China will react if provoked again: you risk the war, by Andre Vltchek

Interview with Andre Vltchek

The AntiDiplomatico (Italy) interviews philosopher, Andre Vltchek: “Russia and China are forming an incredible defensive wall to protect humanity from Western terrorism.”

 By Alessandro Bianchi

Andre Vltchek has become renowned in Italy for being the co-author, along with Noam Chomsky, of the famous book “Western Terrorism” (Ponte alle Grazie).

A documentary filmmaker, novelist, essayist, philosopher and intellectual, multi-faceted Vltchek is the cosmopolitan man par excellence, a “true revolutionary” as he likes to call himself. In recent years with his camera and his extraordinary commitment against injustice on this planet he has explored every corner of the Earth and taken over the length and breadth of Western terrorism, one that our media likes to censor and hide from our consciences.

After the interviews with the great Australian journalist John Pilger and the famous American playwright John Steppling, we have the honor and privilege of speaking to our great friend of l’AntiDiplomatico, asking some questions on burning current international issues.

 *

This interview first appeared in the Italian language, published by ‘L’AntiDiplomatico’

*

In Beijing Art District with my dragons

Q: I start from a brutal question: What has become of a country that it offering Donald Trump as its ‘best candidate’?

AV: It is not much different from the country that it used to be for decades, even centuries. Since the beginning, the US presidents (all of European stock, of course), had been promoting slavery, extermination campaigns against the native population of North America, barbaric wars of aggression against Mexico, and other Latin American countries, the Philippines, etc. Has anything changed now? I highly doubt it. Donald Trump is horrendous, but he is also honest. Both Presidents Clinton and Obama were great speakers, but unrepentant mass murderers.

Q: In a recent survey over 53% of Americans were against both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. How long will we continue to consider the United States a democracy? And why, in your opinion, is abstention the only form of “rebellion” by a population completely excluded from the decision-making stage?

AV: “Democracy” means nothing else other than, “rule of the people”, in Greek. There is nothing democratic about the political concepts of the United States and Europe. And there is absolutely nothing democratic about the “global arrangement” through which the West has been ruling over the rest of the world for decades and centuries. The second part is, I’m convinced, much more important, much more devastating; in the West, people have been tolerating their insane political system, in exchange for the countless privileges they are getting from their countries’ plundering of the planet, and violating entire nations and continents. But in Africa, Asia and elsewhere, those “un-people” have no choice at all.

Q: Is Bernie Sanders really the change that many in Europe have described?

AV: Bernie Sanders is like those liberal members of the German National Socialist Party during the WWII, or of the Italian Fascist movement during Mussolini. They’d do much for their own workers and peasants, socially… as long as funds were flowing in from the countries plundered by their imperialism. Under Bernie Sanders, Western workers would definitely do much better, but the rest of the world, the “wretched of the Earth” would still have to pay the bill.

Q: What would happen to the world under a Hillary Clinton’s presidency?

AV: Nothing exceptional – things would stay the same: sponsorship of “Color” or “Umbrella” or whatever “revolutions”, some more coups, “regime changes”, direct invasions, bombing, propaganda warfare against China, Russia, Iran, South Africa and what is left of the Latin American revolutions. There would be plenty of torture in “secret centers”, but it would not be as advertised and glorified as it would be if Trump were elected. World War III would become a great possibility, but such a scenario is quite possible under any new US administration… To answer your question: business as usual.

Continue reading China will react if provoked again: you risk the war, by Andre Vltchek

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American Attack on the EU & the World, by Jorge Trevino

A Reader’s  Letter:

Lot’s has been written on the recent and multi American attacks on Russia, China and Latin America but few have been said about American containment against the European Union (EU). Western Europe or EU-NATO’s Europe has been historically seen as the closest American ally but I won’t refer them as the “Western world” as this is only a vague concept that covers up America and its main vassal states rebuilt after the WWII and during the Cold War in order to create an imaginative sense of belonging that could facilitate the American control on all of the Western Europe under the US umbrella via Brussels.

Once the Ukraine and Syria conflicts escalated with the participation of Russia on a spectacular coming back to the international arena from the ashes of the Soviet Union after a long break since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Boris Yeltsin’s bottle of vodka’s regime, the US set up a package of economic sanctions and politic pressures against Russia that have also hurt the US historic allies in Europe.

