Good Video On Imperialism And Free Trade

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 17/02/2018 - 2:48am in

Good Video On Imperialism And Free Trade

A YouTube channel named “Bad Mouse Productions” has a great video titled, Debunking the Economic Freedom Map. Although, the title seems to advertise talking of talking how misleading the freedom map is, the video is much more than that.

The narrator argues that for some countries freedom is not even a choice. Poor nations need nurture but instead the international establishment through the IMF and the World Bank impose “structural reforms” on them which leads to more economic destruction.

[the title is the link]

Brexit 2018: The Ruling Class Nightmare Continues

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 08/02/2018 - 2:05am in


brexit, eu, imperialism

image/jpeg iconTheresa-May-confusion.jpg

During the preparation for the 2016 referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union (EU) we made it entirely clear (in Revolutionary Perspectives 08) that the debate was one that class-conscious workers should not have been drawn into – on either side. Participating in the exercise could only line workers up behind one or other faction of the ruling class. The stories peddled by both sides – that somehow workers would benefit from the British state either maintaining or ditching their relationship with EU institutions – were full of lies and imagined, but non-existent, benefits.

read more

Vox Political Points Out that the Advisory Boards of the Samaritans and the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism Are Stuffed Full of Tories

Mike published this very important article today, which throws the witch-hunt against the critics of Israel and the Israel lobby in the Labour party in a very harsh light. The Disability News Service revealed over a month ago in December that the Department of Health had refused to recognise that disabled benefit claimants were one of the groups at high risk of committing suicide. When this was pointed out to the Samaritans, the charity flatly refused to condemn the government.

Now the charity is facing controversy, not only for its failure to do so, but because of the probable reason why. Its board of management is stuffed full of Tories. Seven of its eleven members belong to the wretched party.
And it’s very likely the board of the faux anti-racist organisation, the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, is the same. He hasn’t been able to find out who their board members are, but their patrons include the following true blue members of the corporate elite anti-working class hate squad: Eric Pickles, Matthew Offord, Mike Freer, Bob Blackman and Baron Ahmad. The others include a couple of Labour members and a crossbench peer.

This explains, no doubt, why the woefully misnamed organisation has attacked 40 Labour MPs, and only two Tories.

And Mike goes on to ask the question how many other charities have been similarly infiltrated by the Nasty Party. This is going to be a problem, as for an organisation to have charitable status, it has to be apolitical. And the Samaritans and the Campaign Against Anti-Israelism, sorry, Anti-Semitism, are all too political with the make-up of their governing organs.

This issue – of Tory, or corporate domination of charities, has been raised before. A few years ago Johnny Void posted on his blog how one mental health charity was vigorously promoting the mendacious, unscientific rubbish that work is good for those with psychological problems – take the advice of someone who’s been there: it ain’t – not least because their directors included a corporate shill, who was behind the policy and who looked forward to the charity getting lots of government contracts to administer their scheme.

It doesn’t surprise me one iota that the Tories dominate the Samaritans. I dare say that the gentlemen involved genuinely wish to stop people taking their own lives. As do very many others not connected with the Tory party. But they get on the board, because they’re the establishment, and establishment contacts are always good for private organisations, whether industry or charities.

Way back in the 1990s I worked for a few weeks for a charity for elderly in Bristol as a voluntary worker. I walked out one Wednesday evening and handed in my resignation because I didn’t like the way my supervisor spoke to me as if I was a mere underling and incompetent. I was later told by a friend that a lot of ordinary charity workers were doing exactly what I did. The charities have a policy of recruiting their management from industry. And these managers are used to kicking around paid staff. They don’t know how to treat ordinary people, who are devoting their time and energy gratis. And so they have a high staff turnover, because people are sick of getting abuse from management for work they’re doing literally out of the kindness of their hearts.

As for the Campaign Against Anti-Israelism, sorry, Ant-Semitism, this has never been against anti-Semitism per se. As Mike’s pointed out very many times on his blog, citing Jewish academic experts on anti-Semitism, that it is about hatred of Jews as Jews. That’s how the ant-Semites, who coined the word themselves defined it in the 19th century. The word was invented by Wilhelm Marr, the founder of the Bund Antisemiten in late 19th century Germany. And he made it clear it was hatred of Jews for biological, racial reasons. It didn’t matter to him whether they were observant, religious Jews, or members of another faith, or whatever. What mattered to these proto-Nazis was that they were racially Jews.

But it does matter to the Israelis and their supporters and puppets in fake organisations against anti-Semitism, like the Campaign and the Jewish Labour Movement, formerly Paole Zion. They’ve tried to expand the definition of anti-Semitism so that it specifically includes criticism of Israel. In the case of the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, it’s because the charity was set up in 2014 after its founder was shocked to discover that Israel’s bombardment of Gaza was reviled and condemned by the majority of severely normal Brits. The standard Israeli response ever since the 1970s and no doubt many decades before that, is to smear any critic of Israel as an anti-Semite. They have to be, ’cause it’s the only Jewish state. Thus very decent gentiles have been smeared, who have campaign ardently against racism, including the abuse and maltreatment of Jews. And Jews have been particularly singled out for such smears, in terms which would be anti-Semitic themselves if they were uttered by non-Jews. It’s because Zionism was always a minority position amongst most Jews, and the last thing these bigots and race hucksters want is for more people to wake up and see that an increasing number of Jews, including young people, who’ve suffered anti-Semitic abuse and violence themselves, despise Israel for its maltreatment and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.

The Blairites were keen to make those accusations, because Tony Blair received much of his funding from the Israel lobby through Lord Levy. They’re now worried because Momentum and the real Labour moderates are in the ascendant, and so are trying to use any stick to beat them. And the Tories have been madly pro-Israel since Thatcher.

Lurking somewhere in the Tory support for Israel there’s a nasty whiff of bog-standard British imperialism. Whatever the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, AIPAC or the other pro-Israel groups say to the contrary, Israel is a White settler society. Its leader stated very clearly that this was the case, before decolonisation made imperialism unacceptable. Then they started lying about how it was movement of national liberation against the occupying Arabs. The vast majority of Zionist settlers were Jews from Europe and America. Ashkenazi Jews are still the dominant class in Israel today. And they despised the Mizrahim, Jewish Arabs, or Arab Jews, as racially and culturally inferior. They were segregated in different schools, in case their oriental manners and attitudes contaminated respectable White settlers, and given the dirtiest, poorest paid work to do. Discrimination against them was and is widespread.

