Venezuela's Choice By Michael Albert

30 September, 2010 — ZCommunications – ZNet Article

Venezuelan election commentary is still in flux – reactions are still trickling in. Still, so far available analyses are mostly failing to address the election's most important implications.

Yes, the Bolivarian Revolution is still in the saddle.

Yes, Chavez is vastly more popular – despite being in office ten years – than Obama, now in office for two years.

Yes the PSUV has retained more support and influence than, for example, the Democrats in the U.S.

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‘Not Red Ed’ – reinventing Labour, again and again… By William Bowles

30 September, 2010

It strikes me that we here in the UK have been top dog for so damn long that we’ve forgotten what it feels like to be an ordinary country, yet the memory lingers on…

“And it is why I will commit to you here and now. My beliefs will run through everything I do. My beliefs, my values are my anchor and when people try to drag me, as I know they will, it is to that sense of right and wrong, that sense of who I am and what I believe, to which I will always hold.” — From Ed’s keynote speech at the Labour Party conference.

What beliefs exactly are not spelt out but never mind, just like Tony Blair, fine-sounding words make up for any lack of content. So Ed is just an old-time social democrat after all? Amazing, after thirteen years of neo-Thatcherism, the beaten ‘party of labour’ all of a sudden rediscovers its ‘roots’. Who could trust such people?

If the whole charade wasn’t such a miserable and desperate attempt to regain the ‘high ground’, Labour’s attempt to reinvent itself again, it would be nothing short of laughable.

And predictably the media is doing the ‘Red Ed’ putdown, as the ruling class gets nervous about the possible reactions from ‘militants’ in the unions who were instrumental in putting Ed in power. So Labour has to tread a narrow and very precarious line between protest and the fear of unleashing ‘social unrest’ and ‘industrial chaos’.

The repeated use of the word “militants” throughout the piece is standard for the business-friendly press. So too is the use of scare words and phrases that are traditional warning signals of the presence of rabid unionists and other undesirables: “threats”, which are sometimes “veiled”, the prospect of “industrial chaos” and, perhaps the worst example in the interview, the fear that “TUC’s plan for organised protest” could “play into the hands of those who hijack legitimate demonstrations for their own violent ends”. — ‘Media Alert: “veiled threats” of “industrial chaos”‘

So what is ‘Not Red Ed’ up to? I hazard the following guess: It must have been pretty obvious that Labour would lose the election and having already stated that they would ‘put off’ cuts in public spending for a coupla years, Ed has predictably attacked the Tory/Lib-Dem govt’s plans to scupper our public services.

And it ties in neatly with his trade union backers who are mostly government workers, in fact it makes ‘Not Red Ed’ look squeaky clean. It’s a good move, though as the government has got over four years to wreck everything (if anybody bothers to vote in four and a half years), they’ll reelect a Labour government. And then what?

Surely, this Tweedle-Dee, Tweedle-Dum fiasco has gotta end?

The media of course, have had a field day; they finally have something/someone new to talk about. Someone who allegedly is not part of the ancien regime[1] and the now jettisoned New tag. It’s a facsimile of the Morning Star’s call for a ‘return to social democracy’. Here’s how the Independent summed up ‘Not Red Ed’s’ conference speech:

“As such it was the most daring speech from a Labour leader delivered for a long time. In his conference addresses Tony Blair used to proclaim his boldness while advancing views that had been common orthodoxy since the early 1980s. Ed Miliband did not repeatedly express his boldness. He opted to be genuinely courageous by challenging some of those orthodoxies. He did so partly by repudiating parts of his party’s past in terms that were explicit and cathartic: New Labour had become trapped by its old certainties. Iraq was wrong. New Labour had been too tolerant of light regulation and too dependent on the financial markets for revenue. New Labour had been too casual about civil liberties. The list of misjudgements was carefully balanced with many references to the achievements of 13 years of rule. — ‘The dawn of Generation Ed‘, The Independent, 29 September, 2010 (my emph.)

