Sunday, March 24, 2019

Christchurch Aftermath, Venezuela, Israel, Climate Change & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos March 17 - 24

This week's list of articles, news items, opinion pieces and videos that I see as a must if you are looking for a roundup that should be of interest to The Left Chapter readers.


This list covers the week of March 17 - 24.


1) Christchurch terror attack: ‘Politicians have blood on their hands’

Ahmed Aboushabana, Green Left Weekly

When are we going to learn that they do not care about us? They only care about their seats, their comfortable seats [in parliament].

They do not think twice about sacrificing any of us to keep these seats.

They say “We are all Muslims”?

Really?

We remember when they said they were going to fight Islam for the next 100 years. We remember their double standards; we will never forget it.

Finally, I want to thank my First Nations brothers and sisters for their usual support and solidarity. Thank you for always being there for us.

I’m sorry for not showing the same support when your people are killed in custody, when your lands are stolen and when your kids are taken away. We can do better and we will do better.

I also want to thank Will Connolly: thank you for egging that racist scumbag. You’ve done well. You are good brave man and thank you.

2) Islamophobia is practically enshrined as public policy in Australia

Jason Wilson, The Guardian 

In the period of the country’s enthusiastic participation in the War on Terror, Islam and Muslims have frequently been treated as public enemies, and hate speech against them has inexorably been normalised.

3) 'Egg Boy' to donate money raised for him towards victims of Christchurch attack

New Zealand Herald 

"Egg Boy" is going to donate most of the money raised for him towards the victims of the Christchurch mosque attacks.

4) New Zealand Suspect’s Actions Are Logical Conclusion of Calling Immigrants “Invaders”

Murtaza Hussain, The Intercept 

Tarrant’s words are both lucid and chillingly familiar. His references to immigrants as invaders find echoes in the language used by the president of the United States and far-right leaders across Europe. And that is why it would be a mistake to dismiss them as the incoherent ravings of a madman.

5) Will Trump go for Bolivia next?

Ken Livingstone, The Morning Star

With Evo Morales campaigning for re-election in Bolivia later this year, the left must raise awareness of the threat of growing US hostility.

6) Canada’s next target after Venezuela: Cuba?

Yves Engler

“First we take Caracas then we take Havana.”

7) “No War for Oil” as Thousands March Against US Intervention in Venezuela

The Real News Network

As part of an international day against US intervention in Venezuela, a mobilization in Washington, DC with speakers Daniel Ellsberg and Jill Stein emphasized that Trump is only interested in Venezuela’s resources, not in its human rights.

(Related: Puerto Rico puts the lie to America's supposed "humanitarian" concern for Venezuela's blackout

8) VENEZUELA: US IMPERIALISM IS BASED ON LIES AND THREATS

Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, Popular Resistance

We are completing what became more than a week-long peace delegation to Venezuela organized by the US Peace Council and the Committee for International Solidarity in Venezuela (COSI). The trip was complicated by American Airlines cancelling all flights in and out of the country, leaving us scrambling for ways to get there and get home. We also arrived in the midst of the attack on Venezuela’s electrical system, which caused further complications.

9) On the Ground in Venezuela vs. the Media Spectacle

Paul Cochrane, Counterpunch 

British photojournalist Alan Gignoux and Venezuelan journalist-filmmaker Carolina Graterol, both based in London, went to Venezuela for a month to shoot a documentary for a major global TV channel. They talked with journalist Paul Cochrane about the mainstream media’s portrayal of Venezuela compared to their experiences on the ground.

10) Juan Guaidó: From self-proclaimed President to sacrificial lamb

 Raúl Antonio Capote, Granma 

History is full of self-proclaimed kings, presidents and governors. Many are to be found in literature, as well, and some of these real and fictitious figures marked eras, while others end up as protagonists of some hilarious anecdote or after-dinner joke.

