpetrators) the apologist can deflect any analysis of the social relations that produce perpetrators, especially their own role. By singling out a few bad apples, they distract from the fact that the whole bunch is rotten.

Of course this also avoids the whole question of support for a survivor, and seeks a resolution (for example, getting rid of the perpetrator) that does not address the needs of the survivor. This is revealing of Rape Culture’s true priority, as scapegoating a few perpetrators will still leave oppressive social structures intact, whereas survivors who are able to struggle successfully against those structures threaten their very foundation. The Culture of Rape values the perpetrator about as much as any imperialist army values its foot soldiers. It will happily sacrifice them if necessary, because of course it is the subjugation of the survivors, their perpetual state of victimhood, which must be maintained at all costs. Just as with Empire, it is only through this subjugation that the Culture of Rape can reproduce itself.

7 That being said, sometimes survivors will want their perpetrators ostracized. This is both a valid and understandable response and should be respected. There’s nothing mutually exclusive about analyzing power systems and rejecting perpetrators.

WAGING WAR ON CULTURE

The functioning and reproduction of Rape Culture is too complex to be fully explained or documented. The crude generalizations and caricatures we’ve laid out here are too simple to faithfully recreate the dynamics we experience in our daily lives. While we’ve tried to categorize and define for the sake of clarity, to assign shape to oppressive structures with the hope of making them recognizable, in reality most individuals will oscillate between roles. Even those who at times may step outside social confines to provide genuine support may in other instances serve as Rape Culture’s most brutal shock troops. Even survivors themselves can take on repressive roles towards each other, seduced by the prospect of being one rung higher on the social hierarchy rather than offering solidarity to their peers. People’s roles are not static and systems of oppression are not congealed. The interplay between the silencing, repressive and recuperative forces of Rape Culture is not conspiratorial. These sometimes separate but always collaborative elements do not meet to strategize or divvy up the tasks. But of course, collaboration is not so contingent on actual associations as it is on a shared interest. Those with shared interests will reach similar conclusions or else work towards similar goals without ever having to interact. Through this Rape Culture is revealed as being not merely a vague concept, but the concrete material conditions which lead people to conclude, consciously or not, that their interest lies in silencing a survivor, in being complicit in their continued subjugation, or in actively countering a survivors struggle.

The complaint that people “just do the easy thing” partially articulates this problem, but also attributes it only to moments of moral weakness amongst individuals. This sidesteps the more obvious question; why are our radical communities still structured in such a way that supporting a survivor is not “the easy thing”? What makes it difficult? A more materialistic view of our responses to interpersonal violence, one that looks not to someone’s politics or sense of decency, but instead to material conditions such as their social dependencies (for example, who are they close with, who do they live with, who do they organize with, what are their support networks, what do they depend on and how would these things be affected by genuinely supporting a survivor?) could provide more insight into how our own interests are controlled and shaped by a Culture of Rape.

Perhaps the most significant mitigating factor of these conditions is Power. Both the power a survivor holds in the community as well as the corresponding power of a perpetrator are key to shaping that community’s response. When a perpetrator holds very little power in comparison to a survivor, or when the perpetrator is not even part of the community, a token show of support costs little and helps maintain the benevolent veneer of Rape Culture. Of course, this is rarely the case. It has commonly been urged that support of a survivor should not be hindered by a perpetrator’s position of power in the community, but the position of power itself receives little scrutiny, as does any possible correlation between that position of power and interpersonal violence (which is itself a brutal expression of power). The failure to establish this link is like asking what came first, the chicken or the egg, and then insisting that the chicken and the egg have nothing to do with each other. This blind spot is especially curious amongst anarchists, who claim to oppose all forms of hierarchical power.

It follows that a genuine analysis of the functioning of Rape Culture must also include an analysis of the relationships of Power that govern our lives. This implicates not only the hierarchies, formal or otherwise, which persist even in anarchist spaces, but also the larger systems of power which inform them, such as Patriarchy, White Supremacy, Colonialism, Ableism and so on. We must acknowledge Rape Culture’s rightful place within Capitalist society. Through this we can recognize Rape Culture as a mechanism for social control, as it reinforces these systems of Power and domination which in turn reproduce it as well. It then becomes necessary to undermine the hierarchical divisions which serve to both facilitate interpersonal violence itself as well as shape the interests of those in a position to respond to it. Many anarchists rightly reject the navel gazing of identity politics, but a sharp analysis of systems of Power, the ways in which these systems offer privilege to some of us, yet oppression to others, and the ways in which our experiences of these systems of Power influence the ways we fight against them, is crucial to genuine resistance. To successfully attack a Culture of Rape, we must strike at the roots of this Power.

THE IMAGE OF COMMUNITY

Many anti-violence activists begin from the precarious presumption of community; that a survivor has a social base they can turn to for support, or else a support network that escapes the influence of the Power we just discussed. Here community is defined rather nebulously or not at all. Is your community a geographic space, such as the neighbourhood you live in? Is it a shared identity or experience, such as being queer or black? Is it the people you spend your time with, such as your family, coworkers or friends? A community may be a combination of all these things, yet none of these things point to an inherent position of support.

What is often referred to as “the anarchist community” is perhaps more accurately described as a youth subculture8. It’s transient and temporal nature make it ill equipped for the long term project of healing from trauma. Furthermore, both the reliance and the reinforcement of Rape Culture by other systems of Power pose a particular challenge to the predominantly white, middleclass and often male dominated anarchist communities of North America. It’s not uncommon for such communities to be so compromised by their own positions of privilege that they end up far too subservient to various systems of Power to risk any meaningful attack against them. In such cases, the anarchist “community” is revealed not as a radical space from which to attack, but as a reactionary body meant to squash these attacks. It is “anarchist” and a “community” in image only.

8 That is, if we are willing to describe it as it actually exists, rather than defining it according to our fantasies.

Many anarchists do not even realize the importance and interconnections between building community and attacking systems of oppression, and those of us who do rarely make use of this realization beyond our rhetoric. And, perhaps more to the point, we often make the mistake of assuming that the targets of our “attack” only lie outside ourselves. Here, attack is not understood as the near militaristic approach that relies solely on the destruction of property and physical battles, a position put forth by many anarchists. Rather, attack is the process through which we recognize the forces which oppress us and seek to destroy them. The question of violence, of what it will take to destroy systems of Power, is largely out of our hands. Capitalism, with its standing armies and myriads of prisons, has made its own position on the matter perfectly clear. Those comrades amongst us who inevitably carry the baggage of white supremacy, patriarchy, and colonialism, those who find themselves in the position of the apologist, can hopefully exercise a wider range of choice. They can choose to join with us. They can choose, as we have, to attack those aspects of themselves which recreate the old world, and to bolster the attack against those who choose otherwise. It should be this choice that defines the anarchist, which sets us apart from our enemies and guides us to our comrades. It is from this choice that all genuine struggle becomes possible.

“Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive”

Contact Words to Fire Press @ wordstofire@riseup.net

Feb 222013
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

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Israel is heading towards a profound internal crisis: a Jew-on-Jew confrontation, which has major implications for its relations with the Palestinians, as well as its Arab neighbors.  The conflict is between the highly militarized Zionist state and the Haredi religious movement over a number of issues, including recent proposals by the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to end the religious exemption of Haradi youth from serving in Israel’s colonial armed forces.

