Archive for Imperialism

The London Meet on Afghanistan

Posted in International Affairs with tags , , , , , , , , on February 15, 2010 by Umer

 by Yohannan Chemarapally

(People’s Democracy)

THE London Conference on Afghanistan held in the last week of January was supposed to plan out a coherent “exit strategy” for the West out of the quagmire it finds itself in. Instead, the conference has only succeeded in sending out confusing signals to the international community. While there was a lot of talk of engaging with the “good Taliban there was also a continued emphasis on a military solution to the conflict.

However, the desperation to get out of Afghanistan was tangible from the statements of most Western leaders present at the meeting. The willingness to open a dialogue with the “good Taliban” to find a political solution was an indication of the prevailing pessimistic mood. But with a political or military solution nowhere in sight it was evident that the military occupation of Afghanistan would continue for another five years at least. The Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, in fact wants foreign troops to be around for a minimum of 15 years. He reiterated this demand once again in London. More than 70 countries, along with the European Union, NATO and the UN attended the London Conference. The EU and NATO officials were critical about Karzai’s 15 year time line for withdrawal.

It is evident that the grandiose promise of President Barak Obama to withdraw all American troops by 2011 is no longer a feasible proposition. With the militarily ascendant Taliban refusing to be drawn into a dialogue, the conditions on the ground will mean that US troops will continue to be stationed in Afghanistan beyond the deadline set by President Obama. The 10,000 additional NATO troops from European countries that Washington expected to be deployed in Afghanistan as part of the military surge, does not seem to be materialising. France has announced that it will not be sending any more troops to Afghanistan. Germany has promised only 500 more troops while the Dutch are on the verge of pulling out all their 2000 soldiers out of Afghanistan.

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Help that hinders

Posted in International Affairs with tags , , , , on August 31, 2009 by Umer

by Arundhati Roy

BECAUSE of globalisation the distance between decision-makers and those who endure the effects of those decisions has never been so great. Gatherings such as the World Social Forum allow local activist movements to reduce that distance and get to know their counterparts from wealthier countries. When the first private dam was built, at Maheshawar, links between the Narmada Bachao Andolan, the organisation Urgewald (Germany), the Berne Declaration (Switzerland) and the International Rivers Network (Berkeley, US) made it possible to divert many banks and international companies from the project. That would not have been possible without solid local resistance and international support to allow the local voice to be heard globally, which led to investors withdrawing from the project.

One problem faced by mass movements is the NGO-isation of resistance. It will be easy to twist what I say into an indictment of all NGOs, but that would be false. There are NGOs doing valuable work; there are also fake NGOs set up either to siphon off grant money or as tax dodges. But it’s important to consider the NGO phenomenon in a broader political context.In India the funded NGO boom began in the late 1980s and 1990s, coinciding with the opening of India’s markets to neoliberalism.

At the time the state, in keeping with the requirements of structural adjustment, was withdrawing funding from rural development, agriculture, energy, transport and public health.

As the state abdicated its traditional role, NGOs moved in to work in these areas. But their available funds are a minute fraction of the cut in public spending. Most wealthy NGOs are financed and patronised by aid and development agencies, funded by western governments, the World Bank, the United Nations and multinational corporations. Though they may not be the same agencies, they are certainly part of the same political formation that oversees the neoliberal project and demands the slash in government spending.

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Why A Global Solidarity Movement For Secular Society?

Posted in International Affairs with tags , , , , , , on August 27, 2009 by Umer

By Nawal El Saadawi

Egypt , August 2009

We live in the Twenty First Century but we still live in a jungle , in a world governed globally and locally by the brutal power of the military , the police , the capitalist market and its media , and the power of religion .

We know from the past and the present that all those powers are connected , they work together and help each other to dominate and exploit the majority of men and women in every country .

The big economic military nuclear powers in the USA , Europe and Israel need religion to establish their control over the world . They need God to justify injustices and double standards .

The USA is a Jewish – Christian country , to gain the presidential elections you have to submit to the Jewish – Christian groups and flatter the church . The educational systems and media are dominated by these religious powers in society and in the state . 65 % of Americans are religious . Even people who stopped going to church they are still linked to their church politically or socially or both .

