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Middle East Imperial Meltdown

from the Editors of Against the Current
April 23, 2015

From state meltdowns in Libya and Yemen to the overwhelming nightmares in Syria and Iraq, the spreading chaos in the Middle East today presents the most extreme examples of a core reality: imperial overreach creates problems for which it has no solutions, and the horrific human costs are paid by people who bear no responsibility for creating the mess. We’ll briefly look here at some of the key situations in the Middle East, pointing to how a relentless U.S. drive for “stability” produces the opposite, in increasingly brutal consequences (some deliberate and some unintended) and how these crises feed back into the peculiarities of U.S. domestic political culture.

The rise of the grotesquely named “Islamic State” is the direct consequence of the Bush-era neoconservative delusion that U.S. power would “transform the Middle East.” In Syria, the destruction of society by both the formerly U.S.-allied Assad regime and ISIS, the genocidal massacres of minority religious and ethnic communities, the mass dislocation of refugees with nowhere to go or anywhere to return, and the loss of priceless cultural legacies, are largely irreparable.

The imperialist scramble for political control and oil isn’t new, of course. Indeed, for at least the past century it’s been at the root of crises and tragedies in the Middle East, whether by direct invasion or by the installation and maintenance of dictatorships, manipulation of sectarian divisions, and sponsorship of settler-colonialism, especially in Palestine...

Eduardo Galeano, ¡Presente!

by Dan La Botz
April 13, 2015

Eduardo Galeano, the world-renowned leftist Uruguayan journalist and writer made famous with the publication in 1971 of his book The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, died today at the age of 74 in Montevideo, Uruguay, where he lived. Long admired as a journalist, with his three-volume Memory of Fire in 1982, Galeano also became known as a writer of non-fiction prose who might be compared to writers of fiction such as Gabriel García Márquez, author of the novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, or Isabel Allende who wrote House of the Spirits. Like their novels, his trilogy captures the real spirit of Latin America’s magical history.


Eduardo Galeano.

Born Eduardo Germán María Hughes Galeano in Montevideo on September 3, 1940, Galeano began his career as a journalist in the early 1960s working as a correspondent for Sol and then as an editor for Marcha, which published such writers as Mario Vargas Llosa and Mario Benedetti. When a rightwing military coup took power in Uruguay in 1973, Galeano was jailed and subsequently went into exile, first in Argentina, where he edited Crisis, and then in Spain where he wrote his trilogy Memory of Fire (Genesis, Faces and Masks, and Century of the Wind). Memory of Fire mixed history and journalism in vignettes and biographical sketches written in a creative prose style that reminded American readers of John Dos Passos’ 1930s classic U.S.A. trilogy.

Open Veins of Latin America was a detailed, systematic, and sustained attack on European and U.S. imperialism in Latin America over five centuries...

April 4, 2015: A Landmark in the Greek Debt Struggle

by Eric Toussaint
April 8, 2015

The Committee will audit the Greek debt in the coming months, aimed at finding out whether part of the Greek public debt is illegitimate, illegal, odious or unsustainable. Without claiming to be exhaustive, one can propose the following definitions:

  • Illegitimate public debt: debt that was contracted by a government without considering the public interest, a debt contracted in favour of a privileged minority.

  • Illegal debt: debt contracted in violation of the current legal or constitutional system.

  • Odious public debt: granted on conditions that violate fundamental human rights (the social, economic, cultural, civic, and political rights of the people).

  • Unsustainable public debt: debt that can only be paid back with dire consequences for the people such as a dramatic degradation of their living conditions, of access to health care or education, an increase in unemployment.

In short, debt that undermines basic human rights...

Women Under Attack in 2015

from the Editors of Against the Current
March 8, 2015

In the United States, as elsewhere, a woman’s body is not her own. College campuses are a hunting ground for sexual predators, as women come forward to disclose various forms of date rape. According to police records, almost one-third of female homicide victims are killed by their partners. Each year an estimated 1.3 million women suffer domestic abuse; one of every four women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime. Witnessing violence between parents (or other caregivers) is the strongest risk factor in transmitting violence from one generation to another.

Breaking this epidemic of violence against women, just as breaking with cultural assumptions about race, requires reexamination of social assumptions, a rejection of power and control over others, and the capacity to be a contributive member of society. It means power and control over one’s own body and life, and mutual respect for the rights of others. That’s certainly a tall order in the vindictive and violent society in which we live, and in which the majority has little effective control over their own lives.

We’re constantly told about horrific abuses committed against women in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Syria. Yet the current atmosphere of a never-ending “war on terrorism” can only nourish the violence there as well as in our own society. The roots of violence against women, however, run much deeper than PTSD or brain trauma resulting from war. It is a much larger social issue...

Electoral Action Conference Will Bring Together Leaders Building Alternatives to the Two-Party System

by Robert C.
February 17, 2015

Activists and candidates from around the country will come together on May 2-3 in Chicago to share their experiences and to launch a network for future cooperation at the Future of Left/Independent Electoral Action Conference.


Left to right: Brian Jones, Kshama Sawant, and Howie Hawkins. Sawant and Hawkins have endorsed the conference.

The past few years have seen a significant uptick in independent political initiatives on the left, from election campaigns to new local electoral and social movement formations, to referenda campaigns. Kshama Sawant’s November 2014 election to the Seattle City Council captured the attention of leftists across the country, but a number of other exciting campaigns have also been path breaking, including the Jackson Plan of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and Richmond Progressive Alliance’s David and Goliath fight against Chevron in the East Bay. Many recent political developments have brought organizers building alternatives to the two-party system together with those using direct action and referenda to help win gains against fracking, for a $15 minimum wage, and other important initiatives.

April 23, 2015
from the Editors of Against the Current
From state meltdowns in Libya and Yemen to the overwhelming nightmares in Syria and Iraq, the spreading chaos in the Middle East today presents the most extreme examples of a core reality: imperial...
April 13, 2015
by Dan La Botz
Eduardo Galeano, the world-renowned leftist Uruguayan journalist and writer made famous with the publication in 1971 of his book The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a...
April 8, 2015
by Eric Toussaint
The Committee will audit the Greek debt in the coming months, aimed at finding out whether part of the Greek public debt is illegitimate, illegal, odious or unsustainable. Without claiming to be...
March 8, 2015
from the Editors of Against the Current
In the United States, as elsewhere, a woman’s body is not her own. College campuses are a hunting ground for sexual predators, as women come forward to disclose various forms of date rape. According...
February 17, 2015
by Robert C.
Activists and candidates from around the country will come together on May 2-3 in Chicago to share their experiences and to launch a network for future cooperation at the Future of Left/Independent...

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