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Daily Archives: 11/03/2011

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This video may contain images depicting the reality and horror ofwar/violenceand should only be viewed by a mature audience

“Lifting the Veil is the long overdue film that powerfully, definitively, and finally exposes the deadly 21st century hypocrisy of U.S. internal and external policies, even as it imbues the viewer with a sense of urgency and an actualized hope to bring about real systemic change while there is yet time for humanity and this planet. See this film!”
-Larry Pinkney
Editorial Board Member & Columnist
The Black Commentator

Sub-headed “Barack Obama and the failure of capitalist democracy”, this film explores the historical role of the Democratic Party as the “graveyard of social movements”, the massive influence of corporate finance in elections, the absurd disparities of wealth in the United States, the continuity and escalation of neocon policies under Obama, the insufficiency of mere voting as a path to reform, and differing conceptions of democracy itself.

Original interview footage derives from Noam Chomsky, Michael Parenti, Michael Albert, John Stauber (PR Watch), Sharon Smith (Historian), William I. Robinson (Editor, Critical Globalization Studies), Morris Berman (Author, Dark Ages America), and famed black panther Larry Pinkney.

Non-original interviews/lectures include Michael Hudson, Paul Craig Roberts, Ted Rall, Richard Wolff, Glen Ford, Lewis Black, Glenn Greenwald, George Carlin, Gerald Cliente, Chris Hedges, John Pilger, Bernie Sanders, Sheldon Wollin and Martin Luther King.

Visit http://metanoia-films.org/compilations.php for more info.

(libcom.org) Shoe factory workers in Burma confront notoriously tyrannical authorities while workers at Yamaha motorcycles in strikes over pay.

More than 1,500 workers at a factory in Rangoon have braved the heavy-handed reputation of Burmese authorities to go on strike, demanding an increase to their meagre salary. The men and women of Taiyi shoe factory, who are now four days into their strike, have cried foul of the unfeasibly low wages which see them earn just $US0.70 for a 12-hour day.

Factory owners yesterday agreed to raise the hourly pay by a fractional 15 kyat ($US0.01), but the strike continues.

“The workers said they wouldn’t start working until they get 75 kyat [$US0.08] per hour,” said a source close to the workers. “The factory sounds the siren [for workers to begin their day] at 7am but instead of going into the factory, the workers are sitting outside continuing the strike.”

One worker commented: “We want to demand our rights peacefully”. He said that the recent price hike in general commodities and transportation costs have pressured him and his fellow workers to demand better pay. “We can no longer survive on our current income. We are compelled to do this.”

Four police vehicles are stationed at the top of Kanaung Minthargyi Street which leads to the factory in Hlaing Tharyar industrial zone. Civilian vehicles have been blocked from entering the compound.

Strikes by some 700 workers at two garment factories in Rangoon, the United World factory and Oscar factory, last month met with success after employers agreed to their demands for better working conditions. And a year ago a series of workers’ strikes rocked factories in Rangoon, and led to calls for stronger labour union laws in Burma.

Unions have been legally allowed in Burma, although a clause in the 2008 constitution states that their formation is conditioned on not being “contrary to the laws enacted for [Burma’s] security, prevalence of law and order, community peace and tranquillity, or public order and morality”. The subsequent definitions for these criteria are vague.

Labor activists in Burma are hoping to form a union when a new government is formed in the coming months. However, several factory workers have said that any future union will be formed of only the factory owners and government officials from the Labor Ministry, and would, therefore, not be representative of their needs.

Vietnam
About 3,000 employees from the Yamaha Motor plant in Hanoi walked off the job on Monday 7th March. Management told the other 2,000 workers to stay home Tuesday while discussions continued with the union.

Workers are seeking an increase in the basic monthly salary from 1.65 million dong ($78.57) to 2.03 million dong along with a rise in their housing and other social allowances. The company had already agreed to raise pay for some workers, but that was before the government increased the price of subsidised petrol by 18% in late February. After fuel prices rose, electricity rates increased by 15% on March 1, adding to the worries of citizens trying to cope.

Vietnam’s inflation reached 12.3% year-on-year last month, according to official data, far higher than in neighbouring states, although rising consumer prices are emerging as a top concern for policymakers throughout Asia.

Source: http://libcom.org/news/south-east-asia-thousands-strike-burma-vietnam-11032011

(jfjfp.com) The New Israeli Left Joseph Dana and Noam Sheizaf, March 10, 2011

See also:
Joel Beinen, The new protest generation and the struggle against Judaization of east Jerusalem, September 2010
Michel Warshawski, One struggle against walls – 50 years ago and today, April 2010

Noam Sheizaf is an Israeli journalist and blogger based in Tel Aviv; Joseph Dana is a writer based in Jaffa and Ramallah. Both are editors and contributors to the web magazine +972

As the controversial 443 highway, which connects Tel Aviv with Jerusalem by passing through the West Bank, begins to curve toward Israel’s capital, the eye is inevitably drawn to an imposing gray structure with massive concrete walls, part of the Ofer Military Prison. Commuters are barely aware of what takes place behind those walls, and that’s no accident—the Ofer compound, comprising a military court, detention center and prison, is just one of many black holes that enable Israelis to go on with their daily lives, unaware of the everyday realities of the occupation.

