India: The largest “democracy”? — or, a brazen — but false — electoralism?

[As Maoists in India denounce India's claimed "democracy" as deceptive and fraudulent, the Indian state deploys nearly 150,000  troops, and moves hundreds of voting stations out of rebellious regions.  See the following two reports from the mainstream Indian press.  --  Frontlines ed.]

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Maoist posters calling for poll boycott found at bus stand

Business Standard, Tuesday, October 22,

Bottom of Form

Maoist posters calling for boycott of the upcoming Assembly polls were found pasted at a bus stand in the Kanker district in Chhattisgarh, where as many as 18 Maoist-affected constituencies will go to polls on November 11.

Three posters and two banners were found put up at the waiting hall of the bus stand under Pakhanjore police station limits last evening, a senior police official told PTI today.

Although, security personnel regularly visit villages to instill confidence in the people to vote, the rebels have appealed to villagers to kick both the BJP and Congress out of power, the police said, adding that a case has been registered in this connection.

Meanwhile, taking serious note of the Maoist threat, the Centre has sent additional 40,000 personnel of paramilitary forces to ensure peaceful polling, in addition to around 65,000 police personnel and 27,000 paramilitary troops already engaged in anti-Maoist operations in the state. Continue reading

Nepal: Will opposition to a fraudulent election sow the seeds of a new armed-revolutionary struggle?

[Three articles on the opposition to fraudulent elections follow. -- Frontlines ed.]

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CPN-M threatens to disrupt polls

The Kathmandu Post

KATHMANDU, MAR 31 – An alliance of 33 parties led by CPN-Maoist on Sunday said they would only hold talks with President Ram Baran Yadav if the head of state assured that the ‘unconstitutional’ decision to form a chief justice-led government would be scrapped.
The alliance’s decision came two days after the four major forces and the interim election government decided to hold talks with agitating parties. The alliance, led by the breakaway Maoists, is disrupting the update of voter roll in districts and has warned to disrupt the proposed elections.
The meeting of the protesting parties held at CPN-M headquarters Buddhanagar concluded that it is meaningless to sit for talks with the current government formed by the “syndicate” of four major political forces.
“The current unconstitutional government has no status to hold dialogue with us,” CPN-Maoist Secretary Dev Gurung said. “We will only hold talks with the President.”
The agitating parties are preparing to handover a memorandum, requesting the Election Commission to halt the voter roll update on Monday. They have stressed that all the election-related activities should be halted until the constitutional process is brought into track by making an agreement between all parties over the new roadmap. A statement issued by CPN-M on the behalf of 33 parties urges the government and the Election Commission to stop all the election-related activities until there is a new cross-party agreement. The parties have also expressed reservations over the government’s preparation to introduce an ordinance against organised crime, which recommends stringent action for any activities aiming to obstruct elections.
“The plan to bring the ordinance is intended at suppressing the agitation. It shows that the government is just staging a drama in the name of holding talks,” adds the statement. The stance from the agitating parties came a day after President Ram Baran Yadav urged four major forces to hold dialogue with smaller parties to create a ‘favorable atmosphere for elections.’ Continue reading

Obama’s Presidency Through Palestinian Eyes

By Dr. Elias Akleh

13 November, 2012
Countercurrents.org

People worldwide were very interested and following the 2012 American election believing that their future would, somehow, be affected by the foreign policies of the new American President. Only the Palestinian people were totally apathetic to the election. They believe that the American stance toward the Palestinian cause, specifically, and towards the Middle East, generally, would not change no matter who becomes the American president; whether a democrat or a republican.

Many people, including large percentage of the American people, are under the illusion that the President really has the power to change things. It appears that a president may have the power to take his country to war, to create jobs, to improvise and improve medical care plans, or to change tax laws or any other law, in that matter. Such matters are determined by a power elite representing the very rich and very influential 1% of the population, who owns, controls and manipulates the economic, political, industrial, and social structures of the country. The President is just an employee, who is appointed in a theatrical game of fake democratic election, in order to carry the plans of this power elite.

A thorough analytical study of American policies and regulations shows that the long succession of the American Presidents, democrats as well as republicans, had abused and manipulated the majority of Americans to serve the interests of the rich 1% to acquire and control the natural richness of the US and other countries around the world. The American people have been in uninterrupted continuous state of wars of aggression against other countries since the establishment of the federation for the control of natural resources locally and around the world. The real war has always been a class war, where the rich abuse and manipulate the poor.

The Palestinian people understand very well that such self-acclaimed righteous American presidents, who call for justice, freedom and democracy to all, would not help them achieve these noble goals.Successive American administrations had always armed Israel , supported the Israeli occupation of Palestine , and covered the Israeli war crimes, terrorism and violations of international laws and humanitarian rights of Palestinians and other Arab citizens. President Obama had done that during his first four years, and he will continue to do the same during his next four years.

