Category Archives: Environment

Monsanto, Settlers Inadvertently Create New Superweeds

Monsanto, Settlers Inadvertently Create New Superweeds

(www.antiimperialism.wordpress.com)

Over a decade ago, Monsanto made a supposed breakthrough. The idea was simple: sell both genetically-modified seeds and herbicide which would kill all other plant-life. It was marketed with great success to Amerikan farm-owners as a low-cost, high-output alternative to traditional agricultural methods. Critics called it “Frankenfood.” Now, Monsanto and Amerikan farm-owners are acknowledging one recent consequence of genetically-modified crops: superweeds.

Weeds, often those long native to the Americas, have long plagued Amerikan farm-owners. However, new superweeds are resistant to Monstanto’s herbicide, greatly diminishing the usefulness of their twin products, and in some cases grow much larger and quicker than their native ancestors. Farm-owners claim the evolution of superweeds has set their practices back by twenty years.(1) In a video from ABC News, a white guy explains the new weeds can damage heavy machinery while Blacks are shown in the fields doing manual labor.(2)

Monsanto claims a solution is only years away: newer genetically-modified seeds and stronger, sometimes older herbicides, such as 2,4-D, a main component of Agent Orange.(3)

On the surface, it’s hard to explain why Amerikan farmers chose to douse their field with stronger herbicides each year. Amerika is hardly short of food. The majority of the US population is overweight or obese, and around 40-50% of all produce grown in the US goes uneaten.(4) Neither are Amerikan farmers compelled by any feeling of altruism towards the masses of people who are underweight and genuinely malnourished throughout the world. That Amerikan farms overproduce food does little to help your average starving African.

In fact, the opposite is true.

As part of the globalized economy and along with subsidies Amerikan farm-owners receive (both in the form of vast amounts of stolen land and cash from the US government), local, largely autonomous economies have been undermined and destroyed. As a result, hundreds of millions of people have been kicked off of their lands, often their only means of day to day survival, resulting in greater food insecurity throughout the Third World. Exploiters’ quest for profits have caused great pain to the world’s masses. Superweeds are a minor problem compared to any number of plagues imperialism has unleashed.

Imperialism is a system which can not rule without destroying local communities, traditional economies or global ecology. While the world’s masses may never recover everything exploiters have stolen or destroyed, a new world can be built, free from this menacing system. It is out of the ashes of a world imperialism is destroying that the struggle for a mutually and equally beneficial order can emerge victorious.

While over the long run this struggle will benefit humanity in its very ability to survive, the task of building a new world rests mainly on those exploited by imperialism, who have “nothing to loose but their chains.” This group resides mainly in the Third World. At most, a small minority from imperialist First World countries will line up to fight on the side of revolution. Nonetheless, the exploited and their allies must press forward, facilitating the destruction of imperialism and creating of a new, revolutionary global society. Despite everything imperialism has thus far stolen or corrupted, it will be the people who own the future.

Sources:

1. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/04/business/energy-environment/04weed.html

2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-cka5s4AqE

3. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704025304575284390777746822.html

4. http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Supply-Chain/Half-of-US-food-goes-to-waste.

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New Pamphlet: Environment and Revolution

Released by People’s War Press, Environment and Revolution, is a collection of articles by the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement and our allies at Monkey Smashes Heaven.

Click here for 8 page PDF

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In Indian, Forests Grow with Naxalite People’s War

In India, Forests Grow with Naxalite People’s War

(https://raimd.wordpress.com)

A new report has stunned and embarrassed imperialism and Indian compradors: forests are growing in tribal areas controlled by Naxalites, India’s Maoist-inspired revolutionaries. Some of the districts in which the Naxalites are based, Orissa, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, have seen remarkable greening, leading to a marginal net gain of forests throughout India. Though it has received little media attention, the news came shortly before world leaders met in Copenhagen, purportedly to discuss curbing global climate change.

Naxalites claim they are fighting for the economic and social rights of India’s poorest. Their social base is the country’s peasants, forest-dwelling peoples and, to a lesser extend, the urban poor and sections of the intelligentsia. The Naxalite movement began as a peasant insurrection in 1967 against the ruling ‘Communist’ Party of India in West Bengal. It was led by leftist opposition within the Party, influenced by Maoism, then at its revolutionary height during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Today, Naxalites operate in over one-third of Indian and are organized into a number of groups. They claim to be carrying out a people’s war: leading guerrilla offensives against government forces, building independent bases of power and providing greatly-needed social reforms in areas under their control. Naxal base areas are said to be rich in iron, coal, bauxite, gold, uranium, magnesium and diamonds. Mining Companies are reluctant to enter these areas and it has been reported the investors have been scared away in areas where the Naxal presence has increased.

The Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, has called Naxalism the country’s greatest internal security threat. In September of 2009, the Indian state launched Operation Green Hunt, a two-year military offensive against the Naxalite movement involving over 100,000 troops. Since 2005, the Indian state has funded anti-Naxal militias. The Indian media has also launched a public relations offensive against the revolutionaries. The Naxals are often called criminals and murderers. Rather than fighting for social welfare, the Indian state claims the Naxals seek political power.

For their part, the Naxals openly state they desire political power, saying they cannot reasonably implement necessary social changes without it. They say they have been pushed to this position from decades of exploitation and state violence and claim their own violence is defensive, aimed at compradors, government forces and other enemies of the people. It is estimated that 42 percent of Indians currently live under the international poverty line of $1.25/day (PPP).

Imperialism has nothing to offer but its own wretched self-preservation. The comprador Indian state has been adamant. India’s poor will suffer deepened and widened exploitation, continued division and sale of communal lands, the building of more ‘Special Economic Zones’ and the militarism necessary to enforce these measures. At the same time, in Copenhagen, imperialists haggle over who’s going to profit from the devastating climate change they acknowledge they’re creating.

Imperialism breeds resistance. The Indian Naxalites are fighting for a system which operates around the needs of people, not capital accumulation. It should be of no surprise that areas under their influence have seen growth in forest coverings. Revolutionary struggle and social change, as the Naxalites are attempting carrying out in swaths of India, are the only real solutions to global climate change.

Sources:
http://indianvanguard.wordpress.com/2009/12/01/maoist-areas-see-green-cover-rise/01-12-2009-001-020/

Click to access KishenjiInterview-091113.pdf


http://india-forums.com/news/article.asp?id=214457
http://www.thehindu.com/2009/10/12/stories/2009101257690100.htm

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Program of the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement

We want to smash this world and build a new one. Today, the median global income stands around $2.50 a day. Over 1 billion people face chronic hunger and a child dies every five seconds of starvation. This same situation is killing the planet at an unprecedented rate. Meanwhile, a global minority lives in comfort, unconcerned with their effect on the world. We aim to change this.

We understand that there is a causal relationship between wealth on one hand and poverty on the other. On a global level, the First World is rich because it exploits the impoverished majority, the Third World. This global divide, called imperialism, is the principal feature of the world today.

We side with the Third World masses and support their struggles for liberation. Exploiters are not going to hand over freedom to those they exploit. Only through struggle can the oppressed free themselves. We support the right of resistance- and revolution- for oppressed peoples against their oppressors. We support unity of the Third World masses against imperialism.

We reject First Worldism: politics which panders to or assumes that First Worlders are a social base for revolution. The “masses” of the First World are a global minority: a petty-exploiter class which regularly supports the imperialist system from which it benefits. Global revolution demands a just and egalitarian distribution of the world’s resources and wealth. Thus, over the course of global revolution, First Worlders will receive less, not more.

We are John Browns, staunch First World allies of the Third World. We are few and far between and behind enemy lines; there is little direct effect we can have. We consider our circumstances and focus on areas where we can effectively contribute to the revolutionary struggle.

