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Showing posts from October, 2015

Richard Fidler: Quebec left debates perspectives in Canada’s federal election

by Richard Fidlerin:  Life on the LeftSeptember 13, 2015

Canada’s current federal election campaign is now at the half-way point in the lead-up to October 19. The three major parties are polling almost equally, with the ruling Conservative vote dropping steadily while the opposition New Democrats (NDP) and Liberals are virtually tied overall at just over 30%. This means the NDP has not significantly increased its support from the previous election in 2011, while the Liberals under Justin Trudeau have staged a remarkable recovery from their 19% in 2011. In Quebec, the NDP polls far ahead of the other parties and even beyond its 43% support in 2011, but it is lagging behind the Liberals in most of the rest of Canada (ROC).It is a depressing campaign, with little discussion of major issues in the corporate media. No party is offering a real alternative on such key issues as climate change, increasing neoliberal austerity, Canada’s increasing militarization, etc.

As the Official Opposition i…

Saudi Prince: "I Side with Israel – Not the Palestinians", Oct 28, 2015

photo: Saudi prince al-Waleed bin Talal

Taking into account regional upheaval and changes throughout the Middle East, billionaire Saudi prince al-Waleed bin Talal says his country should work with Israel to contend with the Iranian threat. Significantly, and rare for a Saudi to admit in public, he emphasized that if the Palestinians launch another uprising, he will side with Israel.
Saudi prince al-Waleed bin Talal has stated that in the event of another Palestinian Intifada (uprising) against Israel he would side with the Jewish State, saying that “Saudi Arabia has reached a political maturity to constitute a durable alliance with the Jewish nation.”
“I will side with the Jewish nation and its democratic aspirations in case of outbreak of a Palestinian Intifada and I shall exert all my influence to break any ominous Arab initiatives set to condemn Tel Aviv, because I deem the Arab-Israeli entente and …

Why Donald? Why Bernie? by ZZ, Oct 28, 2015


“People on the left believe that systems are corrupt. People on the right tend to believe that the system (at least as they understand its design) is just fine, and it's individual people who are too corrupt or too weak to propel it towards its full greatness. Thus partisans of the right lean more toward a version of Thomas Carlyle's view that history is about great men (and now women, too), which elevates biography to the level of supreme importance, while partisans of the left care less about the outsider's life story than his criticism of power and how he will challenge it. These differing conceptions dictate how the candidates present themselves and even how they would govern, should one of them become president.” Michael Tomasky, Very Improbable Candidates, New York Review of Books, 11-05-15.

In his recent article, Michael Tomasky explores the questions chall…

After the reawakening of South African student activism, where to next? October 26, 2015

source: Africa is a country link: Image Credit: Nicholas Rawhani 2015 has been the year for student activism in South Africa. These spaces have been reignited with a new sense of struggle, morphing and changing, exposing fault lines and new possibilities, and pulling the rest of South Africa along with them as they go. This is a powerful time for South Africans. Across the board people are thinking society and resistance anew. The debates which unfold on social media are opening up new spaces to understand and challenge the operation of power in post-apartheid South Africa. The students demonstrate energized resistance to the forms of injustice they and others feel. They also represent a site of deeper intellectual engagement with present conditions of oppression and possibilities for resistance, and they are pushing the rest of society to do the same. Until recently university student…

What was Straight Left? An introduction by Lawrence Parker, Oct 27, 15

Last week it was announced that Guardian journalist Seamus Milne was to become Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s new Director of Communications. A number of media reports remarked that Milne was once attached to the Communist Party factional journal Straight Left. However few, particularly in the mainstream media, know much about the Straight Left faction or its role in the final years of the Communist Party of Great Britain. I asked Lawrence Parker, an expert on the hardline oppositional and anti-revisionist groups that emerged from the CPGB, to write a little introduction to those unfamiliar with the history of the Straight Left faction.

Straight Left’s origins lie in the left pro-Soviet oppositions that emerged in the Communist Party of Great Britain in the 1960s. In this period, a definite ‘party within a party’ emerged, with figures such as Sid French, district secre…

China warns U.S. of "eventualities" in South China Sea:, 10-27-15

BEIJING, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese navy has warned that further forays by the U.S. naval vessel into the waters claimed by China in the South China Sea may "trigger eventualities."

Chinese navy spokesperson Liang Yang made the comment following a U.S. warship's entering waters near the Nansha Islands on Tuesday.

The Chinese navy monitored, tracked and issued warnings to the USS Lassen, according to Liang, who said China's reaction is necessary, legitimate and professional.

"China's sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters is irrefutable," he said. "The Chinese navy will resolutely perform duties and missions to unswervingly safeguard national sovereignty, maritime rights and interests, and peace and stability in the South China Sea."

The spokesperson said the navy will closely monitor the situation in and above the sea for goings-on that may jeopardize China…

Ottawa Mayor nixes Anti-Communism memorial: 'Tribute to Liberty' sponsoring group gets told, 26 Oct 15

It’s “highly unlikely” the Memorial to the Victims of Communism will ever be built on the proposed site near the Supreme Court of Canada now that the federal Liberals have swept to power, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson bluntly told the memorial’s backers when he met with them last week.

by Matthew Pearson, 26 Oct 15Source:

Watson has been an outspoken critic of the proposed monument’s location on Wellington Street and said Ludwik Klimkowski and Anna Dombrovska — officials from Tribute to Liberty, the charity behind the controversial memorial — clearly knew where he stood when the three met Friday in the mayor’s boardroom.

