Africans united in defense of Libya! Reply

Article by Luwezi Kinshasa, Secretary-General of the African Socialist International.
A new world has been trying to come to into being since before the imperialists’ so-called first world war.

It is the rise of the colonized and oppressed peoples’ struggles, and we can see its trajectory with the Garvey Movement, which organized more than 11 million Africans around the world (1914-1924), the largest anti-colonial international organization in the world to date.

We see its rise in the failed Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) and in the Russian revolution of 1917.

Though the Russians did not belong to the camp of colonized nations as did the Africans, Mexicans, Arabs, Chinese and others, their socialist revolution still gave U.S.-led white power seven decades’ worth of justification to attack the colonized peoples’ struggles for national liberation, under the disguise of fighting communism.

As Chairman Omali Yeshitela remarks, “This was at the turn of the 20th century, when resistance to imperialist colonialism was growing throughout the world, even as the imperialists were engaged in the First Imperialist World War to re-divide the world — mainly the colonial and subject peoples — among themselves.

“This was an era of great upheaval. The European war to re-divide the world that is commonly known as World War I was upsetting the balance of power in Europe.

“This First Imperialist World War challenged the notions of European identity conferred to different Europeans at the 1814-1815 Congress of Vienna that was used to redraw European borders after the Napoleonic Wars.”

Chairman Yeshitela gives an account of how the trajectory of the struggles previously led by Marcus Garvey, Emilio Zapata, Sun Yat Sen, Sandino and others took a decisive turn.

He says, “While these struggles have been going on for some time and have clearly escalated since the second imperialist world war, they have had markedly different implications for world capitalism within the recent period.

“The political independence won by colonialist-created states such as Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Congo, Nigeria, etc., on the continent of Africa; the independence won by India, Burma, Pakistan, and of most of South America was an independence from direct colonial rule.

“It was nominal political independence that left the peoples and countries dominated economically by their former masters and the now-dominant U.S.

“It was ‘independence’ under a new, more subtle colonialism, a colonialism that was essentially economic; it was neocolonialism.”

Nation Behind Bars: Mass Incarceration and Political Prisoners in the U.S. Reply

Efia Nwangaza at the BIB Conference on the Other Wars.
On March 26, 2011, the Black is Back Conference for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations held a conference on the Other Wars, dealing with U.S. imperialism’s wars on Haiti, Congo, Libya, Colombia, Africans in the U.S. and elsewhere — wars that are historically ignored by the white left. The following presentation was made by Efia Nwangaza, Director of the Malcolm X Center for Self-Determination, and speaks to the vast number of freedom fighters held as political prisoners by the U.S. government as well as the mass incarceration of African and Mexican people.

The Hypocrisy at the Heart of the Police State Reply

Article by Kevin Carson.
Well, the power of the state might be just a little broader than that. Militarized SWAT teams that kick in doors at 3AM with no-knock warrants, for non-violent offenses, toss the house to inflict maximum damage for sheer intimidation, shoot the family dog for the same reason — if they even got the right house? I’d say that’s a pretty significant encounter with the power of the state for a lot of people. Being kicked, clubbed or tasered to the point of injury or death, when you’re writhing in agony and physically incapable of resisting, just because you didn’t show proper deference to an Alpha Male — or maybe just because you were in a diabetic coma or having an epileptic seizure? That’s also a pretty dramatic exposure to the power of the state. And how about having your property seized via civil forfeiture without ever being charged you with a crime?

The police state, existing as it does in a country in which the officially encouraged self-perception is still heavily influenced by the mythos of the common law and the “freeborn American,” must engage in ideological legerdemain for its own survival. That’s not to say the propaganda has to be sophisticated enough to pass serious scrutiny or convince a skeptic. It just has to be good enough to fool most of the people most of the time. The police state depends on maintaining a “silent majority” of people who — out of either ignorance, laziness or intellectual cowardice — don’t know too much about the unpleasant details of how their sausage is made and don’t really want to know.

Last Act in the Mideast Reply

Article by Andrew Bacevich.


Ever since Britain and France set out to dismember the Ottoman Empire nearly a century ago, the West has been engaged in an incoherent, haphazard, episodic, but more or less relentless effort to impose its will on the Middle East. Methods have varied. Sometimes the “infidels” have employed overt force. At other times they have relied on covert means, worked through proxies, or recruited local puppets.

