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5 Most Popular Recent Articles

Soft and Undercover Coups d’État PDF Print E-mail
Written by Thierry Meyssan   
Friday, 25 February 2011 01:43

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The Albert Einstein Institution: non-violence according to the CIA

Non violence as a political action technique can be used for anything. During the 1980s, NATO drew its attention on its possible use to organize the Resistance in Europe after the invasion of the Red Army. It’s been 15 years since CIA began using it to overthrow inflexible governments without provoking international outrage, and its ideological façade is philosopher Gene Sharp’s Albert Einstein Institution. Voltaire Network reveals its amazing activity, from Lithuania to Serbia, Venezuela and Ukraine.

Unknown to the public, Gene Sharp formulated a theory on non violence as a political weapon. Also he first helped NATO and then CIA train the leaders of the soft coups of the last 15 years. Since the 50s, Gene Sharp studied Henry D. Thoreau and Mohandas K. Gandhi’s theory of civil disobedience. For these authors, obedience and disobedience were religious and moral matters, not political ones. However, to preach had political consequences; what could be considered an aim could be perceived as a mean. Civil disobedience can be considered then as a political, even military, action technique.

In 1983, Sharp designed the Non Violent Sanctions Program in the Center for International Affairs of Harvard University where he did some social sciences studies on the possible use of civil disobedience by Western Europe population in case of a military invasion carried out by the troops of the Warsaw Pact. At the same time, he founded in Boston the Albert Einstein Institution with the double purpose of financing his own researches and applying his own models to specific situations. In 1985, he published a book titled "Making Europe Unconquerable " [1] whose second edition included a preface by George Kennan, the Father of the Cold War. In 1987, the association was funded by the U.S. Institute for Peace and hosted seminars to instruct its allies on defense based on civil disobedience. General Fricaud-Chagnaud, on his part, introduced his "civil deterrence" concept at the Foundation of National Defense Studies. [2]

Barbara Lee & Bernie Sanders: War in Afghanistan & War on the Middle Class PDF Print E-mail
Written by Medialeft GB Administration   
Saturday, 19 February 2011 04:06

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Barbara Lee & Bernie Sanders: War in Afghanistan & War on the Middle Class

Earlier this week, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D- CA) submitted a proposal to the Democratic National Committee (DNC), asking the DNC to pass a resolution “Supporting Ending the War in Afghanistan and Transferring the Funding to Job Creation, other Crucial Domestic Priorities and Deficit Reduction.”  Also, recently, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) called for an end to “The War on the Middle Class.”  Both wars, of course, must be ended; and the two are certainly related.
The war in Afghanistan, fiscal issues aside, is immoral and illegal.  We need to begin the process of bringing the troops home.  We need to complete the withdrawal as quickly as possible.  The war is wrong. It is also severely draining our country of the resources we need to create jobs, to transition to the use of sustainable and safe energy, to rebuild our infrastructure, and to reduce the federal deficit.
Congresswoman Lee’s resolution before the DNC states that “the mounting costs of the war in Afghanistan, now totaling over $100 billion a year, have constrained efforts to invest in job creation and in strengthening our country and our economy.” It asserts that “a diplomatic solution in Afghanistan that emphasizes economic development, political reconciliation and inclusion, the engagement of regional and global stakeholders, and the safeguarding of basic human rights is essential to ensure long-term stability in Afghanistan and the surrounding region.”  The resolution calls for the Democratic Party to support “prioritizing job creation and a swift withdrawal of U.S. armed forces and military contractors in Afghanistan which must include a significant and sizeable reduction no later than July 2011.” The full text of the proposal can be read and downloaded here.
The passage of this resolution could certainly help to bring us closer to an end to the war in Afghanistan.  Importantly, Congresswoman Lee will soon be submitting a bill in Congress, titled, “The Responsible End to the War in Afghanistan Act.”“end combat operations in Afghanistan and limit funding to the safe and orderly redeployment of all U.S. troops and military contractors.” This bill provides “that funds for operations of the Armed Forces in Afghanistan shall be obligated and expended only for purposes of providing for the safe and orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan of all members of the Armed Forces and Department of Defense contractor personnel who are in Afghanistan.”  The full text of the bill’s draft can be read and This extremely important piece of legislation, similar to one Lee introduced last year, would downloaded here.
Update: Congresswoman Lee has now introduced the legislation.  As of this writing, it has 46 co-sponsors.
While the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost us over one trillion dollars, Congress and the President have extended tax cuts for the wealthy. Unemployment remains at nine percent.  President Obama’s budget proposal includes drastic cuts to essential social programs, while providing $36 billion in loan guarantees to the nuclear power industry.  The Republicans propose to so drastically reduce regulations and cut back vital domestic programs, that this would, in many ways, bring us back to what life was like in the 1920’s.  Senator Bernie Sanders says that there is “A War on the Middle Class.”
We need to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We need to “move the money,” to fund important services for our people.  We need to “bring our war dollars home,” and use the funds to create jobs at home.  We must ensure that our laws and our federal budget are tailored to serve people, not corporations.  This is what a strong democracy is about.
This four-minute video comprises two segments.  The first segment is an excerpt of Barbara Lee’s speech before Congress, last year, discussing the need to stop funding the war in Afghanistan.  The second segment is made up of excerpts from Bernie Sanders’ November speech, where he asserts, clearly and powerfully, that we must stop the war on the middle class.

If you would like to email your Senators or your Member of Congress, you can contact them by clicking here and here.
Britain’s assault on pensions PDF Print E-mail
Written by Eamonn McCann   
Monday, 25 October 2010 20:45

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Former British Defense Minister John HuttonWHEN JOHN Hutton, at age 55, stepped down from public-sector employment last May, he collected a lump sum of around $100,000 and a pension entitlement of around $60,000 per year. Five months later, Lord Hutton, as he is now known, has published his review calling for public-sector pensions to be slashed and the retirement age raised.

Workers in the future should draw on their savings and assets, not depend solely on pensions, the former New Labour defense minister recommended in a report commissioned by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat government.

Hutton himself will be able to eke out his pension with undisclosed earnings from membership on the board of U.S. nuclear power company Hyperion Power Generation, which he joined in June. He also operates as a consultant on "public affairs and strategic communications" for public relations firm Apco Worldwide. And he chairs the defense think-tank, the Royal United Services Institute.

None of his additional earnings affects his Member of Parliament pension. Likewise for the roughly $500 tax-free allowance he pockets each day that he turns up at the House of Lords. That's for attendance: he's not required actually to do anything.

There was a hullabaloo of praise for Hutton's review two weeks ago. These gold-plated public-sector pensions were no longer sustainable.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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."

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

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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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