Archive | October 6th, 2017

ISIS Mobile Groups Use US At-tanf Base for Raids Against Syrian Army

NOVANEWS

ISIS Mobile Groups Use US At-tanf Base for Raids Against Syrian Army – Russian Ministry of Defense

U.S. forces use refugees living in the Rukban camp in southeast Syria as a human shield, the Russian Defense Ministry has said.

Rukban refugees are de facto hostages, effectively a ‘human shield’ for the US base. Think about it, other than by Americans such ‘protection’ barriers are used in Syria only by those who they came here to fight, the terrorists,” Major General Igor Konashenkov said in a statement on Friday.

Konashenkov added that 60,000 women and children who fled Raqqa and Deir Ezzor currently live in the camp. The spokesman also blamed the United  States for preventing humanitarian aid to the area from Syria, Jordan and the United Nations.

The Russian general added that the US base protected by the “human shield” has turned into a “black hole” on the Syrian-Jordanian border from which ISIS mobile groups conduct raids against Syrian government forces.

The Pentagon’s representatives have repeatedly stated that instructors from the US, the UK and Norway staying there under the cover of tactical aviation and multiple-launch rocket systems are training New Syrian Army militants. However, in actual fact, al-Tanf has turned into a 100-kilometer ‘black hole’ on the Syrian-Jordanian state border. Instead of the New Syrian Army, mobile ISIL [ISIS] groups, like a jack in the box, carry out sabotage and terrorist attacks against Syrian troops and civilians from there,” Konashenkov said.

The spokesman said that the illegal establishment of the base there was publicly justified “by the need to conduct operations against ISIL [ISIS].” However, no information have been received about any US-led operations against ISIS during the six months of the base existence.

Earlier this week, the Russian Defense Ministry said that 300 ISIS members that had seized the city of Al-Qaryatayn deep inside the government-held area came from the Rukban area.

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Cuba: Will It Ever Perpetrate Attacks of Any Sort Against Diplomatic Officials

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Cuba Has Never Perpetrated, Nor Will It Ever Perpetrate Attacks of Any Sort Against Diplomatic Officials or Their Relatives, Without Any Exception

Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba in response to recent measures taken by the Trump administration following incidents involving U.S. diplomatic personnel in Havana

On September 29, 2017, the US Secretary of State Rex Tillersonannounced the decision to significantly downscale the diplomatic staff of the US embassy in Havana and withdraw all their relatives, claiming that there had been “attacks” perpetrated against US Government officials in Cuba which have harmed their health.

Once again, on October 3, the US Government, in an unwarranted act, decided that 15 officials of the Cuban Embassy in Washington should depart from the United States, claiming that the US had reduced their diplomatic staffing levels in Havana and that the Cuban Government had failed to take all appropriate steps to prevent “attacks” against them.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly protests and condemns this unfounded and unacceptable decision as well as the pretext used to justify it, for it has been asserted that the Cuban Government did not take the appropriate measures to prevent the occurrence of the alleged incidents.

In the meeting that, at the proposal of the Cuban side, was held with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, warned him against the adoption of hasty decisions that were not supported by evidence; urged him not to politicize a matter of this nature and once again required the effective cooperation from the US authorities to clarify facts and conclude the investigation.

It is the second time, after May 23, 2017, that the State Department orders two Cuban diplomats in Washington to abandon the country; that the US Government reacts in a hasty, inappropriate and unthinking way, without having evidence of the occurrence of the adduced facts, for which Cuba has no responsibility whatsoever and before the conclusion of the investigation that is still in progress.

Just as was expressed by the Cuban Foreign Minister to Secretary of State Tillerson on September 26, 2017, Cuba, whose diplomatic staff members have been victims in the past of attempts perpetrated against their lives, who have been murdered, disappeared, kidnapped or attacked during the performance of their duty, has seriously and strictly observed its obligations under the Geneva Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 referring to the protection and integrity of diplomatic agents accredited in the country, in which it has an impeccable record.

As was informed by the Ministry on August 9 last, since February 17, 2017, when the US embassy and State Department notified the alleged occurrence of incidents against some officials of that diplomatic mission and their relatives as from November 2016, arguing that these had caused them injuries and other disorders, the Cuban authorities have acted with utmost seriousness, professionalism and immediacy to clarify this situation and opened an exhaustive and priority investigation following instructions from the top level of the Government. The measures adopted to protect the US diplomatic staff, their relatives and residences were reinforced; new expeditious communication channels were established between the US embassy and the Diplomatic Security Department and a committee of experts was created to make a comprehensive analysis of facts, which was made up by law enforcement officials, physicians and scientists.

In the face of the belated, fragmented and insufficient information supplied by the US, the Cuban authorities requested further information and clarifications from the US embassy in order to carry out a serious and profound investigation.

The US embassy only delivered some data of interest on the alleged incidents after February 21, whenPresident Raúl Castro Ruz personally reiterated to the Chargé d’Affairs of the US diplomatic mission how important it was for the competent authorities from both countries to cooperate and exchange more information. Nevertheless, the data supplied later on continued to be lacking in the descriptions or details that would facilitate the characterization of facts or the identification of potential perpetrators, in case there were any.

In the weeks that followed, in view of new reports on the alleged incidents and the scarce information that had been delivered, the Cuban authorities reiterated the need to establish an effective cooperation and asked the US authorities for more information and insisted that the occurrence of any new incident should be notified in real time, which would provide for a timely action.

Besides all of the above and in the interest of contributing to the investigation and legal process established by virtue of the Cuban Criminal Procedural Law, the US received from Cuba some requests for information as part of the inquiry procedure.

The information delivered by the US authorities led the committee of Cuban experts conclude that this was insufficient and that the main obstacle to clarify the incidents had been the impossibility to have direct access to the injured people and the physicians who examined them; the belated delivery of evidence and their deficient value; the absence of reliable first-hand and verifiable information and the inability to exchange with US experts who are knowledgeable about this kind of events and the technology that could have been used, despite having repeatedly stating this as a requirement to be able to move forward in the investigation.

Only after repeated requests were conveyed to the US Government, some representatives of specialized agencies of that country finally traveled to Havana on June last, met with their Cuban counterparts and expressed their intention to cooperate in a more substantive way in the investigation of the alleged incidents. They again visited Cuba in August and September, and for the first time in more than 50 years they were allowed to work on the ground, for which they were granted all facilities, including the possibility of importing equipment, as a gesture of good will that evidenced the great interest of the Cuban government in concluding the investigation.

The Cuban authorities highly assessed the three visits made by the US specialized agencies, which have recognized the high professional level of the investigation started by Cuba and its high technical and scientific component, and which, as a preliminary result, concluded that, so far, according to the information available and the data supplied by the United States, there were no evidence of the occurrence of the alleged incidents or the causes and the origin of the health disorders reported by the US diplomats and their relatives. Neither has it been possible to identify potential perpetrators or persons with motivations, intentions or means to perpetrate this type of actions; nor was it possible to establish the presence of suspicious persons or means at the locations where such facts have been reported or in their vicinity. The Cuban authorities are not familiar with the equipment or the technology that could be used for that purpose; nor do they have information indicating their presence in the country.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs categorically rejects any responsibility of the Cuban Government in the alleged incidents and reiterates once again that Cuba has never perpetrated, nor will it ever perpetrate attacks of any sort against diplomatic officials or their relatives, without any exception. Neither has it ever allowed nor will it ever allow its territory to be used by third parties with that purpose.

The Ministry emphasizes that the US Government announced decision to reduce Cuba’s diplomatic staff in Washington without the conclusive results from the investigation and without evidence of the incidents that would be affecting their officials in Cuba has an eminently political character.

The Ministry urges the competent authorities of the US Government not to continue politicizing this matter, which can provoke an undesirable escalation and would rarify and reverse even more bilateral relations, which were already affected by the announcement of a new policy made in June last by President Donald Trump.

The Ministry reiterates Cuba’s disposition to continue fostering a serious and objective cooperation between the authorities of both countries with the purpose of clarifying these facts and conclude the investigation, for which it will be essential to count on the most effective cooperation of the US competent agencies.