The purposes offered to justify Western exertions have likewise varied. With empire falling into disfavor, the pursuit of imperial aims has required conceptual creativity. Since 1945 resistance to communist subversion, a professed antipathy for brutal dictators, support for international law, and an enthusiasm for spreading freedom have all been pressed into service (albeit selectively) to legitimize outside intervention. Today’s “responsibility to protect” extends this tradition, offering the latest high-minded raison d’être for encroaching on the sovereignty of Middle Eastern states whenever the locals behave in ways that raise Western ire.

Underlying this great variety of methods and professed motivation, two things have remained constant across the decades. The first is an assumption: that Arabs, Persians, Afghans, and the like are incapable of managing their own affairs, leaving the West with no choice but to act in loco parentis, setting rules and enforcing discipline. The second is a conviction: that somehow, some way, the deft application of Western power will eventually fix whatever ails the region.

Self-Determination of Ivory Coast Reply

Article by David D’Amato.

“The UN secretary general,” reports BBC News, “has urged Ivory Coast’s internationally-backed president [Alassane Ouattara] to investigate hundreds of deaths blamed partly on his supporters.” Violence has continued in the western African country since an election last fall resulted in a win for Ouattara, long popular in the country’s rebel-dominated north.

His opponent, the incumbent Laurent Gbagbo, declined to vacate the presidency, staying on after the March 24 deadline imposed by the African Union expired. The ineluctable result has been violence and bloodshed in the streets of the country’s urban center, Abidjan, with Gbagbo and his supporters accusing Ouattara’s forces of, among other things, being a cover for French occupation. Regardless of the truth of that claim or the fairness of the contested election, a reexamination of Ivory Coast’s reputation for peace and stability is in order.

With infrastructure and an economy that were the envy of its neighbors for years, the conventional wisdom tells us that civil war shouldn’t be happening in Ivory Coast. For free market anarchists, though, the country’s internal dissension is the predictable result of its statist economic program.

The nation’s “market liberalization,” hailed as a reform model for the rest of Africa and credited with the country’s “economic boom,” was in truth little more than the kind of crafty “privatization” subterfuge so often used to drain a country of its resources for favored elites. In the mid-1990s, a guide to “investing in state-owned enterprises” — a “privatization” handbook published by none other than Ernst & Young — noted that, of the agencies turned over to the “private sector,” “most … [were] industrial or agro-industrial concerns.”

War and Peace Reply

Qaddafi no threat to US, Obama should not interfere

By Ian Huyett

For a Nobel Peace Prize winner, Barack Obama sure has killed a lot of people. The president has sent troops to Afghanistan, launched drone strikes in Pakistan, and actively maintained the occupation of Iraq he promised to end.

Obama’s endless, aimless wars have cost hundreds of American lives and obliterated thousands of civilians. His obscene military budget, the largest since Word War II, has left beleaguered taxpayers with a debt greater than every other president in history combined.

Now, as the US spends upwards of $1 billion fighting Operation Odyssey Dawn in Libya, Obama has become the first Nobel Peace Prize winner to fire cruise missiles. Why did he win that prize again?

In his defense, Obama actually told us that he believed in launching unprovoked wars as he was accepting the peace prize. Apparently the Nobel Committee didn’t have a problem with that. I guess if you worship someone enough to give them a prize for no reason, you’ll overlook anything.

The US should not be in Libya. The job of American soldiers is to protect America, not needlessly risk their lives babysitting the entire world. Resolving conflicts on the other side of the planet is not the legal responsibility of American taxpayers. Odyssey Dawn, an unnecessary police action against a nation that posed no threat to the United States, is both unconstitutional and an impeachable offense.

Don’t take it from me; ask the Obama-Biden ticket. In a Dec. 20, 2007, interview with the Boston Globe, Obama, a constitutional scholar, explained that “the president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

Appearing on MSNBC Dec. 3, 2007, Joe Biden said “The President has no constitutional authority to take this nation to war against a country of 70 million people unless we’re attacked, or unless there is proof that we are about to be attacked. If he does, I would move to impeach him.”

Despite Obama’s promise that “We are not going to use force to go beyond a well-defined goal, specifically, the protection of civilians in Libya,” missile attacks have been directed at Tripoli and Qaddafi’s compound, according to a March 20 CNN article. Odyssey Dawn doesn’t stop at merely enforcing a “no-fly zone.” The US has already attacked so many ground targets in Libya that Arab League chief Amr Moussa has accused America of the “bombardment of civilians,” according to a March 21 Arab News article.

