This article by a guest writer on RT seems to get it right... what do you think?
Dead end: UK's Theresa May has led her party & country into an impasse December 14th, 2018 by John Laughland
British Prime Minister Theresa May is a politician who holds on to power through defeats. Even though she survived a no-confidence vote held within her own Conservative Party this week, it was also a sort of defeat.
She achieved high office (Home Secretary) thanks to David Cameron, who failed to gain a majority in Parliament at the 2010 election in spite of the fact that Labour had been in power since 1997 and that the outgoing prime minister, Gordon Brown, was deeply unpopular. Cameron had to govern in coalition with the Liberals.
Theresa May then became Prime Minister in 2016, after Cameron resigned, having been defeated, like her, in the referendum on Brexit. She and her boss had campaigned for Remain.
She then led her party into a catastrophic election in 2017, in which the Conservatives lost the 20-seat majority they had won in 2015 and ended up nine seats short of a majority. This was in spite of the fact that the Conservatives faced a Labour opposition in deep disarray, with a leader (Jeremy Corbyn), who many thought then, was unelectable.
Since last year, May has clung on to power only thanks to the support of the Ulster Unionists. Without them, she could not govern.
Theresa May's latest election, the one held on December 12 by her fellow Conservative Members of Parliament, was also a sort of defeat. True, she won by 2 thirds: 200 votes for her, 117 against. But out of the 200 votes there are more than 150 MPs who belong to the government, either as ministers, deputy ministers or private parliamentary secretaries.
These people have to vote with the government or they lose their government job, and any chance of future preferment. In other words, over half of the Tory backbenchers voted against May.
Moreover, her re-election as leader has not answered any of the questions which led to the vote in the first place, in particular what to do, given that there is no majority in the House of Commons for the deal she has agreed with the EU. Indeed, there is no majority in the House of Commons for any option at all. She has led her party and her country into an impasse.
Her only tactic is to turn this weakness into a strength: like Madame de Pompadour, Theresa May says it is either her or chaos. Après moi, le déluge.
Unfortunately, the tactic of turning defeat into victory has – as was inevitable – ultimately created the conditions for defeat.
This is because the deal that she has negotiated with the EU creates precisely the conditions which guarantee that her objective of a free trade deal with the EU, first stated in January 2017 and repeated on many subsequent occasions, cannot be achieved. According to the terms of the agreement – which is, in fact, only an agreement to continue negotiating – Britain and the EU will seek to sign a free trade deal by the end of the transition period, in 2020.
But the famous ‘Irish border backstop’ ensures that the EU has no interest in agreeing to anything.
If there is no free trade agreement by the end of 2020, according to the terms of the deal she negotiated in November, the whole of the United Kingdom will remain in the EU customs union. It will not be able to leave it, until a new agreement is reached. Britain will, therefore, be in a uniquely weak position, and the EU has every interest in getting it there.
London would have to accede to a long shopping list of individual demands from EU states – from the French on fishing, from the Spanish on Gibraltar, and so on – in order to break free from the backstop. It is more difficult to leave the backstop than it is to leave the EU, and May’s deal is therefore the longest suicide note in history.
The fact is, that Britain and the EU have been negotiating for two years, with radically different objectives. Theresa May does not seem to have realized this. London was trying to have the benefits of EU membership (a free trade agreement) without the costs; Brussels was determined to show, that you cannot have the benefits, without the costs. London wanted to prosper outside the EU, Brussels is determined to show, that you cannot prosper outside the EU: for fear that other EU member states might start trying to follow Britain.
Theresa May was determined to succeed, whereas the EU’s priority has been, to ensure that she fails.
The EU’s strategy has, therefore, been to create a situation in Britain, which is untenable, with the openly admitted goal of getting the British, one way or another, to reverse Brexit.
This is but a variant of the tactic the EU has deployed many times, in the past, when it has lost in other referendums – in Denmark, in 1992, in Ireland, in 2001 & 2008, in France & the Netherlands, in 2005, & in the Netherlands again, in 2016 (in a vote on the Association Agreement with Ukraine, which was widely seen as being against the EU, in general.)
On each occasion, the EU simply decided to ignore the vote; either it pressed ahead with ratification in other states so that the countries in question were forced to vote a second time (Denmark & Ireland) or the same legislation was passed by the political class in their respective national parliaments (France and the Netherlands) & against the people’s wishes.
The same thing is now happening against Britain, and we are now witnessing, in real time, a sixth attempt to strangle democracy.
By running down the clock, Prime Minister May hopes that her deal will be accepted as the only way of preventing no deal or no Brexit. That is why, it is essential for MPs to adopt the opposite logic from hers, and vote for no deal.
At a time when the ''pink tide'' in Latin America has receded, and most see the US pivoting to re-enact a Monroe Doctrine 2, this new article from Fort Russ, is refresshing!
What do you think?
‘BEIJING CONSENSUS’: China-Latin America Cooperation Signals New Era by Paul Antonopoulos August 1st, 2018
A Chinese space research base located in central Patagonia, Argentina, has sparked interest in The New York Times, which labeled it “one of the most striking symbols” of Beijing’s transformative role in the region.
The US newspaper highlighted the story on the front cover of its July 29 issue and dedicated an extensive report, analyzing the reasons behind the colossal facility in the province of Neuquén. Under Chinese control, the site is part of the ambitious project under- taken by Beijing to land on the hidden side of the moon.
According to The New York Times, this facility is only one of many pieces of evidence of China’s growing influence -- not only in Argentina but in other countries in the region where it has invested in construction, or to which it has lent, in exchange for holdings in hydrocarbon reserves.
“The base has a geographical position very close to the Argentine submarine platform facing the Atlantic and a strategic monitoring station in Antarctica, where China has the largest scientific base in the world,” Gustav Cardozo, an analyst at Argentine Centre for International Studies (CAEI), explained.
The construction of the Chinese space complex on Argentine soil, which covers about 200 hectares, is the result of negotiations between the government of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (2007-2015), and the administration of Xi Jinping and is intended to be a space for “astronomical research.”
In Cardozo’s opinion, the base “has an objective of military monitoring” in a privileged space. In recent years, with projects like this, China has demonstrated a policy of “space race” with a very strong investment and improved technology from Russia and the former Soviet Union, to consolidate itself as a leading player in the industry.
In fact, the base in question is part of the Deep Space Network, a set of communication resources to support Chinese operations beyond Earth.
“China has a strong intention of exploring space and competing strategically with the US. This military base not only allows us to monitor space, since Argentine Patagonia and southern Chile are geographically very good regions because of the visibility they offer, China’s fundamental interest has to do with Antarctica,” said the expert.
The white continent is “very strategic” area in the eyes of Beijing due to the abundance of natural resources, in addition to hydrocarbons and mining. China is moving in to take advantage of the US’ fragile imperial reform period in which Washington is reassessing its commitments around the world, such as in Antarctica and Latin America, which have, until the Trump presidency, seemed to have taken a back seat to the European theatre of Atlanticism.
“With Donald Trump, that gap between Washington and the rest of the Latin American countries has increased and China, with a strong investment, is occupying the space that the US is leaving behind,” Cardozo said.
In this way, “through scientific and technological means,” the military presence of China is consolidating, because in facilities like Neuquén, “the work of Argentine scientists is minimal.” Officials who control the perimeter are Chinese and “people living in the area can not enter the perimeter.”
In any case, the Neuquén Space Station is a symbol of the power of the Asian giant in Latin America. In the opinion of CAEI’s expert, “in a decade, China will play an extremely important role in the region”, a preponderant place that is already observed, he says, due to the strategic importance of Latin America, which is a supplier of food, raw materials and hydrocarbons.
The examples cited by the analyst include control over the Panama Canal and investments in broadening it, as well as the incentive to create new bi-oceanic corridors to improve trade. This is part of the Chinese project to include Latin America in the New Silk Road, the ambitious infra- structure investment project in the corridor that runs from South Asia to Eastern Europe and Africa.
The New York Times points to this Asian country’s strategy and mentions that the bond that formed during the era of progressive governments in Latin America (2005-2015) has lasted even after the shift to the right in several countries, as in the case of Argentina itself.
“China is taking a leading role, which will increase in the future because it has sovereign funds to invest, and because it has an interest in Latin America, an interest that no other extra- continental power shows. I believe that, in a few years, in a decade, this will be something totally visible,” said Gustavo Cardozo.
However, there is a difference between China and other powers that once were present in Latin America: the policy of treating countries as partners, since, for Beijing, “self-determination of peoples is of great importance”, as is “respect for internal sovereignty.” This is a policy of cooperation with “non- interference in others’ domestic affairs” which, according to Cardozo, might be explained by “China’s past suffering of unequal treatment” from the colonial powers.
According to Cardozo, at a time when the so-called “Washington Consensus” dictated a package of rules to be followed by countries receiving assistance from institutions under the US umbrella, “today we could say that there is a ‘Beijing Consensus’ based on non-interference in internal affairs.”
This consensus “manifests itself in regions such as Africa and Latin America, where there are young countries that attach much importance to the issues of sovereignty and self-determination,” said the expert.
As an example, he cited the case of Venezuela, a country with which, China has maintained close ties, even when other countries have imposed economic and diplomatic sanctions. Beijing reiterated --- that the crisis of the Caribbean nation “is something that its people have to solve”.
War Crimes in Korea - Guilty as Charged
With the world's press spending a great deal of its energy on the rather fractious relationship between the United States and North Korea, a look back in time gives us some fascinating insight regarding the geopolitical stresses that rule the region, particularly the stresses that occurred during the Korean War.
Thanks to the International Action Centre and the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), a Non-Governmental Organization which was founded in 1946 and acts as a consultative group to UNESCO, we have an interesting document that outlines some of America's actions on the Korean Peninsula during the early 1950s.
In March 1952, the IADL issued a Report on U.S. Crimes in Korea during the Korean War.
In the early 1950s, the Government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea repeatedly asked the United Nations to protest violations of international law by their enemies, the United States-led international coalition. These requests were ignored by the United Nations &, as such, the Council of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers set up a Commission... consisting of lawyers from several nations, to investigate these allegations with a "boots on the ground" trip to Korea, which took place from March 3rd to March 19th, 1952, visiting the provinces of North and South Piengan, Hwang Hai, Kang Wan, including the towns of Pyongyang, Nampo, Kaichen, Pek Dong, Amju, Sinchon, Anak, Sariwon and Wonsan among others.
The IADL notes that, under United Nations rules, the U.S. intervention on the Korean Peninsula was unlawful and that President Truman's orders to the American Navy and Air Force should be considered an "aggressive act" that went against the United Nations Charter.
Here are some of the more interesting findings of the IADL Commission:
1.) Bacteriological Warfare: The Commission investigated the allegations that American forces in Korea were using bacteriological weapons against both the DPRK armed forces and the nation's civilian population. Between the 28th of January and the 12th of March (i.e. during the dead of winter), 1952, the Commission found... insects which carried bacteria, in many different locations:
The Commission noted that many of the insect species had not been found in Korea, prior to the arrival of American forces and that many of them were found in mixed groups or clusters that would not normally be found together, for example, flies and spiders. It also noted that the January temperature was 1 degree Celsius (just above freezing) to 5 degrees Celsius in February but that the prevailing average temperature was far below the freezing level, temperatures that are extremely hostile to insect life.
The insects were infected with the following bacteria which include plague, cholera and typhus:
1.) Eberthella typhus
2.) Bacillus paratyphi A and B
3.) Shigella dysenteriae
4.) Vibrio cholera
5.) Pasturella pestis
In addition, a great quantity of fish of a species which live in regions between fresh water and salt water, were found; these fish were found in a half rotten state and were infected with cholera.
2.) Chemical Weapons: On various occasions since May 6th, 1951, American planes used asphyxiating and other gases or chemical weapons as follows:
In the first attack on Nampo City, there were 1,379 casualties of which 480 died of suffocation and 647 others were affected by gas.
3.) Mass Massacres: According to witnesses, the commander of the U.S. Forces in the region of Sinchon by the name of Harrison ordered the mass killing of 35,383 civilians (19,149 men and 16,234 women) during the period between October 17th and December 7th, 1950. The civilians were pushed into a deep open grave, doused with fuel oil and set on fire. Those who tried to escape were shot. In another case, on October 20th, 2015, 500 men women and children were forced into an air raid cave shelter, located in the city of Sinchon. Harrison ordered American soldiers to put explosives into the shelter and seal it with sacks of earth, prior to the fuse being lit.
Here are other examples of mass murders:
4.) Attacks on Civilians:
Prior to the Korean War, the capital city of North Korea, Pyongyang, had a population of 464,000. As a result of the war, the population had fallen to 181,000 by December 31, 1951. In the period between June 27, 1950 and the Commission's visit, more than 30,000 incendiary and explosive devices were dropped on the city, destroying 64,000 out of 80,000 houses, 32 hospitals and dispensaries (despite the fact that they were marked with a red cross), 64 churches, 99 schools and university buildings.
Here is the conclusion of the Commission:
The IADL Commission unanimously found that the United States was guilty of crimes against humanity during the Korean War and that there was a pattern of behaviour which constitutes genocide.
Let's close this posting with the conclusion of the 2001 Korea International War Crimes Tribunal, which examined the testimony of civilians from both North Korea and South Korea, over the period from 1945 to 2001:
The Members of the International War Crimes Tribunal find the accused Guilty, on the basis of the evidence against them: each of the nineteen separate crimes alleged in the Initial Complaint has been established to have been committed beyond a reasonable doubt. The Members find these crimes to have occurred during three main periods in the U.S. intervention in and occupation of, Korea.
1. The best-known period is from June 25, 1950, until July 27, 1953, the Korean War, when over 4.6 million Koreans perished, according to conservative Western estimates, including 3 million civilians in the north and 500,000 civilians in the south. The evidence of US war crimes presented to this Tribunal, included eyewitness testimony & documentary accounts of massacres of thousands of civilians in southern Korea by U.S. military forces during the war. Abundant evidence was also presented, concerning criminal and even genocidal U.S. conduct in northern Korea, including the systematic leveling of most buildings and dwellings by U.S. artillery and aerial bombardment; wide- spread atrocities committed by U.S. & R.O.K. forces against civilians and prisoners of war; the deliberate destruction of facilities essential to civilian life and economic production; and the use of illegal weapons and biological and chemical warfare by the U.S. against the people and the environment of northern Korea. Documentary and eyewitness evidence was also presented showing gross and systematic violence committed against women in northern and southern Korea, characterized by mass rapes, sexual assaults and murders.
2. Less known but of crucial importance in understanding the war period, is the preceding five years, from the landing of U.S. troops in Korea on September 8, 1945, to the outbreak of the war. The Tribunal Members examined extensive evidence of US crimes against peace, and crimes against humanity, in this period.
The Members conclude that the U.S. government acted to divide Korea against the will of the vast majority of the people, limit its sovereignty, create a police state in southern Korea using many former collaborators with Japanese rule, and provoke tension and threats between southern and northern Korea, opposing and disrupting any plans for peaceful reunification. In this period the U.S. trained, directed and supported the ROK in systematic murder, imprisonment, torture, surveillance, harassment and violations of human rights, of hundreds of thousands of people, especially of those individuals or groups considered nationalists, leftists, peasants seeking land reform, union organizers and/or those sympathetic to the north.
3. The Members find that, in the period from July 1953, to the present, the U.S. has continued to maintain a powerful military force in southern Korea, backed by nuclear weapons, in violation of international law and intended to obstruct the will of the Korean people for reunification. Military occupation has been accompanied by the organized sexual exploitation of Korean women, frequently leading to violence and even murder of women, by U.S. soldiers, who have felt above the law. U.S.- imposed economic sanctions have impoverished and debilitated the people of northern Korea, leading to a reduction of life expectancy, widespread malnutrition and even starvation, in a country that once exported food. The refusal of the US government to grant visas to a delegation from the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, who planned to attend this Tribunal, only confirms the criminal intent of the defendants - to isolate those whom they have abused, to prevent them from telling their story to the world.
In all these 55 years, the U.S. government has systematically manipulated, controlled, directed, misinformed and restricted press and media coverage, to obtain consistent support for its military intervention, occupation and crimes against the people of Korea. It has also inculcated racist attitudes within the US troops and general population, that prepared them to commit and/or accept atrocities and genocidal policies against the Korean people.
It has violated the Constitution of the United States, the delegation of powers over war and the military, the Bill of Rights, the UN Charter, international law and the laws of the ROK, DPRK, Peoples Republic of China, Japan and many others, in its lawless determination to exercise its will over the Korean peninsula.
The Members of the Korea International War Crimes Tribunal hold the United States government and its leaders accountable for these criminal acts and condemn those found guilty, in the strongest possible terms."
And Washington wonders why the North Koreans are so hostile toward the United States! The irony of Washington's criticism of other nations (i.e Syria) and their use of chemical weapons is stunningly hypocritical.
Posted by A Political Junkie
If any validity at all exists to the claims made in the 1952 IADL and the 2001 Korea International War Crimes Tribunal reports, some of North Korea's fear and distrust of America, becomes very understandable. More about these claims in the article below.
I'm so grateful for this information. Now how to get it to every US and UK citizen? My country, UK, was involved in this war too. I already knew Korea's population was reduced by 20% but that's just a number. Reading how the US managed it, is vivid and sickening. They're not the good guys handing out the Chocolate, are they? Would be nice to think UK wasn't involved with US in War Crimes/Genocide, but who knows.
(Source - Viable Opposition)
Few noted the essence of Putin's inauguration speech and its implications. What do YOU think?
We welcome your thoughts: email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
TALL ORDER? Russia aims to be world’s 5th largest economy by Paul Antonopoulos May 11th, 2018
The inauguration ceremony of Putin to the presidency took place on Monday, in which he also signed a decree of instructions for the objectives on the development of the country for the next few years.
Putin has instructed the government to make the country one of the five most powerful economies by 2024 . The news was released by the Kremlin press service on Monday.
“The Russian government was instructed to ensure the following national goals for the development of Russia in the period up to 2024 … Russia must become one of the five largest economies, ensuring rates of economic growth above global standards, maintaining macro- economic stability as well as inflation not exceeding 4%,” the decree explains.
In addition, Putin instructed the government to create at least 15 global science and education centres, through the integration of universities and companies, by 2024.
Re-elected for a new six-year term as the Russian president, Vladimir Putin took office as head of state on Monday. It was the fourth presidential inauguration ceremony in his political career.
Putin was re-elected as Russia’s president in 2018 with record support, receiving a vote of more than 56.4 million from people.
It must be noted though, that in 2007, Putin said it would happen in 2017, and then, in 2008, he said it would be achieved by 2020. Russia’s economy is currently ranked 12th, behind the likes of Canada and South Korea.
Meanwhile, Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday, that he was ready to do everything for Russia’s development if the parliament approved his candidacy as PM.
“I would like to thank President Vladimir Putin for the trust placed in me and for the proposal to become the head of the government. This is not only trust, but also a huge responsibility, and in the case that the corresponding decisions are made, I am ready to do everything for the development of our country Russia,” Medvedev told a plenary session of the State Duma.
Whether or not Russia is capable of growing to become one of the world’s top five economies in the next decade, is not simply a technical one - it is an ideological & philosophical one. There is an active debate within Russia, about the uses and utilities of market vs. planned economic structures, and secondly – though not entirely separately – the utility and value of Russia integrating into Western economies, and how the costs vs. benefits of that, will play out, in the middle to long term.
(Source - Fort Russ)
Don't Trust Putin's Kleptocrats – Russia Needs Socialism November, 2017.
Veteran Russian communist DR SLAVA TETEKIN talks to John Foster, about how Russians today view the former Soviet Union and attitudes towards Vladimir Putin.
Asked about current support for communism in Russia, Dr Slava Tetekin, veteran member of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, puts the figure at around 30 per cent.
Tetekin, recently in London for the celebration of the October Socialist Revolution, explained --- “our parliamentary representation fell significantly in the most recent Duma elections, to just over 12 per cent — largely as a result of a rigged electoral system.
“But the daily sale of the communist-supporting Pravda is 80,000 and of Sovetskaya Rossiya 120,000. Particularly among the young and the better-educated, interest in our party’s policies and the achievements of the Soviet Union, is increasing.
“This is because life,” says Tetekin, “is becoming increasingly difficult for all in Russia, except the very rich. Real incomes have been declining for three straight years. Twenty-two million people are classified as living in absolute poverty — struggling to get enough to eat. Half the populationis classified as poor.
“Yet people still remember that things were not always like this. Less than 30 years ago there was universal free healthcare.
“Education was free, right through to university, and so was childcare. There were full pensions. There was no unemployment. Housing, energy, transport and basic foods, were all heavily subsidised.
“There is also a growing awareness - of the degradation of Russia’s economy. Russia’s manufacturing industries are virtually dead. The economy is almost entirely dependent on extractive industries that sell to the West: oil, minerals, natural gas.
“In 1990, the Soviet Union produced 1,000 aircraft. Last year... we produced 50. Our airlines lease from the West. Our motor industry is entirely dependent on imported technology and components. The same applies even more to IT and computing. The technological base for independent economic development, has all but disappeared.
“These are some of the reasons why a new generation of Russians are looking again at their own history and particularly at the period following the revolution. In 1917 Russia had a backward, largely agrarian economy. Within just 25 years the Soviet Union was outperforming Europe’s biggest economy, Germany, both in output and the quality of its technology. It was in large part for this reason that the Soviet Union was able to defeat Hitler fascism.”
Asked how he would describe Russia’s current government under Vladimir Putin, Tetekin denied that it should be seen as at all progressive.
“It is embedded in a layer of kleptocratic comprador oligarchs - who are dependent on the West for the sale of their raw materials, for the banking of their money and for the technology needed for their operations in Russia. Immediately below Putin virtually all ministers are of this character.
“The government depends on the oligarchs and the oligarchs depend on the West.
“Putin,” he says, “has now been in power for a very long time. His 18 years exceed those of Brezhnev. It is remarkable how little challenge he offered to Nato and the US, for the great bulk of that time: years, that saw Nato’s eastward expansion into central Europe, the Balkans and the Black Sea. Russia even failed to oppose the invasion of Libya.
“It is only recently, in Crimea and in Syria, that Russia has set down markers against further US advances. This may reflect the directness with which the US was challenging Russia’s interests.”
But, says Tetekin, “there may well be other factors, which we need to consider.
“These might include: perceptions of a decline in the global power of the US, of a shift towards China, and economic rivalries between the US and the EU.
“Russia sells seven times as much to Germany as it does to the US — and buys from Germany in the same proportion.
“In turn, Germany’s own energy costs and international competitiveness against the US depend very significantly on Russian oil and gas. US diplomatic action to impede the construction of new gas pipelines from Russia to Germany & banking sanctions on oligarch companies -- match the increasing conflict between the EU and the US, over steel quotas and corporate taxation.”
Joking, Tetekin says he would be all in favour of US sanctions against Russia --- if they covered technology and spare parts.
“It would force the Russian government to invest in the redevelopment of our productive economy.”
However, he adds, these rivalries also underlie attempts to promote a “democratic opposition“ in Russia similar to that funded by the US in Ukraine, prior to the 2014 coup.
“It has a smaller potential base. It is impeded by its neoliberal ideology. Unlike the time of Yeltsin’s 1991 coup, there are no illusions about free markets. Russians have seen them, and know the consequences. But regime change is increasingly becoming a goal of the US administration.”
This, he says, makes it all the more important to redevelop working-class mobilisation and to ensure that the current reawakening of enthusiasm for the October Revolution is converted into a wider political movement for socialist change.
The young are already leading the way.
Dr Tetekin is currently chief policy adviser to the general secretary of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, was a communist member of the Duma and previously played an active role in support for the anti-apartheid movement in southern Africa.
(Source - Morning Star)
North Korea: Standing proud for Korea! 30/8/2017 Few foreigners know this but here it is: most South Koreans admire their brothers and sisters in the North, the DPR Korea. The US does not know this, because such feelings are shared in private but then again what can you do if you have a foreign power on your soil controling your policy? Some react, others lie in bed with their master.
After all, the Japanese did it increasingly from 1876, then de facto from 1910 until 1945, by which time the founder of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Kim il-Sung, had made a name for himself as an anti-Japanese guerrilla fighter and commander. And hero. After all, the Japanese took five hundred thousand Korean girls and ladies and turned them into "comfort women" to receive the dirty water from tired Japanese imperial invaders. After all, the Koreans provided half a million male slaves to the Japanese invader. It is this that Kim il-Sung was fighting against and the South Koreans know this.
The South Koreans, or the citizens of the Republic of Korea, know that South Koreans took part in the Sinchon Massacre which shows the torture and murder of civilians by mainly South Korean military personnel but also US soldiers, acting under the auspices of Washington. The South Koreans know that the USA deployed 32,557 tons of chemical weapons on North Korean civilians. The South Koreans know that the US and its South Korean puppet planned to invade the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in 1950. They know that these plans were seized by North Korean agents, and they know that these documents counter the lies used by the US State Department claiming that the war started when the North invaded the South. As was its right under international law, the DPRK defended itself. And so ensued the Korean War between 1950 and 1953. The South Koreans know that in this war, the Americans dropped more bombs on North Korea than it used in the entire Pacific arena in the Second World War. They know that in this war, the United States of America dropped 635,000 tons of explosives as opposed to 503,000 in the Pacific conflict. They know that in this war, the United States of America deployed 32,557 tons of Napalm, a chemical weapon, on N. Korean citizens.
In this war, 3.5 million Koreans were killed.
In this war, Pyongyang was bombed, it was carpet bombed and after three years of day-and-night humiliation, two buildings were left standing.
The South Koreans know that in this war, 20 per cent of the North Korean population was murdered by the United States of America and they know that American soldiers carried out the most barbaric atrocities, strafing air-raid shelters full of women and children, laughing as their screams filled the air as they burned to death. They know that in this war, US soldiers poured gasoline on civilians and stood back watching as they died a horrific death. The South Koreans know that in this war, US military personnel decapitated political prisoners with Samurai swords and they know that in one shelter, nine hundred women and children were incinerated. Korean children. Incinerated. As US soldiers looked on and giggled. Some say a few masturbated.
The South Koreans know that in one massacre of Koreans, 500 civilians were forced into a ditch and doused in gasoline before someone tossed in a match. The South Koreans know that American soldiers were seen pouring fuel down the air vents and that they were seen setting fire to the civilians sheltering below.
The South Koreans know that the Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT) bans nuclear tests in the atmosphere, outer space and under water. However, the DPR Korea is not a party to this treaty. Neither is underground testing banned under the treaty, unless radiation is released into the atmosphere. The South Koreans know that the CTBT, or Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (1996) is not in force and the DPR Korea is not a party to this treaty.
The South Koreans know that the DPR Korea did sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1985. This treaty expressly bans the manufacture and testing of nuclear devices, under Article II. However, the DPR Korea with- drew from the treaty in 2003, having given notice to the UNSC, as per Article X (I) which allows member states to withdraw from the treaty. The S. Koreans know this.