On the economic side it is well known that some European economic sectors are willing to end the sanctions as losses reach the billions of dollars, financial resources that are well needed within Europe’s low growth economies. At the same time and on the politic side, essential and long term American allies in Europe such as France and Germany have seen weakened their traditional leading role to their peers of Eastern Europe which from nowhere have started to take decisions at the highest level on what to do or not against Russia but also on strategic issues such as energy, foreign policy and military subjects.

The three Baltic States, Poland, Scandinavia and Rumania have taken the lead on Russia’s American containment with little to say from the former politic and economic hearts in Paris and Berlin, respectively. The former invincible German Chancellor Angela Merkel has Germany trapped in Turkish Erdogan’s blackmail of flooding Europe with refugees from the Middle East taken as hostages from what America has left after five years of simulated conflict against ISIS that we now know was nothing but a sick pathetic joke. As a result, Merkel has nothing to do but push for keeping the sanctions over Russia no matter whether it’s obvious that the economic sanctions are making Europe’s businesses a hostage of American failed military interventions and Ottoman’s own agenda in the region.

So all this take us to the following scenario: Europe, the ancient continent envy of the whole world and land of the brightest civilisations is now under threat on four fronts:

  1. The Atlantic front by the U.S. punishing its European “best friends” not only halting them of making business with Europe’s big brother but also pushing them straight into a possible military crash against Russian’s nuclear capacity, while at the same time Europe is being attacked by getting millions of refugees from Turkey if they don’t fulfil Erdogan’s imperial whims.
  1. The Eastern front by the emboldened micro Baltic republics, Ukraine, Poland, Rumania and more recently the Scandinavian states pushing dangerously toward Russian borders where no one knows where they will stop, or even if they will stop.
  1. The Southern front by Ottoman’s Turkey rebirth blackmailing Europe on a quite vulgar attitude of “Do as I say or attend the consequences and mess around with more millions of refugees Turkey can just let through into European’s territory.
  1. And the Internal front where 28 European members are pushing for their own agenda despite the union’s well being that in theory should be the one that prevailed. The smallest and poorest republics of Europe are now the decision makers of the EU under the American mentorship. It seems that George Orwell’s novel The Animal Farm published in 1945 predicted what was to happen in Europe 66 years later, the rule of the pigs! And there’s nothing that shows that the European governments have noticed that the Americans are targeting them too under an Americanism global reign where no one but them are to rule the world. Europeans didn’t pay attention to State Department’s officer Victoria Nuland’s of “Fuck Europe” when the Ukraine coup in 2014. That’s the core of the American foreign policy once they come up with a global Monroe’s Doctrine. It looks like the EU’s old leadership of Berlin can’t even put on track the North Stream pipeline on track bypassing the Ukraine through the Baltic Sea because the micro Baltic States refuse to give it a go following their local narrow anti-Russian agenda backed by the hawks in Washington.

So who is the sole winner of this entire situation where the EU, Russia, China, Iran, South America as a whole among many others are under siege on a macabre game where everyone is playing a vassal while the U.S. is successfully (so far) re-gaining its glory and global ruling they once had?

Continue reading American Attack on the EU & the World, by Jorge Trevino

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Who’s Really The Fascist?, by Raúl Ilargi Meijer

Source: The Automatic Earth

Like most of you, I too see an increase in the use of the term ‘fascism’ in the media, and it is -almost- always linked to the rise of Donald Trump in the US and various politicians and parties in Europe, Le Pen in France, Wilders in Holland, Erdogan in Turkey, plus a pretty bewildering and motley crew of ‘groups’ in Eastern Europe (Hungary’s Orban) and Scandinavia. I guess you could throw in Nigel Farage and UKIP in Britain as well.

And while I -sort of- understand why the term is used the way it is, and it’s not possible to say it’s used wrong simply because ‘fascism’ knows so many different interpretations and definitions, very few of which can be classified as definitely wrong, that doesn’t mean that just because you’re not definitely wrong, you’re therefore right, and certainly not comprehensive or complete. And there’s a story in there that deserves to be told. Who is really the fascist? From Wikipedia:

George Orwell wrote in 1944 that “the word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless … almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist’”. Richard Griffiths said in 2005 that “fascism” is the “most misused, and over-used word, of our times”. “Fascist” is sometimes applied to post-war organizations and ways of thinking that academics more commonly term “neo-fascist”.

I’m inclined to venture that ‘terrorism’ is a good second for most misused word, but something tells me that once you get into economics and the way terms like ‘stimulus’, ‘unemployment’ and ‘inflation’ are used, this is an argument that would never end. Let’s stick with ‘fascism’ for now.

