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Richard Seymour: Libya -- All they are saying is give war a chance

Celebrations in Tripoli following Gaddafi's retreat.

By Richard Seymour

August 31, 2011 -- ABC's The Drum -- Libya, the source of so many American nightmares, is fast becoming an American dream. 

Reagan was tortured by Tripoli, and its big boss man, sassing the US. He imposed sanctions, and bombed the country, but had no peace. Bush the Younger was reconciled with the prodigal Colonel Gaddafi, but somehow this alliance seemed, well, un-American

Obama, though, will have the privilege of being an ally of an ostensibly free Libya that he helped birth into existence. At minimal outlay (a mere $1 billion, which is peanuts in Pentagon terms), and with relatively few lives lost from bombing, a US-led operation has deposed a Middle East regime and empowered a transitional regime that is committed to human rights and free elections. 

After the carnage of Iraq, such a simple, swift and (apparently) morally uncomplicated victory seemed impossible. 

Lest we swoon too quickly, however, it is worth remembering that there are other ways to look at this.

The US-Saudi counter-revolution against the 'Arab spring'

Saudi Arabian troops enter Bahrain to crush the democratic uprising.

By

August 23, 2011 -- RightWeb -- At the end of February 2011, it looked as though the old order was crumbling across the Arab world. Inspired by the self-immolation of a Tunisian street vendor, massive popular demonstrations ousted Tunisia's president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Egypt's president Hosni Mubarak was not long to follow. Similar uprisings began to swell in Algeria, Jordan, Bahrain and Yemen, and the anciens regimes appeared helpless against the rising tide of popular anger and nonviolent resistance.

Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, actively worked to encourage the forces of counter-revolution throughout the region. From Morocco to Bahrain, Saudi finance, support and intelligence has sought to prevent political turmoil, reinforce existing dynasties and crush nascent democratic movements before they could reach critical mass. This reactionary tide has been supported by some ideologues in Washington, which worries that Arab democratisation would be detrimental to US policy objectives.

As COP17 approaches: Dirty Durban’s manual for climate greenwashing

Durban’s infamous Bisasar Road dump: Africa’s largest “Clean Development Mechanism” is one of the world’s primary cases of carbon-trading environmental racism.

By Patrick Bond

August 29, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Will the host city for the November-December world climate summit, COP17, clean up its act? The August 23 launch of a major Academy of Science of South Africa (Assaf) report, Towards a Low Carbon City: Focus on Durban offers an early chance to test whether new municipal leaders are climate greenwashers, attempting to disguise high-carbon economic policies with pleasing rhetoric, as did their predecessors.

Did Wikileaks reveal a US blueprint for Libya?

By Ali Abunimah

August 26, 2011 -- Electronic Intifada -- The US administrations of presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama were set on developing deep “military to military” ties with the Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi, classified US diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks on August 24 reveal. The United States was keen to integrate Libya as much as possible into “AFRICOM”, the US military command for Africa which seeks to establish bases and station military forces permanently on the continent.

“We never would have guessed ten years ago that we would be sitting in Tripoli, being welcomed by a son of Muammar al-Qadhafi”, US Senator Joseph Lieberman said during an August 2009 meeting, which also included senators John McCain and Susan Collins.

Mauritius: Marxism, ecology and the contribution of John Bellamy Foster

By Lalit de Klas

June 2011 – Lalit [the revolutionary socialist party in Mauritius] sees the natural universe, whether it be the air above us, the sea around us or the Earth we walk upon, and all that lives upon it, and even outer space, as being our collective heritage as human beings. We are part of it, and also the guardians of it. This natural universe, our Mother Earth, is now endangered.

Our planet is already suffering irreversible damage, damage so serious as to threaten the very existence of the totality of human civilisation in all its varied forms. We humans have the minds to know this.

The threat is posed by our own human-made forms of agricultural and industrial “development”. This is serious because it is our way of survival that has become this destructiveness.

The main damage has been done in the past 250 years. Increasingly serious damage is being done. And yet most of us are oblivious to it, and once we know, we are “helpless”. We sit and watch a potential meltdown of a nuclear plant in Japan, as the capitalists who run it admit their own helplessness.

Libya: NATO's 'conspiracy' against the revolution; Who are the Libyan rebels?

Gilbert Achcar interviewed on August 24, 2011 by Democracy Now!. Transcript below.

