Daily Archives: 05/02/2011

(RussiaToday) In the Albanian capital Tirana, at least three people have been shot dead and several others injured during a rally. Thousands of protesters gathered outside the Prime Minister’s office demanding the government step down over corruption allegations. Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowds who called for fresh elections. The country has been in a political deadlock since the opposition rejected the result of the ballot two years ago.

( Julien Chaulieu – 04/02/2011

Q: What do you think globalization means?

J.C: Globalization actually means when things go global versus local. It is a highly contradicted term. Noam Chomsky has said that ”the term “globalization” is used by power centres to refer to the specific form of international economic integration that has been instituted within the “neo-liberal” framework of the past several decades”. (Chomsky and Otero, 2004). Chomsky has been very critical to the phenomenon of globalization describing it as a modern style of imperialism. His negative stance towards the US foreign policies is obvious through his activism. “In fact, U.S foreign policy today is about a concerned with terrorism as Carter’s was with human rights. It’s related to Reagan’s domestic agenda, which is essentially three things: a substantial transfer of resources from the poor to he wealthy; support form military intervention, subversion and aggression: and a forced public subsidy of high-technology, military-based industry. Knowing that agenda you have to have a mobilized population. You’ve got to stir up militarist sentiments”.

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( The United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization, through its Food Price Index, has announced that “the wholesale price of basic foods” jumped “to a record high in January.” Observing the effects of “increasing demand in emerging economies,” BBC News reports that the President of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, is entreating “world leaders” to confront the food quandary.

Since, as the BBC story points out, the political turbulence in Northern Africa and in the Middle East has been imputed largely to “the high price of food,” it would seem that on some level governments have an interest in mitigating prices. And while it’s certainly true that the pursuits of the state are the predominant influence on and root of the prices we actually contend with today, it is not for a paucity of state interferences that consumers are suffering.

Though it conflicts sharply with what the modest citizen is intended to believe about the state’s correspondence with economic activity, government “leaders” are not scrupulously crunching the numbers to cushion the consumer from the harsh fickleness of the free market. Contrary to the somewhat more enchanting myth that bureaucrats and politicians must intervene constantly just to stave off all-out economic calamity, they are, in reality, entirely responsible for the high prices they are entrusted to “correct.”

The state, the institution that Gustave de Molinari called the “monopoly [that] has engendered all other monopolies,” is the nerve center for elite interests; as such, its primary motivation, even without focused or streamlined premeditation, is to confine valuable resources like food commodities with the aim of creating occasions for completely unwarranted, extra profit. Quite the opposite of a glitch or complication that the supposedly commonsensical state is solicited to remedy, high prices are indeed the name of the game.

In explaining the monopolized economy, Murray Rothbard noted that cartels squander goods, engaging in economic “destruction” in order to manhandle price and stiff consumers. “The waste,” instructed Rothbard, “lies in the excessive production of [some state-anointed goods] at the expense of other goods that could have been produced” (emphasis in original). He warned of the economic volatility inherent in supplanting the “evenly rotating economy” of free and nonviolent exchange with the cartel practice of “restricting production” to serve elite interests.

The political class, by caching away everything of value without ever owning it in any legitimate way, is allowed to levy taxes that we never see, penalties embedded in the high prices we pay. So many of the scarcities that provide the basis of the high tolls exacted on us are not the result of any kind of market process, but are shortages created by the state. As Kevin Carson has frequently argued, our added costs — the spoils of state capitalism — result from “the State’s intervention to create market entry barriers.”

The inefficiencies and rents explained by Rothbard and Carson are not congenital features of freed markets; they are attributes instead of an economic system in which the state, rather than the unimpeded judgment of individuals, picks the winners through subsidies and a regulatory regime that flattens anything but the most ponderous economic arrangements. Among the central contentions of free market anarchism is that, in a true free market, labor is valuable enough to enable the common man to manage quite well without the kind of slogging required to line the elites’ pockets today.

In his dystopian classic Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell wrote that “the economic … basis for a hierarchical society” is “to waste the surplus labor of the world.” And it’s that waste that the lucre of ruling class is built upon, that is reflected in, for instance, the U.S. government’s fortification of Big Agribusiness.

By forming an economy where neither price nor levels of production are tied to real, market needs, the state has created a needless struggle just to subsist. The way out is repudiation of the state’s arbitrary power to allow monopolists to divvy up our sustenance. Freed markets return that power to communities of individuals dealing with each other within voluntary agreements, the only legitimate way to allocate scarce resources.

by David D’Amato


(Amnesty International) 4 February 2011

The Egyptian authorities should immediately reveal the whereabouts of Egyptian and international human rights activists, lawyers and journalists arrested during a raid on the Hisham Mubarak Law Center in Cairo on the afternoon of February 3, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today.

The two organizations demanded the immediate release of all those detained including their staff. In a separate incident yesterday afternoon, three members of the Egyptian Centre for Housing Rights were also arrested and taken from the building and now remain missing.

Among more than 30 arrested, those detained include; Daniel Williams, a Human Rights Watch researcher; Said Haddadi, an Amnesty International researcher and a female colleague; Ahmed Seif Al Islam, the former director of the Hisham Mubarak Law Center; a French and a Portuguese journalist; and at least nine other lawyers associated with the Hisham Mubarak Law Center or volunteers from the Front to Defend Egypt’s Protesters.

Eye-witnesses outside the building where the detainees were arrested said they were taken away with a military escort.

Local colleagues of the arrested Egyptian lawyers believe that the group is being detained by the military police at Camp 75, a military camp located in Manshiyet el-Bakri, a neighbourhood on the outskirts of Cairo. When lawyers went to Camp 75 and requested access to their detained colleagues, the army officials refused to confirm that they had any of the missing in detention.

The Egyptian authorities have also not provided foreign embassies with any information about where the detainees are being kept, or provided a reason for their arrest.

“At a time when serious human rights abuses are taking place in Egypt, the raid on the offices of the Hisham Mubarak Center and detention our colleagues is deeply disturbing,” said Ken Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch. “But it is totally unacceptable that they have given us no information about their whereabouts. The authorities must urgently clarify where they are holding our researcher and other colleagues and they should release all of them now.”

“Holding human rights activists is completely unacceptable and is indicative of an increasing clampdown on freedom of expression in Egypt.” said Salil Shetty, Secretary-General of Amnesty International. “We hold the Egyptian authorities responsible for the safety of all those in detention including our staff and call for their safe and immediate release.”