Although the administration has painted the operation as an international effort, the US has fired most of the cruise missiles that have hit Libya. Germany, Brazil, Russia, India, and China have all opted not to take part in the attack. In a March 19 CNN interview, Vice Admiral William Gortney referred to “Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from both U.S. and British ships and submarines” before later admitting that only “one British submarine” had helped with his efforts. If history is any indicator, when a war is sold to the public as an international effort, we can expect America to end up bearing the brunt of the burden.

Einstein said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” After watching pointless interventions fail and backfire from Vietnam to Iraq, it should be apparent that military action in Libya is insane. How many countries do we have to needlessly invade before we realize that doing so does nothing more than generate hatred and recruit terrorists?

In the 1930s, American civilians who were passionate about the Spanish Civil War volunteered to travel to Spain and fight, calling themselves the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Today, proponents of intervention in Libya would rather send someone else’s son or daughter to die while they watch it on MSNBC.

If the fight against Qaddafi is important to you, do something about it yourself rather than expending the men and women who’ve volunteered to protect you. At the very least, donate your own money instead of expecting the rest of the country to pay for it. If, on the other hand, you continue to support Obama unconditionally, please take that peace sign bumper sticker off your car.

Totalitarian Humanism vs Greece Reply

Article by Ioannis Kolovos.
The people who organized and supported the occupation of the Law School building, be they members of parliamentary parties or not (some of them were, some others were not), are ideologically fixated to a neo-communist worldview. Not only do they not support the Constitution and parliamentary democracy but their actual aim is to overthrow it and to turn Greece into a socialist “people’s republic” (of the Cuban or Venezuelan sort). Their extremism is more apparent now as their moderate comrades, not agreeing with such extremist views, have left them and formed a new socialdemocratic party. Moreover, these people have a perverse view of cosmopolitanism which results in a total rejection of all things Greek (be it the Greek nation, its history, its culture etc). That’s why they unreservedly support a maximalistic view of multiculturalism and want to impose it on the country’s unwilling population.

The neo-communists’ plans have not found much electoral support among Greeks. And that’s where the political strand comes in. For them the immigrants (especially the illegal ones) represent the new proletariat which will act as a battering ram in bringing down the regime of parliamentary democracy. By supporting the large and continuous influx of illegal immigrants (and their ex-post facto legalization) they shatter Greece’s homogeneity and they erode its national identity and social capital. That way they slowly but steadily destroy the pillars which support the Hellenic Republic. Moreover, out of the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants they can gain new recruits who will swell their ranks, new voters (ex-post facto legalized immigrants had the right to vote in the recent local elections) and even new foot-soldiers for when they decide it is time to plunge the country into anarchy and make their final push in order to storm the Winter Palace…

Why the Left Won't Stop the Wars Reply

Penetrating critique of what the Left is really about by Anthony Gregory.
A straw poll from August 2009, half a year into Obama’s reign, said it all. Stanley Greenberg polled attendees to the Netroots Nation gathering of progressive bloggers, giving them a list of political issues and asking which two “progressive activists should be focusing their attention and efforts on the most.” Byron York reported:

The winner was passing comprehensive health care reform, with 60 percent, and number two was passing “green energy policies that address environmental concerns,” with 22 percent. Tied for eighth place, named by just eight percent of respondents, was “working to end our military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Then Greenberg asked which one of those issues “do you, personally, spend the most time advancing currently?” The winner was health care reform, with 23 percent, and second place was “working to elect progressive candidates in the 2010 elections,” with 16 percent. In 11th place – at the very bottom of the list – was “working to end our military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Just one percent of Netroots Nations attendees listed that as their most important personal priority.

In 2004 and 2005, progressives condemned Bush as a war criminal, called his invasion of Iraq an illegal war of aggression, and spoke openly of impeachment. They sounded like Bush’s war was their biggest political priority – more significant than domestic spending programs, regulation, abortion and other traditional hot buttons. By Obama’s first summer in office, only one out of a hundred progressive bloggers in this sample spent most of their time trying to stop America’s criminal wars.

This was a small cross section of the left, but it speaks to a general trend. Certainly under Democratic administrations, issues other than war become pressing. A charitable interpretation is that the left is fatigued from years of protest and the political dynamics discussed above push war to the background. A less charitable view is that they don’t actually hate war nearly as much as they pretended to, that they used it opportunistically as a partisan club against Republicans. An even more cynical guess is that they are every bit as self-centered and materialistic as they claim the rest of us are, and in exchange for health care subsidies and stimulus handouts, they are willing to look the other way as peasants are blown to bits in their name.

