Mass movement demands U.S. release Aafia Siddiqui

first_imgAafia SiddiquiIn support of continuing efforts to pressure the U.S. government to repatriate Dr. Aafia Siddiqui to Pakistan, former U.S. Congressperson Cynthia McKinney and International Action Center Co-Director Sara Flounders traveled to Pakistan Dec. 2-9. Workers World managing editor John Catalinotto conducted the following interview with Flounders on her return to the U.S.Workers World: What was the aim of your trip to Pakistan?Sara Flounders: The trip focused on exposing U.S. crimes, meaning the government’s violations of due process and justice in the case of Aafia Siddiqui and also U.S. practices of secret renditions, illegal confinement and torture — practices highlighted by Siddiqui’s case. It also confirmed that there is deep opposition across the whole political spectrum in Pakistan to the U.S. use of drones to carry out assassinations in the region.Cynthia McKinney was the other person from the U.S. on the trip, participating in every meeting. She has been an opponent of U.S. wars at every step.The Pakistani forces — and they are numerous — who support Aafia Siddiqui also want to bring pressure upon the Pakistani government so that it too demands of the U.S. that she be returned to Pakistan. That is what millions of Pakistanis want.Political parties were signing a pledge in the Parliament that they would take a stand opposing the release to the U.S. of anyone in Pakistan’s custody until Aafia Siddiqui is returned to Pakistan. The U.S. Congress is so arrogant that they demanded that Pakistan release Dr. Shakeel Afridi, the jailed CIA informant, to the U.S., while of course they are silent on the U.S. holding a kidnapped Pakistani woman, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui.WW: Two weeks ago we covered your stop in Karachi. How much support does Aafia Siddiqui have in the rest of the country that you visited?SF: Our trip to Peshawar — which is drone territory — and Lahore confirmed what we saw in Karachi, each time more strongly, that the kidnapping of Siddiqui, her 10 years in prison, her secret detention and trial are a deeply felt emotional issue in Pakistan.We drove from the capital, Islamabad, south to Hyderabad. When we were on the road, young people came out in thousands. Our car was surrounded by youths on motorcycles carrying flags with Aafia’s picture on them.All political currents — and there are hundreds of parties — say they support her return. This includes even those who worked with the U.S., and of course those who opposed U.S. imperialism, and it included the masses in the street, who are for her release in a powerful way. We saw signs on the walls all over, “Free Aafia,” “Free sister Aafia,” “86 years, bullshit.”People in the U.S. may have gotten used to seeing Congress speak so arrogantly to the rest of the world. Or the U.S. courts treating oppressed people like they have no rights. But the Pakistanis can’t believe what happened to Siddiqui. They asked in every meeting: How it was possible that someone who injured no one could be sentenced to jail for 86 years? Why was a Pakistani citizen brought to the U.S.? How can this be? They asked: How could the U.S. government or some secret agency hold her young children in prison for years? When the children were finally returned to the Siddiqui family, they spoke only English. Average Pakistanis are outraged.WW: What role did women play in the protests?SF: We were extremely impressed by the role of women in the movement to free Siddiqui and also at their anger against the drones that are killing their families.We stopped in a small town just outside Peshawar. The men were on one side of the room, the women on the other. But far from being submissive, the women were passionately involved in the issue, the most militant. They had been to rallies for Aafia Siddiqui and spoke about her as if she were their sister.In her youth Aafia Siddiqui was the number one high-school student in Pakistan. Her specialty at MIT and her doctorate were on the learning process of children.Aafia’s sister, Dr. Fauzia Siddiqui, who is also U.S.-educated and was director of the epilepsy program at John Hopkins University, was the main coordinator of the Free Aafia movement and of our trip. I found her to be a skilled political organizer who has built this movement into such a force that every political party in Pakistan has to at least say they support it. It is telling that she has now received death threats. It shows that powerful forces fear the success of this movement.We were impressed by the Free Aafia media work, which was coordinated by Altaf Shakour. We were overwhelmed by the friendly media coverage. Every newspaper printed front-page color pictures.And there is a broad range of media, much more variety than in the U.S. There were 100 journalists from all types of media at the events. There were big rallies with thousands of people, after which our motorcades drove past thousands more on the way to the press club. It was a live issue.We also visited Aafia’s home in Karachi, met with her mother, Fauzia’s two children and the two children of Aafia.WW: Was there any sign of the war in Afghanistan?SF: People in Pakistan continually say that Karachi is key to the war in Afghanistan and are for the withdrawal from Afghanistan. People often made the point that Pakistan taught the U.S. a lesson when just months ago the people and the government shut the roads. Today there are lines of trucks going along the roads bringing U.S. equipment back from Afghanistan.Peshawar, near