We openly represent revolutionary anti-imperialism and work to build public opinion for Third World liberation struggles. We interject revolutionary, anti-imperialist politics into political arenas such as speaking events and protests; contribute to publishing and distributing revolutionary literature such as the RAIM Global Digest; and conduct group education through study collectives, practical tasks and informal discussion. We seek out and educate those who can be won over to consistent anti-imperialist politics.

We encourage direct participation and involvement, promote personal development and push people to become more valuable to the larger, global revolutionary movement. In part, RAIM is a ‘university of revolution.’ Through direct involvement with RAIM, we encourage people to become more proficient both politically and technically. A large part of RAIM’s purpose is to make individuals more of an asset to the Third World majority.

We encourage Third World-oriented, revolutionary political work. Though RAIM fills a roll by providing a public presence for and entry-level work into revolutionary politics, it is not the end-all-be-all of revolutionary political work. We encourage and support revolutionary, Third World-oriented politics being applied as part of different types of projects and efforts.

-Adopted by RAIM-Denver and RAIM-Seattle, November 23rd, 2009

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Filed under Actions and Events, Agitation Statements, Dear RAIM-Denver..., Environment, Fuck The Troops, Imperialism, Iraq, News and Analysis, Organizing, Political Economy, RAIM-Seattle, White Amerika, Youth

Water and Imperialism

Water and imperialism

(www.raimd.wordpress.com)

Water is essential, in various ways, to all human activity. Water is something that humans, literally, cannot do without. Every human needs water in order live and to have a good life. Societies need water in order to be provide for the survival of their populations. Usable water, as a resource, is finite and distributed unevenly across the planet. Most societies have difficulty providing water to their populations, especially in the Third World.  The inability to access water is referred to as the water crisis. The water crisis results in terrible human costs every year. And, as usable water becomes less and less available in the future, the brunt of the water crisis will befall Third World populations. The writings of  Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, social theorist and architect of the Bolshevik revolution, have framed discussions of imperialism and global poverty. Famously, it was Vladamir Illich Lenin who predicted cycles of world wars as  the powerful nations vied for the dwindling resources of the poorer nations. In the twenty-first century, there is increasing conflict over water. Lack of usable water will be a source of great instability.

Capitalist imperialism plays a role in the crisis.  And, it is the Third World that suffers from these water wars and social instability.  As activist and author Arundhati Roy states, “Empire does not always appear in the form of cruise missiles and tanks, as it has in Iraq or Afghanistan or Vietnam. It appears in their lives in very local avatars-losing their jobs, being sent unpayable electricity bills, having their water supply cut, being evicted from their homes and uprooted from their land. It is a process of relentless impoverishment with which the poor are historically familiar. What Empire does is further entrench and exacerbate already existing inequalities.”(1)

The effects of the water crisis are wide ranging. According to secretary-general of the United Nations at the time, Kofi Annan, “One person in six lives without regular access to safe drinking water; over twice that number—2.4 billion—lack access to adequate sanitation.” (2) Each year more than five million people die from water-related disease. (3) The World Health Organization states that 1.8 million children die every year as a result of diseases caused by unclean water and sanitation.  (4)

1.2 billion people have no sanitation facilities at all. 2.5 billion lack decent sanitation.(5) Fecal matter causes the majority of illnesses in the world. At any given time, half of the poor of the developing world are ill due to water supply, sanitation and hygiene. The biggest cause of infection is poor sanitation, usually related to water. (6)

In addition, agriculture and the water crisis are connected. Firstly, the water crisis is a significant factor in the world food crisis. Poor agricultural techniques waste water. And, overall, if agriculture remains on the same path, it will produce less and less relative to the growing human population. According to one source, “Irrigation-fed agriculture provides 45 percent of the world’s food supplies, and without it, we could not feed our planet’s population of six billion people.” According to the influential head of environmental research institute Worldwatch, Lester Brown, believes that water scarcity is now “the single biggest threat to global food security” (7) Much of the current irrigation is stressed, using more groundwater reserves than can be sustained. (8) As access diminishes, overuse of current water supplies results in increased pollution and environmental damage. This, in turn, diminishes water resources.  Thus, the water crisis is also a significant factor in the world food crisis.

Population growth will especially compound the problems in water and agriculture. A third of the world’s population live in “water stressed” countries currently. (9) This number will only increase in the coming years.  “Population and economic growth across Asia and the rest of the developing world is a major factor driving fresh-water scarcity. The Earth’s human population is predicted to rise from 6 billion to about 9 billion by 2050, the UN reports. Feeding them will mean more irrigation for crops.” (10) Feeding an increased population will mean more water.

This full brunt of the water crisis is suffered by the Third World. Access to water varies greatly from place to place. Looking at the distribution of access to water from one place to another shows that First World has more access than the Third World. This is exactly what one would expect. Privilege in one area accompanies privileges in other areas. Those with high incomes, those in the First World, have access to food, shelter, water, and other goods required for the good life.

The median income globally is about US $ 912.50 (US $ 2.50 per day). There are 2.5 billion people living on less than US $730 a year (US $ 2 per day).  By contrast, the median yearly  income of  a household in the United States was $46,326 in 2006. (11) The average person requires 5 gallons of water per day to survive. The average American uses 100 to 176 gallons of water a day. An average African family consumes roughly 5 gallons a day. (12) There are 2.9 billion without decent sanitation. (13) Those without access to drinking water are not in the First World.

The wealth and power of the imperialist nations translates into the ability to control access to water in the weaker nations. Imperialist nations use water as just another commodity, and they are not above brandishing their control of such a commodity for political ends. This has only increased with the rush toward globalization.

Water is increasingly playing a role in imperialist schemes against the Third World.  For example, one contention between the Palestinians and Israelis is the mountain aquifer underneath the West Bank. The Israeli state and settlers have dominated the groundwater supplies. Palestinians are charged three times more for water than Israelis. (14) Under International Law, Israel is required to provide drinking water to Palestinians. Israel is not allowed to deny it to them. (15) Yet increasing costs is one way to wage war against the Palestinians using water instead of bullets. By controlling water, its distribution and cost, the Israelis and their American allies are able to wield power over the Palestinians. Control over water means control over agriculture and food supplies, it means control over sanitation, and control over human life.

The water crisis also threatens to play a role in the reversal of Zimbabwe’s land reform movement. One consequence of the land reform movement in Zimbabwe has been an increase in water problems. Land in Zimbabwe had been controlled by Europeans, reducing the African population to pauperism. Mugabe’s land reform redistributed the land back to the majority African population. One unintended consequence of the land reform was that the new land owners proved unable to maintain the water systems and irrigation dams.

These problems can be manipulated by political forces. (16) The ex-land owners, those who had benefited from the old imperialist and white supremacist system  in  Zimbabwe, have a vested interest in a water crisis because they stand to benefit. Such a crisis could be exploited politically to oust Mugabe and return themselves to power. These forces are backed by powerful Western allies who seek to reduce Zimbabwe to the status of a colony.  (17)

The one example with a happy ending is the conflict in Bolivia. A water conflict in Bolivia also set an imperial power against a poorer people.  Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in Latin America. (18) Seventy percent of its population live in poverty. Ten percent of children die before age five. Bolivia’s economy was wrecked by hyper-inflation in the 1980s. A small ruling elite dominated Bolivian society. Sixty percent of the population is indigenous. Those of European background have historically had more privileges than the poorer and indigenous segments of the population. In Bolivia in 1999, Cochabamba auctioned its water supply in order to increase services. The water system was purchased by Aguas Del Tunari, a part of Bechtel, a large American corporation. As part of the purchase, the company was guaranteed a 15 to 17% rate of profit. After taking over the water system, Aguas del Tunari raised the water rates, some as high as 300%. (19) This sparked massive protests that lasted two months. The protesters accused the company of “leasing the rain” as they clashed with the Bolivian military. Hundreds were arrested and a  seventeen year-old boy was shot and killed. Journalist Luis Bredow describes the revolt: “Everyone was protesting, everyone…I’ve never seen anything like it in Bolivia. Housewives were throwing stones at the police. It really was a revolt.”

