Africa

The President, the General and their country

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 21/09/2017 - 7:21pm in

Tags 

Africa, elections

The transition in
Angola is already on its way. Fortunately for Angolans– except for Mr. Dos
Santos and his entourage – it is not heading to where the former President wants. Español Português

CC0. Public Domain.

“General,
your tank is a powerful vehicle. It smashes down forests and crushes a hundred
men. But it has one defect: It needs a driver. General, your bomber is
powerful. It flies faster than a storm and carries more than an elephant. But
it has one defect: It needs a mechanic. General, man is very useful. He can fly
and he can kill. But he has one defect: He can think.”

- Bertolt Brecht

Angola is not a democracy. Any serious and
impartial analysis should start from the assertion that, in a democracy,
journalists are free to do their work
without being targeted

and presidents do not stay
in power for 38 years and unilaterally delay elections according to their own
agenda. The nature of a regime does not depend on whether its leader is better
or worse than, say, Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang or Zimbawe’s Robert Mugabe.
Neither does it depend on the interests of some politicians who capitalize on
the richness of 1% of the
population
while the majority endures poverty and sickness in a
resource-rich country. It does depend on political rights and
civil liberties
, the state of which in Angola is such, according to
Freedom House, that the country can in no way be said to be a free country.

Respect for democratic norms and human
dignity is not something that can be stopped at borders, regardless of what
certain people say
. Defenders of human rights, freedom of expression and
freedom of the press do not brainwash people. They struggle with the people to ensure that every citizen,
may it be Portuguese or Angolan, is entitled to live his or her life fully. It
is a matter of fact that Angola is an autocracy, where millions live in poverty
because a few enjoy billions, and that Mr. Dos Santos is – or rather was, while
in power - an archetypal autocrat. And facts are facts, no matter how hard you
try to spin them. Sadly, electoral dynamics can turn them upside down. In Angola, some politicians have been accusing
human rights defenders of being imperialist agents, thus missing an opportunity
to choose their words  wisely or, to say
the least, trying to conceal how uninterested they are in what may happen to
those living outside Luanda’s
luxurious gated communities
.

Parting ways?

Since Angola´s independence from Portugal
in 1975, the country has been ruled by a single party: the People's Movement
for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA). The country has known only two Presidents:
Agostinho Neto, the party´s founder - until his death in 1979 – and, since
then, José Eduardo dos Santos. After almost forty years in office, today Mr.
Dos Santos is no longer President. João Lourenço, the former defence minister, an
artillery general and a long-time member of the MPLA, is now the country´s new
President. But make no mistake: Mr. Dos Santos will retain control of his party and
those close to him will be protected: laws have been passed to prevent the new
President from firing the heads of the military and the security services for the
next eight years. As for his family, it is safe and well off: his daughter – the richest woman in
Africa
– will remain in charge of Sonangol, the state oil company, and his
son, José Filomeno, will keep on controlling the
country´s multibillion dollar wealth fund
. As Mr. Dos Santos
family and circle grip on Angola continues, so will corruption and
nepotism.  It is hard to believe that
Joao Lourenço will be willing or capable to fulfil his electoral promise to
tackle corruption if that means going against his party´s interests.

Change will come sooner or later and it will come from the bottom.

As long as Mr. Dos Santos remains behind
the scenes and a small elite of exceedingly wealthy families controls the country´s
economy, nothing is expected to change at the top. But change will come sooner
or later and it will come from the bottom. Angola is a repressive and corrupt country
where the now former President managed to keep the poor almost invisible, but where one in five children
die before they are five
,
a third of the population lives under the
poverty line, and thousands live with no running water, no schools, no hospitals
and no roads. However, as the economic crisis
unfolded
, inflation skyrocketed, the price of oil crashed and unemployment
soared, the invisible has become visible,
once friendly international politicians are becoming less friendly, and more
and more young Angolans – two thirds of the
population is under thirty-five
– are developing a
political consciousness. Increasingly, few believe that a democratic transition
will come about without decisive action from the people.

Electoral
fraud?

On September 6, the Angolan Electoral Commission
(CNE) confirmed João Lourenço as Angola´s new
President. The MPLA won the elections, which took place on August 23, with
61.07% of the votes and 150 seats out of 220. 
The National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) came
second with 26,67% of the votes, and the Broad Convergence for the Salvation of
Angola (CASA-CE) third, with 9,44% of the votes. These elections, however, have
been under suspicion well before they took place.

The European Union was invited as an
observer, barely a month before the elections. The EU, as standards procedure,
required the Angolan government to sign a memorandum guaranteeing access to the
entire territory, impartiality and independence. The Angolan government,
through its Foreign Minister
George Chikoti
, refused to sign it, claiming that while it was
inviting the EU, Angola was “not willing to be taught lessons about elections”.
The invitation was obviously a smokescreen. The invitation was made under
pressure from the opposition and civil society, but the government immediately
limited the scope and the implications of the process. As a result, the EU finally sent a
small team of experts

– less than ten-member strong - who were unable to provide a
comprehensive account of the electoral process.

But transparency and legitimacy of an electoral process cannot be upheld

Suspicion continued after the elections. On
August 24, an MPLA official announced that five million out of nine million
ballots had already been counted, and that the incumbents had received 66% of
them. The following day, a spokesperson for the Angolan Electoral Commission
(CNE) announced, without a final count
in any of the 18 Angolan provinces
, that the MPLA had
obtained 64.57% of the votes. According to the opposition parties, only in
Cabinda, Uíge and Zaire were votes duly counted according to the
Electoral Law and the Constitution
. In other provinces
there were reports of ballot boxes disappearing and individuals alien to the
electoral process taking part in the counting procedure, trying to match the
definitive and the provisional results illegally declared days before. Unsurprisingly, both
the Electoral Commission and the Constitutional Court rejected the claims of
alleged irregularities
, accusing the opposition of bad faith and upholding
the early disclosure of the provisional results. But transparency and
legitimacy of an electoral process cannot be upheld

A smaller autocrat

Regardless of the accusations of electoral
fraud, the MPLA results were far worse than in
2012
, when Mr. Dos Santos
obtained 72% of the votes, showing that slowly, but steadily, the MPLA is losing support, especially among the
urban youth. Since two thirds of Angolans are under 35, it is only a matter of
time before they decide to put an end to what has been going on in Angola in
the last decades. Mr. Lourenço may say that he will not be a Gorbachev, but he will be no
Deng Xiaoping
either. Angola’s problems go well beyond the corruption which
Mr. Lourenço claims he is going to tackle. Corruption is a very serious issue
in Angola, but to find the
culprit you just have to look up
: to Mr. Dos Santos,
his family, and his generals. And to assume that Mr. Lourenço will be capable or
willing to go against his party and his leader is just a fantasy. From extreme
poverty to extremely poor healthcare, Angola is now feeling the effects of
decades of autocracy, kleptocracy and nepotism. Getting Angola back in economic
shape, taking millions out of poverty and opening the door for true democracy is
a huge task, way above Mr. Lourenço’s capabilities.

Some may call it imperialism, but for most people, this is just democracy. 

Probably José Eduardo Agualusa, the
internationally acclaimed Angolan writer, has got it right in his most recent
book The Society of Involuntary Dreamers. In a dream, a
protester named Hossi enters the Presidential Palace in Luanda and faces the
President, who asks him what he wants. The protester answers: everything! And
with a simple gesture he splits the President in two, and a smaller President
emerges from within. The protester then asks him: Why did you arrest young
activists? And the smaller President shrinks. Why did you keep for yourself
what belongs to every Angolan? And the President shrinks further. Why are you
afraid of them? And the now tiny President keeps on shrinking…

The transition in Angola is already in
motion. Fortunately for Angolans – except for Mr. Dos Santos and his entourage
– it is not heading to where the former President wants. For democracy to
blossom in Angola, faith must not be placed in Mr. Lourenço and his party: change
will come from the revus, the young
people in the streets who want to lead their life in dignity, with proper
healthcare services, proper education, a free press and free elections. Some may call it
imperialism
, but for most people, this is just democracy. 

Sideboxes
Related stories: 

Books and dreams: an autocrat’s nightmare

How free is freedom in Angola?

Rights: 

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Out of Africa: Why the Migration Wave?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 20/09/2017 - 6:18pm in

Why are so many risking their lives to flee Africa?

Out of Africa

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 20/09/2017 - 4:00am in

Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Anis Chowdhury

Not a single month has passed without dreadful disasters triggering desperate migrants to seek refuge in Europe. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), at least 2,247 people have died or are missing after trying to enter Europe via Spain, Italy or Greece in the first half of this year. Last year, 5,096 deaths were recorded.

