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US imperialism

Can Africa survive Obama's advisers?

Kenyans celebrate Obama's victory.

By Patrick Bond

November 12, 2008 -- One of Barack Obama's leading advisers has done more damage to Africa, its economies and its people than anyone I can think of in world history, including even Cecil John Rhodes. That charge may surprise readers, but hear me out.

His name is Paul Volcker, and although he is relatively unknown around the world, the 82-year-old banker was recommended as ``a legend!'' to Obama by Austan Goolsbee, the president-elect's chief economic adviser (and a professor at the University of Chicago). Volcker was recently profiled by the Wall Street Journal: "The cigar-chomping central banker from 1979 to 1987, he received blame for driving up interest rates and tipping the US into the deepest recession since the Great Depression."

We'll consider the impact of Volcker's rule on Africa in a moment. But why dredge up crimes nearly 30 years old?

This kind of reckoning is important, as three current examples suggest:

Congo: Western intervention behind bloodbath


Tony Iltis interviewed on Iranian television

By Tony Iltis

November 7, 2008 -- Despite Western media and politicians having largely ignored a decade of genocidal warfare that has cost 6 million lives, the recent upsurge in fighting in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has drawn not only media attention, but visits to the region by the British and French foreign ministers and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

The current round of fighting in North Kivu province, which began on October 26 with an offensive by the Rwandan-backed rebel forces of General Laurent Nkunda, is indeed a humanitarian catastrophe — 200,000 people have been displaced, many not for the first time.

Pakistanis protest US attacks on tribal areas

Civil society, trade unions, political parties and students marched on November 1 in Karachi to protest at the US bombing of Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). US missile strikes hours apart killed at least 27 people on October 31 near the border with Afghanistan, only days after Pakistan demanded that the United States halt an intensifying campaign of using Predator drones to bomb tribal areas in Pakistan.

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.

Overwhelming UN General Assembly vote against US blockade of Cuba

New York — The UN General Assembly on October 29 approved by an overwhelming majority the resolution demanding an end of the US blockade of Cuba, a vote passed by the assembly for the 17th consecutive year, news agencies report.

Of the 192 UN member states, 185 voted in favour of the resolution, while three voted against (the United States, Israel and Palau) and two abstained (Marshall Islands and Micronesia). With this result, Cuba gained another vote this year compared to 2007, when 184 voted in favour, four against (the United States, Israel, Palau and the Marshall Islands) and Micronesia abstained.

The resolution calling for an end to the blockade has been approved on 16 occasions with backing that has grown from 59 votes in 1992 to the 185 today.

Before the vote, Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez Roque spoke before the General Assembly and noted the special situation in which this resolution is taking place, an economic crisis that is being internationally felt and above all, the imminent US elections which, he observed, will produce a new president who "will have to decide whether the blockade is a failed policy."

"You are alone, isolated," said the foreign minister, addressing President George W. Bush. Pérez’ speech was loudly applauded by the General Assembly.

Sister of Cuban hero jailed in US demands `Free the Cuban Five!'

Maria Eugenia is the sister of Tony Guerrero, one of the ``Cuban Five'' political prisoners held for 10 years in US prisons on ``conspiracy to commit espionage'' charges for reporting on the Miami-based, Washington-backed terrorist groups operating against Cuba.

Eugenia recently toured Australia to build support for the campaign to free the five. Below is the three-part video of her Sydney public meeting. (For more background on the case, click HERE.

For more information about the Free the Five campaign, visit http://www.fiveheroes.blogspot.com.)

Part 1

Cuba: Lift the blockade!

Statement from the National Assembly of People’s Power

Calling on parliamentarians worldwide to demand that the USA unconditionally lift the blockade

Havana, October 13, 2008 -- The United Nations General Assembly on October 29 will discuss and put to the vote the draft resolution "Necessity to put an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba".