When Obama was first elected a president in 2008 with the slogans of “change” and “yes we can” addressing the Muslim and Arab world in his June 2009 speech in Cairo university, many Arabs and Palestinians had the illusion that Obama; coming from a black African and Muslim background, may be more sympathetic towards the Palestinian cause than any other American President. Unfortunately Obama turns out to be a more aggressive president towards the Muslim world and worst to the Palestinian cause.

His previous four years of presidency show that Obama cared about Israeli citizens more than he cared even about his own American citizens. During the last four years many Americans had lost their jobs, their businesses, and their homes. American jobs and businesses were exported to other countries, where labor is cheaper and environmental regulations are laxed. Some states and major cities had filed for bankruptcy. Public schools were devastated by budget cuts and overcrowded, and university tuitions were raised out of proportion. Budget cuts had devastated many Americans including military veterans, who served their country but don’t get social re-habilitation leading many of them to crimes of family violence and many are homeless. Necessary social services were severely decreased. Many Americans lack medical coverage and the suffering and misery of many others are numerous to mention. The American wars and failed economical policies had raised the national dept to staggering amount of $16 trillion.

There is a dire need for Americans to spend their tax money internally to solve their own problems. Yet, during the past three years the Obama administration, instead, had contributed American tax money to Israeli military budget more than the contribution of the Israelis themselves according to Israeli military commander Gabi Ashkinazi. Continue reading

Black Agenda Report on what happens when you believe the hype

Doing Us Proud: Black America Has Lost Its Moral Compass

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon, Black Agenda Report, 11/07/2012

When a Bush, a McCain, or a Romney condones corporate crimes against the rest of us, lies to us, tortures and imprisons at will and murders civilians at a whim, it’s a moral disaster. When a black Democrat does it, it’s nothing personal, just business. And we are soooo proud. What’s wrong with us?

Black America Has Lost Its Moral Compass

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

At our October 12 affair at Harlem’s Riverside Church, Black Agenda Report’s executive editor Glen Ford said that the most damning and lasting result of the Obama presidency might be that black America was losing its moral compass

Those of us, this author included, who reached adulthood in the brief eight or nine year heyday of the modern Freedom Movement got to see our elders shuck the shackles of what was proper and legal and take to the streets in defiance of evil in authority. We learned that going door to door, organizing our friends, our neighbors, our fellow workers on the job, calling meetings and demonstrations, and standing up to unjust authority, at whatever cost was the highest duty of citizenship and the only way things ever changed.

During the eight years Obama will have served in the White House, Ford observed, black youth can expect to see nothing like this. Where we learned to be skeptical of what our government, and often our elders told us, they are learning to believe, or pretend to believe whatever they’re told. Where we learned the highest goal of the struggle was improving the lives of ordinary people, they are learning that the highest goals are the big house, the prestigious career, the large lifestyle of those who serve the power and unlock the mysteries of the Market. Continue reading

Russia vs US: The Georgian electoral tug-of-war

A World To Win News Service, October 29, 2012

A shift in orientation after the Georgian elections

Georgia held parliamentary elections in October in an intense contest between politicians backed by the U.S. and Russia, reflecting the rivalry between those two powerful states, each seeking to influence this strategically important country. The current Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili and his party suffered a humiliating defeat.

The situation was extremely tense as election day approached and the ruling and opposition party supporters prepared for a showdown. On the eve of the election, plane-loads of Western diplomats and American Congressmen arrived in Tbilisi. So did their Russian counterparts. A shuttle mission was set up to prevent a war between the two camps from igniting accidentally. Election officials in many parts of the country were beaten up.

In the middle of the preparations for this potentially explosive election, a video of torture, rape and other forms of abuse in prisons was repeatedly shown on private television channels opposed to President Saakashvili, particularly by a private channel owned by opposition leader Bidzina Ivanishvili. This video sparked many days of mass protests just before the election. To calm and control the situation the president sacked numerous prison officials and other functionaries, but that did not help. The release of this video showing the extreme abuse of prisoners was an exposure of the Saakashvili government and a blow to his governing party and his Western backers, because filling the country’s prison had been a central feature of Saakashvili’s “anti-corruption” campaign, which he had made his signature issue.

After the elections, Saakashvili had no choice but to admit defeat, a move that surprised many Western diplomats who had expected him to contest the results. Unless he meets demands for a snap presidential election, he will remain in office until the scheduled presidential elections next year. But with his party in control of parliament, Ivanishvili will take the reins of government.

