A System Out Of Control

The bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers–with more financial institutions to follow, no one knows how quickly–is the product of greed and deregulation embraced by Republicans and Democrats alike.

A Wall Street trader watches as the stock market crashes in reaction to the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers (Zuma)

A Wall Street trader watches as the stock market crashes in reaction to the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers (Zuma)

THE LATEST chaos on Wall Street–the worst financial upheaval in the U.S. since the Great Depression of the 1930s–highlights not just the scale of the world financial crisis, but the needless destruction caused by the blind competition at the core of capitalism.

The Wall Street crisis will almost certainly make the current economic slump worse. A shadow banking system beyond the reach of regulators in the U.S. or any other country is crashing down, destabilizing the world financial system. Even before the latest crisis, Bill Gross of Pimco, a big money-management firm, warned that an uncontrolled liquidation of debt by financial institutions “can turn a campfire into a forest fire, a mild asset bear market into a destructive financial tsunami.”

The risk of such a catastrophe is growing. As hundreds of billions of dollars in financial assets vaporize, banks will be forced to raise interest rates to increase the amount of money they have in their reserves. This, in turn, will cut off credit to business and consumers alike, further choking an anemic economy. Continue reading

Documentary: Un Poquito de Tanta Verdad

When the people of Oaxaca decided they’d had enough of bad government, they didn’t take their story to the media… They TOOK the media!

In the summer of 2006, a broad-based, non-violent, popular uprising exploded in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca. Some compared it to the Paris Commune, while others called it the first Latin American revolution of the 21st century.

But it was the people’s use of the media that truly made history in Oaxaca. A 90-minute documentary, Un Poquito de Tanta Verdad captures the unprecedented media phenomenon that emerged when tens of thousands of school teachers, housewives, indigenous communities, health workers, farmers, and students took 14 radio stations and one TV station into their own hands, using them to organize, mobilize, and ultimately defend their grassroots struggle for social, cultural, and economic justice.

“Beautiful, powerful, dramatic… magnificent… provides a remarkably deep and penetrating look into the people who made up the movement. Everyone interested in Mexico, in teachers and education, in workers’ movements, in indigenous people, in the state of our world and the struggle for social justice should see the video.”

For more information see http://www.corrugate.org/un_poquito_de_tanta_/un_poquito_de_tanta_verdad

To watch this documentary full screen click here

Every Child In School Numbered For Life

All 14-year-old children and future generations in England will have their personal details and exam results placed on a compulsory electronic database for life under a plan announced in February by government officials.

Colleges and prospective employers will be able to access students’ records online to check on their qualifications. Under the terms of the scheme all children will keep their individual number throughout their adult lives. The database will include details of exclusions and expulsions.

Officials claim that the introduction of the unique learner number (ULN) is not a step towards a national identity card. But it will be seen as the latest step in the Government’s broader efforts to computerise personal records.

Teachers’ leaders, parents’ organisations, opposition MPs and human rights campaigners have questioned whether this Big Brother approach is necessary and have said that it could compromise the personal security of millions of teenagers.

The new database — which will store a “tamper-proof CV” — will be known as MIAP (managing Information Across Partners). To be registered on the new database every 14-year-old will be issued with a unique learner number. Unlike the current unique pupil number now given to children in school but destroyed when they leave, the ULN will be used by government agencies to track individuals until they retire. Ultimately, it will create a numbered database for every citizen aged 14-plus in the UK. Continue reading

It’s a Media-opoly!

A funny conspiratorial look at how the media really works…

“It’s a media-opoly…a media-opoly. The whole media’s controlled by a few corporations thanks to deregulation by the FCC. You mean Disney, Fox, Westinghouse, and good ol’ GE? They own networks from CBS to CNBC….”

Taking Liberties

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The War on Democracy by John Pilger

Set in Latin America and the US, The War on Democracy explores the historic and current relationship of Washington with countries such as Venezuela, Bolivia and Chile. Continue reading

Engineering of Consent: Guatemala Coup 1954

Extract from “The Century of the Self” by Adam Curtis. Story behind the coup d’etat which toppled elected president Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954. The film explains how Edward Bernays, recruited by United Fruits, created the conditions for a government intervention. Mass media were successfully used for manipulating the public and generating consensus around a military action involving the CIA.

