You Talk About the Collapse of Western Civilisation as If It Would be a Bad Thing

[There is a story told, that when a reporter asked him what he thought of Western Civilization, Gandhi replied: “I think it would be a good idea.”  Whether this is an accurate recounting or not, many have wished for more “civilized” conduct by Western powers, and Western imperialists have long claimed to be the civilizing force throughout the world it has colonized and subjugated for so long.  Now, the leaves are dropping from the Western imperial trees, and the roots of some dying trees are strangling the roots of others.  As some mourn the loss, others celebrate.  In this time and spirit, we re-post this article (from BEFORE the Brexit) by Kalundi Serumaga. —  Frontlines ed.]

Former Greek Finance Minister Yiannis Varoufakis’ crusade to help save the 60 year old European Union from a growing potential disintegration is intriguing. He, and the other activists talk ultimately about the collapse of Western civilization, and more so as if it would necessarily be a bad thing. Some of us –for whom the world is a catastrophe already-, are not so sure.

Coming from a far left perspective, Dr Varoufakis argues that the purpose of the campaign is to prevent the emergence of something worse. That such a rescue mission will inevitably also bolster the economic system upon which the EU rests, not to mention many of the super-rich who derive disproportionate benefits from it, is regarded as a necessary evil.

This could be a mistake.

Certainly, an unraveling of the EU, even partially, would be momentous, particularly in terms of the economic impact on lives and communities there. Those arguing for its preservation –especially those on the Left of the political spectrum- are probably also correct about a resultant vastly increased risk of a return to the earlier pan-European penchant for large-scale war and extreme intolerance as methods of managing political problems.

However, if the matter of the future of the EU continues be treated as a matter for its member states and their citizens alone, then these advocates of progress will find they have become the advocates of the very evils they seek to strike down. Dr Varoufakis may well find himself committing the same kind of betrayal of which he accuses his former boss (Greek Prime Minister) Alex Tsipiras: sacrificing a pig or two so the big bad corporate wolf does not blow the whole house down.

Continue reading

Inter-Imperialist Watch: Russian Intervention in EU’s Troubled Waters

Greece joins new Russian gas pipeline project to Europe
BRICS post, June 19, 2015

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has given the go-ahead on joining a pipeline from Russia to Europe via Turkey and Greece [Image: primeminister.gov.gr]

Running out of options to keep his country afloat after talks with EU and IMF reached a deadlock, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has given the go-ahead on joining a pipeline from Russia to Europe via Turkey and Greece.

Russia and Greece have signed a deal to create a joint enterprise for construction of the Turkish Stream pipeline across Greek territory, Russian media reports said on Friday. Continue reading

Here’s How Russia and China Are Teaming Up to Shape Our Future

“It’s likely that the US will be on the outside looking in”
—By Pepe Escobar | Mother Jones magazine | Monday Oct. 6, 2014

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet in Shanghai in May. Pang Xinglei/Xinhua

 

A specter haunts the fast-aging “New American Century”: the possibility of a future Beijing-Moscow-Berlin strategic trade and commercial alliance. Let’s call it the BMB.

Its likelihood is being seriously discussed at the highest levels in Beijing and Moscow, and viewed with interest in Berlin, New Delhi, and Tehran. But don’t mention it inside Washington’s Beltway or at NATO headquarters in Brussels. There, the star of the show today and tomorrow is the new Osama bin Laden: Caliph Ibrahim, aka Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the elusive, self-appointed beheading prophet of a new mini-state and movement that has provided an acronym feast—ISIS/ISIL/IS—for hysterics in Washington and elsewhere.

No matter how often Washington remixes its Global War on Terror, however, the tectonic plates of Eurasian geopolitics continue to shift, and they’re not going to stop just because American elites refuse to accept that their historically brief “unipolar moment” is on the wane. For them, the closing of the era of “full spectrum dominance,” as the Pentagon likes to call it, is inconceivable. After all, the necessity for the indispensable nation to control all space—military, economic, cultural, cyber, and outer—is little short of a religious doctrine. Exceptionalist missionaries don’t do equality. At best, they do “coalitions of the willing” like the one crammed with “over 40 countries” assembled to fight ISIS/ISIL/IS and either applauding (and plotting) from the sidelines or sending the odd plane or two toward Iraq or Syria. Continue reading

Reparations for Slavery: A Just Demand, Constantly Blocked by Bourgeois Legal System

[In the systems whose wealth and power is rooted in historic plunder, enslavement, displacement and extermination, the demand for reparations (“to repair the damage”) is routinely dismissed and denounced by bourgeois media and law — as “unreasonable” or “unrealistic,” at best, or, more commonly, as “irrational” or “greedy” or even “treasonous.” — Frontlines ed.]

