Tag Archives: Democracy

Conversation: West in Revolt

I have to say that its not often that a guest speaks in good broad strokes that really sum up the situation. Few have the knack for such astute commentary.

Joaquin Flores does a great job for speaking for democracy and people power, it is interesting to see the contrasting view from team Britain in this Cross Talk.

Living in New Zealand, a very British colony, I can see parallels in the thought process; The notion that politicians – who have demonstrated for decades their dishonesty,debauchery and corruption- are the only way to deliver democracy is astonishing. Kiwis display the same sentiment as well, despite being devastated by their politicians from all parties for 30 years.

Joaquin is spot on when he says that saying that people are incapable of deciding on major issues is akin to being in the same boat as the elite.

However, it must also be acknowledged that Marcus Papadopoulos is also correct in pointing out the hastiness of putting important decisions to vote, lack of information and ill informed decision making by the people. He is also right on the brexit issue being complex and points out the little known realities of working class Liverpool receiving EU funds as torries starved them etc.

The solution, though, needs to be more referendums, more democracy, more transparency and more education of reality and not a curtailing of the right to determine ones own path by handing that right over to the cesspool of politicians.

Mohsin Siddiqui

#CrossTalk #Elites #West #Brexit #Revolution #Referendum

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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BREXIT – LET THE UK SCREW ITSELF!, by Andre Vltchek

ONCE AGAIN, EUROPEAN BIGOTRY EXPOSED!

By: Andre Vltchek

Oh that poor old United Kingdom! Armies of political commentators based on all continents are now feverishly trying to define to what extent the Brits got fooled, or how severely they will soon get punished for their ‘bold move’.

All over Europe, the neo-Nazis and other right-wingers are celebrating, while most of ‘liberals’ are panic-stricken, running around like a herd of headless chickens, or howling at the moon at night in despair. The Euro-left (as pathetic and bogus as “Euro business class” on domestic European flights) is trying to put the recent referendum into some sort of philosophical perspective, blabbering something about a working class rebellion against the ruling elites.

Some Europeans are even blaming Mr. Putin for the outcome of the referendum, while others see behind the outcome of the vote the specter of an “American conspiracy” or even a “Zionist lobby”.

Things are much more simple. A few million bigoted British voters, many of them old retirees and traditionally conservative, even racist bunch, got scared that their country was soon about to be invaded by unkempt hordes of refugees, or more precisely – by ‘un-people’ (to borrow from George Orwell’s lexicon). While for others, the referendum became a way to express their frustration with the fact that the British working class has lately been getting an increasingly awful deal (read: an increasingly smaller cut from that enormous global loot plundered by both Europe and North America).

Don’t search for any flickers of internationalism or traditional Left-wing ideals in the hearts of those who voted for “Exit”. A great majority of the anti-EU warriors was simply demanding better benefits for itself (the “British people”), as well as “Britain for the Brits” (whatever that really means in this increasingly multi-racial nation).

Of course, the same can be said about the opposite camp! Those who were voting for remaining in the Union were doing so for strictly practical reasons.

Almost no commentator bothered to notice what was truly shocking about the entire referendum process: an absolute lack of progressive ideology, of internationalism and concern for the world as a whole. Both sides (and were there really two sides there) presented a fireworks of shallow selfishness and of pettiness. The profound moral corruption of the West was clearly exposed.

Continue reading BREXIT – LET THE UK SCREW ITSELF!, by Andre Vltchek

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Conversation: Radical Democracy & Climate Change Activists; Paul Street & Kevin Hester

This is as usual one good conversation for that weekend morning boost of conciousness we so like at Oceania Saker!

Click below to have a listen.

CPRadio

This week Eric welcomes author and columnist Paul Street, and radical envrionmentalist and political activist Kevin Hester to CounterPunch Radio. First, Eric chats with America’s leading ultra-sectarian ideological criminal Paul Street about why he’s having second thoughts about Bernie Sanders, and why the ruling elites might be as well. Eric and Paul discuss the Sanders campaign, what it means for grassroots activism, and whether or not it’s a dead end for those seeking radical change. They also touch on The Donald, the trumpen proletariat, and the danger of a fascist state in a post-President Trump scenario.

In the second part of the show Eric connects with Kevin Hester out on his isolated island in New Zealand to discuss the looming climate catastrophe and the unravelling of the biosphere. Eric and Kevin discuss the bleak, dystopian future of abrupt climate change, the latest report from James Hansen, and why everyone should be conscious of what is to come. Also, they examine the connection between climate change, the environment, and imperialism. Not exactly the rosiest picture, but an important reality.

