Archive | November 6th, 2018

US: Synagogue Shooting

NOVANEWS

‘We Are Not Alone’: A Week After Deadly Synagogue Shooting, Jewish Leaders Invite People of All Beliefs to #ShowUpForShabbat

“What could be a more fitting response to the terror in Pittsburgh?”

Community members attended a vigil in honor of the victims of the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh this week. (Photo: @TheEagle/Twitter)

Community members attended a vigil in honor of the victims of the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh this week. (Photo: @TheEagle/Twitter)

An international Jewish advocacy group is urging Americans of all faiths and belief systems to attend Shabbat services at synagogues across the country this weekend, a week after 11 people were shot to death in an anti-Semitic attack at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Calling on Americans to join the #ShowUpForShabbat movement in a show of unity against anti-Semitism and violence, the New York-based American Jewish Committee (AJC) has reached out to religious leaders, elected officials, and other leaders to support the campaign. Many rabbis are expected to dedicate their Shabbat sermons to the initiative.

“The doors of synagogues are open to all,” wrote Seffi Kogen, AJC’s global director of young leadership. “If you consider yourself an ally of the Jewish people, join us in synagogue on Saturday morning. Elected officials: Come stand in solidarity with your constituents… Diplomats: Come and show that your country stands with Jews all over the world. Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, people of any faith and of none: Come and show up for Shabbat with us this Saturday morning.”

“What could be a more fitting response to the terror in Pittsburgh?” David Harris, CEO of the Committee, said in a statement. “We are not afraid. We are not going to think twice about affirming our identity and faith. We are not alone.”

An outpouring of support from many religious communities followed the attack last Saturday, which took place in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood.

Members of the Muslim American community organized a fundraiser that as of Friday afternoon had raised more than $230,000 for the grieving families, while a Sikh leader in Oak Creek, Wisconsin urged worshipers to show the local Jewish community the same compassion that had been extended to them after a shooting at their own temple in 2012.

“After Oak Creek, the Jewish community resoundingly stood by Sikh Americans, and this time we encourage our whole community to stand with our Jewish brothers and sisters,” Rajwant Singh, co-founder of the National Sikh Campaign, said in a statement.

On social media, others wrote about their intent to join the initiative in their towns and cities as the movement spread to dozens of Jewish communities around the world.

Rep. Ted Deutch

@RepTedDeutch

This weekend, I will to be with my community in solidarity with the Pittsburgh Jewish community. We will pray together for the victims and their families, and that such senseless violence should never befall another community.

Rev. Lauren Lorincz@RevLorincz

Tonight I’ll be attending the Shabbat Service at Congregation Ahavath Achim in Colchester, CT to be in solidarity with our Jewish siblings. Showing up and praying is the least I can do as a Christian minister who really does care. ❤

Mayor of London

@MayorofLondon

Places of worship should be sanctuaries and safe spaces. Tomorrow I will be standing shoulder to shoulder with Jewish Londoners for their Shabbat service to show solidarity to the victims of the Pittsburgh shooting last weekend.

View image on Twitter

Tema Smith@temasmith

When you’re 10,000km from home, and you feel the need to , what’s a 300km train ride to from Hiroshima to one of two synagogues in Japan, really? It was comforting to spend Shabbat with community. Even on the other side of the world, it somehow feels like home.

“We are determined to ensure that love triumphs over hate, good over evil, unity over division,” Harris said. “That’s our America.”

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India: The Killing of Mohammad Azeem in Delhi’s Malviyanagar

mahammad
A Fact Finding Report by CPI(ML), CPIM and AISA Team.

Mohammad Azeem, an eight years old boy was beaten to death allegedly by a group of minor boys on 25th October in Malviya Nagar area. 8 year old Azeem was studying at the Jamia Faridiya Madrasa located in Malviya Nagar area. He was one of those 70 students at the Madrasa who come to study from very poor backgrounds. The news of the death of Azeem comes in the backdrop of numerous incidents of mob lynching and anti-Muslim hate mongering in the country orchestrated by the ruling party BJP and RSS networks. A CPI(ML), CPI(M), AIDWA and AISA team consisting of Comrade Sehba, Sucheta, Kawalpreet, Maimoona Molha, Kavita Sharma, Subir Mukherjee, Somdutt Sharma, Abdul Mannan Siddiqui and Abu Maaz visited the Madrasa where Azeem stayed and the adjacent Valmiki colony on 26 October.

The team talked to some children who are studying at the Madrasa. Some of them said that they were witness to the incident that took Azeem’s life. According to their account, a few children from the Madrasa were playing at the old Kabristan adjacent to the Madrasa on 25 October morning. Some children from the adjacent JJ Colony or the Valmiki Colony were playing at the open space in front of the Kabristan. It is then that the Madrasa children heard fire crackers being burst at the place. When they went to ask the other group to stop bursting fire crackers, a fight broke out between the two groups. Azeem was thrown at a parked motorcycle and he collapsed immediately. The group of boys who hit Azeem resulting in his death are all minors. According to the information that we collected from the area the age of the boys who have been held in connection with Azeem’s killing range between 11 to 13 years. But the boys who study at the Madrasa also informed us that some adults were standing at the site of the scuffle and they did nothing to stop the attack.

The killing of Azeem has a history of hate and tension concerning the Madrasa. The Imam of the Madrasa, other residents and muslims from nearby areas present at the spot told us that there have been several incidents of nuisance being created to harass, disturb and provoke people residing in the Madrasa. There have been several instances when fire crackers have been thrown at the space near the Madrasa, and liquor bottles have been found in the open space. The residents of the Madrasa have complained about these incidents to the police several times in the past. But no action has been taken by the police to enquire into and stop such incidents aimed at harassing the residents of the Madrasa. The team was also informed that a jhuggi near the Madrasa where food for the Madrasa kids used to be cooked was burnt down last year. This incident, as told by Madrasa residents, was reported by newspapers and the Delhi Police was well informed about it. There has been a dispute over the open space adjacent to the Madrasa. The Jamia Faridiya Madrasa is an old Madrasa established in 1988 as told by the Imam. This open space is a property of the Waqf Board and thus belongs to the Madrasa. But this space has been used for years by the residents of the Valmiki colony as well. Children of the colony play at the ground and a narrow road that connects the Madrasa with the adjacent colony is used by the local people to pass through. The Madrasa residents have demanded several times that a boundary wall be made to separate the plot that belongs to the Madrasa. In spite of such tensions in the area surrounding the Madrasa and dispute over the plot, the government and the police have done nothing to resolve the issue and let hatred towards Madrasa residents grow.