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From Global Poverty to Exclusion and Despair: Reversing the Tide of War and Globalization

NOVANEWS

“The Sociology of Justice”, which is the timely theme of The Philippine Sociological Society’s 2017 National conference at UP Cebu must be understood in relation to an unfolding New World Order which destroys sovereign countries through acts of war and “regime change”. 

In turn, large sectors of the World population are impoverished through the concurrent imposition of deadly macro-economic reforms. This New World Order feeds on human poverty and the destruction of the environment, generates social apartheid, encourages racism and ethnic strife and undermines the rights of women.  

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October 7, 2017 marks the 16th anniversary of the October 7, 2001 illegal US-NATO invasion of Afghanistan. Michel Chossudovsky, University of the Philippines, Cebu, October 7, 2017
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We are at the juncture of the most serious crisis in modern history.

In the wake of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, in the largest display of military might since the Second World War, the US has embarked upon a military adventure which threatens the future of humanity.

War is presented as a peace-making undertaking. The justification for these US-led wars is the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) with a view to instilling (Trump style) Western “democracy” Worldwide.

Global warfare sustains the neoliberal agenda. War and globalization are intricately related.

What we are dealing with is an imperial project broadly serving global economic and financial interests including Wall Street, the Military Industrial Complex, Big Oil, the Biotech conglomerates, Big Pharma, The Global Narcotics Economy  and the Media  and Information Giants.

Also, September 11, 2001 followed by the invasion of Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, also marks the official launch of the so-called “global war on terrorism” which has served as a justification for US-NATO led wars and interventions in the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia and South East Asia.

The Global War on Terrorism is Fake

Amply documented, Al Qaeda and its various affiliates including ISIS-Daesh are creations of US intelligence.

Pre-emptive Nuclear Doctrine

Meanwhile, a major shift in US nuclear doctrine has occurred with the adoption of the doctrine of preemptive warfare, namely war as an instrument of  “self defense”. The ideology of preemptive warfare also applies to the use of nuclear weapons on a pre-emptive basis. In 2002, the US administration put forth the concept of preemptive nuclear war, namely the use of nuclear weapons against enemies of America as a means of self defense.

The Trump administration is openly threatening the World with nuclear war. How to confront the diabolical and absurd proposition put forth by the US administration that the use of nuclear weapons against Iran or North Korea will  “make the World a safer place”?

Where is the Antiwar Movement?  

Since the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the antiwar movement is dead.  Piece-meal activism often funded by Wall Street prevails, focussing narrowly on environmental concerns, climate change, racism, civil rights. Invariably war and the extensive war crimes committed by US-NATO as part of an alleged counterterrorism agenda are not the object of organized public dissent. The motto is a non sequitur: “we are against war, but we support the war on terrorism.”

War propaganda prevails, thereby providing a human face to US-NATO atrocities and human rights violations. In turn, the governments of the countries which are the object of US aggression, are casually accused of killing their own people.

Media disinformation turns realties upside down. North Korea is not a threat to global security. Belgium with 20 B61 tactical nukes deployed under national command has a larger arsenal than the DPRK (allegedly 4 nuclear bombs).

These B61 nuclear bombs in five undeclared European nuclear weapons states (Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Turkey) are targeted at both Russia and the Middle East.

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The mainstream media has failed to warn public opinion that a US led nuclear attack against North Korea or Iran could evolve towards World War III, which in the words of Albert Einstein would be “terminal”, leading to the destruction of humanity.

“Today there is an imminent risk of war with the use of that kind of weapon and I don’t harbor the least doubt that an attack by the United States and Israel against the Islamic Republic of Iran would inevitably evolve towards a global nuclear conflict.

In a nuclear war the “collateral damage” would be the life of all humanity. Let us have the courage to proclaim that all nuclear or conventional weapons, everything that is used to make war, must disappear!”  (Fidel Castro Ruz, Conversations with Michel Chossudovsky, October 12-15, 2010)

I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones”.(Albert Einstein)

The anti-war movement is dead, nuclear war is not front page news.

The justification of America’s long war is to “make the world safer”.

War is presented as a humanitarian endeavor. Global Security requires going after al Qaeda as part of an alleged counter-terrorism campaign.

The world is led to believe that  the Islamic State and Al Qaeda are threatening the World. The truth is that Al Qaeda and its  numerous affiliates  as well as the Islamic State (ISIS-Daesh) are without exception creations of US intelligence. They are intelligence assets.

When a US sponsored nuclear war becomes an “instrument of peace”, condoned and accepted by the World’s institutions and the highest authority including the United Nations, there is no turning back: human society has indelibly been precipitated headlong onto the path of self-destruction. 

From Colonialism to Post-Colonialism

Post-colonial history is a continuation of colonial history which established America’s contemporary imperial agenda, largely as a result of the displacement and defeat by the US of the former colonial powers (e.g. Spain, France, Japan, Netherlands). This US hegemonic project largely consists in transforming sovereign countries into open territories, controlled by dominant economic and financial interests. Military, intelligence as well economic instruments are used to carry out this hegemonic project.

Militarization marked by more than 700 US military bases and facilities worldwide under the unified combatant command structure indelibly supports a global economic agenda.

Moreover, this military deployment is supported by US macro-economic policy which imposes austerity on all categories of civil expenditure with a view to releasing the funds required to finance America’s military arsenal and war economy.

Military intervention and regime change initiatives including CIA sponsored military coups and “color revolutions” are broadly supportive of the neoliberal policy agenda which has been imposed on indebted developing countries Worldwide.

The Globalization of Poverty 

The “globalization of poverty” in the post-colonial era is the direct result of the imposition of deadly macroeconomic reforms under IMF-World Bank jurisdiction. The Bretton Woods institutions are instruments of Wall Street and the corporate establishment.

The time path of these reforms –which has led to a process of global economic restructuring– is of crucial significance. The early 1980s marks the onslaught of the so-called structural adjustment program (SAP)under the helm of the IMF and the World Bank. “Policy conditionalities” largely directed against indebted Third World countries are used as a means of intervention, whereby the Washington based International Financial Institutions (IFI) impose a set menu of deadly economic policy reforms including austerity, privatization, the phasing out of social programs, trade reforms, compression of real wages, etc.

It is worth noting that a parallel process of neoliberal economic reform –which largely consisted in privatizing as well gradually dismantling the welfare state– was instigated in the 1980s in the US and Britain under what was described as the Reagan-Thatcher era.

Post-Cold War Era Reforms

A second phase of economic restructuring commences at the end of the Cold War with drastic economic reform packages imposed on Eastern Europe and the Baltic States, the Balkans as well as on the constituent republics of the former Soviet Union (e.g. Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan).

Concurrently in Western Europe the Maastricht Treaty –which came into force in 1993– was imposed on the member states of the European Union. What was referred to as the The Maastricht criteria (or  convergence criteria) which eventually led to the formation of the eurozone largely consisted in imposed the neoliberal policy agenda on the EU member states. These Maastricht criteria also served to derogate the sovereignty of individual member states.

Maastricht is a structural adjustment program (SAP) in disguise. Essentially Maastricht and the subsequent instatement of the eurozone contributed to paralyzing national monetary policy, foreclosing the use of internal public debt operations as an instrument of national economic development. The requirements of budgetary austerity imposed under the “Maastricht criteria” limited EU member states ability to finance their social programs leading to the gradual demise of the post World War II welfare state. The public debt is taken over by the European Central Bank (ECB) as well as private creditors.  The longer term impacts are mounting external debts as well as debt conditionalities and the repayment of debt from the proceeds of an extensive privatization program.

It should be mentioned that this phase of restructuring also coincides with the inauguration of the World Trade Organization (1995) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which has been conducive to a dramatic  transformation of the North American economic landscape, leading to the demise of regional and local level economies throughout North America.

In turn, the 1990s coincides with an extension and expansion of NATO, including massive “defense” expenditures which are not the object of neoliberal austerity measures. In fact quite the opposite. Neoliberalism feeds the Military Industrial Complex.