Musical Interludes:

I See Hawks in LA – Raised by Hippies
Gospel Beach – California Steamer
Freedom: Sove Peyi Mwen
Beachwood Sparks – Talk About Lonesome

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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Popular representation and democracy in Syria, by Kristian Girling

source: Oriental Review

The Syrian parliamentary election of 13 April 2016 is demonstrative of the apparent and continuing plurality of Syrian society as manifested within the People’s Council – a parliamentary body which has often been regarded as merely a façade of legitimation for the ruling Baath Party government of President Bashar al-Assad. Plurality within the parliament is of significance insofar as it is indicative of the involvement of a range of religious communities in Syrian political life and runs directly contrary to the prevailing narrative of Syria as a dictatorship dominated by the Alawite religious community, of which the Assad family are members, and to the exclusion of the involvement of other religious communities in political activity.

Elections to the 250 member Syrian People’s Council take place every four years with the country divided into fifteen multiple seat constituencies. Since 2012 and amendments to the country’s constitution Syrian political life has been, in theory, open to participation to a wider array of political parties than the Baath and other permitted parties such as the Syrian Social Nationalist or Syrian Communist parties. Previously the Syrian Baath Party had looked likely to retain power in parliament indefinitely and indeed to dominate either directly by its own MPs or indirectly via allied parties and MPs. However, with the changes there is limitation on presidential office to seven years for any one candidate, no president can rule for more than two seven year terms, the president can now be someone who is not a member of the ruling National Progressive Front coalition, and the constitution no longer has a stipulation that the Baath Party is to be the normative and leading influence in Syrian socio-political life. Such changes may seem relatively minor and indeed the Baath Party will likely remain the de facto power in Syria for some time to come but they are indicative of President Assad’s openness to pursuing gradual reform on a model which is perceived as suitable for Syrian circumstances.

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad (C) casts his vote next to his wife Asma (centre left) inside a polling station during parliamentary elections in Damascus, Syria, on April 13, 2016.
Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad (C) casts his vote next to his wife Asma (centre left) inside a polling station during parliamentary elections in Damascus, Syria, on April 13, 2016.

A key aspect of encouraging and maintaining societal stability in Syria since independence from French rule in 1946 has been to ensure that authoritative political leadership is combined with some type of broad representation of the plural religious and ethnic communities resident to Syria and ensure that they have a stake in determining Syria’s development. An important issue has been to ensure that those outside of the Alawite community have opportunities to take on representative roles and to know their contributions to Syrian society are valued. Criticism has focused on the Alawite strength and/or prevalence to many spheres of Syrian life but especially economically and in the security services to the detriment of others. The People’s Council appears to an extent to undermine these critiques as exemplified by the majority of seats being held by Syrians of the majority Sunni Muslim community.

Alawites and plural representation in the People’s Council

 

The Alawite community broadly identifies itself as part of Shia Islam having emerged in the late ninth/early tenth centuries in western Syria possibly around the figure of the eleventh Shia Imam, Hasan al-Askari. To the external observer it might seem that the Alawites are more a syncretistic movement containing aspects of Christianity and Twelver Shia Islam given, amongst other activities, they celebrate a type of Divine Liturgy including the consecration of wine alongside strong reverence for Ali ibn Abi Talib, the son-in-law and cousin of the Islamic prophet, Mohammed. This combination of — or plurality of — beliefs in part explains why the Assad family has consistently supported the notion of a plural Syria and the general advancement of a paradigm of laïcité for the Syrian state and in which, in theory, no-one religion should predominate to the detriment of another.

The Alawites currently form around ten–fifteen percent of the Syrian population (c.2,000,000 people) and are concentrated in the western coastal provinces of Latakia and Tartus. During the French Mandate in Syria (1923–1946) the Alawites were often strong supporters of French administration as their rule was perceived as a means to secure the Alawite community in a society which was not necessarily comfortable with their presence. Although Alawites consider themselves to be part of the Islamic milieu some Muslims, especially within the Sunni community, do not and find such assertions religiously and politically challenging.

The Alawite influence in the Syrian ruling élite within post-independence Syrian political affairs arose in the early 1970s when Hafez al-Assad (Bashar’s father) came to power as President. In general terms Hafez organised the state such that Sunnis held élite political offices and the Alawites held responsibility for the security services. The perception of the Syrian Baath establishment as a bastion of Alawite and to a lesser extent Christian power has not consistently sat well with the Syrian Sunni majority and it has been suggested that, in reality, they have been denied the opportunity to take a full part in Syrian political life. However, as I have noted, the People’s Council is predominantly Sunni and representative on a proportional level to the extent of almost matching the religious demographics of Syria:

These figures for Syrian MPs by religion were the only available as of 27 April 2016. Please contact ORIENTAL REVIEW if you are aware of another breakdown of these demographics.
These figures for Syrian MPs by religion were the only available as of 27 April 2016. Please contact ORIENTAL REVIEW if you are aware of another breakdown of these demographics.