‘Generation Ed’? Puleeze! So, the past is behind us, welcome back to the future of ‘old’ Labour. After all, take away the four areas the Indie chose to select as proof of the arrival of ‘Generation Ed’ and indeed it does look like a pre-1992 Labour Party. The Star’s social democracy no less.

Others on the left sound also sound positively euphoric about ‘Not Red Ed’s’ success, for example:

“Early on, Labour’s most respected elder statesman, Tony Benn, backed Ed Miliband signaling to the rank and file that it was time for a return to Labour’s core progressive principles and her political base in the working class. Ed Miliband accomplished a few very deft and subtle maneuvers (SMS texting) that established his personal brand as the leader of the next generation rather than the heir-apparent of the last. Ed Miliband articulated his progressive vision by advocating, “a living wage,” the “greening” of the British economy and the introduction of, “windfall taxes.” — ‘Insurgent Ed Miliband Ends the New Labour Era‘ by Michael Carmichael

The parallels with Obama’s victory are not too far away:

“The election of 40-year-old Ed Miliband to lead the UK’s Labour Party proves the existence of a vibrant progressive movement in Britain that mirrors Barack Obama’s victory over Hillary Clinton in 2008. In 2006, I met Ed Miliband at a Young Fabians seminar in the House of Commons. At that point, I felt that he was moving swiftly toward great things. (ibid)

But answer me this: If ‘Not Red Ed’ is to avoid becoming ‘Red Ed’ (and the media have already told us what they think), the last thing he can do is use the Labour Party to bring the people out onto the streets in protest. After all, wouldn’t this be the logical thing to do before the cuts take effect, never mind what we do after? It’s only by mobilizing people on a vast scale that we stand any kind of chance of halting the cuts. But it’s not to be:

““Brendan Barber, head of the TUC, is not asking us to copy Greek workers in their fight against cuts. Yet plenty of his members want to do just that.” — ‘King of compromise alone on a tightrope’, Sunday Times, 19 September, 2010

With a leader of the UK’s trade unions like Barber, who needs enemies? Ever since 2007 when the current crisis got underway, whenever the ‘people’ are mentioned it’s in the same breath as ‘social unrest’, otherwise we just don’t exist except as the ‘public’, that vague term that excludes trade union members (over six million), ‘militants’ (10-20,000?) and assorted ne’er-do-wells (number unknown).


1. Of course, this is pure BS, ‘Not Red Ed’ is just as much a part of the ancien regime as anyone else in the Labour Party’s ‘inner sanctum’. It’s all part of the process of shedding the past, again and again…

Information Clearing House Newsletter: Why The US Doesn't Talk To Iran

29 September, 2010 — ICH

Robert Gates: 'We're Not Ever Leaving' Afghanistan
By Marcus Baram
In a shocking indication of a split between the White House and the Pentagon over the war in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert Gates believes that the U.S. military will never leave the war-torn country.

Statement By The Afghan Resistance
By The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
Reaction of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan to the Remarks of General Petraeus.

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VTJP Palestine/Israel Newslinks 29 September, 2010: EU offers tax benefits for Israeli settlements

29 September, 2010 — VTJP


International Middle East Media Center

Nobel Peace Laureate Still Detained By Israel
IMEMC – 29 Sep 2010 – Thursday September 30, 2010 – 04:48, Nobel Peace Laureate, Mairead Maguire, is still imprisoned by Israel and awaiting deportation from the country.

Man Wounded After Being Rammed By Settler’s Vehicle
IMEMC – 29 Sep 2010 – Thursday September 30, 2010 – 03:27, Palestinian medical sources reported on Wednesday at night that a Palestinian man from Nablus, in the northern part of the West Bank, was moderately wounded after being rammed by the a speeding settlers’ vehicle.