What is at stake is the “Thirdworldization” of the so-called developed countries leading to mass unemployment in several EU countries including Spain, Portugal and Greece, whose economies are now subjected to same IMF style reforms as those applied in Third World countries. What this signifies is that the Globalization of Poverty has extended its grip, leading to the impoverishment not only of the former Soviet block countries and the Balkans but also of the so-called high income countries of Western Europe.

More generally, the 1990s coinciding with NATO’s “humanitarian” war against Yugoslavia is the launchpad of NATO’s military buildup as well as  the globalization of NATO beyond it’s North Atlantic boundaries in the post Cold War era.

The Asian crisis of 1997-98 also marks an important threshold in the evolution of the neoliberal economic framework, pointing to the ability through speculative manipulations of foreign exchange and commodity market to literally destabilize the national economy of targeted countries. In this regard, institutional speculators have now the ability of artificially pushing up the price of food staples, or pushing up or down the price of crude oil.

The Global Cheap Labor Economy

The neoliberal agenda characterized by the imposition of strong “economic medicine” (austerity measures, freeze on wages, privatisation, repeal of social programs) has in the course of the last 30 years supported the extensive delocation of manufacturing to cheap labor (low wage) havens in developing countries. It has also served to impoverish both the developing and developed countries.

“Poverty is good for business.” It promotes the supply of cheap labor commodities worldwide in industry as well as in sections of the services economy.

This global process of economic restructuring (which has reached new heights) relies on compressing wages and the cost of labor worldwide while at the same time reducing the purchasing power of hundreds of millions of people. This compression of consumer demand ultimately triggers recession and rising unemployment.

The low wage economy is supported by exceedingly high levels of unemployment, which in developing countries are also the result of the destruction of the regional and local production not to mention the destabilization of the rural economy. This “reserve army on unemployed” (Marx) contributes to keeping wages down to their bare minimum.

China is the most important haven of cheap labor industrial assembly with 275 million migrant workers (according to official Chinese sources). Ironically, the West’s former colonies, as well as countries which are the victims of US military aggression and war crimes (e.g. Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia) have been transformed into cheap labor havens. The conditions prevailing in the aftermath of the Vietnam war were in large part instrumental in the imposition of the neoliberal agenda starting in the early 1990s.

Cheap labor is also exported from impoverished countries (India, Bangladesh, Philippines, Indonesia, etc)  and used in the construction industry as well as in the services economy.

High levels of unemployment serve to maintain wages at an exceedingly low levels

Aggregate Demand

This global economic restructuring has been conducive to a dramatic increase in poverty and unemployment. While poverty is an input on the supply side favoring low levels of wages, the global cheap labor economy inevitably leads to a collapse in purchasing power, which in turn serves to increase the levels of unemployment.

Cheap labor and the compression of purchasing is the mainstay of neoliberalism. The transition from demand oriented Keynesian policies in the 1970s to the neoliberal macro-ecoomic agenda in the 1980s. The neoliberal economic policy agenda applied Worldwide sustains the global cheap labor economy. With the demise of demand oriented policies, neoliberalism emerges as the dominant economic paradigm.

Structural Adjustment in the Developed Economies

This generalized collapse in living standards which is the product of a macroeconomic agenda, is no longer limited to the so-called developing countries. Mass unemployment prevails in the United States, several EU countries including Spain, Portugal, Greece are experiencing exceedingly high levels of unemployment. Concurrently, the revenues of the middle class are being compressed, social programs are privatised, social safety nets including unemployment insurance benefits and social welfare programs are being curtailed.

Underconsumption

The generalized collapse of purchasing power is conducive to a recession in the consumer goods industry. Commodity production is not geared towards the basic necessities of life (food, housing, social services, etc) for the majority of the World’s population. There is a dichotomy between “those who work” in the cheap labor economy and “those who consume”.

The fundamental injustice of this global economic system is that “those who work” cannot afford to purchase what they produce. In other words, neoliberalism does not promote mass consumption. Quite the opposite: the development of extreme social inequalities both within and between countries ultimately leads to recession in the production of necessary goods and services (including food, social housing, public health, education).

The lack of purchasing power of “those who produce” (not to mention those who are unemployed) leads to a collapse in aggregate demand. In turn, there is surge in the demand for “high end luxury consumption” (broadly defined)  by the upper income strata of society.

Weapons and Luxury Goods. The Two Dynamic Sectors of the Global Economy

Essentially, while global poverty contributes to underconsumption by the large majority of the World’s population, the driving force of economic growth are the upper income markets (deluxe brand names, travel and leisure, luxury cars, electronics, private schools and clinics, etc).

The global cheap labor economy triggers poverty and underconsumption of necessary goods and services.

The two dynamic sectors of the global economy are

1. Production for the upper income strata of society.

2. The production and consumption of weapons, namely the military industrial complex.

Neoliberal policy  is conducive to the development of a global cheap labor economy which triggers decline in the production of necessary consumer goods (Marx’s Department IIa).

In turn, the lack of demand for necessary goods and services triggers a vacuum in the development of social infrastructure and investments (schools, hospitals, public transportation, public health, etc) in support of the standard of living of the large majority of world population.

The global cheap labor economy alongside the restructuring of the global financial apparatus creates an unprecedented concentration of income and wealth which is accompanied by the dynamic development of the luxury goods economy (broadly defined) (Marx’s Department IIb) .

Department III in the contemporary global economy is the production of weapons, which are sold Worldwide largely to governments. This sector of production in the US is dominated by a handful of large corporations including Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, British Aerospace, Boeing, et al.

While neoliberal policies require the imposition of drastic austerity measures, the latter apply solely to the civilian sectors of government spending. State funding of advanced weapons systems is not the object of budgetary constraints.

In fact, the austerity measures imposed on health, education, public infrastructure, etc, are intended to facilitate the financing of the war economy, including the military industrial complex, the regional command structure consisting of 700 US military facilities Worldwide, the intelligence and security apparatus, not to mention the development of a new generation of nuclear weapons which is the object of a one trillion dollar allocation by the US Treasury to the US Defense Department. This money is ultimately trickles down to the so-called defense contractors, which constitute a powerful political lobby.

The reproduction of this global economic system is dependent upon the growth and development of two major sectors (departments): the Military Industrial Complex and the Production of High Income and Luxury Consumption.

High income luxury consumption for the upper social strata is combined with the dynamic development of the weapons industry and the war economy. This duality is what generates exclusion and despair.

It can only be broken and dispelled through the criminalization of war, the closure of the weapons industry and the repeal of the gamut of neoliberal policy instruments which generate poverty and social inequality.

How to Reverse The Tide of War and Globalization

The people’s movement had been hijacked. The antiwar movement is defunct. The civil society organisations which have all the appearances of being “progressive” are creatures of the system. Funded by corporate charities linked to Wall Street, they form part of a politically correct “Opposition” which acts as “a spokesperson for civil society”.

But who do they represent? Many of the “partner NGOs” and lobby groups which frequently mingle with bureaucrats and politicians, have few contacts with grass-roots social movements and people’s organisations. In the meantime, they serve to deflect the articulation of “real” social movements against the New World Order.” While the neoliberal paradigm is the focus of their attention, the broader issues of war and regime change are rarely addressed.

The programs of many NGOs and people’s movements rely heavily on funding from both public as well as private foundations including the Ford, Rockefeller, McCarthy foundations, among others.

The anti-globalization movement is opposed to Wall Street and the Texas oil giants controlled by Rockefeller, et al. Yet the foundations and charities of Rockefeller et al will generously fund progressive anti-capitalist networks as well as environmentalists (opposed to Big Oil) with a view to ultimately overseeing and shaping their various activities.

The mechanisms of “manufacturing dissent” require a manipulative environment, a process of arm-twisting and subtle cooptation of individuals within progressive organizations, including anti-war coalitions, environmentalists and the anti-globalization movement.

The objective of the corporate elites has been to fragment the people’s movement into a vast “do it yourself” mosaic. War and globalization are no longer in the forefront of civil society activism. Activism tends to be piecemeal. There is no integrated anti-globalization anti-war movement. The economic crisis is not seen as having a relationship to the US led war.