There are plenty of exceptions to this and hundreds, even thousands of left-liberal writers, lawyers, intellectuals, journalists and scholars who tend toward a much more radical, anti-partisan approach. A tiny minority of principled leftists oppose war vehemently and give it proper weight.

Every one of the specific reasons the left has softened on war, and fails to stand up to its president, relates to one general overriding factor: The left loves and trusts the state. The state is the protector of the poor and the environment. It tempers the predation of big business, keeps racism and sexism at bay, and educates children better than their parents could. It keeps guns out of the hands of criminals, keeps unsafe chemicals, tainted water and impure drugs at a distance, and, yes, it protects us from foreign threats to our liberty and upholds human rights abroad. If the state can do all this, why not push the world toward harmony and peace through the application of military force?

Does the left hate war? Many of them do not. Many of them do, but not sufficiently. There are other things they seem to hate more: Republicans, conservatives, the free market, the prospect of giving up their domestic priorities or living without the state’s protection. To turn against the state fundamentally is worse than to turn against a mother or father or maybe even a child. The state is the head of the leftists’ family, and so, when the partisan dynamics are right, the political points can be scored, and the liberal state will come away from it looking all the better for the cameras, the left sighs in confusion, shrugs its shoulders in resignation, or even cheers in ecstasy as its beloved institution destroys millions of human beings and enlists a whole generation in the worst of all barbarities.

Am I being too hard on the left? I’d love for them to prove me wrong. End the wars.

Future jobs won’t support decent living standard: Report Reply

Bad news on the economic front.
To calculate this “economic security” income, the study’s authors certainly didn’t assume a lavish lifestyle. They considered basic needs–housing, food, utilities, health care, child-care, and transportation–plus the cost of modest saving for retirement and a small surplus for emergencies. (At at a time when economic “shocks” are increasingly common, that’s an essential part of financial security.) They don’t factor in some things many of us take for granted, like entertainment or eating out.

The result? To achieve economic security, a single parent with two children needs an income of just over $30,000 a year–nearly twice the federal minimum wage–while a two-income household needs almost $68,000.

The study then finds that, according to Labor Department projections, fewer than 13 percent of jobs to be created by 2018 will meet the economic security threshold for a single parent with two kids. Forty-three percent of those jobs will meet the threshold for a two-income household.

In other words, most of the jobs of the future aren’t likely to pay enough to offer the kind of stable, middle-class existence that for much of the 20th century was seen as the American birthright.

The Great Alexander Cockburn Reply

A hilarious and penetrating take down of the pro-war Left.
Everything is out of proportion. Qaddafi is scarcely the acme of monstrosity conjured up by Obama or Mrs. Clinton or Sarkozy. In four decades, Libyans have gone from being among the most wretched in Africa, to considerable elevation in terms of social amenities. President Obama’s hands are stained with more blood and suffering than those of the man who has given the world endless diversion through two generations. In terms of evil deeds, is Qaddafi a Mobutu, a Bokassa, a Saddam, or any U.S. president? Surely not.

Obama’s speech this week, belatedly seeking to rationalize his latest war, was ludicrously disproportionate too: pompous and offensive treacle about America’s special role as savior of the afflicted ladled over one more plateful of folly in the nation’s downward slide.

These “humanitarian interventions” follow a familiar script: demonization, hand in hand with romantic effusions about the demon’s opponents, whether the Mujahiddeen in Afghanistan reinvented as Robin Hoods of the Hindukush or the Albanian mafiosi tarted up as freedom-loving Kossovars.

The U.S.-led war on Iraq in 1991 included a propaganda campaign contracted by the government of Kuwait with the pr firm Burson Marsteller, which produced such triumphs as the babies allegedly hurled by Saddam’s troops from their respirators in a Kuwait hospital – a fraud I think I can claim to have been the first to expose. In this connection, one does have to wonder, at least for a moment, about that woman bursting into the journalist’s hotel in Tripoli, claiming to have been raped by some of Qaddafi’s troops, though if the intent was to rally liberals in America to the cause of intervention, allegations planted by Burson-Marsteller or some kindred outfit of a “hate crime” against gay Libyans, or a negative attitude to gay marriage on the part of Qaddafi might have been more effective.

