Anti-Government Popular Uprising Continues to Grow in Haiti

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By Kim Ives for Haiti Liberty. Massive, raucous demonstrations, sometime several times a week, have rocked Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, and other provincial cities over the past two months and show no sign of subsiding, despite a lack of clear or unified leadership. Police repression of the demonstrators has grown as their calls have morphed from denouncing a tax-laden, fee-hiking, austerity budget proposed in early September to demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moïse, who came to power in February following controversial, anemic elections in November 2016. The neoliberal measures, featuring privatizations, public employee layoffs, and tariff reductions, included slashing gas subsidies which resulted in a 30% hike in transportation costs overnight. The Caracazo revolt led to the 1992 coup d’état attempt and subsequent 1998 election of Hugo Chavez. Similarly, Jovenel Moïse’s Washington-influenced budget proposes a host of taxes and fees on everything from drivers licenses, vehicle registrations, and passports to a 10,000 gourdes ($157US) annual tax on expatriate Haitians.

NAFTA’s Neoliberal Foundations Need To Be Dismantled From The Left

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By Jeff Schuhrke for In These Times – Rejecting both economic nationalism and free-market fundamentalism, workers across North America are building transnational solidarity and demanding labor rights for all. Last week, nearly 60 representatives of unions and civil society organizations from Mexico, Canada and the United States gathered in Chicago for a two-day meeting to discuss strategies for collaboration as their governments renegotiate the 23-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The meeting was coordinated by the United Electrical Workers (UE), UCLA Labor Center and Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, an international civic education institution affiliated with Germany’s Left Party. While many Mexican unions are dominated by the government, only the country’s more independent and democratically run labor organizations attended. “We’re discussing what kinds of relationships can be built, either bi-nationally or tri-nationally,” Benedicto Martínez, a national co-coordinator of Mexico’s Frente Auténtico del Trabajo, or Authentic Labor Front (FAT), told In These Times. “At the forefront of our vision would be the rights of people, including better wages, better education, better healthcare and immigration rights.” Critics argue that NAFTA has accelerated the global “race to the bottom,” where governments dismantle workplace and environmental protections in order to attract capital investment.

We Need New Political Story Of Empathy And Sharing To Replace Neoliberalism

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By Mark Karlin for Truthout – Starting with the formation by Friedrich Hayek and others of the Mont Pelerin Society in 1947, the neoliberals, with sponsorship from some very rich backers, built a kind of international network. They set up think tanks, sponsored and captured academic departments, brought journalists and editors into their meetings, and managed to insert advisers into key political departments. They knew that, when Keynesian social democracy was broadly accepted by parties across the political spectrum, that they had no chance of immediate success. But they were patient. Across the course of 30 years, they built their networks, refined their arguments, and brought more and more people into their orbit. They knew that when an economic or political crisis came along, they would be ready to go. As Milton Friedman remarked, “When the time came that you had to change … there was an alternative ready there to be picked up.” Every generation or so, political stories need to be refreshed or replaced. But most importantly, they had something which their opponents did not: a new story.

Newsletter - Mobilize For System Change

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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. Decades of neo-liberal economic policies in the United States and debt, which is required by the bottom 90% to survive, have fanned political unrest and the call for revolution, rather than reform. Just as Obama and the Democrat’s populist façade disintegrated under a growing wealth divide, worsening climate change and militarization of our communities and woke many self-described progressives up to the need for systemic changes, the Trump presidency could have similar effects on conservatives. Voters who thought they were ending the status quo, “draining the swamp,” by voting for Trump may find that loss of health care, trade deals that drive a race to the bottom and tax cuts for the wealthy move them to be open to solutions they may have once rejected.

