Frontlines of Revolutionary Struggle

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Not Just in America: French Authorities Cover for Abusive Police Too

Development finance helps China win friends and influence American allies

[Each day brings news of the every-sharpening contention between imperialist powers, who have long cooperated but are now more-ready to seize advantage at the expense of each other, and place burdens of more aggressive exploitation and more oppressive conditions on working people inside the imperialist countries (from US/EU to Chinese/Russian and others scrambling to expand their profits at each others expense).  One day, it is the seizure of energy resources, then it is trade routes and shipping, then monetary dominance, then credit dominance and wars, then military eyeball face-offs and surrogate/proxy hotspots, then it is digital battles and cyber wars.  There is no stopping this contention, nor any way for the people to see it but to raise the people’s struggles against all imperialism and all reaction.  Between these imperialists, working people have no horse in this race.  —  Frontlines ed.]
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
Mar 21st 2015 | SINGAPORE | From The Economist

 

STRATEGIC rivalry between America and China takes many forms. Rarely does a clear winner emerge. An exception, however, is the tussle over China’s efforts to found a new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). China has won, gaining the support of American allies not just in Asia but in Europe, and leaving America looking churlish and ineffectual. This month first Britain and then France, Germany and Italy said they hoped to join the bank as founding shareholders. China said other European countries such as Luxembourg and Switzerland are thinking of joining the queue.

Yet America has been sceptical about the AIIB. Its officials claim they have not “lobbied against” it, but merely stressed how important it is that it abide by international standards of transparency, creditworthiness, environmental sustainability, and so on.

Continue reading

The Charlie Hebdo White Power Rally in Paris

A Celebration of Western Hypocrisy

by Ajamu Baraka / January 14th, 2015

 

The “civilized” have created the wretched, quite coldly and deliberately, and do not intend to change the status quo; are responsible for their slaughter and enslavement; rain down bombs on defenseless children whenever and wherever they decide that their “vital interests” are menaced, and think nothing of torturing a man to death; these people are not to be taken seriously when they speak of the “sanctity” of human life, or the conscience of civilized world.

— James Baldwin

I have witnessed the spectacle of Eurocentric arrogance many times over my long years of struggle and resistance to colonial/capitalist domination and dehumanization. The grotesque, 21st Century version of the “white man’s burden,” which asserts that the international community (meaning the West) has a moral and legal “responsibility to protect,” is one current example; the generalized acceptance by many in the West that their governments have a right to wage permanent war against the global “others” to maintain international order is another.

Yet, when I think I have seen it all, along comes the response to the attack at the racist, Islamophobic publication Charlie Hebdo. Even though I shouldn’t be surprised, I am still left in complete wonderment at the West’s unmitigated self-centeredness and self-righteous arrogance.

Continue reading

France: A Message From the Dispossessed

[A long, drawn-out racist and xenophobic campaign in Europe, rooted in values that once marked the French colonial assault and occupation of Algeria, has re-intensified in recent months with neo-Nazi power moves and anti-migrant pograms and massive police round-ups, specifically but not exclusively aimed at Arab and African migrants and long-term residents alike.  A media campaign, both racist and Islamophobic, has heralded every new attack, and the hate-filled, quasi-satirical Charlie Hebdo newspaper has been a key “culture-building” instrument for this.  Recent cartoons debasing Islam have clearly had openly provocative intentions, and with the enraged revenge attacks on the newspaper, the cartoon-provocateurs succeeded in further xenophobic expression: “Je Suis Charlie” meaning, among other things, “Je Suis Racist” and “Je Suis Xenophobe”.  Further attacks on the poorest migrants, Arab and African workers, are already underway.  The following article gives some background on all this. — Frontlines ed.]
By Chris Hedges, January 11, 2015

The terrorist attack in France that took place at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo was not about free speech. It was not about radical Islam. It did not illustrate the fictitious clash of civilizations. It was a harbinger of an emerging dystopia where the wretched of the earth, deprived of resources to survive, devoid of hope, brutally controlled, belittled and mocked by the privileged who live in the splendor and indolence of the industrial West, lash out in nihilistic fury. Continue reading

Across Europe, Police Stalking, Brutalizing, Jailing Migrants

Amid Racist Raids&Police Violence Against Poor Migrants, Thousands Protest Fortress Europe’s Concentration Camps
10/19/2014

Paris sees second day of mass student protests over immigrant deportations

Published time: October 18, 2013, RT

Thousands of French teenagers protested for the second day over the public deportation of an Albanian-Kosovar girl and an Armenian student. The issue caused disruption in 50 schools across France.