The water conflict intersected with traditional nationalist sentiment. These clashes nearly collapsed the government of Bolivia. The sale of the water resources had to be withdrawn.

The view that water is a commodity like any other has led to disaster in the Third World. According to Vandana Shiva:

“At the core of the market solution to pollution is the assumption that water exists in unlimited supply. The idea that markets can mitigate pollution by facilitating increased allocation fails to recognize that water diversion to one area comes at the cost of water scarcity elsewhere.

In contrast to the corporate theorists who promote market solutions to pollution, grassroots organizations call for political and ecological solutions. Communities fighting high-tech industrial pollution have proposed the Community Environmental Bill of Rights, which includes rights to clean industry; to safety from harmful exposure; to prevention; to knowledge; to participation; to protection and enforcement; to compensation; and to cleanup. All of these rights are basic elements of a water democracy in which the right to clean water is protected for all citizens. Markets can guarantee none of these rights.”

Furthermore,“Market assumptions are blind to the ecological limits set by the water cycle and the economic limits set by poverty. Over-exploitation of water and disruption of the water cycle create absolute scarcity that markets cannot substitute with other commodities. The assumption of substitution is in fact central to logic of commodification. “ (20)

The problem of water crisis can be solved in principle. According to one source, 97.5 percent of the Earth’s water resources are salty. Of the remaining water, only a single percent is available for humans. “Even this tiny proportion, however, would be enough for humans to live on Earth if the water cycle was properly functioning and if we managed our water use wisely.” (21)

However, the nature of capitalism is to view every resource, from labor to water, as a commodity. The water crisis cannot be solved on a global scale until there is a change in social relations globally. It cannot be solve under the current system of capitalism because the very nature of capitalism itself is to put a price on resources, to eliminate the commons. This being the case, it is likely that solutions will not be put in place for a very long time. And, in the meantime, this translates into increased conflicts, even wars over  diminishing access to water.

The reason that the water crisis won’t be solved in the short term is that imperialists have an interest in perpetuating the crisis. Capitalist imperialism is a system organized around profit, not human need. As long as there is profit to be made by “leasing the rain” or using the water crisis to destabilize political enemies, then the policy makers of the powerful nations will not act to solve the water crisis. It will be up to the oppressed nations to solve the water conflicts themselves as was done in Bolivia.

Notes.
1. Roy, Arundhati. People vs. Empire. In These Times magazine. January 2005.

2. Hillary Mayell UN Highlights World Water Crisis for National Geographic News. June 5, 2003.

3. Pacific Institute,  Dirty Water: Estimated Deaths from Water-Related Diseases 2000-2020. 2002.

4. Global Citizens Core.  http://www.globalcitizencorps.org/issues.htm?page=issues_water&elon=1&gclid=CN7WgOrp7ZYCFRxNagodBmgurg

5  UNICEF/WHO. Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation: Special Focus on Sanitation. 2008.

6. Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC). 2008. A Guide to Investigating One of the Biggest Scandals of the Last 50 Years.

7. Africa’s Potential Water Wars. BBC News. 1999. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/454926.stm

8. World Water Crisis Underlies World Food Crisis. Environmental News Service. 2008. http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/aug2008/2008-08-18-01.asp

9.The World Water Crisis. http://www.worldwaterday.net/index.cfm?objectid=E39A970B-F1F6-6035-B9F75093B863ED13

10. Wallace, Scott.  Is water becoming ‘the new oil’? Christian Science Monitor. 2008. http://features.csmonitor.com/environment/2008/05/29/is-water-becoming-‘the-new-oil’/

11. US Census Bureau. http://www.census.gov/

12. UN Water. Tackling a Global Crisis: International Year of Sanitation 2008. 2008.

13. UN Water. Tackling a Global Crisis: International Year of Sanitation 2008. 2008.

14. Ofori-Amoah, Abigail. Water Wars and International Conflict. 2004. http://academic.evergreen.edu/g/grossmaz/OFORIAA/

15. Water war leaves Palestinians thirsty. BBS News. June 2003. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2982730.stm

16. Maoist-Third Worldists denounce imperialist meddling in Zimbabwe. http://monkeysmashesheaven.wordpress.com/2008/06/26/maoist-third-worldists-denounce-imperialist-meddling-in-zimbabwe/

17. Banda, Ignatius. Poverty: Water Wars Hit Rural Zimbabwe. IPS. http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=44294

18. Bolivia Country Report. CIA World Fact Book. 2008. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/bl.html

19. Joseph, Richard. The Water War in Bolivia. Counterpunch. March 26/7, 2005.  http://www.counterpunch.org/joseph03262005.html

20. Vandana Shiva.  Water Wars. South End Press. 2002. http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Vandana_Shiva/Water_Wars_VShiva.html

21.  World Water Crisis Underlies World Food Crisis. Environmental News Service. 2008. http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/aug2008/2008-08-18-01.asp

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Harvest Season Means Forced Labor for Uzbek Children

uzbek children

(https://raimd.wordpress.com)

Every September, hundreds of thousands of Uzbek children begin two months of forced labor in the country’s cotton fields. Receiving almost nothing in wages and acting in accordance with state mandate, schools are closed and children become virtual slaves as the harvest season rolls in.

In the fields, children as young as seven are forced to meet extreme quotas with little opportunities for rest. Conditions are described as squalid and food inadequate. They earn a few pennies per kilo of cotton and wage deductions are made for transportation and food costs. At the end of the harvest season they are left exhausted and often in poor health. Teachers are conscripted into becoming overseers and also work in the fields in order to meet production quotas. Children make up only about half of the harvest season labor force and farmers, forced to grow the export crop,  have it little better. As one Uzbek farmer describes it, “being a cotton farmer here is like hanging between life and death. The government controls our lives very tightly. If we don’t obey, we’ll end up in trouble. All we want is freedom. And the state is punishing us for wanting freedom.”

Uzbekistan’s state-administered cotton industry has also taken its toll on the environment. With the heavy irrigation demands for the cash crop, the Aral Sea, once a climate modifying feature in the region, is at 15% of its former volume. As a result, salinity has multiplied, killing 24 species of native fish and wiping out Uzbekistan’s commercial fishing industry. The cotton fields themselves have been overirrigated and suffer from high levels of soil salinity and erosion. Cotton monoculture has left Uzbekistan’s formerly prosperous lands increasingly infertile, sometimes to the point of abandonment. The heavy use of pesticides has compounded the environmental problem, leading to increased rates of birth defects and genetic mutations.

Uzbekistan is the world’s second largest exporter of cotton, shipping 800,000 metric tons overseas. The comprador Uzbek state maintains a monopoly on the export of cotton. With a barely paid, seasonally captive workforce, much of the income from the cotton is not used in future development projects or as part of social welfare programs but instead props up a small parasitic elite which make up the Third World regime. The cotton which is not exported is sent to Uzbekistan’s small domestic textile industry, made up of joint ventures between the Uzbek state and foreign investors.

According to Steve Trent, Executive Director of the Environmental Justice Foundation, “We have witnessed the forced use of children in Uzbekistan’s cotton fields and seen the conditions they work in. At the same time we have seen how a small, corrupt, ruling elite denies these facts and continues to be the main beneficiary of the cash the child labor earns Uzbekistan.” While forced child labor is undoubtedly a regular feature in the country’s cotton industry, Trent and the Environmental Justice Foundation are missing the larger picture.

Most of Uzbeck’s cotton is exported. The Uzbek state actually sells the cotton at 85% of the global market price and 43% of it is sent to Asian textile mills. There young adults, often women, endure conditions which are scarcely better than that of the common Uzbek. Produced under similar conditions of comprador capitalism, the final product is then exported to imperialist countries where it enters consumer markets. While various Third World puppet regimes may reap some of the benefits of vast pools of virtually captive people, most of it is passed along.

