Category Archives: United Nations

Ending “West’s Neocolonial Oppression”: On the New Language and Superstructures

The Russia-Ukraine war has quickly turned into a global conflict. One of the likely outcomes of this war is the very redefinition of the current world order, which has been in effect, at least since the collapse of the Soviet Union over three decades ago.

Indeed, there is a growing sense that a new global agenda is forthcoming, one that could unite Russia and China and, to a degree, India and others, under the same banner. This is evident, not only by the succession of the earth-shattering events underway, but, equally important, the language employed to describe these events.

The Russian position on Ukraine has morphed throughout the war from merely wanting to “demilitarize” and “denazify” Ukraine to a much bigger regional and global agenda, to eventually, per the words of Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, “put an end to the unabashed expansion” of NATO, and the “unabashed drive towards full domination by the US and its Western subjects on the world stage.”

On April 30, Lavrov went further, stating in an interview with the official Chinese news agency, Xinhua, that Russia’s war “contributes to the process of freeing the world from the West’s neocolonial oppression,” predicated on “racism and an exceptionality.”

But Russia is not the only country that feels this way. China, too, even India, and many others. The meeting between Lavrov and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on March 30, served as a foundation of this truly new global language. Statements made by the two countries’ top diplomats were more concerned about challenging US hegemony than the specifics of the Ukraine war.

Those following the evolution of the Russia-China political discourse, even before the start of the Russia-Ukraine war on February 24, will notice that the language employed supersedes that of a regional conflict, into the desire to bring about the reordering of world affairs altogether. 

But is this new world order possible? If yes, what would it look like? These questions, and others, remain unanswered, at least for now. What we know, however, is that the Russian quest for global transformation exceeds Ukraine by far, and that China, too, is on board.

While Russia and China remain the foundation of this new world order, many other countries, especially in the Global South, are eager to join. This should not come as a surprise as frustration with the unilateral US-led world order has been brewing for many years, and has come at a great cost. Even the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, though timid at times, has warned against this unilaterality, calling instead on the international community to commit itself to  “the values of multilateralism and diplomacy for peace.”

However, the pro-Russian stances in the South – as indicated by the refusal of many governments to join western sanctions on Moscow, and the many displays of popular support through protests, rallies and statements – continue to lack a cohesive narrative. Unlike the Soviet Union of yesteryears, Russia of today does not champion a global ideology, like socialism, and its current attempt at articulating a relatable global discourse remains, for now, limited.

It is obviously too early to examine any kind of superstructure – language, political institutions, religion, philosophy, etc – resulting from the Russia-NATO global conflict, Russia-Ukraine war and the growing Russia-China affinity.

Though much discussion has been dedicated to the establishing of an alternative monetary system, in the case of Lavrov’s and Yi’s new world order, a fully-fledged substructure is yet to be developed.

New substructures will only start forming once the national currency of countries like Russia and China replace the US dollar, alternative money transfer systems, like CIPS, are put into effect, new trade routes are open, and eventually new modes of production replace the old ones. Only then, superstructures will follow, including new political discourses, historical narratives, everyday language, culture, art and even symbols.

The thousands of US-western sanctions slapped on Russia were largely meant to weaken the country’s ability to navigate outside the current US-dominated global economic system. Without this maneuverability, the West believes, Moscow would not be able to create and sustain an alternative economic model that is centered around Russia.

True, US sanctions on Cuba, North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Venezuela and others have failed to produce the coveted ‘regime change’, but they have succeeded in weakening the substructures of these societies, denying them the chance to be relevant economic actors at a regional and international stage. They were merely allowed to subsist, and barely so.

Russia, on the other hand, is a global power, with a relatively large economy, international networks of allies, trade partners and supporters. That in mind, surely a regime change will not take place in Moscow any time soon. The latter’s challenge, however, is whether it will be able to orchestrate a sustainable paradigm shift under current western pressures and sanctions.

Time will tell. For now, it is certain that some kind of a global transformation is taking place, along with the potential of a ‘new world order’, a term, ironically employed by the US government more than any other.

The post Ending “West’s Neocolonial Oppression”: On the New Language and Superstructures first appeared on Dissident Voice.

NYT Pundit Thinks U.S. Should Be “Calling the Shots” in Ukraine’s War

This is a commentary upon N.Y. Times columnist Thomas Friedman’s statement on May 6 that Ukraine’s Government is and ought to be the U.S. Government’s agent in its war against Russia, not representing the interests of the Ukrainian people in it. He introduced the statement by noting that Ukraine is a bad country,

a country marbled with corruption. That doesn’t mean we should not be helping it. I am glad we are. I insist we do. But my sense is that the Biden team is walking much more of a tightrope with Zelensky than it would appear to the eye — wanting to do everything possible to make sure he wins this war but doing so in a way that still keeps some distance between us and Ukraine’s leadership. That’s so Kyiv is not calling the shots [I boldfaced that — he didn’t] and so we’ll not be embarrassed by messy Ukrainian politics in the war’s aftermath.

He starts there by putting down Ukraine as a “country,” and then asserts that, fortunately, “Kyiv is not calling the shots and so we’ll not be embarrassed by messy Ukrainian politics in the war’s aftermath.” Perhaps an underlying assumption of his in saying this is that America is NOT “a country riddled with corruption,” and, so, that it is right and good that Ukraine is America’s slave in this matter.

He continues there:

The view of Biden and his team, according to my reporting, is that America needs to help Ukraine restore its sovereignty and beat the Russians back — but not let Ukraine turn itself into an American protectorate on the border of Russia. We need to stay laser-focused on what is our national interest and not stray in ways that lead to exposures and risks we don’t want.

I believe that Friedman truly does represent the U.S. Establishment that he is a part of, and that “Biden and his team” likewise do. I accept Friedman’s statement as reflecting accurately the way that “Biden and his team” (which, given the U.S. Congress’s virtually 100% voting for it in this matter of Ukraine, also includes virtually every U.S. Senator and Representative) feel about the matter: they feel that Ukraine must be their slave in it and must do whatever the U.S. Government demands that it do in its war with Ukraine’s next-door-neighbor, Russia.

That view — the view that it’s not only true but good that “Kyiv is not calling the shots” in this matter — reflects the view that an imperialist government has toward one of its colonies or vassal-nations (which the imperialist nation nowadays calls instead its ‘allies’). And this is the reason why they treat not only their armies but all of the residents in their ‘allies’ as being appropriate cannon-fodder or ‘proxy soldiers’ in their foreign wars, wars to conquer other countries — such as, in this case, Russia.

Here was how the former U.S. President, Barack Obama, phrased the matter to America’s graduating cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, on 28 May 2014:

The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. That has been true for the century passed and it will be true for the century to come. … Russia’s aggression toward former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe, while China’s economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors. From Brazil to India, rising middle classes compete with us, and governments seek a greater say in global forums. … It will be your generation’s task to respond to this new world.

It could as well have been said by England’s royals and other aristocrats during their imperialistic heyday.

All other nations are “dispensable.” America’s military is an extension of international economic competition so that America’s billionaires will continue to rule the world in the future, as they do now. “Rising middle classes compete with us” and are consequently America’s enemies in the “dispensable” countries (everywhere in which vassalage to America’s billionaires — being “America’s allies” — is rejected), so that “it will be your generation’s task to respond to this new world.” So he told America’s future generals, regarding those who live (as the 2017 U.S. Army report put it) “in the shadow of significant U.S. military capability and the implied promise of unacceptable consequences in the event that capability is unleashed.” America’s military are the global gendarmes not of Hitler’s nazi regime in WW II, but of America’s nazi regime in the lead-up to WW III.

Thomas Friedman, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and all of the other U.S. major ‘news’-media, feel this way about it, and report and comment upon the ’news’ that way, but I think that it was a slip-up that Friedman and the Times expressed it, for once, so honestly, especially given that they are master-liars on most international-news reporting and commentary. The pièce de résistance in his commentary was its ludicrously hypocritical line that “America needs to help Ukraine restore its sovereignty.” (They must be America’s slaves but restore their sovereignty. How stupid do they think that the American public is?) That too is typical of aristocrats’ hypocrisies and general corruptness — including that of the U.S. Government itself, which represents ONLY America’s billionaires and other super-rich — it’s a regime and no democracy at all.

Moreover, whereas America has no business at all to be involved in this war, Russia very much does, and the U.S. regime’s involvement there is ONLY in order to conquer Russia — which is a psychopathic and super-imperialistic objective to have, and not MERELY a real and soaring threat against the safety of all parts of the world — the real and now rapidly growing danger of there being a World War III.

Incidentally, the title of Friedman’s commentary was “The War Is Getting More Dangerous for America, and Biden Knows It.” It’s an interesting title, because it concerns ONLY what Friedman and America’s other aristocrats care about, which is themselves, and not at all about what any of the ‘dispensable’ countries (including Ukraine) care about. Since the publics everywhere care about preventing a WW III (nuclear war between Russia and America — including all NATO countries), that is a stunningly narrow sphere of concern regarding a potentially world-ending catastrophe. Clearly, America’s aristocrats are rank psychopaths. They control the U.S. Government, and this is the result of that. It’s a Government in which the worst come first, the public last. Russia is up against that: it is up against America, and Ukraine is only the first battleground of WW III, now only at the proxy stage for the U.S. regime but not for the Russian Government, which, in this matter, truly does represent the most-vital national-security interests of its citizens. Everyone except U.S.-and-allied aristocracies (many of whom are buyers of billionaires’ bunkers) have an overriding interest in America’s defeat in this war, before it ever reaches the nuclear stage, of direct Russia vs. U.S. warfare.

The shame of today’s U.N. is that it’s not enraged against the U.S. Government. This is shaping up to be the biggest scandal and failure in the U.N.’s entire history, virtually its own collapse.

The post NYT Pundit Thinks U.S. Should Be “Calling the Shots” in Ukraine’s War first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Cost of the Ukraine War Felt in Africa, Global South

While international news headlines remain largely focused on the war in Ukraine, little attention is given to the horrific consequences of the war which are felt in many regions around the world. Even when these repercussions are discussed, disproportionate coverage is allocated to European countries, like Germany and Austria, due to their heavy reliance on Russian energy sources.