The prevalent definition -and public notion- of fascism today is connected first and foremost to Adolf Hitler, to the Holocaust, the SS and other German WWII ‘phenomena’. And it’s quite something to link Trump or Le Pen to that, even if they say things at times that may make you shudder. It seems at least a tad hyperbolic, no matter how much you may not like these people. Neither is responsible for the deaths of millions of people.

What’s more interesting, because it can provide perspective, is to look at what fascism is (or was) prior to, and beyond, Hitler and Germany. One man stands out in this: Benito Mussolini, Italian prime minister slash wannabe dictator from 1922 till 1943, who’s even often labeled the founder of fascism (though its roots go back much further). But for Mussolini, fascism was not what Hitler has made us define it as.

Continue reading Who’s Really The Fascist?, by Raúl Ilargi Meijer

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South Korean Man Questions Anti-Communist Dogma, by Andre Vltchek

Source: Counterpunch

War Museum in Seoul, small, wm
In Conversation with Mr. Kim Dol

“Thus now I have come to recognize the recently implemented sanctions against North Korea as an ‘injustice’.”

Above is a short excerpt from the letter that I received in May 2016, a letter from one of my readers, Mr. Kim Dol, a young South Korean professional based in Seoul.

Mr. Kim Dol, it seems, has been lately suffering from a gradual but irreversible loss of faith in the official dogmas that have been shaping his worldviews for most of his life – dogmas manufactured by his own country, South Korea (ROK), as well as those that have been imported from the West. He discovered countless contradictions between simple logic and what he was told, and expected to believe. He began questioning things, and searching for alternative sources.

That is how he found me. Online, he began reading my essays, as well as the essays of other comrades.

His letter arrived when I had been living for a month in Buenos Aires, Argentina, working on my new political novel while literally confronting the neo-liberal and neo-fascist government of the Argentinean President, Mauricio Macri.

Argentinian people had been fooled and they were now quickly waking up to a social, economic and political nightmare. The US was going to build military bases in at least two territories of this proud and essentially socialist nation. Prices were going up, privatization was in full-swing, and social benefits melting away. Protests erupted all over the capital. The fight for Argentina was on!

Simultaneously, in neighboring Brazil, a clique of cynical, corrupt, white and mostly evangelical members of the pro-Western ‘elites’ managed to overthrow the socialist government of Dilma Rousseff.

Mr. Kim Dol’s letter was timely. The Empire was on the offensive, destroying Latin America, while provoking Russia, China and the DPRK (North Korea).

An enormous military conflict, even a Third World War did not appear as some improbable and phantasmagoric scenario, anymore.

Mr. Kim Dol solicited several questions. His letter and queries were simple, honest and essential. Obviously, they were addressing some of the philosophical and political concerns of South Korean people. I decided to reply, but on one condition: that this exchange would be in the form of an interview, and made public. He agreed. I asked whether he’d mind using his real name? He responded, bravely, that he’d have no problem with that whatsoever.

Therefore, we were on!

Continue reading South Korean Man Questions Anti-Communist Dogma, by Andre Vltchek

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‘March of Silence’ In Uruguay Sends Message Of Remembrance To South America, by Andre Vltchek

Source: Information Clearing House

They were marching shoulder-to-shoulder, young and old, in absolute silence. Some were carrying small placards with names and photos of their loved ones, who disappeared four decades ago, during the pro-Western dictatorship here in Uruguay.

The entire center of Montevideo came to a standstill. Blocks and blocks of this marvelous city were literally inundated by the river consisting of human bodies.

Then, in front of the municipality, the silence was broken. A huge screen above the square lit up, and photographs of each man and woman who disappeared, suddenly emerged, one by one. When no photograph was available, a gray contour was projected on the white screen. Two voices, one of a man, and one of a woman, were reading names of the victims. And the crowd chanted back in unison: “Presente!”

One block further, the “March of Silence” ended. The national anthem of Uruguay resonated across the old city. Some people stood still, in silent salute and reverence, others fell into each other’s arms, weeping openly and uncontrollably.

Uruguay, at least to some extent a socialist country, was still standing. All over the continent, however, left-wing governments were collapsing, under the terrible weight of constitutional coups as well as the media and business manipulations of the ‘elites’ and the Empire.

Argentina was crying out in pain under the neoliberal President Mauricio Macri, while the great Brazilian nation – fooled, cheated and spat at – was just slowly and painfully waking up after the long night of a shameless coup that brought a corrupt lackey and snitch of the West – Michel Temer – to power.