The following article, reposted from Jadiliyya, was written before the entry of rebels into Tripoli on August 20-21, signalling the looming collapse of the Gaddafi regime. It offers valuable analysis of the dynamics between imperialism and the rebel movement and the Libyan masses. It contends that the Western powers, in an attempt to control the uprising, rationed their military support to ensure that significant sections of the Gaddafi state would be retained in any post-Gaddafi regime.

* * *

By Gilbert Achcar

Rwanda/Darfur: Documents reveal how Washington politically manipulates 'genocide' charges

Characterisation of Darfur violence as "genocide" had no "legal consequences" for US, according to 2004 State Department memo

August 17, 2011 -- Article by National Security Archive fellow Rebecca Hamilton contrasts Darfur memo with 1994 finding that application of term to Rwanda would force US "to actually 'do something'"

For more information contact:
www.fightingfordarfur.com
hamilton [at] newamerica.net

* * *

A secret June 25, 2004, Department of State memo entitled “Genocide and Darfur” written by William Taft IV, the legal advisor to Secretary of State Colin Powell, stated that “a determination that genocide has occurred in Darfur would have no immediate legal -- as opposed to moral, political or policy -- consequences for the United States.”

Zimbabwe: Petition to drop false charges against political activists

August 14, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following petition is being circulated in Australia. Please feel free to adapt the text for use in your country (e.g. insert details of your local Zimbabwe embassy and your own government's foreign ministry. For more detail on the case, see http://links.org.au/taxonomy/term/171. You can download a postcard version to send direct to Zimbabwe HERE.

International solidarity activities in February and March condemning the arrests were an important contribution to having the original charges of "treason" dropped and the comrades released on bail. But the campaign isn't over and the comrades are asking for any solidarity that can be extended to them on or before August 22. 

* * *

To: Her Excellency Ms Jacqueline Nomhle Zwambila
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary for Zimbabwe
7 Timbarra Crescent,
O'Malley  2606
ACT, Australia
Fax: (02) 6290 1680

CC: Minister for Foreign Affairs (Australia)
PO Box 6022, Parliament House,
Canberra 2600, Australia
Fax: (02) 6273 4112

South Africa: ANC government shuts door on Swaziland democracy movement

King Mswati III: sitting pretty after ANC "bail out".

August 5, 2011 -- South Africa's African National Congress government has defied supporters of democracy in Swaziland and granted the repressive absolute monarchy a five-year, R2.4 billion loan. The bailout, which was announceded by King Mswati III on August 3, has been condemned by the Swazi democracy movement and its supporters in South Africa. While its conditions do not require democratic reforms, the Swazi people will be subject to harsh austerity in order for the regime to repay the loan.

* * *

August 4, 2011 -- The Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) is calling upon the South African government to stop dilly dallying at a time when it has a genuine opportunity to exert pressure on Swazi authorities to stop human rights abuses and end the Tinkhundla dictatorship.

South African Communist Party at 90: Is it still relevant? Two views

By Jeremy Cronin

July 31, 2011 -- Amandla! -- Mikhail Gorbachev, who presided over the liquidation of his own communist party, is not generally well regarded in communist circles. There is, however, at least one pertinent observation in his book, Perestroika. There he writes that he realised there was need for change in the former Soviet Union when the program of the party was increasingly determined by the march of the calendar, by a ritualistic commemoration of historical dates.

This weekend [July 31] the South African Communist Party (SACP) marks its 90th anniversary. But it would be a mistake for us to celebrate the occasion as mere ritual.

As a young operative I was proud of being recruited into a party that, from its outset in the early 1920s, had pioneered non-racialism -- not just in principle, but shoulder to shoulder in active struggle. It was the party that started night schools and literacy classes [for blacks].

Photo essay: People Apart: Cape Town Survey 1952; Photographs by Bryan Heseltine

People Apart: Cape Town Survey 1952. Photographs by Bryan Heseltine from Pitt Rivers Museum archive films on Vimeo.

By Pitt Rivers Museum

July 19, 2011 -- BBC audio slideshow about the exhibition with commentary by exhibition curator Darren Newbury

Cape Town in the early 1950s was a city in the midst of profound transformation. Added to the social challenges of rapid urbanisation were South Africa’s unique set of political tensions and conflicts. The Nationalist Party, elected in 1948, was just beginning to implement its policy of apartheid, which extended existing segregation with the ultimate aim of a society based on total racial separation.

Tunisia: Communist Workers Party holds first legal congress in 25 years


July 23, 2011 -- AFP -- For the first time in 25 years, the Tunisian Workers' Communist Party was able to hold a congress. Long banned, the party was legalised after the fall of President Ben Ali's authoritarian regime. (If video is blocked by AFP, go to YouTube.)

