Dems Oppose Permanent Bases in Iraq, But What Will They Do About The Ones Bush Built? (Kucinich)

Dandelion Salad

Submitted by Bob Fertik
Democrats.com:
November 28, 2007

Map and more.

Kucinich sounded the alarm about Bush’s construction of permanent bases back on 4/14/05, when he released a Congressional Research Service (CRS) report that found over $1 billion for military construction in Iraq and Afghanistan. His spokesman writes:

http://www.commondreams.org/news2005/0414-06.htm
I found this in a few minutes by typing in “Kucinich permanent bases in Iraq” in Google. I think it’s touching that Dodd supporters are claiming to be first to oppose permanent bases.

Beyond that, of course, in early 2002, Dennis Kucinich became the first person running for President to speak up against the war in Iraq. Later in 2002, he was the only Democrat running who actually voted against the war.

On 2/15/03, the day “the world said no to war”, Kucinich spoke against the impending war in New York City at the huge antiwar rally there–the only one running who attended such a rally.

Later in 2003, Kucinich put forward a plan to get us completely out of Iraq in 90 days. His tag line for that plan was “U.S. out, U.N. in”.

In 2006, Kucinich cosponsored Rep. Barbara Lee’s bill to close permanent bases, which did pass the House.

In 2007 Kucinich has continued to run against the war; has called and voted consistently for no more funding for the war; has challenged his party repeatedly on the leadership’s claim that we need 60 votes to end the war; and has called repeatedly for bringing all the troops out of Iraq, closing the bases, no more contracts for Halliburton; and no privatizing of Iraq’s oil.

And, of course, he is the only one running who is trying to impeach Bush & Cheney for the lies that led to the war in the first place, plus the current threats against Iran.

I could go on, but I’ll stop, except to say that the blogosphere’s open hostility towards Kucinich continues to baffle me. If bloggers don’t want to support Dennis for some reason, so be it; but it’s wrong to disrespect him so blatantly, as so many bloggers do; it’s wrong to mock his looks, as if that had anything to do with his policies or his principles; and it’s just not right to try to take his proudest, bravest moments away from him, by pretending he does not exist. On most of the key issues that Democrats care about–the war against Iraq, the occupation of Iraq; the threats against Iran, fair trade, single-payer health care, the Patriot Act, gay marriage, impeachment–the Congressman from a largely blue-collar, ethnic district in Ohio was there first, usually a long time ago.

Kucinich is the first candidate to acknowledge Bush built permanent bases, and to say he will close them. And he has the record to prove it, including co-sponsoring Barbara Lee’s resolution against permanent bases in 2005, opposing permanent bases in a floor speech in 2006, and calling the current Democratic plan for Iraq a “total fraud” just last week because it would permit permit bases.

h/t: After Downing Street

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

 
see

Dennis Kucinich blasts Democratic leadership, says the vow from his party’s leadership is “total fraud” By Nashua Telegraph

Fact Sheet: U.S.-Iraq Declaration of Principles for Friendship & Cooperation

Declaration of Principles for a Long-Term Relationship of Cooperation & Friendship Between the Republic of Iraq & the USA

Kucinich wants free health care, college By Albert McKeon

35 Percenters Present Summary of CNN Debates + Special Guest Appearance (video)

Iraq: Looking Back: ‘Internationally Sponsored Genocide’ by Felicity Arbuthnot

The CNN political team chooses the videos, not you. (video)

Dandelion Salad

representativepress

http://representativepress.blogspot.c… (see below)

Also see CNN/YouTube Republican Debate: Giuliani 9/11 Question:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dd2dwf…
Senior vice president David Bohrman is a clown.

Added: November 28, 2007

***

Representative Press
Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Marty Kaplan points out “the game that CNN is really playing” in his article The CNN/RubeTube Debate, “The notion that the CNN-YouTube debate represents a grass-roots triumph of the internet age is laughable.”

“For all the talk about online voter empowerment, the web is still too immature a medium to set an agenda for a national debate, says CNN senior vice president David Bohrman.

“If you would have taken the most-viewed questions last time, the top question would have been whether Arnold Schwarzenegger was a cyborg sent to save the planet Earth,” says Bohrman, the debate’s executive producer. “The second-most-viewed video question was: Will you a convene a national meeting on UFOs?” – CNN-YouTube Debate Producer Doubts the Wisdom of the Crowd

Look at 10Questions.com, they let people vote and the top ten questions the people picked were not “crazy.”

SEE VIDEO: The CNN political team chooses the videos, not you. (see above)

It is a disgrace that CNN picks the videos! This is the kind of question they don’t want asked

Bohrman’s comments about most watched are disingenuous, the videos selected should be the ones voted on, not most watched. For God sakes, I have to watch a video before I can decide if it should be asked in the debate. Bohrman is making up excuses.

This is a question that should be asked!

CNN/YouTube Republican Debate: Giuliani 9/11 Question Giuliani claims, “American foreign policy had nothing to do with the September 11th. September 11th happened because these people who hate us, hate us because of the freedoms that we have.” Giuliani is lying to us. see my question. Think Bohrman would allow this to be asked?

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

35 Percenters Present Summary of CNN Debates + Special Guest Appearance (video)

“The End of America”: Feminist Social Critic Naomi Wolf Warns U.S. in Slow Descent into Fascism

Dandelion Salad

Democracy Now!
Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

“The End of America”: Feminist Social Critic Naomi Wolf Warns U.S. in Slow Descent into Fascism

Continue reading

Another CIA Sponsored Coup D’Etat? Venezuela’s D-Day : Democratic Socialism or Imperial Counter-Revolution by Prof James Petras

Dandelion Salad

by Prof James Petras
Global Research, November 28, 2007

The December 2, 2007 Constituent Referendum

On November 26, 2007 the Venezuelan government broadcast and circulated a confidential memo from the US embassy to the CIA which is devastatingly revealing of US clandestine operations and which will influence the referendum this Sunday (December 2, 2007).

The memo sent by an embassy official, Michael Middleton Steere, was addressed to the head of the CIA, Michael Hayden. The memo was entitled ‘Advancing to the Last Phase of Operation Pincer’ and updates the activity by a CIA unit with the acronym ‘HUMINT’ (Human Intelligence) which is engaged in clandestine action to destabilize the forth-coming referendum and coordinate the civil military overthrow of the elected Chavez government. The Embassy-CIA’s polls concede that 57% of the voters approved of the constitutional amendments proposed by Chavez but also predicted a 60% abstention.

The US operatives emphasized their capacity to recruit former Chavez supporters among the social democrats (PODEMOS) and the former Minister of Defense Baduel, claiming to have reduced the ‘yes’ vote by 6% from its original margin. Nevertheless the Embassy operatives concede that they have reached their ceiling, recognizing they cannot defeat the amendments via the electoral route.

The memo then recommends that Operation Pincer (OP) [Operación Tenaza] be operationalized. OP involves a two-pronged strategy of impeding the referendum, rejecting the outcome at the same time as calling for a ‘no’ vote. The run up to the referendum includes running phony polls, attacking electoral officials and running propaganda through the private media accusing the government of fraud and calling for a ‘no’ vote. Contradictions, the report cynically emphasizes, are of no matter.

The CIA-Embassy reports internal division and recriminations among the opponents of the amendments including several defections from their ‘umbrella group’. The key and most dangerous threats to democracy raised by the Embassy memo point to their success in mobilizing the private university students (backed by top administrators) to attack key government buildings including the Presidential Palace, Supreme Court and the National Electoral Council. The Embassy is especially praiseworthy of the ex-Maoist ‘Red Flag’ group for its violent street fighting activity. Ironically, small Trotskyist sects and their trade unionists join the ex-Maoists in opposing the constitutional amendments. The Embassy, while discarding their ‘Marxist rhetoric’, perceives their opposition as fitting in with their overall strategy.

The ultimate objective of ‘Operation Pincer’ is to seize a territorial or institutional base with the ‘massive support’ of the defeated electoral minority within three or four days (before or after the elections – is not clear. JP) backed by an uprising by oppositionist military officers principally in the National Guard. The Embassy operative concede that the military plotters have run into serous problems as key intelligence operatives were detected, stores of arms were decommissioned and several plotters are under tight surveillance.

Apart from the deep involvement of the US, the primary organization of the Venezuelan business elite (FEDECAMARAS), as well as all the major private television, radio and newspaper outlets have been engaged in a vicious fear and intimidation campaign. Food producers, wholesale and retail distributors have created artificial shortages of basic food items and have provoked large scale capital flight to sow chaos in the hopes of reaping a ‘no’ vote.