Demos Kratos – An Example of

The following is a courageous example from the 1920s of people power. An example of how public belief and conviction at that time changed the British government’s policy in international affairs. Continue reading

The State of British Democracy

Democracy: The Idea

Deriving from the Greek, Demos Kratos – People Power – Literally, direct self government and decision making by the people.

Today this idea is widely interpretated as indirect or representative democracy, where voters elect representatives to make decisions on their behalf.

Democracy implies varying degrees of people power, participation, representation, responsible government and consent. Democratic participation may take many forms, from voting and standing for political office to meetings, marches, demonstrations, peaceful lawbreaking and violent political opposition. Even riots and terrorist attacks have democratic claims, since they are ‘people power’ in the literal sense – although all states and governments will deny those democratic claims when such activities are directed against them.

Democracy: The Reality Continue reading

British Pawns in an Iranian Game

By Pepe Escobar

28/03/07 “Asia Times” – — – The 15 British sailors and marines who were patrolling the Shatt-al-Arab – or Arvand Roud, as it is known in Iran – were not exactly indulging in a little bit of Rod Stewart (“I am sailing/stormy waters/to be with you/to be free”). They had their guns loaded. Continue reading

Chomsky on the current political climate in Latin America

As more than 10,000 protesters take to the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil to vent their anger at the visiting U.S. President and with huge protests anticipated in Colombia & Uruguay, you have to ask – Just why is George W.Bush so desperately trying to shore up support in strategic countries in Latin America?

Answer: “The United States is Terrified”

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The Orchestrated Attacks on Chávez are a Travesty

The chilling Oliver Stone film Salvador got a rare airing on television this week. It was a reminder of a time when, for those on the left, little victories were increasingly dwarfed by big defeats – not least in a Latin America which became synonymous with death squads and juntas. How different things seem now. Yesterday US Vice-President Dick Cheney came uncomfortably close to the reality of Afghan resistance to foreign occupation. On the same day Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez delivered a mightier blow to the neocon dream of US domination, announcing an extension of public ownership of his country’s oil fields Continue reading

War By Media by John Pilger

‘War by Media’

On 14 April 2006, the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University in New York brought together John Pilger, Seymour Hersh, Robert Fisk and Charles Glass for a discussion entitled ‘Breaking the Silence: War, lies and empire’.

The following is a transcript of John Pilger’s address Continue reading

The People or The White House. You decide.

Political rhetoric vs real people and real life in Venezuela. Has the white house propaganda machine spun one tall tale too many? Views on the street from Caracas. Continue reading

What Communism Still Teaches Us —Václav Havel

The fall of communism was an opportunity to create more effective global political institutions based on democratic principles — institutions that could stop what appears to be, in its current form, the self-destructive tendency of our industrial world. If we do not want to be overrun by anonymous forces, the principles of freedom, equality and solidarity must start working globally. Continue reading

Stealing A Nation

By John Pilger

There are times when one tragedy, one crime tells us how a whole system works behind its democratic facade and helps us to understand how much of the world is run for the benefit of the powerful and how governments lie. To understand the catastrophe of Iraq, and all the other Iraqs along imperial history’s trail of blood and tears, one need look no further than Diego Garcia. Continue reading

The Other September 11th

Coup d’Etat Chile 1973

On September 11, 1973, Augusto Pinochet lead a bloody military coup, backed by the US, to overthrow the democratically elected President Salvador Allende. Allende was a socialist who believed in equality for all people and rights for the poor.

On that horrific September 11th, Pinochet’s troops marched the streets of Santiago, Chile to bomb the Moneda presidential palace (Palacio de La Moneda.) The country’s president Allende delivered a passionate final radio address to his people – before taking his own life as the troops moved in. Continue reading

Chomsky Vs Foucault

In 1971, American linguist/social activist Noam Chomsky squared off against French philosopher, Michel Foucault, on Dutch television.

The program was entitled ‘Human Nature: Justice Vs. Power’ and offered sharp contrasts between the more traditional view of ‘human nature’ and what would become a post-modernist perspective. Continue reading

In Venezuela, Socialism Makes A Comeback

Nobody can quite believe their eyes and ears. More than 15 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the president of Venezuela has made it abundantly clear that his country is embarked on a socialist revolution. Continue reading

The Truth Game

John Pilger‘s penetrating documentary which looks at world-wide propaganda surrounding the nuclear arms race. Continue reading