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Arabica Robusta

Pambazuka - Where are the people who are going to change things? - 0 views

  • Despite what melancholic lyrics may suggest, they exist – the men and women who want to change things. In the months leading up to the 2006 elections in Uganda, there were demonstrations outside the Central Police Station and the High Court where an opposition presidential candidate, Dr Kiiza Besigye, was first detained and then brought to trial.
  • The vendors only came back at lunchtime. As I learnt over the coming days, their commitment was striking: day after day the market vendors attended court in solidarity with Dr Besigye. By contrast, office-workers stayed at their desks. You do not win government contracts by demonstrating in the streets.
  • It is heartbreaking to watch the video footage [iv] of Sankara appealing to his fellow presidents to repudiate unfair debt agreements with IMF and other foreign creditors at the Organization of African Unity Summit in 1987. He accused them of degrading their people. He says, only half-jokingly, that if they do not support him he is going to be assassinated: “I may not make it to the next meeting.”
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  • Mariam Sankara describes him in terms reminiscent of Biko’s conscious black man, “Thomas knew how to show his people that they could become dignified and proud through will power, courage, honesty and work. What remains above all of my husband is his integrity.”
  • He too repudiated debt as a solution to all that ails Africa. But after an attempt to barter trade with neighbouring countries he gave in to the beckoning finger of the North.
  • In either case, his official statement was clear, “When it comes to medical care for myself and my family there is no compromise [vi].” The families of the 16 women a day who die in childbirth for lack of essential drugs, properly motivated (or simply paid) staff and lack of equipment held their peace.
  • Agricultural reform in Uganda was meant to be brought about by the National Agricultural Advisory Service (NAADS). It was funded to the tune of $100m over 8 years, with $50m repayable to the World Bank. The project review after eight years reported “no significant differences were found in yield growth between NAADS and non-NAADS sub counties for most crops….[vii].”
  • Genuine agents of change die young. Either they do not make it to State House or they die while there (with the possible exception of Jerry Rawlings in Ghana). Such is the dynamic. The rest capitulate early while continuing to assume the demeanour of revolutionaries. They can do so because Western powers are willing to turn a blind eye to their increasing profligacy in return for their signatures on a succession of documents keeping their countries in debt bondage. They rule for decades, well into old age at which point they usurp the role of Elder Statesmen and receive credits due to others [viii].
Arabica Robusta

Podemos: Latin America exports political ways and means | openDemocracy - 0 views

  • The first 15 years of the twenty-first century have generally been quite positive for Latin American economies. This has been due, to a great extent, to the rising price of most exports, which in turn has produced an improvement in tax revenues that different countries have used to reduce disturbing poverty levels. Oil has regularly exceeded $120, but high prices for natural gas, copper and soybeans have also helped the economies of these countries to grow vigorously and to improve the living conditions of their people.
  • It seems, however, that the continent is capable of exporting more than just commodities. Together with the economic good times linked largely to rising exports, we are currently witnessing an unusual phenomenon from a historical perspective: Latin America is beginning to export political practices and ways of doing things.
  • This is the fertile ground from which Podemos springs. But we must add to this the political tools that Podemos is using to take advantage of the situation. This is where the adaptation of Latin American leftwing neo-populism comes in.
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  • The first thing to say about Podemos is that it is an organization characterized by ambiguities. Iglesias says certain things and then undoes his words; he is assertive and then softens his stance. His discourse fluctuates and is veiled under a mysterious mantle calculated to throw analysts off-balance, in a manner that might remind us of the 1998 interviews of Jaime Bayly and Oscar Yanes, in which an apparently tamed and moderate Hugo Chavez busied himself with disowning measures he later went on to implement.
  • Its neatly vertical structure, headed by trained social scientists, conducts a flawless strategy aimed at accessing power (Iglesias himself holds a master degree in political communication) through the development of a post-Marxist discourse that blurs the class struggle (the traditional political engine of the Left) and fills it with concepts of social inclusion without losing a bit of its belligerence.
Arabica Robusta