But even in Uruguay, the old establishment was still clinging to power, blocking many essential changes, resisting and silencing the calls for justice.

Around 300 people disappeared in tiny Uruguay during the extreme right-wing dictatorship (1973-85), of course much less than in Argentina or Chile.

“But that is enough. Enough!” An old lady who was holding a placard with the image of her sister told me. “300 are much more than enough. We want justice and truth. Because without those, there could be no real progress in this country.”

One of the posters read:

AGAINST IMPUNITY OF THE PAST AND PRESENT! TRUTH AND JUSTICE!

Other placards were much more explicit:

NO FORGETTING NO FORGIVENESS!

And an even stronger one:

THEY ARE INSIDE US, SHOUTING ‘REVOLUTION!’

“This is so impressive, so touching!” whispers my friend Lilian Soto, a leading Paraguayan left-wing politician and former MP and Presidential candidate. “I have already participated in this march on several occasions. I really love this country!”

I briefly speak to my colleague and comrade from TeleSur, who is covering this great event for the entire Latin America and the world.

This year, after what happened in neighboring Argentina and Brazil, the march is gaining great symbolism. Cuban flags are flying, not far from the great Uruguayan Cinemateque, where my film about the US-backed 1965 coup in Indonesia had been shown, many years ago. In front of the statue of Socrates, a man poses, proudly, wrapped in a huge Brazilian flag.

“Those flags were just personal statements by several individuals,” explains my friend, Uruguayan journalist and activist Agustin Fernandez. “The demonstration was still mainly about the crimes committed by our past dictatorship.”

Mainly, yes; but those men and women I spoke to, on the night of 21 May, in the center of Montevideo, appeared to be extremely concerned about the macabre developments shaking the neighboring countries.

In Latin America, as well as all around the world, everything is clearly inter-connected. The West; the Empire, are behind almost all the horrid crimes against the humanity.

A great Greek film director, Costa Gavras, depicted the Uruguayan dictatorship and the Yankee involvement (a story of a US diplomat and expert in torture, who was kidnapped by the Uruguayan resistance group Tupamaros), in his iconic film “State of Siege” (1973).

The US and the West were behind the disappearances and torture in this historically peaceful and democratic country… as they were responsible for the horrors of fascist dictatorships in Chile, Argentina, Brazil and elsewhere… and just as they are accountable for the recent ‘events’ in Argentina and Brazil.

Who said that the US was ‘too busy in the Middle East, while also provoking Russia and China?’ Who said that ‘the Empire finally closed its eyes, stopped looking south?’ It never does! It never sleeps!

Walking down the streets of Montevideo, photographing and talking to the marching masses, on several occasions I was tempted to shout:

“Hugo Chavez Frias!”

And:

“Salvador Allende Gossens!”

Expecting to hear those loud, clear and proud voices replying to me: “Presente!”

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His latest books are: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and “Fighting Against Western Imperialism.Discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western TerrorismPoint of No Return is his critically acclaimed political novel. Oceania – a book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about Indonesia: “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Press TV. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and the Middle East. He can be reached through his website or his Twitter.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

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Please Support The SYRIAN VOICES BOOK PROJECT

Source: In Gaza

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*photo: Resilience of Syrians, Old City of Homs, December 2015.

As many readers will know, I have visited Syria four times, between April 2014 and December 2015—independently on a journalist’s visa and as part of two peace delegations. When in Syria as a writer, I visited key places—including liberated Homs and Ma’loula, terror-bombed regions of Homs, and the Yarmouk district, which has been focus of slick propaganda by anti-Syria corporate media and so-called human rights groups—and have conducted numerous interviews, with Syrian political and religious leaders, as well as Syrian civilians.

I have taken many photographs and videos, collected numerous personal testimonies, undertaken my own research and investigations, visited hospitals and refugee centres, and—in every area that I visited—have conversed with Syrians about what they feel is the cause of the problems in Syria, the solution, and on their insistence for Syria’s sovereignty, and on their support for the Syrian Arab Army and their president.

In the months since my last trip, I have been transcribing interviews and testimonies and writing articles based on them, writing about my personal impressions based on my visits to Syria, and challenging the latest corporate media lies and propaganda campaigns.

I will be returning to Syria, as soon as possible, and for that I must ask for financial assistance to make this trip possible. [see:  Syrian Voices Book Project on GoFundMe ]

Why am I compelled to go to Syria?

In order to write a book that prioritizes Syrian voices from Syria: truths from some of the most highly-misrepresented, lied about or plainly ignored areas of Syria.