The South Koreans know that the Nuclear Disarmanent Declaration made by the DPR Korea is taken by some to be legally binding. This statement was made under the fourth round of the Six-Party Talks on the DPRK nuclear weapons program (PR China, Japan, DPR Korea, Russia, Rep. Korea, USA) in 2005. The declaration by Pyongyang was not a public declaration, but rather, an affirmation, made in private negotiations with five other nations and secondly, where is the evidence that Pyongyang intended to be bound by circumstances, especially after Iraq and Libya spelled a clear lesson: that if you destroy your weapons, then you are invaded.
And here we get to the crux of the matter. If you destroy your weapons, Washington invades you. Ask Iraq. Ask Libya. Ask Syria (proxy invasion by western-backed terrorists).
And if someone tries to use the UNSC (United Nations Security Council) as a legal entity or legal source, then let us ask Washington under which UN law did it invade Iraq? Or did the USA breach the UN Charter and breach international law with its invasion?
And regarding nukes, if the DPR Korea cannot have them, has anyone investigated Israel and found out whether the number of nukes it has is really 80 & with fissile material for a further 200 nuclear missiles?
The point is that the DPR Korea stands up against all these monumental injustices and these attempts to humiliate Koreans. The DPR Korea wants foreign troops off Korean soil and wants peace and reconciliation with the South.
That is all they ask for. From a position of pride & dignity. The South Koreans know this and they also know, in whose bed they lie.
by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey
(Source - Pravda.Ru)
TURNING THE LIGHT ON...
In this year of the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution, and twenty years after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, it seems that no media in Russia, or anywhere else, ever quotes any serious news or analysis, from or about, the second most powerful political party in Russia, after Putin's United Russia party!
The Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), is mentioned less than the Russian Communist Party, a fake party, in RT news and other Russian media outlets...
So here's the latest report from the CPRF itself, well worth ploughing through, for what it reveals.
I wonder what you will think about it!
Please drop me a line, at email@example.com
Political Report of the Central Committee to the XVII Congress of the CPRF
Delegates and guests of the Congress,
We have left behind us the report period, for which the start was made by the XV Congress. This stage was full of highly important, sometimes dramatic events. The time has come to review the results of the work over the past four years and set new benchmarks.
We are holding our XVII Congress in the year of the centenary of the Great October Revolution. The party started preparing for the jubilee in March 2015 at a special plenary session of the Central Committee.
Human history has seen many great events, but only some of them change the course of development of the whole world. Proletarian revolution in our country, dramatically changed the face of the planet. It set Russia on the path to socialism. It solved the national crisis, and saved the country from destruction.
The 'Great October Revolution' rid Russia of capitalist and national oppression. For the people of the Earth it became the lode star and the clarion call --- for the search for a future, worthy of Mankind.
The era of the building of socialism, is written into the biography of our country in golden letters. The unique experience of Lenin- Stalin modernization enabled the country to increase its industrial potential seventy-fold within two decades, a rate of development unprecedented in world history. That experience is still an example of the successful creation of a society of social justice.
The Jubilee of the Great October Revolution is an excellent opportunity to remind the world of its significance and high- light the achievements of socialism. To show an alternative to the omnipotence of capital. To mobilize all the forces, to struggle for the triumph of the bright ideas of working people.
The crisis of capitalism: a sign of decay
The world is immersed in a profound systemic crisis which engenders instability and threatens a new world war. This is the essence of the present stage of capitalism. The inherent contradictions of this system have not gone away: the contradictions between Labour and Capital, between the social character of production and the private form of appropriation of the results of labour. On the contrary, the inborn flaws of this system, have assumed a worldwide character. There is no corner on Earth where the tentacles of the rapacious octopus have not reached. As Marx noted in his time, its very nature, forces it to scour the world in search of maximum profits. Therefore the miasma of over-ripe and decaying capitalism, is poisoning practically all countries and continents.
Crises are an inseparable part of the capitalist economy. Throughout its history capitalism has engendered several major and tens of smaller crises. The current crisis is now into its tenth year. It is the biggest crisis since the Great Depression in the USA and the Second World War. The crisis has affected, not just one individual sector, not one tentacle of the octopus, but the entire system.
The current crisis is a direct consequence of neoliberalism. The US Marxist, David Harvey, came to the conclusion that in the 1970s, speculative financial capital had finally gained an upper hand over industrial capital, so that not production, but the market value of shares of stock, became the aim of economic activity. Financial interests, “the power of the accountants rather than the engineers”, prevailed among the ruling classes and the ruling elites. Indeed, capitalism is drifting further & further away from material production. The imploding financial bubbles, form a characteristic feature of modern capitalism. You will remember that the CPRF has described this phenomenon as financial imperialism, and has provided its extended analysis.
Neoliberalism has led to a revision of the idea of a “social state.” It has cast aside all the vestiges of democracy and human rights. It is relentlessly asserting its class & even caste supremacy. According to Oxfam, the international association of NGOs, 1% of the planet’s population owns more wealth, than the remaining 99 percent. The combined wealth of 62 of the richest people, is comparable to what the poorest half of humankind owns, and that, is 3.5 billion people.
It is impossible to challenge the English philosopher Terry Eagleton, who predicted in his book Why Marx Was Right, that “Capitalism will behave anti-socially, if it is profitable for it to do so, & that can now mean human devastation on an unimaginable scale.”
The number of billionaires increased six times - to 1,810 - between 2000 and 2016. At the same time, more than a billion Earth people live in abject poverty. Nearly 400 million children suffer from malnutrition. This is not a coincidence. There is a direct link between the enrichment of the rich, & the impoverishment of the poor.
During the last crisis, the lower strata were ruined, lost their jobs and dwellings, while banks and corporations drew billions in assistance from governments. This isn't surprising, considering that government institutions have become no more than managers hired by Big Business. While Apple pays, in Europe, a profit tax equal to five- thousandths of a percentage point, ordinary people are choked by high taxes, prices and credits, low wages, and the dismantling of social rights.
The parasitic essence of world capitalism will not disappear - unless capitalism is destroyed. In its quest for maximum profits, the oligarchy stops at nothing: stepping up their exploitation and financial speculation, the unleashing of wars, and the destruction of whole states.
Our XV Congress thus defined the main features of the present-day capitalist system:
First, globalism is the highest form of imperialism.
Second, the world economic crisis is deepening.
Third, capitalism is mounting an attack against human rights everywhere.
Fourth, imperialism is increasingly aggressive in the world arena, and the threat of a new, major war, is growing.
Fifth, financial-oligarchic capital ever more openly puts its stake, on the most vicious and reactionary forces.
Life has vindicated our analysis. During the past four years the beastly snarl of capitalism has manifested itself in all its ugly cynicism. World capital does not tolerate competitors, let alone rivals: it strangles and destroys political regimes that think along national lines.
Over a hundred years ago Lenin drew attention to the crises connected with the transition from the “peaceful” to the non- peaceful stage of the functioning of the bourgeois system. The destruction of the Soviet Union, ushered in another “peaceful” period. Not encountering any serious obstacles, capitalism pursued a policy of globalization. The workers’ and communist movement was weakened. There was an upsurge of opportunism. Absolute impoverishment of the working people was taking place, even in economically developed countries.
That period is now over. New trends have emerged.
First, imperialism is actively provoking internal conflicts in various countries and is using military force to redraw the world map. Examples are Iraq, Libya and Syria.
Second, a tilt to the right is encouraged in the centres of world capitalism. Even the European social-democrats have given up their pacifism and embraced aggressive imperialistic attitudes. Seeing Russia as a competitor, the West is fomenting anti-Sovietism and Russophobia.
Third, right-wing forces, including Fascism, have moved to the forefront of the capitalist world.
We believe it is wrong to assert that Russia has immunity to Fascism. The historical experience of Italy & Germany has shown that in the “weak links” of the capitalist chain, imperialism uses Fascization as an “antidote” to socialist revolutions. That is why Russia is also vulnerable. We communists have to be vigilant.
The scenario of the extreme right coming to power has already been acted out in Ukraine. The Banderovites, backed by the US and the European Union, staged a government coup to establish a terrorist, reactionary nationalist regime that cracks down on communists and all dissenters. The proclamation of the Donetsk & Lugansk People’s Republics was a logical reaction of millions of honest and courageous people. In spite of the Minsk Agreements, the situation in Donbass is extremely tense. Today the CPRF reaffirms: “Donbass, we are by your side.” We come out for the recognition of the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, and for their further rapprochement with Russia.
The decision of the people of Crimea on reunification with Russia, was a landmark event. At the same time, it has shown that world capitalism won't tolerate attempts by our country, to protect its borders and interests. The Western countries are turning Ukraine into an anti- Russian bulwark. In July 2016, the NATO summit in Warsaw declared Russia to be the main threat -- and “containing Moscow”, to be the key goal.
Having accused Russia of aggression, the North Atlantic Alliance has stepped up the militarization of Eastern Europe. NATO has deployed its military units in Poland, Romania and the Baltic states. NATO is strengthening its presence on the Black Sea. Montenegro has been drawn into the Alliance.
The new US Administration has not renounced its aggressive foreign policy. One of Trump’s early directives was to increase the defense budget by more than 50 billion dollars.
The USA has unleashed expansion in the Middle East under the guise of fighting ISIL. Its aim is hegemony over the key region rich in hydrocarbon resources. The US strike on Shayrat air base on April the 7th shattered the myth of Trump’s “love of peace.” This put paid to Zhirinovsky’s Trumpomania.
While tirelessly instructing the world in democracy, US imperialism is taking part in crimes against humanity. Hundreds of civilians died, during the bombings of Mosul in Iraq, the air strike on a hospital in Kunduz, in Afghanistan, claimed tens of lives. The barbaric operation in Yemen, in which Saudi Arabia has the direct support of Washington, is into its third year. The death toll has topped 10,000, two-thirds of the country’s population are on the brink of starvation.
The process of the decay of imperialism, predicted by Lenin, is unfolding. The link between world capital and religious extremism has grown stronger. The USA and its satellites support such brutal groups as Jabhat al- Nusra and ISIL. Uigur separatist and Islamic groups whose chieftains are based in the US and Western Europe are being used to destabilize China. It isn't surprising, that China is one of the main targets. Acting now by threats & now by cajolery, global capital seeks to weaken the Celestial Kingdom. It is clearly scared of the successes of the new world power. To “neutralize the Chinese threat” the US is cobbling together an alliance against the PRC, trying to drag into it, not only Japan & South Korea, but also the Philippines, India and some other countries. In April, the US military came close to unleashing war on the Korean Peninsula. Pyongyang is denied the right to strengthen its national defense.
In Latin America capital continues to oppose “XXI-century Socialism.” When it was embraced by Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua this put hope into the hearts of millions of disfranchised citizens. In response, every trick in the book has been used: sanctions, threats of invasion, and the financing of subversive actions of the right-wing opposition. The globalists have managed to bring about an impeachment of Dilma Russeff in Brazil. They have put Mauricio Macri, as the head of Argentina. Now, these countries open the door to US corporations and the rights of workers are under attack.
However “the right-wing revenge” has stalled. In Venezuela, attempts to depose Nicolas Maduro, the successor to the legendary Hugo Chavez, are failing, although Washington has invested huge resources in it. In Ecuador the left-wing candidate, Lenin Moreno, scored a victory. In Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega comfortably won another term. Late last year the world suffered a heavy loss. Fidel Castro, the symbol and banner of anti-imperialist struggle, died. His like-minded fellow fighters, carry on his courageous cause.
Thus, the international situation is determined by the clash of two trends. The first is the offensive of the forces of capitalism. It is doing all it can to shore up its global dominance. But there is also the second trend, and that is the growing resistance to capitalist hegemony, and the commitment to uphold the right to independent and sovereign existence.
We are for a better world
Opposition to the forces of capital takes various forms.
First, a number of states reject the course imposed by the ideologues of liberalism. The Communist Party of China will hold its XIX Congress in the autumn. The Chinese communists are moving steadily toward achieving their two main goals: to build a middle-level wealth society by the time of the Party’s centenary in 2021 and to create “a powerful, affluent, democratic, civilized, harmonious and modernized socialist state” by the PRC's centenary in 2049. In the international arena Beijing comes out for peace & economic integration and is promoting the One Belt, One Road, project.
Vietnam, Cuba, Laos and the DPRK are developing confidently. Belarus is setting an example to the post-Soviet space. Leftist governments in Latin America, united in the ALBA alliance, are demonstrating staunchness. Their social programs have given millions of people housing, jobs, medial care and education. All these countries prove, that there is an alternative to globalism.
Second, millions of working people are struggling for their rights. In France last year the reform of labour laws involved hundreds of thousands of citizens in protests. Millions of people regularly go on strike against liberal reforms in India. The people of Brazil and Argentina, are actively opposing the offensive of capitalism.
It has to be admitted that the crisis of capitalism tends to increase the influence both of the left and of the right parties. The ideas of euroscepticism are gaining popularity in Europe, as manifested by Brexit, and the electoral success in France of Marine le Pen and Jean-Luc Melanchon. In the heart of world capitalism, the USA, socialist-leaning candidate Bernie Sanders, won active support before the presidential vote and Donald Trump also campaigned on criticism of the dominance of Wall Street.
It is very important for the left to prevent a “right-wing march” on the planet. Possibilities for that do exist. It is clear that after the treacherous destruction of the Soviet Union no “end of history” and no “collapse of communism” have occurred. The influence of the left could not have disappeared, if only because poverty, inequality and injustice did not go away. They force people to fight for a better life. The world communist movement, has not been destroyed. It is building up its strength.
Communists today form part of the ruling coalitions in Nepal, Venezuela, Ecuador, Uruguay, and some other countries. In recent years our comrades in Belarus & the Czech Republic have scored successes. The Labour Party in Belgium, has a chance to win more seats in parliament. Communists have nearly trebled their presence in the parliament of Japan. These are just some examples.
The program of our party determines that the CPRF is part of the international communist and workers’ movement. We are actively promoting cooperation with fraternal parties, pooling our efforts in the struggle against imperialism, and for the interests of the working people.
Socialism is the strategic goal of communists. In their struggle for it, the communist parties are called upon to strengthen their position in the grassroots with due account of the specificities of each country. This task should be solved, through opposing both social-reformism and left-wing sectarianism.
The CPRF is actively involved in the analysis of the modern stage of class struggle, & in developing its forms and methods. During the report period, we initiated a number of academic-practical conferences & round tables, including: International Communist Movement Today & Tomorrow, The Image of Socialism We Are Struggling For, The Party Press, & the Struggle of Communists under Current Conditions.
In May 2015 the CPRF organized in Moscow, a meeting of international democratic organizations, to mark the 70th Anniversary of the Victory Over Fascism. Taking part were...
The World Federation of Trade Unions, The World Peace Council, The Women’s International Democratic Federation, The World Federation of Democratic Youth, The International Federation of Democratic Lawyers, The International Federation of Anti- Fascists and Resistance Fighters. All of them have a corresponding status at UNESCO, the International Labour Organization, and other UN agencies.
This year the activities of the world’s communist parties are dominated by the 100th Anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution. Resolutions have been passed, stressing its significance.
Our party takes an active part in International Meetings of Communist and Workers’ Parties. Since 1998, these have been held annually, at the initiative of the Communist Party of Greece. The last one, held in Vietnam last year, brought together 60 parties. In the year of the October Revolution jubilee, we will host the 19th International Meeting of Communist & Workers’ Parties. It will be held in early November in the City of Lenin (St. Petersburg). The participants will set the agenda of the communist movement, in the struggle for socialism. Great responsibility devolves on us, to hold this forum in a worthy manner.
The CPRF takes part in international meetings, seminars & conferences and interacts with left-wing parties on a bilateral basis. We took part in the congresses of the communist parties of the Czech Republic & Moravia, Portugal, Finland, Bangladesh & other countries, & in events staged by left-wing parties. Cooperation agreements have been signed with the communist parties of China and Vietnam. An agreement has been signed with the Workers’ Party of Korea.
These agreements are being successfully implemented, thanks to the efforts of L.I.Kalashnikov, K.K.Taisiyev, V.M.Tetyokin and other Russian comrades.
A Russia-China meeting, '70 Years of Common Victory' was held in Khabarovsk in September 2015. Delegations of young CPRF activists go to China every year to study the experience of reforms conducted in the PRC. Our comrades regularly take part in the festivals of the Portuguese Communist newspaper, Avante (Awake). A joint Russia-Korea photo exhibition, 'A History of Friendship' was held in three stages, in Pyongyang, Moscow and Minsk.
At all the international events the CPRF briefs fraternal parties on its activities. Solidnet posts documents, and other information, about our party.
A great amount of work is being done in the framework of the UCP-CPSU. The Union brings together 17 parties. The high- lights in the report period were: the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Union in Kiev before the Maidan coup, the XXXV Congress of the UCP-CPSU in Minsk, plenums of the Union Council in Moscow, the opening of the Union’s internet site, and so on.
Coordination of activities takes on an added importance, considering that the authorities in some republics of the former USSR, persecute communists. At various times, pressure was brought to bear on the communists in Georgia, Moldavia & Kazakhstan. In the Baltic States, Uzbekistan & Turkmenistan communist parties have to work practically underground. The UCP-CPSU parties, repeatedly come out in support of the Ukrainian communists led by P.N.Simonenko. Some of our Ukrainian comrades had to be rescued from the hands of pro-fascist elements.
On 29 May 2014 a headquarters for humanitarian aid to the citizens of the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics was set up. Their population is exposed to severe trials. Within three years the CPRF has sent 60 convoys with humanitarian aid to these republics. This work goes on. Over three thousand children from Donbass, went to the Snegiri complex outside Moscow, to rest and improve their health.
International work is covered in the Vestnik SKP-KPSS. The newspaper Pravda carries a monthly feature devoted to the Union of Communist Parties. The newly opened rubric “Communist Brotherhood” has already carried out talks with the leaders of the communist parties of Portugal, Lebanon, Cyprus, Britain and India.
The CPRF takes an active part in solidarity actions, with peoples that have become the victims of imperialism's aggressive actions. The voice of our party was heard in joint statements against the persecution of communist parties, manifestations of fascism and nationalism, and the offensive on the rights and freedoms of working people. We have come out in defense of Libya and Syria, and against the US blockade of Cuba..
The cohesion of communist &workers’ parties is the guarantee of their success. It is an uphill struggle. Capitalism will never resolve its inherent contradictions on its own. Imperialism is becoming more and more aggressive in the time of crisis. Analyzing the ideas of Marx and Lenin, modern US academic James Petras, writes that capitalism has proved convincingly and indisputably that it prospers thanks to the degradation of tens of millions of workers, & is absolutely deaf to the endless pleas for reform & regulation. The capitalism that really exists cannot, and does not want to, raise the living standards of ordinary people, guarantee their employment, or provide a decent life without fear and humiliation. Capitalism… is diametrically opposed to freedom, equality, democratic decision-making and the common good.
There are only two paths for humanity: either socialism or further decay, wars, instability, the moral degradation of society and the destruction of the environment. Only the power of working people, public ownership of the means of production, & rational planning in the economy, can set humankind on the path of all-round development. It is the duty of our party to actively promote these ideas among the grassroots.
Comrades, after 1991 our country became part of world capitalism. The liberal traitors who came to power cherished the hope of joining the “golden billion.” They obediently followed the instructions of the International Monetary Fund and other global capitalist institutions. Even in the West, they considered the team of Yeltsin’s foreign advisers to be ''economic murderers''.
The Russian bourgeoisie was accorded the dubious honour of supplying the West with raw materials and fulfilling its whims. Many upstart oligarchs raised on Gaidar’s “yeast” were quite comfortable with such a role. They treated Russia as “this country,” in which they were “cowboy builders,” Russia was a place for business, while their safe landing sites were their mansions and hefty foreign bank accounts.
A regressive, parasitic, oligarchic, comprador capitalism established itself in the country. Its basis is the export of commodities and the banking sectors. This proves that Russia is becoming a raw materials appendage, and a market for foreign goods.
However, part of the Russian bourgeoisie wants greater independence. Experessing the aspirations of this part of “the newest Russians” government has ratcheted up patriotic rhetoric and taken some independent steps. The Crimea was brought back to where it belongs. Support was rendered to the legitimate government of Syria. The people of Russia, tired of self-abasement, welcomed these steps. This state of affairs was not to the West’s liking. Sanctions were introduced, and a massive information campaign, leavened with Russophobia and anti-Sovietism, were launched against Russia. If Russia's leadership does not want to repeat the fate of Milosevic, Hussein and Gaddafi, it has no other option, but to strengthen the country’s sovereignty.
However, the Russian oligarchy has neither the strength nor the desire, to break with the system of global capitalism. It has still not recognized the DPR and LPR. “The pivot to the East” policy is clearly marking time. Attacks continue on Belarus, which undermine the process of a closer union between our peoples. The process of integration of the post-Soviet space, which the CPRF has always welcomed, is meeting with serious difficulties.
After the devastating Serdyukov “reforms” many, but not all the problems of the Armed Forces combat ability have been solved. The cuts in the defense budget which have started, run counter to the need to restore military education and science. Our precision weapons still need imported components, while the software built into them, may be set in motion at any moment. It is not possible to effectively protect the country’s sovereignty, without a powerful defense industry independent of foreign suppliers.
On the whole, the quarter century of liberal reforms in Russia has produced an extremely cruel socio-economic model. A peripheral oligarchic-bureaucratic regime has taken shape in the country.
Russia’s joining the World Trade Organization, was a major concession to global capital. Only the CPRF has consistently opposed it. Restrictions on production, reduction of customs duties and other novelties gave an edge to foreign “partners.” During five years of WTO membership, the Russian budget lost about 800 billion roubles due to lower customs duties. Indirect losses topped 4 trillion.
Big owners have been given a free hand in plundering Russia. The economy is being deprived of vitally needed investments. Today they account for a mere 18% of GDP, only half of what they were in the RSFSR in 1990. But the authorities calmly look on as the oligarchs transfer capital to offshore zones and foreign banks. In the last 2 years alone, capital flight exceeded 70 billion dollars. And we are constantly being called to make “civil peace” with those who are simply robbing Russia.
Dependence on foreign capital is beginning to threaten the country’s sovereignty. Companies with foreign capital account for 75% of the communications sphere, 56% of the extractive industries and 49% of the processing industries.
This is highly reminiscent of the situation in the early XX century when Western capital dominated the industry and banking sector in the Russian Empire. That dependence cost Russia dearly: it was drawn into the First World War defending the interests of the Entente capitalists. Russia's GDP has been shrinking for over two years. Since 2014, it has dropped by 8%. The state budget is losing trillions of roubles. Modernization and diversification of the economy have failed. The Government ministries in charge of the economy and finances are unable to cope with the crisis. They are misleading the country. The Ministry of Economic Development reported a 0.4% growth of GDP at the end of the first quarter. However, this data was promptly challenged by Vneshekonombank analysts, who proved that the GDP continues to fall.
The socio-economnic course followed by the government has turned the country into a society of mass poverty. According to official data, real income in Russia dropped by nearly 13%, and consumption has gone down by 15%. The number of paupers has increased by 3 million. Twenty million, one in every seven citizens, live below the poverty line. The CPRF points out that the official living minimum, is 2-2.5 times lower, than the actual level.
Sociology confirms the picture of mass impoverishment. Last year three quarters of citizens significantly cut consumption. Forty percent say they don't have enough money to buy food and clothing. Almost 30% need food stamps to survive.
Russia has become a country of appalling inequality. Dollar millionaires own 62% of Russia’s wealth, and billionaires own 29%. A handful of moneybags own nine tenths of the national wealth. The international research organization The New World of Welfare has concluded that Russia ranks first in the world, in terms of wealth inequality.
During the past year alone the aggregate wealth of 200 of Russia’s richest businessmen increased by 100 billion dollars. ”Income champions” own 460 billion dollars, which is twice the annual budget of a country of 150 million people.
These then are the main problems of the Russian economy:
— its reliance on commodity production,
—the destruction of its industrial potential,
— poverty and the low purchasing power of its citizens,
— a flawed monetary policy,
— inefficient governance.
The sanctions compounded the situation.
The government’s regional policy is extremely ineffective. Receiving only 30 percent of the total national income, the regions are struggling to maintain the social sphere. There are only nine donor regions left. The debt of regional budgets, has already reached 2.5 trillion roubles, of which, over 50% are commercial credits. The budgets are overburdened with commitments.
The CPRF is ready to change the situation drastically. We maintain that the crisis in Russia is man-made. It is created by the government which has no coherent development program. Spinoza said that He who knows not where he is sailing, will never have a fair wind.” So, our government is either full of bad navigators, or they are deliberately leading us into a dead end.
The Russian crisis is, at the same time, part of the global crisis of capitalism. In the framework of this system, our country has no favorable prospect. There is no room for such a Russia in the modern world: it will be torn to pieces and simply swallowed by the sharks of world capital. Our country lived through such an experience before. The brief period when a Provisional Government was in power, in 1917, nearly brought about the demise of Russia. It was rescued by the Red Project of the Great October Revolution. The Bolsheviks restored the country’s sovereignty, and prevented it being “digested” in the insatiable stomach of world capitalism. This lesson is still relevant to Russia today.
One of the main contradictions, is that between the interests of the country and the interests of Russian capital. This can only be resolved by a cardinal change of the socio-economic system. Only a renewed socialism will be able to cope with social inequality, economic disarray and create an effective governance system.
The working majority and false “class peace.”
The question arises, what are the driving forces of socialist change? We turned to this question more than once over the past years. The destruction of socialism and the Shock Therapy of the 1990s, had a negative impact on the social class structure of society. The situation continued to worsen after 2000. The number of workers in industry, dropped by more than 2 million. The past few years alone have seen the closure of the Likhachev Plant in Moscow, the Nickel Plant in Norilsk, the Khimprom chemical plant in Volgograd and other giants. Many enterprises dramatically cut production. The share of the processing industry, fell to a pitiful 13%.
The main change that occurred in the life of the working class and the peasantry is their proletarization. Under the Soviet government the worker and the peasant were co-owners of the means of production and the national wealth. Now, almost two-thirds of the gainfully employed population (64.6 percent), work for the benefit of private capital.
Workers have fewer and fewer chances to rise up the social “lifts.” The degree of class polarization in this country is among the highest on the planet. It is impossible to achieve class peace under such conditions. The exploiters and the exploited have diametrically opposite opportunities and interests.
“The masters of the world” behave like time-servers. It is no accident that capital flight increases. High-ranking officials increasingly behave in a criminal way. More and more governors are charged with corruption. The elite’s inability to “rule in the old way” causes it to swing from liberalism to conservatism, from nationalism to a token crackdown on Russian nationalists, etc.
The past quarter century has seen a sharp growth in the number of those engaged in petty commodity production and speculative-usury sectors. A sizable stratum has emerged of people who live by “gigs.” In the European Middle Ages these people were referred to as “free- lancers.” Most of them are young people in the 20 to 45 age bracket. Their instrument of production is the computer. What they want out of life, is, above all, independence. These new phenomena merit a very close study.
For all that, there are no grounds for saying that the working class in Russia is disappearing. It numbers about 30 million. Does it mean many or few? Much fewer than in the RSFSR, but many times more, than in Russia in 1917.
