Monday, May 28, 2007
He can be accessed at LibCom page .
"...the Bolshevised socialism is a state under the absolute rule of the communist party, passing for a proletarian state, owning the means of production under the appellation of "public ownership" and employing wage labour whose products take the commodity form. Needless to stress, this statist socialism based on wage slavery is the exact antipode of Marx's immensely emancipatory socialism conceived as a "union of free individuals" without private ownership of either variety - individual or collective - without state, without commodity production and without wage labour..." - Worlds Apart: Socialism in Marx and in Early Bolshevism
"...Similarly a central economic law of all societies " the law of the economy of time " would continue to operate in the Union. However, here again, this law takes on a completely new character...From now on necessary labor time would be measured in terms of needs of the "social indivdual," not in terms of needs of valorization. Similarly the surplus labor time far from signifying non-labor time for the few would mean free time for all social individuals. It is now society's free time and no longer labor time that increasingly becomes the true measure of society's wealth..." - On Some Aspects of the Dialectic of Labour in the Critique of Politcial Economy.
"... C[apitalist] M[ode] of P[roduction] has proved to be the most destructive among all the modes of production that have existed so far in human evolution. Continuing through the plunder, uprooting, enslavement and outright murder of peoples perpetrated at an unprecedented scale across the globe, right at its `rosy dawn', capitalist transformation of the production process with the whole globe as its theatre, has, above all, meant the martyrdom of the producers; and the technology and the combination of the social process of production developed by it has meant the simultaneous exhaustion of the twin sources from which springs all wealth: the earth and the labourer..." - Marx on Capital's Globalization - The Dialectic of Negativity
"...the fundamental point of the Marx-envisaged society after capital which informs Marx's theoretical (and practical militant) work all his adult life is the immense emancipatory perspective (for the humanity) in which communism is placed through the abolition of capital. The whole process - which is "epochal," not momentary (like a 'seizure of power') - starts with the working class self-emancipatory revolution, given the adequate material conditions for such revolution prepared by capital itself through its self-annihilating contradictions. It passes through a "long, painful" "revolutionary transformation period," "changing circumstances and individuals" in preparation for the future "Association." After the workers have in course of the transformation period, largely eliminated (though not yet all the vestiges of) the existing elements of the old society such as classes, private ownership of the means of production, state, commodity production, wage labour, but carrying over all the "acquisitions of the capitalist era," a new mode of production comes into existence... Here, with the collective appropriation of the conditions of production and directly social labour, neither the allocation of labour time (across the different branches of production as well as between society's necessary and disposable labour time) nor the distribution of society's total product with regard to reserves and enlarged reproduction requirements as well as personal consumption need to be mediated by money-commodity-wage form - the enslaving elements of the old society...there is now the unmediated union of individuals who are all simple producers (after ceasing to be proletarians). Individuals cease to be subject to "personal dependence" (as under pre-capitalism) as well as to "material (objective) dependence" (as under capitalism) and as universally developed "social individuals," gain "free individuality." ...." - Class History and Theory: Capitalism and Communism in the USSR
"...The problem of rationally allocating productive resources in an economy is common to all human societies at least as long as these resources remain relatively limited compared to needs. However, there is no need to assume that this allocation could be effected rationally (if at all) only through the exchange of resources taking the value (price) form...The point is that the allocation through the value form of the products of human labor is only "a particular social manner of counting labor employed in the production of an object" precisely in a society in which "the process of production dominates individuals, individuals do not dominate the process of production" (Marx ) ..."- Capitalism as Socialism: Defence of Socialism in the Socialist Calculation of Debate Revisited
