To borrow the phrase from the feature film, V for Vendetta, there is something terribly wrong with this country. Parliament, which Paine describes as the “only republican element of our constitution”, has succumb to vested interests. The accountability of the Executive has rapidly deteriorated over the last thirty years and a benevolent dictatorship has emerged, albeit partially democratic.
The same argument can be directed at the American political system, too.
I wish not to repeat the words from Libertarian Home about why the economic crisis is in relation to the state and not capitalism, but to point out areas in which we agree. Most notably corporatism and its dirty relationship with government. An alliance will be required, between Libertarians and the Left, to break the tyrannical grip of corporate governance – the Left cannot do it alone.
No business, regardless of its size or sector, should be bailed out by the taxpayer. If a business is failing then consumers have no obvious confidence in its model or product – individuals should not be coerced into providing unlimited economic aid. None of us can walk into the Bank of England, or Treasury, demanding a bailout or financial assistance – so why should banks?
Corporate welfare is not an instrument to any true capitalist system; it denies competition and entry into the market. Individuals have restricted choice and the state arbitrarily selects winners and losers. These corporations suck the oxygen out of the market, gets into bed with government and blocks all attempts to introduce competition (see lobbying within Parliament). Large corporations lobby for the government to have more power, and in return the government enacts laws and regulations favourable to large corporations.
Some of you will welcome my support to Occupy Wall Street and London Stock Exchange, others shall dismiss it because I’m a libertarian. The opposition to bailouts and corporate welfare needs to end and us libertarians extend the hand of support to the Occupy movements.
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A tiny group of protesters in New York has spread to Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Denver and Seattle. Unions, students, left wing activists, army veterans, libertarians, and ordinary Americans are protesting against the influence of corporate America over the political system. Both parties are under attack.
The man, who helped rescue Bear Stearns, AIG and allowed Lehmans to default is now the US Treasury Secretary; the former President of the New York Federal Reserve. Obama’s Health Act was written by a former lobbyist for one of the largest medical companies in the United States. American auto industry, too, was bailed out; and guess what, a former auto industry executive is in the Obama administration.
No wonder Americans are angry.
This is not a sporadic serious of protests against Obama; this is rebelling against the entire political system. Congress, Senate and the President are equally despised by the movement.
Americans are saying “enough is enough.“
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Throughout the 1930s, we managed to laugh and ridicule the likes of Oswald Mosley and William Joyce (aka Lord Haw-Haw) without resorting to authoritarian public banning orders. Subsequently, though, William Joyce did go on to commit high treason and Mosley was interned during the Second World War.
But fast forward to the present, 2011, and the English Defence League. In the name of democracy, we are banning a group from publicly airing their views. Whether you are support them or not-which I don’t-freedom of speech is a pivotal instrument for any democracy. Even if alternative and opposing views are repugnant. Banning solves nothing; in fact, denying the oxygen of publicity only strengthens the movement. What happened to old fashion debates? Surely a more productive and rewarding method to dealing with your opponent.
There is no intellectual argument being put forward by the English Defence League and I highly doubt we will be pontificating over their philosophy in thirty years time; nor do I feel these individuals will ever get near the corridors of power. This is not the first protest group, or the last, who will shout inflammatory comments at a demonstration; after all, we’ve allowed Islamic extremists to burn the UK flag in public and call for genocide – which wasn’t banned? Selecting, and defining, what is a legitimate view is a dangerous path to walk down.
As much as I find the EDL and others odious, I still object to having them banned. You cannot impose state morality or opinions on the public; it violates the principles of a democracy.
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Posted in Foreign affairs, Political writing, Prose, Protests, tagged anger, arab world, crisis, democracy, Egypt, evil, freedom, human rights, liberation, liberty, protest, protests on July 1, 2011 |
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Economic prosperity and social stability are interlinked. Growth and employment opportunities provide means for tranquility, within a nation, and means for the individual to accumulate wealth and savings. But when economies fail and governments’ struggle to maintain control, social unrest occurs; in extreme cases, a black swan event, a revolution might result.
The Marxist theory of historical materialism articulates the economic bases of societies and its ever changing relation with an expanding or altering mode of production. As Marx himself said, “Society does not consist of individuals, but expresses the sum of interrelations, the relations within which these individuals stand.” And when the mode of production is no longer capable of furling the aspirations of society, a revolution must manifest. History depicts struggles and liberation movements, rebelling against-what Marx described-bases and superstructures. Superstructures are an expression, or avatar, for the mode of production and society itself. What contemporary anarchists renamed ‘the system.’ And history shows what happens to Ancien Régime when its avaricious behaviour and irresponsibility infuriates the citizenry.
