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Obama

LGBTI activists respond to John Pilger: 'Equal marriage rights and Bradley Manning are both big issues'

Bradley Manning supporters at Occupy London, last year. Photo: Queerfriendsofbradley.wordpress.com.

By Rachel Evans & Karl Hand

May 23, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- More than 1000 Sydney-siders hit the streets on May 12 demanding equal marriage rights, but prominent left-wing journalist John Pilger has criticised the march in his recent article “Bradley Manning, not gay marriage, is the issue”.

He said: “A protest parade in support of gay marriage filled the city centre. The police looked on benignly. It was a showcase of liberalism. Three days later, there was to be a march to commemorate the Nakba (The Catastrophe), the day of mourning when Israel expelled Palestinians from their land. A police ban had to be overturned by the Supreme Court.”

He said the equal marriage issue "diverts attention" from pressing issues of war and poverty, and in particular the detention and trial of alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning. We cannot agree with this.

United States: Who speaks for the 99%?

"It was decisive action and mass defiance – ultimately forcing the use of federal troops -- that ended Jim Crow legal segregation... Fundamental and radical change, as history shows, comes by mass direct action and popular outrage. Martin Luther King marched and demanded equal rights under Republican and Democratic presidents."

By Malik Miah

February 8, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Against the Current-- The bitter truth about US politics is that neither of the ruling-class parties speaks for the working class or poor. The Democratic Party’s President Barack Obama likes to talk about the “middle class” and how he stands up for them, but he rarely mentions that poverty disproportionately hits African Americans and Latinos. While he personally supports social programs for the working poor, his proposed budgets would reduce funding for these programs.

Afghanistan: Predictions, obstructed justice and 10 years of war

By Rupen Savoulian

October 17, 2011 -- Antipodean Atheist, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- The Washington Post, the highly influential US newspaper, reported that the top US general in Afghanistan predicted that the Taliban would collapse as a viable fighting militia over the next several months, and eventually accept the offer of national reconciliation from the US-supported Afghan government. This confident prediction was backed up by a note of caution; the general warned that the Taliban could still strike. But he was optimistic about the "progress" of the counterinsurgency in Afghanistan. There is just one thing to note about this report: this prediction was made in April 2005. This month marks 10 years since the US invaded Afghanistan in 2001, and the Afghan war shows no signs of abating.

US rulers turned 9/11 outrage into blank cheque for endless war

By Rupen Savoulian

September 17, 2011 -- Antipodean Athiest, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- Near where I live in Sydney, there is a war memorial commemorating all those people from the area who have died serving the Australian armed forces in wars overseas. There are columns for each war Australians have participated in, followed by the names of those who never returned. For instance, there are columns for World War I (1914-1918), World War II (1939-1945), the Korean War (1950-53), and also the "International Campaign against Terrorism (2001– )". Notice that last one? Unlike the others, the war on terror has no end date.

The horrific terrorist attacks of September 11 prompted justified outrage at the perpetrators and sympathy for their victims. Since then, there has been a continuous barrage of war crimes, an escalation of US wars in the Middle East, new offensives against Iraq and Afghanistan by US imperial power, and a steady erosion of democratic civil liberties in the name of a "war on terror". In fact, the first decade of the 2000s can rightly be called the savage decade.

United States: The deficit deal -- We got taken

By Martin Hart-Landsberg

August 2, 2011 -- Reports from the Economic Front, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Martin Hart-Landsberg's permission -- The US Congress has finally agreed on a deficit reduction plan that President Barack Obama supports. As a result, the debt ceiling is being lifted, which means that the Treasury can once again borrow to meet its financial obligations.

Avoiding a debt default is a good thing. However, the agreement is bad and even more importantly the debate itself has reinforced understandings of the US economy that are destructive of majority interests.

United States: Debt crisis -- the issue is the war machine, not welfare

Source:  “Graphic: Who pays the taxes?" What Went Wrong: The Betrayal of the American Dream. February 7, 2011.

By Paul Kellogg

July 27, 2011 -- PolEconAnalysis, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- As July came to an end, the United States central government had come up against its congressionally mandated debt ceiling. Without an agreement to raise that debt ceiling – last set at US$14.3 trillion – the US central government will be unable to borrow money to pay its bills. The consequences could be extremely serious – soaring interest rates, a collapse of the US dollar, not to speak of social security stipends, pensions and salaries going unpaid.

Middle East: Can democracy activists undo US and IMF/World Bank damage?

By Patrick Bond, Palestine

May 23, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Here in Palestine, disgust expressed by civil society reformers about US President Barack Obama’s May 19 policy speech on the Middle East and North Africa confirms that political reconciliation between Washington and fast-rising Arab democrats is impossible.