The team also visited the adjacent Valmiki colony. Daily wage labourers from mainly the Valmiki community reside in the area. The Valmiki colony is an area of jhuggis and narrow and dark lanes. The residents of the colony were talking about the death of Azeem when the visit took place. When the team members talked to the residents of the colony they were told that the dispute over the land has been dragging on for a long time. They shared that kids from their colony play at the disputed space and they use the path passing through the Madrasa to go outside.

It is unfortunate and condemnable that the Delhi Police and the Government have done nothing to address the complaint of the Madrasa residents and resolve the dispute over the land. In a highly communalized atmosphere in the country, when everyday hatred is spewed against Muslims by the ruling party, and fake propaganda is spread about Madrasas by the RSS network, the Delhi police has let the atmosphere of hatred grow. The incident that led to the death of Azeem not only concerns a dispute over land, but also growing stereotyping and stigmatization of Madrasa students. The apathy of those in power has resulted in the death of an 8 year old boy from a poor Muslim family from Mewat whose parents feed their family by working for a daily wage.

The team demands–

(i) The Delhi Police officials responsible for neglecting complaints by Madrasa residents for so long should be punished.

(ii) The land dispute concerning the open space adjacent to the Madrasa should be speedily resolved. The concerned land should be recognized as land of the Waqf board.

(iii) Proper playground for children and road for communication from the JJ/Valmiki Colony should be built.

The team also asserted the need to collectively resist any attempt to further fan communal tension by the saffron brigade by pitting one community against another in the wake of this incident.

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Pentagon Socialism

NOVANEWS

Militarizing the economy in the name of defense

Invest in virtually anything but buying more weapons and waging more wars and Americans will be better off. (Photo: ACLU)

Invest in virtually anything but buying more weapons and waging more wars and Americans will be better off. (Photo: ACLU)

Given his erratic behavior, from daily Twitter eruptions to upping his tally of lies by the hour, it’s hard to think of Donald Trump as a man with a plan. But in at least one area — reshaping the economy to serve the needs of the military-industrial complex — he’s (gasp!) a socialist in the making.

His plan is now visibly taking shape — one we can see and assess thanks to a Pentagon-led study with a distinctly tongue-twisting title: “Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States.” The analysis is the brainchild of Trump’s adviser for trade and manufacturing policy, Peter Navarro, who happens to also be the key architect of the president’s trade wars.

Navarro, however, can hardly take sole credit for the administration’s latest economic plan, since the lead agency for developing it was also the most interested of all in the project, the Pentagon itself, in particular its Office of Defense Industrial Policy.  In addition, those producing the report did so in coordination with an alphabet soup of other agencies from the Department of Commerce to the Director of National Intelligence.  And even that’s not all.  It’s also the product of an “interagency task force” made up of 16 working groups and 300 “subject matter” experts, supplemented by over a dozen industry “listening sessions” with outfits like the National Defense Industrial Association, an advocacy organization that represents 1,600 companies in the defense sector.

Before jumping into its substance and implications for the American economy and national defense, let me pause a moment to mention two other small matters.

First, were you aware that the Pentagon even had an Office of Defense Industrial Policy? It sounds suspiciously like the kind of government organization that engages in economic planning, a practice anathema not just to Republicans but to many Democrats as well.  The only reason it’s not a national scandal — complete with Fox News banner headlines about the end of the American way of life as we know it and the coming of creeping socialism — is because it’s part of the one institution that has always been exempt from the dictates of the “free market”: the Department of Defense.

Second, how about those 300 subject matter experts? Since when does Donald Trump consult subject matter experts? Certainly not on climate change, the most urgent issue facing humanity and one where expert opinion is remarkably unified. The Pentagon and its contractors should, however, be thought of as the ultimate special interest group and with that status comes special treatment. And if that means consulting 300 such experts to make sure their “needs” are met, so be it.

A Slogan for the Ages?

Now for the big stuff.

According to Peter Navarro’s summary of the new industrial base report, which appeared as an op-ed in the New York Times, the key to the Trump plan is the president’s belief that “economic security equals national security.” When it comes to weapons manufacturing, the administration’s approach involves building a Fortress America economy that will depend as little as possible on foreign suppliers. Consider it just the latest variation on Trump’s “America First” economic strategy, grounded in its unapologetic embrace of nationalism. As a slogan, “economic security equals national security” doesn’t have quite the populist ring of “Make America Great Again,” but it’s part of the same worldview.

In a flight of grandiosity (and flattery) that must have made his boss swell with pride, Navarro suggested in his op-ed that the slogan might go down in the annals of history alongside other famed pearls of presidential wisdom.  As he put it:

“McKinley’s… ‘Patriotism, protection and prosperity’… catalyzed strong economic growth. Roosevelt’s ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick’ helped transform the Navy into a military force capable of projecting power around the world. And Reagan’s ‘Peace through strength’ inspired an unprecedented rebuilding of the military that brought the Soviet Union to its knees… History will judge whether Donald Trump’s ‘economic security is national security’ joins the ranks of great presidential maxims.”

The essence of the Pentagon’s scheme for making America safe for a never-ending policy of war preparations (and war) is to organize as much of the economy as possible around the needs of military production. This would involve eliminating what Navarro describes as the “300 vulnerabilities” of the defense economy — from reliance on single suppliers for key components in weapons systems and the like, to dependence on foreign inputs like rare earth minerals from China, to a shortage of younger workers with the skills and motivation needed to keep America’s massive weapons manufacturing machine up and running. China figures prominently in the report’s narrative, with its trade and investment policies repeatedly described as “economic aggression.”

And needless to say, this being the Pentagon, one of the biggest desires expressed in the report is a need for — yes, you guessed it! — more money. Never mind that the United States already spends more on its military than the next seven nations in the world combined (five of whom are U.S. allies).  Never mind that the increase in Pentagon spending over the past two years is larger than the entire military budget of Russia.  Never mind that, despite pulling tens of thousands of troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, this country’s spending on the Pentagon and related programs (like nuclear warhead work at the Department of Energy) will hit $716 billion in fiscal year 2019, one of the highest levels ever. Face it, say the Pentagon and its allies on Capitol Hill, the U.S. won’t be able to build a reliable, all-weapons-all-the-time economic-industrial base without spending yet more taxpayer dollars.  Think of this as a “Pentagon First” strategy.

