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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Eric Toussaint and Damien Millet write About International Capitalism

Posted by
Venu K.M

After the European Parliament elections let us act to
eradicate capitalism and all forms of oppression
After the European Parliament elections
let us act to eradicate capitalism
and all forms of oppression

Eric Toussaint -Damien Millet
8 June
2009
The partisans of capitalism, and among them,
prominently, the EU leaders, have lost all credibility. For years now they have
trampled on the rights of peoples while not wavering when it came to
making decisions
directly opposed to their advertised principles in order to bail out major
banks. European government parties could have acted differently and nationalised
the banks, thus retrieving the cost of the bailout on the patrimony of major
shareholders and CEOs. The public credit instrument that would have resulted
could finance socially useful and environment-friendly projects while
guaranteeing
individual savings. The crisis has brought back onto the agenda proposals that
had been swept aside during the long neoliberal night such as a radical
reduction of working time (with creation of jobs and no loss of pay) or
indexation of wages and social benefits on the cost of living. Europe
needs new financial discipline: company ledgers
have to be opened to external and internal auditing (through the trade unions
among others), all financial products must be regulated, and it must be
forbidden for companies to have assets in any tax haven. Major means of
production, trade, finance, communication and other services must be
transferred to the public sphere and taken away from capitalists’
control. Access to public goods must be systematically promoted.

In a political perspective, European citizens
must retrieve the political power that has been taken away from them. The
populations who were able to have their say on the Constitutional Treaty turned
it down, but leaders ignored their votes without a second thought.
Meanwhile Venezuela, Ecuador
and Bolivia
show us the way. There, citizens elected a Constituant Assembly in order to draw
up a new draft Constitution, which is to be discussed with social movements and
sanctioned by referenda. In these three countries voters can now revoke any
elected representative mid-mandate, whereas no European Constitution mentions
any such highly democratic mechanism.

The
countries of Europe
must stop plundering the natural resources and know-how of the South.
They
must increase official development aid, which ought to be called
‘contribution
to reparations’ by way of repairing the historical, social and
environmental damage they brought about. Europe
must cancel Third World Debt and implement the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights
in all its dimensions, including article 13, the right to freedom of
movement
and residence. Europe must turn away from
nuclear power and dismantle all nuclear weapons currently on its
territory. Europe must leave NATO and withdraw its troops from all
territories
under military occupation. Europe must close down all US military bases
on its territory.
All EU member countries must grant complete independence to populations
they
still wield colonial power over (the ‘French’ and
‘Dutch’ Antilles, British overseas territories, New Caledonia, Reunion
Island…). Europe must
rescind all partnership agreements with Israel and see to it that the
rights of the Palestinian people be at long last respected.
Capitalism has drawn humankind down into a
deep multidimensional crisis: it affects the financial sector, the economy, the
climate, food and energy supplies, not to mention wars and the arms race. The
patriarchal system perpetuates the oppression of women in all areas of life. As
asserted at the Women’s Assembly at the World Social Forum in Belem on
1 February 2009 : We are not interested in palliative answers
based on market logic in response to these crises ; this can only lead to
perpetuation of the same system. We need to move forward in building
alternatives if we are to oppose the capitalist and patriarchal system that
oppresses and exploits us. |1|

We also support the declaration of
indigenous peoples adopted at Belem: The capitalist development model, a model
that is Eurocentric, sexist and racist, is in absolute crisis, and is leading
us to the greatest social and environmental crisis in the history of humankind.
Structural unemployment is aggravated by the financial, economic, energy and
production crisis, along with social exclusion, sexist and racist violence and
religious fanaticism. That there should be so many simultaneous crises, and so
deep, forebodes an authentic crisis of civilization, a crisis of
“capitalist and modern development” that endangers all forms of
life. But there are those who continue to dream of improving this
model and refuse
to acknowledge that what is in crisis is capitalism, Euro-centrism, with its
model of a State destined for one culturally homogeneous nationality, western
positive rights, developmentalism and the commodification of life. |2|

Capitalism, patriarchy, and all forms of oppression
will not disappear of their own accord: only the conscious and deliberate
actions of men and women can yield another system whose goals would be
to guarantee
indivisible human rights and to protect the environment. We must free our minds
of the tragic Stalinist caricature of communism, do away with capitalism, and
invent an ecologically viable, socialist and feminist project rooted in the
realities of the 21st century.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Marxism and Art- Video from Alan Woods

Marxism & Art - Alan Woods, International Marxist Tendency - London 2009 from International Marxist Tendency on Vimeo.