For the sins of the fathers:  Caribbean countries sue for slavery, but what could it mean for SA?

Rebecca Davis, World (South African publication)22 Oct 2013
Rebeccaslavery

Fourteen Caribbean nations are to sue European governments for reparations for slavery. The Caribbean Community (Caricom) is bringing lawsuits to the International Court of Justice in the Hague against Britain, France and the Netherlands for their roles in the Atlantic slave trade. They argue that the social and economic legacy of slavery continues to disadvantage them to this day. It’s an interesting case, and it might prompt some reflection about South Africa’s own reparations issues. By REBECCA DAVIS.

Regional Caribbean organisation Caricom, through its British law firm Leigh Day, will seek to make the case in the Hague that through their colonial participation in the slave-trade, Britain, France and the Netherlands essentially contributed towards the stunting of Caribbean development, and now owe 14 Caribbean nations reparations for slavery and an apology.

Exactly how much money they want, and how they think it should be disbursed, is not yet clear. The figure mentioned by several media outlets has been that Britain paid 20 million pounds in compensation to slave-owners in the Caribbean almost two decades after the abolition of slavery in 1834. (The slaves got nothing.) This figure was massive even at the time, amounting to 40% of the erstwhile government’s budget, and would now be equivalent to about 200 billion pounds. Continue reading

Mindanao: “MILF hails UN, EU, UK, US, other states’ support”

http://www.luwaran.com

October 11, 2012 — The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) today said the support of the international community for the recent breakthrough in the GPH-MILF peace process has been overwhelming as it expressed gratitude to world leaders and foreign envoys who have welcomed the Framework Agreement reached between the Government of the Philippines and the (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim has hailed with great satisfaction and utmost gratitude these expressions of support from the United Nations, The European Union, Malaysia, The United Kingdom, Japan, United States Australia, Switzerland, and Indonesia.

“We are deeply honored and humbled, and assured by their support,” Murad told Luwaran in an interview this morning.

Murad particularly took note of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon commendation of President Benigno Aquino III for his vision and courage, as well as the commitment of the MILF leadership, in reaching the landmark agreement. Continue reading

As government, creditors near deal on further austerity, Greek unions hold new general strike

A man eats a meal from a soup kitchen organized by the Church of Greece in Athens, on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012, which has been designated International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Greece is in the throes of an economic depression that has seen the economy shrink by a fifth over the past five years, while unemployment is at 25 percent, the highest in decades. The crisis has caused a major rise in homelessness, while the number of people depending on soup kitchens for sustenance has rocketed. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

NICHOLAS PAPHITIS,  Associated Press, October 18, 2012

ATHENS, Greece — Labor unions in recession-hobbled Greece are holding another general strike against a new harsh austerity program, as European leaders beset by a deep debt crisis and economic stagnation gather for a summit meeting in Brussels.

Thursday’s strike is set to close down public services and severely hamper most forms of transport — with even taxi drivers joining in for nine hours — while shopkeepers in Athens and other cities are planning to shut down for the day. It is the second general strike in less than a month.

Unions are organizing two separate marches in central Athens. Demonstrators’ ire will focus on the new belt-tightening for 2013-14, demanded by bailout creditors to release a desperately needed new rescue loan payment.

The city has seen hundreds of anti-austerity protests — many violent — over the past three years, since Greece revealed it had been misreporting key deficit figures and sank into an economic gloom so deep it has been likened to the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The country is clinging to solvency with the help of two massive international bailouts worth a total €240 billion ($315 billion). To secure them, it committed to drastic spending cuts, tax hikes and reforms, aimed to cure years of profligate government spending.

But while significantly reducing budget deficits, the measures accelerated a recession that after five years is closer to a depression. By the end of next year, the economy is expected to have shrunk by about a quarter from 2008 levels. And with one in four workers out of a job, Greece has the worst unemployment rate in the 27-nation European Union.

