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Nederlog

Jul 4, 2016

Crisis: July 4th, Brexit, US Imperialism, EU anti-democratic
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Introduction

1.
Mumia Abu-Jamal’s Fourth of July
2. The Right-Wing Populism That Drove Brexit Can Only
     Be Fought With a Genuinely Radical Alternative

3.
Imperialism Obama Style: 800 Military Bases Around
     the World

4. Desperate to Salvage Canada-EU Trade Pact, EU
     Escalates Assault on Democracy

Introduction:

This is a Nederlog of Monday, July 4, 2016.

This is a crisis log. There are 4 items with 4 dotted links: Item 1 is about an article by Chris Hedges about Mumia Abu-Jamal (who is 35 years in jail, and will be there for life); item 2 is about Brexit, racism and islamophobia in Great Britain; item 3 is about how imperialistic the USA is: Very, with - on average - over 4 military bases per country in the world; and item 4 is about how the EU grows completely anti-democratic in the attempts to push through "neoliberal" - in fact: neofascist - tradelaws like the TPP, TTIP, TISA and CETA.

1
.
Mumia Abu-Jamal’s Fourth of July

The first item today is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:
This is from near the beginning of the article:
“We live in one of the most un-free systems on earth,” said the black revolutionary and author Mumia Abu-Jamal, whom I visited Saturday. “Mass incarceration is a reality endured by millions of people in prison and in the systems of repression that exist outside of prison. What does freedom mean to poor people who cannot walk freely down a street? What does freedom mean when they cannot find work? What does freedom mean when there is no justice in the courts? What does freedom mean when black people cannot attend a Bible study in a church without the fear of being murdered? Where is this American freedom they keep telling us about? I don’t see it. Black folks are more in danger, and being killed in even greater numbers, than during the reign of terror that was lynching and Jim Crow.”
First, who is Mumia Abu-Jamal (<- Wikipedia)? As the link shows, he has been imprisoned since late 1981 for murdering a white police officer. He was convicted, sentenced to death, and spent the next 30 years (!) on death row. The death sentence has been repealed, and he now has a life sentence without parole.

This does explain some about his opinions, with which I do not quite agree, but then I am a white man living in Holland, where there is much less racismn than in the USA, and I also have not spent 30 years on death row and never was imprisoned.

There is also this on his present position (after 35 years in jail):
Abu-Jamal, who is fighting off hepatitis C that the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and the privatized prison medical service refuse to treat, scoffed when I asked him about the differences between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
This seems to me profit-oriented cruelty. (There is more in the original.) Here is some on Mumia Abu-Jamal's political opinions:

“Black people will probably vote for Clinton,” he said with resignation, “but this symbolizes the emptiness of hope. They
fear Trump. They should look closely at the pictures
from
Trump’s third wedding. Hillary Clinton is in the front pew of the church. Hillary, Bill, Trump and Melania are shown embracing at Trump’s estate afterwards during the reception. These people are part of the same elite circle. They represent the same financial interests. They work for the same empire. They have grown rich from the system. The words they shout back and forth during political campaigns are meaningless. Trump or Clinton will deliver the same political result. They will serve, like Obama, corporate and military power. And if they were not willing to serve these centers of power they would not be allowed to run. Their job is to manufacture hope during election campaigns that ultimately end in betrayal. This is why they spend billions on elections. They need to feed the illusion that our voices matter, that we are participants in their closed systems of power.

“The liberals and the Democrats are in many ways more dangerous than the right wing,” he said. “Repression and neoliberalism are more effectively instituted by Democrats such as Bill and Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. They sound reasonable. But because what they do is hidden it is more insidious and often more deadly.”

Hm. Yes and no, in my opinion.

The first of the quoted paragraphs is true in saying that Trump and Clinton "
represent the same financial interests. They work for the same empire.
They have grown rich from the system.
"

Yes... but this forgets that Trump is a madman, while Clinton is not a mad woman. With Clinton, you know more or less what you are going to get (more of the same, in line with Obama and Bill Clinton), whereas with Trump you do not know anything whatsoever, except that he is a narcissist with psychological
problems, who has uttered more falsities than truths.

The second paragraph seems mostly true, and might be seen as a tribute to the propaganda that the public relations offices of the Democrats produce.
But Abu-Jamal is right that both the Republicans and the Democrats have a
neoliberal agenda, which in fact is pro rich and anti-democracy.

There is considerably more in the article.


2. The Right-Wing Populism That Drove Brexit Can Only Be Fought With a Genuinely Radical Alternative

The second item is by Arun Kundnani on Truthdig and originally on AlterNet:
This starts as follows:

For the first time in British political history, a far-right political movement, fueled by Islamophobia and nativism, has won in a national poll. Yet more than a week after the Brexit vote, Britain’s mainstream political commentators have been unable to state that simple fact. Instead, they see the vote as either a legitimate protest against mass immigration or a class rebellion by globalization’s losers.

No wonder the elite liberals who ran the campaign to remain in the European Union (EU) failed. They fatally underestimated the power of the Islamophobic and anti-immigrant sentiments they were up against. Even when faced with the unprecedented assassination of a Labour Party member of parliament, allegedly by a far-Right activist, wishful thinking got in the way of acknowledging the reality of a mass racist mobilization.

Actually, I do not see that much difference between "Islamophobia and nativism" and "protest against mass immigration [and] a class rebellion"
but I am not living in England and I am white, and I think there is a considerable difference for non-whites who live in England, if only because
the former sounds a lot more radical than the latter, and because Kundnani
is quite correct that there is a lot of racism in Great Britain.