While the British Empire is very much a thing of the past, some Tories seem to hanker for the days when Britain could and did conquer and colonise other nations. Way back when the war in Afghanistan was just starting, there was an article by right-wing historian Niall Ferguson in the Heil which made this very clear. It started reasonably enough by defending the Allied invasion as a response to 9/11, but ended with Ferguson looking forward to the Americans settling the country. It was, at least to this reader, a naked apologia for imperialism. Sheer undisguised imperialism, not dressed up as nation building, or the neo-colonialism of the trade tariffs and IMF recommendations to struggling developing nations. But real colonialism.

Mike’s right. It’s time to bring the curtain down on the Tory domination of charities. The Tory connection to the Samaritans has done disabled people immense harm and injustice by preventing the organisation recognising and condemning the way Tory welfare policies are driving disabled people to suicide.

And the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism is strongly political. As well as not condemning the Tories, it also has little to say about the real Fascist groups, who do want to exterminate or harm Jewish Brits. But that’s not why it was set up. It was set up to defend Israel from criticism. And it’s frightened of Corbyn because he’s pro-Palestinian. But not, as I understand, anti-Israel, though you will never hear that from this pack of liars, bigots and frauds. They’re part of the true-blue, official, Conservative Jewish establishment.

And woe betide anyone one, no matter how anti-racist, whether Jew or non-Jew, who dares to break their party line. It won’t matter how many scars their victims have had fighting the storm troopers of the BNP or National Action. It doesn’t matter if the Jews they pick on are Torah-observant or secular, but self-respecting. Nor if they themselves have been abused and beaten by the real anti-Semitic thugs. Simply for condemning Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians automatically means that they’re all anti-Semites in the twisted thinking of these frauds and their political allies.

It’s time to end this charade. Get the Tories out of charities, and get the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism’s charitable status revoked. They aren’t a charity: they’re a party-political pressure group, and should be condemned as such.

Saudia Arabia and the West create human misery in Yemen

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 24/01/2018 - 6:35pm in



Yemen is in the grip of what the UN has called the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. This month Save the Children said it faced “the worst diphtheria outbreak in a generation” with at least 52 deaths already.

A Saudi-led coalition has enforced a blockade on the country, cutting off trade and sometimes aid deliveries. NGOs have estimated that 50,000 children died last year as a direct result, with hundreds of thousands more affected by famine. Last year cholera killed 2200 people.

Yemen’s civil war is into its third year, as its desperate people find themselves sandwiched between their ousted Saudi-backed government, led by President Abd Rabbuh Mansur al-Hadi, and Houthi rebels who took control of the capital in September 2014.

A Saudi-led coalition consisting of Gulf States and Western powers including Australia has pounded Yemen’s cities with close to 100,000 airstrikes, deliberately targeting infrastructure including schools and hospitals.

From the beginning the Saudi strategy has been to attempt to starve the Houthis and anyone living in their territory into submission.

Both sides have cracked down brutally on peaceful protests, arresting hundreds of activists, many of whom were active during the Arab Spring uprising in Yemen.

At times the situation has edged dangerously close to open regional conflict.

The two main regional powers, Saudi Arabia and Iran, are jostling for influence across the Middle East. Iran has been a strong supporter of the Assad regime in Syria, while the Saudis have given arms and funding to elements of the Syrian opposition.


The Houthi rebels, who now claim control of Yemen’s capital Sana’a and much of the west of the country, are a Shia group originating in Yemen’s northwest, near the Saudi border.

While they were once solely a religious group, decades of repression by the Yemeni government drove them to armed struggle.

Driven by opposition to the US invasion of Iraq and to state repression, the Houthis won significant popular support in the north. The violent suppression of protests against Hadi after he doubled the fuel price in late 2014 was the last straw. Hadi was forced to flee to Aden as Houthis descended on the capital Sana’a.

The Houthis receive rhetorical support from Tehran, and both the US and Saudi Arabia insist that Iran also sends money and weapons. But whatever military assistance Iran provides is dwarfed by the scale of the Saudi intervention.

The United Arab Emirates has also jumped into the fray. Although it shares the Saudis’ opposition to the Houthis, it has also tried to build up separate armed groups and support the Southern Transitional Council, a group based in the southern port of Aden that has declared independence from northern Yemen.

An American drone war programme is being deployed against the Houthis and the US is the primary enforcer of the Saudi naval blockade.

The Obama Administration listed Yemen as a “country of concern”, paving the way for Yemen’s inclusion under President Trump’s Muslim travel ban.

Yemen’s former president Ali Abdullah Saleh was a puppet of the US and Saudi Arabia. After holding power for 33 years, massive protests in 2011 during the Arab Spring forced him to step down. The US and Gulf States brokered an agreement to install his then vice-president Hadi as leader.

Despite this, Saleh opportunistically made an alliance with the Houthi rebels in a bid to return to power.

Saleh’s alliance with the Houthis came to an abrupt end last December, when he announced he would seek to negotiate a ceasefire with the Saudis. The Houthis turned on him, killing Saleh.

End the siege, end the famine

The continuing protests in Yemen demanding an end to the siege are a reminder that popular movements are the only true alternative to both imperialist schemes, and to discontent being pulled in a sectarian direction.

There is a hidden history of worker’s organisation and struggle in Yemen.

The southern port of Aden lies in a region with strong separatist sentiments, and its people successfully drove out the British in 1967. At the time, the British considered the Aden Trade Union Congress their greatest obstacle, with its strong leftist and Arab nationalist tendencies.

The US, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iran, Australia and other imperialist powers have jumped from country to country in the Middle East leaving nothing but a trail of destruction, in which Yemen is only the latest victim.

All parties to the Saudi coalition must lift the blockade and withdraw from the country immediately. The longer it continues the longer the Yemeni people will suffer as sectarian groups lay claim to the spoils.