President Chavez Counter-Attacks

In a speech to pro-Chavez, pro-amendment nationalist business-people (Entrepreneurs for Venezuela – EMPREVEN) Chavez warned the President of FEDECAMARAS that if he continues to threaten the government with a coup, he would nationalize all their business affiliates. With the exception of the Trotskyist and other sects, the vast majority of organized workers, peasants, small farmers, poor neighborhood councils, informal self-employed and public school students have mobilized and demonstrated in favor of the constitutional amendments.

The reason for the popular majority is found in a few of the key amendments: One article expedites land expropriation facilitating re-distribution to the landless and small producers. Chavez has already settled over 150,000 landless workers on 2 million acres of land. Another amendment provides universal social security coverage for the entire informal sector (street sellers, domestic workers, self-employed) amounting to 40% of the labor force. Organized and unorganized workers’ workweek will be reduced from 40 to 36 hours a week (Monday to Friday noon) with no reduction in pay. Open admission and universal free higher education will open greater educational opportunities for lower class students. Amendments will allow the government to by-pass current bureaucratic blockage of the socialization of strategic industries, thus creating greater employment and lower utility costs. Most important, an amendment will increase the power and budget of neighborhood councils to legislate and invest in their communities.

The electorate supporting the constitutional amendments is voting in favor of their socio-economic and class interests; the issue of extended re-election of the President is not high on their priorities: And that is the issue that the Right has focused on in calling Chavez a ‘dictator’ and the referendum a ‘coup’.

The Opposition

With strong financial backing from the US Embassy ($8 million dollars in propaganda alone according to the Embassy memo) and the business elite and ‘free time’ by the right-wing media, the Right has organized a majority of the upper middle class students from the private universities, backed by the Catholic Church hierarchy, large swaths of the affluent middle class neighborhoods, entire sectors of the commercial, real estate and financial middle classes and apparently sectors of the military, especially officials in the National Guard. While the Right has control over the major private media, public television and radio back the constitutional reforms. While the Right has its followers among some generals and the National Guard, Chavez has the backing of the paratroops and legions of middle rank officers and most other generals.

The outcome of the Referendum of December 2 is a decisive historical event first and foremost for Venezuela but also for the rest of the Americas. A positive vote (Vota ‘Sí’) will provide the legal framework for the democratization of the political system, the socialization of strategic economic sectors, empower the poor and provide the basis for a self-managed factory system. A negative vote (or a successful US-backed civil-military uprising) will reverse the most promising living experience of popular self-rule, of advanced social welfare and democratically based socialism. A reversal, especially a military dictated outcome, will lead to a massive blood bath, such as we have not seen since the days of the Indonesian Generals’ Coup of 1966, which killed over a million workers and peasants or the Argentine Coup of 1976 in which over 30,000 Argentines were murdered by the US backed Generals.

A decisive vote for ‘Sí’ will not end US military and political destabilization campaigns but it will certainly undermine and demoralize their collaborators. On December 2, 2007 the Venezuelans have a rendezvous with history.

James Petras is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by James Petras
The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright James Petras, Global Research, 2007
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7470

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“Multinationals on Trial” Review of James Petras & Henry Veltmeyer by Stephen Lendman

Venezuela: Between Ballots And Bullets By James Petras

The Method to Bush’s Madness in Overthrowing Venezuela 

Next Steps for the Palestinian Solidarity Movement by Adam Hanieh

Dandelion Salad

by Adam Hanieh
Global Research, November 28, 2007
Socialist Voice

Over 1.4 million Gazans are trapped in this ‘open-air prison,’ subject to daily bombardment by Israeli rockets and heavy artillery. Israel has announced plans to cut electricity and fuel supplies to the Strip. These supplies are absolutely necessary to maintaining basic services such as hospitals and sewage treatment plants. We now regularly hear stories of Gaza residents being killed in floods of sewage, as Israel prevents needed supplies and inspections of sewage lakes in the area.

The point here, however, is not to focus on the current situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The enormous value of the book lies in the political perspective it outlines. We need to build upon these perspectives and present an assessment of the current stage of our solidarity efforts in places such as Canada and the USA. It is very important that we always situate our efforts historically, take a step back to look at where we are at and where we want to be going.

Return to Oslo?

Much of the mainstream media has attempted to present the current situation as a re-run of the early 1990s. We are told that the U.S. and EU are rolling up their sleeves to bring the Palestinian and Israeli sides to the negotiating table in late November. Both Mahmoud Abbas and Ehud Olmert are said to be trying to move this process forward but are faced with the recalcitrance of “extremists on both sides”. Both sides will have to make “painful sacrifices”. But – if done right – we can return to the good old days of the Oslo peace process and eventually see the establishment of a Palestinian state living “alongside a secure Israel.”

Naturally, as with the mainstream media coverage of just about everything, this picture is designed to confuse and obfuscate the real situation on the ground. All the talk of negotiations, peace, and painful compromises is designed first and foremost to solidify apartheid in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It’s very important that we understand this message. When the Oslo agreement was signed in 1993 it created enormous confusion within the Palestinian national movement and the solidarity organizations outside. This was an agreement that was sold to the world as a plan for a Palestinian state, yet in reality it aimed at creating the very situation we see today on the ground. Palestinians herded into isolated Bantustans surrounded by settlements, walls, checkpoints with their movement controlled by permits.

The talk of peace and negotiations is designed to hide the reality of an apartheid agreement. Israel is trying to find someone who will sign away the rights of the people – most fundamentally the right of return of Palestinian refugees. This is what is going on now. It is not a “civil war” between Hamas and Fatah, or media fantasies about the supposed emerging Islamic state in Gaza.

The 1993 Oslo Accords killed the solidarity movement for seven years. Many people here today were involved in these earlier solidarity movements across North America and can attest to the collapse that happened in the early 1990s. This situation didn’t reverse until the people once again rose in the second Intifada in September 2000. That uprising re-sparked the solidarity movement.

But the situation today differs significantly from the early 1990s. In many respects we are in a much stronger situation today than that earlier period. This is obviously a testament to the resilience and struggle of the Palestinian people. But it is also due to the work of those in the solidarity movement who did keep fighting throughout the Oslo years, and understood from the outset the real nature of the Oslo agreement.

We need to keep this message clear in the coming period. U.S.-sponsored ‘peace’ plans, backed by some of the client Arab states in the region, will not achieve liberation. The Palestinian people will completely reject any self-appointed leader that attempts to relinquish their rights, the bedrock of which is the right of return of Palestinian refugees. This is not a fringe or ‘radical’ position but is the fundamental outlook of the Palestinian people as a whole. A very important confirmation of this fact occurred in Canada in late October, over 54 delegates representing virtually every Palestinian community organization across Canada unanimously adopted an open-letter to Mahmoud Abbas warning him of the “disaster” of the Oslo Accords and the complete rejection of the upcoming U.S.-supported summit in Annapolis, Maryland.

Not Just the West Bank and Gaza Strip

One thing that gives us strength today is the widespread understanding that the struggle for justice is not solely a question of what happens in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The aim of the Oslo project was to reduce our struggle to negotiating over bits of land in these areas. Today we see the reality of this – those bits of land are nothing but open-air prisons where we see Palestinian prison guards but Israel continues to hold the keys to the cell.

But today we see that the Palestinian people reject that division. Most importantly, we see the growing movement of Palestinian citizens of Israel who are demanding equal rights in a state that has been built on racism and settler-colonialism. Over the past year, four separate declarations by Palestinians from inside Israel have expressed this demand. In response to these declarations, the head of the Israeli intelligence, Yuval Diskin, called Palestinian citizens of Israel a “strategic threat” and issued a veiled warning that any one attempting to organize around the demand of simple democracy would face the repressive arm of the state.

Israel cannot countenance the simple demand for equal rights for Palestinian citizens because it is a state built on racism. Leaders of the Palestinian community have been arrested and kept under administrative detention orders without charge or trial. The head of the National Democratic Assembly (NDA) party and elected member of the Israeli parliament (the Knesset), Azmi Bishara, was forced to flee Israel because he was threatened with imminent arrest. On 30 October, in scenes reminiscent of the West Bank, Israeli police attacked a village in the Galilee village with live ammunition, injuring 40 residents, three of them seriously. And the calls from prominent Israeli academics that describe the Palestinian population inside Israel as a “demographic threat” are getting ever louder.