Resistance and uprising, in the Middle East, began in December 2010. Unemployment, high inflation, poor living standards and corruption were the catalyst – especially in Tunisia; where the Arab Spring began. The economic situation and lack of productivity became a perfect reflection of the political establishment; failure to share the vast wealth more evenly led millions to revolt against their government. Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Bahrain and Yemen experienced a great tempest of political and social unrest. The main criticism was the economic prosperity was only held by a minority, and the political class had nothing but tempt for its citizens. It was no coincidence that the governments, in each nation, were soaked with financial benefits and yet the population were starving. In order to attract investment, from global corporations, protesters believed government officials took either bribes or constructed generous taxation for foreign investors. In February this year, the media reported on the personal wealth of Hosni Mubarak (Former President of Egypt) and it was in the region between $40 – 70 billion. How was it that these Presidents’ and Prime Ministers’ had accumulated vast wealth, but the population witnessed poor living standards? The political establishment become a superstructure and the avaricious nature of politics is a product of the economic environment.
To understand the Arab revolts and the catalyst behind the events, it best to look for a historical comparison; most notably, the French Revolution. Historians tend to focus predominately on the Committee of Public Safety, Robespierre and The Terror. The causes of the revolution tend to be forgotten. In a way, the French Revolution is more important to understanding the Arab Spring than the American War of Independence.
Revolutionary France is one of the most significant periods of European history, along with the English Civil war, in my opinion. The causes for the revolution are deeply fascinating and rather complex. There are countless stimuli’s for the uproar, especially the crippling debt from strengthening the United States in the War of Independence. But the most fundamental component (in my opinion) was the famine of 1788-89, which saw the price of bread rise by a near 70 percent. Many of the poor and destitute struggled to survive and thus the infamous ‘bread riots’ occurred. The first signs of revolutionary intent in the air. Mass urbanisation of the cities helped fuel the hunger, due to over crowding and the high demand for employment. The hunger and poor living conditions are a breeding ground for civil unrest; we’ve seen this in the last six months in the Middle East and Northern Africa. When a significant population, collectively, faces catastrophic decline in income and prosperity, it is likely to become hostile to the state. Governments become vulnerable when the people become poorer and hungrier. Once held moderate views are easily manipulated by subversive thoughts, if there is a prospect for a better tomorrow.
The nobility of the French regime, with its gluttonous and avaricious behaviour, infuriated the population. Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette, were far from popular figures within the kingdom – especially his spouse. Their need for vast wealth and extreme expenditure, did not help the nation finances. Participation in the American War of Independence diverted the nation towards bankruptcy. France was broke. But the aristocracy was immune and unaffected; which was a great irritation to the peasant classes. And, similar to the present time in Northern Africa, the people had enough. Revolution was in the air.
The reason for selecting the French Revolution as a historical comparison was down to Karl Marx. He routinely wrote about the events of 1788-89, most notably in the Communist Manifesto. It was very productive in explaining the theory of historical materialism; the French Revolution enabled him to articulate and define his theory, without devolving into complex and structured language. History is a good tool, which Marx exploited effectively.
But, fundamentally, the authenticity of Karl Marx’s theory – was he right? Well, no. Karl Marx was gifted in understanding the present time, circumstances and historical precedents. However, the solutions were always misguided or completely wrong; Britain never experienced revolution, which Marx believed was inevitable. The working classes never aspired for revolution, majority wanted to be apart of the wealth creators not confiscate it from the rich. It is humorous to watch the modern left rally in solidarity with the Arab protesters, who are rebelling against socialist-esque regimes. Egyptians demanded reform and transparency, none of them sought to completely destroy the system and build a new nation. Which completely contradicts Marx.
The Arab Spring might have given birth to Marxist nostalgia, but there is no justification to suggest a Marx inspired or remotely socialistic reasoning. This utopia, which Marx believed in, never transpired and probably never will. Arab Spring revolutions will resort in either two outcomes: a bloody and more brutal regime (as we saw in France and Russia) or prosperous nation (the United States or India). Either way, these revolutions have once again injected more life into a forgotten political theorists and philosopher.
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Posted in Foreign affairs, Middle East, Protests, tagged anger, arab world, democracy, freedom, human rights, liberation, liberty, protest, protests, Tony Blair on June 9, 2011 |
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I wrote this blog post months ago, but decided to republish it after Tony Blair has been appearing on our television screens this morning. The former Prime Minister was commenting on the Arab Spring and the effects on the region. Seeing I’m quite busy with another project, I’ve decided to share an old post on my sympathies with Blair and liberal interventionism.