11) Indian Workers’ Convention in Solidarity with the people of Venezuela Against the Imperialist Aggression

WFTU

The Convention appeals to the Indian working class and the patriotic people of the country to mobilize mass of the people in support of the people of Venezuela.

12) Maduro: US Withholding $5bn of Medical Supplies in ‘Criminal’ Measure

Paul Dobson, Venezuela Analysis 

The US government is withholding US $5 billion which was meant for the purchase of medicines and raw materials used in medical production, President Nicolas Maduro claimed Wednesday.

13) US Sanctions Venezuelan Bank After Guaido Aide Accused of Leading ‘Terrorist Cell’

Ricardo Vaz, Venezuela Analysis 

The US Treasury imposed sanctions against the Venezuelan Economic and Social Development Bank (BANDES) on Friday.

14) Cuban-Venezuelan Program Returns Eyesight to 700,000 Bolivians

Telesur

Operation Miracle, the free Cuban-Venezuelan eyecare program has brought back sight to more than 700,000 Bolivians in the last 12 years.

15) OTTAWA’S INDIGENOUS POLICIES IN SHAMBLES

People's Voice 

As fallout from the SNC-Lavalin scandal spreads across the landscape, the record of Justin Trudeau’s election pledges to Indigenous peoples could affect next October’s federal campaign. Back in 2015, voter turnout on reserves across Canada jumped to 62%, up from 47% in 2011. One reason was anger among Indigenous peoples against the Harper Tory government’s Bill C-45, which removed federal protections for forests and waterways, sparking the emergence of the Idle No More movement. Trudeau’s Liberals took advantage, promising to implement a “new nation-to-nation relationship”. It has been estimated that higher Indigenous voting may have helped swing up to 22 ridings to the Liberals.

16) The Case Against Joe Biden: How the Former VP Fueled Mass Incarceration & Protected Big Banks

Democracy Now 

Speculation is growing that former Vice President Joe Biden will soon enter the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. We continue our conversation with Andrew Cockburn, Washington editor for Harper’s magazine, about what he sees as Biden’s dangerous track record, from his 1994 crime bill to his close ties with big banks. Cockburn’s latest piece is headlined “No Joe! Joe Biden’s disastrous legislative legacy.”

17) MIAMI POLICE ARREST THOUSANDS OF HOMELESS BUT LEAVE RAPES, ROBBERIES UNSOLVED

Meg O'Connor, The Advocate

In 2017, over 2,000 homeless people were arrested on charges including drinking in public and panhandling. That same year, roughly 1,400 people were arrested in Miami-Dade County for rape, murder, and robbery.

18) College admissions scandal highlights inequality of American education system

Paulina Cachero, Yahoo Lifestyle

However, as the country fixates on the gross extortion by those who have the means to provide the best academic resources and advantages that money can buy, others are using the opportunity to try and shed some light on the realities of America’s unbalanced education system — specifically, the prosecution of struggling, working-class citizens fighting for equal opportunities for their children.

19) ‘The neoliberal nightmare’ is over in Mexico, Amlo declares

The Morning Star 

The Mexican President promises ‘markets won’t replace the state’

20) This family of five lives in a laundry room, a sign of Nunavut's housing crisis

Kieran Oudshoorn, CBC

Maniapik is one of thousands of Nunavut residents struggling with inadequate housing. Nearly half of the territory's population of 38,000 people lives in overcrowded conditions, and Inuit leaders in Nunavut say unless decisive action is taken now, the territory's housing crisis will only get worse.

21) All the Ways Bernie Might Lose: A Socialist Critique of Social Democracy

Andrew Dobbs, The Hampton Institute 

There are six generally possible outcomes for this exercise, each with clear historical antecedents that demonstrate the ease with which the ruling class would blunt any electoral effort even calling itself socialist. It is crucial that DSA members remember this history and resist the well-trod path to embarrassment they are considering right now. Here are the ways history has shown a campaign like this one can be destroyed.