Haredim and the Zionist Colonial State

Even before the forcible imposition (‘founding’) of the state of Israel, the Haredim were opposed to Zionism.  Today the vast majority of Haredim in Israel remain staunchly opposed to the Zionist state for religious, ethical and political reasons.  Haredi religious teaching claims that the Jewish people are bound by three oaths: (1) not to settle in Israel by using force or violence, (2) not to make war with other nations and (3) not to act as if the other nations of the world would persecute Israel.  Haredim opposed Israel’s violent ethnic cleaning of over 850,000 Palestinians in the course of establishing the Israeli State and continues to oppose Israeli settlers’ violently land grabs against Palestinians.  Unlike other so-called ‘ultra-Orthodox’ sects, who support Zionist colonialism and bless the Israeli military, the Haredim maintain that militarism corrupts the spirit and that Zionists have transformed Jews from righteous followers of the Torah into rabid ethnocentric supporters of a militarist state.  For the Haredim, ‘state worship’, especially the waving of the Israeli flag in the temple, is a sacrilege comparable to the renegade Jews condemned by Moses for worshipping the Golden Calf.

The majority of Haredim boycott elections, organize their own schools (Yeshivas), encourage students to deepen their religious studies, emphasize community and family values (of a profoundly patriarchal sort) with numerous children and strongly reject the Zionist state’s efforts to conscript Haredi youth into their colonial occupation army, the so-called Israeli Defense (sic) Force (IDF).  All major Zionist political parties and the ruling colonial regime unite to demonize the Haredim, claiming they are shirking their patriotic military responsibilities. Via the mass media and public pronouncements Zionist politicians and the state incite Israeli hatred against the Haredim:  A study in 2006 claimed that over a third of Israeli Jews identified the Haredim as the most unpopular group in Israel.

The Haredim, on the other hand, have reason to fear and loath the secular militarist Zionist state and politicians:  They claim that after World War II in the Zionist-controlled relocation camps for refugee Jewish children in Teheran, the Jewish Agency imposed Zionist ideology and militarist anti-religious policies in order to cut Haredim children off from their spiritual roots.  According to one Haredim report many religious Jewish youth from Poland, mostly survivors of the Holocaust and Soviet Russia, were subjected to “unimaginable mental and physical cruelty with one goal in mind: (the) obliteration of Judaism”.  Given the Israeli drive today to harness a corrupted form of Judaism to serve colonial militarism, the Haredim have every reason to believe that the conscription of their sons and daughters will be accompanied by cruel, systematic Zionist brainwashing to ensure they make efficient (brutal) occupation soldiers.

Haredim versus Israeli State Values

The Haredim fervently believe in and practice the Biblical teaching: “Be fruitful and multiply”. They have large families and the median age among the Haredim is 16 years.  Their peaceful message to the militarist Zionists could be summed up as: “Make babies, not bombs”.

Some Haredim leaders have met with Palestinian and Iranian officials and, in line with their religious doctrine, have declared their support for peaceful resolution of conflicts and denounced Israel’s aggressive military posture.

Haredim are intensely religious and dedicate their time to discuss and debate the readings of their great religious scholars:  Their message to the Zionists is to read Maimonides’ ethical treatises rather than listen to Netanyahu’s bellicose, blood curdling rants.

Haredim live and study largely within the confines of their close communities.  They insist on sending their sons to the yeshivas to study religious doctrine rather than to the West Bank to kill Palestinians. They call on their children to serve G-d – not the IDF.  They seek truth in the Torah – not in conquest via the Preventive War Doctrines espoused by prestigious Israeli and overseas Zionist academic militarists.

Haredim focus on building a better life within their community; they reject the efforts of the Zionist state to entice them into joining the violent self-styled ‘Jewish’ settlers engaged in brutal land grabs in the West Bank, in the name of “contributing to society (sic)”.  The ‘introverted Haredi way of life’ is seen as a righteous alternative to the crass militarism, money laundering, financial speculation, human body part trafficking and real estate swindles rife among the elite Israelis and among sectors of overseas Zionists engaged in procuring multi- billion dollar tribute from the US Treasury.

Haredim believe, with exemplary evidence, that conscripting their youth into the Israeli colonial army would destroy their moral values, as their sons would be forced to grope and search Arab women at checkpoints, break the legs of stone-throwing Palestinian children, defend lawless self-styled ‘Jewish’  settlers as they paint obscene graffiti in mosques and churches and attack Arab children on their way to school … not to speak of the ill effects of what secular Israeli Jews call a “modern education”, full of historical fabrications about the origins of Israel, scientific readings on high tech war-making and “advanced” economic doctrines proclaiming the sacred role of the free market, and  justifying the 60% poverty rate among Haredim as “self-induced”.

The Haredim demand that the Israeli Jewish elite stop trying to conscript their youth into the IDF and stop the job discrimination, which has trippled the unemployment rate among Haredim.

The Coming ‘Civil War’:  Zionist State versus the Haredim

The elected leader, Yair Lapid, of newly formed Yesh Atid Party, dubbed a “centrist” by the New York Times,  and a ‘moderate’ by the leading ideologues of the US Zionist “lobby”, ran on a platform of forcibly ending the Haredi exemption from conscription into the colonial military service.  Yair Lapid, in the run-up to joining a new Netanyahu coalition regime, has launched a vicious attack on the Haredim. Lapid premises his agreement to joining Netanyahu’s war machine on his plans to forcibly confront the Haredi leadership.  Yair Lapid taps the class and secular resentments of Israel’s upwardly mobile youth who bitterly complain of having to serve in the army, thus delaying their money-making opportunities, while the poor, semi-literate “blacks” (a derogatory term referring to the clothing of Haredim) engage in “worthless studies” of the Torah.  Lapid, using the same perverted logic as Netanyahu, claims that “Ten percent of the population cannot threaten 90 percent with civil war”, (Financial Times, 2/14/13, p. 6.).  Once again, the executioner (Lapid) accuses the victim (Haredim) of the violence he is about to commit.  Lapid’s Yesh Atid, the centrist (sic) party, has allied with Naftali Bennett’s neo-fascist ‘Jewish Home Party’ (pushing for the annexation of all of Palestine and expulsion of non-Jews) in smashing Haredi exemption to military conscription.  They hold veto power over the next cabinet.  This rabidly secular militarist assault has provoked great opposition and united the otherwise Zionist-religious parties:  The Shas Party (Sephardic Haredim) and United Torah Judaism have taken up the defense of the Haredim.

Lines are being drawn far beyond a Haredim-Zionist State confrontation.

The Larger Meaning of the Haredim-Zionist Conflict

The Haredim hostility to the secular Zionist state is in part based on its opposition to military conscription, thus calling into question Israeli militarism, in general, and specifically its policy of colonial occupation and regional aggression.  While some Haredim may oppose conscription for religious reasons and seek exemption solely for its own youth, objectively, the effect is to undermine Israel’s violation of Palestinian rights and to call into question the entire apartheid system.  By speaking to spiritual values, they deny the legitimacy of the idea of a Jewish police state based on force, violence, torture and disappearance of political prisoners.  Their questioning of the institutional configuration upholding Jewish supremacy and Israel as the homeland of the Chosen People, they strike a powerful blow at the ideological underpinnings of the overseas activity of the Zionist power configuration.  Their animosity to the fusion of Jewish chauvinism and religious rituals and the tribal deification of the Israeli state is counterposed to their embrace of Moses Ten Commandments.

The Haredim study the teaching of the profound Judaic philosopher Maimonides and abhor Zionist militaristic strategists like Walzer, Dershowitz, Kagan, Feith, Netanyahu, etc. who preach colonial “just war” doctrines.  Representing 10% of the Israeli population and a far greater percentage of military age youth, the Haredim are in a position to sharply limit the scope of future Zionist wars. If they succeed in blocking conscription, they would provide a lasting contribution to making the world in general, and the Middle East in particular, a more secure and peaceful place to live.