To do justice to the full spectrum of the stories of Syrians as told by them, it is essential that I visit areas I not previously been to, areas that have been liberated since I was last there and areas that are enduring especially egregious suffering—such as in Aleppo under terrorist bombs.

To be able to meet costs associated with overseas flights, as well as travel and related expenses in Syria, it is necessary for me to fund-raise, because my current work as a writer and related advocacy work is either unpaid or paid very little.

If this book project, as well as my ability to write additional articles from Syria, is something you wish to and are able to support financially, I would gratefully appreciate any and all contributions.

If you would like to support my work, but are not in a position to do so financially, I would be grateful if you could share this fundraising appeal with others, as this will give a tremendous boost to my appeal.

Full details of my work and plans can be accessed on my gofundme page.

*NOTE: For those wish to donate but prefer to use Paypal, follow this link

For those who prefer to avoid Payal transaction fees, e-transfers are an option. Canadian banks only however.

Supporters’ Comments on Facebook and GoFundMe:

“Your work in raising awareness for the Syrian people and combating the lying war propaganda cannot be valued in currency. Thank you for committing to writing this.”
– Angelis Dania
“you are an example for what a real journalist should be
you do it all yourself, take all the hardships and offer truth to those who are thirsty for it
you are of a different nationality, different language, different culture, yet you turn up to be loyal to Syria more than many of its children..
Great work Eva”

-Jamila and Shababeek شبابيك are with you

“Eva, thanks for doing this work. It gives voice to Syrians and is critical for countering the vicious propaganda of the “left” (fake left) imperialists who are effectively supporting foreign-backed Wahabbit-Takfiri terrorists waging a dirty war on Syria.”
-Daniel Wirt

 

“Please support this in any way you can. Eva Bartlett is a truly brilliant journalist and activist for justice & truth, and we all know who rare that sort of stuff is.”
-Hayat Islam

“The best money you will ever spend! Give some. Trust me. Canada’s Rachel Corrie needs your help. Fund the amazing journalism of Eva Bartlett. Help truth and justice rise to the top.”
-Denis Rancourt

“In a just world, a brilliant and courageous person like Eva Bartlett would have all of the funding and support necessary to carry on her work. But it is not a just world. It is only through the efforts of people like Eva to bring truth to this world of lies that it may become more so. Please read her full description of the proposed project and give if you can or share the fundraising appeal so that others may become aware of it.”
– David Lorig

“Supporting Eva Bartlett will support the people of ‪#‎Syria in their struggle for ‪#‎Peace & ‪#‎sovereignty!”
-Nino Pagliccia

“I couldn’t think of someone more worthy than Eva Bartlett to receive support. Her work on Syria has been absolutely astounding from day 1.”
-Valentina Capurri

“Dear friends … please read and whatever contribution you can make for this brave journalist is highly appreciated … Thanks”
-Waseem Abbas

“Please support the wonderful independent journalist Eva Bartlett, someone who’s doing an priceless work on Syria. A true fighter for justice and truth for THE SYRIAN PEOPLE”
-Julia Kaya

Continue reading Please Support The SYRIAN VOICES BOOK PROJECT

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Conversation: The Wahhabi Chronicles, by Mohsin Siddiqui

I have been meaning to write about what it means to grow up in the Saudi Arabian Wahhabi model, what has held me back thus far is more about “Where do I begin?”

The beast is complex, pathological and has many facets to its manifestation in various areas of your life. It simply permeates every little part of your existence either willingly, subconsciously or via the guilt complex that it feeds on.

My intention here is not to proselytize nor is it to prescribe a remedy. Instead it is to share my experience with you.

I was born in the heydays of the oil boom in Saudi Arabia to expatriate parents from my native Pakistan. We lived happy – somewhat dysfunctional – lives as most would assume. We did better than our extended family and made sure we shared with those back home. My parents were average Sunni Muslims who observed prayers whenever they remembered – with the exception of Friday prayers that most Muslims religiously observe – and tried to generally stick to the ‘norms’ of the faith but nothing too strictly.

Life was good and we had plenty of good fortune that many did not have. My parents wanted us to study in English schools and paid handsomely for that ‘privilege’ in Saudi Arabia. At age 3 I was put on the conveyor belt of what we call the expatriate English educational system in Saudi Arabia. The school was owned and run by a Saudi prince and had relatively good standing in the community at the time. Our English teachers were predominantly British & Irish with a sprinkle of Americans and then a dominance of South Africans in the later years of schooling. An exception to this rule was of course the teachers who taught us Arabic, Quran and Islamic Studies; Mostly Egyptians and members of other Arab states.