“The proletariat of workers by brain,” as Engels called it, is being exploited too. It has to get hired by the bourgeoisie for meager pay. There are almost 20 million such people in modern Russia. To this, you have to add small business- men and small farmers. The crisis ruins tens of thousands of small owners, which makes it easier for us to promote our ideology to them.
CPRF is for the working people
Esteemed delegates and guests of the Congress,
To achieve its goals the proletariat needs a political vanguard. Only a modern communist party can rise to this task. In turn, the communists ”have no interests separate from the interests of the proletariat as a whole,” as Marx and Engels wrote.
It is the duty of the CPRF to staunchly adhere to the position of defending the interests of the working class. We have to regularly revisit the decisions of the October 2014 Plenum which was devoted entirely to our goal of increasing our influence in the proletarian milieu. The decisions taken then, are highly concrete and are easily verifiable.
Two and a half years have passed since then. It is high time to ask ourselves, what has been accomplished? Have we strengthened our positions in the midst of the working class? Can we report to the Congress an influx of workers into the CPRF? Let us answer this question looking the truth straight in the face. For the workers’ issue is the key issue in our political struggle for power.
The share of workers in the CPRF's ranks, has risen to 14 percent during the report period. Yet no dramatic change has taken place. Overall, the party influence on the working class is, obviously, insufficient. We have to admit that on that issue, we are still at the start of the road.
Thus, our tasks are directly linked with strengthening the party’s influence on the workers’ and trade union movement, the youth and non-governmental groups.
We have to be more active in seeking freedom of political activity in the street. However, we should breathe new life into various forms of protest even within the existing framework. We value all those who form the nucleus of our actions. We are grateful to them. But we must broaden our ranks if we are to be reckoned with. Big politics is where the millions are. The topics of our slogans should be relevant and specific. We should “strike at the nerve” of the social atmosphere, use the whole arsenal of technologies, to arouse citizens in their struggle for their rights.
About 60% of Russians prefer a “society of social equality” to a “society of individual freedom.” So the ideological component of protest sentiments is growing, turning such actions into class struggle.
The communists must prevent mass protests from being hijacked by pro-Western anti-national forces. Under these conditions it is vital for the CPRF to formulate a clear-cut class position.
The party and the young communist league must pay particular attention to the youth. The youth has shown its readiness for street action. It is not only that the liberals use inexperienced young people while keeping them in the dark. Today, young people are the most vulnerable social stratum. Even pensioners are in a more secure situation, because of what remains of the Soviet system of social guarantees.
Today’s young people are the first to have grown up after the dismantling of the system of Soviet social guarantees. They are defenseless in the face of capitalist society. These young people have no chance to study, work and raise families normally. Housing becomes an insuperable problem for many of them. Feeling like outsiders, they are not ready to reconcile themselves to such a position and plunge into street protests without always understanding the slogans. In Ukraine, the bourgeoisie used popular wrath ...to establish a dictatorial regime. Russia faces a similar danger. It is the task for the CPRF to go to the youth, to help it transform the demand for social justice into massive and resolute protest.
The prerequisites for success are there. According to the Public Opinion Fund, less than 20% of young people are infected with the ideas of liberalism. 73% come out for state ownership of enterprises and natural resources. 28% think of themselves as staunch supporters of socialism. The share of those who support capitalism, is even less among other age groups.
We need to mobilize CPRF supporters to struggle to bring the country back to the socialist path. Each of us must contribute to strengthening the party’s authority, as the only force fighting to assert the people’s rule
Along with the development of the workers’, protest and youth movements, we have often stressed the importance of work with the trade unions, & non-governmental groups.
The nucleus of a new life
I would like to draw your attention to the fact that “stability” in Russia does not have a solid basis. The number of poor people has doubled compared to the pre-crisis period. The dynamic of social inequality has intensified. The gap between the richest 10% and the poorest 10% has reached 30 times. The inequality of access to quality healthcare and education, has deepened. Russian society is in an anxious state, not knowing what the future holds in store for it.
The liberals in government continue to tighten the financial noose around the people’s neck. The only alternative to this disastrous course is consolidation of the healthy forces on the basis of socialism and genuine patriotism. This nucleus will be able to counter the destructive energy of any Maidan, and the ruinous experiments of the “monetarists” in government.
People are having less and less hope that this power will come up with a creative development project. Such a project was proposed by our party at the Oryol Economic Forum in February of last year. Here is our program: Ten Steps toward a Decent Life for a Government of Popular Trust.
1. Russia’s wealth must serve the people. It is high time to rein in the oligarchs, to bring back to the state the oil and gas industry, key banks, the power industry, railways, and defense industries. A powerful state sector will protect the economy from foreign capital pressure. The draft law on nationalization, is ready. It will bring several trillion roubles to the treasury every year. Planning will make the economy more competitive in the world.
2. To guarantee economic sovereignty. The CPRF wants Russia to leave the WTO. We will create an independent financial system, rid the country of the diktat of the dollar, and free the Central Bank from the influence of the US Federal Reserve System. State control over the banking system and currency transactions, will stem the staggering flight of capital. Small and medium-sized businesses and people’s and collective enterprises, will get active support.
3. To develop industry, science and technologies. Russia needs a new industrialization driven by micro-electronics, robotics, and machine tool building. Today the processing industry accounts for 14% of the GDP. It is necessary to double that share within a short space of time. The decimation of the Russian Academy of Sciences is a crime against the future. Financing of science must be increased several times over. We will be able to do away with unemployment.
4. A new life for rural Russia. Russia is not secure in terms of food. It imports half of its food from abroad. A third of arable land is overgrown with weeds. The task of the Government of Popular Trust is to revive large-scale agricultural production and the rural social infrastructure. At least 10% of budget spending should go into agriculture. We are ready to adopt new Land, Forestry & Water Codes, and improve the environmental situation.
5. Credits must be used to revive the country. Russia is in 48th place in terms of transport infrastructure, and in 87th place in terms of air transport. The regions are heavily in debt. The Government complains about a shortage of resources, while at the same time, crediting the US economy. We should direct investments into the development of the Russian economy. To help the regions, the Popular Trust Government will replace commercial loans with subsidies and subventions out of the federal budget.
6. State control of prices and tariffs. As for living standards, Russia has dropped to 90th place in the world, which puts it in the same company with Guatemala and Namibia. The state must control prices. Housing and utilities rates should not exceed 10% of a family's income. The government must regulate the tariffs for electricity, fuel and transportation.
7. The country must have fair and effective taxes. Russia has a distorted tax system. The CPRF proposes to abolish VAT, which will make domestic products cheaper. We are ready to scrap the PLATON system and raise taxes on property and settlement land. Budget losses will be compensated for, by a progressive tax on the incomes of physical persons. It will add an annual 3-4 trillion roubles to the treasury. State monopoly on the production of alcohol will yield another 2-5 trillion. Russia will have a budget of development, not degradation.
8. People are the nation’s main value. The CPRF guarantees an accessible and high-quality education and health service. A law on “war children” will be passed without delay. Youth, children and mothers, disabled people and old folks will receive particular attention. Science, education and health- care will get 7% of the budget each. The CPRF has the corresponding package of laws. The state will build social housing and will be responsible for the state of domestic infrastructure. Levies for the capital repair of housing, will be scrapped.
9. Strong power, secure life. Russia needs a strong defense. It should go hand-in-hand with information and technological security and defense against cyber-weapons. The CPRF is in favour of stronger EAEU, SCO, and BRICS, of integration in the post-Soviet space and protection of fellow-countrymen abroad. We have to make governance more effective, tighten oversight over the activities of government officials, and curb corruption and crime.
10. A country of high culture. We will protect the people from anti-Sovietism, nationalism and Russophobia, from immorality, vulgarity and cynicism. Culture will be reigned by talent, not money. Writers and composers, the cinema and television, can multiply our cultural heritage. Our government will surround us with care museums and theatres, Houses of Culture and philharmonics, libraries and archives. Russian talents, the creativity of young people, physical culture and sport, will be supported.
Seeking to implement this program, the CPRF is engaged in a constant dialog with the country’s citizens. Our proposals have been approved during the course of many election campaigns, over the past year. We held an All-Russia Council of Work Collectives, attended by more than 600 representatives of factories, farms and trade unions, from 82 regions. A program of rural development was presented at the Congress of Russian Agro-Industrial Complex Workers, held at Zvenigovsky centre. The All-Russia Congress of Public-Sector Workers, has approved proposals on how to preserve and develop social institutions.
Concrete steps to implement our programmatic ideas and proposals are critical. Our Duma deputies have a special role to play. In the previous Duma the CPRF deputies secured the adoption of laws On Strategic Planning, On State Defense, Order, and On Industrial Policy, in the RF. The Medvedev government is obviously dragging its feet over fulfilling them. In the meantime we are pressing for the next step; the creation of a State Committee for Strategic Planning.
Practice shows that the anti-crisis measures proposed by the CPRF are highly effective. The key task is to go to the grass- roots and explain this. It is our duty to demonstrate that the results of the party’s work indicate that it has proved to be a credible nucleus of genuine power of the people.
To Struggle for Power
Comrades. The presidential election is fast approaching. It will be held in an atmosphere of growing public discontent and alienation from power. The ruling circles will have to press into service administrative resources and resort to other gimmicks. The regime may exhibit growing Bonapartist traits. Such a regime is a dictatorship of big bourgeoisie, steering its course between opposing classes. Its internal contradictions are mitigated, by foreign policy confrontations.
Russia today is a super-presidential republic. The number one person has more powers than the Tsar and General Secretary combined. Power in the country has not changed hands for more than seventeen years. In fact, a whole generation has grown up under one president and one governing party. During this period the US & France had 4 presidents each.
What are the key features of the political regime in Russia?
First, monopolization of power in the hands of the president and the narrow circle around him. Secrecy in taking key decisions. The political process has turned into a succession of special operations.
Second, the ruling United Russia party has merged with the bureaucratic apparatus. The party is merely the ”driving belt” and not the subject of making key decisions.
Third, opposition exists in and outside parliament, but on an ever smaller limited scale. There is simulation of democratic institutions and procedures, in order to legitimize the ruling group.
Fourth, monopolization of the main media outlets and the introduction of political censorship and “self-censorship.”
Fifth, the absence of truly independent justice coupled with pervasive corruption & political control over the law courts.
Sixth, liberal fundamentalism in the economy remains the bedrock foundation of the current regime. The ruling elite dreads the prospect of being isolated from the Western world, and openly woos the centres of capitalism.
Seventh, the regime is not bound by any ideological principles, its postulates changing, depending on the exigencies of the day. Personal safety calls for a more patriotic policy, which we have been witnessing recently.
The figure of the president is at the centre of the political regime. Official propaganda is at pains to convince the masses of the danger of his departure. However, elections remain as the trappings of democracy. For us taking part in the elections is like wrestling on a small patch of legal opposition activities, and that opportunity should be effectively used.
But, to repeat a well-known idea, it is naïve to put the stake on elections. They may only be crowned with victory when revolutionary sentiments grow. Only then would the party be able to hold on to its electoral victory with the support of millions of activists. An electoral victory is only possible in the event of a major change in the balance of political forces and the active support of the street.
On the face of it, the protest potential among the population is low and the president’s approval rating is high. But the stability of a regime of personal power is not a given that is eternal. The situation may change quickly. The CPRF is duty-bound to use its participation in elections to promote its ideas, to strengthen its structures and attract new cadres and supporters.
In December you read my appeal “Time demands a new policy.” We agreed to thoroughly discuss all candidates for election, in the coming years. This work must continue. At the Central Committee level it is coordinated by the CPRF Headquarters, headed by I.I.Melnikov.
In the report period the CPRF has preserved its status of the main opposition force. The party scored some high-profile victories but also faced some difficulties in the elections. The setback in 2016 is due to the fact that the elections had been turned into a special operation against Russian society. They were not a free expression of the citizens’ will, but a criminal mechanism of delivering the pre- determined result. This is witnessed, among other things, by several dozen criminal cases opened thanks to our activists.
When we brought our voters to the polling stations our candidates won by a comfortable margin. A.Lokot was elected Mayor of Novosibirsk, V.Potomsky Mayor of the Oryol Region, S.Levchenko Governor of the Irkutsk Region.
Seven of our comrades won seats in the State Duma in single- mandate constituencies. They are V.Bortko (St.Petersburg), S.Kazankov (Mariy El), A.Kurinniy (Ulyanovsk Region), D.Parfyonov (Moscow), O.Smolin (Omsk Region), N.Kharitonov (Krasnodar Territory) and M.Shchapov (Irkutsk Region).
In the elections to the Moscow City Duma in 2014, communists won five single-mandate constituencies. One of the highlights was the election of A.Klychkov, who defeated the prefect of the South-Western Electoral District, Zotov.
On the whole, the party’s average result in elections in recent years is 15%. The CPRF never drops below 20-25% in Irkutsk, Novosibirsk, Oryol regions and in North Ossetia where we are contesting first place with the governing party, like in Mariy El and the Omsk Region where our result is just shy of 30%. So, it is possible to fight and win. On the other hand, there has emerged a stable zone of election rigging in the Volga Area, and in the North Caucasus.
Our party comes out for democratization of the political system and for fair elections. The tactic of the ruling regime consists in constantly changing the rules of the game in the political field in order to falsify results. Changing the election date to September, greatly affected the turnout. In general, trust in the institution of elections has diminished. Turnout is plummeting. All the parties are losing votes, in absolute terms. The institution of debates has been discredited. Neither the president, nor governors, take part in them. On the whole, the low turnout is the citizens’ indictment of the unfair electoral system.
Power deliberately adjusts the political system in favour of the governing party. We for our part will insist on direct and free elections of the heads of regions. On electing municipal deputies by party lists. On debarring from elections governors who ''retire'', in order to be able to take part in fresh elections.
Battling in parliament
Letters of citizens to the CPRF faction in the State Duma and to the Central Committee, are symptomatic of Russia's problems. They criticize government policy, complain about the plight of the people and about court rulings. Many complaints have to do with the impossibility of getting housing, the unreasonable utilities rates & soliciting financial help for medical treatment.
Protecting the rights of working people is at the focus of our deputies attention. At present, we have 42 deputies at the State Duma and two members of the Federation Council (V.Markhayev and V.Ikonnikov). The CPRF has 81 factions (a total of 342 deputies) in regional legislatures. There are 9,360 communist deputies in local government bodies.
Although the CPRF lost some seats in the State Duma it still spearheads the struggle for the interests of the common people in parliament. I.Melnikov is first deputy speaker of the Duma. Five communist deputies – V.Kashin, N.Kharitonov, L.Kalashnikov, T.Pletneva and S. Gavrilov— head the key Duma committees. S.Reshulsky, N.Kolomeitsev and V.Shurchanov coordinate the work of the Duma deputies, on a day-to-day basis.
Communist deputies did not support the draft federal budgets. Even with amendments, they lead to the degradation of the country and the impoverishment of working people. The oligarchy relentlessly shifts the burden of the economic crisis onto the ordinary working people & onto those who need social help: children, pensioners & disabled people.
For the CPRF, education policy is the key to building up human potential. Without it, modernization in the XXI century, is impossible. At the initiative of deputy O.Smolin the CPRF faction prepared a draft law On Education for Everyone. Although the draft was rejected, in recent years, we managed to bring about a partial reform of the Unified State Examination, the retention of preferential treatment when entering higher education institutions for disabled people, orphaned children and people who saw combat action, an adjustment of pay for places in student dormitories, official fixing of teachers’ salaries at a level not below the average pay in the region; although 75 regions are known to have ignored these regulations.
The CPRF is categorically against raising the retirement age, against dropping the indexation of the pensions of working pensioners and the cut in monthly payments towards accumulative pensions. A pro-government majority stubbornly blocks our draft law On War Children, but we have again submitted it to parliament.
Communists’ work in the regional legislatures is exceedingly important.
The CPRF has increased the number of local deputies by 15.5% to nearly ten thousand. Almost 200 heads of local governments have been elected with the party’s support.
As part of strengthening the body of deputies, the CPRF CC held two All-Russia Congresses of Communist Deputies and Heads of Executive Power Bodies in June 2013 & May 2016. Mandates of the deputies, and their duties to the citizens of Russia, have been adopted.
Of all the parliamentary parties, the CPRF commands the highest level of popular trust. United Russia is unable to hide its face of the party of oligarchs and bureaucrats. The Just Russia party has never managed to shed its role of an appendage to the “governing party.” The LDPR plays a similar function, at the other end of the spectrum
One of the CPRF’s tasks is protecting citizens against arbitrary rule and lawlessness. The profound crisis caused a degradation of the social environment, a criminalization of society, and diminished the level of people’s safety. Key human rights – to life, work and healthcare – are not guaranteed. Over 2 million crimes were registered in Russia, in the past year, and by no means, were all crimes registered.
100th anniversary of the Great October Revolution and our struggle
Esteemed participants in the Congress,
The 100th anniversary of the biggest event in human history, the Great October Socialist Revolution, is drawing closer and closer. The Bolshevik victory in 1917 saved Russia from a disastrous liberal experiment. It pulled our country away from the edge of a precipice, paved the way for progress in the economy, the social sphere, culture and education.
The anniversary is less than months away. It is our duty to celebrate it in a dignified, substantive and spectacular way. Much has already been done. Enrolment of new members to mark the revolution jubilee continues. Mass actions on April 12 and 22, May 1 and 9 were major political events. A Lenin evening has been organized at the Gubenko Theatre. A working group for the preparation of the 19th International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties has had its meeting. The Lenin Prize has been brought back, in tribute to those who are faithful to the working people.
A series of conferences and round tables has been held. Important discussions took place, on Lenin’s theory of imperialism and his April Theses, on the theme “From February to October” and on the experience of building the Soviet Armed Forces. Some interesting films have been released on the CPRF’s Red Line TV channel. To give but some examples, they include The Stalin Model, The World Cabal, To Live without Lying, By Hook or by Crook, Blind Leaders of the Blind, The Soviet Man, Master of the Russian Land. They should be used more actively in our propaganda work. Party media outlets regularly publish materials devoted to the events of 1917, Lenin and Soviet history. Internet projects specifically devoted to the 100th Anniversary of the October Revolution have been launched.
The topic of the socialist revolution must be reflected at the World Festival of Youth and Students in Sochi. The LCYU of the RF is taking part in the preparations for the Festival.
The best proof of loyalty to the ideas of the October Revolution is constant struggle for the interests of the working people, and for a socialist transformation of Russia. However, practical work can only be effective if it rests on a strong, sound theoretical foundation. We have such a foundation in the shape of the Marxist-Leninist ideology, the dialectical materialist method of cognition and the class analysis and assessment of, social facts and phenomena.
The programmatic goal of the CPRF is socialism. It can only be achieved by introducing advanced socialist consciousness into the ranks of the working people.
The crisis in Russia opens the eyes of the masses to the fact that bourgeois recipes for development do not work. This tends to increase the activities of those who would like to “improve capitalism,” to replace “savage” capitalism with a “civilized” market, to combine the best features of capitalism and socialism. We resolutely reject these attempts to gloss over the flaws of globalism.
I would like to remind you of Lenin’s succinct formula, from his book What Is to Be Done: ”It is either bourgeois or socialist ideology. There is no middle road here… Therefore any belittling of socialist ideology, any alienation from it, signifies the strengthening of the bourgeois ideology.”
The CPRF is convinced that socialism alone will save Russia and the world from a catastrophe, a catastrophe that capitalism is preparing by each new step it takes. Therefore a revision of communist ideas cannot be tolerated. As history shows, this path leads to total capitulation to the bourgeoisie. It is not by chance, that many leaders of the Second International, ended up by viciously condemning the October Revolution. Indeed, ineffectual representatives at the top of the leadership of the CPSU, gave up the communist ideology and went on to destroy the party and the state. Some of them openly defected to the anti-communist camp. French writer & philosopher, Jean-Paul Sartre, was categorical: ”Every anti-communist, is a rascal.”
Ideological struggle never stops. Seeking to bolster its positions the oligarchy fosters anti-communism, anti-S ovietism and Russophobia. This reveals the genetic link of the liberal bureaucrats with Gorbachev and Yeltsin on the one hand and with the “orange’ opposition, the Navalnys and others. Shying away from socialism, they all play the role of anti-national, anti-people forces.
Russophobia and anti-Sovietism are close relatives, as the CC CPRF proved convincingly at its latest Plenum. The October Revolution and the Soviet system are inseparable from the historical destiny of the Russian people. A fierce campaign is being waged against our history, against our communist ideas. The Svanidzes, Gozmans & Zhirinovskys never tire of pouring venomous lies on the pages and images of our past that we hold sacred. The celebration of the jubilee of Solzhenitsyn, the man who called for aggression against his own country and actively backed the Banderovites, promises to be wider and wider. The building of the Yeltsin Centre in Yekaterinburg did not only “consume” 7 billion roubles of budget money.
It openly calls for the rehabilitation of Vlasov. Is it not because of this, that the Centre has been awarded the 'Best European Museum of 2017' prize?
Here and there, monuments and memorial plaques are put up to Kolchak, Krasnov, Mannerheim and the White Czechs. At the same time Soviet monuments are pulled down or moved. Streets and even cities, are being renamed.
Take the nationwide dictation test. This year the participants were offered a text by the writer Yuzefovich, in which a White general makes scathing remarks about a monument to Lenin. How does that square with condemnation of the illegal Kiev rulers, for vandalism and for dismantling Lenin monuments?.
The authorities cannot afford to ignore mass sentiments. Sociologists have found that there are more supporters of the Soviet political system in this country than there are admirers of the current political system and Western democracy combined. The Immortal Regiment action sent a very clear political and cultural message. The prevailing sentiment of this impressive march was the victorious Soviet spirit. It remains to lament the fact that the Immortal Regiment, unlike the regiments that marched straight to the front in 1941, is marching past the Lenin Mausoleum, that has been covered in drapes.
While resorting to patriotic slogans, the authorities seek to erase the positive perception of socialism from people’s consciousness. We, for our part, should confidently uphold truth and justice, protect the historical memory and make active use of our experience of combating anti-Sovietism, anti-Communism & Russophobia and distortions of history.
Nationalism is another evil for which an antidote is needed. Only the CPRF has a clear-cut program on the nationalities issue. It stresses the value of the friendship of the peoples and the multinational character of our country. Our position was accurately expressed by the October 2013 Plenary Session of the Central Committee which stressed that the main cause of the aggravation of inter-ethnic relations, is the deepening of social & economic problems. Big Capital uses the nationality card, to distract people’s attention, from the widening social schism.
We maintain that socialism alone can make the working people masters of their land and of their destiny. Only then will inter-ethnic conflicts vanish like a nightmare.
Mass events staged by the CPRF help to promote the party’s ideas. A year ago Ufa hosted the All-Russia Forum Friendship and Brotherhood of the Peoples: Guarantee of Russia’s Resurgence in which guests from Belarus, the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics took part. Every year in June the party holds Pushkin Days & Days of Russian Language and Culture. The tradition was initiated by North Ossetia's Republican Committee of the CPRF. A big contribution to official recognition of Russian Language Days, was made by the communists in the State Duma and the Russky Lad movement. The CPRF’s proposal to outlaw calls for the dismemberment of Russia, has met with public approval.
The entire edifice of party propaganda should be built on a solid ideological foundation. People under the age of 40 did not study the basics of Marxism-Leninism, at school or university. This is the generation that is joining the party and its consciousness is often littered with pseudo-socialist rubbish. The party education system is called on, to address this.
The CPRF Political Education Centre set up after the Ð¥V party Congress to train our activists has already had 21 enrolments. More than 700 young communists from all the Russian regions as well as Transdniestria, Georgia, South Ossetia, Kyrgyzstan, the DPR & LPR, attended. Many of the Centre’s graduates have been elected as secretaries of the regional and local CPRF branches and head up Young Communist League organizations. The journal Politicheskoye prosveshcheniye, helps the party members to build up their theoretical luggage & train party activists in the provinces.
Lenin never tired of stressing the importance of the party's press and believed that the newspaper should not merely ‘disseminate ideas” but also act as a collective organizer. Important information outlets today are the newspapers Pravda and Sovetskaya Rossiya. Oblast, region and city party branches put out more than a hundred periodicals. Some good experience has been accumulated by the editorial offices of many party newspapers, including Podmoskovnaya Pravda, Krasniy Put’ (Omsk Oblast), KPRF v Nizhnem Novgorode, Leviy marsh (Ulyanovsk Oblast), Priangarye (Irkutsk Oblast), Donskaya iskra (Rostov Oblast), Za narodnuyu vlast’ (Novosibirsk oblast) and Rodina (Stavropol Territory).
Party life is regularly reported on the Central Committee site, politpros.com, regional and local party sites. KPRF.RU has launched such internet projects as Narodnaya initsiativa, Storonniki KPRF, Antikorruptsionniy komitet imeni Stalina. At the end of 2016 the Central Committee site competed convincingly with the United Russia resource. Even so, we are still seriously losing out to the liberals in terms of volume and presentation. That situation should be urgently rectified.
The opening of the Krasnaya Liniya TV channel in the wake of the XV CPRF Congress was a big step forward. Since 2015 it has been broadcast via satellite. This round-the-clock channel is beamed to an audience of nearly 7 million. Krasnaya Liniya has an internet site and accounts in social networks. It puts out daily news bulletins. Among its more popular programs are Special Report, Viewpoint, Soviet-Era Brands, and Politpros, to mention just some.
The Agitpunkt section of Political Education site carries video, audio and photo materials and samples of printed copy. This is particularly important in election campaigns.
To strengthen the party at all levels
Comrades, we must strengthen all the party links. The past four years have seen a growth of the number of primary and local CPRF branches. Today the party has 162,173 members. During the report period, it enrolled over 60,000 new members.
The biggest regional branches are: Moscow oblast — 7528 members, Volgograd oblast — 6536 members, Krasnoyarsk Territory — 6153 members, Moscow City — 5712 members, Dagestan Republic — 5547 members, Stavropol Territory— 5510 members. Last year, we had no regional branches where the rate of admission of new members did not exceed 5 percent of the total membership.
Contrary to the allegations of our opponents, more than half of Russian communists are people of active working age. They include14 percent — workers; 13 percent — salary earners; almost 7 percent — unemployed people; 6.6% — farmers; 4.3 percent — students; 4.2 percent — engineers and technicians; 4 percent — members of the creative intelligentsia; 3 percent — entrepreneurs; 1.2percent — enterprise managers.
The percentage of workers who joined the party increased somewhat. The average age of CPRF members is 55.6, slightly less than the 2013 indicator. Thus the party has both experienced and young members. Still, the share of older members is high. Our distinguished veterans form the party’s “golden fund.” There are 70,000 of them, or 42.5 percent.
Many young people joined the party during the enrolment campaigns to mark the 70th anniversary of Victory and the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution. In the period between the XV and XVII party congresses, almost two thousand people under 30 joined the CPRF to bring their total number to 11.6 percent. Women account for 33 percent.
Our party operates in a society divided by class. Power in Russia is in the hands of oligarchic capital and the top bureaucrats. This sets high demands on the ideological and moral character of its members.
