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Immanuel Wallerstein: The great Libyan distraction

By Immanuel Wallerstein

April 1, 2011 -- ZSpace -- The entire Libyan conflict of the last month -- the civil war in Libya, the US-led military action against Gaddafi -- is neither about humanitarian intervention nor about the immediate supply of world oil. It is in fact one big distraction -- a deliberate distraction -- from the principal political struggle in the Arab world. There is one thing on which Gaddafi and Western leaders of all political views are in total accord. They all want to slow down, channel, co-opt, limit the second Arab revolt and prevent it from changing the basic political realities of the Arab world and its role in the geopolitics of the world-system.

To appreciate this, one has to follow what has been happening in chronological sequence. Although political rumblings in the various Arab states and the attempts by various outside forces to support one or another element within various states have been a constant for a long time, the suicide of Mohamed Bouazizi on December 17, 2010 launched a very different process.

Left debates Libya: Juan Cole's open letter to the left on intervention; Phyllis Bennis and Vijay Prasad respond

March 29, 2011 -- Democracy Now! -- Juan Cole defends the use of military force to prevent a massacre in Benghazi and to aid the Libyan rebel movement.Vijay Prashad warns the United States has involved itself in a decades-long internal Libyan struggle while it ignores violent crackdowns by US-backed governments in Bahrain, Yemen and other countries in the region.

Mike Marqusee: Thoughts on Libya and liberal interventionism

[For more on Libya, click HERE.]

By Mike Marqusee

In the Guardian, Jonathan Freedland writes that liberal interventionism is “fine in theory” but goes wrong “in practise”. I’d suggest that it goes wrong in practise because it’s deeply flawed in theory.

March 25, 2011 -- www.mikemarqusee.com -- The hypocrisy, double standards and selectivity displayed in the Western military action in Libya defy enumeration, but just for a start….

In Yemen and Bahrain Western-backed regimes are violently repressing the democracy movement the West claims to back in Libya. In Iraq a US-sponsored regime protected by 47,000 US troops is trying to do the same – shooting demonstrators, detaining thousands and subjecting many to torture.

Libya intervention: A legitimate and necessary debate from an anti-imperialist perspective

"The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was indeed a compromise with the imperialists, but it was a compromise which, under the circumstances, had to be made... To reject compromises 'on principle', to reject the permissibility of compromises in general, no matter of what kind, is childishness, which it is difficult even to consider seriously... One must be able to analyze the situation and the concrete conditions of each compromise, or of each variety of compromise. One must learn to distinguish between a man who has given up his money and fire-arms to bandits so as to lessen the evil they can do and to facilitate their capture and execution, and a man who gives his money and fire-arms to bandits so as to share in the loot."

-- Vladimir I. Lenin

[For more left views on Libya, click HERE.]

By Gilbert Achcar

Immanuel Wallerstein: Libya and the world left

By Immanuel Wallerstein

March 15, 2011 -- There is so much hypocrisy and so much confused analysis about what is going on in Libya that one hardly knows where to begin. The most neglected aspect of the situation is the deep division in the world left. Several left Latin American states, and most notably Venezuela, are fulsome in their support of Colonel Gaddafi. But the spokespersons of the world left in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe and indeed North America, decidedly don’t agree.

Hugo Chavez’s analysis seems to focus primarily, indeed exclusively, on the fact that the United States and western Europe have been issuing threats and condemnations of the Gaddafi regime. Gaddafi, Chavez and some others insist that the Western world wishes to invade Libya and “steal” Libya’s oil. The whole analysis misses entirely what has been happening, and reflects badly on Chavez’s judgment – and indeed on his reputation with the rest of the world left.

Support the Libyan people! No imperialist intervention in Libya! Left solidarity with the Libyan people's uprising

March 9, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- International left organisations continue to express their solidarity with the Libyan people as they struggle to throw off the Western-backed dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi. At the same time, they are rejecting moves by Western imperialism for military intervention to hypocritically take adavantage of the situation and try to reestablish a bridgehead in the oil-rich region. Below are statements by the Labour Party Pakistan, the US-based Kasama Project, the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Municipal Workers Union. See also the statements by the Socialist Party of Malaysia and the Socialist Alliance in Australia. More will be posted as they come to hand.

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Support the Libyan people! No imperialist intervention in Libya!

Labour Party Pakistan statement on Libya

Libya: Gaddafi kills his own people, but Western military intervention is no solution

[See also "Libya: How Gaddafi became a Western-backed dictator". For more coverage of Libya, click HERE.]

