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Daily Archives: 13/07/2011

(eagainst)

European democracy is dead. It was executed in plain daylight on June 29, by a lone hitman thought to be in service of the European financial mafia.

Last week, European democracy went to die in Europe’s lonely southeastern corner, in the same very place where it was born over two-and-a-half thousand years ago: in the streets of Athens. There, in the blistering sun and under the troubled gaze of the Acropolis, it drew its last breath in a haze of teargas, after having been badly beaten by a corrupted and unaccountable police force. Determined cause of death: suffocation by draconian austerity measures ordered by a powerful global crime syndicate and enforced by a local hitman by the name of George Papandreou, nicknamed the ‘Prime Minister’.

Not that European democracy had been bestowed a very healthy and long life anyway: it had been riddled with the cancerous disease of apathy throughout. For years, Europe’s brainless elite has been euphemistically refering to its own lack of popular legitimacy as a “democratic deficit,” which is pretty much the same as calling yourself ‘undemocratic’. But at least up until last week, the undemocratic Brussels technocracy could still be differentiated from the brutal dictatorships of the Arab world by the lack of violent repression and the presence of material wealth.

All of that changed last Wednesday, after the violent repression of peaceful demonstrations in Athens and the effective abolition of Greek national sovereignty and material wealth following the passage in Parliament of a second round of EU/IMF-imposed austerity measures. We now know that dictatorship lures on Europe’s southern shores. Indeed, Greek deputy prime minister Theodoroas Pangalos warned that if the austerity memorandum did not get through Parliament, the government would be forced to send tanks out into the streets of Athens to protect the banks. Libya is closer to home than many of us like to think.

In today’s ‘post-political‘ Europe, democratic politics has been all but eliminated. A European-wide free market is administered by a small club of experts and technocrats in Brussels and Frankfurt, none of whom have a democratic mandate, and none of whom answer to the people who are affected by the consequences of their decisions. So it’s not a surprise to see a broad alliance of citizens and intellectuals sounding the alarm bell. Amartya Sen, the Nobel Prize-winning Harvard economist recently issued a dire warning in the Guardian, saying that “it isn’t just the euro,” but “Europe’s democracy itself is at stake.” According to Sen:

      There are profound issues to be faced about how Europe’s democratic governance could be undermined by the hugely heightened role of financial institutions and rating agencies, which now lord it freely over parts of Europe’s political terrain.

One of the most terrifying features of this financial dictatorship, is that it continuously seeks to legitimize itself by claiming that “there is no alternative.” These famous words by Margaret Thatcher are now being repeated ad nauseam by Europe’s technocratic elite. Somehow, our leaders would have us believe that this crisis is like a natural disaster: there is no need for political debate — we just need to act. Since the experts already have the right plans in place (structural reform, austerity), all we need to do is follow their advise and stop asking difficult questions.

Christine Lagarde, the former French finance minister and incoming head of the IMF, put it in very clear terms when she called on the Greek opposition to unite behind the government’s austerity plans, stressing that “right now it’s time to put aside small or large political differences.” Lagarde’s attempt to quell political debate in the name of financial expediency is emblematic of the economistic mindset of neoliberal Europe. As Havard economist Dani Rodrik recently observed, “economists who denigrate the value of democracy sometimes talk as if the alternative to democratic governance is decision-making by high-minded Platonic philosopher-kings – ideally economists!”

Athens 29/6/2011. Riot police forces brutally arrest a man, after attacking him with clubs.

But the ‘naturalization’ of the crisis by these omnipotent economist-kings is itself a profoundly political act. It’s the ultimate conversation-stopper: we are facing a disaster, and only austerity will stave off catastrophe. So basically, if you don’t support our political ideas about how to solve this crisis, you will lead us to disaster. In other words: resistance is futile — you will be assimilated. The truth is that it’s only by eliminating ‘petty politics’ that the elite can maintain its grip on power.