Dissent has been compartmentalized. Separate “issue oriented” protest movements (e.g. environment, anti-globalization, peace, women’s rights, climate change) are encouraged and generously funded as opposed to a cohesive mass movement. This mosaic was already prevalent in the counter G7 summits as well as the World Social Forum.

The Development of a Broad Grassroots Network

What is required is ultimately to break the “controlled opposition” through the development of a broad based grassroots network which seeks to disable patterns of authority and decision making pertaining both to war and the neoliberal policy agenda. It is understood that US military deployments  (including nuclear weapons) are ultimately used in support of powerful economic interests.

This network would be established at all levels in society, towns and villages, work places, parishes both nationally and internationally  Trade unions, farmers organizations, professional associations, business associations, student unions, veterans associations, church groups would be called upon to integrate the antiwar organizational structure. Of crucial importance, this movement should extend into the Armed Forces as a means to breaking the legitimacy of war among service men and women.

The first task would be to disable war propaganda through an effective campaign against media disinformation. The corporate media would be directly challenged, leading to boycotts of major news outlets, which are responsible for channelling disinformation into the news chain.  This endeavor would require a parallel process at the grass roots level, of sensitizing and educating fellow citizens on the nature of  the war and the global economic crisis, as well as effectively “spreading the word” through advanced networking, through alternative media outlets on the internet, etc.

The creation of such a movement, which forcefully challenges the legitimacy of the structures of political authority, is no easy task. It would require a degree of solidarity, unity and commitment unparalleled in World history. It would require breaking down political and ideological barriers within society and acting with a single voice. It would also require eventually unseating the war criminals, and indicting them for war crimes.

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The Rising of Britain’s ‘New Politics’

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Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

Delegates to the recent Labour Party conference in the English seaside town of Brighton seemed not to notice a video playing in the main entrance. The world’s third biggest arms manufacturer, BAe Systems, supplier to Saudi Arabia, was promoting its guns, bombs, missiles, naval ships and fighter aircraft.

It seemed a perfidious symbol of a party in which millions of Britons now invest their political hopes. Once the preserve of Tony Blair, it is now led by Jeremy Corbyn, whose career has been very different and is rare in British establishment politics.

Addressing the conference, the campaigner Naomi Klein described the rise of Corbyn as “part of a global phenomenon. We saw it in Bernie Sanders’ historic campaign in the US primaries, powered by millennials who know that safe centrist politics offers them no kind of safe future.”

In fact, at the end of the US primary elections last year, Sanders led his followers into the arms of Hillary Clinton, a liberal warmonger from a long tradition in the Democratic Party.

As President Obama’s Secretary of State, Clinton presided over the invasion of Libya in 2011, which led to a stampede of refugees to Europe. She gloated at the gruesome murder of Libya’s president. Two years earlier, Clinton signed off on a coup that overthrew the democratically elected president of Honduras. That she has been invited to Wales on 14 October to be given an honorary doctorate by the University of Swansea because she is “synonymous with human rights” is unfathomable.

Like Clinton, Sanders is a cold-warrior and “anti-communist” obsessive with a proprietorial view of the world beyond the United States. He supported Bill Clinton’s and Tony Blair’s illegal assault on Yugoslavia in 1998 and the invasions of Afghanistan, Syria and Libya, as well as Barack Obama’s campaign of terrorism by drone. He backs the provocation of Russia and agrees that the whistleblower Edward Snowden should stand trial. He has called the late Hugo Chavez – a social democrat who won multiple elections – “a dead communist dictator”.

While Sanders is a familiar American liberal politician, Corbyn may be a phenomenon, with his indefatigable support for the victims of American and British imperial adventures and for popular resistance movements.

For example, in the 1960s and 70s, the Chagos islanders were expelled from their homeland, a British colony in the Indian Ocean, by a Labour government. An entire population was kidnapped. The aim was to make way for a US military base on the main island of Diego Garcia: a secret deal for which the British were “compensated” with a discount of $14 million off the price of a Polaris nuclear submarine.

I have had much to do with the Chagos islanders and have filmed them in exile in Mauritius and the Seychelles, where they suffered and some of them “died from sadness”, as I was told. They found a political champion in a Labour Member of Parliament, Jeremy Corbyn.

So did the Palestinians. So did Iraqis terrorised by a Labour prime minister’s invasion of their country in 2003. So did others struggling to break free from the web of western power. Corbyn supported the likes of Hugo Chavez, who brought more than hope to societies subverted by the US behemoth.

And yet, now Corbyn is closer to power than he might have ever imagined, his foreign policy remains a secret.

By secret, I mean there has been rhetoric and little else.

“We must put our values at the heart of our foreign policy,” he said at the Labour conference.

But what are these “values”?

Since 1945, like the Tories, British Labour has been an imperial party, obsequious to Washington: a record exemplified by the crime in the Chagos islands.

What has changed? Is Corbyn saying Labour will uncouple itself from the US war machine, and the US spying apparatus and US economic blockades that scar humanity?

His shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry, says a Corbyn government “will put human rights back at the heart of Britain’s foreign policy”. But human rights have never been at the heart of British foreign policy — only “interests”, as Lord Palmerston declared in the 19th century: the interests of those at the apex of British society.

Thornberry quoted the late Robin Cook who, as Tony Blair’s first Foreign Secretary in 1997, pledged an “ethical foreign policy” that would “make Britain once again a force for good in the world”.

History is not kind to imperial nostalgia. The recently commemorated division of India by a Labour government in 1947 – with a border hurriedly drawn up by a London barrister, Gordon Radcliffe, who had never been to India and never returned – led to blood-letting on a genocidal scale.

Shut up in a lonely mansion, with police night and day
Patrolling the gardens to keep the assassins away,
He got down to work, to the task of settling the fate
Of millions. The maps at his disposal were out of date
And the Census Returns almost certainly incorrect,
But there was no time to check them, no time to inspect
Contested areas. The weather was frightfully hot,
And a bout of dysentery kept him constantly on the trot,
But in seven weeks it was done, the frontiers decided,
A continent for better or worse divided.

W.H. Auden, ‘Partition’.

It was the same Labour government (1945-51), led by Prime Minister Clement Attlee – “radical” by today’s standards — that dispatched General Douglas Gracey’s British imperial army to Saigon with orders to re-arm the defeated Japanese in order to prevent Vietnamese nationalists from liberating their own country. Thus, the longest war of the century was ignited.

It was a Labour Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin, whose policy of “mutuality” and “partnership” with some of the world’s most vicious despots, especially in the Middle East, forged relationships that endure today, often sidelining and crushing the human rights of whole communities and societies. The cause was British “interests” – oil, power and wealth.

In the “radical” 1960s, Labour’s Defence Secretary, Denis Healey, set up the Defence Sales Organisation (DSO) specifically to boost the arms trade and make money from selling lethal weapons to the world. Healey told Parliament,

“While we attach the highest importance to making progress in the field of arms control and disarmament, we must also take what practical steps we can to ensure that this country does not fail to secure its rightful share of this valuable market.”

The doublethink was quintessentially Labour. When I later asked Healey about this “valuable market”, he claimed his decision made no difference to the volume of military exports. In fact, it led to an almost doubling of Britain’s share of the arms market. Today, Britain is the second biggest arms dealer on earth, selling arms and fighter planes, machine guns and “riot control” vehicles, to 22 of the 30 countries on the British Government’s own list of human rights violators.

Will this stop under a Corbyn government? The preferred model – Robin Cook’s “ethical foreign policy” – is revealing. Like Jeremy Corbyn, Cook made his name as a backbencher and critic of the arms trade.

“Wherever weapons are sold,” wrote Cook, “there is a tacit conspiracy to conceal the reality of war” and “it is a truism that every war for the past two decades has been fought by poor countries with weapons supplied by rich countries”.

Cook singled out the sale of British Hawk fighters to Indonesia as “particularly disturbing”. Indonesia “is not only repressive but actually at war on two fronts: in East Timor, where perhaps a sixth of the population has been slaughtered … and in West Papua, where it confronts an indigenous liberation movement”.