Teenagers clashed with police, who used tear gas against the high-school students.

Students climbed bus stops and shouted demands for the interior minister Manuel Valls to leave office. According to France 24, one school became a scene of green garbage cans piled on top of each other, while above hung a banner with the words ‘Education in danger.’

The catalyst for the event was the expulsion of a 15-year-old Romani girl, a native of Kosovo. Leonarda Dibrani was forcefully taken off a school bus in front of her classmates while the group was on a trip earlier this month. The incident took place in the eastern town of Levier.    Continue reading

Washington’s Imperial partners take offense at US’ Hegemonic ‘Spy on Subordinates’ NSA program

[Yet another example of the US’ arrogance of empire, this time among fellow imperialists.  Who can doubt that the world political crisis is opening new cracks of suspicion and resentment against the has-been Godfather, among his partners in crime?  —  Frontlines ed.]

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Berlin accuses Washington of cold war tactics over snooping

Reports of NSA snooping on Europe go well beyond previous revelations of electronic spying

Ian Traynor, The Guardian, in Brussels, 30 June 2013

Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger: 'If the media reports are true, it is reminiscent of the actions of enemies during the cold war'. Photograph: Ole Spata/Corbis

Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger: ‘If the media reports are true, it is reminiscent of the actions of enemies during the cold war’. Photograph: Ole Spata/Corbis

Transatlantic relations plunged at the weekend as Berlin, Brussels and Paris all demanded that Washington account promptly and fully for new disclosures on the scale of the US National Security Agency’s spying on its European allies.

As further details emerged of the huge reach of US electronic snooping on Europe, Berlin accused Washington of treating it like the Soviet Union, “like a cold war enemy”.

The European commission called on the US to clarify allegations that the NSA, operating from Nato headquarters a few miles away in Brussels, had infiltrated secure telephone and computer networks at the venue for EU summits in the Belgian capital. The fresh revelations in the Guardian and allegations in the German publication Der Spiegel triggered outrage in Germany and in the European parliament and threatened to overshadow negotiations on an ambitious transatlantic free-trade pact worth hundreds of billions due to open next week.

The reports of NSA snooping on Europe – and on Germany in particular – went well beyond previous revelations of electronic spying said to be focused on identifying suspected terrorists, extremists and organised criminals.

Der Spiegel reported that it had seen documents and slides from the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden indicating that US agencies bugged the offices of the EU in Washington and at the UN in New York. They are also accused of directing an operation from Nato headquarters in Brussels to infiltrate the telephone and email networks at the EU’s Justus Lipsius building in the Belgian capital, the venue for EU summits and home of the European council.

Citing documents it said it had “partly seen”, the magazine reported that more than five years ago security officers at the EU had noticed several missed calls apparently targeting the remote maintenance system in the building that were traced to NSA offices within the Nato compound in Brussels. Continue reading

French railroad merges racial profiling and islamophobia during welcome of Israeli president

Black workers ‘banned from Gare du Nord during Israeli president visit’

French President Francois Hollande receives President of Israel Shimon Peres at Elysee Palace. It was on this trip that black and African rail workers were banned for the arrival of Mr Peres at Gare du Nord station in Paris because they might have been mistaken for Muslims

Black and African rail workers were banned when President of Israel Shimon Peres arrived at Gare du Nord train station in Paris “because they might have been mistaken for Muslims.”

Black and North African railway workers were banned from working at Paris’s Gare du Nord when the President of Israel visited France over fears they might be Muslim, it has emerged.