the border with Afghanistan, is under control of the Pakistani military. We had a huge, huge outpouring of the Pashtun people who are an oppressed nationality within Pakistan. It’s an area of constant war. There, trucks with big sound systems played songs about Aafia Siddiqui in large rallies. There were hundreds of signs.People referred constantly, with great resentment, to the many U.S. operatives, private contractors and military working within Pakistan today.The big issues were the drones, the U.S. policy of secret renditions. McKinney spoke a lot also about the U.S. unjust and racist prison system itself, as well as Aafia Siddiqui. People consider the extrajudicial killings with the drones the extension of the kidnapping and imprisonment of Siddiqui.Nothing shows more the utter failure of U.S. drones than seeing how these totally criminal, extrajudicial tactics have turned a whole population so decisively against Washington. Drones are not such an effective weapon if 95 percent of Pakistan’s population now hates the U.S.WW: Did you meet with any left forces?SF: In Lahore, a political center, there was an Institute for Policy Studies, a room with 100 people that was live-streamed to another 25,000. Everyone, even in this Westernized atmosphere, was against drones and for the return of Aafia Siddiqui. Because we were from the U.S. and it was about Aafia, it was intensely watched.Both religious and left forces support the movement. We had a meeting, for example, with the Awami Workers Party, a new party recently formed by the merger of three workers’ parties. They want to make Aafia’s freedom a workers’ issue. When we left, a Grand Youth Alliance in Pakistan for Aafia with a base on every campus was in formation.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Puerto Rico, the colony, part 2: Puerto Ricans resist

first_imgPuerto Rico has been selling itself off since the 1990s, when the telephone company was privatized under Gov. Pedro Rosello. Since then, all Puerto Rico’s governments have been privatizing all public property, including the airports, health services, roads, the valuable pineapple industry, etc. The slogan of the progressive independence movement since then has been, “Puerto Rico is not for sale.”The “reconfiguration” of schools is actually another attempt to privatize education. The few agencies that remain under public control do so thanks to the ceaseless struggle of their workers. The class-conscious union UTIER, for example, has defended the nationalized Electric Power Authority tooth and nail.Apart from the sell-off, the government wanted to pay the debt by applying tax measures that the working class would have to pay. While transnational giants and megastores like Walmart take in billions in profits while paying minimal taxes, if any, the government loaded a tax on sales and services of 11.5 percent — the IVU — with the possibility of imposing a Value Added Tax later. In fact, the 16 percent VAT that García Padilla wanted to impose was rejected by the legislature in mid-May due to the population’s massive rejection of this tax.These measures are excessive in the extreme, with dire consequences for the already impoverished population.The people reject these measuresAlong with the general consensus of the people against the VAT of 16 percent, the resistance among students and union workers is even stronger.On May 25, the students of the University of Puerto Rico, known for their militancy, which prevented the privatization of the UPR a few years ago, were holding an assembly to determine how they will proceed in the fight against the new taxes. For weeks now, they have been organized on their 11 different campuses and have joined students from other schools. Various actions have been taken, including 48-hour stoppages and a major mobilization at the Capitol building on May 13.The students’ slogan is “Neither IVU nor VAT. Let those on top pay.” Not only do the students reject these measures, but they also offer alternative steps to the government to confront the crisis. For example, “eliminating the tax exemptions now maintained by the state and offered to multinational companies. … and recommend amending Article 6.8 of the Constitution, which gives priority to debt repayment over services to the people.” (Facebook: Radio Huelga)The teachers, on the other hand, led by EDUCAMOS and ÚNETE, are calling on teachers and parents to demonstrate on May 26 against the Department of Education and protest school closings.In an article, Puerto Rican writer Nelson A. Denis, author of the newly released bestseller, “War Against All Puerto Ricans,” offers an easy solution to solve the debt crisis: end the Cabotage Act. This act, better known as the Jones Act of 1920, requires that all goods that travel between the U.S. and Puerto Rico do so on U.S.-flagged vessels. Let’s explain this in brief: The value of U.S. protectionist quotas, taxes, fees and surcharges of ships and ports, which are the most expensive in the world, under this act are transferred to the Puerto Rican consumers, making the merchandise extremely expensive.Denis concludes, “From 1970 to 2010, the Jones Act cost Puerto Rico $29 billion. Projected from 1920 to the present, this cost was equivalent to $75.8 billion. Ironically, this $75.8 billion cost exceeds the amount of the current public debt.” (Latinorebels.com)The Jones Act is but another expression of colonialism. So to solve the debt once and for all, what is essential is the independence of Puerto Rico.¡Viva Puerto Rico Libre! (Long live free Puerto Rico!)FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