For 16 consecutive years, this same General Assembly has approved similar resolutions by a growing and overwhelming majority. The last of these, which was put to the vote on October 30, 2007, was supported by 184 countries.

However, as was irrefutably demonstrated in the report presented by Cuba to the General Assembly on the resolution adopted last year, the government of the United States, with its customary arrogance, has ignored the express mandate of the international community and, far from ending that genocidal policy, is intensifying it in an attempt to kill our people by means of hunger and sickness.

Nuke deal a conduit to import US crisis into India

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with US President George Bush

By Dipankar Bhattacharya, general secretary, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation

October 14, 2008 -- India's United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government finally sealed the nuclear deal with the US on October 10. For the Congress Party and the coalition of ``Unashamed Partners of America'' headed by it, the nuclear deal is the supreme achievement of the government. On the eve of signing the deal, India's external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee reiterated India's commercial commitment to the US nuclear energy industry: "We look forward to working with US companies on the commercial steps that will follow to implement this landmark Agreement." In a second statement issued after the agreement's signing he also reiterated India's commitment to implement the agreement in good faith even though no such reciprocal assurance was made by the US to confirm New Delhi's claim regarding the so-called US ``guarantee'' on uninterrupted fuel supply.

Four crises of the contemporary world capitalist system

By William K. Tabb

Monthly Review, October 8, 2008 -- This essay examines aspects of the global political economy that I hope will inform progressive governments and movements for social change. It evaluates the constraints and opportunities presented in the current conjuncture of world capitalist development by analysing four areas of crisis in the contemporary world capitalist system. These are not the only contradictory elements in the contemporary conjuncture, but they are, in my view, the most salient.

Exclusive book excerpt: A manifesto for principled Darfur activism -- and beyond

Below Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal publishes -- with the authors' permission -- an exclusive excerpt from Kevin Funk and Steven Fake's just published book, Scramble for Africa: Darfur Intervention and the USA (Black Rose Books).

In Scramble for Africa Kevin Funk and Steven Fake provide a forensic and astute examination of the Bush administration's politically cynical and opportunist exploitation of the people of Darfur's terrible plight, using them as pawns to regain access to Sudan's oil riches and to promote the self-serving imperialist concept of ``humanitarian intervention''. Funk and Fake reveal the hypocrisy of Washington, which can in the same breathe declare the Sudan regime's slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Darfuris ``genocide'' while -- out of the general public's earshot -- praise and collaborate with the very same butchers as allies in its ``war on terror''. The mainstream ``Save Darfur'' movement's leadership also comes in for a similar investigation for its willingness to allow the interests of the people of Darfur to play second fiddle to Washington's foreign policy double standards.

Racism, domination and revolution in Bolivia

By Adolfo Gilly

September 22, 2008 -- Mexico -- “The problem in Bolivia is that the country is undergoing a process of reforms, without abandoning the democratic framework, but both the opposition and the government act as if they were facing a revolution”, stated Marco Aurelio García, a close international affairs advisor to [Brazil's president] Lula, according to an article by José Natanson in the newspaper Pagina 12.

Allowing myself to not take this declaration literally, but instead in an ironic sense, Marco Aurelio García, an intelligent and well-informed man, can’t help but realise that if the two protagonists of the Bolivian confrontation believe that they are dealing with a revolution, this belief is the best confirmation that, in effect, it is. The vice-president of Bolivia, Álvaro García Linera, on the other hand, has said that what is happening is “an increase in elites, an increase in rights, and a redistribution of wealth. This, in Bolivia, is a revolution.”

Human Rights Watch report on Venezuela: An echo of US propaganda

Statement by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network

September 30, 2008 -- As a broad network of organisations and individuals that has closely studied the significant changes in Venezuelan society since 1998 – including organising eight study tours to Venezuela involving more than 150 Australians from diverse backgrounds -- we are obliged to respond to the biases, distortions and lies contained in the Human Rights Watch report A Decade Under Chavez: Political Intolerance and Lost Opportunities for Advancing Human Rights in Venezuela, released in September 2008.

