Saturday, January 15, 2005

Socialist Worker # 1934, Jan 15th 2005

Socialist Worker leads on the Newsweek story, already covered in a number of blogs, that the Pentagon has been discussing the 'Salvador option' of death squads to hunt down and kill rebel leaders. US 'ambassador' to Baghdad is John Negroponte who was ambassador to Honduras in the 1980s and SW quotes the New York Times to the effect that Negroponte organised the covert CIA-trained death squads in El Salvador.

Inside Hani Lazim from 'Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation' sets out the immense limitations on the democratic content of the elections in Iraq. Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani might want an election as the best way to end the occupation, but the US and its Iraqi allies are using Sistani to undermine him. The conclusion is that it could, in fact its 'most likely' to prompt the mass of the population to take up arms and unification against the US. I'm, of course, much more pessimistic and see it as step to ever-more brutal conflict and civil war.

The follow-up to the Tsunami disaster is continued with Vinod Moonesinghe of the Sri Lanka Environmental Foundation talking about a boom in Colombo stock exchange, contrasted to continued devastation for the poor, especially fisher folk. The arrival of 1500 marines in Sri Lanka is said to be unpopular and making people uneasy. Vinod also says that although the US didn't issue a tsunami warning it did move troops on Diego Garcia to safety - is that true? The blog by The Disillusioned Kid from Nottingham, which has been a constant source of information about Diego Garcia and the Chagos Islands tends towards the view that particular geographical features (the Chagos Trench) protected these low-lying islands, so that evacuation wasn't necessary. There's a link to photographic evidence showing how little damage was done to the base.

Alex Callinicos starts his column with a brilliantly relevant quote bout the role of accident in history from Sidney Hook's generally forgotten masterpiece Towards the Understanding of Karl Marx. Alex continues with an analysis of the political machinations of the US with regard to the US and UN - quoting an FT story of course.

And further generalisation on the Tsunami is provided by Phil Thornhill from the Campaign Against Climate Change talking about the need to stop further climate change or face future devastating environmental horrors that will dwarf the deathtoll and misery from this disaster. It's worth visiting the CaCC website for information about events, meetings and the 'Kyoto Climate March' in London on Feb 12th. Also, Ghanaian socialist Gyekye Tanoh even more forcibly puts the disaster in the context of 'capitalist globalization'.

SW also picks up on the end of the multi-fibre agreement with an account from a Mauritian textile worker of the economic devastation threatening millions of workers. G.S.Radhakrishna estimates 27 million affected by the end of the existing quota system. Jobs will be moving from poorly-paid workers in places like Mauritius to even more poorly-paid workers in China. Free trade isn't the solution - but the alternative is only spelled out in the most general terms possible!

Matt Beaumont starts a series on 'Art and Revolution' with a look at Trotsky's Literature and Revolution, but was the Revolution really fighting for its life in the NEP period of stabilisation in 1922-23?

The noted China expert John Gittings contributes a welcome centre spread on 'Winners and Losers in China's Boom', well worth reading by anyone interested in the major economic and political developments of the coming (medium and long-term) period. There's also some interesting press reports about working class discontent and protest in China and a link to the China Labour Bulletin. Good stuff.

Letters: after noting Dave Crouch taking informed issue with Callinicos over the Ukraine, debate is continued with Dragan Plavsic emphasizing a shift from revolutions powered by spontaneous mass movements from below (exemplified by the working class insurrection that swept Milosevic away in 2000, although Dragan does mention the US funding of opposition forces in Serbia) to protests being controlled from above in the Ukraine.

Finally: no mention of the Jerry Springer controversy.


Blogger Disillusioned kid said...

Thanks for the link!

It's worth pointing out that there are something like 2,000 US service personnel on Diego Garcia plus various workers. The idea that all of these people could have been moved without anybody knowing about it is pretty ridiculous in my opinion.

That nothing on the base seems to have been seriously damaged simply demonstrates that such an evacuation wasn't neccesary even if it were possible. Although I concede that those on the base would probably not have known that the tsunami would do so little damage if they were aware that it was coming.

2 February 2005 at 14:10  
Blogger Vinod said...

The report regarding Diego Garcia was based on press reports that were widely published. The matter caused quite a controversy in Sri Lanka.

For an example, read:,15671,1385102,00.html

10 March 2005 at 11:45  

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