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Achieving Solidarity

An Open Letter to Naomi Klein

Dear Naomi,

I’ve just read, twice actually, your great new book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. It’s very valuable and a must-read for people who appreciate both the seriousness of the climate crisis and the importance of progressive, justice-based social change. You have clearly worked long, hard and well to put together a comprehensive narrative about the climate issue, its connections to other issues, the state of the movement and the state of the climate denier opposition, the necessity of up-from-below initiatives and alternatives, the importance of solidarity with and support for Indigenous peoples fighting …

Redefining “Imminent”

How the U.S. Department of Justice Makes Murder Respectable, Kills the Innocent and Jails their Defenders

Political language can be used, George Orwell said in 1946, “to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” In order to justify its global assassination program, the Obama administration has had to stretch words beyond their natural breaking points. For instance, any male 14 years or older found dead in a drone strike zone is a “combatant” unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving him innocent. We are also informed that the constitutional guarantee of “due process” does not imply that the government must precede an execution with a trial. …

Kangaroo Court Justice for Hassan Diab

On November 13, 2008, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) unjustly arrested Diab. In connection with a 1980 Paris synagogue bombing. A crime he had nothing to do with. At the time, France’s Le Figaro newspaper cited unnamed 2007 sources. Saying Diab led “the small commando team responsible for the attack…” Despite no verifiable evidence proving it.

In mid-November 2008, L’Express said French police, magistrates and intelligence officers were in Canada.

“(T)ry(ing) to arrange Mr. Diab’s extradition to France. The French warrant *(unjustly) accuse(d) him of making and planting the bomb.”

His lawyer, Rene Duval, said he had no involvement at all. “Most …

Bono’s Jet Almost Down* … Russell Brand’s Addiction, Headline News!

at-will worker societies definitely not sexy tales for Media Magicians … and  the”other fine messes, Ollie, you’ve gotten us into” don’t get copy: tales from a Laurel and Hardy take on the continuing criminal enterprise system that is Capitalism with an Eye to Total Educational Institution Destruction

John Steppling:

Today, mass culture, corporate culture, is enclosed within assumptions about entertainment, and it reflects the values of the corporate ownership class that makes it. It is repetitive, and yet predicated on ideas of novelty and originality. The role of popular culture today, though, has changed in another way. Where once popular forms

Restraining the USA

“Can America Contain China?” it is often asked in the West. But given America’s endless wars and assaults on the developing nations of the world, the question ought to be, “Can China Contain America”? Or at least, can China restrain the U.S. from doing more damage in East Asia and perhaps elsewhere in the developing world?

Last week Obama went to Beijing for the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit as the representative of the West and its centuries old grand project in East Asia. And what has that project been? History tells us that the West with its missionaries and …

Assata: Revolutionary Relatability

Teaching Assata Shakur's autobiography in a contemporary environment

If you are deaf, dumb, and blind to what is happening in the world, you’re under no obligation to do anything. But if you know what’s happening and you don’t do anything but sit on your ass, then you’re nothing but a punk.” — Assata, page 207
Thirty-four years ago this November 2, in 1980, Black revolutionary Assata Shakur escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility for Women in New Jersey, with the help of comrades wielding .45 caliber pistols. Successfully avoiding a national “manhunt,” Shakur ultimately fled to Cuba, resurfacing there in 1984. Condemned by US authorities and mainstream media as …

Galilee Town Boils at Israeli Police “Execution”

Brutality from security forces and a sense of oppression connect Palestinians on both sides of Green Line

KAFR KANA, Galilee – Rauf Hamdan admitted to one small consolation as he sat in his mourning tent, greeting the steady stream of well-wishers paying condolences nearly a week after his son was gunned down in the street by Israeli police.

“At least his death was caught on camera,” he told Middle East Eye. “Otherwise the police would accuse me of lying when I said that he was executed in cold blood. The police can claim whatever they like. The truth is there for all to see.”

The killing of 22 year-old Kheir Hamdan – and the footage of it caught

The Fall of the Berlin Wall and the Multiplication of Western Walls

On November 9, 2014, Germany and its Western Allies, celebrated the ‘Fall of the Berlin Wall’ and the subsequent‘re-unification’of the ‘two Germanys’. Prime Minister Merkel described the ‘historic event’ as a “victory of freedom for all peoples in Europe and across the world.” The entire Western media and officialdom echoed Merkel’s rhetoric, as 300,000 Germans gathered at the Brandenburg Gate hailed their leader as she spoke of ‘one people, one nation and one state in freedom, peace and prosperity…’ But Merkel’s discourse is a self-serving chauvinist fabrication which distorts the real consequences of a united Germany. …

UN Security Council Usurping International Law

Many states contracted post WWII to set up the United Nations in order to settle disputes among nations; eliminate wars and maintain peace, order and cooperation amongst them. The Charter that was adopted set out the terms of that contract between states and identified the remit of the Security Council to implement these terms. Although the victors of WWII with the veto powers wanted to ensure that their activities were not shackled by real judicial scrutiny and thus the International Court of Justice was not given such authority, it remained true to say that at no place in the Charter …

Tomas Young’s Last Letter to Bush, Cheney

The courageous journey of seriously wounded Iraq War veteran, Tomas Young, ended this past Monday, nearly eleven years after he was ambushed in a wholly exposed military truck. He passed away in Seattle while being lovingly cared for by his wife Claudia.

Tomas did not go quietly, despite his being paralyzed from the chest down, excruciating pain, comas and reliance on caregivers. He became an anti-war peace activist, addressing convocations and responding to as many interview requests as his agonized condition could tolerate.