Facing the prospect of a loss of future cannon fodder to sustain its colonial ventures, and in their frenzied attacks on the Haredim, the Israeli-Zionist elite have incited the majority of Israeli Jews to demonize them as ‘backward’, illiterate, freeloaders and to blame the religious curriculum for their growing and current 60% rate of poverty and high unemployment.  Israel’s war machine needs fresh recruits to maintain its imperial quest for a Greater Israel.  Demographics – with families exceeding five children –indicate the Haredim are likely to double their percentage of the Israeli population over the next two decades.  Faced with the ‘facts on the ground and in the cradle’, the colonial expansionist imperative drives all the leading Zionist parties to end Haredi exemptions.  In response Haredi leaders threaten to engage in massive civil disobedience if the Zionists impose conscription, rightly seeing conscription of its youth as an assault on its most profoundly held spiritual and family values and as an opening wedge in destroying traditional community solidarity and reciprocal relations.

The Haredim share a common plight with Israel’s Arab population:  Both communities face increasing police harassment, discrimination, religious persecution and rising levels of poverty.  A Haredim-Arab alliance would unite 30% of the population against a common secular militarist and plutocratic enemy.  Farfetched as it seems on the subjective level, there are objective historical and structural processes which are driving the two groups together.

It is one of the great ironies of history that the world’s modern secular anti-imperialist movements should find their most consequential allies among Israel’s most traditional and deeply religious movement.

Feb 212013
 

Photography by Elias Theodoropoulos, 99GetSmart

Thousands of people demonstrated against austerity and the government in Athens. Unions went on strike for 24 hours and many young students protested against the measures that have resulted in youth unemployment that exceeds 50%.

An elderly gentleman waves the Greek flag.

An elderly gentleman waves the Greek flag.

 

A banner reads, "NO TO GLOBAL GOVERNANCE".

A banner reads, “NO TO GLOBAL GOVERNANCE”.

 

A young student shouts slogans.

A young student shouts slogans.

 

A protester shouting slogans in front of policemen.

A protester shouting slogans in front of policemen.

 

Young students march and shout slogans during the march. Many brought red flags.

Young students march and shout slogans during the march. Many brought red flags.

 

Riot police guarding the parliament.

Riot police guarding the parliament.

 

A guillotine that reads, "HANG THEM".

A guillotine that reads, “HANG THEM”.

Feb 202013
 

El análisis de James Petras

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El retorno de Hugo Chávez a su país fue visto por el sociólogo norteamericano James Petras como “un retorno bienvenido, tanto por el pueblo como por los sectores obreros”; además dijo que es “un golpe contra la derecha y a la propaganda de Miami”. Así lo expresó este lunes 18, James Petras en su columna semanal por CX36 Radio Centenario, en la que también analizó el triunfo electoral de Rafael Correa en Ecuador, la sumisión al imperialismo del gobierno frenteamplista en Uruguay y habló de la corrupción que cunde en la cúpula política israelí. A continuación la transcripción íntegra de este análisis.

María de los Ángeles Balparda: Muy buenos días Petras, ¿Cómo está?

James Petras: Muy bien, congelados, pero bien. Hay menos 10º aquí hoy.

MAB: Hay que calentarse con la información, entonces.

JP: Si, empezamos .

MAB: Venezuela y Ecuador, han centrado la atención informativa en la mañana de Radio Centenario, debido al retorno de Hugo Chávez a su país y el triunfo de Rafael Correa en las elecciones del domingo; nos gustaría escuchar su opinión al respecto.

JP: Podemos empezar con los resultados electorales en Ecuador. Como habíamos dicho, ganó Rafael Correa con una mayoría absoluta. Según las últimas cifras, consiguió el 57% de los votos; el candidato oligárquico el 23% y el candidato de los movimientos indígenas, sociales y ecologistas menos del 4%.

El resultado está decidido por varios cambios importantes llevados adelante durante su Presidencia: Los cambios positivos en Salud, establecieron casi un tratamiento gratuito y generalizado, asegurando el acceso de los sectores populares.

Segundo, la reforma educativa, que han facilitado -con el ingreso gratuito a la Educación- la mejora de la situación educativa.

Tercero, algo que mucha gente no ha reconocido, es la construcción de muchos caminos, vinculando pueblos, aldeas y pequeñas localidades, con mercados; y también para el transporte y los viajes. Esto me parece muy importante, porque da un gran empuje a los empleos y al pequeño comercio, beneficiando particularmente a los sectores muy distanciados de los mercados.Era una de las reivindicaciones de muchos años y con esto, Correa ha ganado mucho apoyo incluso en áreas donde los movimientos indígenas tenían gran apoyo.

En cuarto lugar, se ha generado mucho empleo, particularmente en el sector de la Construcción y otros sectores, donde las inversiones públicas –provenientes del petróleo- han generado mayores oportunidades.

En quinto lugar, han bajado las cifras de pobreza, por lo menos   a un15%, eso también facilitó el voto popular para Correa.

Ahora, los sectores que critican desde la derecha, no tenían el monopolio de los medios que tenían en el pasado. No tienen nada que ofrecer a la gran mayoría para mejorar lo que han alcanzado en el primer gobierno de Correa.Con poca demagogia de parte candidato del Movimiento Creo, el ex banquero Guillermo Lasso, no tenían ninguna resonancia más allá de los sectores acomodados.

El gran fracaso del candidato de la izquierda, Alberto Acosta de la Unidad Plurinacional de las Izquierdas, creo que muestra muchas cosas que podríamos comentar.Pero fundamentalmente no tenía espacio tanto en política económica, como en política exterior; porque Correa por ejemplo cerró la Base militar norteamericana de Manta, ingresó al Alba, apoya a Venezuela, recibe mucha ayuda de China, particularmente financiera, ampliando y diversificando los mercados.

Uno tiene que preguntarse si la izquierda debe presentar candidatos opuestos a Correa desde afuera :fueran cabeza a cabeza y perdieron. Debería existir ahora en Ecuador un debate respecto a qué hacer frente a esta victoria abrumadora de Correa.

Hay terreno de lucha dentro del movimiento PAIS que es el partido de Correa. Entendemos que tiene tendencias centralistas y personalistas, pero en todo caso, las grandes masas populares están vinculadas con este proyecto y hay un programa populista nacionalista que podría servir como contrapeso frente a las tendencias neoliberales y extractivistas.

En otras palabras,  la táctica de funcionar como oposición desde afuera no marcha. Hay que reconocer que el poco voto electoral indica que las grandes masas populares creen, por razones prácticas, que todo lo que puede pasar en Ecuador, pasa por adentro del proceso político que encabeza Correa. Entonces ¿qué hacer? Entrar en el movimiento y tratar de presionar el proceso hacia políticas menos perjudiciales al medioambiente, profundizar la política nacionalista hacia la expropiación de empresas extranjeras, una reforma bancaria y agraria?.

Hay mucho más que hacer y hay críticas válidas, pero no me parece muy efectivo quedarse al margen de este proceso.

MAB: Correa dijo que no quiere ocupar el lugar de nadie, y se alude que esto es por el papel que juega Chávez o el tema de la ausencia de Chávez. ¿Hay que mirar también a la región?