By Jason Wong

The post Saudia Arabia and the West create human misery in Yemen appeared first on Solidarity Online.

The First Intifada—30 years since Palestinians rose up against Israel

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 24/01/2018 - 5:03pm in



Thirty years ago Palestinians rose up against Israel in the first intifada. Nick Clark looks at the Palestinians’ struggle and the lessons for resisting Israel today

Palestinian resistance organisation Hamas called for an intifada—uprising—after Donald Trump described Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in late December. It came on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the first intifada.

In December 1987 resistance exploded onto the streets after decades of oppression at the hands of Israel and imperialism.

The rebellion lasted almost five years—and inspired similar revolts across the Middle East.

It was sparked by a shocking act of brutality. Hundreds of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip were returning home from a day’s work in Israel when they witnessed a gruesome killing.

An Israeli tank transporter drove at a line of workers’ cars at a checkpoint—crushing four Palestinians to death and injuring another seven.

Funerals for three of the men that night in the nearby Jabalia refugee camp turned into a 10,000-strong demonstration that marched on the police station. The following day Israeli soldiers attacked another demonstration in Jabalia.

They killed 20-year-old demonstrator Hatem el Sisi—leading to another mass demonstration.

Palestinian journalist Safwat Khalout witnessed the protest. “We felt something new was happening,” he said. “Students gathered, surrounded the military trucks and started throwing stones.

“The Israeli soldiers hid in a house and started firing in all directions”.

Israeli soldiers tried to crush every protest with lethal violence. But with each killing came more funerals and more demonstrations until the whole of Gaza was caught up in the revolt.

Phil Marshall described those first days in his book Intifada—Zionism, Imperialism and Palestinian Resistance. “Tens of thousands joined demonstrations that carried forbidden Palestinian flags and chanted nationalist slogans,” he wrote.

“Twenty years of frustration and bitterness at unemployment, overcrowding, poverty and repression was exploding in a collective rejection of the Israeli occupation.”

The revolt quickly spread across the whole of Palestine—including the parts encompassed by the Israeli state.

There were protests and riots right across the West Bank and inside Israel itself. “Arab Israelis”—Palestinians who hadn’t been forced out of Israel—joined a general strike in solidarity with the people in the Occupied Territories.


Palestinians in Israeli towns such as Jaffa, Acre and Lod demonstrated and clashed with police.

The Israeli government responded to the uprising with an “iron fist”. Defence minister Yitzak Rabin told Israeli forces to crush the demonstrations with “force, power and blows”.

Within one month Israeli soldiers had killed—by their own count—more than 20 protesters, wounded over 200 and detained 1200.

An army report was leaked to Israeli newspaper Haaretz. It described how, “Officers or commanders in the field are giving orders to break property and break hands and feet.”

Halimeh Jermi remembers how her daughter, Sahar, was killed on one of the first demonstrations in the Balata refugee camp. “The Israelis started shooting. About 30 people were injured,” she said. “People said ‘your daughter’s been killed.’”

On one demonstration Halimeh herself was arrested. “I saw the Israelis fighting with young people. I grabbed stones and threw them at the Israelis.

“They handcuffed me and took me away. I got six months in jail.”

By December 1988—one year since the intifada began—the Israeli army reckoned it has used 10,000 troops a day to put down the uprising.

It imposed curfews on refugee camps, limiting supplies of food and water. Soldiers raided Palestinian homes, firing tear gas into houses and dropping gas canisters from helicopters. Yet none of this could crush the intifada.

The young Palestinians leading the revolt grew up under an occupation that treated them with utmost brutality and wrecked their society. Now they were rising up.

In January 1988 the Israeli newspaper the Jerusalem Post wrote, “The streets in Gaza, the West Bank and in East Jerusalem are in effective control of the youth. It is a case of our 20-year-olds battling their 20-year-olds. Ours using armour, helicopters and guns, theirs, clubs, rocks and primitive Molotov cocktails”.

Israel’s powerful military that had defeated the armies of Egypt, Syria and Jordan couldn’t contain a mass uprising of ordinary people.

Everyone in Palestine had a role to play. Strikes were a major weapon aimed at weakening the Israeli state.

Israel had wrecked Palestinian agriculture in the Occupied Territories. It then used the mass of unemployed Palestinians as a source of cheap labour.

A huge proportion of Palestinians from the Occupied Territories travelled to and from Israel each day to do menial jobs on subsistence wages.

Now that Palestinian working class used its power to hit back at Israel. On selected days the majority of workers from Gaza and the West Bank stayed at home—sometimes for weeks at a time.

Palestinian shops also closed in defiance of Israeli authorities who tried to force them to stay open. And Palestinians organised a boycott of Israeli goods, growing, buying and selling only Palestinian produce wherever they could.

Everything was coordinated through a network of local activists’ committees known as the Unified National Leadership of the Uprising. “By mid-1988,” writes Marshall, “even the most remote hamlet of the West Bank was engaged in the movement.”

All this activity undoubtedly had an effect. Palestinian strikes hit some Israeli industries such as construction and textiles fairly hard.

Images of the uprising—and of the brutal Israeli response—drew sympathy for the Palestinian struggle across the world. And the sheer effort and cost put into holding down the rebellion caused some Israelis to question whether the occupation was sustainable.

But it wasn’t enough. Israel’s racist society excluded Palestinian labour from some skilled jobs in core industries including transport, manufacturing, finance or the public sector.

As Marshall pointed out, “The 11 per cent of the Israeli workforce composed of Palestinians from the territories occupied ‘dirty’ jobs and took seasonal employment on the land”.

So although Palestinian strikes did some damage, they couldn’t deliver a decisive blow. More importantly, the strikes couldn’t touch the massive aid payments from the US to Israel in return for defending its interests in the Middle East.


During the 1980s the US paid Israel some $28.5 billion, 56 per cent of which went on the military.

This relationship with imperialism is integral to Israel’s foundation and its existence today. The first Jewish colonisers in Palestine sought backing from the British empire in return for policing its Arab population. Israeli politicians saw that major support from the US was integral to Israel’s survival after it was created in 1948.

