Our Future vs. Neoliberalism

In country after country around the world, people are rising up to challenge entrenched, failing neoliberal political and economic systems, with mixed but sometimes promising results.

Progressive leaders in the U.S. Congress are refusing to back down on the Democrats’ promises to American voters to reduce poverty, expand rights to healthcare, education, and clean energy, and repair a shredded social safety net. After decades of tax cuts for the rich, they are also committed to raising taxes on wealthy Americans and corporations to pay for this popular agenda.

Germany has elected a ruling coalition of Social Democrats, Greens and Free Democrats that excludes the conservative Christian Democrats for the first time since 2000. The new government promises a $14 minimum wage, solar panels on all suitable roof space, 2% of land for wind farms and the closure of Germany’s last coal-fired power plants by 2030.

Iraqis voted in an election that was called in response to a popular protest movement launched in October 2019 to challenge the endemic corruption of the post-2003 political

— source commondreams.org | Medea Benjamin, Nicolas J.S. Davies | Oct 20, 2021

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Three indigenous Palestinian secrets

Most Palestinians see themselves as the self-evident indigenous people of the land. The relationship with the land, agriculture, and ancestral heritage has solidified this over centuries. However, huge efforts have been put in by Zionist propaganda groups to erase this fact and undermine this status. Like other colonial endeavors, the colonizer exerts his will on the land for self-profit with a disregard to local wisdom and possible consequences of their actions.

Over the past four months I have encountered a number of Palestinian “secrets” that either Palestinians keep to themselves in order to protect their heritage, or that others keep from the Palestinians in order to deny them from it.

First, at the beginning of August of this year, Jerusalem faced severe forest fires which consumed the hills of pine trees and uncovered a secret; Palestinian terraces. These terraces date back to the Ottoman period and consensus is that were in fact constructed by the indigenous Palestinian population. This is an ancient technique which attempts to

— source mondoweiss.net | Jack Munayer | Sep 13, 2021

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NYC Taxi Drivers Launch Hunger Strike

in New York City, where a group of taxi drivers are launching a hunger strike today, demanding the city enact debt relief for thousands of drivers who have been devastated by massive debt, accrued largely due to the artificially inflated cost of taxi medallions. This comes after taxi drivers held a 30-day, round-the-clock protest outside City Hall. Drivers have also been denouncing the mental health impacts triggered by the financial ruin. At least nine drivers have died by suicide.

it’s just been really devastating. I mean, we’ve had nine driver suicides. And at this point, where drivers have an average debt of $550,000, the city has basically no solution. They’ve come out with what’s really just a cash bailout to the banks, with no real relief for the drivers. Thousands and thousands of families are going to be left in a debt, that it will be beyond their lifetime, and they’ll be earning below minimum wage just to pay it off.

— source democracynow.org | Oct 20, 2021

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The Anonymous Executioners of the Corporate State

Judge Loretta Preska, an advisor to the conservative Federalist Society, to which Chevron is a major donor, sentenced human rights attorney and Chevron nemesis Steven Donziger to six months in prison Friday for misdemeanor contempt of court after he had already spent 787 days under house arrest in New York.

Preska’s caustic outbursts — she said at the sentencing, “It seems that only the proverbial two-by-four between the eyes will instill in him any respect for the law” — capped a judicial farce worthy of the antics of Vasiliy Vasilievich, the presiding judge at the major show trials of the Great Purges in the Soviet Union, and the Nazi judge Roland Freisler who once shouted at a defendant,”You really are a lousy piece of trash!”

Donziger, a graduate of Harvard Law School, has been fighting against polluting American oil companies for nearly three decades on behalf of indigenous communities and peasant farmers in Ecuador. His only “crime” was winning a $9.5 billion judgment in 2011 against Chevron for thousands of plaintiffs. The oil giant had bought Texaco oil company holdings

— source scheerpost.com | Chris Hedges | Oct 6, 2021

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Reactions to the Death of 16 Migrants

In the early hours of May 8, a goods train crushed 16 migrant labourers to death in Aurangabad as they slept on a railway track. A few days have passed since this tragedy, but I still find myself at a loss while trying to decide which is more heartbreaking – the actual accident, or the responses on social media that have followed.

“How could they have been so irresponsible?”

“They have no one but themselves to blame.”

“They had children, why weren’t they thinking about their children?”

“Who sleeps on a railway track?”

“Why couldn’t they sleep by the side of the tracks?

“How could they be so stupid?”

— source thewire.in | Rohit Kumar | 13/May/2020

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Women in India are voting today, thanks to a Jewish MP’s initiative 100 years ago

Edwin Samuel Montagu is not a name that will resonate with Indians today. Born in 1879 and dying in 1924, he belongs to a bygone era — the Jewish MP who opposed the Balfour Declaration.

The name Edwin Samuel Montagu means little if anything to contemporary India. And yet, a hundred years ago, in 1917, the 38-year-old Montagu was perhaps the most discussed, the most important Englishman for our country.