JP: Correa no es Chávez. Recordemos que Chávez ha tomado medidas más nacionalistas, más socializantes, a partir de la apertura de empresas manejadas por los trabajadores, las comunas populares, las nuevas formas de representación.

En otras palabras, Correa es una versión mucho más moderada, pero están de acuerdo en muchas cosas y ahora con el debilitamiento de Chávez, obviamente Correa podría jugar un papel con mayor protagonismo en la política americanista y más hacia las medidas sociales. Pero hay que ver eso, Chávez vuelve a Venezuela y hay que decir que es un retorno bienvenido, tanto por el pueblo como por los sectores obreros.

Ahora, ¿en qué condiciones vuelve Chávez? Y ¿qué período podremos esperar para ver si vuelve a tomar el gobierno? Si es parte del proceso de recuperación o si es algo diferente.

Pero en todo caso es un golpe contra la derecha y a la propaganda de Miami, que siempre decían que Chávez ha muerto, está muriendo, está incapacitado, etc.

Creo que en este sentido, la derecha está desprestigiada, desgastada.Pero hay muchos desafíos en la economía de Venezuela que debe resolver, por ejemplo el programa de diversificación de la Economía, bajar las importaciones, mejorar el sistema productivo tanto a nivel público como privado, enfrentar los triple c- crimen,corrupcion,y competencia . Y eso necesita una estrategia politica vinculada tanto a lo social como a lo económico .No es simplemente el problema de “radicalizar la revolución”, como dicen muchos izquierdistas que la revolución no se puede quedar atrás; El problema clave es manejar cambios estructurales con un ojo vinculado con la mejora de la producción, la distribución y la eficiencia, y bajar el nivel de incompetencia y corrupción. Por eso digo, los eslóganes más radicales no me impresionan si no están vinculados con algún concepto de mejorar la eficiencia y competencia de la economía venezolana. Todavía están importando casi el 90% de la alimentación, a pesar que sabemos que   hay enormes terrenos cultivables que podrían ser autosuficientes o por lo menos mejorar el nivel de autosuficiencia.

MAB: Otro tema que queríamos consultarle es pasada una semana de la renuncia del Papa, que ha vuelto hablar y habla de críticas.

JP: El problema que queda es la diferencia entre la jerarquía de la Iglesia y lo que existe entre muchos católicos. En primera instancia, dentro de la Iglesia buscan la continuidad, la estabilidad y mantener las fuentes de financiamiento ordenadas. Eso choca con la crisis de la Iglesia entre las grandes masas católicas, que dicen que ‘no hemos confrontado varios temas que chocan con los dogmas de la Iglesia’. Por  ejemplo el hecho de que los curas no puedan casarse, que está cayendo el número de seminaristas y por qué no aceptan mujeres para ser curas; porque están contra la contracepción, cuando el 90% de las mujeres católicas y los hombres practican la contracepción, porque están contra el aborto, cuando enfrentan mujeres violadas y otras más que no pueden mantenerse, como muchas familias. Y más que nada la pedofilia.La Iglesia todavía no ha reconocido ni cambiado profundamente ante esta gran injusticia contra miles y miles de jóvenes de ambos sexos que eran molestados y abusados.

Los Cardenales y el Papa evitaron enfrentar esta gran crisis y las masas católicas exigen una respuesta que puede ser modernizar la Iglesia.Pero no vemos ninguna tendencia de renovación, reforma, reestructurar la Iglesia, tomar en cuenta las prácticas y conductas de la gran mayoría de los fieles. Esta brecha no se va a solucionar entre un puñado de hombres de más de 80 años, o de 70 y pico de años; no se va a solucionar tampoco encontrando un africano como Papa como expresión de cambio. Cambio de piel no es el problema. Se trata de cambio de orientación, de renovar la religión para tomar en cuenta las prácticas modernas de los católicos.

MAB: Si, además dicen que va a volver a hablar antes de irse y han dicho que la Iglesia decidió que antes de semana de Turismo o Santa para ellos, van a nombrar al nuevo Papa.

JP: Puede ser, el hecho es que no hay que esperar mucho.

Si el Papa saliente, Benedicto, no ha hecho nada en los siete años que manda, no va a renovar algo en un último discurso. Es solamente una salida dramática, publicitaria, buscando en la salida el apoyo y la apreciación que hace falta, por las grandes brechas que existe actualmente entre las masas católicas y los Obispos, Arzobispos y Cardenales.

Hay una enrome brecha y no veo ningún líder ni tendencia capaz que enfrentarla.

MAB: Hay una noticia nacional que nos gustaría que comentes, me refiero al traslado de una Jueza que estaba a cargo de más de 50 causas de violaciones de los Derechos Humanos durante la dictadura, la sacaron y pusieron una jueza nueva. A ella la trasladaron a un Juzgado Civil.

JP: No tengo mucho que opinar porque me falta material. ¿Podrías contarme la posición que vosotros están defendiendo frente a eso.

MAB: A fines de la semana pasada tuvo mucha prensa el tema y se apunta a la Suprema Corte de Justicia, que es la que formalmente cambia a los Jueces.

Pero no nos sorprende este cambio porque en el gobierno tenemos al Presidente, al Ministro de defensa, al ministro del Interior y varios más, todos tupamaros que han defendido a militares incluso. Por ejemplo, Eleuterio Fernández Huidobro defendió a un militar que fue acusado por la muerte de una joven militante en la tortura, diciendo que se estaba ‘comiendo un garrón’, expresión que en Uruguay se usa para decir que no le tocaba.

JP: Es obvio que los ex progresistas, o sea los tupamaros, socialistas, comunistas, .; han sido asimilados a la institucionalidad, han encontrado un lugar en el sistema de poder, han disfrutado de todos los beneficios, ingresos y otras remuneraciones, así como simbólicas invitaciones a lugares ‘vip’ y country clubs.  A pesar de que pueden ponerse un jean y salir a caminar con una camisa sin corbata, ese populismo barato; pero en realidad el Frente Amplio y los componentes ex radicales, ex izquierdistas ya forman parte del establishment, de un establishment que siente necesario afirmar sus compromisos con la institucionalidad existente.

Creo que es más posible que una figura disidente de la oposición pueda cuestionar estas continuidades en el sistema que sea algún ex izquierdista que siente que debe mostrar  sus fidelidades al sistema de poder, para mostrar que no queda nada de sus antecedentes revolucionarios y transformadores. Es parte de la sicología social de los arribistas, que siempre buscan la aprobación de lo otros para sentirse parte  del sistema existente.

MAB: Para agregarte un dato, mientras se daban estos hechos en Montevideo; en Durazno, un departamento en el centro del país, el Secretario de la Presidencia, Diego Cánepa, junto a la embajadora estadounidense en Uruguay, Julissa Reynoso, inauguraban una bodega de almacenamiento financiada por el Comando Sur del Ejército de Estados Unidos.

JP: En este caso, es un esfuerzo por demostrar fidelidad al imperio.

En el imaginario del imperialismo, incluso después de la elección de Tabaré Vázquez y ahora con José Mujica, había dudas de que algo del radicalismo, algo de antiimperialismo podría estar escondido todavía en algún lugar de la cabeza de eso señores. Entonces los frenteamplistas siempre hacen un sobre esfuerzo para asegurarles que están ya de parte del militarismo norteamericano.

El Comando Sur es un instrumento del militarismo norteamericano como el Comando África, ya metido en decenas de países africanos, montando relaciones de contrarrevolución.

Entonces, en ese sentido, creo que otra vez tenemos estas expresiones exageradas de acomodación con los enemigos del pasado.