A barrage of new laws attempt to solidify Israeli racism and silence the growing movement of Palestinians inside Israel. One of these is a law that will prevent anyone who travels to what is deemed an “enemy state” from running for the Israeli parliament. This law is explicitly aimed at Palestinian parties such as the NDA that maintain strong ties with Arab countries. Moreover, in one of the most Orwellian measures ever adopted by the Israeli state, an October 2007 law requires all school children to sign Israel’s “Declaration of Independence”: a declaration that explicitly upholds Israel’s character as a “Jewish state”. Imagine any other country that required every child to sign a document supporting the privileged rights of one ethnic or religious group? As Azmi Bishara has pointed out, Palestinians attending Israeli schools are required to sign a document that negates their very existence!

The emerging movement of Palestinians inside Israel is a very important development and cause for optimism. These Palestinians are an integral part of the Palestinian people as a whole. Their struggle strikes the very nature of Israel as an exclusionary, racist state and shows that Israeli apartheid is not just a question of what happens in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. We must continually strengthen our solidarity with their efforts and struggle.

No to Normalization

Today the strength of our movement rests upon the widespread acceptance that there can be no normalization with Zionism and Israeli apartheid. The basic principle of our movement is that the way to winning justice is not through ‘dialogue’ or ‘joint projects’ or empty calls for ‘peace.’ Rather, justice will be won by isolating the Israeli state and all those who support it.

This is a big shift from fifteen years ago when many people bought into the Oslo myth and normalization with Israel was all the rage. A lot of money was thrown at these projects, hundreds of NGOs sprung up dedicated to dialogue and the ‘peace process.’ But today there is virtual unanimity among the solidarity movement. The way forward is through a sustained campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israeli apartheid. This runs against any attempt to normalize relations with the oppressor.

The call for boycott, divestment and sanctions that came from Palestine in 2005 is very clear. The Israeli state must be isolated in the manner of South African apartheid until three conditions are satisfied: the Israeli occupation of all Arab lands is ended; there is full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel; and the refugees are allowed to return home. These three demands encapsulate the Palestinian experience since 1948: a people who have been uprooted from their land and prevented from returning home. Our struggle is not just in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but also to end the racist nature of the Israeli state and allow the refugees to return.

It is important to stress that the BDS call is not something that suddenly appeared in 2005. For decades, the core of the Palestinian struggle has always held a position of ‘anti-normalization.’ To work with and normalize relations with the Israeli state and its supporters means to give consent to one’s own oppression. Rather, we should act to isolate and reveal the structures that hold power in place. The need is not for ‘dialogue’ because the problem is not a lack of understanding. To claim otherwise serves only to justify the existing power structures. More simply: there is an oppressor and an oppressed, and peace will only come through winning justice.

The struggle is not between Jewish people and Palestinians. Anti-Zionist Jews and Israelis are prominent activists and leaders of the solidarity movement, including inside Israel. The solidarity movement is totally clear on this point and to claim otherwise is only to engage in slander. Indeed, Between the Lines was co-written by an anti-Zionist Jewish Israeli who has spent many decades working alongside Palestinians in support of justice. The central question is one of racism and settler-colonialism not religious conflict. The BDS call is aimed at Israeli state institutions and their supporters. Our goal is a state where anyone can live regardless of their religious beliefs or ethnicity.

Canadian Support for Israel

In Canada, we have an important role to play in this global campaign to isolate the Israeli state. The Canadian government is one of the strongest international supporters of Israeli apartheid in the world. Canada was the first country in the world to cut aid to the Palestinian Authority following the elections of January 2006. Canada did this even before the Israeli government.

The Canadian government at all levels has provided full diplomatic support for Israel’s war crimes. Many of us remember that during Israel’s bombardment of Lebanon in 2006, Harper described Israel’s actions as “measured and justified” and opposed calls for a ceasefire. But Harper’s comments are not those of an individual. Across the political spectrum, Canada’s mainstream political parties have given unequivocal support to Israeli policies. In 2005, it was then Liberal Party leader Paul Martin who declared that “Israel’s values are Canada’s values.”

At the economic level, Canada has signed numerous agreements with Israel that serve to strengthen and sustain the Israeli economy. In 1997, the Canadian government signed the Canada Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA). This is the only FTA Canada has signed outside of the western hemisphere. It has been an enormous boon to Israel. From 2000 to 2005, the value of Israeli exports to Canada exceeded Canadian exports to Israel, reversing the trend from the 1990s. Over the same period, average annual Israeli foreign direct investment in Canada exceeded that of Canada in Israel. This is an agreement that has benefited Israel, and helped support the Israeli economy.

Another agreement, the Canada Israel Industrial Research and Development Foundation, provides seed money for Israeli-Canadian research and development. Over 200 companies have been funded by this scheme and the Canadian government now boasts that Israel is its longest standing technology partner. A similar agreement between Ontario and the Israeli government was also signed by Dalton McGuinty and Ehud Olmert in 2005.

Prominent Canadian business leaders have been among the staunchest supporters of the Israeli government. Heather Reisman and Gerry Schwartz are the majority owners of Indigo Books. They set up a fund called the Heseg Foundation for Lone Soldiers that provides scholarships and other support for individuals who have chosen to go to Israel and serve in the Israeli military. In 2006, Reisman and Schwartz attended a ceremony at an Israeli military base where they were awarded the gun of an Israeli soldier killed in Lebanon.

These various forms of support are not surprising given the record of the Canadian government in places such as Afghanistan and Haiti where Canadian troops and other personnel serve to support military occupations. Or the record of large Canadian companies in extracting the resources and wealth of people around the globe. Or the centuries-long attacks against the indigenous people of this land that continues today. This is why the Palestinian solidarity movement also stands with those struggles: we are all strengthened when we fight together.

Ideological Battle

But we should be clear: the campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions is not about politely asking the Canadian government or business leaders to cut their ties with Israeli apartheid. We must compel them to do so. We know from the South African struggle that those in power will support apartheid until we build a movement large enough to force a change.

Over ten years after the formal end of South African apartheid a certain myth has grown up that says the world was always against the practices of the South African regime. Nothing could be further from the truth. Successive Canadian, U.S. and British governments wholeheartedly backed South African apartheid for decades. The leaderships of Canadian unions proudly championed their links with the apartheid regime and large corporations made millions from their investments in South African apartheid. It took decades of hard work by activists to turn around popular acceptance and support for South African apartheid.

It is important to emphasize that the BDS strategy is fundamentally about winning this ideological battle. No one holds any illusions that Israel will suffer economically at this stage from resolutions and boycott campaigns. Rather, BDS provides a powerful entry point for talking to people about the nature of the Israeli state and the structures that support it in the West. What we are doing is convincing people that Israel – like the South African precedent – is a pariah state that must be isolated. To deal with Israel is something to be ashamed of. We are undermining the ideological support (much of it passive) that allows Israel to continue its horrendous practices against the Palestinian people. For this reason, the BDS strategy cannot be separated from the day-to-day information work we do around Palestine. This information and educational work lays the basis for BDS work. The BDS strategy provides a direction for activity once people understand the reality of the situation.

We have made some very important gains here in Canada. The historic resolution of CUPE Ontario in May 2006 in support of boycott and divestment was a turning point. The CUPE Ontario resolution was an outstanding example of how BDS enables us to educate and activate people around Palestine. For the first time in decades, the key issues of the Palestinian struggle were debated on the front pages of Canadian newspapers and on TV and radio stations across the country. Thousands of ordinary CUPE members received information about the campaign or went through workshops and talks explaining why Israeli apartheid should be isolated and ended. The greatest achievement of this resolution was the chance to speak to rank and file CUPE members and build support for Palestine within the union. We can’t underestimate how important this was in helping shift popular consciousness and understanding. This quite simply would not have happened if CUPE had simply passed yet another ‘condemn the violence,’ ‘call for peace’ resolution. Hundreds of thousands of people – that is no exaggeration – were touched by this resolution.

On campuses too, there has been a strong upsurge in understanding the nature of Israeli apartheid. The annual Israeli apartheid week, which began here in Toronto, has expanded globally to cities such as New York, Oxford and Cambridge. In 2007, close to a thousand people attended the week’s activities in Toronto. This coming year promises to be even larger and occur in many more cities across the world.