The key to victory for the intifada was the resistance it inspired in other countries across the Middle East.

Arab rulers declared support for the intifada, but suppressed major solidarity demonstrations fearing that they could turn into revolts of their own.

A mass movement against the government in Algeria took inspiration from the intifada. The opposition leaders told protesters to “unite and take measures into your own hands like the Palestinians”.

The solidarity movement in Egypt quickly turned its fire on its own government’s close relationship with Israel and the US. Workers from the giant Mahalla textile mill in northern Egypt joined a demonstration early on in the uprising. Slogans against Israel turned into demands for Egypt to break ties with Israel and the US.

There were even calls to bring down Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak who was eventually toppled in the 2011 revolution.

The biggest fear of the US-backed regimes in the Middle East was that the revolt could spill out of Palestine.

This threat is what eventually pushed the US into dragging Israel into peace talks with the official Palestinian leadership in the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).

Yet the PLO, led by the Fatah faction, actively helped to stop the national liberation movement from growing into a bigger revolt across the region.

The PLO had waged a heroic guerrilla struggle against Israel throughout the 1960s and 70s. Yet it never looked towards mass resistance among ordinary Palestinians, and its strategy was based on pressuring other Arab regimes into supporting its demands.

It hoped to win a Palestinian state in partnership with other Arab states. It would never encourage resistance that would challenge other Arab regimes and the status quo dominated by US imperialism.

This left it open to betrayal by Arab governments, leading to devastating defeats in Jordan in 1970 and Lebanon in 1982.

And it meant PLO leaders were prepared to make serious concessions.

In 1989 the PLO declared independence and a Palestinian state in the Occupied Territories.

The intifada had rescued the PLO and helped its factions put themselves back at the leadership of the resistance. But the declaration also gave away a significant concession.

Until then the PLO had never accepted the state of Israel’s claim to Palestinian land as legitimate. It had called for a single state in Palestine where Jews and Arabs would live as equals.

Declaring independence in just the Occupied Territories meant the PLO was now prepared to recognise Israel and accept a state in only part of Palestine.

Among other things this meant effectively abandoning the right of Palestinian refugees to return to the land they were expelled from in 1948.

The Oslo Accords in 1993 marked the end of the intifada and the start of the “peace process”. This saw the PLO renounce armed rebellion and agree to suppress Palestinian resistance.

In return the newly-formed Palestinian Authority was given the vague hope of a Palestinian statelet under the thumb of Israel, sometime in the future.

More than 20 years later even that meagre promise looks as if it will never be fulfilled. Yet ordinary Palestinians never forgot the lessons of the intifada. After Trump’s speech ordinary Palestinians took to the streets again, once more defying the Israeli military with rocks and burning tires.

Once more they were joined by protests in solidarity across the Middle East.

The post The First Intifada—30 years since Palestinians rose up against Israel appeared first on Solidarity Online.

Ghandi, Palestine and zionism: a book review

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 20/01/2018 - 8:33pm in

In India it is the season for rediscovering Gandhi, and everyone from politicians to intellectuals are doing it in their own way.

A mural of Ghandi on the separation wall, West Bank, Palestine. Detail from Picture by Paolo Di Tommaso. / (CC BY-NC 2.0). Some rights reserved. Book
review of Squaring
the circle: Mahatma
Gandhi and the Jewish Homeland
. By Professor P. R. Kumaraswamy,
New Delhi: Knowledge World Publisher, 2017. pp.234. ISBN:

doubt the Arab–Israeli
conflict has dominated the horizon of global politics and
international diplomacy for decades. It
is possible to claim
that the sympathy or antipathy to the cause of Palestine has become a
litmus test for political ideology, political correctness, political
wisdom and political pragmatism for many nations, and the
stands true for India.

it comes to deciphering or defining India’s association with the
cause of Palestine or its relationship with Israel, Mahatma Gandhi’s
words from
1938 in Harijan
serve as a guide for many:
“Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England
belongs to the English and France to the French”.

this context,
P. R. Kumaraswamy, an authority on Israel in India, made a pioneering
effort not only to decipher and decode the meaning of Gandhi’s
statement but in his latest book, “Squring
the circle
Mahatma Gandhi and the Jewish Homeland”
conducted an empirical reading of the political, religious, cultural,
constraints or motivations
which led
Gandhi to make his
remarks. These
words have always been understood as
ardent disapproval of Zionism and a sign of unending love for

Gandhi’s anti-imperialist philosophy and his political righteousness cannot be undermined by branding him a hypocrite

the centrality of the book is Gandhi’s position
towards the idea of a
homeland, before digging deep into the political, religious and
strategic factors shaping Gandhi’s insensitivity towards the issue,
the author
travels into Gandhi’s African years (1893-1914) and identifies his
Jewish companions who might have left some imprint on his earlier
notion of Judaism and later Zionism. The
traces his earlier acquaintance with Judaism in Africa to his two
prominent companions: Mr. Kallenbach (a wealthy man) and Mr. Henry
Solomon Leon Polak (a journalist). Mr. Kallenbach was Gandhi’s
“alter ego” and was the owner of Tolstoy Farm established by
Gandhi (p.
Gandhi addressed him as “my dear lower house and Mr. Kallenbach in
turn reciprocated by addressing Gandhi as his “upper house (p.56).

