Battle To Oppose Water Privatization Returns Greece To Frontlines Of E.U. Crisis

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By Maria Paradia for Occupy – In late September 2016, the Syriza administration laid the groundwork to begin Greece’s water privatization, achieving a majority of 152 parliamentary votes and enacting series of new measures to transfer the state-run water companies of Athens (EYDAP) and Thessaloniki (EYATH) into a privatization superfund. The duration of the government’s participation in the superfund was set at 99 years, with lenders promising the Greek government a bailout of barely 2.8 billion euros – far lower than the projected 50 billion euros estimated earlier in the year. While Greece was forced to privatize its water sources, however, other countries like Germany were undergoing the opposite: a phase of de-privatization. In Berlin, after 12 years of poor management and exorbitant price hikes, the local government several years ago reclaimed its water resources. This turn of events caused a series of similar de-privatization initiatives across the country, revealing that the projected economic outcomes via privatization weren’t viable in the long term. In fact, the re-established state-run services were proven to be far more efficient, better organized and capable of providing higher-quality services than their privatized counterparts.

U.S. Citizens Take Action Against U.S. Nuclear Bombs In Europe

by Bonnie Urfer

By Ralph Hutchison for The Nuclear Resister – A delegation of eleven U.S. citizens joined with activists from China, Russia, Germany, Mexico, The Netherlands, Belgium and Britain at a peace encampment at the German airbase in Büchel, Germany, where U.S. B61 bombs are deployed. On Sunday, July 16, following the celebration of a Christian liturgy, Dutch and U.S. citizens removed the fence blocking the main entrance to the airbase and proceeded on site, the Dutch delegation carrying bread for a “Bread Not Bombs” action and the U.S. delegation carrying the text of the Nuclear Ban Treaty passed on July 7 at the United Nations in New York City. More than thirty activists entered the site without incident, passing through the security gate that was accidentally left unlocked and unstaffed. The Dutch delegation placed loaves of bread on the wings of jet fighters; the U.S. delegation lowered the U.S. flag from the flagpole, requested a meeting with the base commander, and read the text of the U.N. Treaty to soldiers at the base. After forty-five minutes, guards ran to seal the gates and police were summoned. Eventually, all activists were expelled from the facility without being charged. On Monday, July 17, activists woke to find themselves prisoners in the peace camp as those attempting to approach the base with banners were rebuffed by police. More than a dozen police vans ringed the roundabout at the gate.

Building Red-Green Alternatives: Can Commons Challenge Neoliberalism From Below?

Inger. V. Johansen, Tom Kucharz, Satoko Kishimoto / Photo: Bettina Gram

By Inger V. Johansen and Gitte Pedersen for Transform! – Following on from our fruitful experience at the 2016 conference, when the issue of Commons was discussed as an integral part of the economic and ecological alternatives we are seeking to develop, we made Commons the focus of this year’s conference. We decided to address the subject from different perspectives, including how to use Commons in transforming society and the limitations involved in doing so. This was an extremely successful conference. We even managed to incorporate Commons into our general debate on alternatives, linking it to the all-important red and green strategic perspectives of our conferences. Nevertheless, we have concluded that, here in Denmark, it is still difficult to raise the debate on Commons at conferences. In this country, Commons is almost exclusively discussed in a few closed political and academic circles. The number of participants at this conference was fewer than on previous occasions, with a decrease in young people in particular. We believe that this reflects the problem. We simply need more time and discussion before we are able to focus specifically on the issue of Commons once again. In the future, we will therefore choose to integrate Commons into the overall themes of the conferences and debate. We strongly feel that we need more debate on privatization and remunicipalization, which is a big issue in Denmark.

Complete Reversal And Betrayal From Major EU Party

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By Ruth Coustick-Deal for Open Media – The European People’s Party (EPP) — the largest party in the EU — has announced they are officially backing the Link Tax. It’s an insulting blow to public voices, informed decision-making, and democracy. Despite major concerns from leading EPP figures and thousands of grassroots citizens, the EPP party has decided to go all in for the broad, sweeping “ancillary copyright on steroids” version of the Link Tax, that was proposed by German Commissioner Gunther Oettinger. It’s a shocking u-turn in a tiny space of time. Let’s just take a moment to understand this story: A: Tens of thousands of people email their MEPs, repeatedly: yet none of the larger parties come out against the unpopular Link Tax B: A new MEP is appointed lead for copyright : a few days later the EPP make an official announcement of the party line that parrots the language of the lobbyists. In fact, the EPP has not even announced a unique position: on Article 11 (the Link Tax), their stance is basically a full endorsement of what the Commission originally proposed. This shows they just haven’t been listening to what European citizens have been telling them about how the Link Tax will censor the Internet and restrict our access to information.