New opening to battle housing bias

first_imgThe Supreme Court decided by a 5-4 vote on June 25 that housing discrimination doesn’t have to be intentional to be illegal. This means that plaintiffs who believe that either government or private housing policies have discriminated against them in obtaining housing no longer have to prove that the discrimination was intentional. They still have to prove that the policies themselves caused the bias and that the result was ­discriminatory.While this is an extremely limited decision with respect to eliminating bias in housing and it certainly does nothing to address the need poor people have to find decent housing, the opposite decision would have reinforced the power that rental and real estate agencies have to impose discrimination. There is an existing Fair Housing Act, passed in 1968, whose ostensible aim was to establish ground rules for more integrated housing. The court decision upheld the intent of this law.Laws affecting housing are needed to eliminate the ability of landlords and real estate monopolies to deny housing to people based on racism, xenophobia or other forms of bias. A general solution to the housing crisis — and it is a crisis for all people without substantial incomes — requires unlimited availability of inexpensive housing, accessibility to good public schools in all neighborhoods and abundant jobs available within reasonable commuting distance.The decision is not going to solve this general problem. Its progressive content is that it gives a tool to those who have been denied housing in cases where bias is disguised as a neutral rule, or where policies have a discriminatory impact but it is almost impossible to find proof that discrimination by a landlord, rental agency or housing authority was deliberate or intentional.The ruling strengthens the ability of renters and homeowners to seek redress for discriminatory practices on the part of landlords, owners or housing ­monopolies.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Walmart workers protest Trump

first_imgNew York City – One hundred fifty people stood outside Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue on July 7 and shouted: “Donald Trump—KKK! Racist, sexist, anti-gay!” and “¡Sí, se puede!” They were demanding business behemoth Walmart denounce billionaire Trump’s racist, woman-hating and anti-immigrant statements. “Making Change at Walmart,” a campaign of the Food and Commercial Workers, called the rally. Besides its members, other protesters included members of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, representing Macy’s workers. Showing solidarity were “Make the Road-New York,” a group that builds Latino/a and working-class community, and the Black Institute, which focuses on public policy affecting Black people and people of color “throughout the diaspora.” The protest was part of a national day of action demanding that big business withdraw financial support from the Republican National Convention. Other protests were held in Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. (makingchangeatwalmart.org)FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

History of U.S./Saudi role in Yemen

first_imgBased on a talk by WWP member Randi Nord at the March 25 WWP/SDS Midwest Socialism Conference.I’d like to discuss the truth behind the al-Qaida threat in Yemen and what the struggle in Yemen means for U.S. imperialism and the Middle East.Western involvement in Yemen dates back many decades. Shortly after British occupation ended in 1967, South Yemen identified as a socialist state with strong ties to the Soviet Union, China, Cuba and revolutionary Palestinians.North and South Yemen unified in 1990, shortly before the Soviet Union officially dissolved. U.S. imperialism’s intervention in the region exacerbated the conflict within unified Yemen.Western corporate media credit the rise of al-Qaida in Yemen to conflict caused by Houthi rebels in 2011, with the al-Qaida forces allegedly using the chaos from the uprising to gain footing in the country’s tribal areas. This is false.The hills of Yemen had long been a place of recruitment and planning for al-Qaida long before their branch in the Arabian Peninsula was officially announced in 2006.In the 1980s, U.S. imperialism was busy arming reactionary sectarian forces in Afghanistan to fight the communist government in Kabul and its Soviet allies. Rural tribal areas in Yemen were ideal for recruiting fighters to take on what locals saw as Soviet invaders and godless communists. Fighters from parts of Africa and Saudi Arabia moved through Yemen.But U.S. imperialism is also directly responsible for the devastating situation in Yemen we see today.Yemen was a poor country prior to the current conflict, and now Yemen is starving, its population hard pressed to find food, clean drinking water or medical care, on the brink of famine. Many people — especially children — are dying every day from malnutrition or preventable illnesses like cholera.Not only are Yemenis subject to air strikes from both Saudi Arabia and the United States, but Saudi-backed fighters have been terrorizing civilians on the ground. They even threaten doctors and patients inside hospitals, forcing doctors to work at gunpoint.Aid agencies have left Yemen due to the Saudi regime’s relentless bombing campaign that targets civilian infrastructure including hospitals, funerals, homes, airports and agricultural areas, killing thousands and displacing