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Tariq Ali: Afghanistan -- `Obama’s war'

By Tariq Ali

[The following talk was given on April 19, 2010, to mark the 30th anniversary of the London Review of Books. It first appeared at Guernica /a magazine of art and politics. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Guernica's permission.]

Afghanistan now is at a critical stage. And now I’m very glad to say that the London Review of Books, whose thirtieth anniversary we are commemorating, has over the years published myself and others on this subject, taking essentially a critical stance to this war because, as many of you will recall, it became fashionable all over the world, not just in the United States, to think of Iraq and Afghanistan as two very different wars. Which of course, on one level, they are. But I mean different moral values were placed on these wars by good-thinking people. The Iraq war was a bad war, which should never have happened; that is the view of large numbers of people in the United States today, and always was the view of an overwhelming majority of Europeans.

Capitalism is the cause of climate illness! Global movement begins the cure!

[For full coverage of the World People's Conference  on Climate Change, including the full text of the documents, click HERE.]

By Ron Ridenour, Cochabamba

May 15, 2010 -- Presenting the People’s Agreement — “Mother Earth does not belong to us, we belong to it” — worldwide was the first act of the Global People’s Movement for Mother Earth. This was carried out in May by Bolivia’s President Evo Morales and representative activists from five continents.

Representing 35,000 people from 147 countries, they presented the conclusions of 17 workshops — held April 19-21 at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth (WPCCC) — to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, to the Non-Alignment Movement (now 130 Third World countries) plus China (the world’s second greatest polluter), and then to leaders of the European Union.

Malaysia: Najib's flirtation with imperialist US and his support for plot against Iran

By the Socialist Party of Malaysia (Parti Sosialis Malaysia, PSM)

April 19, 2010 -- The bilateral meeting between Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and US President Barack Obama served nothing but the submission of the Malaysian government to the imperialist US as its new foot soldiers of “war on terror” in South-East Asia.

Prime Minister Najib recently attended the two-day Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, which achieved very little in promoting disarmament, but created conditions for stepping up sanctions against Iran, a country in the oil-rich region that has refused to subordinate itself to US Imperialism. It has become clear that Obama's foreign policy is far from breaking with the aggressive expansionist approach under the Bush administration, but is more in line with the imperialist goal of achieving military domination of the world.

Australia: How governments and the capitalist media marginalise the Muslim community

Photo by Margarita Windisch.

By Helen Patterson

December 15, 2009 -- The antipathy of mainstream Australian society toward Muslims is not a new development. As early as 1912, Australians were being cautioned about the danger of Australia falling under Islamic control. The adoption of camel transport had brought Muslim men from Afghanistan to Australia in increasing numbers from 1860 until they controlled the camel transport business. Despite their valuable contribution to the expeditions carried out by the European “explorers” and their vital role in establishing a transport system in the harsh outback conditions, the early Muslim immigrants were considered inferior to the dominant, white, Christian Europeans and marginalised in a similar way to the detribalised Aboriginal community.[1]

The soldiers' Christmas truce -- A bas la guerre! Nie wieder Kreig! Das walte Gott! Peace on Earth!

Review by Phil Shannon

Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce
By Stanley Weintraub
The Free Press, 2001
206 pages

It was the war that was supposed “to be over by Christmas”. It very nearly was. A spontaneous soldiers' truce broke out along the Western Front on Christmas Eve 1914, four months after the start of hostilities.

“Peace on Earth”, “goodwill to all men” — British, French and German soldiers took these usually hypocritical Christmas sentiments for real and refused to fire on the “enemy”, exchanging instead song, food, drink and gifts with each other in the battle-churned wastes of “no-man's land” between the trenches.

Lasting until Boxing Day in some cases, the truce alarmed the military authorities who worked overtime to end the fraternisation and restart the killing.

Obama delivers -- when it comes to war

By Billy Wharton

December 4, 2009 -- When US President Barack Obama announced his plan to escalate the war in Afghanistan by sending 30,000 more troops to the war-torn country, he delivered on two campaign promises. The first was a campaign trail pledge to re-focus US military power on the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan. This was mostly ignored by enthralled voters. The second was made more quietly to his many campaign donors in the defence industry. This promise was happily recognised by war hawks throughout Washington. The resulting troop surge into an already war-ravaged Afghanistan will lead to more of the same -- further Afghan civilian casualties, more dead US soldiers and the continuance of a military campaign in an unwinnable war. Good news for military contractors, bad news for the rest of us.