Montagu had been appointed secretary of state for India that year. The position made him virtually in charge of “the brightest gem on the British Crown”, India’s remote controller. A liberal in every sense of the term, Montagu was a radical if not quite a “free-thinking” politician who could not be stereotypical. Responding to the growing demand for self-government in India, for Swaraj, Montagu proposed to his Cabinet “the gradual development of free institutions in India with a view to ultimate self-government”.
Montagu’s independent spirit showed itself in another theatre as well. On August 23, 1917, the House of Commons discussed Palestine in what has become famous as the Balfour Declaration. As the only Jew in the Cabinet at the time, Montagu could have been expected to support the idea of Palestine for the Jews. But Montagu being Montagu, he did the opposite. He passionately opposed the motion and submitted a memorandum to the Cabinet in which he said : “Zionism has always seemed to me to be a mischievous political creed, untenable by any patriotic citizen…I assert that there is not a Jewish nation…When the Jews are told that Palestine is their national home, every country will immediately desire to get rid of its Jewish citizens, and you will find a population in Palestine driving out its present inhabitants, taking all the best in the country…

It is quite true that Palestine plays a large part in Jewish history, but so it does in modern Mohammedan history…I would say… that the Government will be prepared to do everything in their power to obtain for Jews in Palestine complete liberty of settlement and life on an equality with the inhabitants of that country who profess other religious beliefs. I would ask that the Government should go no further.”

— source hindustantimes.com | Gopalkrishna Gandhi | Mar 10, 2017

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How Companies Like Google Plan to Profit in High-Tech COVID Dystopia

the billionaires I was referring to is, he didn’t just announce that partnership with Eric Schmidt, who will be chairing this blue-ribbon commission to, quote-unquote, “reopen” New York state with an emphasis on telehealth, remote learning, working from home, increased broadband. That’s what they announced during that briefing. He also announced that he would be kind of outsourcing the tracing of the virus to Michael Bloomberg, another megabillionaire. And the day before, at the briefing, Cuomo announced a partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to, quote-unquote, “reimagine” education.

And during all of these announcements, there’s just been sort of effusive praise heaped on these billionaires. They’re called “visionaries” over and over again. And the governor talks about how this is an unprecedented opportunity to put their preexisting ideas into action. And this is what I’ve described as the shock doctrine previously.

And we have talked on the show during the pandemic about what I would describe as kind of lower-tech shock doctrines of the kind we’ve seen before — immediately going after Social Security, immediately bailing out fossil fuel companies. And I want to stress that all of this is still happening, right? The suspending of EPA regulations. So, there’s still this kind of lower-tech

— source democracynow.org | May 13, 2020

Black Socialist on Democratic Ticket for Buffalo Mayor

The chair of New York’s Democratic Party is facing calls to resign, after he compared Buffalo mayoral candidate India Walton to former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. Walton shocked the Democratic establishment in June when she defeated the Buffalo four-term Mayor Byron Brown in the Democratic primary. India Walton is a Black single mother. She’s a registered nurse, a longtime community activist and a self-described socialist. But many of the state’s top Democrats, including Governor Kathy Hochul and Senator Chuck Schumer, are refusing to endorse her in the general election. The Buffalo mayor, Byron Brown, is now running a write-in campaign in attempt to stay in office. But she already defeated him.

I am hyper-focused on the next week and a half, approximately, a little more than that, and in winning the general election convincingly enough to let people know that the voters of Buffalo is who was calling for a change in leadership. You know, I think what Jay Jacobs said about me is unfortunate and misguided, but I’m definitely not focused on that. I don’t have the energy. I don’t have the space in my heart for too much anger, because right now I am running for mayor of Buffalo as an expression of love.

— source democracynow.org | Oct 20, 2021

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Emergency Report on School Education

The Covid-19 pandemic and its consequent lockdowns have caused schools in India to be closed for the last year and a half – notes Locked Out: Emergency Report on School Education. Published on September 6, 2021, the report discusses the disastrous effects of prolonged school closures on the education of students from poor households. It presents the findings of the School Children’s Online and Offline Learning (SCHOOL) survey.

The survey was conducted in August 2021 by a team of nearly 100 volunteers led by development economists Reetika Khera and Jean Drèze, along with Ranchi-based researchers Nirali Bakhla and Vipul Paikra. It covers 1,362 households with at least one child enrolled at the primary or upper primary level (Classes 1-8). The survey was carried out in 15 states: Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

Around 60 per cent of households resided in rural and 74 per cent in urban areas. Close to 60 per cent belonged to Dalit or Adivasi communities. And 84 per cent of children from rural households were enrolled in government schools.

— source ruralindiaonline.org | Nirali Bakhla, Jean Drèze, Vipul Paikra and Reetika Khera

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Jerusalem opposes construction in abandoned Palestinian village of ‘utmost historical importance’

Jerusalem opposes a controversial construction plan in the abandoned Palestinian village of Lifta, which is considered a site of global historic significance, the municipality told the Jerusalem District Court last week.

The city’s statement to court, responding to a petition by refugees from the village and a group of Jerusalem activists, says it wants the Israel Land Authority’s plan cancelled, as it would “would crush many green areas and areas of utmost historical importance. In the city’s opinion, the plan does not serve the public interest.”

The municipality told the court that the Land Authority promoted the plan for a high-end residential neighborhood despite the city’s objections. Both began working on the plan a decade ago.

The area of the village, at the western entrance to Jerusalem, should be developed, the city said, “but in a cautious manner, and while carefully preserving the unique

— source Jews For Justice For Palestinians | Nir Hasson | 9 Sep 2021

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