“Aid” and the Political Scramble: India vs China in the Nepal Disaster-Capitalist Rush

[Frontlines:  Defensive about the appearance of an “aid” scramble in Nepal for power, influence and control, former Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Zhang Chunxiang said, “We do not have competition with India and other countries. There is no competition in humanitarian assistance.” But, not to miss an opportunity….]

“In post-quake aid rush, Nepal neighbors jockey for position”

Nepalese volunteers unload relief material brought in an Indian air force helicopter for victims of Saturday’s earthquake at Trishuli Bazar in Nepal, Monday, April 27, 2015. Wedged between the two rising Asian powers of China and India, landlocked Nepal saw rescuers and offers of help pour from both sides within hours of its massive earthquake. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

Nepalese volunteers unload relief material brought in an Indian air force helicopter for victims of Saturday’s earthquake at Trishuli Bazar in Nepal, Monday, April 27, 2015.  (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri) The Associated Press

Wedged between the two rising Asian powers of China and India, landlocked Nepal watched rescuers and offers of help pour in from both sides within hours of an earthquake that killed more than 4,000 people.

India, the traditional power in the region, launched Operation Friendship soon after the quake Saturday. It has sent the most help so far, deploying 13 aircraft and more than 500 rescuers as well as water, food, equipment and medical supplies.

China, increasingly making inroads in Nepal through everything from infrastructure investment to increased tourism, also pledged all-out assistance within hours of the disaster. It has sent 62 rescuers plus blankets, tents and generators and announced plans to send four planes and an additional 170 soldiers.

India’s rival, Pakistan, also has sent four cargo planes full of supplies, including concrete cutters and sniffer dogs.

The largesse of recent days is a microcosm of something much larger. It represents a subtle brand of disaster politics, a curious but understandable focus on strategically located Nepal, one of the poorest nations in its region but — clearly — a pocket of regional importance for powerful neighbors jockeying for position.

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Haitian Lessons to Warn Nepalese: Beware Disaster Capitalists in Humanitarian Clothes

[As the horrifying death toll continues to fise to many thousands, amid the collapse of much of the home, business, and cultural structures in Nepal — the result of milleniums of colonial domination, oppression, and plunder — the enormous need for international rescue and reconstruction is a plaintive appeal to the good intentions of people everywhere.  But the aid will come with many conditions by the powers who bear gifts.  It is instructive to study the experience of the “aid” and “recovery” of Haiti from the devastating earthquake of 2010.  The US turned Haitian earthquake aid into neo-colonial, militarized occupation.  The struggles of people to control their own recovery has been an ongoing fight in Haiti, and now in Nepal.  The following except from a chapter in the important new book Good Intentions: Norms and Practices of Humanitarian Imperialism makes this Haitian experience hauntingly present in the streets of Kathmandu today.  —  Frontlines ed.]

US Imperialism and Disaster Capitalism in Haiti 

Keir Forgie, from Maximilian Forte’s new book: Good Intentions: Norms and Practices of Humanitarian Imperialism
 At 4:53 PM, on Monday, January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake shocked Port-au-Prince, Haiti. It was the most devastating earthquake the country had experienced in over 200 years, with estimated infrastructure damage between $8 and $14 billion (Donlon, 2012, p. vii; Farmer, 2011, p. 54). This is particularly astounding considering that Haiti is recognized as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with 70% of individuals surviving on less than $2 US per day (Farmer, 2011, p. 60). The quake’s epicentre was located 15 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince, which is the most heavily populated area in all of Haiti (Donlon, 2012, p. vii). Approximately three million Haitians, one third of the country’s population, live in Port-au-Prince and every single individual was affected by the disaster: the Haitian government reported 230,000 deaths, 300,600 injured persons, and between 1.2 to 2 million displaced people (Donlon, 2012, p. vii). The country presented a “blank slate,” with all manner of political, economic, and social services in absolute ruin—an ideal circumstance to exercise the arms of the new (US) imperialism: notably, NGOs, the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), the militarization of humanitarian aid, and disaster capitalism.
US hegemonic globalization is the current world order—it is the new imperialism. The breadth of US influence across the globe in terms of politics, economics, and military are unparalleled across history, affording the nation the means to orchestrate geopolitics in its favor through coercion, masked by rhetorical altruism (Moselle, 2008, pp. 1, 8). However, the US is currently challenged by a state of economic decline and shifting international relations. In an effort to maintain its dominant position, the US must implement a number of novel strategies. As such, the “new imperialism” is distinguished by certain contemporary characteristics: notably, war in the pursuit of dwindling natural resources, the militarization of the social sciences, war corporatism, the romanticization of imperialism, and as a central focus to this paper, the framing of military interventions as “humanitarian,” legitimized through rhetoric of freedom, democracy, and the right to intervene. In truth, the militarization of humanitarian aid serves to facilitate the imposition of neoliberal economic policies through the exploitation of weakened states—a
strategy known as “disaster capitalism”.

