“It would be naive to depend on the Supreme Court to defend the rights of poor people, women, people of color, dissenters of all kinds. Those rights only come alive when citizens organize, protest, demonstrate, strike, boycott, rebel, and violate the law in order to uphold justice.” — Howard Zinn
Happy Labor Day!
“Capitalism keeps us in a state of panic. Most of us are just one medical bill away from bankruptcy. It keeps us overworked and underpaid so we don’t have time to question its dominance over our lives. It takes the fruits produced by the many and gives them to the few. Concentrated wealth means concentrated power, concentrated power means less democracy, less democracy means less freedom, and less freedom means you are reduced to a precarious life of servitude.” — The Anti-Social Socialist
with Chris Hedges
RT America on Sep 5, 2020
On the show this week, Chris Hedges talks to Steven Donziger about the reach of corporate power. Donziger battled corporate oil giant, Chevron, over environmental pollution and destruction in Ecuador and won a settlement of $9.5 billion for indigenous communities. Since then Chevron has waged a campaign against Donziger to try and destroy him economically, professionally and personally. He is on trial in federal court in New York on September 9 for contempt charges, which could send him to jail for six months.
with John Pilger
John Pilger on Aug 11, 2020
Britain’s National Health Service, the NHS, was the world’s first universal public health service. Designed to give millions of people “freedom from fear”, the NHS today is under threat of being sold off and converted to a free market model inspired by America’s disastrous health insurance system, which results in the death every year of an estimated 45,000 people. Now President Trump says the NHS is “on the table” in any future trade deal with America.
On March 11, Peru declared a 90-day national sanitary emergency to deal with the emerging coronavirus crisis. Subsequently, the country announced a total lockdown beginning from March 16. But despite implementing one of the earliest and strictest COVID-19 containment regimes in Latin America, Peru has become trapped in the turmoil of rising COVID-19 cases. With more than 400,000 cases, Peru has become the third-worst hit country in Latin America. It also has one of the highest excess death rates (count of deaths relative to a normal year)—87% more than a normal year for the period from March 16 and May 31.
Space Babies on Jul 23, 2020
Marx in the House is a series that explores gentrification and housing from a Marxist perspective. In this episode we take a look at how the rent gap is the fundamental theoretical component explaining gentrification. We look at how Ruth Glass spotted and theorized the rent gap first and how Neil Smith elaborated on it.
with Chris Hedges
RT America on Jul 25, 2020
On the show this week, Chris Hedges talks to comics journalist Joe Sacco about his new book, Paying the Land. In the book, Sacco travels to the frozen Canadian Northwest Territories to reveal the Dene people in conflict over the costs and benefits of the resource extraction industry and development.
At Cerrejon (Colombia), the largest open-pit coal mine in Latin America owned equally by BHP (Australia), Anglo American PLC (United Kingdom) and Glencore (Switzerland), the situation of the indigenous people is progressively worsening. Cerrejon Limited has informed the workers that “all the existing shifts will be unified into a single 7-day work, for three days off.” With the enforcement of the new shifts, “workers would go from working 15 to 21 days and the mine would go from 4 to 3 shifts, leaving at least 25% of the current workforce unemployed.” The new shift pattern is likely to aggravate the health of workers as long working hours increase the number of work-related pathologies. Current work shift arrangements have already led to more than “700 pathologies associated with musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular and ear diseases, among others.” As the level of work becomes more stressful, these occupational diseases will start multiplying.
Consider the scenario presented by the TV series Mr. Robot, wherein a group of hackers aims to take down the giant conglomerate E Corp-known by the head hacker Elliot Alderson as Evil Corp. To put an end to Evil Corp’s hegemonic control over finance, the hackers sabotage its ability to keep count of how much debt people owe it. When the first big digital attack happens in the show’s universe in 2015, Evil Corp is struggling, hundreds of billions of dollars have been lost, the public is protesting Evil Corp over its failures to provide for society’s needs, and the capitalist world is falling into a depression.
As Chile gets convulsed by the aggravating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the structural brutality of copper mining is being starkly outlined. At Codelco or the National Copper Corporation of Chile, approximately 3,000 workers have been infected with Coronavirus and El Teniente and Chuquicamata are the hardest hit regions with 1,044 and 636 cases, respectively. In June itself, unionized workers had reported the suspect deaths of 3 workers and had demanded a proper investigation. Codelco peacefully airbrushed these cases by saying that the workers contracted the virus from an outside area. Chile´s Federation of Copper Workers (FTC), in response to the sheer carelessness and profit-mindedness of Codelco, stated that “It is unacceptable that Codelco’s senior management tries to evade its legal responsibilities to protect … the health and safety of its workers.”
Space Babies on Jul 9, 2020
Marx in the House is a series that explores gentrification and housing from a Marxist perspective. In this episode we take a look at the movement of capital, the ridiculousness of landlords, how it’s necessary to organize and the fundamentals of capitalism and the role of the state.
In Chile, the Covid-19 pandemic is raging with an unprecedented speed. There are more than 300,000 confirmed cases with one of the highest per capita infection rates of 13,000 cases for every 1 million people. The economy is severely experiencing the repercussions of Coronavirus-caused restrictions and the historically high national unemployment rate of 11.2% is an indicator of such damage. Chileans have took to the street to protest against the malfunctioning right-wing government of the billionaire president Sebastian Pinera and the police force has responded aggressively by shooting dead a young agitator.
With the unabated march of the Covid-19 pandemic, the economic situation of Colombian coffee farmers is rapidly deteriorating. The price of Arabica coffee has reduced to an exceptionally low $0.9 per pound in June. Earlier, coffee production had fallen by 28% in April, 12% in March, 9% in February and 19% in January. Specialty coffee farmers too are experiencing difficulties in the form of shortage of experienced coffee pickers. In specialty coffee, coffee cherries are picked at the peak of ripeness. But with the absence of expert pickers, “Coffee cherries left on the tree will over-ripen or fall to the ground, effectively nullifying all the additional work put into the coffee to achieve the higher quality.” This labor shortage has been partly caused by the pandemic-necessitated closure of Colombia-Venezuela border which has significantly blocked the flow of Venezuelan migrants. 1.8 million Venezuelan migrants reside in Colombia and their contribution to Colombian coffee sector is indispensably important with nine out of ten coffee pickers in Colombia being Venezuelans.
Some thoughts on “patriotism” written on July 4
Most important thought: I’m sick and tired of this thing called “patriotism”.
The Japanese pilots who bombed Pearl Harbor were being patriotic. The German people who supported Hitler and his conquests were being patriotic, fighting for the Fatherland. All the Latin American military dictators who overthrew democratically-elected governments and routinely tortured people were being patriotic — saving their beloved country from “communism”.