Ottawa Turns Off Tap On Right To Water

Dandelion Salad

By Maude Barlow
ICH
03/23/08 “The Star

“The Canadian government is at it again.”

That was the opening line in an urgent email we received this week from an international NGO working to promote the right to water at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The Centre on Housing Rights and Eviction (COHRE) had just participated in a session where the Canadian government had undermined a key resolution tabled by Germany and Spain at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva on March 10 that calls for water and sanitation to be recognized as a human right.

The resolution, which will be voted on within the week, is currently being debated at the UNHRC session in Geneva that ends on March 28. Canada has presented numerous objections that have been echoed by the United States.

As it stands, Canada and the United States are the only two countries to go on record at the United Nations to oppose the right to water.

Canada is a member of the UNHRC until 2009; the United States is not an elected member but is allowed to engage under the rules of the Council.

The joint resolution promoted by Germany and Spain aims to establish a “special rapporteur” with the mandate to provide guidance on the right to water and sanitation, identify best practices, investigate country situations and promote the right internationally.

This follows a report by Louise Arbour, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, stating that “specific, dedicated and sustained attention to safe drinking water and sanitation is currently lacking at the international level” and recommending that access to safe drinking water and sanitation be recognized as a human right.

Canada is working to weaken the resolution by demanding that references to the right to water and sanitation be removed and that the scope be reduced. Canada wants the proposed position of “special rapporteur” to be downgraded to “independent expert” serving for only one year instead of the proposed three years. Canada is also opposing visits by this expert to individual countries and the granting of a mandate enabling them to clarify the content of the right to water and sanitation.

This is the third time in six years that member nations of the UN have pushed for recognition of the human right to water. On each occasion, Canada has rejected the efforts to have water recognized as a right.

At a 2002 meeting, Canada stood alone among 53 countries by voting against the appointment of a special rapporteur on water. More recently, Canada reacted negatively to an October 2006 resolution of the UN Human Rights Council to conduct a study on the right to water.

The debate occurs as communities around the world observe today’s 15th UN World Water Day.

The Liberal party defended the Harper government’s position in the media earlier this week, claiming that a right to water would make Canada vulnerable to bulk water exports. This is utterly untrue.

All transboundary water issues were explicitly excluded from the scope of the resolution. A human rights convention is between a government and its citizens. Recognition of the right to water in no way affects a country’s sovereign right to manage its own resources.

The reality is the resolution would be at odds with the North American Free Trade Agreement, which defines water as a good and an investment. The real issue is that the Liberals, like the Conservatives, refuse to reopen NAFTA to remove water. They would rather deny Canada and the world the right to water.

Recognizing water as a human right is vital to ensuring that governments address the reality of more than a billion people who are currently without access to clean water.

The fact that water is not acknowledged as a right has allowed decision-making over water policy to slip away from the UN and governments toward institutions promoting water privatization, which has harmed the environment and cut poor communities off from their water supplies around the world.

This motion by Germany and Spain presents new hope for groups who want to see an international solution to the global water crisis. Negotiations on the issue are expected to conclude this week and the Council of Canadians has responded to the call of our international allies by mobilizing thousands across the country to demand that our government reverse its position.

We will be marking World Water Day by working to promote the right to water in nearly 40 communities across the country. Sadly, our government seems determined to mark the day by denying that same right.

Maude Barlow is the chair of the Council of Canadians and author of Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water.


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.

Open Letter to John McCain by Joel S. Hirschhorn

Dandelion Salad

by Joel S. Hirschhorn
dissidentvoice.org
March 22nd, 2008

Every few days I get yet another mailing begging me for money for your campaign. There is always explicit language about my being one of your supporters. But I do not support you for president. You are an abomination, because of your support for President George W. Bush and his unjustified, immoral and illegal Iraq war. Everyone who sees a McCain presidency as a continuation of the Bush administration is totally correct.

Apparently I receive all of your solicitations and phone calls because years ago I contributed a small amount when you were running in the primary against George W. Bush. As an independent, back then I saw you as someone with integrity and honesty. That is no longer true.

Your unabashed support for Bush’s war and your public actions showing admiration for him are an insult to your military and public service career.

It is not, as you assert, that the presidential race “will be won on experience, issues and ideas, because that is what separates me from my Democrat opponents.” What really separates you from the Democratic opponents is your embarrassing, disgraceful and disgusting support of Bush and the Iraq war. You are nothing but a warmonger. You have no valid basis for being president.

Any why are so many lobbyists working for your campaign if you truly are against corporate corruption and the high costs of so much lobbying? It seems that you whole straight-talk pitch has been a clever but deceitful lie.

So stop asking me to “renew” my commitment. I never have made any commitment whatsoever to your current run for the presidency. And I deeply hope that the vast majority of Americans will reject a McBush presidency.

By the way, for every mailing I receive I take all the contents, place them in the postage-paid envelope and send them back to you, so that your campaign loses a little more money.

So perhaps you should keep sending me solicitations so that you waste more money. I especially enjoyed tearing that big photo of you and your wife into little pieces and returning them to you.