“In general, we’re going from bad to worse,” said 85-year-old pensioner Giorgos Ierodimos. “Salaries are being reduced, pensions are being reduced, everything is getting more expensive, from food to health care to hospitals, medicines, everything. So how will people live? How will we live?” Continue reading

Germany’s Merkel arrives to protests in Greece

October 9, 2012
[Protesters gather Oct. 9, 2012, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel makes her first visit to Greece since the eurozone crisis began here three years ago. / Lefteris Pitarakis, AP]
by Nikolia Apostolou and Louise Osborne, Special for USA TODAY

ATHENS — Tens of thousands of protesters greeted German Chancellor Angela Merkel here Tuesday when she arrived for a meeting with Greece’s prime minister.

Demonstrators expressed anger that the Greek government must cut spending further to qualify for European aid and avoid national bankruptcy. But Merkel said after her meeting that Greece will rise from its current debt crisis with the help of Germany.

“I did not come here as a teacher giving grades,” Merkel said.

“I am convinced that although it’s tough, this path will pay off for Greece,” she said, drawing parallels to the difficulty of reforms in East Germany when it reunified with West Germany after the collapse of the Soviet Union. “Germany will be a good partner and friend along the way.”

Demonstrators marched on Syntagma Square in spite of a ban on gathering there and tried to push through barricades to voice anger at Merkel, whom they accuse of unfairly forcing Greece to slash government jobs and benefits to keep the European Union intact.

Some demonstrators threw stones and bottles. Police fired tear gas to hold them back, but violent flare-ups were isolated. Continue reading

The people and the working class of Greece struggle for the overthrow of imperialist brutality and subjugation

Communist Party of Greece (marxist-leninist)

The situation in Greece

The situation in Greece is critical both for the people and the working class. Because of the imperialist dependence of the country, its position in the EU and the Eurozone, its military-political dependence in NATO and its military-political role as a NATO-US springboard, the social and political developments in Greece cannot be seen apart from the developments in SE Mediterranean, the M. East., N. Africa, the Balkans and the quarrels inside the EU.

All contradictions and geo-political aims of the imperialist powers in the region, along with the special but critical issue of the future of the EU, are influencing all developments in our country, having in their background the world crisis. That is the reason that Greece is in the first page of the Media something that is proportionately greater than that of other countries similar to Greece (Portugal, Ireland).

The troika mechanism and its real targets

Starting after the October 2009 elections and the troika (IMF-EU-ECB) “salvation mechanism” of May 2010 there is in motion a rapidly escalating antipopular and antilabor policy that flattens all economic-labor-social rights of the people. The imperialist powers of the EU, mainly Germany and France, aided by the strong presence of the US through the IMF, and with the pretext of the great foreign debt imposed a deeper subjugation that takes the form of a protectorate.

This mechanism gives shark loans in 3-month installments in order to pay back a portion of the huge interests. This leads to greater debt. (In 2009 the debt was 120% of GDP and now approaches 160%). But the greatest imperialist profit is not the huge amounts of money that accumulate through this loan shark imposition. The main return that they take from the country is its total destruction of any productive base, the imposition of a medieval regime as far as the labor, social, economic and political rights of the people are concerned, and the sell-out and plunder of every resource and infrastructure this country has. Continue reading

Danger of War Grows..U.S.-Israeli Assault on Iran Escalates

3 January 2012--the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) has ordered US warships out of the Strait of Hormuz, where nearly one-fourth of the global petroleum shipments pass every day. The US is maneuvering to cutoff Iranian exports while ensuring ongoing oil exports of neighboring countries. The EU says it will join the call for US sanctions on Iran, by the end of the month

by Larry Everest, Revolution

The danger of a U.S.-Israeli war on Iran is escalating rapidly. The U.S. and its allies are ramping up their all-around assault on Iran, including new crippling sanctions, and openly threatening to attack. Ground is being laid daily in the headlines and statements by politicians of every stripe in mainstream U.S. politics calling for aggression against Iran—all justified by unsubstantiated assertions that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons.

Whether or not Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons technology (and there is no proof they are), this U.S. imperialist narrative and framework is an outrageous effort to turn reality upside down—the reality of which of the clashing oppressive forces in the region is the dominant threatening oppressor and bully.

Iran is a non-nuclear, Third World country. The U.S. is the world’s most powerful nuclear weapons state—with over 4,000 warheads.  It’s the only country to ever use nuclear weapons, killing 150,000-240,000 people in the 1945 bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan (with many more dying of the effects of radiation for years after). It’s the main backer of the one country in the Middle East that actually does have nuclear weapons—Israel.