The campaign to boycott Chapters-Indigo has also been a great success. Regular pickets are happening in six cities across the country. Over 40,000 leaflets have been distributed nationally since the campaign began in January. Heather Reisman’s book reading appearances across the country have been disrupted by activists opposed to her support of Israeli apartheid. Students at a high school in Toronto lobbied their school to pass a resolution to boycott Indigo. Smaller bookstores in Ontario have signed onto the campaign and now carry leaflets and information about Israeli apartheid.

Our next step should be to raise our voices demanding that Canadian governments at both the federal and provincial levels cut their ties with Israeli apartheid. We can call for agreements such as CIFTA, or, here in Ontario, the provincial level agreements with Israel, to be abrogated. We must call for an end to the diplomatic cover provided to Israeli war crimes. The Venezuelan government of Hugo Chavez has shown the way in this regard when they became the first country in the world to withdraw their ambassador from Israel in the summer of 2006.

Conclusion

Israel’s crushing of the population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and its apparent success in cultivating a Palestinian leadership to return to an Oslo-type process are pyrrhic victories. The real nature of Israel is truly understood by more people than any other point in the last sixty years and support for the Zionist project beyond Western governments and elites is in tatters. Palestinians remain one people: united across refugee camps, the Diaspora, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and inside Israel itself. All these sectors of the people are moving forward and rejecting normalization with Israel, despite what various self-appointed leaderships might do or say.

This is a time to be very proud of our activities in support of the Palestinian struggle. In years to come, we shall look back on the struggles of today and realize that what we did in the here and now was an integral part of winning justice. This is a struggle that affects the entire people of the Middle East and its outcome will shape the course of history. It is not a struggle that will end tomorrow, but we can be absolutely confident that it is a struggle which we shall eventually win. •

Adam Hanieh is a board member of Palestine House, Mississauga.

The above text is an updated version of a talk he gave in Toronto on October 4, at the launch of the book Between the Lines: Readings on Israel, the Palestinians, and the U.S. ‘War on Terror’ ( Haymarket Books, 2007) edited by Tikva Honig-Parnass and Toufic Haddad.

More information on the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign against Israeli apartheid, is available from the Coalition against Israeli Apartheid.

The launch of this book is an extremely timely and important contribution to understanding the current situation in Palestine. We all know from the daily reports that this situation is one of the most difficult ever faced by the Palestinian people. In the Gaza Strip, a truly unprecedented assault on the population is unfolding.

Global Research Articles by Adam Hanieh

 

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Adam Hanieh, Socialist Voice, 2007
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7468
see

Al Jazeera: Annapolis: Middle East peace deal (videos)

Annapolis Statement: “Palestinian Bantustan” by Francis A. Boyle

Iraq: Looking Back: ‘Internationally Sponsored Genocide’ by Felicity Arbuthnot

Dandelion Salad

by Felicity Arbuthnot
Global Research, November 28, 2007

Editors have a mantra, do not look back, move on, write what is current. But sometimes looking back is vital. Those who ignore even the recent past are doomed to understand nothing, sink deeper into quagmires – and bleat again: ‘Why do they hate us’?

Looking through material for the book that has been far too long in the making, I found a copy of a letter which I sent to a prominent (UK) Member of Parliament. It is dated November 1993 and clarifies for ever why the invaders were never going to be greeted with ‘sweets and flowers’.

Near exactly fourteen years ago – three years and three months in to the embargo – I wrote:

Meridian Hotel, Baghdad, 4th November 1993.

As you know, when I was here in April/May 1992, I thought things could get no worse. Yet in July this year, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations note in a Report: ‘…with deep regret’, all the: ‘pre-famine indicators being in place’. Further that an appreciable proportion of the population now had less calorific intake than the most famine stricken parts of Africa. That was July. This is apocalypse. This is an internationally sponsored genocide.

Food prices have risen in real terms, one thousand percent. Some most basic of staples have risen eleven hundred times. This morning a breakfast for three, of three black coffees, two orange juices and an omelet cost, what would have been, in 1989, the equivalent of one thousand three hundred US dollars. With US dollars, one can buy stacks of black market Iraqi Dinars, an inches high wad for fifty dollars, chillingly redolent of Germany after the first world war. Most Iraqi people have no dollars.

‘”In the foyer of the Rashid Hotel, is one of the most magnificent display of wondrous artifacts one could ever hope to see: jewelry, paintings, superb, rare antique boxes, chandeliers, crystal, exquisite family treasures, handed down over generations, many also collected from around the globe. They are the belongings of the middle class, for sale in the hope they will be sold for hard currency to the rare visitor. Living for a few more weeks. The poor have no antiques.

“A friend, a multi-lingual, much traveled novelist and editor, whose great grandfather’s statue graces an area of Baghdad, boils rose petals for a face cleaner, concocts a mixture of boracic and herbs for deodorant and uses an ancient clay for hair conditioner. She and her family, as many Iraqis, now clean their teeth with husks from a plant, a method from a bygone age. Tooth paste and tooth brushes are vetoed. Her last novel is trapped in her computer, for want of a minor, embargoed spare part. If she could release it, it would be anyway useless, there is no paper to print it on. Paper is also vetoed by the U.N., Sanctions Committee.  “Car tires cost sixteen month’s average salary.

Yet people have to drive the grueling, utterly isolated, seven hundred kilometers, desert road to Jordan, to attempt to conduct any business, or for medical help, if they are the few lucky enough to have the money to operate in hard currency. They drive on re-sewn tires, often stuffed with just about anything to keep them inflated, in the searing heat. They travel in cars that are now death traps. All spare parts also vetoed.

“The deaths on the Jordan road (and the visible testimony of them) are a bare decimal point in the reality of life here. The U.N., of course, fly in, and loudly demand Nescafe for breakfast, unattainable anywhere. The delicious Turkish coffee which is available for those who can afford it, has become a token of ‘ the enemy’ for them, it seems. I have witnessed this over and over again, in this hotel: ‘ No, no, Nescafe, not Turkish coffee …’ Then something along the lines of : ”What is wrong with you people, do you understand nothing’? Last night, they wanted hot ‘ vegetable soup‘. The temperature was Hadean and the Chef had worked miracles with pulses and fresh salads, unattainable for most and now pretty difficult for even the government subsidized hotels. U.N., personnel in Iraq are a million miles from the aspirations expressed on behalf of ‘We the people …’ They are bent on ritual humiliation – utterly shaming ‘We the people’.

“The U.N,. personnel were sporting satellite phones and bleepers. Two months ago the U.N., Sanctions Committee (read US and UK., as ever) vetoed a consignment of bleepers and mobile ‘phones for the doctors, medical staff, ambulance drivers and other emergency units, denying all contact between emergency and life saving personnel.

“Just before I left the U.K., in September, the Sanctions Committee revoked the license for five hundred tons of shroud material. It is currently stuck in Jordan, having taken since April to get even as far as Aquaba port. Sanctions reach even beyond the grave.

“Earlier this year the U.S., U.K., and France vetoed a consignment of school writing pads, erasers, pencil sharpeners, pencils and consignment of ping pong balls. Childhood is dead in Iraq. There are few birthday parties anymore, for most, neither the food nor the presents are affordable.

“The U.S., and U.K., recently also vetoed a consignment of ‘medical gauze’ (i.e.: bandages) and refused to allow a Spanish company to assist in rebuilding the syringe factory, bombed in 1991. Doctors are forced to re-use syringes again and again. One lowered his eyes and his voice in shame, as he told me that they re-use the pediatric canulars from babies who have died. He did five years post graduate studies in the United States and spoke better English than you or I. He had believed in the ‘land of the free’. Not any more.

“In a tiny grocery store, very early yesterday morning, a child of perhaps five came in, with that air of pride of children everywhere entrusted to run an errand. He was clutching a five Dinar note, fifteen dollars, just four years ago. It bought one egg, which he carefully carried to the door – and then he dropped it. He was beside himself. He fell to the floor and frantically tried to gather it up in his hands, tears streaming down his small, desperate face. As I searched in my pocket, the shopkeeper shook his head, gently touched him on the shoulder and gave him another egg. Protein is unbuyable for the majority. Families chop one egg into miniscule pieces, so all have a couple of tiny morsels – in a country ‘floating on a sea of oil’, the second largest reserves on earth.

“How many more traumatized children, in our name? How many countless ‘broken eggs’ are there here now in just three years? What would be acceptable to the U.S., and British administrations? What do they expect, perhaps an army of premature babies (a quarter of live births are now premature) rising up from their non-functioning-for-want-of-western-spare-parts-incubators, to overthrow Saddam Hussein?