The latest report-and-election campaign makes it possible to formulate the main challenges facing the CPRF organization.
1. Annual admission of 10 percent of the total membership barely keeps the size of membership constant. The figure must definitely increase if the CPRF is to increase its influence in society.
2. Party branches should be more active among workers, there should be more workers, professionals and farmers in the CPRF.
3. Full-scale training of party activists for participation in election campaigns needs to be improved.
4. Our priorities must include work with potential allies and supporters of the CPRF, the creation of a data base of supporters in each regional party branch.
5. The quality of the training of the reserve cadres, especially at the local and primary level, is still a challenge.
On the whole, much remains to be done to improve the style and methods of party work. All these tasks need to be addressed now.
The material base of our work
Esteemed participants in the Congress,
Shortly after the 100th anniversary of the socialist revolution we shall be marking the 25th anniversary of the re-creation of our party. The architects and stewards of national betrayal were aware that our people would still be drawn to the ideals of socialism. That is why they tried to leave the CPRF without its material and technical base and thus limit its influence at a grassroots level. At the time the party was re-created, we were deprived of the basic conditions for daily work, for agitation, communications, and cadre training. And all the while, we were in the authorities’ gunsights and under fire from the left and the right.
In fact, we had to rebuild the economic base of the CPRF from scratch, twice, the first time after the Gorbachev- Yeltsin betrayal and the second time after attempts to privatize the party’s property by the supporters of the “wet congress.”
Today we have not only revived our party, but have provided it with considerable assets. In 2004 the party owned only two buildings in Moscow and some built-in space in Cherkessk. Since then we have acquired 109 offices for regional and local branches. Only 10 regional committees still have to rent space. I think we will be able to solve the problem within two years.
The main sources for replenishing the party budget are: party dues, donations to the party fund, budget financing and 'other'. On the whole, more than 80% of the money goes to regional party branches. This enables them to work more effectively and meaningfully.
The country’s future is the future of the party
One of our key tasks is work with the youth. Only one-third of the people aged 18 to 22 are interested in politics. The blows sustained by the education system, the decline of young people’s educational levels, makes them easy prey for political manipulation.
The state goes through the motions of pursuing a youth policy. Youth councils and parliaments create an illusion of social lift. 64% of university graduates are unsure of their future. One in every two of them cannot find a job for which he/she has been trained. More than 50% of unemployed people in Russia, are citizens between 18 and 35.
For the CPRF the youth is not only the target of electoral battles. It is the future of our country. The party pays particular attention to its youth policy.
The share of young people in the party is growing. Our opponents can no longer claim that the CPRF is a party of elderly people. Leading positions are more and more often occupied by people of young and under middle age. Party cadres are becoming younger due to new members who have gone through serious schooling as members of the Komsomol. D.Novikov, Yu.Afonin and K.Taysyev established themselves as politicians in the past report periods. After the XV CPRF Congress, important jobs at the Central Committee were entrusted to our young workers, A.Klychkov,A.Korniyenko, M.Kostrikov & I.Makarov.
We have many young people who are willing and able to work. Thanks to them we can safely say that the CPRF is a XXI- century party, a party of the future. Let us recall that in 1917, more than half of the Bolshevik party members were under 35.
The LKSM (Leninist Communist Youth Union) is a youth organization that preserves the Soviet traditions. Its track record includes the protection of education institutions from being closed, preventing a rise in payment for student dormitories and transport fares, and the fight against the curtailment of social benefits.
The Leninist Komsomol is the reserve cadre of the party
The nationwide Komsomol action The Banner of Our Victory, is an example of the patriotic upbringing of young people. It included more than 18,000 school lessons where students were told about the heroic exploits of the Soviet people. The project has a follow-up under the title, The October Banner is the Banner of Victory.
Every year hundreds of children are enrolled in the Young Pioneers at a ceremony in Red Square. Today more than 250,000 children and teenagers wear the Young Pioneer red scarves.
On the agenda is the issue of uniting all the Young Pioneers in a single Lenin Union of Young Pioneer Organizations. This end is to be served by the Second All-Russia Meeting of Young Pioneer Guides in which the Party and the Komsomol will take part.
The Komsomol faces the challenging task of increasing our ranks and attracting new supporters. Party and Komsomol members must conduct the difficult but very necessary educational work with the young generation. Strong links with the working class youth, are particularly important.
Next year sees the 100th anniversary of the Lenin Komsomol. The organizing committee “Komsomol is 100” is already active. This date is not only an occasion for remembering the accomplishments of Soviet Power, the outstanding role of the youth in developing and defending the country, but also for encouraging the new generations to uphold their rights and a worthy future.
Keep in mind the main thing
Esteemed delegates and guests of the Congress,
A new stage of history began 100 years ago. The world’s first state of workers and peasants was formed. In the year of the 100th anniversary of the Great October Revolution we recall more and more often the name of Lenin, the revolutionary and statesman, a genuine romantic & an outstanding scholar. It was the great idea of social justice that enabled him to translate a great theory into the practice of great accomplishments.
Lenin constantly stressed that at the end of the day the central issue of all politics is the economic issue. And today Russia is faced with challenges that stem directly from its economic lag and its reliance on commodity production, from technological degradation and a mass impoverishment of its citizens. This is the system that was established in this country ,after the collapse of the USSR.
The authorities are unable to meet these challenges. The incomes of big Russian businessmen are growing at a f antastic rate, even today. This means that the oligarchy has no economic incentives to overcome the crisis. The anti-national essence of such an “elite”, is obvious.
At the beginning of the last century Lenin came to the conclusion that Russia was the weak link in the chain of capitalist states. This fact set the stage for a revolution. Otherwise, Russia would have remained a raw materials appendage of more developed countries. This conviction was reaffirmed by Stalin at the XV Congress of the AUCP(B):
”We must make our country economically self-reliant, independent, based on the internal market. We must build our economy in such a way as to prevent our country from becoming an appendage of the capitalist system.”
The supreme meaning of the socialist revolution was the embodiment of the ideal of social justice. This was achieved through the building of a truly independent state based on new economic relations. As Stalin said, “Soviet power did not have to replace one form of exploitation with another, as did the old revolutions, but to liquidate all exploitation.”
A revolution is genuine only if it leads to a large-scale class restructuring of society. Otherwise it is a “colour” simulation of one, which brings to power liberal “fighters against the regime” guided by foreign principals.
This was the kind of threat that hung over Russia in February 1917. But Lenin came forward with convincing calls: Peace to the peoples, Bread to the hungry,” “Factories to the workers” and “Land to the peasants.” These slogans arose from the deepest convictions of a romantic and politician, a fighter and a scholar. The simplicity and clarity of Lenin’s slogans disguises deep insight into the problems.
Reread Lenin’s works “The Immediate Tasks of Soviet Power,” “On Cooperation,” and “On the Food Tax.” You will find there a massive scientific basis on which Lenin based his practice. Those who run the country today are incapable of such vision. Russia is reaping the bitter fruits of their economic illiteracy and irresponsibility.
Myth has it that by introducing the New Economic Policy, Lenin admitted the need to return to the capitalist market. Some even say that Gorbachev’s line was a successor to the NEP. Only his perestroika led to a dismantling of socialism and the collapse of Russia, while the Soviet State grew stronger under the NEP.
After the First World War and the Civil War and foreign Intervention, production had shrunk by nearly five times and agriculture by half. Crop failures and famine compounded the situation. The NEP saved the country. As for foreign companies, they were allowed at enterprises that accounted for less than 1% of the total industrial output.
The decisions taken then strengthened the state system of controlling the socialist economy. In 1921 the State Central Bank was founded in the country. It issued up to 70 percent of all the credits. The state invested in the economy. During the first five years of the NEP, agricultural output doubled and industrial output trebled. The economy grew by 13% in 1927 and by 19% in 1928. National revenue increased at an annual rate of 18%. Between 1922 and 1929, the USSR built more than 200 big industrial enterprises. Prices were going down rapidly. The world had not ever known, such economic success.
This was Lenin’s New Economic Policy. It is a brilliant example of an anti-crisis program capable of rescuing the country from economic collapse. The CPRF program has echoes of Lenin’s approach. It is becoming more relevant every day. The Moscow Economic Forum confirmed that more and more experts, are proposing measures consonant with our approach.
Russia today needs a financial system that serves the interests of the country and not of transnational capital. The banking system must be put under state control. Only then will it be able to provide effective loans to the national industry and to small businesses. The country needs to replace the flat income tax rate with a progressive one and to exempt the poor from all taxes. Without a fair distribution of national wealth the Soviet State could not have overcome mass poverty and provide the economy with investments. The same is true of today.
Lenin passed away in 1924, but his economic policy lived on. The foundation had been laid for a staggering breakthrough that was Stalin’s industrialization. Think of Stalin’s then amazingly bold words: “We are 50-100 years behind the advanced countries. We must run this distance within ten years. Either we do it or we shall be crushed.”
This appeal was imbued with the Lenin spirit. The titanic task was fulfilled. In January 1932 the French newspaper Le Temps wrote: “The USSR has won the first round, it industrialized without the aid of foreign capital.” This was recognition of the Soviet economic achievements, recognition of the success of Lenin’s ideas and accomplishments.
Lenin’s economic policy is behind the colossal success of Stalin’s industrialization and total liquidation of unemployment by the beginning of the 1930s. The great Victory over Fascism is also the result of Lenin’s policy. So was the Soviet conquest of outer space. So was the level of social guarantees, that one can only dream of, today.
Vladimir Lenin won the Great Socialist Victory which long survived him. Today the country is suffering a crushing capitalist defeat. It may turn out to be a catastrophe. Today the experience of Lenin and Stalin stands in contrast to the Yeltsin-Gaidar legacy of the 1990s. We communists will do all we can to make sure that the creative forces prevail. The number one task is to help the people to become aware of the need to restructure along socialist lines.
* * *
The October 1917 Revolution lit the dawn of a new life. Our legacy is grandiose. Next year sees the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx. Great is the power of Lenin’s ideas. The Bolsheviks have colossal experience of opposing capital.
The greatest achievement of Lenin and his comrades- in-arms was the creation of the Bolshevik Party, a party of a new type. Bolshevism linked the proletarian movement in Russia with scientific socialism. It consistently implemented the teaching on the class struggle of the proletariat, on the socialist revolution, on the building of socialism in one country surrounded by capitalism. The party of Lenin put the Russian revolutionary movement in the vanguard of the struggle against capitalism and its leading force, the financial oligarchy.
The Bolshevik Party is the party of socialist revolution, of socialist creative endeavour and the communist perspective.
Bolshevism combines loyalty to principle and flexible tactics, the romanticism of lofty dreams, and pragmatic actions.
Proletarian internationalism is a characteristic of Bolshevism. However, it skillfully combined the general laws of the struggle for socialism with national-historical specificities.
Bolshevism rejects opportunism and revisionism. It upholds the purity of the Marxist-Leninist theory and opposes the falsification of this theory. At the same time it rejects sectarianism and seeks to unite left- wing forces in the struggle against the dictatorship of capital.
In October of 1917 the Russian Bolsheviks aroused the masses and won. They took up the slogan of Marx and Engels Proletarians of all lands, unite” and put it into practice. After the victory Lenin said: “Our socialist republic of the Soviets will stand firm as the torch of international socialism and as an example to all the working masses. There they have fighting, war and bloodshed, here we have a genuine policy of peace and the socialist republic of the Soviets.” That was indeed the case. The Soviet country became a bulwark and a beacon of hope for the working people of the whole planet.
The Soviet Union presented mankind with a unique experience of socialist construction. Its Red Banner became the main symbol of the fighters for justice in all the corners of the world. During the clash with Fascism this red flag called the Soviet warriors into battle and their heroism inspired the Resistance fighters of Europe. The banner with a hammer and sickle was the main symbol of the Great Victory.
Russian communists are proud of their history. Our path draws on the brilliant experience of many units of the international left movement. The wealth of this experience is our great heritage. The heritage of Soviet socialism inspired the members of the Comintern .It found its continuation in the Chinese and Cuban revolutions, in the struggle of Korea and Vietnam against the US military, in the daring exploits of Ernesto Che Guevara and the Ð¥Ð¥I-century socialism of Hugo Chavez.
The achievements of the Soviet era are our lode star in the whirlpool of events. Building on the path covered, we have to go further in upholding social justice. Remembering past victories the CPRF has to intensify its struggle against capitalist savagery and degradation. The Party must establish itself as the vanguard of the workers’ movement. It must help hired laborers to become aware of their basic interests, to acquire socialist consciousness, to master the methods of class struggle –this is our task and this is our political and civic duty.
Russia is living through an exceedingly complicated period. To protect the working people, our party has to prove itself day after day by its teamwork and convincing results.
The centuries-old dream of humanity about a better future gives us faith in the triumph of good over evil, the triumph of the values of peace and creative endeavour, justice and progress.
Let us be faithful to the cause of the October Revolution.
The race is won by the running.
Onward toward new heights.
This entry was posted in CPRF Congress, Statements on June 2nd, 2017, by admin.
Please watch the video to the end. This is why the world hates the US.
THE US IS LISTING & DEMONISING NEWS SERVICES OUTSIDE THE MAINSTREAM PRESSTITUTES, NOW
So we thought you'd like this list of good news services...
Newsbud, Counterpunch, Doni 21st Century Wire Moon of Alabama.org The Saker Dmitry Orlov's blogsite cluborlove Dances with Bears The Duran Strategic Culture.org, globalresearch.ca, drudgereport.com, wikileaks.com, wikileaks.org, wikispooks.com. zerohedge.com, truthdig.com. RT.com Sputniknews.com USSLIBERTYVETERANS.org, infowars.com, intrepidreport.com, intellihub.com, informationclearinghouse.info, corbettreport.com, floridasunpost.com, opednews.com, oilgeopolitics.com, gatesofvienna.net, blackagendareport.com, mintpressnews.com, ahtribune.com, thefreethoughtproject.com, consortiumnews.com, washingtonsblog.com, asia-pacificresearch.com, filmsforaction.com (Native Americans), thirdworldtraveler.com, activistpost.com. Prensa Latina The Morning Star paulcraigroberts.org Truthdig.com Naked Capitalism.com
Jeremy Corbyn just announced a plan to end one of the biggest scams in modern history by James Wright
As part of his ‘Digital Democracy‘ manifesto, Jeremy Corbyn has unveiled plans to end one of the biggest scams in modern history.
At present, the British people are paying twice for education and information. Once, to create research (for example, through Research Council funding) and then again to buy back the research through online journal subscriptions, university fees and public library costs. Despite funding the research, the taxpayer must pay again for access.
An ‘Open Knowledge Library’, proposed in the manifesto, would stop us being charged twice for academic research:
The Open Knowledge Library will be the digital repository of lessons, lectures, curricula and student work from Britain’s nurseries, schools, colleges and universities. We will require the findings of all state- funded research to be made available without charge to the general public through this learning portal.
In a move that will anger private digital libraries like JSTOR, Corbyn’s Labour has vowed to end their sneaky profiteering on the back of the taxpayer. Publicly funded research would, accordingly, become publicly available.
Without such access, we are currently paying extortionate fees to expand our knowledge through research we have already funded. Single journals on JSTOR can cost up to $50 to access without a university affiliation. If they are available at all.
If you happen to be a student at university, then you may sidestep the online paywalls, but not the scam. Research funded publicly and by universities themselves is then sold back to universities at inflated prices. As Laura Mckenna writes in The Atlantic:
Step back and think about this picture. Universities that created this academic content for free must pay to read it. Step back even further. The public — which has indirectly funded this research with federal and state taxes that support our higher education system — has virtually no access to this material, since neighbourhood libraries cannot afford to pay those subscription costs.
Each UK university loses up to £3.38m (PDF, page 6) per year buying back research they themselves have funded. Meanwhile, access to digital libraries for students costs universities an annual fortune. Students therefore join the general people in forking out once again for publicly funded research, but through tuition fees rather than paywalls.
Like students, if you happen to be at a public library then you may sidestep the online paywalls, but not the scam. In 2008, access to journals and subscriptions cost UK libraries £235m (PDF, page 1) of taxpayer money. Hence, even if you are at a library, the library has paid a second time for publicly funded research.
Open access to information saves lives
The injustice of paying twice for research is not the only reason we should adopt an open access model. All of us benefit from having doctors, teachers, academics & other well educated people in society.
Case in point: Jack Andraka, who was 15 years old when he identified a revolutionary tool in recognising pancreatic cancer, would never have made his discovery without access to online journals.
Open source information is a no-brainer. As the rights to the research are bought by digital libraries like JSTOR, removing these companies and their paywalls does not mean that the researchers and writers do not get paid. It only means huge profits are not siphoned off by these unnecessary gatekeepers. It means we are not paying twice for information.
And crucially, the more people who have access to research, the higher the chance we have of scientific, philosophical and artistic breakthroughs. 150 million attempts to read JSTOR content are denied every year. This is not including the other private digital library giants. Imagine the expansion of human knowledge and progress should these attempts have been granted.
Watch the documentary on Aaron Swartz, one of the greatest pioneers of internet freedom and open source information. He was the co-founder of Reddit, architect of Creative Commons, political activist, and a key contributor to the first RSS feeds at 14.
These are just a few examples of his incredible achievements before he committed suicide in the face of persecution by the US government - aged just 26.
Sick to Death of the BBC and MainStream Media Bias?
Try these alternative media outlets in the UK (They deserve our support)
The Canary Media Diversified
Novara Media Corporate Watch
Common Space Media Lens
Bella Caledonia Vox Political
Evolve Politics Real Media
Reel News STRIKE! magazine
The Bristol Cable Manchester Mule
Salford Star Scisco Media
Jeremy Corbyn has been accused by some of being disconnected from the North of England. Watch this amateur video ! (Where he mentions - briefly -the Work Capability Assessment, damned below:)
Courtesy of Liza Van Zyl on Facebook.
Liza is the lady who received a visit from police who claimed she had committed a criminal act against the Department for Work & Pensions, just before midnight on October 26th, 2012 --- being that she'd been highlighting the deaths of sick & disabled people after reassessment by Atos and the DWP for Employment and Support Allowance.
Fortunately for those who still have to undergo these assessments, she was not discouraged and has continued to fight for those who can not stand up for themselves. However, she is currently suffering severe disenchantment with the Labour Party, as she says, below:
“We heard from Owen Smith MP today [Saturday, March 7] (a member of the left wing of the Labour Party leadership) that it is important for disabled people to continue to die, lest any commitment by Labour to scrap the Work Capability Assessment generate a negative response in the press and affect Labour’s general election chances.
“He said, while he, personally, doesn’t like the WCA, his Labour colleagues will not support scrapping it because of fears it will play badly with the right wing press & damage Labour’s electoral chances… I’ve since been contacted by other disabled people who’ve raised the issue with their Labour MPs, & the response has been:
Yes, the WCA isn’t nice but if Labour commits to scrapping it, it would appear to be ‘soft on welfare’.
“The similarities of these responses (and given that Owen Smith is a frontbench shadow sec of state and therefore presumably is up to date on party strategy) indicates that this is an agreed line or represents an actual decision. This is profoundly disturbing, given that a great many Labour MPs know in detail exactly what suffering and deaths the WCA is responsible for among their own constituents: Tom Greatrex organised a powerful meeting of Labour MPs with Chris Grayling two years ago. Dame Anne Begg is herself a disabled person, as are other MPs.
“So: When was the decision taken by Labour MPs that the opinion of the right wing press matters more than the suffering and deaths of disabled people? How was this decision made, and why didn’t the likes of John McDonnell, Dennis Skinner, Jeremy Corbyn etc kick up a holy fuss? I have put the WCA question to parliamentary candidates Jo Stevens, Mari Williams, Chris Elmore and Elizabeth Evans and got the strong impression from them that they were committed to scrapping the WCA… What is going on?”
What do you think -- is it right that people have their disability benefits cut and -- die as a result?
Write now to:
Follow up by the brilliant Voxpolitical
We know that the Work Capability Assessment has been a catastrophe for people all over the UK. It is based on a system evolved by the criminal US insurance firm Unum, designed to be hugely difficult and stressful.
The stress of having to prepare for an assessment kills many, as does that of taking it. Some commit suicide when they are refused benefit, some die from the stress of having to appeal. Some who are granted it, then die from its requirements – like trying to become ready for work in a year if they’re in the work-related activity group of ESA.
Some who are granted benefit die from the strain of being re-assessed, sometimes at short notice.
Death surrounds the process. When Mr Smith said Labour would not oppose the WCA because of the right-wing press, he was tacitly saying Labour is willing to let these fatalities continue – even if he wasn’t actually saying it.
It’s something that some people have found hard to accept, but that is the message being put out to people across the UK by Labour’s unwillingness to denounce the process and Liza just happened to be the one who stood up and said it.
As a result, it seems she has been hounded off the Internet. She wrote: “Folks, if you don’t hear from me for a while, don’t worry I’m ok. I’ve given my phone and all means of Internet access to a friend, so that I don’t have to see all the horrible messages I’m being bombarded with.”
If Mr Smith’s answer was a “fudge”, then he has no right to be scandalised by Liza’s response. On Twitter he claimed it was a “lie”. Perhaps he could apologise for creating misunder- standing, and clarify what he really was saying about Labour’s position, instead.
The last WCA data published – Nov. 2011 – showed around 4 deaths every 3 hours, or 220 a week. That’s a monstrous figure.
It's possible that the DWP may provide new figures soon, & we can hope the average will be lower ---- but the sheer weight of punitive measures enacted since 2011 suggests otherwise.
Just as shocking is Labour’s apparent disinterest in changing it. The sheer number of people who have contacted *Vox Political – via the comment column, Twitter or Facebook – to say they have tried, repeatedly, to engage Labour luminaries on the subject, only to get cold-shouldered, is a scandal in itself.
We’ve already got enough political parties whose leaders are only interested in what they can get for themselves – they’re called Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.
Labour needs to be better; Labour needs to stand up and do what’s right for everybody.
And that's a big reason why this is so important. Labour is the only party with a hope of kicking the Conservatives back into Opposition. People all over the country want to support Labour – but can’t, because they don’t believe Labour will support them. That’s the ultimate reason the WCA has to go; it doesn’t help people – it kills them.
If the alternative to being “soft on welfare” is causing the deaths of thousands of people who only asked for the benefits their tax money is supposed to have funded, then ‘One Nation’ Labour cannot afford to have anything to do with it.
*Vox Political - the excellent site that produced this wonderful piece of expose journalism.
How Western Military Interventions Shaped the Brexit Vote
Michael Hudson argues that military interventions in the Middle East created refugee streams to Europe that were in turn used by the anti-immigrant right to stir up xenophobia
GREGORY WILPERT, TRNN: Welcome to the Real News Network. I’m Gregory Wilpert, coming to you from Quito, Ecuador.
Britain’s referendum in favor of leaving, or exiting, the European Union, the Brexit referendum, as the results are known, won with 52 percent of the vote on Thursday, June 23, stunning Europe’s political establishment. One of the issues that has raised concern for many is ...what does the Brexit mean for Britain’s and Europe’s economy & politics. This was one of the main topics leading up to the referendum, but a lot of disinformation [reigned] in the discussion.
With us to discuss the economic and political context of the Brexit is Michael Hudson. He is a research professor of economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and author of Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Destroy the Global Economy. Also, he is an economics adviser to several governments, including Greece, Iceland, Latvia, and China. He joins us right now from New York City.
Thanks, Michael, for joining us.
MICHAEL HUDSON: Good to be here again.
WILPERT: So let’s begin with the political context in which the Brexit vote took place. Aside from the right-wing arguments about immigrants, economic concerns, and about Britain’s ability to control its own economy, what would you say–what do you see as being the main kind of political back- ground, in which this vote took place?
HUDSON: Well, almost all the Europeans know where the immigrants are coming from. And the ones that they’re talking about are from the near East. And they’re aware of the fact that most immigrants are coming, as a result of NATO policies promoted by Hillary and by the Obama administration.
The problem began in Libya. Once Hillary pushed Obama to destroy Libya and wipe out the stable government there, she wiped out the arms–& Libya was a very heavily armed country. She turned over the arms to ISIS, to Al-Nusra, and Al-Qaeda. And Al- Qaeda used these arms under U.S. organization, to attack Syria and Iraq. Now, the Syrian population, the Iraqi population, have no choice but to either emigrate or get killed.
So when people talk about immigration to Europe, the Europeans, the French, the Dutch, the English, they’re all aware of the fact that this is the fact that Brussels is really NATO, and NATO is really run by Washington, and that it’s America’s new Cold War against Russia that’s been spurring all of this demographic dislocation that’s spreading into England, spreading into Europe, and is destabilizing things.
So what you’re seeing with the Brexit is the result of Obama's administration’s pro-war, new Cold War policy.
WILPERT: So are you saying that people voted for Brexit because they are really–that they were concerned about the influence of the USA? Or are you saying that it’s because of the backlash, because of the immigration that happened, and the fact that the right wing took advantage of that [crosstalk].
HUDSON: It’s a combination. The right wing was, indeed, pushing the immigrant issue, saying wait a minute, they’re threatening our jobs. But the left wing was just as vocal, and the left wing was saying, why are these immigrants coming here? They’re coming here because of Europe’s support of NATO, and NATOs war that’s bombing the near East, that is destabilizing the whole Near East, and causing a flight of refugees not only from Syria, but also from Ukraine. In England, many of the so-called Polish plumbers that came years ago have now gone back to Poland, because that country’s recovered.
But now the worry is that a whole new wave of Ukrainians–and basically the US policy is one of destabilization–so even the right-wing, while they have talked about immigrants, they have also denounced the [inaudible] fact that the European policy is run by the United States, and that you have both Marine Le Pen in France saying, we want to withdraw from NATO; we don’t want confrontation with Russia. You have the left wing in England saying, we don’t want troop concentrations to attack Russia. And last week when I was in Germany you had the Social Democratic Party leaders saying that Russia should be invited back into the G8, that NATO was taking a warlike position and was hurting the European economy by breaking its ties with Russia and by forcing other sanctions against Russia.
So you have a convergence between the left and the right, and the question is, who is going to determine the terms on which Europe is broken up and put back together? Will it simply be the right wing that’s anti- immigrants? Or will it simply be the left saying we want to restructure the economy in a way that essentially avoids the austerity that is coming from Brussels, on the one hand, and from the UK Conservative Party, on the other.
And again, you have Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch nationalists, saying, we want Holland to have its own central bank. We want to be in charge of our own money. And under Brussels, we cannot be in charge of our own money. That means we cannot run a budget deficit and spend money into the economy & recover with a Keynesian-type policy.
So the whole withdrawal from Europe means withdrawing from austerity. If you look at the voting pattern in London, in England, you had London to stay in. You had the university centres, Oxford and Cambridge, voting to stay in. You had the working class, the old industrial areas of the north and the south. You had the middle class and the industrial class saying, we’re getting a really bad deal from Europe. We want to oppose austerity. And we don’t want Brussels to give us not only the anti-labor, pro- bank policies, but also the trade policy that Brussels was trying to push onto Europe, the Obama trade agreement, which essentially would take national economic policy out of the hands of government & put it into the hands of corporate bureaucracy, corporation courts.The bureaucracy in Brussels, then, is largely pro-bank, pro-corporate, and anti-labour.