One of the most controversial and divisive figures in British political history, responsible for countless debates on his actions and conduct in office; Only Cromwell, during the English Commonwealth, has divided historians and academics more. Regarding the character, that is Tony Blair, one cannot help my see a very thoughtful and moral narrative – which the former Prime Minister tried to construct.
I am a Liberal Democrat, who is not afraid to support and advocate the principle of liberal interventionism based on the merits and insight of the infamous “Blair Doctrine.” His [Tony Blair] Chicago speech of 1999 is arguably one of the most stimulated, articulate and carefully defined manifesto on how to build a more united international community. The cohesion of this new, broad and interconnected geopolitical consensus was – in the words of Blair – undermined by factions, who sought to obstruct the new world order. These antagonists gained the title “rogue nations” and shared a common denominator. Almost of all these regimes were ultra reactionaries and lacked basic democratic and human rights, including evidence of ethnic cleansing of minorities. UN sanctions, with all the potential to create and obstruct economic activity, were not truly productive in some cases and only played into the hands of the government. In order to defend and promote the liberty of the people, the international community did not only have to become a vox populi for the voiceless but military intervention should be a desired method. If the citizens could not defend themselves then it was up to us, the international community, to defend them.Contrary to popular belief, Tony Blair did not advocate cultural imperialism nor the creation of Western client states. It was the duty of the nation to decide on creating the foundations of a civic and democratic government – not for us to impose it. We, the international community, only provided the means to remove the regime. Tragically, though, the Project for a New American Century did alter the doctrine and insisted “pro-American” governments must emerge after the liberation. The neo-conservative movement did more damage, than good, in defending and advocating true liberal interventionism. Blair always believed action must be meditated by a powerful United Nations and not individual countries, but the unwillingness of Europe (regarding Iraq) made him contradict his passion for international unity and reluctantly abandoned a UN route – over Iraq.
Tony Blair is no war criminal. Jean-Pierre Bemba, the former Vice President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a true war criminal; Bemba instigated and administrated rape, murder, torture and ethnic cleansing in the Central Africa Republic. The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Nothing Blair ordered can be described as a war crime or a crime against humanity, he cannot be compared to Bemba or the military junta in Burma. If Blair’s conduct in the Iraq War constitutes a war crime then so is Winston Churchill for the fire bombing of Dresden; President Truman for the nuclear strikes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is another name added to the list, if one argues the former Prime Minister is a war criminal. Throwing around the term “war criminal” without no understanding of its meaning only helps to devalue and regulate the term meaningless. War crimes are meant to shock humanity and represent the most heinous crimes of them all, not a term that a protest group could randomly use to condemn an opponent. Using the title of “war criminal” loosely does not help the anti-war movement or strengthens their cause, it only helps to weaken their argument.
Saddam represented everything a liberal should despise. His reactionary, Stalinist, totalitarian administration used chemical weapons against his own population and neigbouring countries. Dissidents were publicly hanged to warn anyone that resistance would not be tolerated. Elections were rigged, with Saddam gaining 99% of the poll. The Iraq War, especially the after events, were disastrous and resulted in massive ethnic and religious violence, but Iraq is giving both a fragile democracy – that will flourish in time. Yes, Blair was not perfect, but there is one significant difference between him and Saddam. Blair had a Thatcher room at Downing street, Saddam had rape rooms under his palaces.
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Posted in Foreign affairs, Middle East, Police State, Protests, tagged A Gay Girl in Damascus, Amina Abdallah, arab world, democracy, freedom, human rights, protests, Syrian blogger, Syrian revolution on June 7, 2011 |
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A Gay Girl in Damascus, a popular Syrian blogger, was abducted last night in Damascus. Her outspoken views on the Syrian revolution have made her a target of the security forces. This post, from her cousin, was published last night (after the event happened). I will post the full transcript;
Dear friends of Amina,
I am Amina Abdallah Araf al Omari’s cousin and have the following information to share.
Earlier today, at approximately 6:00 pm Damascus time, Amina was walking in the area of the Abbasid bus station, near Fares al Khouri Street. She had gone to meet a person involved with the Local Coordinating Committee and was accompanied by a friend.
Amina told the friend that she would go ahead and they were separated. Amina had, apparently, identified the person she was to meet. However, while her companion was still close by, Amina was seized by three men in their early 20’s. According to the witness (who does not want her identity known), the men were armed. Amina hit one of them and told the friend to go find her father.
