Originally posted on ThereAreNoSunglasses:

The Western Powers have created a global war refugee crisis through their Imperial adventures and now have to deal with the consequences of their actions.  Even though the United States is the primary creator of refugees in most of those wars, we are largely unaffected by this human tidal wave.  America’s European partners in crime in starting these criminal wars have no choice but to confront the immorality of the situation set in motion by Western governments. 

Since the EU is incapable of finding a consensus opinion on the proper course for getting these Syrian, Libyan, Yemeni, Somali refugees to safety, the matter must be resolved by the individual countries of Europe.  Where the EU and NATO have failed to establish a common border, the states are erecting individual barriers to the human flow.  Claiming that the walls steer the refugees to established safe zones (Schengen areas), everybody…

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The Fuck It Point

Savage Revival (2012)

Film Review

The Fuck It Point occurs when you fear the evil of the current system more than you fear actively organizing to tear it down. A growing number of activists around the world have reached this point (which Paul Hawken discusses in Blessed Unrest). We still have a little further to go to reach critical mass.

The specific fears that deter people from attempting to dismantle the current economic system are fear of losing privilege, fear of police brutality, fear of imprisonment, fear of death, fear of chaos and instability, fear of failing and, most importantly, fear that other people will think badly of us.

After summarizing a wealth of evidence that capitalism is doomed, The Fuck It Point asks whether it makes more sense to let it collapse on its own or to take active steps to dismantle it. The filmmakers maintain if we sit and waiting for the crash, the people who have prepared will “hold all the cards.”

The film focuses a lot of attention on corporate media manipulation that promotes apathy and passivity. Even when peoples know they’re being ruthlessly exploited, they can be too psychological paralyzed to do anything.

The public relation industry continually recycles do-nothing messages. One day they tell us that climate change and mass extinction is easily fixed with the right technology. The next day that the ecosystem is too far gone to do anything. The day after that they blame us for the global ecological crisis and urge us to buy more eco-friendly products.

The film also challenges the myth that humans can no longer survive without civilization. The obvious reality is that human beings can’t survive without clean, non-toxic air, water and food and robust social relationships – which are increasingly difficult to access under the current system. People find the idea of giving up civilization unthinkable because they are addicted to it.

The filmmakers estimate that only 1/7 of the current global population achieve real benefit from our current economic system. The other 6/7 would experience an immediate improvement in their life circumstances if it collapsed.

stuartbramhall:

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Feminist women in action.

Originally posted on The Free:

Profile photo of Carmenby Carmen  at autostraddle with thanks

Header by Rory Midhani

Header by Rory Midhani

Feminism is alive and well, my friends. And I’ve got 95 photos from across the planet to prove it.

(Click on them to find the source articles about the protests and movements pictured!)

Including an image of a protest or images from a specific region doesn’t indicate any sort of endorsement of that region or movement’s politics — this is just about showcasing that the fight for women’s rights and gender equality is raging on around the world.

Africa     Cameroon

Girls play clapping game during a weekly education session about breast ironing and rape by survivor of breast ironing Ndjessa at Ndjessa's family home in Douala

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Catastroika

by Aris Chatzistefanou and Katerina Kitidi

Film Review

Catastroika is a Greek documentary on neoliberalism, with a specific focus on the privatization of publicly owned resources. Although it makes no mention of historian Richard Linebaugh, its depiction of the neoliberal privatization movement provides an elegant illustration of the ongoing theft of the Commons (see Stop Thief: the Theft of the Commons).

After a brief overview of the University of Chicago economists (championed by Milton Friedman) who first put neoliberal theory into practice during the Pinochet dictatorship, the documentary tracks the wholesale privatization of Russia’s state owned industries after the 1993 coup by Boris Yeltsin, in which he illegally ordered dissolution of the Russian parliament (see The Rise of Putin and the Fall of the Oligarchs).

The fire sale of state assets to oligarchs and western bankers would virtually destroy the Russian economy, throwing millions of people into extreme poverty and reducing average life expectancy by ten years.

The Privatization of East Germany

With German reunification in 1990, East Germany would be the third major target for massive privatization. According to German economists interviewed in the film, the process amounted to an “acquisition” of East Germany by West German bankers. The West German government set up an agency called Treuhand to buy up state owned East German businesses at the rate of ten to fifteen a day – a total of 8,500 businesses in four years. The process, undertaken with virtually no oversight, predictably resulted in massive chaos and fraud. Many well-performing East Germany companies were dissolved for the simple reason they competed with West German businesses. Three million (out of 4.5 million) East German workers lost their jobs, which East Germany’s GDP shrank by 30%.

Using Debt to Compel Compliance

With the gradual demise of the world’s dictatorships during the 1990s, debt, rather than brute force, became the main mechanism to compel people to give up their publicly funded assets. At present, most of the focus is on Greece.

Current EU Commission Jean-Claude Juncker holds up Treuhand (which incurred a 250 million euro debt German taxpayers are still paying off) as a model for the Greek Asset Development Fund. The latter has been steadily selling off (at bargain basement prices) Greek railroads and municipal power and water systems.