Ranked by Forbes magazine as number 153 in its list of the world’s richest people, Ivanishvili has a personal wealth of 6.4 billion U.S. dollars. By comparison, Georgia’s entire production of goods and services in 2010 (the last year for which its GDP figures are available) was worth less than 16 billion dollars. Although Georgian, he made this massive wealth by doing business in Russia, where he took advantage of privatization over the last two decades by buying state-owned businesses for tens of millions of dollars and selling them for billions. His current holdings include businesses involved in banking, metal, imports, hotels, drug stores, construction, etc

It is no surprise that he pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into his party funds. He seemed not to care when he was imposed a fine of 90.9 million U.S. dollars in June for allegedly violating Georgian legislation on party funding.

Ivanishvili has not concealed his relationship with Russia. During the election campaign and after his victory he made it clear that in his view, the best economic option for Georgia is to re-establish economic ties with Russia, not only because they are neighbours but also because of the history of decades of close links between them. (Annexed by Russia in 1801, after the 1917 Russian Revolution Georgia became a republic and a member of the USSR until the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.) However he insisted that he will not change or oppose the country’s good relations with the West and its plan to join NATO. Continue reading

Al Jazeera video: “Is this the end of Egypt’s revolution?”


Published on Jun 25, 2012 by AlJazeeraEnglish

The decision by Egypt’s electoral commission ends a week of uncertainty in a country without a parliament or a constitution, and a barely functioning economy. There is a new president, the country’s first elected leader. Mohammed Morsi, the candidate for the Muslim Brotherhood. Is Egypt’s political limbo over? Guests: Hisham Kassem, Waleed El-Haddad, Adel Darwish.

“Outside My Window” — poem by Jeff Hay

They Appear to be intelligent
engaging
even full of a type of life energy
and yet
there they are
with a table 
full of buttons and stickers
supporting 
advocating
voting for
a monster

On the surface
they seem to be
progressives
do they not know
have they ignored
or are they
just in denial

I’m sure
when Bush was President
they were adamantly opposed to war
to torture
to slaughtering 
blowing the guts out of
women and children
of treating “illegal” immigrants
like cockroaches
of fucking the poor
while enriching his rich buddies
of shredding the Constitution
of total disregard
for the safety of our 
food supply
of total disregard
for the climate catastrophe
that is unfolding
of being an
asshole


And yet they have  a table
outside my window
campaigning for a man
who has invaded more countries than Bush
given more money to the Banksters than Bush
deported and imprisoned more immigrants
than Bush
wiped his ass on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights
more than Bush
had more contempt for the poor
than Bush

And yet 
there they are
smiling and handing out
their buttons
and stickers
never reflecting
upon their hypocrisy
upon their 
favoring 
the policies
they hated 
when it was Bush

Then there are my 
right-wing friends
who call him a “socialist”
And if 
you’re talking about 
corporate welfare
and tax breaks for the rich
in other words
redistributing the wealth
to the already wealthy
than he is sort of a 
Robin Hood in reverse
Stealing from the poor
to give to the rich
a Socialist 
in reverse

My right-wing friends
wonder about his birth certificate
wondering about his
“muslim” name
never noticing
his glee
as he 
“changes the mindset that leads to war”
by blowing the brains
out of 
those “other” people
those “unpeople”
which he holds
in as much contempt
as Bush ever dreamed of

He said his campaign would be different
wouldn’t take huge corporate donations
he lied
He said he would filibuster
retroactive immunity for the telecoms
who helped the government
spy on us
He lied
He said in his victory speech
that global warming
would start cooling
that rising oceans
would start receding
now that he was in charge
he lied
He said he would not fill his
Administration
as Bush had
with lobbyists
he lied

He said he would close Guantanamo
instead he opened more Guantanamo’s than even Bush
He said he would make it easier 
for workers to join a union
he lied
When it came to 
who to help
he decided
that ten million people
losing their homes
while he gave trillions
of dollars
to the very people
who gave him more money
than any presidential candidate has ever received
from Wall Street
His choice was easy
I WILL FUCK THE POOR
Guess that’s 
“Socialism”

He “saved General Motors”
by giving billions to Management
while forcing pay cuts 
loss of health care
and pensions
on the workers
Guess that’s “Socialism”

He said
his administration
would be transparent and open
and democratic
he said
“whistleblowers should be protected”
he fucking lied
he has prosecuted more whistleblowers
than all other presidents in
the history of the United States combined
No President has hated democracy more than him

Oddly my right-wing friends
who loved all of this
when Bush did it
 think
he’s a Socialist”
and my “progressive” friends
who hated it when Bush did what he does
are the same
 in one way
they are tragically
ill informed
about
Barack Obama