The horrific scenario, however, awaits countries in the Global South which, unlike Germany, will not be able to eventually substitute Russian raw material from elsewhere. Countries like Tunisia, Sri Lanka and Ghana and numerous others, are facing serious food shortages in the short, medium and long term.

The World Bank is warning of a “human catastrophe” as a result of a burgeoning food crisis, itself resulting from the Russia-Ukraine war. The World Bank President, David Malpass, told the BBC that his institution estimates a “huge” jump in food prices, reaching as high as 37%, which would mean that the poorest of people would be forced to “eat less and have less money for anything else such as schooling.”

This foreboding crisis is now compounding an existing global food crisis, resulting from major disruptions in the global supply chains, as a direct outcome of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as pre-existing problems, resulting from wars and civil unrest, corruption, economic mismanagement, social inequality and more.

Even prior to the war in Ukraine, the world was already getting hungrier. According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), an estimated 811 million people in the world “faced hunger in 2020”, with a massive jump of 118 million compared to the previous year. Considering the continued deterioration of global economies, especially in the developing world, and the subsequent and unprecedented inflation worldwide, the number must have made several large jumps since the publishing of FAO’s report in July 2021, reporting on the previous year.

Indeed, inflation is now a global phenomenon. The consumer price index in the United States has increased by 8.5% from a year earlier, according to the financial media company, Bloomberg. In Europe, “inflation (reached) record 7.5%”, according to the latest data released by Eurostat. As troubling as these numbers are, western societies with relatively healthy economies and potential room for government subsidies, are more likely to weather the inflation storm, if compared to countries in Africa, South America, the Middle East and many parts of Asia.

The war in Ukraine has immediately impacted food supplies to many parts of the world. Russia and Ukraine combined contribute 30% of global wheat exports. Millions of tons of these exports find their way to food-import-dependent countries in the Global South – mainly the regions of South Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. Considering that some of these regions, comprising some of the poorest countries in the world, have already been struggling under the weight of pre-existing food crises, it is safe to say that tens of millions of people already are, or are likely to go, hungry in the coming months and years.

Another factor resulting from the war is the severe US-led western sanctions on Russia. The harm of these sanctions is likely to be felt more in other countries than in Russia itself, due to the fact that the latter is largely food and energy independent.

Although the overall size of the Russian economy is comparatively smaller than that of leading global economic powers like the US and China, its contributions to the world economy makes it absolutely critical. For example, Russia accounts for a quarter of the world’s natural gas exports, according to the World Bank, and 18% of coal and wheat exports, 14% of fertilizers and platinum shipments, and 11% of crude oil. Cutting off the world from such a massive wealth of natural resources while it is desperately trying to recover from the horrendous impact of the pandemic is equivalent to an act of economic self-mutilation.

Of course, some are likely to suffer more than others. While economic growth is estimated to shrink by a large margin – up to 50% in some cases – in countries that fuel regional and international growth such as Turkey, South Africa and Indonesia, the crisis is expected to be much more severe in countries that aim for mere economic subsistence, including many African countries.

An April report published by the humanitarian group, Oxfam, citing an alert issued by 11 international humanitarian organizations, warned that “West Africa is hit by its worst food crisis in a decade.” Currently, there are 27 million people going hungry in that region, a number that may rise to 38 million in June if nothing is done to stave off the crisis. According to the report, this number would represent “a new historic level”, as it would be an increase by more than a third compared to last year. Like other struggling regions, the massive food shortage is a result of the war in Ukraine, in addition to pre-existing problems, lead amongst them the pandemic and climate change.

While the thousands of sanctions imposed on Russia are yet to achieve any of their intended purpose, it is poor countries that are already feeling the burden of the war, sanctions and geopolitical tussle between great powers. As the west is busy dealing with its own economic woes, little heed is being paid to those suffering most. And as the world is forced to transition to a new global economic order, it will take years for small economies to successfully make that adjustment.

While it is important that we acknowledge the vast changes to the world’s geopolitical map, let us not forget that millions of people are going hungry, paying the price for a global conflict of which they are not part.

The post Cost of the Ukraine War Felt in Africa, Global South first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Global Divide: 76% of Humanity (and Nearly All Poorer Nations of Color) Did Not Vote to Kick Russia off the UN Human Rights Council

In general, in a deep conflict, the eyes of the downtrodden are more acute about the reality of the present.

– Immanuel Wallerstein (The Modern World System, Introduction, p. 4)

Introduction

On April 7 the UN General Assembly (UNGA) passed a resolution intended to signal support for the US/NATO effort in Ukraine. This gesture of support came in the form of a resolution removing Russia from its seat on the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).1 Just as with the March 2 UNGA resolution condemning Russia’s military intervention of February 242 (passed by countries representing just 41% of world population3 ), the April 7 vote is dizzyingly lopsided. Western media presented passage of both resolutions as victories. But when adjusted for world population, these votes appear as popular losses for US/NATO and its sphere. The April 7 resolution had support from countries representing just 24% of global population, a drop of 17% from the March 2 vote and an even more striking popular defeat for US/NATO.4

The April 7 Vote to Remove Russia From the UN Human Rights Council

Here is the result of the April 7 vote to remove Russia from the UNHRC:

93 IN FAVOR

24 AGAINST

58 ABSTENTIONS

18 NOT VOTING

(TOTAL: 193 COUNTRIES)

If you count people instead of countries, the vote means that countries representing only 24.33% of the world’s population voted in favor of the resolution, with 75.67% of humanity’s nations voting AGAINST, ABSTAINING, or NOT VOTING:

VOTING FOR THE RESOLUTION: 24.33%

AGAINST, ABSTAINING, OR NOT VOTING: 75.67%

(AGAINST 27.52%; ABSTENTIONS 45.17%; NOT VOTING 2.98%)5

Just as with the March 2 vote to condemn the February 24 Russian intervention in Ukraine, the April 7 vote divides richer from poorer countries and “white countries” from “countries of color.” For both the March 2 and the April 7 votes, when adjusted for population, the great majority of richer “white countries” voted with US/NATO, and the great majority of poorer “countries of color” did not.

Much popular sentiment in US/NATO countries and their sphere, including on the Left, condemns Russia’s intervention. But judging by these two recent United Nations General Assembly votes, world opinion seems contrary, especially among governments of countries that are poorer, “of color,” and in the global periphery or semi-periphery of the world system.

There have been many official government statements contradicting condemnations of Russia from the Global North. Two came from Cuba and Nicaragua, countries which happen to fit the profile just given. But this article will not consider such statements, nor add to the reams of gigabytes filled with discussion of the merits or demerits of Russia’s intervention, war crimes in Ukraine and questions as to who might have committed them, Russia’s intentions expressed or unexpressed, nor who, if anyone, is winning or losing the war.

Instead I will try to analyze the demography of the April 7 UNGA vote to remove Russia from the UNHRC.

The Wealth and Color of Nations: Definitions

Before analyzing the vote, and for the purpose of this article, I want to make a picture of the world in over-simplified economic and racial terms, and define my terms “poorer countries,” “richer countries,” “countries of color,” and “white countries.”    I will also use the established terms of world-system theory, “core,” “periphery” and “semi-periphery.”6

Wealth

First, to get some idea of what a “wealthy country” might be, I’ll compare nominal GDPs per capita (GDPcn). Instead of the four national income categories used by the World Bank, I’ll put all countries into just two groups based on GDPcn. I’ll call “richer” any country with a GDPcn of $13,000 or above. All other countries I’ll call “poorer.” This means:

85% of the world’s population lives in “poorer countries

15% of world population lives in “richer countries.”7

Here are some examples of countries in each group. In the list I rely on, Luxembourg is the richest country in the world with a GDPcn of $131,782; South Sudan is the poorest country in the world with a GDPcn of $315. “Poorer countries” include Ethiopia $952, China $11,819, Russia $11,654, Vietnam $3,609. “Richer countries” include some with GDPcn’s that are multiples of China’s or Russia’s, like France $44,995; Germany $51,860; Japan $42,928; United Kingdom $46,344; United States $68,309.

Color

I will call countries that are predominantly inhabited by or dominated by people North Americans generally (but inconsistently) perceive as “of color,” “countries of color.” (See Appendix 2.) All others I’ll call “white countries.” This means:

85% of world population lives in “countries of color.”

15% lives in “white countries.”

Core vs. Periphery (& Semi-Periphery)

World-systems theory puts the global wealth split into relief, dividing the nations of the world into the “core” and “periphery” of the global system. In world-systems theory the surplus value of labor flows disproportionately from the periphery to the core: “The countries of the world can be divided into two major world regions: the ‘core’ and the ‘periphery.’ The core includes major world powers and the countries that contain much of the wealth of the planet. The periphery has those countries that are not reaping the benefits of global wealth and globalization.” (Colin Stief, ThoughtCo.com, 1/21/20) The core countries include most of the richest and most powerful countries, historically and currently.

Here are the core countries, each followed by its GDPcn: Australia $62,723, Austria $53.859, Belgium $50,103, Canada $49,222, Denmark $67,218, Finland $54,330, France $44,995, Germany $51,860, Greece $19,673, Iceland $65,273, Ireland $94,556, Israel $47,602, Italy $33,190, Japan $42,928, Luxembourg $131,782, Netherlands $58,003, New Zealand $47,499, Norway $81,995, Portugal $25,065, Singapore $64,103, Spain $30,996, Sweden $58,997, Switzerland $94,696, United Kingdom $46,344, United States $68,309.

Here is the distribution of population between core and periphery:

88% of world population lives in countries in the periphery (or semi-periphery)8

12% of world population lives in core countries

Intersection of Wealth and Race

Looking at the world through these categories of wealth, race, core and periphery (including semi-periphery), this is what we see (rounded):

Poorer” “countries of color” have 82% of world population.