“People here, broadly, do not care about the government. The struggle to survive day by day is the greater challenge. Further, I went back to a large group who were highly critical of the government a year ago. They are now so furious at what the embargo is doing to their families, friends, neighborhood and the ancient country they love – and of which , it seems to the visitor, all feel that they are honored custodians – this year they all lit a candle on Saddam Hussein‘s birthday.

“As you know, rightly or wrongly, I have no view on politics here, it is none of our business and to collectively punish – U.N., or not, is illegal and beyond shame – twenty five million souls hostage to our Administration’s’ views of their government. The highest category of victims are the new born, the unborn and the under fives. This is being done, we are told, that Saddam Hussein will be forced to comply with the latest moving goal post and curb the excesses of his regime. Yet in the name of our regimes the ‘mass graves’ are spreading across the country – with our nations’ names on them.

“I do not know when or where this shocking episode in history will end. But I know for certain that we will never be forgiven, not alone in Iraq, but across the region and beyond. Putting out the hand of friendship and being big enough to forget about ‘losing face’, might just avert some major tragedy, the spirit of generosity is what embodies this region. Otherwise the silent crimes of the U.S.,-U.K., driven ‘U.N.’ embargo may return to haunt us too.'”

The embargo of course, ground on for a further ten years, then came the criminality of ‘Shock and Awe’ and an invasion where Iraqis can be killed, tortured, stolen from, raped, run over, bombed, blown up, imprisoned without trial, with impunity. If anyone treated a domestic or farm animal in the West, as the Iraqis have been treated for over seventeen years: denied a proper diet, medication, clean water, a safe environment, that person would end up in Court and likely in prison.

The above letter is a minute snap shot from just one visit now long ago – and it went downhill from there. Every visit saw a new crisis. Forget ‘Al Qaeda‘, ‘insurgents’, ‘dead enders’, ‘terrorist elements’, ‘bad guys’. The majority of the resistance are the child that dropped the egg within the man and his generation of childhoodless, traumatized children, who survived the internationally sponsored genocide. ‘No child left behind’? In Iraq every child has been left behind, discarded year after year, by the ‘international community’.

Felicity Arbuthnot is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Felicity Arbuthnot

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“Multinationals on Trial” Review of James Petras & Henry Veltmeyer by Stephen Lendman

Dandelion Salad

by Stephen Lendman
Global Research, November 28, 2007

James Petras is Binghamton University, New York Professor Emeritus of Sociology whose credentials and achievements are long and impressive. He’s a noted academic figure on the left and a well-respected Latin American expert. He’s also a prolific author of hundreds of articles and 64 books including his latest one titled “Multinationals on Trial: Foreign Investment Matters,” co-authored with Henry Veltmeyer, and subject of this review.

Henry Veltmeyer has collaborated with Petras before on previous books. They include “Globalization Unmasked,” “Social Movements and State Power,” “A System in Crisis” and others. He’s Professor of Sociology and International Development Studies at Saint Mary’s University, Canada and Universidad Autonoma de Zacatecas, Mexico. He’s also Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Journal of International Development Studies and, like Petras, is a prolific author of many books and articles focused mainly on Latin American issues, globalized trade, alternative models and approaches and progressive social movements.

“Multinationals on Trial” deals with a core issue of our time – the economic power of giant corporations, their dominant role as agents and partners of imperialism, and the way they plunder developing nations. The book is a powerful indictment of unfettered “free market” capitalism and how foreign direct investment (FDI) is its main exploitive tool. Below is a detailed review of its compelling contents.

The authors state upfront how controversial corporate giants are, especially with regard to their “type of capital,” how they use it operationally, and “the conditions associated with it.” Specifically, the book deals with foreign direct investment (FDI) and debunks the following commonly held notions:

— that it’s “indispensable” to accessing essential financial resources;

— that it brings with it “collateral benefits” like “technology transfers” and job creation; and

— that overall it’s a “catalyst of development” and thus an “indispensable” vehicle of growth and way for developing nations to integrate into the “new world economic order.”

Rather than aiding these nations, the authors call FDI “a mechanism for empire-centred capital accumulation, a powerful lever for political control and for reordering the world economy.” They offer an alternative approach in the final chapter, free from FDI imperial bondage.

Chapter 1 – Empire and Imperialism

The oldest empires go back centuries before the better known ones in ancient Rome, Persia and the one Alexander the Great built, but the authors deal only with the modern post-WW II era dominated by the US. Imperial Britain was shattered, colonialism was unraveling, Soviet Russia was devastated, and America stood alone as the world’s preeminent economic, political and military superpower with every intention to keep it that way.

It did so going back to when US delegates dominated the Bretton Woods, NH UN Monetary and Financial Conference to establish a postwar international monetary system of convertible currencies, fixed exchange rates, free trade, the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency linked to gold, and those of other nations fixed to the dollar. In addition, an institutional framework was designed to establish a market-based capital accumulation process that would ensure (post-war) that newly liberated colonial nations would pursue capitalist economic development beneficial to the victorious imperial powers that would soon include the Axis ones as well.

Post-war, the “US foreign policy establishment” began an unending debate on how America could stay preeminent and solidify its dominance. It began with NATO, OECD and other formal alliances with our western European partners that were “built on the foundation of the transnational corporation (as the) economic ‘shock-troops’ of the system.” Tactics varied along the way, but the goals remained unchanged – “to enhance US hegemony and its domination of the new world order.” This requires having supportive allies and the US public willing to go along with overseas adventurism like the Bush administration’s foreign wars that became overreach and “a major impediment to empire building.”

The authors state that wherever imperial power is projected in any form it generates diverse resistance in “every ‘popular’ sector of ‘civil society.’ ” They also stress that its “omnipresence” can be a weakness, not a strength, and may lead to its impotence. This is the condition of America today under the Bush administration. Its plan for imperial dominance is in tatters, or as the authors put it, “wishful thinking or imperial hubris.” It failed in the Middle East, Central Asia, Venezuela and may be unraveling in Pakistan under Musharraf’s dictatorship. The country is a rogue nuclear state in unresolved turmoil that has a lot to do with deep social unrest and a very unpopular US alliance in the “war on terror.”

Nonetheless, the US remains strong and resilient, and today’s defeats don’t spell its demise or even signal retrenchment. With its power and resources, it can blunder often as it has in the past, then rebound, and again go on the attack as its doing in Somalia, continues against Cuba, and against Hugo Chavez in Venezuela as it seeks a way to oust its Latin American nemesis despite past failed efforts.

So despite setbacks, America’s imperial agenda persists, and here’s how it functions:

— through “unequal” bilateral and multilateral trade and other agreements;

— with lots of help from willing “outside collaborators and subsidized clients;”

— through a “divide and conquer” strategy that worked in Yugoslavia, did at first in Afghanistan (under tribal warlords) and apparently is the scheme in Iraq with the Kurdish North already separate;

— – political destabilization, assassinations or coup d’etats to remove opposition regimes and install compliant ones; and

— proxy or direct war as a last resort when others fail to accomplish regime change; but even conquest doesn’t guarantee success as Iraq and Afghanistan prove; resistance builds, military costs mount, public support wanes, allies withdraw support and the whole effort may fail but not deter new ones at other times in other places.

Chapter 2 – Imperialisms, Old and New

The authors note that capital accumulation is the “fundamental driving force of economic growth,” has been for over 100 years, and occurred in six phases:

— capitalist industrialization in the 19th century up to around 1870;

— the fusion of industrial and finance capital and emergence of monopolies and territorial divisions among imperial powers (the US, Europe and Japan) up to 1914;

— imperial war, depression, Fordism-type mass production, “taming of capitalism” social reform and defeat of fascism to 1945;

— the “golden age” of capitalist high growth, decolonization, nation-building and state-led “international development to 1973;”

— transitional crisis and restructuring in the 1970s; and

— the age of Washington Consensus neoliberalism, globalized trade, free market “reforms” and “neoimperialism” to the present.

The authors note that incomes across the world converged somewhat during the “golden age of capitalism” post-WW II up to 1970 after which things changed. Now after a generation under Washington Consensus neoliberalism, no such convergence exists and the Global North-South disparity keeps widening to the detriment of developing nations. North-based corporate giants have grown so huge and dominant that the largest of them represent half or more of the world’s 100 largest economies. In addition, multinational corporations (MNCs) “as a global entity” account for over 90% of world trade with 30 – 40% of it being intra-firm. The authors argue that these institutions operate as “functional units and an agency of economic imperialism.”

