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Member since: Sat Jul 9, 2005, 11:46 PM
Number of posts: 12,514
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By Rachael Petersen
Source: Global Voices
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Thousands of people across Canada mobilized Monday, 10 December 2012 under the banner “Idle No More” to protest the effects of current and proposed government policies on the nation’s indigenous peoples.
While it has received little mainstream media attention, Idle No More has capitalized on social media networks to spread information about the widespread rallies, protests, and roadblocks, causing the hashtag#idlenomore to trend on Twitter in Canada this week.
The rallies -which continue to take place in major cities like Toronto, Ottawa, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Calgary- are the broadest expressions of discontent from First Nations that Canada has seen in years. The movement has been deemed by some as “Native Winter,” in the style of the “Arab Spring” revolutionary wave that overtook the Middle East beginning in December 2010.
In one of the more high-profile actions of the Idle No More movement, Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence began a hunger strike on Tuesday which she plans to continue until President Stephen Harper and Queen Elizabeth II agree to a treaty meeting with First Nations Leaders.
Posted by polly7 | Tue Dec 18, 2012, 10:48 AM (0 replies)
By Arundhati Roy
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
From a speech at the Earth at Risk conference on the misuses of democracy and the revolutionary power of exclusion.
I don’t know how far back in history to begin, so I’ll lay the milestone down in the recent past. I’ll start in the early 1990s, not long after capitalism won its war against Soviet Communism in the bleak mountains of Afghanistan. The Indian government, which was for many years one of the leaders of the nonaligned movement, suddenly became a completely aligned country and began to call itself the natural ally of the U.S. and Israel. It opened up its protected markets to global capital. Most people have been speaking about environmental battles, but in the real world it’s quite hard to separate environmental battles from everything else: the war on terror, for example; the depleted uranium; the missiles; the fact that it was the military-industrial complex that actually pulled the U.S. out of the Great Depression, and since then the economies of places like America, many countries in Europe, and certainly Israel, have had stakes in the manufacture of weapons. What good are weapons if they aren’t going to be used in wars? Weapons are absolutely essential; it’s not just for oil or natural resources, but for the military-industrial complex itself to keep going that we need weapons.
Today, as we speak, the U.S., and perhaps China and India, are involved in a battle for control of the resources of Africa. Thousands of U.S. troops, as well as death squads, are being sent into Africa. The “Yes We Can” president has expanded the war from Afghanistan into Pakistan. There are drone attacks killing children on a regular basis there.
In the 1990s, when the markets of India opened, when all of the laws that protected labor were dismantled, when natural resources were privatized, when that whole process was set into motion, the Indian government opened two locks: one was the lock of the markets; the other was the lock of an old fourteenth-century mosque, which was a disputed site between Hindus and Muslims. The Hindus believed that it was the birthplace of Ram, and the Muslims, of course, use it as a mosque. By opening that lock, India set into motion a kind of conflict between the majority community and the minority community, a way of constantly dividing people. Finding ways to divide people is the main practice of anybody that is in power.
The opening of these two locks unleashed two kinds of totalitarianism in India: one was economic totalitarianism, and the other was Hindu fundamentalism. These processes manufactured what the government calls “terrorism.” You had Islamist terrorists and you had what today the government calls “Maoists,” which means anybody who is resisting the project of civilization, of progress, of development; anybody who is resisting the takeover of their lands or the destruction of rivers and forests, is today a Maoist. Maoists are the most militant end of a bandwidth of resistance movements, with Gandhists at the other end of the spectrum. The kind of strategy people adopt to resist the onslaught of global capital is quite often not an ideological choice, but a tactical choice dependent on the landscape in which those battles are being fought.
Posted by polly7 | Tue Dec 18, 2012, 10:39 AM (0 replies)
By Leonidas Oikonomakis
Sunday, December 16, 2012
So, for you to get it straight, I repeat: the disabled will “contribute to the salvation of the Greek economy” 82 million euros that they absolutely need for their decent and dignified survival, while the ship-owners, who constitute 0.7% of the Greek population while controlling 60% of the nation’s total wealth, will “contribute” a grand total of 80 million. This gives you a clear idea of who is paying the price of austerity measures imposed by the Troika and executed by the Greek government.
In Greece, we know well who is paying for the crisis. A good question to ask would be: who gains? Apart from Greece’s private creditors, could it be the multinational corporations, which are now swooping in to benefit from the country’s dramatically reduced labor rights and privatization schemes? Again, I will give you an example that I recently read in the press. Kostis Hatzidakis, the Minister of Development, announced proudly that Unilever, an Anglo-Dutch multinational consumer goods company, will from now on produce 110 of its products that it used to produce abroad, in Greece. He also mentioned that this will boost employment and that his government wants to create a business-friendly environment in Greece in order to attract “investments” for “development”.
