Category Archives: Class Warfare

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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100 Years On…Still In The Trenches, by Finian Cunningham

Source: Information Clearing House

This year marks the 100th anniversary of two of the biggest military slaughters in history – the battles of the Somme and Verdun, both fought during the First World War. Shockingly, when we survey the warmongering mentality today of US-led NATO powers one may deduce that not much has changed fundamentally. We see the same murderous squander of human potential by an unaccountable elite.

During the Somme and Verdun campaigns, upwards of two million casualties were suffered on all sides by the British and French armies in trench warfare with their German enemy. The Somme was the deadliest battle of the entire war, pitched between July and November 1916, while Verdun was the longest running, from February until December in the same year.

For the British army the opening day of the Somme remains its worst day in martial history, incurring some 60,000 casualties and losses in a matter of hours.

The First World War, from 1914 to 1918, which was waged mainly on French territory and pitted major European powers, including Russia, against one another, resulted in a total death toll of 17 million, of which the majority – 11 million – were military.

It is astounding to think that only a mere 20 years later, an even more catastrophic world war would take place. The Second World War (1939-1945) resulted in at least 60 million dead. And in that carnage, it was civilians who would comprise the vast majority of the dead.

Both wars became emblematic of industrial-scale killing. Machine-guns, tanks, warplanes and warships were first deployed on a scale never seen before in the history of warfare.

However, it is the First World War perhaps that stands out as the more futile and barbaric. After all, during the Second World War, known as the Great Patriotic War in Russia, men and women courageously gave their lives to defeat a brutal, genocidal ideology of fascist imperialism espoused by the Axis Powers led by Nazi Germany.

Continue reading 100 Years On…Still In The Trenches, by Finian Cunningham

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Cuba Will Not Fall, by Andre Vltchek

source: counterpunch

Andre Vltchek and his 1952 horse.
Andre Vltchek and his 1952 horse.

I am not sure who has invented those rumors that Cuba is now facing a mortal danger, that it has lost its bearings, and that it could collapse at any moment, after just one lethal visit by US President Barack Obama. The rumors and speculations are snowballing, and in some circles of the North American and European Left, they are already being confused with reality.

I know, admire and love Cuba. It is an exceptionally strong, determined and resilient nation. Reading all the alarming reports, I decided to return and to speak to the Cuban people directly.

I visited Cuba again. This time in between my work in war-torn Middle East and South America, a continent suffering vicious assaults by toxic counter-revolutionary cliques loyal to Washington and Europe.

This time I decided to drive, to visit remote villages and historic revolutionary sites, as well as the area surrounding the territory stolen from Cuba by Western imperialism – Guantanamo Bay. I drove for over 1,000 kilometers, in the East and West of the country. I worked in Santiago de Cuba, Guantanamo, Havana, Bay of Pigs, Playa Giron and in one of the most remote (and before the Revolution the poorest) areas of the country – Cienaga de Zapata.

I visited Prensa Latina and ICAIC in Havana, but this time my main goal was simply to listen to the Cuban people.

Were they aware of that mortal danger coming from the North? Were they ready to forge compromises? Was their revolutionary spirit getting diluted?

My conclusion is clear and decisive: “No! Cuba is not falling. Cuban people know; they are well aware of what is most likely behind the sweet talk of the US President. They will not yield, and they will not betray the Revolution.”

The danger from the West is real; it is there. It is always there, as it is real. Coercions, tricks, Machiavellian politics – all will be used in attempt to derail, even to destroy the Cuban Revolution. But do not think for one second that the Cuban people don’t see what the Empire is trying to achieve.

Cuba is standing, where it has been for decades. It is doing better than before. It is also stronger than ever. I’m convinced that it is going to prevail.

Before I continue, I have one suggestion to make to those who are thinking otherwise and who are genuinely worried: go to Cuba and help if you think that the country is now facing unprecedented danger. Travel there, talk to people, work, write, film, photograph. Support Cuba abroad. Buy its products, listen to its music, watch films, read books. Spend money there, instead of in Thailand, the Virgin Islands or Egypt, if you need some sun. Do something real, something concrete.

Cuba is the most internationalist country on Earth. It has been showing solidarity with dozens of oppressed and needy countries. It has already done so much for the others – the rest of the world. Now do something for Cuba, instead of prophesying its collapse! Do it if you worry about its future, and do it even if you don’t.

Guantanamo city.
Guantanamo city.

Santiago de Cuba is known to be a brave and strong-minded city. This is where the Cuban Revolution began on July 26, 1953. This is where a great poet, writer, and a national hero, José Martí is buried.