As Foreign Secretary, Cook promised “a thorough review of arms sales”. The then Nobel Peace Laureate, Bishop Carlos Belo of East Timor, appealed directly to Cook:

“Please, I beg you, do not sustain any longer a conflict which without these arms sales could never have been pursued in the first place and not for so very long.”

He was referring to Indonesia’s bombing of East Timor with British Hawks and the slaughter of his people with British machine guns. He received no reply.

The following week Cook called journalists to the Foreign Office to announce his “mission statement” for “human rights in a new century”. This PR event included the usual private briefings for selected journalists, including the BBC, in which Foreign Office officials lied that there was “no evidence” that British Hawk aircraft were deployed in East Timor.

A few days later, the Foreign Office issued the results of Cook’s “thorough review” of arms sales policy.

“It was not realistic or practical,” wrote Cook, “to revoke licences which were valid and in force at the time of Labour’s election victory”.

Suharto’s Minister for Defence, Edi Sudradjat, said that talks were already under way with Britain for the purchase of 18 more Hawk fighters.

“The political change in Britain will not affect our negotiations,” he said.

He was right.

Today, replace Indonesia with Saudi Arabia and East Timor with Yemen. British military aircraft – sold with the approval of both Tory and Labour governments and built by the firm whose promotional video had pride of place at Labour’s 2017 party conference – are bombing the life out of Yemen, one of the most impoverished countries in the world, where half the children are malnourished and there is the greatest cholera epidemic in modern times.

Hospitals and schools, weddings and funerals have been attacked. In Ryadh, British military personnel are reported to be training the Saudis in selecting targets.

In Labour’s current manifesto, Jeremy Corbyn and his party colleagues promised that

“Labour will demand a comprehensive, independent, UN-led investigation into alleged violations … in Yemen, including air strikes on civilians by the Saudi-led coalition. We will immediately suspend any further arms sales for use in the conflict until that investigation is concluded.”

But the evidence of Saudi Arabia’s crimes in Yemen is already documented by Amnesty and others, notably by the courageous reporting of the British journalist Iona Craig. The dossier is voluminous.

Labour does not promise to stop arms exports to Saudi Arabia. It does not say Britain will withdraw its support for governments responsible for the export of Islamist jihadism. There is no commitment to dismantle the arms trade.

The manifesto describes a “special relationship [with the US] based on shared values … When the current Trump administration chooses to ignore them … we will not be afraid to disagree”.

As Jeremy Corbyn knows, dealing with the US is not about merely “disagreeing”. The US is a rapacious, rogue power that ought not to be regarded as a natural ally of any state championing human rights, irrespective of whether Trump or anyone else is President.

When Emily Thornberry , in her conference speech, linked Venezuela with the Philippines as “increasingly autocratic regimes” – slogans bereft of facts and ignoring the subversive US role in Venezuela — she was consciously playing to the enemy: a tactic with which Jeremy Corbyn will be familiar.

A Corbyn government will allow the Chagos islanders the right of return. But Labour says nothing about renegotiating the 50-year renewal agreement that Britain has just signed with the US allowing it to use the base on Diego Garcia from which it has bombed Afghanistan and Iraq.

A Corbyn government will “immediately recognise the state of Palestine”. There is silence on whether Britain will continue to arm Israel, continue to acquiesce in the illegal trade in Israel’s illegal “settlements” and treat Israel merely as a warring party, rather than as an historic oppressor given immunity by Washington and London.

On Britain’s support for Nato’s current war preparations, Labour boasts that the “last Labour government spent above the benchmark of 2 per cent of GDP” on Nato. It says,

“Conservative spending cuts have put Britain’s security at risk” and promises to boost Britain’s military “obligations”.

In fact, most of the £40 billion Britain currently spends on the military is not for territorial defence of the UK but for offensive purposes to enhance British “interests” as defined by those who have tried to smear Jeremy Corbyn as unpatriotic.

If the polls are reliable, most Britons are well ahead of their politicians, Tory and Labour. They would accept higher taxes to pay for public services; they want the National Health Service restored to full health. They want decent jobs and wages and housing and schools; they do not hate foreigners but resent exploitative labour. They have no fond memory of an empire on which the sun never set.

They oppose the invasion of other countries and regard Blair as a liar. The rise of Donald Trump has reminded them what a menace the United States can be, especially with their own country in tow.

The Labour Party is the beneficiary of this mood, but many of its pledges – certainly in foreign policy – are qualified and compromised, suggesting, for many Britons, more of the same.

Jeremy Corbyn is widely and properly recognised for his integrity; he opposes the renewal of Trident nuclear weapons; the Labour Party supports it. But he has given shadow cabinet positions to pro-war MPs who support Blairism, tried to get rid of him and abused him as “unelectable”.

“We are the political mainstream now,” says Corbyn. Yes, but at what price?

Posted in UKComments Off on The Rising of Britain’s ‘New Politics’

Nazi regime: Weakening Iraq the Kurdish Referendum

NOVANEWS

Tel Aviv Is Only Interested in Weakening Iraq: The Kurdish Referendum

On September 25, 92 percent from the total of 8.4 million of Iraqi Kurds have voted “yes” to independence on the Iraqi Kurdish referendum, on whether to secede from the Iraqi territory. That was a symbolic step for the world’s largest ethnic group composed by more than 30 million people spread across five countries, to settle a homeland of their own in northern Iraq where the Iraqi Kurdistan is made up of three provinces run by an autonomous regional government, and protected by their own security services.

The Iraqi Ambassador to Russia Haidar Mansour Hadi has pointed out to Pravda that

“the referendum was a severe violation to the Iraqi Constitution, that represents the social contract between all Iraqi components, ratified by the Kurdish people in a way exceeded other Iraqi provinces: Erbil 99.36%, Dohuk 99.13% and Sulaimania 98.96% votes.”

Noting that the people who are claiming to secede from Iraq are genuine participants in the Federal Government since 2003, the Iraqi official said that the Kurds cannot justify a secession. “The Kurdish people are part of Iraqi people.”

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has called on foreign states to stop cooperating with the the Iraq’s autonomous and oil-rich Kurdish on issues in the oil sector, and also demanded that all border posts with Turkey, Syria and Iran be placed under Baghdad’s supervision, closing airports. Turkey also responded aggressively, threatening military action and sanctions in order to force the Kurds to “give up on this adventure that can only have a dark end.”

As the Kurdish leadership is claiming that Baghdad government is punishing the Kurdish people by closing borders and airports, for trying to express their rights, Ambassador Haidar has observed that the Iraqi Federal Government has full rights to control the airports in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, subject all border crossings to federal authorities and close all non-official ports.

“As the Kurdish people are part of Iraqi people, the governmental procedures are basically addressed to deter the Kurdish government for fragmenting Iraq’s unity and preserve its regional position,” he said.

“Oil exporting, foreign trade, investments, bank transactions and the diplomatic and consulate representations are subjected to the federal government authority,” added the Iraqi diplomat to Russia.

The international community and regional neighbors have opposed the referendum, but there is only one government all over the world which has openly supported it: the State of Israel, year by year condemned by several international organizations for crimes against humanity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

An Iraq senior government official, speaking on condition of anonymity to this report, has stated that

“Tel Aviv is only interested on weaken Iraq.”

Ambassador Haidar adds that,

“the Kurdish people are part of Iraqi people, and the governmental procedures are basically addressed to deter the Kurdish government for fragmenting Iraq’s unity, and preserve its regional position.”

As Lebanese journalist and political commentator Osama al-Sharif wrote in the Jordan Times,

“Netanyahu and his far right allies know very well that a unilateral Kurdish decision to cede from Iraq in the absence of an agreement over a number of contentious issues, least of which is the future of oil-rich Kirkuk province, would trigger a civil war that is likely to spill over.”

In the mid 1960s and 70s, Mossad planned and funded a Kurdish Army to fight Iraqi troops in northern Iraq, and other Israel enemies in the Middle East: Syria and Egypt. One of Zionists’s partner then was Mullah Mustafa Barzani, Masoud Barzani’s father, currently the (illegal) President of Kurdistan, and Nechirvan Idris Barzani‘s grandfather, Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) a nephew of Masoud Barzani, who rules the region without any legal basis since 2015: in 2013 he concluded his eight-year term in the Kurdish Presidency, extended by two years by the local Parliament but, since the mandate totally expired, Barzani has prevented the Members of Parliament from setting up new elections.