Poorer” “white countries” have 3% of world population.

Richer” “countries of color” have 3% of world population.

Richer” “white countries” have 12% of world population.

Using the core/periphery (& semi-periphery) analysis:

2% of the world population living in “countries of color” live in the core nations.

71% of the world population living in “white countries” live in the core nations.

Both analyses show the world sharply divided between its great majority of “countries of color” concentrated among the “poorer countries” and a small global minority of “white countries” constituting most of the “richer countries.” This is important to the following discussion of the UNGA vote on the April 7 resolution.

The UN Vote by Share of World Population

Here again are the results of the April 7 vote to remove Russia from the UNHRC, given by share of world population, not country:

VOTING FOR THE RESOLUTION: 24.33%

AGAINST, ABSTAINING, OR NOT VOTING: 75.67%

(AGAINST 27.52%; ABSTENTIONS 45.17%; NOT VOTING 2.98%)

For simplicity, I’ll round off the numbers, and reduce the vote to two categories: YES and NAN (No; Abstention; Not voting):

24% YES

76% NAN

The Vote and the Wealth, Color and World System Status of Nations

The point of this article is to demonstrate both how little global support there is for the US/NATO position in Ukraine, and also to show just how much the results of the April 7 vote split the world along the lines of the reigning global hierarchies of populations and nations. (Dear reader, I think this blizzard of statistics is worth suffering through.)

1. The Vote by “Poorer” and by “Richer” Countries, by Population

“Poorer countries” declined to support the resolution roughly 9 to 1, while richer countries supported the resolution more by than 30 to 1:

All “poorer countries”:

11% YES

89% NAN

All “richer countries”:

97% YES

3% NAN

2. The Vote by “Countries of Color” and by “White Countries,” by Population

The racial divide is almost as extreme as the wealth divide. “Countries of color” declined to support the resolution by more than 6 to 1, while “white countries” supported it by a nearly identical margin:

All “countries of color”:

13% YES

87% NAN

All “white countries”:

86% YES

14% NAN

3. The Vote by Core and Periphery (& Semi-Periphery), by Population

The periphery overwhelmingly declined to support the resolution, while the core was virtually unanimous in support of it:

All peripheral (& semi-peripheral) countries:

13% YES

87% NAN

All core countries:

99% YES

1% NAN

4. The Vote by Intersectional Categories of Race and Wealth, by Population

In this series of statistics the YES vote rises from only 10% for “poorer” “countries of color” to a unanimous 100% for “richer” “white countries,” while the NAN vote, of course, drops from 90% to zero.

All “poorer” “countries of color”:

10% YES

90% NAN

All “poorer” “white countries”:

33% YES

67% NAN

All “richer” “countries of color”:

75% YES

25% NAN

All “richer” “white countries”:

100% YES

0% NAN

5. The Vote by Intersectional Categories of Race and Wealth in the Core and Periphery (& Semi-Periphery), by Population

Again, notice how the YES vote rises from 11% for “countries of color” in the periphery, to a unanimous 100% for “white countries” in the core.

All “countries of color” in the periphery (& semi-periphery):

11% YES

89% NAN

All “white countries” in the periphery (& semi-periphery):

53% YES

47% NAN

All “countries of color” in the core:

95% YES

5% NAN

All “white countries” in the core:

100% YES

0% NAN

Conclusion

These numbers show the global divides of wealth, color, core and periphery deeply etched in the April 7 UNGA vote.

Here is a possible explanation.

The war in Ukraine is not just a conflict in Eurasia between two countries. Nor is it only a contest between two power blocks, with the US and its sphere on one side, and Russia and its sphere on the other. It may be that this conflict concerns unequal and contested economic, political and social relations between all nations and peoples of the world. Economist and economic historian Michael Hudson sees the contest as part of a clash of economic systems, between US-led neoliberal finance capitalism and socialist industrialization led by Russia, China and Eurasia.

What is clear is that with this UNGA vote the nations representing most of the downtrodden of the world have acted in defiance of US/NATO demands, pressure, and inordinate power.


Appendix 1: UN Countries (193)

Here are each of the countries on the UNGA roster for April 7, 2022, followed by its GDPcn, world population share, and vote (YES, NO, abstention [AB], not voting [NV]). GDPcn numbers are from a compilation of International Monetary Fund statistics for 2021 and, where noted, statistics from the World Bank (WB) or the United Nations (UN).

Afghanistan $592 (0.5%) NV; Albania $5,991 (0.04%) YES; Algeria $3,364 (0.56%) NO; Andorra $40,886 (WB 2019) (0.00%) YES; Angola $2,080 (0.42%) AB; Antigua and Barbuda $13,824 (0.00%) YES; Argentina $9,122 (0.58%) YES; Armenia $4,125 (0.04%) NV; Australia $62,723 (0.33%) YES; Austria $53,859 (0.12%) YES; Azerbaijan $4,883 (0.13%) NV; Bahamas $30,070 (0.01%) YES; Bahrain $24,294 (0.02%) AB; Bangladesh $2,122 (2.11%) AB; Barbados $16,036 (0.00%) AB; Belgium $50,103 (0.15%) YES; Belarus $6,478 (0.12%) NO; Belize $3,970 (0.01%) AB; Benin $1,388 (0.16%) NV; Bhutan $3,296 (0.01%) AB; Bolivia $8,624 (0.15%) NO; Bosnia & Herzegovina $6,728 (0.04%) YES; Botswana $7,817 (0.03%) AB; Brazil $7,011 (2.73%) AB; Brunei $33,097 (0.01%) AB; Bulgaria $11,321 (0.09%) YES; Burkina Faso $876 (0.27%) NV; Burundi $265 (0.15%) NO; Cabo Verde $3,555 (0.01%) AB; Cambodia $1,720 (0.21%) AB; Cameroon $1,649 (0.34%) AB; Canada $49,222 (0.48%) YES; Central African Republic $552 (0.06%) NO; Chad $741 (0.21%) YES; Chile $15,617 (0.25%) YES; China $11,819 (18.47%) NO; Colombia $5,753 (0.65%) YES; Comoros $1,420 (0.01%) YES; Congo (Dem Republic of the) $588 (1.15%) YES; Congo (Republic Of) $2,505 (0.07%) NO; Costa Rica $11,806 (0.07%) YES; Cote d’Ivoire $2,567 (0.34%) YES; Croatia $16,247 0.05% YES; Cuba $8,822 (WB 2018) (0.15%) NO; Cyprus $29,551 (0.02%) YES; Czech Republic $25,732 (0.14%) YES; Denmark $67,218 (0.07%) YES; Djibouti $3,214 (0.01%) NV; Dominica $6,989 (0.00%) YES; Dominican Republic $7,951 (0.14%) YES; Ecuador $5,665 (0.23%) YES; Egypt $3,832 (1.31%) AB; El Salvador $4,031 (0.08%) AB; Equatorial Guinea $8,074 (0.02%) NV; Eritrea $625 (0.05%) NO; Estonia $26,470 (0.02%) YES; Eswatini $3,837 (WB 2019) (0.01%) AB; Ethiopia $952 (1.47%) NO; Fiji $5,069 (0.01%) YES; Finland $54,330 (0.07%) YES; France $44,995 (0.84%) YES; Gabon $8,601 (0.03) NO; Gambia $834 (0.03) AB; Georgia $4,361 (0.05%) YES; Germany $51,860 (1.07%) YES; Ghana $2,374 (0.40%) AB; Greece $19,673 (0.13%) YES; Grenada $9,171 (0.00%) YES; Guatemala $4,439 (0.23%) YES; Guinea $1,141 (0.17%) NV; Guinea-Bissau $888 (0.03%) AB; Guyana $9,192 (0.01%) AB; Haiti $1,943 (0.15%) YES; Honduras $2,586 (0.13%) YES; Hungary $18,075 (0.12%) YES; Iceland $65,273 (0.00%) YES; Ireland $94,556 (0.06%) YES; Israel $47,602 (0.11%) YES; Italy $33,190 (0.78%) YES; India $2,191 (17.7%) AB; Indonesia $4,256 (3.51%) AB; Iran $8,034 (1.08%) NO; Iraq $4,632 (0.52%) AB; Jamaica $5,328 (0.04%) YES; Japan $42,928 (1.62%) YES; Jordan $4,358 (0.13%) AB; Kazakhstan $9,828 (0.24%) NO; Kenya $2,129 (0.69%) AB; Kiribati $1,917 (0.00%) YES; Korea (Democratic Peoples Republic of [aka North Korea]) $640 (UN 2019) (0.33%) NO; Korea (Republic of [aka South Korea]) $34,866 (0.66%) YES; Kuwait $25,290    (0.05%) AB; Kyrgyzstan $1,123 (0.08%) NO; Lao (Peoples Democratic Republic of) $2,773 (0.09%) NO; Latvia $19,824 (0.02%) YES; Lebanon $2,802 (IMF 2020) (0.09%) NV; Lesotho $1,178 (0.03%) AB; Liberia $700 (0.06%) YES; Libya $3,617 (0.09%) YES; Liechtenstein $173,356 (WB 2017) (0.00%) YES; Lithuania $22,245 (0.03%) YES; Luxembourg $131,782 (0.01%) YES; Madagascar $521 (0.36%) AB; Malawi $432 (0.25%) YES; Malaysia $11,604 (0.42%) AB; Maldives $11,801 (0.01%) AB; Mali $983 (0.26%) NO; Malta $31,576 (0.01%) YES; Marshall Islands $4,206 (0.00%) YES; Mauritania $2,179 (0.06%) NV; Mauritius $9,639 (0.02%) YES; Mexico $9,246 (1.65%) AB; Micronesia (Federated States of) $3,821 (0.01%) YES; Moldova $4,638 (0.05%) YES; Monaco $185,741 (WB 2018) (0.00%) YES; Mongolia $4,172 (0.04%) AB; Montenegro $9,046 (0.01%) YES; Morocco $3,415 (0.47%) NV;    Mozambique $425 (0.40%) AB; Myanmar $1,423 (0.7%) YES; Namibia $4,371 (0.03%) AB; Nauru $10,125 (0.00) YES; Nepal $1,236 (0.37) AB; Netherlands $58,003 (0.22%) YES; New Zealand $47,499 (0.06%) YES; Nicaragua $1,877 (0.08%) NO; Niger $633 (0.31%) AB; Nigeria $2,432 (2.64%) AB; North Macedonia $6,657 (0.03%) YES; Norway $81,995 (0.07%)    YES; Oman $16,212 (0.07%) AB; Pakistan $1,260 (IMF 2020) (2.83%) AB; Palau $12,850 (0.00%) YES; Panama $13,690 (0.06%) YES; Papua New Guinea $2,737 (0.11%) YES; Paraguay $5,146 (0.09%) YES; Peru $6,678 (0.42%) YES; Philippines $8,646 (1.41%) YES; Poland $16,930 (0.49%) YES; Portugal $25,065 (0.13%) YES; Qatar $59,143 (0.04%) AB; Romania $14,968 (0.25%) YES; Russia $11,654 (1.87%) NO; Rwanda $821 (0.17%) NV; Saint Kitts and Nevis $14,402 (0.00%) AB; Saint Lucia $9,816 (0.00%) YES; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines $7,212 (0.00%) AB; San Marino $49,765 (0.00%) YES; Samoa $3,672 (0.00%) YES; Sao Tome and Principe $2,174 (0.00%) NV; Saudi Arabia $22,700 (0.45%) AB; Senegal $1,622 (0.21%) AB; Serbia $8,748 (0.11%) YES; Seychelles $9,666 (0.00%) YES; Sierra Leone $542 (0.10%) YES; Singapore $64,103 (0.08%) AB; Slovakia $21,529 (0.07%) YES; Slovenia $28,104 (0.03%) YES; Solomon Islands $2,455 (0.01%) NV; Somalia $347 (0.20%) NV; South Africa $5,444 (0.76%) AB; South Sudan $315 (0.14%) AB; Spain $30,996 (0.60%) YES; Sri Lanka $3,830 (0.27%) AB; Sudan $787 (0.56%) AB; Suriname $4,030 (0.01%) AB; Sweden $58,997 (0.13%) YES; Switzerland $94,696 (0.11%) YES; Syria $2,807 (IMF 2010) (0.22%) NO; Tajikistan $810 (0.12%) NO; Tanzania (United Republic of) $1,104 (0.77%) AB; Thailand $7,702 (0.90%) AB; Timor-Leste $1,285 (0.02%) YES; Togo $1,016 (0.11%) AB; Tonga $5,081 (0.00%) YES; Trinidad-Tobago $15,752 (0.02%) AB; Tunisia $3,683 (0.15%) AB; Turkey $9,327 (1.08%) YES; Turkmenistan $9,032 (0.08%) NV; Tuvalu $5,116 (0.00%) YES; Uganda $972 (0.59%) AB; Ukraine $3,984 (0.56%) YES; United Arab Emirates $35,171 (0.13%) AB; United Kingdom $46,344 (0.87%) YES; United States $68,309 (4.25%) YES; Uruguay $15,653 (0.04%) Yes; Uzbekistan $1,775 (0.43%) No; Vanuatu $2,957 (0.00%) AB; Venezuela $1,542 (0.36%) NV; Vietnam $3,609 (1.25%) NO; Yemen $754 (0.38%) AB; Zambia $974 (0.24%) NV; Zimbabwe $1,684 (0.19%) NO.