millions.Unemployment is rampant. The illiteracy rate is climbing. Already the poorest country in the region, Yemen lives under an air blockade, which obstructs aid from entering the country and prevents civilians from fleeing.The U.S. has come under fire from several human rights groups for supplying arms to Saudi Arabia.Documents released via Wikileaks show that the Obama administration started arming and training the Yemeni government prior to the start of the war today. Washington and its imperialist allies are directly to blame.The new Trump administration has actually increased the U.S. military presence and air strikes in Yemen, including a raid so horrendous that even the corporate media condemned its causing the death of dozens of Yemeni civilians — including an 8-year-old girl — and one Navy Seal.While the U.S. claims to be fighting al-Qaida in Yemen, the U.S.-backed Saudi coalition and al-Qaida share a common enemy in the new Popular Resistance Coalition. The Houthis, portions of the Yemeni military and their allies have formed a broad coalition to fight back against both Saudi aggression and U.S. imperialism.Washington aims at propping up a Saudi-friendly and anti-Iranian government in Yemen. This is carried out by selling billions of dollars of weapons and supplies to the Saudis and their allies, including Qatar, Morocco, Bahrain, Sudan, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.However, despite his recognition from the imperialists, the Yemeni people reject ex-President Hadi and consider him a puppet for Saudi Arabian and imperialist interests.Saudi-backed forces include many foreign fighters from the UAE and parts of Africa.Yemen includes many important port cities, including Aden and Mocha. Resistance control of these ports could drastically alter global trade routes and the flow of capital.But perhaps most importantly, the U.S. and its allies oppose an anti-imperialist resistance government in Yemen, as this could threaten the stability of other Western-allied countries.The Yemeni people echo the same attitude as that of Syrians: if only foreign powers could stay out of our country, we Yemeni people could work this out on our own. They want foreign fighters out and they want the Saudi-led aggression to stop. They also know the West — specifically the U.S. — is directly to blame.As revolutionary socialists inside the U.S., we must fight for the U.S. to end terror alliances with Saudi Arabia and similar states. We must fight for Yemen’s right to self-determination.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Asking ‘Where is the money?’, Haitians demand president leave

first_imgBeginning in the middle of September, tens of thousands of Haitians have taken to the streets in the capital, Port au Prince, as well as in Saint-Marc (Artibonite), Cap Haïtien (northern Haiti), Jacmel and Cayes (southern Haiti) and Gonaïves (central), in a boiling rage demanding President Jovenel Moïse leave office. Port-au-Prince, Sept. 28Even after the police used live ammunition to disperse the protests and admitted to killing six people, thousands have stayed in the streets. A group of Haitian exiles in Montreal (Le Regroupement des Haïtiens de Montréal contre l’Occupation d’Haïti) cites sources estimating that the cops have killed dozens of Haitians and wounded hundreds.Starting early in 2018, Haitians began looking around their neighborhoods for any concrete results from the $4.3 billion that Venezuela had provided to Haiti in low-cost loans covering oil sales from Petrocaribe.  They didn’t find any. They began asking: “Kot Kòb Petwo Karibe a?” (“Where is the Petrocaribe money?”)Two massive national demonstrations last October and November protested government corruption and huge price hikes for fuel.  This year, protests and demonstrations, strikes, petitions and public meetings have focused on the severe gas shortage, combined with double-digit inflation and unemployment.The lack of a government budget for over two years, along with widespread strikes demanding unpaid wages — from hospitals to the courts, from tax offices to local government agencies — have left Haitians hungrier and angrier.  Scarcity of fuel means less food in the markets and less electricity.Haiti erupts in protest in late SeptemberThe protesters in the streets made it clear that they blamed President Moïse.  And they were more than willing to take on those who support him.Sen. Jean Marie Ralph Fethière of Moïse’s party — called the Party of Bald Headed Haitians  (PHTK) — was confronted by demonstrators while leaving Parliament on Sept. 23.  He drew his pistol, firing into the air and then the ground.  A parliamentary security guard was shot in the stomach and a well-known Associated Press photographer was hit in the cheek.Demonstrators later surrounded the Parliament and disrupted its proceedings by pounding on lampposts with rocks and chanting. Some even managed to slip into the building and confront the parliamentarians directly.While the cops were killing demonstrators, there were also reports of police stations being sacked. Vant Bef, a Haitian internet news service, reported on Sept. 27 that a police station in Saint-Marc was occupied by demonstrators, who took arms, bullet-proof vests, shields and office supplies.On Sept. 28, when protesters seized the police station in Cité Soleil, the poorest neighborhood in Port au Prince, they took not only what was inside the building but also its tin roof, according to a video shown on France’s TV5.  