Rio de Janeiro: a story of occupations and evictions | ROAR Magazine - 0 views

  • The Homeless Worker Movement occupied a building in Rio, helping to shelter thousands — but in the run-up to the World Cup they were violently evicted.
  • Before the advent of Google Maps, maps of Rio de Janeiro depicted the older, more traditional areas of the city and the newer expansions towards Barra and Recreio while the rest of the area was apparently uninhabited space. Google maps dealt a serious blow to this bucolic image of the Cidade Maravilhosa (‘Wonderful City’) by revealing that all available space in the urban area — hills, valleys, rough ground — was occupied by favelas. The reaction of much of the elite was a sense of betrayal, but it’s impossible to sweep these satellite images under the carpet. Suddenly everyone was forced to admit the favelas‘ existence.
  • So what was the solution for all this “criminal activity”? At dawn on April 11, 1.600 heavily armed military police invaded the area. Sleeping women were kicked awake, huts were knocked down, everyone was sprayed with chemical spray — not from the usual hand-held canisters but from massive cylinders the size of fire extinguishers, which the police carried in backpacks. All members of the press, whether corporate or independent, were expelled from the area and even one of the Globo reporters was arrested by police on the spurious charge that he was “throwing stones.” Occupants allege that four infants succumbed to the chemical spray and rumors circulated that one of the reasons for keeping reporters out was to prevent them from witnessing the fatalities.
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  • The contagious spirit of the mass protests that have been rocking Brazil over the past year has also found fertile soil in the favelas, where the death of every young person murdered by police is another rallying cry for popular resistance. As the current wave of anti-World Cup protests shows, the genie is out of the bottle — and it will take a lot more than violent evictions and police repression to silence the awakened and indignant multitude.
Arabica Robusta

La Puya Peaceful Mining Resistance Dismantled by Force | North American Congress on Lat... - 0 views

  • The Guatemalan government granted permits for the El Tambor mine to KCA, a mining firm based in Reno, Nevada, over a decade ago. Yet the communities near the mine were never informed about the construction. According to Kelsey Alford-Jones of the Guatemalan Human Rights Commission, it wasn’t until 2010 that the community learned about the sale and construction of a mine that would affect all of their lives.
  • Further, there was no consultation with the community, and to make matters worse, it appears that the environmental impact assessment was fraudulent. An outside independent assessment found that the original had not investigated the impacts of the mine on social, cultural, and environmental factors.
  • Activists throughout Guatemala risk a lot to maintain their resistance. The heavy-handed response of the Guatemalan government marks a criminalization of protest in Guatemala.

    “The government has brought back the idea of the internal enemy,” said Alford-Jones. “This idea is what justified torture and genocide during the internal armed conflict.”

Arabica Robusta

How the left let Abahlali down - Cape Times | IOL.co.za - 0 views

  • Years ago I began to support a unique and influential social movement called Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM), the Shackdwellers’ Movement.

    At the time, the movement had just refused to work with an influential leftist NGO called the Centre for Civil Society (CSS) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Supported by the militant Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign (AEC), AbM had protested against the takeover of the Social Movement Indaba by NGOs such as CCS.

    As grassroots activists, they understood that their voice was being managed and also often silenced by those on the left coming from more privileged backgrounds.

  • AbM and the Anti-Eviction Campaign’s principled stance was brave. They lost massive support from leftists who believed themselves to be the vanguard of working-class struggle and who thought the poor must be directed towards the “right politics”. Leaders were ridiculed, pseudo-academic pieces were written to undermine the movement, and friends of the movement received death threats – some even lost their jobs. Many Marxist-Leninists and Trotskyists scoffed at their “No Land! No House! No Vote!” campaign as being short-sighted and liberal. The only legitimate form of organising, they said, was around the creation of a workers’ party.
  • Abahlali has always been an autonomous movement. While it has shared ideas and worked closely with other movements, including some non-authoritarian NGOs and a few supportive academics, decisions have always been taken by the movement without regard to outsiders’ wishes and/or agendas.
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  • This autonomous organising was truly Frantz Fanon’s work in practice. Abahlali has always been and still is a shackdwellers’ organisation, run not by privileged activists or academics but by shackdwellers themselves.