As observed the website The Moon of Alabama, Barzani’s corrupted power has also been propelled by the United States oil interests in the region.

“The Kurds pumped and sold oil without the consent of Baghdad. Corruption rules in Kurdistan and the regional government had to rob local banks to find fresh money. That still wasn’t enough to pay salaries. The Barzani family mafia has robbed the region blind. To keep going, the local government needs to annex more riches and widen its business base.”

In August 24, 2015, The Jerusalem Post reported,

“Majority of Israeli Oil Imported from Kurdistan [report title]. Importing crude from Erbil [capital of the KRG] could be geopolitically, economically favorable for Jerusalem. Israel had imported as much as 77 percent of its oil supply from Kurdistan [KRG] in recent months, bringing in some 19 million barrels between the beginning of May and August 11. During that period, more than a third of all northern Iraqi [KRG] exports, shipped through Turkey’s Ceyhan port, went to Israel, with transactions amounting to almost $1 billion.”

Recently reported on teleSUR English on September 26,

“an official within Iran’s Expediency Council, Ali Akbar Velayati, stated before the vote that the existence of a secessionist Kurdish state in Iraq would only benefit the United States and the Zionist regime of Israel, both of whom seek to “colonize and dominate” the Middle East.”

Asked about the Kurdish claim that the vote acknowledges their contribution in confronting Islamic State group after it overwhelmed the Iraqi Army in 2014, Ambassador Haidar stated that the Kurdish referendum undermines the international efforts to combat terrorism, especially the battle against Daesh:

“It’s considered a danger on the security of the region. Not just Kurdistan fought ISIS. All Iraqis fought hand in hand and sacrificed their lives in order to win the war against ISIS.”

“Since 2003, our Kurdish brothers were an important part of the Iraqi political process we together, as Iraqis, worked closely to convince the US-led forces to leave Iraq after signing a strategic agree with the United States,” added the Iraqi Ambassador.

Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said, previously to the vote, that Kurds will not declare independence, but “will engage in serious negotiations with Baghdad.” Ambassador Haidar observes that from the beginning, Kurds want their own independent state.

“I would strongly disagree with what Prime Minister of Kurdistan said.”

“The Federal Government in Baghdad refuses any negotiation with the Kurdish leadership, unless they admit the referendum results are void, and the referendum itself is a violation of the Constitution,” remarked the Iraqi diplomat to Moscow.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, IraqComments Off on Nazi regime: Weakening Iraq the Kurdish Referendum

A mad world: capitalism and the rise of mental illness

NOVANEWS

What if it’s not us who are sick, asks Rod Tweedy, but a system at odds with who we are as social beings?

Mental illness is now recognised as one of the biggest causes of individual distress and misery in our societies and cities, comparable to poverty and unemployment. One in four adults in the UK today has been diagnosed with a mental illness, and four million people take antidepressants every year. ‘What greater indictment of a system could there be,’ George Monbiot has asked, ‘than an epidemic of mental illness?’

The shocking extent of this ‘epidemic’ is made all the more disturbing by the knowledge that so much of it is preventable. This is due to the significant correlation between social and environmental conditions and the prevalence of mental disorders. Richard Bentall, professor of clinical psychology at the University of Liverpool, and Peter Kinderman, president of the British Psychological Society, have written compellingly about this connection in recent years, drawing powerful attention to ‘the social determinants of our psychological wellbeing’. ‘The evidence is overwhelming,’ notes Kinderman, ‘it’s not just that there exist social determinants, they are overwhelmingly important.’

A sick society

Experiences of social isolation, inequality, feelings of alienation and dissociation, and even the basic assumptions and ideology of materialism and neoliberalism itself are seen today to be significant drivers – reflected in the titles of a number of recent articles and talks on this subject, such as those of consultant psychotherapist David Morgan’s groundbreaking Frontier Psychoanalyst podcasts, which have included discussions on whether ‘Neoliberalism is dangerous for your mental health’, and ‘Is neoliberalism making us sick?’

Clinical psychologist and psychotherapist Jay Watts observes in the Guardian that ‘psychological and social factors are at least as significant and, for many, the main cause of suffering. Poverty, relative inequality, being subject to racism, sexism, displacement and a competitive culture all increase the likelihood of mental suffering. Governments and pharmaceutical companies are not as interested in these results, throwing funding at studies looking at genetics and physical biomarkers as opposed to the environmental causes of distress. Similarly, there is little political will to combine increasing mental distress with structural inequalities, though the association is robust and many professionals think this would be the best way to tackle the current mental health epidemic’.

It’s time we talk about the c word – capitalismThere are clearly very powerful and entrenched interests and agendas here, which consciously or unconsciously act to conceal or try to deny this relationship, and which also makes the recent willingness amongst so many psychoanalysts and therapists to embrace this wider context so exciting and moving.

Commentators often talk about society, social context, group thinking, and environmental determinants in connection with mental distress and disorders, but we can I think actually be a bit more precise about what aspect of society is mainly driving it, is mainly responsible for it. And in this context it’s probably time we talk about the c word – capitalism.

Many of the contemporary forms of illness and individual distress that we treat and engage with certainly seem to be correlated with and amplified by the processes and byproducts of capitalism. In fact, you might say that capitalism is in many respects a mental illness generating system – and if we are serious about tackling not only the effects of mental distress and illness, but also their causes and origins, we need to look more closely, more precisely, and more analytically at the nature of the political and economic womb out of which they emerge, and how psychology is fundamentally interwoven with every aspect of it.

Ubiquitous neurosis

Perhaps one of the most obvious examples of this intimate connection between capitalism and mental distress is the prevalence of neurosis. As Joel Kovel, a former psychiatrist and professor of political science, notes: ‘A most striking feature of neurosis within capitalism is its ubiquity.’ In his classic essay ‘Therapy in late capitalism’ (reprinted in The Political Self), Kovel refers to the ‘colossal burden of neurotic misery in the population, a weight that continually and palpably betrays the capitalist ideology, which maintains that commodity civilization promotes human happiness’:

‘If, given all this rationalization, comfort, fun and choice, people are still wretched, unable to love, believe or feel some integrity to their lives, they might also begin to draw the conclusion that something was seriously wrong with their social order.’

There’s also been some fascinating work done on this more recently by Eli Zaretsky (Political Freud), and Bruce Cohen (author of Psychiatric Hegemony), who have both written on the relations between the family, sexuality, and capitalism in the generation of neuroses.

It is significant, for example, that one of the most prominent features of the psychological landscape that Freud encountered in late nineteenth-century Vienna were the neuroses – which, as Kovel notes, Freud saw as being entirely continuous with ‘normal’ development in modern societies – with much of these, he adds, being rooted in our modern experience of alienation. ‘Neurosis,’ Kovel says, ‘is the self-alienation of a subject who has been readied for freedom but runs afoul of personal history.’

It was of course Marx who was the great analyst of alienation, showing how capitalist economics generates alienation as part of its very fabric or structure – showing how, for instance, alienation gets ‘lost’ or ‘trapped’, embodied, in products, commodities – from the obvious examples (such as Nikes made in sweatshops, and sweatshops embodied in Nikes) – to a wider and much more pervasive sense that the whole system of production and creation is somehow alienating.

As Pavon Cuellar remarks, ‘Marx was the first to realise that this alienation actually gets contained and incarnated in things – in “commodities”‘ (Marxism and Psychoanalysis). These ‘fetishised’ commodities, he adds, seem to retain and promise to return, when consumed, the subjective-social part lost by those alienated while producing them: ‘the alienated have lost what they imagine [or hope] to find in what is fetishised.’