The majority – including ‘economic migrants’, victims of ‘people smugglers’, and so on – were young Africans aged between 17 and 25. The former head of the British mission in Benghazi (Libya) claimed in April that as many as a million more were already on their way to Libya, and then Europe, from across Africa.

Why flee Africa?

Why are so many young Africans trying to leave the continent of their birth? Why are they risking their lives to flee Africa?

Part of the answer lies in the failure of earlier economic policies of liberalization and privatization, typically introduced as part of the structural adjustment programmes (SAPs) that many countries in Africa were subjected to from the 1980s and onwards. The World Bank, the African Development Bank and most Western donors supported the SAPs, despite United Nations’ warnings about their adverse social consequences.

SAP advocates promised that private investment and exports would soon follow, bringing growth and prosperity. Now, a few representatives from the Washington-based Bretton Woods institutions admit that ‘neoliberalism’ was ‘oversold’, condemning the 1980s and 1990s to become ‘lost decades’.

While SAPs were officially abandoned in the late 1990s, their replacements were little better. The Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) of the World Bank and IMF promised to reduce poverty with some modified policy conditionalities and prescriptions.

Meanwhile, the G8 countries reneged on their 2005 Gleneagles pledge to provide an extra US$25 billion a year for Africa as part of a US$50 billion increase in financial assistance to “make poverty history”.

Poor Africa

Thanks to the SAPs, PRSPs and complementary policies, Africa became the only continent to see a massive increase in poverty by the end of the 20th century and during the 15 years of the Millennium Development Goals. Nearly half the continent’s population now lives in poverty.

According to the World Bank’s Poverty in Rising Africa, the number of Africans in extreme poverty increased by more than 100 million between 1990 and 2012 to about 330 million. It projects that “the world’s extreme poor will be increasingly concentrated in Africa”.

The continent has also been experiencing rising economic inequality, with higher inequality than in the rest of the developing world, even overtaking Latin America. National Gini coefficients – the most common measure of inequality – average around 0.45 for the continent, rising above 0.60 in some countries, and increasing in recent years.

While the continent is experiencing a ‘youth bulge’, with more young people (aged 15-24) in its population, it has failed to generate sufficient decent jobs. South Africa, the most developed economy in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), has a youth unemployment rate of 54%.

The real situation could be even worse. Discouraged youth, unable to find decent jobs, drop out of the labour force, and consequently, are simply not counted.

Surviving in Africa

Most poor people simply cannot afford to remain unemployed in the absence of a decent social protection system. To survive, they have to accept whatever is available. Hence, Africa’s ‘working poor’ and underemployment ratios are much higher. In Ghana, for example, the official unemployment rate is 5.2%, while the underemployment rate is 47.0%!

Annual growth rates have often exceeded 5% in many African countries in the new century. SAP and PRSP advocates were quick to claim credit for the end of Africa’s ‘lost quarter century’, arguing that their harsh policy prescriptions were finally bearing fruit. After the commodity price collapse since 2014, the proponents have gone quiet.

With trade liberalization and consequently, greater specialization, many African countries are now even more dependent on fewer export commodities. The top five exports of SSA are all non-renewable natural resources, accounting for 60% of exports in 2013.

The linkages of extractive activities with the rest of national economies are now lower than ever. Thus, despite impressive economic growth rates, the nature of structural change in many African economies have made them more vulnerable to external shocks.

False start again?

Africa possesses about half the uncultivated arable land in the world. Sixty percent of SSA’s population work in jobs related to agriculture. However, agricultural productivity has mostly remained stagnant since 1980.

With agriculture stagnant, people moved from rural to urban areas, only to find life little improved. Thus, Africa has been experiencing rapid urbanization and slum growth. According to UN Habitat, 60% of SSA’s urban population live in slums, with poor access to basic services, let alone new technologies.

Powerful outside interests, including the BWIs and donors, have been advocating large farm production, claiming it to be the only way to boost productivity. Several governments have already leased out land to international agribusiness, often displacing settled local communities.

Meanwhile, Africa’s share of global manufacturing has fallen from about 3% in 1970 to less than 2% in 2013. Manufacturing’s share of total African GDP has decreased from 16% in 1974 to around 13% in 2013. At around a tenth, manufacturing’s share of SSA’s output in 2013 is much lower than in other developing regions. Unsurprisingly, Africa has deindustrialized over the past four decades!

One cannot help but doubt how the G20’s new ‘compact with Africa’, showcased at Hamburg, can combat poverty and climate change effects, in addition to deterring the exodus out of Africa, without fundamental policy changes.

Originally published by Inter Press Service.

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William Blum on Socialism vs. Capitalism

William Blum, the long-time fierce critic of American and western imperialism, has come back to writing his Anti-Empire Report after a period of illness. He’s an older man of 84, and due to kidney failure has been placed on dialysis for the rest of his life. This has left him, as it does others with the same condition, drained of energy, and he says he finds writing the report difficult. Nevertheless, his mind and his dissection of the ruthless, amoral and predatory nature of western capitalism and corporate greed is as acute as ever.

There’s a section in the Anti-Empire Report, where he discusses the advantages of socialism versus capitalism. He notes that there were two studies carried out under George Dubya to see if private corporations were better than federal agencies. And the federal agencies won by a huge margin every time. He writes

Twice in recent times the federal government in Washington has undertaken major studies of many thousands of federal jobs to determine whether they could be done more efficiently by private contractors. On one occasion the federal employees won more than 80% of the time; on the other occasion 91%. Both studies took place under the George W. Bush administration, which was hoping for different results. 1 The American people have to be reminded of what they once knew but seem to have forgotten: that they don’t want BIG government, or SMALL government; they don’t want MORE government, or LESS government; they want government ON THEIR SIDE.

He also states that the juries’ still out on whether socialist countries are more successful than capitalist, as no socialist country has fallen through its own failures. Instead they’ve been subverted and overthrown by the US.

I think he’s wrong about this. The Communist bloc couldn’t provide its people with the same standard of living as the capitalist west, and the state ownership of agriculture was a real obstacle to food production. The bulk of the Soviet Union’s food was produced on private plots. Similarly, Anton Dubcek and the leaders of the Prague Spring, who wanted to reform and democratize Communism, not overthrow it, believed that Czechoslovakia’s industrial development was held back through the rigid structure of Soviet-style central planning.

However, he still has a point, in that very many left and left-leaning regimes have been overthrown by America, particularly in South America, but also across much of the rest of the world, as they were perceived to be a threat to American political and corporate interests. And for the peoples of these nations, it’s questionable how successful capitalism is. For example, in the 1950s the Americans overthrew the Guatemalan government of Jacobo Arbenz after he dared to nationalize the banana plantations, many of which were own by the American corporation, United Fruit. Benz was a democratic socialist – not a Communist, as was claimed by the American secret state – who nationalized the plantations in order to give some dignity and a decent standard of living to the agricultural workers on them. The government that overthrew Benz was a brutal Fascist dictatorship, which imposed conditions very close to feudal serfdom on the plantation labourers.

Which leads to a more general point about the emergence of capitalism, imperialism and the exploitation of the developing world. Marxists have argued that capitalism had partly arisen due to western imperialism. It was the riches looted from their conquered overseas territories that allowed western capitalism to emerge and develop. Again this is a matter of considerable debate, as some historians have argued that the slave trade and plantation slavery only added an extra 5 per cent to the British economy during the period these existed in the British empire, from the mid-17th century to 1840. More recently, historians have argued that it was the compensation given to the slaveowners at emancipation, that allowed capitalism to develop. In the case of the large slaveholders, this compensation was the equivalent of tens of millions of pounds today. At the time the plantation system was in crisis, and many of the plantation owners were heavily in debt. The slaveholders used the money given to them by the British government – £20 million, a colossal sum then-to invest in British industry, thus boosting its development.

This system has continued today through what the Swedish economist Gunnar Myrdal termed ‘neocolonialism’. This is the international trading system which the former imperial masters imposed on their colonies after the end of imperialism proper following the Second World War. High tariffs and other barriers were imposed to stop these countries developing their own manufacturing industries, which could produced finished goods that would compete with those of Europe and the west. Instead, the former subject nations were forced through a series of trade agreements to limit themselves to primary industries – mining and agriculture – which would provide western and European industry with the raw materials it needed. As a global system, it’s therefore highly debatable how successful capitalism is in providing for people’s needs, when the relative success of the capitalist west has depended on the immiseration and exploitation of countless millions in the developed world.

And in the developed west itself, capitalism is failing. In the 19th century Marx pointed to the repeated crises and economic slumps that the system created, and predicted that one of these would be so severe that it would destroy capitalism completely. He was wrong. Capitalism did not collapse, and there was a long period of prosperity and growth from the late 19th century onwards.