As it happens, the Pentagon chose the wrong 300 experts.  The new plan, reflecting their collective wisdom, is an economic and security disaster in the making.

Consider it beyond ironic that some of the same experts and organizations now suggesting that we bet America’s future on pumping up the most inefficient sector of our economy — no, no, I didn’t mean the coal industry, I meant the military-industrial complex — are conservative experts who criticized the Soviet Union for the very same thing.  They still claim that it imploded largely because Washington cleverly lured its leaders into devoting ever more of their resources to the military sector.  That, they insist, reinforced a rigidity in the Soviet system which made it virtually impossible for them to adapt to a rapidly changing global economic landscape.

Our military buildup, they still fervently believe, bankrupted the Soviet Union. Other analysts, like the historian Lawrence Wittner, have questioned such a view. But for the sake of consistency, shouldn’t conservatives who claimed that excessive military spending did in the Soviets be worried that President Trump’s policy of massive tax cuts for the rich, increased Pentagon spending, and trade wars with adversaries and allies alike might do something similar to the United States?

What Would a Real Industrial Policy Look Like?

Industrial policy should not be a dirty word.  The problem is: the Pentagon shouldn’t be in charge of it.  The goal of an effective industrial policy should be to create well-paying jobs, especially in sectors that meet pressing national needs like rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure and developing alternative energy technologies that can help address the urgent dangers posed by climate change.

The biggest economic challenge facing the United States today is how to organize an economic transition that would replace jobs and income generated by dysfunctional activities like overspending on the Pentagon and subsidizing polluting industries.  The argument that the Pentagon is crucial to jobs production in America has been instrumental in blocking constructive changes that would benefit both the environment and true American security.  Members of Congress are, for example, afraid to jettison questionable weapons programs like the F-35 combat aircraft — an immensely costly, underperforming fighter plane that may never be ready for combat — for fear of reducing jobs in their states or districts.  (The same is true of the coal and petroleum industries, which endlessly play up the supposed job-creating benefits of their activities.)

Where could alternatives to Pentagon job-creation programs come from?  The short answer is: invest in virtually anything but buying more weapons and waging more wars and Americans will be better off.  For instance, Pentagon spending creates startlingly fewer jobs per dollar than putting the same taxpayer dollars into infrastructure repair and rebuilding, alternative energy creation, education, or health care.  A studyconducted by University of Massachusetts economist Heidi Garrett-Peltier for the Costs of War Project at Brown University found that, had the government invested in civilian activities the $230 billion per year wasted on America’s post-9/11 wars, that sum would have created 1.3 million additional jobs.  A more equitable tax policy that required wealthy individuals and corporations to pay their fair share could similarly fund a $2 trillion infrastructure program that would support 2.5 million new jobs in its first year, according to a proposal put forward by the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

As for the president’s much touted, dramatically overblown claims about the jobs to be had from arms exports, the global arms market represents only a tiny fraction of the growing market for renewable energy technologies. If the goal is to produce jobs via exports, developing technologies to tap the huge future market in renewables, which one study suggests could hit $2.1 trillion by 2025, would leave weapons systems in the dust. After all, that’s about 20 times the current size of the total global arms trade, which clocks in at about $100 billion annually. But an analysis by Miriam Pemberton and her colleagues at the Institute for Policy Studies indicates that the United States spends 28 times as much on its military as it does on genuinely job-creating programs designed to address the threat of climate change.

Such actions would be a good start — but just a start — when it comes to reducing the dependency of the United States economy on guns and pollution.  Of course, the Trump administration doesn’t have the faintest interest in any of this.  (It would apparently rather cede the lucrative future market in renewable energy to China, with barely a fight.)

Still, the question remains: What would such a shift in priorities mean for the defense industrial base?  If you accept the premise that the U.S. government needs to run a permanent war economy (and also fight never-ending wars across a significant swath of the planet), some of the Pentagon’s recommendations might almost make sense.  But a foreign policy that put more emphasis on diplomacy — one that also thought it important to address non-military dangers like climate change — wouldn’t require such a large military production network in the first place. Under this scenario, the alarmist argument that the U.S. won’t be able to defend itself without stepping up the militarization of our already exceedingly militarized economy suddenly becomes unpersuasive.

But let’s give the weapons sector some credit.  Its CEOs are working assiduously to build up local economies — overseas.  Saudi Arabia’s long-term economic plan, for instance, calls for 50% of the value of its weapons purchases to be spent building up its own military industry.  U.S. weapons giants like Raytheon and Lockheed Martin have been quick to pledge allegiance to that plan, setting up subsidiaries there and agreeing to have systems like helicopters assembled in Saudi Arabia, not the United States. Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin is helping the United Arab Emirates develop the capability to produce robot-controlled machine tools that are in great demand in the defense and aerospace industries.  And the F-35 program is creating production jobs in more than a dozen countries, including assembly plants in Italy and Japan.

Raytheon CEO Thomas Kennedy summed up this approach when he discussed his company’s growing partnership with Saudi Arabia: “By working together, we can help build world-class defense and cyber capabilities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” And keep in mind that these are the jobs from so many of those Saudi weapons sales that President Trump keeps bragging about.  Of course, while this may be bad news for American jobs, it works just fine as a strategy for keeping the profits of U.S. arms makers stratospheric.

Making the transition from Peter Navarro’s “economic security equals national security” to an economy far less dependent on over-the-top military spending would mean a major shift in budget priorities in Washington, a prospect that is, at the moment, hard to imagine.  But if the Pentagon can plan ahead, why shouldn’t the rest of us?

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Trump: ‘Straight-Up Racist Incitement’

NOVANEWS

‘Straight-Up Racist Incitement’: Trump Campaign Ads, Warn Critics, Easily Mistaken as Neo-Nazi Propaganda

“This could be a video tweeted out from a far-right, neo-Nazi group,” tweeted journalist Mehdi Hasan. “But it was tweeted out by the president of the United States.”

“This may be the most desperate and vile ad since Willie Horton,” said Robert Reich of the president’s new campaign ads. “Trump and Republicans don’t want to talk about the fact that they plan to repeal the ACA, gut Social Security, Medicare, & Medicaid, and cut taxes even further for their donors, so they’ve resorted to fearmongering.” (Image: Screenshot/Trump Campaign ad)

Donald Trump is “not normal,” so the nation has been forced to adjust its perceptions and lower its standards while the media continues to be perplexed about exactly how to cover the kind of person now leading the Republican Party and running the U.S. government.