In Europe the church still dominates in many countries . In Norway for example they have Lutheranism as state religion , according to the law the King and the prime minister has to be Christian Lutheran , 50 % of the ministers have to be members of the state church , all children are forced to be taught about Lutheranism as the best most natural religion .

The violent political religious groups are not visible in Europe as in the Islamic countries , they are hidden under a false layer of secularism or democracy .

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No health-care right under capitalism

Posted in Communist Movement, International Affairs, Marxism with tags , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2009 by Umer

Danish Khan

Capitalist system is completely incapable of providing the basic health care to the people. We all know how miserable and terrible the lives of the people of third world countries are. But even in the USA, the most powerful and wealthiest Empire of the human history, many people still don’t have a right to basic health care. This shows the bleak reality of the capitalist system at its supposed best. According to US government’s statistics, 45.7 million people in US have no access to health care. While US Empire is building its strength to dominate all over the globe, its domestic heath care system has completely crippled. US loudly proclaim its commitments towards “peace” and “stability” in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the Empire has forgotten that more than 22,000 deaths each year are caused by the lack of health care in its home. Empire says that health care is too expensive, we can not afford it. On other hand, they are spending $255million per day in Iraq! Iraq is more important than health care because the neo-conservative lobby sees oil there. They are willing to spend money there, but in health care dollars will be used for the welfare of the people which is against the spirit of capitalism. US have the most advanced military weapons and aircrafts for wars. When it comes to health care, the story is little different. There are only 26 doctors per 10,000 people, and the worst is that there are only 31 beds for 10,000 people. Cuba, a very small island with very limited resources, has outshined US in health care only because their priority is the welfare of their people rather than more profit for big corporations. In US health insurance companies’ profits have reached more than 320%, while people have lost all their health overages. It a drastic picture of a most advanced capitalist society, the level of oppression and exploitation is infinite.

In US health care has been traditionally provided by the private employers. However, due to recent economic crisis, many jobs have been lost which resulted in the loss of all the health care services for working people. The degree of exploitation of labor, the appropriation of surplus labor and surplus value are raised notably by intensifying the labor. Marx explained these phenomenon years ago in Das Kapital. But its importance and relevancy is invaluable in today’s world. The accumulation of wealth is increasing every day by the labor of workers, but the only beneficiary of this wealth is the one who owns means of production (the capitalist class). The living standard and quality of life of working men is going vertically down, workers have no health care, and they can’t afford to send their children to go to colleges and universities. In US, 2.6 million jobs have been lost in year 2008 according to U.S Labor department. Is it surprising? Yes, only for those who never had a chance to read Marx’s Das Kapital. Those who have read it and understood it are the least surprised because they know it is a usual case under capitalism. In volume III of Das Kapital, Marx devoted a lot of time in explaining the conflict between expansion of production and production of surplus value. As the rate of surplus value rises, the number of laborers falls relatively or absolutely. In US from January 2008 to September 2008, 1.7 million jobs have been lost while in last four months 1.9 million jobs have disappeared. It is just another tactic of increase the exploitation by lowering the demand of labor as relative to people who are willing to sell their labor.

What we are seeing today is a new chapter in the history of capitalism. We need to educate the masses of the Pakistan about the material realities of the most advanced capitalist country. The bourgeois class of Pakistan, submissive followers of US Imperialism, can not portray this picture of capitalism. Capitalism in its prime form in US is unable to serve its own people. How can they play any role in the betterment and welfare of the people of the Pakistan? In every part of the world people are demanding their rights and they can see that present economic system has no ability to perform effectively. Thus the only alternative system which can provide people proper health care and all their rights and needs is the socialism. In working class circles, socialism and its advantages is a hot topic these days. As the material conditions of the society are becoming more and more favorable for the socialism, a need of a mass based movement is very crucial.

Danish Khan is a student in USA.

All cultures are not equal

Posted in Communist Movement, International Affairs, Marxism with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 6, 2009 by Umer

by Kenan Malik

‘I denounce European colonialism’, wrote CLR James, ‘but I respect the learning and profound discoveries of Western civilisation.’ (1)

James was one of the great radicals of the twentieth century, an anti-imperialist, a superb historian of black struggles, a Marxist who remained one even when it was no longer fashionable to be so. But today, James’ defence of ‘Western civilisation’ would probably be dismissed as Eurocentric, even racist.