After cotton is harvested and spun into textiles under brutal conditions of comprador capitalism, the finished goods finally enter First World consumer markets. There, First World business realizes massive profits from simply selling the products of Third World labor to First World consumers. Also, First World workers benefit: their high wages enable them to purchase vast quantities of goods, something that would not be possible without the super exploitation of Third World workers. In the grand scheme of things, the Uzbek state is a minor player. It is the imperialist First World which is the main culprit: through its exploitative workings of global scale, it demands cheap commodities produced under conditions of virtual slavery.

Those who benefit from Uzbek forced child labor, the Uzbek comprador elite and the First World, are a global minority. In contrast, the Uzbek masses are part of a larger majority, the vast Third World masses. According the the Environmental Justice Foundation, 250 million children around the world are compelled to work, presumably in commodity exchange industries. Adding to this are the world’s exploited adults, those languishing in vast urban slums and subsistence communities under constant threat of being kicked off the land. Together, the vast Third World masses pose a serious threat to the system: they carry great potential and a historical responsibility.

Today, the most long term solution to the problem of forced child labor is an end to the system which demands it, capitalist-imperialism. Organized along their combined interest, those currently at the bottom of the global order are key to destroying it and building anew. By organizing those who have nothing to lose, Uzbek children and farmers, Chinese factory workers and the vast Third World masses, around a radical program of class war and liberation, and by supporting each others’ struggles against the imperialist system, peoples everywhere can find freedom.

The struggle to build a new world can only take place alongside advances of the oppressed over the course of class warfare. Only through a revolutionary movement of the Third World masses will children everywhere have a future of peace, freedom, prosperity and equality.

Sources:

Click to access white_gold_the_true_cost_of_cotton.pdf


http://www.newint.org/columns/currents/2009/07/01/uzbekistan/
http://www.ethicalcorp.com/content.asp?ContentID=5409

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Amerikan E-Waste Poisons Chinese

e-waste-orange-stuff

Amerikan E-Waste Poisons Chinese

(raimd.wordpress.com)

E-waste increasingly flows from the U.S. to the Third World. E-waste is made up of computers, cell phones, and other electronics that have been thrown away. For example, Amerikans throw out 133,000 computers a day and 100 million cell phones a year. Electronics contain harmful, toxic materials such as lead, cadmium, mercury, chromium, and polyvinyl chlorides. These materials are known to cause cancer, brain damage, kidney disease, etc. This toxic e-waste is the fastest growing part of the municipal waste stream in the U.S.

How does e-waste get from point a to point b? There are dozens of corporations that are contracted to dispose of e-waste. One such company is Executive Recycling out of Englewood, Colorado. Executive Recycling promotes itself as an eco-friendly corporation, sponsoring Earth Day events and a “Go Green” campaign in Colorado, for example. They are a corporation that is contracted to dispose of e-waste in an environmentally safe manner. The Executive Recycling web page even warns of the dangers to Amerikans that e-waste poses: “Here in Colorado, residential customers are not governed by law to recycle electronics; however by putting these items in the trash we are causing a larger issue, as these items leach mercury, lead, and other hazardous elements into our drinking water.”

So, how does Executive Recycling keep Amerikans safe from toxic e-waste? Rather than expose Amerikans to their own hazardous trash, Executive Recycling dumps it on Chinese. A recent story by the news journal 60 Minutes documents how toxic materials are shipped by Executive Recycling, and other First World recycling companies, from Amerika to destinations in China.

One destination is Guiyu, China. It is a city with a growing population, where peasants have come after being driven off the land. The ex-peasants breakdown and burn old computers and other electronics. They earn a few dollars a day dealing with highly toxic materials without protective equipment. They report that their lungs burn and they have trouble breathing. Their skin is damaged with scars and burns. The local water has become undrinkable. Drinking water has to be trucked in. Guiyu has the highest level of cancer-causing dioxins in the world. Seven out of ten children have too much lead in their blood. Miscarriages are six times more likely there.

The Amerikan high-tech lifestyle produces poisons that are forced upon the impoverished peoples of the Third World. Not only do Third World peoples slave away in factories producing consumer goods for Amerikans for pennies an hour, Third World peoples also have to recycle Amerikans’ toxic trash. Capitalist-imperialism poisons Third World peoples in order to maintain the Amerikan way of life. This is yet another example of how the First World lives on the backs of the Third World, exporting the cost of its lifestyle to the majority of the world’s people.

Amerikans have help in poisoning the Chinese population. The Chinese state turns a blind eye. In the 1970’s, Chinese self-determination and independent socialist development was replaced with brutal comprador capitalism. Today, the Chinese state sells the labor and health of its people to imperialism in order to make a buck. The First World and its Third World lackeys will continue to ruin the lives of Third World peoples until imperialism is defeated, until Third World peoples seize control of their own destinies.

Source:  http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=4586903n

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RAIM Global Digest Issue 4

Get it here at the RAIM-Denver Archives.

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Conflict Heats Up in Oil-Rich Niger Delta

MEND Rebels (Photo credit : PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)

MEND Rebels (Photo credit : PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)

Conflict Heats Up in Oil-Rich Niger Delta

https://raimd.wordpress.com

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has recently released statements refusing offers of amnesty by the Nigerian state and, as of June 6th, given local and foreign oil workers 72 hours notice of an “imminent attack.” “The warning also applies to greedy individuals from oil communities tempted to carry out repair contracts on pipelines already destroyed,” MEND added.

These statements follow a major military campaign aimed at crushing MEND. As part of the campaign, which displaced thousands of indigenous civilians, the Nigerian military has been accused of indiscriminate aerial bombings and shelling villages. A spokesman from the Nigerian military called MEND’s warning an “empty boast by a toothless gang” and urged oil workers to disregard the threat.

In 2006, MEND began attacking oil installations, sabotaging infrastructure and kidnapping oil-industry workers for ransom. Since then, analysts have noted that the rebel group has grown more sophisticated. In June of 2008, MEND attacked Shell’s main oil platform, which, at 75 miles from shore, was thought to be safe from militant assaults. As a result, the platform, which normally produces 200,000 barrels per day, was temporarily closed, reducing Nigeria’s total oil production by 10% overnight. Since January of 2006, unrest in the Niger Delta has reduced Nigeria’s daily output from 2.6 million barrels to 1.76 million. Niger is the fifth largest importer of crude oil into the U.S.; oil accounts for 95% of Nigeria’s export income.

In January of 2009, MEND called off a four month ceasefire and resumed attacks against imperialist operations and infrastructure. MEND says that oil operations have caused massive pollution, killed local wildlife and left indigenous communities without a means of subsistence. Niger Delta communities use very little oil themselves. Almost no oil revenue makes it to the communities most affected by oil production. Instead it is exported as profits by companies such as Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron, transferred to the First World via price fixing and unequal exchange or consumed by local puppet-elites. Speaking of their own movement, MEND says, “The very reason for militancy is because of injustice. Fiscal federalism is among the things that will silence our guns.”

Under the current schema, imperialism dominates the Nigeria economy. This has predictably led to a social and environmental catastrophe. Traditional modes of existence have been destroyed through activities inherent in the maintenance of the modern global economy. In this case, foreign companies get the oil at the lowest cost possible and with no regard for existing communities or the environment and export it to consumption-based economies of the West. The people of the Niger Delta, instead of finding any benefit from this process, have lost their previous ability to feed themselves from their natural surroundings and have little opportunities to find subsistence level wages on their own land or in their own country. Regardless of natural wealth, imperialism is a death warrant for indigenous Third World peoples.