In Delmas and Carrefour, both better-off neighborhoods, there was some looting, car windows were smashed and a few were burned. The supermarket Rois des Rois, a short distance from the National Palace, was also looted and burned. In Cap Haïtien,  the cops armed vigilantes who shot up demonstrators who were demanding the resignation and imprisonment of Moïse. On Facebook and YouTube, some of the protests in Haiti have been covered in real time with uncensored interviews.  While everyone wanted Moïse to leave, a number of protesters raised the issue of the Haitian bourgeoisie’s support of foreign intervention, the lack of education, health care, the need for jobs and security, and the right to protest peacefully.The spirit of the people comes across in these videos. They are confronting cops who shoot to kill, but still they run and dance through the streets, to the sound of rara (festival) bands, waving leafy branches of hope and demanding that President Jovenel leave. In Gonaïves, bands of protesters waved machetes.Moïse was elected in 2016 in a process marked by very low turnout.  Hundreds of thousands of Haiti’s citizens had lost their IDs and the government was very slow in replacing them.  Still, the United States endorsed the election. Even though serious charges of corruption have been made against Moïse and his predecessor, Michel Martelly, and their party, the PHTK — even though the rights of Haitians to peacefully protest have been denied — the U.S. government and ruling class still support their guy in Port au Prince. Without such support, he and his gang would be blown away.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Big pharma + big money = no blame

first_imgThis commentary was originally posted on prisonradio.org on Sept. 15. In recent days, we’ve heard of proposed settlements in civil suits involving big pharmaceutical companies, the very sources of opioid products (like OxyContin®, for example) that have left tens of thousands of people gripped in the hold of addiction.Similarly, these products have led to tens of thousands of deaths, some 70,000 annually, according to some reports.No man or woman on death row has come close to such a tally, and no corporate exec, no matter his legal liability, has come even close to such a fate.This is especially vexing when we consider the ravages of the drug war, which has fueled mass incarceration for decades.Young men, wearing hoodies and baseball caps turned backwards, engage in retail sales of untaxed drugs in the ghetto and tenement streets of America. For this they have been attacked by police and federal agents with all the ferocity of war. In fact, it was a war, and people were treated like enemies of the state, and cast into prison for at least decades — some for life.Enter Big Pharma, which launched drugs upon America on an industrial scale and made billions to boot!Consider this simple fact: In one year, more Americans have died from corporate opioid products than the number of Americans who died in Vietnam, after 10 years of war!For retail sellers of drugs, decades in prison await; for wholesale drug merchants, civil suits are the states’ responses.Since when is the killing of thousands of people a civil tort?When we witness the parameters of the drug war, we see it had nothing to do with drugs — and everything to do with state repression of the People, those from the ghettos and barrios of America.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Biden: ¿Quién es el asesino?

first_imgEl 18 de marzo, el presidente estadounidense Joe Biden llamó “asesino” al presidente ruso Vladimir Putin.Dado que nadie ha retirado este insulto gratuito, suponemos que no fue una metedura de pata de Biden. Por el contrario, indica un aumento de la hostilidad de Estados Unidos hacia Rusia, al igual que las recientes conversaciones sobre Alaska mostraron un conflicto en desarrollo con China Popular. Tanto Rusia como China, al igual que Estados Unidos, son potencias nucleares.La primera pregunta que plantea este insulto es: ¿Es Biden un asesino?Revisamos el historial de Biden en importantes decisiones de política exterior en este siglo que tenían que ver con matar gente. ¿Muestra alguna decisión una aversión a matar?En 2001, como senador estadounidense por Delaware, Biden, nunca conocido por su valor político, se sumó al voto unánime de apoyo a la llamada guerra contra el terrorismo. Esto condujo rápidamente a la invasión de Afganistán, donde Estados Unidos sigue teniendo tropas 19 años después. Muchos afganos han muerto. Las tropas estadounidenses también.En el otoño de 2002, Biden fue presidente del Comité de Relaciones Exteriores del Senado. Votó y habló en apoyo de la guerra contra Irak. Murieron millones de iraquíes. También miles de tropas estadounidenses murieron.Como vicepresidente en 2009, Biden apoyó el derrocamiento de Manuel Zelaya en Honduras. Este golpe desencadenó un saqueo neoliberal de ese país centroamericano. A su vez, muchos hondureños fueron asesinados. Perturbó tanto la vida que muchos hondureños huyeron, tratando de emigrar a Estados Unidos.Mientras tanto, el gobierno de Barack Obama/Biden deportó a muchos hondureños y otros centroamericanos de vuelta a la América Central que Estados Unidos había desbaratado. Esto provocó más muertes.En 2011, el vicepresidente Biden elogió la guerra de la OTAN contra Libia. Esta guerra destruyó un país africano estable y próspero. Junto con las guerras en Siria, Irán, Afganistán y Yemen, el colapso libio provocó una nueva ola de migración hacia Europa. En esa ola mueren miles de personas cada año en naufragios, entre otros desastres causados por esta desastrosa guerra contra Libia.Ya, con sólo 36 días de gobierno del propio Biden, éste autorizó el ataque aéreo a Siria.Independientemente de lo que opine Biden sobre ese tipo de decisiones, ha demostrado que está dispuesto a matar. Biden hizo una campaña dura y frecuente para convertirse en presidente. Ser presidente de Estados Unidos significa ser el jefe ejecutivo del imperialismo mundial.Es la persona con la autoridad legal para dirigir el Pentágono, el Departamento de Estado, la CIA y otros centros más sombríos de la política exterior estadounidense para supervisar la explotación de la humanidad en interés de un relativo puñado de multimillonarios.Ser un asesino es parte de la descripción del trabajo.