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US imperialism

Michael Lebowitz: Venezuela's economic problems; Trans-Pacific Partnership an imperialist assault

[For more articles by or about Michael Lebowitz, click HERE. For more on Venezuela, click HERE.] 

April 4, 2014 -- Newsclick -- Michael Lebowitz, a Canadian economist who has written extensively on Latin America and is a former resident in Venezuela, talks to Newsclick on the economic problems facing Venezuela and the recent protests there.

He says these protests have been orchestrated by right-wing forces that want to get rid of the left-wing government. They are happening in rich neighbourhoods; the poor are not participating.

Saying that these protests will not go very far and will fizzle out, Lebowitz points out that there is an underlying serious economic problem that did not originate with President Nicholas Maduro and have been building for quite a while.

Lebowitz says the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement is an international assault on the people and it can be countered only by an international response.

Discussion: Are Russia and China imperialist powers?

"Probably the most important Russian monopoly is Gazprom, the world’s largest gas company, which by 2008 had about 400,000 employees. The company is reported to control over 93% of Russia’s natural gas production and about a quarter of the world’s known gas reserves."

By Chris Slee

April 7, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Russia and China both play an important role in world politics. This includes involvement in armed conflicts distant from their borders. Russia for example supplies arms to the Syrian government. Both Russia and China supplied arms to the Sri Lankan government during its war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who were fighting for an independent Tamil homeland in the north and east of the island of Sri Lanka. (The LTTE was defeated in 2009.)

In some cases, Russia and China intervene on the same side as the Western imperialist powers. This was the case in Sri Lanka, where the US, Britain, Israel and other Western powers also aided the Sri Lankan government in its brutal war against the LTTE, which was in fact a war against the Tamil people.

Ukraine: Hypocrisy abounds as outside powers interfere

By Tony Iltis

March 30, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- The United Nations General Assembly voted on March 27 ― with 100 votes for, 11 against and 58 abstentions ― to not recognise the results of the March 16 referendum in Crimea. In the poll, most voted for the territory to leave Ukraine and join Russia.

The resolution was put by Ukraine and sponsored by the United States, the European Union and other Western powers, including Australia.

There are certainly questions about the conditions in which the referendum was held ― and of electoral fraud. But the resolution specifically upheld the “territorial integrity” of Ukraine, thereby condemning the unilateral separation of Crimea from Ukraine regardless of the circumstance of the vote.

The resolution’s sponsors have portrayed the events in Crimea since the February 21 overthrow of the Ukrainian government of Viktor Yanukovich as a Russian invasion, a viewpoint not questioned in the Western corporate media.

Russia and its allies have, for their part, portrayed the events as an act of self-determination.

Nicolás Maduro in 'New York Times': 'A call for peace'

The following article appeared as an op-ed in the April 2, edition of the New York Times. It is reproduced at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal in interests of solidarity.

* * *

By Nicolás Maduro, president of Venezuela.

April 2, 2014 -- New York Times, CARACAS, Venezuela — The recent protests in Venezuela have made international headlines. Much of the foreign media coverage has distorted the reality of my country and the facts surrounding the events.

Venezuelans are proud of our democracy. We have built a participatory democratic movement from the grass roots that has ensured that both power and resources are equitably distributed among our people.

Understanding the Arab rebellions: Adam Hanieh's 'Lineages of revolt'

Lineages of Revolt: Issues of Contemporary Capitalism in the Middle East
By Adam Hanieh
Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2013

[For more articles by or about Adam Hanieh, click HERE.]

Review by Chris Slee

March 15, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The year 2011 saw uprisings throughout the Middle East and North Africa. They were portrayed in the Western media as rebellions against dictatorial regimes and for democracy. But that is only part of the story. Political discontent was combined with economic discontent, as reflected in the widespread slogan, “bread, freedom and social justice”.

Against infantile realpolitik: Richard Seymour on some left reactions to Ukraine

Click HERE for more on Ukraine.

By Richard Seymour

March 5, 2014 -- Lenin's Tomb, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- The enemy of your enemy might still be your enemy. Because, complexity. Because, nuance. Because, concrete analysis of concrete situations. How much do I really need to underline this?

I raise the point because the tendency to try to distil the situation in Ukraine into one or at most two relatively simple contradictions is apparent in abundance. Lindsey German's article for Stop the War Coalition (UK) is a classic instance of this. It attempts a "clarification" of the political stakes, largely by way of clearing away complicating clutter and allowing people to see the interests of US imperialism and its allies at work. But in so doing, German's article resorts to utter nonsense and embarrassingly crude reductions.