MEND’s struggle is a just one. Faced with displacement, oppression and exploitation by imperialism, Third World peoples have little alternative but fighting back at those who direct and facilitate such oppression. For groups like MEND, this means a struggle not only against the imperialist oil-industry but also against the Nigerian state. As witnessed by the military’s most recent offensive against MEND, the Nigerian state is itself an agent of imperialism whose main role is protecting, militarily if need be, the interests of multi-national oil companies.

The struggle of the Niger Delta masses against imperialism and its local puppets is one that must be supported by all revolutionary peoples. This is because the struggle in the Niger Delta is part of a larger struggle shared by the vast majority of humanity. A serious blow to imperialism in Nigeria weakens imperialism as a whole, allowing for revolutionary advances on the part of oppressed peoples elsewhere. Conversely, while MEND might be able to land some blows against Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell and the Nigerian state, the struggle against imperialism can only come to a victorious resolution through a unified effort on the part of oppressed peoples from countries around the world. Only by way of a global anti-imperialist struggle can imperialist exploitation, and the devastating social and environmental impacts that accompany it, no longer remain a threat to oppressed peoples. Only through the unified struggle of oppressed peoples against capitalist-imperialism and its various local lackeys can a new world, one based on the needs of people, be built.

Sources:

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jIpUqBhxcOji3lQkTFIW07yahD8Q
http://www.democracynow.org/2009/5/21/nigeria
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7861257.stm
http://www.234next.com/csp/cms/sites/Next/News/National/5422826-146/story.csp
http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/company_level_imports/current/import.html
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7463288.stm

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I-70 Expansion Plans Indicative of Wider Imperialist Parasitism

Highway-I-70

I-70 Expansion Plans Indicative of Wider Imperialist Parasitism

https://raimd.wordpress.com

Discussions about expanding Interstate 70 in Colorado have been happening for nearly a decade now. Proponents have cited everything from the living standards of Coloradans, quantified by their ability to quickly traverse the state’s main East-West highway, to the economic incentive of drawing into the state more tourist and commercial transport dollars. Proponents also say the state’s growing population will hasten the need for highway expansion projects.

More recently, plans to expand I-70 east of I-25 in Denver have moved forward with the publishing of a draft study on the environmental and social impacts of various options. Amongst other things, the study considered not expanding anything, expanding other main East-West Denver thoroughfares, building a multi-level highway, building an underground highway, expanding I-70 at the sides and rerouting the part of the highway. The later two options are most favored by the study. The portion of I-70 proposed for expansion is elevated over neighborhoods heavily populated by nationally oppressed peoples. The portion of the highway is also filled with potholes and bad patch-up jobs and predicted to be a point of major traffic congestion over the next ten years.

Thus far, the most vocal critics of the highway expansion plans has been the local environmental group, High Country Earth First! (HCEF!). HCEF! cites ecological concerns and a general critique of Amerika’s consumer economy, as well as advocacy for the neighborhoods which would be affected most, amongst its primary criticisms of the highway expansion plan.  According to HCEF!, any proposed highway expansion would contribute to problems such as urban sprawl, global warming, endangerment to local wildlife habitats and would negatively affect the surrounding nationally oppressed communities. According to HCEF!, the planned I-70 expansion “is part of the greater picture, one where poor people and communities of color are systemically oppressed by the state for the continued privilege of white people and the wealthy. Infrastructure expansion doesn’t meet the needs of underserved communities and only furthers their destruction. The I-70 expansion is no different; a low income community of color would be disrupted and displaced to serve the needs of a capitalist white supremacy.”

The Real Bigger Picture

While the proposed I-70 expansion occurs within the often obscured context of capitalist-imperialism, the cognitive reasons for the project, as noted by proponents and critics, are pretty clear cut: to bring more money into the state. Underlying these seemingly disconnected notions is the interconnected economics of it all.

Building a highway does not itself create value: portions of it will not be sold as a commodity in the form of a toll or user-fee. Rather, a highway expansion has one clear purpose, to better facilitate commerce, trade and private spending in the state. Whereas this added economic activity may inject billions of additional dollars into the state, this does not necessarily mean that such value was itself created within the state.

Under capitalism, value is created by labor engaged in the creation and distribution of commodities. Under capitalism, workers are only paid a portion of the value that was created and the capitalist keeps the rest. The situation today however is vastly more complicated.

Production and distribution is organized on a global scale and vast disparities exist between workers themselves. Nevertheless, value is still created by labor. The difference today is that whereas most of the world’s value is created in the Third World, it becomes realized and concentrated within the First. Thus, from the perspective of a single locality within the exploiter First World, anything that increases local commerce and economic activity in the area increases the realization of surplus value and the accumulation of capital.

Simply put, expanding I-70 will mean that more value created elsewhere will be channeled into the Colorado economy. The exploitative global relationship that is capitalist-imperialism makes the question of redundant and ecologically unsound infrastructure such as ever-increasing urban highways systems a realistic, even necessary one. Even truck drivers and highway construction workers, whose compensation places them in the richest 10% of the world, find themselves in positions of intersecting interest with the expansive system of imperialist parasitism.

Summing It Up

HCEF! gets it partially right when they say, “Infrastructure expansion doesn’t meet the needs of underserved communities and only furthers their destruction. The I-70 expansion is no different; a low income community of color would be disrupted and displaced to serve the needs of a capitalist white supremacy.”

HCEF! is right to frame the issue more as one of relative privilege than direct exploitation. Indeed, infrastructure expansion is meant to serve the general exploiter economy: one in which nationally oppressed peoples receive less opportunities and encounter more obstacles. For the most exploitative and oppressive sectors of Coloradan society, the damage done to the relatively least empowered, nationally oppressed communities is seen as a necessary consequence of increasing economic activity and thus the realization of value via this highway expansion project. Nevertheless, projects such as the proposed expansion of I-70, despite the damage it may cause to specific communities, should be seen for what it is: the expansion of imperialist parasitism within the Denver/Colorado area.

Demands for People Centered Infrastructure

Obviously not all infrastructure is bad. RAIM-Denver is hardly opposed to highways and roads on their own merits. In fact, a better regular distribution of food and medical supplies, which requires better road systems, and basic infrastructure such as water sanitation facilities and simply utilities are some of the basic demands of the world’s impoverished majority. While it is true that the natural capacity of the Earth could not allow the current mode and standard of living of Amerikans to be replicated the world over, this is more than anything else a reflection as to the depth of imperialist parasitism and the necessity of developing different productive and distributive arrangements in a new world.

As with imperialist parasitism itself, RAIM-Denver opposes any expansion of the I-70 highway system. Rather than continually expanding the material base for the realization of stolen wealth at this or that locality within the First World, RAIM-Denver demands that all resources for such projects instead be directed toward building life-saving and basic infrastructure, such that is centered around the creation of a more socially egalitarian and eco-centric organization of economic activity.

The proposed expansion of I-70 is merely symptomatic of a wider phenomenon of global exploitation and parasitism. In the end, only through destruction of this global imperialist paradigm will the idea of ever-expanding and destructive infrastructure projects, such as the proposed I-70 expansion, forever become of a remnant of a more primitive past. Only through the destruction of the modern capitalist-imperialist system can a fundamentally new world emerge.

Sources:

http://www.unconventionaldenver.org/?p=380

http://www.i-70east.com/reports.html

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MSH: Imperialists are the Real Pirates

mline3

Imperialists are the real pirates
(monkeysmashesheaven.wordpress.com)

The Amerikan media is buzzing about pirates. In a recent incident, so-called “pirates” attempted to capture the cargo ship Maersk Alabama. According to mainstream reports, when the Somalis failed to take the ship, they fled the scene, taking the ship’s captain with them as a hostage to ransom later. Later, captain Phillips, an Amerikan, was freed by U$ Navy snipers who killed three of the Somalis and injured one other. The Somali version of events is much different than the one reported in the Amerikan media. According to Somali leader Abdi Garad, the Amerikans broke a truce agreement: “The American liars have killed our friends after they agreed to free the hostage without ransom.” (1)

The supposed “pirate menace” has provided Obama with a perfect, win-win situation. Obama was able to bloody his presidency in a low-risk engagement against a very weak enemy. Thus, Obama answered critics who claim that he is too soft. Even Obama’s usual critics are praising his action against the so-called pirate menace. Not surprisingly, the events of the past few days reveal that Obama is a run-of-the-mill imperialist. It is likely that the imperialists will use the excuse of “pirates” to increase their activity in Africa over the next decade.