But terrible, grinding poverty still existed in Britain and the rest of the developed world, even if conditions were slowly improving. And the long period of prosperity and growth after the Second World War was partly due to the foundation of the welfare state, Keynsian economic policies in which the government invested in the economy in order to stimulate it, and a system of state economic planning copied from the French.

Now that Thatcherite governments have rolled back the frontiers of the state, we’ve seen the re-emergence of extreme poverty in Britain. An increasing number of Brits are now homeless. 700,000 odd are forced to use food banks to keep body and soul together, as they can’t afford food. Millions more are faced with the choice between eating and paying the bills. In the school holiday just passed, three million children went hungry. And some historians are predicting that the refusal of the governments that came after the great crash of 2008 to impose controls on the financial sector means that we are heading for the final collapse of capitalism. They argue that the industrial and financial elite in Europe know it’s coming, are just trying to loot as much money as possible before it finally arrives.

The great, free trade capitalism lauded by Thatcher, Reagan and the neoliberal regimes after them has failed to benefit the majority of people in Britain and the rest of the world. But as the rich 1 per cent have benefited immensely, they are still promoting neoliberal, free trade policies and imposing low wages and exploitative working conditions on the rest of the population, all the while telling us that we’re richer and generally more prosperous than ever before.

Back to Blum’s Anti-Empire Report, he also has a few quotes from the American comedian Dick Gregory, who passed away this year. These include the following acute observations

“The way Americans seem to think today, about the only way to end hunger in America would be for Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird to go on national TV and say we are falling behind the Russians in feeding folks.”

“What we’re doing in Vietnam is using the black man to kill the yellow man so the white man can keep the land he took from the red man.”

For more, see https://williamblum.org/aer/read/150

Critical voices in critical times: Fanon, race & politics - an interview with Mireille Fanon-Mendès France (part 1 of 2)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 11/09/2017 - 6:03pm in

Mireille
Fanon-Mendès France, activist, scholar, and daughter of Frantz Fanon, talks about the enduring relevance of his ideas and passions in
contemporary political life.

The Fanon artwork by Gaber at http://gaberism.net/ portrait of Mireille Fanon-Mendes France by Linda Herrera.

The work and life of
Frantz Fanon (1925-1961), whose incisive and visionary work on
revolution, liberation, race, emancipation, and decolonization,
continues to resonate in these “interesting” times. Who better to
talk about the enduring relevance of Fanon’s ideas and passions in
contemporary political life then his formidable daughter, Mireille
Fanon-Mendès France. In addition to being an authority on Fanon,
Fanon-Mendès France is a scholar of decolonialism, UN expert on
people of African descent, legal advisor in a law firm in France, and
human rights activist
on Palestine

and other places where the right to self-determination is in
question. She also works on issues of land tenure in countries where
people were enslaved and indigenous people annihilated after
colonization. She is a member of the Frantz
Fanon Foundation
.
Her most recent article is, “Charlottesville,
un rassemblement, une question allant bien au-delà des Etats Unis.

We met in the
Luxemburg Garden in Paris on
June 9, 2017 for
a conversation about Fanon, populism, race, migration, policing, new
social movements, and education. Above all, we pondered if and how
the kind of emancipatory movements that rose with such force half a
century ago during the anti-colonial and civil rights movements,
could have a chance in an era of policed and neoliberal
globalization.

This interview and
accompanying videos is in two parts.

 

 

 

How is the work
and writing of Frantz Fanon relevant today?

What
Fanon began to do as an activist, psychiatrist, and journalist, was
to find the way to free the people from alienation, colonial
alienation and, in the case of Fanon, social and mental alienation.
He was not alone. We have to underline, he was not the only one doing
that. In the 1960s there was a movement. We can think of [Patrice]
Lumumba (1925-1961), and also Steve Biko (1946-1977). But he was the
only psychiatrist linking his professional practice to his activism
and his thinking. We can speak of Fanon as
thought in action, this is one of his unique features.

[These figures] tried
to free the people of alienation, but they did not succeed [in
completing] the process of liberation. What they got was the
liberation of people, but not their emancipation.  We have to
think now about how to get the emancipation of people in order to
have a free Being, non-alienated, emancipated, and non-racialized,
non-stigmatized for reasons of skin color, gender, sex, class,
religion, or whatever the reason. And that’s why the work
introduced by Fanon is still relevant. Because in fact, his work is
not done. He thought about the first steps of this process of
emancipation. He was thinking about issues like women, and role of
the veil among Muslim women. He was thinking about what does it mean
to be a Being? The question of universality. Is there a real
universality or a “colonial universality”? Is it a “decolonial”
universality, or colonial? Until now, there is only colonial, not a
decolonial universality. We need now to find answers to all these
questions he raised.  

We [have to be
cognizant] that we are asking these questions from within a
financialized and militarized system that took shape after World War
II. This system tends to [divide humans] into “Beings,” and
“Non-Beings.” This universality we speak of denotes a colonial
perception of the world. In fact, it has become clear that the
capitalist world was built on a series of lies which are being
constantly repeated. They become truths through the international
community and its multilateral institutions, and also by a large part
of civil society.

There has been a
continuous wave of uprisings and popular movements around the world
since the Arab Uprisings of 2010/2011. Do you think we are in an era
of emancipatory movements, or are they something else?

In most of our
societies, people are ready to carry on and work for social
transformation, to break the divide of Beings / Non-Beings [but they
don’t know the way]. The financialization of the world
unfortunately even negatively impacts the way people live and think.
I think now people want to see some change, but I don’t think they
want to have political change. They want to see change for [the sake
of] change, but not for a strong project for social transformation.
[That’s
why I think] people don’t
care about social transformation. I really think they only care about
some small change at the political level. For example, to be able to
watch someone else on the television, [different from] the formal
politicians we have in France, the US, and other countries. We
are no longer in a society that fundamentally values human
emancipation. We are in a society of illusion, built from the past
but with more cynicism.

It
is in this narrowing space, in this time of decline, that populist
movements emerge. It’s very dangerous because these [populists] are
not in favor of the people. They are in favor of a certain part of
the society, and particularly in favor of the Being. Their concern is
with rich people, the powerful people, and how to keep the power
between them. Their objective is not to share the power, to see for
example, a participatory democracy, the application of fundamental
rights or environmental [issues]. They are not concerned about these
things. They give us just some carrots to eat. But just some very
small carrots to say we are happy, and it’s okay. But really, they
are just concerned with how they can keep the money and use the
system to work more in their favor, for their own profit.

You
can take the last US and French elections as examples. A lot of
people voted for Trump. He is a very dangerous person, and absolutely
unpolitical. He knows nothing about fundamental rights, not even
about human rights. Really, he does not know anything. He is very
focused on himself and his family. And in France there’s Macron.
He’s just a technocrat. He does not know about politics either. I
think the people who elected Trump and Macron made a huge mistake.
And for me, I am now hopeless. I don’t see how we can transform
this kind of situation. It will take a long time.

This
type of election has an impact on the mental health of a society. The
members of society feel themselves dispossessed of their intelligence
and of their right to think. The
question becomes, how we can find a space where thought can be
reconstructed and people allowed to think? In the meantime, we are in
a depressed state and somewhat hopeless.

In France, many
people supported Emmanuel Macron for president even if they opposed
his policies. They considered the far right National Front party,
Marine
Le Pen
,
more dangerous.

 I disagree
totally with all these people who were saying we should vote for
Macron because we don’t want Marine Le Pen.  If we decide to
vote for Macron in order to avoid having Le Pen as president, it
could be a solution. But then we [would have needed] to negotiate
with Macron, to say, “We are not in favor of your policies. We
refuse your policies. But we know we need to be behind you in order
to avoid Marine Le Pen.” But without any negotiation, the people
gave Macron the carte
blanche
.
And now Macron considers that the people support him. And he’s very
happy with that. He’s doing political games. Politics now is like
an internet game, [trying to have stories go viral]. 

I’m
sure he’s absolutely not aware about African descent here or what
it means to be racialized in this country where there is this stupid
slogan, “vivre
ensemble

(live together). That means absolutely nothing. They have individual
projects for their own interests, not for the good of the people. We
really shouldn’t wait for anything [positive] from them. Presidents
like Trump, Macron, and many others around the world, are very
destructive.

At the same time
as the rise of “anti-political” populists, we also have the rise
of more left-leaning figures like Bernie Sanders in the US and
Jean-Luc Mélenchon in France. Do you think they represent a
different kind of political project with possible emancipatory
elements?

