A crucial argument for the incessantly promoted idea that capitalism will be with us for a long time to come is the idea of inertia in human understanding. Ideas are stubbornly persistent and can only be changed over long periods of time. Slow evolutionary change is the best we can hope for, and the prospects even for that are uncertain and fragile.
Last year, when the Bolivian people fought back against brutal repression to force out the coup regime that the U.S. empire installed in 2019, the imperialists quietly went into panic mode. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo looked visibly discouraged at the news that the Movement for Socialism (MAS) Party’s Luis Arce was to become the country’s president. Just a year after Washington had used its terrorists to force out the previous MAS president Evo Morales, the indigenous proletarian movement had reversed the counterrevolution.
with Abby Martin
Empire Files on Feb 19, 2021
Abby Martin covers Biden’s first arms deals to major human rights abusers Chile & Egypt; another US military base in Okinawa, opposed by majority of residents, threatens unique biodiversity; militia puts US at crossroads of a new Iraq war; Ecuador’s presidential election defies US imperialism.
On 1 August, 2020, a group of civilians, in complicity with the Chilean national police force or the carabineros and right-wing hoodlums, violently attacked Mapuche community members who were on a hunger strike in front of the Municipality of Victoria, in Araucania. The attack was strategic, organized and preplanned with the occupied town halls of Ercilla and Traiguén also being attacked, Mapuche women and children being beaten and vehicles being set on fire.
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.”
“There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen.” — Vladimir Lenin
Between 1973 and 1990 scores of people were disappeared by the US supported fascist regime of Augusto Pinochet in Chile. They were incarcerated, tortured and thousands were murdered. In fact, the official total of those killed by the regime is just over 40,000. But some critics suggest it was much higher. Pinochet was able to do all of this with the blessing of the CIA who assisted him in the coup against the elected President, Salvador Allende, and in his reign of terror afterward in Chile. The painful lessons of the Pinochet years has often been obscured under neoliberal historical revisionism, but with what is currently unfolding in cities like Portland, Oregon, it is urgent to revisit them.
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.
The United States, like the other parts of the world that have been ravaged by rampant economic inequality and corporate despotism, is headed for a social breakdown. This gets more apparent every time wealth disparity is shown to be at a decades-high level, every time the military budget is expanded billions of dollars to fight endless wars, every time the country’s militarized police shoots an innocent person. Ten or twenty years from now, our society’s current form will have taken on an extreme version of itself: no real freedoms, basically no semblance of democracy, and conditions for the majority of people that are in or approaching squalor.
“We find ourselves opposed by forces that operate in the shadows, without a flag, with powerful weapons that are placed in a wide range of influential positions. We are potentially wealthy countries and yet we live a life of poverty. We go here and there, begging for credits and aid and yet we are – a paradox typical of the capitalist economic system – great exporters of capital.” — Salvador Allende, Speech to the United Nations, December 4, 1972
The United States has killed, maimed, displaced, and otherwise harmed an astonishing number of people in its 241-year record of murder and mayhem – including more than 20 million killed in 37 nations since 1945.
(Rome) I am reading for the first time the work of Chilean born writer, Roberto Bolaño. His novel, Amulet, set in a phantasmagoric Mexico City that, perhaps, also because it is Latin America’s biggest city, represents the entire crushed and tortured and imprisoned and murdered Latin America while also his characters are emblematic of the suffering and decimation of much of the best of the Latin American youth. Perhaps the author chose to highlight Mexico City, not only because of the massacre of Mexican students there in 1968, but also because he moved there as a teenager and lived there many years before moving to Spain and Barcelona where he died at 50.
Following parts one, two and three of the Global Power Project’s Group of Thirty series, this fourth and final installment focuses on a few of the G30 members who have played outsized roles both in creating and managing various financial crises, providing a window on to the ideas, institutions and individuals who help steer this powerful global group.
The Assassin of Argentina
Prior to 2008, one of the most notable examples of a highly destructive financial crisis took place in Argentina which, heavily in debt, faced a large default and was brutally punished by financial markets and the speculative assault of global finance, otherwise known as “capital flight.” Continue reading
with Noam Chomsky
democracynow on Sep 11, 2013
www.democracynow.org – In a national address from the White House Tuesday night, President Obama announced he is delaying a plan to strike Syria while pursuing a diplomatic effort from Russia for international monitors to take over and destroy Syria’s arsenal of chemical weapons. However, Obama still threatened to use force against Syria if the plan fails. We get reaction to Obama’s speech from world-renowned political dissident and linguist, MIT Professor Emeritus Noam Chomsky.
“The Russian plan is a godsend for Obama,” Chomsky says. “It saves him from what would look like a very serious defeat. He has not been able to obtain virtually any international support, and it looked as though Congress wasn’t going to support it either, which would leave him completely out on a limb. This leaves him a way out: he can maintain the threat of force, which incidentally is a crime under international law. We should bear in mind that the core principle of the United Nations charter bars the threat or use of force. So all of this is criminal to begin with, but he’ll continue with that.”