Appendix 2: “Countries of Color” (142)

Afghanistan; Algeria; Angola; Antigua and Barbuda; Argentina; Azerbaijan; Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh; Barbados; Belize; Benin; Bhutan; Bolivia; Botswana; Brazil; Brunei; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cabo Verde; Cambodia; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Chile; China; Colombia; Comoros; Congo (Democratic Republic of the); Congo (Republic of); Costa Rica; Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast); Cuba; Djibouti; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; Egypt; El Salvador; Equatorial Guinea; Eritrea; Eswatini; Ethiopia; Fiji; Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Grenada; Guatemala; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Guyana; Haiti; Honduras; India; Indonesia; Iran; Iraq; Jamaica; Japan; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Kenya; Kiribati; Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of); Korea (Republic of); Kuwait; Kyrgyzstan; Lao (Peoples Democratic Republic of); Lebanon; Lesotho; Liberia; Libya; Madagascar; Malawi; Malaysia; Maldives; Mali; Marshall Islands; Mauritania; Mauritius; Mexico; Micronesia (Federated States of); Mongolia; Morocco; Mozambique; Myanmar; Namibia; Nauru; Nepal; Nicaragua; Niger; Nigeria; Oman; Pakistan; Palau; Panama; Papua New Guinea; Paraguay; Peru; Philippines; Qatar; Rwanda; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Samoa; Sao Tome and Principe; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Singapore; Solomon Islands; Somalia; South Africa; South Sudan; Sri Lanka; Sudan; Suriname; Syria; Tajikistan; Tanzania (United Republic of); Thailand; Timor-Leste; Togo; Tonga; Trinidad and Tobago; Tunisia; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Tuvalu; Uganda; United Arab Emirates; Uruguay; Uzbekistan; Vanuatu; Venezuela; Vietnam; Yemen; Zambia; Zimbabwe.

  1. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 7 April 2022 ES-11/3. “Suspension of the rights of membership of the Russian Federation in the Human Rights Council [Excerpt:] Expressing grave concern at the ongoing human rights and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, in particular at the reports of violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law by the Russian Federation, including gross and systematic violations and abuses of human rights, recognizing the strong expressions of concern in statements by the Secretary-General and by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and noting the latest update on the human rights situation in Ukraine by the human rights monitoring mission in Ukraine, of 26 March 2022, [par.] 1. Decides to suspend the rights of membership in the Human Rights Council of the Russian Federation…”
  2. Resolution adopted March 2 by the General Assembly: “Deplores in the strongest terms the aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine in violation of Article 2 (4) of the Charter.” (Article 2 (4) reads: “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”) The resolution also “[d]eplores the 21 February 2022 decision by the Russian Federation related to the status of certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine as a violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and inconsistent with the principles of the Charter.” Beyond Russia, the resolution “[d]eplores the involvement of Belarus in this unlawful use of force against Ukraine, and calls upon it to abide by its international obligations.”
  3. This article will concentrate on the April 7 vote. I wrote about the March 2 vote in Divided World: The UN Condemnation of Russia is Endorsed by Countries Run by the Richest, Oldest, Whitest People on Earth But Only 41% of the World’s Population, found here, here, here, here.
  4. Another March 24 resolution passed in the UNGA blamed Russia for the humanitarian situation in Ukraine. It received a vote nearly identical to the March 2 vote.
  5. These figures and similar ones throughout this article are the sums of the share of global population for each country in each voting category.
  6. Two Appendices follow this article. Appendix 1 lists the 193 countries on the April 7 UNGA roster, each followed by its nominal GDP per capita, its % share of world population, and how it voted. Appendix 2 lists, for the purpose of this article, “countries of color.” (All other countries will be considered “white countries.”)
  7. My source gives population share figures out to two decimals. This overlooks populations of a number of very small countries, adding up to 1.2% of world population. Assuming the distribution of “poorer” and “richer” countries is roughly similar in that 1.2%, I approximated the “poorer”/“richer” split as 85%/15% and assigned 85% of the 1.2% to the “poorer” group and the rest to the “richer” group. “Richer countries” have 14.93% of world population; “poorer countries” have 83.87%. Distributing the remaining 1.2% of world population according to an 85%/15% split (“poorer”/“richer”), means “poorer” countries have 84.89% of world population and “richer” countries have 15.11%. This rounds to 85% and 15%. I used the same method to find the percentages for “countries of color” and “white countries” (below). Because of these vagaries, among the many statistics given below, some may be off by a percentage point.
  8. Some name a semi-periphery that may include Russia and China.
The post Global Divide: 76% of Humanity (and Nearly All Poorer Nations of Color) Did Not Vote to Kick Russia off the UN Human Rights Council first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Divided World

On March 2 of this year the UN General Assembly met in an Emergency Session to pass a non-binding resolution condemning Russia’s February 24 intervention in Ukraine.1 141 countries voted for the resolution, 5 voted against, 35 abstained, and 12 did not vote. (Reported: Guardian, Al Jazeera, iNews.)

In the absence of any reliable opinion poll of the world’s 7.9 billion people, this vote may indicate that the majority of humanity sympathizes with Russia in Ukraine. The statistics presented below show that only 41% of the world’s people live in countries that joined the US in voting for the UN resolution.

This lopsided vote is even more striking if you consider the demographics. Populations represented by governments that did not vote for the resolution are much more likely to include the world’s poorest nations, nations with younger populations, “nations of color,” nations of the Global South, and nations in the periphery of the world economic system.

To put it another way, although the war is nominally a conflict between two developed and ethnically white nations, Russia and Ukraine, this UN vote suggests the war may be viewed by much of the world as a fight over the global political and economic system that institutionalizes the imperial hierarchy, the distribution of nations between rich and poor, and global white supremacy.

The UN Vote by Population   

Of the world’s 7,934,000,000 people, 59% live in countries that did not support the resolution and only 41% live in countries that did.2 But that last figure drops to 34% outside of the immediate belligerents and their allies: Ukraine, US, and NATO countries, and on the other side, Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, and Tajikistan (all the countries of the Collective Security Treaty Organization).

41% or 34% amounts to a resounding, humiliating defeat for the US on this non-binding UN resolution. Instead it is reported in the west as a US victory and an “overwhelming” worldwide condemnation of Russia.

The UN Vote and GDP Per Capita

All the countries in the top third of the GDP per capita (nominal) rankings, including Japan and all the countries of Western Europe and North America, voted for the resolution, Venezuela being the only country in the top third that did not.