For
me, Mélenchon is absolutely not at the same level as Bernie Sanders.
I don’t know Bernie Sanders very well, beyond what I read, but if I
make some comparison with Mélenchon, I can say Mélenchon for me is
not an alternative.
I do not see in him any real change of approach, or something
substantially different than what we have had in government for
decades. He’s
a nationalist, a chauvinist, and sometimes expresses curious
understandings of Islam and the Arab world. And even if during his
presidential campaign he took some lessons to appear politer and
[more politically correct], in fact, he has a background of verbal
violence. By this I mean he is
above all oriented by a “white” perception of the world, shaped
by European Modernity.

He’s
not concerned with [suffering] people and he does not know anything
about Africa. He knows of course about politics in South America, but
not about the largest part of the population, those Non-Beings in
South America. And here I’m speaking about people of African
descent. He knows nothing about the continent of Africa and nothing
about Asia, about India. He repeats things like, “China is the
enemy.” No, China is not the enemy. We have to deal with China. We
have to work with China to build a decolonial and social approach,
and not an approach based on hierarchy and domination.  For me,
this moment is really like a nightmare and every morning I ask
myself, “Oh, how is the world today? Is it the end?” Not in terms
of armed war, but in terms of war against the human being.

How has France
remained intertwined with countries of the African cont
inent?

The African continent
is still
under
colonization. We just have to note that it’s a new form of
colonization. It is under colonization not only by former colonizing
countries, but by the IMF, the World Bank, European Bank, European
commission, the European Union. Europe pays the salaries of the
functionaries of the African Union and imposes bilateral agreements
that are unfair and wrong.

One of the reasons
[France] is a rich country, though we have a lot of debt, is because
of the money given by the African states to manage their
own money
.
[This money is] coming from Africa. … And it’s terrible. 
Francophone states in Africa are obliged to pay a kind of tax from
colonial times. If they don’t, they are expelled from the CFA
[franc currency] system.Nobody thinks about that. And there is not
one current president from these 14 African countries ready to say to
France, “Ok, stop now. Enough is enough.” And really, they have
to do that if they want to work for their populations. Because by
accepting [these conditions], they accept that France transnationals
and private funds can plunder Africa’s natural resources without
any redistribution. You can see how transnational capital succeeds
with the help of [African] states to plunder the natural resources
and steal the lands. You see this in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Uganda,
throughout southern Africa. It’s terrible to see how the population
is expelled from their lands in the interest of just a few. This
plundering partly explains the high level of poverty. Europe, the
“white world,” needs Africa’s and South America’s natural
resources to live. It needs to continue to do what it wants and to
exploit the world for its own profit. 

We need a strong
African continent in order to balance political international
relations and to have a real third force. We need a third force. We
cannot leave these [destructive] Occidental countries to do what they
want, to bring war everywhere. Because they put all people in danger
and they push the world to its fall.

Mireille Fanon-Mendes France, 2017 Picture by Linda Herrera.Do
you have ideas about how to build a “third force”?

It’s
always difficult because if there is something on Africa, it’s not
coming from Africans. It’s coming always from abroad, from the
“experts.” If you go to Africa you will find lots of people who
can speak about the future of Africa. They have projects. They have
political ideas. And they’re absolutely able to think about their
future. But the former colonizing countries do not want to see such
people. They don’t care. More or less they are considered as
enemies. And related to that, one of Frantz Fanon’s concerns in
the beginning of 1960s, the main objective and obsession for him, was
how to build African Unity without the former colonizer. Otherwise,
if you maintain the former colonizer in one way or another, you are
still under colonization. And it is the reality now. This continent
is still under colonization.

How can returning
to the work of Fanon help us to tackle some of these contemporary
issues in Africa and beyond?

Fanon is helping us
because he forces us to not renounce the project of emancipation. He
forces us to go further and continue his work. In fact, when you
read, The
Wretched of the Earth

(1961) or L'an
V de la révolution algérienne

(1959) (A
Dying Colonialism
),
there is some thinking on the evolution of the coming world, but via
the African continent. He anticipated that if the African continent
did not build unity, their liberation movements would fail. And this
is exactly where we are [today]. And that’s a problem also because
the African continent is not the continent we need to balance
international relations.

But
now, I don’t know how we can proceed. Really, I don’t know. It’s
a difficult situation. Here in France we are under a State of
Emergency. It means our private and public liberties are really
reduced and anyone can be arrested. For example, if someone here
passes and understands we are speaking about emancipation or
whatever, and he misunderstands something, he can go to the police.
We could be denounced. And we could be arrested under the fiche
S

[as a threat to national security.] And with no access to a lawyer
for 72 hours.

And
when there is a demonstration, like the COP21, (global
climate conference in Paris
in
November-December 2015), a lot of people [roughly 200]  were
arrested, without any reason. Without any tangible proof, just based
on denouncement, suspicion. And people are afraid. The consequence
now is that people are afraid to be engaged. It takes a lot more
courage now to be engaged. That wasn’t the case before, it was much
easier. Today to be active requires
a double commitment: a commitment to solidarity, but also a
commitment to be willing to give up your freedom for the collective
good.

There
is also an anxiety that permeates this elitist and financialized
world order, that of losing one's work or of never finding work to
begin with. And this is especially true for young people. Most
of the people are living with anxiety. And in this way, the dominant
class succeeds to win and to impose the kind of life they want, to
control the people.

I’m
thinking, related to Fanon, what Fanon said about colonization and
how it affects the colonized people. Now, we are in the same
situation but not because of colonization, but because of
globalization. They succeed to maintain in all of us a high level of
anxiety, of fear. For example, walking in the public space we don’t
know if we will have an attack, or whatever. And then there’s the
instability with work, the difficulty to get good healthcare, a
quality education for your children, whatever. At every level of life
you are under anxiety. Because with globalization, if you are out of
the globalization system, you may
be considered or feared to be out,
totally out of life. And for people, the most important thing is to
be maintained inside this globalization system. It’s functioning
exactly like the colonized system. I think really, we have to think
like that—what Fanon said about colonization, how it could be
applied to the globalization system. Really very intelligent
(laughs). It’s just because we have an interview [I came up with
this idea]. I did not think about this before that.

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Abby Martin on White Supremacism and Anti-Black Racism in Israel

This is another video from RT’s The Empire Files, presented by Abby Martin, showing the grim reality of Israeli racism and White supremacy. It’s about Israel’s persecution of Black immigrants. These include Black asylum seekers from Sudan and Eritrea, and Ethiopian Jewish immigrants. She begins by stating that the Palestinians aren’t the only persecuted group in Israel, and the vicious racial hatred, discrimination and violence towards the Black minority is ironic, coming from a people, who have themselves been bitterly persecuted, whose monuments swear ‘Never Again’ to the horrors of genocide.

The Sudanese and Eritreans comprise only half a per cent of Israel’s population. They came to the country by crossing the Sinai from Egypt, having fled their own homelands due to persecution. The Eritreans seek asylum from conscription into the army, where they are forced to live and work in slave-like conditions. Israel has been forced to take more of them in after Europe has begun to close its borders to them. Yet despite their small numbers, they have been blamed and vilified for spreading crime and disease. Mary Regev, an Israeli politician, has described them as ‘a cancer in our body’. Another Likudnik claimed that they were responsible for a spate of rapes, but that the victims did not report them because their violators had given them AIDS. He also declared that ‘Israel belongs to the White man.’

The result of this has been a series of attacks on Black immigrants. One man was beaten to death by a youth, while a Black baby was left with brain damage after another man stabbed it in the head.

The claims of criminality are all wrong, like so much of the same bullsh*t that is retailed by the extreme Right here in the West about coloured immigrants. In fact, something like one per cent of all crime is committed by Black immigrants from these countries, and the areas inhabited by them have less crime than those of mainstream Israeli society.

In the film, Martin talks to some of these migrants, and hears their stories about fleeing from persecution and genocide in their countries of origin. These people cannot go back. If they do, they will be killed. But nevertheless the Israelis are building massive detention complexes in which to imprison them. Those so incarcerated include genuine asylum seekers, but they are nevertheless also libeled as economic migrants. After they have served their term, they are released and told that they have to go back to their home countries, even though this will mean death for many of them. She also cites the statistics showing that Israel has a far lower rate of granting asylum to migrants seeking sanctuary there.

The asylum seekers also describe how a market, which they set up so that they could buy their own food, was destroyed by the Israeli police.