“I told them in very blunt terms that this project should be put on hold,” Watson said Monday in an interview with the Citizen. “We should have a proper consultation with the broader public, not just inside government, and seek greater consensus on where the monument should be placed.”

“I said, ‘I think you’re going to have to take a little water with your…

Why they Fight: A Pro-Assad Militia Leader Explains (Video)

In this excerpt from "Inside Assad's Syria" -- FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith's surreal journey inside government-controlled areas of the war-torn country -- Smith sits down for lunch with the commander of a pro-government militia, who explains why he fights for President Assad and secular Syria.

Uri Avnery: Weep, Beloved Country, gush shalom, 24/10/15

SOMETIMES, A small incident can pierce the darkness and reveal a frightening picture.
This happened last Sunday in Beersheba, the capital of the Negev.

Haftom Zarhim, a 29 year old refugee from Eritrea 
The picture was frightening indeed.

THE INCIDENT started as a routine attack, one of many we have become used to in recent weeks. Some call it "the Third Intifada", some speak of a "Terror Wave", some are satisfied with "Escalation".

It is a new stage in the old conflict. Its symbol is the knife-wielding lone Palestinian individual – either from East Jerusalem, the West Bank or Israel proper.

It is not connected with any of the Palestinian parties. Before the deed, the attacker had no known connection with any militant group. He or she is completely unknown to the Israeli Security Service. Hence it is impossible to prevent such actions.

One morning the future shahid wakes up, feels that the time…


Photo: New Democratic Party leader Tom Mulcair waves at the end of his concession speech after Canada's federal election in Montreal, Quebec, October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger

There were many factors that played into Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s unexpected majority government.

But in the opinion of this lifelong union activist and former NDP candidate, neither the much-maligned niqab, nor cynical strategic voting, played as much of a role in the NDP reversal of fortune as the decision to abandon its social democratic roots.

When the NDP holds a post mortem on the 2015 federal election, it can mark Tom Mulcair’s Aug. 25 visit to a small factory in London, Ontario as the day its promising lead in the polls took a nose-dive.

On that fateful day, Mulcair shocked his political base by announcing the NDP would deliver four years of balanced budgets, despite record low borrowing rates and growing eviden…

Bernie Sanders A Progressive or a Radical? by Mike Davis

Last night, Bernie Sanders showed the promise — and limits — of his economic populism.
by Mike Davis

Immediately after the Democratic presidential debate last night, Van Jones offered two astute observations: “class won,” as did Black Lives Matter. The former, of course, was the triumph of the Sanders campaign (although it was actually former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb who inaugurated the debate’s discursive revolution by beginning with “working people” rather than “middle class”) while the latter is a tribute to the thousands who have so doggedly stayed in the streets and rudely interrupted political business as usual.

Angry passion and insubordination joined together can succeed as can Old Testament wrath in the case of our guy from Vermont. For the first time since the election of Ronald Reagan, the continuous Republican rightward shift has not been mirrored by a Democratic accommodation to it…

The case for treating climate change like a war Oct 25, 2015

The case for treating climate change like a war Oct 25, 2015


They are still crunching the numbers, but according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2015 is on track to be the hottest year ever recorded.

Venkatesh Rao says we need to look at historical examples if we want a fighting chance against global warming. He argues piecemeal strategies won't work on climate -- we need to emulate the government-led effort that won World War II.

Rao is the founder of the blog and an independent researcher, author, and management consultant based in Seattle.

Why should we look back to World War II to figure out how to tackle climate change?

The thing about climate change is it's a problem of such unprecedented magnitude that our everyday institutions of peacetime -- democratic institutions -- there's a good chance they won't be up to the task. So you have to look back in history and look for similarly large-scale effort…

Robert Parry: Hillary Clinton’s Failed Libya ‘Doctrine’ Oct 22, 2015

From the Archive: As the long-running Benghazi investigation returns to center stage with another round of Hillary Clinton’s testimony, the former Secretary of State’s larger failure remains obscured – how she once envisioned the bloody Libyan “regime change” as the start of a “Clinton Doctrine,” as Robert Parry reported last July.

By Robert Parry (Originally published on July 1, 2015)

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton fancied the violent 2011 “regime change” in Libya such a triumph that her aides discussed labeling it the start of a “Clinton Doctrine,” according to released emails that urged her to claim credit when longtime Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was deposed. And Clinton did celebrate when Gaddafi was captured and murdered.

“We came; we saw; he died,” Clinton exulted in a TV interview after receiving word of Gaddafi’s death on Oct. 20, 2011, though it is not clear how much she knew about the grisly details, such as Gaddafi being sodomized with a knife bef…

Settler with Knife, Stone Attacks Head of Rabbis for Human Rights: CPI (Maki)

The head of a Jewish human rights organization was attacked Friday, October 23, by a masked settler wielding a knife and stone near a settlement in the occupied West Bank. The incident, which was caught on video, was labeled by the police as an “altercation between left and right wing activists.” The extreme-right assailant was seen accosting Rabbi Arik Ascherman, who heads Rabbis for Human Rights, and threatening him with a knife during a Palestinian olive harvest near the settlement of Itamar.

Rabbi Ascherman with a Palestinian agricultural worker in the occupied West Bank (Photo: Rabbis for Human Rights)
According to Rabbi Ascherman, the incident occurred when he and a Palestinian returned from the harvest and saw a Jewish settler attempting to steal olives from the orchard while another was allegedly setting some of the trees on fire. Ascherman said he moved towards the blaze, approaching the settler. In the video, which begins at this point, Ascherman is attacked by the masked man,…