    But the continued repression of the movement has taken a toll on its members.

  • Renewed threats against Abahlali leadership put its president, S’bu Zikode, and general secretary, Bandile Mdlalose, back in safe houses and members began focusing on ANC repression, rather than the state, as the primary driver of this violence.

    Over the course of the past year, a shift seems to have taken place in the rank and file of the movement in KwaZulu-Natal. Their original critique of the state has shifted to an overarching and focused critique of the ANC.

  • I say opportunistically because that is what it truly is. In Cape Town, the DA plays the same role as the ANC in oppressing social movements and poor communities. The party pioneered the use of the Anti-Land Invasion Unit and is very happy to shoot protesting shackdwellers and build massive transit camps when it suits them.
  • There is nothing about DA policy that is progressive economically or supportive of the rights and needs of shackdwellers.

    However, the DA leadership in KZN did listen to one Abahlali demand (which the ANC failed to do): talk to us, not about us

  • I was shocked and horrified to hear of AbM-KZN’s decision to vote as a bloc for the DA. (Note: Abahlali baseMjondolo in the Western Cape has not endorsed the DA despite media reports to the contrary). I believe that this is a hugely mistaken move for the most important post-1994 social movement – both from an acknowledgement that the DA is a right-wing, white supremacist political party, and also from an understanding that electoral politics undermines, destroys, and co-opts rather than helps social movements. Despite my love for Abahlali, it is very difficult for me to continue to support an organisation that votes for the DA – a party founded on white supremacy.
  • Some leftists have cried foul, claiming that the process could not possibly have been democratic or that white supporters of the movement, such as myself, were involved in manipulating Abahlali to support the DA.

    To other leftists, the fact that AbM went through a rigorously democratic process and yet ended up voting for their oppressor, proves once and for all that shackdwellers cannot be trusted with a vanguardist political project.

  • If we are to talk about Abahlali baseMjondolo’s core focus around land and housing, it would also be important to note that not only are there many more shacks per capita in Cape Town than in eThekwini, but Cape Town remains by far the most segregated city in the country.
  • Most of the people attacking the movement have never lived a day of their life in a shack settlement – yet their self-righteousness is palpable. They’ve refused to comprehend the way repression makes backing the DA seem like a very practical decision – one not about principles or the extent of AbM’s radicalism, but about tactically defending one’s own life. Under constant threat of death, what would you do? Do any of us really understand how much pain they have endured?
Arabica Robusta

US support for regime change in Venezuela is a mistake | Mark Weisbrot | Comment is fre... - 0 views

  • When is it considered legitimate to try and overthrow a democratically-elected government? In Washington, the answer has always been simple: when the US government says it is. Not surprisingly, that's not the way Latin American governments generally see it.
  • An anonymous State Department spokesman was even clearer last week, when he responded to the protests by expressing concern about the government's "weakening of democratic institutions in Venezuela", and said that there was an obligation for "government institutions [to] respond effectively to the legitimate economic and social needs of its citizens". He was joining the opposition's efforts to de-legitimize the government, a vital part of any "regime change" strategy.
  • Kerry refused to recognize the election results. Kerry's aggressive, anti-democratic posture brought such a strong rebuke from South American governments that he was forced to reverse course and tacitly recognize the Maduro government. (For those who did not follow these events, there was no doubt about the election results.)
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  • Opposition leader Leopoldo López – competing with Capriles for leadership –has portrayed the current demonstrations as something that could force Maduro from office. It was obvious that there was, and remains, no peaceful way that this could happen. As University of Georgia professor David Smilde has argued, the government has everything to lose from violence in the demonstrations, and the opposition has something to gain.
Arabica Robusta

The Story of Venezuela's Protests » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the ... - 0 views

