Friday, February 25, 2011

Which Side Are They On?

I’m sure we all hope that Muammar Gaddafi’s days as a ruthless dictator will end very soon, before he murders any more of “his” people, whom he accuses of being doped up rats and cockroaches under the control of al Qaida. But some world leaders stand with Gaddafi. See the details below, which underscore that no matter how much they use “anti-imperialist” or “Left” rhetoric, or liberal democratic rhetoric, leaders need to be judged by whether they help ordinary people make society more equal and democratic, or not. This is the only way to really determine, Which side are they on?

Courtesy of Iman

Libyan protesters seized this artillery vehicle from security forces at the airport.

The revolutionary uprising in the Middle East and North Africa is making many important things more clear. One is that the philosophy of non-violence is wrong—dangerously wrong. Guns matter, a whole lot. Of course who those guns are aimed at matters even more, and this is determined by the ideas that lead people with guns to take one side or the other when the oppressed fight their oppressor. But the philosophy of nonviolence not only says it is immoral to use a gun, it also claims that ideas alone, in the heads of people who go limp when confronted with force, can defeat people with guns. Anybody paying attention to events in Libya can see how foolish and dangerous this nonviolence philosophy is, and can see why Obama praises the oppressed for being “nonviolent” all the time.

Fidel Castro

Castro urges Gaddafi 'stay in power till the end' and predicts U.S. invasion of Libya

Publication time: 23 February 2011, 12:07"The riots in Libya were inspired by the United States. Every hour an invasion by U.S. troops could be expected. US will send them to "protect the Libyan people". But in reality, they need only the Libyan oil", said the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro.

He called on Muammar Gaddafi "to stay in power till the end."

Castro firmly backs Israel's right to exist

Posted: Thu Sep 23 2010, 09:54 hrs New York:


Fidel Castro said: 'I don't think anyone has been slandered more than the Jews.'

Fidel Castro, the long-time president and leftist icon who stepped aside during a health crisis but still leads the Cuban Communist Party, has told a reporter that Israel definitely has the right to exist.

"Yes it does, without a doubt," Castro, 84, told visiting US journalist Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic magazine, according to a new article published yesterday.

Fidel Castro, the long-time president and leftist icon who stepped aside during a health crisis but still leads the Cuban Communist Party, has told a reporter that Israel definitely has the right to exist.

"Yes it does, without a doubt," Castro, 84, told visiting US journalist Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic magazine, according to a new article published yesterday.

[Note: Israel’s “right to exist” means its right to exist as a Jewish state, which requires not allowing the 4 million (or more) non-Jewish Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and villages inside of what is now called Israel because this would end the Jewish majority status of Israel’s population, i.e. it requires ethnic cleansing. The “two state solution,” which Castro supports, is based on “normalizing” this ethnic cleansing by telling the Palestinian refugees they must forfeit their right of return and be satisfied with having a “bantustan” state “of their own” that will be completely controlled by Israel the same way that Israel controls Gaza, from which Israel “withdrew.”]

Hugo Chavez

Chavez breaks silence on Twitter: Viva Qaddafi!

Posted By Joshua Keating

A number of commentators have wondered in recent days whether Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez would weigh in on the difficulties facing his old friend Muammar al-Qaddafi. Unlike his counterpart Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, Chavez has been uncharacteristiaclly reserved as the man he once called the Simon Bolivar of Libya slowly loses control of his country.

This morning, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro weighed in, echoing a recent column by Fidel Castro suggesting that the turmoil is just a pretext for a Western invasion of Libya.

Today on Twitter, Chavez broke his silence to back up the foreign minister (roughly translated):

Go Chancellor Nicholas: Give another lesson to the pitiyanqui far right! Viva Libya and its independence! Qaddafi is facing a civil war!!

(Pitiyanqui is one of Chavez's insults of choice for political opponents.)

Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega and Cuba's Fidel Castro Stand-By Qaddafi

Published February 22, 2011

| Fox News Latino

In this handout photo released by Presidential House of Nicaragua,  Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, left, shakes hands with Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega during a meeting in Tripoli, Libya, Tuesday, June 5, 2007.(AP Photo/Presidential House of Nicaragua/Jairo Cajina) ** NO SALES **

In this handout photo released by Presidential House of Nicaragua, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, left, shakes hands with Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega during a meeting in Tripoli, Libya, Tuesday, June 5, 2007.(AP Photo/Presidential House of Nicaragua/Jairo Cajina) ** NO SALES **

Despite almost global condemnation of the violence against demonstrators in Libya, some prominent Latin Americans are standing-by Libya's Muammar al-Qaddafi, even as he declares that he'll keep fighting and will die as a 'martyr.'

Nicaragua's leftist President Daniel Ortega says he has telephoned Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi on Monday to express his solidarity. Cuba's former leader Fidel Castro also weighed in on developments in the middle eastern nation on Tuesday. Castro said that unrest in Libya may be a pretext for a NATO invasion.