By Nabila Ramdani, Paris
Telegraph 5:39PM BST 14 Apr 2013
The alleged discrimination took place as Shimon Peres arrived at the station, the hub for high-speed trains, on March 8, to discuss the Middle East peace process.
It is now the subject of an official complaint by the SUD-Rail transport union which says everything was done to ensure there were “no Muslim employees to welcome the Head of the State of Israel”.
Mr Peres and a delegation of other senior Israelis arrived on a morning train from Belgium, and were greeted by staff from SNCF, France’s national railway, and their baggage-handling subsidiary, ITIREMIA.
The previous day however, a site manager told all workers at the station about the ban on black staff, and those of North African descent, because they might be Muslim.
Secular France does not officially recognise anybody’s religion, but it was assumed by management that anyone from a “black or Arab” background might be Muslim – an assumption “based on the appearance of the workers”, according to a SUD-Rail statement. Continue reading

Anti-Austerity Strikes: Protests Grip Europe

Anti-Austerity Strikes: Protests Grip Europe

Anti-austerity protests and strikes

Activists battle with police during violent clashes in Lisbon, as protests against austerity sweep across Europe.

10:21pm UK, Wednesday 14 November 2012
Lisbon

Video: Protests Across Europe Against Austerity

Enlarge

General strike

Rome is being brought to a standstill as anti-austerity protesters take on riot police in the streets.

A wave of anti-austerity anger is sweeping across Europe with general strikes in Spain and Portugal and walkouts in Greece and Italy – grounding flights, closing schools and shutting down transport.

Millions of workers have been taking part in the dozens of co-ordinated protests in a so-called European Day of Action and Solidarity against spending cuts and tax hikes. Continue reading

European General Strikes announced: “We don’t owe! We won’t pay!”

Main Greek union calls general strike on November 6-7

ATHENS – Agence France Presse

EPA photo

EPA photo

Greece’s main union to called a 48-hour general strike for November 6-7 in protest at a new wave of austerity measures unveiled by the government in order to unlock EU-IMF bailout loans, AFP reported.

“The central aim and demand of the unions is the rejection (by parliament) of unacceptable, destructive and coercive measures imposed by the troika,” the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) said in a statement, referring to the EU, IMFand European Central Bank.

October/31/2012

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#14N: European General Strike

29 October 2012

Soulevons-nous! Erheben wir uns! Solleviamoci! Continue reading

France: “Stop Racial Profiling” group brings collective action against targeting and abusing blacks and Arabs

15 French file lawsuit accusing state of racial profiling in ID checks

By Associated Press, April 11, 2012

PARIS — Lawyers for 15 French people, either black or of Arab descent, filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the state for abusive identity checks based on alleged racial profiling.A lawyer for the group said they were routinely targeted for police identity checks that often included humiliating public body pat downs, insults and even threats because of the way they look.

[( Remy de la Mauviniere / Associated Press ) – French lawyer Felix de Belloy, center, addresses reporters outside Paris court house Wednesday April 11, 2012.]

Felix de Belloy, along with three other lawyers and supported by the Open Justice Initiative, has filed civil suit on behalf of 15 individuals, complaining that they have been subject to police “stop and search” checks solely on the basisi of the color of their skin and ethnicity. The statement says it’s the first such collective action in a racial profiling case in France.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers said this was the first such collective action in France to tackle abusive identity checks, a problem documented by several studies. The lawsuit against the French state targets the Interior Ministry, which oversees police.The 15 were subjected to police checks between September and February. Their names were among those who responded to a hotline set up by the collective Stop Racial Profiling for people who felt they were unjustly checked by police. Continue reading

French steel workers occupy ArcelorMittal plant

February 21, 2012

FLORANGE, France (Reuters) – Workers at an idled Arcelor  Mittal steel plant in northeast France occupied the site Monday, seeking to put their plight on the political map ahead of a presidential election where industrial decline is a central theme.Some 200 workers invaded management offices at the factory in Florange, in the Moselle region close to Belgium and Germany, after ArcelorMittal announced last week it was prolonging the temporary shutdown of its two blast furnaces.Unions had announced at the weekend their intention to take action and workers found the offices empty. They plan to install a tent village at site, imitating the “Occupy” anti-capitalist movement which swept Western nations in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Unsafe in Libya, Unwanted in Europe: Exiles of the Arab Spring

