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  • Tomgram: Michael Schwartz, The New Oil Wars in Iraq | TomDispatch on 2014-07-06
    • It was a moment of remarkable contradictions.  Obama managed, for example, to warn against “mission creep” even as he was laying out what could only be described as mission creep.  Earlier that week, he had notified Congress that 275 troops would be sent to Iraq, largely to defend the vast U.S. embassy in Baghdad, once an almost three-quarters-of-a-billion-dollar symbol of imperial hubris, now a white elephant of the first order.  A hundred more military personnel were to be moved into the region for backup.
    • In tandem with the military moves, the president and his national security team, perhaps reflecting through a glass darkly the “democracy agenda” of the Bush era, also seemed to have dipped their fingers in purple ink.  They were reportedly pressuring Iraqi politicians to dump Prime Minister Maliki and appoint a “unity” government to fight the war they want.  (Adding to the farcical nature of the moment, one name raised for Maliki’s position was Ahmed Chalabi, once the darling of Bush-era officials and their choice for that same post.)
    • There is, however, no way that an American intervention won’t be viewed as a move to back the Shia side in an incipient set of civil wars, as even retired general and former CIA director David Petraeus warned last week.

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  • Rooi Gevaar | Daily Maverick on 2014-07-05
    • Duarte was most direct. “AMCU and the formation of EFF show similar characteristics. The platinum belt has become counter-revolutionary. They are working together to destabilise the ANC government and the country,” she said.
    • The electoral campaign also coincided with serious challenges to the unity of Cosatu, and the emergence of a right-wing, populist demagogic movement, the EFF, posing as left wing.”
    • Nzimande went on to say: “We must also bear in mind the fact that it has always been the intention of imperialism, monopoly capital, and the apartheid regime, to work towards driving a wedge between the national liberation movement and the progressive sections of the organised working class like Cosatu. Also, it has been the intention of these very same enemy forces to particularly drive a wedge between Cosatu and the SACP.”

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  • How the Harper Government Committed a Knowledge Massacre | Capt. Trevor Greene on 2014-07-04
  • Pambazuka - Iraq, Libya, Syria: Three reasons African Americans should oppose U.S. intervention in Africa on 2014-07-04
    • while all of us mourn for the more than 200 girls who have been kidnapped and can only imagine what their families must be going though, we also have to make sure that we don’t allow the very real emotion of the issue to cloud our analysis – something that is probably easier for us who are not directly impacted. We have to do this because it is precisely at these moments that we have to be clear-eyed and not allow ourselves to be manipulated.
    • while all of us mourn for the more than 200 girls who have been kidnapped and can only imagine what their families must be going though, we also have to make sure that we don’t allow the very real emotion of the issue to cloud our analysis – something that is probably easier for us who are not directly impacted. We have to do this because it is precisely at these moments that we have to be clear-eyed and not allow ourselves to be manipulated.
    • The aggressive posture of U.S. imperialism over the last few years has proceeded with very little organized opposition from the capitalist center in the U.S. Not just because of the institutional weakness of left and progressive forces but, even more ominously, because of the ideological collaboration and alignment by left forces with the imperial project. This latter phenomenon is more characteristic of positions taken by some of the more chauvinistic elements of the white left than our ranks, but even within our ranks the confusion seems to be increasing when, for example, you look at the positions taken by some on Nigeria, Zimbabwe and the U.S. NATO assault on Libya.

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  • The Efflorescence of American Fascism » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names on 2014-07-04
    • A figurehead? Only in the sense that he fronts a stage of advanced capitalism which itself, to reach that point, presupposes a tightly organized ruling stratum. I use “stratum” rather than “class” so as to signify the accommodation by upper groups, economic, social, political, of diverse others useful to purposes of social control at home, hegemony abroad—i.e., leaders of the military and intelligence communities as both stabilizing/conservative influences and resources for enforcing group dominance.
    • In sum, he is a willing figurehead—the most dangerous kind. Militarism especially attracts him, like a fly to flypaper.
    • The liberal mask Obama presents in justification for the Democratic party’s proclivity toward war, intervention, and sacrifice of the class interests of working people and minorities at home, is just that, a mask that covers inner moral emptiness as well as fools the constituency to be addressed and the public at large.

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  • What all is getting expelled...and once expelled is invisible | openDemocracy on 2014-07-04
    • Parts of our economies, societies, and states in Europe are being stripped bare by an extreme form of predatory capitalism.[1] And this stripping can coexist with growth in much of our economies. The majority of workers and economic operations keep functioning, even if at reduced levels.
    • The unemployed who lose everything—jobs, homes, medical insurance—easily fall off the edge of what is defined as 'the economy' and counted as such. So do small shop and factory owners who lose everything and commit suicide. And so do the weakened and ill newly poor who can no longer access basic medical services. All are stripped from what gets measured as 'the economy.'
    • much of this sharp shift I am seeking to capture is still invisible to the statistician. It is also often invisible to the passerby—the impoverished middle classes may still be living in their same nice houses, with their losses hidden behind neat facades. Increasingly these households have sold most of their valuables to afford payments, have started to sell their basics, including furniture, and are doubling up with grown-up children. Modest increases in employment growth are not enough to eliminate this shrinking. These are radical eliminations of types of workers, types of economies, and types of places that are no longer needed or worth the costs.