Inside, a man in shackles enters the courtroom. He is wearing a brown prison suit, and his exhausted eyes exchange glances with his wife. The two haven’t met outside the courtroom in more than a year, and for some reason the prison guards are frantically moving the wife so she doesn’t sit too close to her husband, who is officially a “security risk.” Soon the military judge, outfitted in a light green Israel Defense Forces (IDF) uniform and an army beret, enters the room and begins the proceedings.

This trial could be any one of the thousands that have taken place at Ofer. Israeli military justice is swift and unflinching: according to the Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din, the conviction rate at Ofer is an astounding 99.7 percent. Hearings are short, and apart from relatives who use the opportunity to see their loved ones, nobody bothers to attend or report on the proceedings. But today is different. The small courtroom is full, with twenty European diplomats—including the British general consul, Sir Vincent Fean—as well as a handful of Israelis who have become close to the prisoner through years of joint action.

The prisoner, Abdallah Abu Rahmah, a 39-year-old schoolteacher and father of three, has already been convicted and has served a sentence for incitement and organizing illegal protests in the West Bank village of Bil’in. But after a prosecutor’s appeal, the judge ordered that he be kept in prison. Abu Rahmah would later receive an additional six months of prison time.

It wasn’t only friendship that brought the Israelis to Ofer. They see the case against Abu Rahmah as part of a new effort to crush unarmed resistance in the West Bank. For them, Abu Rahmah is not just another Palestinian activist. By leading the mostly nonviolent weekly protests in his village against Israel’s separation wall, he has become the face of a new uprising against the occupation and a key player in a kind of activism that has united Jews, Palestinians and people from around the world—one that carries a message of hope, something as unusual and unexpected in this part of the world as the recent uprisings that have toppled Arab tyrannies. It is a hope that can even penetrate the forbidding walls of the Ofer military compound.

Read More

(antiwar.com) As the tide of battle appeared to shift for the first time Thursday in favor of forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, the United States and its European allies moved closer toward intervening – if not yet militarily – on the side of the insurgency.

In testimony before Congress, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that she will meet with rebel leaders when she travels to France, Tunisia and Egypt in the coming week. She also said Washington had suspended relations with Libya’s embassy here.

At the same time, President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, Thomas Donilon, said the administration is sending humanitarian assistance teams into eastern Libya with the cooperation of rebel authorities there, presumably to prepare for the delivery of humanitarian assistance. Read More

(c4ss.org) On Thursday morning the US House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security opened hearings scrutinizing the US Muslim community. The hearings, led by Representative Peter King, a Republican from Long Island, mark a bold step in official institutionalization of bigotry.

King said that moderate leadership must emerge from the Muslim community. Yet no leaders of American Muslim organizations were invited to the hearings to speak for themselves. If actual Muslim civil society leaders were included, it might be harder to frame them all as secret terrorists. Yet prejudice does have a powerful ability to negate reason: the belief that certain people are secret murderers is often difficult to discard even with overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

But moderation in the defense of liberty and pursuit of justice is no virtue. The use of a word like “moderate” to contrast with “radical” is another language trick employed by those invested in the status quo. A radical is by definition someone who wants to make major change. If the advocates of religiously-motivated murder were instead labeled “intolerant,” “theocrat,” or “fundamentalist” in contrast to “tolerant” or “peaceable” Muslims, that would suggest a different type of conflict.

But this government show is not really about the safety of the entire public but about finding an “other” to point to for derision.

King says that backing down would mean giving in to that nebulous boogeyman called “political correctness.” In 2004, King said that 85% of American mosques are controlled by “extremists” who constitute “an enemy living amongst us.” Yet he has continued to hold political office, suggesting that he is doing something correct. What would be politically incorrect in the sense of “something we’re not supposed to talk about” would be to examine the contribution that bigotry made to the two major wars the US is currently stuck in, wars that were apparently the “correct” political thing to do.

People who seriously look for the motivations of terrorists are accused by the post-9/11 politically correct of making excuses for terrorism. Does the alienation and vulnerability to recruiters that terrorists suffer from reveal a problem with Islam or a problem with broader society? Does rage against the United States reveal issues with Islam or issues with foreign policy and prejudice? An honest look at these questions will do more to protect life and liberty than any accusations against the scapegoat of the hour.