Of the countries that did not vote for the resolution, most are ranked the poorest in the world, and almost none came above the approximate midpoint rank of 98. The exceptions were: Venezuela (58), Russia (68), Equatorial Guinea (73), Kazakhstan (75), China (76) Cuba (82), Turkmenistan (92), South Africa (95), Belarus (97).3

The UN Vote and the Core/Periphery Divide

Another way to show the wealth divide in the UN vote is by distinguishing core and peripheral countries. In world-systems theory the surplus value of labor flows disproportionately to the core countries: “The countries of the world can be divided into two major world regions: the ‘core’ and the ‘periphery.’ The core includes major world powers and the countries that contain much of the wealth of the planet. The periphery has those countries that are not reaping the benefits of global wealth and globalization.” (Colin Stief, ThoughtCo.com, 1/21/20)

The countries usually considered in the core are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States.

The difference here is stark. Every single core country voted for the resolution and every country that did not is either in the periphery or in some cases, like Russia or China, in the semi-periphery.

The UN Vote and Median Age

All the countries ranked in the top third of median age rankings, from Monaco (51.1 years) to Iceland (36.5 years), voted for the resolution, with the following exceptions: China (37.4), Russia (39.6), Belarus (40), Cuba (41.5).

Of the twenty entries with the lowest median ages (15.4 to 18.9), only half voted for the resolution.

The UN Vote and “Countries of Color”

Of the 7,934,000,000 people in the world, 1,136,160,000 live in what are usually recognized as “white countries” (consistently or not) with about 14% of the world’s population. Yet “white countries,” by population, represent about 30% of the total vote in favor of the resolution. This “white vote” accounts for every one of the core countries (except Singapore and Japan). Compare: 97% of the population in the countries that did not vote for the resolution live in “countries of color.” Only Russia, Belarus and Armenia (which did not vote for the resolution) have dominant populations classed as “white.”

Therefore “white countries” are overrepresented in the group that voted for the resolution (30% vs. 14%), and underrepresented in the group that did not (3% vs. 14%).

Before the Intervention

What follows is a brief sketch of events leading to the February 24 Russian intervention that prompted the UN resolution. It is a history seldom mentioned in the mainstream media, though it is easily found in selected alternative and now-suppressed media. It is presented here as a possible, partial explanation of why the UN resolution had so little support measured by population.

US/NATO has directed aggression toward Russia for decades, advancing NATO forces ever closer to Russia’s western border, ringing Russia with military bases, placing nuclear weapons at ever closer range, and breaching and discarding treaties meant to lessen the likelihood of nuclear war. The US even let it be known, through its planning documents and policy statements, that it considered Ukraine a battlefield on which Ukrainian and Russian lives might be sacrificed in order to destabilize, decapitate and eventually dismember Russia just as it did Yugoslavia. Russia has long pointed out the existential security threat it sees in Ukrainian territory, and it has made persistent, peaceful, yet fruitless efforts over decades to resolve the problem. (See Monthly Review’s excellent editors’ note.)

Recent history includes the 2014 US-orchestrated coup in Ukraine, followed by a war of the central government against those in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk resisting the coup government and its policies. Those policies include a ban on the Russian language, the native tongue of the region and a significant part of the country (ironically, including President Zelensky).

By the end of 2021 the war had taken 14,000 lives, four-fifths of them members of the resistance or civilian Russian speakers targeted by the government. Through years of negotiations Russia tried and failed to keep the Donetsk and Lugansk regions inside a united Ukraine. After signing the Minsk agreements that would do just that, Ukraine, under tight US control, refused to comply even with step one: to talk with the rebellion’s representatives.

As to why the intervention happend now, Vyacheslav Tetekin, Central Committee member of Russia’s largest opposition party, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, explains:

Starting from December, 2021 Russia had been receiving information about NATO’s plans to deploy troops and missile bases in Ukraine. Simultaneously an onslaught on the Donetsk (DPR) and Lugansk People’s Republics (LPR) was being prepared. About a week before the start of Russia’s operation the plan was uncovered of an offensive that envisaged strikes by long-range artillery, multiple rocket launchers, combat aircraft, to be followed by an invasion of Ukrainian troops and Nazi battalions. It was planned to cut off Donbas from the border with Russia, encircle and besiege Donetsk, Lugansk and other cities and then carry out a sweeping “security cleanup” with imprisonment and killing of thousands of defenders of Donbas and their supporters. The plan was developed in cooperation with NATO. The invasion was scheduled to begin in early March. Russia’s action pre-empted Kiev and NATO, which enabled it to seize strategic initiative and effectively save thousands of lives in the two republics.

All this may have informed the world’s overwhelming rejection of the US-backed UN resolution condemning Russia, which western media perversely considers a US victory simply because the resolution passed. Never mind that it passed in a voting system where Liechtenstein’s vote carries the same weight as China’s.

The Global South also knows from bitter experience that unlike the West, neither Russia nor it’s close partner China habitually engage in bombings, invasions, destabilization campaigns, color revolutions, coups and assassinations against the countries and governments of the Global South. On the contrary, both countries have assisted the development and military defense of such countries, as in Syria, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, Iran and elsewhere.

Conclusion

Just as the imperial core of North America, Europe and Japan does not represent the world in their population numbers, demographics, wealth, or power, neither does the imperial core speak for the world on crucial issues of war, peace, justice, and international law. Indeed the Global South has already spoken to the Global North so many times, in so many ways, with patience, persistence and eloquence, to little avail. Since we in the North have not been able to hear the words, perhaps we can listen to the cry of the numbers.

  1. The resolution “Deplores in the strongest terms the aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine in violation of Article 2 (4) of the Charter.” (Article 2 (4) reads: “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”) The resolution also “[d]eplores the 21 February 2022 decision by the Russian Federation related to the status of certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine as a violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and inconsistent with the principles of the Charter.” Beyond Russia, the resolution “[d]eplores the involvement of Belarus in this unlawful use of force against Ukraine, and calls upon it to abide by its international obligations.”
  2. The population of countries voting for the UN resolution is 3,289,310,000. The population of countries voting against the resolution, abstaining, or not voting is 4,644,694,000. (Against: 202,209,000; abstaining: 4,140,546,000; not voting: 301,939,000.)
  3. Here are the countries that did not vote for the resolution, with their GDP per capita rankings (the lower the number the higher the rank). 5 countries voted against the resolution: Russia 68, Belarus 97, North Korea 154, Eritrea 178, Syria 147. 35 countries abstained: Algeria 119, Angola 128, Armenia 115, Bangladesh 155, Bolivia 126, Burundi 197, Central African Republic 193, China 76, Congo 143, Cuba 82, El Salvador 121, Equatorial Guinea 73, India 150, Iran 105, Iraq 103, Kazakhstan 75, Kyrgyzstan 166, Laos 140, Madagascar 190, Mali 174, Mongolia 118, Mozambique 192, Namibia 102, Nicaragua 148, Pakistan 162, Senegal 160, South Africa 95, South Sudan 168, Sri Lanka 120, Sudan 171, Tajikistan 177, Tanzania 169, Uganda 187, Vietnam 138, Zimbabwe 144. 12 countries did not vote: Azerbaijan 110, Burkina Faso 184, Cameroon 158, Eswatini 117, Ethiopia 170, Guinea 175, Guinea-Bissau 179, Morocco 130, Togo 185, Turkmenistan 92, Uzbekistan 159, Venezuela 58.
The post Divided World first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Bombs and Missiles ‘r Us . . . and Further Infantilization of USA/EU/UK

I’m finishing up a “children’s book.” It’s longish. Kati the Coatimundi Finds Lorena. It’s about a precocious (actually, super smart) 12 year old, Lorena, who is in a wheelchair (paraplegic) who ends up finding out the family trip to Playa del Carmen back to San Antonio, Texas, brought with them a stowaway animal — a coati. Yep, the world of the 12 yeare old is full of reading, drawing, smarts. Yep, the girl and the animal can communicate with each other. Yep, lots of struggle with being “the other,” and, well, it’s a story that I hope even keeps grandma on the edge of her seat, or at least wanting to read more and more. She is a mestizo, too. We’ll see how that goes with the woke folk. I think I have a former veterinarian who is retired and now is working on illustrations, art. We shall see where this project heads.

Under this veil of creativity, of course, it’s difficult to just meld into pure art when the world around me is very very pregnant with stupidity, injustice, despotism, and Collective Stockholm Syndrome. Being in Oregon, being in a small rural area, being in the Pacific Northwest, being in USA, now that also bogs down spirits.

It’s really about how stupid and how inane and how blatantly violent this so-called Western Civilization has become. The duh factor never plays in the game, because (a) the digital warriors writing stuff like this very blog are not engaged with centers of power, influence or coalescing. Then (b) so many people are in their minds powerful because with the touch of a keyboard, they can mount an offensive on or against facts . . . or deeply regarded and thought out opinions. So, then (c) everyone has a right to their opinion . . . . that is how the American mind moves through the commercial dungeons their marketing and financial overlords end up putting them.

No pitchforks? How in anybody’s room temperature IQ does this make any sense? Demands for daily procurement of weapons for imbalanced, losing, and Nazified Ukraine?

It is about the food, stupid, okay, Carville?

So, before we move on, this is a communique from the G7 summit of the world’s biggest economies. And, no, EU and USA and Canada, not prepared for the Russian offensive’s affect on global food security. Alas, March 24, the G7 leaders agreed to use “all instruments and funding mechanisms” and involve the “relevant international institutions” to address food security, including support for the “continued Ukrainian production efforts.”

Ukraine has told the US that it urgently needs to be supplied with 500 Javelin anti-tank missiles and 500 Stinger air defense missiles per day, CNN reported on Thursday, citing a document presented to US lawmakers.

Western countries have been sending weapons and military gear to Kiev but President Volodymyr Zelensky says it is not enough to fend off the Russian attack that was launched a month ago.