Kallenbach later
became a zionist
when they
met again in 1937 in India after 23 years. Mr. Kallenbach was
influenced by Gandhi who
dissuaded him
from going to Palestine. In
the book, the
author blames these
two early companions for Ghandhi’s
disenchantment with the political cause of Jews because they were
non-practicing and had limited knowledge of Jewish religion which
deprived Gandhi of accumulating substantial knowledge about Jews and

Mr. Kallenbach Mr. Henry Solomon Leon Polak was more of
disciple than a friend and it was through Polak that the Indian
nationalist leaders came to know about Gandhi’s activities and
accomplishments in South Africa. Mr. Polak visited India twice in
1909 and in 1911 and met many prominent leaders of congress.
There were other Jews too in
Ghandi’s surroundings, namely
Mr. A. E. Shohet and Ms. Sonja Schlesin the
had published a rebuttal to Gandhi’s November 1938 article and the
had served as Gandhi’s secretary in South Africa.

issue of Palestine had gripped the political consciousness of Indian
leaders amidst the
movement. In
between Indian Muslims and
leaders made five separate attempts to persuade Gandhi to make a
statement in favor of their cause.

primary hypothesis of the book is to
explain the
political constraints and oversensitivity towards the religious
minority, again for political gains, which shaped Gandhi’s position
the Jewish homeland. The demonstration of political constraints or
ideational selectivity is well reflected in Gandhi’s overarching
involvement in the
movement in an endeavor to win the hearts of the Muslims. According
to the author, Gandhi’s
rhetoric for the cause of Palestine is further driven by growing
Muslim League (ML)-Congress
political warfare to sway the Muslims by acting more loyal to
Palestine than the Palestinians themselves. In
that sense, the book attributes Gandhi’s
to a lack
of knowledge about
of zionism,
and urging
the Jews to practice non-violence. This
is how the
author concludes
that Gandhi’s antipathy to the
cause was not woven by his ethical or moral fabric of his political
ideas but was more determined by his narrow political vision.

to the book,
was swayed by the Palestinian cause as an Islamic one under the
influence of the
Muslim leadership. Gandhi acting as an
politician recognized the gravity of the Khilafat for Indian Muslims
and in March 1920 observed, “Khilafat is a question of life and
death. (p.
79). The
book then continues by claiming that the
Balfour declaration of 1917 had further annoyed the Muslims and
Gandhi took it as an additional opportunity to galvanize the
Hindu-Muslim unity which consequently blinded him to a significant
reality and deprived him of analytical clarity about
the Jews (p.

Gandhi’s views on Jewish nationalism in the
were hostage to the
Khilafat movement, so his views in 1930s were detrimental to growing
Muslim League-Congress ideological warfare coloring Gandhi’s vision
on zionism.
It was then
only power-politics
which overshadowed Gandhi’s thoughts on Judaism according
to the author, and
was not
driven by his moralist or ethical stance as perceived by many.

camps had joined a new political turf to woo the Muslims either to
prove their
secular credentials
or to
as the
voice of Muslims by Congress and ML respectively. Gandhi’s grave
concerns for Hindu-Muslim unity and protecting the secular
credentials would have suffered in case of any overt inclination
towards the Jews or Zionism. Palestine had become the most dominant
issue in foreign policy agenda of the Congress and contextualization
of Palestine as an Islamic issue was a domestic compulsion for Gandhi
130 and 158) Many of the Zionist-Congress meetings
(including with Nehru and Gandhi) that came to an end with the

article of 1938, were kept secret fearing the backlash from the
Muslims as Palestine and Zionism had became a site for ideological
contestation between the ML and the Congress.

While talking about Palestine, Gandhi, like many others, could not overcome the long-held skepticism about zionism

to the author, it was not merely the politics of Khilafat or
ML-Congress rivalry but his unfamiliarity with Judaism and the
of zionism
Gandhi from exhibiting any sympathy to the Jewish homeland. In
other words,
Gandhi failed to capture the link between the historic Jewish
suffering with the
demand for a homeland (p.
163). For Gandhi, Palestine was a “Biblical conception (p.
161) but he deprived the Jews of the same claim and rejected the
religious claim of zionism
to Palestine (p.
162). So
for the author, Gandhi’s
opposition to religious-based
claims over Palestine was exclusively directed at Jews and not at the
Muslims. If for Nehru Palestine was an imperialist
issue, for Gandhi it was a
of religion and imperialism.

talking about
Palestine, Gandhi,
like many others, could not overcome the long-held skepticism
about zionism.
No doubt, after
many changes in Gandhi vis-a-vis the Jewish cause but he never saw
as an answer to the Jewish plight (p.
160). Gandhi was never ready to see
Jews as
more than
followers of a particular faith. Gandhi praised zionism
as a
aspiration” in its “spiritual” term but declared that if it
meant the
of Palestine, zionism
has no attraction for him. (p.
147). This was his anti-zionist

the long list of the
against Gandhi, his
ignorance about the plight of the Jews in Europe and his
demand for
Jews to
non-violence while overlooking the violence of others have captured
the attention of the author in particular. Ghandi’s
for non-violence was indicative of his complete unfamiliarity with
the unfolding carnage in Hitler’s Europe. Gandhi’s ignorance is
further enforced when he asked the German Jews to resist their
deportation (p.
182) and further his parallelism between Churchill and Hitler is
another sign of his ignorance.

continued to call for moral victory against Hitler despite all sort
of subjugation being carried out
the Jews. Amidst the
against the Jews, Gandhi continued to criticize them
for seeking help form the
US and the UK.

Is it necessary that knowledge of a particular religion should lead one to support any political project emanating from that religion?

had declared himself a Muslim, a Parsi, a Christian and a Jew (p.
17) but it is too difficult to evaluate the impact of these religions
on his political thought. Among many factors, the
attributes Gandhi’s lack of sympathy for zionism
to his little knowledge of Judaism but is it necessary that knowledge
of a particular religion should lead
one to support any
political project
emanating from that
religion? In
India Maulana Azad was an astute Islamic scholar but vehemently
opposed the idea of Pakistan, an Islamic cause
for the ML. There
was nothing wrong if Gandhi could not see Jews beyond the people of a
particular faith and perhaps anticipated
the grave outcome of the
project of zionism.
One can also not deny the fact about Gandhi’s acquaintance with Ben
Gurion’s links
to terror groups, actively involved in displacing the indigenous
population, which
have determined and shaped the views of Gandhi about zionism
and the
leadership of Israel.

was not infallible nor
ever claim to be so. One
can also accept that
not have
sufficient knowledge of Judaism, but his
position towards zionism was
not driven
domestic political influence as alleged by the author but it was more
due to his preoccupation with the freedom struggles.

has not done justice to Gandhi by reducing everything to the politics
(Khilafat and ML-Congress rivalry), ignoring his lifelong moralist
and ethical principles.