Here is some more:

Following the Brexit vote, racist violence has risen dramatically, the Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is facing a leadership contest that is partly a reaction to his refusal to adopt an anti-immigrant politics, and an unbridled nativism looks likely to dominate British politics as it becomes apparent the reduction in immigration promised by Brexit is unattainable.

I agree with most of this, although I think Brexit makes it likely that there
will be a reduction in immigration. (They can simply forbid it mostly, as they did in the 1970ies.)


Here is Kundnani's economic analysis of what is happening in Great Britain:

From the 1990s, the lower levels of Britain’s econoideals for everyonemy became increasingly centred upon short-term, non-binding, sub-contracted, peripatetic workforces that could be hired and fired at will and were constantly threatened with replacement by cheaper labor from elsewhere. This transformation of Britain’s labor market, which led to increased demand for rightless migrant workers to exploit, occurred at the same time as free-market globalization generated the conditions for large-scale emigration from many regions of the world, throwing up the migrant populations needed in post-industrial economies like Britain.
I think this concentrates too much on "rightless migrant workers to exploit".

What seems true is that from the 1990s onwards, there was more and more
"
short-term, non-binding, sub-contracted" work, with little pay and no securities, while there were far fewer of the jobs lower class people had had since 1945, which did come with some rights and a stable income, and this fact hit the total lower class, white and non-white, immigrant and non-immigrants.

And this in turn opposed the lower class white non-immigrants to the lower class non-white immigrants, because they were competing for the same - in fact: quite inferior - jobs, and here indeed also entered Islamophobia and racism, which hit the non-whites and immigrants hard and quite unfairly (and was considerably helped by the rightist media).

The article ends as follows:

Instead, we must reject the free-market Reagan-Thatcher consensus as forcefully as the far-right appears to do, while demanding in its place a genuinely radical social and political alternative. As the free-market model continues to unravel, it will be replaced either by new visions of social progress or by new forms of racism and authoritarianism. The words uttered a century ago by Rosa Luxemburg resonate as strongly as ever: “Socialism or barbarism.”
Hm. The "free market" is merely propaganda, and neoliberalism still rules.

What I agree with is that a genuine leftish political vision is much needed,
simply because Labour has turned neoliberal under Blair, and has remained so ever since (for the greatest part).

But I am pessimistic about its chances of arising soon, mostly because there are hardly any politicians left who have a genuine leftist position: Most supposed leftists are no longer leftists but "leftists", and have exchanged their ideals for everyone for careers for themselves.

This is a recommended article, though I don't quite agree with it.

3. Imperialism Obama Style: 800 Military Bases Around the World

The third item is by Sarah Lazare on AlterNet:
This is from near the beginning:
As David Vine, the author of the book Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World, noted in 2015, the United States “probably has more foreign military bases than any other people, nation, or empire in history.” The roughly 800 U.S. military bases around the world compare to a grand total of zero free-standing foreign bases on U.S. soil, Vine reported.

Meanwhile, Ken McGraw, a spokesman for Special Operations Command, told journalist Nick Turse that, by the 9th month of 2015, special operations forces had already deployed to 135 countries—or 70 percent of all the nations on the planet. This compares to about 60 countries under the George W. Bush years. The Government Accountability Office concluded that special operations funding has ballooned from $3 billion in 2001 to just under $10 billion in 2014.

I say. Note that if 135 countries are 70 percent of all nations, there are 175 nations in all, which means that there are more than 4 USA military bases per nation (on average).

So yes, this does look like imperialism. There is more in the article, that is recommended.


4. Desperate to Salvage Canada-EU Trade Pact, EU Escalates Assault on Democracy

The fourth and last item today is by Don Quijones on Wolf Street:
This starts as follows:

The European Commission, it seems, will never learn. Despite the existential crisis caused by Britain’s decision to leave the EU and the serious questions being raised about the EU’s gaping lack of democratic legitimacy, the European Commission just escalated its assault on European democracy. This week the Commission announced that it would ratify CETA, the controversial trade deal between Canada and the EU, as a unilateral EU agreement, not as a so-called mixed agreement.

What that means is that the national parliaments of the 27 remaining EU member states will have no influence whatsoever over the approval process, even though (or more likely because) the trade agreement will have huge, sweeping effects on the society, governance, and economy of all the nations concerned. In other words, the EU’s democratic deficit, one of the decisive factors in Britain’s decision to sever the cord from Brussels, just got a whole lot bigger. Yet it was barely reported in the press.

I agree. And in fact the EU is not and never was a real democracy. Here is more on what the latest totally undemocratic move suggests:

Pushing CETA through in this manner would naturally fuel fears that all other planned future trade agreements, including the game-changing TTIP and TiSA, would be bulldozed into law in similar fashion, as many “conspiracy theorists,” as Euractiv put it, have long been warning would happen.

But it’s not just “conspiracy theorists” who are questioning the wisdom of bypassing national parliaments; so, too, are senior politicians, including German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel. “If the Commission goes about CETA like this, then TTIP is dead,” Gabriel thundered, directly contradicting Juncker’s preposterous claim that “none of the member countries have a problem with the agreement.”

Gabriel is not alone. Even Merkel has expressed reservations about Juncker’s latest diktat.
Then again it seems both Gabriel and Merkel merely engaged in propaganda for the main media, who don't criticize, don't investigate, and merely relay governmental propaganda as if it were fact.

This is well explained in the article, that is recommended.

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