Posted by
Venu K.M

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Grim Picture Of Obama's Middle East By Noam Chomsky

The Grim Picture Of Obama's Middle East

By Noam Chomsky

05 June, 2009
CommonDreams.org

A CNN headline, reporting Obama's plans for his June 4 Cairo address, reads 'Obama looks to reach the soul of the Muslim world.' Perhaps that captures his intent, but more significant is the content hidden in the rhetorical stance, or more accurately, omitted.

Keeping just to Israel-Palestine -- there was nothing substantive about anything else -- Obama called on Arabs and Israelis not to 'point fingers' at each other or to 'see this conflict only from one side or the other.' There is, however, a third side, that of the United States, which has played a decisive role in sustaining the current conflict. Obama gave no indication that its role should change or even be considered.

Those familiar with the history will rationally conclude, then, that Obama will continue in the path of unilateral U.S. rejectionism.

Obama once again praised the Arab Peace Initiative, saying only that Arabs should see it as 'an important beginning, but not the end of their responsibilities.' How should the Obama administration see it? Obama and his advisers are surely aware that the Initiative reiterates the long-standing international consensus calling for a two-state settlement on the international (pre-June '67) border, perhaps with 'minor and mutual modifications,' to borrow U.S. government usage before it departed sharply from world opinion in the 1970s, vetoing a Security Council resolution backed by the Arab 'confrontation states' (Egypt, Iran, Syria), and tacitly by the PLO, with the same essential content as the Arab Peace Initiative except that the latter goes beyond by calling on Arab states to normalize relations with Israel in the context of this political settlement. Obama has called on the Arab states to proceed with normalization, studiously ignoring, however, the crucial political settlement that is its precondition. The Initiative cannot be a 'beginning' if the U.S. continues to refuse to accept its core principles, even to acknowledge them.

In the background is the Obama administration's goal, enunciated most clearly by Senator John Kerry, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to forge an alliance of Israel and the 'moderate' Arab states against Iran. The term 'moderate' has nothing to do with the character of the state, but rather signals its willingness to conform to U.S. demands.

What is Israel to do in return for Arab steps to normalize relations? The strongest position so far enunciated by the Obama administration is that Israel should conform to Phase I of the 2003 Road Map, which states: 'Israel freezes all settlement activity (including natural growth of settlements).' All sides claim to accept the Road Map, overlooking the fact that Israel instantly added 14 reservations that render it inoperable.

Overlooked in the debate over settlements is that even if Israel were to accept Phase I of the Road Map, that would leave in place the entire settlement project that has already been developed, with decisive U.S. support, to ensure that Israel will take over the valuable land within the illegal 'separation wall' (including the primary water supplies of the region) as well as the Jordan Valley, thus imprisoning what is left, which is being broken up into cantons by settlement/infrastructure salients extending far to the East. Unmentioned as well is that Israel is taking over Greater Jerusalem, the site of its major current development programs, displacing many Arabs, so that what remains to Palestinians will be separated from the center of their cultural, economic, and sociopolitical life. Also unmentioned is that all of this is in violation of international law, as conceded by the government of Israel after the 1967 conquest, and reaffirmed by Security Council resolutions and the International Court of Justice. Also unmentioned are Israel's successful operations since 1991 to separate the West Bank from Gaza, since turned into a prison where survival is barely possible, further undermining the hopes for a viable Palestinian state.

It is worth remembering that there has been one break in U.S.-Israeli rejectionism. President Clinton recognized that the terms he had offered at the failed 2000 Camp David meetings were not acceptable to any Palestinians, and in December, proposed his 'parameters,' vague but more forthcoming. He then announced that both sides had accepted the parameters, though both had reservations. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met in Taba, Egypt to iron out the differences, and made considerable progress. A full resolution could have been reached in a few more days, they announced in their final joint press conference. But Israel called off the negotiations prematurely, and they have not been formally resumed. The single exception indicates that if an American president is willing to tolerate a meaningful diplomatic settlement, it can very likely be reached.

It is also worth remembering that the Bush I administration went a bit beyond words in objecting to illegal Israeli settlement projects, namely, by withholding U.S. economic support for them. In contrast, Obama administration officials stated that such measures are 'not under discussion' and that any pressures on Israel to conform to the Road Map will be 'largely symbolic,' so the New York Times reported (Helene Cooper, June 1).

There is more to say, but it does not relieve the grim picture that Obama has been painting, with a few extra touches in his widely-heralded address to the Muslim World in Cairo on June 4.

Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor (retired) at MIT. He is the author of many books and articles on international affairs and social-political issues, and a long-time participant in activist movements. His most recent books include: Failed States, What We Say Goes(with David Barsamian), Hegemony or Survival, and the Essential Chomsky.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Verdict 2009: Lessons for the Left [CPI (ML) Liberation- Document]

Posted by
Venu K.M

''...The epicentre of the anti-CPI(M) political earthquake lies
squarely in the Singur-Nandigram seismic zone where the CPI(M) has
been punished for its arrogant and coercive attitude to the peasantry
and the intelligentsia, for its ruthless attempt to implement the same
economic policies that it claims to have been opposing all along.."

Verdict 2009: Lessons for the Left

The results of 2009 elections can be described as a string of
surprises not only for many well-entrenched parties and seasoned
politicians but also for a host of commonsensical notions about
contemporary Indian political reality. Of late, it became rather
customary to look at elections in India through the prism of coalition
politics, caste equations and regional diversities. Verdict 2009 has
given a serious jolt to this facile view and reasserted the underlying
structural dynamics of Indian politics. Conventional wisdom would not
have given the Congress anything more than 150 seats, but the fact
that the Congress managed to notch up as many as 206 seats from across
the country clearly reveal a national verdict which cannot be reduced
to a mere sum total of the poll outcomes in different states and
regions.

The NDA had long been expecting the 2009 elections to go its way and
LK Advani had been duly designated its Prime Ministerial candidate.
‘Iron Man’ Advani saw Manmohan Singh as the weakest link of the
Congress chain and hoped the chain would snap if only he could make it
a direct clash between the UPA’s ‘weakest’ and the NDA’s ‘strongest’!
He tried to fight and win the elections in true US Presidential style,
but even before his campaign could take off he found himself
overshadowed by two more self-appointed PMs-in-waiting, the
redoubtable Narendra ‘Nano’ Modi and one Varun ‘venom’ Gandhi!

The results only reveal how miserably the NDA lost the plot in its own
strongholds. Of all the NDA-ruled states, only Chhattisgarh, Karnataka
and Bihar went the NDA way while in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, the
Congress staked almost equal claims defying its obvious organisational
weaknesses. In Bihar, Nitish Kumar’s spectacular showing cannot really
be treated as a typical NDA victory – it had more to do with the
disintegration of the UPA and the continuing public anger in Bihar
against the RJD-LJP brand of politics. Quite understandably, the NDA
emerged as the overwhelming beneficiary of this public anger against
the RJD’s legacy of chaos and misrule.

While the NDA remained confined to its own pockets, the ‘Third Front’
was humbled in its own strongholds. In West Bengal, the CPI(M) got its
worst drubbing in three decades with its own tally getting reduced to
only 9. The overall Left Front tally came down from the high point of
60-plus in the 14th Lok Sabha to mere 24. The grand alliances forged
in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh failed to click, and ‘Mission
Mayawati’ failed to fire the imagination of the BSP’s own base in
Uttar Pradesh. Forged in a hurry, the Third Front had neither cohesion
nor credibility; it thrived primarily on the exuberance of electoral
expectation regarding the fortunes of regional alliances.

The Congress on the other hand sensed the national mood that looked
for some order and stability in an overwhelming situation of crisis
and uncertainty. In the absence of any reliable cohesive alternative,
large parts of India once again turned to the grand old party now led
by the fourth generation of the Nehru-Gandhi family. Various local
factors only facilitated the crystallisation of this national mood,
and the Congress strategy was perfectly in tune with this developing
sentiment. If the Congress decision to shelve the UPA during the
elections and try the party’s own luck in the two most crucial Hindi
belt states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar was a tactical masterstroke,
the suspension of the “Jai Ho” ad campaign and withdrawal of the
candidature of Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar in Delhi reflected a
rare political sensibility.

What lessons do the results hold for the future of the people’s
movement and Left and democratic politics in India?