Since 70-80 percent of Greeks are said to be opposed to austerity, allowing democracy to run its course would logically lead to a Greek default. A Greek default, in turn, would seriously harm the interests of the European financial sector. This is exactly why Eurozone President Juncker told the German tabloid Focus that ”the sovereignty of Greece will be massively limited.” In the undemocratic EU, nation states still remain the principal bearers of democratic legitimacy. For the financial sector, the nation state has therefore become an obstacle. That’s why it has to go.

Once upon a time we had a fancy word for a foreign policy that seeks to further domestic economic interests at the expense of other people’s sovereignty. We used to call itcolonialism. Today, we are seeing its violent return and its assault on hard-won democratic rights across the continent. This makes the struggle of the indignants at Syntagma all the more relevant. While the populists in the North continue to exalt their near-racist disdain of the Greek people, we have to realize that they are on the front-line of a global battle to save European democracy from the rapacious claws of the financial mafia and its political accomplices.

They may smile and speak eloquently. They may talk about ‘national responsibility’ and ‘averting disaster’. But in reality, they are invading a country, killing democracy and waging war on a people. If we tolerate this, then our children will be next.

From: Take the square

Check also: Greece: Witnesses from the brutal crackdown of 29-6-2011, Greece: More witnesses from the 29-6 crackdownGreece: second day of the General Strike in Athens, Greece: Exposing police brutality…Campaign against Racism and Police Brutality in Greece (petition)

Source: http://eagainst.com/articles/european-democracy-athens-506-b-c-%E2%80%94-athens-2011-a-d/

(security.cbronline.com) Threatens attack on police over phone hacking and judges over Julian Assange’s proposed extradition. Online hacktivist group Anonymous has said that it would reveal “explosive” secrets to embarrass Metropolitan police and judges in the UK, according to a report by the Guardian.

The group is believed to be angry on the proposed extradition of whistleblower site WikiLeaks founder Julian Assagne. The group wants to target the Met over News International’s phone hacking as well as over the investigation of the murder of teenager Milly Dowler.

A senior member of the group tweeted that Tuesday will be “the biggest day in Anonymous’s history”.

“Everyone brace,” he tweeted. “This will be literally explosive.”

“ATTN Intelligence community: Your contractors have failed you. Tomorrow is the beginning.”

The Guardian also reported, citing a source, that hackers had targeted News International’s server for 30 minutes at a time last week.

“Everyone thinks Interpol will get involved at some point,” the source told the Guardian…

Read more: http://security.cbronline.com/news/12-july-will-be-biggest-day-in-anonymouss-history-hacker-group-warns-120711

(Nola Anarcha) For those who don’t know, Milton Friedman was a professor at the University of Chicago and the most influential champion of unfettered “free market” capitalism for the past few decades. He and his economist cronies, later dubbed the “Chicago School,” envisioned a world of extreme government deregulation of social services — such as health care, public schooling and public housing — in favor of a corporate bonanza of mass privatization.

Because most don’t wish to see their lives and communities put to the service of increasing the wealth of a concentrated elite, however, the means by which the Chicago School put their grand ideas into being required some less-than-voluntary measures: they utilized, with the help of power-hungry leaders, a methodology known as the “shock doctrine” — first tested in the mid 1970s in the formerly Socialist country of Chile after the rise of bloody dictator Augusto Pinochet. Thus, while the Chilean people were still processing the removal of their elected president Salvador Allende and the instituting of a military dictatorship virtually overnight, Friedman and his team worked feverishly to write a new economic program for Pinochet’s Chile which included the privatizing of all state-run enterprises such as the mining, water, and electricity industries. The Friedman philosophy was that “only a crisis — either actual or perceived — produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions taken depend upon the ideas that are lying around. That…is our primary function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable.” In other words, while a nation or city is still reeling from the shock of a crisis — be it a natural disaster or a U.S.-backed government coup d’etat — Friedman and his disciples swiftly descend and institute severe economic slashes — known as ” economic shock therapy” — that better suit multinational corporations.

Alas, much of Friedman’s vision, especially for those of us here in New Orleans (what is regarded as the primary domestic “laboratory” for the Friedmanites’ experiment in sweeping privatization), has sadly come to pass.