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Ecuador election: Analysts debate why neoliberal banker won

first_imgIbarra, EcuadorApril 30 — In the wake of the April 11 second round of the presidential election won by right-wing banker Guillermo Lasso, Ecuador has been torn by cleavages and violence from organized crime, whose roots are in the extreme poverty, rampant inequalities and elimination of the social welfare programs introduced by the 2007-17 government of Rafael Correa. Workers, Indigenous people led a general strike in Ecuador in October 2019 against austerity measures.The COVID-19 pandemic is a continuing nightmare, with hundreds of people on wait lists for a hospital bed. Here in the northern Andean city of Ibarra, more and more people are begging in the streets. Although progressive young economist Andrés Arauz of United for Hope (UNES) — the party associated with former president Rafael Correa — led in the first round of the election and was leading in polls, Lasso won the second round with a 5% margin or approximately 420,000 votes. There were many more null votes — 1.75 million — than usual. But Arauz won hardly any of the 1.8 million votes that went in the first round to the third-place candidate, Yaku Pérez of the Pachakutik party (PK). Pachakutik is the political arm of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE). A regional analysis of the vote revealed Arauz won a large percentage of Afro-Ecuadorian votes.Lasso’s electoral victory increases U.S. hegemony in Latin America and legitimizes Lasso’s four-year unofficial co-governance with the unpopular President Lenín Moreno. This leaves the Ecuadorian working class, the Indigenous movement, and the “authentic left” or “other” left (to the left of Arauz and Correa), weakened and divided. CONAIE, the PK and the “other left” advised a null vote April 11. South American rightists praise Lasso’s winThe first to congratulate Lasso included rightist Colombian President Iván Duque and his fascist predecessor Álvaro Uribe, rightist President Sebastian Piñera of Chile and the nefarious U.S. agent Juan Guaidó in Venezuela. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed his plans to restore Venezuelan “democracy” with Lasso April 23.Lasso’s CREO party and the Social Christian Party suffered huge losses in the first round. They only control 30 seats (22%) in the National Assembly, compared to 49 (36%) for Arauz’ party. Only 2 out of 10 voters chose Lasso in the first round. Lasso’s election increases the misery for the working class, whose precarious downward slide during the last three years is well documented. The index that measures precarity rose at an unprecedented rate of 15% in 2020, the year of the pandemic. This rise reflects layoffs of hundreds of thousands of public sector workers, the continuing loss of private-sector jobs and International Monetary Fund-imposed austerity. The Moreno regime consciously failed to enforce existing labor protections during the pandemic, and his new legislation allowed bosses to easily discharge workers. Official data shows pauperization dramatically increasing since the Correa government — which had lifted 1.14 million out of poverty in ten years. Moreno drove 1.87 million people back into poverty in less than four years. And 1.17 million people are now in extreme poverty.Nonetheless, Moreno’s government survived the Great Uprising of October 2019. The worst president in Ecuador’s history, rejected by 90% of the population, repressed the rebellion and imposed even harsher austerity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Beginning on May 24, with the inauguration of Guillermo Lasso as president of the Republic, the new government of Ecuador will be directly in the hands of the elite class of big businessmen, bankers and the corporate media, aligned with imperialism and the Latin American political right. Lasso will deepen the neoliberal business model. Lasso’s right-wing CREO party and the Social Christian Party led the cabal that has now privatized the Central Bank following April’s election. Lasso aims to privatize Social Security next. Both steps violate the 2008 Constitution on the way to dismantling the social program of Correa’s Citizen’s Revolution.Even the Public Defender of Ecuador condemned the Moreno regime’s repression of the plurinational October 2019 rebellion as a crime against humanity. The next year, during the terrible days of the pandemic, the class struggle evaporated. Moreno won and Lasso won. The October 2019 uprising was never discussed in the general election by any of the 16 parties. Yaku Pérez, the Indigenous candidate for PK, even supported the regime’s indictments against the leaders of the rebellion. But it was that October 2019 uprising that catapulted the PK into the National Assembly as a force, with 