Then, also on television, I watched as a small bulldozer hopelessly clawed through the rubble of my neighbourhood mosque. I grew up around that mosque. I spent many hours there with my grandfather, Mohammed, a refugee from historic Palestine. Before grandpa became a refugee, he was a young Imam in a small mosque in his long-destroyed village of Beit Daras.
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Stories about Thinking Politically.
Direct democracy works like a charm. Check out Venezuela’s Communes….
Venezuela’s ubiquitous Communes are proof that direct democracy works. And, interestingly enough, those same Communes are powerful buffers to attempted coups, protecting the sanctity of direct democracy in their country.
The 2020 US presidential campaign is already underway. With each day that passes between now and election day, all other topics will receive less attention, both from talking heads on the news and from regular folks (and bots) in the social media universe.
This is quite unfortunate because the race for this office is far less important than a myriad of other topics, chief among them the environment and (inextricably connected) US militarism.
Among the encouraging political straws in the wind are the growing momentum in the United States and the United Kingdom, two leading carbon states, for something called the ‘Green New Deal’. I have some questions about it.These are questions from an interested and, to be clear, broadly sympathetic amateur. I'm not raising them in the spirit of 'dissing' the Green New Deal, so much as trying to feel out the limits of its scope. And, if there does happen to be a degree of magical thinking involved, and if it does come with 'national' blinkers, to suggest that we need the Green New Deal plus something else.
Ecuador’s approach to violence reduction is about as far away as you can get from America’s, which tends to criminalize gangs. To be clear, just being a member of a gang is not illegal. But because many gang members are known to engage in illegal activity, US law enforcement targets people it suspects of being members. It uses large gang databases (especially common in cities like New York and Chicago) to round up young people, often from poor communities of color. They may be deported or imprisoned for years. When we talk about criminalizing gangs, we’re talking about this punitive approach.
Embarked upon overthrowing Venezuela’s socialist government, the U.S. government now renews efforts to squash Cuba. The U.S. record of implacable hostility features terror attacks, military invasion, germ warfare, internal subversion, and almost 60 years of U.S. economic blockade. Devoid of natural resources ready for U.S. plunder, Cuba offends by having defended socialism and national independence. Now Title III of the U.S. 1996 Helms Burton Act joins an arsenal of weapons employed in what Cubans regard as genocidal aggression.
Every major U.S. war of the last several decades has begun the same way: the U.S. government fabricates an inflammatory, emotionally provocative lie which large U.S. media outlets uncritically treat as truth while refusing at air questioning or dissent, thus inflaming primal anger against the country the U.S. wants to attack. That’s how we got the Vietnam War (North Vietnam attacks U.S. ships in the Gulf of Tonkin); the Gulf War (Saddam ripped babies from incubators); and, of course, the war in Iraq (Saddam had WMDs and formed an alliance with Al Qaeda).
“A number of lefties are softening their criticism and some are even announcing their support for Bernie Sanders. Yet: Those who have watched Sanders for years – e.g., anti-war activists from Vermont – know better than to trust Bernie “Chavez is [a] dead, communist dictator” Sanders. When push comes to shove, he will side with imperialist power – e.g., voting against the invasion of Iraq but voting to fund the occupation.”
–Phil Rockstroh (2/27/19)
The main lesson of correísmo is that no project of transformation, if it wants to sustain and even deepen social change, can weaken the people who propel it forward.
The Ecuadorian government of Rafael Correa (2007–2017) stirred hopeful expectations in the continental and global lefts. Although the young economist did not have a record of participation in social movements and had not played any direct role in resistance to neoliberalism, he had been part of a group of heterodox economists known as the Foro Ecuador Alternativo (Ecuador Alternative Forum), some of whom were critics of structural adjustment.
British photojournalist Alan Gignoux and Venezuelan journalist-filmmaker Carolina Graterol, both based in London, went to Venezuela for a month to shoot a documentary for a major global TV channel. They talked with journalist Paul Cochrane about the mainstream media’s portrayal of Venezuela compared to their experiences on the ground.