Socialism Art Nature

Translation: Ukraine must open itself up to U.S. economic and political control if it wants aid.

I’m all for the regime in Ukraine reforming away from its corrupt, repressive past, but it is an utterly hypocritical pretext for the US to claim that it only gives foreign aid to “reformed” governments.

What about the billions of dollars that the US annually sends to Saudi Arabia, a country where witchcraft, insulting the monarchy, and homosexuality are still considered crimes for which a person can be executed?! Or the billions of US dollars that go to Israel, which is in open violation of numerous international laws regarding occupation, ethnic cleansing, and land seizure? Or the puppet regime in Afghanistan — which the US all but completely controls — and which is one of the most misogynistic, corrupt, and repressive in the world? Or the billions that it gave to the former Mubarak dictatorship in Egypt for decades right up until the moment it was overthrown in 2011? And on and on …

The fact that the US is trying to exploit the situation in Ukraine in order to position itself as somehow an upholder of democratic and moral virtues around the world is simply nauseating.

As the socialist journalist John Reed explained early in the twentieth century, “Uncle Sam never gives something for nothing. He comes along with a sack stuffed with hay in one hand and a whip in the other. Anyone who accepts Uncle Sam’s promises at face value will find that they must be paid for in sweat and blood.”

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KIEV, Ukraine (AP) A top U.S. diplomat says Washington is willing to consider financial aid to Ukraine as the country struggles through a polarizing political crisis, but only if it undertakes political and economic reforms.

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yeah, because a war against Syria initiated by Suadi Arabia and the U.S. is TOTALLY going to be all about fighting for human rights, democracy, and against despotism … 

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"This is SUCH an incredibly important interview. Give it a listen NOW. Emerson College Professor Yasser Munif talks about how Syrian state TV has been broadcasting images of protests in the West that had signs and pictures of Assad "proving" the Assad regime has popular support internationally, because the Left has been so terrible about standing with the revolution. He talks about witnessing the revolutionary process in Syria and why the Left is losing credibility if it does not cohere an anti-racist, non-state centric principled stand for revolution while against US intervention."

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Remember this? The Egyptian revolution that would ultimately topple Mubarak’s long-hated despotic rule would occur a mere four months after this photograph was taken.
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White House Press Release, 1 September 2010:

President Obama and President Mubarak met today and reaffirmed the strong ties between Egypt and the United States of America.
The President committed to staying in close contact with President Mubarak as the talks develop, and made clear that Egypt’s leadership will be needed to ensure that the talks are successful.
 … The President welcomes commitments Egypt has made as part of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/09/01/readout-president-obamas-meeting-with-president-mubarak-egypt

Remember this? The Egyptian revolution that would ultimately topple Mubarak’s long-hated despotic rule would occur a mere four months after this photograph was taken.

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White House Press Release, 1 September 2010:

President Obama and President Mubarak met today and reaffirmed the strong ties between Egypt and the United States of America.

The President committed to staying in close contact with President Mubarak as the talks develop, and made clear that Egypt’s leadership will be needed to ensure that the talks are successful.

 … The President welcomes commitments Egypt has made as part of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/09/01/readout-president-obamas-meeting-with-president-mubarak-egypt


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…if there was any doubt this was a full blown counterrevolution…

meanwhile, the U.S. has refused to cancel its $1.5 billion delivery of military aid to the repressive military junta now ruling Egypt …

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via Vijay Prashad:

<jailbreak> Within a few days, Hosni Mubarak will be released. Next: Gamal Mubarak might become President. Ya Haram! The stench of the counter-revolution swirls and seaps. Ben Ali twitches to return to Tunis, and Saleh smiles a cat’s smile for his adjutant is warming his seat in Sanaa. Saif al-Islam catches an echo of what is happening outside his window in Zintan, but he cannot do anything. The dynasty of the Qaddafis is over. The Sultans of Arabia shuffle to meetings — how best to ensure another fifty years of ‘peace.’ It was a close call, all this springtime and democracy. Obama will soon give a speech about the importance of democracy in the Middle East. Ships, laden with arms, will soon wave to the tourists in Gibraltar. The green light shines bright for the Israelis to try out their new weaponry on Palestine and Lebanon.
via Vijay Prashad:
<jailbreak> Within a few days, Hosni Mubarak will be released. Next: Gamal Mubarak might become President. Ya Haram! The stench of the counter-revolution swirls and seaps. Ben Ali twitches to return to Tunis, and Saleh smiles a cat’s smile for his adjutant is warming his seat in Sanaa. Saif al-Islam catches an echo of what is happening outside his window in Zintan, but he cannot do anything. The dynasty of the Qaddafis is over. The Sultans of Arabia shuffle to meetings — how best to ensure another fifty years of ‘peace.’ It was a close call, all this springtime and democracy. Obama will soon give a speech about the importance of democracy in the Middle East. Ships, laden with arms, will soon wave to the tourists in Gibraltar. The green light shines bright for the Israelis to try out their new weaponry on Palestine and Lebanon.