  • First, while there have been some peaceful opposition marches, the daily protests are anything but peaceful. In fact, about half of the daily death toll from Venezuela that we see in the media – now at 41 — are actually civilians and security forces apparently killed by protesters.
  • Of course the increased shortages and rising inflation over the past year have had a political impact on Venezuela, but it is striking that the people who are most hurt by shortages are decidedly not joining the protests. Instead, the protests are joined andled by the upper classes, who are least affected.
  • Henrique Capriles, who lost to Chávez and then Maduro in the last two presidential elections, was considered too conciliatory by the more extreme right, led by Leopoldo López and María Corina Machado. They decided that the time was ripe to topple the government through street protests. Both were involved in the 2002 military coup against then President Chávez; María Corina Machado evensigned the decree of the coup government that abolished the elected National Assembly (AN), the Constitution, and the Supreme Court.
Arabica Robusta

How to break the stranglehold of academics on critical thinking | Razmig Keucheyan | Co... - 0 views

  • A weird law in New York forbids the use of electric microphones in public space so the only way for the speaker's voices to get through was for the front rows of the crowd to loudly repeat each of their sentences. The resulting litany resembled a kind of postmodern ritual. These speeches were then rapidly posted on YouTube.

    This of course is not the first time committed intellectuals have spoken in support of a movement of occupation. The Zucotti Park scene recalls a famous speech given by French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre at the Renault automobile plant, at Boulogne-Billancourt near Paris, in 1970. Perched on a cask, Sartre addresses the workers on strike, and tells them that the alliance between intellectuals and the working class that once existed should be rebuilt. These were times of revolutionary upheaval, in France and elsewhere, and intellectuals were urged to take sides.

  • Žižek, Butler and West, moreover, spoke not in front of an occupied factory, as Sartre did, but in a public place. The occupation of public places is a trademark of these new movements, and the difference is crucial. If occupying public spaces is a matter of "reclaiming the street", or of demanding a "right to the city", then it is simultaneously a symptom of their not knowing what else to occupy.
  • A final difference between these two scenes is that Sartre was not an academic. He was so distrustful of bourgeois institutions that he refused the Nobel prize for literature in 1964 (as Guy Debord said at the time, refusing the Nobel prize is nothing, the problem is having deserved it).
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  • Exceptions may be found, such as Bolivian vice-president Alvaro Garcia Linera, who is one of Latin America's finest philosophers and sociologists. But today, the production of influential critical ideas is more and more the monopoly of academics.
  • For the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci, the purpose of a political party of the working classes is not only to organise collective action, but also to organise collective thought and knowledge. And such serious thinking takes time. It requires permanent organisation, and not only "temporary autonomous zones", to quote a widespread slogan in today's movements. It also requires "mediating" institutions that permit theory and political practice to interact. What else has been the purpose of the worker's daily paper, the cadre training school, the radical publishing house, or the theoretical journal?

    Each epoch comes up with its own forms of collective intellectuality, its own original mediating institutions. What will these look like in the 21st century?

  • One should start by acknowledging that, despite all the fuss about the internet, Facebook, Twitter, and "horizontality", all recent interesting ideas coming from the left have been elaborated in rather old-fashioned journals, such The New Left Review, the Socialist Register, Historical Materialism and their equivalents in other countries. These now come with websites and social media accounts. But this has in no way altered the content and style (for instance, the length) of their articles
  • But when it comes to elaborating relevant ideas by way of the new media, much remains to be done. One pioneering initiative has been that of David Harvey, the British radical geographer based in New York, who recorded his classes about Marx's Capital and posted them on his website, where they have been seen by thousands around the world. More of this is needed.
  • This is not to say that the teaching only goes one way. The ongoing social movements have produced and will produce in the years to come innovative knowledge and political knowhow. One striking example is the question of "gratuity" – the claim for free access to public services, such as parks in Turkey or public transportation in Brazil, has been central to these movements. Yet there exists no serious theory of gratuity in critical theories today, which would provide a history of this demand, or analyse its anti-capitalist potential. Hence, more than ever, intellectuals should learn from the movements from below. This means not only supporting them "from outside" once they have occurred, as many have done, but conceiving of one's intellectual activity as part and parcel of a collective intellectuality. Only then will the monopoly of academics on the production of influential critical theories be broken.
Arabica Robusta