By Kal

South Africa: Fighting the minerals-petroleum-coal complex’s wealth and woes in Durban

WikiLeaks revealed Washington’s bullying, bribery and blackmail when promoting the non-binding 2009 Copenhagen Accord (being hatched by leaders above), a sham of a climate agreement designed to ditch Kyoto. South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma (in left corner) was an original signatory.

By Patrick Bond and Khadija Sharife

July 19, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- When African National Congress Youth League leader Julius Malema recently proposed the mining industry’s partial nationalisation – and asked, quite legitimately, “what is the alternative?”, of those in the South African Communist Party (SACP) and Business Leadership South Africa who threw cold water at him – a debate of enormous ideological magnitude opened in public, which workers, communities and environmentalists have already joined in their myriad struggles.

Zimbabwe socialists facing treason charges call for solidarity! Trial now August 22, 2011


Action in solidarity with the Zimbabwe socialists, July 18, 2011.

By the National Coordinating Committee, International Socialist Organisation Zimbabwe

South Africa: Two warriors die, alongside the right to water

Thulisile Christina Manqele.

By Patrick Bond

July 3, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Two of South Africa’s greatest water warriors were not actually killed in conflict, though at the time of their deaths on June 22 and 23, both were furious with their traditional political party home, the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

For former ANC cabinet minister Kader Asmal (whom Nelson Mandela once proposed be ANC chairperson), the party’s proposed legislation to snuff state information, nicknamed the “Secrecy Bill”, warranted spirited condemnation, and the airwaves rang with his principled liberal critique up through his last week. The day after he died (age 76), the ANC authorised sufficient revision to the bill that he probably would have declared victory. His funeral and memorial were given exceptionally high-profile coverage in the state press, befitting his status as a senior human rights lawyer and party intellectual.

The Egyptian revolution: phase two

By Jesse McLaren

June 27, 2011 -- Rabble.ca -- My previous article looked at the first phase of the Egyptian revolution, and the struggles that led up to it, which has won significant political reforms -- from the removal of Mubarak, to the promise of free and fair elections, to the partial opening of the Rafah border, to partial freedom of speech and assembly. But basic political reforms are not complete, and the social and economic demands tied to them have not been met. This is phase two of the Egyptian revolution.

Left debates Libya: Imperialist nature of war is now clearer

Aftermath of a NATO airstrike on Tripoli.

[For more left views on Libya, click HERE for articles and associated comments.]

By Michael Karadjis

June 23, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Renfrey Clarke has written a very detailed and thoughtful piece of discussion, and despite my disagreement with it, I welcome the fact that people are willing to put forward unpopular positions (among the left) and have them thrashed out, especially when it is done in such a careful and thorough way.

June 2011: Swaziland United Democratic Front first-ever newsletter published

SUDF Newsletter June 2011

The Coca-colonisation of Swaziland

King Mswati III tours Coca Cola Africa Foundation projects in 2010.

By Peter Kenworthy

June 22, 2011 -- Pambazuka News -- Next time you crack open a Coke to quench your thirst, spare a thought for the sugarcane workers in Swaziland. Coca-Cola is one of the largest and wealthiest companies in the world, as well as being one of the world’s best-known brands. The desperate situation of the poverty-stricken workers in the sugarcane fields in Swaziland, who harvest the sugarcane that is the most important ingredient of African Coke, on the other hand, is a well kept secret. Their plight is not deemed newsworthy. They live their lives in a brutal and repressive absolute monarchy where King Mswati III and a small elite live in luxury while the majority of Swazis live in abject poverty.

More than 1 billion cans or bottles of Coca-Cola are consumed every day and the Coca-Cola Company makes huge profits every year, over US$15 billion in 2005.

Zimbabwe: Treason charges dropped, but trial to go on

June 7, 2011 -- The Zimbabwean state has dropped the most serious charges against six activists who faced the death penalty for treason. (Click here for background articles.) They now face the lesser charge of “subverting a constitutional government”—but this still carries a maximum sentence of 20 years. Their trial begins on 18 July.

Their bail conditions have also been relaxed—they have to report to the police once a month instead of three times a week.

The six, including former MP Munyaradzi Gwisai, were among more than 40 people arrested on February 19 for watching a video about the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia.

Keep up the international pressure and solidarity to get all of the charges dropped.

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