Post-WW II, the US alone held the “commanding heights” of the world economy. Compared to today, the authors cite statistics that are staggering. With 6% of world population, the US had over 59% of its developed reserves. It generated 46% of its electricity, 38% of its production, and it held half or more of world gold and currency reserves. Twenty-five years later all that changed, and by 1971 a dwindling supply of gold and growing trade deficit got Richard Nixon to close the gold window, abandon the Bretton Woods system, and let the US dollar float freely in world markets. Ever since, the greenback has been faith-based with no intrinsic value and no longer “good as gold.” Since it’s uncollateralized paper or fiat currency, it’s strong when it’s in demand but weak, like today, when it’s out of favor.

During the troubled 1970s, the US manipulated exchange and interest rates to improve its export position, and in the Reagan era began a generational assault on labor that ended the long-standing practice of industry sharing productivity gains with its workers. Corporations also began relocating labor-intensive production abroad to low wage countries that in the 1980s “became a cornerstone of a new global economy.” With it came foreign direct investment (FDI) with the rest of the book focusing on its harmful effects.

The authors point out that in 1970 a “triadic structure” (in the US, Europe and Japan) characterized the world economy. However, after two decades of restructuring, a different picture emerged with China and a group of newly industrialized countries in Southeast Asia becoming the most dynamic center of world growth with the US struggling to hang on to its economic dominance even while its major corporations continue to prosper because they operate worldwide.

A critical corporate issue is productivity growth and how to overcome its pronounced sluggishness. Solutions used embrace “technological conversion” that includes new production, communication and transportation technologies. It also involves an assault on labor that caused a sharp reduction in its share of national income (10% alone from 1974 – 1983). It means loss of jobs as well because businesses downsize and shift operations abroad to low wage markets where workers are usually unorganized and more easily repressed.

The authors point out that by the 1980s “a new international division of labour and a global production system were in place” in what emerged as a “new world order” of global capitalism. New governance rules were established that were embodied in the 1994-formed World Trade Organization (WTO). By 1990, Washington Consensus neoliberalism became the “new imperialism” with big demands that developing states privatize public assets, deregulate their markets and open them to allow free trade and financial flows.

Under this system, MNCs are the world capitalist system’s “basic operating unit” and “key agents of US imperialism” that all too often involves the projection of military power in the form of war. Their success and profitability are vital to a healthy economy and a thriving imperial project. The authors explain that the “US state identifies the interests of corporate capital with the ‘national interest,’ ” and it freely commits the state’s resources on its behalf for that dual benefit.

Chapter 3 – Foreign Investment at Work

Until the 1980s, MNCs were constrained under host country rules. But the “new economic model” freed them to move almost at will as developing nations began opening their markets, deregulating them, and welcoming MNCs for the perceived benefits their capital and technological expertise could provide. The authors explained the process and what happened under it.

They began by noting capital flows are public and private. The former is between governments in the form of “foreign aid” gifts or most often loans from the US-dominated IMF, World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank that come with unpleasant strings. The private kind consists of three main types: foreign bank lending from commercial banks or international lending agencies, portfolio investment (PI) financial instrument purchases like stocks and bonds, and foreign direct investment (FDI) that itself comes in two forms.

FDI involves the purchase of at least 10% of a foreign business enterprise’s assets. “Greenfield” FDI involves the creation of a new facility like a factory while the “Brownfield” type buys assets of existing firms through mergers or acquisitions. In Latin America in the 1990s, over half of FDI was the latter kind.

The subject of debt financing is then discussed with the authors noting at reasonable levels it’s vital for enhancing growth. But not to excess that got developing countries in trouble for the past three decades. Even in the 1980s, it became clear that debt levels were so high in Latin America they made economic growth impossible. They also caused a debt crisis by mid-decade that especially affected Argentina, Brazil and Mexico.

The Global North thus needed Plan B to reduce the debt bomb to manageable proportions, avoid default and allow troubled countries to maintain their payment obligations. One measure taken was the so-called “Brady Plan,” named for Ronald Reagan and GHW Bush’s Treasury Secretary, Nicholas Brady. The scheme was to forgive a small part of the debt and convert the rest into Brady IOU Bonds repayable in the long term to make the burden less onerous. It worked as no heavily indebted nation defaulted, but they had to adopt fiscal discipline to do it: structural adjustment privatizations, cuts in social spending, deregulation and more. These nations also suffered zero economic growth, a sharp reduction of living standards for its working people and producers, increased social inequity and greater unemployment and poverty.

Along with burdensome debt levels, FDI has also been a repressive instrument, especially in Latin America with its investment-friendly climate. The amount of it (as well as PI) was small until the 1990s but then grew dramatically as part of a shift from debt to equity financing with the largest portion of it going to large developing countries like Brazil, Argentina and Mexico and to the eight largest ones in the world overall getting 84% of it, according to World Bank figures. China got the most attracting 22% of all FDI since 1989 while Sub-Saharan Africa got nothing except for South Africa. Post-2004, manufacturing in China, India and Mexico got the largest FDI amounts, but natural resources and especially energy are also important, and a trend toward investing in services (especially telecommunications) is growing as well.

Latin America became the most favored destination for FDI inflows in the 1990s that hit their peak in the 1997 – 2001 period because friendly regimes like Cardoso’s Brazil “bent over backwards” to accomodate it, mostly through merger and acquisition privatizations. The authors review facts they call “startling” and show how the “imperial-centered neoliberal model has led to the long term, large-scale pillage of every country in Latin America.” In dollar terms, it amounted to $585 billion in interest payments and profits remitted mostly to US-based MNCs. More revenue was gotten from royalty payments, shipping, insurance, other fees plus billions of illegal monetary transfers by Latin American elites to offshore accounts.

This explains the sluggish regional growth in the 1990s – 3% a year, then 0.3% in 2001 and 0.9% in 2002. It’s because of exploitive resource transfers and capital flows large enough to have made Latin America “one of the economic pillars of the US empire.” Some of the transfers are hidden, and the authors put them in two categories:

— one-way neoliberal structured international trade with open Latin American markets for US exports and reciprocal controlled ones in the US; the formula the authors describe is to export capital to the region in the form of FDI and import raw materials in return.

— structured capital-labor relations with workers very much on the short end; the authors note how the “organization and export of labour” is used to pillage a country’s resources and transfer them north; they cite one 2003 study estimating the net gain for the US and corresponding loss to Mexico of about $29 billion a year because of migration – indirectly through repatriated maquillardora profits and directly through exported farm labor and educated Mexicans who represent 40% of the nation’s migrants benefitting the US at Mexico’s expense.

Chapter 4 – The Social Dimension of Foreign Investment

The authors cite the justification “development economists” give for keeping labor’s share of national income low. They claim it’s because economic growth depends on capital accumulation, and households have a “low capacity to save and invest” since they spend all they get. The rich, in contrast, have a high propensity to save and invest so the more income they have the greater the economic benefit. In the 1970s and 80s, this kind of reasoning led to a class war between capital and labor with wages in the US losing 10% of their value from 1974 to 1984 and in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa even more – 40% in Chile and Mexico and 50% in many other countries.

Then consider economic growth under the neoliberal economic model centered around FDI. It promised prosperity but delivered failure. After 20 years at the end of the 1990s, average per capita growth overall was cut in half from the earlier period of “state-led development.” It was reduced to 1.5% from 3% in industrialized countries and in developing ones (excluding China and India) to 1.2% from 3.5%. For the poorest countries, it was even worse going from 1.9% to a negative 0.5% per year. The only exceptions were a group of eight Asian “rapidly growing countries” whose governments followed a policy of state intervention outside the neoliberal model and proved their way works best.

The authors cite data to show, aside from China and India, that the “neoliberal era of globalizing capital and neoimperialism” led to rising worldwide income inequality between richer and poorer countries and between higher and lower income classes within countries. They explained that “Of the countries with the highest indices of poverty, social exclusion, and income inequality 41 are in Africa; 10 in Asia; and six in the Americas,” and per capital income in all developing regions (except South and East Asia) declined compared to industrialized OECD states. During the two decade neoliberal period, inequality between rich and poor nations nearly doubled. It proves how false the notion is that unfettered free market forces create a “trickle down” effect to the poor that lets them benefit from economic growth. Just the opposite happened and it continues.