Now the U.S. and its allies have launched a massive, all-around campaign of aggression against Iran in the name of stopping the spread of nuclear weapons. These weapons are horrible, and they should be banished from the earth. If the U.S. rulers were really against these tools of mass murder they’d insist everyone get rid of them—but they’re not. They and their media mouthpieces aren’t saying word one about getting rid of their nukes, or Israel’s nukes, or Britain or France’s nukes.

Instead, the U.S. and its allies are threatening war over the possibility that Iran could get a bomb, a war that would be terrible for the people of the world. In a 2006 statement, Kurt Gottfried, Chairman of the Union of Concerned Scientists, and emeritus professor of physics at Cornell University, said: “The [Bush] administration is reportedly considering using the B51-11 nuclear ‘bunker buster’ against an underground facility near Natanz, Iran. The use of such a weapon would create massive clouds of radioactive fallout that could spread far from the site of the attack, including to other nations. Even if used in remote, lightly populated areas, the number of casualties could range up to more than a hundred thousand, depending on the weapon yield and weather conditions.” And any attack by the U.S. and Israel on Iran would be military aggression to preserve their military dominance—including their nuclear monopoly—in the Middle East. There is absolutely no justice in anything the U.S. is doing in pursuit of this criminal goal.

• • •

The last half of December saw a sharp spike in the U.S.-led assault on Iran’s Islamic Republic. On December 31, President Obama signed a defense authorization bill that included by far the harshest sanctions the U.S. and its allies have yet imposed on Iran. These new sanctions target Iran’s oil exports (which account for well over half of government revenues) for the first time, as well as its financial sector. (One provision calls for punishing foreign firms and banks which purchase Iranian oil, including through its central bank.) Continue reading

Greece: How do you spell “technocrat”? F-A-S-C-I-S-T

Austerity And Fascism In Greece – The Real 1% Doctrine

By Mark Ames, CounterCurrents.org

"Hammer" in an earlier time

The new Minister of Infrastructure, Makis "Hammer" Voridis in an earlier time

25 November, 2011

See the guy in the photo there, dangling an ax from his left hand? That’s Greece’s new “Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks” Makis Voridis captured back in the 1980s, when he led a fascist student group called “Student Alternative” at the University of Athens law school. It’s 1985, and Minister Voridis, dressed like some Kajagoogoo Nazi, is caught on camera patrolling the campus with his fellow fascists, hunting for suspected leftist students to bash. Voridis was booted out of law school that year, and sued by Greece’s National Association of Students for taking part in violent attacks on non-fascist law students.

With all the propaganda we’ve been fed about Greece’s new “austerity” government being staffed by non-ideological “technocrats,” it may come as a surprise that fascists are now considered “technocrats” to the mainstream media and Western banking interests. Then again, history shows that fascists have always been favored by the 1-percenters to deliver the austerity medicine.

This rather disturbing definition of what counts as “non-ideological” or “technocratic” in 2011 is something most folks are trying hard to ignore, which might explain why there’s been almost nothing about how Greece’s new EU-imposed austerity government includes neo-Nazis from the LAOS Party (LAOS is the acronym for Greece’s fascist political party, not the Southeast Asian paradise).

Which brings me back to the new Minister of Infrastructure, Makis Voridis. Before he was an ax-wielding law student, Voridis led another fascist youth group that supported the jailed leader of Greece’s 1967 military coup. Greece has been down this fascism route before, all under the guise of saving the nation and complaints about alleged parliamentary weakness. In 1967, the military overthrew democracy, imposed a fascist junta, jailed and tortured suspected leftist dissidents, and ran the country into the ground until the junta was overthrown by popular protest in 1974. Continue reading

17 November: Greece braces for large protest rally in Athens

17 November 1973, at the Polytechnic, Athens

16 November 2011, BBC–Greece is bracing for a large rally to mark the anniversary of the student uprising in 1973 that helped bring down the country’s military dictatorship.The march is expected to be joined by protesters against planned austerity measures, which Greece must implement to tackle its growing debt crisis.

Some 7,000 policemen are being deployed in Athens amid fears that the rally may turn violent.

It comes a day after Greece’s interim government won a confidence vote.

The governing coalition of Lucas Papademos had a huge majority – 255 MPs voted in favour, and 38 against.

The technocratic government must approve a new bailout package and commit to reforms in order to secure the next instalment of an international loan. Continue reading

Festive Roman crowds cheer end of Berlusconi era

[In the midst of the worst economic crisis since World War 2, the arrogance of power is shaken as, in many countries, oligarchs and dictators and billionaires are forced to exit the centers of power in growing disgrace.  Today, the people poured into the streets in Italy today to celebrate the departure of the hated Berlusconi.  We will see what struggles the people will be able to bring against the chokehold of capitalism in the months ahead… — Frontlines ed.]