WILPERT: That actually brings up the issue of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or the TTIP. It was one of the things that the Cameron government was really pushing for, this relationship between the European Union and the United States. Now that Britain is presumably going to be leaving the European Union, don’t you think that this might open the possibility of just a TTIP between Britain and the United States? In other words, that it will–it has been one of the arguments, actually, of those who were opposed to Britain leaving the EU, that it will tie Britain even closer to the United States than it was before, and by virtue of the fact that it’s leaving Europe.
HUDSON: I think just the opposite. I’ve gotten 'phone calls today from Britain, and I’ve been on radio with Britain. The whole feeling is that this makes the TTIP impossible, because you can’t do a TTIP just with Britain. You have to do it with all of Europe. & this prevents Europe - and I think Britain, too - from making this kind of trade policy. The rejection of eurozone austerity is, essentially, a rejection of the neoliberal plan that the TTIP is supposed to be the capstone of.
WILPERT: And what do you think this means, then, in general for Europe’s future? One of the things that–one of the dangers that many perceive, is precisely that Europe, as a European Union, is going to fall apart. Do you think that’s the likely scenario here? Or–.
HUDSON: I watched Marine Le Pen today in France, and you could see from her face that she was overjoyed. She thinks all of a sudden, almost every European interview where the people–there was such unleashing of a feeling of freedom, a feeling of yes, we can do it. When Ireland voted not to join the European Union people just ignored the popular vote. But now it can’t be ignored anymore.
And I think that the British vote is a catalyst for moves in Spain, Italy, the Five Star movement in Italy, the Podemos in Spain, to say, we are–we have an alternative to Europe. Europe is sort of like the Soviet Union in the ’30s and ’40s. There was an argument, is it reformable or not? There is a feeling, and I think it’s correct, that the European Union, the eurozone, and the euro, is not reformable, as a result of the Lisbon treaties and the other treaties that have created the euro. Europe has to be taken apart in order to be put together not on a right-wing, neoliberal basis, but on a more social basis.
Now, ironically, the parties who call themselves socialists are now moved to the ultra-right, to the neoliberal. The French socialists, the German social democrats. But you’re having real radical parties arise in Italy, Spain, Portugal, and potentially in Greece, again, that are going to say, well, the key of any government - of any national government - has to be the ability to issue our own money, to run a deficit, spending into the economy to make the economy recover. We cannot recover under the Lisbon agreements, under the eurozone, where the central bank will only create money to give to banks, not money to spend into the economy, to actually finance new investment and new employment. And we cannot be part of a eurozone that insists that pensions have to be cut back in order to make the banks whole and save the 1 percent losing money.
So for the first time you’re having the real left wing in Europe talking about financial issues, not about political philosophy, or the fact that countries are not going to go to war again. Nobody ever believes that France, Germany, & other countries in Europe are going to go to military war again. There is a fear that the countries in Europe may go to war against Russia, pushed there by NATO, pushed by the adventurism of the US stance towards Russia.
And so, all of a sudden, the eurozone that was supposed to be a bulwark of military peace has become belligerent, and even more so if Hillary would win in the United States. And there’s a feeling we do want peace. That means we have to withdraw from the eurozone. And essentially , withdrawing from Brussels means withdrawing from NATO & withdrawing from the United States.
So you could say that the vote to withdraw from Europe is, it’s really a vote of the British middle class, the working class, to withdraw from the U.S. neoliberalism that has been running Europe for the last ten years.
WILPERT: Okay. Unfortunately we’ve run out of time, but thanks so much, Michael, for your insight on this. I’m sure we’ll come back to you again, as we always do. So thanks again for joining us.
HUDSON: Good to be here.
WILPERT: And thank you for watching the Real News Network.
UN’s condemnation of austerity UK - is a national disgrace
by Charlotte Hughes
The United Nations committee on economic and cultural rights recently published a highly damning report.
It confirmed that the UK government’s austerity measures are in breach of its obligations to the human rights of citizens living in Britain.
Although mentioned in the mainstream press, it hasn’t been given enough attention. It’s an important issue that should not be swept under the carpet.
The report considers a number of areas, all of which are drastically important to our every- day lives and the lives of the poorest.
It covers foodbanks, unemployment rates, the housing crisis, mental health care and discrimination against the vulnerable.
In its report the committee reminds the UK government of its obligations and actively calls upon it to make the changes required.
Sadly I fear this has fallen upon deaf ears, as no official acknowledgement has been made, let alone a rush to tackle the issues.
The UN committee is “seriously concerned” about the disproportionately adverse impact that UK austerity measures have forced upon the poorest, who are already disadvantaged and marginalised individuals and groups. To put it simply, people are suffering, and it is completely unnecessary.
These are people who already had a bad deal in life and now can see no way of getting out of the situation that they are in.
Many are ill or disabled, some have children and some are single parents. These people are being targeted time and time again. It’s an endless circle of suffering and poverty.
The committee also emphasised problems with welfare reform. It said it was “deeply concerned” about the various entitlement changes & cuts in social security benefits that are constantly being made.
These include the reduction of the household benefit cap, the four-year freeze on certain benefits and a reduction in child tax credits.
The committee goes on to say that this will deeply affect “women, children, persons with disabilities, low-income families and families with two or more children.”
Despite constant demonisation by the press, which labels these people as scroungers, the fact is, they're suffering and their children are suffering. So much so, that their schools are "concerned". This used to be unheard of.
The report goes on to tackle other issues, such as the unemployment rate, the high incidence of part-time, zero-hours contract work, people forced into precarious self-employment, the “persistent discrimination” against migrant workers, the low national minimum wage, the new Trade Union Act, the limited availability of affordable childcare, the increased risk of poverty for disabled people, ethnic minorities and single parents, families with children, the lack of affordable, accessible housing, the significant rise in homelessness, and ever-increasing university tuition fees.
However, I would like to focus on one issue, the issue of sanctions relating to benefits and the absence of due process or access to justice --- for those affected by a benefit sanction.
Sanctions are handed out far too freely by the government’s DWP workers. They are given to mostly innocent people who are trying their best and are quite often not fit for work.
Claimants aren’t given any due process and often don’t have an explanation as to why a sanction was imposed.
They will often find out about a sanction when they go to their bank --- and see that their regular payment has not been paid.
They will then not have any access to any justice, -- except from overworked and underpaid staff, at their local Citizens Advice Bureau, a welfare rights office or equivalent. Not everyone is so lucky and many don’t have access to these services, nor do they know how to challenge a sanction.
The DWP does not inform people who’ve been sanctioned unfairly about how to do this, and many just take themselves off the system.
In some tragic cases people can’t take any more and commit suicide, some are so hungry and cold that they die of related illnesses.
The report is indeed damning and is a very sad indictment of how a UK government treats the most vulnerable in society.
It has continued to punish those most in need, while others gain massive wealth at the cost of the poorest.
It’s easy to become distracted by all the news about a referendum, the Tory Party leadership and infighting in the Labour Party. But what I can say is this: we need to stand united as a country and continue to highlight the fact that these very issues exist, and the situation is bad enough to be condemned by the UN, a fact that we should be ashamed of.
We need to educate others, share this report, lobby MPs, help those who are affected and who are suffering.
Let’s show this government that we are all in this together and will not stand by while a UK government acts like this, any more.
Charlotte Hughes blogs at thepoorsideoflife.wordpress.com.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Real (unsuppressed) History of the Welsh (British) (FULL VERSION) by Alan Wilson...
is guaranteed to set your heart and mind racing - as Alan Wilson might be 77 years old -- but he's a MIGHTY man !
Happy Birthday to Magna Carta June 15, 2015, was the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. In his book, 'Magna Carta', J.C. Holt, professor of medieval history, University of Cambridge, notes that 3 of the chapters of this ancient document, still stand on the English Stature Book, and that so much of what survives of the Great Charter, is “concerned with individual liberty,” which “is a reflexion of the quality of the original act of 1215. In the 17th century Sir Edward Coke used the Great Charter of the Liberties to establish the supremacy of Parliament, the representative of the people, as the origin of law. A number of legal scholars have made the irrelevant point that Magna Carta protected the rights of the Church, nobles and free men who were not enserfed: a small percentage of the population in the early 13th century.
We hear the same about the US Constitution -- it was something the rich did for themselves. I have no sympathy for debunking human achievements that -- in the end -- gave ordinary people liberty. At Runnymede in 1215, no one but the armed barons had the power & audacity to make King John submit to law. The rule of law, not the rule of the sovereign, or the executive branch in Washington, acceded to by a cowardly & corrupt Congress and Supreme Court, is a human achievement that grew out of the Magna Carta over the centuries, with ups and downs, of course. Blackstone’s Commentaries in 1759 fed into the American Revolution and gave us the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The Geneva Conventions extended the rule of law, to the international arena. Beginning with the Clinton Administration and rapidly accelerating with the George W. Bush & Obama regimes -- & Tony Blair in England -- the US & UK governments have run roughshod over their accountability to law. Both the US & UK in the 21st century have gone to numerous wars illegally under the Nuremberg Standard estab- lished by the US and UK, following Germany’s defeat in WWII and used to execute Germans for war crimes.
The US and UK claim that, unlike Germany, they're immune to the very international law that they themselves established, in order to punish the defeated Germans. Washington and London can bomb and murder at will, but not Germany. Both governments illegally & uncon- stitutionally, (the UK Constitution is unwritten) spy on their citizens, and Bush & Obama's executive branches have eviscerated, with the complicity of Congress and the federal courts, the entirety of the US Constitution... except for the 2nd Amendment, which is protected by the strong lobby of the National Rifle Association. If the gun control “progressives” have their way, nothing will be left of the US Constitution. Washington and its European satellites have subordinated law to a political and economic hegemonic agenda. Just as under the heyday of colonialism when the West looted the non-white world, today the West loots its own. Greece is being looted as was Ireland, and Italy and Spain will not escape looting unless they renege on their debts and leave the EU. Western capitalism is a looting mechanism. It loots labour. It loots the environment, &, with its transpacific and transatlantic “partnerships” it will loot the sovereign law of countries. For example, France’s laws against GMOs become “restraints on trade” & subjects France to punitive law suits by Monsanto. If France doesn’t pay Monsanto the damages Monsanto claims, France is subject to punitive sanctions like Washington applies to Russia when Russia doesn’t do what Washington wants.
A new slave existence is being created in front of our eyes as law ceases to be a shield of the people, and becomes a weapon in the hands of government.
Eight hundred years of reform is being overturned --- as Washington and its vassals invade, bomb, and overthrow governments that are out of step with Washington’s agenda. Formerly self- sufficient agricultural communities are becoming wage slaves for international agribusiness corporations. Everywhere privilege is rising above law, and justice is being lost.
This concentration of wealth and power is reminiscent of the aristocratic era and of Rome under the Caesars. The demise of the rule of law, has stripped ordinary people of security and dignity. Peoples of the world must protect themselves by acting in defense of the Great Charter’s principle: governments are accountable to law. Governments unaccountable to law are tyrannies, whatever they might call themselves, no matter how except- ional and indispensable, they declare themselves to be. On Monday in Westminster in London, the International Tribunal for Natural Justice was forming. If my understanding of this work of Humanitad is correct, we have a cause for hope. Perhaps the Tribunal will try the criminals of our time, (almost all of which, are “leaders” of Western governments), on the Internet, with juries & prosecutors --- so populations everywhere can witness the evil that every Western government represents. Once the West is perceived as the evil force that it is, it will have to reform & again embrace Edward Coke’s vision of the Great Charter, or become an unim- portant backwater while the rest of the world goes on to better things. The world is saved, once the world ceases to bow down to the American Caesar. Paul Craig Roberts, PaulCÂÂraigRoberts.org
Well... the Chinese have a curse "May you live in interesting times", and since Yemen - just like Libya - is a country China has massively invested in, perhaps their curse on whoever is behind Yemen's current pain, is well deserved.
Conspiracy theory? Judge for yourself...
It's up for discussion here on Rhondda Records!!!
Zionist ‘Arab’ regimes attack Yemen
By KEVIN BARRETT
It is a disgraceful spectacle.
Across the Arab world, illegitimate dictators have
united to prop up the worst illegitimate dictatorship
of them all – the doomed and desperate House of
Saud. Their goal: Keep Yemen, and the rest of the
Arab world, under Saudi-American-Zionist
As I write this the Saudis are bombing Yemen &
preparing a ground invasion. They have named
their war on Yemen “Operation Decisive Storm”
in apparently homage to the 1991 US attack on
Iraq, Operation Desert Storm, when US troops
marched through Saudi Arabia en route to their
“turkey shoot” on the Highway of Death.
After the “turkey shoot” – one of the worst war
crimes of the 20th century – the Zionist-dominated
US murdered a million Iraqis, half of them children,
through a draconian sanctions regime, preventing
Iraq from rebuilding and operating its sanitary and
health care infrastructure.
Then-US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
bragged on national television that “it was worth
it” to murder half a million Iraqi children. Albright
is currently a co-investor, with Jacob Rothschild
& George Soros, in a $350 million dollar company
that builds cell phone towers in Africa. (Since cell
phone towers have been implicated not only in
negative health effects, but also in covert mind-
control technologies, one wonders what the
Rothschild-Soros-Albright cell phone towers will
be doing to Africans, who've traditionally served
as guinea pigs in secret non-consensual human
In any case, if the Zionist puppet regime in Riyadh
tries to invade Yemen, it won’t be a turkey shoot.
Despite the differences in size and wealth between
the two nations, the Yemenis are expert guerrilla
fighters defending their home terrain. The Saudi
troops, in contrast, have nothing to fight for except
the continued pillaging of their region by their
depraved and decadent royal masters and the
Zionist banksters behind them.
A Zio-Saudi invasion of Yemen could end up looking
like the 2006 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. During
that war, the Israelis, despite their huge edge in
money and military technology over the Lebanese
Hezbollah fighters, suffered a humiliating defeat.
Why? Hezbollah was fighting a defensive war on
its own terrain. It knew that terrain; it knew what
it was fighting for; and its fighters were willing to
risk their lives in a just cause.
Representative of the
New World Order bankster empire
Like the Lebanese in 2006 and the Vietnamese
of the 1950s and 1960s, the Yemeni Houthis and
their supporters are willing to put their lives on
the line to defend their country against a foreign
invader representing the New World Order bank-
ster empire. The Saudi invaders, like the USA
in Vietnam and the Israelis in Lebanon, have no
equivalent motivation, & will thus have no reason
to fight hard or accept serious casualties. The
mountainous terrain in Yemen will, additionally,
favor the defenders.
Given that prognosis, the stampede of brutal,
dictatorial Arab regimes to line up behind the
Saudis is not just appalling, but potentially
The Saudi “coalition of the wicked” includes all
the corrupt Zionist-bankster-owned Persian Gulf
Sheikdoms – Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and the UAE
(an ostensibly Muslim country which is the world’s
leading importer of alcoholic beverages). It also
includes Jordan, which is run from the CIA station
in Amman; Egypt, whose democracy-destroying
dictator el-Sisi is a lifelong Zionist sleeper agent
of Moroccan Jewish heritage; & Morocco, whose
King is an alleged homosexual & one of the world’s
leading drug dealers, & who (unlike his even more
thuggish father) has sold Morocco to Europeans,
and turned it into an oversized brothel.
Zionist-controlled media, including fake “Arab”
outlets like al-Jazeera, are trying to use the
conflict in Yemen to throw gasoline on the fire
they themselves started: The phony “Sunni vs.
Shia” conflict. But there is no such conflict. The
only meaningful conflict is between the Zionist
bankster empire and the Resistance.
If the Zionists can dupe Sunnis into thinking
Shia are the enemy, and vice versa, they will
succeed in destroying the region & maintain-
ing their hegemony.
It is easy to see which forces in the Middle East
are slaves of the Zionist New World Order Empire,
and which ones stand with the Resistance.
Simply ask this question: Who is genuinely working
against Zionism and struggling to liberate Palestine,
and who is not?
The answers are clear. ISIL, for example, never
attacks Israel. On the contrary, it defends Israel
by helping balkanize the Middle East in service
to the Oded Yinon plan, & by attacking the forces
that Israel rightly considers genuine threats.
Hence ISIL is not a real “radical Islamic” group
at all, but a Zionist false flag group. Netanyahu
openly visits their wounded fighters who are
being treated in Israeli hospitals.
Likewise, General el-Sisi in Egypt pretends to be
an Arab Muslim, but is not. As the long-time liaison
between the Israeli and Egyptian militaries, el-Sisi’s
job was to take Israeli orders and relay them to his
Egyptian underlings. That is what he is still doing
today from his usurped Presidential Palace. It should
be no surprise that his uncle Uri Sibagh served in the
Jewish Defense League from 1948 to 1950 and then
emigrated to Israel and worked for David Ben-Gurion.
The House of Saud may also be a family of crypto-
Jews – a theory which, if true, would help explain
their foreign policy and lifestyle choices. (Saudi
Arabia could put Israel out of business overnight
by imposing a real oil boycott, not a fake one like
the 1973 charade engineered by Henry Kissinger;
but for some reason they refuse to do so.)
According to American investigative reporter
Wayne Madsen, who was recently named by
France’s President Hollande as one of the
world’s five most notable “conspiracist
intellectuals” (I am proud to also have been
on that list), the Ibn Saud family and their
Wahhabist supporters belong to the Donmeh
sect of satanic “Jewish” heretics.
If so, Mecca and Medina are in the hands of a
family that engages in ritual orgies & is dedicated
to the rise of a false messiah. Israeli investigative
reporter Barry Chamish agrees with that analysis,
and adds that the Rothschild family are part of
the same heretical group. This hypothesis would
explain the alliance between the Ibn Sauds and
their Rothschild masters, who control the usury-
based bankster petrodollar through their control
of Saudi Arabia.
Whether the Ibn Sauds work for the banksters out
of donmeh loyalties or character flaws, the result
is the same. They are selling their fabulous oil
wealth at a fraction of its true value in order to
prop up the usury-based New World Order empire
in general, and the Zionist dagger in the heart of
the Middle East in particular.
Will the Empire and its increasingly-sophisticated
mind-control technology prevent Arabs & Muslims
from recognizing their real situation and standing
up for their real interests? Or will the Resistance
ultimately triumph? What happens in Yemen may
be an indicator.
As the Chinese curse has it, we are certainly
'living in interesting times'.
The Spirit of Our Struggle Leave a Little Light On for Me by FIDEL CASTRO
Fidel Castro sent this message to the Federation of University Students on the occasion of an event commemorating the 70th anniversary of his admission to the University of Havana.
In 2006, as a result of health issues which were incompatible with the time and effort required to fulfill my duties – which I myself assumed when I entered this University on September 4th, 1945, 70 years ago – I resigned from my official positions.
I was not the son of a worker, or lacking in material or social resources for a relatively comfortable existence; I could say that I miraculously escaped wealth. Many years later, a richer and undoubtedly very capable U.S. citizen, with almost 100 billion dollars, stated – according to a news agency article published this past Thursday, January 22 – that the predominant system of production and distribution of wealth would, from generation to generation, make the poor rich.
Since the times of ancient Greece, during almost 3,000 years, the Greeks, without going very far, were brilliant in almost all activities: physics, mathematics, philosophy, architecture, art, science, politics, astronomy and other branches of human knowledge.
Greece, however, was a land in which slaves did the most difficult work in fields and cities, while the oligarchy devoted itself to writing and philosophizing. The first utopia was written precisely for them.
Observe carefully the realities of this well- known, globalized and very poorly shared planet Earth, on which we know every vital resource is distributed in accordance with historical factors: some with much less than they need, others with so much they don’t know what to do with it.
Now amidst great threats and dangers of war, chaos reigns in the distribution of financial resources and social production. The world’s population has grown, between 1800 and 2015, from one to seven billion inhabitants. Can this population increment be accommodated, in this way, over the next 100 years, and food, health, water and housing needs met, regardless of whatever scientific advances are made?
Well, setting aside these perplexing problems, it is astonishing to recall that the University of Havana, during the days when I entered this beloved, prestigious institution almost three fourths of a century ago, was the only one in Cuba.
Of course, fellow students and professors, we must remember that it is not just one now, but rather more than 50 institutions of higher learning distributed across the entire country.
When you invited me to participate in the launch of the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of my admission to the University, which I was surprised to learn of, during days when I was very busy with various issues in which I can perhaps still be relatively useful, I decided to take a break and devote several hours to recalling those years.
I am overwhelmed, recalling that 70 years have passed. In reality, compañeros and compañeras, if I were to register again at this age, as some have asked me, I would respond, without hesitation, that it would be to pursue scientific studies. I would say, like Guayasamín: Leave a little light on for me.
In those years, already influenced by Marx, I was able to understand more, and better, the strange, complex world in which it has befallen us to live. I may have harbored some illusions of the bourgeoisie, whose tentacles managed to entangle many students, when they possessed more passion than experience. The topic would be long and interminable.
Another genius of revolutionary action, founder of the Communist Party, was Lenin. Thus I did not hesitate a second when during the Moncada trial, when they allowed me to attend, albeit just one time, I stated before the judges and dozens of high ranking officials of the Batista regime that we were readers of Lenin.
We didn’t talk about Mao Zedong, since the socialist revolution in China, inspired by the same principles, had not yet ended.
I insist, nonetheless, that revolutionary ideas must always be on guard, as humanity expands its knowledge.
Nature teaches us that tens of billions of light years may have passed, and life in all of its expressions has always been subjected to an incredible combination of matter and radiation.
A personal greeting between the Presidents of Cuba and the United States took place at the funeral of Nelson Mandela, a distinguished, exemplary combatant against apartheid who had become friendly with Obama.
It is enough to indicate that, at that time, several years had passed since Cuban troops had decisively defeated the racist South African army, directed by the wealthy bourgeoisie, which had vast economic resources.
This is a story of a conflict which has yet to be written. South Africa, the government with the most financial resources on the continent, had nuclear weapons supplied by the racist state of Israel, as the result of an agreement between this party and President Ronald Reagan, who authorized the delivery of devices for the use of such weapons to attack Cuban and Angolan forces defending the Popular Republic of Angola against racist troops attempting to occupy the country.
Thus peace negotiations were excluded while Angola was attacked by apartheid forces, with the best trained & equipped army on the African continent.
In such a situation, there was no possibility whatsoever, for a peaceful solution. Continual efforts to liquidate the Popular Republic of Angola, to bleed the country systematically with the power of that well equipped and trained army, was what led to Cuba;s decision to deliver a resounding blow to the racists at Cuito Cuanavale, the former NATO base which South Africa was attempting to occupy at all costs.
That powerful country was obliged to negotiate a peace agreement which put an end to the military occupation of Angola, and an end to apartheid in South Africa.
The African continent was left free of nuclear weapons. Cuba was forced to face, for a second time, the threat of a nuclear attack.
Cuban internationalist troops with- drew from Africa with honor.
Then Cuba survived the Special Period in peace time, which has already lasted for more than 20 years, without raising the white flag, something we have never done, and will never do.
Many friends of Cuba know of the Cuban people’s exemplary conduct, and I will explain to them, in a few words, my essential position.
I do not trust the policy of the United States, nor have I exchanged one word with them, though this does not in any way signify a rejection of a peaceful solution to conflicts or threats of war. Defending peace is the duty of all. Any negotiated, peaceful solution to the problems between the United States and peoples, or any people of Latin America, which does not imply force or the use of force, must be addressed in accordance with international principles and norms.
We will always defend cooperation and friendship with all of the world’s peoples, and with those of our political adversaries. This is what we are demanding for all.
The President of Cuba has taken pertinent steps in accordance with his prerogatives and faculties conceded by the National Assembly & the Communist Party of Cuba.
The grave dangers that today threaten humanity must yield to norms which are compatible with human dignity. No country can be denied such a right.
In this spirit I have struggled, and will continue to struggle, to my last breath.
50,000-strong anti-austerity march blanked by BBC
When an anti-austerity march starting from the steps of the BBC fails to make the news, something is rotten in the UK.
Russell Brand believes it’s to be expected, as people would surely rise up if they saw just how exploited they are.
On Saturday, tens of thousands assembled on the doorstep of the BBC's offices in London to kick off a “No More Austerity” march and demonstration.
The rally was called by The People's Assembly Against Austerity, a broad coalition of groups opposed to the Con-Lib Dem government that embraces trade unionists and campaigners.
And just as protesters attacked the state-run BBC for ignoring the impact of social spending cuts on impoverished people in the UK, their decision to not report on a protest happening right on their doorstep further served to annoy those who feel alienated by the political establishment.
When asked why mainstream media coverage of such events seemed to be lacking, Brand said it all comes down to who gets to control the social narrative.
“I think that the mainstream media likes to control the parameters of debate so that important ideas never reach mainstream ideology. Because if people knew what was happening, they wouldn’t tolerate it; if people knew how exploited they were. Ignorance is a necessary ingredient for oppression,” he said.
Despite fears that protesting has become an ineffective means of social change, Brand remains philosophical.
“Everything makes a difference in a constantly mutating cosmos, and it will make a positive difference, because we are unifying, so yes.”
When asked if he still wants a revolution to take place, Brand, who has predicted a “peaceful, effortless, joyful revolution,” said, “Yes.”
While Brand remains hopeful, Sam Fairbairn, national secretary of the People's Assembly, issues a dire warning:
“Make no mistake, these cuts are killing people and destroying cherished public services which have served generations.”
Fairbairn, who spoke to the crowd outside Parliament at the end of their march, says, like it or not, the establishment will have to deal with the protesters.
“Soon we will reach a size and influence where neither the BBC nor this austerity government will be able to ignore us.”
What do YOU think?
Put your thoughts in an email and send it to
G7 summit - from Ukraine to Syria
Leaders of the seven major industrial countries at their summit in Brussels, unanimously backed the military operation pursued by the government in Kiev, but strictly condemned Damascus’s fight against radical Islamists and other armed groups.
G7 welcomes the presidential election in Ukraine which took place during ongoing bloodshed, with no participation in the eastern regions, yet brands the presidential election in Syria during terrorism and even the shelling of the capital, as illegitimate. G7 leaders give full support to Ukraine’s actions: describing the ongoing military operation in the country, using heavy artillery and armed fascists incorporated into its National Guard, as balanced actions, aimed at restoring law and order.
They strongly denounce Bashar Assad’s regime which, "fomented the conflict that killed 160,000, making 9.3 million face needing humanitarian aid".
G7 leaders describe Syria's presidential election as "counterfeit" despite a 73.42% turnout, with over 88% supporting the incumbent. While with no reason given, Brussels refuses to recognize the result, concluding by saying that Assad "has no future in Syria", and remaining totally silent about the need to respect a nation’s sovereign choice in determining its future.
The election in Ukraine, with a 60.29% official turnout (independent observers say 40%)... receives an opposite assessment. The summit welcomes its “successful conduct under difficult circumstances”. High turnout figures demonstrate, the statement says, the Ukrainians’ wish to determine their own future.
