India: Academics Condemn Israeli-Indian Partnership

[The international boycott of Israeli academics is growing, as the following statement from India indicates.  And it challenges the abstract claims of "academic freedom" and "objectivity" by describing the actual function of academic work--for instance, regarding studies of water management, it points out that "Israel’s R&D in water .... has in effect stolen water from the the West Bank aquifers to provide water to illegal Israeli settlements, while depriving Palestinians of their own water." -- Frontlines ed.]

———————————————————-

InCACBI Condemns the Growing Partnership between the State of Gujarat and the State of Israel

Statement by the Indian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (InCACBI)

No partnership with Apartheid Israel!

New Delhi – 2 Feb. 2013

We, a group of academics, activists and artists in India, came together in 2010 to campaign against yet another apartheid regime by extending support to the international campaign for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel. (Visit our website www.incacbi.in for more information.)

The Israeli state consistently and ruthlessly tramples on the academic freedom and cultural life of the Palestinian people; and a continued association with the instruments of such a state is unconscionable to any freedom loving person.

This is why we condemn recent efforts to strengthen an already reprehensible partnership between the State of Gujarat and the State of Israel. On January 30th, 2013, the Israeli ambassador to India, Alon Ushpiz, and the Israeli Consul General in Mumbai, Orna Sagiv, met Chief Minister Narendra Modi at his residence to discuss furthering Research and Development (R&D) ties between Gujarat and Israel. Continue reading

Chinese protesters force municipal government to back off from chemical plant plan

Living on Earth, 8 November, 2012

image

[Chinese protesters, like the one pictured here, have had success recently in beating back industrial projects. (Photo by Josh Chin.)]

China’s efforts to grow its economy and its manufacturing base are meeting resistance as the country’s middle class burgeons. In Ningbo, a plan to build a petrochemical plant was beaten back by protesters in the street who say these plants are affecting their health.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Ningbo, China, recently in opposition to a petrochemical plant they feel is a danger to public health.

After three days of demonstrations, and clashes between protesters and the police, the government has called the project off — at least for now.

Ben Carlson, a journalist with the Global Post who lives in Hong Kong, said the protests started out as a series of smaller protests.

“By the time the weekend rolled around there were several thousand people in the streets,” he said. “There were reports of the protesters overturning cars, and the police arrested several of the demonstrators — that actually became one of the causes that people were demonstrating against later on.” Continue reading

The Pentagon in Afghanistan: Wasting no time on empty talk of democracy, focusing on mineral treasures and goals

http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=117330

DOD, U.S. Agencies Help Afghanistan Exploit Mineral Wealth

By Cheryl Pellerin, American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 30, 2012 – Officials from the Defense Department and the U.S. Geological Survey gathered this month at Afghanistan’s U.S. Embassy to unveil what the director of a DOD task force called a “treasure map” of the nation’s mineral resources.

At the event, James Bullion of the Defense Department’s Task Force for Business and Stability Operations, or TFBSO, shared the podium with USGS Director Marcia McNutt, who described a new remote-sensing technology that has made it possible, for the first time, she said, to map more than 70 percent of the country’s surface and identify potential high-value deposits of copper, gold, iron, and other minerals. Continue reading

The UN, int’l agencies, and the ‘has-been’ world capitalist system admit political/economic bankruptcy at Rio+20

Some came with high hopes, others were not so sure. But all left empty handed.

Rio+20, an environmental summit whose outcome made all unhappy

By Associated Press, June 23, 2012

RIO DE JANEIRO — It was hard to find a happy soul at the end of the Rio+20 environmental summit.

Not within the legion of bleary-eyed government negotiators from 188 nations who met in a failed attempt to find a breakthrough at the United Nations conference on sustainable development.

Not among the thousands of activists who decried the three-day summit that ended late Friday as dead on arrival. Not even in the top U.N. official who organized the international organization’s largest-ever event.

“This is an outcome that makes nobody happy. My job was to make everyone equally unhappy,” said Sha Zukang, Secretary-General of the conference, nicely summing up the mood.

In the end, this conference was a conference to decide to have more conferences.

That result was hailed as a success by the 100 heads of state who attended. Given how environmental summits have failed in recent years as global economic turmoil squashes political will to take on climate and conservation issues, the mere fact of agreeing to talk again in the future constitutes victory. Continue reading

THE NEPALESE REVOLUTION IN THE CLASP OF REFORMISM AND REVISIONISM

[Current events in Nepal have drawn responses from many organizations and trends in a number of countries.  The following is an analysis from the TKP/ML (Communist Party of Turkey/ML) on the current state of the Nepalese revolution, and its impact on the international communist movement. We encourage its study and consideration.  Other analyses and serious contributions by revolutionaries will be posted here as they become available. -- Frontlines ed.]