Amidst many examples, consider the longstanding US tradition of blind, self-destructive support for Israel, which Obama has just amplified. Recognisng a so-called “Jewish state” as a matter of US policy, he introduced a new twist that denies foundational democratic rights for 1.4 million Palestinians living within Israel. For a Harvard-trained constitutional lawyer to sink so low on behalf of Zionist discrimination is shocking.

For although Obama mentioned the “1967 lines” as the basis for two states and thereby appeared to annoy arch-Zionist leader Benjamin Netanyahu, this minimalist United Nations position was amended with a huge caveat: “with land swaps.”

Tariq Ali: The Obama syndrome

Audio of Tariq Ali's full address (63 minutes):

* * *

March 29, 2011 -- ABC Radio's Big Ideas -- In 2008, Obama could do no wrong. To the educated middle class, he was an intelligent and reflective writer who had penned his own insightful memoir. To the conservative elite, he was a Harvard graduate and expert in constitutional law. To the young people who came out in droves to vote for him, he liked the same TV shows, listened to the same music and "got" social networking.

United States: Obama out of touch with the people, State of the Union shows

"What a distance from the White House to the unemployment line. From the Rose Garden to the food pantry."

By Billy Wharton

January 25, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The 2011 State of the Union speech revealed just how far out of touch US President Barack Obama is from the reality of working people in the United States. What a distance from the White House to the unemployment line. From the Rose Garden to the food pantry.

Tonight’s State of the Union sent the message one final time that the Obama presidency was and is designed to protect the privileges accrued by the richest 5% in society. Obama lived up to the characterisation of him as a “hedge-fund Democrat”, a politician assigned the task of deflecting the real demands of the people for a society and economy based on solidarity, peace and justice.

A call for more corporate globalisation

Wikileaks: A call to struggle against empire

Sign the petition:"Truth is a crime in an empire of lies: Defend Wikileaks".

By Andrea Pason and Billy Wharton

December 4, 2010 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – Running an empire produces many nasty habits, habits that lead you to treat people, nations, assets and the environment as objects upon which to project your own power. The US government runs such an empire. As a result, innocent people die, the environment is ravaged and funds that could have been used to meet human needs have been fed into an insatiable military industrial complex. This has long been known by the socialist left and now, with the release and publication of secret US diplomatic messages, Wikileaks has made it visible to the entire world.

India: Protest Barack Obama's visit -- `US hands off India, hands off Asia!'

Statement by All India Left Coordination

November 2010 – Liberation – US President Barack Obama’s forthcoming visit to India this November [6-9] will inaugurate a new chapter in the "strategic partnership" between US imperialism and India’s ruling class. As people of India, let us examine the interests that the US president represents and the implications of his visit for India.

Barack Obama became president of the United States because he represented, for the people of the US as well of the world, a promise of "change" – change from the imperialist policies of the Bush regime that had imposed wars, occupations and economic crisis on the world.

Afghanistan: Malalai Joya -- `for our people, Obama is a warmonger, like another Bush'

Malalai Joya visits a girls' school in Farah province in Afghanistan. Photo: AfghanKabul.

By Malalai Joya

October 10, 2010 -- rabble.ca -- In the United States, many looked to the ballot box and hoped for real change when Barack Obama was elected president in 2008.

To be honest, I never expected that he would be any different for Afghanistan than President George W. Bush. The truth is that Obama's war policies have turned out to be even more of a nightmare than most people expected. Obama talked a lot about hope and change, but for Afghanistan the only change has been for the worse.

After almost two years of Obama, the number of US troops occupying Afghanistan has more than doubled. And the number of drone attacks in Pakistan has increased. Obama's so-called surge of troops has resulted in increased Afghan civilian deaths.

The documents released by Wikileaks prove what we have been saying about war in Afghanistan. There are more massacres by NATO forces than they wanted us to believe. Now the whole world should know this war is a disaster.

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.

Thailand: Why Obama is silent on the Bangkok massacres

By Shamus Cooke

May 16, 2010 -- When the White House is quiet as protesters are butchered in the streets of Bangkok, suspicions are raised. Silence often equals complicity. One can only imagine what the US government's response would be to a Venezuelan government slaughter: the US media and US President Barack Obama would loudly condemn such an act, in contrast to the muted response to Thailand's bloodbath.

The history of US-Thailand relations explains why. During the Vietnam War, the US used Thailand as one of the main “anti-communist” bulwarks in an area that included China, Vietnam and other countries that were challenging capitalism.

Thailand was thus transformed into a US client state and given money, guns and US government intelligence to battle Thailand’s “communists”. This relationship has equalled numerous Thai dictatorships that have a very bloody history, including the shooting of untold numbers of protesters who the Thai government named “communists” or the modern equivalent, “terrorists”.

The US-Thailand relationship began to sour when the recently deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra formed a closer relationship with China that included economic and military deals. The November 7, 2008, Asian Times summarises the consequences:

From the civil rights movement to Barack Obama

Manning Marable.