But substantial slabs of what passes for the left in America are ecstatic at the intervention – a “good one” at last — and excitedly pass from hand to hand the vacuous “letter to the left” by Professor Juan Cole, replicated on almost every progressive website. You can tell Cole is a liberal academic by his disdain for any discussion of the fact that aside from other considerations the war launched by Obama and his secretary of state is an outrage to the U.S. Constitution, for which he merits impeachment, as pursued by Rep Dennis Kucinich. Liberal academics have not the slightest interest in the Constitution, since the document doesn’t address issues of tenure and preferment. They evince similar loathing for the jury, putting their faith in “good judges”.

“Renegade History” Against the “Respectable” Bosses Reply

Article by David D’Amato.
In his A Renegade History of the United States, variously described as “ultrarevisionist” and “contrarian,” “trouble-maker” Thaddeus Russell explodes the myth that America’s Founding Fathers were libertarian defenders of the “personal freedom” of the individual. His is an American narrative that amends previous attempts at “bottom up” history that, by either marginalizing or patronizing the “lower class,” neglected to see how it “shaped our world” and “expanded our freedoms.”

Russell therefore celebrates, without overly romanticizing, those working men (and “working girls”) who the Founding Fathers would have regarded as “wicked and vile,” the great unwashed who pioneered an understanding of freedom that the contemporary reader can identify with. The buttoned-up elites who populate American schoolbooks, rather than conceiving “the land of the free,” saw the uninhibited lifestyles of “tavern culture” as dangerous and “beneath them,” preferring instead the ideologies of “social management.”

And from the Revolution through to the present day, Russell paints an America where the kind of freedom valued by the free market left was and is a “gift of renegades,” of the supposedly disreputable, and decidedly not of leaders and politicians. For a free market anarchist, then, Renegade History and its vivid vignettes of disobedience and radical independence are full of important insights.

The stories in the book demonstrate that it was the “renegade behaviors” of ordinary people that spearheaded — through nothing more socially aware than their day-to-day activities — the best features of American society. Where orthodox histories eulogize those members of minority groups who adopted the cultural values and strategies of the ruling class, Russell showcases the people we’re not supposed to pay any mind. In doing so, he presents us with a new history, and accordingly new ammunition against the state and its coercive systems of hierarchy.

The State's Money Trees Reply

Article by David D’Amato.

For the world’s ruling classes, primed for the latest G20 summit this week, the seemingly colorless niceties of monetary policy have become the topmost theme of debate. And while the villains of the political class characterize monetary decisions as the technical and politically-neutral bailiwick of qualified experts, those decisions are a weight-bearing pillar of statist exploitation.

As the world economic order has dealt with the aftereffects of the financial crisis, China and the United States have exchanged barbs, both accusing the other of unfair manipulation of its currency. As a resolution of the discord and for the prevention of future imbalances, reports Reuters, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has “called for a stronger International Monetary Fund.”

Geithner argued this week (March 31) that an empowered IMF would “shine a spotlight on risks” and “preempt the emergence of large imbalances in the global economy.” Contrary to Geithner’s glib assurances, however, imbalances and risks are part and parcel of the world’s statist financial framework. Moreover, the exploitative nature of the paradigm will remain intact regardless of the outcomes of China/U.S. squabbles.

Where the banking complex of the state allows favored corporations to, in the words of Murray Rothbard, “expand and inflate without cease” — to charge monopoly interest rates on money they don’t even have — workers are prevented by law from mobilizing their own wealth. Under coercive statist systems, the likes of Royal Bank of Scotland and Deutsche Bank can pull the money they lend you out of the ether, but ordinary people are prevented by the high hurdles of minimum capital stipulations from establishing institutions that would serve their needs.

From the World Bank to the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. and the Federal Reserve System, the entire financial structure of statist banking, both internationally and domestically, is a device not for the functioning of free markets, but for corporate welfare. The Ex-Im Bank, as an example, hands stolen taxpayer money to the dependencies of the American Empire to fabricate a foreign demand for the rubbish product (in particular weapons) of chosen Big Businesses.

Progressives Need to Rethink the Corporate Income Tax Reply

Article by Kevin Carson.

Liberal and progressive online journals over the past week or so have been buzzing — rightfully so — about the recent revelation that General Electric paid no corporate income tax at all in 2010. According to a recent GAO report, about a quarter of the largest American corporations paid no corporate income tax in 2005.

