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Other Voices: The Connexions Newsletter
October 8, 2015
This Issue: Elections, Democracy and anti-Democracy
Our topic of the week is Elections. If you're in
Canada, we encourage you to vote, and to encourage others to vote in
the October 19 election, to get rid of the dreadful Harper
Conservatives. Items from the last couple of issues of Other Voices are still relevant, including the single page anti-Harper handout that you can print and hand out here with several PDF formats to choose from, and links to organizations that are working to get out the anti-Harper vote, such as Votetogether and Council of Canadians.
Our election resources include articles and books
which argue that western style parliamentary democracies are anything
but democratic, both in how they operate, and because most of the most
important decisions are not subject to democratic decision-making. The
articles in this issue on the newly signed Trans-Pacific Partnership
Agreement (TPP) and on the use of finance and debt to take over
countries and to attack working people, explore this theme in detail.
On a more positive note, we have a discussion of
James Hansen's fossil fuel exit program, which suggests an approach for
getting our economies off fossil fuels in the near future. Rounding out
this issue are several People's History and From the Archives items, as
well as the book of the week, "Democracy Against Capitalism", the film
of the week, "The Price We Pay", and a song of the week, "Stealin' All
As always, we invite you to share this newsletter
with your friends. You can forward this email, or send them the link to
the Other Voices home page on the Connexions website at www.connexions.org/Media/CxNewsletter.htm.
Your feedback is appreciated - and so are donations to keep us doing what we're doing!
Topic of the Week: Elections
With the Canadian federal election looming, you might want to check
out resources on elections, voting, and forms of democracy in the
Connexions Subject Index. You’ll find articles and books on the nature
of parliamentary democracy, on the question of whether voting can bring
about change, on election rigging and voter suppression, and many other
issues. Find them here.
What Is the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)?
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a secretive,
multinational agreement that, among other things, threatens to extend
restrictive intellectual property (IP) laws across the globe and rewrite
international rules on its enforcement. This article, by the Electronic
Frontier Foundation, focuses specifically on the ‘intellectual
property’ implications, which include the requirement that all signatory
countries will be required to conform their domestic laws and policies
to the provisions of the Agreement. This will expand copyright
restrictions, impede fair use, create new threats for journalists and
whistleblowers, and expose users and Internet providers to heavy
criminal sanctions for any alleged infringement of intellectual property
rights. Read more
Keywords: Intellectual Property - International Trade Agreements
Parasites in the Body Economic: The Disasters of Neoliberalism
Michael Hudson discusses his new book, “Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy.”
He says that finance and debt are the new mode of warfare, the means by
which the elite take over countries and the savings of working people.
He poses the question: “So here’s the problem: How do we get the left to
realize this? How do we get it to talk about economics instead of
ethnic identity and sexual identity and culture alone? How do we get the
left to do what they were talking about a century ago - economic reform
and how to take the side of labor, consumers and debtors?” Read more
Keywords: Debt - Economic Warfare
A Fossil Fuel Exit Program
A discussion of James Hansen’s proposed climate-change exit strategy. The main points of Hansen’s strategy are:
- Fossil-fuel companies would be charged an easily implemented
carbon fee imposed at the well head, mine shaft, or point of entry.
- 100% of the revenue collected would be distributed monthly to
the population on a per capita basis as dividends, with up to two half
shares for children per family.
- Dividends would be sent directly via electronic transfers to bank accounts or debit cards.
- The carbon fee would be a single, uniform amount in the form of dollars per ton of carbon dioxide emitted from the fuel.
- The carbon fee would then gradually and predictably be ramped up so as to achieve the necessary carbon reductions.
- At the same time current subsidies to the fossil-fuel industry would be eliminated.
Keywords: Climate Change Policy - Fossil Fuels
The new colonialism: Greece and Ukraine
A new form of colonialism by direct management plus financial wealth transfer is now emerging in Greece and Ukraine.
According to Jack Rasmus, a new form of colonialism is emerging
in Europe. Not colonialism imposed by military conquest and occupation,
as in the 19th century. Not even the more efficient form of economic
colonialism pioneered by the U.S. in the post-1945 period, where the
costs of direct administration and military occupation were replaced
with compliant local elites allowed to share in the wealth extracted in
exchange for being allowed to rule on behalf of the colonizers. In the
21st century, it is ‘colonialism by means of financial asset transfer.’