By Peter Boyle

March 7, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly -- The dictatorial regime of Muammar Gaddafi has escalated its violence against rebel forces seeking to bring it down. On March 6, opponents of the regime were reported to be in control of a number of cities, especially in Libya’s east. Al Jazeera said on March 4 that anti-government protests in the capital Tripoli had been met with tear gas by security forces. Opponents said Az Zawiyah, a town just 40 kilometres from Tripoli that is home to an oil refinery, was mostly under rebel control.

Bahrain and the Anglo-American oil frontier

US President George W. Bush greets vice-admiral Kevin Cosgriff, commander of US Naval Forces Central Command and the US 5th Fleet, at Naval Support Activity Bahrain in 2008. If the Bahrain monarchy falls, the country may cease to host the US Navy.

By Richard Seymour

February 19, 2011 -- Lenin's Tomb -- When, in 1968, the British government announced that Britain's formal protectorate in the Gulf would end in 1971, US planners were anxious and distraught. After Suez, the US had taken the lead in defending Anglo-American interests in the Middle East, but the structure of power in the "east of Suez" was still conserved by the old colonial power. The Persian Gulf states at that time supplied 30% of total oil resources. The reconstruction of Europe, and especially Japan, after WWII was driven by Gulf oil. And the US had no alternative structure of security elaborated for when Britain let go.

Egypt’s uprising: Not just a question of ‘transition’

Anti-Mubarak graffitti on a tank.Tahrir Square. Photo by Hossam el-Hamalawy.

By Adam Hanieh

February 14, 2011 -- The Bullet -- The events of the last few weeks are one of those historical moments where the lessons of many decades can be telescoped into a few brief moments and seemingly minor occurrences can take on immense significance. The entry of millions of Egyptians onto the political stage has graphically illuminated the real processes that underlie the politics of the Middle East.

It has laid bare the longstanding complicity of the US and other world powers with the worst possible regimes, revealed the empty and hypocritical rhetoric of US President Barack Obama and other leaders, exposed the craven capitulation of all the Arab regimes, and demonstrated the real alliances between these regimes, Israel and the USA. These are political lessons that will long be remembered.

Sudan: Why the people of the south voted for independence

By Kerryn Williams

January 27, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- The January 9-15 referendum on self-determination in south Sudan looks certain to result in the division of Sudan into two countries. About 96% of the 3.9 million registered voters took part, well exceeding the required 60% turnout.

The final result will be announced in February. But with 80% of the vote counted, the South Sudan Referendum Commission reported a landslide vote of almost 99% in favour of independence. The Republic of South Sudan is expected to be officially declared in July.

The referendum was mandated by the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). The agreement was signed in Naivasha, Kenya by Sudan’s National Congress Party (NCP) government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), which had led the struggle in the south.

The CPA ended more than two decades of civil war, in which more than 2 million people died.

US imperialist aggression in the early 21st century

Washington has reactivated the US Navy’s 4th Fleet to ensure US power projection over the Caribbean, Central and South America.

[This talk was presented at the regional “socialism conference” was held in Manila from November 27 to 28, 2010. The conference was organised by the socialist Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses) and the socialist-feminist regional network Transform Asia.]

By Rasti Delizo

`Leave the oil in the soil!' -- Oil curses, climate conferences and fake Norwegian ‘Good Samaritans’

A humpback whale at the Bluff Whaling Station, South Durban, in 1909. From "Facts About Durban".

By Patrick Bond

November 23, 2010 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The stench of rotting blubber would hang for days over The Bluff in South Durban, South Africa, thanks to Norwegian immigrants whose harpooning skills helped stock the town with cooking fat, margarine and soap, starting about a century ago. The fumes became unbearable, and a local uproar soon compelled the Norwegians to move the whale processing factory from within Africa’s largest port to a less-populated site a few kilometres southeast.

There, on The Bluff’s glorious Indian Ocean beachfront, the white working-class residents of Marine Drive (perhaps including those in the apartment where I now live) also complained bitterly about the odour from flensing, whereby blubber, meat and bone were separated at the world’s largest onshore whaling station.

Currency wars and the privilege of empire

By Paul Kellogg

October 23, 2010 -- PolEconAnalysis -- In uncertain times, the headline was soothing: "Secretary Geithner vows not to devalue dollar".[1] United States Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner was saying, in other words, that if there were to be "currency wars" -- competitive devaluations by major economies in attempts to gain trade advantage with their rivals -- the United States would not be to blame. Who, then, would be the villain? China, of course.