But with the midterm elections less than a week away, the tweeting of a “reprehensible” pair of “vile” and “racist” campaign videos by the president over the last 24-hours (here and here) was described by outraged critics as the kind of propaganda put out into the world by an unhinged white nationalist or right-wing troll, not the so-called “leader of the free world.”

Of the two videos, the one featuring convicted murderer Luis Bracamontes—found guilty in the 2014 killing of two California sheriff deputies—has been drawing the most attention as it explicitly blames the killing of the officers on the immigration policies of Democrats. The video falsely claims: “Illegal immigrant, Luis Bracamontes, killed our people! … Democrats let him into our country … Democrats let him stay.” It also pairs the murderous remarks of Bracamontes during his trial with dramatic footage of Central American immigrants making their way along roads or slamming against what appear to be border-crossing barricades.

“This could be a video tweeted out from a far-right, neo-Nazi group,” tweetedjournalist Mehdi Hasan. “But it was tweeted out by the president of the United States. And folks are still debating if he’s a racist/anti-Semite/white nationalist. Sigh.”

As Steven Collinson, political analyst for CNNwrites:

The new web video, tweeted by the President five days before the midterm elections, is the most extreme step yet in the most inflammatory closing argument of any campaign in recent memory.

The Trump campaign ad is the latest example of the President’s willingness to lie and fear-monger in order to tear at racial and societal divides; to embrace demagoguery to bolster his own political power and the cause of the Republican midterm campaign.

“This is nauseating nativism,” said Bloomberg‘s Eli Lake in response to the videos.  “Without question, a racist ad,” said radio host Jamie Weinstein.

The other ads does its best to depict the Democrats as anarchist Black Blockers and violent Antifa activists, a laughable comparison if it wasn’t increasingly taken as true by the Fox News faithful and the tens of millions who get their political education from sites like Breitbart or right-wing AM radio.

Journalist Chris Hayes called the president’s closing argument for the midterms, as evidenced by the videos, “straight-up racist incitement” – and noted that the videos arrive “not less than a week after a MAGA cultist tried to assassinate 13 officials and critics and 4 days after a Nazi cited WH-led immigration propaganda as his cause for committing slaughter” at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Appearing on CNN Wednesday night, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez called the ads “distracting, divisive, Donald at his worst. This is fear-mongering.” According to Perez, the ads are also the sign of a president desperately afraid of having his party lose the upcoming election.

The ads are the “dog-whistle of all dog-whistles,” said Perez, but added that it hopefully will have the opposite effect on voters. “This has been Donald Trump’s playbook for so long,” he said, “and when they go low, we go vote.”

Economist and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich said the ad featuring Bracamontes was a new low for a campaign ad in the modern era as he joined many in comparing it to the infamous “Willie Horton” ad that George H.W. Bush ran against Michael Dukasis in the 1980s:

Robert Reich

@RBReich

This may be the most desperate and vile ad since Willie Horton. Trump and Republicans don’t want to talk about the fact that they plan to repeal the ACA, gut Social Security, Medicare, & Medicaid, and cut taxes even further for their donors, so they’ve resorted to fearmongering.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

It is outrageous what the Democrats are doing to our Country. Vote Republican now! http://Vote.GOP 

Meanwhile, Dana Houle, a self-identified Democrat on Twitter, wanted to know about the president’s tweeted videos: “Where is he right now? Is he tweeting these from the White House? On a government device? Because this is straight-up electioneering, and not permissible on or with government property. [Obama had a small office across the street where he’d do fundraising calls].”

While Politicoreported on the origin of the ads on Wednesday, many noticed that the videos themselves contain none of the usual—and legally required—disclosures about who generated, paid for, or approved them.

geokaren@geokaren

don’t these ads have to have some sort of attribution? Who’s producing this garbage? who’s paying for it? who approved them? @waltshaub

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

#JOBSNOTMOBS! VOTE REPUBLICAN NOW!!

 

 

 

 

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USA: Yemen Ceasefire

NOVANEWS

Image result for YEMEN WAR CARTOON

Mattis’s Call for a Yemen Ceasefire Shows that Congress is Getting Closer to Forcing US Military to Withdraw from the War, Says CEPR Co-Director

WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary James Mattis’s call for a ceasefire in Yemen is a direct result of congressional moves to end US military involvement, according to Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) Co-Director Mark Weisbrot. Weisbrot has written numerous articles and op-eds about US responsibility in triggering the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, including “How Congress Can End the War in Yemen,” published last month. On Tuesday, Mattis told an audience at the US Institute for Peace the “only way we’re going to really solve” the war in Yemen is with a ceasefire in the next month.

“Mattis is saying this because he is afraid that Bernie Sanders’ resolution is going to pass the Senate,” said Weisbrot, who is also president of Just Foreign Policy. “It got 44 votes last time, and according to Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), it would have had a majority if not for the Young–Shaheen bill. And that was before the Khashoggi scandal, which has influenced a number of Senators to vote against helping the Saudis carry out this war and mass starvation of Yemenis.”
Mattis has made similar claims to support a negotiated settlement before, statinghis intention in 2017 to resolve the war “politically as soon as possible.” Yet Mattis has also falsely claimed that the Saudi-led coalition is “making every effort” to reduce civilian casualties, and has opposed the congressional efforts to end US military involvement in the war by using the 1973 War Powers Resolution to demand withdrawal of US military personnel. In November of last year, the House voted by a margin of 366 to 30 to declare that US military involvement in the war in Yemen was “unauthorized.”
“Mattis would rather have a negotiated settlement before the US military is forced out by Congress, or before it is 100 percent clear to the world that they are going to be forced out,” Weisbrot said.

“He knows that the US military is going to be forced out because the War Powers Resolution of 1973 allows these members of Congress, including Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Mike Lee (R-UT) in the Senate, and Ro Khanna (D-CA) in the House ― who has introduced a similar resolution to remove the US military from the conflict ― to keep coming back until they succeed.”

Khanna’s resolution, House Concurrent Resolution 138, is co-sponsored by 69 House members including most of the House Democratic leadership: Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), the minority whip; Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee; Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee; and Jerry Nadler (D-NY), ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee.

“As a matter of law, Khanna and his allies in the House, and Sanders and his allies in the Senate, can keep reintroducing these resolutions, and both chambers must hold a debate and vote on continued US military involvement,” Weisbrot noted.