Ethiopian Jews are also subject to vicious discrimination and persecution. They were allowed to settle into the country after a chief rabbi decided that they were proper Jews, and so could be allowed in under the law of return. Many of them immigrated in a series of airlifts by the Israeli military in the 1970s. I think the Canadian-Israeli film maker, Simcha Jacobovici, made a documentary about these entitle Exodus. Ethiopian Jews constitute only 2 per cent of the population, but are subject to discrimination and resentment. It has been revealed that the Israeli state had a eugenics policy designed to keep their birthrate extremely low by administering contraceptive or sterilizing drugs to Ethiopian women. They were told that they would not be allowed into the country unless they agreed to have these drugs. Martin interviews one Ethiopian young woman, who is part of a civil rights movement, who tells her how the Israeli medical services will not take blood donated by them, but will throw it away.

She also talks to Israelis attending an anti-immigration rally. One of them states that he is a member of Israeli Labour Party, and so considers himself left wing. But he opposes Black immigration, citing their supposed criminality. Not all Israelis accept the reality of this persecution in their society. Martin’s interview with the Ethiopian girl is interrupted by an angry Israeli man, who tells her that she’s wrong, and an argument begins.

I’ve posted up a series of pieces describing the Fascistic nature of the Israeli state. It has a system of apartheid directed against the Palestinians, in which the indigenous people are subject to arbitrary arrest and beatings, whose drinking water can be fouled at will, and whose homes may be occupied by gangs of Israeli settlers.

Critics of Israel have also pointed out that the Zionist settlers were Ashkenazi Jews from eastern Europe, who looked down upon the Arabs, including Arab Jews, as racially and culturally inferior. They were White supremacists, hence the pronounced racism against Blacks in Israel.

As for the forced sterilization of Ethiopian Jewish women, this is in direct contravention of the UN Convention on genocide. Israel isn’t alone in this policy, however. The Nazis did it. The Americans also did it to the indigenous peoples, apart from the mentally defective. The Swedes also sterilized those they considered ‘dysgenic’ until the 1970s. And the Czechs have also done it for decades to the Roma, the Gypsies, in their country.

So while they’re hardly unique, they’ve still committed a crime against humanity, defined as genocide under international law.

Yet despite this, the Zionist lobby is determined to smear anyone who dares to criticize Israel for its racism, genocide and ethnic cleansing an anti-Semite, include proud opponents of all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism. Those smeared include both gentiles and self-respecting secular and Torah-observant Jews. In the Labour party, the Zionist lobby in the form of the Jewish Labour Movement has tried to censor all discussion of Israeli racism. And the woefully misnamed Campaign Against Anti-Semitism has done the same, demanding the expulsion and suspension of people, whose only crime is that they embarrassed the Zionists by revealing what they really don’t want people to know.

The Jewish Labour Movement is the companion organization to the Israeli Labour Party, which was responsible for a series of massacres of the Palestinian population under Ben Gurion and Golda Meir, and whose leader has described his deep hatred of the Palestinians and his desire to have the 61 Arab MKs deprived of their seats in the Knesset.

Instead of decent people like Ken Livingstone, Jackie Walker and Tony Greenstein being subjected to trumped up charges of anti-Semitism, the leaders of the Zionist lobby, including Andrew Pollard of the Campaign Against Zionism, should have to answer for their support of a brutal, Nazi regime.

Guy Debord’s Cat on the Deceptive Charm of Jacob Rees-Mogg, and Fascist Entryism in the Tory Party

The current popularity amongst the Tories and their lackeys for Jacob Rees-Mogg is a particular concern of mine. Mogg is the highly privileged son of William Rees-Mogg, a titled member of the aristocracy, who wrote at various times for the Times and Independent. Rees-Mogg senior lived in one of the villages around Bath, if I recall correctly. His son is the Tory MP for north Somerset, just south of where I live in Bristol.

Jacob Rees-Mogg has somehow endeared himself to the Tories and part of the British public through his polite, aristocratic and anachronistic demeanour. He’s been called ‘the minister for the 18th century’. He now has a fan club, Moggmentum, in imitation of Corbyn’s support group of Momentum. He also has 25,000 followers on Twitter. One fan of his in Somerset is such a mad fan of his, that he had Mogg’s face tattooed on him, which became one of the evening’s news stories for the local news programme, Points West here in Bristol a few weeks ago. He’s so popular indeed, that he’s being touted as a possible successor to Theresa May.

This should terrify anyone, with any real idea of politics and the true state of this country. For his smooth, cultured and quiet-spoken politesse, Mogg’s own views are highly reactionary, and frankly horrific. He began his career as a politician campaign in Fife, where the major platform of his campaign was trying to convince impoverished fisherfolk that retaining an hereditary House of Lords was supremely important and beneficial. And as a blue-blooded aristo, he is convinced that the poor should be kept firmly in their place, serving and transferring whatever wealth they have to the rich and powerful. A little while ago Mike did a feature on him on his blog. He discussed the numerous instances in which Mogg had consistently voted down bills, which would improve conditions for the poor and disabled, and voted instead for cutting benefits and privatizing what’s left of the welfare state.

It probably isn’t too much to say that many of those, who vote for him either believe themselves to be of the same class as him, and so will also benefit by his efforts to restore aristocratic privilege. Or else they’re members of the lower classes, who have been convinced through repetition of the same claims down the generations that the aristocracy are the country’s natural rulers, and working people should know their place. Like the various servants Mum met while working in that part of Somerset, who voted Tory because that’s the way Master voted.

Guy Debord’s Cat has written a very good piece over on his site, describing just how vile Mogg and what he represents actually are. He writes

It’s a sure sign of the Conservative Party’s dearth of talent that Jacob Rees Mogg should be talked up as a possible successor to the hapless and utterly useless Theresa May. Many people find Moggy endearing. They love his plummy RP accent. They love his double-breasted suit jackets. They love his fustiness. They love his toffee-nosed demeanour and they love his apparently Waugh-esque wit. At Nowhere Towers we take a different view: we find him tiresome and representative of an ages old problem with Britain. Namely, he reeks of privilege and his accent and ‘eccentric’ charm masks a ruthlessness and cruelty that is common to many members of his class.

When it comes to loving one’s oppressor, the Brits have both rationalized and elevated their oppression a fine art. We love our posh bastards. Don’t we? Remember how people fawned over Bozza? I haven’t forgotten. Both of them went to Eton and Oxford. Both of them are seen as rather buffoonish, though for very different reasons. And both are seen as thoroughly British eccentrics. But that’s the problem: many people refuse to see through their media-constructed façades and choose to see oh-so-disarming posh twits instead. Please, wake up!

That Moggy should be touted by some Tories as a counterweight to Jeremy Corbyn’s soaring popularity speaks volumes about the parlous condition of his party and the dire health of our media.

He goes on to mention three articles taking apart Mogg, his highly deceptive appeal, exposing what he really represents, from Skwawkbox, the New Statesman and Victor Lewis-Smith. But he goes on to discuss an event the other articles don’t. This is the time in 2013 when Mogg went off to a formal, black tie dinner with the Traditional Britain Group. His article includes a photo from the evening, showing Mogg seated next to two truly horrific fixtures of the British Far Right, Jack Buckby of the Cultural Nationalists and the BNP, and Gregory Lauder-Frost.

The Traditional Britain Group itself, from what I’ve seen of it, is another xenophobic, anti-immigrant, racist group, which particularly despises Islam. They also want to restore the old class system and privatize the NHS. Gerry Gable of the anti-Nazi organization, Searchlight, warned Mogg not to attend. But he did. When he was exposed by the press, he made a gushing Mea Culpa condemning racism, distancing himself from them, and claimed he had been misinformed and acted in ignorance.

To me, this is less than convincing. As the French philosophical feline points out, most people if invited to attend a function by a group they know nothing about would try to know what it stood for first.

The article then goes on to discuss just how unpleasant Buckby and Lauder-Frost are. As well as founding the National Culturalists, which was banned on campus as a racist, Fascist organization by the Students’ Guild at Liverpool University, Buckby was also a member of the BNP. He was their candidate for the Batley and Spen bye-election, caused by the assassination of Jo Cox. Which shows this character’s complete lack of class. He was also press officer for Liberty GB. The Cat’s article states that it is anti-immigration. That’s true, but it’s also specifically against one ethnic group of immigrants: Muslims. It was founded as part of the Islamophobic ‘counter-jihad’ movement by many of the same people involved in the EDL.

Demonstrating Buckby’s personal nastiness, the Cat’s article has a clip of him being interviewed by Krishnan Guru-Murthy on Channel 4 News, along with an Irish expert on White supremacist and Fascist movements and a young Black woman from Black students’ group. Guru-Murthy makes it very clearly that he despises Buckby’s views, but has to interview him as part of the programme’s mission to investigate minority opinions. Buckby spends much of the interview vehemently denying that he is at all racist, while loudly declaring that we shouldn’t allow more Muslim immigrants into the country because of their inherently violent, criminal nature. When one of the two women argues against him, he replies by saying ‘I hope you don’t get raped.’ Because all Muslims are rapists, right?