The authors show how the “magnitude of the global income divide and associated problems is staggering” with the richest population quintile consuming 86% of all products and services and the poorest one only 1.3%. And the social inequality fallout is even worse – high unemployment, desperate poverty, malnutrition, untreated illnesses and low life expectancy with hundreds of thousands of needless daily children’s deaths. And yet economists at the IMF and World Bank continue to tout the benefits of neoliberal “structural reforms” in spite of clear evidence they fail. In the pre-neoliberal 1950s, 60s and 70s, income inequality decreased overall but has increased in most countries since then. Again, the culprits are privatization, financial “liberalization,” deregulation and downsizing with governments exploiting working people for capital.

Take Mexico, for example. It has 11 billionaires with combined incomes exceeding the total for the country’s 40 million poorest. But the same thing is true everywhere with developing nations faring the worst. It affects 2.5 billion people in the world who are unable to meet their basic needs of food, shelter, clothing and medical care let alone education, clean water, adequate sanitation and other goods and services people in the West consider essential and take for granted.

Using Latin America as an example, the authors show how capitalists in the region sustained their profits by exploiting ordinary workers. During the neoliberal period, labor’s share of national income was cut from 40% to less than 20%. Even today in countries like Venezuela (with all its social gains under Hugo Chavez since 1999) and Argentina, worker wages are still below their 1970 levels. It’s because of market deregulation that give employers arbitrary power to fire workers, cut wages and hire temporary and casual labor. It’s gotten bad enough to hit the middle class as well and cause a rising level of urban poor. A “new urban poor” has emerged who aren’t simply “rural migrants” but include “socially excluded and downwardly mobile workers and the lower middle class (who’ve been fired) and have found (other) employment in the burgeoning (lower-paying, less secure) informal sector.”

These people, the unemployed and “rural-to-urban migrants” constitute a reserve army of labor that keeps wages in the formal sector down and workers’ bargaining power weak. Then there’s the notion of “social exclusion” reflecting the condition of the poor with the authors identifying its six “major pillars:”

— social production dispossession showing up in landlessness and rural outmigration;

— no access to urban and rural markets or for wage employment;

— no access to “good quality” employment;

— reduced access to government social services;

— no access to adequate income; and

— no political power.

In contrast, 15 – 20% of Latin Americans enjoy a “First World” lifestyle with the authors citing their array of luxuries that are unimaginable to the poor and most middle income earners. And whatever the economic condition, they benefit from the imperial system regardless because neoliberalism works by taking from the exploited many and giving generously to the privileged few. Put another way, it’s a hugely out of balance give and take, and it was set up that way despite its proponents denial.

The authors review the period when the World Bank discovered poverty and carried on its kind of three-decade war against it that was the equivalent of fighting fire by throwing fuel on it. Readers know the drill by now – governments getting out of the way and promoting unfettered free market policies, pro-growth, structural adjustments and the rest of the package favoring capital over people on the nonsensical claim they’ll benefit eventually. By now Latin Americans know “manana” never comes, and even some World Bank economists like Joseph Stiglitz figured it out.

The authors sum up three decades of World Bank efforts saying we’re “where we were in the 1970s and in a number of ways further back,” especially with regard to greater poverty that’s now hitting the middle class. Based on incontrovertible evidence, social inequality and poverty at the end of the 1990s stem from the “pro-growth, pro-poor” World Bank “imperialist policies” and the FDI regime along with deregulated, unfettered markets giving capital free reign to pillage for profit. But there’s hope in the form of resistance with the authors stating “capitalist development in its neoliberal form is clearly on its last legs.” For the poor of the world, it can’t come soon enough.

Chapter 5 – Policy Dynamics of Foreign Investment

Here the authors examine the record of FDI since 1980 when markets were deregulated and capital flows were “liberated from control.” Again they cite the notion that economic growth depends on the accumulation of capital, developing countries are deficient in it, and private multinational commercial and investment banks and MNCs will ride to the rescue with FDI. And while capital fuels growth, international trade is “one of its driving forces.” Two models are considered. One gives the state an active role, and it worked during the 1940 – 1970 “golden age of capitalism” period. That’s when “international development” meant per capita economic growth based on “industrialization, modernization and capitalist development.”

That period came to an end in the troubled 1970s, and a “counter-revolution in development thinking and practice” took over. The scheme that became neoliberalism turned capital towards exports and induced governments to cut social benefits to raise levels of savings, productivity, profits and productive investments.

World Bank economists were tasked to create the new model that became its Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) with eight major components:

— devalued currencies for stability;

— privatizations;

— capital market and trade “liberalization” meaning unfettered free market capitalism;

— deregulation;

— labor market “reform” meaning lower wages and loss of worker rights;

— downsizing;

— decentralizing policy formulation and decision-making; and

— a free market for capital, goods and services meaning all benefits accrue to the Global North by pillaging developing nations.

Former World Bank economist and neoliberal critic, Joseph Stiglitz, called this package the “steps to hell” two years after he resigned his position in 2000. All the evidence to date proves it with the authors stating “the neoliberal model of capitalist development (is) unsustainable, (it’s) both dysfunctional and politically destabilizing.” Confirming data and examples are cited throughout the book, but in this chapter Mexico is featured in great detail from 1980 – 2005. It’s covered under four presidents with each in his own way outdoing or at least matching the excesses of his predecessor with the people of Mexico the poorer for it.

This review can only touch on that period briefly beginning with Miguel De La Madrid (1982 – 1988) who was the first to begin reversing a state-led approach to relieve the “debt crisis” stemming from the 1976 – 1982 period of over-borrowing. It was IMF to the rescue with its usual package of “reform” measures to “liberalize” capital, encourage exports, deregulate markets, devalue the currency, and demand fiscal discipline and privatizations. De La Madrid obliged.

Next came Carlos Salinas de Gortari (1988 – 1994) who introduced a second round of structural reforms. It included over 1000 more privatizations that sold off the most important state enterprises like the banks and state telephone company, TELMEX. The international financial community loved him, but his term ended in tatters when the economy crashed in 1994.

Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon (1994 – 2000) inherited the mess that broke out right after he took office. With help from a $52 billion US bailout, he responded with a “stabilization program” that included deep social spending cuts and a 43% peso devaluation that caused inflation to rise 52%, thousands of businesses to close, real wages to drop 25%, and two million people to lose jobs. Zedillo was also Mexico’s first president under NAFTA that went into effect January 1, 1994. And he continued neoliberal “reforms” and even exceeded his predecessor’s commitment to global capitalism.

So did Vincente Fox Quesdad (2000 – 2006) in his zeal to live up to his PAN party’s rightest agenda compared to the more centrist PRI during its continuous 72 year rule. The PAN under Fox practiced fiscal conservatism and free market economics that maintained the neoliberal agenda of his predecessors even in the face of widespread opposition that constrained him from going further. The authors state that the Fox era “brought an end to a cycle of neoliberal policies.” His administration failed to achieve sustainable growth and showed “the neoliberal model is economically dysfuntional and has exhausted its economic limits.”

Chapter 6 – Foreign Investment and the State

The authors’ dominant theme is how harmful FDI is to developing nations even as it pretends to be beneficial. Most of it is also “subsidized and risk-free” to investors, and “relies on securing monopoly profits (by buying) state enterprises (on favorable terms) and control(ing)….strategic markets.” Much or most of it provides no new productive investment recipient countries need to grow, prosper and help their people.

The authors rightfully describe the process as pillage. State-owned assets are transferred to private hands, and revenues that once went to national treasuries now go to corporate coffers. Further, deals are justified on the false claim they increase competition. False. All they do is put existing enterprises under new management, and in the case of “natural monopolies” like public utilities, it allows private owners to hike prices substantially and price the country’s poor out of the market, but that’s just for starters.

Foreign investors make big demands, and host countries oblige – tax deferrals and exemptions, direct subsidies, infrastructure development, free or low cost land, deregulation, assumption of “transition” costs of the inevitable downsizing that follows, legal security protection through bilateral investment treaties (BITs), labor training, and more. Other schemes are in the form of Trade Related Investment Measures (TRIMs) and Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs). And when nations balk during WTO trade talks, like in the faltering Doha Round, they’re pressured to come around through bilateral deals with neighboring states.

With this kind of advantaging, local enterprises don’t stand a chance, especially small ones. They nearly always lose and end up being bought, becoming a satellite supplier, or going bankrupt. Labor also loses out. Wages are frozen or cut, benefits slashed or ended, job protection ends, working conditions deteriorate, unions weakened, and inequality grows as the wealth gap widens substantially. In short, FDI works one-way – all for capital at the expense of developing economies and its workers. An alternative development strategy is needed, and it’s readily available to states willing to buck the system, withstand the pressure to conform, and go another way.