Of course, “terrorism” is itself a loaded term that tends to emphasize the tyranny of non-state actors and ignore the terror and tyranny inflicted by states.

In light of the citizen’s subordinate position to the state which seeks to expand its power, cooperation with authorities should never be unconditional. If sharing information will likely save an innocent life, then it is prudent to share information. But if government agents are snooping around to flex their muscles and scope out their opposition, safeguarding a hold on power while pretending to safeguard the lives that power threatens, there is no reason to cooperate or pretend that they’re acting in the interests of public safety. Their statements should also never be taken at face value. This is especially relevant when one considers the frequent law enforcement misdeeds highlighted by websites like Gangsters in Blue and CopBlock.

A free society that is not laden with paranoia about harmless differences allows individuals to safeguard themselves and their communities in ways that authoritarian interference can only disrupt. A country that does not attack and occupy lands to project power and control resources will motivate fewer potential terrorists. The solution is liberty, which will not be granted by congressional committees.

Source: http://c4ss.org/content/6405

(GreenLeft)Rupert Murdoch’s global media empire just got bigger after the British government approved his takeover of the British satellite pay TV group BSkyB on March 4.

Not even evidence raised in the British parliament of his minions from the notorious rag News of the Worldhacking into the phones of politicians and other prominent figures (including members of the British royal family) slowed down this latest takeover.

Perhaps these dirty tricks are part of the reason why the British government approved Murdoch’s BSkyB bid — he’s got so much dirt on them that they are terrified of offending the emperor.

If it isn’t the dirt files that worry them, it’s the power of mass brainwashing that Murdoch wields through the countless rabidly conservative newspapers and TV stations he runs, such as the notorious Fox News network in the US.

The March 4 British Independent reported that British Labour is just as likely to “kneel at [Murdoch’s] altar”.

It referred to a leaked memo from Labour leader Ed Miliband’s “media guru” Tom Baldwin, which “argued that Labour should not go out of its way to antagonise Murdoch”.

It has become common for the leaders of the major parties in Britain to seek audiences with emperor Murdoch (who is also a regular White House guest) before they go to elections.

The Independent said former British prime ministers “Tony Blair and Gordon Brown went out of their way to [please Murdoch]. In the mid-1990s, Blair flew to Australia partly to reassure Murdoch that he had no plans to change the rules on media ownership.”

We’ve seen Australian politicians do the same. Before he won the 2007 election, former Australian Labor Party leader Kevin Rudd made sure he paid his respects to Murdoch in his New York headquarters.

In October, Labor PM Julia Gillard and opposition leader Tony Abbott also had audiences with Murdoch.

As the world cheers the deposing of one despotic regime after another by the wave of people’s power uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, let’s not forget that corporate tyrants like Murdoch still rule the world from the West. They need to be toppled, too. (…)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

 

(Infoshop News) – March 11, 2011

Over 100,000 protesters are expected in Madison, Wisconsin this weekend as the movement heats up to defend workers and unions against a Republican political campaign. Protests continue at the State Capitol, despite efforts by the Republicans to disrupt and disband the occupation which has stretched into weeks. At one points, protesters went through windows to get back into the Capitol building.

Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers sent the anti-union bill to Governor Scott Walker for approval. The bill would strip collective bargaining rights from public sector workers. Similar anti-union bills are being considered by other states.

Solidarity rallies are being organized around the U.S. and a national walkout of high school students in solidarity with the Wisconsin struggle is scheduled for 2 pm on Friday.

Latest News

*‘General Strike!’ Thousands Storm, Reoccupy Wisconsin Capitol in Response to Legislative Votes
*The Burnt Bookmobile: Section of the Wisconsin state budget regarding the stripping of collective bargaining rights passes
*Firefighters target M&I Bank for executive support of Walker
*Democracy Now: Outrage in Wisconsin: Thousands Flood Capitol After GOP Strips Public Workers of Bargaining Rights in Surprise Senate Vote
*Union contracts for 39,000 state workers set to expire Sunday
*Madison firefighters’ union president calls for general strike

“They have united workers and their allies all over the country against them, that will not just go away. We should not passively accept their dictatorship of the rich.” – Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin

(…)

Analysis

*Democracy Now: “We Have Reached a Turning Point”: Journalist Frank Emspak Says Protests Will Grow in Response to WI Anti-Union Bill
*Democracy Now: “This is a Class War”: Michael Moore Calls for Renewed Pro-Democracy Movement as Anti-Union Bills Approved in Wisconsin and Michigan
*Democracy Now: Naomi Klein on Anti-Union Bills and Shock Doctrine American-Style: “This is a Frontal Assault on Democracy, a Corporate Coup D’Etat”
*CrimethInc. on the Struggle in Wisconsin: Spread the Chaos from Capitol to Capital

Source: http://news.infoshop.org/article.php?story=201103110