The Dismal Track Record of Privatized Utilities

The filmmakers end the film by highlighting the disastrous outcome of Britain’s decision to privatize its railroads in 1993, the city of Paris decision to privatize its water service in the 1980s (it’s recently been re-municipalized due to massive public unrest – like privatized water systems in Bolivia, Ecuador and Argentina) and California’s experiment with electricity deregulation in the 1990s (leading to the Enron scandal).*


*The Enron scandal involved massive securities fraud and a deliberate conspiracy by power companies to withhold power to drive up electricity prices.

stuartbramhall:

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Russians seek to ban Windows 10 – the software that spies on you – from all government agencies, state-owned corporations and state-sponsored scientific and research institutions. They, unlike many Americans, read the service agreement before they tick the box.

Originally posted on Hwaairfan's Blog:

Senior Russian Lawmaker Seeks Ban on Windows 10 in State Agencies*

The State Duma’s vice speaker has asked the Russian government to ban the use of the Windows 10 OS among Russian civil servants over fears the American software may give access to classified information and Russian officials’ personal data.

In his letter to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, MP Nikolai Levichev of the center-left Fair Russia party said the service agreement signed by any Windows 10 users allows Microsoft to access all passwords, password prompts and other information used for data protection. The US corporation also receives other types of data, from users’ contacts, their emails and even location.

Microsoft warns that the received information will be stored and processed in the United States or any other country for an indefinite period of time and transferred to US state agencies.

Levichev has therefore asked Medvedev to consider a complete…

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The latest news from Greece is that Prime Minister Tsipras has resigned and called a new election. This follows a rebellion by 1/3 of Syriza MPs, who voted against the IMF bailout Greek voters rejected in the 5 July referendum. According to the The Guardian, 25 Syriza MPs have broken away to form the anti-austerity party Popular Unity, led by former energy minister Panagiotis Lafazanis. Some analysts predict the new party will call for Greece to exit the euro monetary union: see Senior Syriza MP Greece Must Exit Monetary Union

The following documentary lays out some of the economic and social realities that led to the rise of Syriza.

Greece on the Brink

Manuel Reichetseder (2014)

Film Review

Greece on the Brink is a 2014 documentary about brutal living conditions in Greece that led to the rise of the left wing Syriza government. At the time the film was made, 65% of Greek youth age 15-34 were unemployed. Millions of Greeks had no income at all and were scavenging food out of garbage cans. Twenty thousand were homeless and one third had no access to privatized health care.

The film documents that only a tiny proportion of the $206.9 billion bailout Greece received between 2010-2013 went to public services:

  • 48% went to European creditors
  • 28% went to Greek banks
  • 22% went into the national budget (of this 16% went to interest payments, most of the balance went to the Greek military)

In addition to bolstering Syriza’s rise to power, the Greek economic crisis has led to numerous experiments in worker self-organization: solidarity clinics run by health professionals volunteering their services, solidarity networks that provide free food, a journalist cooperative in which journalists run their own newspaper, various worker co-ops which have occupied and taken over shuttered factories, and TV journalists and engineers who took over the state broadcasting service after the Greek government shut it down.

Most of the commentators featured in the film are militant Syriza members who predicted a year ago  (based on compromises Tsipras made to propel his party into power) that Syriza wouldn’t solve the problems faced by the Greek working class.

The most interesting section is a Marxist analysis by British economist Allen Woods about the real cause of the 2008 “credit crunch” that triggered Greece’s sudden economic collapse. According to Woods, debt is the mechanism capitalists use to avoid the crisis of overproduction. Marx believed that overproduction was an inevitable structural defect of so-called free market capitalism. By its very nature, capitalist production always overshoots the ability of the market to regulate it.

As Marx noted 150 years ago, capitalism tries to make up for this defect by expanding credit (ie debt). Woods gives the current 30% overcapacity of the global automotive industry as an example. This is illustrated by an article that appeared in Zero Hedge a year ago about new car graveyards – see Where the World’s Unsold Cars Go to Die

Woods predicts that there will be no solution to the current global economic crisis until overproduction (and the debt that supports it) are eliminated.

stuartbramhall:

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According to the World Bank, Russian has just overtaken Germany as the world’s 5th largest economy.

Originally posted on Raging Bull-shit:

By Pepe Escobar and cross-posted from TomDispatch

Central Asia is, at the moment, geographic ground zero for the convergence of the economic urges of China, Russia, and India. And this matters profoundly.

Let’s start with the geopolitical Big Bang you know nothing about, the one that occurred just two weeks ago. Here are its results: from now on, any possible future attack on Iran threatened by the Pentagon (in conjunction with NATO) would essentially be an assault on the planning of an interlocking set of organizations — the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization), the EEU (Eurasian Economic Union), the AIIB (the new Chinese-founded Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank), and the NDB (the BRICS’ New Development Bank) — whose acronyms you’re unlikely to recognize either.  Still, they represent an emerging new order in Eurasia.

Tehran, Beijing, Moscow, Islamabad, and New Delhi have been actively…

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