Eva Golinger: 'Don't be fooled by what most media outlets are telling you about protests in Venezuela'

February 22, 2014 -- The Real News -- Gregory Wilpert discusses the right-wing protests and their goal overthrowing the progressive gains of the Bolivarian Revolution.

For more on Venezuela, click HERE.

By Eva Golinger

February 21, 2014 -- Postcard from the Revolution via Venezuelanalysis.com -- For those of you unfamiliar with Venezuelan issues, don’t let the title of this article fool you. The revolution referred to is not what most media outlets are showing taking place today in Caracas, with protesters calling for the ouster of Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro. The revolution that is here to stay is the Bolivarian Revolution, which began in 1998 when Hugo Chavez was first elected president and has subsequently transformed the mega oil-producing country into a socially focused, progressive country with a grassroots government.

The demonstrations taking place over the past few days in Venezuela are attempts to undermine and destroy that transformation in order to return power to the hands of the elite who ruled previously for more than 40 years.

Samuel Farber discusses Cuba’s future – but ignores the blockade

[See also Chris Slee's free pamphlet Cuba -- How the workers and peasants made the revolution and "System or siege? Samuel Farber misses the main cause of Cuba's problems", Slee's review of Farber's book Cuba since the revolution of 1959: a critical assessment.]

By Chris Slee

January 21, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Samuel Farber has recently written an article on “The Future of the Cuban Revolution”.[1] This article contains some useful information on “the emergence of new tendencies and debates” in Cuba. But Farber’s article is fundamentally flawed. It contains not a single word about the 55-year-long campaign by the United States government to overturn the Cuban revolution!

Libya's continuing struggle for democracy

An anti-militia protester gunned down on November 15, 2013.

By Chris Slee

January 9, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In recent months there has been a wave of protests against militias in Libya’s cities. The militias are armed groups originally formed during the 2011 civil war. Most are based in particular towns or regions, but they sometimes try to exercise power over a wider area. There is widespread resentment at their arbitrary exercise of power. One protester told the Libya Herald that the militias “terrorise, steal and kidnap people”.[1]

On November 15, 2013, protesters marched on a militia base in Gharghour, a suburb of Tripoli, Libya’s capital. The base was occupied by a militia from the city of Misrata. The protesters were demanding that the militia leave Tripoli. But the militia opened fire, killing 47 people and injuring 500.[2]

This led to more protests. The Tripoli local council called a general strike, initially intended to last three days.[3]

Adam Hanieh on his new book: 'Lineages of Revolt: Issues of Contemporary Capitalism in the Middle East'

Adam Hanieh interviewed by Jadaliyya

January 8, 2014

Lineages of Revolt: Issues of Contemporary Capitalism in the Middle East
By Adam Hanieh
Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2013

[For more articles by or about Adam Hanieh, click HERE.]

Jadaliyya: What made you write this book and what are its key themes?

Adam Hanieh: The book was written over the course of 2011 and 2012 and was intended as a contribution to some of the debates that emerged in these first years of the Arab uprisings.

I did not want to write another narrative account of the uprisings themselves. This was partly because these were events still unfolding and shifting rapidly from day to day; it was also because there had already been several very useful books published along these lines, including, of course, Jadaliyya’s The Dawn of the Arab Uprisings.

United States, Iran, Russia, Syria and the geopolitical shift: Anything for the region’s oppressed?

Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov (right) and US Secretary of State John Kerry during a May 2013 joint press conference in Moscow on "finding ... common ground" on the conflict in Syria.

Click HERE for more on Syria.

By Michael Karadjis

December 19, 2013 -- Syrian Revolution Commentary and Analysis, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- In recent weeks and months, a pronounced geopolitical shift in US policy related to the Middle East has been widely discussed. This shift consists mainly of the US-Russia deal with Syria’s Assad regime to get rid of its chemical arsenal, in exchange for the US dropping its brief threat of air strikes over Assad’s chemical attack on August 21; and the high-level US-Iran negotiations over its nuclear arsenal, which led to a new agreement, involving a slight reduction on imperialist sanctions on Iran in exchange for Iranian concessions on its civilian nuclear program.

The terrible legacy of Agent Orange and dioxin

US wages chemical warfare on Vietnam.

By Coral Wynter                       

December 16, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Agent Orange was manufactured by Monsanto Corporation and Dow Chemicals to use as a herbicide and defoliant in the Vietnam War. Agent Orange is the combination of the code names for Herbicide Orange (HO) and Agent LNX.