I learned about Tomas when his mother, Cathy Smith, called from Walter Reed Army Hospital in 2004, where her …

The Presumption of Guilt: David Cameron and Islamic Radicalisation

The British Prime Minister was evidently enjoying the backslapping as he strode into the Australian parliament.  David Cameron felt at home before members he could count on, so much so the weak jokes seemed to have effect.  The UK-Australian relationship was discussed.  Like a long union, it had gathered some dust, losing its frisson perhaps, but never its presumption of friendship.  “It is extraordinary to think that no British Foreign Secretary had visited Australia in nearly 20 years.  I was determined to change that.”

Rocky times were still times when the couple stuck it through.  “Our ties have been woven …

Dems Snuff Lynch Confirmation This Year

It is reported by NBC that the Senate, controlled by Democrats, will not take up the confirmation of Loretta Lynch as Attorney General during the lame duck session of the Senate. The current rule, recently changed by Harry Reid, is that an appointment such as Attorney General, requires a simple majority. Can anyone believe that having Mitch McConnell as the next majority leader in the Senate officiate this confirmation will be preferable?

Such ill-considered decision-making is exactly why the Democrats got their butts kicked during the midterm elections. From the very beginning, even before the Republicans took the House in 2010, …

Exporting US Coal and Carbon Emissions

The governing Liberals in BC and Conservatives in Canada insist that jobs, public revenues and economic growth all depend on expanding fossil fuel exports. Christie Clark’s Liberals won the 2013 BC election promising a future of jobs and rising public revenues based on the export of liquified natural gas.  Now two years later faced with widespread protests and declining oil and gas prices, no LNG project has proceeded.

Additional oil pipelines to the Pacific are promoted but only Kinder Morgan is actually proceeding. Here preliminary efforts to double the existing line to Burnaby to carry diluted bitumen from the tar sands …

Reform to Revolution: The Ideological and Political Evolution of James Connolly

James Connolly is primarily remembered in Irish history as the Socialist revolutionary hero of the Rising of 1916, executed in Kilmainham Prison while strapped to a chair. Connolly’s place in Irish history is far more than that, however. He was a proud Socialist, the founder of both the Irish Socialist Republican Party and the Labour Party, and the writer of the influential pamphlets Labour in Irish History and The Reconquest of Ireland. Connolly’s political pragmatism in forming the Labour Party was the culmination of idealistic defeats that began with the dissolution of the ISRP in 1904. He believed that, in …

Is Arizona the Future of American Cannabis?

A story grows in Arizona. The state’s legal landscape shifted drastically in 2010, when voters marginally succeeded in legalizing the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (Prop 203, commonly). According to CNN reports at the time, the Arizona ballot measure—to legalize the consumption of medical marijuana—passed with only 50.13 percent of the vote. Prop 203 was effectively the only ballot to eek through the citizens-initiative process. Marijuana, however, was no stranger to the AZ ballot four years ago. In the mid-to-late 1990s, voters twice attempted to pass initiatives. Technical errors with wording resulted in the laws’ inability to protect patients from arrest. …

In Love with Democracy

Democracy, like love, is a word oft used and little understood. We have a vague sense of what love “means.” We tend to apply the word indiscriminately, based on a deep need to be loved by the people who are important to us. We like to see the word in print. We feel warm and safe when we hear it said aloud.

When we are “in love” our vision is hazy. Our judgment is weak. We tend to believe what we want to believe and shunt aside any indication that what we believe may not be true.

Like love, democracy makes us …

1914-2014: One Hundred Years of Conflict, Presages an Age of Endless Wars

The “great powers” are marking the centenary of World War One. Ironically the world is still at war. There are global and regional conflicts in progress. Rising tensions between India and Pakistan (two nuclear powers), civil wars in Iraq and Syria, as well as the on-going Palestinian Israeli “armed conflict” which continuous without an end in sight. Europe has not been spared the horrors of conflict in 2014 either. Ukraine has descended into a mutually agreed upon slaughter fest. Call it a proxy war if you like. That is, this eastern European former Soviet republic is now the scene of …

Israel Banned Renowned Doctor and Human Rights Activist Mads Gilbert from Entering Gaza for Life

Israel has banned Norwegian doctor and human rights activist Mads Gilbert from entering Gaza for life.

Gilbert, a professor at the University Hospital of North Norway, where he has worked since 1976, earned international renown for his philanthropic work in late 2008, during Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, an attack that, according to Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, killed roughly 1,400 Gazans, including almost 800 civilians, 350 of whom were children.

The aid worker, along with fellow Norwegian doctor Erik Fosse, decided to volunteer in Gaza as soon as he heard that bombing had started, on 27 December 2008. Thanks …

Obama and the Convention Against Torture

A Tortured Relationship

On November 12—thirteen years after the onset of George W. Bush’s dirty underground war against “unlawful combatants”—the Obama administration finally told the United Nations Committee Against Torture that the United States believed, in the words of Assistant Secretary of State Tom Malinowski, “that torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment are forbidden in all places, at all times, with no exceptions.” Finally! Not so fast.

Torture is as old as human civilization. Assyrians skinned victims alive. Torture was a routine feature of Greek and Roman interrogations. Execution by torture took the form of crucifixion for the Romans, stoning for the …

Spain’s Unfinished Revolution and Its Minorities

Spain’s deeply rooted distrust of popular participation in democratic processes is reminiscent of the swift, top-down transition some forty years ago. As such, it is a painful reminder of Spain’s unfinished revolution.

Spain’s peaceful transition to democracy has been extolled as a model to emulate for democratizing nations across the globe. Following the death of General Franco in 1975, King Juan Carlos transformed the authoritarian regime into a European democracy, and did so without shedding a drop of blood. And yet Spanish democracy nowadays is not without its critics. The Catalan movement for independence unveils just what’s amiss in Spain’s celebrated …