——————————-

Following the death of Comrade Mao Zedong, similar to the process that took place after the death of Comrade Stalin, modern revisionism seized the party and the state power, and caused serious damages to the world revolutionary front. Having suffered heavy blows in the hands of modern revisionism, the International Communist Movement (ICM), despite having benefited from a series of class war and struggle practices, including the one waged in Turkey, has not been able to stand against the ideological offensives of imperialism, which gained considerable momentum especially during the 1990s.

In the circumstances where resistance was not organized strongly enough, communist forces sustained severe injuries throughout the process. While some of them sank in their capsized ships, yet some were swept to the opposite shores. Only the few “lucky” survived, considering the survival a major success in the given circumstances. There were several exceptional development by those who came up with accurate analyses and correct policies to advance the people’s war. Even these, however, found it impossible to advance without getting caught by the storm.

The most important defeat in people’s war experiences in recent history was suffered by Gonzalo led Communist Party of Peru (CPP). Despite having shown serious advances in revolution, the CPP failed to carry its success through the final stage. Those who explain the defeat in practical and tactical matters, which led to a severe blow in the leadership, or even in political approaches, are missing the chance to see the reality. Assessments regarding the revolution and people’s war that were revealed by the leadership under the conditions of captivity point out to a drift away from the fundamental philosophical principles of MLM science.

The same situation appears to be present in the process of Nepalese revolution as well. What is even more concerning is the fact that similar dangers are reproduced in the cases of certain components of the ICM, which inevitably leads to serious negative consequences in terms of absorbing and practicing Marxist ideology. As an action guideline, the Marxist ideology must first be correctly understood as a philosophy; as a reasoning method. Based on this comprehension, it can be applied for the analysis of class struggle and transferred to political arena.

Truth must be derived from the facts but in order to achieve this one needs appropriate methods and know-hows.   The materialist character of dialectic is shaped according to the correct conception of economic, social and political laws. Marxism is not a heap of dogmas but rather a science that breaks down the codes of today’s system; it contains a set of thesis and diagnoses that are proven to be correct and valid. Thanks to its ageless essence, its power to explain the transformation, and its structure that is open to further development, its light hasn’t dimmed; its mission as a guide is still on.

As is known, prior to the peace process that began about 6 years ago in Nepal, 80 percent of the land was practically under the control of the revolutionary forces, the enemy had suffered a major defeat, and Kathmandu, the capital city, was under a heavy siege. At a stage when the final strike was to be delivered, counter-revolution’s calls to peace were responded positively, making note of the absence of a sufficient accumulation in the city, of the possibility of intervention by the imperialist and expansionist powers (Indian state), and of the alternative route of completing the new democratic revolution through the power that was to be gained via elections process in the parliament. Continue reading

Africa: Rio+20 Summit Under Corporations’ Undue Influence

18 June 2012, Friends of the Earth (London) –press release

Rio De Janeiro — On the eve of the Rio+20 United Nations Earth Summit [1] on June 20-22, Friends of the Earth International warns world leaders that multinational corporations such as oil giant Shell have an undue influence over the Rio+20 Earth Summit.

According to a briefing released today by Friends of the Earth Netherlands [2], the Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell is influencing the Rio+20 Summit thanks to senior company representatives in several corporate lobbying groups active in the Rio+20 negotiations, including: the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association, the UN Global Compact, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and the International Emissions Trading Association

“It is not acceptable that companies like Shell who cause massive pollution and human rights abuses should be in the driving seat of processes for sustainable development. That is a recipe for disaster for our planet and peoples. Corporate polluters should not help making laws, they should face the law,” said Nnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth International. Continue reading

Slow Death, Fast Profits: Pesticides, GMOs, India And Monsanto

By Colin Todhunter, Countercurrents.org, 26 May, 2012
The next time you serve up a good old ‘wholesome’ meal of rice and various vegetables in India, you will probably take in half a milligram of pesticide also, around a pin prick. That would be more than 40 times what an average North American person would consume.
India is one of the world’s largest users of pesticides and a profitable market for the corporations that manufacture them. Ladyfinger, cabbage, tomato and cauliflower in particular may contain dangerously high levels because farmers tend to harvest them almost immediately after spraying. Fruit and vegetables are sprayed and tampered with to make them more colourful, and harmful fungicides are sprayed on fruit to ripen them in order to rush them off to market.
Research by the School of Natural Sciences and Engineering at the National Institute of Advanced Studies in Bangalore has indicated disturbing trends in the increased use of pesticide. In 2008, it reported that many crops for export had been rejected internationally due to high pesticide residues.
Kasargod in Kerala is notorious for the indiscriminate spraying of endosulfan. The government-owned Plantation Corporation of Kerala aerially sprayed the harmful pesticide on cashews for a period of over 20 years. Consequently, it got into rivers, streams and drinking water. Families and their children have been living with physical deformities, cancers and disorders of the central nervous system ever since.
Officials and the pesticide companies benefited from the spraying. At the time, cashew was grown without pesticides throughout Kerala, but the government run plantation invested millions of rupees of public money in spraying the deadly pesticide. Endosulfen poisoning cases also emerged elsewhere, including Karnataka. Continue reading