Chapter 7 – Anti-Imperialism and Foreign Investment.

Here, the authors first identify the myths about foreign investment that are needed to sell this snake oil to developing states. Seven of them are briefly listed below:

— Economic growth depends on FDI; false; in fact, FDI is attracted by economic growth;

— FDI creates productive, competitive new enterprises; false; it mostly buys existing ones, transfers little new technology, does little or no new research, and crowds out local enterprises;

— FDI provides links and access to foreign markets; false; it’s often used to buy natural resources for export and to repatriate profits and eliminate jobs;

— FDI provides tax revenues and hard currency earnings; false; revenues are repatriated, tax fraud abounds, and the impact on the balance of payments is negative;

— Good financial standing and integrity of the system depends on maintaining debt payments; false; much past debt is odious and servicing it harms local economies and in the case of Argentina led to an economic collapse in 2001;

— Developing nations need FDI for development for lack of local sources; false; most FDI is national savings borrowing to buy local enterprises; it doesn’t inject new capital into economies; and

— FDI provides an anchor for new investment; false again; the opposite is true as investors freely relocate to lower-wage countries creating a boom and bust environment when they arrive. Bottom line – FDI is poison unless used moderately and is tightly controlled.

The authors present arguments for and against FDI with the latter only considered below:

— FDI strips states of their ability to control “investment decisions, pricing, production and future growth;”

— FDI results in long-term capital outflows repatriated to corporate coffers;

— FDI results in “unbalanced and overly specialized production,” especially in commodity areas;

— Tax, subsidy and other concessions to FDI deprive developing states of needed revenues;

— FDI most often only puts existing enterprises under new management; it seldom creates new ones;

— FDI creates “enterprise enclaves,” imports technology linked to “outside production and distribution networks,” and doesn’t help local economies;

— FDI often controls local banking that lets it “shape state credit and interest policy” and decide what industry sectors to favor and at what cost; and

— With investors attracted to extractive industries and freed from regulatory constraints, environmental devastation results.

In sum – FDI endangers “national independence, popular sovereignty, and severely compromis(es)” developing states’ ability to control their destiny and represent all their people. It’s a “risky, costly and limiting (one-way) strategy.” Developing nations need to minimize it because of its harmful economic, social and political costs.

Chapter 8 – Anti-Imperialist Regime Dynamics

Contrary to Margaret Thatcher’s TINA dictum (there is no alternative), many others are better and the authors list them:

— Reinvestment of profits into local production to stimulate a “multiplier” effect and increase local consumption;

— Control foreign trade to retain foreign exchange earnings;

— Invest pension funds in productive activities;

— Create development banks for overseas workers’ remittances home so funds can be used productively;

— Place a moratorium on debt payments to stop servicing the odious portion of it:

— Recover stolen treasury funds and property;

— Recover unpaid taxes;

— Establish land taxes and expropriate or buy underutilized land to be used for agrarian reform and greater agricultural productivity;

— Liquidate overseas investments and reinvest them locally; and

— Maximize employment and reduce underemployment.

In cases where a country’s taxable resources and overseas earnings are limited, FDI can help if used moderately and constrained. Ways to do it include maximizing “strategic national ownership and control” and relying on short-term deals that include training workers and contracting with skilled advisers for whatever technical help is needed.

One successful model reviewed is WEPC – Worker-Engineer Public Control or worker-managed enterprises (WMEs). Salvador Allende used them in over 100 factories in Chile while he was in office. They attained greater productivity, higher worker motivation and achieved significant social, health and working conditions improvements while they remained in place. WEPCs aren’t problem-free, however, and the main one is they’re targeted by imperial states for destruction because their policies aren’t corporate friendly. Nonetheless, their advantages greatly outweigh the negatives. They include:

— Minimizing tax evasion to increase state revenues;

— Social investment in lieu of repatriated profits;

— Avoidance of capital flight;

— Emphasizing long-term R & D over speculative investment;

— Social welfare and betterment over savage capitalism; and

— Fixed capital and upwardly mobile labor over mobile capital and fixed labor.

The authors persuasively show that FDI is a cancer. Once established, it spreads like a virus, “corrupt(ing) local officials, brib(ing) regulators (and) present(ing) a different ‘role model’ for state executives – one attuned to luxury living, big salaries, privileges, and, above all” a neoliberal ideological commitment. Another way is possible and vital to the health, welfare and growth of developing nations. It “puts the worker-engineer public sector-led model at the centre of development,” and empirical evidence shows it works.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.,

Also visit his blog site at www.sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Steve Lendman News and Information Hour on www.TheMicroEffect.com Mondays at noon US Central time.

Stephen Lendman is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Stephen Lendman
The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2007
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7463

Al Jazeera: Annapolis: Middle East peace deal (videos)

Dandelion Salad

AlJazeeraEnglish

Inside Story

Diplomats from Arab leagues and nations descend on America’s city for peace deal.

see

Annapolis Statement: “Palestinian Bantustan” by Francis A. Boyle

Bush at the Middle East Peace Summit (videos; updated)

Separate but unequal in Palestine: The road to apartheid by Mohammed Khatib

Annapolis Statement: “Palestinian Bantustan” by Francis A. Boyle

Dandelion Salad

by Francis A. Boyle
Global Research, November 28, 2007

The mass mobilization against Annapolis by Palestinian civil society around the world and especially in occupied Palestine prevented the Palestinian Delegation from selling out the rights of the Palestinian People under international law to Israel and the United States as some of these same delegates had previously done during the Oslo, Norway negotiations of 1993.

For once Palestinian People Power triumphed over Israeli/American power politics. But the Palestinians and their supporters must remain ever-vigilant against a permanent sell-out as these so-called “final status” negotiations unfold during the next year.

Based upon the Oslo Agreement, the “final status” contemplated by Israel and the United States is a Palestinian Bantustan. To be sure, the Palestinians must expect no meaningful assistance from those quisling governments and organizations that dignified the Annapolis photo-op with their presence.

Professor Francis A. Boyle served as Legal Advisor to the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East Peace Negotiations and its Chair, Dr. Haidar Abdul Shaffi from 1991 to 1993 and is the author of “Palestine, Palestinians and International Law” (Clarity Press: 2004)


Francis A. Boyle is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Francis A. Boyle

© Copyright Francis A. Boyle, Global Research, 2007

The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7466

see

Bush at the Middle East Peace Summit (videos; updated)

Rabbi Weiss, Outside Annapolis Peace Confab, Rips Zionism (video)

Separate but unequal in Palestine: The road to apartheid by Mohammed Khatib

Not Through Annapolis: Chomsky Says Path to Mideast Peace Lies in Popular Organizing Against U.S.-Israeli “Rejectionism” (link)

The Dreary Charade at Annapolis By Eric Margolis

Israeli-Palestinian Middle East “Peace Process”: Tragedy and Travesty at Annapolis by Stephen Lendman

Everything You Need to Know About Annapolis Peace Conference

Article I: Initiation & Continuation of Illegal War + Article II: Closing Witness, Bruce Fein (videos; impeachment)

Dandelion Salad

Putting Impeachment Center Stage

by Justin Hudnall
Huffington Post
November 26, 2007

“They Took It Off The Table, So We Put It On The Stage.”

On that defiant note, The Culture Project of New York has enlisted the help of Naomi Wolf, Lynn and Corin Redgrave, Lewis Lapham, Elizabeth de la Vega and dozens more scholars, artists, and activists to launch “A Question of Impeachment,” promoted as:

An ambitious and unique new series gathering today’s most brilliant and visionary minds to explore and debate the case for the impeachment of President George Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney.

“A Question of Impeachment,” is a 5-week series, continuing Sundays and Mondays through Sunday, December 16, 2007.

Visit The Culture Project here.

h/t: Ratman

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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cultureproject

Article I: Initiation & Continuation of Illegal War (Part 4)

Deposition: Opening Statement, Elizabeth de la Vega

Culture Project brings crucial and timely concerns to the fore once again with a new, unique series that gathers some of the most brilliant and visionary minds of our time to explore and debate the case for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

Nov. 20, 2007

Article II (part 8): Closing Witness, Bruce Fein

Article II: Torture and Extraordinary Rendition
Closing Witness — Bruce Fein
Lawyer — Michael Ratner
00:05:38

A Question of Impeachment
Culture Project brings crucial and timely concerns to the fore once again with a new, unique series that gathers some of the most brilliant and visionary minds of our time to explore and debate the case for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

November 26, 2007

More videos: cultureproject