“Khanna and Sanders have made clear that they will continue to do this until they win. Support in both chambers has grown enormously since the bills were first introduced (in the House in November 2017; in the Senate in February 2018). So it is only a matter of time until these resolutions pass, and if the Democrats win the House, the process will accelerate.”

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Bolsonaro: A Monster Engineered by Our Corporate Media

NOVANEWS

Despite their professed concern, the plutocrats and their media spokespeople much prefer a far-right populist like Trump or Bolsonaro to a populist leader of the genuine left

Protesters carry posters against the far-right’s presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro in Sao Paulo, Brazil on Sept. 29, 2018. Protesters carry posters against the far-right’s presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro in Sao Paulo, Brazil on Sept. 29, 2018. (Photo: Victor Moriyama/Getty Images)

With Jair Bolsonaro’s victory in Brazil’s presidential election at the weekend, the doom-mongers among western elites are out in force once again. His success, like Donald Trump’s, has confirmed a long-held prejudice: that the people cannot be trusted; that, when empowered, they behave like a mob driven by primitive urges; that the unwashed masses now threaten to bring down the carefully constructed walls of civilisation.

The guardians of the status quo refused to learn the lesson of Trump’s election, and so it will be with Bolsonaro. Rather than engaging the intellectual faculties they claim as their exclusive preserve, western “analysts” and “experts” are again averting their gaze from anything that might help them understand what has driven our supposed democracies into the dark places inhabited by the new demagogues. Instead, as ever, the blame is being laid squarely at the door of social media.

Social media and fake news are apparently the reasons Bolsonaro won at the ballot box. Without the gatekeepers in place to limit access to the “free press” – itself the plaything of billionaires and global corporations, with brands and a bottom line to protect – the rabble has supposedly been freed to give expression to their innate bigotry.

Here is Simon Jenkins, a veteran British gatekeeper – a former editor of the Times of London who now writes a column in the Guardian – pontificating on Bolsonaro:

The lesson for champions of open democracy is glaring. Its values cannot be taken for granted. When debate is no longer through regulated media, courts and institutions, politics will default to the mob. Social media – once hailed as an agent of global concord – has become the purveyor of falsity, anger and hatred. Its algorithms polarise opinion. Its pseudo-information drives argument to the extremes.

This is now the default consensus of the corporate media, whether in its rightwing incarnations or of the variety posing on the liberal-left end of the spectrum like the Guardian. The people are stupid, and we need to be protected from their base instincts. Social media, it is claimed, has unleashed humanity’s id.

Selling Plutocracy

There is a kind of truth in Jenkins’ argument, even if it is not the one he intended. Social media did indeed liberate ordinary people. For the first time in modern history, they were not simply the recipients of official, sanctioned information. They were not only spoken down to by their betters, they could answer back – and not always as deferentially as the media class expected.

Clinging to their old privileges, Jenkins and his ilk are rightly unnerved. They have much to lose.“Bolsonaro will not face any of the institutional obstacles Lula da Silva or Chavez needed to overcome. No one in power will stand in his way as he institutes his “reforms.” No one will stop him creaming off Brazil’s wealth for his corporate friends. As in Pinochet’s Chile, Bolsonaro can rest assured that his kind of neo-fascism will live in easy harmony with neoliberalism.”

But that also means they are far from dispassionate observers of the current political scene. They are deeply invested in the status quo, in the existing power structures that have kept them well-paid courtiers of the corporations that dominate the planet.

Bolsonaro, like Trump, is not a disruption of the current neoliberal order; he is an intensification or escalation of its worst impulses. He is its logical conclusion.

The plutocrats who run our societies need figureheads, behind whom they can conceal their unaccountable power. Until now they preferred the slickest salespeople, ones who could sell wars as humanitarian intervention rather than profit-driven exercises in death and destruction; the unsustainable plunder of natural resources as economic growth; the massive accumulation of wealth, stashed in offshore tax havens, as the fair outcome of a free market; the bailouts funded by ordinary taxpayers to stem economic crises they had engineered as necessary austerity; and so on.

A smooth-tongued Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton were the favoured salespeople, especially in an age when the elites had persuaded us of a self-serving argument: that ghetto-like identities based on colour or gender mattered far more than class. It was divide-and-rule dressed up as empowerment. The polarisation now bewailed by Jenkins was in truth stoked and rationalised by the very corporate media he so faithfully serves.

Fear of the Domino Effect

Despite their professed concern, the plutocrats and their media spokespeople much prefer a far-right populist like Trump or Bolsonaro to a populist leader of the genuine left. They prefer the social divisions fuelled by neo-fascists like Bolsonaro, divisions that protect their wealth and privilege, over the unifying message of a socialist who wants to curtail class privilege, the real basis of the elite’s power.

The true left – whether in Brazil, Venezuela, Britain or the US – does not control the police or military, the financial sector, the oil industries, the arms manufacturers, or the corporate media. It was these very industries and institutions that smoothed the path to power for Bolsonaro in Brazil, Viktor Orban in Hungary, and Trump in the US.

Former socialist leaders like Brazil’s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva or Hugo Chavez in Venezuela were bound to fail not so much because of their flaws as individuals but because powerful interests rejected their right to rule. These socialists never had control over the key levers of power, the key resources. Their efforts were sabotaged – from within and without – from the moment of their election.

Local elites in Latin America are tied umbilically to US elites, who in turn are determined to make sure any socialist experiment in their backyard fails – as a way to prevent a much-feared domino effect, one that might seed socialism closer to home.

The media, the financial elites, the armed forces were never servants of the socialist governments that have been struggling to reform Latin America. The corporate world has no interest either in building proper housing in place of slums or in dragging the masses out of the kind of poverty that fuels the drug gangs that Bolsonaro claims he will crush through more violence.

Bolsonaro will not face any of the institutional obstacles Lula da Silva or Chavez needed to overcome. No one in power will stand in his way as he institutes his “reforms.” No one will stop him creaming off Brazil’s wealth for his corporate friends. As in Pinochet’s Chile, Bolsonaro can rest assured that his kind of neo-fascism will live in easy harmony with neoliberalism.

Immune System

If you want to understand the depth of the self-deception of Jenkins and other media gatekeepers, contrast Bolsonaro’s political ascent to that of Jeremy Corbyn, the modest social democratic leader of Britain’s Labour party. Those like Jenkins who lament the role of social media – they mean you, the public – in promoting leaders like Bolsonaro are also the media chorus who have been wounding Corbyn day after day, blow by blow, for three years – since he accidentally slipped past safeguards intended by party bureacrats to keep someone like him from power.