Don’t Put Monsanto in Charge of Ending Hunger in Africa

Kenyan farmer at protest of Monsanto genetically modified corn

by Common Dreams     May 22, 2012

Written by Yifat Susskind

This past weekend, President Obama hid out from protesters at Camp David. He was hosting the leaders of the world’s eight wealthiest economies, known as the G8. As they readied to meet, on Friday, Obama put forward his New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition.

This occasion gave Rajiv Shah, the administrator of the US Agency for International Development, the chance to make an astonishing statement:

“We are never going to end hunger in Africa without private investment. There are things that only companies can do, like building silos for storage and developing seeds and fertilizers.”

That’s news to millions of women farmers in Africa. Their harvests feed their families and generate income that sustains local economies. For generations, they have been doing just those things: storing their harvests, protecting and developing seeds, using natural fertilizers. Continue reading

Obama has a Monsanto plan for Africa: (Beware of Genetic Engineers Bearing Gifts)

How the US Sold Africa to Multinationals Like Monsanto, Cargill, DuPont, PepsiCo and Others

The G8 scheme does nothing to address the problems that are at the core of hunger and malnutrition but will serve only to further poverty and inequality.
May 23, 2012

[Photo Credit: michaeljung via Shutterstock.com]

Driving through Ngong Hills, not far from Nairobi, Kenya, the corn on one side of the road is stunted and diseased. The farmer will not harvest a crop this year. On the other side of the road, the farmer gave up growing corn and erected a greenhouse, probably for growing a high-value crop like tomatoes. Though it’s an expensive investment, agriculture consultants now recommend them. Just up the road, at a home run by Kenya Children of Hope, an organization that helps rehabilitate street children and reunite them with their families, one finds another failed corn crop and another greenhouse. The director, Charity, is frustrated because the two acres must feed the rescued children and earn money for the organization. After two tomato crops failed in the new greenhouse, her consultant recommended using a banned, toxic pesticide called carbofuran.

Will Obama’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition help farmers like Charity? The New Alliance was announced in conjunction with the G8 meeting last Friday. Under the scheme, some 45 corporations, including Monsanto, Syngenta, Yara International, Cargill, DuPont, and PepsiCo, have pledged a total of $3.5 billion in investment in Africa. The full list of corporations and commitments has just been released, and one of the most notable is Yara International’s promise to build a $2 billion fertilizer plant in Africa. Syngenta pledged to build a $1 billion business in Africa over the next decade. These promises are not charity; they are business.

This is par for the course for the attempted “second green revolution” that is currently underway. The Gates Foundation and its Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa are working to build up a network of private seed companies and private agro-dealers across Africa. The goal is to increase average fertilizer use in Africa by more than a factor of six and to decrease the distance each African farmer must travel to reach a shop selling seeds and inputs. Those who support this vision have heaped praise on Obama and the G8′s New Alliance. In fact, with both Republican and Democratic support, this is one of the only things both parties agree on.

But what do actual Africans think? Not just the elite, but the peasant farmers? Charity, for her part, is frustrated. Continue reading

India: Scientist supporter of Nonadanga anti-eviction protesters released on bail

Scientist gets bail after Mamata govt faces public ire

Dr Partho Sarothi Ray

Dr Partho Sarothi Ray

Apr 18, 2012

KOLKATA: The Mamata Banerjee government finally bowed before the groundswell of support for the arrested scientist Partha Sarathi Ray. On Tuesday, a city court granted him bail after 10 days in jail custody. But the bail pleas of six others arrested with Ray on April 8 were denied.Ray’s arrest has been condemned by thousands of peers, students and rights activists from across the globe. Nobel laureate Noam Chomsky wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his release. Hundreds of voices claimed that Ray was framed by the Bengal governmentbecause he was fighting for the rehabilitation of those evicted from Nonadanga.On Tuesday, the scientist’s lawyer Subhasis Roy submitted the bail petitions for all seven arrested activists. The state counsel, Tapan Saha, did not oppose Ray’s bail. “We do not have sufficient evidence against him,” said Saha, who opposed the bail of the six others, including Debolina Chakraborty. The lawyer pointed out that in the past week, the police could not find anything to substantiate their claims against Ray.Around 7 in the evening, a magistrate granted bail to Ray but extended the remand of the rest. He may walk out of Presidency jail by Wednesday afternoon.