CNN quoted sources as saying that Ukraine is now asking for “hundreds more” missiles than in previous requests sent to lawmakers. Addressing the leaders of NATO member states via video link on Thursday, Zelensky said he had not received a “clear answer” to the request of “one percent of all your tanks.” (source)

And, again, this is not blasphemy? Imagine, this “leader” and those “leaders,” smiling away during what is the 30 seconds to midnight doomsday clock. Smiling while Ukraine kills humanitarian refugees, while the biolabs sputtering on in deep freeze (we hope), and while the food prices are rising. Gas cards in California, and food coupons in France?

In a normal world, a million pundits would be all over this March 24 group/grope photo. Smiles, while we the people have to watch billions go to ZioLensky and trillions more shunted to these world leaders’ overlords?

As I alluded to in the title — the mighty warring UK, with the highrises in London, with those jet-setters and those Rothschild-loving royal rummies, it has food banks set up for the struggling, working class, and, alas, the gas is so pricey that people can’t boil spuds! Bring back the coal stoves!

These are leaders? The elites? The best of the best?

In an interview with the BBC Radio 4 Today program on Wednesday, Richard Walker said the “cost of living crisis is the single most important domestic issue we are facing as a country.” He cited reports from some food banks that users are “declining products such as potatoes and other root veg because they can’t afford to boil them.” Walker suggested that the UK government could implement measures to take the heat off retailers. He urged that the energy price cap on households could be extended to businesses, which he said would translate into some £100m in savings on consumers. He also called on authorities to postpone the introduction of the planned increase in national insurance, as well as some new environmental taxes. (source)

The operative words are “crumbling,” and, then, “malfescence,” and then, “hubris,” and then, “bilking.”

I just heard some inside stuff from someone working for a high tech company. I can’t get into too much about that, but here, these “engineers” in electronics or in data storage systems, they are, again, the height of Eicchmanns, but with the added twist of me-myself-and-I. Their expectations are $180,000 a year, with six weeks paid vacation, stocks, and, well, the eight-hour day.

I don’t think the average blog reader gets this — we are not talking about celebrities, or the executive team for Amazon or Dell or Raytheon. Yep, those bastards pull in millions a year, like those celebrities, the pro athletes and the thespians of note, or musicians. These are people who are demanding those entry pay rates who have no empathy for the world around them. Sure, they believe they have kids to feed, and they might rah-rah the Ukraine madness (that, of course, means, more diodes, batteries, computer chips, communication systems, et al for the monsters of war), but they laugh at the idea of real people with real poverty issues getting a cheque from Uncle Sam.

These are the everyday folk. I harken to the Scheer Report, tied to this fellow: It’s almost surreal and schizophrenic to valorize this fellow. Here, his bio brief, Ted Postol, a physicist and nuclear weapons specialist as well as MIT professor emeritus, joins Robert Scheer on this week’s edition of “Scheer Intelligence” to explain just how deadly the current brinkmanship between the U.S. and Russia really is. Having taught at Stanford University and Princeton prior to his time at MIT, Postol was also a science and policy adviser to the chief of naval operations and an analyst at the Office of Technology Assessment. His nuclear weapons expertise led him to critique the U.S. government’s claims about missile defenses, for which he won the Garwin Prize from the Federation of American Scientists in 2016. (source)

I’ll go with Mr. Fish, as his illustration, even though it has words, speaks volumes —

It all begs the question, so, now this weapons of war fellow, this US Navy advisor, physcist, he is now having his coming to Allah-Jesus-Moses moment? He gets it so wrong, and, one slice of the Ray-gun play, well, he also misses the point that people brought up in the warring world, and those with elite college backgrounds, or military and elite college backgrounds, and those in think tanks, or on the government deep or shallow state payroll, those in the diplomatic corps, those in the Fortune 5000 companies, the lot of them, and, of course, the genuflect to the multimillionaires and billionaires, they are, quite frankly, in most cases, sociopaths.

But, here, a quote from his interview with Robert Scheer:

And unfortunately, most of what people believe—even people who are quite well educated—is just unchecked. You know, only if you’re a real expert—and these people were not, in spite of the fact they viewed themselves that way—do you understand something about the reality of what these weapons are about. And so basically, to use a term that gets overused a lot, I think the deep state in both Russia and the United States—more the United States than Russia, at least as far as I can see—the deep state in the United States mostly, basically undermined the ideas and objectives of Ronald Reagan. And of course Gorbachev was facing a similar problem in Russia.

So there’s these giant institutions inside both countries. They’re filled with people who, at one level, honestly believe these bad ideas, or think they are right; and because they think they are right, and they convince themselves that it’s in the best interest of the country, what’s really going on, it’s in their best interest as professionals but they mix up their best interest with the interest of the country. They, these people take steps to blunt the directives of the president, and basically the system just moves on without any real modification, independent of this remarkable and actually extraordinarily insightful judgment of these two men. (source)

We know Reagan’s pedigree, and we know the millions who have suffered and died under his watch. And his best and brightest in his crew, oh, they are still around. Imagine, that, Trump 2024. Will another war criminal and his cadre of criminals rise again to national prominence. He will be seeking counsel:

Then, alas, the flags at the post office, half mast, yet again and again and again — Today, that other war criminal:

Go to minute 59:00 here at the Grayzone, and watch this woman (Albright) call Serbs disgusting. Oh well, flags are flapping once again for another war criminal!

Sure, watch the entire two hours and forty-five minutes, and then try and wrap your heads around 1,000 missiles a day on the road to Ukraine, and no-boiling spuds in the UK. And it goes without saying, that any narrative, any deep study of, any recalled history of this entire bullshit affair in the minds of most Yankees and Rebels, they — Pepe Escobar, Scott Ritter, Abby Martin, et al — are the fringe. Get to this one from Escobar, today:

A quick neo-Nazi recap

By now only the brain dead across NATOstan – and there are hordes – are not aware of Maidan in 2014. Yet few know that it was then Ukrainian Minister of Interior Arsen Avakov, a former governor of Kharkov, who gave the green light for a 12,000 paramilitary outfit to materialize out of Sect 82 soccer hooligans who supported Dynamo Kiev. That was the birth of the Azov batallion, in May 2014, led by Andriy Biletsky, a.k.a. the White Fuhrer, and former leader of the neo-nazi gang Patriots of Ukraine.

Together with NATO stay-behind agent Dmitro Yarosh, Biletsky founded Pravy Sektor, financed by Ukrainian mafia godfather and Jewish billionaire Ihor Kolomoysky (later the benefactor of the meta-conversion of Zelensky from mediocre comedian to mediocre President.)

Pravy Sektor happened to be rabidly anti-EU – tell that to Ursula von der Lugen – and politically obsessed with linking Central Europe and the Baltics in a new, tawdry Intermarium. Crucially, Pravy Sektor and other nazi gangs were duly trained by NATO instructors.

Biletsky and Yarosh are of course disciples of notorious WWII-era Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera, for whom pure Ukrainians are proto-Germanic or Scandinavian, and Slavs are untermenschen.

Azov ended up absorbing nearly all neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine and were dispatched to fight against Donbass – with their acolytes making more money than regular soldiers. Biletsky and another neo-Nazi leader, Oleh Petrenko, were elected to the Rada. The White Führer stood on his own. Petrenko decided to support then President Poroshenko. Soon the Azov battalion was incorporated as the Azov Regiment to the Ukrainian National Guard.

They went on a foreign mercenary recruiting drive – with people coming from Western Europe, Scandinavia and even South America.

That was strictly forbidden by the Minsk Agreements guaranteed by France and Germany (and now de facto defunct). Azov set up training camps for teenagers and soon reached 10,000 members. Erik “Blackwater” Prince, in 2020, struck a deal with the Ukrainian military that would enable his renamed outfit, Academi, to supervise Azov.

It was none other than sinister Maidan cookie distributor Vicky “F**k the EU” Nuland who suggested to Zelensky – both of them, by the way, Ukrainian Jews – to appoint avowed Nazi Yarosh as an adviser to the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Gen Valerii Zaluzhnyi. The target: organize a blitzkrieg on Donbass and Crimea – the same blitzkrieg that SVR, Russian foreign intel, concluded would be launched on February 22, thus propelling the launch of Operation Z. (Source: “Make Nazism Great Again — The supreme target is regime change in Russia, Ukraine is just a pawn in the game – or worse, mere cannon fodder.”)

In the minds of wimpy Trump and wimpy Biden, or in those minds of all those in the camp of Harris-Jill Biden disharmony, these white UkiNazi hombres above are “our tough hombres.” Send the ZioLensky bombs, bioweapons, bucks, big boys. Because America the Ungreat will be shaking up the world, big time.

So, I slither back to the writing, finishing up my story about a girl, a coati, Mexico, what it means to be disabled, and what it means to be an illegal animal stuck in America, Texas, of all places, where shoot to kill vermin orders are a daily morning conversation with the oatmeal and white toast and jam.

See the source image

If only the world could be run by storytellers, dancers, art makers, dramatists, musicians everywhere. Here, a great little thing from Lila Downs — All about culture, art, dance, language, food, color. Forget the physicists, man. And the electrical and dam engineers.

If you do not understand Spanish, then, maybe hit the YouTube “settings” and get the English subtitles.. In either case, magnificent, purely magnificent!

The post Bombs and Missiles ‘r Us . . . and Further Infantilization of USA/EU/UK first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Right to Peace

December 10, 2021 marked the 73rd anniversary of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This year also marks the 5th anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Right to Peace (DRP). As we celebrate the anniversaries of these two Declarations, let’s consider their interconnectedness and how world government, world law, and world citizenship are key to their implementation.

The UDHR and the DRP share the same ultimate goal: achieving world peace based on universal respect for human rights.

The interconnectedness between the Declarations becomes noticeable in the shared terms “peace” and “human rights,” which repeat multiple times in each document. Peace affirms human rights, and human rights affirm peace.

The UDHR refers to “peace” three times. The most significant occurrence appears in the Preamble: “Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”

The DRP further affirms the indivisible link between rights and peace. Article 1 states, “Everyone has the right to enjoy peace such that all human rights are promoted and protected and development is fully realized.”