But that’s really just the way the system is set up. If you think about it, the corporate income tax really isn’t all that progressive. Just about all the tax loopholes and other tricks for avoiding taxation tend to favor the big boys at the expense of everyone else. Perhaps the single best way to avoid taxes is for transnationals to shuffle income to subsidiaries in the lowest-taxed jurisdictions, so transnationals already have a leg up on the smaller companies that operate primarily in the United States. And if you look at the largest tax deductions and tax credits, they go overwhelmingly to companies that are capital-intensive (the writeoff for depreciation), high tech (the R&D tax credit), or heavily involved in mergers and acquisitions (the deduction for interest on corporate debt).

What’s more, the largest corporations are least likely to suffer for whatever corporate income taxes they do pay, because they tend to be in oligopoly industries that practice tacit pricing collusion through the “price leader” system. This doesn’t require any conspiracies or secret meetings in smoke-filled rooms. When three, four or five large firms control more than half the market in a given industry, they tend to follow the pricing practices of the dominant firm. So prices in an oligopoly market are “stickier.” The practical effect is that the big firms in an oligopoly industry are able to use administered pricing based on a markup from their costs — including the corporate income tax — and pass them on to the customers. That’s essentially the same thing a regulated public utility does.

War! What is it good for? 2

Article by James Clingman. Hat tip to Miles Joyner at the American Revolutionary Vanguard Facebook page.
That question was posed in a song by Edwin Starr during an earlier generation, and we are asking that same question now.

Well, it’s good for raising the price of oil, gasoline, and diesel fuel, isn’t it? It’s good for hypocritical politicians to rail against the same actions they refused to challenge when their guy was spending a billion dollars per week in Iraq – 5000 Americans dead because of a big lie. So, now we ask what good is this latest war. The answer: “Absolutely nothing,” just like Edwin Starr refrained back in 1969, that is, unless you are a war profiteer.

Yes, here we go again with this never-ending charade of managing the world, dethroning dictators we don’t like, interfering in another country’s internal affairs, getting in the middle of a civil war, and the resulting benefit of that old stand-by: price gouging.

Taxpayers are paying for the wars and the result of wars. We are suffering through one of the worse depressions in history while our heads of state are slashing budgets in an effort to balance them on the backs of the poor and so-called middle class.

And, we believe Libyans have it bad?

Remember when fuel prices were sky high a few years ago? We blamed George W. Bush, suggesting he could make a few calls to his Saudi buddies and get those prices down to a reasonable level. Who are we to call upon now? Oh yes, that’s right, Barack Obama. Funny, I haven’t heard him speak out about the high price of gas lately. He should have paid Hugo Chavez a visit during his trip to South America to make a deal on some Venezuelan fuel.

The real kicker is the fact that Libya’s share of the world’s oil market is a mere 2%. How can prices at the pump rise by 75 cents in such a short period of time simply because the people in Libya rebelled against their leader? Could it be manipulation, or maybe just greed?

They say Gaddafi is killing his own people, so we have to go in and stop that. Yet, we stood by and watched Rwanda and the Sudan. We watched North Korea and Iran. And, now we are watching Yemen and Bahrain do the same things. What’s the difference?

Our sanctimonious approach to other countries where internal violence occurs is something to behold. Our memory is very short however. Kent State, Fred Hampton, Amadou Diallo, Kenneth Walker, and Roger Owensby, just to name a few. And, if you go back to the 1920’s, what about the hundreds of Black folks killed by government supported White citizens in Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Greenwood District, better known as Black Wall Street?

Yes, the hypocrisy abounds without shame. The money keeps rolling in and the ignorant consumers keep falling for the same three-card Monte trick that fills the pockets of the affluent and keeps those less fortunate wondering how to pay for a fill-up. It used to cost me about $11.00 to fill my gas tank back in 1997 or so. Today that same amount of gas for that same car requires more than $50.00 to fill ‘er up. Yes, I still have that same car (375,700 miles and counting).

Nepal: Identity Politics and Federalism Reply

An interesting article that may well be relevant to the future of American politics.
Federal restructuring of the state has emerged as a major demand of ethnic and regional activists in Nepal. The debate about it is extremely politicised. Federalism is not simply the decentralisation of political power; it has become a powerful symbol for a wider agenda of inclusion, which encompasses other institutional reforms to guarantee ethnic proportional representation and a redefinition of Nepali nationalism to recognise the country’s ethnic and cultural diversity.