What Hatzidakis did not mention are the conditions under which the future employees of Unilever — and whatever other multinational decides to “invest” in Greece bringing its production facilities or, maybe, buying its state owned enterprises — will have to work. Let me present them to you: Unilever’s Greek employees will be paid slave salaries (586 euros is the minimum wage today, down from 751 euros before the crisis, while for young workers under the age of 25 it stands at 510 euros: below the poverty threshold!). They will only have minimum labor rights. They will have to work 6 and maybe 7 days a week. They will only have a minimum of 11 hours rest before getting back to work (from 13 that it was so far). And they will be extremely easy to fire without compensation — as the government effectively rid itself of pesky labor rights.
All the above is a direct result of the austerity measures and structural reforms the Greek government has taken so far to create a “business-friendly environment” and bring in “investments” and “development”, as they like to say. And the question remains: for whom?
Posted by polly7 | Sun Dec 16, 2012, 12:10 PM (0 replies)
By Naomi Klein and Wen Stephenson
Source: The Phoenix Blog
Sunday, December 16, 2012
This week in the Phoenix, Wen Stephenson profiles Naomi Klein -- "black-clad and sharp-tongued mistress of the global anti-corporate left, friend to Occupiers and scourge of oil barons" -- as she turns her attention to the cause of climate justice. Below is a longer excerpt from their conversation -- about Klein's alliance with 350.org's Bill McKibben, her views on the environmental movement, and the ways in which her struggles to become a parent informed her views on climate (and vice versa). This interview took place on November 8, 2012. It has been edited for length and clarity.
But part of it is people are paying attention. In Canada, I'd say we've got a pretty strong environmental movement. I live in a city, Toronto, where every Wednesday everybody puts their green composting box outside their house. It's bigger than a garbage can. And it's amazing, the success of the composting. People don't think of it as a movement, but you know, you make it easy enough for people, and people do it. You rarely see a plastic bag in my neighborhood. In fact, my neighborhood was just totally redesigned to be less car friendly -- and people lived with two years of construction for that to happen.
So the refusal to accept the importance of economic justice is the reason we have had no climate action. It's just that simple. And it happens every time countries get together and negotiate, because the developing world is not going to move on this issue, on the right to pull themselves out of poverty. It gets cast in the US media as the right to have as dirty a model of development as they want, but that's not the case, that's not what's being demanded at the negotiating table. So you can't have a solution to climate change without really reckoning with economic justice issues in the global arena.
Posted by polly7 | Sun Dec 16, 2012, 12:06 PM (3 replies)
Israel showed no sign of changing its stance even as Australia became the latest nation to summon the Israeli ambassador to protest plans to build 3,000 new settler homes in a critical area of the West Bank near Jerusalem.
Late on Monday, Israel – which is in the middle of an election campaign – said it would also revive plans for another 1,600 homes in annexed east Jerusalem.
Should construction in E1 go ahead, connecting Jerusalem with Maaleh Adumim, it will make the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state almost impossible.
“History proves that every time we insisted on our positions and were prepared to clash, the West has always capitulated, because justice was ours,” wrote Dror Eidar in the Israel HaYom freesheet, which openly backs Mr. Netanyahu.
Posted by polly7 | Wed Dec 12, 2012, 01:40 PM (1 replies)
By Steve Trent
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
What does it mean then to be deprived of your roots and home? Losing the security of the place where you sleep can be devastating. Being forced from the place we call home – the place you were born, where your family, friends, habits and culture reside by circumstances over which you have no control and had no part in creating.
EJF’s report, A Nation under Threat, released today, reveals that it is exactly this kind of forced migration that is now emerging on a massive global scale, with millions mainly among our planet’s poorest and most vulnerable being forced to move. These are the new refugees, “climate refugees” driven from their homes by changes in climate, the primary result of the developed world’s inability or refusal to understand the impacts of its development on the global environment and on others far less fortunate.
Climate change is amplifying the intensity of extreme weather events. Its impacts are now being seen in both poorer and developed countries. This year, Hurricane Sandy rendered more than 40,000 people homeless in New York City alone and just last week over 310,000 people lost their homes to Typhoon Bopha in the Philippines. Last year weather-related disasters, mainly floods and storms, displaced 13.8 million people. That’s more than the total number of residents in Illinois. Now, consider for a moment that the entire population of Illinois lost everything: their land, their homes, their possessions, their livelihoods. Where would those people go? To what would they be entitled and where?
These people forced from their homes by environmental insecurity are often referred to as “climate refugees” and “environmental refugees”. However, these terms are neither defined nor recognized by international law. Despite their numbers, these people have neither the recognition nor protections of refugees under international legal definitions and yet they have been forced to migrate because of climate related problems. They are refugees.
Posted by polly7 | Wed Dec 12, 2012, 10:41 AM (2 replies)
Human Rights Day, 10 December
Human Rights Day presents an opportunity, every year, to celebrate human rights, highlight a specific issue, and advocate for the full enjoyment of all human rights by everyone everywhere.
This year, the spotlight is on the rights of all people — women, youth, minorities, persons with disabilities, indigenous people, the poor and marginalized — to make their voices heard in public life and be included in political decision-making.