Education of our rights and of a culture of peace, according to both Declarations, is the principal way to raise awareness of these goals. To move beyond awareness into implementation, peace and human rights must be engaged by government at all levels from local to global.

Achieving peace and human rights must be the primary function of government. We must implement the UDHR and the DRP at the world level as well as lower levels because local and national governments alone do not have the capacity and oftentimes the willingness to fulfill this role.

The limitations of local and national governments hamper the achievement of peace. For example, within the nation-state system of exclusive sovereignty, our rights and duties begin and end at the border, allowing lawlessness and violence to reign beyond borders. In a global governmental system, our rights and duties apply to everyone, everywhere, placing accountability on each individual in society for upholding the rule of law.

We can learn from the effective aspects of national governmental institutions, such as parliaments and courts, which provide legislative processes and adjudication of disputes that allow for peaceful decision-making at the national level. By globalizing these legal processes, we can achieve peaceful decision-making beyond the nation-state – at the more impactful world level.

A world federal government, in its focus on the global rule of law, offers a system to transition from a society guided by war, to a society guided by peaceful realization of our rights and duties.

If we define and implement peace by what it is – the presence of law – rather than by what it is not – the absence of war – then world peace becomes achievable. World peace is achievable through world law and world citizenship.

The UDHR provides a set of guiding principles to form the basis of an evolving world law. The UDHR provides a springboard for creating the participatory institutions and regenerative processes at the global level to help us to live together peacefully with each other and sustainably with the Earth.

To fulfill our right to peace as the DRP intends, we must move beyond the confines of our local identities that divide us. By seeing ourselves as world citizens, with universal rights and duties to each other and to the planet, we begin to govern our world with a unified voice — a world governed by us, the people of the world. With a world citizen mindset, we better understand that peace depends upon respect for rights and respect for rights depends upon peaceful interactions at all levels of human society.

As we celebrate the anniversaries of the UDHR and the DRP, let’s consider how we may implement the Declarations’ principles and framework for human rights and peace in our own lives, in our communities, and in the world.

The post The Right to Peace first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Make the Whole World Know that the South Also Exists

Shefa Salem (Libya), Life, 2019.

On 19 January 2022, US President Joe Biden held a press conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC. The discussion ranged from Biden’s failure to pass a $1.75 trillion investment bill (the result of the defection of two Democrats) to the increased tensions between the United States and Russia. According to a recent NBC poll, 54% of adults in the United States disapprove of his presidency and 71% feel that the country is headed in the wrong direction.

The political and cultural divisions that widened during the Trump years continue to inflict a heavy toll on US society, including over the government’s ability to control the COVID-19 pandemic. Basic protocols to avoid infections are not universally followed. Misinformation related to COVID-19 has spread as rapidly as the virus in the United States, where large numbers of people believe sensational claims: for example, that pregnant women should not take the vaccine, that the vaccine promotes infertility, and that the government is hiding the data on deaths caused by the vaccines.

Joaquín Torres-García (Uruguay), Entoldado (La Feria) (‘Canopy [The Fair]’), 1917.

Joaquín Torres-García (Uruguay), Entoldado (La Feria) (‘Canopy [The Fair]’), 1917.

At the press conference, Biden made a candid remark regarding the Monroe Doctrine (1823), which treats the American hemisphere as the ‘backyard’ of the United States. ‘It’s not America’s backyard’, Biden said. ‘Everything south of the Mexican border is America’s front yard’. The United States continues to think of the entire hemisphere, from Cape Horn to the Rio Grande, not as sovereign territory, but, in one way or the other, as its ‘yard’. It meant little that Biden followed this up by saying, ‘we’re equal people,’ since the metaphor he used – the yard – indicated the proprietary attitude with which the United States operates in the Americas and in the rest of the world. It is this proprietary attitude that inflames conflict not only in the Americas (with epicentres in Cuba and Venezuela), but also in Eurasia.

Talks have been ongoing in Geneva and Vienna to dial down the conflict imposed by the United States and its allies against Iran and Russia. The US’ attempts to re-enter the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) regarding Iran’s nuclear programme and to dominate eastern Europe have thus far not borne fruit. The talks persist, but both are hindered by the US government’s continued adoption of a narrative about the world that is premised on its hegemony and a rejection of the multipolar dispensation that has begun to appear.

Ramin Haerizadeh (Iran), He Came, He Left, He Left, He Came, 2010.

Ramin Haerizadeh (Iran), He Came, He Left, He Left, He Came, 2010.

Early indications in the eighth round of the JCPOA talks in Vienna, which opened on 27 December 2021, suggested that there would be little forward movement. The United States arrived with the attitude that Iran could not be trusted, when in fact it was the United States that exited the JCPOA in 2018 (after it certified twice in 2017 that Iran had in fact followed the letter of the agreement). This attitude came alongside a false sense of urgency from the Biden administration to rush the process forward.

The US wants Iran to make further concessions, despite the fact that the initial deal had been negotiated over twenty long months and despite the fact that none of the other parties are willing to reopen the agreement to satisfy the United States and its outside partner, Israel. The Russian negotiator Mikhail Ulyanov said that there is no need for ‘artificial deadlines’, an indicator of the growing closeness between Iran and Russia. Ties between the two states have been strengthened by their shared opposition to the failed attempt by the Gulf Arab states, Turkey, and the West to overthrow the Syrian government, particularly since the Russian military intervention into Syria in 2015.

Aneta Kajzer (Germany), I’ve Got No Brain Baby, 2017.

Aneta Kajzer (Germany), I’ve Got No Brain Baby, 2017.

Even more dangerous than the US’ hostile attitude towards Iran is its policy towards Russia and Ukraine, where troops are at the ready and the rhetoric of war has become more strident. The heart of this conflict is around the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) towards the Russian border, in violation of the deal struck between the United States and the Soviet Union that NATO would not go beyond Germany’s eastern border. Ukraine is the epicentre of the conflict, although even here the debate is unclear. Germany and France have said that they would not welcome the inclusion of Ukraine in NATO, and since NATO membership requires universal consent, it is impossible for Ukraine to join NATO at present. The nub of the disagreement is over how these various parties understand the situation in Ukraine.

The Russians contend that the US fomented a coup in 2014 and brought right-wing nationalists – including pro-fascist elements – into power, and that these sections are part of a Western ploy to threaten Russia with NATO weapons systems and with NATO country forces inside Ukraine, while the West contends that Russia wishes to annex eastern Ukraine. The Russians have asked NATO to provide a written guarantee that Ukraine will not be allowed to join the military alliance as a precondition for further talks; NATO has demurred.

When the German navy chief and vice admiral Kay-Achim Schönbach said in Delhi that Russia’s Vladimir Putin deserves ‘respect’ from Western leaders, he had to resign. It made no difference that Schönbach’s comments were premised on the notion that the West needed Russia to combat China – only disrespect and subordination of Russia are acceptable. That’s the Western view in the Geneva talks, which will continue but are unlikely to bear fruit as long as the United States and its allies believe that other powers should surrender their sovereignty to a US-led world order.

Olga Chernysheva (Russia), Kind People, 2004.

Olga Chernysheva (Russia), Kind People, 2004.

The movement of history suggests that the days of the US-dominated world system are nearing their end. That is why we called our dossier no. 36 (January 2021) Twilight: The Erosion of US Control and the Multipolar Future. In We Will Build the Future: A Plan to Save the Planet (January 2022), produced alongside 26 research institutes from around the world, we laid out the following ten points for a restructured, more democratic world system:

  1. Affirm the importance of the United Nations Charter (1945).
  2. Insist that member states of the United Nations adhere to the Charter, including to its specific requirements around the use of sanctions and force (chapters VI and VII).
  3. Reconsider the monopoly power exercised by the UN Security Council over decisions that impact a large section of the multilateral system; engage the UN General Assembly in a serious dialogue over democracy inside the global order.
  4. Insist that multilateral bodies – such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO) – formulate polices in accord with the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948); forbid any policy that increases poverty, hunger, homelessness, and illiteracy.
  5. Affirm the centrality of the multilateral system over the key areas of security, trade policy, and financial regulations, recognising that regional bodies such as NATO and parochial institutions such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have supplanted the United Nations and its agencies (such as the UN Conference on Trade and Development) in the formulation of these policies.
  6. Formulate policies to strengthen regional mechanisms and deepen the integration of developing countries.
  7. Prevent the use of the security paradigm – notably, counterterrorism and counternarcotics – to address the world’s social challenges.
  8. Cap spending on arms and militarism; ensure that outer space is demilitarised.
  9. Convert the resources spent on arms production to fund socially beneficial production.
  10. Ensure that all rights are available to all peoples, not just those who are citizens of a state; these rights must apply to all hitherto marginalised communities such as women, indigenous peoples, people of colour, migrants, undocumented people, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+ people, oppressed castes, and the impoverished.

Adherence to these ten points would aid in the resolution of these crises in Iran and Ukraine.

Failure to move forward is a result of Washington’s arrogant attitude towards the world. During Biden’s press conference, he lectured Putin on the dangers of a nuclear war, saying that Putin is ‘not in a very good position to dominate the world’. Only the United States, he implied, is in a good position to do that. Then, Biden said, ‘you have to be concerned when you have, you know, a nuclear power invade… if he invades – [which] hasn’t happened since World War Two’. A nuclear power invading a country hasn’t happened since World War Two? The United States is a nuclear power and has continually invaded countries across the globe, from Vietnam to Grenada, Panama, Afghanistan, and Iraq – an illegal war which Biden voted for. It is this arrogant approach to the world and to the UN Charter that puts our world in peril.

Listening to Biden, I was reminded of Mario Benedetti’s 1985 poem, El sur también existe (‘The South Also Exists’), a favourite of Hugo Chávez. Here are two of its verses:

With its worship of steel
its giant chimneys
its clandestine sages
its siren song
its neon skies
its Christmas sales
its cults of God the Father
and military epaulettes

with its keys to the kingdom
the North is the one who commands

but here underneath the underneath
close to the roots
is where memory
forgets nothing
and there are people living
and dying doing their utmost
and so between them they achieve
what was believed to be impossible

to make the whole world know
that the South also exists.