The leaders approve the unilateral sanctions illegally imposed on Russian companies and individuals and confirm their readiness to introduce new sanctions in the future.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, afterwards, says this issue requires additional discussion and analysis.
G7 leaders call on Russia to cooperate with the Ukrainian government for a stable peace, to recognize the election results, to complete their withdrawal of troops from the border, to stop the flow of weapons and volunteers (sic) across the border, and to use its influence in talks with federalization supporters, to make them surrender and lay down their arms.
G7 welcomes the start of an austerity program in Ukraine, and supports efforts to diversify gas supplies to Ukraine, primarily by reversing the supplies of Russian gas, from Europe.
The summit then beats all its previous comments, by declaring its support for “a free, prosperous & democratic Libya which will play its role in promoting regional stability”. This once-flourishing country slid into the abyss after a NATO air campaign lasting over 9 months, with 30 to 150 assault flights a day, according to the daily NATO reports.
The bombing was stopped almost immediately after the rebels had killed the leader, and Libya is now the main supplier of weapons that have crept across the whole of North Africa from its ransacked military depots. Much of it, ending up in Syria.
Democracy? G7? Don't make me Lol.
‘Bob Crow died despising what UK Labour Party had become’
In an age when there are few successful heroes willing to fight against neoliberalism, the UK’s Bob Crow stood apart.
He made the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers the UK's fastest growing union.
Who'd have thought he would die so suddenly at the age of 52, of a reported heart attack?
Like most workers’ leaders, he was demonized by the tightly-controlled right wing press in the UK.
Every time he fought for his members, journalists and the commentariat volunteered to defame him by almost any means necessary.
That is a testament to just how dangerous the establishment saw Crow, just as they saw Arthur Scargill a generation ago.
Everything the establishment had in its power was thrown at Scargill, to sabotage his attempt to preserve the most economic coal in Europe.
Today, Britain imports coal mined by children.
With Crow, attention in the media centered on the fact that he lived in a council house despite his earnings. What those who call themselves journalists in the UK didn’t understand, was that Crow favored public over private, society over atomized individuals.
Only a council house could be acceptable.
Then they attacked his salary, even though it was his thousands of members who voted for him to earn in a year, what a CEO of a nationalized bank takes home in a month.
Most recently, they had paparazzi photograph him on holiday in Brazil - as if taking a holiday before preparing for battle wasn’t a wise move.
Since the 1984 Miners’ Strike, UK politicians have become more subservient to the 1% management elite - and that made Crow all the more unique as a voice against prevailing ideas about the organization of society.
Our last interview with Crow was conducted at the RMT’s headquarters in London, in the centre of a toroid table around which the General Strike of 1926 was voted on, and around which, the Labour Party was founded.
He died despising what the Labour Party had become - deeply committed to the Thatcher Revolution of the 1980s.
More interesting to Crow was the broad sweep of worker struggles. RMT HQ is adorned, not just by an alarming amount of Millwall Football memorabilia, it also commemorates workers who died fighting fascism in Spain and those fighting the US-backed coup against Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.
The RMT, under Bob Crow, severed links with the UK's Labour party, soon after it helped launch the catastrophic war on Iraq.
The Union had had ties with Labour for over a century.Crow was preparing to stand as a candidate for a new party that would fight the macro-level neoliberalism of the EU.
He would have been giving speeches in the coming weeks about the US-backed coup d’état in Ukraine.
Crow believed in a great narrative of global history & supported anti-imperialist movements around the world. He sought a vanguard & said he was inspired by the spirit of the Palestinian people, who continue to fight, despite all odds.
He said he wanted a wholesale revolution in the UK, akin to the revolution in Cuba.
One of Crow’s inspirations, Fidel Castro still survives amidst Cuba’s on-going war against the biggest military power on earth, and Bob Crow is no more.
But I think it’s a pretty good bet that Crow will have inspired a new generation who will strive harder for a society that is truly egalitarian, in effect a grander class struggle than just one train or shipping strike.
The UK is in the throes of the greatest economic crisis since the 1930s --- and, unlike the 1%, so memorably evoked by F Scott Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby, those inspired by Bob Crow will beat on, boats against the current, borne forward ceaselessly into the future.
The above article appeared in RT.
Afshin Rattansi is a journalist, author of “The Dream of the Decade – the London Novels” and an RT Contributor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LEFT UNITY - NEW PARTY FORMED
RON TODD's GRANDSON:
From an early age, my grandfather instilled in me one key value: never, ever forget your roots.
My grandad was Ron Todd, a lifelong trade unionist and, from 1985 to 1992, the general secretary of the Transport & General Workers' Union – a predecessor of today's Unite.
He lived by that creed.
However high he rose, he stayed living in the same house, in the community where he grew up.
He campaigned for peace, and for the release of Nelson Mandela. He was offered a peerage 3 times – and three times said no. He didn't have Sky TV, because he refused to give a penny to Rupert Murdoch. His was a socialism of the heart, with a great humanity, solidarity and internationalism.
He was a member of the Labour party – but at the time he didn't seem out of place there. Trade union values were Labour values.
That's why Labour's latest "reforms" to the trade union link marked such a sad and historic break.
Ed Miliband bowed to rightwing pressure to distance himself from the unions – and walked right into the Tories' trap.
Let's face it, no one on your street is going to care about the technicalities. But the key point is that the changes turn the decision to affiliate from a collective one by 1.6 million members into an individual choice on a form.
Union members will effectively be asked whether they want their political fund contributions to go to a Labour party that is embarrassed by them, or to be spent on local campaigning instead. Not a hard decision.
As a member of Unite, one of the most exciting things I have been involved in is the union's community membership.
It is organizing at grassroots level, empowering ordinary people to fight against the horrific impact of the cuts on our everyday lives.
Yet so often we find it is Labour councils making these cuts, so we're funding the very people we're campaigning against!
I'm sad not to be part of the Labour party any more, but for me it's simple: if your friend keeps punching you in the face, you stop calling them a friend.
The tragedy is that it was the trade union movement that created the Labour party. We didn't do it because we wanted to, but because we needed to – we needed a political voice to challenge the people in power.
Yet Labour politicians now look and talk the same as every other party – the only difference is the colour of the tie.
Today that need for a political voice hasn't gone away. That's why I'm part of Left Unity, the newly founded party that's working to become a real alternative to Labour, based on putting people before profit.
Already we have branches in more than 40 towns and cities across Britain. More disenchanted Labour members and trade unionists are signing up every day – and I encourage you to give it a try too.
We can't wait for Labour to be "reclaimed" while people are dying in the war on the welfare state. If not now, then when? We need the debate about an alternative to Labour to start being had across the trade union movement.
I feel sure that if Ron Todd were alive today, he would be working to help create that alternative. It's not just me who has joined Left Unity: we took the decision together, as a family.
Ed Miliband's Labour party has forgotten its roots – but we won't.
Karen Hudes is a graduate of Yale Law School and she worked in the legal department of the World Bank for more than 20 years.
When she was fired for blowing the whistle on corruption inside the World Bank, she held the position of Senior Counsel.
She was in a unique position to see exactly how the global elite rule the world, and the information that she is now revealing to the public is absolutely stunning.
Hudes says the elite use a very tight core of financial institutions and mega- corporations to dominate the planet.
Their goal is control. They want all of us enslaved to debt, they want all of our governments enslaved to debt, and they want all of our politicians addicted to the huge financial contributions that they funnel into their campaigns.
Since the elite also own all of the big media companies, the mainstream media never lets us in on the secret that there is something fundamentally wrong with the way that our system works.
Remember, this is not some “conspiracy theorist” who is saying these things.
This is a Yale-educated attorney who worked inside the World Bank for over two decades. The following summary of her credentials comes directly from her website…
Karen Hudes studied law at Yale Law School and economics at the University of Amsterdam. She worked in the US Export Import Bank of the US from 1980-1985 and in the Legal Department of the World Bank from 1986-2007.
She established the Non Governmental Organization Committee of the International Law Section of the American Bar Association and the Committee on Multilateralism and the Accountability of International Organizations of the American Branch of the International Law Association.
Today, Hudes is trying very hard to expose the corrupt financial system the global elite are using to control the wealth of the world.
During an interview with the New American, she discussed how we are willingly allowing this group of elitists to totally dominate the resources of the planet…
A former insider at the World Bank, ex-Senior Counsel Karen Hudes, says that the global financial system is dominated by a small group of corrupt, power-hungry figures centered around the privately owned U.S. Federal Reserve.
The network has seized control of the media to cover up its crimes, too, she explained.
In an interview with The New American, Hudes said that when she tried to blow the whistle on multiple problems at the World Bank, she was fired for her efforts.
Now, along with a network of fellow whistleblowers, Hudes is determined to expose and end the corruption. And she is confident of success.
Citing an explosive 2011 Swiss study published in the PLOS ONE journal on the “network of global corporate control,” Hudes pointed out that a small group of entities — mostly financial institutions and especially central banks — exert a massive amount of influence over the international economy from behind the scenes.
“What is really going on, is that the world’s resources are being dominated by this group,” she explained, adding that the “corrupt power grabbers” have managed to dominate the media as well. “They’re being allowed to do it.”
A Swiss study Hudes mentions, was conducted by a team of researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland.
They studied the relationships between 37 million companies and investors worldwide, and what they discovered is that there is a “super-entity” of just 147 very tightly knit mega-corporations that controls 40% of the entire global economy…
When the team further untangled the web of ownership, it found much of it tracked back to a “super-entity” of 147 even more tightly knit companies – all of their ownership was held by other members of the super-entity – that controlled 40% of the total wealth in the network.
“In effect, less than 1% of the companies were able to control 40% of the entire network,” says Glattfelder.
Most were financial institutions. The top 20 included Barclays Bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co, and The Goldman Sachs Group.
But the global elite don’t just control these mega-corporations. According to Hudes, they also dominate the unelected, unaccountable organizations that control the finances of virtually every nation on the face of the planet.
The World Bank, the IMF and central banks such as the Federal Reserve, literally control the creation and the flow of money worldwide.
At the apex of this system is the Bank for International Settlements. It is the central bank of central banks, and posted below is a video where you can watch Hudes tell Greg Hunter of USAWatchdog.com this…
“We don’t have to wait for anybody to fire the Fed or Bank for International Settlements . . . some states have already started to recognize silver and gold, the precious metals, as currency”
Most people have never even heard of the Bank for International Settlements, but it is an extremely important organization.
This “central bank of the world” is literally immune to all national governments laws…
An immensely powerful international organization most people have never even heard of, secretly controls the money supply of the entire globe.
It's the Bank for International Settlements, and it is the central bank of central banks. It is located in Basel, Switzerland, but it also has branches in Hong Kong and Mexico City.
It is essentially an unelected, unaccountable central bank of the world, that has complete immunity from taxation and from national laws.
Even Wikipedia admits “it is not accountable to any single national government.“
The Bank for International Settlements was used to launder money for the Nazis during World War II, but these days the main purpose of the BIS is to guide and direct the centrally-planned global financial system.
Today, 58 global central banks belong to the BIS, and it has far more power over how the US economy (or any other economy for that matter) will perform over the next year, than any politician does.
Every two months, the central bankers of the world meet in Basel for another “Global Economy Meeting”.
During those meetings, decisions are made which affect every man, woman and child on the planet, and yet none of us have any say in what goes on.
The Bank for International Settlements is an organization founded by the global elite... it operates for the benefit of the global elite, and it's intended to be a key cornerstone of the emerging "one world" economic system.
This did not come into being by accident. The global elite have been developing this system for a very long time.
Way back in 1966, Georgetown University history professor Carroll Quigley wrote of the big plans the elite had for the Bank for International Settlements…
"[T]he powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole.
"This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences.
"The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks - which were themselves private corporations."
And that is exactly what we have today.
We have a system of “neo-feudalism” in which all of us and our national governments are enslaved to debt.
This system is governed by the central banks and by the Bank for International Settlements, and it systematically transfers the wealth of the world out of our hands and into the hands of the global elite.
But most people have no idea that any of this is happening because the global elite also control what we see, hear and think about.
Today there are just 6 giant media corporations that control over 90% of the news watched on televisions in the United States.
This is the insidious system that Karen Hudes is seeking to expose. For much more, you can listen to Joyce Riley of the Power Hour interview her for an entire hour right here:
That often poisonous programme, 'Week In Week Out', pushed heavily this month for the valleys to be turned into just 'dormitory areas' for a gigantic Cardiff.
Isn't it a more noble vision to build community enterprises, co-operatives, and businesses right here, in the valleys?
Using centres that encourage valleys people to invest and work and create new products, combining science with local nature?
Local "hubs", like the Boilerhouse Project, beginning on Penrhys village, in the Rhondda?
Then, valleys people would retain their independence and build a better, fairer, economy for our future.
What do YOU think?
Millions in farm subsidies given to rich
Millions of US taxpayer dollars were allocated to businesses owned by 50 billionaires between 1995 & 2012, states a study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
The EWG notes that farm subsidies are making their way to billionaires, whom Forbes calculates to have a collective net worth of $316 billion, as Congress cuts millions from federal food stamps for the poor.
According to the report, US citizens paid $11.3 million in subsidies to corporations which fully control some aspects of US' agricultural production, including nearly $15,000 directed to Paul Allen, co- founder of Microsoft.
The subsidies were first put into place to help small farmers' families to run their farms, if they had a bad crop year.
Subsidies to "help farmers conserve" are used in Wales, and these also prevent innovation.. and avoid the major problem of rich corporations effectively taking over the running of many small farms, under the guise of "research" and "I.T." expertise and support.
A company 'rep' will visit weekly, with a lap-top and exact amounts of fertilizer, etc, with spreadsheets and projections most farmers find too convenient an offer to refuse...
and they become the servants of these agrochemical monsters !
What do YOU think?
- is good behaviour irrational?
- only in a crazy mixed up world !
Below is part of Adam Price's address to the Institute of Welsh Politics' Annual Address, in Aberystwyth, on the 16th November 2009.
I hope you will forgive me a moment of self-parody, but it is almost always necessary in Wales to begin any address with an apology. This is a politics lecture which is two thirds history, and one third psychology. I hope at the end of the address you will agree that there is more logic here than may first appear in giving this address at an Institute for Welsh Politics:
The case for the defence is this: that for a fundamentally new politics to flourish in Wales we need a new psychology which has at its heart the idea of Wales, and of ourselves within it, as making our own history.
History does not repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme - said Mark Twain. So it is that Wales, for much of its history an anomaly, today finds itself anomalous again. Before the Act of Union we were a conquered nation that was never fully subdued.
Post-devolution we're a post-colonial country still waiting to be decolonised. It is these contradictions that describe our present predicament: we are a hybrid state living in the cracks between a dependent past and an independent future.
This lecture is unabashedly didactic. It hopes to convince you of three propositions no less revolutionary for all their simplicity; that the longue duree of English imperialism began here in Wales; that the deepest legacy it has left is psychological. And that national liberation, if it is to mean anything, has to be a liberation of the mind. Otherwise we will be condemning ourselves to be not just the first, but also the final colony.
To begin at the beginning. English imperialism can perhaps be described as Wales's greatest and most terrible export. What was tried and tested here, soon became the template for what one English historian has called the "thousand year Reich" of the English empire.
It is a pedigree we appear to have worked very hard to forget. The title of "First Colony" is a crown of thorns more often claimed by the Irish – most recently in setting the scene for the 2005 BBC series of The Sceptred Isle that focused on Empire.
And yet the Normans settled Wales a near century before Ireland, and the Statute of Rhuddlan, formally annexing Wales, predates its Irish equivalent, the Statute of Kilkenny by about the same number of years. Whatever the Irish suffered, we, sadly, suffered first.
A more plausible case for English colonialism's origins perhaps could be made by the Cornish. But Cornwall was merged with Wessex before England as a nation proper had been formed. So though it may be the great unspoken fact of our identity, we in Wales were indeed the first piece in England's empire.
But does enough of our past qualify as colonial in the classical sense, for this to have relevance for us today?
Answering that question means looking in turn at each of the six core features of colonialism: military conquest, settlement, cultural assimilation, political subjugation, economic exploitation and racial discrimination. There is plenty of evidence of all of them at work in Wales over the best part of a millennium, but the most obvious and least debatable is the brutal fact of the conquest itself: Even today, Edward’s I’s ring of iron stands as a potent reminder of our colonial past. The Normans’ castle building programme in Wales remains the most concerted effort at the pacification of an occupied country in European history.
Of course, Wales was to prove, in that classic formulation, an easier country to conquer than to hold. England's new rulers quickly extended their control of the river valleys and coastal lowlands seasonally vacated by a farming people that in the Summer moved their stock to the hills.
In some important sense, they never conquered Wales above six hundred feet, where their heavily armoured knights lost their advantage over Welsh archers and lightly armed infantry.
Indeed the "piecemeal, long-drawn out and uncompleted' nature of the English conquest of Wales was why it had to be done again and again.
The highlands and the forest remained in the hands of a Welsh insurgency using the tactics of guerrilla war- fare as described by that mixed-race Cambro-Norman Gerallt Cymro. Between 1090 and 1415 Wales was a country in rebellion or else under siege, raiding or being raided, celebrating victory or coping with defeat, in a landscape for the English occupying power as hospitable as Helmand, for the Welsh, as merciless as Fallujah.
But the Norman conquest was no mere military affair. Territorial annexation by force was simply the prelude to the entire panoply of measures in colonialism's armoury.
First came the movement into Wales of whole populations of English or Flemings combined with the forced displacement of the indigenous Welsh. Wales was divided into two separate domains: ‘Englishries and ‘Welshries’, a powerful settler minority and a conquered native populace.
This was not the natural, organic shift of population happening all over Europe throughout the Middle Ages. This was a deliberate act of State policy that presaged the creation of ‘Planter’ settlements elsewhere in the tragic unfolding story of colonialism.
Alongside their castlries, the Anglo-Norman invaders created in Wales a powerful bulwark in the chartered town with borough status.
A class of special liberties – the so-called Laws of Breteuil – imported from the town of the same name in Normandy by the Marcher Lords was created to entice settlers in, as surely as the Castle was to keep the Welsh out.
While Carmarthen, Montgomery and even Aberystwyth were soon sites of growth for a nascent property-owning English merchant class, the Welsh became outcasts, confined to the favelas of medieval Wales on the margins of town or in the rural uplands. In this way the Welsh are not just the original inhabitants of these island. They are also the the very first to be socially excluded.
The third vector of colonialism is cultural: the supplanting of inferior local languages and traditions by the supposedly superior culture of the colonial power. The first stage, after all, of any sustained colonial project is to convince oneself that conquest is “ordained of God” and necessary for the ‘civilisation’ of a barbarous people.
The first victim was a slightly anarchic Celtic church soon Romanised into an orderly hierarchy of Bishoprics and Parishes all under the ultimate authority of the State- approved denizen of the Canterbury see.
Ecclesiastical colonialism is the first of the great continuities of Welsh history as it features in all three waves of colonial conquest: Norman, Tudor and Victorian. So we have in the early years of the Norman occupation, the sidelining of ancient abbies dedicated to the names of Welsh holy men by local Benedictine franchises – the religious equivalent of Starbucks or MacDonalds – promoting universal saints with no local connection.
With Cistercian support, Wales was able to rebuild aspects of a national church in the Thirteenth Century, an achievement that Glyndwr sought to consolidate through the programme agreed at the Pennal Synod.
With that dream defeated, the English delegate at the Council of Constance was able to declare when the issue of the Welsh church was raised: “inclyta natio Anglicana Brytannica”, an early Latin rendition of “For Wales, see England ”.
Fast forward five centuries and in the second wave of colonisation – closely tied as it was to the Reformation of Convenience under Henry VIII - and we have a State- funded campaign of iconoclasm targeting such medieval shrines and images of Welsh piety as Derfel Fawr, St. Winifred's Well, our Lady of Cardigan and the Virgin of Penrhys.
The English Bishop of St. Davids’s hates the cult of St. David so much he strips the lead off the roof of the Cathedral and moves the Bishop’s Palace to Abergwili where it remains to this day. (Perhaps in an Act of Penance it’s time the Bishop of St. David’s moved back in.)
An English Book of Common Prayer is then pressed on a monoglot Welsh population with, predictably, little success, shoring up the popularity of old Catholic Rites.
Most people will not realise it but Wales , like Ireland , remained stubbornly loyal to Mother Church long after England had succumbed, much to the frustration of English Puritan missionaries. It wasn't until the Eighteenth Century that the Protestant Reformation – in the sense of a genuine popular attachment and the full rejection of what later came to be known disdainfully as the Marian cult – could be said to have been completed in Wales & only then, because of a Third Wave of ecclesiastical colonisation that drafted in Anglophone Anglican priests in their hundreds into Welsh parishes and drove their long-suffering laity into the enthusiastic arms of the Methodist revivalists.
The Welsh, therefore, - despite inhabiting the only part of the Island of Britain to have an unbroken Christian tradition - must join a long list of colonised peoples forced to change their religion as a consequence of conquest.
Not content to steal our land, they then conspired to steal our soul. No wonder the poet Thomas ab Ieuan Rhys would lament: “We have been changed by the faith of the Saxons. Our hearts are not inclined towards it” and Sion Brwynig would speak in 1550 of the “icy coldness” of the new faith and the ”bitter blow” of witnessing the removal of the altars and adjuncts of Catholic worship.
It is hardly any wonder that when Guido Fawkes went to see Philip of Spain in 1603 – introduced most probably through the auspices of Hugh Owen, Plas Du, Hispanophile and the Continent's leading Catholic spy - to petition him in favour of an invasion, it was Milford Haven he proposed as the landing site since Wales would prove the most fertile recruiting ground for a Catholic army.
It was a change of strategy not a change in purpose that won Wales to the Protestant faith. Elizabethan state sponsorship of the translation of Bible and the Book of Common Prayer should not be mistaken as an altogether altruistic measure.
The final clause of the “Act for the Translation of the Bible and Divine Service into the Welsh Tongue” required that an English Bible be placed in every Welsh Church so that the monoglot Welsh “may by conferring both Tongues together, the sooner attain to the knowledge of the English Tongue”. Whatever William Morgan’s motivation, the ultimate aim was the same as the Acts of Union themselves: Anglicisation and uniformity. The fact that it had the opposite effect was more by accident than design.
The wider attack on the Welsh language probably represents the longest State-sanctioned policy of attempted linguistic genocide in history. A Charter granted to Welshpool in 1406 stated that legal cases could only be pleaded henceforth in French or English. Six hundred years later and we are still pleading for Welsh to achieve equal status in the courts.
The Acts of the Union with their condemnation of “sinister usages & customs”, in Gwyn Alf Williams words, rendered a ”largely monoglot people aliens in their own land”. With friends like the Tudors, who needed enemies?
The Victorians - for all their Celtomania - were determined to finish the job: even the Arch-Celticist Mathew Arnold was to declare “the sooner the Welsh language disappears as an instrument of the practical, political, social life of Wales the better”. With Arnold a senior inspector of schools, it could hardly came as any surprise that the 1870 Education Act made English compulsory. It was to take until 1939 for the first Welsh-medium school to open - here in Aber. By then the damage had been done.
The most telling symbol of all of cultural imperialism in Wales, of course, was a little wooden halter with the letters WN branded in it that hung around the necks of children. The language was literally beaten out of us. But children were forced not just to betray their culture but also their class- mates: the ultimate mental cruelty. The Welsh Not was the model for the corporal punishment of indigenous culture thoughout the Empire; the Nobel prize winning Kenyan novelist Ngugi wa Thiong’o wore a wooden tablet around his own neck as a child which they called 'Monitor'. Any child speaking KiSwahili or Gikuyu would be given the Monitor until he heard another child do the same so he could point them out to the teacher . The child left holding the Monitor at the end of the day would be beaten with a stick. Sounds familiar?
That we were a subject people in political terms is also an objective fact however uncomfortable we may be with its consequences. Wales, unlike the Scots or Irish Parliaments, was not consulted on its own Act of Union. We were to be rendered politically invisible as things turned out until the final year of the final century of the last Millennium.
Our royal house was not conjoined through dynastic marriage; it was murdered. The heir to the English throne, a constituent of mine who admittedly has shown more genuine interest in Wales than all his predecessors put together, has about as much moral right to the title Prince of Wales as Perkin Warbeck did to the English throne in the time of Henry Tudor.
And it wasn't just the descendants of Hywel Dda that were 'disappeared" like the victims of a military junta; his laws too were consigned to the garbage heap of history.
Monmouthshire found itself lumped in with England for no better reason than the English circuits were composed of four counties – and Wales had thirteen, so Monmouthshire was forced to make up the numbers with its three English neighbours.
That said, in the remaining twelve counties the native law of Wales survived two of the three attempts to render them null and void.
The Statute of Rhuddlan in the Welsh circuit courts soon evolved into the Statute of Wales, and a separate Welsh judicature developed which again somehow survived the Act of Union's legal lynching.
Welsh law obviously embodied the spirit of Gwilym Crach of Gower who was hung not once, but twice for his involvement in a rebellion of 1298, and still survived.... The devil simply wouldn't die. So it was that even as late as 1779 Welsh defendants were employing the legal argument - breve regis non currit in Wallam - the king's writ doesn't run in Wales.
It was the last great imperialist monarch that succeeded where Edward I and Henry VIII failed: Queen Victoria abolished the Welsh Court of Great Sessions in 1830 and finally laid the legal legacy of Welsh independence to rest. At least until now.
The reasons for the colonisation of medieval Wales were probably more strategic than economic. Upland Wales helped supply England with beef, milk and wool, but it was acting as a buffer against foreign invasion that was probably the principal attraction. In the third wave of colonisation fuelled by the Industrial Revolution, that position was dramatically reversed when Wales became one of the most industrialised regions on the planet.
As Professor Merfyn Jones has said, Wales from 1850 can be caricatured as one big mine or quarry as some mineral or ore was being extracted virtually every- where. Iron ore was dug & smelted here continuously from the late 1780s; at the same time Anglesey had a virtual world monopoly on copper: Here in Ceredigion the mines were for lead and zinc. And yes, Wales was the only the part of modern Britain ever to see a gold rush , in Dolgellau in the 1880s.
Then there were all the different types of stone quarried here: limestone for the foundries, sandstone, dolerite, granite and, of course, slate where North Wales represented the world's biggest producer for all of the 19th century and much of the 20th. And I haven't even mentioned coal . By 1913, 35% of the tonnage of all Britain’s exports was leaving through south Wales ports: almost all of it coal to fuel the industries of the world.
One of the most striking features of all this impressive economic record is that it was led, with a very few exceptions, by English proprietors. The Dowlais Iron Company, for example, that turned Merthyr into an economic powerhouse was founded by Anthony Bacon from London. He was followed by the Crawshays from Yorkshire and the Guests of Herefordshire. The Ebbw Vale iron works was established by the Homfrays of Worcester. In North Wales, it was John Wilkinson of Lancashire that led the way. The metal industry in Swansea meanwhile was developed by the Vivian family from Cornwall.
There were some exceptions - the Copper and Coal kings, Thomas Williams or David Davies- but on the whole the pattern was clear. John Taylor, the leading figure in the Welsh lead industry, was from Norwich. English landowners were also at the forefront of development. The current Duke of Westminster's Grosvenor family was involved in lead mining in north east Wales.