MAB: ¿Te queda algún tema más para comentarnos hoy?

JP: Si, hay un tema más que tiene que ver con Israel, donde otro caso de delincuencia entre la cúpula del poder y política de Israel. El ex ministro israelí de Relaciones Exteriores, Avigdor Lieberman, está en juicio ahora acusado de múltiples fraudes y estafas, . Y hace poco tuvimos a Moshe Katsav, que fue preso por violación y abusos sexuales contra varias subordinadas; hemos visto a Benjamin Netanyahu, hemos visto a Ehud Barak; toda la cúpula israelí está totalmente corrupta. Y no digo esto como crítico del sionismo; en el mismo sistema judicial israelita han descubierto que toda la cúpula o sea derecha y centro izquierda, están metidos en algún fraude, alguna estafa o algún chantaje.

En segundo lugar, hay un caso que ha circulado por todos los medios del mundo como un ex agente de Mossad, un australiano israelita que tenía doble ciudadanía, que  le llaman “el preso X”, su nombre es Ben Zygler; y que supuestamente  cometió suicidio.

Pero es imposible porque estaba encarcelado en una cárcel de máxima seguridad, donde no existía ninguna posibilidad de ahogarse, ni cordones en los zapatos tenía, estaba bajo vigilancia 24 horas del día, los siete días de la semana, bajo observación visual. Eso lo sabemos por todas las descripciones de las cárceles de máxima seguridad.

Entonces inventaron los oficiales israelíes este suicidio que realmente es un asesinato; un asesinato de un ciudadano australiano israelita. ¿Y por qué? Hay varias versiones al respecto. La versión con más  peso es que el señor Ben Zygler, era una persona dispuesta a revelar que Israel falsificaba pasaportes de Australia y los utilizaba para sus grupos de asesinatos, sus grupos que buscaban formas de penetrar otros países y también llevar a cabo asesinatos de adversarios. Otra versión dice que el señor Ben Zygler quería contar a los oficiales en Australia y otros países, la forma en que Israel organizaba sus grupos de escuadrones de muerte.

Cualquiera sea la explicación final, el Primer Ministro de Israel, el señor Netanyahu, justificó todo. Y otra vez debemos hablar del desprestigio de Israel que es casi universal, fuera de los reducidos círculos del sionismo. Es por esa razón que Israel es un Estado sin leyes, sin protección, a pesar que Netanyahu proclama que son la democracia más moral y ética del mundo; es el país donde desaparecen presos porque no es sólo el caso de Zygler, que era un judío que desapareció; es mucho más común la desaparición de presos palestinos y luego declaran que no estaban presos, y cuando se sabe que estaban presos se dice que fue suicidio. Todo se entierra  porque no quieren discutir o dar testimonios porque pueden perjudicar aun más al gobierno sionista.

Ahora mismo están llevando adelante un gran proceso de persecución contra judíos ortodoxos, porque no quieren participar en el ejército israelí. Ellos representan a un 10% de la población y quieren estudiar doctrina religiosa, por eso creen que integrar el ejército donde los israelitas torturan palestinos, va contra su ética. Y por resistir la conscripcion están amenazados con la cárcel, represión y la demonización.

Eso es lo que es realmente el estado de Israel, que no sólo perjudica y reprime a los palestinos, pues está castigando a los propios judíos en Israel y a sus propios agentes del Mossad, si no cumplen los lineamientos los matan, punto.

MAB: Muy importante esta información James Petras, muchas gracias, como siempre por todos tus aportes.

JP: Muy bien, un saludo grande a toda la audiencia.

(*) Escuche en vivo los lunes a las 11:30 horas (hora local) la audición de James Petras por CX36, Radio Centenario desde Montevideo (Uruguay) para todo el mundo a través de www.radio36.com.uy

Feb 192013
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* TOMORROW: WEDNESDAY, 20 FEBRUARY, STOPCARTEL TV BACK ON THE STREETS OF ATHENS LIVE!

Dr. Giorgos Kosmopoulos from StopCartel TV broadcasting LIVE.

Dr. Giorgos Kosmopoulos from StopCartel TV broadcasting LIVE.

On Wednesday, 20 February, STOPCARTEL TV crew will be present once again on the front lines, during the big demonstrations that will take place in Athens the day of the General Strike.

STOPCARTEL TV crew will begin the LIVE broadcast at 12:30 pm starting from Omonoia Square and moving, as the marches will be underway, towards Syntagma Square.

WATCH THE LIVE BROADCAST @  http://www.livestream.com/stopcarteltvgr

It is expected to be a dynamic demonstration of Greek citizens, covered by STOPCARTEL TV crew, with overall information, reports and comments in English and Greek.

STAY TUNED @ http://www.livestream.com/stopcarteltvgr

FUNDRAISER FOR StopCartel Livestream from Athens @ http://stopcarteltv.chipin.com/stopcartel-tvgr

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* FISCAL MULTIPLIERS, A CAUSE WORTH FIGHTING FOR

Source: The Prodigal Greek

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It was in the IMF’s October 2012 World Economic Outlook (WEO), in Box 1.1 with the title “Are We Understanding Short-Term Fiscal Multipliers” that Olivier Blanchard and Daniel Leigh presented for the first time the findings of their study into the impact of fiscal consolidation on economic activity.

Using data from 28 different economies – G20 and EU member countries – for the years 2010 and 2011, they concluded that there is strong evidence that the fiscal multipliers used since the Great Recession that started in 2008 were systematically miscalculated by a range of 0.4 to 1.2. The implicit 0.5 multiplier used in international organizations’ models to forecast economic growth – which was based on empirical evidence from the three decades prior to 2009 – might be significantly higher, between 0.9 and 1.7, they found. In simple terms, it had previously been thought that cutting a euro from the government deficit would have an impact of 50 cents on economic output but their findings suggest that the damage on the real economy can be more than three times than initially thought, with a euro of deficit reduction coming at a cost of between 90 cents and 1.70 euros on the economy.

The underlying model of the study is too technical for someone without an econometrics background but their findings are straightforward and robust. Even excluding economies that would be considered outliers and are part of IMF programs, the value of the variable that captures the economic activity forecast error indicates a significant miscalculation.

At the time, not many picked up on this major policy-related development and the discussion was primarily limited to think-tanks and economists. It was not before January 3rd, when the full paper was published in the IMF publications section that the issue became an agenda-topping item and one of the main discussion points at the end-of-January press conference during the World Economic Outlook update.

Unsurprisingly, Blanchard’s and Leigh’s research is one of the main topics in the public debate in Greece and the battleground between the coalition government and the opposition parties. Even Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras inquired at the latest Eurogroup if the troika has a consolidated view in light of the newly discovered evidence and its implications for the Greek program. […]

READ @ http://theprodigalgreek.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/fiscal-multipliers-a-cause-worth-fighting-for/#more-13

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* LIFE AND DEBT IN THESSALONIKI

By Nick Dearden, CADTM

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We met three people today who summed up the depth of the crisis being experienced by Greek people, but also the courageous attempts to build a new, more democratic society. I had to pinch myself to remember I was in Europe, the stories are so familiar – but from Latin America.

First a representative of Woman Against the Debt, a network started 18 months ago to support woman experiencing the worst aspects of the crisis. Women are often the first to lose their jobs, and often have to care for kids whose kindergartens have closed down, and for the ill whose healthcare has been removed.