The supposedly liberal Guardian has been leading that assault. Like the rightwing media, it has shown its absolute determination to stop Corbyn at all costs, using any pretext.

Within days of Corbyn’s election to the Labour leadership, the Times newspaper – the voice of the British establishment – published an article quoting a general, whom it refused to name, warning that the British army’s commanders had agreed they would sabotage a Corbyn government. The general strongly hinted that there would be a military coup first.

“Why is Corbyn so dangerous? Because he supports the right of workers to a dignified life, because he refuses to accept the might of the corporations, because he implies that a different way of organising our societies is possible.”

We are not supposed to reach the point where such threats – tearing away the façade of western democracy – ever need to be implemented. Our pretend democracies were created with immune systems whose defences are marshalled to eliminate a threat like Corbyn much earlier.

Once he moved closer to power, however, the rightwing corporate media was forced to deploy the standard tropes used against a left leader: that he was incompetent, unpatriotic, even treasonous.

But just as the human body has different immune cells to increase its chances of success, the corporate media has faux-liberal-left agents like the Guardian to complement the right’s defences. The Guardian sought to wound Corbyn through identity politics, the modern left’s Achille’s heel. An endless stream of confected crises about anti-semitism were intended to erode the hard-earned credit Corbyn had accumulated over decades for his anti-racism work.

Slash-and-Burn Politics

Why is Corbyn so dangerous? Because he supports the right of workers to a dignified life, because he refuses to accept the might of the corporations, because he implies that a different way of organising our societies is possible. It is a modest, even timid programme he articulates, but even so it is far too radical either for the plutocratic class that rules over us or for the corporate media that serves as its propaganda arm.

The truth ignored by Jenkins and these corporate stenographers is that if you keep sabotaging the programmes of a Chavez, a Lula da Silva, a Corbyn or a Bernie Sanders, then you get a Bolsonaro, a Trump, an Orban.

“For decades, all parts of the corporate media have helped to undermine a genuine left that could have offered real solutions, that could have taken on and beaten the right, that could have offered a moral compass to a confused, desperate and disillusioned public.”

It is not that the masses are a menace to democracy. It is rather that a growing proportion of voters understand that a global corporate elite has rigged the system to accrue for itself ever greater riches. It is not social media that is polarising our societies. It is rather that the determination of the elites to pillage the planet until it has no more assets to strip has fuelled resentment and destroyed hope. It is not fake news that is unleashing the baser instincts of the lower orders. Rather, it is the frustration of those who feel that change is impossible, that no one in power is listening or cares.

Social media has empowered ordinary people. It has shown them that they cannot trust their leaders, that power trumps justice, that the elite’s enrichment requires their poverty. They have concluded that, if the rich can engage in slash-and-burn politics against the planet, our only refuge, they can engage in slash-and-burn politics against the global elite.

Are they choosing wisely in electing a Trump or Bolsonaro? No. But the liberal guardians of the status quo are in no position to judge them. For decades, all parts of the corporate media have helped to undermine a genuine left that could have offered real solutions, that could have taken on and beaten the right, that could have offered a moral compass to a confused, desperate and disillusioned public.

Jenkins wants to lecture the masses about their depraved choices while he and his paper steer them away from any politician who cares about their welfare, who fights for a fairer society, who prioritises mending what is broken.

The western elites will decry Bolsonaro in the forlorn and cynical hope of shoring up their credentials as guardians of the existing, supposedly moral order. But they engineered him. Bolsonaro is their monster.

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We Must Not Be Bystanders When Darkness Descends

NOVANEWS

The arc of the universe, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. taught, is long but it moves towards justice, but only if we bend it that way

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, right, of Tree of Life/Or L'Simcha Congregation hugs Rabbi Cheryl Klein, left, of Dor Hadash Congregation and Rabbi Jonathan Perlman during a community gathering held in the aftermath of a deadly shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Sunday. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, right, of Tree of Life/Or L’Simcha Congregation hugs Rabbi Cheryl Klein, left, of Dor Hadash Congregation and Rabbi Jonathan Perlman during a community gathering held in the aftermath of a deadly shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Sunday. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

These are dark times.

Thirteen pipe bombs were sent to two former presidents and other political and cultural leaders. In Kentucky, a white man shot and killed two elderly African-Americans at random in a Kroger grocery store, after failing to force his way into a black church. In Pittsburgh, in what is believed to be the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in U.S. history, a gunman walked into the Tree of Life synagogue and massacred 11 during Sabbath services.

What time is it? In Isaiah, chapter 21, verse 11-12, the watchman in his tower is asked: “Watchman, what from the night?” The inquiry comes from an occupier and oppressor of the Israelites. The watchman replies: “The morning cometh, and also the night.”

What time is it?  Is it dusk moving toward midnight, or dawn moving to the day? We are not bystanders in this drama. It will not be an act of nature that decides, nor a matter of fate.

What is clear is that seeds of violence have been strewn across this country. Hatreds that lay fallow have been roused. Divisions have been sharpened.

Rain comes from the top, never bottom up. The president rouses fears of an invasion of an alien caravan coming this way. He invents the claim that terrorists have infiltrated the caravan. He lies that Democrats are to blame for not fixing our laws, although he torpedoed a bipartisan reform bill.

He ignores the fact that these are people seeking asylum, who will gain entry only after their applications are reviewed and accepted. His appeals to fear are echoed and augmented by allies for partisan purpose.

Their cynicism is clear. “It doesn’t matter if it’s 100 percent accurate. This is the play,” an administration official told the Daily Beast.

Furious, the murderer in Pittsburgh, who raged about a Jewish humanitarian group that helps resettle immigrants in America, arms himself with an assault rifle and three handguns and assaults the synagogue. The president says the answer is to arm synagogues and churches and schools.

Sowing division is not an accident; it is a strategy. President Barack Obama attacked as illegitimate with the lie about his birth certificate. Neo-Nazi rioters in Charlottesville, Va. — chanting “Jews will not replace us” — praised as including some “fine people.” The American media assailed as “the true enemy of the people,” the claim of “fake news” used to discredit reporting on the inventions and lies of the president. Political opponents slandered before mass audiences. What Teddy Roosevelt called the “bully pulpit” — meaning wonderful pulpit — taken over by a bully.

