The United States has hit a dangerous threshold when a senior member of the Trump administration is warning citizens to arm themselves because “leftwing hit squads” are about to seek retribution.
The U.S. is Saving the Financial Sector, not the Economy
Before juxtaposing the U.S. and alternative responses to the coronavirus’ economic effects, I would like to step back in time to show how the pandemic has revealed a deep underlying problem. We are seeing the consequences of Western societies painting themselves into a debt corner by their creditor-oriented philosophy of law. Neoliberal anti-government (or more accurately, anti-democratic) ideology has centralized social planning and state power in “the market,” meaning specifically the financial market on Wall Street and in other financial centers.
This is shaping up to be the most ugly election in U.S. history with fiery consequences. Could the nation be heading for civil war, a century and a half after the last one?
Over the last few months I have been revisiting research I did a long time ago on fascism. Pinochet’s Chile, Sukarno’s Indonesia, Montt’s Guatemala, Hitler’s Germany and beyond. I’ve spent time poring over the accounts of the survivors, the details of the crimes, the descriptions of the torture, of the camps, of the dehumanization, the cruelty, the terror, the photos of the train cars headed to concentration camps, the mass graves, the massacres, the piles of corpses. And reading through the accounts of people who knew things were going in this direction, that something ghastly was being done to other people, yet did nothing, not even raised their voice when they had the chance.
Black Agenda Report Presents: The Left Lens on Aug 24, 2020
On this episode of The Left Lens, co-hosts, Danny Haiphong and Margaret Kimberley analyze the record of Kamala Harris and why she represents a negation of everything that the Black liberation movement and U.S. political prisoners currently fighting for freedom stand for.
In Mexico, the intensity of the Covid-19 pandemic is increasing. With more than 568,600 cases and 61,450 deaths (third largest number of Covid-19 deaths), the country is staggering under the Coronavirus pandemic. While the entire country is experiencing the impact, indigenous communities represent the hardest hit demographic. Data from Coneval, the national government’s social development agency, has shown that the Covid-19 fatality rate in Mexico’s poorest 427 municipalities is 14.1. On the other hand, the fatality rate in the country’s 54 wealthiest municipalities is 8.1, “meaning that people who live in impoverished parts of the country are almost twice as likely to die if they become sick with Covid-19 than those who live in affluent areas.”
The American ruling class says it is opposed to “big government.” It isn’t. The wealthy Few are only against what the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu called “the left hand of the state” – those parts of government that reflect the victories of past and ongoing social movements by serving the common good, regulating Big Business, and offering support, protection, inclusion and empowerment to the lower and working classes. That is the “big government” the rich and powerful don’t like. That is the big bad State they want to “starve” and “drown.”
Latin America has surpassed more than 5 million Covid-19 cases to overtake North America, with 4.8 million Covid-19 cases, as the region worst-hit by the Coronavirus pandemic. This astronomic increase in Covid-19 cases has been accompanied by a corresponding economic catastrophe of great magnitude. According to a United Nations Policy Brief entitled “The Impact of COVID-19 on Latin America and the Caribbean”, “Parts of Latin America and the Caribbean have become hotspots of the coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic, exacerbated by weak social protection, fragmented health systems and profound inequalities. COVID-19 will result in the worst recession in the region in a century, causing a 9.1% contraction in regional GDP in 2020…This could push the number of poor up by 45 million (to a total of 230 million) and the number of extremely poor by 28 million (to 96 million in total), putting them at risk of undernutrition.” The Policy Brief further states that “The sharp drop in economic activity is expected to lift the unemployment rate from 8.1% in 2019 to 13.5% in 2020. The poverty rate is expected to rise by 7.0 percentage points in 2020, to 37.2%, while extreme poverty is expected to rise by 4.5 percentage points, from 11.0% to 15.5%, which represents an increase of 28 million people.”
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.
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.”
This video may contain images depicting the reality and horror of war/violence and should only be viewed by a mature audience.
ARTE Documentary on ~ Jun 30, 2020
The ‘Operation Hotel’ revelations back in 2018 revealed that the Ecuadorian government was spying on Julian Assange, taking refuge in their London embassy at the time. But recent evidence from Spanish authorities suggests that it was in fact American intelligence that sponsored the surveillance. With the USA currently trying to extradite Assange from his London prison to be tried for the disclosure of hundreds of thousands of top-secret documents on WikiLeaks, the global Assange story, murkier than ever, is ongoing.