Fields of grass, soup kitchens at risk in Haiti By JONATHAN M. KATZ

27 September, 2010 — The Associated Press (AP)

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — On the edge of a ruined city of concrete and tin, fallen walls reveal what for decades was a hidden refuge: a field of well-trimmed grass.

This patch of green, hand cut with machetes, is one of two owned by the nonprofit Haitian sports academy L’Athletique D’Haiti. For nearly 16 years before the Jan. 12 earthquake, the organization used its nearly 40 acres to provide free training, education, meals and medical care. Now add housing to the list: it has 2,000 homeless families on its fields under blue tents and ragged tarps.

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Israel labels charity “terrorists” – RT Top Stories

27 September, 2010 — RT Top Stories

Jewish activists aboard a boat sailing towards Gaza say they expect Israel to intercept them. The campaigners aim to show that not all Jews support their government’s policy towards the Palestinians.

The attempt to deliver humanitarian aid comes almost four months after an Israeli raid on another flotilla ended in nine activists being killed.

The UN Human Rights Council will investigate the May attack, while a recent UN report concluded that Israel’s military broke international laws during the raid.

It also described the attack as brutal and disproportionate.

Israel still claims the incident was ‘self-defense’ and considers the Turkish charity group which led the flotilla to be terrorists linked to Hamas.

As a result of the attack a relatively little known NGO was brought on the world stage.

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New? ‘old’-new? Labour, the election of Ed Miliband and the left By William Bowles

27 September, 2010

One step forward and two steps back

I have to share this with you:

Following the election of Ed Miliband to lead the ‘new’ ‘old’ Labour Party it seems nothing has been learned from the lessons of the past thirteen years (let alone the previous forty):

“Mr Miliband sought to brush off the “red Ed” tag, insisting that he did not plan “to drag Labour to the left.”” — ‘Labour turns to Miliband‘ By Adrian Roberts, The Morning Star, 26 September, 2010

“Ed Miliband ran as the change candidate for Labour leadership and that was unquestionably the right stance.” — ‘What Ed Miliband means for Labour’, By Michael Meacher, The Morning Star, 26 September, 2010

“The Labour leadership election result represents a defeat for the arch-new Labourites. Whether Ed Miliband’s victory is a split in the new Labour camp or the beginning of a break from new Labour remains to be determined.”

Strangely, or perhaps not? Ed Miliband is the son of a well-known Communist Party member of yore, Ralph Miliband. So what’s going on here? The Morning Star, under the ironically titled (if you know your history) of ‘One step forward‘, a feature article by Robert Griffiths tells us:

“In each case, Miliband should be helped by socialists and the trade unions to take the second option – and put Labour on the road to social democracy.”

What’s that?! “On the road to social democracy”? Been there, done that. The article should have been titled ‘One step forward and two steps back’ for all the good it does.

And continuing in the same vein, the Star’s editorial is titled ‘An important step towards social justice’ and sums up Miliband’s victory as follows, (after a summary of Miliband’s economic programme):

“Does this constitute a socialist programme or a detailed and coherent body of policies to transfer wealth and power from rich to poor such as exists in the People’s Charter and is supported by the Morning Star?

“Of course not, but it would indicate an important step away from new Labour neoliberal orthodoxy towards the possibility of embracing the outlook for greater social justice.”

They just don’t geddit do they? There is no going back to what the Star calls social democracy, firstly because the global elite would never allow it and secondly, because, when you think about it, the real heart of the post-WWII ‘social contract’ was finished by 1980 already. It lasted thirty-five years and ever since then we have been on the defensive, trying to stem the rolling tide of corporatism as it inexorably ate away at the gains that had been made since 1945. The final nail in the social coffin came in 1991 with ending of state socialism in the USSR.

But if nothing else, the election of Ed was carried out by the combined weight of individual trade union members, a revealing and important fact that when mobilized, working people can and do, act.

Obviously, it’s important to defend our social rights, but just as importantly, it’s time for the left to stop time-warping into the past. Are they seriously suggesting that working people are in any kind of position to strike a deal with capital such as the one the Labour government did (on our behalf) in 1945? It’s ludicrous to even suggest the idea. Now, nothing’s impossible of course, but without real leadership from the trade unions and the concerted action of civic and political associations, we remain sitting ducks.

If there ever was a time for principle to speak out and for once, dump the political expediency, this is it. But even here, the Star’s approach is lame and apologetic (for claiming to be socialist):

“The Tories and right-wing media are already playing Ed Miliband up as Red Ed, which, as he himself recognises, is rubbish.

“The aims of this spurious campaign are twofold – to persuade the electorate that Labour has lurched to the left and to frighten Miliband into denouncing his supporters in the unions and backing a bankers’ agenda rather than looking to win back Labour’s five million lost working-class voters.” — ‘An important step towards social justice‘, Morning Star editorial, 26 September, 2010

Excuse me for being a Red! “Lurch to the left” indeed. The point is, trade unions are here to defend the interests of their members, that’s their purpose. Sometimes, those interests overlap with overtly political and social concerns, for example, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, but with some exceptions their interests are sectional. One exception is now.