Read more:

“Populist” Moktada al-Sadr and Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani

Iraq’s Top Shiite Leaders Urge Delay of Protests


Published: February 23, 2011

BAGHDAD — Iraq’s top Shiite religious leaders, the populist cleric Moktada al-Sadr and Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, called Wednesday for Iraqis to defer their protests, leading many members of the country’s Shiite majority to say they would not join in nationwide demonstrations scheduled for Friday.

Many Sunnis said they still planned to go ahead with the demonstrations, which are being billed as a “day of rage.” But the Shiite withdrawal dealt a significant blow to protest organizers, who had hoped to fill Iraq’s streets with millions of people to call for improved government services.

[Note: The goals of the nationwide demonstration that Moktada al-Sadr told people not to join are the same as these earlier local demonstrations, described as follows: “Throughout February, there have almost been daily demonstrations in many Iraqi cities, mostly nonviolent, except for the demonstrations in the last few days in the city of Suleimaniya in the province of Kurdistan in which two have died and 124 have been injured. All the as-yet-local demonstrations were against the widespread corruption at all levels of government and the security forces; high unemployment; rising prices of food supplies; and poor public services, particularly the severe shortage of electricity and inadequate supply of potable water.

“Corruption in Iraq has become legendary. A week ago, the Integrity Commission announced that it was suing hundreds of government employees for embezzlement of $30 billion. Shortly thereafter, the Iraqi Parliament appointed two special committees to investigate the "disappearance" of $41 billion from the Iraqi Development Fund.[1] It is possible that elements of the two figures overlap, but the order of magnitude of the corruption is stirring the Iraqi street, which is clamoring for change.” ]

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Gaddafi must meet public demand

23 February 2011 [17:07] - Today.Az a fresh wave of violent crackdown on revolution in Libya, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has urged Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi to meet public demand.

President Ahmadinejad addressed leaders of countries who replied the popular revolutions “with a bullet” and said, “I highly recommend leaders of these countries to let their people express their words and that they should follow public views,” IRNA reported Wednesday.

[Note that by “public” Ahmadinejad apparently does not include Iranian workers. Thus: “But today, Iranian workers are still unable to form independent trade unions, a right denied both within Iran’s labor code and de facto repressed by the government in action. The government routinely arrests and prosecutes workers demanding their most basic rights, such as demands for wages unpaid, sometimes for periods as long as 36 months. Security forces often attack peaceful gatherings by workers, harass their families, and even kill them, as happened during a gathering by copper miners in Shahr Babak, near the city of Kerman, in 2004.

“Two leading trade unionists, Mansour Osanloo and Mahmoud Salehi, are currently in prison. Another one, Majid Hamidi, recently the target of an assassination attempt, is hospitalized. In addition to being imprisoned and fined, eleven other workers were flogged in February 2008 for the crime of participating in a peaceful gathering to commemorate International Labor Day, May 1st.

“Although Iran’s constitution (Articles 26 and 27) recognizes freedom of association and assembly and Iran’s civil law requires ratified international treaties to be recognized equivalent to domestic laws, Iran’s Labor Law explicitly contradicts these legal obligations. Section 6 of the law addresses workers organizations in such vague terms that for nearly twenty years since its adoption, Iranian workers have not been able to freely associate with independent organizations.

“According to the Labor Law, workers may only participate in three types of organizations: Islamic Labor Councils, Trade Associations, and Workers Representative for workplaces with less than 35 workers). The law explicitly encourages workers to associate with Islamic Councils, which are effectively controlled by management in workplaces. It also stipulates that only one of the above organizations may exist in a given workplace. These legal restrictions on membership and pre-definition of the allowable types of workers organizations are in direct breach of international standards and the Iranian constitution.

“In addition, Islamic Labor Councils, the most common type of labor organization, are explicitly defined in Iran’s Labor Law as ideologically-centered entities. They are not focused on promoting workers rights and are incompatible with the concept of independent unions. Furthermore, workers’ membership in these Councils is subject to a vetting process, controlled by the Labor Ministry. According to Article 138, the Supreme Leader is entitled to appoint a representative in each type of workers organization. The law even forbids formation of these organizations in large industries, such as the petrochemical industry, unless the cabinet issues a special directive. Article 191 empowers the Supreme Labor Council to propose labor-related legislation to the cabinet, bypassing the parliament. Using this loophole, rug-weaving workshops and workplaces with under five employees are exempt from provisions of the Labor Law.

“Over the past three decades, the track record of Islamic Labor Councils and their central body, the Supreme Labor Council, has been in favor of management and its policies. These councils are controlled under the umbrella of the Workers House.” [ ]

Barack Obama

Dr. Flowers went to the White House yesterday to deliver a letter to Obama asking him to consider a single payer, Medicare for all health care system.

She was turned away at the gate and told that for security reasons, the White House doesn’t accept hand delivered letters.

During his State of the Union speech on Wednesday, Obama said he wanted to hear from people on a better approach to health care reform that will “bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors and stop insurance company abuses.”