By Cristiano Corvino and Gabriele Pileri, Reuters

ROME (Reuters) – Thousands gathered in Rome to celebrate the political demise of Silvio Berlusconi on Saturday, whistling and shouting insults as the 75-year-old media magnate drove to hand in his resignation as prime minister.

In an atmosphere reminiscent of a football World Cup victory celebration, squares outside government buildings were packed with cheering crowds, singing and chanting as the curtain came down on Berlusconi’s scandal-hit government.

Police held back the crowds behind barriers outside Berlusconi’s private residence in central Rome and in front of the Quirinale Palace, the residence of the head of state, President Giorgio Napolitano.

A small orchestra played the Hallelujah chorus from Handel’s Messiah as the crowd waited for Berlusconi to appear and hand in his resignation. Continue reading

Greek protesters call president “traitor”, halt parade

Protesters pull police barricades during a protest against austerity policies in Thessaloniki, in northern Greece October 28, 2011. REUTERS/Grigoris Siamidis

[In the midst of ever-growing crisis, national celebrations are widely seen as bourgeois extravagances undeserving of popular support. — Frontlines ed.]

By George Georgiopoulos and Daniel Flynn, Reuters

ATHENS | Fri Oct 28, 2011

(Reuters) – Greeks protesting at austerity measures demanded by foreign lenders blocked a major national parade on Friday to commemorate Greek resistance in World War Two, shouting “traitors” at President Karolos Papoulias and other officials.

The protest in Thessaloniki was echoed at smaller parades across Greece, including in Athens where marchers held black ribbons. It showed the extent of anger at the higher taxes and wage cuts sought by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund in return for funds to avert a debt default.

The annual military parade in the northern city is one of the most symbolic events in Greece’s political calendar and commemorates the rejection of Italy’s ultimatum to surrender in 1940. It was the first time it had been cancelled. Continue reading

Greek civil servants plan new strikes next week

[As the Greek people’s resistance continues to grow, the Papandreau government will find more difficulty in serving international finance capital.  As the saying goes, no matter how hard you squeeze, “you can’t get blood out of a turnip.”  New forms and levels of people’s resistance will undoubtedly be seen in the months ahead.  — Frontlines ed.]
Oct 21, 2011

By NICHOLAS PAPHITIS
Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece (AP) – Greek unions on Friday threatened further strikes next week, a day after parliament approved new harsh cutbacks to secure international loans despite protests and riots that left one man dead and nearly 200 injured.

The new austerity measures include further pension and state salary cuts, civil service staff cuts, a reduction in the tax-free threshold and a watering-down of workers’ collective bargaining rights. Their approval by the governing Socialist majority was expected to pave the way for a vital euro8 billion ($11 billion) payout from international creditors within weeks so Greece can stay solvent.

Ilias Iliopoulos, secretary-general of the Adedy civil servant union, insisted the new law “will not be implemented,” and accused the Socialists of turning a blind eye to the toll these measures will take on workers.

“This government has ignored the popular uprising by approving this terrible law,” Iliopoulos told The Associated Press. “Our answer is: get out as fast as you can, there is no place for you in Greece any longer.” Continue reading

Protests turn violent in central Athens

October 6, 2011
More than 30,000 public sector workers demonstrated in Greece in a strike against deeper austerity cuts that closed courts, schools and transport, including air transport.

Police clashed with demonstrators during a protest rally marking a 24-hour general strike on Wednesday in Athens.

By Rosie DiManno, Toronto Star
ATHENS—The menacing black-clad anarchist, who had just hurled rocks at riot squad cops, ducked exploding tear gas canisters and been chased through the streets with a police dog nipping at his heels, lowers the bandana from his face.

He’s 19: Economics student at the University of Athens, son of a taxi driver father and hospital food worker mother, part-time fitness instructor, despondent about his future, furious and frightened.

“My heart is beating so fast, I can hardly breathe.”

The stick in his hands seems such a feeble weapon of rage.

Sticks, stones, chunks of concrete, Molotov cocktails — this is the arsenal that some of Greece’s youth have brought to the barricades against a powerful state. A generation ago, their parents toppled a military junta. Protest is in their bones, a legacy. Continue reading