What time is it? The seeds of anger and hate are blowing in the wind. No wall, no boundary, no law can contain them. What we do know, as the Bible teaches, is that we will reap what we sow.

In this darkness, are we moving toward midnight or towards the dawn? We can decide. The arc of the universe, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. taught, is long but it moves towards justice, but only if we bend it that way.

This is the test of leadership. It is now that leaders must appeal to the better angels of our nature. It is now that leaders must bring us together and remind us of our common bonds.

Clearly, as president, Trump has neither the intention nor the capacity to do that. He has profited from division and has no reason to change course.

This is a time for others to lead, for citizens to act to bring us together. Captive in Egypt, Israelis were asked to make brick without straw, a cruel impossibility. Under slavery and segregation, blacks were asked to embrace democracy without the vote, a cruel impossibility.

Now, however, we can vote. We can speak. We can act.  We can choose to build walls or to build bridges with our voices, our votes and our marching feet.

Today we feel the darkness, the hard cold of hatred and division.

Will we be a thermometer and simply record this environment or act like a thermostat and alter these conditions? Will we choose to descend further toward midnight, or choose to force the dawn?

Ultimately, we will decide, by what we do and what we choose not to do, by how we vote or whether we choose not to vote, by whether we come together or whether we allow our fears to drive us apart.

Now is the time to act.

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Cherev Gideon: Pennsylvania’s “Israeli Tactical Training Academy”

Cherev Gideon

Gilad Atzmon writes:

On 28 October we heard the disturbing news of a gun attack on a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that left 11 people dead. 

Today I was surprised to find out that some in Pennsylvania had seen it coming. The following 2017 Israeli TV video tells the story of Cherev Gideon, an Israeli army-like Jewish militia operating in Pennsylvania which trains American Jews to “shoot the Israeli style”.

“The Second Amendment provides us with the right to bear arms,” Cherev Gidon’s site says. “However, it does not provide us with the knowledge of how to safely and professionally respond to a threat,” it adds.

According to Israeli TV, Cherev Gideon’s goal is for “every synagogue to have an armed Jew ready to defend it”.

We specialise in Israeli tactical shooting techniques, developed over the course of several decades of counterterrorism warfare, and uniquely designed to address the threats we face today. All of our firearms instructors are highly qualified veterans of Israel Defence Force combat units. Many have served in special forces units and all have hands-on experience fighting terror.

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Farcical Elections in Kashmir Followed By Massacre

Image result for Kashmir Massacre PHOTO

Kashmir Massacre

INDIA recently dismissed the UNHCHR report into human rights violations in Kashmir as a fabrication. But recent local body elections in Kashmir as well as a massacre of civilians  have once again exposed the Modi Government’s and BJP’s lies about Kashmir.

BJP claims to have swept local body polls in J&K – but the truth is that the BJP has lost ground in Jammu and Ladakh and its ‘victory’ in the Kashmir Valley is at a time when voting was at all-time low and the two main local parties, NC and PDP, are boycotting the elections in protest against the Modi Government’s stand on Article 35A.

The voter turnout in the the 4% voter turnout – the lowest since 1951 and worse even than the 5.18% turnout in the 1989 elections at the height of the militancy in the Valley. The Modi Government can certainly claim credit for this historic low voting in the Valley. Out of 624 municipal body seats in the Valley, polling took place only in 208 seats, while the rest remained uncontested – with either a lone contestant or no contestant on the seat! 185 wards remained vacant in Kashmir, with no nomination filed.

BJP’s vote share  in the three assembly constituencies of Jammu city (considered a BJP stronghold) – Gandhi Nagar, Jammu (East) and Jammu (West) – fell steeply by 51%. BJP’s vote share has fallen in many other Jam-mu districts too – including Samba, Kathua Udhampur, Doda, Rajouri Kalakote and Reasi. It may be remembered that the BJP, just a few months ago, had attempted communal polarisation in Jammu in the name of de-fending the accused in the Kathua rape-murder. It seems that this polarisation failed to save the BJP in Jammu.

The BJP has also lost Ladakh (where it holds the Parliamentary seat), with Congress winning all 13 wards of the Leh Municipal Committee, and 5 wards in Kargil where Independents won 8.

Meanwhile, Kashmir is under a shutdown called by the Joint Resistance Leadership following a massacre in which seven civilians have been killed and 25 injured, several of them grievously. The civilians were killed when they attempted to douse the fire at a home which had been the site of a gun-fight between militants and security forces. The forces had left the gunfight site before sanitising it of explosives – leading to civilians maimed and killed in explosions. Many of the injured also show bullet and pellet injuries suggesting they were injured in deliberate firing by forces.

The late Shujaat Bukhari (assassinated a few months ago), had observed that “encounter” is a misnomer for such carefully planned operations in Kashmir, which almost inevitably target civilians. Writing about a similar killing of civilians at an “encounter” site, Bukhari had written that the “bloodbath shows how intricately militants and the civilian population are linked…it is a large-scale war in which the civilian population is also pit-ted against the forces.” He had observed that “Almost every operation seems to follow a pattern that has become a ritual, from the search operations and the laying of the security cordons, to the opening of fire and the protests by civilians, to burnt houses and bodies and vast public funerals.”

Bukhari had ended his piece with the words, “Recognising it as a political problem and talking to all stakeholders without conditions is the only way. Pakistan also is important to the process of finding a solution. Killing militants has come at a huge cost. The forces may kill militants but will not kill the ideas behind militancy. The past 27 years have shown that repeatedly.”

But the Modi Government is in no mood to resolve the Kashmir issue – it knows full well that every killing adds fuel to the fire of Kashmiri people’s anger and despair, but is determined to continue and intensify the killings, hoping to fan up hatred against Kashmiris for votes in forthcoming Assembly and Parliamentary elections.

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Sharing is key to a new economic and democratic order

Sharing

Graham Peebles writes:

In order to meet the colossal challenges of the time, fundamental change to the socio-economic order is needed. The environmental catastrophe is the major issue, together with armed conflict, potentially nuclear. Both threaten the survival of humanity and the planet, and both are widely ignored by the men and women of power, whose short-term approach, obsession with the economy, and a nationalistic introspective view of the world is leading us to the precipice of disaster.

If humanity is to survive these interconnected crises and overcome other crucial challenges, including poverty, social injustice and the displacement of people, a totally new vision of the way society functions is required. At the root of much if not all of the chaos is the socio-economic model combined with inadequate, artificial forms of democratic governance. State and private institutions are interdependent monopolies of power that require radical democratisation; deep-rooted systemic deficiencies must be addressed and altogether different values to those that are currently encouraged inculcated. 