Activists demand the introduction of reservations to guarantee proportional representation of marginalised groups in government and administration. They want provinces to be named after the most numerous ethnic and regional groups and boundaries drawn to make them dominant minorities. Some claim to be indigenous to these regions and demand preferential rights to natural resources and agradhikar – priority entitlement to political leadership positions in the future provinces.

Ethnic and regional demands were important parts of the Maoist agenda during the civil war; in eastern Nepal, much of their support depended on it. State restructuring became a central component of the 2006 peace deal. After violent protests in the Tarai in 2007, federalism was included in the interim constitution as a binding principle for the Constituent Assembly.

But of the three major parties, the Maoists are the only one to give full-throated support to federalism and the establishment of ethnic provinces. Identity politics may sit uneasily with their class-based ideological framework but federalism is of great importance for them. Now that the former Hindu kingdom is a secular republic, it is the most important point left on their short-term transformative agenda. Much grassroots support, the loyalty of ethnic and regionalist activists within the party and their wider credibility as a force for change depend on them following through.

Figure 1: Distribution of caste and ethnic groups in Nepal
Pie graph showing caste and ethnic distribution in Nepal

Thaddeus Russell. A Renegade History of the United States Reply

Book review by Kevin Carson. This looks to be a great book.
Unlike many dissident histories of the United States, which attempt to portray racial minorities, sexual subcultures and subordinate classes as “worthy victims” in terms of the social mores of the white middle class, Thaddeus Russell celebrates the kind of people that your parents may have warned you about: the low-down, no-count, not-respectable people. You know, the folks who “never amounted to anything”—and neither would you if you didn’t steer clear of them.

Against the austere “republican virtue” of the “Founding Fathers” as we usually encounter them in public school American history classes, Russell juxtaposes the urban populations of the colonies and the taverns that served them. Those bluenose marble gods were obsessed with “license,” “luxury” and “degeneracy of manners” with good reason, if you look at the taverns that stood on just about every street corner in the towns of British America. There you could see the rabble kicking up their heels and drinking at just about any hour, see blacks and whites dancing (and “dancing”) together, and hear the f-word being shouted with wild abandon. To a large extent the sumptuary laws of the early republican period, with their goal of encouraging Spartan simplicity and self-control, were a social engineering experiment by “Founding Fathers” who regarded the population of their country with horror.

Russell works from a considerable scholarly apparatus on the topic of the artificiality of whiteness, and focuses in vivid detail on the ways of European ethnic minorities like the Irish and Italians before they were officially incorporated into the white race.

He prefers the “unworthy” to the “worthy” victim: freed slaves who didn’t want to internalize the WASP work ethic, gays who didn’t want to create respectable mirror-images of the monogamous heterosexual nuclear family, and blacks who didn’t want to march quietly and decorously in suits with Dr. King.

A Community Organizer Goes to War Reply

Article by Pat Buchanan.
Why is this small civil war in a North African desert country America’s war?

The White House will not even concede America is at war. And understandably so. For that would trigger follow-up questions.

If we are at war with Libya, who started it? What was the casus belli requiring us to go to war? Did Libyan troops attack U.S. citizens or ships in the Mediterranean? Who is the aggressor in this war?

The truth: America is fighting another war of choice in Libya, and this one without any constitutional sanction. Congress not only did not declare this war, Congress was not even consulted.

Yet, once begun, wars create new political realities.

Now that Obama and Hillary Clinton have declared that Gadhafi must go, and U.S. military power has been put massively in on the side of the rebels, Gadhafi cannot win without Obama losing face and the United States being humiliated.

Saving Obama’s face and preserving our superpower image may be the cause for which we kill a number of Libyans who did nothing to us.

Our America Last Financial Policy Reply

Article by Kevin DeAnna.
What a surprise! It has been revealed that the Federal Reserve, which has been fighting to conceal the beneficiaries of its billion dollar bailouts, gave most of the money to banks overseas, including a company part owned by the Central Bank of Libya.

Vincent Reinhart, the Fed’s director of monetary affairs from 2001 to 2007, stated,

The caricature of the Fed is that it was shoveling money to big New York banks and a bunch of foreigners, and that is not conducive to its long-run reputation.

Unfortunately, as would be expected, the caricature is true.

America Last — in finance as well as foreign policy.