Imperialists are the real pirates.

Firstly, the cargo ships that traverse the waters of the Somali coast are part of the imperialist system. They transport millions of dollars of stolen loot between the First and Third Worlds. The people of the Third World are completely justified in retrieving the wealth stolen from them.

Secondly, imperialist corporations have been destroying the Somali coastline with impunity since the early 1990s. According to Januna Ali Jama, a Somali spokesman, the actions of the Somali “pirates” are in response to “the toxic waste that has been continually dumped on the shores of our country for nearly 20 years.”

“The Somali coastline has been destroyed, and we believe this money is nothing compared to the devastation that we have seen on the seas.”

These charges have been confirmed by Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy for Somalia. He stated that dumping and illegal fishing allegations have been made since the early 1990s.

Again dramatically confirming the imperialist crimes, the UN Environmental Program (UNEP) reported that rusted containers of toxic waste were found washed up on the Somali coastline after the 2004 tsunami. A UNEP spokesperson said that the containers were smashed open by the waves of the tsunami. The UNEP spokesperson said that the “frightening activity” of dumping had been going on for a decade. He stated that hundreds of Somali residents had become ill, suffering mouth and abdominal bleeding, skin infections and other ailments due to the dumping.

“Somalia has been used as a dumping ground for hazardous waste starting in the early 1990s, and continuing through the civil war there,” he said.

“European companies found it to be very cheap to get rid of the waste, costing as little as $2.50 a tonne, where waste disposal costs in Europe are something like $1000 a tonne.”
“And the waste is many different kinds. There is uranium radioactive waste. There is lead, and heavy metals like cadmium and mercury. There is also industrial waste, and there are hospital wastes, chemical wastes – you name it.”

UN envoy Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah confirmed the claims, “What is most alarming here is that nuclear waste is being dumped. Radioactive uranium waste that is potentially killing Somalis and completely destroying the ocean.”

According to Mohammed Gure, chairman of the Somalia Concern Group, “The Somali coastline used to sustain hundreds of thousands of people, as a source of food and livelihoods. Now much of it is almost destroyed..” (2)

All this goes to show that the real pirate menace is imperialism. The imperialists have stolen an entire coastline from the Somali people. They have stolen their health and way of life. We wish the Somali people luck in redistributing wealth from the First to the Third World. We wish them luck in taxing the real pirates, the imperialists, who have stolen so much from them.

Notes.
1. http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2009/04/200941373925842364.html
2. http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2008/10/2008109174223218644.html

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In Danger of Being Snuffed Out by Imperialism, Sumatran Tigers, Lacking Class Consciousness, Strike Out Against Super-Exploited Neighbors

sumatran_tiger

In Danger of Being Snuffed Out by Imperialism, Sumatran Tigers, Lacking Class Consciousness, Strike Out Against Super-Exploited Neighbors

(https://raimd.wordpress.com)

Like many of the world’s animals, the Sumatran tiger is facing extinction due to imperialism’s ravenous exploitation of the vast Third World. With less than four hundred remaining in the wild, the Sumatran tiger, like uncountable other species and sub-species, is recognized as being “critically endangered” while simultaneously being wiped through activities inherent to the current system. Unlike other animals however, the Sumatran tiger is not dying-off gracefully.

Like many other rainforest animals, a dwindling habitat and food supply caused by deforestation has the Sumatran tiger facing its end. Hungry, some of the tigers have begun attacking people, many of them employed by what have been called illegal logging operations. Attacks against humans first occurred in 1997. Between January 24th and March 3rd of this year, nine people have been killed by the rare tigers. Since the 1985, fifty percent of the islands remaining forests have been destroyed.

The primary culprits are Asian Pulp and Paper (APP) and other companies under the Indonesian holding company Sinar Mas Group (SMG). As recently as 2008 the companies were investigated for illegal practices. According to local NGOs, the companies’ operations are “legally questionable and environmentally unsound.” Since the 80’s APP alone has cleared an estimated 2.5 million acres of virgin forest on the island. Despite the clear habitat and environmental destruction their practices cause, APP plans on expanding its operation on both Sumatra and to the neighboring island of Papua New Guinea.

Asian Pulp and Paper has also been accused of various human rights abuses. Indigenous peoples’ claim that the logging companies have seized their land, intimidated them and denied them access to traditionally public areas. According to Amnesty International, in December of 2008 APP destroyed a village, leaving four hundred people without homes. Greenpeace claims security guards working for another SMG company assaulted peaceful protestors. Neither for human rights abuses nor environment destruction has APP or its partner companies faced legal action.

This unfortunate situation occurs within the context of imperialism: whereby the lives, labor and natural resources of the Third World are exploited for the benefit of the First World. The pattern in Sumatra is all to familiar: the land is sold off to investors and the newly uprooted indigenous populations employed at massively exploitative wages in occupations geared towards the exportation of their natural wealth. The stories change only in the details. Here, Sinar Mas Group does the exploiting and passes on the discount to First World consumer outlets such as Target and ultimately First World consumers themselves. It is as unfortunate as predictable that the Sumatran Tiger, and countless other unreported species, are caught in the middle of this vicious system.

It is in the interest of the Sumatran Tiger and bio-diversity as a whole that the capitalist imperialist system be overthrown. A system that seeks ever expanded markets, transactions and profits is simply not compatible with the natural world. Justifying its increasing ecological destruction, a representative for a SMG company recently said, “We are still a growing company. We (Indonesia) are still competing with Malaysia to become the world’s top producer of palm oil.”

Unfortunately, Sumatran tigers, as evidenced by this string of attacks on their Sumatran neighbors, are incapable of forming class consciousness against a common oppressor. Unlike an amorphized ‘Animal Kingdom’ or metaphysical concepts of a ‘Gaia,’ the only force capable of freeing the island of Sumatra from the exploitation of First World imperialism is the exploited Sumatran masses and their allies in the Third World. Only by uniting the masses against imperialist exploitation and building a new order based on rationally meeting basic needs can the people of the Third World, the Sumatran tiger and species like it live in a world, not of increasing exploitation and endangerment, but social and ecological harmony.

Sources:

http://news.mongabay.com/2009/0303-tigers.html

http://news.mongabay.com/2009/0318-hance_sumatrantiger.html

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/view/416350/1/.html

http://www.reuters.com/article/GCA-BusinessofGreen/idUSTRE52J2QW20090320

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Filed under Environment, News and Analysis

National Liberation and Anti-Imperialism

By Nick Brown

The Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement- Denver is a movement for global equality. We stand for the end of the imperialist system: the system whereby a handful of powerful nations exploit the peoples of the world. We see the termination of imperialism as a necessary first step to a world of lasting peace and real equality.

Anti-imperialism is foremost a fight for national liberation. Most broadly construed, national liberation is the struggle to not be exploited by outside oppressors, but to exist as a self-determining, free nation.

National liberation struggles happen throughout the world on a variety of levels. Venezuela is an example where a progressive section of the ruling class is now leading a campaign for national salvation; providing much needed reforms for the masses while challenging U.S. supremacy on a regional level. There are the numerous armed groups in Mexico, numbering in the mid-teens (not just the Zapatistas), who are fighting a comprador government. Hezbollah, the patriotic Islamic party in Lebanon, has challenged Western influence in the country, provided social welfare for the people and aligned with various Lebanese parties [including Christian ones] in their struggle against Amerikan/Zionist aggression. And we cannot forget the heroic Iraqi resistance.