Lauder-Frost, it seems, is a former member of the Monday Club, who used to chair their Foreign Affairs Committee, and is the Traditional Britain Group’s vice-president and treasurer. Before joining them, he was one of the steering committee of the Conservative Democratic Alliance, formed by disaffected members of the Monday Club. There’s also a clip of him being interviewed on Vanessa Feltz’s radio show. Lauder-Frost spends much of the interview sneering at Doreen Lawrence, whom he feels should not have been elevated to the House of Lords. Because she’s ‘a nothing’, who he claims hasn’t done anything for this country and despises it. It’s not hard to see behind his attitude a mixture of racism and sheer class snobbery. Doreen Lawrence is a Black woman, and not a member of the British aristocracy. Hence Lauder-Frost is utterly horrified at her taking a seat in the upper house.

Now it’s true that Doreen Lawrence has made statements where she has said she doesn’t have any love for this country. Or that’s how it’s been reported. It grates, but she has every right. Her son, Stephen, was murdered by a gang of racist thugs, who got off scot-free. The Met investigating his murder was corrupt and riddled with racism, and the thugs were the sons of notorious gang bosses. See the press coverage at the time, and also Private Eye passim ad nauseam. She then dedicated her life to trying to obtain justice for her murdered child. This is a far better reasons for being given an honour than simply being Dave Cameron’s hairdresser.

Lauder-Frost also waffles on about how immigrant groups don’t support this country at sports matches, which recalls Norman Tebbitt’s infamous comment about coloured immigrants not supporting Britain at cricket. He also recommends that we should go back to the Tory party’s 1970s promise for ‘assisted repatriation’ for coloured immigrants to go back to their countries of origin. Feltz is definitely not impressed, and pointedly asks him where she should go, as she’s Jewish, and one set of her grandparents came from Poland, while another of her antecedents was also not British. Lauder-Frost simply says that if he was a Zionist, he would say she should go to Israel. To cap it all, Lauder-Frost is also a massive fan of the Nazis. No wonder Feltz was unimpressed. As were no doubt every other decent person listening to the programme, regardless of ethnicity or religious beliefs.

The TBG was also invited to a dinner by the Bow Group, another outfit like the Monday Club on the extreme right of the Tories. The Cat cites Louise Haigh, the Labour politico, who managed to get the Nazi youth group, Britain First, banned, who states very clearly that Lauder-Frost’s comments about Doreen Laurence and assisted repatriation are racist, and that the Bow Group should not invited them to their functions.

The TBG’s other vice-president is Professor John Kersey, a traditionalist Roman Catholic clergyman, a professor at a right-wing university with branches in the Caribbean and West Africa, who is nostalgic for the old days of feudalism. If you follow the link on the Cat’s blog, you come to a site for the British followers of the Austrian Libertarian, Von Mises. Kersey is also the Director of Cultural Affairs of the Libertarian Alliance.

Other members of the Traditional Britain Group are Stuart Millson and Jonathan Bowden. Together these two charmers founded the Revolutionary Conservative Caucus. Millson was also a former member of the BNP and an officer in Western Goals, which the Cat describes as ‘semi-Fascist’. He’s not alone in this assessment. Western Goals also got into the pages of Lobster as a Far Right organization. Also in the Revolutionary Conservative Caucus was Mark Cotterill a former member of the NF. The Cat then describes how Millson joined the Tories despite being a member of the BNP and having had dinner with Jean-Marie Le Pen. The Tories refused to throw him out, and Millson only resigned after this was exposed by the Mirror.

The Cat’s article concludes

The Tories may deny it, but many of their members are sympathetic to groups like the TBG. Indeed, in the 1970s NF members joined local Conservative Clubs and were members of the Monday Club. Others are members of The Freedom Association, the faux libertarian pressure group that talks warmly about their idea of ‘freedom’, while working hard to deny it to others. Tories may complain about ‘entryism’ in the Labour Party, but for decades extreme-right entryists joined the party and they’re still joining.

Moggy’s antiquated views are only matched by his sartorial style. If you find him amusing or endearing, you might want to ask yourself this: what kind of friends are the TBG? Rees Mogg only apologised when he got caught by Liberal Conspiracy. If that had never happened, Moggy would have got away with it. Makes you wonder…

The Cat’s article also has a link to the original piece by the Liberal Conspiracy website.

For more information, see: https://buddyhell.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/friends-like-these/

The Cat certainly ain’t wrong about Fascist infiltration of the Tory party. Lobster a few decades ago devoted several pieces to exposing this. And it’s something else you won’t see being reported by the Beeb. Way back in the 1980s the BBC was due to screen a Panorama expose, ‘Maggie’s Militant Tendency’, on the Far Right’s infiltration of the Tory. Maggie and the Tories, however, threw a strop and the BBC was forced to spike the programme.

As for the Libertarians, their definition of liberty is definitely reserved only for the upper classes. They hate socialism, trade unions and organized labour. I can’t remember which one of the libertarian organisations actually did it, but one of them invited the head of a central American death squad to their annual dinner. As for Kersey being a fan of feudalism, this adds a new dimension to Von Hayek’s book, The Road to Serfdom. Von Hayek thought it was socialism, but as subsequent events show, it’s really the far right-wing economics he advocated.

Libertarians have always denied being Fascists, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that’s exactly what they are. I’ve put up several pieces from the American YouTuber, Reichwing Watch, on how Libertarian not only shares many of the same tenets and attitudes of Fascism and Nazism, but that its adherents are beginning to admit this quite openly. One Black YouTuber, ‘That Guy T’, discusses and advocates ‘anarcho-Fascism’ on his vlog.

As for Mogg, while he denies sharing the Traditional Britain Group’s racism, he certainly shares their attitude towards aristocratic privilege, and keeping the poor and marginalized so. It shows how corrupt and class-ridden this country is that this man is at all popular, let alone an MP and possible successor to May.

Jimmy Dore: Taliban Have Surrendered Several Times, Each Time Refused by America

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 26/08/2017 - 10:47pm in

Here’s another very important clip from the Jimmy Dore Show. It’s one that should be viewed by everyone interested in what the various wars we’re fighting around the world are really about. Dore and his co-host, Ron Placone, discuss a review of Anand Gopal’s book No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban and the War through Afghan Eyes by Ryan Grimm in The Intercept. And its more of what the mainstream media aren’t telling us about these wars.

Dore starts the show by making the point that mainstream media never reveals the truth about the reasons behind America’s various wars in the Middle East and the Maghreb. They don’t mention the petrodollar, Libya, or the reason why Iran’s now a theocratic state under the ayatollahs. It’s because America – and Britain – over threw its democratically elected prime minister, Mossadeq.

And this is just as devastating. Gopal’s book reveals that the Taliban surrendered several times to America and its allies, only to be rebuffed. It was traditional in Afghan civil wars for the losing side to surrender to the victors. They would, in turn, incorporate them into the new government. Dore makes the point that this is a sensible system for governing a country, where people still have to live together as neighbours after the fighting. The Taliban tried to do this with the Allies, and were rebuffed. Several times. He also points out that the Taliban itself withered away, as its members put down their guns, either going back and vanishing into the rest of the population, or heading over the border into Pakistan.

However, America and the Allies offered rewards for those informing on the Taliban. With the real Taliban having vanished, and al-Qaeda down to a mere handful of people, the venal and unscrupulous amongst the Afghan population used the system to settle personal feuds. They smeared their neighbours as Taliban, for them to be killed or arrested by the US forces, and get the reward money. This naturally has created massively hostility against Allied forces. When America and the Allies first defeated the Taliban, the Afghans were glad to see them go. Now, having had their peace overtures repulsed, and the country reduced to more chaos and warfare, the Taliban have returned with popular backing.

But Dore states, you are not going to hear it from the mainstream news, such as MSNBC and Rached Maddow, because the media automatically backs the American war machine. And that war machine must be kept fed. He notes that Congress, with the backing of the Democrats, has just voted another $100 billion for the defence budget, in addition to what had already been voted for it last year. America already spends more on defence than the next 13 countries on the list combined. And the country and her allies have been in Afghanistan for 16 years. In other four years, the war will get a gold watch and be able to retire.

That’s it. There are absolutely no good reasons anymore for us to be anywhere in the Middle East. I backed the invasion of Afghanistan because I believed that it was a justified response to an act of war by al-Qaeda and its Taliban allies. I heard a few years ago from a friend that the Taliban tried to stop the invasion by offering to surrender Osama bin Laden, claiming that they didn’t know that he had been planning the attack. I wasn’t sure whether to believe it or not. But after this, it looks much more credible.