And this is where, on January 1, 1959, Fidel Castro proclaimed the victory of the Revolution from a balcony in Santiago’s city hall.

Like Salvador Bahia in Brazil, Santiago de Cuba gave the world some of the finest musicians. Now, in legendary Casa de la Trova and in many other clubs, cabarets and music halls of the city, mixed couples of all races are dancing to the upbeat rhythms of son and salsa. In Cuba, racism is a foreign unknown factor.

During my visit, on the second floor of Casa de la Trova, a young Chinese man was exchanging love notes with a black girl, while several local mixed couples were dancing cheek-to-cheek on an old parquet floor right in front of a brilliant, euphoric band.

Here, no ‘political correctness’ is needed. Nothing is forced. Racial and gender equality come naturally, instinctively, as a logical ‘by-product’ of the Revolution.

Countless Cuban people fought and died liberating African nations from Western imperialism. Thousands of Cuban doctors and teachers are still deployed in some of the poorest and remote parts of the world. Cuban Revolution fights for humanism. It struggles; it stands on the side of the oppressed, be they men, women or children. The color of the skin matters nothing. To all Cubans, one thing is clear: each person, each race deserves to live with dignity.

This is “my Communism”. Cuba is my “mother country”.

And that is why Western imperialism hates Cuba. That is why it is using its vitriolic propaganda to discredit the Cuban Revolution. That is why it tries to derail the country from the Communist course by all means at its disposal: through direct attacks, embargo, and now, through a new Machiavellian chapter of ‘normalization’.

Continue reading Cuba Will Not Fall, by Andre Vltchek

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Conversation: Global Politics In Review

Roman emperors used the Gladiator fights in the Colosseum as a means of providing entertainment. Brutal savagery was considered sport and the people cheered.

The 21st century brings with it no excuse for poverty to still exist. No excuse for the human population to run in hamster wheels to rent basic needs such as food,water,shelter,medicine & education.

With the infrastructure available, the skill set available and the manpower available one must wonder why the basic needs are not?

When you pay for a ‘right’ it ceases to be a ‘right’ and is instead a temporary privilege you can ‘afford’ temporarily.

Just like in ancient Rome, we have a modern day globalized Colosseum of consciousness. The gladiators are us this time, battling each other in a game of corporate servitude so that we may excel and obtain the glory of ‘money’, created out of thin air by banks, so that we may obtain our basic needs not temporarily but forever.

When we doubt this charade, an army of media mugals, politicians, bureaucrats, military men and religious clergy lead the charge against sanity.  Such thought is ‘conspiratorial’, ‘Utopian’, ‘extreme’ and ‘ridiculous’.

Humans are told that their inner good can never be enough, that their desire to see a peaceful and just world is not reasonable. Why? Because we cannot afford it we are told. Yes, the artificiality of money that is created out of thin air is used to strangle us. Terrorism,death,destruction,sorrow,pain, poverty is dangled in front of us to keep us in line. The poor instead of being our calling feed our fear.

Fear that power manufactures to keep the televised destruction of humanity on the air so that the plebs stay happy in their hamster wheel, feeling ‘safe’.

Augmented Ether

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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Mario Draghi Got Lost In A Rabbit Hole

Source: The Automatic Earth

Arthur Rackham “Why, Mary Ann, what are you doing out here?”1907
Arthur Rackham “Why, Mary Ann, what are you doing out here?”1907

I’ll try and keep this gracefully short: Mario Draghi ‘unleashed’ a bazooka full of desperate tools on the financial markets yesterday and they blew up in his face faster than you could say blowback or backdraft (and that’s just the start of the alphabet). This must and will mean that Draghi’s stint as ECB head is for all intents and purposes done. But…

But there are two questions: 1) who has the power to fire him (not an easy one), and 2) who can replace him. Difficult issues because the only candidates that would even be considered for the job by the same people who hired -no, not elected- Mario -and who will still be in power after he’s gone-, under present conditions, are carbon copies of Draghi. They all went to the same schools, worked for the same banks etc.

So maybe they’ll let him sit a bit longer. Then again, the damage has been done, and Mario has done a lot of destruction, is what the markets said yesterday. But to replace him with someone who’s also already lost all credibility, because they supported Mario every step of the way, carries a very evident risk: that nobody will believe in the entire ECB itself anymore. If you ask me, it’s crazy that anyone still would, but that’s another chapter altogether.

