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5 Most Popular Recent Articles

Nigeria: Labour to power 2011 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Workers’ Alternative   
Wednesday, 29 September 2010 21:30

Link to source: http://www.marxist.com/nigeria-labour-to-power-2011.htm

Nigerian Marxists have always called for the setting up of a trade union based mass workers’ party. The Nigerian trade unions have the authority, the power and the mass following to do this. A few years ago a half-hearted attempt was made to launch the Nigerian Labour Party without much success. The union leaders didn’t give their full backing. Now, however, the party is becoming more attractive and in some states large numbers of workers are joining. Here we publish an editorial from the December 2009 edition of the Workers’ Alternative on this question.

Undoubtedly the Nigerian working class is the largest and most powerful single force in the land. This indisputable fact is confirmed further by the fact that nothing can work without the workers; this reality does not just apply to Nigeria but it is also an international reality. Over 10 million workers are in organised labour in Nigeria, in the NLC and TUC. Millions of Nigerian workers who are yet to be unionised and millions of other poor strata of society are natural allies of the workers and look towards organised labour for support at most times. The massive support all the general strikes called by labour against fuel price increases and deregulation confirms this fact.

Unfortunately, a parasitic and unproductive class of the rich, bourgeois, who currently constitute the ruling class, holds society to ransom. They are the agents of the IMF, World Bank and various foreign imperialist interests in Nigeria.

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The former guerrilla set to be the world's most powerful woman PDF Print E-mail
Written by Medialeft GB Administration   
Tuesday, 28 September 2010 20:23

Link to source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/the-former-guerrilla-set-to-be-the-worlds-most-powerful-woman-2089916.html

Brazil looks likely to elect an extraordinary leader next weekend

Dilma Rousseff in her 1970 police mugshot, when she led a revolutionary groupThe world's most powerful woman will start coming into her own next weekend. Stocky and forceful at 63, this former leader of the resistance to a Western-backed military dictatorship (which tortured her) is preparing to take her place as President of Brazil.

As head of state, president Dilma Rousseff would outrank Angela Merkel, Germany's Chancellor, and Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State: her enormous country of 200 million people is revelling in its new oil wealth. Brazil's growth rate, rivalling China's, is one that Europe and Washington can only envy.

Her widely predicted victory in next Sunday's presidential poll will be greeted with delight by millions. It marks the final demolition of the "national security state", an arrangement that conservative governments in the US and Europe once regarded as their best artifice for limiting democracy and reform. It maintained a rotten status quo that kept a vast majority in poverty in Latin America while favouring their rich friends.

Ms Rousseff, the daughter of a Bulgarian immigrant to Brazil and his schoolteacher wife, has benefited from being, in effect, the prime minister of the immensely popular President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the former union leader. But, with a record of determination and success (which includes appearing to have conquered lymphatic cancer), this wife, mother and grandmother will be her own woman. The polls say she has built up an unassailable lead – of more than 50 per cent compared with less than 30 per cent – over her nearest rival, an uninspiring man of the centre called Jose Serra. Few doubt that she will be installed in the Alvorada presidential palace in Brasilia in January.

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Election Day Tomorrow - The anti-Venezuela election campaign PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mark Weisbrot   
Saturday, 25 September 2010 17:31

Link to source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/mar/18/venezuela-election

Thursday 18 March 2010 19.00 GMT

Venezuela's election is not until September, but the international campaign to delegitimise the government has already begun

VENEZUELAN OPPOSITION POLITICIAN PLAYING HER PART FOR CAPITALIST DEMOCRACYVenezuela has an election for its national assembly in September, and the campaign has begun in earnest. I am referring to the international campaign. This is carried out largely through the international media, although some will spill over into the Venezuelan media. It involves many public officials, especially in the US. The goal will be to generate as much bad press as possible about Venezuela, to discredit the government, and to delegitimise the September elections – in case the opposition should choose to boycott, as they did in the last legislative elections, or refuse to recognise the results if they lose.

There's no need for conspiracy, since the principal actors all know what to do. Occasionally some will be off-message due to lack of co-ordination. A fascinating example of this occurred last week when Senator John McCain tried to get General Doug Fraser of the US Southern Command to back his accusations that Venezuela supports terrorist activities. Testifying before the Senate armed services committee on March 11, General Fraser contradicted McCain:

"We have continued to watch very closely … We have not seen any connections specifically that I can verify that there has been a direct government-to-terrorist connection."

Oops! Apparently Fraser didn't get the memo that the Obama team, not just McCain, is in full campaign mode against Venezuela. The next day, he issued a statement recanting his testimony:

"Assistant Secretary Valenzuela [the state department's top Latin America official] and I spoke this morning on the topic of linkages between the government of Venezuela and the Farc. There is zero daylight between our two positions and we are in complete agreement.

"There is indeed clear and documented historical and ongoing evidence of the linkages between the government of Venezuela and the Farc … we are in direct alignment with our partners at the state department and the intelligence community."

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From Marx to Goldman Sachs: The Fictions of Fictitious Capital PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael Hudson   
Tuesday, 21 September 2010 15:35

Link to source: http://michael-hudson.com/2010/07/from-marx-to-goldman-sachs-the-fictions-of-fictitious-capital1/

As published in Critique, based on a presentation given at the China Academy of Sciences, School of Marxist Studies in Beijing in November 2009, and at the Left Forum in New York City, March 20, 2010.