22) 'Military Keynesianism is Back!': Democrats and Trump Agree on Pentagon Increase, Quibble on Details

Eoin Higgins, Common Dreams 

President Donald Trump's requested military budget is another record breaker—and Democrats are countering with their own increase.

23) Lorenzo Orsetti: a modern-day partisan

Rosa Gilbert, The Morning Star


ROSA GILBERT salutes her comrade, the Italian revolutionary killed this week in the fight between Isis and Kurdish-led forces in Syria.

24) Ilhan Omar Calls US Iraq Invasion 'Illegal' on 16th Anniversary

Telesur 

On the sixteenth anniversary of the day when former President of the United States George W. Bush, and his British ally, Tony Blair, decided to invade Iraq arguing that they will turn the country into a model of democracy and spread freedom across the Middle East, Ilhan Omar, the U.S. congresswoman from Minnesota, said in a series of tweets that the George W. Bush administration's invasion of Iraq was "illegal."

25) Looking for Loopholes: On the Misuses of Lenin’s “‘Left-Wing’ Communism”

Doug Greene, Left Voice 

Lenin’s “‘Left-Wing’ Communism” is often misinterpreted to justify betrayals of revolutionary principle, here we set the record straight.

26) Quebec interns want wages, and they want them now

Savannah Stewart, Briarpatch 

Last fall, Quebec saw over 58,000 students participate in a week-long strike. From November 19 to 24, students at universities and junior colleges (CEGEPs) walked out on classes, held street marches, and formed picket lines in front of their schools to enforce strike mandates.

27) Unpaid internships hit female students harder because 'women's work' is devalued: expert

CBC Radio 

As thousands of students strike over unpaid internships in Quebec, one expert argues that the issue disproportionately affects women.

28) Winnipeg Labour Council boss stepping down after alleged 'degrading and disgusting' remarks

Austin Grabish · CBC News

The president of the Winnipeg Labour Council says she plans to resign, alleging her male colleagues in the labour movement bullied her, made sexist remarks and pressured her to quit.

29) The Sudanese uprising further escalated since December


ICP

In Sudan, the mass protest movement against the dictatorial regime that started in December has greatly escalated and spread to all major cities and towns since then. Following the appeals of the Sudanese Communist Party, a number of communist and workers’ parties had issued a common statement on January 9, expressing support for and solidarity with the struggle of the Sudanese people "against the dictatorial regime, for democracy and social progress."

30) Trudeau continues Canada's war in Iraq with little critical media coverage

Brent Patterson, Rabble 

There has been little mainstream media attention -- or context -- given to the Trudeau government's announcement earlier this week that it would extend the deployment of Canadian troops in Iraq until March 2021.

(Related: Canada extends Ukraine military mission against alarming backdrop of rising fascism and neo-Nazism

31) 11 Pinochet Ex-Military Convicted For Burning Protesters Alive

Telesur 

In a triumphant win for victims and survivors of the bloody Pinochet military dictatorship, the Chilean Justice system closes the "Caso Quemados" (Burnt Case) and sends 11 retired military personnel to prison for up to 10 years for burning two young protesters alive in 1986.

32) Report: Great Lakes feeling effects of rapid climate warming

JOHN FLESHER, AP Environmental Writer

The Great Lakes region is warming faster than the rest of the U.S., a trend likely to bring more extreme storms while also degrading water quality, worsening erosion and posing tougher challenges for farming, scientists reported Thursday.

33) Macron’s military reaction to the gilets jaunes is a sign his government has lost control

Pauline Bock, The New Statesman 

Rather than appease protesters with social change, the French government has demonised them as criminals to justify repressive tactics.

34) Court calls Canada’s treatment of ‘safe country refugees’ unconstitutional

Nicholas Keung, The Toronto Star

The Federal Court has struck down one of the last remaining planks of a controversial revamp of the refugee asylum system introduced with great fanfare by the Harper government as a way to root out what it called bogus claims.

