1. Mumia Abu-Jamal’s
Fourth of July
The Right-Wing Populism That Drove Brexit Can Only
Be Fought With a Genuinely
Obama Style: 800 Military Bases Around
to Salvage Canada-EU Trade Pact, EU
Escalates Assault on Democracy
This is a Nederlog of Monday, July 4, 2016.
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.
Abu-Jamal’s Fourth of July
first item today is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:
This is from near the beginning of the
“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sentence has been repealed, and he now has a life sentence without
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
Hm. Yes and no, in my opinion.
“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.”
The first of the quoted paragraphs is true in saying that Trump and Clinton "represent the same financial interests. They work for the
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
There is considerably more in the article.
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
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
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
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
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
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
This is a recommended article, though I don't quite agree with it.
3. Imperialism Obama Style: 800 Military Bases Around the
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.
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
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.
So yes, this does look like imperialism. There is more in the
article, that is recommended.
Desperate to Salvage Canada-EU Trade Pact, EU Escalates Assault on
The fourth and last item today is
by Don Quijones on Wolf Street:
This starts as follows:
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:
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.
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.
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
Gabriel is not alone. Even Merkel has
expressed reservations about Juncker’s latest diktat.
This is well explained in the article, that is recommended.