The Politics of Pachamama: Natural Resource Extraction vs. Indigenous Rights and the En... - 0 views

  • Just a few weeks before our meeting, a nation-wide social movement demanded that Bolivia’s natural gas reserves be put under state control. How the wealth underground could benefit the poor majority above ground was on everybody’s mind.
  • I was meeting with Mama Nilda Rojas, a leader of the dissident indigenous group CONAMAQ, a confederation of Aymara and Quechua communities in the country. Rojas, along with her colleagues and family, had been persecuted by the Morales government in part for their activism against extractive industries. “The indigenous territories are in resistance,” she explained, “because the open veins of Latin America are still bleeding, still covering the earth with blood. This blood is being taken away by all the extractive industries.”
  • Part of the answer lies in the wider conflicts between the politics of extractivism among countries led by leftist governments in Latin America, and the politics of Pachamama (Mother Earth), and how indigenous movements have resisted extractivism in defense of their rights, land and the environment.
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  • The environmental and social costs of extraction are still present, but with a different economic vision. “Extractive activities and the export of raw materials continue as before, but are now justified with a progressive discourse,” explains Puerto Rican environmental journalist Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero.
  • As a part of this shift, in 2012, the Argentine state obtained 51% control of the hydrocarbon company YPF, which was privatized in the 1990s. Last year, however, Argentina’s YPF signed a deal with Chevron to expand natural gas fracking in the country, operations set to proceed on Mapuche indigenous territory. In response, indigenous communities to be affected by the fracking took over four YPF oil rigs.
  • Yet while Correa rightfully spoke of the obligations of wealthier nations to contribute to solving the dilemmas of the global climate crisis, at home he expanded the mining industry and criminalized indigenous movements who protested extractive industries in their territories. Under his administration, numerous indigenous leaders organizing against mining, water privatization measures, and hydrocarbon extraction have been jailed for their activism.
  • The government has advocated for a plan to build a major highway through the TIPNIS indigenous territory and national park. Protests against the government plans galvanized a movement for indigenous rights and environmentalism. In response, the government led brutal repression against families marching in protest of the highway in 2011. Government violence left 70 wounded; victims and their families and allies are still searching for justice.
  • Meanwhile, outside of Latin America, governments, activists, and social movements are looking to places like Bolivia and Ecuador as examples for overcoming capitalism and tackling climate change. The model of Yasuní, and respecting the rights of nature can and should have an impact outside of these countries, and wealthier nations and their consumers and industries based in the global north need to step up to the plate in terms of taking on the challenges of the climate crisis.
  • In many ways, much of Latin America’s left are major improvements from their neoliberal predecessors, and have helped forge an exciting path toward alternatives that have served as inspirations across the world. Overall, they have brought countries out of the shadow of the International Monetary Fund and US-backed dictatorships, and toward a position of self-determination. For the sake of these new directions, the neoliberal right hopefully will not regain power in the region any time soon, and Washington will be unable to further meddle in an increasingly independent Latin America.
  • If an alternative model is to succeed that truly places quality of life and respect for the environment over raising the gross domestic product and expanding consumerism, that puts sustainability over dependency on the extraction of finite raw materials, that puts the rights to small scale agriculture and indigenous territorial autonomy ahead of mining and soy companies, it will likely come from these grassroots movements. If this model is to transform the region’s wider progressive trends, these spaces of dissent and debate in indigenous, environmental and farmer movements need to be respected and amplified, not crushed and silenced.
Arabica Robusta

Criminalization of Social Movements and the Political Opposition in Colombia ... - 0 views