In an op-ed for the The Wall Street Journal three weeks following Hurricane Katrina, Milton Friedman wrote: “Most New Orleans schools are in ruins, as are the homes of the children who attended them. The children are scattered all over the country. This is a tragedy. It is also an opportunity to radically reform the educational system.”

In the wake of a hurricane leaving most New Orleans public schools inoperable, the way Friedman and his followers saw fit to “reform” the educational blight entailed firing thousands of teachers and giving vouchers to parents for their children to attend charter schools. Within these publicly funded and privately run institutions — which are often run at a profit as well — the curriculum is considerably influenced by those entities running it, and many black residents in the city have expressed concern that these markedly polarizing institutions are a setback to the gains of the Civil Rights movement that granted all children — at least in theory — the same standard of education. This conversion to charter schools was just one of the 32 policies drafted by the Heritage Foundation — a conservative thinktank of Friedmanism — on September 13th 2005 (just two weeks after the storm) during a meeting with Republican lawmakers to devise the future of our destroyed city. The list of policies came straight from the Chicago School shock therapy rubric and was entitled “Pro-Free-Market Ideas for Responding to Hurricane Katrina and High Gas Prices,” which was announced publicly by President Bush later that week.  Major contracts were awarded to corporations like Halliburton to rebuild military bases along the Gulf Coast; to the mercenary police force Blackwater to provide security for FEMA employees; to Kenyon, a division of a large funeral conglomerate and Bush campaign backer, to collect the remains of those who’d been abandoned by their government; as well as to other private entities fresh from disaster profiteering in the war-torn nation of Iraq. Mere scraps of the tens of billions of dollars allocated for the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast went to the region’s actual residents and much of it disappeared, presumably, into the bank accounts of rich businessmen; worse still, in November of 2005, Congress offset the expense of these massive contracts and corporate tax breaks by cutting $40 billion from the federal budget — among these, Medicaid, student loans, and food stamps. The Heritage Foundation also appealed to Congress to repeal environmental regulations on the Coast to make way for more intensive oil drilling. In essence, while the desperate residents of the Gulf South struggled to salvage their lives, corporate vultures swooped in and siphoned all they could, in the process drastically remaking the city to suit their own interests at the expense of those affected by this disaster.

Here we are, six years later, and the majority of New Orleans’ public schools sit forlornly in varying states of abandonment and disrepair; low-income public housing has been torn down on the orders of despicable developers like Joe Canizaro and Pres Kabacoff to make way for more lucrative rental properties (and further push black residents out); and Charity Hospital languishes in vacancy as LSU paves over the historic neighborhood of Lower Midcity to erect a private medical complex and housing for wealthy doctors.

The more we understand the ways in which our world is being insidiously colonized and consumed by those in power and the demands of a system that prioritizes money over human life, the more prepared we will be to combat this system that is exploiting us. Scientists have linked the intensity and frequency of natural disasters to widespread industrialization and the emission of greenhouse gases that raise the temperature of the seas. Though it is unpleasant and even despairing to consider, as the forces of global capitalism continue to wreak havoc upon our world with even fewer restrictions, we can thus expect more and more catastrophes to come our way. And if it is as Friedman proposed — that only crises produce change, and what the world looks like after the smoke clears or the floodwaters recede depends upon the alternatives available — then perhaps creating and sustaining anarchist infrastructure should be one of our greatest tasks. Instead of watching helplessly the perpetuation of another disaster apartheid, in which those with more can buy their survival from the private “disaster relief” companies while the rest grovel desperately, we can begin to build stronger communities and perhaps even create our own support networks for when such a day comes once again. After all, we can’t rely on the government to do it for us. It may be an incredible stretch, but as we plummet further and further toward the privations and upheavals that signal the end of an empire, maybe the “politically impossible” aim of a world based upon mutual aid and freedom, rather than selfishness and ever-greater policing, can become “politically inevitable.”

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For a more detailed account of Milton Friedman’s misdeeds, as well as a sobering study of the rise of disaster capitalism at home and abroad, check out The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein.

Source:
http://nolaanarcha.blogspot.com/2011/07/for-those-who-dont-know-milton-friedman.html