Totalitarian structures

Neoliberalism has infiltrated all areas of society and permeated life in virtually every corner of the world; it is a dysfunctional system that instead of serving the needs of the majority is designed to provide huge wealth for a privileged few. Its very existence denies the manifestation of real democracy.

Flowing from this paradigm of injustice is extreme inequality leading to a wide range of social ills, high levels of unemployment – particularly among the young in many parts of the world – low investment in public services and, as the social scientist C. J. Polychroniou, says, “rapidly declining standards of living, dangerously high levels of both public and corporate debt, a financial system that remains out of whack, and ecological collapse.” It is a decrepit global system propped up by the guardians of the status-quo, who are intellectually bankrupt, have no answers to the issues of the day but, desperate to cling on to power, use all their tools of control to resist change.

Political influence is concentrated in the hands of a tiny group of people and institutions — they run the corporate organisations and stock the governing executive. These are the wealthy and powerful; corporations and their masters dominate this entitled ensemble; huge tyrannical institutions, unaccountable bodies with enormous power. Control is concentrated at the top from where policy is made and orders are issued, managers pass on instructions and workers are expected to obey, conform and be thankful to the beneficent company for buying their labour, albeit for a pittance compared to the pay cheques of the boardroom. This is little more than wage slavery.

The raison d’être of the corporate world is to maximise market share and generate profits, irrespective of the impact on people or the environment. To do this they need the population to behave in ways consistent with their ideological approach to life, namely consumerism. Their persuasive message of pleasure and competition is spread to a weary populous via the communications industry, which they happen to own: the media, entertainment sector and advertising companies. These bodies colour the social atmosphere, are responsible for setting the public agenda, facilitating collective discussion, and, together with education and (organised) religion are the principal outlets for mass conditioning.

Corporate institutions actively work to curtail democracy and deny the establishment of a just economic system; they have tremendous influence over government policy and consistently obstruct environmental legislation. They operate in secret, have been granted extraordinary rights and access, and as Noam Chomsky says, have “complicated strategic alliances among alleged competitors” forming what some economists have called “alliance capitalism — big networks of tyrannical institutions basically running the world”, institutions which “have no right to exist any more than any other tyrannical systems”, and should be dismantled.

Over the last 30 years or so a worldwide protest movement has developed. Huge numbers of people have united demanding socio-economic and democratic change, to be listened to by remote and arrogant politicians. In scale and scope, the movement is unprecedented. People of all ages have come together expressing collective frustrations, demanding a new approach to living. The Arab unrest of 2011 and the Occupy movement were prominent expressions of the same underlying current for change, and, it could be argued, so were Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, albeit in a distorted, reactionary form.

The old forms must give way to the emerging ways of the time – the economic, political, social and in due course religious forms that have crystallised and are incapable of responding to the needs of the many. The 2008 financial crisis revealed some of the inherent flaws in the economic model, since when politics has become more polarised and reactionary, wages have been frozen, austerity has been enforced, punishing the poorest in society, and the financial system has been allowed to continue much the same.

The lack of genuine change means that a second crash is a real possibility, indeed perhaps that’s what it will take to bring about the lasting systemic change that so many yearn for. As stated in the introductory literature for New Thinking for the British Economy, “the evident failings of our present economic system, and the growing political mobilisation for change, suggest that we may be on the cusp of another major shift in economic thinking and policy.” A shift away from oligarchic systems of governance, and an unjust, unsustainable, environmentally abusive economic model, to a sustainable, participatory and just way of living.

The age of sharing

The same essential element in harmonious living and justice is absent from both the economic world and the political sphere: the principle of sharing. Placing sharing at the heart of a new economic paradigm would do more than any other single factor to bring about real change. It would completely alter the collective social atmosphere and allow for a range of other positive democratic ideals, such as social justice, tolerance and compassion, to manifest themselves. Sharing of resources (including food, water and land), wealth/income, knowledge, skills, ideas, etc. sharing in the management of the institutions (state and private) that dominate society, and the bodies that one happens to work in or study at, and crucially sharing in the decisions and ideas that shape our lives, i.e. real participation.

In corporate democracies the right to vote and run civil society may exist, there may even be an independent judiciary, the observation of human rights (more or less) and unfettered (albeit monitored) access to information, but without social justice and meaningful participation it is not really democracy. It is an inadequate ideological construct, the nature and structure of which is set by those sitting within gilded offices of power, who limit its scope and control its expression. It is democracy owned by the corporate world entwined with the methodology of the market. As such, its exponents are complicit in perpetuating injustice, maintaining concentrations of power, facilitating division and encouraging wage slavery. Participation is at best limited, competition, greed and personal gain over collective wellbeing are promoted and lived. Material success is held up as the aim of life, selfish tendencies are encouraged, feeding intolerance and division – all of which work to deny true democracy and stifle the good in humanity.

Real democracy is meaningful participation in all socio-political/economic and business institutions. When this takes place positive aspects of human nature will begin to flourish and the structures that perpetuate the existing injustices will crumble under the weight of the good. Group participation, social responsibility and unity are essential elements in bringing about such a change and are key principles of the time, at the heart of which, and from which all else flows, must be sharing, and for a range of reasons: sharing breaks down divisions and engenders trust, kindness grows and humanities inherent goodness can flower. Sharing is an expression and acknowledgement of our common humanity, cooperation takes place when we share, and as people cooperate they build relationships, form groups, exchange ideas. 

Without sharing the corrosive patterns of the present will continue. As Chomsky puts it, “if we were to move towards [real] democracy we would say that there should be no maldistribution of power in determining what’s produced what’s distributed what’s invested and so on, rather that’s a problem for the entire community. In fact my own personal view is unless we move in that direction human society probably isn’t going to survive.” 

This is a view shared by many. However, if one looks beyond the ugly theatrics of nationalism and fear, an alternative vision of the future can be seen. A coalition of change is forming throughout the world and a shift in consciousness is underway. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is young people who are leading the way; they are less conditioned by the old order, have a powerful sense of social justice and freedom; and care deeply about the natural environment. 

We are at the beginning of the age of sharing, but it will not be gifted to us. As with movements of change throughout history, it will be brought about by consistent, coordinated action, by demanding change, by recognizing that we are all responsible for this world and, if we want a new and just society, we have to build it.

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