The Political Economy Of Obama/Trump

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By Richard D. Wolff for Counter Punch. US capitalism is again careening down blind alleys. Earlier it had crashed into the Great Depression from 1929 to 1933 before lurching into the New Deal. After 1945 it concentrated on rolling back the New Deal until it turned sharply to neoliberalism and “globalism” in the 1970s. That provided the comforting illusion of a few decades of “prosperous normalcy.” When the second major crash in 75 years hit in 2008, it exposed the debt-dependent reality of those decades. It also sent capitalism careening through a new depression followed by a devastating austerity regime. The economic careening provokes the political: its establishment center cannot hold.

Newsletter – No #NAFTA2, Yes To Trade For People & Planet

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By Daniel Cooper Bermudez. The Trump administration is renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico in secret, just as President Obama did with the TPP. Over the past two decades, NAFTA has resulted in workers losing their jobs and being replaced by machinery, ruined family farms throughout the continent, displaced communities and privatized social services, environmental disasters like the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and a widespread attack on labor rights and unions. This week, we explain our opposition to NAFTA2 and put forward a strategy to remake trade so it is no longer corporate-driven trade for the profits of a few, but people-driven trade to benefit all and protect the planet.

Radical Municipalism: The Future We Deserve

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By Debbie Bookchin for ROAR Magazine – I am the daughter of two longtime municipalists. My mother, Beatrice Bookchin, ran for city council of Burlington, Vermont thirty years ago, in 1987, on an explicitly municipalist platform of building an ecological city, a moral economy and, above all, citizen assemblies that would contest the power of the nation state. My father is the social theorist and libertarian municipalist, Murray Bookchin. For many years the left has struggled with the question of how to bring our ideas, of equality, economic justice and human rights, to fruition. And my father’s political trajectory is instructive for the argument that I want to make: that municipalism isn’t just one of many ways to bring about social change — it is really the only way that we will successfully transform society. As someone who had grown up as a young communist and been deeply educated in Marxist theory, my father became troubled by the economistic, reductionist modes of thinking that had historically permeated the Marxist left. He was searching for a more expansive notion of freedom — not just freedom from economic exploitation, but freedom that encompassed all manner of oppression: race, class, gender, ethnicity.

Disinformation Terrorism Against Venezuela

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By Armando B. Gines for New Dawn. World elites dominate the main international media almost completely through an intricate network of associations that conceal the participation of transnational empires such as banks, weapons industries, energy industries, and financial and investment entities. The New York Times, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, the Financial Times, El País—renowned newspapers and TV networks impose the views of their shareholders on current events, dictating the agenda for the millions that make up their audience. In other words, they lead the collective attention to focus on their preferred topics while they intentionally cast a cloak of silence over other issues, according to their economic interests. As US linguist George Lakoff revealed, we only talk about that which the hegemonic power wants us to talk about.

Neo-Nazis And The Rise Of Illiberal Democracy

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By Henry Giroux for TruthDig. While Trump finally gave way to overwhelming pressure on Monday and delivered a speech in which he asserted that “racism is evil” and described the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists as “repugnant,” by Tuesday he had already reverted to his initial assertion of “blame on both sides,” equating neo-Nazis with anti-racist counter-protesters (whom he labelled as the “alt-left”) and speaking of “very fine people” among the crowd of right-wing extremists who chanted racist and anti-Semitic slogans on Friday night. The authoritarian drama unfolding across the United States has many registers and includes state violence against immigrants, right-wing populist violence against mosques and synagogues, and attacks on Muslims, Black people and others who do not fit into the vile script of white nationalism. The violence in Charlottesville is but one register of a larger mirror of domestic terrorism and home-grown fascism that is growing in the United States.

Newsletter: Policies For The People

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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. Political economist C. J. Polychroniou recently interviewed David M. Kotz, author of “The Rise and Fall of Neoliberal Capitalism,” about the transition in the US from a regulated capitalism instituted under FDR that protected workers and the vulnerable to some extent to a financialized global neoliberal capitalism that started in the 1970s. Under neoliberalism, the rich got richer while protections for workers in the form of unions and and the vulnerable in the form of a social safety net were dismantled. In addition, the environmental impacts of industry and fossil fuels are barely considered despite the reality of climate change. Neoliberalism crashed in 2008 and has remained in a crisis state ever since with a stagnating economy, growing wealth divide and political turmoil. Crises are turning points.