Beyond Black & White
By Manning Marable,
Verso Press, 2009, 319 pages

Review by Malik Miah

Manning Marable’s latest book, Beyond Black & White, is an update of a valuable critique of Black and US politics first issued in 1995. He revised it last year, adding new chapters covering the period from 1995 to 2008, including an analysis of the meaning of the election of the first African-American president of the United States, Barack Obama, in November 2008.

The closing chapter, “Barack Obama, the 2008 Presidential Election and the Prospects for a ‘Post Racial Politics”, is a good place to begin reading the collection of articles and essays. Marable’s two prefaces —for the first and new edition — outline his views on “Black and white” and the evolution of how race impacts US political conversations and the failure of leadership in the Black community.

Obama's double talk at nuclear summit: US preserves and extends its nuclear domination

By the International Socialist Organization, United States

April 14, 2010 -- Socialist Worker -- The US has repackaged its strategy -- but the terrible threat of nuclear war remains. The administration of US President Barack Obama is out to upgrade the US nuclear arsenal and pressure world leaders into imposing sanctions against countries -- like Iran -- that allegedly harbour ambitions to develop nukes of their own.

That's the agenda behind the April 12-13 Washington summit on nuclear security, which followed the announcement of a supposedly less belligerent US nuclear strategy and the signing in Prague of the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Russia.

The START treaty was billed as a first step towards fulfilling Obama's call a year ago to rid the world of nuclear weapons. In fact, START would leave the US and Russia with the means to blow up the world many times over.

If Washington is willing to make a deal with Moscow to cut the number of nukes today, it's because politicians in both countries -- especially Russia -- want to minimise the prohibitive cost of building such weapons. So the total number of warheads will be limited under the treaty to 1550 apiece.

United States: `Clunker' healthcare bill protects private insurers, damages democracy

By Billy Wharton

March 24, 2010 -- Americans desperately need healthcare. The need is so desperate that many are buying into a “something is better than nothing” philosophy to support a healthcare bill that actively works against their own interests. The bill that US President Barack Obama plans to sign into law is being dubbed a “reform”, but actually amounts to a corporate restructuring that will solidify the reliance on the same private insurance companies that have caused the crisis in the nation’s healthcare system.

As single-payer heathcare activist Dr. Margaret Flowers stated, “The Democratic Party has now moved so far to the right that they have just passed a Republican health bill.” This is no surprise, private insurers and pharmaceutical companies have flooded the electoral system with money in order to guarantee their continued ability to accumulate profits.

[In the United States, "single-payer healthcare" refers to universal public health insurance schemes similar to Canada's scheme and Australia's Medicare.]

Asia-Pacific calls for protests during Obama's visits to Guam, Indonesia and Australia

Statement by the Working Peoples Association (Indonesia), People's Democratic Party (Indonesia), Socialist Alliance (Australia), Socialist Worker (New Zealand), Partido Lakas ng Masa (Philippines), Solidarity (Australia), Labour Party Pakistan, Socialist Alternative (Australia), Socialist Party of Malaysia and the Confederation Congress of Indonesia Union Alliance. Supported by James Petras

[If your organisation would like to add their names to the statement, please email international@prp-indonesia.org.]

March 8, 2010 -- We, the undersigned progressive, anti-war, anti-neoliberalism and anti-imperialist organisations in the Asia-Pacific region, call for a wave protests to meet US President Barack Obama's planned visits to Guam, Indonesia and Australia in March 2010.

Obama’s State of the Union: Year one of a corporate presidency

By Billy Wharton

January 27, 2010 -- From the start, Barack Obama’s presidency has seemed like one big public relations campaign. Tonight’s State of the Union address did little to dissuade one from this view. Sagging under the weight of depressed dreams of hope and change, he desperately needed to appear as though he was doing something to address the growing needs of the US people. Emphasis was on “appearances”, since Obama’s speech delivered more of the same from his first year in office: high rhetoric with little substance.

The clear emphasis of the speech was the US economy. This was a double-edged sword. In the first part, Obama presented his bank bailout as an unpopular, but necessary measure – “We all hated the bank bailout… I hated it… promised I wouldn’t just do what was popular, I would do what is necessary.” Yet, brushing off the bailout as a necessary evil misses important points.

Martin Luther King Jr in the age of Obama: Why we can't wait

By Billy Wharton

January 17, 2010 -- Albert Boutwell's election as Birmingham, Alabama, mayor in 1963 might have signaled the end of the modern civil rights movement. As a moderate Democrat, Boutwell promised to temper the harsh repression unleashed by the city’s notorious chief of police and his mayoral opponent Eugene “Bull” Connor. Mainstream leaders of the black community were told to wait it out –- let the storm pass and incremental changes could begin. Dr Martin Luther King Jr. refused to wait. Instead, he launched Plan “C” (confrontation), a large-scale protest campaign that broke the back of Southern segregation.

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