A trip to the doctor or hospital now costs €25 – and climbing. Having a baby sets you back €800 – double that if you need a caesarian. Without the money, you’re told to ‘go home and do the best you can’. Free access to contraception and abortion have been removed. Vaccinations for children have virtually stopped. The big pharmaceutical companies now refuse to sell medicines to the hospitals.

We spoke to a pharmacist who said every day she came across people who couldn’t afford their medication, and many who take a vastly reduced dosage to make it last longer. She told us: “In this corner of Europe, the situation is very bad – it’s tragic. People die through lack of access to basic health services.” […]

READ @ http://cadtm.org/Life-and-Debt-in-Thessaloniki

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* SKI SLOPES OF DEBT IN SPAIN

By Nick Dearden, CADTM

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Last week a former businessman told me with great conviction that the Spanish people had ‘lived beyond their means’. Tonight’s meeting showed just who has lived beyond their means. Iolanda Fresnillo from the Spanish Debt Platform told us some incredible stories about her country’s Public Private Partnerships – the most useless projects imaginable which the state has ended up underwriting.

My favourite example was the airport where a plane has never landed or taken off, because airlines can’t afford to use it. They have had to employ birds of prey to prevent rabbits taking over the runways. A close runner-up is the enormous library which doesn’t have any books in it because the council ran out of money after construction of the building went massively over-cost.

Then there’s a ski resort which was guaranteed by a tourist housing project. When the housing project collapsed – like so many other such projects built during the real estate bubble – the government ended up bailing out the resort. As Iolanda says “the dream of creating the Alps in Spain, has ended up building a ski slope of debt.”

Of course, fortunes were made from Spain’s unsustainable construction boom. The investors who supported these projects were protected by guarantees and bail-outs when the bubble burst. What’s more the big banks have become even ‘too-bigger-to-fail’ because the crisis has allowed them to buy up smaller banks for prices as a low as €1. […]

READ @ http://cadtm.org/Ski-slopes-of-debt-in-Spain

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* SHOULD EUROPEAN CITIZENS BE HAPPY ABOUT THE ESM?

Source: The Eblana European Democratic Movement

While the European people are suffering from the ongoing economic crisis, they look up to their leaders for a solution. They want to stop living in austerity, losing their jobs, seeing their incomes shrink.

They want a better, secure future for them and their children. They wish to be able to make plans and provide for their families. But who listens to them?

Europe’s leaders seem to have lost touch with their citizens reality. People need real solutions and fast. We are forcing a whole generation of European young people into a dead end. So what is our leader’s response to our needs?

Well one of these “solutions” was the launching of the ESM (European Stability Mechanism). It is an international organization located in Luxembourg, which provides financial assistance to members of the euro-zone in financial difficulty. The ESM was established on 27 September 2012, and will function as a permanent firewall for the euro-zone with a maximum lending capacity of €500 billion.

It will replace the two existing temporary EU funding programs: the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and the European Financial Stabilization Mechanism (EFSM). All new bailout applications and deals for any euro-zone member state with a financial stability issue, will in principle from now on be covered by ESM, while the EFSF and EFSM will only continue to handle transfer and monitoring of the previously approved bailout loans for Ireland, Portugal and Greece.

In other words Greece, Ireland and Portugal can not have their debt weights lifted right now. Only Spain, Italy and any other country that hasn’t received a bail out package so far, will immediately benefit from this. Greece will be able to join only if they fulfill the austerity plan and return to the markets. So there is no soothing for the poor Greek folk in their troubles, for the foreseeable future.

The very establishment of such organization clearly shows where Europe is heading. Our leaders’ agenda is not finding solutions to our problems or proceeding with real reforms. In Greece for example the public has experienced only severe cuts and reduction of their incomes. Real reforms like those needed in the taxation system have never occurred.

Even the IMF has apologized to Greece, because apparently their estimations were wrong and the cuts imposed on the country too severe! So instead of helping the country, they have actually pushed it in deeper recession. But there is no schedule to reverse the cuts or lessen the burden for the Greek people. Was it a genuine mistake or is there an agenda behind it?

If the IMF that is part of the Troika can make such tragic “mistakes” that have a huge impact on the fortunes of European people, can they be trusted? Despite the huge sacrifices that the Greek, Irish, Portuguese and other nations had to make, the crisis is only getting worse and there is no end to this tunnel.

Currently Spain and Cyprus are in talks with the Troika for loans that will allegedly help them come out of their difficulties; or will they? If what happened to Greece is going to pass without any consequences for the people who made these mistakes, then is the Troika acting for the best interest of the European citizens?

We are witnessing the greatest financial experiment in the modern history of Europe. Austerity seems to be unavoidable for European states. It is clearly an agenda, not a solution. Our leaders are trying to change the way we work, the way we live, think of our future and our expectations. Europe is being redesigned for a new reality; but what will this new reality going to be?

That is confirmed by the very establishment of the ESM. Because every new country that wants to be part of this plan and avail of its benefits, it has to accept austerity and the regulations coming from the IMF. In that way our governments legitimize austerity all over Europe from now on! […]

READ @ http://eblanademocraticmove.blogspot.ie/2013/02/should-european-citizens-be-happy-about.html

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* THE MORAL DECODING OF 9-11: BEYOND THE U.S. CRIMINAL STATE, THE GRAND PLAN FOR A NEW WORLD ORDER – PART 1

By Prof. John McMurty, Journal of 9/11 Studies

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[…] The genocide of Iraq, as the long-opposing “evil empire” was in free-fall, is the most important strategic anchoring prior to “9-11”. Covert strategic policy to forward the supreme goal is by now self-evident, but the inner moral logic is assumed not penetrated.  The most influential of Rockefeller’s protégés in this regard is the “philosopher king” of the U.S. covert state, Leo Strauss. While he never worked in a philosophy department or has any training in logic, his concept of “natural right” fits exactly to the “supranational sovereignty” of private money-sequence rule of the world – what “the intellectual elite” Rockefeller refers to invoke as “moral anchor”, “right” and “justice”.

The moral thought system is not unlike that of Mein Kampf without the racist rant, camouflaged everywhere in practice by the method of big lies – “noble lies” as Strauss exalts them.[xx] The innermost value driver is a perpetual war of dispossession of the weaker for the private transnational money-capital multiplication of the rich.

Nothing in this doctrine is too mendacious, greed-crazed and murderous if it fulfills the plan of this limitless private-capital rule as ultimate moral ground and compass. In Strauss’s canonical teaching of U.S. national security advisers and intellectual following, the ruling moral absolute is expressed by the core master idea behind the “supranational sovereignty” of an “intellectual elite and bankers”:“limitless capital accumulation – — the highest right and moral duty”.[xxi]

This is the ethical absolute of the covert U.S. state and its strategic decision structure. And there is no internal limit within this moral universe to life means seizure from poorer societies and resource looting for the supreme goal.  It is the natural and absolute Good.

To justify its meaning, the Straussian canon adopts a potted reading of Western moral and political philosophy from Plato through Hobbes, Hegel, Nietzsche, Marx and Weber. This impresses American political operatives of the faith, but Strauss is a failed philosopher turned down by Paul Tillich for his post-doctoral Habilitation and only saved from academic ruin in Germany by Rockefeller grant money. While not taken seriously as philosophy anywhere else, it is worth decoding its talmudic involution for the borrowed ideas that drive its covert state disciples and neo-fascist public “intellectuals” in America.

The ultimately organising idea is to commend all forms of conquering and limitlessly expanding private capital as “natural right and law” with genocidal subjugations justified in glowing moral terms. For example, “noble lies” is the moral category for limitless mendacity. One may wonder how educated people can be so bent out of moral shape. So I now concisely provide what cannot be found elsewhere: the inner logic of the supreme doctrine as perversions of great thinkers.

