Eleven Talking Points On 21st Century Socialism By Carl Davidson

1 May, 2009 – SolidarityEconomy.net

resistance.jpgThe current discussion around socialism in left and progressive circles in the U.S. needs to be placed in a more substantive arena. This is an effort to do so. I take note in advance of the criticism that the following eleven working hypotheses are rather dry and formal. But in light of the faux ‘socialisms’ bandied about in the headlines and sound bytes of the mass media in the wake of the financial crisis, especially the absurd claim in the media of rightwing populism that the Obama administration is Marxist and socialist, I felt something a little more rigorous might be helpful. Obviously, criticism and commentary is invited.

1. Socialism’s fundamental building blocks are already present in US society. The means of production, for the most part, are fully developed and in fact are stagnating under the political domination of finance capital. The US labor force, again for the most part, is highly skilled at all levels of production, management, marketing, and finance. The kernels of socialist organization are also scattered across the landscape in cooperatives, socially organized human services, and centralized and widespread mass means of many-to-many communication and supply/demand data management. Many earlier attempts at socialism did not have these advantages.

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Political Lies and Media Disinformation regarding the Swine Flu Pandemic By Michel Chossudovsky

1 May, 2009 – Global Research

What is the flu? Influenza (the flu) is a serious contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. Millions of people in the United States get the flu each year. Most people are sick for about a week. Some people (especially young children, pregnant women, older people, and people with chronic health problems) can get very sick and may die from the flu. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

The World Health Organization (WHO) raised its pandemic alert level to Phase 5 on a 6 point scale.

The WHO’s Phase 5 alert means “there is sustained human-to-human spread in at least two countries and that global outbreak of the disease is imminent… It also signals an increased effort to produce a vaccine… Human cases have been confirmed in Mexico, the United States, Canada, Britain, Israel, New Zealand and Spain.” (emphasis added)

According to reports, the WHO took this decision after ” a 23-month-old [child] died [from the swine flu] in Texas after travelling there from Mexico for medical treatment.”

The swine flu was, according to reports, confirmed in 11 states in the US. Health officials at the WHO in Geneva and Washington are quoted as saying that the “spread of the virus is unlikely to stop”.

The media has gone into full gear with little analysis and review of the evidence, focussing their attention on the more than 2400 cases of non-specific influenza in Mexico.

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The Hugo Chavez Show: the other side

25 April, 2009 – Green Left

On April 21, SBS screened two documentaries about Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and the Bolivarian revolution he is leading. One of them was The Hugo Chavez Show, produced by Frontline, a program on the US-based PBS channel.

Below we reprint a letter from Steve Ellner, professor at the Universidad de Oriente in Venezuela, who is a respected commentator on Venezuelan politics and one of the people interviewed in the The Hugo Chavez Show. His letter was written shortly after the documentary was first screened in the US.

In it he exposes the biased, anti-Chavez nature of the documentary and asks the question: ‘Why is the US media incapable of presenting the other side when it comes to Chavez’s Venezuela?’

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Matthew Thomas Clement, “Energy (and Empire) in World History”

MRZine – Monthly Review


energy.jpgVaclav Smil’s Energy in World History (1994) provides an overview of global changes in human energy use from before the Neolithic Revolution to modern times. In various places in the book, Smil discusses the relationship between energy use and the rise of centers of economic and political power in world history. In explaining what caused the emergence of these great powers, though, Smil argues that it was either their exploitation of energy sources disproportionately available to them or the development of other factors internal to them (e.g., specific cultural values and unique technical innovations). In other words, Smil avoids discussion of the interaction between the rise of imperialism and energy use. In his book, the roles of international exploitation and oppression, carried out by nations like England and the United States, which have consumed and continue to consume vast quantities of energy, are not considered important factors in the changing relationship between human society and energy. By drawing from various other works (e.g., Bagchi 2005; Cronon 2003; Davis 2002), this paper will attempt to correct for Smil’s failure to incorporate a critical international component into his argument.

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