G20 Violence Prompts Calls For New Curbs On Anti-Capitalist Militants

Residents in the Schanzenviertel district of Hamburg pass by a pile of burned debris following looting and rioting by G20 protesters. Photograph: Zuma Wire/Rex/Shutterstock

By Kate Connolly for The Guardian – Allies of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, have called for new curbs on leftwing extremists, including a Europe-wide register, after her decision to hold the G20 world leaders’ summit in Hamburg ended in violent clashes and injuries to nearly 500 police officers. The cost of the damage has not yet been established but is expected to run into millions of euros. Merkel, who faces a parliamentary election on 24 September, has said that Hamburg residents who suffered damage will be properly compensated. Olaf Scholz, the mayor of Hamburg, meanwhile faced calls for his resignation over accusations he had mismanaged the summit. Hundreds of anti-capitalist militants descended on the city torching cars, looting shops and throwing molotov cocktails. The violence dominated German media coverage of the event, which also featured the first meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. The German justice minister, Heiko Maas, of Merkel’s SPD coalition partners, said the federal government would put more money into preventing leftwing extremism as he pledged that no German city would ever have to host a world leaders’ summit again. He told the tabloid Bild that the G20 had shown the reality of experts’ assessments that “Germany has reached a historic high point in terms of politically-motivated violence”.

‘We’ve Made History’: Ireland Joins France, Germany And Bulgaria In Banning Fracking​

Hildegarde Naughton, TD for Galway West

By Lorraine Chow for Eco Watch – McLoughlin also issued a statement that mentioned the impact of fracking in the U.S.: This law will mean communities in the West and North West of Ireland will be safeguarded from the negative effects of hydraulic fracking. Counties such as Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon, Donegal, Cavan, Monaghan and Clare will no longer face negative effects like those seen in cities and towns in the United States, where many areas have now decided to implement similar bans to the one before us. If fracking was allowed to take place in Ireland and Northern Ireland it would pose significant threats to the air, water and the health and safety of individuals and communities here. Fracking must be seen as a serious public health and environmental concern for Ireland. Environmental group Friends of the Earth Ireland celebrated the bill’s passage. “A day to celebrate. A day for #ClimatePride. The Irish parliament has passed a law to #BanFracking.

16 European Nations Vote Against GMO Crops

Credit: Mercola.com  Read More: http://www.trueactivist.com/russia-completely-bans-gmos-in-food-production/

By Lorraine Chow for Eco Watch – The majority of European Union governments voted against a proposal to authorize two new strains of genetically modified (GMO) maize today. The two varieties of maize, DuPont Pioneer’s 1507 and Syngenta’s Bt11, kill insects by producing its own pesticide and is also resistant Bayer’s glufosinate herbicide. If approved, the varieties would be the first new GMO crops authorized for cultivation in the EU since 1998. However, as Reuters noted, the votes against authorization did not decisively block their entry to the EU because the opposition did not represent a “qualified majority.” A qualified majority is achieved when at least 16 countries, representing at least 65 percent of the European population, vote in favor or against. (Scroll down for the vote breakdown). The majority of EU governments also voted against renewing the license for another maize, Monsanto’s MON810, the only GMO crop currently grown in the EU. The votes against its renewal was not considered decisive either.

‘Reinventing Law For The Commons’

PILLARS OF JUSTICE: Although the U.S. Supreme Court is the most diverse it has ever been – three of the nine justices are women and two are minorities – the elite bar that comes before it is strikingly homogeneous: Of the 66 top lawyers, 63 are white. Only eight are women. REUTERS/Molly Riley

By Theodora Kotsaka for Transform Europe – Nicos Poulantzas Institute is working on Commons during the last four years, focusing on areas as water and its management as a common good, digital commons and applied policies on Commons related to productions model transformation. D. Bollier’s speech was organized in order to complete the picture by referring to the argent need of reinventing a law for the Commons. In countries around the world, Bollier noted, a burgeoning ‘Commons Sector’ is developing effective, ecological alternatives to the increasingly dysfunctional market/state system. Commons are developing new types of food-growing and -distribution systems, alternative currencies to retain community value, platform co-operatives for online sharing, multistakeholder co-ops, open design and manufacturing systems, land trusts, co-learning projects, and much else.