  • In a cycle that repeatedly sends us back to a repressive past – one they don’t want to close down – we are witness to a perverse return to obscurantism and forced unanimity, to dissident thinking being considered subversive, to social protest having to be silenced at whatever cost, and where opposition guarantees are only a chimera.  These are practices far removed from the duty of a state, especially one proclaiming itself as the continent’s oldest, most solid “democracy.”
  • The worst of it is that there is no calm after prison. The trailing, the threats, the stigmatization continue until many of those who are released – if they are lucky – have to leave the country.
  • Many years ago, and in tune with the U. S. obsession for transforming the idea of security into state policy, one outcome being anti-terrorism, the government of Álvaro Uribe Vélez during his first term (2002-2006) instituted in Colombia the politics of “Democratic Security.” That gave rise to a series of actions damaging to the right to liberty, to guarantees like equality, legality, and judicial norms, and, generally, to an international framework for human rights.
Arabica Robusta

The Changing Face of Labor by Rivera Sun | Dandelion Salad - 0 views

  • The empowered elite propagates this notion to us on billboards, television, radio, movies and online. They do everything they can to keep us asleep – in the dream of prosperity, in the nightmare of debt.
Arabica Robusta

Ukraine, Omidyar and the Neo-Liberal Agenda » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, ... - 0 views

  • Yanukovych sparked massive protests late last year when he turned down a financial deal from the European Union and chose a $15 billion aid package from Russia instead.
  • But in any case, the idea of supporting an unconstitutional overthrow of a freely elected Ukrainian government in an uprising based squarely on the volatile linguistic and cultural fault-lines that divide the country seems an obvious recipe for chaos and strife. It was also certain to provoke a severe response from Russia. It was, in other words, a monumentally stupid line of policy (as Mike Whitney outlines here).
  • Yet one of the first acts of the Western-backed revolutionaries was to pass a law declaring Ukrainian as the sole state language, although most of the country speaks Russian or Surzhyk, “a motley mix of Ukrainian and Russian (sometimes with bits of Hungarian, Romanian and Polish),” as the LRB’s Peter Pomerantsev details in an excellent piece on Ukraine’s rich cultural and linguistic complexity. 
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  • What’s more, the neo-fascist factions that played a leading role in the uprising are now calling for Ukraine to become a nuclear power again, having given up the Soviet nuclear weaponry on its territory in 1994. Indeed, hard-right leader Oleh Tyahnybok made nuclear re-armament one of the planks of his presidential race a few years ago. Now the party is sharing power in the Western-brokered government; will we soon see Ukraine added to the ranks of nuclear nations? With a bristling nuclearized frontier with Russia — like the hair-trigger holocaust flashpoint between India and Pakistan?
  • None of this justifies the heavy-handed muscle-flexing that Putin has been engaging in. But Russia, in post-Soviet times, with no trans-national ideology, has become a highly nationalist state.  Putin is an authoritarian leader who now bases his threadbare claims to “legitimacy” — and the dominance of his brutal clique — on his championing of Russian nationalism and “traditional values”.
  • the oligarchs and ideologues, the militarists and ministers involved in this episode of Great Gamesmanship don’t want power in any broader, deeper sense. What they want is dominance, to lord it over others — physically, financially, psychologically. Among those at the top in this situation, on every side, there is not the slightest regard for the common good of their fellow human beings — not even for those with whom they share some association by the accident of history or geography: language, nationality, ethnicity. The lust for loot and dominance outweighs all the rest, regardless of the heavy piety oozing from the rhetoric on all sides.
  • Sachs subsequently (and dishonestly) denied he played any such role — understandable given the calamitous results, notably in Russia — but the prescription called for off-the-shelf neoliberalism, applied without reference to any local realities, and Ukrainians are about to get their dosage.
  • Whatever happens, it seems certain that oligarchs — Western, Ukrainian, European or Russian, will continue to exercise dominance — although some who backed the losing side too prominently may be cast down. Then again, most oligarchs, in every nation, are usually expert at playing both sides, or changing sides as necessary.
  • Yet the fact remains that Omidyar’s wider operations — including those in Ukraine — sit uneasily with the image of an adversarial paragon and danger to the system. Putting aside the troubling circumstance of adversarial activism being dependent on the personal whims of a billionaire, there is the fact that Omidyar’s philanthropic vision lies largely in the monetizing of poverty relief efforts — of turning them from charitable or government-based programs into money-making enterprises which reward investors with high returns while often leaving the recipients worse off than before.
  • In this, Omidyar has partnered with Hernando de Soto, a  right-wing “shock doctrinaire” and one-time advisor to former Peruvian dictator, Alberto Fujimori; de Soto is also an ally of the Koch Brothers. Omidyar has also poured millions of dollars into efforts to privatize, and profitize, public education in the United States and elsewhere, forcing children in some of the poorest parts of the world to pay for basic education — or go without.
  • For instance, if one of First Look’s websites publishes some blistering expose on the nasty machinations of some other oligarch or corporate figure, I don’t think it will be unreasonable for people to look and see if the target happens to be a rival of Omidyar’s in some way, or if his or her removal or humbling would benefit Omidyar’s own business or political interests.
  • First Look — owned solely by a neo-liberal billionaire, who, as Jeremy Scahill has pointed out, takes a very active interest in the daily workings of his news organization — should be subject to the same standards of scrutiny as any other news outlet owned by the rich and powerful. But this doesn’t seem to be happening; quite the opposite, in fact.
  • Omidyar’s entire neo-liberal ideology is based on the ability of wealthy individuals to operate free from government control as they circle the world in search of profit. (And also, if it happens, some social benefits by the way; but if one’s profit-making initiatives turn out to drive hundreds of people to suicide, well, c’est la vie, eh?)
  • But I don’t think Omidyar’s enterprise has been set up to challenge the status quo or pose the “threat” to the system that its hero-worshippers are looking for. Indeed, even Greenwald calls only for “reforms” of the system, for “real oversight” of the National Security State by legislators — the same legislators bought, sold, cowed and dominated by Big Money. I honestly don’t think that the powers-that-be feel threatened by an enterprise set up by one of their number that confines itself to calls for “reform” from “within” — especially when its sole owner continues to cooperate with the Koch Brothers, hard-right ideologues like Hernando de Soto and indeed with the National Security State itself in subversive adventures overseas.
Arabica Robusta