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White House orders Castro regime to release MORE political prisoners

saying 53 anti-Communists freed this week are just a start

[This article from the reactionary and bombastic-imperialist Daily Mail, is true to their arrogant form.  But while revealing that “diplomatic relations” is just an excuse for new imperialist dictation toward Cuba, there is, of course, no mention of a “quid pro quo” — though many might ask, where is the Cuban demand for release of political prisoners in the US, as well as …. where is the demand from Cuba for US to get out of the illegally occupied Guantanamo? — Frontlines ed.]

  • The White House revealed on Tuesday that it dictated to Cuba which political prisoners should be released immediately 
  • ‘Our efforts to secure the release of other political prisoners that are unjustly detained in Cuba is ongoing,’ the president’s spokesman said
  • He did not say how many other dissidents the U.S. government is lobbying Raul Castro’s regime to set free

The White House revealed on Tuesday that it dictated to Cuba which political prisoners should be released and that there are additional detainees beyond the 53 that have already been let go that it wants to see freed.

‘Our efforts to secure the release of other political prisoners that are unjustly detained in Cuba is ongoing,’ White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.

Earnest did not say how many other political prisoners it is lobbying Raul Castro’s regime to set free nor would he give out the names of the original 53.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on Tuesday that the U.S. is working to free additional political prisoners in Cuba who are still behind bars beyond the 53 names it initially submitted to the Raul Castro regime

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on Tuesday that the U.S. is working to free additional political prisoners in Cuba who are still behind bars beyond the 53 names it initially submitted to the Raul Castro regime

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Belgian Worker’s Benefits Shredded by Capitalist Rulers

100k Protest Austerity in Brussels, Police Repression Sparks Riot

11/06/2014 —  Brussels, Belgium

Belgian riot police fired tear gas and water cannon’s repressing the demonstrators on Thursday, at the first of what’s to be a series of anti-austerity demonstrations and strikes planned for the coming weeks. More than 100,000 people were on the streets of Brussels where they marched peacefully for almost two hours before violence broke out.

Car windows were smashed, other vehicles were overturned or set alight, and protsetors threw paving stones and fireworks. There were also reports of serious injuries among police as well as demonstrators. 14 demonstrators were reportedly taken to area hospitals, Brussels newspaper De Morgen reports.

B1ww7eCIYAAedFSFor two hours, the demonstrators peacefully marched down the main thoroughfares of central Brussels to protest government policies that will raise the pension age, contain wages and cut into public services.
“They are hitting the workers, the unemployed. They are not looking for money where it is, I mean, people with a lot of money,” said Philippe Dubois, who came from the industrial rust belt of Liege.
Belgium has a long postwar tradition of collective bargaining between employers and workers, and successive coalition governments representing a full scale of public opinion often have been able to contain social disagreements. But the current coalition, made up of three pro-business parties and the centrist Christian Democrats, is the first in decades that has been able to set such a clear free-market agenda.

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Brazil: The Agrarian Reality and the Central Role of the Peasant Struggle

The struggle for land and the brutal suppression of the peasant population: the ongoing account of the reality of the agrarian question in Brazil