27 deputies.Corporate media liesThe dominant discourse promoted by the media painted Arauz as a puppet of Correa. And yet the Lasso-Moreno tight connection during Moreno’s rule was successfully hidden by a slick campaign supported by the corporate press, with millions of dollars spent on social media. Years of media lies have convinced many voters that Moreno’s right-wing regime was a continuation of Correaism. The corporate mass media began viciously attacking Correaism for waste and corruption during the latter half of Correa’s second term with great success. This tactic effectively covered up the violent neoliberal attack on the people. Indigenous communities in numerous provinces voted for Lasso. Many social organizations, including feminists and environmentalists, abstained or voted for Lasso in protest. No one has measured the depoliticizing effect of NGOs operating in the country. There isn’t a simple way to explain why hardworking, poor Ecuadorians chose the neoliberal class enemy over Andrés Arauz.The burning issue of access to abortion was barely mentioned in the general election, with the exception of Xavier Hervas, whose Democratic Left (ID) party won 16% of the first-round votes, attributed to his slick TikTok appeal to youth. The Constitutional Court waited until after the Lasso’s victory to declare the law prohibiting abortions in the case of rape unconstitutional.Debate among Ecuador’s political analysts Various Ecuadorian analysts are examining the lessons of the election from the viewpoints of the sectors of society they represent. We present some of them here.Marxist thinker Alejandro Moreano in an interview with Línea de Fuego said, “Moreno . . . will turn out to be more intelligent than all of us, because he survived the fiercest criticism.” Dr. Moreano observed that the day after the election, Moreno rubbed Lasso’s victory in the faces of the masses by raising the price of gasoline, which was a bitter reminder of the issues that triggered the October 2019 social explosion.Moreano called the election “an abominable thing. . . . Many Indigenous sectors voted for Lasso. How to explain that? After carrying out the gigantic strike that shocked all of Latin America? How do we explain that an Ecuadorian voted for neoliberalism after striking in October?”Moreano said, “All the Ecuadorian people opposed neoliberalism. Then Moreno responded using anti-Correaism . . . It’s not about Correa. No, no, no, no. It is a triumph of the Latin American extreme right.”In an April 16 Zoom forum, economist Gabriela Montalvo said, “There is a significant vote of women in favor of Lasso.” She faulted Correaism’s lack of appeal to women, saying “the urgent questions concerning feminism [must] be taken into account as a political priority. . . . “It is not just violence or abortion. There is the economy. Economic programs always aim at correcting unemployment by promoting construction.” She urged special attention to finding the jobs women want: “We have to start looking at their demands.”At the same April 16 forum, Franklin Ramírez identified three key aspects underlying the election outcome: (1) the neoliberal advance was catalyzed by violent “necro-politics,” the death-dealing politics of the pandemic that prevented any opposition from forming in the Indigenous movement; (2) the polarized Indigenous movement is torn apart by tendencies of the left, right and the center; and (3) the defeat of the Citizen Revolution by Lasso should have been anticipated. Ramírez said, “We knew that a unified right wing was coming, supported by the official apparatus and by the big media. The popular camp is fragmented.”Leonidas Iza,  president of the Movement of Indigenous and Campesinos of Cotopaxi, which supports his bid to be president of the powerful CONAIE, made the controversial claim that the “authentic left” didn’t lose. On April 5, Iza had criticized Arauz for not distinguishing himself from Correa, “who separated our organizations from their leaders, deepened the mining in Indigenous territories, persecuted and criminalized our leaders, struck down the intercultural bilingual education and did not respect the [Constitutionally protected] right to free, prior and informed consultation.”Iza tweeted: “Correaism lost but not the left. We continue to fight! It is time for unity of all popular sectors, we will make the streets and territories our field of resistance.” Pedro de la Cruz, an Indigenous leader in Cotacachi, Imbabura Province, tweeted a reply to Iza: “Mashi Leonidas, you are wrong. The Correaism that you are talking about has more than 4,232,000 brave citizens, who are not cowards, in the face of so much defamation and persecution, and who will be confronting the fascist right wing.”Ecuadorian historian Juan Paz y Miño is critical but optimistic. He writes: “Finally, it would be too naïve and unscientific to conclude that Lasso’s triumph is the ‘fault’ of any of the leftist sectors. . . . But the fact that Lasso’s triumph is the direct work of all the powerful forces that supported him has been underestimated.”Paz y Miño notes that Alejandro Moreano severely criticizes the actions of Yaku Pérez, and the alliance of Pachakutik with the Lasso forces, and credits Moreano for recognizing that, in spite of everything, conditions have been created for a “great anti-neoliberal front,” which regroups the left, a matter which, however, Moreano sees as difficult. Paz y Miño says that Moreano’s “approach is timely and true. Therefore, the political groupings that lead and guide the broad spectrum of