It is colony wealth extraction by colonizing country managers, assigned
to directly administer the processes in the colony by which financial
assets are to be transferred. This new form of colonialism by direct
management plus financial wealth transfer is now emerging in Greece and
Ukraine. Read more
Keywords: Economic Warfare - Finance Capital
Beyond the Cliches about Radicalisation
Kenan Malik writes that the trouble with most
characterizations of jihadism is that they are rooted in false
perceptions of the problem. And the problem with most of the initiatives
designed to counter it is that their real impact is not so much in
combating jihadism as in undermining liberty. Malik offers suggestions
for re-thinking the issue. Read more
Keywords: Jihad - Religious Fundamentalism
Saudi Royal Family: Protecting VIPs, While Letting Ordinary Pilgrims Die
In the wake of a stampede in Mecca which killed close to
1,000 Haj pilgrims, it is being reported that the columns of pilgrims
ran into each other because Saudi police had closed off key roads in the
vicinity so as to accommodate VIPs who are whisked through without
having to mingle with the masses. Read more
Keywords: Haj - Saudi Arabia
The Alinsky Method: a Critique
The Alinsky approach, as developed by organizer Saul Alinksy and
applied by others such as Cesar Chavez, involved focusing on local
issues and not asking basic questions about the economy or about broader
social structures. Anyone who tried to steer a local organization into
broader concerns would be shut down or pushed out. Staughton Lynd thinks
that we can learn about organizing techniques from Alinsky, but that a
strategy for change has to reject the narrowness of the Alinsky method. Read More
Keywords: Community Organizing - Organizing
Freedom Summer, 1964
The Mississippi Summer Project of 1964, better known as
“Freedom Summer,” brought in volunteers to help with attempts to
register Black voters who had long been prevented by chicanery and
terror from doing so. At the same time, in view of the miserable
conditions in the state’s segregated public schools, the Student
Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) planned to create “freedom
schools” in which volunteers (mostly the whites from the North) would,
that summer, teach Black young people in subjects ranging from basic
education to Black history and leadership skills. Read more
Keywords: Civil Rights Movement (U.S.) - De-segregation
The Measure of a Revolutionary: Remembering Eugene V. Debs
Eugene Debs was an articulate, far-reaching critic of American
society, staunchly anti-capitalist and opposed to both Democratic and
Republican parties, which he saw as controlled by Wall Street. In his
five campaigns as the Socialist Party candidate for President of the
United States, Debs excoriated the economic exploitation of workers,
including the then rampant abuses of child labour, with rare oratorical
skill. He advocated for unions in all major industries and promoted a
vision of socialism as grassroots economic democracy. In a deeply
racist, patriarchal society, he was also staunchly anti-racist and
pro-women’s rights. When war hysteria swept the country, Debs openly
defied the warmongers to oppose U.S. entry into World War I. He did so
not as a pacifist, but because he saw the world war as an
inter-imperialist dispute among the ruling classes of competing
capitalist nations. Read more
Keywords: Left History - Socialism
Keys, comb and a plant: Palestinians tell of their past through cherished belongings
The first national museum for the geographically dispersed and
exiled Palestinian people is taking shape, not only physically but
conceptually. The goal is “to connect the Palestinians and present
different narratives to the world of who we are, where we come from and
what we aspire.” Since the Israeli occupation authorities prevent many
Palestinians from travelling to their homeland, the Palestinian Museum
seeks to become the hub connecting a dispersed network of institutions
in Jordan, Beirut, Gaza, Haifa and elsewhere. Read more
Keywords: Museums - Palestine
The past belongs to everyone: British Library calls on public to help piece together history
As the British Library thrusts itself into the digital age, more
than a million images from its archives are available online. And it
wants the public’s help to expand what is known about them. Read more
Keywords: Digital Archiving - Online Archives
Raya Dunayevskaya Archives
The archives of the Marxist-Humanist philosopher Raya Dunayevskaya are now available online at www.rayadunayevskaya.org.
During a lifetime in the Marxist movement, Dunayevskaya developed a set
of ideas, including the theory of state-capitalism; the philosophy of
Marxist-Humanism as rooted in the U.S. in labour, the Black dimension
and women’s liberation; and the global concept of the inseparability of
philosophy and revolution in the dialectics of liberation. Read more
Keywords: Marxist Humanism - State Capitalism
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October 9 to October 12, 2015: Canadian federal election advance polls
October 9, 2015: 21st Century Ecosocialism
October 9, 2015: Solidarity with Palestine book launches
October 16, 2015: World Food Day
October 19, 2015: Canadian federal election
The Connexions Calendar is an online calendar that exists to
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Oct 9, 1823
Birth of May Ann Shadd:
Birth of Mary Ann Shadd (1823-1893), a key figure in the Underground
Railroad which smuggles escaped slaves to freedom. During the American
Civil War, she serves as a recruiting officer to enlist black volunteers
for the Union Army. At the age of 60, she earns a law degree, becoming
the second black woman in the U.S. to graduate as a lawyer.
Oct 11, 1865
Morant Bay Rebellion:
The Morant Bay Rebellion in Jamaica. Although slavery has been
abolished in Jamaica, most blacks are desperately poor, landless, and
denied the vote. When a black man is arrested and imprisoned for
‘trespassing’ on a long-abandoned plantation, protesters march to the
courthouse in Morant Bay. Militia fire on them, killing seven. The
protesters retaliate by killing 18 militia and officials and taking
control of the town. The Governor of Jamaica, Edward Eyre, then
dispatches troops to engage in brutal reprisals. Hundreds of blacks are
killed in the following days, many of them people who had had nothing to
do with the events, shot down in cold blood as troops maraude through
Oct 11, 1869
Red River Survey:
Louis Riel and other Métis disrupt a survey ordered in the Red River
Colony. The survey is widely (and correctly) seen as a precursor to
depriving the Métis of their land.
Oct 12, 1492
Natives of a Caribbean island discover a group of confused Europeans
wandering on the shore. The leader of the group, Christopher Columbus,
is searching for a water route to India. The members of his group may
not know where they are, but they are armed and ruthless. They
immediately claim “ownership” of the island they have just landed on. In
the following years, they and those who follow them will kill or
enslave most of the people living on these islands, and on the mainland.
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Thanks to Ulli Diemer and Darien Yawching Rickwood for their work on this newsletter.
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