Thousands of desperate migrant workers have gathered near Calais

By Jerome Taylor
The Independent/UK
May 18, 2011

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/unsafe-in-libya-unwanted-in-europe-exiles-of-the-arab-spring-2285574.html

Asylum seekers fleeing Libya at 'Africa House', a refugee camp near Calais

In a derelict industrial complex to the east of Calais they shiver under their sodden blankets dreaming of a Europe that simply doesn’t exist. Seney Alema and his friends are the northernmost vanguard of a human wave that has swept across the continent as Nato’s bombs continue to pummel Libya.

While Europe has applauded the steady toppling of North Africa’s dictators, the continent has been unwelcoming to the thousands of people who have fled the region – the separate states bickering over who should take the responsibility for the refugees’ fates.

When the war against Muammar Gaddafi broke out earlier this year, people like Seney were trapped. European powers scrambled ships to evacuate their own nationals but sub-Saharan migrants, who did the kind of jobs Libyans simply didn’t want to do, were left to fend for themselves.

Related articles Libya’s oil chief ‘defects from Gaddafi regime and joins rebels’ Woman and child among 26 bodies ‘found in mass graves’ near Syrian city Mubarak’s wife freed after handing over £2.5m but may still face trial Search the
news archive for more stories As law and order broke down the beatings and robberies began. Some were press-ganged into
fighting the rebels, others simply disappeared. So thousands are now fleeing across the Mediterranean in barely sea-worthy
boats, hoping that somewhere like Britain will give them shelter. Continue reading

French-Tunisian relations as the government in Tunis fell

France okayed tear gas as Tunisia revolt peaked

Tue Feb 1, 2011

By Brian Love

PARIS, Feb 1 (Reuters) – France, on the defensive ever since it offered Tunisia its crowd control know-how as protestors died in the streets, risks further embarrassment after the revelation on Tuesday that it authorised tear gas exports at that time too.

Prime Minister Francois Fillion acknowledged in a letter to a member of parliament that permits for tear gas exports were granted as late as Jan. 12, two days before Tunisian President Zine al-Abdine Ben Ali fled in the face of a popular uprising. Continue reading

France: Undocumented workers occupy the Bastille Opera House

Workers Without Status in France
 Emerge as a Social Force

Karen Wirsig

At the end of the afternoon of May 27, a mass demonstration marched into the Place de la Bastille in Paris. The march itself represented what can now be viewed as a low point in the national union mobilizations to challenge the proposed weakening of France’s public pension regime and other reactionary responses of Nicholas Sarkozy’s government to the world economic crisis. But despite the rain, despite the niggling worry that fatigue was overtaking the movement and apathy the French public, a group of marchers went to work making sure it was a day the French labour movement won’t soon forget.

Hundreds of striking workers without status, known as “travailleurs sans papiers,” set about occupying the steps of the Bastille Opera House in what was to be a crucial stand in their astounding strike.
Workers without status demonstrating against the Sarkozy government reforms.

Workers without status demonstrating against the Sarkozy government reforms.

The strike had started on October 12, 2009, a year ago last week, the morning after a spirited rally and preparation session at the headquarters of France’s biggest union, the Confederation Generale du Travail (CGT), on the eastern edge of Paris’s central city. Thousands of workers, men and women born around the world and living in France under the most fragile conditions, mounted dozens of picket lines at temporary agencies, construction companies, cleaning firms and restaurants.

In all, some 6,700 workers stepped out of the shadows and into a central role in re-energizing France’s left social movements, their physical presence confirming what everybody knew but few people seemed to face: just how much certain employers were relying on, and profiting from, directly or indirectly through sub-contractors, workers with no social rights. These included the well-connected international construction firm Bouygues and other builders, well-known restaurant chains and even the Paris public transportation authority, the RATP. Continue reading