These human rights — the rights to freedom of opinion and expression, to peaceful assembly and association, and to take part in government (articles 19, 20 and 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) have been at the centre of the historic changes in the Arab world over the past two years, in which millions have taken to the streets to demand change. In other parts of the world, the “99%” made their voices heard through the global Occupy movement protesting economic, political and social inequality.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Zimbabwe: Ruramai's Story - International Human Rights Day 2012
BY MADZIMBABWE, 10 DECEMBER 2012
Ruramai was married young, at 15. The age of sexual consent in Zimbabwe is 16.
Posted by polly7 | Mon Dec 10, 2012, 10:58 AM (0 replies)
By Amira Has
Saturday, December 08, 2012
Israel's ambassador to Poland was summoned to the Polish deputy foreign minister's office in the wake of an article published in the mass-circulation, liberal paper Gazeta Wyborcza. The ambassador was not summoned because of planned construction in E1, but because of a demolition. This happened last February, but the newspaper continues to take an interest in the reason behind the diplomatic event: the demolition of a Palestinian community's old water cistern, which had been restored with Polish government funding through the Polish Humanitarian Action NGO.
Judging by comments on the Internet, and discussions held in Polish media outlets and social networks, the fact that Israel was destroying sources of water belonging to the population for whose welfare it is responsible was a shock to quite a few Poles.
On February 13, a week after the publication of the interview with Kaszubska, Pacewicz received a text message from her: "Israel demolished our cistern." She was referring to a small rainwater reservoir in a small Palestinian village, Rahwa, in the southwest part of the West Bank. On the same day, Civil Administration personnel demolished six residential shelters, seven livestock sheds, four storage areas and four mobile latrines donated by another NGO. All this was documented by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
"On the day the article was published , I got a call from the Israeli embassy," says Pacewicz, who returned to Israel and the Occupied West Bank two weeks ago to follow up on the "Polish" water-collection structures in the West Bank. In a written statement, the embassy asserted that the cistern was demolished because it is illegal to dig such structures without a permit. Then the Israeli ambassador, Zvi Rav-Ner, was summoned to a meeting with Poland's deputy foreign minister, Jerzy Pomianowski. Rav-Ner was asked to explain why the cistern had been destroyed. Thereafter, the paper received a second statement from the embassy, recommending that requests to authorize such projects be submitted to the relevant authorities, and that signs of the Polish humanitarian organization should be placed next to the restored cisterns.
Posted by polly7 | Sun Dec 9, 2012, 12:08 PM (0 replies)
By Don Fitz
Source: Mr Zine
Sunday, December 09, 2012
The most revolutionary idea of the Cuban system is doctors living in the neighborhoods they serve. A doctor-nurse team are part of the community and know their patients well because they live at (or near) the consultorio (doctor's office) where they work. Consultorios are backed up by policlínicos which provide services during off-hours and offer a wide variety of specialists. Policlínicos coordinate community health delivery and link nationally-designed health initiatives with their local implementation.
Cubans call their system medicina general integral (MGI, comprehensive general medicine). Its programs focus on preventing people from getting diseases and treating them as rapidly as possible.
This has made Cuba extremely effective in control of everyday health issues. Having doctors' offices in every neighborhood has brought the Cuban infant mortality rate below that of the US and less than half that of US Blacks.3 Cuba has a record unmatched in dealing with chronic and infectious diseases with amazingly limited resources. These include (with date eradicated): polio (1962), malaria (1967), neonatal tetanus (1972), diphtheria (1979), congenital rubella syndrome (1989), post-mumps meningitis (1989), measles (1993), rubella (1995), and TB meningitis (1997).4
The MGI integration of neighborhood doctors' offices with area clinics and a national hospital system also means the country responds well to emergencies. It has the ability to evacuate entire cities during a hurricane largely because consultorio staff know everyone in their neighborhood and know who to call for help getting disabled residents out of harm's way. At the time when New York City (roughly the same population as Cuba) had 43,000 cases of AIDS, Cuba had 200 AIDS patients.5 More recent emergencies such as outbreaks of dengue fever are quickly followed by national mobilizations.6
Posted by polly7 | Sun Dec 9, 2012, 11:45 AM (1 replies)
Posted 4 December 2012 0:12 GMT
The Evil from Within
There is no doubt about the immediate results of unprecedented sanctions on the lives of millions of patients in Iran. There is not a single day when we do not hear a new story about medicine shortages in Iran and how it adversely affects Iranians, especially those requiring uninterrupted medication.
Over the past three weeks though, local media in Iran have highlighted allegations of mismanagement and mishandling of imports by the government. This has contributed to the drug crisis and revealed corruption and incompetence at the highest levels.
Hossein Ali Shahriari, the head of the parliament's health commission, stated , “The government has paid no attention to the domain of health and medicine.” He added that there has been “virtually no currency” for the budget and the import of medicines over the last six months.
The minister of health, Marzieh Vahid-Dastjerdi, also criticized the budget allocation, saying: “We don't know what happened to the hard currency allocated to the purchase of medicine.” According to her, only 24% of the required budget for the purchase of medicine has been provided by the Central Bank.
Posted by polly7 | Wed Dec 5, 2012, 09:28 AM (0 replies)