The huge monopolisation of the land ownership by the ”Latifundio” (the big landowners) in Brazil continues to rise and it is the basis of the history of the ongoing economic and social crisis in the country and, it is at the same time, the basis of current intensification conflicts. Only 2% of landowners (around 23,000) with properties above 1000 hectares hold almost 50% of all land titles in the country (210.5 million hectares)! While 90% of those (4.95 million peasant families), small holders (with properties of up to one hundred hectares) hold only 20% of them (84.1 million hectares)! The medium landowners (with properties of a hundred thousand hectares) that are 8% (440.000) hold the remaining 125.9 million hectares. Besides this there are about 5 million landless peasant families.(*)
This structure of land ownership, that maintains and reproduces the archaic semi-feudal system, is the basis on which imperialism has developed bureaucratic capitalism – that is backward capitalism through which monopoly capital, i.e. imperialism, has imposed in dominated countries. Capitalism, of the bureaucratic type, was developed in Brazil when capitalism had passed to its monopoly stage, i.e. the imperialist phase – in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century.
It was propelled forwards mainly by British imperialism in alliance with the big landowners (the rural landowning oligarchies) and large local merchants and importers. The nascent bourgeoisie was weak and having stagnated because capital was already in the imperialist phase, could not advance forward the bourgeois revolution in Brazil. It is also true that the nascent proletariat was unable to lead and advance the national-democratic revolution to its end, leaving it in an incomplete state. This was caused by the weaknesses of the Communist Party, which did not understand its role. A role that under the circumstances at the time demanded that a bourgeois revolution could only be carried out under its leadership. A revolutionary leadership that was based on the worker-peasant alliance and a united front with the small and medium bourgeoisie, conducted through revolutionary armed struggle in order that, on the one hand, it must remove the domination of landowners, destroy the old relations of land ownership, give the land to those who work on it and free the productive forces of the field. On the other hand, it must wipe the imperialist domination and confiscate all the bureaucratic capital (state and non-state), centralizing everything in the hands of the new popular state to promote a new self-reliant economy geared to serve the welfare of the people, advancing new democracy and promote a new culture.
Without these tasks being fulfilled, the fundamental and root causes of the contradictions remain intact, semi-feudal relations continue to remain with some evolution in its forms, consequently determine that Brazil would continue to remain a backward country. Under such conditions all that is called development and industrialization has only deepened the denationalization of the economy and its subjugation to mainly American imperialism. Continue reading

The system tortures, and they call it democracy

The Guardian:  “Gitmo hunger strikes are a cry for help. Why is the US fighting back with secret torture?……..Force-feeding at Guantánamo shames America – not just in the bad old days of George W Bush, but today, in 2014. And you deserve to hear the truth, loud and clear.”

by Cori Crider, theguardian.com, Tuesday 30 September 2014

gitmo fence hand

Gitmo is a warehouse of the forgotten, run by a military that doesn’t know how to treat the sick souls it’s caged without charge for over 12 years. Photograph: Dar Yasin/AP

“Safe, Humane, Legal, Transparent”: so goes the slogan of the world’s most famous offshore prison. It’s an Obama-era rebrand, a bid by Gitmo’s PR people to persuade Americans that today’s is a kinder, gentler Guantánamo Bay. There’s just one wrinkle: Gitmo is still dangerous, nasty, lawless and secretive – and the evidence just keeps piling up.

At the forefront of this war over the truth is the first-ever trial concerning the practice of force-feeding prisoners on hunger strike, due to start Monday. My client, Abu Wa’el Dhiab – a Syrian man who has never been charged, and indeed has been cleared to leave Guantánamo by the US government for more than five years – has been fighting for over a year to reform the way he and other hunger-strikers have been treated. He’s finally about to have his day in court.

But the Obama administration refuses to accept this unusual intrusion of justice into its island idyll. On Friday, US justice department attorneys filed a motion asking the court to hear all evidence in the trial entirely in closed court, save a short, anodyne opening statement from lawyers on both sides. Continue reading

Manipur: Female cadres of Maoist Communist Party vow to take on wrong doers against women

Imphal, September 27:  The Maoist Communist Party of Manipur has urged the women of the State to join its liberation movement waged with the aim of ushering in an egalitarian society to root out crimes against women. In a meeting attended only by leaders of its 14 women`s wings on the death anniversary of Lamyanba Hijam Irabot, the resolutions of strictly dealing with crimes committed against and intensifying the movement to liberate women by establishing women`s wings in all the 60 assembly constituencies in the State were taken, stated a press release from the party. Lamyanba Hijam Irawat had always supported political activism by women.


Female cadres of Maoist Communist Party vow to take on wrong doers against women

Today, women have not only joined the Maoist Communist Party of Manipur but due respect is given to them by forming wings reserved for women only to raise their status, added the press release. This action will be a new strategy in the liberation movement and women will play a major role in our movement. It will also help in checking the increasing crimes against women in the State, it further added. Women in Manipur face immense hardships without any change even to this day. A man or woman in Manipur is put into a straightjacket by many factors. However, women in Manipur apart from this factor are suppressed and oppressed by men. Continue reading