Its framework of meaning and value helps us to understand why the 9-11 event could easily follow for the managers of the covert U.S. state and its Straussian planners as not at all anomalous or evil within their moral logic. 9-11 follows as a maximally rational and unique tool to achieve the objectives in fact achieved by 9-11, and the geo-strategic cabal behind it is servilely linked from the beginning to the dominant private transnational corporate and banking interests exemplified by David Rockefeller.

To understand this brutal moral universe and its connection to 9-11, the 9-11 wars and a globalizing police state, we need to understand the deformations of its basic organising ideas. Plato’s idea of “the noble lie” means, in fact, a myth or parable to communicate an underlying truth about the triadic human soul of reason, spirit and appetite which, Plato argues, should be reflected in the construction of the ideal state (in which the rulers are communist in their common property to keep them uncorrupted and true).

But through the prism of U.S. global money-party rule a la Strauss this idea becomes the principle of lying to the public to keep the vulgar herd – the people themselves – ignorant and obedient. The philosophies of Hobbes and Hegel are also grist for this mill. Hobbes argues that “man is moved by a restless desire for power after power that ceaseth only in death”, but this brute desire in the “State of Nature” is tamed by “the covenant of peace” ordered by the internal sovereign as absolute.

Via Strauss and the U.S. covert state this becomes right is might and the ultimate “natural right” is limitless private capital power and empire with no end of totalization across the peoples and lands of the world. Hegel too suits a fascist-capitalist reading since he argues “the State is the march of God  through the world”, and war itself is history’s test of which State is a higher realisation of “the absolute Idea”. But Hegel still envisaged a “universal state”to supersede the competitive private-property division of capitalism in the “universalization of right and law on earth”.

Once again U.S. private money-capital power with no bound, the supreme moral goal in the Rockefeller-Strauss doctrine, is opposite to the classical philosophy it invokes. Once more dialectical development of reason to more coherently inclusive conception and life is reversed into one-way private money capital sequences maximized to rule the world with the U.S. military as its instrument of force and terror.

However it conceals its meaning, all positions come down to this underlying value code – as may be tested on whatever transnational money-sequence demand, right or war is launched next. 9-11 construction in such a moral world does not violate this value code. It expresses it in self-maximizing strategic turn to achieve the ultimate goal.

Friedrich Nietzsche may provide the best fodder for the doctrine when he advises that “life is essentially appropriation, injury, overpowering of what is alien and weaker, imposing of one’s own forms, and at its mildest exploitation” in his superman vision of “beyond good and evil”. For philosophical Nietzscheans, this is code for the inner meaning of the angst of artistic creation. But this meaning is predictably lost on the U.S. covert-state school seeking the “supranational sovereignty” of “limitless capital accumulation” as the supreme good with the “intellectual elite” as servants to it. Karl Marx’s link of capitalism’s success to productive force development is the ultimate equivocation upon which this ruling doctrine depends – making no distinction between productive capital providing life goods and unproductive money sequencing hollowing out the world by money-capital multiplication. Marx, it must be acknowledged, did not made the distinction himself since this mutation of capital came a century after his death.[xxii]

Finally Max Weber’s Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism does not ground this doctrine of “limitless capital accumulation as the highest right and duty” with the state to serve it, as Strauss again torturously suggests. In fact, Weber deplores any such perversion of public authority. His capitalist model is a young Benjamin Franklin speaking of money saved and invested as like having “a breeding sow”, not a transnational money-sequence juggernaut of eco-genocidal expansion.  Revealingly, Benjamin Franklin and “the protestant ethic” in general were most concerned about non-waste, which Strauss explicitly excludes from the meaning of “limitless capital accumulation”. For Leo Strauss and his U.S. “national security” disciples, the capitalist may waste as much as he wants by “natural right”.

Further, in complete inversion of source, the greed worship of the U.S. state, its patrons and its academy disciples reverses the model of the “spirit of capitalism” exemplified by Benjamin Franklin in proprietary claim on knowledge and inventions. He,in fact,refused to patent his famous Franklin Stove because he believed that no innovation or new knowledge from which other people could benefit should be denied them – just as he himself had benefitted from the community of knowledge and science as the distinguishing feature of being a civilised human being.

In short, it is important to recognise how twisted the covertly ruling doctrine is. No element of it is life coherent or true to the classical thinkers in which it costumes itself. In the end, only the transnational U.S. money party has any place in its rights and obligations, and any sacrifice of other life to its supreme goal is legitimate – linking back to the Nazi-U.S. corporate axis that nearly destroyed the civilised world once before. […]

READ @ http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-moral-decoding-of-9-11-beyond-the-u-s-criminal-state-the-grand-plan-for-a-new-world-order/5323300

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* AT LEAST WE’RE NOT MEASLES: RATIONALIZING DRONE ATTACKS HITS NEW LOW

By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

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Read an absolutely amazing article today. Entitled “Droning on about Drones,” it was published in the online version of Dawn, Pakistan’s oldest and most widely read English-language newspaper, and written by one Michael Kugelman, identified as the Senior Program Associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

In this piece, the author’s thesis is that all this fuss about America’s drone policy is overdone and perhaps a little hysterical. Yes, he admits, there are some figures that suggest that as many as 900 civilians have been killed in drone strikes between 2004 and 2013. But, he notes, that only averages out to about 100 civilians a year. Apparently, we need to put that number in perspective:

Now let’s consider some very different types of statistics.

In 2012, measles killed 210 children in Sindh. Karachiites staged numerous anti-drones protests last year, but I don’t recall them holding any rallies to highlight a scourge that was twice as deadly for their province’s kids than drone strikes were for Pakistani civilians.

Nor do I recall any mass action centered around unsafe water. More people in Karachi die each month from contaminated water than have been killed by Indias army since 1947 . . . 630 Pakistani children die from water-borne illness every day (that’s more than three times the total number of Pakistani children the BIJ believes have died from drone strikes since 2004).

So I’m reading this and thinking, he’s not really going to go there, is he? But he does: […]

READ @ http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/at-least-were-not-measles-rationalizing-drone-attacks-hits-new-low-20130214

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* UNITED STATES, WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?

 By Brianna Smith, Economy in Crisis

economiccollapse-300x162

A lot can change in ten years, especially where the United States economy is concerned. After suffering from multiple “free trade” agreements such as NAFTA and KORUS, and becoming a member of the World Trade Organization, our country has gone from a prosperous powerhouse to one suffering through an economic decline. We’ve seen what economic catastrophe looks like in countries like Greece and Iceland. The U.S. is not far behind. That being said, our leaders would do well to heed the mistakes of nations who have already tumbled off the cliff.

At the start of the 21st century, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that the United States was producing 32 percent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP). In fact, we were sporting a budget surplus–our government was actually receiving more than it was spending. Over the course of the decade, though, that 32 percent decreased significantly to 24 percent. The scary thing about that number is that it is still declining. Even more alarming is that the surplus we started the 21st century with has now morphed into a deficit equal to about 10 percent of our GDP. […]

READ @ http://economyincrisis.org/content/united-states-whats-your-problem

Feb 182013
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* A SHORT HISTORY OF NEOLIBERALISM (AND HOW WE CAN FIX IT)

By Jason HickelThe attack on labour: real wages and productivity in the US, 1960-2000

The attack on labour: real wages and productivity in the US, 1960-2000

As a university lecturer I often find that my students take today’s dominant economic ideology – namely, neoliberalism – for granted as natural and inevitable. This is not surprising given that most of them were born in the early 1990s, for neoliberalism is all that they have known.  In the 1980s, Margaret Thatcher had to convince people that there was “no alternative” to neoliberalism.  But today this assumption comes ready-made; it’s in the water, part of the common-sense furniture of everyday life, and generally accepted as given by the Right and Left alike.  It has not always been this way, however.  Neoliberalism has a specific history, and knowing that history is an important antidote to its hegemony, for it shows that the present order is not natural or inevitable, but rather that it is new, that it came from somewhere, and that it was designed by particular people with particular interests.