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The basic tenets of democracy — including the right to elect political representatives — has simply been explicitly abolished in Detroit (and who knows which city is next?), thanks to the efforts of former politicians, bankers, and local business owners. Instead, the people of that city now live under the despotic rule of an appointed “city manager.”

State capitalism, much?

For all the talk about autocratic rule by unelected bureaucrats in places like China or North Korea, Detroit proves that “democracy” is not in the least bit intrinsic to American capitalism.


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When it comes to underwriting despotism around the world, the Democrats and Republicans stand shoulder-to-shoulder.

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What a fucking racist piece of shit! The fact is that Egypt — even with the short-lived reign of the Muslim Brotherhood — has experienced far MORE democracy in action over the past several years than we’ve seen in the U.S. in decades!

The U.S. is a plutocracy, not a democracy, because regardless of the outcome of any elections, the 1% continue to rule this country as tyrannically as ever.

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The Wall Street Journal calls for fascist dictatorship in Egypt. Yes, let’s imprison, torture, and kill thousands so that U.S. corporations can profit.

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Of course, the irony is that the same US politicians and corporations that wax indignant on the topic of China’s totalitarianism are also the same people fostering and profiting from that totalitarianism.

We all know that companies like Apple are exploiting millions of dollars out of underpaid Chinese laborers who are bereft of trade union and/or political rights.

But even people like Mitt Romney are in on the hypocritical jig. Bain Capital, the financial firm founded by Romney, is single-handdly advancing a multi-billion dollar Chinese project to blanket the country in security cameras. The effect, of course, will be to strengthen the hold of those very same totalitarian state officials over the people of China.

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The media have focused on the case of Chen Guangcheng, but dissent in China is much broader and driven by many factors, writes David Whitehouse.


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I suppose it’s ironic that the very same people who call themselves “anti-authoritarians” participate in the most authoritarian activity at the end of the day — for really, what is more undemocratic than a handful of unaccountable, provocational, self-appointed “activist shock troops”, clad in black anonymity, and carrying out geurilla-war-style actions that will have massive repercussions for the vast majority of the rest of the movement activists who are not participants in (or even privy to) such violent actions?

This is a perfect embodiment of the pernicious notion developed by the 19th century anarchist, Mikhail Bakunin, of “the invisible dictatorship,” which would comprise those self-selected anarchists acting as the unelected, unaccountable leaders of the movement. (As if one could be “anti-government” by simply constructing a sort of unacknowledged ’secret government’ bereft of the open, democratic formalities that characterize the traditional state).

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MAY DAY—the international workers’ holiday with its origins in the struggles of the U.S. labor movement more than a century ago—was marked by demonstrations and events in cities around the country this year.

The biggest single demonstration was in New York City, where as many as 30,000 people came out to a rally and march to Wall Street. But there were other actions in New York—and in cities around the country, people came together in their hundreds and thousands, surpassing the expectations of organizers in a number of cases.

This year was the largest mobilization for May Day since the hey day of the immigrant rights mega-marches starting in 2006. Immigrant rights and labor groups were in the thick of the organizing, but so were activists from the Occupy movement of last fall, who looked to May 1 as an opportunity to reassert the message of the 99 percent against the greed, power and corruption of the 1 percent.

That the Occupy movement, like many other struggles before it, looked to May Day as a celebration of solidarity is a signal of the depths of the radicalization. Whatever the size of the demonstrations, they represented an attempt to connect the organizing of today to the rich history of working-class struggle in the U.S.

Of course, May Day was preceded by calls for a general strike of the U.S. working class and mass, nationwide consumer boycotts, but few people expected anything like that to happen. Almost everywhere, activists were happy to report stronger-than-expected turnouts for marches and rallies.

Predictably, the corporate media focused on confrontations between police and demonstrators in a handful of cities. Unfortunately, as has become increasingly clear over this year, a section of the Occupy movement has drifted toward a strategy that seeks a face-off with police and the threat of mass arrest, even when there is no potential of mobilizing the much wider layers of support that the Occupy struggle enjoyed last fall at its height.

The May Day demonstrations this year show the potential for taking new steps forward—crucially, with the renewed connections between unions, immigrant rights organizations and Occupy. The question for activists now has to be how we can deepen these ties and take new steps to broaden participation in the effort to build a left alternative to the world of the 1 percent.


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More labor unrest under the reign of yet another US-backed monarchical dictatorship in the Middle East. And, of course, this particular monarch, the Jordanian King Abdullah II, occupies a special place among the despotic allies of the Obama administration.

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AMMAN — Thousands of teachers from across Jordan rallied outside the Prime Ministry on Tuesday, demanding a “long-promised” increase in their professional allowance among other calls to “restore their dignity”. 

The rally coincided with a nationwide teachers’ strike that left the Kingdom’s schools crippled for the seventh day in a row.

The National Committee for Teachers Association, which estimated the number of teachers taking part in the rally at more than 20,000, had called on educators from all across Jordan to gather outside the Prime Ministry “as yet another escalatory measure against the government’s refusal to grant them their rights”.


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