We’re not helping anyone in Afghanistan by staying there, except perhaps an already corrupt government, propped up by us, western mercenaries, and the opium trade, which has flourished more than it ever did previously. Dore states that the only areas in Afghanistan, which weren’t troubled by fighting, were those where there wasn’t a western military presence.

Of course, there are other, corporate reasons why we’re still there. Trump announced that America would stay in the country to exploit its valuable mineral resources, in order to defray the costs of the invasion. As well as the gas pipeline that was supposed to be built, but wasn’t, as Dore also mentions.

But the humanitarian reasons touted as justification for the invasion have vanished. We’ve long outstayed our welcome. As Grimm’s review concludes, we’re losing to an enemy who’s already surrendered. A hard thing to do. We’re just killing and maiming people for the benefit of the military-industrial complex. And our boys and girls are also being killed and maimed.

They’re coming back traumatized and with terrible injuries, not for defending their country and its allies, as they and we have been told. They’re being mutilated and killed purely for the profit of the big arms manufacturers.

Disgusting.

Dore encourages everyone watching this to pass it on. I agree. We are not going to hear about this from mainstream media, which includes the Beeb.

General Smedley Butler was right. War is a racket. We need to get out, bring our troops back home, and close all the wars and interventions in which we’re currently involved down.

Until then, there will never be peace across the world.

Abby Martin Exposes Israeli Racism and Fascism on Joe Rogan Show

This is a video from an Islamic website, though this is immaterial to the content of the video, which goes beyond religious or doctrinal differences. It’s a long, 25-minute extract from the Joe Rogan Show in which Rogan talks to Abby Martin. Martin’s a left-wing broadcaster and journalist, who was formerly with RT and is now with TeleSur. She talks about the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, their brutal maltreatment of the Palestinians, America’s support for Israel and the country’s deeply entrenched xenophobia and racist indoctrination as part of the compulsory military service.

It’s very strong, very disturbing material. She states very clearly that its a Jewish supremacist, White settler state. Palestinians in the occupied territories have no freedom whatsoever. They are subject to constant military checks and interference through a system of apartheid. They have no precious little in the way of provision of water and electricity. The water comes from large cisterns, in which Israeli soldiers will spray Skunk, which makes the water taste of excrement so that it becomes undrinkable for the next month. Even though the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories are illegal, this is ignored. Israeli mobs will come and occupy Palestinian homes, forcing the true owners out. If a Palestinian blogs about it, he will be tried and sentenced according to the number of hits on his site.

At the same time, Israeli soldiers shoot to kill and maim with impunity. They have a policy of ‘shoot to wound’, which means shooting people in the crotch. A woman was hit in her vagina, and men have their penises targeted. She also describes how a man, who was just drunk, was casually shot dead by Israeli soldiers. As was an Arab woman, who was shot at an Israeli checkpoint, and bled to death in front of her son.

It isn’t just Arabs gentiles, who are seen as inferiors, who can be ill-treated at whim. Martin states that the Israelis also look down on Black African Jews as racially inferior as well.

And official support for these illegal settlements goes all the way to the White House. Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, is the entrepreneur behind the Kushner Fund, a scheme which supports the construction of homes for Israeli settlers in the West Bank. She also talks about support for Israel by Richard Spencer, who describes himself as a White Zionist, who admires Israel as a racial state.

She also contrasts the popular reaction to the shooting of unarmed civilians by the authorities in Israel and the US. In America when the cops shoot an unarmed Black person, there’ll be a popular protest against it. However, in Israel, when the squaddie Elor Azaria shot an unarmed Palestinian, and was tried for it because of public pressure, there were also public protests against his trial. Rogan and Martin show footage of one of these demonstrations, in which the massed crowd chants ‘Death to Arabs’. Realising how bad this looks, they then change the chants to cries of supports for the troops. They even have a band rapping in Hebrew.

Martin pays due tribute to the courage of the Israelis, who film and speak out against these atrocities. In Israel many people will talk about treating the Palestinians better, but the idea of opposing Zionism is simply unthinkable, as this is their country. It’s like Americans opposing America. And the term ‘Leftist’ is a form of abuse.

As for crowds like that she filmed, they’ll also shout ‘Death to videographers’, as they hate the people filming this. Her team with her weren’t treated too badly, as they were Israeli Jews, but she says that there were attacked by people, who did wear Fascist-style cloaks.

She also talks about the immense amount of aide given by the American government to Israel. It’s $30 billion. However, in many cases, this is America giving a present to itself. Before then, Israel was able to do its own arms dealing, and was purchasing weapons from India. The aide has been given on the condition that it should be used to purchase American armaments.

As for the reason for America backing Israel, Martin states she doesn’t know why. She doesn’t believe its due to the power of the Israel lobby in the US. She states it’s more of a partnership, in the same way that America supports Saudi Arabia. Although Rogan points out that the Saudis have oil. Martin states that it’s probably to do with America using Israel as a point of leverage in the Middle East.

She goes on to make the point that the foundations for the country were laid after the Middle East was divided up by the colonial powers – Britain and France – by the Sykes-Picot Agreement. Jewish immigration to Israel, and support for the country was minimal until the Holocaust, when fear provided an instrument to increase support. The country was then partitioned by the UN, although she asks the rhetorical question of who gave them that power. She also states that it should have never been put in the Middle East, but should have been established somewhere like Australia, because of the immense amount of trouble it’s caused.

She says that several times in making her video, she thought she’d die. In Jerusalem she was asked if she was Arab. She also points out that the Zionists were also responsible for terrorist atrocities against Jewish communities in surrounding countries. These were false flag operations, which were blamed on the gentile communities, in order to create a climate of fear, which would inspire those Jewish communities to emigrate to Israel. And Israel itself grew through a number of massacres.

Rogan and Martin also discuss the role that national service plays in creating this massively xenophobic mindset. Rogan states that he knows people, who have joined the army in America, and its created a very strong bond between the service personnel, and a sense of separation, an ‘us and them’ attitude. He can only imagine the intense indoctrination that Israelis must undergo during their national service so that the hatred of Arabs becomes unquestionable.

As for the Arab settlements, she states that they are not as we’ve been told. She saw openly gay people, and the first time she filmed there she said there was weed in the air.

The interview concludes with Rogan asking her where her films can be seen. She says they’re at The Empire Files, and if you click on them, the various films she’s made about Israel will also be displayed.

This is very powerful stuff. It’s precisely what the Beeb and the other mainstream British broadcasters will not report, nor what the racists in the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism and the Jewish Labour Movement do not want severely normal people, Jewish and gentile, knowing about. Martin states in this video that the Israeli state and its supporters want this covered up, and do their level best to make sure it isn’t filmed.

Martin has called Israel a Jewish supremacist state. This is exactly what it is, with Judaism defined in racial terms. It’s comparable to the Christian clerical Fascist states which emerged in Europe prior to the Second World War, such as parts of the Fascist movement in Italy, where Fascist sympathisers in the Vatican saw Mussolini’s regime as a bulwark against materialism and Communism. As was Franco’s Spain, and the Slovak dictatorship of Monsignor Tizo, as well as elements of the Nazi party. It’s also similar to the viciously intolerant Islamist regimes in the Middle East, and the Hindu nationalist extremism of Modi’s BJP, as well as the militant atheism of the USSR and China. Shintoism also briefly became an intolerant, expansionist force during the Second World War. Israel isn’t unique by any means in its possession of a militantly intolerant nationalist ideology, which combines race with religion, or an official policy of anti-theism. But that does not mean that Israeli Jewish supremacism and Fascism should be ignored or excused.

As for the role national service plays in creating an intensely nationalistic, racial consciousness, political scientists have pointed to this as a major element in the construction of Fascism. Fascist and proto-Fascist ideologues admired the armed forces, not just from militarism and an admiration for military glory, but also because it offered an alternative and a tool against the expansion of socialism and democracy. The military was an ideal model, in their eyes, for society because it was hierarchical. At the same time, the uniform and common military identity and service under fire created a strong bond between men. This was valued as a way of stopping the development of working class consciousness and power.

And the bond of men under fire is very, very strong. The veteran BBC broadcaster on foreign affairs, Kate Adie, has said that it’s far stronger and ferocious than anything in the movies. So strong that it can’t really be shown on camera.

And the fundamental position of military service in Israel is comparable to that of Prussia. It was said of the Hohenzollern’s kingdom that ‘Prussia is not a country with an army. It was an army with a country’. The kingdom was held together through its army, which was well-funded, had a very high status, and wide-ranging powers over the civilian population. For example, under Frederick the Great army officers could compel civilians to carry their baggage and equipment.