anti-imperialist philosophy and his political righteousness cannot be
undermined by branding him an hypocrite, a
with double standards
or a Muslim

as alleged by the author while the fact remains that Gandhi was above
religion and race. It was not merely ML-Congress tussle to exhibit
more loyalty to the cause of Palestine but rather it was
a position
reflective of India’s anti-Imperialist ethos and support for
national causes
in Asia and Africa which guided India‘s erstwhile stance and one
can see that in
involvement in the anti-imperialist movement in the 1940s, 1950s and

all that
the anti-imperialist ethos of the
freedom struggle and the
of India’s foreign policy in the evolving years. There were other
sentiments also which had shaped India’s
stance towards Palestine. India has its own civilizational strength
and political understanding which might have guided both leaders:
Nehru and Gandhi.

proximity of India towards the
of Israel and the
deepening military and strategic engagement between the
in recent years has proven
that India’s foreign policy never remained faithful
or dictate of one individual. India had come a long way to recast its
foreign policy and its world view with the changing time.

volume is unique in many ways and undoubtedly will trigger a new
sensitivity and fresh debate among scholars and strategic community
who have traditionally remained faithful
to Gandhi’s dictum of 1938 when it comes to defining India-Israel
What further distinguishes the collection are
the many
by Pyarelal (confidant of Gandhi) about hiding some statements or
views of Gandhi from public knowledge to avoid controversy which
rarely known.

book provides a sea of information on various aspects of India-Israel
evolving ties which perhaps only an archive could have provided. It
is a huge
research work and no doubt through this book, Gandhi has been
revisited and rediscovered. In
India it is the
season for
rediscovering Gandhi, and everyone from politicians
to intellectuals
are doing it
in their own way.

Related stories: 

Critical voices in critical times: the partition of India – lessons learned, an interview with Rajmohan Gandhi

Nonviolent resistance in Palestine: steadfastness, creativity and hope

Forgotten lessons: Palestine and the British empire

Palestine: Imperial failures and their consequences

Tibet, Palestine and the politics of failure

Hitler and the challenge of non-violence

Country or region: 







International politics


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Iranian Protests against Austerity

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 19/01/2018 - 2:05am in

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On Thursday, 28th December 2017, in Mashhad the second most populous city in Iran, thousands of protesters gathered outside the city hall and chanted “Death to Rouhani”, the country’s President. Some reports have suggested that it may have been initiated by the conservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi, Rouhani's defeated rival in the May 2017 Presidential election. Later on, some others, including the senior officer of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, implicitly accused ex-President Ahmadinejad's circle being behind the recent protests. However it may have started, it quickly broke out of its intended framework and control and, in less than a week, spread to over 40 cities.

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Counterpunch on America’s Long Racist Hatred of Haiti

I blogged earlier this week about how Haiti was the first Black republic, where its enslaved people threw off their chains under the Black revolutionary, Toussaint Louverture, and threw out their French colonial overlords at the time of the French Revolution. The country became an inspiration to slaves struggling for their freedom in America and the Caribbean, and created panic among the European masters. They feared that their slaves were in contact with the Haitian revolutionaries, and that the next Black revolt would succeed where the others had been suppressed. And from the late 18th through the early 19th century, there were a series of revolts in the Caribbean by slaves, impatient for their freedom.

Mark Schuller, the Associate Professor of Anthropology and NGO Leadership and Development at Northern Illinois University, and affiliate at the Faculte d’Anthroplogie, l’Universitat d’Etat d’Haiti, wrote a piece discussing Haiti and America’s obsessive hatred of the country. Put simply, it’s because the American plantation masters were terrified of the example the Black republic gave to their slaves, and so they did everything they could to limit discussion of it and ultimately to conquer and dominate it. And not just America, but also France, and the exploitation and class rule imposed by the Americans under neoliberalism after the overthrow of the last Haitian president. He writes

What is behind Trump – and white America’s – obsession with Haiti?

Haiti has been targeted for its decisive role in challenging what Southern planters – including eight U.S. Presidents – called a “peculiar institution.” The Haitian Revolution was the first time slaves were able to permanently end slavery and forge an independent nation. It also was a tipping point in U.S. history, leading to the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, paving the way for U.S. “Manifest Destiny” stretching from sea to shining sea and eventual dominance. Chicago, the country’s third largest city, was founded by a Haitian, Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, who Haitian historian Marc Rosier called an “agent” of the Haitian government to pursue a pro-freedom international policy.

Haiti’s contribution to U.S. “greatness” has long been unacknowledged. The pivotal Haitian Revolution was literally “unthinkable,” as Haitian anthropologist Michel-Rolph Trouillot argued. The demonization of Haiti was so strong, its inspiration to slaves so dangerous, that Congress imposed a gag order in 1824, preventing the word Haiti from being uttered in Congress, a year after the imperialist Monroe Doctrine.

White supremacy was not defeated in the Appatomox Court House in 1865, nor the 13th Amendment that allowed for a back-door legalization of slavery, nor in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling, nor in the 1965 Voting Rights Act following “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, nor in the 2008 election of the first African American President.

Through it all, as Haitian anthropologist Gina Athena Ulysse analyzed, Haiti has served as the “bête noir” in a deliberate smear campaign against the descendants of the people who said no to white supremacy.

These narratives of Haiti continued throughout the initial response to the 2010 earthquake, from the likes of televangelist Pat Robertson and the New York Times’ David Brooks. As New Yorker contributing writer Doreen St. Felix pointed out, this obsession with Haiti has to do with white society’s rejection of black self-determination.

These discourses have definite and powerful material consequences.

France, which in 2001 declared slavery a “crime against humanity,” extorted 150 million francs from Haiti as a condition of recognition of Haitian independence, plunging Haiti into a 120-year debt that consumed up to 80% of Haiti’s tax base. Socialist president Jacques Chirac scoffed at Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s demand for reparations before being the first to call for his resignation in 2004.

Calling Haiti “ungovernable” provided justification for U.S. intervention: The United States invaded Haiti twenty-six times from 1849 to 1915, when U.S. Marines landed and occupied the country for nineteen years. During the U.S. Occupation, the Marines set up the modern army, opened up land for foreign ownership, solidified class and racial inequality, laying the groundwork for the 1957-1971 Duvalier dictatorship.