"...it should be clear that for Marx, after the demise of the proletarian political power along with the proletariat at the end of the revolutionary transformation period and the consequent disappearance of classes, the state, like commodity production and wage labour " embodying human unfreedom " can have no place in socialism. However, unlike what he does with commodity production and wage labour, Marx does not, in the Gothakritik, directly treat the question of the state in relation to the Association. He simply wonders about which social functions would remain in the communist society analogous to the present day state functions. That this is no way implies the continued existence of the state in the new society is clear in Marx's denunciation, in the same document, of the "Lassallean sect's servile faith in the state," which he considers as "remote from socialism."..." - A Manifesto of Emancipation: Marx's "Marginal Notes to the German Worker's Party" After One Hundred and Twenty Five Years
"...The communist revolution has a universal character. This is because the proletariat, having no property and no country, is the expression of the dissolution of all classes and all nationalities. Moreover, because of the universal development of the productive forces (under capitalism) and the "world-historical" extension of capital " appearing as a power alien to the proletariat " the proletariat's subjection is universal. The proletariat can exist only as a world historical (weltgeschichtlich) force, in the same way as communism can exist only as a world historical reality. Another fundamental aspect of the universal character of the communist revolution is that the emancipation of the proletariat, the result of the communist revolution, does not mean that the emancipation is limited to the proletariat. It is universal, human..." - The Place of the Communist Manifesto in the Elaboration of the Marxian Idea of the Post-Capital
Friday, May 25, 2007
“It’s truly a case of modern-day slavery. No one would ever think that human beings were being brought into the United States and held for slave labour, and beaten, and tortured in a beautiful mansion right here in one of the most exclusive neighbourhoods on Long Island,” said Demetri Jones, an assistant US attorney.
The maids’ ordeal allegedly began when they were brought to the United States in 2002 to do housework for Indonesian-born Varsha Sabhnani, and her Indian-born husband, Mahender Sabhnani, both US citizens.
The two servants slept on mats in the kitchen and were forced to work up to 21 hours a day, seven days a week, from 4am to 1am, prosecutors say, and were fed so little that they resorted to hiding morsels above a ceiling panel.When strangers came to the home they were ordered to hide in the basement or a garage, they said. The maids were promised $200 a month in pay but Samirah told authorities that she later learnt that the Sabhnanis sent only half the amount to her daughter in Indonesia. It was not clear if Nona received any money. Both had US visas that had long expired.
Prosecutors allege the two maids suffered harsh punishment over a five-year period for perceived misdeeds such as taking food or being unable to find an article of clothing.
The arrest warrant says Samirah was forced to take as many as 30 ice-cold showers in a row, run up and down a flight of stairs 150 times as fast as she could, and eat at least 25 “extremely hot chilli peppers at one time”.
Punishment was meted out in the laundry room or bathroom with “a rolling pin, bamboo stick and a broomstick”. Samirah “bears highly visible scars that appear to be permanent over much of her body” including “deep, open knife wounds behind her ears”, court papers say.
She showed investigators “a door stained with [her] blood that was the result of an injury sustained during a beating”.
Immigration agents raided the millionaire couple’s home in Mutton-town suburb when their maid Samirah was found wandering half-naked . The maid showed the manager of a do-nut shop her expired Indonesia passport and sobbed: “Home, I want to go home.” Asked where she lived, she pointed towards the couple’s home and said “Master,” making a gesture as though she was getting slapped .
Thursday, May 24, 2007
The Oxford English Dictionary currently describes a McJob as "an unstimulating low-paid job with few prospects" It first appeared in the online version of the Oxford English Dictionary in March 2001. McDonalds are inviting its customers to sign petition books in its outlets , or alternatively via a new website, entitled Change The Definition. Its campaign is further supported by British Chambers of Commerce director general David Frost, British Retail Consortium director general Kevin Hawkins and City & Guilds director general Chris Humphries. McDonald's says that in its staff surveys, 90% of employees agree they are given valuable training that will be of benefit for the rest of their working lives. And 82% of its workers would recommend working at the company to their friends.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Policies were drawn up in over 30 states in the US to sterilise women, men and children who were considered to be physically, mentally or morally 'defective'. But in reality the majority of those who were sterilised were simply poor women. More than 60% of those sterilised were black women. State records conservatively estimate that between 1943 and 1963, over 63,000 people were sterilised under the eugenics laws in America.The federal government has never acknowledged that any sterilisation abuses have ever taken place.
She believes that the state used her chaotic childhood as a justification to sterilise her.
"When I was 13, I was raped. I had my beautiful son and when they cut me open, I had a caesarean, they sterilised me at the same time," she said. "I didn't know anything about it until I was 19. I got married and tried to have a child. The doctor told me I had been butchered."
Many came to their own conclusion when they ignored the politicians propaganda and recognised that the Iraq War was not about WMDs or bringing democracy but was a war for the oil .
Less would accept that the Middle East conflict between Israel and its neighbours was about the struggle to acquire natural sources . Yet this article from the BBC confirms much of the socialist argument .
The Six-Day War in 1967 arguably had its origins in a water dispute - moves to divert the River Jordan, Israel's main source of drinking water.Years of skirmishes and sabre rattling culminated in all-out war, with Israel quadrupling the territory it controlled and gaining complete control of double the resources of fresh water. A country needs water to survive and develop. In Israel's history, it has needed water to make feasible the influx of huge numbers of Jewish immigrants. In addition to their sheer numbers, citizens of the new state were intent on conducting water-intensive commercial agricultural such as growing bananas and citrus fruits.
As far back as 1919, the Zionist delegation at the Paris Peace Conference said the Golan Heights, Jordan valley, what is now the West Bank, as well as Lebanon's river Litani were "essential for the necessary economic foundation of the country. Palestine must have... the control of its rivers and their headwaters".
Those resources - the West Bank's mountain aquifer and the Sea of Galilee - give Israel about 60% of its fresh water, a million cubic metres per year. Israel, and Israeli settlements, take about 80% of the aquifer's flow, leaving the Palestinians with 20%. But the Palestinians say they are prevented from using their own water resources by a belligerent military power, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to buy water from their occupiers at inflated prices. Moreover, Israel allocates its citizens, including those living in settlements in the West Bank deemed illegal under international law, with between three and five times more water than the Palestinians.
Stalled negotiations on Syria's dispute with Israel over the Golan Heights - occupied by Israel in 1967 and annexed in 1980 - also foundered on water-related issues. Syria wants an Israeli withdrawal to 5 June 1967 borders, allowing Syria access to the Jordan and Yarmouk rivers. Israel wants to use boundaries dating back to 1923 and the British Mandate, which give the areas to Israel.
Former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali said in the 1990s that the next war in the Middle East would not be about water not politics . In 2000 former UN general secretary , Kofi Annan warned that national rivaries over water could harbour the "seeds of violent conflict" and there were those who linked the recent attempted invasion of Lebanon by Israel on the water issue to gain access to the Litani .
Nor is the potential for future wars confined to the Israeli-Arab situation but involves all the Middle Eastern countries and water scarcity is indeed a world-wide problem .
Yet another urgent reason to discard Capitalism which has now out-lived its usefulness and only blocks any further progress of humanity .
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
"Is this what you call progress?" asks Jaideep Hardlikar, a farmer activist and a journalist. "I think it's loot by a few of the majority. "
In describing the Afghan Parliament , she said:-
"A stable or a zoo is better, at least there you have a donkey that carries a load and a cow that provides milk. This parliament is worse than a stable or a zoo."
Monday, May 21, 2007
Liberated concentration camps were transformed into DP camps. Food was still scarce — often just coffee and wet black bread — and medical care was insufficient, said a report written for President Harry Truman.
Inmates were kept under armed guard to maintain order. They still wore their old striped, pjama-like concentration-camp-issue uniforms and slept in the same drafty barracks through a bitter winter.
Compounding their misery, they could watch through barbed wire fences and see German villagers living normal lives.
"As things stand now, we appear to be treating the Jews as the Nazis treated them, except that we do not exterminate them," wrote presidential envoy Earl G. Harrison in his famously quoted report to Truman after visiting that summer.
People still died at the rate of 1,000 to 1,500 a day. Corpses were stacked in front of barracks, to be carted away by captured SS guards. "Bodies frequently remained for several days in the huts, the other inmates being too weak to carry them out," Francois-Poncet wrote in a report for the Allied Military Government.
Relocating those refugees was not easy .
Racism was rampant . "Being a Kalmyk of Mongolian race, is ineligible for most Anglo-Saxon countries,"
And the sexism . "The doors are closed to unmarried mothers," said a note from strongly Catholic Ireland.
Nor should the post -war horrors of the Second World War suffered by the German working class should be forgotten . It is something that has been hidden away . The largest ethnic cleaning of modern times , forgotten about . The treatment of German POWS by the Allies , forgotten about yet it was the first redesignation of prisoners of war to circumvent the Geneva Conventions , the precedent for Bush and Guantanamo Bay .
Throughout all of 1945 the Allies forces of occupation ensured that no international aid reached ethnic German civilian population .
" I feel that the Germans should suffer from hunger and from cold as I believe such suffering is necessary to make them realize the consequences of a war which they caused..." - General Lucius Clay , then Deputy to General Eisenhower
And of course it succeeded . In early October 1945 the UK government privately acknowledged in a cabinet meeting that German civilian adult death rates had risen to 4 times the pre-war levels and death rates amongst the German children had risen by 10 times the pre-war levels .
General Lucius Clay stated in October 1945 "...By the spring of 1946, German observers expect that epidemics and malnutrition will claim 2.5 to 3 million victims between the Oder and Elbe"
German infant mortality rate was twice that of other nations in Western Europe until the end of 1948.
Friday, May 18, 2007
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Outraged Indian leaders in Brazil said on Monday they were offended by Pope Benedict's "arrogant and disrespectful" comments that the Roman Catholic Church had purified them and they had welcomed the arrival of European priests at the time of the conquest as they were "silently longing" for Christianity.
Millions of tribal Indians are believed to have died as a result of European colonization backed by the Church since Columbus landed in the Americas in 1492, through slaughter, disease or enslavement. Priests blessed conquistadors as they waged war on the indigenous peoples.
Many Indians today struggle for survival, stripped of their traditional ways of life and excluded from society.
"The state used the Church to do the dirty work in colonizing the Indians..." said Dionito Jose de Souza a leader of the Makuxi tribe in northern Roraima state.
"It's arrogant and disrespectful to consider our cultural heritage secondary to theirs," said Jecinaldo Satere Mawe, chief coordinator of the Amazon Indian group Coiab.
"We repudiate the Pope's comments," said SandroTuxa who heads the movement of northeastern tribes. . "To say the cultural decimation of our people represents a purification is offensive, and frankly, frightening."
Even the Catholic Church's own Indian advocacy group in Brazil, known as Cimi, distanced itself from the Pope. "The Pope doesn't understand the reality of the Indians here, his statement was wrong and indefensible." Cimi advisor Father Paulo Suess told Reuters.
From the BBC :-
Indigenous leaders in Brazil have reacted angrily to Pope Benedict's comments that their predecessors had willingly converted to Christianity 500 years ago . The BBC's Emilio San Pedro said the Pope had said the Christianisation of the region had not involved an alienation of the pre-Colombian cultures. The BBC correspondent said Pope Benedict also made no mention of the violent history that followed or the documented decimation of native cultures in favour of the Christian model Conquistadores and other Europeans colonisers.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Friday, May 11, 2007
A grassroots response to the pay offer is here
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
The Guardian carries a report upon the annual shareholders meeting of Berkshire Hathaway , Warren Buffett's conglomerate and if you had put $1,000 into Berkshire in 1965 it is now worth $7m. Last year, the firm achieved an 18% rise in the per-share value of its portfolio, which runs from Fruit of the Loom underwear to Dairy Queen cafeterias, Justin cowboy boots and Yorkshire Electricity.
A resolution criticising Berkshire Hathaway's stake in PetroChina, Berkshire Hathaway, holds 2.3 billion shares , or 1.3% of the foreign ownership of the oil company, a subsidiary of China's state oil company, CNPC, which has extensive interests in Sudan was put to a vote.
"CNPC is by far the most irresponsible and abusive oil investor in Sudan," said Jason Miller of the Sudan Divestment Taskforce. "At least 70% of the funds they provide to Sudan get funnelled into the Sudanese military."
A report in 2000 by a Canadian government commission said an airstrip at Heglig, operated by Sudan's Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Co., was a staging area for military attacks on civilians. CNPC owns 40% of Greater Nile . Chinese-made helicopter gunships, based at CNPC airstrips in the country, to conduct raids on civilians !!
according to the Harvard Corp., which manages Harvard University's endowment funds, oil production has become "essential to the government's capacity to fund military operations" — a view shared by the U.S. Department of Energy. For this reason, Harvard has divested from firms with ties to Sudan.
At Buffett's urging, a proposal that would have required the company to sell its $3.3-billion stake in PetroChina was defeated . Profit before principle .
Of course , this is not an isolated case of Buffett's disregard for social conscience .
According to the L.A. Times and also here , about $56.4 billion, or 87% of Berkshire's stock holdings, is invested in companies criticized by research groups for profiting from environmental irresponsibility, human rights violations and other activities that undermine good works or its goals of improving the lot of humankind that Buffett may intend .
The holdings of Berkshire Hathaway, totaling more than $4.6 billion in eight companies, came in dead last by a wide margin in a ranking of oil and gas holdings among the 100 largest investors in the United States. The ranking was based on social, environmental and governance performance ratings developed by the investment bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and a related ownership analysis by Cary Krosinsky of CapitalBridge, a capital markets intelligence firm.More than any other large investor, Berkshire bought into oil companies whose records on greenhouse gas emissions, safety, business ethics, human rights and other issues significantly lagged those of their peers.
Berkshire holds about $64 million in pharmaceutical companies, for example, whose pricing policies have tended to keep antiretroviral drugs out of reach for HIV/AIDS patients in developing nations .
Berkshire also owns shares worth $28.5 billion in companies accused of human rights abuses, including $921 million in the Wal-Mart who have paid fines or lost rulings in regulatory and court cases accusing it of violating laws banning child labor and governing union organizing and adult working conditions.
A few years ago, Buffett said, he considered buying a tobacco company in Tennessee. He said he would invest in such companies in the future if he thought it would be profitable.Berkshire subsidiary General Re Corp. holds a small investment in Altria Group Inc., the nation's leading cigarette maker.
Among Berkshire's top 100 investments, 74 were evaluated for compensation problems by either KLD Research & Analytics, Institutional Shareholder Services Inc., or Goldman Sachs. Of those, 35 were in companies flagged for overpaying chief executives and 50 in companies flagged for excessive rewards for board members.
Berkshire holdings worth more than $21 billion also fared poorly on overall corporate governance, including accounting procedures; transparency on environmental and social policies; and lawsuits or regulatory problems concerning harm to investors, employees, customers or local communities.
Also at that share-holders meeting , a woman from the Karuk Indian reservation in northern California who broke down in tears as she described how two hydroelectric dams operated by a Berkshire subsidiary, PacifiCorp, have destroyed her community's salmon-fishing livelihood.
"My people are a river people. Our entire culture, religion and subsistence is centred around the river," she said
Buffett conceded little ground. "The world runs on electricity and it wants more electricity," he told the Karuk representatives .
Charity for some , a cold-hearted business reply to others.
Buffett's philanthropy is based upon robbing Peter to pay Paul , and it is a policy that Paul is unlikely to decry.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Monday, May 07, 2007
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Saturday, May 05, 2007
Friday, May 04, 2007
Thursday, May 03, 2007
The new law would permit people like Lan and Meiren to join trade unions. It would give them the right to a written contract. It would give them the right to a severance payment. It would give them the right to change jobs freely.
The American Chamber of Commerce - representing Microsoft, Nike, Ford, Dell and others - listed 42 pages of objections. The laws were "unaffordable" and "dangerous", they declared. The European Chamber of Commerce backed them up. Their lobbying seems to have paid off. The (unelected) Chinese National People's Congress is due to vote on the new labour laws in the next month or so, but the proposals have already been massively watered down.
Scott Slipy, the director of human resources for Microsoft in China, bragged to BusinessWeek, "We have enough investment at stake that we can usually get someone to listen to us if we are passionate about an issue."
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Health inspectors have investigated the supply chain and now generally believe that the contamination originated in wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate imported from China . And in pet products sold in South Africa and Namibia, the third vegetable protein ingredient, corn gluten, also has been found to be contaminated.
Investigators suspect that melamine , an industrial chemical used in the manufacturing of plastic utensils and fertilizer , in combination with a rice protein additive imported from China and found to contain cyanuric acid, may cause crystals to form in the kidneys, shutting them down. Cyanuric acid is used as a stabilizer in outdoor swimming pools and hot tubs.
All vegetable protein imports from China used in human and animal food is to be be detained.
The products include wheat gluten, rice gluten, rice protein, rice protein concentrate, corn gluten, corn gluten meal, corn byproducts, soy protein, soy gluten proteins and mung bean protein.
It has now been revealed that the food chain has been extended to and includes humans .
People have eaten millions of chickens that were given feed tainted with recalled pet food, federal officials said Tuesday, though they said the threat to human health is minimal.
The announcement came after an investigation of chicken farms in Indiana found that 38 of the facilities had given contaminated feed to poultry raised for human consumption, and that 2.5 million to 3 million people ate them.The officials added that they expect to discover that chickens on possibly hundreds of farms in other states were also given tainted feed.
FDA officials said 6,000 hogs that may have ingested tainted pet food entered the human food supply. Pork producers in seven states -- California, Kansas, North Carolina, New York, South Carolina and Utah -- are being investigated for buying adulterated feed.
The National Chicken Council, which represents U.S. poultry producers, marketers and processors endeavour to minimise the risks .
"...chicken feed may have been contaminated as a result of a practice common among pet food manufacturers -- they sometimes sell their leftover material to manufacturers of chicken and pig feed...What they're saying is that somebody bought that material and it got mixed in corn and soybean that gets manufactured in poultry feed...The dilution factor is enormous. You have a relatively small amount of pet food by-products used...It's a safe and wholesome product to use"
I'm not too sure i believe that .
A 2002 UN report concluded the potential risk posed by melamine is low. However, the UN based that conclusion on the slim chance that consumers would even come into contact with the chemical. Until the recent and ongoing recalls, regulators did not consider melamine a likely contaminant of food meant for either people or animals. Nor were the vegetable proteins considered at risk for contamination. The US Food and Drug Administration is now testing a variety of vegetable proteins, used to make everything from infant formula to energy bars, for the chemical.
How did the crisis arise ? - simple - for profit
Chinese producers appear to have been spiking the vegetable proteins to make them appear to have more protein than they actually did. Adding a nitrogen-rich contaminant like melamine would skew the results of tests to make an ingredient register as more protein-rich than it really is -- and allow it to sell for more money.
Dr Jackson Pulver, from the Indigenous Health Unit of the University of New South Wales:-
"Indigenous babies born today can expect to live only as long as people in Australia 100 years ago. The Aboriginal people are dying at the same kind of rates that people did 100 years ago"
Aborigines still suffered from leprosy, tuberculosis and rheumatic heart disease, all of which were eradicated decades ago in other developed nations. Life expectancy among white Australians was 76.6 for men and 82 for women. In Aboriginal communities it was 59.4 for men and 64.8 for women. In some parts of New South Wales the average life expectancy for Aboriginal men was 33.
Dr Pulver goes on to explain:-
"It is acknowledged by the government that Aboriginal Australians have poorer health, educational, employment and social outcomes, however the solutions to address these issues have little to do with the underlying causes." These were "a combination of material deprivation and psycho-social stressors related to stress, alienation, discrimination and lack of control". and that she believes believes the after-effects of colonisation and injustices such as the forcible removal of Aboriginal children from their families were still having an impact. The factors included "people being alienated from their country, land, language and culture".
I think we can safely say that many of the indigenous peoples around the World face the same problems and suffer the same inequalities as Australia's Aboriginal peoples . At least 350 million people worldwide are considered to be indigenous. Most of them live in remote areas in the world. Indigenous peoples are divided into at least 5000 peoples ranging from the forest peoples of the Amazon to the tribal peoples of India and from the Inuit of the Arctic to the Aborigines in Australia.