35) Brazilian Social Leader and 'Defender of Life' Dies

Telesur

Brazilian social leader, Dilma Ferreira Silva, and other activists were killed Friday in the rural Parana, Brazil, the Movement of the Affected by Dams (MAB), an organization which fights for water and electricity rights for the public, reports.

36) The EU has derailed left governments at least three times - don’t let Corbyn be next.

 Chris Nineham, Counterfire 

With the backing of wider forces, the right in the Labour Party is trying to push Corbyn into agreeing to stay in the European single market and the customs union. This would water down Brexit to the point where it was barely a Brexit at all. The single market and the customs union come with a host of conditions guaranteeing, amongst other things, corporate ‘market access’ to industries and services, which would effectively neuter Corbyn and McDonnell’s plans for renationalisation and rule out all kinds of state intervention in the economy.

37) ‘I work in the civil service – and it will resist a Corbyn government’

Fred Wrigley, Tribune 

An anonymous civil servant writes for Tribune about the politics of senior Whitehall figures and why they will aim to frustrate a Corbyn government.

38) Southeastern Europe’s New Left

Igor Štiks & Krunoslav Stojaković, RLS

The emergence of a New Left in Southeast Europe—varying from state to state in terms of its impact—can be traced back to the financial crisis of 2008.[1] Following two decades of ideological hegemony under neoliberal and neoconservative political actors, the crisis gradually created spaces for the public articulation of anti-capitalist criticism throughout the post-socialist Balkans. The spectrum of left-wing political actors that has since then formed—and, in part, continues to form—ranges from more informal alliances in the context of concrete political and social struggles to radical left-wing non-governmental organizations that emerged from Southeast Europe’s active student movement, to smaller party-style organizations to more or less stable political parties and party coalitions, especially at the local level. In the following, we will try to provide an overview.

39) 'Fascist, violent, dangerous': protests planned as Bolsonaro arrives in Chile

Anna Jean Kaiser, The Guardian 

At the end of his first state visit to Washington DC this week, Jair Bolsonaro hailed his meeting with Donald Trump as a “historic moment”, claiming he was returning home with a sensation of “mission accomplished”. Today, Brazil’s far-right leader begins his second official trip – to Chile, where he is poised to receive a much less warm welcome.

40) From Liberal ‘Ideology’ to Massive Cuts: Ford’s Education Policy for Ontario

Dudley Paul, Socialist Project Bullet 

Education Minister Lisa Thompson, walked up to the podium at the Ontario Science Centre on Friday to tell Ontarians about her plan for education. But first, she took a shot at the Liberal Party. Liberal “ideology” she claimed, got it wrong on education from the “social experiment” of the 2015 sexual education curriculum to Discovery Math. It was “not a moment too soon” she said, that the government of Doug Ford stepped in to set Ontario schools on a new “sustainable path.”

41) Israel's Top Court Bans Kahanist Leader From Election Run, Okays Arab Slates, Far-left Candidate

Yotam Berger, Haaretz

Israel's Supreme Court banned on Sunday Kahanist leader Michael Ben Ari from running in the April 9 general election and reversed the disqualification of Arab joint slate Balad-United Arab List and Ofer Cassif, a member of political alliance Hadash-Ta'al.

42) 'Endless Trip to Hell': Israel Jails Hundreds of Palestinian Boys a Year. These Are Their Testimonies

Netta Ahituv, Haaretz 

They’re seized in the dead of night, blindfolded and cuffed, abused and manipulated to confess to crimes they didn't commit. Every year Israel arrests almost 1,000 Palestinian youngsters, some of them not yet 13.

43) Video: Israeli Troops Arrest 10-year-old at Palestinian School

Telesur 

Israeli forces arrested a 10-year-old boy from his classroom and beat the deputy head of the school in the West Bank Wednesday. Activists posted a video of the incident.

44) Pompeo Says Trump Sent by God to Save Israel

Telesur 

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo proclaimed Thursday that “The Lord is at work here” regarding Trump’s meddling in Middle East affairs between Israel and Iran, in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network.