Classical economists developed the labor theory of value to isolate economic rent, which they defined as the excess of market price and income over the socially necessary cost of production (value ultimately reducible to the cost of labor). A free market was one free of such “unearned” income – a market in which prices reflected actual necessary costs of production or, in the case of public services and basic infrastructure, would be subsidized in order to make economies more competitive. Most reformers accordingly urged – and expected – land, monopolies and banking privileges to be nationalized, or at least to have their free-lunch income taxed away.

In keeping with his materialist view of history, Marx expected banking to be subordinated to the needs of industrial capitalism. Equity investment – followed by public ownership of the means of production under socialism – seemed likely to replace the interest-extracting “usury capital” inherited from antiquity and feudal times: debts mounting up at compound interest in excess of the means to pay, culminating in crises marked by bank runs and property foreclosures.

But as matters have turned out, the rentier interests mounted a Counter-Enlightenment to undermine the reforms that promised to liberate society from special privilege.

Instead of promoting capital investment in an alliance with industry and government, financial planners have sponsored a travesty of free markets. Realizing that income not taxed is free to be capitalized, bought and sold on credit, and paid out as interest, bankers have formed an alliance between finance, insurance and real estate (FIRE) to free land rent and monopoly rent (as well as debt-leveraged “capital” gains) from taxation.

The result is that today’s economy is burdened with property and financial claims that Marx and other critics deemed “fictitious” – a proliferation of financial overhead in the form of interest and dividends, fees and commissions, exorbitant management salaries, bonuses and stock options, and “capital” gains (mainly debt-leveraged land-price gains). And to cap matters, new financial modes of exploiting labor have been innovated, headed by pension-fund capitalism and privatization of Social Security. As economic planning has passed from government to the financial sector, the alternative to public price regulation and progressive taxation is debt peonage.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 September 2010 15:37
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Global NATO Raises Alarms From Arctic To Brazil PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rick Rozoff   
Friday, 17 September 2010 00:00

Link to source: http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/09/17/global-nato-raises-alarms-from-arctic-to-brazil/

Global NATOThe current century’s only and history’s largest military bloc will hold the latest of what have become annual summits in Lisbon, Portugal this November 19 and 20. Heads of state, defense chiefs and chiefs of general staff from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s 28 full members will be in attendance, as will be leaders from an unannounced number of the military alliance’s forty some odd partner states.

Starting last year a 12-member Group of Experts headed by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and ex-president and chief executive officer of Royal Dutch Shell Jeroen van der Veer toured Europe and North America to promote NATO’s new Strategic Concept, its first in the 21st century as the current version was adopted in 1999, the year of the bloc’s first expansion into Eastern Europe and its 78-day air war against Yugoslavia, the first military assault against a sovereign nation in Europe since World War II.

On May 17 of this year Albright and her cohorts submitted their recommendations – a set of already determined priorities for the expanding military alliance – to the North Atlantic Council, NATO’s top governing body, to be formally endorsed at the Lisbon summit. [1]

The new Strategic Concept will elaborate upon and extend the policies of its predecessor and will reflect the past decade’s transformation of an erstwhile Cold War-era alliance into an increasingly global warfighting machine. One which has grown in the interim from 16 to 28 full members, the 12 new inductees all in Eastern Europe, 10 of them former members of the Warsaw Pact and three of those ex-Soviet republics.

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Internet Freedom Isn't Just Another Word PDF Print E-mail
Written by Art Brodsky   
Wednesday, 08 September 2010 00:00

Link to source: http://www.publicknowledge.org/blog/internet-freedom-isnt-just-another-wordinternet freedom

To hear some big-time business columnists tell it, fighting for freedom is a bad thing.

The usually sensible Steve Pearlstein at the Washington Post notes that, “net neutrality zealots” (also known as “ayatollahs of net neutrality”) worked themselves into a “self-righteous lather” over the Verizon-Google compromise on Net Neutrality, caring more about “principles” than the “real world.”For Joe Nocera over at the New York Times, the Verizon-Google deal was a “well-meaning proposal,” that is being set upon by “fierce, unyielding proponents” of an open Internet, a group that includes Public Knowledge as part of the “net neutrality purists.”

These two columns by respected writers point to an unfortunate tendency among reporters who peer down from Olympian heights onto the world of mortals to bless a compromise as a way to settle a dispute, regardless whether the compromise is productive.  There is the surface “pox on both their houses” approach, although it seems as if in practice the tendency further is distinguished by the pejorative descriptions of liberal or progressive parties, and rarely of conservative or business-oriented opinions or groups.

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Global youth unemployment reaches record levels PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jordan Shilton   
Tuesday, 31 August 2010 00:00

Link to source: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/aug2010/yout-a31.shtml

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has issued a report documenting the severe impact of the global economic crisis on employment prospects for the world’s youth. The report, “Global Employment Trends for Youth”, presents detailed statistics on the growing number of 15-to-24-year-olds who find themselves out of work.

The most striking findings are those showing the rapid rise of youth unemployment from the eruption of the financial crisis in 2008 onwards. At the end of 2009, according to the report’s introduction, global youth unemployment stood at 81 million. This was an increase of 7.8 million, or nearly 10 percent, from the end of 2007.

In percentage terms, global youth unemployment rose from 11.9 percent to 13 percent during this period, an increase described as “sharper than ever before”.

In 2009 alone, the number of young people out of work globally rose by a staggering 6.6 million. As the report noted, “To put this in perspective, over the course of the ten-year period prior to the current crisis (1996-1997 to 2006-2007), the number of unemployed youth increased, on average, by 192,000 per year”.

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