Another Cheshire family, the Assheton's Smith's of the Faenol estate, made their fortune in slate. The Butes made vast profits not only from coal but from the ports they built to export it.
Even in agriculture the almost feudal level of absentee ownership persisted late into the 19th century. In 1887 less than 5% of the land in Caernarvonshire was owned by its tenants.
With such a high level of English ownership, we bore all of the human and environmental cost but saw little of the profit - with the exception of a few square miles of civic pride in Cardiff.
Instead follies and mock-feudal mansions were built the length and breadth of Wales. This was the Welsh equivalent of what economists call the 'resource curse', the fact that mineral wealth is almost always more trouble than its worth. The 'path dependence' created by an extractive mono-culture is still with us today: our failure to develop an indigenous enterprise culture or, as George Monbiot has recently pointed out, the preponderance of East-West over North-South links, all stem from the colonial exploitation of our economy.
Beyond economic domination and military conquest, as the late Edward Said was able to show, colonialism is also, of course, a discourse of domination: a deep-seated idea that the imperial power has an inherent right to rule and impose its values on the nation that it dominates. The first step, then, in any colonial project is convincing oneself that the colonised are inferior; that the act of conquest itself, for all its brutality, is morally justified, even “ordained of God”. So it was that the Anglo-Norman propagandists opened up a ‘cultural front” in their war against the Welsh which has formed the bedrock to Cambrophobia down the centuries.
So it is that the author of the 12th century English history The Deeds of King Stephen informs us that “Wales is a country of wooded pasture that breeds men of an animal type, swift-footed, accustomed to war, volatile, quick in breaking their word and changing their abode” he omits to mention the fact that the Welsh also lived in towns, until the Normans drove them out and that the need to fight and keep constantly on the move may have had something to do with his kinsmen’s presence.
When Chretien De Troyes says, in writing of Peredur or Perceval – one of a number of Welsh characters to populate the European romantic imagination for the best part of a millennium – not bad for a people ‘on the edge’ – “All Welshmen are, by nature, more irrational than animals in the field” he is not just echoing the views of the Anglo-Norman elite, he is presaging the classic strategy of the coloniser of rendering the colonised as the savage “Other” used centuries later by the European Powers in Africa, Asia or America.
But he also represents a tradition that continues right through to the nineteenth century view of the Celtic personality as irrational, feminine, child-like and impractical and racially inferior to the Saxon.
A second reoccurring theme is our immorality. The Normans justify their Takeover of the Welsh Church by reference to the loose morals of their flock who practiced trial marriage, homosexuality, and inheritance rights for the illegitimate.
We were, it seems, prodigiously modern. It is here that the continuity of colonialism re-emerges. When the infamous Report of the Commissioners of Inquiry into the state of Education in Wales of 1847 (which came to be known by Nonconformist Wales as the Treachery of the blue Books) was published it was again the moral laxity of the Welsh that was held up as the most pressing reason for making English the sole medium of instruction.
In those periods where the Welsh demonstrate passivity and obedience then a different picture of the Welsh is presented as the comically stupid if a little two-faced. In the eighteenth and nineteenth century there was a rich market for this kind of thing – Taffy and his wife sat atop a goat – because they couldn’t afford a horse, leeks poking out of their hats, holding a cheese in one hand, and their pedigree in the other.
There was often a modern sinister undertow. In 1885 John Beddoe, President of the Anthropological Institute developed an "Index of Nigrescence" which claimed to show that the Welsh and western Irish were “Africanoid” in their ‘jutting jaws’ and ‘slitty nostrils’ and thus originally immigrants from Africa.
This idea of the Celts as 'colonials' has been a constant theme since the Age of Discovery:- as one Protestant pamphleteer said in 1651, frustrated at the lack of success in converting the Welsh: “We have Indians at home – Indians in Cornwall, Indians in Wales, Indians in Ireland. ” Forget sending missionaries to the West Indies, he argued - send them to Merthyr.
So it is that prevailing image of the Welsh in England throughout these three colonial periods ranges from submissive and deferential, to lewd and unruly, and even downright perfidious on a par with that of the wild Irish. What never changed was the tacit assumption that we were, by definition, inferior.
The lowest point was the passing of the Punitive Laws in the wake of the Glyndwr Rebellion which introduced a system of racial discrimination equal to Apartheid.
These race laws have fallen prey to a collective amnesia so it is worth recounting them in full: from 1401, no Welshman was to enjoy the privilege of burgess status (an absolute prohibition traditionally reserved for Jews); no Welsh man was to buy land in England; no Welshman was to hold a major office in Wales.
These prohibitions extended to any Englishman who had married a Welsh woman since the revolt began.
No Welshman was to carry arms in any town, market, church assembly or highway. No Welshman was to hold a castle or any other defensible house that had existed in Edward I's time. Garrisons must comprise exclusively Englishmen – not even men of mixed race would be allowed. No Englishman was to be convicted in Wales by, or at the suit of, a Welshman.
As Rees Davies argues, what is particularly striking about these edicts is that they are “specifically racist in character”. An extreme reaction to the shock of the Glyndwr revolt they undoubtedly were – but they were also reinstating the common law practice of three hundred years of English supremacism.
Kidwelly, created in the 1100s, had English, French or Flemish burgesses – but no Welsh (or forinseci) - we were literally foreigners in our own land.
In 1351 the ironically named Hope in Flintshire banned the Welsh from holding burgages and confiscated any that already did - but this was nothing new, Edward I had banned Welshmen from holding land in borough towns in reaction to Llywelyn Bren's revolt of 1294.
The attitudes that underpinned the Punitive Laws have re-emerged at other times in our colonial past, and overt discrimination continued to be part of our experience in Wales right through into the modern period.
For the first part of the Eighteenth Century, for example, the majority of Welsh by virtue of their Nonconformity were banned from any office in the House of Commons.
They couldn’t enter Oxford or Cambridge finally until 1871 - this being one of the principal drivers behind the establishment of the University of Wales.
We were a colony. And now we're in a state of denial. The factual evidence for the reality of colonisation is all around us - indeed it can even be said to be within us.
But to the extent that we acknowledge it, it might as well be invisible. Dilys Davies, a Welsh psychiatrist working at Guy's hospital who has conducted an exhaustive analysis of the Welsh psyche, has called this a form of cultural autism and drawn analogies with child sexual abuse - which for all its pervasiveness, was once met by a wall of silence.
Colonisation is our 'dangerous idea', a "dirty little secret', a 'painful memory' that has to be repressed.
Cambridge University Press' primer on Medieval Wales warns the reader that in Wales’ case “the colonial analogy – may be pushed too far and it must be used with great sensitivity”.
The late great Rees Davies – whose revolutionary tracts 'Colonial Wales' and 'Race Relations in Post- Conquest Wales' were published within a year of each other in the mid 1970s as he moved to Aberystwyth – was very much the glorious exception. He himself was warned that specialising in Welsh history was reputational suicide for a young Welsh historian and, sadly, he never got to teach a course on the history of his own country here at Aberystwyth though he is probably one of the greatest historians that Wales ever produced.
So it was left to Gwynfor Evans to continue where the professional historians left off. When Michael Hechter produced his magnus opus: 'Internal; Colonialism: the Celtic Fringe in British National Development', he was met with a chorus of disapproval from Welsh academics. Alfred Zimmern could have warned him perhaps, of the professional perils of an American prognosticating about issues of Welsh identity.
In some ways the robust rejection of the theory of ‘internal colonialism” was in part a reaction to the myths perpetrated by colonialism itself – that Wales was a backwater, outside the mainstream of modernity, and the Welsh a people whose history was lived perpetually in the passive tense. For Gwyn Alf, Wales ’ global industrial pre-eminence meant the Welsh Working Class – always written in capital letters – were “junior partners in the British Empire ”. Casting back to Tudor times he showed us how that latter-day Merlin, Dr John Dee, uses the Madoc myth to stake a British claim to the New World – and British, mind you, the Welsh at the Tudor Court having reconquered Albion for the Celts. Far from being victims of the British Empire, according to this, we damned well invented it.
There can certainly be no doubt that the Welsh enthusiastically embraced imperialism. Though less prominent than the Scots, the Welsh were well represented among the military and civilian ranks of Imperial Britain.
At one time, both the Chief Justices of Bengal and Calcutta were Welsh-speaking Welshmen. But does the sight of Zulus spearing Welshmen at the Battle of Isandlwhana or Welshmen bayoneting Zulu at the Battle of Rourke’s Drift in return, help or hinder the hypothesis that Britishness was forged by all four nations of these islands in the cauldron of empire which became the Britannic melting-pot, as Gordon Brown’s favourite historian Linda Colley suggests?
Could this not simply be a rather poignant reminder of the practice of empires of time immemorial, of pressing the already vanquished into doing the next bit of vanquishing
Of course, we participated in later imperial adventures. Denied opportunities for advancement at home, we often had little choice.
But this obscures the bigger truth, that where other colonies were the copy, we were the original, where colonialism's die was first minted.
It was the Marcher Lords like the de Lacys who founded Drogheda who sought in the first instance to pacify Ireland, able to draw as they were on a century or more of experience of colonial occupation in Wales. The peopling of Pembrokeshire by Flemings presaged the later Plantation in Ulster.
The Tudors hold up post-conquest Wales as the model for recalcitrant Ireland. As Sir Henry Sidney's secretary William Gerard assured the Privy Council on the occasion of his master's transfer from Wales to Ireland:
"A better president (precedent)..... colde not be founde than to imitate the course that reformed Wales."
Wales was the epicentre for 3 tidal waves of colonial expansion in the history of the Anglo-British State: the insular colonialism of the Norman period, the transatlantic ambitions of the Tudors and the global imperialism of the Victiorians. We supplied the model for the first, the myth for the second, and the material for the third.
In each phase we paid a heavy price for our collusion in our own enslavement, with the progressive colonisation of our own mind & imagination. The first English imperialists were early amateurs at this kind of thing – but come the Treason of the Blue Books... they had learned to deploy it with devastating effect.
Colonialism in any society and in any period is an act of violation which results in a kind of trauma whose effects are felt for many generations. Hence the most long-lasting and deep-seated legacy of colonialism is psychological. It was the mixed-race French- speaking Caribbean Frantz Fanon, practising psychiatry and preaching revolution in occupied Algeria, who first realised this and began to write painfully but eloquently about the psychology of colonialism.
Welsh psychologists and psychotherapists by contrast have been almost completely silent on this theme. Dr Dilys Davies of Guy's Hospital, the only professional psychiatrist to have written at all about colonialism's effect on the Welsh psyche, suggests that - as with Rees Davies the historian - it is not in the professional interests of the Welsh psychiatrist to appear too 'parochial'. Dr Davies, by contrast, stands out as the Frantz Fanon of Wales, and virtually the entirety of what follows is based on her pioneering work .
As with many other things, the Irish have a head start on us in thinking about the psychology of colonialism. An important feature, according to the psychologist Vincent Kenny is the way in which the Irish have internalised their own oppression.
One way of overcoming the feeling of powerlessness that flows from being dominated is to identify with the dominator - sometimes even unconsciously. It is a kind of sociological equivalent of Stockholm syndrome - what Fanon calls 'adhesion' to the dominator, the Brazilian pedagogist Paolo Freire called "housing the other" and the German-jewish psychologist Erich Fromm called an “inner duality”.
It goes by many names but its self-destructive consequences are only obvious: our selves becomes divided against ourselves.
We become self-oppressing.
It should be no surprise therefore that Beriah Gwynfe Evans, the Secretary of Cymru Fydd, was an enthusiastic exponent of the Welsh Not as a young teacher- and that its use was far more widespread among voluntary schools prior to 1870 than in State schools thereafter, implying that parents generally approved of its use.
Was Welsh as the language of the majority murdered or did it commit suicide? The question is in some ways irrelevant as both realities are in fact the parallel outcomes of the selfsame process.
(The Welsh Not was also an early example of the insidious effects of performance related pay - since the teachers were paid by results and Welsh didn't form part of the formal curriculum, the use of Welsh was actively discouraged by the teachers).
That we have been complicit in our own colonisation is undeniable.
As Gandhi said of his own country : “the English have not taken India;- we have given it to them.”.
In developing this theme in his Hind Swaraj, Gandhi drew upon a little know treatise by an 18 year old Frenchman, Etienne de la Boetie written some fifteen years after our own Act of Union: the Discourse on Voluntary Servitude. In it he argues that structures of power in any situation, even where they rely on physical force, depend in the last analysis on consent, however reluctant, of those over whom power is exercised.
As Gandhi went on to say: “It is we the English-knowing Indians that have enslaved India. The curse of the nation will rest not upon the English, but upon us…”
So how has colonialism's curse imprinted itself on the modern welsh psyche? Broadly speaking the effects can be categorised according to 2 dimensions: the way in which we see ourselves, and the way in which we interact with others.
The former flows from the central fact of domination itself. Conquered peoples are often perceived as passive, a little fatalistic, prone to introspection. The writer Rene Marques has written, for example, about the docile nature of his compatriot Puerto Ricans. And how much has been written about the melancholia of the Celts? But as Erich Fromm pointed out, rather than this forming an essential part of our national character, it simply reflects our actual historic experience of being downtrodden. So Welsh music is sung in the minor key, and our poetry adopts an elegiac tone.
In political terms we develop a begging bowl mentality, because we have become resigned to the reality of our own domination.
We feel a sense of helplessness and hopelessness - what J.J. Lee has called, in the Irish case, the 'peasant residue' in our psyche. We abdicate responsibility for our own future because we doubt our ability to act constructively and change our situation.
We avoid taking risks, and prefer security even if that means locking us into relative poverty and unrealised potential.
Above all, we suffer from a profound sense of our own inferiority, a lack of confidence which expresses itself through our failure to show initiative, whether in political or business terms.
It is this deep insecurity that I believe lies at the heart of our still tentative embrace of devolution, and our rejection of what is after all, the normal aspiration of any nation: political independence.
It also, in the economic sphere, explains our over-weaning reliance on public subsidy and our failure, so far, to develop, in sufficient numbers at least, an indigenous entrepreneurial class. We are economically dependent because we are psychologically dependent, and vice versa. And we reject political independence, because of both.
Colonialism casts an equally insidious shadow on the way in which we communicate and relate to each other. We are a nation of indirect communicators, frightened to criticise in case we upset 'the powers that be' and lose face and even worse be punished financially. We are unwilling to be 'pinned down' and fearful of 'being down'. The number of Welsh social scientists, for example, that are prepared to make statements that could be seen as controversial, can be counted on the fingers of one hand. The number of Welsh MPs who have criticised the Welsh National Opera and the British Lions is limited to one - for a country with a rich Nonconformist, anti-Establishment tradition we are, in our own context, incredibly conformist & establishmentarian.
This is a typical survival tactic for a conquered people where direct challenges to authority are to be avoided at all cost.
Instead we learn to be evasive, complaining to each other about someone else instead of tackling the person directly. This is how we earned our reputation of being devious and two-faced. We had to be.
But it also feeds into aspects of community life, especially in Welsh-speaking Wales where a taboo against self-promotion or self-revelation, a tendency to self-censorship and deference to authority among local people contrasts with the assertiveness of the in-migrant population. Welsh speakers are often the majority in public meetings but will often remain stoically silent - even where translation facilities are available - and let others 'dominate' the meeting.
This self-censorship in the 'public realm' is perhaps the flip-side of another aspect of Welsh cultural psychology: a withdrawal to an inner world of self-reflection: "the everlasting Welsh habit has been to sink inwards" according to John Cowper Powys. But how does this fit with the Welsh love of performance on the stage, or the playing field where we suddenly shape-shift from a nation of passive spectators to a nation of exhibitionists. The answer can be found in the theory of constriction' developed by the American George Kelly in the 1950s whereby the realms in which we can “be ourselves” are socially controlled. So it was that the Welsh language came to be limited to the emotive worlds of the sacred, the lyrical and familial and progressively banished from the world of the secular, official or practical.
These psychological manifestations of colonialism are not accidental by-products of broad historical processes. They are the outcome of two quite deliberate strategies of cultural alienation. The first one can be termed manipulation; inculcating within the mind of the dominated the dominator's myths, their version of reality, their language, their values.
So Paolo Freire argues that at a crucial juncture in their existential development members of the dominated group begin to aspire to become part of the way of life of the dominator. So they start to imitate them, to follow them, and talk like them. When Chretien de Troyes' Peredur first sets out for Court, his mother persuades him to leave two of his three javelins at home "because they look too Welsh".
We have been leaving our javelins at home ever since.
(Of course, this comes at a cost. As Aneurin Bevan quipped, when someone accused the late Roy Jenkins of lacking application, no-one who came from Abersychan and spoke like that could ever be accused of laziness.) So we have a succession of groups that anglicise themselves in order to improve their life chances: starting with the "uchelwyr" who become the Welsh gentry and eventually the hated absentee landlords of the 18th century.
But this percolated right the way down the social strata; the Welsh language came to be seen as 'a badge of poverty". Working class parents - like my own - decided consciously not to pass it on to their children, in order to improve their children’s chances in life.
The third wave of Welsh colonisation, thus, was not conducted by military means. There was no need, as John Davies reminds us, the author of a nineteenth century Report on the Condition of the South Wales coalfield: "a band of efficient schoolmasters is kept up at much less expense than a body of police or soldiery".
Our enslavement was sold back to us as the means to our own liberation. So the 1870 Act which actually marked the beginning of the decline of Welsh as a national language was presented as a victory for the Welsh ideal of universal education.
The Act of Union was dressed as being about equal rights for Welsh and English subjects, and the restoration of the rightful Brythonic claim to the throne. Even Edward I appropriated the Arthurian myth to bolster his imperial ambitions - naming his first-born after the most famous of all our messianic figures - though we were less taken in by this chicanery it has to be said than by the Tudors. Come the Reformation, the Anglican Church presented itself as a recreation of the Celtic Church freed from the Romanising influences of Catholicism. Jesus College, Oxford - deliberately designed as a tool in the indoctrination of the sons of the Welsh elite - was presented as an act of munificence on the part of Good Queen Bess.
The second generic cultural strategy of the dominator is summed up by the famous formula: divide et impera. The more a community can be broken up into separate parts, the less their sense of belonging to their own community, the easier it is to maintain dominance. This strategy was used by the British to devastating effect through the caste system in India or tribal divisions in Africa – divisions which have persisted long after independence.
The Normans set about dividing Wales into two opposing camps of urban English settlement and rural Welsh. We have seen ourselves ever since as a country of 2 peoples, two cultures divided between the city and the country, North and South, English and Welsh-speaking. - our divisions magnified and distorted deliberately to play one group off against another.
So it was during the devolution campaign of 1997 that No leaflets in north Wales would say that the Assembly would be dominated by the urban, more populous English- speaking south, whereas No leaflets in the south, you guessed it, warned of an Assembly dominated by Welsh- speaking farmers from Gwynedd.
So if you want to understand Welsh politics today, look to its roots: historical and psychological. We are in a country that has been in an almost permanent state of existential crisis.
We voted ourselves out of existence in 1979, came close to doing it a second time in 1997, and are now worried that we might do it again. Our physical proximity and economic reliance on the colonial power has crushed our autonomy and made us dependent. In fact it has infantilized us.
The arrangements of the Government of Wales Act 2006 - whereby requests for power are scrutinised in London and may be refused - is totemic of an attitude that regards the Welsh polity, and by extension, the Welsh people, as too immature to make their own laws.
Since colonialism, as the Indian theorist Ashis Nandy tells us, is first of all a matter of consciousness, it has to be defeated at the level of the human imagination. Politics alone will not succeed. This struggle must be waged as a battle of ideas, new cultural practices and economic behaviours.
In a sense, outside of the language struggle, our nationalism has been too much focused on nation- building as a process of creating representative institutions, rather than thinking about the Wales we want those institutions to represent.
There is an echo here of Saunders Lewis' parting-shot in his history-shaping lecture Tynged yr Iaith, where he warns that the decline of the language might be actually accelerated - unless we undergo the cultural change in mindset needed before independence itself is achieved.
The Irish experience is clearly implied. The failure of Ireland on bilingualism, and on the economy until the 1980s, I think, points to a much deeper truth: that formal independence is meaningless unless we have first decolonised our minds.
As the Irish historian J.J Lee has written:
“The incapacity of the Irish mind to think through the implications of independence for national development derived largely from, and was itself a symbol of, the dependency syndrome which had wormed its way into the Irish psyche during centuries of foreign dominance”
The first step in national liberation is mental.
Cultural revitalisation always predates political renewal, just as Dafydd ap Gwilym predated Owain Glyndwr. As nationalists the lesson is clear: we should each of us start to think and behave prefiguratively, as if our nation is already free.
We must be the Wales we want to create: a vibrant, self-empowering, dynamic country that emphasises the power of our own initiative.
Of course, we can never escape from our colonial past by refusing to acknowledge it. To liberate our selves we have to learn about ourselves. On the psychology of colonialism itself we need more research. We need to move from a culture of silence to a culture of salience. There is an Irish Journal of Psychology and an Australian Journal of Psychology. A Welsh Journal of Psychology is long overdue., and a Welsh Institute of Psychiatry would be a good idea too.
More generally we have to detach ourselves from the insular intellectual straitjacket in which we find ourselves – in which Welsh literature, psychology, history and politics, are still seen as subaltern specialisms in more mainstream disciplines.
The Institute of Welsh Politics becomes... our National Institute of Politics.
We all stop reading the London Review of Books or re-read Gandhi, Fanon, Nandy, Ngugi and Said, and stop reading London newspapers too. If we have to take a foreign newspaper, we will read Liberation or the Irish independent.
To bypass the dyad of domination between ourselves and the former imperial capital, Wales must find a new context as a European Nation, in the same way that Llywelyn and Glyndwr sought allies in France, Europeanising Wales means that our experience of domination can be understood as by no means exceptional nor ineluctably permanent.
Building on the success of the last fifty years of bilingual education, now is the time to campaign for tri-lingual schools immersing students from Welsh-speaking homes in French, German or Russian, just as effectively as English-speaking children in Welsh. We have long claimed a greater facility in other languages as one of the advantages of being bilingual. It's time to prove it.
In education more broadly, we need what Paolo Freire originally called a pedagogy of the oppressed. Developing Welsh as a medium of instruction was the first vital step; gaining control of the content of the curriculum the next. But the third vital ingredient - transforming the very nature of the teaching process - itself - we are only now beginning to embark upon. But it is here where the truly revolutionary potential of teaching lies.
Education in Wales - informed by a conservative grammarial tradition, and historically taught in people's second language where education was seen primarily not as a route to knowledge, even less self-knoweldge, but, for the lucky few at least, the route out of poverty and all too often the route out of Wales - has also been a domain of prescription, rather than of development . As Dilys Davies has said:
"Education with the ideological intent ....of unquestioning adoption, resists dialogue and critical thought and treats its students as objects. The students are not called upon to know but to memorize the contents narrated by the teacher. "
When Welsh was finally appended to the curriculum, this 'mechanical drilling' of learning-by-rote was then later applied with disastrous ineffectiveness to the teaching of Welsh as a second language to those that had lost it.
In the new Foundation Phase we have the chance of a new start for a new generation. In ditching formal teaching for three to seven year olds and adopting, on the Norwegian model, a strategy of learning through play we have finally broken with the regimented learning of 1870 on. And when I say regimented I choose my words advisedly. The model of formal learning adopted with the advent of compulsory schooling in Britain was the same one that spread throughout Europe following the Prussian model of compulsory education that was first developed in response to their defeat at the hands of napoleon. Schools were to become factories which would turn out obedient soldiers for the army, subservient workers for the mines and submissive civil servants for Government.
Independent thought – and on our case, an independent language – was to be beaten out of our children.. We have finally laid this ghost to rest.
With this new emphasis on developing our innate creativity we have the potential to become a nation of entrepreneurs, both individual and collective. Our only sure means of finally putting paid to the dependency myth is to show, by example, that we can be economically successful - in business, and also in our own unconventional terms - by developing business models that chime more readily with our own collaborative and egalitarian system of values, than the rapacious Anglo-American ideal of heroic individualism.
The Welsh National Dictionary of Biography of the Twenty First Century should be as defined by innovators of every description as the Nineteenth Century version was peopled by Ministers of Religion. One important contribution might be creating an English language version of Menter a Busnes - which has been using a range of techniques to promote enterprise culture among Welsh speakers for two decades, with increasing signs of success.
A final imperative has to be the creation of a new unified pan- Wales sense of identity. This undoubtedly is the biggest failure of the national movement. The language movement did manage in the words of a young Cynog Dafis, “to effect some kind of transformation in the Welsh psychology”, The counter-colonial counter-culture it helped foster has largely been self-contained within the Welsh-speaking community.
Reaching out to the English-language Wales. is partly a political task: the most socially disadvantaged in Wales today, in Hechter’s terms the modern equivalents of “hewers of wood and drawers of water” – unskilled English-speaking women, is the category that is least likely to vote Plaid. We cannot truly claim to be a national party, until we change that.
But at the level of the nation as a whole, we need to transform nation-building into a personal experience. We could usefully learn from the Canadian experiment of Katimavik in the 1980s, a voluntary 12 montb national civilian service programme whereby young people got to spend time working with other young Canadians in the different provinces of Canada.
Huw Lewis has recently suggested immersing Welsh learners in the Welsh language culture by billeting them with families in the West. I agree, but let’s do it in reverse, too, and have young Welsh women and men from the north and the west spending time in the valleys and our cities.
If we do all this, then unlike Ireland in 1921, when independence finally comes, as come it will, we will have a generation that has been prepared for it.
Will we be the final colony? Well, that of course is up to us. In the words of Antonio Machado:
“our footprints are the only road; nothing else; we make the road as we travel”
Somebody said to me recently that Welsh independence is a bit like nuclear fusion: it is always a generation away. But in a sense, it has been ever thus. I am personally hopeful.
If Sion Cent, warming himself with the dying embers of Glyndwr’s memory and what might have been , could still say:- My Hope Is On What Is To Come., then I too can find reasons to be an optimist.
Wales was not just colonised, but re-colonised and then, for good measure, re-colonised again. We somehow survived Norman blitzkreig, Tudor lebensraum and Victorian eugenics. We have survived for a reason. And the reason lies within us, however buried deep within.
If you want a really concise analysis of the boom-bust cycle, I think this overview of what happened to the Irish, is it!
Emer O’Siochru is an Irish Architect and Valuer. She co-founded Feasta, the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability in 1998. She has taught architecture, managed a design gallery, redeveloped inner city property, worked in local community development, ran an architectural practice and served on public and voluntary sector boards. She currently directs EOS Future Design that creates real and virtual systems for sustainable living, and farms organically.
Emer has written on monetary, taxation and planning reform. She directed the Smart Tax Network funded by the Irish Department of the Environment and edited “The Fair Tax” book in 2011.
A liquidity problem quickly turned out to be a solvency problem. 8:25
8:51 …depositors fled, continued to flee. they couldn't manage: The situation was such, essentially, that the Irish government couldn't borrow on the bond market, because they felt that the economy wasn't sound; that it had made a big mistake in underwriting the banks. And, at the end of the day, a bailout had to be accepted from the troika.