The great majority of those five million votes are government employees, the ones who will feel the first effect of the axe and in turn of course, the ‘ripple’ effect will be a tsunami of more lost jobs and more dead communities. We already lived through all this in the 1970s and 80s! Been there, done that!

We need only look at the US situation to see where we are headed if we let the government dismantle our social wealth and in the process completely transform the workforce into majority low paid and part-time, with a much smaller ‘middle class’ keeping the wheels of consumption turning. The die has been cast.

It’s not just about defending our existing gains but of going beyond even what’s left of our social democracy. Even ‘our’ democracy doesn’t work, it is after all a giant Victorian mythology made real, even down to a fake Gothic Houses of Parliament. No wonder we think the damn thing (democracy) has been here forever and not constructed in the 1800s, with little changed ever since!

And let’s face it, we have over four years before the next election and unless the Lib-Dems do an about-turn and vote against their ‘partners’ (unlikely, since when can liberals of any stripe be trusted?), our only recourse to action has to be extra-parliamentary, or as the media pundits call it, ‘social unrest’.


“With real wages stagnant or falling after 1980, the deficit in effective demand was largely bridged by resort to the credit system.  In the United States in particular, household debt tripled from 1980 to 2005 and much of that debt was accumulated around the housing market, particularly from 2001 onwards.  All sorts of innovations in finance along with state policies that often had the effect of subsidizing or even paying people and corporations to go into debt, kept the compounding rate of growth going.  This was the fictional bubble that eventually burst in 2008.  But, again, notice the sequence.  Wage repression produces a deficit of effective demand that is covered by increasing indebtedness that ultimately leads into a financial crisis which is resolved by state interventions which translates into a fiscal crisis of the state that can best be resolved, according to conventional economic wisdom, by further reductions in the social wage.”

Read the rest here: The Enigma of Capital and the Crisis This Time by David Harvey


Information Clearing House Newsletter 26 September, 2010: CIA used 'illegal, inaccurate code to target kill drones'

26 September, 2010 — ICH

US To Continue Killing Own Citizens Overseas
By Spencer S. Hsu
The Obama administration urged a federal judge early Saturday to dismiss a lawsuit over its targeting of a U.S. citizen for killing overseas, saying that the case would reveal state secrets.

Obama Argues His Assassination Program Is A “State Secret”
By Glenn Greenwald
Obama uses this secrecy and immunity weapon not to shield Bush lawlessness from judicial review, but his own.

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VTJP Palestine/Israel Newslinks 26 September, 2010: Settlers start building in West Bank

26 September, 2010 — VTJP


International Middle East Media Center

Egypt Locates Explosives in Sinai
IMEMC – 26 Sep 2010 – Sunday September 26, 2010 – 23:05, The Egyptian Security Forces located Sunday a warehouse filled with explosives in the Sinai peninsula, south of Al Arish Egyptian city.

Settler, His Wife, Wounded Near Hebron
IMEMC – 26 Sep 2010 – Sunday September 26, 2010 – 22:54, Israeli sources reported Sunday that a Jewish settler and his wife were wounded after Palestinian gunmen opened fire at their vehicle near a Jewish settlement, south of Hebron in the southern part of the West Bank.

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Race, Class and Crisis: What New Possibilities for the U.S. Left? – with Adolph Reed

24 September, 2010 — Left Streamed, Toronto

The economic crisis that started in U.S. housing markets in 2007 quickly swept across the world market. A long period of stagnation and austerity now seems to be the order of the day. While all working class people have felt the impact of the crisis on their lives and work, the crisis has also been a ‘black depression’ for African-Americans. Adolph Reed has been at the centre of political debates on the economic impact of the crisis and the limits and failings of the Obama Administration. He has long lamented the paralysis of the U.S. left, arguing that the crisis of the U.S. left is not one of ideas, but of organizing. The challenges have been to move away from the doctrine of support ‘for the lesser evil,’ the left’s shift to the right under Obama, and begin to explore new possibilities for the U.S. left.

Adolph Reed is a professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania specializing in American and African American politics and political thought, urban politics, and American political development. Reed is a regular contributor to The Nation, Monthly Review and The Progressive. He is author, among others, of:

  • The Perils of Obamamania (2010 – forthcoming);
  • Renewing Black Intellectual History: The ideological and material foundations of African American thought (2010);
  • Class Notes (2001);
  • Without Justice for All: The new liberalism and our retreat from racial equality (1999);
  • Stirrings in the Jug: Black politics in the post-segregation era (1999);
  • W.E.B. Du Bois and American Political Thought: Fabianism and the color line (1997);
  • The Jesse Jackson Phenomenon: The crisis of purpose in Afro-American politics (1986);
  • Race, politics, and Culture: Critical essays on the radicalism of the 1960s (1986).