more liberal wars for democracy?

This month’s editorial looks at the rising threat of war in Syria and Iran

March was quite a month for the champions of liberal imperialism. Not only does the raging civil war in Syria raise the prospect of Western intervention, but the social media-based ‘Kony 2012’ campaign  saw such luminaries as Russell Brand and Rihanna promoting the cause of humanitarian intervention in Uganda. Meanwhile, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu complained that his country would not wait long in attacking Iran’s alleged nuclear facilities.

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dressed to kill

It was against this backdrop that David Cameron and Barack Obama reaffirmed the ‘special relationship’ between Britain and the United States, a ritual of Prime Ministerial visits to Washington dating back more than thirty years. Many media noted their chummy relationship, including visiting a basketball game and playing table tennis. Continue reading “more liberal wars for democracy?”

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an olive branch to the taliban?

As UK troops pulled out from the Sangin area of Helmand in early July, commanders hailed the successes of their mission in Afghanistan.

Yet at the same time the US-backed president Hamid Karzai has sought reconciliation with the Taliban, demonstrating the sham of ‘democracy’ brought by imperialist troops. The  Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan reports.

"democratic" imperialism can even accept reconciliation with the Taliban

By inviting the Taliban, the leaders of the Islamic Party and other “Jihadi leaders” to be part of a “Consultative Peace Jirga,” Hamid Karzai is committing yet another crime against the Afghan people.

He has installed former Soviet puppets and Northern Alliance warlords in key posts of his government. He even went as far as assigning the two most notorious warlords, Karim Khalili and Qasim Fahim, as his vice presidents. Continue reading “an olive branch to the taliban?”

obamacare: the nuns strike back

by Ernie Haberkern
Berkeley, California

The Health Care Reform bill has finally made it through the archaic legislative labyrinth our slave-owning founding fathers left us. Our modern corporate capitalists have found this unrepresentative system as useful as the slave owners did. One of features of the system is that it facilitates behind-closed-doors dealing that makes it extremely difficult for the average voter, or even the fairly well-informed voter, to find out what exactly the effect of the legislation will actually be. In fact, the result is usually so complicated that it often has consequences unforeseen and unintended by the authors of the legislation.

So what does this ‘reform’ actually amount to? In the first place, there is no regulation of the cost of drugs. In particular, the current twelve year monopoly granted to companies for brand name drugs remains in effect. This deal was made last August and in return the pharmaceutical industry, which played a major role in the defeat of Bill Clinton’s attempt to pass a health care bill, actively lobbied in favor of Obama’s plan. Continue reading “obamacare: the nuns strike back”

crisis ploughs on in united states

by Dennis Marcucci
from Philadelphia

Worst than expected economic reports and job cut announcements show that the prospects for working people in the USA and around the world are going to worsen. After all, most of the world is capitalist, and most of the world is poor. So what does that tell you about this canker sore of an economic system?

Wall Street economists had said that unemployment claims would fall below 450,000. They were wrong. There was only a slight decrease to 470,000. Any reports have to be viewed with suspicion. I was speaking to an “expert” economist on a radio talk show two weeks ago who was telling the audience how claims for unemployment fell. I said that what is not being reported is (i) workers who exhausted their benefits and are now off the rolls and are viewed as employed. (ii) workers who were collecting benefits and found part time minimum wage employment and (iii) workers working temp jobs or contract work. Continue reading “crisis ploughs on in united states”

haiti, western intervention and the left

by Rob Kirby

Tony Blair’s appearance before the Chilcot Inquiry brought up once again his hoary old argument that as Iraq is better off without Saddam, the invasion of British troops was a progressive thing for Iraqis.

Whilst Blair’s stance is clearly a self-serving attempt at justification for the barbarism that was unleashed on Iraq, the broader argument that Western troops can sometimes be a force for good does have currency for some on the left. Continue reading “haiti, western intervention and the left”

solidarity with the people of haiti – US troops out!

by Claudio Testa
Socialismo o Barbarie

Much of the media has portrayed Haitians "looting" - the US has intervened to "restore order"

Although UN troops have been occupying the country for six years, the USA has decided to engage in a second invasion of its own, without even going through the farce of “consulting” previous occupiers. Continue reading “solidarity with the people of haiti – US troops out!”

anger over obama healthcare bill creates uncertain future

Jane Slaughter looks at the US healthcare debate and the Democrats’ defeat in this week’s Massachusetts senate vote (from Labor Notes)

A Massachusetts local union president called it before the January 19 vote for senator: “I’ve never seen this much anger at the Democrats from union people,” said Jeff Crosby, president of a General Electric factory local near Boston, as he prepared a last-minute leaflet to hand out in the plant. “It’s worse than NAFTA.”

Top union leaders had bargained a compromise slowing down the health care benefits tax President Obama insisted on, but it was not enough to placate union members—and others—infuriated that Obama had broken his campaign promise not to tax benefits. Continue reading “anger over obama healthcare bill creates uncertain future”