imperialism and the world today: 19th october london forum

‘uncaptive minds’ public meeting hosted by The Commune

The next of our London forums will be looking at modern imperialism. The coming to power of the Obama administration in the United States has led many people to believe that there will be a change in American foreign policy: yet the western military presence in Central Asia and Latin America is set to increase; the Eastern European nuclear defence shield has been abandoned with the aim of securing Russian support against Iran; and the war in Afghanistan continues unabated.

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What is the strategy of imperialist domination today? With the rise of China and India, are there one, two or many imperialisms? What forces really challenge imperialism? Join the debate with speakers:

Andy Higginbottom
Latin America solidarity activist

Marko Bojcun
Ukrainian Marxist and writer on Eastern Europe

From 7pm on Monday 19th October at the Lucas Arms, Grays Inn Road, near King’s Cross. See below for map, or email uncaptiveminds@gmail.com for more details. Continue reading “imperialism and the world today: 19th october london forum”

yes, chris ann, obama is punking us

Ernie Haberkern writes on the row over healthcare reform in the USA

In a sense, the right wing tub-thumpers organized by the pharmaceutical and insurance companies through media hysterics like Russ Limbaugh and Sarah Palin, have done Barack Obama a favor. They have drawn attention away from what the administration is really doing by making stupid charges and turning their demonstrations into clown shows. It is easy enough to poke fun at Sarah Palin’s charge that a provision allowing doctors to be paid for advising elderly, ill patients about the possibility of setting up living wills, making clear to their loved ones what they would like done in the event they become incapacitated, amounts to setting up “death panels”. As the Republican Senator from Georgia who introduced the legislation, Jacob Isakson, put it the statement is “nuts”. But, then, what would you expect from Sarah Palin.

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Increasingly, however, the liberal center is beginning to voice concerns about where Obama is going. The headline of this article is based on an op-ed piece in The New York Times by Frank Rich titled “Is Obama Punking Us” in which he quotes a real estate broker from Virginia who voted for Obama, Chris Ann Cleland, as saying “I feel like I have been punked!” Continue reading “yes, chris ann, obama is punking us”

latin america’s future is being played out in honduras

Roberto Sáenz writes of a new situation of crisis, reactionary offensives, polarisation and growing popular resistance in the region, as exemplified by the recent military coup against Honduras’s centre-left president Zelaya.

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“What happened in Honduras is no trivial matter. There is no use taking the word of the constitutionalists who claim that no coup took place since the executive was saved and the other powers of state have been kept ‘intact’. It is not a question of yes to Zelaya, no to Zelaya, yes to Chávez, no to Chávez. They took the president away in his pyjamas: the outcome which is concretising represents a massive backwards step for the democracies of the region and a serious threat to their political systems. Two years ago not even the most fervent conspirator could have imagined a military coup in Latin America. Today, given certain circumstances and taking certain factors into consideration, once again all such options are on the table. This is well-known to those who would split Bolivia, the banana magnates of Guatemala and Ecuador, the followers of General Lino Oviedo in Paraguay and Major Roberto D’Aubuisson Arrieta in El Salvador, the ex-contras in Nicaragua, the Venezuelan employers’ federation and the Argentinian landowners with their blockades”[1]. Continue reading “latin america’s future is being played out in honduras”

meet the new boss: the united auto workers’ union

by Adam Ford

What do you call a ‘union’ where the people at the top will directly profit from increasing the exploitation of their ‘membership’? Well, if Barack Obama gets his way, you can call it the United Auto Workers.

Yes, in return for a government rescue package, Chrysler executives and UAW bureaucrats have agreed a deal which will has important implications for the class struggle worldwide, and marks a new stage in the liquidation of official trade unions.

In common with the other ‘big three’ American auto companies (the others being General Motors and Ford), and indeed competitors around the world, Chrysler has suffered from dramatically lower sales in recent years. This situation has been catastrophically worsened by the recession, causing Chrysler and General Motors to seek a bridging loan from the Obama administration. Following the recommendations of the Wall Street-led Presidential Task Force, Obama has given the UAW majority control of Chrysler and a 38% stake in GM, charging it with attacking jobs, wages and benefits. Continue reading “meet the new boss: the united auto workers’ union”

barack obama – putting lipstick on a pig

Ernie Haberkern gives a view from the USA on the Obama presidency

“You can put lipstick on a pig..It’s still a pig.
You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change.
It’s still gonna stink.
We’ve had enough of the same old thing.”
Barack Obama on the Republican campaign

Obama’s attack on McCain/Palin (or was it Palin/McCain?) was intended to expose the hollowness of their attempt to coopt his “the change we need” slogan. There is no question that the Republican Party’s attempt to present itself, rather than Obama, as the anti-Bush party – which is what the “change” slogan meant – was laughable. But Obama inadvertently highlighted what was the real meaning of his use of the “change” slogan.

The fact of the matter is that Obama’s own slogan is nothing more than an attempt to put lipstick on the pig that is American domestic and foreign policy. That he is the first black president of the country is itself part of this charade. There is no question that his election is one more nail in the coffin of slavery and segregation. But that only makes Obama a more effective salesman for the American government’s criminal foreign and domestic politics. In addition to being black, Obama is an intelligent, articulate, suave salesman. A sharp contrast to the mentally challenged George W. Bush and the crazed Dick Cheney.

I myself have been surprised at Obama’s behaviour. How quickly he has betrayed, not only his slogan, but his supporters. Continue reading “barack obama – putting lipstick on a pig”

two hands off the people of iran meetings

Barack Obama has made it clear that he “will do anything” to stop Iran from developing the capacility to produce nuclear weapons. The global economic crisis has made world imperialism more belligerent. How do we fight the danger of another disastrous war in the Middle East?
7pm, Wednesday November 26. King’s College London. Strand Campus, The Strand (Temple tube)

Revolutionary Struggle in Iran
with Torab Saleth (Workers Left Unity Iran)
7:30pm, Tuesday 2nd December, University of Manchester Students’ Union – Meeting Room 1

Click here for details of HOPI conference, taking place in London on December 13th.