A hawk in dove’s clothing

Labour Party Pakistan condemns Obama's Afghanistan policy

Obama's policy means ``more bombs, more drone attacks and more bloodshed in the region''.

By Farooq Tariq

December 4, 2009 -- The Labour Party Pakistan (LPP) condemns US President Barack Obama's Afghanistan policy and demands that all NATO forces immediately withdraw from Afghanistan and stop drone attacks on Pakistan. The Labour Party Pakistan has decided to protest against this new escalation of the war effort in the region. The first protest took place on December 4 in front of US consulate in Lahore. There will be more demonstrations in different parts of Pakistan.

Britain: Landmark demonstration against the war in Afghanistan

Tariq Ali addresses the October 24 protest in London. More videos of the speeches below.

By Robin Beste

October 25, 2009 -- Stop the War Coalition UK -- Stop the War's demonstration on October 24 brought the centre of London to a standstill. It was a landmark demonstration, led by Lance Corporal Joe Glenton -- the first serving soldier in the British army to join an anti-war march.

Malalai Joya: The Afghan people are `squashed between two powerful enemies'

Film by Nomad Collective

October 18, 2009 -- Malalai Joya: ``Now, my people are squashed between two powerful enemies. From the sky, the occupation forces are dropping bombs, even using cluster bombs and white phosphorus and killing innocent civilians in the name of combatting the Taliban. On the ground, the Taliban and also the Northern Alliance fundamentalists continue their fascism against men and women of my country.

Muntadar al-Zaidi released from jail -- Celebrate with `Sock and Awe'

September 15, 2009 -- BBC -- The Iraqi man who threw his shoes at former US President George W Bush, has been released from jail in Baghdad, his brother has told the BBC.

Muntadar al-Zaidi's act of protest made him a hero in large parts of the Arab world and beyond.

Industrial action for peace: The Communist Party of Australia and antiwar activity before 1960

[Douglas Jordan was politicised in England in the late 1960s. After arriving in Australia he joined the Socialist Youth Alliance/Socialist Workers League/Socialist Workers Party, in which where he remained a member for 14 years. Today he is a community activist and co-presenter of the City Limits radio program on Melbourne's 3CR.

[After working as a tram conductor in Melbourne and Adelaide he was replaced by a ticket machine in 1998 and so lost his lifetime profession. He returned to study and is now writing his PhD thesis. The thesis -- of which this article is an excerpt -- is a detailed examination of the extent to which Communist Party of Australia union activists raised political issues in their unions.

[In particular it looks at the peace movement, attitudes to the post-war migration program and the Aboriginal struggle for human rights. There was been a general perception that Communist Party union activists were nothing more than industrial militants. The thesis aims to challenge this and show that CPA members often raised political issues and sought support for them from their co-workers.]

* * *

By Douglas Jordan

Woodstock 40 years ago: Country Joe McDonald's and Jimi Hendrix's antiwar classics

40 years ago -- from August 15 to August 18, 1969 -- hundreds of thousands of young people gathered for three days of ``peace, love and music''. In the midst of the mass movement against the Vietnam War and the youth radicalisation it unleashed, oppostion to US imperialism's slaughter in Vietnam was personified by the performances of Country Joe McDonald's ``Feel Like I'm Fixin' to Die' Rag'' and Jimi Hendrix's searing anti-patriotic ``Star-Spangled banner'' (below, press ``Read more'' to watch).

Vietnam: Chemical companies, US authorities knew the dangers of Agent Orange

By Jon Dillingham

Thanh Nien -- August 10, 2009, was the first Orange Day organised in Vietnam –- not only to be remembered by victims of Agent Orange but to mark Vietnam's common pain. Those responsible for exposing Vietnamese citizens and US troops to toxic defoliants kept silent about known health implications, a review of documents finds.