Why Venezuela Matters to the Indigenous Movement | Onkwehón:we Rising - 0 views

  • Independent media and social networking movements continue to bridge lives and lifestyles, the (increasingly small) world over. Collective movements spontaneously emerge, collaborate, simultaneously reflect and mutually contribute to the broad base of ideas constantly being generated, recycled, and renewed, each with their own important cultural perspective and intellectual capital to contribute. This has the potential to create a truly democratic international network of movements where access to information is prized above political indoctrination of any sort. The potential exists today. Yet it may not always be…
  • There are insidious policies being pushed through in the darkness of collective public blind spots, international trade agreements that lay the framework for a corporate financial elite to control more and more of…well, everything.
  • In this day and age of 24/7 media and meme culture: shares, likes and ‘viral-ness’ really do matter. It is evident of a new form of social capital that is already wisely, if often unethically, being used to drive advertising campaigns.
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  •  Some fake photos of the recent protests in Venezuela were recently circulated and students’ movements and allied groups across the world were quick to react viscerally (and authentically, in that sense) in expressing solidarity with the right wing protestors there…even though the pictures weren’t real and the ideology behind each movement isn’t exactly compatible. Still, this sounds good on the surface, we can all support each other’s rights to protest without ulterior motives of political affiliation.
  • The ugly back story to the student protests in Venezuela is highlighted by a host of Wikileaks cables that reveal a staggering amount of U.S. involvement in training the opposition leader, infiltrating the student movement, and even overtly funneling U.S. taxpayer dollars into bringing down the anti-imperialist Venezuelan government.
  • Venezuela has long been a ground zero for the anti-imperialist struggle, but this may be changing. It may have in fact already changed. Imperialist forces have launched an almost unprecedented smear campaign on the collective geo-political movement of the global south. And by tentative accounts, it looks like they are winning.
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