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Black Agenda Report 30 September, 2010: News, Commentary & Analysis From the Black Left "No Knock Barack" –Stop the Raids at Home & Wars Abroad

30 September, 2010 — BAR

President Barack “Midnight Raid” Obama: End Your Wars at Home and Abroad
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
Last week’s FBI raids likely signal that the Obama regime has begun a major campaign to criminalize and crush the Left. Think COINTELPRO, 21st century-style. President Obama, the constitutional rights lawyer who claims the right to kill at will, seeks to strangle the activist opposition to his wars and pro-Wall Street policies. “For targets not marked for oblivion, there awaits a grand jury with boundless powers to ensnare anyone.”

I Wanna Be A Macho Man: The Prosperity Gospel According to Eddie Long
by Sikivu Hutchinson
Allegations that Bishop Eddie Long lured young Black men to become his sexual playthings should come as no surprise, since his brand of “faith pimping spiritual ministry translates into emotional manipulation, psychological control, and sexual exploitation.” Long, a “self-proclaimed ‘spiritual daddy’ to a nationwide army of ‘wayward’ sons,” is the inevitable offspring of religious patriarchy and robber baron politics.

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Turkey and Russia: Cleaning up the mess in the Middle East By Eric Walberg

30 September, 2010 — Eric Walberg

The new Ottomans and the new Byzantines are poised for an intercept as the US stumbles in the current Great Game, reports Eric Walberg

The neocon plan to transform the Middle East and Central Asia into a pliant client of the US empire and its only-democracy-in-the-Middle-East is now facing a very different playing field. Not only are the wars against the Palestinians, Afghans and Iraqis floundering, but they have set in motion unforeseen moves by all the regional players.

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BDS: Boycotting Apartheid By Eric Walberg

21 September, 2010 — Eric Walberg

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign moves ahead in Washington, California, British Columbia, Harvard and Brown Universities, and the Netherlands, notes Eric Walberg

In July, in Rachel Corrie’s hometown of Olympia, Washington state, the popular Food Co-op announced that no Israeli products would be sold at its two grocery stores. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a principal endorser of this new Israel Divestment Campaign, issued a statement endorsing the boycott. “The Olympia Food Co-op has joined a growing worldwide movement on the part of citizens and the private sector to support by non-violent tangible acts the Palestinian struggle for justice and self-determination.”

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The Settlement Freeze and the Peace Process Freeze

28 September, 2010 — Palestine Center

On or about Sept. 26 the Israeli government’s declared settlement moratorium came to an end. This has been identified as a major obstacle in the nascent peace talks. The moratorium has been incomplete and settlement construction has continued in many areas despite the so-called “freeze.” As settlers awaited the coming of this date to return to large-scale building, Palestinian negotiators stated they will not continue with negotiations without an extension of the freeze. What role will the Israeli government’s decision have on the peace talks? What happens if these talks fail and what is the fallout if failure comes so early in the process? If a deal is reached and peace talks continue, what role will settlement construction play in destabilizing the process?

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These videos may be used without permission but with proper attribution to The Palestine Center. The speaker’s views do not necessarily reflect the views of The Jerusalem Fund.

Yonatan Shapira’s testimony from the Jewish Boat to Gaza

26 September 2010 — Occupation Magazine

Journal of a voyage

irene.jpgThe course is 120. Another 200 miles to the port in Cyprus and the automatic pilot in the boat, which is supposed to maintain the course, refuses to work and leaves me with the unending task of maintaining the course on a turbulent sea with no sign of land from horizon to horizon. In another half hour, Itamar, my brother, who is also a “refusenik,” will relieve me at the wheel, after him Bruce and then Glyn will take their shifts. If everything goes according to plan, we will reach Famagusta at midday on Saturday, and there we will pick up the rest of the passengers, who together with us, as strange as it may seem, will try to break the blockade of Gaza.

For some weeks already we have been making our way east, from the Greek island on which the yacht was bought, from north of the Peloponnese through the Corinthian Canal, the Cycladic islands. Already we have experienced just about every kind of mishap in the book: the engines overheated on us and died, the wheel suddenly became detached, the anchor got stuck, the sail tore, a storm, and more. What we have not yet experienced is the uniqueness, the wondrousness and the strong arm of the IDF – the most moral army in the world, for those who forgot.

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