45) Trump Offers Netanyahu Part of Syria to Boost Israeli Leader’s Flagging Re-Election Campaign

Robert Mackey, The Intercept 

WITH A TWEET posted on Thursday, President Donald Trump dismissed five decades of international consensus on the status of the Golan Heights, Syrian territory seized by Israel in 1967 during a pre-emptive war, declaring that the United States would recognize Israel’s annexation of the region.

46) UN report: Pillaging Palestine’s resources a ‘crime against humanity’

Green Left Weekly 

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) met on March 18 to investigate the human rights situation in Palestine and issued a report that focused on the impact of the occupation on the environment and natural resources, the ongoing use of excessive force by Israeli security forces against demonstrators in Gaza, and the near-humanitarian catastrophe in the territory caused by the blockade.

47) Jewish Lawmaker Shoots Dead Arab Colleague in Campaign Video; Complaint Filed

Jack Khoury, Haaretz 

MK Jamal Zahalka, the chairman of the Arab-majority Balad party, filed a complaint with the police on Tuesday against MK Oren Hazan (Likud) for incitement to murder.

48) England could run short of water within 25 years

Damian Carrington, The Guardian 

England is set to run short of water within 25 years, the chief executive of the Environment Agency has warned.

49) Ending climate change requires the end of capitalism. Have we got the stomach for it?

Phil McDuff, The Guardian 

Policy tweaks won’t do it, we need to throw the kitchen sink at this with a total rethink of our relationship to ownership, work and capital.

See also: Christchurch, International Student Climate Strikes, Venezuela & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos March 10 - 17

Saturday, March 23, 2019

The Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic 1987: Photos, Culture, Economy, History & more -- Socialist Republics of the Soviet Union Series

In the mid-1980s the Soviet press agency Novosti released a series of small books looking the USSR's 15 republics. Each book dealt with a republic's history, culture, development, industry, agriculture, etc. They provide a fascinating look at the Soviet Union's accomplishments and plans. The series was known as the "Socialist Republics of the Soviet Union".

Over the coming months we will be taking a look at these books and the republics. The books will be slightly edited for length and repetition in some cases and the photographs and illustrations will be dispersed more evenly throughout the text.

In our two most recent posts in the series we looked at the Georgian and Azerbijan SSRs in 1987. Written by Gevorg Oganesyan, this booklet looks at the Armenian SSR in the same year.

This installment is one of my favourites of the series as it is full of fascinating photos and is very focused on social history and development.

It begins with an overview of Armenia's lengthy and remarkable history up to and including the revolutionary period with the formation of the Armenian SSR on November 29, 1920. The book then details the incredible progress made since the revolution especially in areas like literacy, education, industry and science. Armenia become a center of astrophysics research within the Soviet Union and in 1987 had two of the four radio-optical telescopes that existed in all of Europe.

The booklet also looks extensively at Armenia's largest cities such as Yerevan and Leninakan (now Gyumri). Among the photos of these cities there is one of Yerevan's Zvarthnotts Airport which, as I have noted before, looks remarkably like the center part of the space station in Deep Space Nine.

Cultural aspects of the Armenian SSR are also delved into yielding interesting facts such as that in addition to more traditional musical forms Armenia was a major part of the Soviet jazz scene. Armenia was also home to thriving theatres that included various theatrical companies and a children's puppet theatre.

As was true across the USSR Armenia had many Pioneer groups, camps and palaces and the Yerevan Children's Art Gallery was the first in the Soviet Union to hold exhibits that were entirely made up of the art of young people. The Pioneer system, of course, was sadly dismantled with the fall of socialism.

There is information about sports, art, archaeological discoveries, environmental programs, earthquake monitoring, subsidized vacations, health spas, the expansion of university and college education and even on how the republic was working to maintain its electrical grid after having actually been the first Soviet republic to achieve 100% electrification.

(Click on scans to enlarge)