The post Make the Whole World Know that the South Also Exists first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The US enables Criminal Israeli behavior

Given all the attention focused on the covid-19 pandemic, the Build Back Better bill, the January 6th attack on the Capitol and the media-hyped crises over Ukraine and Taiwan this past year, many other important issues have not received much attention. One example is the Palestinian/Israeli situation.

Views of Israel

There have been some major breakthroughs in the perception of Israel in 2021 with two major human rights organizations, B’Tselem in Israel and Human Rights Watch, concluding that Israel is an apartheid state. In addition, this past May, 93 US rabbinical students wrote a letter challenging the Zionist perception of Israel. They wrote: “As American Jews, our institutions tell stories of Israel rooted in hope for what could be, but oblivious to what is. Our tzedakah money funds a story we wish were true, but perpetuates a reality that is untenable and dangerous. Our political advocacy too often puts forth a narrative of victimization, but supports violent suppression of human rights and enables apartheid in the Palestinian territories, and the threat of annexation.”

Israel violates international law with impunity

There was also a particularly strong statement to the UN General Assembly this past October by Michael Lynk, the “Special Rapporteur for the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967”. Ian Williams wrote about Lynk’s statement in the Jan-Feb 2022 issue of the Washington Report on the Middle East Affairs.

Williams quoted from Lynk’s statement:

the international community has been perplexingly unwilling to meaningfully challenge, let alone act decisively to reverse, the momentous changes that Israel has been generating on the ground. This is a political failure of the first order. This very same international community—speaking through the principal political and legal organs of the United Nations—has established the widely accepted and detailed rights-based framework for the supervision and resolution of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Accordingly, the protracted Israeli occupation must fully end.

Williams noted that Lynk also addressed the lack of action in following up on UN Security Council resolutions. Lynk said:

Regrettably, the international community’s remarkable tolerance for Israeli exceptionalism in its conduct of the occupation has allowed realpolitik to trump rights, power to supplant justice and impunity to undercut accountability. This has been the conspicuous thread throughout the Madrid-Oslo peace process, which began in 1991.

Need for the international community to act

This past December 23rd, on the 5th anniversary of the UN Security Council’s passing of Resolution 2334, Lynk said: Resolution 2334, adopted by the Security Council on 23 December 2016, stated that Israeli settlements constitute “a flagrant violation under international law” and said that all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, must “immediately and completely cease.”

If this resolution had been actually enforced by the international community, and obeyed by Israel, we would most likely be on the verge of a just and lasting peace,” the Special Rapporteur said. “Instead, Israel is in defiance of the resolution, its occupation is more entrenched than ever, the violence it employs against the Palestinians to sustain the occupation is rising, and the international community has no strategy to end the world’s longest military occupation.

Lynk added:

Without decisive international intervention to impose accountability upon an unaccountable occupation, there is no hope that the Palestinian right to self-determination and an end to the conflict will be realized anytime in the foreseeable future.

The US is a stumbling block to peace and justice

Disappointingly, US actions are a key reason that the international community has been unable to enforce international law where Israel is concerned. For example, according to a May 19, 2021 ‘Al Jazeera’ article, the US has vetoed 53 UN Security Council resolutions critical of Israeli behavior since 1972. These shameful vetoes provide political cover for continuing Israeli crimes against Palestinians. In addition, the US also gives $3.8 billion in aid each year to Israel primarily for military assistance that, among other things, supports Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and the occupation of Palestinian land.

If peace and justice are to prevail between Palestinians and Israelis, the US must join with other nations to stop Israeli crimes instead of abetting the criminality.

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A Programme for a Future Society That We Will Build in the Present

Chittaprosad, Indian Workers Read, n.d.

In October 2021, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) released a report that received barely any attention: the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index 2021, notably subtitled Unmasking disparities by ethnicity, caste, and gender. ‘Multidimensional poverty’ is a much more precise measurement of poverty than the international poverty line of $1.90 per day. It looks at ten indicators divided along three axes: health (nutrition, child mortality), education (years of schooling, school attendance), and standard of living (cooking fuel, sanitation, drinking water, electricity, housing, assets). The team studied multidimensional poverty across 109 countries, looking at the living conditions of 5.9 billion people. They found that 1.3 billion – one in five people – live in multidimensional poverty. The details of their lives are stark:

  1. Roughly 644 million or half of these people are children under the age of 18.
  2. Almost 85 per cent of them reside in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
  3. One billion of them are exposed to solid cooking fuels (which creates respiratory ailments), inadequate sanitation, and substandard housing.
  4. 568 million people lack access to proper drinking water within a 30-minute round trip walk.
  5. 788 million multidimensionally poor people have at least one undernourished person in their home.
  6. Nearly 66 per cent of them live in households where no one has completed at least six years of schooling.
  7. 678 million people have no access to electricity.
  8. 550 million people lack seven of eight assets identified in the study (a radio, television, telephone, computer, animal cart, bicycle, motorcycle, or refrigerator). They also do not own a car.

The absolute numbers in the UNDP report are consistently lower than figures calculated by other researchers. Take their number of those with no access to electricity (678 million), for example. World Bank data shows that in 2019, 90 per cent of the world’s population had access to electricity, which means that 1.2 billion people had none. An important study from 2020 demonstrates that 3.5 billion people lack ‘reasonably reliable access’ to electricity. This is far more than the absolute numbers in the UNDP report, but, regardless of the specific figures, the trend lines are nonetheless horrific. We live on a planet with greatly increasing disparities.

For the first time, the UNDP has focused attention on the more granular aspects of these disparities, shining a light on ethnic, race, and caste hierarchies. Nothing is as wretched as social hierarchies, inheritances of the past that continue to sharply assault human dignity. Looking at the data from 41 countries, the UNDP found that multidimensional poverty disproportionately impacts those who face social discrimination. In India, for instance, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (‘scheduled’ because the government regards them as officially designated groups) face the brunt of terrible poverty and discrimination, which in turn exacerbates their impoverishment. Five out of six people who struggle with multidimensional poverty are from Scheduled Castes and Tribes. A study from 2010 showed that each year, at least 63 million people in India fall below the poverty line because of out-of-pocket health care costs (that’s two people per second). During the COVID-19 pandemic, these numbers increased, though exact figures have not been easy to collect. Regardless, the five out of six people who are in multidimensional poverty – many of them from Scheduled Castes and Tribes – do not have any access to health care and are therefore not even included in that data. They exist largely outside formal health care systems, which has been catastrophic for these communities during the pandemic.

Last year, the secretary general of ALBA-TCP (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America – Peoples’ Trade Treaty), Sacha Llorenti, asked Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research and the Instituto Simón Bolivar in Caracas, Venezuela to start an international discussion responding to the broad crises of our times. We brought together twenty-six research institutes from around the world whose work has now culminated in a report called A Plan to Save the Planet. This plan is reproduced with a longer introduction in dossier no. 48 (January 2022).

We looked carefully at two kinds of texts: first, a range of plans produced by conservative and liberal think tanks around the world, from the World Economic Forum to the Council for Inclusive Capitalism; second, a set of demands from trade unions, left-wing political parties, and social movements. We drew from the latter to better understand the limitations of the former. For instance, we found that the liberal and conservative texts ignored the fact that during the pandemic, central banks – mostly in the Global North – raised $16 trillion to sustain a faltering capitalist system. Though money is available that could have gone towards the social good, it largely went to shore up the financial sector and industry instead. If money can be made available for those purposes, it can certainly be used to fully fund a robust public health system in every country and a fair transition from non-renewable fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, for example.

The plan covers twelve areas, from ‘democracy and the world order’ to ‘the digital world’. To give you a sense of the kinds of claims made in the plan, here are the recommendations in the section on education:

  1. De-commodify education, which includes strengthening public education and preventing the privatisation of education.
  2. Promote the role of teachers in the management of educational institutions.
  3. Ensure that underprivileged sectors of society are trained to become teachers.
  4. Bridge the electricity and digital divides.
  5. Build publicly financed and publicly controlled high-speed broadband internet systems.
  6. Ensure that all school children have access to all the elements of the educational process, including extra-curricular activities.
  7. Develop channels through which students participate in decision-making processes in all forms of higher education.
  8. Make education a lifelong experience, allowing people at every stage of life to enjoy the practice of learning in various kinds of institutions. This will foster the value that education is not only about building a career, but about building a society that supports the continuing growth and development of the mind and of the community.
  9. Subsidise higher education and vocational courses for workers of all ages in areas related to their occupation.
  10. Make education, including higher education, available to all in their spoken languages; ensure that governments take responsibility for providing educational materials in the spoken languages in their country through translations and other means.
  11. Establish management educational institutes that cater to the needs of cooperatives in industrial, agricultural, and service sectors.

Tina Modotti, El Machete, 1926.

A Plan to Save the Planet is rooted in the principles of the United Nations Charter (1945), the document with the highest level of consensus in the world (193 member states of the UN have signed this binding treaty). We hope that you will read the plan and the dossier carefully. They have been produced for discussion and debate and are to be argued with and elaborated on. If you have any suggestions or ideas or would like to let us know how you were able to use the plan, please write to us at gro.latnenitnocirtehtnull@nalp.

Study has been a key instrument for the growth of working-class struggle, as shown by the impact of working-class newspapers, journals, and literature on the expansion of popular imaginations. In 1928, Tina Modotti photographed Mexican revolutionary farmers reading El Machete, the newspaper of their communist party. Modotti, one of the most luminous revolutionary photographers, reflected the sincere commitment of Mexican revolutionaries, of the Weimar Left, and of fighters in the Spanish Civil War. The farmers reading El Machete and the peasant organiser in India reading the Turkish communist poet Nâzim Hikmet in a hut during the great Bengal famine of 1943 depicted in the woodcut by Chittaprosad suggest places where we hope the plan will be discussed. We hope this plan will be used not merely as a critique of the present, but as a programme for a future society that we will build in the present.

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