“Let me know, let me know, let me know. I’m eager to see it,” Obama said.

Flowers, Paris and the majority of doctors and nurses in America believe that approach is a single payer national health insurance system.

Obama himself, when he was a state Senator in Illinois in 2003, said single payer was the way to go.

But last year, he cut deals with the pharmaceutical and health insurance industries in a now failed attempt to get through tinkering reforms.

[Note that public opinion polls show that a robust majority of Americans want single payer health care, and have for decades. See the poll results here: ]

Hilary Clinton

As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lectured about freedom to the rest of the world at George Washington University and condemed governments that arrest protestors and do not allow free expression, 71-year-old Ray McGovern was seized from the audience right in front of her by police and an unknown official in plain clothes. He was brutalized and left bleeding in jail. And yet Hillary never even paused; didn’t skip a beat in her speech.

When Secretary Clinton began her lecture to the world, Ray McGovern was standing silently in the audience and turned his back to her. Mr. McGovern, a veteran Army Officer who also worked for the CIA for 27 years, was wearing a “Veterans for Peace” t-shirt.

McGovern discussed his protest and subsequent arrest at Secretary Clinton’s “Freedom Speech” in an interview with blogger Rob Kall.

“I turned my back to her and stood [silently]. When she came in, I not only remained standing but I turned my back to her… I didn’t think that would get me roughed up and arrested for disorderly conduct.”

He was suddenly grabbed by security officers and police. As he was being hauled out the door, Mr. McGovern remarked, “So this is America?” Mr. McGovern received bruises, lacerations and contusions from officers.

“It is the ultimate definition of lip service that Secretary of State Clinton would be trumpeting the US government’s supposed concerns for free speech rights and this man would be simultaneously brutalized and arrested for engaging in a peaceful act of dissent at her speech,” stated attorney Mara Verheyden-Hilliard of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF).

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Egypt: One Down, Two to Go

One down: the people of Egypt have overthrown the hated dictator Mubarak. Wild cheers for this!

Two to go:

  1. 1. Overthrow the dictatorship of Suleiman and his fellow generals.
  2. 2. Overthrow the power and privileges of the entire parasitic class of the very wealthy, the class on behalf of which Mubarak and Suleiman rule, a class that is responsible for imposing extreme inequality on Egyptian society, a class that sees nothing wrong with millions of Egyptians living in poverty while Mubarak accumulates a $50 Billion fortune. Create a new kind of society, based on equality and mutual aid, not inequality and people being pitted against each other.

Obama lies.

Obama announced yesterday that, “It was the moral force of nonviolence, not terrorism and mindless killing, that bent the arc of history toward justice once more.” Wrong! What made Mubarak step down was the fact that he and the generals advising him saw that the people in Tahrir Square and elsewhere fought back against the police goons Mubarak sent to attack them. They fought back with all the violence they could muster, using the only weapons they had, such as stones. The people did not follow the philosophy of nonviolence. Had they followed this wrong philosophy, they would have gone limp and invited arrest in order to “demonstrate the sincerity of their convictions” in the erroneous expectation that “moral suasion” can make oppressors stop oppressing. The people did not, fortunately, buy into a philosophy that says people who use violent force in self-defense are morally inferior to those who don’t.

The generals advised Mubarak to step down because they knew that if he did not, push would come to shove. The rank and file soldiers would have to be ordered to fire on the Egyptian people. The generals feared that when so ordered, the soldiers would refuse. The risk was enormous. If this happened, then the people, with help from friendly soldiers and weapons they could acquire, would have more force—violent force—at their disposal than the upper class.

Obama refers to the “moral force of nonviolence,” but it was the moral force of violence that “bent history.” It was Mubarak’s fear of the possibility that his rank and file soldiers, armed and trained to kill, would share the decency and morality of the Egyptian people and aim their weapons at the rulers instead of the people. The oppressors do not fear nonviolence; they fear being on the losing side in a contest of violent force.

Obama contrasts nonviolence, which he—the commander in chief of the most violent mass-murdering military force ever to exist on the planet—claims to love, to “terrorism and mindless violence.” His point? That violence against oppression is morally wrong. Obama would be revealed as a defender of oppression if he came right out and said what he means, so he “violence baits” people who seriously threaten to overthrow oppressors, hoping to strengthen the forces among them who try to persuade the people to “go limp.”

Obama said, “Egyptians have made it clear that nothing less than genuine democracy will carry the day.” What does he mean by “genuine democracy?” He means “genuine democracy like what we have in the United States.” But we have fake democracy in the United States. A plutocracy controls all the key decisions: our government wages unjust wars that the public opposes, it refuses to even consider single-payer health care even though the public wants it, and it makes sure the rich get richer and the poor poorer. This is what Obama actually wants for Egypt when he praises “genuine democracy.” For the wealthy elites of the world and the politicians and dictators who rule on their behalf, “democracy” means using elections (that they control) as a fig leaf to cover the truth that Big Money rules, not the people.

The revolution has only begun. Two to go.