You ended your last letter to me with “Please let me hear from you soon.” Consider this my response. And for god sake, stop saying “Joel, you are part of my winning team.” Get the money you want from the idiots that support the Iraq war and think that wasting the lives of thousands of Americans has been justified or ever will be.

Joel S. Hirschhorn has a new book, Delusional Democracy: Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the Government, which supports constitutional conventions and other peaceful ways to restore American democracy. To join the pro-convention effort or discuss issues write the author: articlev@gmail.com. Read other articles by Joel, or visit Joel’s website.

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.

US cops beat the sh*t out of Tibetans (03.17.08)

Dandelion Salad

Warning

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This video may contain images depicting the reality and horror of war/violence and should only be viewed by a mature audience.

alexdech

US cops beat the shit out of Tibetans in front of the UN building, shot by a white free-Tibet warrior.

more info about what is NOW going on in Tibet, please read the blog by a Canadian tourist in Lhasa:
http://kadfly.blogspot.com/

Vodpod videos no longer available. from www.youtube.com posted with vodpod

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h/t: Mary and Colby

see

The Role of the CIA: Behind the Dalai Lama’s Holy Cloak (2007)

“Democratic Imperialism”: Tibet, China & the National Endowment for Democracy (2007)

Friendly Feudalism: The Tibet Myth by Dr. Michael Parenti (01.02.07)

BBC Pictures of Tibetans killed in uprising in Ngawa, Amdho

Steve Chao in Bora, Amdho (Gansu province) + Clash that ’sparked’ Tibet’s violent protests

War: the socialist attitude by Gwynn Thomas

Dandelion Salad

by Gwynn Thomas
March 2008 issue
The Socialist Standard

Since our formation in 1904 our response to the problem of war has clearly distinguished us from other organisations claiming descent from Marx and Engels and the early socialist pioneers.

We analyse social affairs in class terms. We approach problems in the field of economics and politics from a consideration of what we see as being the real interests of the world working class. It is our contention that there are only two classes in present day society. Firstly, the working class, who collectively produce the wealth of society and who, in order to live, have to sell their ability to work for a wage or a salary. Secondly, the capitalist class who accumulate profit through the economic exploitation of the working class.

This situation leads to an inevitable conflict of interests and the generation of social and economic problems that cannot be solved while capitalism of whatever form continues. Commodity production (production of wealth for sale with a view to profit) inevitably brings conflict over access to markets and sources of raw materials, and for the control of trade routes, and for strategic point around the globe. Attempts are made to resolve these conflicts through discussion and diplomacy. Where diplomacy fails there remains the threat of force of arms to get what is wanted. From time to time this clash of interests breaks out in armed conflict. For the Socialist Party “capitalism and war are inseparable. There can be no capitalism without conflicts of economic interest.” (SPGB: War and the Working Class. 1936. p.1)

Within a year of our founding the Party published an article putting forward our view on war. In it the author wrote:

“I do not think it will be questioned by any socialist that it is his duty to oppose the wars of the ruling class of one nation with the ruling class of another, and refuse to participate in them.” (’The curse of national prestige.’ Socialist Standard, August 1905.)

This has been our consistent view ever since. So long as the working class continue to support capitalism so long will its wars, and preparations for war, continue. Before the mass slaughter of the First World War we argued that because wars were the outcome of economic and strategic conflicts between the capitalists of the various nations any attempt to abolish war while those economic conflicts remained was bound to be futile. International meetings passing pious resolutions aimed at achieving “universal disarmament” were doomed to failure. This is what one early member wrote in December 1910 about a pre-World War I peace campaign:

“[That] the ’anti-war campaign’, as such, is, from the working class standpoint, absurd. Just as the class struggle cannot be abolished save by abolishing classes, so it is impossible for capitalist nations to get rid of the grim spectre of war, for Capitalism presupposes economic conflicts which must finally be fought out with the aid of the armed forces of the State.” (’Socialism and the anti-war campaign.’ Socialist Standard, December 1910.)

The only solution to war and the myriad other problems that face the workers of the world is to abolish capitalism and replace it with socialism. This involves democratic political action by a majority of the working class who understand the need for change and know how to bring it about.

We do not call for people to love one another (though we are not opposed to that of course) rather we appeal to the workers of this and other countries to recognise their common class interest and to organise consciously and politically to gain the political power necessary to dispossess the owning class – to strip them of their right to own the means of life – and to put in its place a system of common ownership and democratic control of the means of wealth production – socialism.

Socialism will be a classless, propertyless and moneyless world community of production directly for use without the mediation of buying and selling. Nothing else will suffice. Abolition of class ownership will result in the abolition of conflicts of interest both between the owners and the non-owners and also between competing national groups of owners organised politically into armed nation states. We can conceive of no situation in which we would give our support to either side in any of capitalism’s armed struggles.