Incorrectly blaming Haiti for its role in the AIDS epidemic killed the tourist industry, which, along with the deliberate destruction of Haiti’s pig population, sent the economy in a nosedive. Neoliberal capitalist interests seized the opportunity to take advantage of the massive rural exodus to build sweatshops, exploiting people’s misery by offering the lowest wages in the world. With poverty wages, and a crippling foreign debt that according to the IMF’s own recordkeeping went to the paramilitary tonton makout, Port-au-Prince’s shantytowns had no services and no government oversight. These foreign interventions were the main killer in the 2010 earthquake.

He also makes the point that the accusation that indigenous Haitians were ‘looters’, along with other racist claims, meant that the efforts of the Haitian people themselves in combating the disasters that beset their country were ignored. The Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission was chaired by Bill Clinton, and the humanitarian aid coordinated by the UN. Native Haitians were excluded from these meetings either by foreign soldiers, or by the simple fact that they were in English, while Haiti itself is a bilingual country, speaking French and a French-based creole. The NGOs themselves had a top down, hierarchical structure, excluding people in the refugee camps from their decisions. The result was the break-up of Haitian families, and increasing violence against women.

His article ends:

Calling the world’s beacon of freedom a “shithole” sullies not only Haiti’s ten million residents on the island and three million in the U.S., but is an affront to human freedom and equality.

As award-winning Haitian author Edwidge Danticat argued, “today we mourn. Tomorrow we fight.”


Proud Haitians Defend Country as Free Black Republic after Trump’s ‘Sh*thole Countries’ Comments

Yesterday there were mass demonstrations in America, and expressions of outrage around the rest of the world at Trump’s grotesque comments about immigrants to America from ‘sh*thole countries’. As Mike put up on his blog, one of the countries that was most definitely not impressed was Botswana in Africa. This tiny African state, with a population of 2 million, has, as Mike pointed out, the highest growth rate in Africa, and a tradition of stable democratic government. It’s a developing nation, but definitely not a ‘sh*thole’. And the country’s authorities seemed determined to make that point when they called the American ambassador in to explain if their nation was one of the countries Trump was sneering at.

I was particularly impressed by a young Haitian woman, who appeared on the BBC news yesterday when the Corporation covered a demonstration against Trump and his racist comments in Florida. She stated that Haitians were a proud people, and that their country became the first Black republic, where the slaves overthrew their masters. She’s absolutely right. Modern Haiti was created by the ‘Black Jacobins’ under Toussaint Louverture, who organised a slave revolt inspired by the Revolution in France. Haiti had been a French colony, but they toppled colonial rule, and threw the French out. Louverture then renamed the country ‘Haiti’, rather than continue using the old French/ European colonial name, justifying the change by claiming that this was the indigenous name for it.

Lourverture’s revolution sent a shock wave throughout the Caribbean and America. It was an inspiration to Blacks struggling for their freedom, and alarmed the colonial authorities. The late 18th and early 19th centuries saw a series of slave revolts break out in the Caribbean, by enslaved people impatient for their freedom. These were ruthlessly and brutally suppressed, as the colonial authorities feared the influence of Haiti upon their enslaved subjects, and that the slaves would be in contact with the Haitian revolutionaries. And some free Black Americans moved to Haiti after they obtained their freedom. Major Moody, a British army officer, who was sent to the Caribbean in the 1820s to produce a report on whether the enslaved people of the British colonies were ready for emancipation, includes in his report correspondence between a Black American, who had done this, and his former mistress in America, who had freed him.

Haiti is a desperately poor country, as has been shown by the suffering and destruction it has sustained in recent years through a series of disasters. But much of this poverty and deprivation comes from American imperial intervention. The Americans invaded in the 1920s as part of their campaign to assert their dominance over the Caribbean, and defend their economic interests. And they’ve done the same thing at various intervals throughout the 20th and now the 21st century. A little while ago I found a piece on YouTube – I think it might have been by Abby Martin of TeleSur English’s The Empire Files, or it could have been the Real News people, which made the point that when the Americans invaded again a few years ago to overthrow the latest dictator, it wasn’t because of his human rights record. Rather, it was because he was redistributing wealth, which threatened American corporate interests once again. And the dictator’s left-wing opponent was kept from standing and taking over office through armed soldiers posted outside his house. It was the same pattern of invasion and coup that has been repeated over and over again, around the world, whenever a smaller, weaker country elects anyone remotely left-wing, or otherwise threatens the dominance of the big American corporations in their country’s economy. Just like Hillary Clinton five years ago in 2012 gave her backing to the Fascist coup which overthrew the liberal regime in Honduras.

One peculiar consequence of the American invasion of Haiti has been the rise of the zombie movie. The first of these appeared shortly after the 1920s American invasion, and left-wing, anti-colonial critics have argued that the movies represent an attempt by the country’s new colonial masters to present a picture of it as a terrifying land, steeped in superstition and black magic. Since then the zombie movie has moved away from Haiti to America itself, and under George A. Romero also developed satirical overtones criticising contemporary American society and capitalism. Like in one of his movies, the survivors seeks refuge in a mall.

Trump’s comments were offensive, and they clearly stung the pride of migrants to America, who nevertheless still felt strong bonds with their countries of origin, as well as the other peoples in the Developing World. But the young Haitian woman speaking up for her mother country made a very good point about how important it was for Black history. And if many of these countries are poor, ruled over by brutal, corrupt governments responsible for human rights abuses, one of the reasons is because the Americans have assisted these thugs into power to stop any redistribution of wealth or growth of democracy. All under the guise of protecting the world from the threat of Communism, and upholding American corporate interests. People around the world have been demanding that Trump apologise for his comments. They’re right, but it’s not just his comments that need to be critically analysed and opposed. It’s American imperialism itself, and the underlying cynical contempt for the nations of the Developing World and their people, who are there to be abused and sneered at in the interests of American corporate capitalism.