These forces, taken together, form a worldwide movement against Western imperialism. These diverse individual movements, insofar as they are challenging imperialism, should be supported by freedom and peace loving peoples everywhere.

If Third World anti-imperialist struggles are capable of cutting vital lifelines [of wealth and resources] to imperialism, national liberation struggles internal to the U.S. are capable of delivering blows from within. In the grand scheme of things, within the worldwide movement towards anti-imperialism, these national liberation movements represent a mighty ally, behind enemy lines, within what is geographically called the United States. Because of this, and because these struggles are so close to home, national liberation for internally oppressed nations hold a special significance for us.

While national liberation is not currently the dominant trend amongst oppressed nations within Amerika, national struggles themselves are part of the dialect of everyday life. These struggles manifest in a variety of ways but carry common themes.

For Mexicanos, Indigenous Peoples and Blacks, theirs is the struggle not to be criminalized and disproportionately held captive in White-Amerika’s prison system. It is the struggle to not have their cultures mocked, repressed, co-opted and whitewashed. It is the struggle to not have the lowest life expectancies within the United States. It is a struggle to practice one’s national culture with pride; to be treated as equal members of society; to exist free from the oppression leveled on them by Amerika.

Typically, national struggles take one of two routes: one, the route of liberation as a nation, and the other, integration into the imperialistic, Amerikan oppressor society.

The latter, integration into the Amerikan oppressor society, is the main trend today. This is the path favored by poverty pimps, white chauvinists and the state. The integration route was made widely available through the widening and deepening of exploitation abroad while given impetus by the explosive successes of national liberation struggles during the 1960s and 70s. The reformist integrationist route, while also a national struggle, is antithetical to revolutionary national liberation. Ending oppression through integration means being absorbed into Amerika’s “multi-cultural” oppressor society. It is the democratization of imperialist privilege and the diversification of the labor aristocracy. Integrationism is not revolutionary and is not in the least bit anti-imperialist.

For oppressed nations inside Amerika, the struggle for national liberation is mainly tied to the struggle for a territory on which a free nation can exist. Without such a land, oppressed nations are doomed to live within White-Amerika–forced to suffer oppression while at the same time being lured by trickle-down imperialist privilege. While the goal of national liberation struggles is the creation of sovereign national territories, the planting of seeds for such political power is a necessary first step.

While full-blown national power will not develop quickly or easily, national liberation movements themselves are of utmost importance today. The strengthening of national liberation movements, the expansion of networks and the creation of independent spaces from which these networks and broader movements can operate is a task for which the outcome will weigh heavily on the future.

As success for peoples of the Third World build up, national liberation struggles inside the U.S. can become a destabilizing force within the heart of imperialism. This will make the prospects of revolution greater. At the same time, national liberation struggles will be a focal point of revolutionary gravity within the First World. In the long term, successes made today in creating the basis for independent national power [for oppressed nations within the U.S.] will translate into much wider successes for all people oppressed by U.S. imperialism further down the road.

It is with these considerations in mind that we champion national liberation struggles within United States. We do so not to advance ourselves or to look edgy. We do so from our general anti-imperialist perspective. For us, any single movement for national liberation here is part of the broader international revolutionary struggle to end oppression once and for all.

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Filed under Agitation Statements, Black Nation, Environment, First Nations, Imperialism, News and Analysis, Occupied Mexico/Aztlan, Organizing, Palestine, White Amerika, Youth

A Bunch of Eichmanns Put on Notice That They’re A Bunch of Eichmanns

In a very special event celebrating the two-faced “humanitarianism” that comes hand in hand with amerikan imperialism, Wayne ‘Dirty’ Murdy was given an “International Bridge Builders” award by the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver. There to present the award was none other than Madeleine ‘Worth It’ Albright. So of course, there was a protest.

Around 100 people showed up to protest the eco-terrorist Wayne Murdy and the crazed old butcher Madeleine Albright. Of course many of the protesters wouldn’t have framed their reasons for being there in quite this manner. Needless to say, RAIM-Denver has its own politics.

RAIM-Denver upholds radicalism not liberalism. We don’t fight “opponents,” we stand against oppressors. So right from the get go we entered the protest not thinking we had to adhere to the status quo of amerikan activism. However, this mindset spilled over and altered the entire tone of the protest when someone early-on gave Nick, a RAIM-Denver member, the biggest megaphone on the block. Oh ya, it was on.

Wasting no time, this opportunity was quickly seized upon to speak some truth. Agitating to the extreme, Nick pulled no verbal punches. Among other truths, these Eichmanns were told straight up that they were Eichmanns. This of course irritated some. But Nick knew this wasn‘t the time to “tone it down.” Instead, to both the ire of Eichmanns and to the liberals, he boomed “I have the megaphone.”

A guest appearance was made by liar extraordinaire Omar Jabara, the head of public relations for Newmont Mining. Omar actually slithered up with his wife to the protesting crowd and shook the hand of this vocal RAIMer. Asked if the crowd could throw Wayne Murdy off a bridge and Madeline Albright off a taller one, a slightly overwhelmed Jabara didn’t really have an answer but instead nervously offered a fake smile. Not real smooth for a public relations department head. Needless to say, Omar didn’t stick around long.

Madeleine Albright, the mad queen of state sanctioned terror, even appeared before the crowd. This came as a shock to RAIM-Denver since we thought she was allergic to sunlight. Nick, by this time really amped up, had already encouraged the valets to slam the car doors on the arriving Eichmanns. The necessity of such an action became apparent as she arrived. Nick later said, “When she looked into my eyes I could feel the souls of half a million dead Iraqi children.” Chilling indeed.

For being such humanitarians, Dirty Murdy and Mad Madeleine sure did need a lot of security. The entire perimeter of the Marriot was guarded. A big deal was made about protestors not being on Marriot property. At one point an Indigenous womyn near the RAIM-Denver agitator was told to go back to the sidewalk by a pig. Nick pointed out that the cop was on her property and told him to get off. He didn’t listen.

It should be mentioned that not everyone was displeased by RAIM-Denver’s amplified presence. Nick drew nods and laughs from many of the protesters. Those who did express contention with Nick were all white liberals. That’s not to say that we didn’t have support from white protesters, just that those whites probably weren’t liberals. On the other hand, not a single Indigenous persyn seemed displeased. In fact, the aforementioned womyn even thanked Nick for his remarks about amerika being built on land stolen from her ancestors.

All and all it was a great event. RAIM-Denver put the spotlight on radical politics and in the process made people on both sides of the sidewalk uncomfortable. Needless to say, we don’t necessarily consider this a bad thing. And, despite Newmont’s PR campaign against RAIM-Denver leading up to the event, we are happy to report that we have not lost a single grant or big donor. Omar, you failed.

omar-and-nick.jpg

[Photo from the kind folks at tryworks.org]

Omar, you can send your resume to RAIM-Denver. We promise to read it. But don’t call us, we’ll call you.

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Filed under Actions and Events, Environment, First Nations, Newmont Mining

Throwing Wayne Dirty and Madeleine Albright off bridges

twofer.jpg

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Filed under Environment, First Nations, Images, KKKolumbus Day, Newmont Mining

RAIM-Denver mentioned by Newmont PR

With the recent news of Newmont Chair Wayne ‘Dirty’ Murdy getting a humanitarian award despite the mining company’s numerous human rights violations, and the outrage it has generated, in some of this coverage our own blog has received attention.