For most of the 20th century, the basic policies that comprise today’s standard economic ideology would have been rejected as absurd.  Similar policies had been tried before with disastrous effects, and most economists had moved on to embrace Keynesian thought or some form of social democracy.As Susan George has put it, “The idea that the market should be allowed to make major social and political decisions; the idea that the State should voluntarily reduce its role in the economy, or that corporations should be given total freedom, that trade unions should be curbed and citizens given less rather than more social protection – such ideas were utterly foreign to the spirit of the time.”

So how did things change?  Where did neoliberalism come from? In the following paragraphs I offer a simple sketch of the historical trajectory that got us to where we are today.  I demonstrate that neoliberal policy is directly responsible for declining economic growth and rapidly increasing rates of social inequality – both in the West and internationally – and I make a few suggestions for how to tackle these problems. […]

READ / CHARTS @ http://www.newleftproject.org/index.php/site/article_comments/a_short_history_of_neoliberalism_and_how_we_can_fix_it

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* ATTIC AMNESIA: THE CONVENIENTLY FORGOTTEN CONTEXT OF THE GREEK CATASTROPHE

By Chris Floyd, Empire Burlesque

IMF-get-out-Greece-1

The catastrophic situation in Greece has disappeared from the headlines in recent weeks, replaced largely by lurid reports from Syria, where religious extremists aligned with al Qaeda are wreaking carnage with suicide bombers in the capital — to the cheers of America’s adamant anti-terrorists.

[Such hypocrisy doesn’t mitigate the hideousness of the current Syrian regime, of course. Why, I’m so old, I can remember when Washington sent innocent people to Assad’s torture chambers for a little outsourced “rigorous interrogation.” But as the hapless ophthalmologist teetering atop the slagheap in Damascus is now learning, no good deed — or evil favor — done on behalf of the Potomac Poobahs ever goes unpunished. Then again, the aforesaid hideousness does not gainsay the unsavouriness of the other side in the vicious Syrian civil war. I strongly recommend that readers consult As’ad AbuKhalil — the “Angry Arab” — for a clear-eyed view of both these plagued houses.)

But even though it is now off the media radar, Greece continues to groan under the draconian conditions imposed on it by Europe’s financial elite. As always, everywhere, the weakest are going to the wall: the poor, the workers, and the middle class are being brutally punished so that the rich and powerful can escape the slightest consequence for their own monumental greed, their own ravenous crimes.

Germany continues to lead the way in the harrowing of Greece, with the full backing of Washington and London, who keep chipping in with their stern condemnations of Greece’s fecklessness and lack of moral fiber. But as Richard Clogg pointed out in the London Review of Books earlier this month, this righteous hectoring by the lords of the West completely ignores the true context of the Greek catastrophe — and the atrocious modern history that lies behind it.  […]

READ @ http://www.chris-floyd.com/component/content/article/1-latest-news/2266-attic-amnesia-the-conveniently-forgotten-context-of-the-greek-catastrophe.html

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* CATALAN SOVEREIGNTY: EMANCIPATION OR POLITICS AS USUAL?

By Carlos Delclos, RoarMag

Catalan-independence-1

As Catalan parties square off with the federal government to claim independence from Spain, the reality of the street remains one of deferred dreams.

On 23 January 2013, the Catalan Parliament approved a so-called Declaration of Sovereignty, thus supporting the calls for independence expressed in a massive protest organized by the Assemblea Nacional de Catalunya that brought Barcelona to a halt on 11 September 2012. In an uncharacteristically radical swing for a governing party that has been anything but friendly to popular demands since coming into office in November of 2011, the neoliberal Convergència i Unió party (CiU), with the support of left-wing parties favoring the right to self-determination, has opted for a policy of confrontation with the central Spanish government in Madrid.

Has the Catalan government finally caved in to the voices of the streets? Are they tuning in to some new, emancipatory potential in concepts such as sovereignty, independence or national identities? In order to answer these questions, let’s rewind a bit, see where they’re coming from and ask ourselves why it’s on the political agenda now.

The early days of the acampada at Plaza Catalunya were an astonishingly intense and productive period. To the thousands that came together to voice their indignation, the air smelled of hope, strength and solidarity (and a little bit of weed). To the kleptocratic elite throughout the Spanish state, it smelled of uncertainty, condemnation and revolt (and too much weed). As the multitude articulated their positions on an array of issues that had been sidelined for decades, new debates emerged and contrasting positions were respected in a spirit of autonomy. Yet there was one question which proved particularly difficult for the General Assembly to agree on: Catalonia’s right to self-determination.

After three days of debate, the General Assembly decided to include this basic democratic right in its demands, as had the General Assemblies of several other acampadas outside of Catalonia previously. And while the debate had been particularly draining for many of its participants, the movement came out of it stronger. Throughout the first year of the 15-M movement, Barcelona’s indignados were arguably the most radical in Spain, occupying entire housing blocks for evicted families, occupying public hospitals threatened with being closed down, and reaffirming the city’s nickname of la Rosa de Foc (“the Rose of Fire”) during the General Strike of 29 March 2011 that shut down the city. […]

READ @ http://roarmag.org/2013/01/catalan-sovereignty-emancipation-or-politics-as-usual/

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* SPANISH DOCTORS, NURSES MARCH AGAINST ‘PILLAGE’ OF PRIVATIZATION, AUSTERITY

By Jon Queally, CommonDreams

Protesters march as they shout slogans during a demonstration against regional government-imposed austerity plans to restructure and part-privatize the health care sector in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013. (Andres Kudacki/ Associated Press )

Protesters march as they shout slogans during a demonstration against regional government-imposed austerity plans to restructure and part-privatize the health care sector in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013. (Andres Kudacki/ Associated Press )

‘This is pillaging of our public services, looting something we’ve all contributed to through taxes, to give it to private companies to run for profit’

Thousands of nurses, doctors and other health professionals staged protests in sixteen cities across Spain on Sunday, decrying the nation’s continued austerity policies that they say are putting real lives at risk each passing day.

Specifically, the energized protests were aimed at thwarting a proposal by the ruling rightwing government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of privatizing portions of the country’s health care system.

“There is no study that shows that privatizing the management of hospitals leads to lower costs,” said Emilia Becares to Agence France Presse. The 46-year-old nurse brought her three sons, aged seven, eight and nine to the day’s protest. “This privatization hurts patients’ health care to benefit other interests.”

Civil servant Javier Tarabilla, 31, explained to the Associated Press that Spain’s welfare state was being systematically dismantled in order to be handed over to the private sector.

“This is pillaging of our public services, looting something we’ve all contributed to through taxes, to give it to private companies to run for profit,” he said.

As AFP reports, the Rajoy government has slashed “health spending by seven billion euros ($9.1 billion) a year as part of a campaign to squeeze 150 billion euros out of the crisis-racked country’s budget by 2014. […]

READ / PHOTOS @ http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/02/17-1