One of the men then put his hand over Amina’s mouth and they hustled her into a red Dacia Logan with a window sticker of Basel Assad. The witness did not get the tag number. She promptly went and found Amina’s father.
The men are assumed to be members of one of the security services or the Baath Party militia. Amina’s present location is unknown and it is unclear if she is in a jail or being held elsewhere in Damascus.
I have just spoken with her father who is trying to locate her. He has asked me to share this information with her contacts in the hope that someone may know her whereabouts and so that she might be shortly released.
If she is now in custody, he is not worried about being in hiding and says he will do anything he can to free her. If anyone knows anything as to her whereabouts, please contact Abdallah al Omari at his home or please email me, Rania Ismail, at onepathtogod at gmail dot com.
We are hoping she is simply in jail and nothing worse has happened to her. Amina had previously sent me several texts to post should something happen to her and we will wait until we have definite word before doing so.
Rania O. Ismail
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Posted in Debt, Economy, Foreign affairs, US Politics, tagged anger, bailout, budget, crisis, debt, democracy, economic, economy, freedom, human rights, liberty, protests, Scott Walker, United States, US, Wisconsin on June 6, 2011 |
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Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin is among one of the most undemocratic politicians in the Western World. The manner, in which he is stripping public employees of their collective bargaining rights, would’ve made Franco applaud with admiration. His ‘repair budget’ achieves no real significant means of combating a $3 billion budget short fall, but instead targets political rivals and the opposition bases. Without increasing tax revenue, Walker’s cuts are draconian and depict European austerity as timid. Traditional Democratic voters, supporters and unions are among the worse off under his budget.
Far from very democratic.
Protesters have established ‘Walkerville’, a tent city, in and around the capital grounds to put pressure on the governor to stand down. Sadly, Walker has countermanded bipartisanship and authorised the authorities to use force to expel any dissidents. Including elected officials. And yet, media supporters-such as FoxNews-continue to push GOP propaganda against ‘the enemy within.’ According to Fox, these protesters are ‘Marxists’, ‘extremists’ and ‘trying to destroy American values’ – but what about the great American value of freedom?
Wisconsin is not an isolated incident. Throughout the United States, the GOP is using the fiscal crisis to eliminate all opponents that threaten their agenda. It’s a Trojan horse for the Christian Right and corporations to influence political decisions, which were historically left for the people of America.
President Reagan once championed the defence of collective bargaining rights for Polish unions under Soviet occupation. Yet, he’s GOP children wish to strip Americans of theirs.
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Posted in Foreign affairs, Police State, Protests, videos, War, tagged anger, arab world, crisis, democracy, freedom, human rights, liberation, liberty, protest, protests on June 1, 2011 |
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The main arbitrator of global peace and justice is nonchalant to the events in Yemen. Question: How many individuals need to die in conflict, before the United Nations even considers calling an urgent Security Council meeting?
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Posted in Foreign affairs, Middle East, War, tagged anger, Arab war, arab world, crisis, democracy, freedom, human rights, Israel, Israeli, liberation, liberty, Middle East, Palestine, Palestinian, peace process, protest, protests on May 29, 2011 |
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An ideology that divides the world into those who are worth more and those who are worth less, into superior and inferior beings, does not have to reach the dimensions of the German genocide to be wrong.
Amira Hass, Israeli Journalist
The Arab League have endorsed the Palestinian Authority policy to gain recognition of state hood, on 1967 borders, from the United Nations. Sarkozy is understood to be considering French support, with the British yet to determine a position; the French Foreign Ministry have commented on a possible European Union recognition, too, on a Palestinian state. Which would be a powerful endorsement.
I will not lament over the struggle for self determination. It has been a tragic history of deceit, destruction, war and broken promise, but this is the first real prospect of a meaningful conclusion.
If Israel remains a obstacle to peace then considerable sanctions will be required. Israeli policy on the occupied territories is an apartheid doctrine. United States political assistance prevents any acknowledgment of human rights abuses at the United Nations; State Department own documents share the same assessments as the UN, but the condemnation is never public.
David Cameron, at the G8, placed himself in the vanguard of democracy and freedom in the Middle East. It’s time for Cameron to recognise the Palestinian homeland.
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Posted in Debt, Economy, Foreign affairs, Police State, Protests, tagged anger, bailout, budget, crisis, debt, democracy, EU, European revolution, European Union, liberation, liberty, protest, protests, Spanish revolution on May 27, 2011 |
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Police use force to disrupt the peaceful Spanish revolution in Barcelona. This YouTube video was e-mailed to me this morning. There have been no reports of violence by individuals representing the camps; these actions are unjustified.
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