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  • Argentina vs the international financial system | openDemocracy on 2014-07-04
  • World Bank and UN carbon offset scheme 'complicit' in genocidal land grabs - NGOs | Nafeez Ahmed | Environment | on 2014-07-04
    • In west Kenya, as the UK NGO Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) reported, over a thousand homes had been torched by the government's Kenya Forest Service (KFS) to forcibly evict the 15,000 strong Sengwer indigenous people from their ancestral homes in the Embobut forest and the Cherangany Hills.
    • Under the REDD scheme companies in the developed world purchase carbon credits to invest in reducing emissions from forested lands. Those credits turn up on the companies' balance sheets as carbon reductions. In practice, however, REDD schemes largely allow those companies to accelerate pollution while purchasing land and resources in the developing world at bargain prices.
    • A letter to the Bank in March by No REDD in Africa network (Nran) – a group of African civil society organisations - signed by over 60 international NGOs accused the Bank with the above words of "both admitting its complicity in the forced relocation of the Sengwer People as well as offering to collude with the Kenyan government to cover-up cultural genocide."

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  • Benjamin Kunkel reviews ‘Capital in the 21st Century’ by Thomas Piketty, translated by Arthur Goldhammer · LRB 3 July 2014 on 2014-06-28
    • Piketty wants to recover the scope of political economy without forfeiting the quantitative rigour of contemporary economics. He has hitched his orthodox training to a Marxian research programme: to explain the course of capitalism since the French and Industrial Revolutions, no less, and to glimpse its future itinerary, with special reference to inequalities of income and wealth.
    • Although he declines to say what distinguishes capitalism proper from its predecessors, Piketty proposes that two fundamental laws govern it. The first co-ordinates ‘the three most important concepts for analysing the capitalist system’. The capital/income ratio is society’s total capital as a multiple of total annual income; the rate of return – not quite the same as the rate of profit, as we will see – is the annual income from capital as a percentage of its size; and the share of capital income is the portion of total output flowing to owners relative to the trickle, in per capita terms, irrigating the lives of workers.
    • What drives the polarisation? Piketty’s ‘second fundamental law of capitalism’ promises more analytic power than the first. It states that the capital/income ratio grows according to the divergence between the rate of return or savings rate (for Piketty, these are effectively the same) and the overall growth rate of the economy.

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  • UN Human Rights Council Takes on Corporations | Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy on 2014-06-28
    • Ecuador proposed the idea in September 2013 after years of fighting Chevron who has refused Ecuadorean court judgments requiring the company to pay $18 billion in damages for massive environmental destruction and other harms to communities in the Ecuadorean Amazon. To avoid these payments, the company sued Ecuador for lost profits through “investor to state” dispute settlement provisions the country agreed to when it signed a bilateral investment treaty with the U.S. Such investor state provisions that grant corporations’ right to future profits over governments’ right to regulate are sadly common in free trade and investment treaties pushed by the U.S., including the current negotiations of the Trans Pacific Partnership (with Pacific Rim countries) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (with Europe). Civil society groups, including IATP, strongly oppose investor state provisions. 
    • Such People’s initiatives are growing in number and strength—aided by the launch of the Stop Corporate Impunity Campaign at Rio Plus 20 summit in 2012. The Campaign had a week of mobilization here in Geneva to strengthen the global effort and has launched a People’s Treaty process that is intended to mobilize social movements and citizens to stand up and demand accountability from their governments and to present an alternative vision of governance. It will be a critical bottom up process while governments begin their own deliberations on a binding treaty. 

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  • 2010 Haiti Earthquake

    651 members, 96 items

    A collection of online resources for learning about the history and circumstances of Haiti.

  • Africom

    1 members, 14 items

  • anti-authoritarian

    6 members, 10 items

    Our everyday life is permeated with power plays, strive for and and-or intrusion of authority that is maintainable through coercion or manipulation. If we try to understand this, resist power plays by other individual, organizations and state-authorities, we can achieve and spread genuine freedom.

  • Burkina Faso Exploitation-Resistance

    1 members, 10 items

    The legacy of Thomas Sankara; social mobilization; Compaore's legacy of pro-Western authoritarian "light-handedness"

  • Cameroon-Contestation-consent

    1 members, 13 items

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