The role of the Socialist Party in helping bring socialism about is one of agitation and education. We are an instrument to be used by a conscious working class once the need for a revolutionary social change is recognised. Because they don’t stand for socialism, we are “hostile to every other Party”, even to those which claim to have socialism as their goal.

Much of our argument with the left-wing revolves around their demands for reforms. Most radical left-wing parties say (or in the case of the Labour Party used to say) that their goal is “socialism”. However they also pursue reforms of capitalism as “stepping stones” to socialism. Any political party doing this soon find themselves saddled with the problems inevitably associated with the running of capitalism.

In an article written in the Journal of Modern History on the eve of the Second World War the historian Harry J. Marks dealt with the collapse of the German Social Democratic Party as a revolutionary party in 1914. He encapsulated and highlighted the dangers to a working class movement inherent in the pursuit of reforms. The author wrote that:

“By accepting the policy of the German Government on August 4, 1914, as fundamentally its own, the role of this enormous organisation as an independent factor in world history sank to insignificance and became no more than that of a cog to gear the labour movement into the German war machine.” (Harry J. Marks: ’Sources of Reformism in the SDP of Germany 1890-1914.’ Journal of Modern History XI (1939) p. 334.)

Our hostility therefore is no mere semantic quibble. It goes to the heart of our case against adopting the “something now” approach to problems, including the problem of war. Unlike those on the left who are choosy as to which wars they object to, we in the Socialist Party are against all of capitalism’s wars. Nor do we single out one or two aspects of war – atomic weapons, or land mines, or poison gas, or the use of child soldiers – we oppose the system that give rise to these things.

Both the established capitalist class and those intent on joining them by force of arms need these weapons to defend and advance their interests against threats from competing groups of capitalists also armed to the teeth to defend their interests. The working class on the other hand have no such interests to defend. The workers have no country. What they do have is a common interest in making the world the common heritage of all who live in it.

h/t: Socialist Standard

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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Obama’s Multiracial Coalition and the Politics of Racial Reconciliation

Dandelion Salad

by BAR Managing Editor Bruce Dixon
Wednesday, 19 March 2008

As the presidential campaign heats up, the precarious nature of Obama’s “multiracial coalition” along with the nature of the “racial reconciliation” his candidacy brings becomes more. Under the Obama version of “racial reconciliation” the opinions commonly held by most of Black America are deemed “divisive” relics of the past. Black opinion, wherever it differs from that of white corporate media is off the table. A shrewd and savvy politician, Obama is entitled to make these choices for himself, and for his own reasons. But should the voices of Black America be silenced and banished from the national discourse because they do not serve the career plans or short term interests of the Obama campaign? Just what shots does Black America call in this reconciliation, and what benefits do African Americans receive in this “multiracial coalition”?

Obama’s “Multiracial Coalition” and the Politics of “Racial Reconciliation”

by BAR Managing Editor Bruce Dixon

“We took this country (from Native Americans) by terror…”

“We bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We nuked far more than the numbers killed in New York and the Pentagon and we never batted an eye…”

“We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and the black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas has been brought back to our own front yards? America’s chickens are coming home to roost…”

These and similar statements by Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, the long time pastor of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ are not even particularly controversial in the Black community. They are, as the University of Chicago’s Michael Dawson affirms well within the mainstream of Black opinion, and can be heard on street corners, barber shops, churches and around dinner tables all the time. The fact is, most African Americans agree with Rev. Wright.

But the common and ordinary wisdom of Black America is inadmissible in mainstream US discourse. In the reality-defying bubble of US corporate media, one must never speak of the genocide and dispossession of Native Americans as “terror”. Comparing the atomic bombings of hundreds of thousands of civilians in World War 2, the snuffing out of two million Vietnamese lives in the sixties and seventies or one million plus Iraqis and counting in the current war is, in mainstream media, strictly off-limits. And any suggestion that US imperial policies in the Middle East, Africa or elsewhere might provoke justified resistance or understandable retaliation is deemed beyond-the-pale anti-American hate speech.

The foundation of Barack Obama’s electoral strategy is reliance upon a base of voters in black America motivated by a nationalistic desire to see one of their own in the White House, no matter what his beliefs. Thus the black vote, ordinarily the most dependably left wing bloc in the US can be safely and permanently taken for granted, leaving Obama free to move rightward, doing and saying whatever it takes to win white votes and corporate favor. Barack Obama is therefore the establishment’s dream black candidate, almost entirely free of obligation to African Americans and our historic agenda, but getting our votes anyway.

…continued

h/t: Cem Ertür

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

God Damn America – The Fear of a Mortal Empire by Manila Ryce (video)

Obama’s Minister Committed “Treason” But When My Father Said the Same Thing He Was a Republican Hero

Barack Obama’s pastor Wright’s Sermon (video)

Hope, Change, and Pissing in the Wind By Patrice Greanville & Jason Miller

Obama on Race in America + A More Perfect Union (videos + transcript)

Give the Candidates the MLK Test by Glen Ford

The Bombing of Nagasaki August 9, 1945: The Untold Story By Gary G. Kohls

Obama-Barack