That was an austerity, and balancing the books was the price of that bail-out. Bear in mind that our public finances were in surplus, before the bank crisis, but after the bank crisis, not only did we have to pay back the troika, but the receipts - since property had collapsed - had collapsed as well, so the gov. wasn't even bringing in as much tax income as they had before, and things were looking very bad.
So why did it happen?
It did not happen because planning regulations restricted the amount of land that was available, driving up the value of sites. That is not what happened in Ireland. I hear this argument in the UK, saying the reason why property values are going up and are now going up, particularly in London, is because insufficient land is zoned for housing, in particular.
We had 3 to 5 times the amount of land that you could conceivably want zoned in our country around our settlements. And apart from that, we had a situation in which you didn't even need to have land zoned, to getting planning permission in the open country-side. In fact, 30% of all the housing was self-build in the old country-side. So we had no restrictions really on the amount of housing that got built.
So it wasn't because of a restrictive planning regime that land values went up. It went up because of the availability of credit.
Some people say that if we'd had better banking regulation, we wouldn't have had the problem. There is no doubt, it would have helped, if we had tidied up on our regulation. In other words, if we had prevented the banks from lending more than 80% of the value of the house, for instance, to first-time buyers, or to buyers generally, that would have, in a way, slowed down the construction and development exuberance, and so on.
The problem was, we are in Europe, with an open market, and we already had european banks competing with Irish banks. In fact, it was the european banks that were the first ones that brought in the 100% mortgages, as far as I know, and everybody then had to catch up. You can't really easily regulate your banks in a small country where the money isn't your own money. You are using a third-party currency. They, banks in other countries, could operate in your country under their own rules. In some cases they operated under Irish rules. It was possible for them to operate in Ireland under the regulatory rules of their base country.
Yes, regulation was important, but it wasn't a sufficient reason. If you look in other EU countries where they had broadly the same regulatory system, they didn't get the same kind of 'boom and bust'. So what else did they have is the question. What was the real cause?
"I have to talk about Home ownership incentives"
This is a quote from Colm McCarthy. He is an economist operating in Ireland who likes to speak his own mind. I don't agree with him in every respect but I respect the fact that he always writes independently and is not politically beholden to anyone. And he said, basically: imputed tax on housing is not taxed in Ireland." We have had mortgage interest relief on mortgages for a long time. They were there consistently. There is no local tax; there are no rates or property taxes on domestic dwellings in Ireland, at all. And if your sold your house, and it is your prime residence, there is no capital gains tax.
So, as he's explained, most of the developed countries may have one or two of these goodies for property owners, but only Ireland had all of them. And not only that, but there were further tax reliefs if you built in certain locations. So if you were to build, say, along the Shannon [river], which is an undeveloped region of the coast, and so on, you could offset the capital cost of the construction against your income tax. Not just the rental income, but your income tax. So we had no real taxes on your own home. And further, we had incentives, basically, to put your money into property.
And I'm quoting here Michael Hudson. He says, "If you don't tax that value that attaches to land, arising from the general wealth of the economy, the banks get it."
That's what happened.
The banks got it. they turned it into a kind of money backed by debt, essentially phoney money, that wasn't backed by real productivity. That essentially led to the boom and that subsequently led... to the bust.
I'm an architect, so I'm interested in the physical effects of this:
Very unsuitable sites were developed around remote villages, flood planes— completely unacceptable sites got planning permission from 'connected' politicians, essentially. And houses were built. And people occupied them, certainly in the earlier part of the boom. In the later part, nobody would buy them, so we now have 'ghost' estates.
Most of our new housing was built speculatively, similar to the UK in that regard. In other words, the builders built them and then they'd look for the buyers. Except for the one-off houses —if you had lived in a rural area or your family had access to land— but most of the rest is built speculatively, so there was very little commissioned, and that has an effect on the final form.
So you get identical houses, practically, cul-de-sac estates. An 'estate' is an invented spacial form, very different from the kind of village or town form that we had in Ireland before. Of course, we had many, many one-off houses arising from the fact that people thought that a large house—a property— is wealth you never lose.
That, in many cases where young people got land for nothing from their parents, instead of saving money and building a normal-sized house- 1500 sq ft., they instead built what they considered a normal-sized house which was 3000 sq. ft.. So they invested all of their money in constructing fancy mansions for themselves - 5 bedrooms. These are young people who aren't even married. And, in general, because of this attitude we got from the Americans, that if you own your land you can do whatever you like with it and that is some how part of our tradition, it was very difficult to oppose them.
The environmental groups that did try to oppose them were demonised. Placards and intimidation and editorials in the newspaper, and so on.
So, during that time, you could make money simply by the conversion of the land from agricultural use to a higher use — to housing use — that's where your money was made.
Or, if you converted an inner city site, an urban site, from a lower use to a higher use, or a higher density use, that's where your money was made.
You lost money on construction and design: that was the view of the developers, generally speaking, so they minimised that. Now, in Dublin, where there was more competition, the design quality did go up because you were using existing sites that had high value already, so you had to distinguish yourself with design and construction quality, but in general, we built 50% of our existing stock during that period of time and we got lousy buildings. We did not build them to the energy standard that… [end of video stream!]
'Let's sanction Russia!' Neil Clark is a journalist, writer and broadcaster. His award winning blog can be found at www.neilclark66.blogspot.com Follow him on Twitter
Israel shells a UN school in Gaza killing 15. It's the sixth time a UN school has been struck. 'Children, women and men killed & injured as they slept in a place where they should have been safe and protected. They were not. Intolerable', says Pierre Krahenbuhl, commissioner general of UNRWA.
Overall, almost 1,400 people have been killed in Gaza by Israeli forces with missiles and military equipment supplied by the US. After the latest UN school attack, it was announced that the US will send more ammunition to Israel. The conclusion is: “Let’s sanction Russia!”
Over 1,000 people have been killed in the east of Ukraine and nearly 3,500 wounded since the US- backed Ukrainian government's brutal military offensive started in April. Around 100,000 people have been forcibly displaced. On Sunday, at least 13 civilians were killed by Ukrainian shelling- including a one-year-old girl killed next to her parents. What do we hear? “Let’s sanction Russia!”
The US and EU supported the violent overthrow of a democratically elected President and government in Ukraine, one year before elections were due, creating the current crisis in the country. “Let’s sanction Russia!”
Ukrainian ultranationalists set fire to a trade union headquarters building in Odessa and kill around 40 people. As people tried to escape they were bludgeoned with baseball bats “Let’s sanction Russia!”
After the illegal unconstitutional coup in Kiev, which brings far-right, Russia-hating ultra- nationalists to power, the people of Crimea vote in a peaceful, democratic referendum to rejoin Russia. “Let’s sanction Russia!”
A passenger plane comes down over Ukraine – the second plane from Malaysia Airlines to be lost in mysterious circumstances in the space of a few months. We don't yet know who was responsible, or even what happened to the first Malaysia Airlines plane. “Let’s sanction Russia!”
4 Palestinian children are playing football on the beach in Gaza. They are murdered by Israeli fire. “This was a cowardly crime,” says the spokesperson of the Gaza Health Ministry. Russia was one of the 29 countries who voted for a UN Human Rights Council probe into alleged Gaza war crimes. EU countries abstained, the US voted against. “Let’s sanction Russia!”
Since 2008, it's been estimated that over 2,400 people have been killed by US drone strikes. The Bureau for Investigative Journalism says that in Pakistan alone the number of civilians killed by drone strikes in the period 2004-2014 ranges from 416 to 957. The number of children killed in Pakistan by US drones is between 168 and 202. “Let’s sanction Russia!”
US launches an illegal war of aggression against Iraq in which up to 1 million people have been killed. The justification for the war was that Iraq possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction, which did not in fact exist. Large parts of Iraq are now run by ISIS. Russia strongly opposed the Iraq war. “Let’s sanction Russia!”
Libya: like Iraq, a country destroyed by a Western military intervention in which Russia did not take part. Due to Western aggression, a country which had the highest standard of living in Africa is now a failed state. “Let’s sanction Russia!”
US ally Saudi Arabia is one of several countries in the world where homosexuality is illegal and where gay people can be executed. Russia has no such laws, but isn't one of the allies. “Let’s sanction Russia!”
Western countries fund rebels to violently overthrow the government of Syria, increasing aid and support every time the conflict looks to be coming to an end. “Let’s sanction Russia!”
On July 15th, it was announced that the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) were establishing a $100 billion BRICS development bank and a currency pool worth over another $100 billion. “The big launch of the BRICS bank is seen as a first step to break the dominance of the US dollar in global trade, as well as dollar-backed institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, both US-based institutions BRICS countries have little influence within,” reports RT.
"BRICS Bank will be one of the major multilateral development finance institutions in this world,” announced President Putin. Western elites know that resurgent Russia is a block on their ambitions for total global hegemony and that BRICS and its New Development Bank are a threat to their economic power. Russia is “getting in the way” in other areas too.
Neocons and the West's pro-Israel faux-left wanted war with Syria last summer to topple the Syrian government and break the alliance between Syria, Hezbollah and Iran – a long-term strategic objective of Israel. Russia, along with public opinion in the western countries, helped to block that war, and -- to the frustration of the Permanent War Lobby, the Syrian government is still in power. In short, Russia needs to be weakened, & weakened fast: “Let’s sanction Russia!”
and for those who like their news red, Cuba has launched the ECURED, its own Wikipedia-style open online encyclopedia with 19,345 items of reference articles, biographies and academic works.
The new site is:
THEY'RE HIDING THIS FROM YOU!
Trivia and horror fill the pages of the UK media, yet the truth about the world is being hidden...
Read this article by Fidel Castro and find out WHY Rhondda Records keeps banging on about food.
It's not trivia - but it's the coming horror YOU and I are bequeathing now to our children.
WESTERN SCIENCE NOT "ADVANCED" - JUST PREDATORY
The bulk of commercial patents in the world are for cosmetics and other glamorous products.
While millions of people are still dying from malaria and cancer, no patents as yet exist to counteract these diseases.
"The real common drama concerning the exact and natural sciences, as in the case of the social sciences, is that constant siphoning off of intelligence signified by the persistent brain drain from the countries of the South. Suffice it to say that, at least one third of African researchers are working outside their countries of origin, & that in many Third World countries the existence of certain scientific disciplines – from chemistry to archeology – is threatened."
In an international situation characterized by economic and environmental crises, threats of nuclear war & extreme poverty, higher education is called upon to take action, to guarantee ethical scientific work & support sustainable development.
But not in the UK & Wales, or is it?
Welsh Universities and colleges like Cardiff and the University of Glamorgan have made notable steps to direct their new research into good areas... green energy, transport... and in many other areas great work is done!
and if such research in Welsh universities drops helping the MoD, with research into dubious areas like "conformity"...
or in bending to the "needs" of commerce, Wales & the world could benefit - measurably!
What if research begins to develop an ECONOMY for Wales, based on its communal love, and in confluence with its land, and unique qualities?
Research directly transferable, and RELEVANT to the present and future needs of its youth?
For God's sake - we need an economy !!!
THE CURSE OF CAPITALISM
Karl Marx said Capitalism gives us 2 gifts: racism and unemployment.
In the 2nd World War, our parents died fighting a vile form of this, as Jews and other minorities were used as scapegoats as a world recession hit.
The Nazis used their power over the media to turn normally sane Germans into monsters of hatred...
and now whole generations are being taught to fear and loathe Muslims. Even "nice" people.
All a senior UK politician has to do, to gain more votes, is to burn or desecrate the Qur'an.
He can be a complete d**khead, with policies that will turn the whole UK into a nightmare state, but it won't count, as peoples' heads turn to hatred.
I've read ALL of Oswald Mosley's speeches, and he makes perfect sense... after all, he started as a prominent Labour politician. But the clue to knowing when something is badly wrong, is when he starts to talk of "rivers of fire" - hatred.
Sion Owens, a senior member of the BNP & candidate for the upcoming Welsh Assembly elections, has just been arrested for burning a copy of the holy Qur'an in his garden, and posting the video.
It's a trick which will be used by many Western politicians to misuse their people's feelings, just to gain a few more votes in a society filled with hatred and heading for a Hitlerian Hell.
Owens, wearing a "Whitelaw No Surrender" T-shirt in the video, starts with the holy Qur'an lying in a Quality Street chocolate tin, before Owens douses the holy book in flammable liquid and then sets fire to it. The camera zooms in as the holy book burns.
But for UK politician Sion Owens, the affair looks like turning out badly, as the government reacted angrily when a leaked video clip of him burning the holy Qur'an was sent to the South Wales police, who immediately arrested him.
"The government absolutely condemns the burning of the Qur'an. It is fundamentally offensive to the values of our pluralist & tolerant society", says the Home Office, in a strong statement.
"We equally condemn any attempts to create divisions between communities and are committed to ensuring that everyone has the freedom to live their lives free from fear of targeted hostility or harassment on the grounds of a particular characteristic, such as religion".
"We always adopt an extremely robust approach to allegations of this sort and find this sort of intolerance unacceptable in our society", says South Wales police Superintendent Phil Davies, who led the investigation.
How can a sane cultured people like Germans, be turned to monsters and end up gassing millions in extermination camps, using torture & pain?
Racism and unemployment.
Watch the monsters trying to grow right now.
IT'S THE ENGLISH ESTABLISHMENT's FAULT !!!
Or is it? A surprising analysis here, which accuses the "British Empire"'s elite of ruling the USA and Bertrand Russell of... "pure evil" ! http://www.larouchepub.com/other/ 2012/3905destab_russia_mcfaul.html
MOST PEOPLE SEE THIS VISION
Ask people in Wales how they see the future of all that wasted land above the valleys... and most say they see orchards and beauty.
But it's blocked at the moment, by stiff ideological thinking, while Scotland powers ahead with land reform laws that give title to communities to shape their own future...
What can Wales do to make good?
Here's a technical paper delivered recently in Sweden by Scottish University experts that gives a reasonable starting point:- http://www.caledonia.org.uk/land/ documents/Bryden-and-Geisler.pdf
I think this might need a mass grass-roots campaign a la chartists, to happen, mind !
The main parties are too compromised by interest groups and ideology to move...
witness the disgraceful outcome at Maerdy.
THE PROBLEM OF POWER & FREE CHOICE
Of course, ALL change brings problems too! The article below examines how sensitive communities must be as they change - and how sides in an argument must be tolerant. http://www.alastairmcintosh.com/ articles/2003-hebridean3&4-4stages.htm
(“internet version from www.AlastairMcIntosh.com”)
POSITIVELY LEARNING FROM SCOTLAND
It's great having Scotland leading the way, isn't it - like having a big brother - we can admire their achievements, learn from their mistakes, and mix and match our unique differences...
Here's a positive view of Scotland's moves:
Here is a very good article which blew my mind!
It places NATO's role in context... and tells us a few home truths about the West's "Empires"...
Lisette Talate died the other day. I remember a wiry, fiercely intelligent woman who masked her grief with a determination that was a presence.
She was the embodiment of people's resistance to the war on democracy.
I first glimpsed her in a 1950s Colonial Office film about the Chagos Islanders, a tiny creole nation living midway between Africa and Asia in the Indian Ocean.
The camera panned across thriving villages, a church, a school, a hospital, set in phenomenal natural beauty and peace. Lisette remembers the producer saying to her and her teenage friends: "Keep smiling, girls!"
Sitting in her kitchen in Mauritius many years later, she said: "I didn't have to be told to smile. I was a happy child, because my roots were deep in the islands, my paradise.
"My great-grandmother was born there. I made six children there. That's why they couldn't legally throw us out of our own homes. They had to terrify us into leaving or force us out.
"At first, they tried to starve us. The food ships stopped arriving, [then] they spread rumours we would be bombed, then they turned on our dogs."
In the early 1960s Harold Wilson's Labour government secretly agreed to a demand from the US, that the Chagos archipelago, a British colony, be "swept" and "sanitised" of its 2,500 inhabitants, so that a military base could be built on the principal island, Diego Garcia.
"They knew we were inseparable from our# pets," said Talate.
"When the American soldiers arrived to build the base, they backed their big trucks against the brick shed where we prepared the coconuts. Hundreds of our dogs had been rounded up and imprisoned there. Then they gassed them through tubes from the trucks' exhausts. You could hear them crying."
Talate, her family and hundreds of the other islanders were forced on to a rusting steamer bound for Mauritius, a journey of 1,000 miles.
They were made to sleep in the hold on a cargo of fertiliser - bird shit.
The weather was rough, everyone was ill, two of the women on board miscarried.
Dumped on the docks at Port Louis, Talate's youngest children Jollice and Regis died within a week of each other.
"They died of sadness," she said.
"They had heard all the talk and seen the horror of what had happened to the dogs. They knew they were leaving their home for ever. The doctor in Mauritius said he could not treat sadness."
This act of mass kidnapping was carried out in high secrecy.
In one official file, under the heading "Maintaining the fiction," the Foreign Office legal adviser exhorts his colleagues to cover their actions by "reclassifying" the population as "floating" and to "make up the rules as we go along."
Article seven of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court says the "deportation or forcible transfer of population" is a crime against humanity.
That Britain had committed such a crime - in exchange for a $14 million discount off a US Polaris nuclear submarine - was not on the agenda of a group of British "defence" correspondents flown to the Chagos by the Ministry of Defence when the US base was completed.
"There is nothing in our files," said the MoD, "about inhabitants or an evacuation."
Today Diego Garcia is crucial to the US and British war on democracy.
The heaviest bombing of Iraq and Afghanistan was launched from its vast airstrips, beyond which the islanders' abandoned cemetery and church stand like archaeological ruins.
The terraced garden where Talate laughed for the camera is now a fortress housing the "bunker- busting" bombs carried by bat-shaped B-2 aircraft to targets on two continents. An attack on Iran will start here.
As if to complete the emblem of rampant, criminal power, the CIA added a Guantanamo- style prison for its "rendition" victims and called it Camp Justice.
What was done to Talate's paradise has urgent and universal meaning, for it represents the violent, ruthless nature of a whole political culture behind its democratic facade and the scale of our own indoctrination in its messianic assumptions, described by Harold Pinter as a "brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis."
Longer and bloodier than any other war since 1945, waged with demonic weapons and a gangsterism dressed as economic policy and sometimes known as globalisation, the war on democracy is unmentionable in Western elite circles.
As Pinter wrote, "It never happened... Even while it was happening it wasn't happening."
Last July US historian William Blum published his updated "summary of the charming record of US foreign policy."
Since the second world war, the US has:
- Attempted to overthrow more than 50 governments, most of them democratically elected.
- Attempted to suppress a populist or national movement in 20 countries.
- Grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries.
- Dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 countries.
- Attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders.
In total the US has carried out one or more of these actions in 69 countries. In almost all cases, Britain has been a collaborator.
The "enemy" changes in name - from communism to Islamism - but mostly it's the rise of democracy independent of Western power or a society occupying strategically useful territory and deemed expendable, like the Chagos Islands.
The sheer scale of suffering, let alone criminality, is little known in the West, despite the presence of the world's most advanced communications, nominally freest journalism and most-admired academy.
That the most numerous victims of terrorism - Western terrorism - are Muslims is unsayable, if it is known.
That half a million Iraqi infants died in the 1990s as a result of the embargo imposed by Britain and the US, is of no interest.
That extreme jihadism, which led to the September 11 2001 attacks, was nurtured as a weapon of Western policy - in "Operation Cyclone" - is known to specialists, but otherwise suppressed.
While popular culture in Britain and the US immerses the second world war in an ethical bath for the victors, the holocausts arising from Anglo-US dominance of resource-rich regions, are consigned to oblivion.
Under the Indonesian tyrant Suharto, anointed "our man" by Margaret Thatcher, more than a million people were slaughtered in what the CIA described as "the worst mass murder of the second half of the 20th century."
This estimate does not include the third of the population of East Timor who were starved or murdered with Western connivance, British fighter-bombers and machine-guns.
These true stories are told in declassified files in the Public Record Office, yet represent an entire dimension of politics and the exercise of power excluded from public consideration.
This has been achieved by a regime of uncoercive information control, from the evangelical mantra of advertising to soundbites on BBC news and now the ephemera of social media.
It is as if writers as watchdogs are extinct or in thrall to a sociopathic zeitgeist, convinced they are too clever to be duped.
Witness the stampede of sycophants eager to deify Christopher Hitchens, a war-lover who longed to be allowed to justify the crimes of rapacious power.
"For almost the first time in two centuries," wrote Terry Eagleton, "there is no eminent British poet, playwright or novelist prepared to question the foundations of the Western way of life."
No Orwell warns that we do not need to live in a totalitarian society to be corrupted by totalitarianism.
No Shelley speaks for the poor, no Blake proffers a vision, no Wilde reminds us that "disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who's read history, is man's original virtue."
And grievously no Pinter rages at the war machine, as in "American Football."
Praise the Lord for all good things...
We blew their balls into shards of dust,
Into shards of fucking dust...
Into shards of fucking dust go all the lives blown there by Barack Obama, the Hopey- Changey of Western violence.
Whenever one of Obama's drones wipes out an entire family in a faraway tribal region of Pakistan or Somalia or Yemen, US controllers sitting in front of the computer game screens type in "Bugsplat."
Obama likes drones and has joked about them with journalists. One of his first actions as president was to order a wave of Predator drone attacks on Pakistan that killed 74 people. He has since killed thousands, mostly civilians. Drones fire Hellfire missiles that suck the air out of the lungs of children and leave body parts festooned across scrubland.
Remember the tear-stained headlines as Brand Obama was elected.
"Momentous, spine-tingling" (the Guardian). "The American future," Simon Schama wrote, "is all vision, numinous, unformed, light-headed with anticipation."
The San Francisco Chronicle saw a spiritual "Lightworker... who can... usher in a new way of being on the planet."
Beyond the drivel, as the great whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg had predicted, a military coup was taking place in Washington & Obama was their man.
Having seduced the anti-war movement into virtual silence, he has given the corrupt US military officer class unprecedented powers of state and engagement.
These include the prospect of wars in Africa and opportunities for provocations against China, the US's largest creditor and the new "enemy" in Asia.
Under Obama, the old source of official paranoia, Russia, has been encircled with ballistic missiles & the Russian opposition infiltrated.
Military and CIA assassination teams have been assigned to 120 countries. Long-planned attacks on Syria and Iran beckon a world war.
Israel, the exemplar of US violence and lawlessness by proxy, has just received its annual pocket money of $3 billion, together with Obama's permission to steal more and more Palestinian land.
Obama's most "historic" achievement is to bring the war on democracy home to the US. On New Year's Eve, he signed the National Defence Authorisation Act, a law that grants the Pentagon the legal right to kidnap both foreigners and US citizens secretly and indefinitely detain, interrogate, torture, or even kill them.
They need only "associate" with those "belligerent" to the US.
There will be no protection of law, no trial, no legal representation.
This is the first explicit legislation to abolish habeas corpus - the right to due process of law - and in effect repeal the Bill of Rights of 1789.
On January 5, in an extraordinary speech at the Pentagon, Obama said the military would not only be ready to "secure territory and populations" overseas but to fight in the "homeland" and "support [the] civil authorities."
In other words, US troops are to be deployed on the streets of US cities when the inevitable civil unrest takes hold.
The US is now a land of epidemic poverty and barbaric prisons - the consequence of a "market" extremism that, under Obama, has prompted the transfer of $14 trillion in public money to criminal enterprises in Wall Street.
The victims are mostly young, jobless, homeless, incarcerated African-Americans, betrayed by the first black president.
The historic corollary of a perpetual war state is not fascism - not yet - but neither is it democracy in any recognisable form, regardless of the placebo politics that will consume the news until November.
The presidential campaign, says the Washington Post, will feature "a clash of philosophies rooted in distinctly different views of the economy."
This is patently false. The circumscribed task of journalism on both sides of the Atlantic is to create the pretence of political choice where there is none.
The same shadow is across Britain and much of Europe, where social democracy, an article of faith two generations ago, has fallen to the central bank dictators.
In David Cameron's "big society," the theft of £84bn in jobs and services exceeds even the amount of tax "legally" avoided by piratical corporations.
Blame rests not with the far-right but with a cowardly liberal political culture that has allowed this to happen and which, as Hywel Williams wrote after the September 11 attacks, "can itself be a form of self- righteous fanaticism."
Tony Blair is one such fanatic. In its managerial indifference to the freedoms that it claimed to hold dear, bourgeois Blairite Britain created a surveillance state with 3,000 new criminal offences and laws - more than for the whole of the previous century.
The police clearly believe they have an impunity to kill. At the demand of the CIA, cases like that of Binyam Mohamed, an innocent British resident tortured and then held for five years in Guantanamo Bay, will be dealt with in secret courts in Britain, in order to "protect the intelligence agencies" - the torturers.
This invisible state allowed the Blair government to fight the Chagos Islanders as they rose from their despair in exile and demanded justice in the streets of Port Louis and London.
"Only when you take direct action, face to face, even break laws, are you ever noticed," Talate said.
"And the smaller you are, the greater your example to others."
Such is the eloquent answer to those who still ask: "What can I do?"
I last saw Talate's tiny figure standing in driving rain next to her comrades outside the Houses of Parliament.
What struck me was the enduring courage of their resistance. It is this refusal to give up that rotten power fears, above all else, knowing it's the seed beneath the snow.
This article appeared in the New Statesman.
Ray -- There's a new petition taking off on Change.org, and we think you might be interested in signing it;
UK supermarkets and businesses throw out over 7 million tonnes of food annually, before it gets to your shopping basket. That’s enough to lift all the hungry people in the UK out of food poverty.
Globally, if food waste was a country, it would be the third top carbon emitter after USA and China.
I'm the Chair of the London Food Board and a journalist passionate about food. I've started this petition as part of Stop the Rot campaign because I want to see an end to this stark injustice.
Consumers are currently asked to do the lion's share of tackling food waste, but many businesses waste more in a day than a consumer does in a year.
Someone pays for these mountains of wasted food – be it you, victims of climate change, the person who can’t afford to eat, or the supermarket’s suppliers.
Food is mainly wasted on farms and in factories, but hugely affected by retailer policy. Imagine spending all year growing potatoes, just to have them rejected for being the wrong shape or size. Or toiling to overproduce cauliflowers for fear of ever missing an order. One farmer had to plough 300,000 perfectly edible cabbages back into the field. These unjust practices need to be stopped. Hidden from view, the waste piles up and suppliers suffer in silence.
It’s time to call on UK supermarkets to tackle the food waste their policies cause in their supply chains.
Three quarters of the UK’s food is sold through Tesco, Asda, Sainsburys and Morrisons. With a strong movement pressuring them, we can make them act!
Join Stop the Rot's call for the major supermarkets to:
- regularly publish their in-store and supply chain's food waste data, including collaborating to measure food waste on farms by 2018 to enable targeted reduction.
- commit to ambitious targets to reduce their own stores' and their manufacturing suppliers’ food waste by 30% by 2025
Please sign and share this petition! Together, we can stop the rot!