I do not remember religion really playing a big role in my early life other than observing prayers when my father took me for prayers or when it was Ramadan and we fasted. As children we were eager to fast and show that we were adults, win school competitions by memorizing the Quran and other such “religious” observance. It was less dogma and more mimicking and following what others were doing in the community in general. Social policing is a common activity in Muslim communities; Your devotion to God is under constant check and invasion of your privacy a trivial matter.

The religious drive creeps in slowly, first it is keeping up image with the good neighbours and then it is trying to outdo them. Of course, all of this in the name of securing your heaven; For example If you memorize the Quran then your parents get a home in heaven. Prayers became more regular as we grew older and the school system pumped out more things to adhere to.

We had two classical Arabic classes and a Quaran class per day. We had to memorize verses, hadith (Prophets sayings) and other Islamic theology.  We also had a Quran teacher come at home to teach us how to recite the Quran. This is a common thing to do in the Muslim world and most families do this irrespective of their own religiousness.

What most people do not understand is that in a society like Saudi Arabia (or a predominantly Islamic community) it is quite normal to pray regularly, read the Quran, follow Islamic teachings and think nothing of it. It is a habit almost and you are kind of blind to the affect it is creating in you on the inside. There is little else for adults to do other than be pious. Pretty soon my mother also joined a Quran school to be more in tune with what she saw as her duty as a good Muslim. In Saudi Arabia, women have little option to do anything but basically be more religious. One could argue that men too have ultimately that as the only unrestricted avenue of ‘personal development’. Religion trumps everything.

Continue reading Conversation: The Wahhabi Chronicles, by Mohsin Siddiqui

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Conversation: Lock Up the Men, Evict the Women and Children, by Chris Hedges

source: Information Clearing House

Matthew Desmond’s book, “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City,” like Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Nickel and Dimed,” is a heartbreaking snapshot of the rapacious exploitation and misery we inflict on the most vulnerable, especially children. It is a picture of a world where industries have been created to fleece the poor, and destroy neighborhoods and ultimately lives. It portrays a judicial system that has broken down, a dysfunctional social service system and the license in neoliberal America to carry out unchecked greed, no matter what the cost.

“Her face had that look,” Desmond wrote. “The movers and the deputies knew it well. It was the look of someone realizing that her family would be homeless in a matter of hours. It was something like denial giving way to the surrealism of the scene: the speed and the violence of it all; sheriffs leaning against your wall, hands resting on holsters; all these strangers, these sweating men, piling your things outside, drinking water from your sink poured into your cups, using your bathroom. It was the look of being undone by a wave of questions. What do I need for tonight, for this week? Who should I call? Where is the medication? Where will we go? It was the face of a mother who climbs out of the cellar to find the tornado has leveled the house.”

Being poor in America is one long emergency. You teeter on the edge of bankruptcy, homelessness and hunger. You endure cataclysmic levels of stress, harassment and anxiety and long bouts of depression. Rent strips you of half your income—one in four families spend 70 percent of their income on rent—until you and your children are evicted, often into homeless shelters or abandoned buildings, when you fall behind on payments. A financial crisis—a medical emergency, a reduction in hours at work or the loss of a job, funeral expenses or car repairs—can lead inexorably to an eviction. Creditors, payday lenders and collection agencies hound you. You are often forced to declare bankruptcy. You cope with endemic violence, gangs, drugs and a judicial system that permits brutal police abuse and ships you to jail, or slaps you with huge fines, for minor offenses. You live for weeks or months with no heat, water or electricity because you cannot pay the utility bills, especially since fuel and utility rates have risen by more than 50 percent since 2000. Single mothers and their children usually endure this hell alone, because the men in these communities are locked up. Millions of families are tossed into the street every year.

We have 5 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of its prison population. More than 60 percent of the 2.2 million incarcerated are people of color. If these poor people were not locked in cages for decades, if they were not given probationary status once they were freed, if they had stable communities, there would be massive unrest in the streets. Mass incarceration, along with debt peonage, evictions, police violence and a judicial system that holds up property rights, rather than justice, as the highest good and that denies nearly all of the poor a trial, forcing them to accept plea bargains, is one of the many tools of corporate oppression.

Continue reading Conversation: Lock Up the Men, Evict the Women and Children, by Chris Hedges

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The Vineyard Saker in Oceania