Hugo Chávez: the most popular leader in the Middle East

The results of the new survey of ‘Arab opinion’ conducted by Zogby International show that Barack Obama has a much more favourable rating than did his predecessor as US president. But when asked to name the world leaders whom they most admire, the participants put the President of Venezuela at the top of the poll.

The survey, which was conducted in April and May 2009, sampled the views of 4,087 people in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Lebanon, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. According to the respected Zogby polling organisation, the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.6%. One of the questions put to the participants was “which two world leaders (outside your own country) do you admire most?” The most frequently named leader is Hugo Chavez, at 36%. Following Chavez in order of admiration are Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and former President of France Jacques Chirac (both at 18%), Osama bin Laden (16%), Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi (15%) and the current French president Nicolas Sarkozy (14%). Continue reading

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Mark Thomas – Put People First G20 Protest

Coverage of Mark Thomas Tearing shreds of the labour government and the banks whilst making a hell of a lot of sense on what to do about the crisis.

Benn accuses BBC over Gaza appeal

By Laura May, Press Association

Veteran politician Tony Ben accused the BBC today of a “betrayal” of its public service obligations following its decision not to broadcast a public appeal for funds for Gaza.

Having spoken on the Today programme, he will address a pro-Palestine rally called by the Stop the War coalition outside Broadcasting House in central London.

The former Labour MP and Stop the War president will say: “The decision of the BBC to refuse to broadcast a national humanitarian appeal for Gaza, which has left aid agencies with a potential shortfall of millions of pounds in donations, is a betrayal of the obligation which it owes as a public service.

“The destruction in Gaza, and the loss of the lives of over a thousand civilians and children, has shocked the world as Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki Moon, made clear, when he saw the devastation for himself.

“The human suffering that the people of Gaza have experienced over the last few weeks has appalled people who have seen it for themselves on their television screens.

“To deny the help that the aid agencies and the UN need at this moment in time is incomprehensible and it follows the bias in BBC reporting of this crisis, which has been widely criticised.

“I appeal to the chairman of the BBC Trust to intervene to reverse this decision to save the lives of those who are now in acute danger of dying through a lack of food, fuel, water and medical supplies.” Continue reading

Obama’s Victory Captures The Mood For Real Change

Millions of people are celebrating across the world today after Barack Obama was elected as the first black president of the United States – a momentous achievement in a country with a long history of entrenched and vicious racism.

Not since the 1930s have expectations around a US president been so high. The excitement around Obama’s campaign has shown how desperate people are for a different kind of politics after eight years of George Bush and the neoconservatives. Continue reading

How to Fix the Wall Street Mess

March on Wall Street

Demonstration on Wall Street

The richest 400 Americans — that’s right, just four hundred people — own MORE than the bottom 150 million Americans combined. 400 rich Americans have got more stashed away than half the entire country! Their combined net worth is $1.6 trillion. During the eight years of the Bush Administration, their wealth has increased by nearly $700 billion — the same amount that they are now demanding we give to them for the “bailout.” Why don’t they just spend the money they made under Bush to bail themselves out? They’d still have nearly a trillion dollars left over to spread amongst themselves!

Of course, they are not going to do that — at least not voluntarily. George W. Bush was handed a $127 billion surplus when Bill Clinton left office. Because that money was OUR money and not his, he did what the rich prefer to do — spend it and never look back. Now we have a $9.5 trillion debt. Why on earth would we even think of giving these robber barons any more of our money? 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

What Is Exploitation?

The term “exploitation” typically conjures up images of horrendous working conditions, perhaps sweatshops in China or India, or the child labour used by Western clothes manufacturers. We think of people working long hours for little pay in terrible conditions ruthlessly bullied by unscrupulous bosses or gangmasters.

Such “exploitation” is presented to us as exceptional – and contrasted with the “normality” of working life for most people, particularly in countries such as Britain.

Karl Marx had a different understanding of exploitation. Rather than seeing it as exceptional, he argued that exploitation is fundamental to capitalism.

For Marx, exploitation was not just about the level of wages received, or working conditions, but was the very process whereby capitalism creates profit out of the work we do.

In order to understand what Marx meant by exploitation we need to start with his explanation of where profits ultimately come from – the “labour theory of value”. Continue reading