It’s Not Only Necessary To Develop An Alternative To Globalization — It’s Entirely Possible

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By Walden Bello for Foreign Policy in Focus – Free trade and the freedom of capital to move across borders have been the cutting edge of globalization. They’ve also led to the succession of crises that have led to the widespread questioning of capitalism as a way of organizing economic life — and of its paramount ideological expression, neoliberalism. The protests against capitalism at the recent G20 meeting in Hamburg may seem superficially the same as those which marked similar meetings in the early 2000s. But there’s one big difference now: Global capitalism is in a period of long-term stagnation following the global financial crisis. The newer protests represent a far broader disenchantment with capitalism than the protests of the 2000s. Yet capitalism’s resilience amidst crisis must not be underestimated. For trade activists, in particular, who’ve been on the forefront of the struggle against neoliberalism and globalization over the last two decades, there are a number of key challenges posed by the conjuncture.

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

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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.

G20 Protestors Call For An Alternative To The Neoliberal Order

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By Patrick Bond for The Real News Network – On July 7th and 8th, the G20, a grouping of the world’s 20 largest economies, concluded a summit in Hamburg, Germany. At the conclusion of the summit, G20 leaders issued a 15 page declaration. Nineteen of the 20 leaders were able to agree on all points made in the joint declaration, but Donald Trump could not agree with the other G20 leaders on the climate change language. So the G20 broke with tradition and crafted a separate paragraph on Trump’s stance on the Paris Climate Accord and fossil fuels. That paragraph stated – quote – “We take note of the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from the Paris agreement. The leaders of the other G20 members state that the Paris Agreement is irreversible.” And it went on to state, “We reaffirm our strong commitment to the Paris agreement.” The U.S. also managed to insert, however, a piece of text referencing fossil fuels which read – quote – “The United States of America states it will endeavor to work closely with other countries to help them access and use fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently.” German leader, Angela Merkel, said she deplored the decision by the U.S. government to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, but she reiterated that all the G20 states other than the United States agree that the Accord is irreversible.

First Day Of G-20 Mass Protest, Tear Gas and Water Cannons

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By Staff for Popular Resistance. The meetings of the G-20 began on July 6 with President Trump and other foreign leaders arriving. They were met with immediate mass protests of globalization policies that urge corporate trade agreements, neoliberal privatization and austerity as well as inadequate action on climate change. More than 100,000 protesters are expected and 20,000 police are on hand to control and arrest them. The Huff Post reported: Violent clashes erupted Thursday between police and protesters in Hamburg, Germany, as world leaders are set to attend the G-20 summit in the city. Several people were injured, according to HuffPost Germany reporters on the scene. Hamburg police said 76 officers were injured. Earlier the department said three were hospitalized for the injuries. They implicated small groups of protesters in the violence. Police used smoke grenades and water cannons on protestors, reporters said, while activists threw stones, bottles and explosives, and set at least one car ablaze. Fires were still burning in the street as of 11 p.m. local time.

Neoliberalism’s Crumbling Democratic Façade

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By Joris Leverink for ROAR Magazine – Years from now, when we look back at the 2010s, what will be the images that come to mind? Will we recall the wealth and prosperity brought to us by free markets and private investment? The freedom and democracy we enjoyed under our neoliberal governments? Or the ways in which we bravely protected our cultural and natural heritage, safeguarding it for future generations? Most likely not. When we think of the 2010s, we will remember the protesters in the streets, the wars ravaging the Middle East, causing entire populations to leave home and hearth behind, and the millions of people across the globe risking their lives just to make a living somewhere else. We will remember the xenophobic attacks, the racist politicians, the gag orders and the crackdowns.