Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sex Slave Industry

As Stella Marr reports at Traffick Jamming, all the major advocates for prostitution legalization are either convicted felons associated with prostitution trafficking, former brothel owners, pimps or madams. That's some lineup.

But aside from listing the usual suspects, Marr notes that survivors of prostitution are fed up, and are now challenging misguided liberal publications and activists to acknowledge their reality--rather than continue indulging in such nonsense as sex worker industry unions. I mean, what next? 4-H programs for high school girls to learn the basics of how to become a prostitute?

As those who saw the brutal inside world of the sex slave industry, Marr and her colleagues intend to hold both the criminals and their apologists accountable.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Big Fix

The BP blowout in the Gulf of Mexico -- one of the world's biggest environmental crimes, and the biggest environmental disaster in US history -- was not an accident. Nor was the cover-up by BP and the Obama White House.

In the documentary film The Big Fix, we learn that industry and government PR was designed to mislead us into thinking that the oil was mostly gone. It is not.

With thousands of Gulf residents critically ill from the oil and toxic dispersants illegally sprayed in order to disguise the amount of oil, it's high time the truth was told on film. As seen on this trailer, The Big Fix is in.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Time That Has Come

When the Zapatista uprising appeared in world media in January 1994, it wasn't out of the blue; Mayan communities had been holding assemblies to discuss the ramifications of armed defense of their democratic way of life for well over a decade.

What was new was the alliance with non-indigenous Mexican revolutionaries, born in the national conflict of 1968 -- where students were murdered by the army in Mexico City -- and a working relationship with international NGOs and civil society human rights  networks.  Common to them all were principles of participatory democracy, but the driving force was the social base of indigenous communities and their authentic culture.

Today, with Occupy looking to find its feet in fighting globalization and oligarchy -- the same foes as confronted by the Zapatistas -- NGOs and civil society networks are again essential to the liberation movement. While liberation news outlets and network communications are critical infrastructure for liberation, a social base is equally important.

As Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos remarked during the national campaign for democracy in Mexico,

We are coming after the rich of this country, we are going to kick them out, and if they have committed crimes, well, we will put them in prison… because this is the time that has come. We say that coexisting with them is not possible, because their existence means our disappearance.

For readers looking to better understand the relationships between indigenous peoples, revolution and democracy, my friend David Ronfeldt's book The Zapatista Social Netwar in Mexico might be both interesting and informative.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

International Intervention

Writing at Indian Country Today, Karla E. General examines the conflict between the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and US law. In the wake of the Ninth Circuit decision that desecration of sacred Native sites does not represent a substantial burden to Native American religious practices, tribes like the Navajo Nation are seeking review from such bodies as the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. As General notes, there is a compelling need to bring US law into compliance with international human rights law. Given the bias of the US legal system, relief for the indigenous peoples within US boundaries requires international intervention.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Fascist Infrastructure

Writing at Black Agenda Report, Dave Lindorff examines the National Operations Center through which the White House directs the coordinated efforts of federal, state and local police against Occupy. Also writing at BAR, Glen Ford looks at the growing fascist infrastructure of NATO, which meets in Chicago this week where -- thanks to President Obama and Congress -- police are now able to arrest and detain protestors without due process of law. Rounding out this edition of BAR, Jemima Pierre compares Black liberation in 1960s America with Palestinian liberation today. Focusing on the plight of Palestinian political prisoners of Israeli apartheid, Pierre highlights the arbitrary system of military law where political activists are imprisoned for years without due process--a model of political incarceration currently being implemented in the United States.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Occupy 2012

If you’re trying to get your mind around the anti-austerity movement and the emerging new world order, Occupy 2012 is a good place to start. When it comes to pro-democracy mobilizations against neoliberalism, things aren’t as bleak as mainstream media would like you to think. As a matter of fact, we have a lot of friends out there, who are doing some amazing things.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Lucrative System

Sometimes, the overwhelming violence in Mexico due to the drug trade can be bewildering, especially when innocent civilians, human rights activists and journalists are brutally murdered. But this violence, of course, is not created out of thin air; it is the consequence of corrupting policies in the United States. Like the earlier Prohibition against alcohol, the prohibition of other drugs like cocaine and marijuana benefits both organized crime and law enforcement agencies, arms manufacturers, and the financial services industry that launders the illicit proceeds. Taken as a whole, it is a lucrative system that works very well for corrupt governments and enterprises on both sides of the border, but is a living nightmare for everyone else.