Earlier this year, Democratic Party congressman Tim Murphy sponsored a bill authorising the United States to impose duties on Chinese imports, made too inexpensive (according to Murphy and most other commentators) by an artificially devalued Chinese currency. "It's time to deliver a strong message to Beijing on behalf of American manufacturing: Congress will do whatever it takes to protect American jobs."[2]

Turning the tide of oil in US and world politics

By Dan La Botz

October 22, 2010 -- The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico represents the latest in a series of atrocities committed by petroleum companies against the environment and against humanity. Yet, terrible and tragic as the BP spill is, it is merely a marginal event in the long and sordid history of the oil companies in US and world history. The petroleum companies have been at the centre of US politics for a hundred years, determining its domestic agenda, its environmental policy and its foreign policy. To be a US politician was to be baptised in oil. To be an admiral or a general was to be a warrior around the globe for the petroleum industry.

Foreign policy

By the 1920s, with the rise of the internal combustion engine and the automobile, and the conversion of the US Navy from coal to oil, petroleum became the most sought after commodity in the world. Oil became a strategic commodity, a necessity of modern life and modern warfare. From that time on, the oil corporations moved to the centre of US politics. President Warren G. Harding’s cabinet was known as the “oil gang”, and the cabinet-level corruption involved in the attempt of private parties and corporations to get at the navy oil reserves led to the Teapot Dome scandal, for which Harding’s administration is best remembered.

¡Viva la Revolución!: The 1910 Mexican Revolution (part 2)

A 1938 painting depicts Lázaro Cárdenas giving land to the peasants.

[The first part of this article can be found HERE.This article first appeared in Against the Current, the publication of Solidarity, a revolutionary socialist, feminist magazine in the United States. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission. Dan La Botz is the Socialist Party (USA)'s Ohio candidate for the US Senate. He also is the editor of Mexican Labor News and Analysis.]

By Dan La Botz

September 2010 -- While the most violent stage of the Mexican Revolution was over by 1920, the country faced a series of new crises in the 1930s. The era opened in 1928 with the assassination of former president Álvaro Obregón, killed by a Catholic militant opposed to the secularising revolution in the formerly officially Catholic country.

Did consumers cause the BP oil disaster? Debunking the `consumer sovereignty' superstition


“So said Tony Hayward” is a music video featuring imagery dredged from the internet, based on a song written by William Carroll of the Department of Sociology at University of Victoria, Canada. It's a tango about the BP oil spill (April 20-July 15, 2010) and its disastrous impacts, focused around the story of BP CEO Tony Hayward's hapless efforts to spin and manage a massive, and televisually spectacular, environmental catastrophe (to learn more, visit http://www.socialistproject.ca/leftstreamed/ls65.php).

By Ian Angus

Bolivia's Pablo Solon: We need 'a global movement to defend Mother Earth'

Pablo Solon (second from left) and the Bolivian delegation address a press conference during the Copenhagen climate talks, December 2009.

Pablo Solon interviewed by Derrick O'Keefe

June 29, 2010 -- Rabble.ca -- While G20 leaders barely made mention of the climate crisis, Pablo Solon, Bolivia's UN ambassador, was in Toronto to encourage action on the Cochabamba protocols.

It is no surprise that Pablo Solon, Bolivia’s chief climate negotiator and ambassador to the United Nations, was not on the list of special invitees to the G8/G20 meetings in Ontario this weekend. After all, in April Solon and the Bolivian government he represents organised the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, an international convergence of as many as 30,000 people determined to challenge the Copenhagen Accord being pushed by the world’s richest countries.

Angola: From liberation to `capitalismo selvagen'

Angola's oil wealth has fueled the growth of a rich elite while little has trickled down to the poor majority.

[The following article first appeared in AfricaFile's At Issue Ezine, vol. 12 (May-October 2010), edited by John S. Saul, which examines the development of the southern African liberation movement-led countries. It has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.]

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By David Sogge

East Timor: The struggle for full independence — 10 years on

Oil rig in the Timor Sea. Timor Leste's oil wealth has not benefitted the people.

By Mericio Akara, translated by Vannessa Hearman

September 30, 2009 -- Dili -- What is commemorated as Timor Leste’s (East Timor) “liberation” is the United Nations-facilitated referendum on August 30, 1999. 

East Timor, which had been a Portugese colony, was already an independent country, as a result of the pro-independence political party Fretilin declaring East Timor independent on November 28, 1975. But barely days after the independence proclamation, on December 7, 1975, the Suharto dictatorship in Indonesia used all its military firepower to invade Timor Leste.

The invasion was brutal and the occupation lasted 24 years before the UN referendum in 1999. During the occupation, the Indonesian military tortured and slaughtered our people. Such terrible acts became an everyday spectacle in Timor Leste.

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