Political experts believe that the increasing pressure from different quarters in India and abroad forced the state government not to oppose Ray’s bail petition. Hundreds have joined the online signature campaign. A Delhi-based rights body has started a signature campaign for Debolina, saying she is a “victim of state revenge”.

Ray was among 61 protesters picked up by police during a demonstration against the Nonadanga eviction on April 8. A nine-year-old girl also spent hours in police lock-up before all but seven of them were freed. Ray, Debolina, Sidhhartha Gupta, Baban Chatterjee, Abhigyan Sarkar, Samik Chakraborty and Debjani Ghosh were arrested. All seven were accused of assaulting police officers during an agitation on April 4. Debolina was charged in a two-year-old case for alleged Maoist links. They were remanded in jail custody till April 26. Continue reading

April Conference in India: “Turn the Prevailing Economic Crisis into Revolutionary Upsurge!”

Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF)

 Friends,

The first Conference of the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) is going to take place at a time when the imperialist forces and their props – the ruling classes of various colonial and semi-colonial countries – are going through an unprecedented economic depression resulting in a worldwide economic crisis, a condition which is of their own making. The reactionary Indian ruling classes, being agents of imperialism, have transferred the burden of the world economic crisis to the people of this country – the masses of the people who are already grappling with acute exploitation, poverty, unemployment and deprivation of the basic necessities of life. Their purchasing power has come down drastically. They have been denied the right over jal-jangal-zameen (water, forest and land resources) and other resources. Such conditions have generated disaffection amongst vast sections of people of the subcontinent manifested as a multitude of peoples’ struggles.

Despite every effort of the Indian state to hide the gravity of the crisis in which it is, the Indian economy has been severely shaken by the worldwide economic crisis due to its increasing dependence on the imperialist economy. The exploitative ruling classes, who never tire of making tall claims about outstanding ‘growth’ and ‘development’ riding on the fortunes of an export-oriented economy aided by imperialist globalisation, have lost their sleep over the present crisis. Those who used to wax eloquently of ‘development’ citing the speculative growth in the sectors of information technology, outsourcing, real estate, etc. has now been put on the dock. Due to the imperialist domination and dependence prevalent in the Indian economy, lakhs of workers have been rendered jobless and thrown out of sphere of production. Workers in hundreds of thousands have been at the receiving end of lay-offs and pay-cuts as a result of the closure of a large number of firms in the real estate industry, export-based industries, textiles, brass industry, jewellery and metal industry, mining, and so on. Now, the introduction of Foreign Direct Investment in retail trade will render more than 50 lakh people jobless by bringing Wal-mart and other imperialist players in retail business. Students particularly in the professional courses like engineering are finding little avenues of employment even through placement agencies. At the same time, however, imperialist forces such as foreign institutional investors are siphoning off the hard-earned wealth of the working people through speculative trading in the share market which are completely cut off from the real economy.

The impact of the economic crisis is evident in each and every sector of the Indian economy. The worst ever economic depression since the Great Depression in the 1930s has further deepened the agrarian crisis. As the demand of ‘Land to the Tiller’ remain yet as a tall promise with the ruling class bereft of any political will to fulfil the demand, the impact of the economic crisis on the working people engaged in agriculture has been very severe. The growing dependence of the rural masses on the agrarian sector has strengthened the landowners and moneylenders in the countryside, and has given them the opportunity to continue their exploitation and oppression. This exploitation and oppression takes the concrete form of caste-atrocities and caste-violence, the number of which is on the rise all over the country. Khairlanji, Lathor, Mirchpur incidents provide glaring evidence of this fact. More than 2.5 lakh peasants and agricultural workers have been forced to commit suicide in the last fifteen years due to the anti-peasant policies of the Indian state. In spite of this devastation, the imperialist stranglehold over Indian agriculture is being further tightened in the name of Second Generation Reforms and the Second Green revolution. Continue reading

Corporate media blames teachers for poor student performance; prescribes union-busting

The war on teachers: Why the public is watching it happen

By , in the Washington Post, 03/12/2012

This was written by Mark Naison, professor of African and African American Studies at Fordham University in New York and chair of the department of African and African-American Studies. He is also co-director of the Urban Studies Program, African-American History 20th Century. A version of this first appeared on the blog With A Brooklyn Accent.

By Mark Naison

All over the nation, teachers are under attack. Politicians of both parties, in every state, have blamed teachers and their unions for the nation’s low standing on international tests and our nation’s inability to create the educated labor force our economy needs.

Mass firings of teachers in so-called failing schools have taken place in municipalities throughout the nation and some states have made a public ritual of humiliating teachers. In Los Angeles and New York, teacher ratings based on student standardized test scores — said by many to be inaccurate — have been published by the press. As a result, great teachers have been labeled as incompetent and some are leaving the profession. A new study showed that teachers’ job satisfaction has plummeted in recent years. Continue reading