As Antifascist Calling reports, the escalating violence in Mexico is a direct consequence of US policy, including the arming of that policy that distributed military grade weapons throughout the region, often into the hands of narcotics cartels that provided protection to traffickers, but also targeted political opponents of corrupt officialdom. Given the new gifts from the US Government to the Mexican Government for surveillance of communications, that means that whistleblowers, activists and journalists attempting to restore sanity to their country will be easier to identify and terminate.

For the moment, that kind of data in the US is used mainly by law enforcement against political opponents of neoliberalism, but if things work well for them in Mexico, national security criminal enterprises in the US could start using it themselves--against us.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Anti-democratic Offensive

As the United States Departments of State and Defense gear up for a new round of destabilization campaigns in South America in 2013 and 2014, the second generation of democratic renewal under leaders like Evo Morales faces a grave threat. Unlike the crude coups and dictatorships of the Cold War and earlier banana republics, this anti-democratic offensive makes exaggerated use of ephemeral pseudo activism in the form of color revolutions used so extensively by the CIA in North Africa and Eastern Europe. Recent snubbing of the US and Canada by South American governments at the Organization of American States may signal a resistance to returning to the days of old, but until they reject neoliberalism and its corrupting influence, they are still susceptible to international markets opening the door to US military control.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Fantasy of the Fatherland

Someone famous once remarked that fascism would come to America with someone waving an American flag. At the time, I doubt the person making this noteworthy comment envisioned the flag-waver as the first Black American president, but stranger things have happened. Obama, of course, could not have risen to the position of power that enabled him to deprive us of our civil and human rights with the stroke of his pen without a lot of help from Wall Street and America's aristocracy, but that doesn't make his commitment to furthering the fascist agenda laid down by his predecessors and mentors any less onerous.

In our Orwellian America, independent thought is a truly herculean achievement; with the indoctrination of young and vulnerable minds through media, education, and propaganda, it is amazing that any of us escapes the coordinated corrosion of democratic principles and practices, let alone manages to rethink, recover, regroup, and resist. From CIA-sponsored color revolutions to corporate paternalism, we are taught to be intellectually infantile and politically illiterate. Those who awaken from this L-dopa state are quickly categorized as non-conforming and shuttled off to re-education camps, prison plantations, or meaningless lives of poverty.

To accomplish this state of collective unconsciousness through mass communication, Madison Avenue played an essential role, often overshadowed by Wall Street, but always close to official engineers of the psychological warfare deployed by government agencies. Hijacking history helped, but even more effective are campaigns of racially diverse kids on TV singing songs about sharing Coca-Cola with the other kids of the world, or happy idiots waving CIA-purchased colored banners as oblivious dupes of Soros' Open Society. Fascism, after all, cannot be billed as a hate campaign (even though it eventually foments them), but rather as a family friendly frolic in the festive fantasy of the fatherland. Now where did we see that before?

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Government Funded Dissent

As noted by Stuart Jeanne Bramhall writing at Wrong Kind of Green, government funded dissent isn't all it's made out to be. Using the U.S. Institute of Peace as an example, Bramhall takes note of the arts and letters hedge funders behind the charade, as well as some juicy connections to some very unsavory characters.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Fighting Privatization

As noted on The Real News, democratizing student union protocols was key to the successful mobilization of the Quebec student strike, now in its eleventh week. Initially mobilized around opposition to tuition increases, the strike is now involved in fighting against the cultural revolution of privatization. Defending social democracy from the neoliberal iceberg connects the students with a society that is under attack on all fronts.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

New Dark Age

As Glen Ford observes at Black Agenda Report, the bid for America's state prisons by Corrections Corporation of America amounts to slave trade trafficking in a police state. Seeking a cost-plus monopoly for privatized incarceration in a manner similar to Pentagon procurement practices, CCA demands states not relax sentencing for non-violent crimes. Thus, crimes like marijuana possession, indebtedness, or being born Black will continue to be prosecuted fully for the benefit of commerce. What some might describe as the beginning of a new dark age.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

The Heart of Africa

When President-elect Barack Obama selected Rick Warren to read the invocation at his swearing-in ceremony, American liberals wondered why human rights activists were in an uproar. As Pastor Warren's fervent bigotry came to light, though, even ill-informed liberals came to understand that maybe promoting an avowed anti-gay Christian evangelical might not be a good idea for the newly-elected president.

Now that the proteges of Warren in Uganda have passed legislation denying gays civil rights, and nearly succeeded in making homosexuality punishable by death, one has to ask why even a neoliberal like Obama would reach out to right-wing Christian hatemongers. While we wait for the answer to such questions, Political Research Associates takes a closer look at the US Christian right and the attack on gays in Africa.

In Globalizing the Culture Wars: U.S. Conservatives, African Churches, and Homophobia, PRA examines the projection of American bigotry into the heart of Africa.