the Ecuadorian left — the ones responsible for this task — will face the urgent challenge of achieving the unity and convergence that for decades has remained unconsolidated.” Political struggle inside CONAIEIn the first week of May, a new president of CONAIE will be chosen. CONAIE will debate its relationship with its political arm PK. If Iza is chosen president over Yaku Pérez during the CONAIE Congress, the Indigenous movement will have a leader with a class analysis. Iza says he will seek to consolidate the unity of the 180 social movements that constitute the Parliament of the People, which was instituted by CONAIE after the October uprising. That Parliament excluded Correaistas at the time. Now the divide between the two powerful forces that oppose Lasso is even greater, as reflected in the twitter exchange between Iza and Pedro de la Cruz. Both the CONAIE and Correaism are facing hard times. The future is uncertain. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Nutrient Use Rule the Focus of Area Beef Meetings Beginning this…

first_img Previous articleProperty Tax Fix For Farmland Looks CertainNext articleSeed Consultants Market Watch 10:49 update with Gary Wilhelmi 12/4/2012 Andy Eubank By Andy Eubank – Dec 3, 2012 Facebook Twitter SHARE Facebook Twitter SHARE Nutrient Use Rule the Focus of Area Beef Meetings Beginning this Week Home Indiana Agriculture News Nutrient Use Rule the Focus of Area Beef Meetings Beginning this Week Area beef meetings around Indiana begin this week and some important information will be brought to the state’s cattle producers over the next month. The Indiana Beef Cattle Association teams with Purdue University each year for the meetings and they’ll bring in another organization this year, according to Joe Moore, IBCA Executive Vice President.“It’s our annual opportunity to reach out to our producers and offer them an evening of food and fellowship and educational opportunities. This year we’ve teamed up with the state chemist’s office and we’re going to give the producers some education on this new nutrient use rule that’s going to affect everybody from one cow to however many, and there needs to be some information brought out to the countryside. So we’re looking forward to that and our first meeting is actually Thursday.”That first meeting is at Southeast Purdue Agricultural Center in Butlerville located in Jennings County.Purdue specialists will also present at the ten beef meetings and Moore says they will focus on drought recovery including, “some alternative feedstuffs and how to continue to feed animals without breaking the bank, so to speak.”Advance registration is appreciated but Moore says they hope to see producers even if they decide to come the day of the meeting.“Because we’re serving a meal we do ask people to RSVP so we have an idea of how many meals we need to plan for,” he told HAT. “But certainly if somebody finds out they can make it we’re not going to turn anybody away at the door, that’s for sure.”Meeting dates and locations by area are:*Area 1: Dec. 6, 6:30 p.m., Southeast Purdue Agricultural Center, Butlerville. Register with Ken Salkeld at 812-352-3033 by Dec. 3. Counties in this area are Bartholomew, Brown, Dearborn, Decatur, Jackson, Jefferson, Jennings, Ohio, Ripley and Switzerland.*Area 2: Jan. 12, 11 a.m., Southern Hills Church, Salem. Register by Jan. 4 with Brad Shelton at 812-883-4601. Counties: Clark, Crawford, Floyd, Harrison, Lawrence, Orange, Scott and Washington.*Area 3: Jan. 7, 6:30 p.m., Red Wagon Restaurant, Poseyville. Register with Purdue Extension Gibson County at 812-385-3491 by Jan. 4. Counties: Daviess, Dubois, Gibson, Knox, Martin, Perry, Pike, Posey, Spencer, Vanderburgh and Warrick.*Area 5: Dec. 18, 6:30 p.m., Exhibit Hall, Clay County Fairgrounds, Brazil. Register by Dec. 11 with Jenna Smith at 812-448-9041. Counties: Clay, Greene, Monroe, Owen, Parke, Putnam, Sullivan, Vermillion and Vigo.*Area 6: Dec. 12, 6:30 p.m., Witham Pavilion, Boone County Fairgrounds, Lebanon. Register by Dec. 6 with Ashley Schultz at 317-736-3724. Counties: Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Marion, Morgan and Shelby.*Area 7: Dec. 11, 6:30 p.m., Kuhlman Center, Wayne County Fairgrounds, Richmond. Register with Purdue Extension Wayne County at 765-932-9281 by Dec. 5. Counties: Blackford, Delaware, Fayette, Franklin, Henry, Jay, Madison, Randolph, Rush, Union and Wayne.*Area 8: Jan. 8, 6:30 p.m., Cass County Fairgrounds, Logansport. Register by Dec. 28 with Purdue Extension Cass County at 574-753-7750. Counties: Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Fulton, Grant, Howard, Miami, Tipton and Wabash.*Area 9: Dec. 10, 6:30 p.m., McGraw’s Steakhouse, West Lafayette. Register with Jeff Phillips at 765-474-0793 by Dec. 5. Counties: Benton, Fountain, Jasper, Montgomery, Newton, Pulaski, Tippecanoe, Warren and White.*Area 10: Dec. 13, 6 p.m. (CDT), Christo’s Banquet Center, Plymouth. Register by Dec. 7 with Kelly Heckaman at 574-372-2340. Counties: Elkhart, Kosciusko, Lake, LaPorte, Marshall, Porter, St. Joseph and Starke.*Area 11: Jan. 3, 6:30 p.m., Eagles Nest, Columbia City. Register by Dec. 31 with Ed Farris at 260-358-4826. Counties: Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wells and Whitley.More information is available by contacting the Indiana Beef Cattle Association at 317-293-2333 or https://www.indianabeef.org.[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/12/12-13-area-beef-meetings.mp3|titles=12-13 area beef meetings]Source: Purdue Ag Communicationslast_img read more