A Documentary You’ll Likely Never See

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By James DiEugenio for Consortium News -It is not very often that a documentary film can set a new paradigm about a recent event, let alone, one that is still in progress. But the new film Ukraine on Fire has the potential to do so – assuming that many people get to see it. Usually, documentaries — even good ones — repackage familiar information in a different aesthetic form. If that form is skillfully done, then the information can move us in a different way than just reading about it. A good example of this would be Peter Davis’s powerful documentary about U.S. involvement in Vietnam, Hearts and Minds. By 1974, most Americans understood just how bad the Vietnam War was, but through the combination of sounds and images, which could only have been done through film, that documentary created a sensation, which removed the last obstacles to America leaving Indochina.

Holland To Finland To Scotland, Basic Income Could Be A Reality Across Europe

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By Steve Rushton for Occupy – Universal basic income is emerging as a realistic policy position across Europe. As we reported in late 2015, local authorities across the Netherlands are currently running trials to award every citizen unconditional money from the state. And this year, Finland started an experiment of 2,000 randomly selected people, all of whom currently receive out of work benefits. The first monthly payments of €560 ($590) were paid into those people’s accounts within the last week, and the trial will examine the impact of that money on overall employment. Now, sweeping further to the west, plans are underway to establish basic income in the Scottish councils of Glasgow and Fife, revealing a groundswell of interest that is sweeping the continent.

Anti-Russia “Fake News” Campaign Rolled Out Across Europe

The EU needs more than pretty rhetoric and good intentions to stay glued together. (Image via Shutterstock)

By Julie Hyland for WSWS – In the aftermath of the November 8 US presidential election, sections of the Democratic Party, the intelligence services and the media have intensified unsubstantiated pre-election claims that the Russian government hacked into Democratic Party email servers to undermine the campaign of Hillary Clinton. The immediate purpose was to distract from the content of the leaked emails, which exposed a conspiracy by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee to undermine her challenger in the primaries, Bernie Sanders. With Trump’s victory, it has become the focus for a ferocious struggle within the ruling elite over foreign policy…

European Cities Organizing To Respond To Migrant Crisis

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By Eleanor Penny for Open Democracy – European city councils have launched an initiative to co-ordinate their responses to the migrant crisis, in defiance of the apathy of some national governments. Nationalism, if it ever left us, is definitively back in vogue. With nationalist parties resurgent throughout Europe, more and more European nationals are vesting their political hopes in national governments. But for those new migrants without increasingly-coveted EU citizenship, the institutions most likely to come to their aid are not nation states, but local and city governments. For what now seems like a brief moment, the German state led the way in ‘progressive’ policies towards refugee reception

European Court Of Justice Rules Against Mass Surveillance

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By Staff of DW – The ECJ has ruled that governments cannot force telecom firms to keep all customer data. The ruling, which says the laws violate basic privacy rights, comes as governments call for greater powers for spy agencies. The Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) ruled on Wednesday that laws allowing for the blanket collection and retention of location and traffic data are in breach of EU law. In their decision, the justices wrote that storing such data, which includes text message senders and recipients and call histories, allows for “very precise conclusions to be drawn concerning the private lives of the persons whose data has been retained.”

Struggle Against Racism And ‘Fortress-Europe’

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By Panagiotis Sotiris for Spectrezine – The refugee crisis has demonstrated the deep crisis of the European Union. For the past years not only it has not been able to deal with the arrival of a large number of refugees and migrants, but has resorted to the deadly, murderous policies of “Fortress Europe”. The result has been thousands of dead refugees and migrants in the waters of the Mediterranean. Some people say “there are too many refugees in the world”. Is this true? Well, numbers don’t add up. In 2015 the total number of migrants was 232 million, in a global population of 7.4 billion. Regarding refugees in particular, the numbers are indeed increasing.

Young French Immigrants Begin Solidarity Chain To Feed Refugees

The youth cooked sandwiches and typical cuisine from West Africa, then delivered them in a dozen cars to homeless refugees in Paris. | Photo: Video Capture

By Staff for Tele Sur – “We also are children of immigrants, we grew up in poverty, the principle of sharing is part of who we are,” said Souleymane. A video inviting young residents of Paris’ immigrant suburbs to give free meals to homeless refugees went viral on Facebook, reaching over 50,000 views by Monday. “We also are children of immigrants, we grew up in poverty, the principle of sharing is part of who we are,” said Souleymane, a resident of the Sarcelles suburb where the project began.