The key theme of the report -- that “Ten years ago, Chavez promoted a new constitution that could have significantly improved human rights in Venezuela. But rather than advancing rights protections, his government has since moved in the opposite direction, sacrificing basic guarantees in pursuit of its own political agenda” -- bears no relation to the reality in Venezuela today.

Chronicle of an injustice: Summary of the case of the Cuban Five (+ video)

By Leonard Weinglass, attorney for the defence

September 23, 2008 -- After decades of enduring attacks within Cuba’s own borders (acts of arson, sabotage, assassinations and the use of biological weapons) perpetrated by anti-Cuban terrorist groups based in southern Florida that enjoy the support and consent of the US government, and after the United States repeatedly refused to implement measures to prevent such attacks, a group of unarmed men travelled from Cuba to the United States to monitor the activities of mercenary groups responsible for those attacks and organisations that support them and to warn Cuba of their aggressive intentions.

* * *

September 12, 2008, protest in Washington DC to mark the tenth anniversary of the unjust imprisonment of the Cuban 5

 

Target Pakistan: Washington's next war has already started

By Farooq Sulehria

September 17, 2008 -- Washington's next war is already on the go. It is as yet undeclared. However, it is not unapproved. ``Classified orders'', according to September 11 New York Times, were passed by President Bush last July. And surprise of surprises! The target is not ``axis of evil''-fame Iran. It is Washington's close ally in the ``war on terror'', Pakistan.

At the time of writing, news is pouring in from the Waziristan (tribal areas) region of Pakistan of yet another US attack that has left another five ``Taliban'' dead. Only a week ago, 20 ``Taliban'' were killed in another US attack. Between August 13 and September 12, at least 79 ``Taliban'' have been killed in nine US attacks on Pakistan's tribal areas. Since January 29 (the year's first attack claimed 12 lives), more than 150 people have been killed.

Philippines: Towards a memorandum for self-determination for the Moro people

By Herbert Docena

Force has kept the Moro people within the Philippines. Against their will, beginning in the early twentieth century, the Moros, who were already living in their own states in the south, were incorporated into what became the nation-state of the Philippines by US colonisers and their Filipino partners from the north. [i]

Obama raises hopes but pledges more war

By Barry Sheppard

September 14, 2008 -- Socialist Voice -- The nomination of Barack Obama as the presidential candidate of the Democratic Party is historic. He is the first African American presidential candidate of one of the two major capitalist parties. He may win the election and become the first black president, something inconceivable only two years ago. That a black man might become head of government in a society still marked by ingrained racism puts race at the centre of the election campaign — more on this below.

Obama gave his acceptance speech at the end of the Democratic Party convention to some 84,000 people. Such a turnout for a presidential candidate is itself unprecedented. During the Democratic Party primary campaign Obama regularly spoke to audiences of thousands. He has raised hopes in a nation weary of war and which is in a worsening economic downturn hitting workers and the middle class hard.

Oppose the fascist coup in Bolivia! (Sign the petition)

Dear comrades and friends,

You will be aware of the US-backed "civic coup" underway in the Bolivia, and the threats this poses to democracy and all nations' right to political, economic and social sovereignty.

We urge you/your organisation to sign the open petition we have initiated in support of President Evo Morales and the Bolivian people, and to circulate it widely among left and progressive individuals and activists.

We hope you may also be able to use the petition to bring pressure on the government of your own country to publicly state its support for Bolivia's right to freedom from imperialist intervention.

The petition is at:
http://www.gopetition.com/online/21871.html

Patrice Lumumba `will live forever’ -- exclusive book excerpt

Leo Zeilig, author of Lumumba, a new political biography of Congo independence leader Patrice Lumumba, has kindly given permission for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal to offer its readers an exclusive excerpt to download.

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