Not that Janet Yellen and Japan’s Kuroda and China’s Zhou Xiaochuan should not also be put out by the curb. While they may -seem to- vary in approaches today, they all started from the same untested, purely theoretical and entirely clueless origins. Just saying. None of them have any idea what negative rates etc will lead to. They’re all in the same rabbit hole. And that’s not a joke, it’s deeply sad.

Ultra-low interest -even negative- rates and bond purchases to the tune of $1 trillion a year, Mario’s schtick, exist all across the formerly rich world. And they all do for the same purpose: to make the people think that they, and their economies, are still rich. Just so bankers can take from them whatever it is they still do have. Think pension funds, investment funds.

Why did this pandemonium of ZIPR and QE ever get started? Because central banks, and the economists that work within them, edged along by bankers who risked behemoth losses, said the most important thing to do was to ‘save’ the banking system, and they can always find some theory to confirm that preference.

But the banking system is where the losses are, and it’s where the risks are. Which are then both transferred to Joe and Jane Blow, who subsequently have less to spend, which defeats the alleged central bank purpose of ‘stimulating’ the economy.

Draghi’s argument for the new (water-)bazooka measures is that without them, Europe would face ‘awful’ deflation. But it’s his very measures that create and encourage deflation. So who still knows how to count beyond 101? Good question.

But anyway, I just wanted to say that Draghi’s gone in all but physical presence. And if they keep him on for a while longer, that means that what happened today will happen again, just faster. Big risk.

No Super Mario no more.

What happened with Draghi yesterday is eerily reminiscent of the ‘glorious’ Bernanke days, when ‘poor’ Ben would make one of his weighty announcements and the effects he was looking for would fizzle out within hours. In full accordance with the law of diminishing returns, Draghi’s new and far more desperate measures lost their very meaning even within the space of barely more than half an hour. This EURUSD graph says it all:

EuroGoesCrazy

That is ugly. That has meaning. Much more than Mario -the former Goldman Sachs executive- himself and his paymasters will be willing to acknowledge. It means the financial world is now ready to bet against Draghi. Like they bet against China.

Europe’s best hope, somewhat ironically, is German resistance against Draghi, which yesterday reached a point of no return. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard gave a perfect example overnight of why that is:

Professor Richard Werner from Southampton University, the man who invented the term QE, said the ECB’s policies are likely to destroy half of Germany’s 1,500 savings and cooperative banks over the next five years. They cannot pass on the negative rates to savers so their own margins are suffering. “They are under enormous pressure from regulatory burdens already, and now they are reaching a tipping point,” he said.

These banks make up 70pc of German deposits and provide 90pc of loans to small and medium firms, the Mittelstand companies that form the backbone of German industry. Prof Werner said these lenders are beingpunished in favour of banks that make their money from asset bubbles and speculation.

“We have learned nothing from the financial crisis. The sooner there is a revolt in Germany, the better,” he said.

Draghi’s done. This hole is too deep for him to climb out of.

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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Conversation: The Imagined ‘Reality’ We Live In

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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The Enemy Within: Secular Wahhabis In Service Of Empire, by Andrew Korybko

Source: Katehon

Original Title: CIVILIZATIONAL AGGRESSION: NON-WESTERN REVIVAL AND LEFTIST REBRANDING. PART II

Click here to read Part I.

_muslim_funeral_afghanistan

Understanding The Beast:

The chaotic socio-political processes that the US provoked in Europe have given rise to a dangerous group of ideologues that the author describes as Secular Wahhabis. Just like their Islamic jihadist ideological brethren, they have a burning hate for Western civilization and want to totally destroy it, even though most Secular Wahhabis were born, raised, and spent their whole lives within it and don’t have any practical experience living outside of this civilizational sphere. While it may initially come off as mind-boggling that a Westerner, or anybody for that matter, would want to facilitate their own civilizational suicide, it’s not at all strange when one realizes that these people operate under the guidance of an ultra-extreme leftist ideology that has essentially become a fundamentalist secular religion for them.

To explain, Secular Wahhabis abide by the literal interpretation of leftist theoretical texts from a bygone era, structurally mirroring the exact same thing that the Islamic Wahhabis do with the Quran. For whatever personal reason it may be, whether they misguidedly think in their own minds that such a move will strengthen multipolarity or if they’re just expressing an inferiority complex on a macro scale via civilizational sadism, they firmly believe in the sanctity of the leftist theoretic dogma for open borders and complete opposition to any assimilative and integrative policies on the part of immigrant-receiving governments. So strong is their belief in this radical ideology that they instinctively slur anyone who disagrees with it or stands in their way as “fascists”, typically accompanying their overly emotional and disproportionate reaction with the threat that “the only good fascist is a dead fascist”. In this way, they once more follow in the footsteps of the Islamic Wahhabis who always call their opponents “infidels” and oftentimes literally try to kill them.