Capitalism is in many respects a mental illness generating systemThis understanding of alienation is really the core issue for Marx. People probably know him today for his theories of capital – how issues of exploitation, profit, and control continually characterise and resurface in capitalism – but for me the key concern of Marx, and one that is constantly neglected, or misunderstood, is his view on the centrality and importance of human creativity and productivity – man’s ‘colossal productive power’ as he calls it – exactly as it was in fact for William Blake, slightly earlier in the century.

Marx refers to this extraordinary world-transformative energy and agency as our ‘active species-life’, our ‘species-being’ – our ‘physical and spiritual energies’. But these immense creative energies and transformative capacities are, he notes, under the present system, immediately taken from us and converted into something alien, objective, enslaving, fetishised.

Restructuring desire

The image he evokes is of mothers giving birth – another form of labour perhaps – with the baby immediately being taken away and converted into something alien, something doll-like — a commodity. He considers what effect that must have on the mother’s spirit. This, for Marx, is the source of the alienation and unease, the sort of profound dislocation of the human spirit that characterises industrial capitalism. And as Pavon Cuellar shows, we can’t buy our way out of this alienation – by producing more toys, more dolls – because that’s where the alienation occurs, and is embodied and generated.

Indeed, consumerism and materialism are themselves widely recognised today as key drivers of a whole raft of mental health problems, from addiction to depression. As George Monbiot notes, ‘Buying more stuff is associated with depression, anxiety and broken relationships. It is socially destructive and self-destructive’. Psychoanalytic psychotherapist Sue Gerhardt has written very compellingly on this association, suggesting that in modern societies we often ‘confuse material well-being with psychological well-being’. In her book The Selfish Society she shows how successfully and relentlessly consumer capitalism reshapes our brains and reworks our nervous systems in its own image. For ‘we would miss much of what capitalism is about,’ she notes, ‘if we overlook its role in restructuring and marketing desire and impulse themselves.’

Another key aspect of capitalism and its impact on mental illness we could talk about of course is inequality. Capitalism is as much an inequality-generating system as it is a mental illness producing system. As a Royal College of Psychiatrists report noted: ‘Inequality is a major determinant of mental illness: the greater the level of inequality, the worse the health outcomes. Children from the poorest households have a three-fold greater risk of mental ill health than children from the richest households. Mental illness is consistently associated with deprivation, low income, unemployment, poor education, poorer physical health and increased health-risk behaviour.’

Some commentators have even suggested that capitalism itself, as a way of being or way of thinking about the world, might be seen as a rather ‘psychopathic’ or pathological system. There are certainly some striking correspondences between modern financial and corporate systems and individuals diagnosed with clinical psychopathy, as a number of analysts have noticed.

Robert Hare for instance, one of the world’s leading authorities into psychopathy and the originator of the widely accepted ‘Hare Checklist’ used to test for psychopathy, remarked to Jon Ronson: ‘I shouldn’t have done my research just in prisons. I should have spent some time inside the Stock Exchange as well.’ ‘But surely stock-market psychopaths can’t be as bad as serial-killer psychopaths?’ the interviewer asks. ‘”Serial killers ruin families,” shrugged Bob. “Corporate and political … psychopaths ruin economies. They ruin societies.”‘

Pathological institutions

These traits, as Joel Bakan brilliantly suggested in his book The Corporation, are encrypted into the very fabric of modern corporations – part of its basic DNA and modus operandi. ‘The corporation’s legally defined mandate,’ he notes, ‘is to pursue, relentlessly and without exception, its own self-interest, regardless of the often harmful consequences it might cause to others.’ By its own legal definition, therefore, the corporation is ‘a pathological institution’, and Bakan helpfully lists the diagnostic features of its default pathology (lack of empathy, pursuit of self-interest, grandiosity, shallow affect, aggression, social indifference) to show what a reliably disturbed patient the corporation is.

Why should all of these contemporary social and economic practices and processes generate so much illness, so many disorders? To answer this I think we need to look back at the wider Enlightenment project, and the psychological models of human nature out of which they emerged. Modern capitalism grew out of seventeenth century concepts of man as some sort of disconnected, discontinuous, disengaged self – one driven by competition and a narrow, ‘rational’ self-interest – the concept of homo economicus that drove and underwrote much of the whole Enlightenment project, including its economic models. As Iain McGilchrist notes, ‘Capitalism and consumerism, ways of conceiving human relationships based on little more than utility, greed, and competition, came to supplant those based on felt connection and cultural continuity.’

We now know how mistaken, and destructive, this model of the self is. Recent neuroscientific research into the ‘social brain’, together with exciting developments in modern attachment theory, developmental psychology, and interpersonal neurobiology, are significantly revising, and upgrading, this rather quaint, old-fashioned view of the isolated, ‘rational’ individual – and also revealing a far richer and more sophisticated understanding of human development and identity, through increased knowledge of ‘right hemisphere’ intersubjectivity, unconscious processes, group behaviour, the role of empathy and mentalisation in brain development, and the significance of context and socialisation in emotional and cognitive development.

As neuroscientist David Eagleman observes, the human brain itself relies on other brains for its very existence and growth—the concept of ‘me’, he notes, is dependent on the reality of ‘we’:

We are a single vast superorganism, a neural network embedded in a far larger web of neural networks. Our brains are so fundamentally wired to interact that it’s not even clear where each of us begins and ends. Who you are has everything to do with who we are. There’s no avoiding the truth that’s etched into our neural circuitry: we need each other.

Dependency is therefore built into the fabric of who we are as social and biological beings, hardwired into our mainframe: it is ‘how love becomes flesh’, in Louis Cozolino’s striking phrase. ‘There are no single brains,’ Cozolino observes, echoing Winnicott, ‘brains only exist within networks of other brains.’ Some people have termed this new neurological and scientific understanding of the deep patterns of interdependency, mutual cooperation, and the social brain ‘neuro-Marxism’ because of the implications involved.

Capitalism is, it seems, rooted in a fundamentally flawed, naive, and old-fashioned seventeenth-century model of who we are – it tries to make us think that we’re isolated, autonomous, disengaged, competitive, decontextualised – an ultimately rather ruthless and dissociated entity. The harm that this view of the self has done to us, and our children, is incalculable.

Many people believe, and are encouraged to believe, that these problems and disorders – psychosis, schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, self-harm – these symptoms of a ‘sick world’ (to use James Hillman’s terrific description) are theirs, rather than the world’s. ‘But what if your emotional problems weren’t merely your own?’, asks Tom Syverson. ‘What if they were our problems? What if the real problem is that we’re living in wrong society? Perhaps Adorno was correct when he said, “wrong life cannot be lived rightly”.’

The root of this ‘living wrongly’ seems to be because we live in a social and economic system at odds with both our psychology and our neurology, with who we are as social beings. As I suggest in my book, we need to realise that our inner and outer worlds constantly and profoundly interact and shape each other, and that therefore rather than separating our understanding of economic and social practices from our understanding of psychology and human development, we need to bring them together, to align them. And for this to happen, we need a new dialogue between the political and personal worlds, a new integrated model for mental health, and a new politics.

Posted in USA, Europe, UKComments Off on A mad world: capitalism and the rise of mental illness

There Is No ‘Cult of Corbyn’ – This Is a Movement Preparing for Power

Everyone sensed the new energy at Labour Party conference this year. More cynical pundits referred to it as “giddy with optimism” (the Guardian’s editorial), or “support bordering on hysteria” (Simon Jenkins), conveying the idea of something irrational. Others referred to it as Corbyn’s “evangelical church” (Philip Collins) or even ‘the cult of Corbyn’ (the TimesSpectator and Observer all used this phrase).

The reality of the conference was something not seen in the UK for a long time: thousands of determined and self-confident members of a Labour Party that boldly stands for what they believe in. Their self-confidence stemmed not from some kind of Corbyn cult, but from the fact that they could now stand on the doorstep, or talk to their friends and family, arguing honestly and hence persuasively about why they should support a Labour government.

This self-confidence, with the political and personal energy released by working to support a party you believe in, was my experience of both the Labour conference itself and The World Transformed fringe festival (and the two cross-fertilised creatively). It was combined with the steely determination to win that is evident in, for example, the massive support for the constituency-by-constituency Unseat a Tory campaigns initiated by Owen Jones, and attendance at panels such as “How to win a marginal” being as high as for “Acid Corbynism.”