US chemical companies that made Agent Orange and the government and military authorities who ordered its spraying on Vietnam knew the human health toll it could take, according to official and unofficial documents detailing the history of the deadly defoliant.

A review of the documents related to the use of Agent Orange –- a dioxin-laden herbicide -– in Vietnam, including decades-old declassified papers from the companies that manufactured it and the government and military that used it, provides compelling evidence that those in charge also concealed evidence of the devastating effects it could have on people.

Jewish and Israeli opposition to Israel's Gaza slaughter (updated Jan. 25)


Israel's young conscientious objectors (shministim) tell why they refuse to serve in an army that occupies ``another people'', the Palestinians. From http://www.December18th.org.

Pakistan: Joint left demonstration against India-Pakistan war drive

By Javed Ahmad

December 20, 2008 -- While the danger of war between India and Pakistan is accelerates, a peace demonstration in Lahore on December 20 demanded no war between the two countries. More than 100 activists of the Labour Party Pakistan and the Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party (CMKP) demanded an end of war fanaticism.

The demonstrators chanted the slogans: "We want peace", "Peace not war, bread not bombs, jobs not bombs", "No to imperialism and no the religious fundamentalism", "Long live the friendship of peoples of Pakistan and India", "Labour against war, people against war". They were holding banners and posters.

Play Sock and Awe, inspired by Muntadar al-Zaidi

Join the growing international call for the release of Muntadar al-Zaidi! Click here to sign a petition: http://www.iraqsnuclearmirage.com/articles/Zaydi.html

Click HERE for more on Muntadar al-Zaidi.

Release Muntadar al-Zaidi!

December 16, 2008 -- Join the growing international call for the release of Muntadar al-Zaidi! Click here to sign a petition: http://www.iraqsnuclearmirage.com/articles/Zaydi.html

By now, you've all seen the footage of the Iraqi journalist hurling his shoes at George W. Bush during a press conference in Baghdad on December 14, 2008. See below.

What has not been so widely reported are the words Muntadar al-Zaidi, a correspondent for Cairo-based al-Baghdadiya TV, shouted. As the first shoe was thrown at Bush, he said: "This is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog." And with his second shoe, which the president also dodged, al-Zaidi said: "This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq."

Will Obama end Bush's `war on terror'?

By Simon Butler

October 31, 2008 -- In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, bombings of the World Trade Center and Pentagon, US President George Bush declared an open-ended, apparently indefinite “war on terror”.

Using the terrorist attacks as an excuse, the “war on terror” has meant a war drive to extend US global domination. The threats were free flowing — at one point as many as seven nations were part of the “axis of evil” and therefore potential military targets as Bush threatened “pre-emptive strikes” against US “enemies”.

The war drive began with the 2001 invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. In 2003, in the face of massive global protests, the US launched its invasion of oil-rich Iraq.

Facing sustained resistance from the Iraqi people, and increasingly unpopular at home, the failure of the Iraqi occupation has contributed to making the Bush presidency one of the least popular in history.

Campaigning for the White House, Democratic Party candidate Barack Obama has made much of his initial vote against the war in 2003.

Howard Zinn: An illustrated people's history of the US empire

 

Since its landmark publication in 1980, A People’s History of the United States has had six new editions, sold more than 1.7 million copies and been turned into an acclaimed play. More than a successful book, A People’s History triggered a revolution in the way history is told, displacing the official versions with their emphasis on great men in high places to chronicle events as they were lived, from the bottom up.

Canadian workers demand immediate end to war in Afghanistan (+ video)

By Michael Skinner

On 29 May 2009, the delegates at the national convention of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), representing more than 3 million workers from every region of Canada and Quebec, voted overwhelmingly to demand that the government of Canada immediately end its participation in the illegal war in Afghanistan.

This CLC demand represents a significant consolidation of labour power. Several national unions, notably the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), had already adopted policies to oppose Canada's participation in the war in Afghanistan. However, some powerful unions whose members work in the rapidly expanding Canadian military and development industries could profit from continuing the war. The women and men of these unions made the difficult decision to stand in solidarity with the working people of Afghanistan rather than act on self-interest.

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