The similarities don’t end there, however, since the Secular Wahhabis have a vile hatred for cultural and civilizational identity, even among their own “comrades”, that’s equal in intensity to that which the Islamic Wahhabis feel towards secularity and their fellow Muslims that go along with it. The reason why Islamic Wahhabis obsessively oppose secularism is obvious, but when it comes to the Secular Wahhabis, this can be attributed to the influence of Cultural Marxism. This label is an exonym that’s not self-applied by those who believe in it but is instead given by outsiders who note these people’s utter disdain for anything to do with cultural identity, thinking instead that the only social variables that matter in explaining the world are economic- and class-based ones. Accordingly, the Secular Wahhabis regularly engage in paranoid purges and “fascist” outings within their ranks against those who they suspect of believing in the practicality of incorporating ethnic and cultural identity factors into their world outlook. The verbal violence that occurs during these dark moments frighteningly resembles and is but one escalation point away from the physical violence that Takfiris commit against their own flock, further underlining the behavioral and ideological structural commonalities between the Secular and Islamic Wahhabis.

The rise of Secular Wahhabis has been directly facilitated by the polarizing ideological extremism that has resulted from the Immigrant Crisis, but even before this pivotal event was engineered, the Russian government had already predicted that such a hateful movement might one day rear its ugly head. In 2008, Russia’s then-Ambassador to NATO and present Deputy Prime Minister in charge of the defense industry Dmitry Rogozin warned that a very dangerous threat was brewing in the world:

“Until things get really tough, they are going to keep pretending that Russia is their opponent. I think that in the XXI century, the real threat is posed by a certain bunch of people who think that you and I are second-class people. Those close-minded people simply don’t recognize our right to live. They don’t care who they are dealing with – Russians, Jews, Tatars, French, or British, or whoever, – they are all the same to them. To them, we are just a worthless civilization that must be destroyed. Let’s hope our Western counterparts realise that those guys threaten us all in equal measure and that this plague advancing on the European continent will engulf us while we are all arguing.

There is a new civilization emerging in the Third World that thinks that the white, northern hemisphere has always oppressed it and must therefore fall at its feet now. This is very serious. If the northern civilization wants to protect itself, it must be united: America, the European Union, and Russia. If they are not together, they will be defeated one by one.”

Continue reading The Enemy Within: Secular Wahhabis In Service Of Empire, by Andrew Korybko

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Conversation: Raise the Voice

Translation courtesy of Lyricstranslate.com

Raise the voice

To) breathe to raise the voice
(To) take off as far as a swift eagle
To breathe a glorious future
Makes more sense if we do it together
(To) get rid of all coyness
(To) take the bull by the horns
To not fall to the oppressive
To walk straight, without fear
Breathe and raise the voice

My pockets are empty
Broken lips
Sored skin
Each time I glimpse at the void,
Worn shoe soles
Tied up hands
A sing on the front door
Always said it was closed.
A thorn stuck
An infected wound
An overwhelmed anger
In everything and nothing
A clumsy step on the edge, aimless,
Each time I lose sense of reality
I don’t have support
The time that hits
And stabs me
It kills me quickly
I cannot catch it with my hands
But I have my special place
Raise the voice
I’m not alone
I’m with myself

Continue reading Conversation: Raise the Voice

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Conversation: Counterpunch Radio Exposing Lies of the Empire

CounterPunch Radio (Ep. 31) now available for streaming and download from CounterPunch.

Capture

This week Eric Draitser sat down with philosopher, filmmaker, and author of the new book “Exposing Lies of the Empire,” Andre Vltchek, for a colorful discussion on culture and politics, imperialism, and the reality of the Global South. The conversation opens with an exploration of the role of art and literature in shaping politics and ideology, and how that has increasingly become lost in an ever more commodified and compartmentalized political culture.

Eric and Andre then discuss the nature of contemporary imperialism and how it manifests itself in today’s world. They go into many examples of Global South resistance to the Empire, why it’s important to support independent peoples and nations, and the necessity of maintaining an international perspective without falling into the trap of neocolonial arrogance so often exhibited by the “first world left.” These and many other topics in this week’s CounterPunch Radio.

You can buy Andre Vltchek’s masterpiece with major retailers, click below to buy from Amazon now:

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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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