At the famous Battle of Dien Bien Phu, North Vietnamese General Giap and the Viet Minh forces totally defeated the French army on May 7, 1954, and the French garrison surrendered. At the 1954 Geneva Conference, the French negotiated a ceasefire agreement with the Viet Minh, and its leader Ho Chi Minh, and independence was granted to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

CIA and Mandela: Can the truth be told now?; Mandela and misremembering history

"One of Our Greatest Coups": The CIA & the Capture of Nelson Mandela, Democracy Now! on December 13, 2013, spoke to journalist Andrew Cockburn, who first reported on the CIA link to Mandela’s arrest in 1986 in the New York Times. For the full transcipt, click HERE.

December 10, 2013 -- Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting -- Back in 1990, FAIR (Extra!, 3/90) noted that the media coverage of Nelson Mandela's release from prison failed to mention there was strong evidence that the CIA had tipped off South African authorities to Mandela's location in 1962, resulting in his arrest.

So with coverage of Mandela's death dominating the media now, can the story of the CIA's role in Mandela's capture be told?

Mostly not.

Australia’s national interest versus Timor-Leste, 1941-2006

For more on East Timor, click HERE.

By Gaetano Greco, Francesco Faraci and Michael Cooke

In our Manichaean enthusiasms we in the West made haste to dispense whenever possible with the economic, intellectual and institutional baggage of the twentieth century and encouraged others to do so likewise... Not only did we fail to learn very much from the past – this would hardly have been remarkable. But we have become stridently insistent – in our economic calculations, our political practices, our international strategies, even our educational priorities – that the past has nothing of interest to teach us. Ours, we insist, is a new world; its risks and opportunities are without precedent. -- Tony Judt[1]

Uncle Sam's UN blues: Washington's anti-Cuba policy isolated -- again

Voting board for the 2012 General Assembly 2012 on resolution calling for an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba. This year, the vote was 188 in favour, two against, with three abstentions. UN Photo.

By Ike Nahem

November 10, 2013 -- Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Annually, a near ritual unfolds in the Autumn session of the United Nations General Assembly: the assembled states and governments dutifully, in near-unanimous consensus, vote in favour of a Resolution on the "Necessity of Ending the Economic, Commercial, and Financial Embargo by the United States of America Against Cuba".

General Vo Nguyen Giap (1911-2013): Military hero, revolutionary intellectual, environmentalist

General Vo Nguyen Giap, second from left, with Ho Chi Minh, in 1957.

By Michael Karadjis

October 24, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Few people from the 20th century can really claim to have changed history. One of them without a doubt was General Vo Nguyen Giap, who led the Vietnamese people to defeat the French and US empires.

Giap died on October 4, aged 102.

While mainly remembered as a military leader, Giap was also one of Vietnam’s most significant political leaders, a revolutionary intellectual, an environmentalist and a campaigner for progressive change within his own country.

Egypt’s military rulers help imprison Palestinians of Gaza

A Palestinian (right) in Rafah on the Gaza-Egypt border talks to an Egyptian soldier.

By Rupen Savoulian

October 3, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Antipodean Athiest -- The online magazine Common Dreams carried the following incisive article about the situation on Egypt’s contribution to the ongoing siege of the Gaza Strip: "Egypt joins Israel as Gaza’s jailer".

The article, co-authored by Medea Benjamin and Pam Bailey, focuses on how, in the past, Israel was the specific target of condemnation by human rights and activist groups for its blockade of Gaza. While the Israeli state still receives its fair share of criticism for its role in economically strangling Gaza and inflicting suffering on the Palestinians, the Egyptian militarist dictatorship should also by the target of stinging criticism. The Egyptian generals have not only continued to block off Gaza, the critical lifeline for the Palestinians through Rafah, previously open to humanitarian aid for the Palestinians, will also be restricted by the Egyptian military.

The article quotes from the Washington Post:

Crónica de una jornada con Nicolás Maduro


[English at http://links.org.au/node/3533.]

VÍCTOR RÍOS Y MIGUEL RIERA | septiembre 2013

Aporrea.org -- De Nicolás Maduro, presidente electo de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela, se sabe muy poco en España. Apenas cuatro trazos, aportados principalmente por los medios de comunicación de masas hostiles al proceso revolucionario. El Viejo Topo quiso conocerlo, y el presidente venezolano aceptó ser entrevistado sin poner la menor traba.

El Viejo Topo

Venezuela: A day with Nicolas Maduro

Nicolas Maduro interviewed by Spain's El Viejo Topo' Víctor Ríos and Miguel Riera, translated by by Tamara Pearson for Venezuelanalysis.com

September 26, 2013 -- Very little is known about Nicolas Maduro, president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, in Spain. [There’s] scarcely four lines, mainly contributed by the mass media which is hostile to the revolutionary process. Spain's El Viejo Topo wanted to get to know him, and the Venezuelan president accepted the interview without any hassles.

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