Power Beyond Parliament

Far from giddiness, I heard nothing but sobriety from the likes of Paul Mason and shadow chancellor John McDonnell. At packed meetings, they largely spurned crowd-pleasing rhetoric to explain in cold detail what a radical Labour government would be up against: not only a possible run on the pound, as the media made hay out of quoting, but a sustained investment strike and other forms of non-cooperation and sabotage on the part of capital. Ann Pettifor lucidly explained the powers the government would have through its role as the banks’ guarantor of last resort.

They listened attentively to Theano Fotiou, Syriza’s minister of social solidarity, describe the obstacles they faced in Greece as an (initially) radical party in government, including failures in Syriza’s own strategy, organisation and leadership – especially its failure to maintain the party’s engagement with and accountability to social movements.

As if learning the lesson of Greece, Brazil and indeed all other attempts by what were initially radical left parties to implement their programme as a government, McDonnell called on his listeners to organise, to mobilise and to educate – to build a popular movement that would provide both a counter-power to the hostile pressures from private business and the City, and counter-arguments to the hostile press who will exaggerate and urge on all opposing interests, attempting to divide and demoralise Labour’s supporters.

Here a distinctive aspect of the conference, perhaps symbolic of the reality of the changed Labour Party, is the way it generally overcame the traditional divisions built in to Labour’s parliamentarism. Extraparliamentary struggles and campaigns have usually been present at Labour conferences, but pushed to the fringes, while a legislative programme for the parliamentary party took centre stage. All life at conference used to be deadened by endless speeches by lords, ladies and honourable members. This time a large number of ordinary delegates got to speak, and spoke not only about policy but about action: teachers campaigning against the cuts, postal workers preparing to strike, health workers too acting against the relentless moves by private companies to break up and take over the ‘profitable’ parts of the NHS.

When they cheered McDonnell’s commitment to take back private finance initiative (PFI) contracts into the public sector, they did so not only because they supported the actions of the future Labour government but because this commitment vindicates their years of campaigning to stop these PFI deals in the first place.

Cult of Ourselves

Platform speakers too made extraparliamentary action part of their arguments. Naomi Klein used her slot as international guest speaker – formerly an opportunity for delegates to sneak out for a long cup of coffee while some disconnected notable gave an inconsequential speech – to insist not only that ‘No is not enough’, but that we should be and are creating practical alternatives out of resistance in the here and now. A packed conference chamber whooped their agreement, while across the road at The World Transformed the idea of prefigurative politics was common sense in session after session.

The energy at the Labour Party conference, then, reflects more than adoration of the leader: ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn’ is meant more of a chant of encouragement than the approval of a passive fan. Even at Ed Miliband’s highly convivial and humorously conducted pub quiz, the chants of ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn’ broke out on cue when a picture of the leader appeared in the ‘odd one out’ section of the quiz. But the spirit of self-parody is a long way from the evangelical cult that uncomprehending pundits try to conjure.

Corbyn’s insistence on the ‘we’, not the ‘me’, is taken to brain as well as heart. We must win, and we must think and act strategically to do so. We must prepare for government, and not just leave it to the future ministers. And the power of government is necessary but insufficient: we must mobilise our distinct sources of counter-power in alliance with Labour in government.

But it’s not all onwards and upwards. Though the conference had a strong sense of the prospect of a Labour government and was committed to maintain the electioneering energy built up earlier this year, there remains the problem of divisions – of MPs who not only disagree with the elected leadership, which is of course fine in a democratic party, but who still refuse to accept the legitimacy of Corbyn’s overwhelming double mandate, and continue to undermine him by stealth. While many on the centre-left accept that Corbyn’s leadership is here to stay and, contrary to their expectations, is proving electorally successful, there are others who are imbued with Blair and Mandelson’s deep contempt for the left and who do not accept they are now a minority in the party – and have plenty of friends among newspaper columnists.

Until another election period gives a left leadership equal access to the media, as happened in June 2017, the left will continue to suffer from being seen by the public through the prism of party divisions in which the right is presented by the media as morally hegemonic.

What will overcome such anti-social behaviour, short of the Asbo of triggering a reselection process, is unclear – perhaps some combination of pressure from the unions and positive, energetic electioneering by the local party shaming such MPs into supporting the party to whom they owe their job.

Like Housework, Never Finished

But such a scenario raises a further problem: of time, energy and resources for local activists, especially those organised through Momentum, as they face the multiple tasks demanded of them in the present complex and uncertain context. The priorities evident at the conference indicate that this new, new left aspires to combine electioneering with creative extraparliamentary resistance and alternatives. It refuses the either/or binaries of the past. But it refuses too a life of endless meetings, a life devoid of pleasure and reflection.

Talk to activists in any active branch of Momentum and you find they are experimenting with a new role for Momentum once the left wins the majority of positions in the local Labour Party. The struggle for effective control over the local Labour Party, however, is a bit like housework, never finished. No sooner do you complete one task, such as winning seats of the local executive committee, then another appears essential, for example the local campaign forum, controlled by the councillors whose relationship to the local party is highly mediated and only partially accountable.

Like housework it can take over your life, leaving no time for anything else – unless, that is, you create some kind of autonomous activity with its own dynamic. So with Momentum in several cases. In Bristol, for example, a large Momentum movement – that has already led to several left-run CLPs and a delegation of over 30 to conference – maintains itself as a flexible, creative space for the incubation of ideas, education, and grassroots campaigning, feeding into local parties but with autonomy from them.

This was well symbolised in Brighton by the autonomy of The World Transformed (TWT): not held in opposition to Labour conference, but with a life of its own. In this sense TWT, along with the growing infrastructure of radical left media, is helping to re-create a critical and internationalist socialist political culture that Tony Blair destroyed under his presidential ‘me’ leadership. TWT and Momentum are turning Corbyn’s ‘we’ into a living reality, with all the autonomy and creativity that such an arrangement implies.

Posted in UKComments Off on There Is No ‘Cult of Corbyn’ – This Is a Movement Preparing for Power

Nazi regime Complains Assad Is Winning in Syria ‘Video’

NOVANEWS
Video: Israel Complains Assad Is Winning in Syria

Syrian government forces have liberated the villages of Aksh, Jaberiyah, Wadhihi and Nashimi and divided the ISIS-held pocket in eastern Salamiyah into two separate parts. Now, the army and its allies are able to defeat the remaining ISIS units one by one.

The ISIS-linked news agency Amaq released a video showing “two Russians” that ISIS had allegedly captured in late September during clashes near the village of al-Shulah located on the Palmyra-Deir Ezzor highway.

According to the ISIS video, their names are Roman Zabolotniy (born – 1979) and Grigory Surkanov(born – 1978). However, they do not look like Russian soldiers and are much older than the common service members of the Russian military involved in the operation in Syria.

They could be private military contractors or members of some pro-government faction. Most likely, they are civil employees for the Assad government. Therefore, they are not combatants.

The Russian Ministry of Defence refuted the ISIS claims and said

“there have been no incidents linked with any capture of prisoners or entailing losses among Russian servicemen either in the province of Deir ez-Zor or in any other Syrian province.”

Meanwhile, northeast of the city of Deir Ezzor,the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have captured Wasiyah, Jiriyah and some nearby points from ISIS. Clashes are still ongoing near Badawi al Jasir.

After over 6 years of war in Syria, Israel has found that something is not going along with their vision of the situation.

On Tuesday, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman gave an interview to Israel’s Walla news site calling on the United States to contribute more effort to the war torn country where President Bashar Assad “is winning.”

“I see a long international queue lining up to woo Assad, including Western nations, including moderate Sunnis. Suddenly everyone wants to get close to Assad. This is unprecedented. Because Assad is winning, everyone is standing in line,” the minister said adding that Israel is now “faced with the Russians, Iranians, and also the Turks and Hezbollah. The public does not know everything and it’s a good thing, but it’s an investment and an effort 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, SyriaComments Off on Nazi regime Complains Assad Is Winning in Syria ‘Video’


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