To be radical today is to display disenchantment with all that is ‘Western’ – by which most mean modernism and the ideas of the Enlightenment – in the name of ‘diversity’ and ‘difference’. The modernist project of pursuing a rational, scientific understanding of the natural and social world – a project that James unashamedly championed – is now widely regarded as a dangerous fantasy, even as oppressive.

‘Subjugation’, according to the philosopher David Goldberg, ‘defines the order of the Enlightenment: subjugation of nature by human intellect, colonial control through physical and cultural domination, and economic superiority through mastery of the laws of the market’ (2). The mastery of nature and the rational organisation of society, which were once seen as the basis of human emancipation, have now become the sources of human enslavement.

Enlightenment universalism, such critics argue, is racist because it seeks to impose Euro-American ideas of rationality and objectivity on other peoples. ‘The universalising discourses of modern Europe and the United States’, argues Edward Said, ‘assume the silence, willing or otherwise, of the non-European world.’ (3)

Not just for radicals, but for many mainstream liberals too, the road that began in the Enlightenment ends in savagery, even genocide. As the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman argues: ‘Every ingredient of the Holocaust… was normal… in the sense of being fully in keeping with everything we know about our civilisation, its guiding spirits, its priorities, its immanent vision of the world – and of the proper ways to pursue human happiness together with a perfect society.’ (4)

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The 30th Sandinista anniversary and the San José proposal

Posted in Communist Movement, International Affairs with tags , , , , , , , on July 23, 2009 by Umer

Reflection of Fidel Castro

THE Honduran coup d’état promoted by the ultra-right wing of the United States – which was maintaining the structure created by Bush in Central America – and supported by the Department of State, was not developing well due to the energetic resistance of the people.
The criminal adventure, unanimously condemned by world opinion and international agencies, could not be sustained.

The memory of the atrocities committed in recent decades by dictatorships that the United States promoted, instructed and armed in our hemisphere, was still fresh.

During the Clinton administration and in subsequent years the empire’s efforts were directed toward the plan of imposing the FTA (Free Trade Agreement) on all the Latin American countries via the so-called Summits of the Americas.

The intention to compromise the hemisphere with a free trade agreement failed. The economies of other regions of the world grew at a good rate and the dollar lost its exclusive hegemony as a privileged hard currency. The brutal world financial crisis complicated the situation. It was in those circumstances that the military coup came about in Honduras, one of the poorest countries in the hemisphere.

After two weeks of growing popular struggle, the United States maneuvered to gain time. The Department of State assigned Oscar Arias, president of Costa Rica, the task of aiding the military coup in Honduras, under siege from vigorous but peaceful popular pressure. Never had a similar action in Latin America met such a response.
The fact that Arias holds the title of Nobel Peace Prize laureate had weight in the calculations of the government of the United States.
The real history of Oscar Arias indicates that he is a neoliberal politician, talented and with a facility for words, extremely calculated and a loyal ally of the United States.

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Understanding Economics

Posted in Marxism with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 12, 2009 by Umer

A Marxist Guide to Understanding Economics

Tim Bowron

(from Workers Party of New Zealand)

Economics is a subject which is regarded by most ordinary people as mysterious and totally defying any rational understanding. This is true to an even greater extent today than 50 years ago, as we have increasingly seemed to move beyond a capitalist economy which deals with the production of real tangible things, to the dizzying world of currency hedge funds, financial futures trading and the explosion of the service sector.

No wonder then that many activists who are committed to trying to bring about radical social change shy away from the study of capitalist economics.

However this is deeply problematic because at the same time the one thinker who developed a thorough-going radical critique of capitalism – Karl Marx – is very little read among people on the left (even those calling themselves socialist revolutionaries).

In addition, there exists a widespread misconception that the writings of Karl Marx are so arcane, so mysterious, as to be only comprehensible to a select and gifted few. This is unfortunate because despite the perhaps slightly inaccessible style in which Marx wrote, the basic fundamentals of his philosophy are in reality breathtakingly simple.

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