The Congress establishment would like to portray its revival as a
popular endorsement of its policies built around the pro-corporate
economic agenda and pro-US foreign policy framework. This is far from
the truth. The country is reeling under a massive economic disaster
sponsored by the neo-liberal economic offensive of indiscriminate
liberalisation and globalisation and steady withdrawal of the state
from productive investment and welfare-oriented public expenditure,
and there can be no question of the people endorsing policies that
spelled such disasters. It is also equally clear that the country is
not enamoured of the much-touted strategic spin-offs of a pro-US
foreign policy when the entire neighbourhood is trapped in tremendous
social upheaval and political turbulence and India’s growing
identification with the US only renders it more vulnerable on every
count. Signs of growing US involvement in India’s domestic affairs
have also been quite visible with US officials making it of late a
habit to call on leaders of different parties.
By all accounts, a more confident Congress-led government will now
tend to pursue the pro-corporate pro-imperialist policies with greater
speed and aggression while cleverly deceiving the people with the
rhetoric of secularism, empowerment and ‘inclusive’ growth. Instead of
getting taken in by the deceptive discourse of the emerging ‘new
generation’ Congress, the forces and friends of people’s struggles
must now intensify public debate over the real state of affairs on
different fronts and raise the level of popular mobilisation and
resistance to press for a real change in the policies and priorities
of the government.

Contrary to dominant media explanations, the rout suffered by the
CPI(M) cannot be attributed to its belated oppositional stance
vis-a-vis the UPA’s pro-US policies. The epicentre of the anti-CPI(M)
political earthquake lies squarely in the Singur-Nandigram seismic
zone where the CPI(M) has been punished for its arrogant and coercive
attitude to the peasantry and the intelligentsia, for its ruthless
attempt to implement the same economic policies that it claims to have
been opposing all along. It is ironical that while the architect of
the SEZ policy succeeded in masking its true face behind legislations
like NREGA and forest land rights, the CPI(M) was seen as the brutal
face of corporate land-grab offensive. Even when the CPI(M) quite
correctly questioned and opposed the Indo-US strategic partnership and
nuke deal, the point was allowed to get diluted and lost in the
party’s desperate drive to somehow prop up a Third Front” devoid of
any kind of pro-people, anti-imperialist commitment.

The results have also exposed the limits of the politics of social
engineering and alliance arithmetic. Mayawati’s ‘sarvajanwad’ and Lalu
Prasad’s ‘Mandal magic’ are clearly on the wane. Reports from UP
indicate that while Mayawati failed to sustain her newly discovered
upper caste base, cracks have also started surfacing in her core
support base among dalits. Down south, the TDP-TRS kind of opportunist
bonhomie and the desperate attempt of the PMK-MDMK-AIADMK alliance to
make political capital of the plight of Sri Lankan Tamils have also
been squarely rebuffed by the people. The CPI(M) has only discredited
itself by glorifying and peddling this opportunism in the name of
‘Third Front’ politics.

The Left clearly has a lesson to learn from the Congress. The lesson
is certainly not to seek signs of anti-imperialism or pro-people
concern or commitment in the emerging leadership of the Congress. If
the Congress has retrained its focus on its own revival overcoming the
‘BJP threat’, ‘Mandal magic’ and ‘coalition politics’, the Left must
also rebuild and reposition itself as the core of the people’s
movement for survival, justice and democracy and for the nation’s
quest for a dignified future beyond the strategic umbrella of the US.
A renewal of the communist identity as the most sincere, vibrant and
fighting platform of people’s politics is the need of the hour.

The reverses suffered by the Left in general, and the admittedly poor
showing of the CPI(ML) in Bihar, are bound to generate vibes of
demoralisation and despondency across different sections of the Left.
The noise emanating from dominant quarters of West Bengal CPI(M)
against the ‘dogmatism’ and ‘adventurism’ of the party’s central
leadership seeks to attribute the CPI(M)’s electoral rout to its
belated act of withdrawal of support to the Congress. This is nothing
but an exercise in barking up the wrong tree. If the CPI(M) had not
withdrawn support, the Congress would have anyway subjugated the Left
in national politics, while the TMC would have still monopolised the
public anger in West Bengal. Not ‘dogmatism’ or ‘adventurism’, the
greatest internal enemy of the Left at this juncture is opportunism
and the intoxication of power. Any meaningful introspection must be
aimed at identifying and eradicating the real malady and rejuvenating
the Left movement in closer integration with the people and their real
needs and aspirations.

By rejecting the NDA and rebuffing the cobweb of opportunist alliances
and narrow identity politics, the 2009 verdict has opened up new
possibilities for the entire Left and democratic camp to assert as a
fighting opposition in the national political arena. Revolutionary
communists must take adequate note of the prospects and challenges
unleashed by the verdict and rise wholeheartedly to the occasion.
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always want to defend peace, justice, peoples' right to love each other and live with dignity,struggles against parochial visions and hatred;instinctively a defender of socialist and democratic values  

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