Continue reading Popular representation and democracy in Syria, by Kristian Girling

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“Democracy” for the plebs

This is how “Democracy” currently works in many parts of the world. Kudos to the people for, either willingly or unwillingly, highlighting the mechanisms of actual power.

This is by no means a condemnation of the people, quite the opposite. It is an attempt to properly create context for what is happening:

Citizenry, abandoned by elected (read: Selected by Big Money) officials, has taken it upon itself to gather signatures on a piece of paper stating its opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (Read: Fire sale of sovereignty of countries party to treaty to global transnational corporations) being signed against the wishes of the majority of the people.

The piece of paper is being handed to an Imperial Mouthpiece who is the – this is the best part – representative of another Imperial Mouthpiece. The latter mouthpiece supposedly is on this tiny Island to protect the plebs on behalf of an unelected monarch usually seen in colourful hats.

The plebs will now wait for justice, which is unlikely to be delivered.

This cycle has been in play for a few hundred years and the human species has convinced itself that this is the best system of government. This is just one visual representation of how power actually works pretty much all around the world. When challenged with logical conclusions of the absurdity of the majority seeking approval from the 0.001% , the usual response is anger and condemnation with labels of “Communist”, “Utopian” and other assorted terms being readily assigned.

It beggars belief why in the 21st century with all the accumulated knowledge, technology, skills and intellect the human species displays its incapacity to establish a method of governance that merely functions as a conduit to fulfilling the needs of the governed population.

Primary on the list of goals would be the following:

i) Food & Water

ii) Shelter

iii) Medicine

iv) Education

vi) Technological benefits

This is not a call to move back to the cave/tent/choose your appropriate cultural analogy. Society itself will determine via equal representation what it wishes to manifest in it’s physical environment. It is merely a thought on a different method of resource allocation.

With us racing into the 21st century with more and more open conflict and a mass extinction underway, I truly wish us good luck.

Mohsin Siddiqui

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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Speaking the Unspeakable: Why the Establishment Wants to Silence Donald Trump, by SAM HUSSEINI

Sam offers below a fresh perspective on how there could still be hope left in the most unlikeliest of places, the police state of America.

After all, the country still claims to be a democracy so why not call it out on that? At the very least it advances the debate beyond the goebbelsesque headlines being pumped out of the “media”. The establishment has always fed off hate at every turn and the common man is manipulated,isolated and disenfranchised.

300+ million Americans are being “informed” by 6 media companies on what they should eat,drink,write,think,see,accept,vote and well you get the picture. Anything that leads to a distortion in a false reality – which promotes endless war – is positive.

Sam has done a great job at bringing a viable solution to the table, check out his excellent initiative at votepact.org

Augmented Ether
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source: counterpunch

trumpsmirk-510x383

The establishment so wants everyone else to unfriend Trump supporters on Facebook. There’s even an app to block them. That’ll teach them!

Yes, Trump plays a bully boy and is appealing to populist (good), nativist, xenophobic, and racist sentiments (bad).

Those things need to be meaningfully addressed and engaged, not for self-styled sophisticates to raise their noses, dismissing them.

But focusing only on the negative aspects of Trump’s campaign has blinded people to the good — and I don’t mean good like, oh, the Democrat can beat this guy. I mean good like it’s good that some of these issues are finally getting aired.

Trump appeals to nativist sentiments, but those same sentiments are skeptical of the militarized role of the U.S. in the world — as was the case during Pat Buchanan’s 1992 campaign.

The New York Times recently purported to grade the veracity of presidential candidates. Of course by their accounting, Trump was off the scales lying. But he recently said the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State “killed hundreds of thousands of people with her stupidity….The Middle East is a total disaster under her.” Now, I think that’s pretty accurate, though U.S. policy in my view may be more Machiavellian than stupid, but the remark is a breath of fresh air on the national stage.

But I’ve not seen anyone fact-check that assertion, because that’s not an argument much of establishment media wants to debate. Of course, a few sentences later Trump talks about the attack on the CIA station in Benghazi, causing Salon to dismiss him as embracing “conspiracies,” which is likely all many people hear.

Shouldn’t someone who at times articulates truly inconvenient truths be noted as breaking politically correct taboos? Trump says such truths, such as this nugget from the Las Vegas debate about U.S. wars:

“We’ve spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that frankly, if they were there and if we could’ve spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges, and all of the other problems; our airports and all of the other problems we’ve had, we would’ve been a lot better off. I can tell you that right now.”

This I think is a stronger critique of military spending than we’ve heard from Bernie Sanders of late.

Continue reading Speaking the Unspeakable: Why the Establishment Wants to Silence Donald Trump, by SAM HUSSEINI

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