Book Review: Complicit Sisters. Gender and Women’s Issues across North-South Divides by Sara de Jong

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 05/01/2018 - 10:31pm in

In Complicit Sisters: Gender and Women’s Issues across North-South Divides, Sara de Jong draws on interviews with NGO workers to explore the ways in which women from the Global North perceive their efforts at ‘doing good’ with and for women from the Global South. This is an important contribution to the critical literature on gender and international development, writes Marta dell’Aquila, posing vital questions on the role and perspectives of NGO workers.

Complicit Sisters: Gender and Women’s Issues across North-South Divides. Sara de Jong. Oxford University Press. 2017.

Find this book: amazon-logo

In recent years, feminist, postcolonial and decolonial theories have brought attention to the notion of empowerment as well as the concepts and politics of development, often criticising them as colonial tools. They argue that the prevailing logics of development do not promote cultural meeting points, because they are the projection of the ‘enlightened’ Global North that wants to help a marginalised Global South.

In Complicit Sisters: Gender and Women’s Issues across North-South Divides, author Sara de Jong questions the system of fixed categories proposed by hegemonic discourses of Northern-biased feminism – e.g. men/women, North/South, development/underdevelopment – that dehumanises certain Southern subjectivities by ignoring realities, perspectives and experiences and by limiting the agency, and so the autonomy, of subordinate subjects and communities. But the text contains an additional innovative feature: De Jong gives voice not only to ‘the subaltern’, but also to those women in the Global North who intervene in the Global South; explores how these women understand themselves (Chapters Two and Three); examines how they perceive relations with the women they are helping (Chapters Four and Five); and, finally, considers how they define ‘Otherness’ (Chapter Six).

The strength of Complicit Sisters resides in its methodological eclecticism: De Jong swings between an accurate historical account of transnational feminism and women’s organisations that operated in support of development policies (e.g. ‘Women in Development’, ‘Women and Development’ and ‘Gender and Development’ perspectives) and a rich gathering of individual narratives. Through interviews with women coming from diverse locations but united by a common criterion – they all work for (Northern) European NGOs across the North-South axis – the author makes clear what mere normative analyses can’t do alone: she shows the feelings of these women, how they perceive their experiences and their perspectives about their commitment.

Image Credit: 1985 UN Women’s Conference Khanga. The globe with the ‘venus’ symbol and the International Year of Women dove emblem was launched at the 1975 First United Nations World Conference on Women. That conference began the UN Decade of Women, and this conference ended it (Tommy Miles CC BY SA 2.0)

For example, the concepts of global citizenship and (global) responsibility are located in the same paradigm through the prism of these voices: ‘theories on […] global citizenship are instructive in analyzing the motivation that the women saw as underpinning their work’ (46). When Tess, Liz and Frida – some of the interviewed women – are questioned about their motivation to work for a Northern NGO and their sense of responsibility in relation to the power and privileges they have, they all answer by appealing to the liberal idea of an ‘international justice’ and a sameness between women, regardless of their differences and distance. These three women feel responsible for others, because they have privileges and opportunities. They feel guilty about this, and NGO work helps to expiate this liberal guilt.

Responsibility is also defined across and in relation to space and distance in Chapter Four, with reference to rich and varied texts of decolonial and postcolonial feminisms and critical development literature. In this chapter, strategies used by women from the Global North to bridge distance with women from the Global South are debunked: field trips and derivative myths in fundraising, for example, reiterate the imaginaries through which marginalised, subordinated, peripheral women are seen to be aided by a dominant feminist epistemology that will take charge of saving them. These strategies exacerbate and stigmatise existing relations of power and lead to less open dialogue.

Something very interesting that also emerges from de Jong’s analysis is her statement concerning a ‘mutual dependency’ between organisations from the North and from the South: ‘Southern partner organizations are needed to legitimate the work of Northern (donor) organizations […] Partnerships are not only essential for the legitimacy of organizations and as sources of information, but also, in fact, as sources of motivation’ (113).

This mutual dependency, however, doesn’t imply that concepts of sisterhood and solidarity should be understood as universal or shared by all women. In Chapter Five, these forms of relationality are conceived by the interviewees in terms of a common victimhood and shared sense of oppression, when in reality they fit only the demands and needs of a specific category of women. De Jong’s suggestion makes reference once again to what decolonial feminists would call a ‘coalition’ approach: there is an ‘individual ‘‘work’’ that is needed to underpin the building of coalitions that are more sustainable than a sisterhood based on shared victimhood’ (156). It would lead us to know others as ourselves through alternative, grounded relationships, socialities and socialisations based on creative forms of defining power relationships. That’s why de Jong draws the attention to Sandra Harding’s feminist standpoint theory: the claim for homogenous and shared conceptions of women’s sisterhood, solidarity, victimhood and relationality do not take into account the situatedness of the Self and diverse knowledge backgrounds.

These interrogations of understandings of ‘Self’ and ‘Other’ lead the author to position her analysis as a ‘postcolonial configuration’. Postcolonial feminism, in fact, permits us to rethink this coupling, as well as other binary notions like ‘Western-non Western’, by problematising three aspects of hegemonic feminism – tendencies often adopted by NGOs – related to the Othering process: firstly, the concept of the ‘third world woman’; secondly, the equation feminist = imperialist; and thirdly, using the words of Leela Gandhi, the legacy of the ‘colonialist deployment of ‘‘feminist criteria’’ to bolster the appeal of a civilized mission’ (1998, 83). De Jong demonstrates and insists on the continuity of the world hierarchy in the postcolonial world, which operates by shaping relations of exploitation, domination and political and economic ways of production – including NGOs’ development policies.

In conclusion, through its case studies and interview narratives, Sara de Jong’s Complicit Sisters offers an alternative and original perspective on the complex universe of NGOs and development. In addition to a rich and precise historical account of the ‘empowerment and development’ paradigm, de Jong reinterprets the dilemmas of ‘doing good’ by giving voice to her Northern protagonists who represent, paradoxically, the often neglected side of the North-South axis.

Marta Dell’Aquila is a PhD Student in Political Philosophy at the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. Her research interests include theories of multiculturalism, agency and feminism as well as decolonial and postcolonial theories.

Note: This review gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics.