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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Capitalism, Sarah Palin-style By Naomi Klein

Naomi Klein
We are in a progressive moment, a moment when the ground is shifting beneath our feet, and anything is possible. What we considered unimaginable about what could be said and hoped for a year ago is now possible. At a time like this, it is absolutely critical that we be as clear as we possibly can be about what it is that we want because we might just get it.

So the stakes are high.

I usually talk about the bailout in speeches these days. We all need to understand it because it is a robbery in progress, the greatest heist in monetary history. But today I'd like to take a different approach: What if the bailout actually works, what if the financial sector is saved and the economy returns to the course it was on before the crisis struck? Is that what we want? And what would that world look like?

The answer is that it would look like Sarah Palin. Hear me out, this is not a joke. I don't think we have given sufficient consideration to the meaning of the Palin moment. Think about it: Sarah Palin stepped onto the world stage as Vice Presidential candidate on August 29 at a McCain campaign rally, to much fanfare. Exactly two weeks later, on September 14, Lehman Brothers collapsed, triggering the global financial meltdown.

So in a way, Palin was the last clear expression of capitalism-as-usual before everything went south. That's quite helpful because she showed us—in that plainspoken, down-homey way of hers—the trajectory the U.S. economy was on before its current meltdown. By offering us this glimpse of a future, one narrowly avoided, Palin provides us with an opportunity to ask a core question: Do we want to go there? Do we want to save that pre-crisis system, get it back to where it was last September? Or do we want to use this crisis, and the electoral mandate for serious change delivered by the last election, to radically transform that system? We need to get clear on our answer now because we haven’t had the potent combination of a serious crisis and a clear progressive democratic mandate for change since the 1930s. We use this opportunity, or we lose it.

So what was Sarah Palin telling us about capitalism-as-usual before she was so rudely interrupted by the meltdown? Let's first recall that before she came along, the U.S. public, at long last, was starting to come to grips with the urgency of the climate crisis, with the fact that our economic activity is at war with the planet, that radical change is needed immediately. We were actually having that conversation: Polar bears were on the cover of Newsweek magazine. And then in walked Sarah Palin. The core of her message was this: Those environmentalists, those liberals, those do-gooders are all wrong. You don't have to change anything. You don’t have to rethink anything. Keep driving your gas-guzzling car, keep going to Wal-Mart and shop all you want. The reason for that is a magical place called Alaska. Just come up here and take all you want. "Americans," she said at the Republican National Convention, "we need to produce more of our own oil and gas. Take it from a gal who knows the North Slope of Alaska, we’ve got lots of both."

And the crowd at the convention responded by chanting and chanting: "Drill, baby, drill."

Watching that scene on television, with that weird creepy mixture of sex and oil and jingoism, I remember thinking: "Wow, the RNC has turned into a rally in favor of screwing Planet Earth." Literally.

But what Palin was saying is what is built into the very DNA of capitalism: the idea that the world has no limits. She was saying that there is no such thing as consequences, or real-world deficits. Because there will always be another frontier, another Alaska, another bubble. Just move on and discover it. Tomorrow will never come.

This is the most comforting and dangerous lie that there is: the lie that perpetual, unending growth is possible on our finite planet. And we have to remember that this message was incredibly popular in those first two weeks, before Lehman collapsed. Despite Bush's record, Palin and McCain were pulling ahead. And if it weren’t for the financial crisis, and for the fact that Obama started connecting with working class voters by putting deregulation and trickle-down economics on trial, they might have actually won.

The President tells us he wants to look forward, not backwards. But in order to confront the lie of perpetual growth and limitless abundance that is at the center of both the ecological and financial crises, we have to look backwards. And we have to look way backwards, not just to the past eight years of Bush and Cheney, but to the very founding of this country, to the whole idea of the settler state.

Modern capitalism was born with the so-called discovery of the Americas. It was the pillage of the incredible natural resources of the Americas that generated the excess capital that made the Industrial Revolution possible. Early explorers spoke of this land as a New Jerusalem, a land of such bottomless abundance, there for the taking, so vast that the pillage would never have to end. This mythology is in our biblical stories—of floods and fresh starts, of raptures and rescues—and it is at the center of the American Dream of constant reinvention. What this myth tells us is that we don't have to live with our pasts, with the consequences of our actions. We can always escape, start over.

These stories were always dangerous, of course, to the people who were already living on the "discovered" lands, to the people who worked them through forced labor. But now the planet itself is telling us that we cannot afford these stories of endless new beginnings anymore. That is why it is so significant that at the very moment when some kind of human survival instinct kicked in, and we seemed finally to be coming to grips with the Earth’s natural limits, along came Palin, the new and shiny incarnation of the colonial frontierswoman, saying: Come on up to Alaska. There is always more. Don't think, just take.

This is not about Sarah Palin. It's about the meaning of that myth of constant "discovery," and what it tells us about the economic system that they're spending trillions of dollars to save. What it tells us is that capitalism, left to its own devices, will push us past the point from which the climate can recover. And capitalism will avoid a serious accounting—whether of its financial debts or its ecological debts—at all costs. Because there’s always more. A new quick fix. A new frontier.

That message was selling, as it always does. It was only when the stock market crashed that people said, "Maybe Sarah Palin isn't a great idea this time around. Let's go with the smart guy to ride out the crisis."

I almost feel like we've been given a last chance, some kind of a reprieve. I try not to be apocalyptic, but the global warming science I read is scary. This economic crisis, as awful as it is, pulled us back from that ecological precipice that we were about to drive over with Sarah Palin and gave us a tiny bit of time and space to change course. And I think it's significant that when the crisis hit, there was almost a sense of relief, as if people knew they were living beyond their means and had gotten caught. We suddenly had permission to do things together other than shop, and that spoke to something deep.

But we are not free from the myth. The willful blindness to consequences that Sarah Palin represents so well is embedded in the way Washington is responding to the financial crisis. There is just an absolute refusal to look at how bad it is. Washington would prefer to throw trillions of dollars into a black hole rather than find out how deep the hole actually is. That's how willful the desire is not to know.

And we see lots of other signs of the old logic returning. Wall Street salaries are almost back to 2007 levels. There's a certain kind of electricity in the claims that the stock market is rebounding. "Can we stop feeling guilty yet?" you can practically hear the cable commentators asking. "Is the bubble back yet?"

And they may well be right. This crisis isn't going to kill capitalism or even change it substantively. Without huge popular pressure for structural reform, the crisis will prove to have been nothing more than a very wrenching adjustment. The result will be even greater inequality than before the crisis. Because the millions of people losing their jobs and their homes aren't all going to be getting them back, not by a long shot. And manufacturing capacity is very difficult to rebuild once it's auctioned off.

It's appropriate that we call this a "bailout." Financial markets are being bailed out to keep the ship of finance capitalism from sinking, but what is being scooped out is not water. It's people. It's people who are being thrown overboard in the name of "stabilization." The result will be a vessel that is leaner and meaner. Much meaner. Because great inequality—the super rich living side by side with the economically desperate—requires a hardening of the hearts. We need to believe ourselves superior to those who are excluded in order to get through the day. So this is the system that is being saved: the same old one, only meaner.

And the question that we face is: Should our job be to bail out this ship, the biggest pirate ship that ever was, or to sink it and replace it with a sturdier vessel, one with space for everyone? One that doesn’t require these ritual purges, during which we throw our friends and our neighbors overboard to save the people in first class. One that understands that the Earth doesn’t have the capacity for all of us to live better and better.

But it does have the capacity, as Bolivian President Evo Morales said recently at the U.N., "for all of us to live well."

Because make no mistake: Capitalism will be back. And the same message will return, though there may be someone new selling that message: You don't need to change. Keep consuming all you want. There's plenty more. Drill, baby, drill. Maybe there will be some technological fix that will make all our problems disappear.

And that is why we need to be absolutely clear right now.

Capitalism can survive this crisis. But the world can't survive another capitalist comeback.

[Adapted from a speech on May 2, 2009 at The Progressive’s 100th anniversary conference and originally printed in The Progressive magazine, August 2009 issue]

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Honduras Coup: Is Obama Innocent? by Michael Parenti

Michael Parenti

Is President Obama innocent of the events occurring in Honduras, specifically the coup launched by the Honduran military resulting in the abduction and forced deportation of democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya? Obama has denounced the coup and demanded that the rules of democracy be honored. Still, several troubling questions remain.

First, almost all the senior Honduran military officers active in the coup are graduates of the Pentagon's School of the Americas (known to many of us as "School of the Assassins"). The Honduran military is trained, advised, equipped, indoctrinated, and financed by the United States national security state. The generals would never have dared to move without tacit consent from the White House or the Pentagon and CIA.

Second, if Obama was not directly involved, then he should be faulted for having no firm command over those US operatives who were. The US military must have known about the plot and US military intelligence must have known and must have reported it back to Washington. Why did Obama’s people who had communicated with the coup leaders fail to blow the whistle on them? Why did they not expose and denounce the plot, thereby possibly foiling the entire venture? Instead the US kept quiet about it, a silence that in effect, even if not in intent, served as an act of complicity.

Third, immediately after the coup, Obama stated that he was against using violence to effect change and that it was up to the various parties in Honduras to resolve their differences. His remarks were a rather tepid and muted response to a gangster putsch.

Fourth, Obama never expected there would be an enormous uproar over the Honduras coup. He hastily joined the outcry against the perpetrators only when it became evident that opposition to the putschists was nearly universal throughout Latin America and elsewhere in the world.

Fifth, Obama still has had nothing to say about the many other acts of repression attendant with the coup perpetrated by Honduran military and police: kidnappings, beatings, disappearances, attacks on demonstrators, shutting down the internet and suppressing the few small critical media outlets that exist in Honduras.

Sixth, as James Petras reminded me, Obama has refused to meet with President Zelaya. He dislikes Zelaya mostly for his close and unexpected affiliation with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. And because of his egalitarian reformist efforts Zelaya is hated by the Honduran oligarchs, the same oligarchs who for many years have been close to and splendidly served by the US empire builders.

Seventh, under a law passed by the US Congress, any democratic government that is the victim of a military takeover is to be denied US military and economic aid. Obama still has not cut off the economic and military aid to Honduras as he is required to do under this law. This is perhaps the most telling datum regarding whose side he is on. (His Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, is even worse. She refuses to call it a coup and states that there are two sides to this story.)

As president, Obama has considerable influence and immense resources that might well have thwarted the perpetrators and perhaps could still be applied against them with real effect. As of now he seems more inclined to take the insider track rather than an actively democratic stance. On Honduras he is doing too little too late--as is the case with many other things he does.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Don’t flog a dead horse, bury it by Dick Nichols


As the Australian Labor Party holds its 2009 national conference, there’s an old union saying that’s never been more apt: if you don’t fight, you lose.


The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and Unions NSW seem determined to lose. They have successfully put pressure on the building industry unions not to protest against Labor’s continuation of Howard’s Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) Gestapo at the conference. Their alternative tactic is a powerful lunchtime fringe seminar: “Jobs and Rights for Working Australians”.

There’ll be no embarrassing revolt like last November’s successful demonstrations in support of Victorian Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union official Noel Washington. That was a rare win in the general tide of retreat since the ACTU leadership kept pretending that Rudd Labor would “tear up” Work Choices — even as workplace relations minister Julia Gillard and PM Kevin Rudd made it clear Labor would preserve core parts of the previous government’s hated law.

This loss of ground is the bitter fruit of the ACTU’s refusal to fight the ALP, its don’t-embarrass–Kevin-and-Julia-too-much approach, and of its tender support for yesterday’s union mates turned ministers — Martin Ferguson, Simon Crean, Greg Combet and co.

Now, with a federal election in the wind, we can bet the ACTU will say Labor has been trying to improve the building industry law but the Coalition plus “independents” Nick Xenophon and Steve Fielding have blocked them. And that our energy should be spent not in protest against Labor but in helping the ALP to win control of the Senate.

Swallow that argument and we’ll just keep going backwards.

Not only because the Labor machine will do behind-the-scenes deals to make sure conservative independents win Senate seats before Greens and the left. And not only because Rudd and Gillard have made it clear the ACTU pipe dream of a second term of Labor industrial relations reforms is just that — a mirage.

Most importantly, it’s because it stops us thinking hard about the two most important questions:

1. How should unions defend workers’ conditions and rights under the anti-worker “Fair Work” Act?

2. How can betrayed unions help to build a workers’ alternative to the “Labor” Party, which has sold us out time and again?

Of course, these are tough issues with no simple answer. There is, for example, no single recipe that applies across all industries for defending and extending workers’ wages and conditions in the face of crippling anti-union laws.

But some things are certain: workers need union action now and will join unions and actively support them if they dare to struggle. Unions have neutralised anti-union laws in the past — the whole history of the movement has been an unending battle to advance workers’ interests against laws designed to restrict them.

What counts most of all is the will to struggle. And when we fight we can win, as with the refusal to co-operate with the ABCC, a tactic successfully implemented by Washington.

What about the even harder issue of creating a real workers’ party?

At least the first step is easy: stop giving the ALP workers’ and unions’ money. That’s what the Queensland branch of the Electrical Trades Union is doing so long as the state ALP government pushes on with its privatisation plans. Similarly, the construction industry unions should deduct all fines imposed by the ABCC from their contributions to the ALP.

The second step is for all those forces — unions, left political parties, social, environment, community and solidarity organisations — that recognise the need for working people to have their own political voice, to start some serious discussion. A good first step would be a labour political representation conference, an organised discussion about how to begin building political representation for working people, sponsored by unions or union branches sick of being knifed by Labor.

The Socialist Alliance is committed to doing all we can to help reverse the industrial and political retreat of the labour movement. We want to be part of, and contribute to, any discussion about how to do this. We want to hear everybody’s thoughts about how it can best be done.

The pro-corporate ALP is a dead horse. The job of organised labour is to bury it.

[Dick Nichols is a national co-convener of the Socialist Alliance.]


From: Comment & Analysis, Green Left Weekly issue #804 29 July 2009.

Murdoch: a cultural Chernobyl by John Pilger

John Pilger
In his latest column for the New Statesman, John Pilger describes "an iceberg of relentless inhumanity" beneath the Guardian's revelations about illegal phone tapping at Murdoch's Sunday tabloid and the impact of his empire in Britain and all over the world.

I met Eddie Spearritt in the Philharmonic pub, overlooking Liverpool. It was a few years after 96 Liverpool football fans had been crushed to death at Hillsborough Stadium, Sheffield, on 15 April 1989. Eddie’s son, Adam, aged 14, died in his arms. The “main reason for the disaster”, Lord Justice Taylor subsequently reported, was the “failure” of the police, who had herded fans into a lethal pen.

“As I lay in my hospital bed,” Eddie said, “the hospital staff kept the Sun away from me. It’s bad enough when you lose your 14-year-old son because you’re treating him to a football match. Nothing can be worse than that. But since then I’ve had to defend him against all the rubbish printed by the Sun about everyone there being a hooligan and drinking. There was no hooliganism. During 31 days of Lord Justice Taylor’s inquiry, no blame was attributed because of alcohol. Adam never touched it in his life.”

Three days after the disaster, Kelvin MacKenzie, Rupert Murdoch’s “favourite editor”, sat down and designed the Sun front page, scribbling “THE TRUTH” in huge letters. Beneath it, he wrote three subsidiary headlines: “Some fans picked pockets of victims”... “Some fans urinated on the brave cops”... “Some fans beat up PC giving kiss of life”. All of it was false; MacKenzie was banking on anti-Liverpool prejudice.

When sales of the Sun fell by almost 40 per cent on Merseyside, Murdoch ordered his favourite editor to feign penitence. BBC Radio 4 was chosen as his platform. The “sarf London” accent that was integral to MacKenzie’s fake persona as an “ordinary punter” was now a contrite, middle-class voice that fitted Radio 4. “I made a rather serious error,” said MacKenzie, who has since been back on Radio 4 in a very different mood, aggressively claiming that the Sun’s treatment of Hillsborough was merely a “vehicle for others”.

When we met, Eddie Spearritt mentioned MacKenzie and Murdoch with a dignified anger. So did Joan Traynor, who lost two sons, Christopher and Kevin, whose funeral was invaded by MacKenzie’s photographers even though Joan had asked for her family’s privacy to be respected. The picture of her sons’ coffins on the front page of a paper that had lied about the circumstances of their death so deeply upset her that for years she could barely speak about it.

Such relentless inhumanity forms the iceberg beneath the Guardian’s current exposé of Murdoch’s alleged payment of £1m hush money to those whose phones his News of the World reporters have criminally invaded. “A cultural Chernobyl,” is how the German investigative journalist Reiner Luyken, based in London, described Murdoch’s effect on British life. Of course, there is a colourful Fleet Street history of lies, damn lies, but no proprietor ever attained the infectious power of Murdoch’s putrescence. To public truth and decency and freedom, he is as the dunghill is to the blowfly. The rich and famous can usually defend themselves with expensive libel actions; but most of Murdoch’s victims are people like the Hillsborough parents, who suffer without recourse.

The Murdoch “ethos” was demonstrated right from the beginning of his career, as Richard Neville has documented. In 1964, his Sydney tabloid, the Daily Mirror, published the diary of a 14-year-old schoolgirl under the headline, “WE HAVE SCHOOLGIRL’S ORGY DIARY”. A 13-year-old boy, who was identified, was expelled from the same school. Soon afterwards, he hanged himself from his mother’s clothesline. The “sex diary” was subsequently found to be fake. Soon after Murdoch bought the News of the World in 1971, a strikingly similar episode involving an adolescent diary led to the suicide of a 15-year-old girl. And Murdoch himself said, of the industrial killing of innocent men, women and children in Iraq: “There is going to be collateral damage. And if you really want to be brutal about it, better we get it done now...”

His most successful war has been on journalism itself. A leading Murdoch retainer, Andrew Neil, the Kelvin MacKenzie of the Sunday Times, conducted one of his master’s most notorious smear campaigns against ITV (like the BBC, a “monopoly” standing in Murdoch’s way). In 1988, the ITV company Thames Television made Death on the Rock, an investigative documentary that lifted a veil on the British secret state under Margaret Thatcher, describing how an SAS team had murdered four unarmed IRA members in Gibraltar with their hands in the air.

The message was clear: Thatcher was willing to use death squads. The Sunday Times and the Sun, side by side in Murdoch’s razor-wired Wapping fortress, echoed Thatcher’s scurrilous attacks on Thames Television and subjected the principal witness to the murders, Carmen Proetta, to a torrent of lies and personal abuse. She later won £300,000 in libel damages, and a public inquiry vindicated the programme’s accuracy and integrity. This did not prevent Thames, an innovative broadcaster, from losing its licence.

Murdoch’s most obsequious supplicants are politicians, especially New Labour. Having ensured that Murdoch pays minimal tax, and having attended the farewell party of one editor of the Sun, Gordon Brown was recently in full fawn at the wedding of another editor of the same paper. Don Corleone expects nothing less.

The hypocrisy, however, is almost magical. In 1995, Murdoch flew Tony and Cherie Blair first-class to Hayman Island, Australia, where the aspiring war criminal spoke about “the need for a new moral purpose in politics”, which included the lifting of government regulations on the media. Murdoch shook his hand warmly. The next day the Sun commented: “Mr Blair has vision, he has purpose and he speaks our language on morality and family life.”

The two are devout Christians, after all.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Term Limits Only Apply When Governments Benefit People, Hypocrisy and the Honduran Coup By SAUL LANDAU and NELSON VALDÉS


"Why haven't there been attempted coups in Washington DC? Because there's no
US Embassy there."

(Joke told by Chilean journalist to President Obama during President
Michelle Bachelet's White House visit.)

In 1954, conservative Dwight Eisenhower authorized the CIA to overthrow Guatemala’s government, a coup modeled on a 1953 "regime change" in Iran. In 1964-65, liberal Lyndon Johnson authorized coup d'etats in Brazil and the Dominican Republic. When Dominicans revolted, Johnson sent in troops.

In mid September 1970, conservative National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger and President Richard Nixon concluded Chileans had elected the wrong government; so they decided to alter Chilean destiny by replacing Dr. Salvador Allende's democratic government with 17 years of military fascism, 1973-90.

In the post-Cold War world, such flummery became laughable. Washington could direct policy toward law and human rights or continue collaborating with military thugs. This apparent dilemma got finessed with a blueprint to perpetuate Latin American oligarchs and satisfy US corporations and banks linked to local elites.

In 2002, the US government tested the new plan. US-backed military officers kidnapped Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. But unforeseen opposition arose inside the Venezuelan military; masses of Venezuelans took to the streets. The coup failed.

Washington continued ranting against the "undemocratic" Chavez without mentioning his five successive victories – since 1998 -- in internationally supervised elections. Chavez' government directed its energy toward meeting basic needs, despite middle and upper class opposition.

In 2004, in test two, the State Department “to protect” Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide, helped his kidnappers. Following the Venezuela model, the Haitian plotters fabricated a “resignation letter.”

In June, the third coup test began when military thugs kidnapped President Manuel Zelaya. Then, civilian plotters penned a fake letter of resignation. The legal “reason”: the Honduran Supreme Court ordered Zelaya’s arrest for violating the Constitution. The State Department's 2009 Human Rights Report had already characterized that Court as issuing "politicized rulings" and contributing "to corruption in public and private institutions." (U.S. Department of State, 2008 Human Rights Report: Honduras. February 25, 2009.)

Initially, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton feigned concern about what looked like a coup. She couldn't quite call it a coup. After all, she cooed, Zelaya – whom she still recognized as President -- might have violated the Constitution. No US official or mainstream reporter questioned the “logic” of the Honduran Supreme Court’s postdated ruling that attempting an open and non-binding consultation with the people violated supreme law. In fact, Article 80 of Honduras' constitution specifies that "Toda persona o asociación de personas tiene el derecho de presentar peticiones a las autoridades ya sea por motivos de interés particular o general y de obtener pronta respuesta en el plazo legal."

Coup d'etat "interim President" Roberto Micheletti also raged. How dare Zelaya consult the people about changing the document they had little voice in passing! In 1985, however, Micheletti led just such a constitutional change to re-elect then President Roberto Suazo.

Re-election becomes constitutional when aspiring Latin American candidates serve local ruling class and Washington interests. Otherwise, Constitutions stand as sacred, no matter what they actually say about participatory democracy.

Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Connie Mack (R-FL) and other Republicans indignantly defended the kidnapping of Zelaya as "protecting the Constitution and democracy." They cited the Honduran Constitution, but did not refer to any clause allowing military goons to kidnap the elected President in pajamas at dawn, and fly him to Costa Rica in a military plane.

The mind-numbing discussion of "legally authorized behavior" has omitted reference to conditions in Honduras. In 2006, the United Nations Development Program described Honduras as suffering "profound social inequalities, with very high levels of poverty, and with an insufficient economic growth where the population had a relative dissatisfaction with the results of democracy." The Report claimed 15% of rural Hondurans have a 40 years or less life expectancy and 20.4% of the adult population remain illiterate. The UNDP concluded that "the time for change is now. " (p. 5, 21).

A 2003 report showed the richest 10 percent still netted 50 times more than the poorest 10th. 86.3% of the Honduran rural population lived in poverty; 71.3% of urban dwellers qualified as poverty-stricken. 67.2% of the children under the age of 5 were malnourished. (J. MacDonald, Expresión de la pobreza en la ciudad, Reunión Grupo de Expertos sobre Pobreza Urbana en America Latina y el Caribe, 27-28 de Enero 2003, p 4-5,)

In 2006, Manuel Zelaya won the presidency. He made the UNDP Report a central part of his agenda for change. His social program, not an ambiguous Constitutional interpretation, became the root of his "issue" with the governing oligarchy -- a dozen families who control economics and social, cultural and political institutions. They also dominate the media. A 2008 State Department Human Rights Report acknowledged: "A small number of powerful business magnates with intersecting commercial, political, and
family ties owned most of the country's news media. Powerful magnates strongly influenced the news agenda and thereby elections and political decisions." (U.S. Department of State, 2008 Human Rights Report: Honduras. February 25, 2009.)

Until Zelaya tried to bring real democracy into the governing equation, Honduras' elite with US banking and corporate backing had found a seemingly perfect recipe: people vote but don’t change anything. Congress and Courts belong to the educated (rich and powerful) who also control the military in cooperation with the US government. Washington provided aid; the School of the Americas trains Honduran officers in proper conduct -- torturing enemies and making coups. "Since the 1980s, the Honduran army breathes through the noses of its US advisers." (ALAI AMLATINA, July 10, 2009)

For Zelaya, the UNDP Report coincided with a brutal fact. Switzerland and Honduras each have 7 million people. Swiss yearly average income is $53 thousand; Hondurans $2K. This upper class President saw an obligation to meet peoples' needs. Uttering such a subversive thought provoked panic among the rich in Tegucigalpa and the powerful of Washington. They reverted to a historical pattern.

In the 1980s, the CIA and US military used Honduras to attack Nicaragua's leftist government. The CIA had Honduran officers selling drugs -- to support the surrogate Contras, which Congress forbade. In 1988, Rev. Joe Eldridge, the husband of Maria Otero, Obama's Undersecretary of State for Democracy, wrote about this drug link; then the Honduran military issued death threats against the family. The Honduran army also repressed internal opposition. The local elite supplied officers with perks and status, but Central American armies have spent little time defending their country and much time attacking their citizens.

The Honduran invented a “reason” to oust Zelaya: his unconstitutional intent to consult the people in a non-binding vote. Yet, the Constitution allows for referenda and plebiscites. Washington representatives now claim they advised against a coup. But, reasoned the oligarchs and officers, encouraged by some well-known anti-Castro Cuban Americans, how could Washington abandon its friends and clients? So, they kidnapped Zelaya, and flew him to Costa Rica under a justification thinner than the most undernourished model.

One hundred and ninety two countries rejected this equivalent of a political “Brooklyn Bridge for sale.” The coup’s defenders, Canada's conservative government, the US mass media, the Honduran Catholic and Protestant hierarchy and right wing anti-Castroites of Miami, approved of previous Latin American coups, in the name of democracy, anti-communism, or whatever. This time the coup makers were “rescuing Honduras from the claws of Chavism."

The drama descended toward farce, however, when Zelaya's abductors ditched him in Costa Rica. President Oscar Arias received him - and the snatchers. No high official or mainstream reporter has suggested Arias aided and abetted a kidnapping and coup. Shouldn’t he have arrested the kidnappers, impounded their plane and demanded the illegitimate thugs in Tegucigalpa surrender?

Instead, collaborator Arias became mediator Arias. Twenty years ago, Arias refused to allow US bases in Costa Rica for its illicit war against Nicaragua. Today, he stars in the good cop/bad cop show. His one act of "disobedience" won him a Nobel Prize. Since then, he has shown loyalty to Washington's economic consensus, meaning free trade and corporate well being.

After Arias served as President (1986-1990), he changed the constitution in order to run for a second term (2006-2010). In June, another US ally, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe changed his Constitution to allow for his third re-election. Neither Washington nor the mass media objected. Anti-Castro Miami moguls hailed this "democratic" move.

Double standard? No. Arias and Uribe followed US dictates: don't befriend Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro or any serious "change" talker. Zelaya disobedience - to his own class and to Washington – got him kidnapped.

In Washington, the response was “new elections.” US Presidents hail democratic elections -- when they benefit the United States. When elected governments help the poor and reduce US interests, however, Washington officials plot coups, insist on term limits and enforcement of Constitutions they have not read.

Saul Landau is an Institute for Policy Studies fellow whose films are on dvd (roundworldproductions@gmailcom).

Nelson Valdés is Emeritus Professor, Sociology, University of New Mexico.

from CounterPunch

Updates on the Honduras Coup by Eva Golinger


Eva Golinger

President Zelaya is giving a press conference right now, presumably from Nicaragua. About one hour ago, President Oscar Arias of Costa Rica presented a new proposal, called the "San Jose Agreement" of 12 points, adding and modifying his previous 7-point proposal that was rejected by the coup regime on Sunday. The 12 points, available in Spanish here, incorporated several of the requests of the coup regime into Arias' original proposal.

Specifically, point number one was changed from calling for President Zelaya's immediate return to power to become a call for a "government of unity and reconciliation" to be composed of members of the coup regime together with representatives from each political party. Zelaya would have been returned to the presidency, but with his hands completely tied. The proposal again called for amnesty for the coup regime, and, in an inference to the coup regime's allegations against President Zelaya, also called for amnesty to be granted to him as well. This factor clearly legitimates the coup regime's theories.

Another point incredibly called on the Zelaya government and supporters to refrain from convening a constitutional assembly, directly or indirectly, and in fact also ordered a refrain from even holding any kind of consultation, survey or opinion poll on any issue remotely related to constitutional form. This is absolutely outrageous because no government has the right to usurp the people's sovereign right to choose their form and model of government. This is not a right that can be transferred or taken away, it is inalienable.

Another point called for presidential elections to be held in October instead of November, and then again prohibited the people from protesting such elections, regardless of outcome or process, or engaging in any kind of civil disobedience, insurrection or any kind of manifestation of discontent regarding the political process in the country. That is also a completely outrageous and unacceptable usurpation of the people's innate right to protest and manifest their will.

There were a series of other points which, once I translate (or someone else does ;-) ) the "San Jose Agreement", can be analyzed. For now, I just wanted to update on today's situation.

Again, no meetings were held today, just the proposal set forth by Oscar Arias to "resolve" the situation. The Zelaya delegation immediately rejected the agreement, declaring the mediation as failed and called upon the United Nations Security Council, the Central American Integrated System (SICA) and the Organization of American States (OAS) to convene immediately - tonight if possible - and implement extreme measures of pressure against the coup regime in Honduras.

The coup regime's delegation rejected Arias' proposal as well, but still based on their original disagreement relating to the return of President Zelaya to power.

Today, the insane coup Foreign Minister called on Venezuela to recognize their regime, stating that it was "inconceivable" that neighbor nations would not recognize their government as legitimate. The coup regime is being recognized now by both the right wing governments in Panama and Colombia, as well as the United States, in its own, underhanded way.

By the way, the leading military figure in the coup, School of the Americas graduate General Romeo Vasquez, is in Miami today, invited to speak at some evangelical conference funded by the Cuban mafia. So, the State Department hasn't revoked his visa, obviously, despite his clear role in kidnapping - at gun point - and forcing into exile the democratically elected president of Honduras. Yet another clear indication of Washington backing the coup.

Zelaya is calling for insurrection in Honduras. Personally, I think that is the only way to resolve this situation with dignity.
Posted by Eva Golinger at 8:35 PM 1 comments Links to this post
HONDURAS TALKS POSTPONED; ZELAYA SAYS "ON HIS WAY" TO HONDURAS; COUP REGIME EXPELS VENEZUELANS
Supposedly the "final" talks scheduled for today in Costa Rica - after President Oscar Arias, the designated (via Washington) mediator, requested an additional 72-hours on Sunday, when the talks had failed - have now been postponed. Last night, President Manuel Zelaya announced his return to Honduras today, and charged chief military commander General Romeo Vasquez - heavily involved in the coup d'etat that ousted Zelaya over three weeks ago - with his safety. "If anything happens to me", said President Zelaya last night in a press conference from Nicaragua, "General Romeo Vasquez is responsible". The Honduran military, trained, armed and funded by the United States, which also maintains a major strategic military base in the Central American nation, kidnapped and forced President Zelaya into exile on June 28, and since then has militarized the streets, repressed the people protesting the coup, assassinated, injured and detained over 1000 Hondurans, and shut down media outlets reporting on the events in the country.

Coup regime leader Roberto Micheletti declared his delegation will not attend the talks today in Costa Rica, claiming that Arias is drafting a new proposal that allegedly will "appease" the illegal regime. The main issue of contention is President Zelaya's return to power. The coup regime refuses to allow the constitutionally elected head of state to assume his position again, despite the fact that the current presidential term ends on January 27, 2009 and the Honduran Constitution does not allow for reelection.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a "tough" phone call to Micheletti on Sunday - coincidentally as Arias announced he was requesting an additional 72-hours to arrive at an agreement between the two parties. Clinton's call to Micheletti was an effort to arrive at some kind of resolution that would allow Washington to save face. So far, the Department of State has declared the events in Honduras do not constitute a "coup d'etat" (see post below) despite the fact that the whole rest of the world sees it as a coup. Washington is also the only government with a remaining ambassador in place in Honduras, and has broken absolutely no diplomatic, military or economic ties with the coup regime. Yesterday the European Union suspended over $90 million in aid to Honduras because of the coup.

The coup regime also issued an order to the Venezuelan Embassy declaring all Venezuelans to leave the country immediately. Nevertheless, Venezuela responded by stating it does not recognize the order from the illegal coup regime, since it does not constitutionally represent Honduras. The Venezuelan Ambassador was recalled right after the coup, but some diplomats do remain at the embassy in Tegucigalpa and have been key in protecting international journalists that have come under attack by the regime.

Meanwhile, the Honduran people are still out in the streets protesting the coup, on this 25th day since the de facto regime was first installed. The economy remains shut down by striking workers, schools remain closed because of teacher's strikes and there are disturbances throughout the nation. A national curfew is still in effect, imposed by the dictatorial regime.

The new Panamanian government, led by recently inaugurated President Martinelli, a multi-millionaire neoliberal conservative, has applauded the Honduran military for "keeping order" in the country. Apparently, Panama is recognizing the coup regime and working closely with Micheletti to resolve the growing economic problems in Honduras. Micheletti and Martinelli are old friends, both members of several business councils in Central and Latin America.

The longer things stall, the coup regime consolidates. On Sunday, a month will have passed since the coup d'etat was executed. Hopefully, it will be defeated before then.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

Oppose Garrett’s sell out — leave uranium in the ground by Leslie Richmond


He occupied a (somewhat self-appointed) position as a hero of Australia’s environment and Indigenous rights movements for decades. Yet these days, former Midnight Oil frontman and current ALP environment minister Peter Garrett works overtime to prove his credentials as a defender of big business and the big polluters.


Indeed, his sell-outs of the environment and Aboriginal people have become so common you could be forgiven for thinking the whole Midnight Oil thing was some extended, Chaseresque joke that no-one twigged on to.

His latest exercise in political surrender was his approval of the Four Mile uranium mine in northern South Australia. The deposit is the biggest uranium discovery in 25 years. It is just a few kilometres from Beverley uranium mine, the expansion of which Garrett approved last yeat.

Four Mile will be run by Quasar resources, a company owned by US weapons dealer and nuclear energy corporation General Atomics. General Atomics makes the Predator aerial drone vehicles the US is using so effectively to kill civilians in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

James Neal Blue, a US billionaire who was a strong supporter of the United States’ covert wars in Latin America in the 1980s, chairs the company.

The Four Mile mine decision has also affected the traditional owners, the Adnyamathana people. Some in the community have welcomed the potential royalties from the mine. Yet many feel they have been left out of the process and that the development will destroy significant sites.

Once again, an Indigenous community is being forced to give up its heritage to have access to basic services and living standards. Garrett is dividing a community where people would have expected the Midnight Oil-era Garrett to be promoting Indigenous empowerment and ownership.

Yet the decision is not so surprising if you look at the other decisions he has made since becoming the federal environment minister.

He approved the unpopular Gunns pulp mill in Tasmania, and gave the go ahead to the dredging of Port Phillip Bay.

As arts minister, he cut all funding to the Australian National Academy of Music without notice. He backed away from the proposal to stop tourists climbing Uluru and backed away from a logging ban in the Riverina-Murray.

He approved the Sugarloaf pipeline, which will take scarce water from the Goulburn River and approved the Huntlee development in endangered scrubland in the Hunter Valley. He also approved the expansion of the McArthur River Mine, requiring the diversion of the McArthur River, sacred to the Borroloola people.

And he's accepted that far from being a setback for our country, US forces are, in fact, a positive boon. In 2004, he reversed his long-standing opposition to the US-run Pine Gap military facility. In 2007, he supported the establishment of a new US military spy facility near Geraldton.

Many people have had fun trotting out old Midnight Oil lyrics to wave in his face, but, as Garrett says, that was years ago. So, to be fair, what's he been saying more recently?

In 2002, when he was still the Australian Conversation Foundation president, he said: “The Australian nuclear story is a tale of woe” and “a tale of staunch resistance”. He said: “We support Aboriginal peoples having a right of veto over nuclear projects on their traditional lands."

Three years ago, he told Sixty Minutes: "Nuclear is a dirty word because the stuff ends up in nuclear weapons, because the waste is highly toxic, highly carcinogenic, lasts for incredibly long periods of time ... it’s not the right path for Australia to take."

And at the ALP national conference two years ago he said: “I have long been opposed to uranium mining and I remain opposed to it. I am unapologetic about this. In fact, I am proud of it.”

Garrett may have forgotten the strong arguments against uranium mining, but there are many who still proudly oppose it. And with good reason. Apart from the risks associated with actual mining, such as groundwater contamination, the significant and still unsolved problem of nuclear waste remains: there is no safe, lasting way to dispose of it.

Similarly, who can know that the resources company Quasar — owned by military hardware company General Atomics — will run the mine without thinking immediately of the potential the uranium will end up in nuclear weapons? The only safe place for uranium is in the ground, undisturbed.

But such matters as environmental threats and nuclear proliferation are apparently not the issue: faced with accusations of hypocrisy, Garrett told the media he was following ALP policy — that it showed he was a “team player”.

Party solidarity and discipline is fine when it is coupled with real processes of internal democracy and political honesty, when policy is properly debated and voted on by the membership then clearly and openly presented to the public.

The ALP, however, is a party whose leadership has complete contempt for democracy. Decisions made at ALP conferences are often overridden, and the opinions and desires of its members denigrated or ignored. The insertion of Garrett as the candidate for Kingsford-Smith in 2004, against the wishes of the local ALP branch, is just one example.

And as for political honesty, the ALP has shown it is willing to do tricky preference deals with anyone to ensure that progressive candidates don't get near electoral victory. One such deal was done with the Nationals in 1984 that made sure Garrett, then a Senate candidate for the Nuclear Disarmament Party, just missed out on a Senate seat.

Disdainful and dismissive of old supporters who believed in him, rolling in money, and willing to keep trading on his past activity for political and personal gain, Garrett may not hold much political sway within the modern ALP, but he and it are a perfect match.

From: Comment & Analysis, Green Left Weekly issue #803 19 July 2009.

People would play golf if the sport wasn't so snobbish, Dress codes ban denim and inist on jackets and ties in the bar by Mark Steel

Mark Steel


As the Open Golf Championship is about to begin, the question everyone must be asking is, "Why is a splendid game still allowed to be ruined by stuck-up condescending suburban snobs, who probably think the most scandalous aspect of the MPs' expenses issue is that Douglas Hogg let his moat get dirty in the first place?".

For example many clubs have an 'artisans' club attached to them, which allows commonfolk to play in return for labouring on the course. The secretary of a club in Yorkshire was quoted recently as saying: "The artisans may play on a Sunday after raking the bunkers, but they're not allowed at any time to walk in front of the clubhouse."

Because who hasn't, if we're honest, had our day ruined by unexpectedly catching a glimpse of a hideous artisan? If they broke the rule the club secretary would probably ring environmental health and scream "Come quick for God's sake, we've got an infestation of the working class. We've put powder down but they walk straight over it, it's terrifying."

This elitism oozes throughout golf. Dress codes bar denim and insist on jackets and ties in the bar to "Protect standards". They must fear that if they let the working class in, they'd drag a piano to the hole and all dance up and down to "My Old Man Said Follow the Van", until the green was ruined. Then they'd tape all the clubs together to make one long pole and use it as a chimney sweep, getting dirt all over the fairways, then turn the clubhouse into a shop selling everything for a pound. The place would be WRECKED.

A typical dress code, at the Oxford club, insists: "Caps must not be worn the wrong way round at any time on the grounds." Because if you relax that rule the Oxford spire posse would be down there yelling "Hey caddie I don't want no four iron muthah, pass me my Uzi, I'm gonna SHOOT the ball out the rough."

Representing one side of this elite cosiness over the next few days will be commentator Peter Alliss, conveying an Edwardian amateur unworldliness completely at odds with the fierce competitive nature of the players. And everything revolves around charming lunches and everyone's lovely as long as they're posh and you can imagine him saying: "Oh there he is there he is, the dear old Duke of Middlebury, right by the clubhouse, splendid fellow, hasn't missed an Open Championship for more than 70 years, except for 1943 when he commanded a unit of the SS in Bavaria and even then he found time to pop in to the Munich Masters, delightful wife too."

To be fair to the golf elite, they haven't just been obsessed with snobbery. They've managed to promote every other kind of prejudice as well. Hundreds of clubs refused membership to women until forced to by new legislation.

In America the Professional Golf Association adopted a 'Caucasian-only clause', that barred black players until 1962. Even now, a player in Yorkshire, Jay Athwal, has set up an 'Asian Open', because clubs make Asian players feel unwelcome. He said "A steward at one club told me not only could I never join, nor could my children's children." Of course the clubs don't officially practise segregation. They'd probably say "Coloured folk are more than welcome to join, as long as on the first tee they're accompanied by a missionary who converts them to Christianity."

But the frustrating part is far more people would play and watch the game, if they could feel comfortable doing so. In Scotland and Ireland, where it doesn't have the same image, golf has a much wider appeal. Putting greens and pitch and putt courses are hugely popular. But somehow society is so riddled with division, the simple joy of whacking a ball is organised to exclude most of the population.

So the first step to popularising the sport should be to change the commentators. This year's open should be covered by a DJ from Kiss FM, going "Big shout out to Lee Westwood and the fourth tee massive, put that bunker behind you bro. And here's a text from MC 2wood of Oxford saying Tiger is FIT, now down to the tenth for some Ernie Els action".

Peter Allis can be employed at crazy golf courses, muttering "Oooo my my my she's over-chipped that right over the windmill, and well, well, well she'll be lucky to make it into the funnel in two from there, what a funny old game this is."


First published in The Independent on 15th July 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

Mourn on the Fourth of July by John Pilger


John Pilger

Liberals say that the United States is once again a "nation of moral ideals", but behind the façade little has changed. With his government of warmongers, Wall Street cronies and polluters from the Bush and Clinton eras, Barack Obama is merely upholding the myths of a divine America


The monsoon had woven thick skeins of mist over the central highlands of Vietnam. I was a young war correspondent, bivouacked in the village of Tuylon with a unit of US marines whose orders were to win hearts and minds. "We are here not to kill," said the sergeant, "we are here to impart the American Way of Liberty as stated in the Pacification Handbook. This is designed to win the hearts and minds of folks, as stated on page 86."

Page 86 was headed WHAM. The sergeant's unit was called a combined action company, which meant, he explained, "we attack these folks on Mondays and we win their hearts and minds on Tuesdays". He was joking, though not quite. Standing in a jeep on the edge of a paddy, he had announced through a loudhailer: "Come on out, everybody. We got rice and candy and toothbrushes to give you."

Silence. Not a shadow moved.

"Now listen, either you gooks come on out from wherever you are, or we're going to come right in there and get you!"

The people of Tuylon finally came out and stood in line to receive packets of Uncle Ben's Long Grain Rice, Hershey bars, party balloons and several thousand toothbrushes. Three portable, battery-operated, yellow flush lavatories were kept for the colonel's arrival. And when the colonel arrived that evening, the district chief was summoned and the yellow flush lavatories were unveiled.

"Mr District Chief and all you folks out there," said the colonel, "what these gifts represent is more than the sum of their parts. They carry the spirit of America. Ladies and gentlemen, there's no place on earth like America. It's a guiding light for me, and for you. You see, back home, we count ourselves as real lucky having the greatest democracy the world has ever known, and we want you good folks to share in our good fortune."

Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Davy Crockett got a mention. "Beacon" was a favourite, and as he evoked John Winthrop's "city upon a hill", the marines clapped, and the children clapped, understanding not a word.

It was a lesson in what historians call "exceptionalism", the notion that the United States has the divine right to bring what it describes as liberty and democracy to the rest of humanity. That this merely disguised a system of domination, which Martin Luther King described, shortly before his assassination, as "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world", was unspeakable. As the great people's historian Howard Zinn has pointed out, Winthrop's much-quoted description of the 17th-century Massachusetts Bay Colony as a "city upon a hill", a place of unlimited goodness and nobility, was rarely set against the violence of the first settlers, for whom burning alive some 400 Pequot Indians was a "triumphant joy". The countless massacres that followed, wrote Zinn, were justified by "the idea that American expansion is divinely ordained".

Not long ago, I visited the American Museum of History, part of the celebrated Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. One of the popular exhibitions was "The Price of Freedom: Americans at War". It was holiday time and lines of people, including many children, shuffled reverentially through a Santa's grotto of war and conquest where messages about their nation's "great mission" were dispensed. These ­included tributes to the "exceptional Americans [who] saved a million lives" in Vietnam, where they were "determined to stop communist expansion". In Iraq, other true hearts ­"employed air strikes of unprecedented precision". What was shocking was not so much the revisionist description of two of the epic crimes of modern times as the sheer scale of omission.

"History without memory," declared Time magazine at the end of the 20th century, "confines Americans to a sort of eternal present. They are especially weak in remembering what they did to other people, as opposed to what they did for them." Ironically, it was Henry Luce, founder of Time, who in 1941 divined the "American century" as an American social, political and cultural "victory" over humanity and the right "to exert upon the world the full impact of our influence, for such purposes as we see fit and by such means as we see fit".

None of this is to suggest that vainglory is exclusive to the United States. The British presented their often violent domination of much of the world as the natural progress of Christian gentlemen selflessly civilising the natives, and present-day TV historians perpetuate the myths. The French still celebrate their bloody "civilising mission". Prior to the Second World War, "imperialist" was an honoured political badge in Europe, while in the US an "age of innocence" was preferred. America was different from the Old World, said its mythologists. America was the Land of Liberty, uninterested in conquest. But what of George Washington's call for a "rising empire" and James Madison's "laying the foundation of a great empire"? What of slavery, the theft of Texas from Mexico, the bloody subjugation of central America, Cuba and the Philippines?

An ordained national memory consigned these to the historical margins and "imperialism" was all but discredited in the United States, especially after Adolf Hitler and the fascists, with their ideas of racial and cultural superiority, had left a legacy of guilt by association. The Nazis, after all, had been proud imperialists, too, and Germany was also "exceptional". The idea of imperialism, the word itself, was all but expunged from the American lexicon, "on the grounds that it falsely attributed immoral motives to western foreign policy", argued one historian. Those who persisted in using it were "disreputable purveyors of agitprop" and were "inspired by the communist doctrine", or they were "Negro intellectuals who had grievances of their own against white capitalism".

Meanwhile, the "city on the hill" remained a beacon of rapaciousness as US capital set about realising Luce's dream and recolonising the European empires in the postwar years. This was "the march of free enterprise". In truth, it was driven by a subsidised production boom in a country unravaged by war: a sort of socialism for the great corporations, or state capitalism, which left half the world's wealth in American hands. The cornerstone of this new imperialism was laid in 1944 at a conference of the western allies at Bretton Woods in New Hampshire. Described as "negotiations about economic stability", the conference marked America's conquest of most of the world.

What the American elite demanded, wrote Frederic F Clairmont in The Rise and Fall of Economic Liberalism, "was not allies but unctuous client states. What Bretton Woods bequeathed to the world was a lethal totalitarian blueprint for the carve-up of world markets." The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Asian Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the African Development Bank were established in effect as arms of the US Treasury and would design and police the new order. The US military and its clients would guard the doors of these "international" institutions, and an "invisible government" of media would secure the myths, said Edward Bernays.

Bernays, described as the father of the media age, was the nephew of Sigmund Freud. "Propaganda," he wrote, "got to be a bad word because of the Germans . . . so what I did was to try and find other words [such as] Public Relations." Bernays used Freud's theories about control of the subconscious to promote a "mass culture" designed to promote fear of official enemies and servility to consumerism. It was Bernays who, on behalf of the tobacco industry, campaigned for American women to take up smoking as an act of feminist liberation, calling cigarettes "torches of freedom"; and it was his notion of disinformation that was deployed in overthrowing governments, such as Guatemala's democracy in 1954.

Above all, the goal was to distract and deter the social democratic impulses of working people. Big business was elevated from its public reputation as a kind of mafia to that of a patriotic force. "Free enterprise" became a divinity. "By the early 1950s," wrote Noam Chomsky, "20 million people a week were watching business-sponsored films. The entertainment industry was enlisted to the cause, portraying unions as the enemy, the outsider disrupting the ‘harmony' of the ‘American way of life' . . . Every aspect of social life was targeted and permeated schools and universities, churches, even recreational programmes. By 1954, business propaganda in public schools reached half the amount spent on textbooks."

The new "ism" was Americanism, an ideology whose distinction is its denial that it is an ideology. Recently, I saw the 1957 musical Silk Stockings, starring Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse. Between the scenes of wonderful dancing to a score by Cole Porter was a series of loyalty statements that the colonel in Vietnam might well have written. I had forgotten how crude and pervasive the propaganda was; the Soviets could never compete. An oath of loyalty to all things American became an ideological commitment to the leviathan of business: from the business of armaments and war (which consumes 42 cents in every tax dollar today) to the business of food, known as "agripower" (which receives $157bn a year in government subsidies).

Barack Obama is the embodiment of the "ism". From his early political days, Obama's unerring theme has been not "change", the slogan of his presidential campaign, but America's right to rule and order the world. Of the United States, he says, "we lead the world in battling immediate evils and promoting the ultimate good . . . We must lead by building a 21st-century military to ensure the security of our people and advance the security of all people." And: "At moments of great peril in the past century our leaders ensured that America, by deed and by example, led and lifted the world, that we stood and fought for the freedoms sought by billions of people beyond their borders."

Since 1945, by deed and by example, the US has overthrown 50 governments, including democracies, crushed some 30 liberation movements and supported tyrannies from Egypt to Guatemala (see William Blum's histories). Bombing is apple pie. Having stacked his government with warmongers, Wall Street cronies and polluters from the Bush and Clinton eras, the 45th president is merely upholding tradition. The hearts and minds farce I witnessed in Vietnam is today repeated in villages in Afghanistan and, by proxy, Pakistan, which are Obama's wars.

In his acceptance speech for the 2005 Nobel Prize for Literature, Harold Pinter noted that "everyone knew that terrible crimes had been committed by the Soviet Union in the postwar period, but "US crimes in the same period have been only superficially recorded, let alone documented, let alone acknowledged, let alone recognised as crimes at all". It is as if "It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening, it wasn't happening . . . You have to hand it to America . . . masquerading as a force for universal good. It's a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis."

As Obama has sent drones to kill (since January) some 700 civilians, distinguished liberals have rejoiced that America is once again a "nation of moral ideals", as Paul Krugman wrote in the New York Times. In Britain, the elite has long seen in exceptional America an enduring place for British "influence", albeit as servitor or puppet. The pop historian Tristram Hunt says America under Obama is a land "where miracles happen". Justin Webb, until recently the BBC's man in Washington, refers adoringly, rather like the colonel in Vietnam, to the "city on the hill".

Behind this façade of "intensification of feeling and degradation of significance" (Walter Lippmann), ordinary Americans are stirring perhaps as never before, as if abandoning the deity of the "American Dream" that prosperity is a guarantee with hard work and thrift. Millions of angry emails from ordinary people have flooded Washington, expressing an outrage that the novelty of Obama has not calmed. On the contrary, those whose jobs have vanished and whose homes are repossessed see the new president rewarding crooked banks and an obese military, essentially protecting George W Bush's turf.

My guess is that a populism will emerge in the next few years, igniting a powerful force that lies beneath America's surface and which has a proud past. It cannot be predicted which way it will go. However, from such an authentic grass-roots Americanism came women's suffrage, the eight-hour day, graduated income tax and public ownership. In the late 19th century, the populists were betrayed by leaders who urged them to compromise and merge with the Democratic Party. In the Obama era, the familiarity of this resonates.

What is most extraordinary about the United States today is the rejection and defiance, in so many attitudes, of the all-pervasive historical and contemporary propaganda of the "invisible government". Credible polls have long confirmed that more than two-thirds of Americans hold progressive views. A majority want the government to care for those who cannot care for themselves. They would pay higher taxes to guarantee health care for everyone. They want complete nuclear disarmament; 72 per cent want the US to end its colonial wars; and so on. They are informed, subversive, even "anti-American".

I once asked a friend, the great American war correspondent and humanitarian Martha Gellhorn, to explain the term to me. "I'll tell you what ‘anti-American' is," she said. "It's what governments and their vested interests call those who honour America by objecting to war and the theft of resources and believing in all of humanity.

"There are millions of these anti-Americans in the United States. They are ordinary people who belong to no elite and who judge their government in moral terms, though they would call it common decency. They are not vain. They are the people with a wakeful conscience, the best of America's citizens. They can be counted on. They were in the South with the civil rights movement, ending slavery. They were in the streets, demanding an end to the wars in Asia. Sure, they disappear from view now and then, but they are like seeds beneath the snow. I would say they are truly exceptional."

© New Statesman 1913 – 2009

John Pilger, renowned investigative journalist and documentary film-maker, is one of only two to have twice won British journalism's top award; his documentaries have won academy awards in both the UK and the US. In a New Statesman survey of the 50 heroes of our time, Pilger came fourth behind Aung San Suu Kyi and Nelson Mandela. "John Pilger," wrote Harold Pinter, "unearths, with steely attention facts, the filthy truth. I salute him."


Published on Thursday, July 9, 2009 by New Statesman

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The campaign that unseated Howard, Review by Thomas Klikauer


Worth Fighting For — Inside the Your Rights At Work Campaign
By Kathie Muir
University of New South Wales Press
242 pages, $27 (pb)


Australians’ brush with radically conservative industrial legislation occurred very late, compared with much of the world. John Howard’s first attempt to annihilate unions came with the 1996 Workplace Relations Act.

Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) gave employees a “take-it-or-leave-it” choice under FIFO: fit in or fuck off!. The 1996 act included an even more hideous and dangerous attack. Human rights of union officials were cruelly severed. The International Labour Organisation took an active interest in Howard’s industrial relations laws.

The second attack on unions came with the waterfront dispute of 1998 when Patrick Stevedores trained ex-soldiers to replace the unionised workforce. But the plot was uncovered, leading to a public outcry and a large union campaign.

The High Court ended the whole affair in a fiasco for the government. Meanwhile, Howard’s industrial relations minister, Peter Reith, claimed waterfront workers were lazy while he handed out government-paid phone cards to friends of the Liberal Party and family members.

When it was revealed he soon left parliament for a six-figure salary job in London.

The AWA and waterfront failures enraged Howard. But his popularity kept rising, largely by his manipulation of fears of terrorism. Supported by the corporate mass-media, Howard’s last election victory in 2004 gave him control of the Senate.

Industrial relations law was up for a substantial change. The Workplace Relations Act amendment bill of November 2005 gave Australia Work Choices (Worst Choices!). Conservative media owners and the conservative government worked hand in hand allowing Howard to challenge the union movement once again.

Work Choices presented trade unions with a stark future. They had to consider a response to the most brutal assault by Howard and his friends in the media. Unions had to “meet the communication challenge”.

Here lies the strength of Kathie Muir’s book. It presents a detailed account of the unions’ anti-Work Choices campaign. The book is also about what unions can learn from this successful fight.

Unions need to be aware of the difficulties they confront when faced with two strong enemies: conservative governments and the might of the corporate media.

The only access to the public on a large scale is through the corporate media. With most of the world’s media being privately owned, unions faced three choices.

Muir describes the three things unions did, but remains short on what the ACTU leadership did not want to do.

First, they did not organise strikes. Generalised stoppages were organised to coincide with mass rallies. But, despite significant pressure from sections of the left of the union movement, the campaign was never converted into an industrial struggle. The impact that such a concerted assault on profits might have had on employers’ willingness to continue to back Howard can only be imagined.

Second, unions organised mass rallies against Work Choices, but also offered something positive in their campaign. They offered “Your Rights at Work!” People understood this.

The unions’ TV, radio, internet, and newspaper campaign prevented what former US- ice President Al Gore called The Assault on Reason. Muir’s chapters four and five on “Mobilising to Win” and “Winning Them Over One By One" outline this.

The union campaign cornered Howard. But Howard retaliated as outlined in “Campaigning on the Other Side: Selling Work Choices”. Howard’s counterattack was financed through the misuse of tax money for a political public-relations machine.

But unions successfully countered it as described in “Staying on Message Despite the Difference”. The final chapter on “Doing Politics Differently” outlines the core lessons that Muir feels have to be learned.

By following the implicit advice of Muir’s book, unions can use the media’s power against conservative governments, change governments, unseat prime ministers, and abolish toxic and inhuman IR laws. Worth Fighting For presents a case for short-term success.

On the downside, the ACTU decided to go down the bureaucratic-organisational route rather than the movement route.

We know that in the long run it is the movement that counts and not large union bureaucracies and media campaigns. Muir fails to address this point.

From: Cultural Dissent, Green Left Weekly issue #801 6 July 2009.
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Monday, July 06, 2009

Proud to stand with Palestine by Soubhi Iskander, Stuart Munckton & Emma Murphy


The July 1 Australian carried an extraordinary attack by Ilan Grapel on Green Left Weekly and its monthly Arabic insert the Flame titled “A willing ally to Hamas’s hatred”. Both publications are guilty of a “radical anti-Israel stance”, Grapel said.


But the Flame, “unbeknown to its English readers”, also allegedly “supports terrorist groups and promotes violence”.

Grapel claims that, through the Flame, GLW is “openly promoting extremism”.

Grapel relies on a few selected quotes that defend the right of Palestinians to resist Israel’s illegal occupation — a right recognised by international law — to argue the Flame promotes “terrorism”.

The issue of the Flame he takes these quotes from was produced in January, as Israel’s bombs, including banned chemical weapons, rained down on Gazan civilians.

Apparently, this is not “terrorism” to Grapel. The Flame and GLW both disagree.

Grapel relies on selected quotes, minus their context, in a language most readers of the Australian don’t speak to suggest something sinister. He is playing on anti-Arab sentiment that exists in some quarters to feed suspicions that anything in Arabic is likely to promote fundamentalist extremism.

In fact, the team of Sudanese refugees who produce the Flame themselves fled from persecution at the hands of the repressive Islamic regime in Sudan. They are victims of the sort of Islamic fundamentalism Grapel disingenuously accuses them of supporting in Palestine.

The Flame’s only crime is to support the Palestinian people against oppression and occupation. This is the same position that GLW holds.

This is not “extremism”. Israel’s illegal occupation is in violation of international law and hundreds of United Nations resolutions.

Supporters of Israel regularly seek to deflect legitimate criticism of Israel’s appalling human rights record by labelling detractors as supporters of terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism.

Such tactics are designed to intimidate and stifle dissent. But the big problem is that these tactics are not working.

Israel is more isolated than ever. A worldwide boycott, sanctions and divestment campaign against Israel — inspired by similar tactics employed against the South African apartheid regime — is beginning to hurt the Israeli economy.

Sympathy with the Palestinian cause is growing in Australia. A June Roy Morgan poll commissioned by the Sydney-based Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine and the Adelaide-based Australian Friends of Palestine found many more Australians found the Israeli military action in Gaza in January unjustified (42%) than justified (29%).

More respondents sympathised with Palestine (28%) than Israel (24.5%).

The barefaced brutality of Israel’s December-January war on Gaza, in which more than 1300 civilians were killed, shifted world opinion further away from Israel. Record numbers, in the millions, protested Israel’s war in cities around the world.

Contrary to the claims of its defenders, Israel is no more a democracy than apartheid South Africa was. It was founded on the ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. Those Palestinians who remain in Israel are second-class citizens, while those driven out are denied the right to return.

Israel’s deputy prime minister Avigdor Lieberman said in an October 2006 interview that, “when there is a contradiction between democratic and Jewish values, the Jewish and Zionist values are more important”.

Lieberman spoke aloud what has been the unspoken policy of successive Israeli governments.

In January, Israeli academic Ilan Pappe wrote: “It seems that even the most horrendous crimes, such as the genocide in Gaza, are treated as desperate events, unconnected to anything that happened in the past and not associated with any ideology or system … Very much as the apartheid ideology explained the oppressive policies of the South African government, this ideology — in its most consensual and simplistic variety — has allowed all the Israeli governments in the past and the present to dehumanise the Palestinians wherever they are and strive to destroy them.”

Finding it hard to defend such actions, Israel’s supporters, like Grapel, resort to attempts to demonise opponents of Israel’s crimes.

However, Grapel clearly had difficulty in finding evidence in GLW or the Flame to back up his allegations. He failed to quote a single sentence from the Flame advocating terrorism. Rather, he offered his own interpretations of a few selected words and phrases.

A reference in support of the Palestinian resistance to what Amnesty International called a “wanton and deliberate” assault on Gaza is really a “euphemism for terrorist violence”, Grapel decided.

Criticism of the region’s US-allied Arab dictatorships for collaborating with Israel in its siege and war on Gaza somehow becomes “implicit calls for other Arab states to expand the Gaza war”.

GLW and the Flame stand for peace in Palestine. It is Israel that prevents peace by denying freedom and justice for the long-suffering Palestinian people.

[Soubhi Iskander is the editor of the Flame. Stuart Munckton and Emma Murphy are editors of Green Left Weekly].


From: Comment & Analysis, Green Left Weekly issue #801 6 July 2009.

Reds under the bed, rats in the sewer by Margarita Windisch


Margarita Windisch

The Socialist Alliance and Green Left Weekly have upset the apple cart again! While articles in the Australian accuse GLW of being in bed with the “hate-filled” Hamas, the muck-raking ALP factional blog Vexnews blasts an “extreme left ALP candidate” for being a secret member of the “virulently leftist and anti-semitic” Socialist Alliance.


I can’t overcome my strange addiction to facts, so I made some enquiries. I am told that nobody at GLW has been sleeping with Hamas (but then they would say that, wouldn’t they).

And the ALP member Vexnews attacked is not a member of the Socialist Alliance, unfortunately. The Socialist Alliance also has Jewish members and is anti-Zionist, not anti-Semitic.

But never mind these small details. The truth, as important as it may seem to us, is an obstacle in mainstream politics. This brings me to the Australian Labor Party.

ALP politics is dirty. Indeed, it’s quite obscene. Most of it should be X-rated.

Contact with ALP politics should come with the following health warning: “Engaging in ALP politics will seriously endanger your integrity, honesty and ability to deliver to the working class.”

I’m sure a lot of Australians would agree with me as they recoil from yet another political scandal, another lie exposed or a kick-back unearthed. From Wollongong to Brimbank council, corruption is endemic and branch-stacking practised with impunity.

An ALP branch that hasn’t had its numbers artificially inflated for factional purposes could be called an aberration — or maybe even an endangered species.

As well as manipulating migrant communities and shovelling money from the public purse into private business accounts, the ALP machine isn’t even very nice to its own. Its members have no qualms about knifing each other in the back, sometimes even in the front. Punches have even been exchanged on the odd occasion.

Supposedly all this internal warring is related to a difference in politics within the ALP — a tug of war between the right and the left. On a closer look, it is quite clear that there is hardly any political basis to factions in the ALP. But that doesn’t deter the warriors — remember, don’t let pesky facts get in the way.

This is where Vexnews comes in. Andrew Landeryou, the website’s editor and a supposed ex-member of the ALP right faction, knows the game. Vexnews is a vicious gossip blog catering to ALP members and unionists.

It is designed to discredit anybody who dares to think of political options outside the ALP machine and its big business agenda. It poses a permanent loyalty test: you are either with us or you will cop it.

And what better weapon for Vexnews than good old-fashioned red-baiting? Anybody who dares express sentiments different from a class-collaborationist viewpoint in the ALP is vilified as a communist or socialist or, to make it really hurt, an anti-semite.

It’s not a new weapon in the ALP’s arsenal but certainly one that is again beginning to rear its ugly head more often. As the betrayals of the Rudd government accumulate, critics have to be shut up.

Rudd’s sell-out on Work Choices has angered many rank-and-file unionists, including ALP members, and the ALP and union hacks know that. How much longer will they have to keep on convincing workers to hand over union money to a party that keeps stabbing them in the back?

The ALP’s attack on the Socialist Alliance is a little symptom. It is aimed at discrediting potential alternatives that put workers before parliamentary career ambitions and business interests.

There will be many more attacks from the ALP machine as the Socialist Alliance and other progressive forces help build an alternative to Labor that’s really worthy of workers’ trust, support and hard-earned dollars.

Vexnews’s squalid red-baiting confirms that, while there’s still a long road to travel, we’re headed in the right direction.

[Margarita Windisch is a national co-convener of the Socialist Alliance.]

From: Comment & Analysis, Green Left Weekly issue #801 6 July 2009.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Green Left Weekly turns 800!



Green Left Weekly recieved dozens of solidarity messages for its 800th birthday.

Those of us at Monthly Review would like to reach out our hands in solidarity with our comrades at Green Left Weekly in celebration of its 800th issue. In addition to being Australia’s leading radical paper, the GLW has become a global voice for 21st century socialism: Marxist, ecological, anti-imperialist, anti-racist, feminist, and in solidarity with revolutionary struggles throughout the world.

John Bellamy Foster
editor, Monthly Review, on behalf of all those at Monthly Review

As so much of the corporate media becomes a parody of itself, the agents of power not of people, we need the view from ground more than ever and Green Left Weekly more than ever.

John Pilger
journalist and documentary maker

Congratulations on reaching the 800th issue. It is not easy these days for independent left journals to sustain themselves, when they are so badly needed. Look forward to hearing about the 1000th.

Noam Chomsky
radical US activist, writer and intellectual

I fully agree with my colleague Noam. It is very hard to publish a critical paper in a country where the media market is run by a few corporate oligopolies not only suffocating almost everything in its way but also creating what Al Gore has called “an assault on reason” (2007).

Thomas Klikauer
Coogee, NSW


Many congratulations to Green Left Weekly for its 800th issue! Comrades everywhere outside Australia wonder how you manage consistently to put out a weekly of such high quality on such a small budget.

When in Melbourne earlier this year, I got a good sense of why you are on top of local struggles (like those of Australian construction workers)—- you combine real solidarity work with your journalism. In other words, it is the commitment of those in the Socialist Alliance who are working with GLW that explains a success that is envied elsewhere. May you grow in influence in Australia and continue to be an example outside!

Michael Lebowitz
Marxist economist and author, professor emeritus of economics at Simon Fraser University, Canada.

Green Left Weekly is an exceptional resource. Your writers and subjects are the most committed and informed people I’ve met.

Patrick Bond
director of the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society in Durban

Congratulations on 800 issues and look forward to many more years of fighting for socialism together!

Derrick O'Keefe,
editor of Rabble.ca and Seven Oaks

From Caracas, Venezuela, on the occasion of your 800th issue, I would like to send solidarity greetings for the perseverance and loyalty of all of you to the social struggles of the peoples of the world. Your work is recognised across the world, both for its internet-based and hard copy editions. Your journalistic integrity as well as the way in which the articles and reports are written indicates that a better world is possible.

You give representation to the revolutionary struggle in Australia and the rest of the Pacific. Your voice represents a clarion call and dissemination of a struggle without quarter.

The work of your comrades reporting from Venezuela on the development of the Bolivarian revolution should be applauded.

Receive a big revolutionary greeting and never tire in the struggle

Nelson Davila
Venezuelan ambassador to Australia

Congratulations to all the companeros y companeras at Green Left Weekly for your tremendous efforts to give voice to the silenced and excluded, and to risk exposing injustice and imperial atrocities to ensure the truth prevails.

You are warriors for justice, armed with words and ideas, helping to build a more peaceful and harmonious world community. Without the type of solidarity and commitment to truthful journalism you have clearly demonstrated, the liberated peoples of Latin America today would remain invisible before world opinion.

Thank you for remaining brave and firm despite grave dangers and threats from world powers, and most of all, thank you for standing hand in hand with those who have chosen to fight empire and build social and economic justice. Here’s to 800 more!

Eva Golinger
author of Bush vs Chavez and The Chavez Code

Dear comrades of the Green Left Weekly

Congratulations for the 800th edition of such an important weekly publication!

We are proud of you and very happy to have it actualizing us about national and international affairs and other transcendental events.

In this occasion we wish to thank you for your solidarity with Cuba and its people. Your frequent support is of great value for us.

With a great fraternal salute!

Consulate General of the Republic of Cuba
Sydney — Australia

I congratulate Green Left Weekly on its 800th issue. In an era of increasing concentration of the corporate media, the existence of a vibrant, alternative voice such as GLW is essential. Its coverage of issues, both national and international, is first-class as is its interpretation and analysis of the events on which it reports. I look forward to its 1000th edition.

Sylvia Hale, MLC
Greens member, NSW parliament

Many socialists in the 20th century gave insufficient attention to ecology. Green Left Weekly is to be commended for consistently linking socialist endeavour with environmental struggles and climate change.

Jack Mundey
former NSW president of the Builders Labourer Federation

What a great achievement.on the anniversary of the 800th edition of the Green Left Weekly. It is a paper that carriess the voice of the working class around the world.Congratulations on your achievement and let's see another 800.

Chris Cain
secretary of WA branch of Maritime Union of Australia

Congratulations and a hearty ‘thankyou’ to the comrades producing GLW!

Not only does GLW keep us in touch with the struggles for justice and a different society in Australia and elsewhere, but it also analyses the world around us, which is essential for these struggles. In particular, the reports from the office of the GLW in Venezuela are invaluable.

Socialist Alliance is privileged to have the regular column ‘Our Common Cause’ in GLW. The paper plays a powerful role in our struggle for socialism. I’m proud to be selling it.

Comradely greetings and Viva GLW!

Bea Bleile
Socialist Alliance national co-convener

Greetings to Green Left Weekly! Congratulations on chalking up your 800th issue. In a world racked by the econcomic and ecological crises, you have long sought to provide a solution which recognises the causal links between both crises, by sourcing both problems to the barbarous economic and political system that is capitalism. For that future generations will be in your debt.

Gary MacLennan
Marxist academic and activist

Dreams and hopes are magically transformed each week, converted into a handful of well-written, designed and printed pages. But there is so much more in each edition! Above all, because often it is difficult to reconcile these dreams with the petty short-sightedness of our immediate reality.

The fact is that the most important role of a militant journalist is precisely to be ability to see the light of the future through the daily opacity. For all this, from these far away latitudes, I send my fraternal greetings and encouragement in continuing in this task.

Luis Bilbao
editor of XXI America and advisor to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez

Happy Birthday Green Left Weekly. You have always been so green, so left and so weekly. Not like the Herald Sun that isn’t a herald or a sun. Or the Age. Ha! What a joke. I look forward to your 8,000,000th edition.

Rod Quantock
Comedian



Stand Fast (Australian veterans and ex-service personnel opposed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) congratulate Green Left Weekly on having attained its 800th issue milestone. Well done! Keep up the good work!

Gerry Binder
Stand Fast

Heartfelt congratulations from SKA TV and The Union Show to Green Left Weekly on the publication of the 800th issue! Congratulations to all the writers and editors whose hard work and dedication make publishing the paper possible. Slim resources and passion for a better world are the bedrocks of alternative political media. To maintain production for 18 years is an outstanding achievement.

Debra Weddall
SKA TV manager and The Union Show producer, and all the gang at SKA TV!

Green Left Weekly is the voice for the voiceless people. Government and the media in general are not giving enough attention to the social justice issues.

GLW is our platform to get involved so we can write things at the grassroots and feel part of the global response.

Bashir Sawalha
Greens candidate for Lakemba, 2007 state elections

Australia, like the rest of the global community, continues to struggle with the financial crisis. Most Northern governments — most notably the US — have simply chosen to prop up the existing system by pouring billions of dollars of public funds into the companies that have caused the problem in the first case.

Now, more than ever, we need a voice that talks about other possibilities. Green Left Weekly does this. It provides alternative views about other visions and other values. And it supports the struggles which are working towards a world based on meeting people’s needs rather than allowing the powerful to continue to chase profits at the expense of everyone else.

Cam Walker
Friends of the Earth

Green Left Weekly is one of the few progressive news outlets that truly looks at the entire world, offering reporting and analysis that you can’t fine anywhere else. Each week the editors and writers dig up stories about social change, corporate exploitation and political events from every corner of the earth. Their serious dedication to people’s struggles over the years means that the publication of their 800th issue is really a cause for celebration among readers and activists all over the globe. And here’s to the next 800 issues of Green Left Weekly!

Benjamin Dangl
author of The Price of Fire: Resource Wars and Social Movements in Bolivia, and the editor of TowardFreedom.com, a progressive perspective on world events, and UpsideDownWorld.org a website covering activism and politics in Latin America.

Congratulations to Green Left Weekly for a decade and a half of exemplary leftist journalism! Based on my own experience in Indonesia, I don’t think that it’s too much to say that GLW has played an important role in shaping activists into real internationalists.

GLW has presented open-minded yet sharp critical analysis of important issues that instills in its readers a sense of solidarity with the oppressed anywhere in the world. We in PRD regularly discuss what’s in the latest GLW to look for an alternative view outside the dubious and often misleading mainstream media reporting.

In this “battle of ideas” against the prevailing neoliberal world-view, we are constantly in need of leftist literature as a source of discussion and inspiration. GLW has been and still is one of our main references. Thank you for your contribution to our ammunition of ideas, and keep up your good work of spreading the seeds of revolution and internationalism. Itu tidak sia-sia [That is not in vain].

Data Brainanta
Peoples Democratic Party (Indonesia)

800 issues of Green Left Weekly, that’s impressive. Not so much because of the years gone by (other publications have lived longer), but rather because of the stature of the paper.

People like me in Socialist Worker-New Zealand like GLW. We really like it. Yes, it’s readable. And yes, it’s informative. But it’s more, much more. GLW has that X-factor: a geo-strategic broadness combining internationalist vision, inclusive leftism and eco-social clarity. And that’s what makes it inspirational. So hats off to all the grassroots activists whose true grit has shaped that X-factor.

Socialist Worker-New Zealand comes from a different left tradition than the publishers of GLW. Therefore, according to leftist myths, we’re supposed to keep our distance from each other. What rot! We confront similar ruling elites trashing our people and our ecology. We share similar histories of resistance from below. Along with others on the global left, we represent the face of the future, so long as we combine together for the sake of the future of humanity and our habitat.

Flaxroots Maori in Aotearoa/New Zealand are inheritors of a collectivist tradition that bolsters the ethics of socialism. The Maori phrase for “stay strong” is “kia kaha”. So, comrades, I finish with these words: Socialist Worker-New Zealand says kia kaha to a beaut paper!

Grant Morgan
Socialist Worker-New Zealand

Congratulations to all the hard-working progressive voices at Green Left Weekly for producing 800 issues of a consistently informative, challenging, and comprehensive political publication.

Your friends in the US are especially grateful for your solidarity with women and workers worldwide, for your excellent reporting on the anti-war actions of the American union movement and on the struggles of Iraqi workers to gain fundamental workers’ rights and to resist the privatisation of their oil industry.

Long live GLW!

Kathy Black
Co-convenor of US Labor Against the War

Congratulations Green Left Weekly! And thankyou for providing the readership with perspectives independent from the mainstream media. For tackling those issues that are more often than not ignored or silenced. For stimulating debate. For connecting the local and the global.

The paper has always been a great source of information and fact-finding for us, when script-writing our social justice theatre pieces.

We are looking forward to being more inspired and informed by the next 100 issues!

Jepke Goudsmit & Graham Jones
Kinetic Energy Theatre Company, NSW

As moderator of the Marxism mailing list, I know I speak for everybody on the list in wishing Green Left Weekly continued growth and influence. As a mailing list that aspires to worldwide unity of the left, having the presence of a number of GLW readers and writers makes an enormous difference.”

Louis Proyect

Green Left Weekly has for 800 issues now and via its invaluable web presence brought free expression, information, analysis and cultural insight to so many of us engaged in struggle here in North America and of course worldwide. Sincere congratulations and solidarity to GLW at 800!

Bill Nevins
Nuevo Mexico, US

Only those who know what it is like to each week produce an edition of a newspaper are able to comprehend what it feels like to reach issue number 800. And only those who take up the transcendental task of producing a newspaper that acts as weapon in the hands of activists would know the place occupied by the accumulated collective and individual efforts, removed from any profit motive and false prestige, that goes into every article.

Green Left Weekly has become a reference for all of us around the world who want to get news and analysis from the frontlines of the war between rich and poor. Congratulations on your 800th capsule of rebellion. Keep on giving voice to the voiceless!

Arturo Villanueva
Basque pro-independence left activist facing extradition to Spain in Ireland

The Australia West Papua Association (Sydney) congratulates Green Left Weekly on its 800th issue. GLW has been a great supporter of the West Papuan people, publishing continuous updates on the situation in West Papua when the mainstream media have ignored it.

Congratulations and here’s to the next 800 editions.

Joe Collins
AWPA (Sydney)

We would like to convey our hearty congratulations to Green Left Weekly on the publication of its 800th issue. GLW has become an indispensable resource for analysis of socialist and liberation movements. We look forward to its continuing leadership as new openings appear for rebuilding the socialist movement worldwide.

John Riddell, Socialist Voice co-editor & Suzanne Weiss, Socialist Voice contributing editor
Toronto

Revolutionary greetings from Pakistan on Green Left Weekly’s 800th issue!

It was back in 1997, I first saw a copy of GLW that had landed in Labour Party Pakistan (LPP) offices. Internet had not become fashionable yet. Hence we would grab every opportunity to quench our thirst, as left activists, for fresh information, analysis and perspectives coming from left in the West.

It was also the time we were learning to be more inclusive and increasingly getting repugnant to sectarian practices. GLW proved a great help. For next few years until internet made it easy, GLW was eagerly awaited at LPP offices. Since many comrades could not read English, therefore, we would translate some of the articles to Urdu for the weekly Mazdoor Jeddojuhd (Workers Struggle).

A copy of GLW was kept in record at Lahore-based central office, where three GLW copies were received by post, while another two were posted to Karachi and Hyderabad regional offices.

Meantime, owing to a growing LPP-DSP co-operation, different struggles in Pakistan started making regular headlines in GLW. I myself, besides being a regular GLW reader, became an occasional contributor. A decade on, this personal as well as party relationship has only strengthened.

Of all the alternative media outlets, GLW and the ESSF-website have been most generous to LPP. Not merely LPP, GLW has been devoting space to Pakistan and often the Pakistan coverage in GLW is an example of quality journalism.

However, it is not merely the Pakistan-coverage that interests me or other LPP comrades. From Indonesia and East Timor to Cuba and Venezuela, GLW reports on global events are keenly read in Pakistan like elsewhere in the world. Personally, I eagerly devour the Cultural Dissent.

Seizing the opportunity to mark 800 issues of GLW, on behalf of the LPP, I would like to congratulate GLW staff for bringing an excellent newspaper every week to a wide range of activists worldwide. Hats off to this dedication, commitment and professionalism.

Farooq Sulehria
Labour Party Pakistan member

Accept my hearty congratulations for reaching and achieving this fantastic goal. It provides very much valuable knowledge for the learners like me. Thanks and vongratulations once again my dear friends. Keep on going.
Maqbool Junejo
Karachi,Sindh, Pakistan.

“Congratulation to Green Left Weekly on its 800th issue. This is an astonishing achievement. GLW blazed a trail internationally in making the ecological crisis central to revolutionary perspectives — something much more controversial 19 years ago than it is now.

And GLW’s main backer, the DSP, also blazed a trail in its understanding of one of Lenin’s key ideas — in the long term, the future of humanity will be settled in Asia. GLW has always paid special attention to the development of the revolutionary movement on that continent.

As world capitalism sinks deeper into crisis, GLW remains an essential resource and reference points for militant socialists in Australia and worldwide.

Phil Hearse
Socialist Resistance, London

What about Green Left Weekly and what is to be done!

It should be acknowledged that GLW is one of the strong and brave progressive media outlets of our era. With its attractive appearance and high quality content, it continually revitalises revolutionary agents and actors.

The most important thing is that GLW continually spreads progressive views from the people’s movements as well as raising many of the world’s most fundamental issues. All of this is in order to achieve our primary aspiration, that is true and total democracy, which we, with resolution, call “for a true socialist world!” — this is possible and now is in the process of approaching!

Based on these important factors and remembering that GLW is now approaching its 800th issue, it is appropriate that we give congratulations to GLW for its remarkable achievements during this time and continue the struggle until we achieve victory. For GLW’s activists, continue your monumental work through this remarkable media, continue to cover even more of the progressive ideas and actions of the people’s movement.

Continue to increase the quality of coverage of the fundamental world issues, so that the people’s awareness continues to awaken and lead in the front line of the universal people’s mobilisations, in particular the oppressed people’s mobilisations for a world that is truly just — that is a truly socialist world.

A luta continua!

Mericio Akara
Luta Hamutuk — Timor Leste

Congratulations to Green Left Weekly on your 800th issue. Over the past five years, I have found GLW to be an invaluable source of news and information.

Your attention to international political developments in Asia, Latin America and the rest of the world is invaluable, while your coverage of politics and the class struggle in Australia is proving increasingly important for us to learn and draw inspiration from in Canada.

I am now a devoted subscriber to the print edition of GLW and encourage other international readers to do likewise.”

Roger Annis
Socialist Voice Vancouver, Canada

Congratulations on publication of the 800th edition of Green Left Weekly. It is quite an achievement that you have been able to sustain such a high quality, comprehensive, reader-friendly vehicle for radical change.

It is a source of inspiration that on the other side of the world there is a paper that campaigns, as we do, to end the corporate bail-out and to make capital pay for its global economic crisis, that fights for eco-socialism and for the rights of indigenous peoples and oppressed nations, and that demands the immediate withdrawal of our imperialist armed forces from Afghanistan and other occupied lands.

Best wishes for the next 800 editions of GLW!

Barry Weisleder
federal secretary, Socialist Action/Ligue pour l’Action socialiste, Canadian state

Congratulations Green Left Weekly! GLW has been a consistent voice in the alternate media for a long time, to great benefit to the community. Refreshingly honest, always courageous, GLW is a voice that a jaded Australia needs to hear for many years to come.

Mark Ptolemy
Communications officer, National Union of Workers (NSW branch)

In Pakistan, every week, we’ve read Green Left Weekly since 1998 when we came in contact with the DSP. It brings news and views of the progressive and labour movement of Australia and internationally.

The international coverage of GLW is unprecedented. We have learned a lot and many of Labour Party Pakistan international policies are based on the information in GLW. The coverage of Venezuelan events is our sole source of information regarding the ongoing revolutionary processes in the region.

Our congratulations to the staff and comrades associated with GLW on the printing of the 800th edition. A great revolutionary task is fulfilled by the comrades of DSP and GLW by printing the paper regularly.

We also want to congratulate all who stand in the streets and markets of Australian cities to sell the paper regardless of brutal weather conditions.

Farooq Tariq
Labour Party Pakistan spokesperson

I would like to send my warm wishes to Green Left Weekly on its 800th issue. GLW is the most important weekly paper for greens and socialists on the planet. For those of who are eco-socialist it is particularly valuable; it is a rare example of how the left can work in an open way to build a powerful resource for change.

From the biofuels scandal to the indigenous revolution to the victories of the Latin America left, its all in GLW.

Derek Wall
Last principal male speaker of the Green Party of England and Wales

For many years, GLW has been for me a lively and informative window on Asian struggles.

Unfortunately, in France and in Europe, there is little knowledge of Asia and little sustained solidarity with people struggles in Asia.

To inform and mobilise on these issues is a must. We try our best to do so through the bilingual website of Europe solidaire sans frontières (ESSF) and the newly launched electronic bulletin of the ‘Asia Group’ of the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA) in France (it is the first time such a bulletin is produced, while there has been one on Africa for long in the LCR).

GLW and Links coverage of Asian issues help us a lot in bringing Asian issues into French activists’ milieu.

Thanks, and continue.

Pierre Rousset
France

Revolutionary and internationalist congratulations and maximum respect.

What an incredible achievement for GLW to be 800 issues strong, unprecedented for a progressive anti-capitalist weekly paper in a country and world so dominated by the capitalist media and its propaganda.

GLW has not only remained a standard bearer of principled, dedicated and activist journalism and writing but represents that rare kind of publication that links with the real struggles against oppression and injustice of people both in Australia and across the globe. Keep the words coming and the flames burning.

Dale T. McKinley
Johannesburg

Socialist Aotearoa would like to congratulate Green Left Weekly on reaching its 800th issue. For years you have provided radicals in the Asia Pacific region with invaluable reportage and analysis. Your comrades in New Zealand will continue to read and contribute avidly!

Joe Carolan
editor, www.socialistaotearoa.org

We congratulate Green Left Weekly for the publication of your 800th issue! For years GLW has provided readers with news and analysis on the development of people’s struggles in Australia as well as all over the world.

We hope comrades who have worked hard to get GLW for the past 800 issues will continue your great effort to spread the revolutionary messages through every publication of GLW to inspire people to continue our fight against capitalism, imperialism and oppression. Best wishes and keep up the great work!

Choo Chon Kai
Central committee member, Socialist Party of Malaysia/Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)

Congratulations to all the brilliant people who have and are currently producing Green Left Weekly every week! It is fantastic to see the GLW is going strong!

It has become an invaluable source of information in regard to not only world issues, but also our local news and campaigns that always show a total bias towards the truth!

Kerrie Lay
Toongabbie

Many thanks to the tireless workers of Green Left Weekly. I can only wonder at the sacrifice and effort required to reach this milestone of 800 issues. The facts and analysis provided has helped me immensely in understanding this ever changing world.

All the best for the future.

Mike Treen
Unite union, NZ

Congratulations on your 800th issue!

I’ve been a loyal supporter and reader of GLW since its very first issue. I find GLW’s analysis of world events outstanding. Its coverage of Australian politics, especially of working-class struggles and the battles of Aborigines against racism and for full equality, has many
parallels to what working people and national minorities face in the United States.

I look forward to reading GLW each week and urge others to use your excellent website.

Malik Miah
an editor of Against The Current, a US socialist magazine published by Solidarity.

The Partido Lakas ng Masa sends warm and fraternal greetings for the 800th issue of Green Left Weekly. Our comrades are grateful to GLW for providing the Australian and international left with an eyewitness account of the launch of this new anti-capitalist, socialist party project in the Philippines.

This is a continuation of the excellent coverage in GLW of the political developments in the revolutionary movement in the Philippines over several decades.

The contributions that GLW makes to the international revolutionary movement are many. On this occasion we would like to especially commend GLW for a non-sectarian reporting of national and international political developments. In this, I think, GLW sets a standard and an extremely important example for the international left.

This non-sectarian approach is reflected in the reporting of small developments and major revolutionary developments, such as Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution. We think that this is an essential element of making GLW the great paper that it is.

We congratulate the dedicated group of revolutionaries who continue to work on the paper today: the editors and the writers, the sales organisers and the sellers and those who raise the funds to keep the paper going.

Launched in 1990, the 800th issue represents just under two decades of revolutionary work. As we mark the 800th issue, we are looking forward to celebrating the 20th anniversary of the paper with you in 2010.

Mabuhay Green Left Weekly!

Reihana Mohideen
for the Executive Committee Partido Lakas ng Masa (Philippines)

Well done Green Left Weekly! You have over the years espoused the cause of uniting green and left politics in a consistent revolutionary fashion. Your interesting, accessible and topical stories have kept us abreast of developments in Australia and throughout the world.

You have also diligently reached out to many organisations and struggles throughout the world in solidarity, covering stories and sending your newspaper. Your contribution to socialist renewal in the 21st century cannot be questioned. Phambili! (forward!)

Trevor Ngwane
member of Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee and Socialist Group (South Africa)

We as the Tamil Youth Organisation (TYO) express our solidarity with Green Left Weekly and express our desire to continue to work with them in highlighting to the world issues that are fundamental to the basic human rights and dignity of human beings.

We express our gratitude to GLW for its accurate and well researched articles detailing the suffering of the Eelam Tamils and their constant desire to be free from state sponsored terrorism and guaranteed their right to self-determination.

GLW has been a beacon of hope to those minorities whose plight is often ignored and/or overlooked by the mainstream media and for this due credit must go to this publication. On behalf of TYO, I would like to congratulate you on reaching this milestone and we encourage you to continue your efforts in reporting down the path less travelled.

Adrian Francis
Tamil Youth Organisation

Congratulations on the printing of your 800th edition of Green Left Weekly. The Tamil community of Sydney would like to take this opportunity to thank you for dutifully providing an independent media source that remains committed to social awareness.

Your determination to present the reality of news media and your ability to highlight human and civil rights issues, global peace and environmental sustainability, and democracy and equality has been carried out with unwavering effort for the last 19 years.

Without sacrificing the truth of your stories, you provide a voice to both individuals and their communities in a way that mainstream media will not. From the very beginning, the Tamil community have felt nothing short of gratitude and appreciation for all the contributions that you and your team have provided us with.

GLW has not only provided our community with extensive media coverage on the issue of Tamils, but has constantly delivered genuine support and concern of our plight. Your desire to link issues, campaigns and activist in order to promote a greater change is a selfless and considerate action that has helped us immensely.

Whether it be your attendance at our rallies and demonstrations or your weekly news articles, you have always been there working with our community. Media complicity has played a significant role in the coverage of the Sri Lankan government and their war crimes, but we wholly trust GLW and their honest representation of the reality of the war.

Without your support and media coverage of our protests and political activism, we would not be where we are today.

Thank you and best of luck.

Vasuki Guna, on behalf of the Australian Tamil community

Green Left Weekly has been providing a vital forum for sensible, radical ideas for many years and 800 issues. May there be many, many more!

David Rovics
US based singer-songwriter

In a media environment where truth gets glossed over in the interests of selling newspapers, Green Left Weekly remains the persistent voice for global human rights and a sustainable environment — and Palestine is not forgotten. GLW always manages to provide the informed coverage that Palestine fails to get in the mainstream media and there are many of us very grateful for that.

All our thanks to the loyal band of dedicated writers, editorial staff and activists who have kept GLW going for 800 issues: may there be many many more in this unequal world.

Australians for Palestine & Women for Palestine

I congratulate Green Left Weekly on their achievement at reaching their 800th edition; in particular GLW have been inspirational for their commitment to combining both green and socialist politics.

They have also been pioneers in web-based publishing, which has provided a model for others to follow, especially inspiring has been GLW’s commitment to covering a diverse range of opinion, reflecting the ability of the left to democratically debate its disagreements, within a framework of shared common goals.

Andy Newman
editor of Socialistunity.com

I try to read a wide range of left-wing and progressive papers and journals, and I can honestly say that Green Left Weekly is the best of them all. No other paper — daily, weekly or monthly — comes close to providing the depth and breadth of the coverage in GLW.

I’m very glad indeed to be able to wish GLW many happy returns on the publication of the 800th issue. It is a constant source of reliable information and inspiration.

Hasta la Victoria Siempre!

Alex Miller
Scottish Socialist Party member

We would like to send our congratulations and a message of solidarity to Green Left Weekly for reaching the great milestone of 800 issues.

The online version of the paper is read by comrades from the Campsie Branch Scottish Socialist Party and articles from the paper often form the basis for our political discussions. We are looking forward to the next 800 issues and salute all who tirelessly contribute to the publishing of the paper.

Neil Scott
SSP Campsie branch, Scotland www.campsiesocialists.com

Greetings from Free Speech Radio News! FSRN would like to extend its congratulations and well wishes to Green Left Weekly on its 800th edition.

As a grassroots newscast covering U.S. and international stories, FSRN knows all too well the challenges faced by news organizations that operate outside the mainstream.

But the work remains vitally important in these times — reporting the news as it affects real people and real communities, offering alternative viewpoints, and helping to encourage and sustain a more democratic world. Best of luck!

Nathan Moore
Free Speech Radio News (US),

800 plus congratulations on your 800th. Or better said, “our 800th edition." Why? — because Green Left Weekly is above all a global and international beacon of solidarity among the oppressed and exploited whatever their particularities from country to country.

I know from my regional experience in Nicaragua and other Indo-Black-Latin American countries, and also in Canada where I was born, that the internationalist collaboration fostered by the newspaper and website, and related discussion lists and links, continues to play a vital role in helping to seed, grow, unite, and consolidate liberation forces in all sectors of the worldwide struggle.

This ongoing effort acts like a powerfully illuminated lighthouse taking energy from many currents and sources, and acting as a beacon and inspiration,no matter our particular angle of vision. Sol y paz.

Phillip Stuart C.
Nicaragua/Canada.

800 issues - that is a remarkable achievement and warm congratulations to everyone who has made that possible. These days, along with many other activists outside Australia, Green Left Weekly is a key source I rely on for an alternative viewpoint on the issues of moment.

Your well-designed webpage makes this an easy task. Lately I have particularly appreciated the coverage and analysis of the tragic war in Sri Lanka as well as your ongoing coverage of issues related to Indonesia and West Papua. Good luck for the next 800 issues.

Maire Leadbeate
Spokesperson, Indonesia Human Rights Committee, Auckland

We, your friends and comrades of the German party Die Linke send you, the daring, consistent voice of the Australian radical Left, our warm congratulations on the publication of your 800th issue.

We appreciate your news, comments and thorough analyses on the ideas, actions and visions of the Left in Australia and world-wide. We feel united with you and the Australian Left in the struggle for social justice, peace and a world-wide solution to the problems of climate change that secure the future of today’s young generation.

We wish you to continue in the spirit of international solidarity that is coming from every of your issues.

Anne Quart
International Policy Department, Die Linke (The Left Party), Germany

We congratulate all the comrades from Green Left Weekly for its 800th issue, which means a important effort in order to inform the Australian people and create a place for anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist debate.

From the Bolivarian Revolution we are also grateful for the great and militant solidarity you express in your articles and documents with the struggles of our working class and pur people. For that, GLW is not only a national newspaper, but also very useful in the international solidarity.

The 800th issues marks finally an important milestone for the left press all over the world in the times of the capitalist crisis and the debate about socialism.

Dr. Carolus Wimmer
Vice-president Latin American Parliament and Communist Party of Venezuela member

Congratulations on reaching your 800th copy. Looking forward to the next 800.

Denise Morton
Scottish Socialist Party member

The MurfaxFairdoc newspaper monopoly controls the minds of Ruddites and Turntobulls. Read Green Left Weekly and get the real story.

Dr John Tomlinson

As a subscriber and a union activist, I would like to congratulate Green Left Weekly on the milestone of 800 issues and would urge all workers to support and to subscribe to GLW.

John Parker
Gippland Trades and Labour Council secretary

The Indigenous Social Justice Association congratulates Green Left Weekly on its 800th issue. It is well known that Indigenous issues have been well and truthfully covered since the first issue and long may that continue. More strength to you all.

Ray Jackson
ISJA president

It’s a “jewel” of communication for Australian socialists and ideas sparkle out of it. To be informed and engaged with comrades with the courage to act will lead us to the revolutionary change our world needs.

Dave Bell
Subscriber

)It’s not religion nor opium but the corporate media that has become the key stupifier of our age and the main obstacle to public debate on the alternatives to the neoliberal horror we find ourselves in.

In that context, Green Left Weekly remains one of the few reasonable media channels left to us, where independent and ethical voices can be heard, voices in support of social and socialist solutions, defiantly rejecting the corporate media’s barrage of consumerism, trivia, privatisation and war.

So congratulations, GLW, and here’s to the next 800 issues — we need you!

Tim Anderson
solidarity activist and Sydnet University lecturer

Happy 800th issue. Green Left Weekly has tirelessly covered Aboriginal campaigns and the Aboriginal Rights Coalition WA has appreciated the support. I hope GLW remains strong in the fight against capitalist wrongdoing and continues to build the campaign for Aboriginal rights.

Natasha Moore
Aboriginal rights activist, Perth

Congratulations, Green Left Weekly, on establishing yourself as a cornerstone of alternative Australian media, both in print and online. Given the alarming concentration of ownership of national and international media in the last three decades, your presence is an invaluable resource assisting the development of critical thinking and analysis across the country.

Your central position on the Australian left, supplying activists in all fields with key information and perspectives, is well-deserved. Here’s to another 800!

John Rice
Ecosocialist Network

Congratulations to Green Left Weekly on its 800th edition. It is a testament to the hard work and resilience of comrades in the DSP, Socialist Alliance and Resistance who put together and distribute the paper. GLW is the only paper in Australia that advocates for the struggles of the radical left and environmental movements.

One of its greatest qualities is its lack of sectarianism and its readiness to draw from the ideas and experiences of the broad left. I look forward to the next 800 editions. GLW deserves our continued financial and material support.

Jeff Richards
Clinical Nurse, Australian Nurses Federation member and Adelaide Socialist Alliance member

It is with the greatest pleasure that I congratulate Green Left Weekly in achieving its 800th issue.

The continuous diversity of progressive news and politics over GLW’s life span is a tribute to the many comrades committed to producing and distributing an alternative view not found in the commonly known “mass media” (also known to others as the voice of the capos). Well done and may GLW be around for many more issues into the future.

Martin O’Malley
state secretary Construction Forestry Energy Mining Union, South Australia

Congratulations on your 800th issue. You cover the events the capitalist media won’t cover properly and, as such, perform a valuable service to the public.

Frans Timmerman
Chekhov’s Three Sisters Second Hand Books

Congratulations to Green Left Weekly on its 800th edition — a mighty achievement! Long may you continue to make the community aware of the need to combine ecological responsibility with social justice.

Ian Lowe
School of Science, Griffith University

I would like send revolutionary greetings to Green Left Weekly on the occasion of your 800th edition. More than ever, as the capitalist system goes deeper into crisis, workers across the world need weapons such as Green Left Weekly, in our fight against the ruling elites.

Here in Venezuela, where the private media have been responsible for attempted coups, and continues to conspire against the people, we know all too well the importance of alternative media. Through your bureau in Caracas, and the delegations of Australians to Venezuela, we know that you are playing an important role in spreading the truth about our revolutionary process.

Thank you for the solidarity you have shown to the Venezuelan revolution, and in particular the Venezuelan working class, who today are at the forefront of the fight for a socialist world.

Stalin Perez Borges
National Coordinating Committee of the Socialist Workers’ Front of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), editor of Marea Socialista — voice of PSUV militants

It is a great pleasure to be able to send this short message to GLW on achieving its 800th edition. This is no small achievement given the challenges facing left and alternative publications in this most trying of economic times. It does however indicate the commitment of those associated with the journal, and the importance they attach to making sure that there is a worker friendly socialist perspective available to educate, share and inspire action on behalf of our class. LGW has maintained a clear and non-sectarian focus, and remain a vital source of analysis and news for all us intent on building a socialist movement. Congratulations comrades, and remember, that we have nothing to lose but our chains!

Stephen Faulkner
International Officer of the South African Municipal Workers Union of COSATU South Africa.

Well done on 800 issues of lively analysis and vibrant campaigning. There are solutions to war, to environmental ruin, to lives blighted by corporate power and greed. There are answers to capitalism. The planet and its people desperately need them. In helping to provide those answers, Green Left Weekly is valued by more people and in more ways than than you can know. Thank you to all who have got GLW this far — let’s keep it going!

Phil Shannon
Canberra cultural correspondent

Congratulations to Green Left Weekly on producing 800 issues of the paper.

We know how much work goes into producing alternative, independent, dissenting media. GLW, like 3CR, is run by people power and it’s reassuring to stand side-by-side in the fight to maintain some space for people before profit and communities before corporations.

Libby Jamieson
3CR station manager

Thanks to Green Left Weekly for supporting the grass roots movement in Zimbabwe against the murderous Mugabe regime.

Paul Kaplan
convenor Zimbabwe Information Centre (WA branch)

Green Left Weekly is always there! Support for organised labour, the disadvantaged and oppressed here and globally is at the heart of this valuable press. Without pretending to have all the answers, the paper asks the right questions of us all.

Dave Kerin
Union Solidarity (Victoria)

Green Left Weekly has been a refreshing and stimulating change to the predominantly right-wing news media of this country. Even though some issues tackled do not get my support, I am challenged to read them because of the alternative view they present in understanding others and the issues talked of. Well done GLW!

Francie Campbell
GLW subscriber, Dural

I understand that it is very hard to keep an anti-system publication like Green Left Weekly going on.

Strong enemies, the fact that to survive implies the use of some of the system elements and the level of political development in the Australian working class and its movements make these 800 numbers very impressive.

I know that the revolutionary commitment and militant attitude of these who are behind GLW and its supporters are the best weapons to keep this path and go for the next 800.Comrades: you are a living proof of what Che said: "Be realistic, do the impossible.”

Raul Bassi
Canterbury-Bankstown Pece and Justice committe

)An essential element of a healthy democracy is having ready access to information from progressive sources like the Green Left, rather than only from the right wing dominated media with a pro-employer bias.

Congrats to Green Left and keep on providing your in-depth analysis of national and international politics. I particularly enjoy your coverage of events in Latin America, where increasingly the people, especially the poor and Indigenous are being treated much more equitably.

Phil Bradley
NSW Teachers Federation (personal view)

Congratulations and happy birthday to everyone at Green Left Weekly on reaching this momentous occasion. The effort that you make to provide the most current and up to date media coverage of issues facing workers and everyday people in Australia and around the world is to be commended. You are certainly a valuable source for the Parramatta Your Rights At Work Group.

Danielle Blanch
Parramatta Your Rights at Work convenor