From the blog of Al Lewis, who wrote an article giving fair time to activist criticisms of Newmont:

Some of these activist complaining about Newmont are reasonable. Some are not. Like the Anti-Imperialist Movement of Denver (sic), which refers to Albright as a “mass murdering lunatic hiding behind the ‘legitimacy’ of the United Snakes.”…(I guess, being a proud American, this makes me a snake, too. Slither. Slither.) (1)

First of all, Lewis can’t even get the name of the group right, the “Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement of Denver.” For making an accusation that we are “unreasonable” he should at least get our name right! And in being unreasonable about Newmont, he focuses on what we said about Madeleine Albright.

This is in reference to when she was UN Ambassador, in a widely quoted remark on 60 minutes, where she responded that even though the sanctions killed 500,000 children they were ultimately “worth it.” A year later she was confirmed as Secretary of State under Clinton, which continued genocidal sanctions imposed on the people of Iraq. She sort-of apologized for the statement in her memoir “Madam Secretary”, but that apology was hardly adequate.(2)

Two days after Al Lewis’ snide comment, the main Public Relations guy of Newmont wrote in, and here’s what he had to say:

Deserving of DU award?

Re: “Not all that glitters is good,” Aug. 5 Al Lewis column

I believe your readers should judge for themselves if Newmont Chairman Wayne Murdy is deserving of the University of Denver’s International Bridge Builders Award. The stated purpose of the award is to recognize people who have “distinguished themselves as builders of ties between Colorado and the world beyond our national frontiers.”

As such, I invite your readers to visit our 2006 sustainability report at: http://www.BeyondTheMine.com. This report is compiled as part of our ongoing obligations under the United Nations’ Global Compact (www.unglobalcompact.org) and in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative’s guidelines(www.globalreporting.org). In addition, World
Monitors Inc. (www.worldmonitors.com) provides independent assurance of the objectivity, materiality and credibility of the report.

Also, I invite your readers to visit the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement of Denver’s Web page describing why they think Wayne Murdy should not receive the award: https://raimd.wordpress.com/2007/08/05/pre-tcd-2-for-1/

Omar Jabara
Senior Director of Communications and Media Relations
Newmont Mining Corporation
Denver”

Mr Jabara urges people to judge for themselves whether Wayne Murdy should be honored for “building bridges,” while he gives a link to Newmont’s whitewash website and at the same time he urges people to visit RAIM-D on what we think about Wayne Murdy.

It would be a great stretch to think that Newmont’s PR department would want people to get into revolutionary politics. Rather both Lewis and Jabara are engaged in classic PR tactics against radical activists. Here is an article from Covert Action Quarterly(4) that describes these tactics:

Ronald Duchin, senior vice-president of another PR spy firm Mongoven, Biscoe, and Duchin …. A graduate of the US Army War College, Duchin worked as a special assistant to the secretary of defense and director of public affairs for the Veterans of Foreign Wars before becoming a flack. Activists, he explained, fall into four categories: radicals, opportunists, idealists, and realists. He follows a three-step strategy to neutralize them: 1) isolate the radicals; 2) cultivate the idealists and educate them into becoming realists; then 3) co-opt the realists into agreeing with industry.

According to Duchin, radical activists:

want to change the system; have underlying socio/political motives [and] see multinational corporations as inherently evil….These organizations do not trust the… federal, state and local governments to protect them and to safeguard the environment. They believe, rather, that individuals and local groups should have direct power over industry. … I would categorize their principal aims right now as social justice and political empowerment.

The article continues:

“Idealists are also hard to deal with. They want a perfect world and find it easy to brand any product or practice which can be shown to mar that perfection as evil. Because of their intrinsic altruism, however, and because they have nothing perceptible to be gained by holding their position, they are easily believed by both the media and the public, and sometimes even politicians. However, idealists have a vulnerable point. If they can be shown that their position in opposition to an industry or its products causes harm to others and cannot be ethically justified, they are forced to change their position…. Thus, while a realist must be negotiated with, an idealist must be educated. Generally this education process requires great sensitivity and understanding on the part of the educator.”

Opportunists and realists, says Duchin, are easier to manipulate. Opportunists engage in activism seeking visibility, power, followers and, perhaps, even employment. … The key to dealing with [them] is to provide them with at least the perception of a partial victory. And realists are able to live with trade-offs; willing to work within the system; not interested in radical change; pragmatic. [They] should always receive the highest priority in any strategy dealing with a public policy issue. … If your industry can successfully bring about these relationships, the credibility of the radicals will be lost and opportunists can be counted on to share in the final policy solution.

By bringing attention to RAIM-D and labeling us “unreasonable,” they are first attempting to isolate the radicals. The rest of the strategy dealing with the idealists and realists is with their “social responsibility” facade.

Newmont Mining and companies like it exploit the resources of the Third World for profit. Newmont itself has left a trail of ecological destruction in places like Peru(5), Indonesia(6), Ghana(7) and in the Western Shoshone nation(8) Despite how badly Al Lewis and Newmont’s Public Relations hack would like to portray this as a RAIM-Denver vs. Newmont issue, those with brains know that it is not the real issue. The real issue is between Newmont and the affected populations. While Newmont enriches itself and raises its credibility amongst amerikans, the people of Peru, Indonesia, Ghana and the Shoshone nation remain in poverty and are often times poisoned by such operations.

The main opposition to Newmont Mining and companies like it are not First World radicals but rather the people they oppress. RAIM-Denver isn’t going to chase Wayne Murdy down with sticks and rocks, but Newmont employees have met similar opposition from the local population of places where they do business. (9) Radicals, on the other hand, whole heartedly stand up with and lend support to the struggles of oppressed peoples.

In the case of this particular protest, even without Al Lewis and Omar Jabara mentioning RAIM-Denver, it is unlikely many “realists” or “opportunists” will show up. Instead, Lewis and Newmont’s PR puppet gave more publicity to us and this protest than otherwise would have been received. For our part, we’re going to be working overtime to promote this protest and we’ll be putting in an extra effort to radicalize the idealists once they are there.

1)http://blogs.denverpost.com/lewis/2007/08/07/gold-miners-academicians-and-activists/
2)http://www.fff.org/comment/com0311c.asp
3)http://blogs.denverpost.com/eletters/2007/08/09/newmont-deserving-of-du-award/
4)http://mediafilter.org/CAQ/CAQ55prwar2.html
5)http://www.csrwire.com/News/9314.html)
http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/peru404/
http://www.foe.org/WSSD/newmont.html
6)http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=14481
7)http://www.24hgold.com/printarticle.aspx?pagedest=98854&langue=en
8)http://www.wsdp.org/minewatch.htm
9)http://www.minesandcommunities.org/Action/press698.htm

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Filed under Environment, First Nations, Newmont Mining

Pre-TCD 2 for 1

Before the Transform Columbus Day protests there will be a very special pre-event. On August 30th the University of Denver will be will be hosting an awards dinner featuring not one, but two, modern day perpetrators of genocide.

Wayne Murdy, the CEO of Newmont Mining, is being given an award by the University of Denver. Newmont Mining is the second largest gold stealer in the world. It operates mines all over the globe. In the process it plunders the wealth of nations, devastates natural environs and poisons local, often indigenous, populations. Wayne Murdy, Newmont Mining and companies like it are waging systematic economic and ecological warfare against poor peoples of the world in what amounts to a protracted genocide.

But that’s not all. The key-note speaker for this award ceremony will be Madeleine Albright. Madeleine Albright is a psychotic terrorist who during the Clinton presidency was Secretary of State. She implemented a policy of sanctions against Iraq which led to the death of over 500,000 children. When asked about the murderous implications of such a policy she said, on national TV, that the deaths were “worth it”.

What: Protest Newmont Mining for the economic and ecological destruction it’s caused and the deaths that have resulted; Protest Madeleine Albright for being a mass murdering lunatic hiding behind the ‘legitimacy’ of the United Snakes.

Where: The Denver Marriot (17th and California)

When: August 30th at 5:00 PM

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Filed under Actions and Events, Environment, First Nations, KKKolumbus Day, Newmont Mining, Organizing