Martin states that she doesn’t know if Richard Spencer of the Alt Right would like to impose universal conscription like Israel. Well, he may not, but that has historically been the demand of British Fascists and those on the Tory right. And in the 2010 election one of the policies of the BNP was that every Brit should possess a gun as part of his volkisch identity.

As for Palestinian Arabs tolerating homosexuality, Islam has been traditionally far more tolerant of gays than western culture. The Qu’ran condemns sodomy as a sin against which the Prophet Lut – the Biblical Lot in the Hebrew Bible/ Old Testament preached. But the laws against it were a dead letter in Egypt as early as the 12th century. One of the most admired Arab poets of the 9th century was gay, so that even today, Arab poets often use the masculine 3rd person pronoun – ‘he’ – for the beloved, even when they are talking about a woman.

This point is important, as supporters of Israel will try to defend it as one of the few places in the Middle East which is tolerant of gays. Pamela Geller, of the Atlas Shrugs blog, one of the leaders of the ‘counter-jihad’ movement, has made this claim on her site. As has Michael Koren, a Canadian anti-Muslim broadcaster with Rebel Media. This week, a documentary on BBC 1 followed a Scots gay man from a Roman Catholic background, who was considering converting to Judaism because of Israel’s tolerance for gays. The Beeb filmed him travelling to the country, and Tel Aviv, which has been described as ‘the gayest place on Earth’. But this tolerance for homosexuality was traditionally shared across the Middle East. It is only in recent decades that attitudes have changed for the worse.

Despite Netanyahu’s insistence that Jews everyone are automatically Israeli citizens, there are very many Jews, who are bitterly opposed to it both from secular and religious principles. many of the supporters of the BDS movement are Jews or of Jewish heritage, as are several of the Counterpunch writers, who are also opposed to Zionism and Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. One of these writers stated in a recent article that he is against Israel because of the liberal Jewish values with which he was brought up. A recent study has found that an increasing number of young Jewish Americans are becoming indifferent or hostile to Israel, because of its maltreatment of the Palestinians. As the very Jewish Sam Seder and his Jewish co-host, Michael Brooks, pointed out on their programme, Majority Report, criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitism.

The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism and the Jewish Labour Movement, and other Zionist organisations and pressure groups, would have the world believe the opposite. It isn’t. Don’t believe their lies and smears. Instead, look at the exposures of Israeli racism and institutional brutality from anti-racist broadcasters like Abbie Martin, respected academics like Norman Finkelstein and Ilan Pappe, Lobster’s John Newsinger, and bloggers like Tony Greenstein.

Norwegian Cruise Line Cancels ‘Alt-Lite’ Far Right Cruise After Complaints from Hope Not Hate

Here’s a piece of good news. Hope Not Hate today reported that Norwegian Cruise Line were cancelling a Caribbean cruise organized by Rebel Media, which would take Far Right sympathisers and activists to Honduras, Belize and Mexico. Rebel Media’s a Canadian far right organization, founded by Ezra Levant and Brian Lilley. Among their stars is the former head of the EDL, Tommy Robinson. The headline speaker for the cruise was going to be Gavin McInnes, the founder of the ‘Western Chauvinist’ Proud Boys. Proud Boys is a White supremacist, anti-feminist group. To be initiated into its ‘fourth degree’, a member has ‘to beat the crap’ out of an Antifa. They also have a militantly violent wing, the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights, or FOAK.

As for McInnes, he has claimed not to be racist and to want to have nothing to do with the Alt-Right. But this rings more than a bit hollow after he’s made a video entitled, 10 Things I Hate about the Jews, and written pieces about White genocide and defending ‘transphobia’.

Hope Not Hate reported that they received the following message from Norwegian Cruise Line:

“We recently became aware that one of several affinity groups that booked space on an upcoming sailing was associated with and espoused views that are inconsistent with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings core values.

The company has therefore exercised its right to cancel this group’s reservation and provide a full refund. As a matter of policy, the company neither discusses nor discloses the identities of our individual guests or groups.”

The anti-racism, anti-religious extremism group states

Norwegian Cruise Line’s decision is most welcome and they are to be congratulated for taking this stand against racism, sexism, homophobia and hatred of all kind.

In the current climate, this is a valuable example that companies have the choice to act responsibly and to refuse to allow their platforms to be vehicles for the normalization and mainstreaming of bigotry.

HOPE not hate will continue its fight against Rebel Media and anyone who shares their politics of prejudice.

See: http://hopenothate.org.uk/2017/08/17/update-norwegian-cruise-line-cancel-rebel-cruise/

Rebel Media’s association with real, violent neo-Nazis and anti-Semites also discredits some of the claims made by its founder, Ezra Levant. As have the recent events in Charlottesville. Levant is Jewish, and one of the main figures in the ‘Counter-Jihad’ movement. He has promoted his brand of islamophobia by demanding that the public attention be moved away from White supremacist groups in Canada to Islamism, which he has argued presents a bigger threat to Jews.

In his writings and broadcasts, Levant has stated that after the War, life was good for Jews in tolerant Canada. Most severely normal Canadians weren’t anti-Semites, and the membership of the Canadian Nazi party was minute. It was about thirty people. They were led by a sad individual skulking in a basement, who used to write grandiose, violent screeds against the Jews and other races he didn’t like with the assistance of his landlord. At demonstrations, the goose-steppers were massively outnumbered by Jews, left-wing counterdemonstrators, and the police who were there to keep order.

He is, along with his fellow bigot, Kathy Shaidle, who authors the blog Five Feet of Fury, bitterly critical of the ‘official’ Jews of the mainstream Canadian Jewish organization and its leader, Bernie Farber. This is because Farber and his organization link the Jewish experience of persecution and genocide, with those of other, persecuted peoples around the world. Way back in the early part of this century, when the Janjaweed Militia were wreaking havoc in Darfur, Farber and his organization held a ‘Shabat’, or Sabbath, for the African town’s people. The ‘Shabat’ here meant a day of fasting and religious contemplation. Christian Americans have also held formal fasts against wars. In the early 19th century, when America was in yet another war with its former colonial overlord, Britain, the Christian ministers of one of the statesBill organized a fast to end this strife between themselves and their British cousins.

As for Levant’s own programmes, they are glaringly, overtly biased, even when he invites a guest on from the other side of the debate. He introduces his guest with a tirade about how they’re wrong. From the clips I’ve seen, he does seem to be personally polite, which hasn’t been the case with Bill O’Reilly, the former main anchor at Fox News, before they sacked him sexual harassment.

I’ve no doubt that the membership of the Canadian Nazi party was a low as Levant says. So is the formal membership of all the various Nazi organisations in Britain and America. Way back in the 1990s one of the contributors to Lobster estimated that the BNP’s core membership was only about 200 or so people. If you read Hope Not Hate, that membership has declined even further, and the British Fascist right is divided between a number of small grouplets, all of which hate each other as much as the hate ethnic minorities, trade unionists and ‘Reds’.

I also read a few years ago that in America, the total membership of the Klan was 100,000, split amongst 100 different groups. I don’t know about the membership of the various Militias and Nazi groups, but I would imagine that they were similarly small compared to America’s vast population.

This does not mean that these organization don’t pose a violent threat. They clearly do. In the 1960s the NF was caught organizing paramilitary training weekends, which supposedly included lessons on bomb-making. One of the pieces of evidence for this was a can of weed killer found in a shed, which had the ‘weed’ scratched out and replaced with ‘Jew’. Yup, ‘Jew-Killer’. The NF and BNP deliberately recruited violent football hooligans, who embarked on a campaign of violence. Matthew Collins, one of the founders of Hope Not Hate, has described just how violent they are in his book about his time inside them, Hate.

As for Canada, the America Nazi party weren’t the only far right party in the country. One of the parties in the western province of Vancouver was the Social Credit party, which was anti-immigration, and pro-big business.

Despite his own Jewish heritage, Levant is clearly associating himself with anti-Semites by hiring McInnes as his main speaker for the cruise. And the Nazi violence in Charlottesville, which included surrounded the local synagogue and shouting ‘Sieg Heil!’, as well as the stats from a report from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, show only too clearly that, in stark contrast to Levant’s claims, the White racists are far more of a threat than Islamism in America, at least in America.

This isn’t to downplay the threat posed by Islamist terrorism, merely to keep it in perspective, and stop the persistent denials of Trump, Levant and their ilk that White racist terrorism either doesn’t exist, or isn’t a comparable threat.

It is. And Trump has done everything he could to aid and abet it, short of actually giving them guns and money. But organisations like Hope Not Hate, Life After Hate, Tell Mama, which encourages Muslims to come forward to report racist attacks, are doing an excellent job of combating White supremacist terrorism.

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