Politics and Justice Without Borders
Click the image to watch the new promo movie.
Global Community Newsletter main website

Volume 19 Issue 12 August 2021:

Theme for this month:

Back to August 2021 Newsletter

Global Civilizational State:
( see enlargement )

Global Civilizational State:
Global Protection Agency (GPA) essential services. gg

Global Dialogue 2022 Table of Contents. gg

(Global Dialogue 2022 begins September 1st, 2021, and concludes on August 31st, 2022)

GPA animation Global Protection Agency (GPA)


Governance of the Earth by Global Parliament will make the rule of arbitrary power--economic (WTO, FTAA, TPPA, BRICS, EU, etc.), political, or military (NATO)-- subjected to the rule of law within the global civil society, the human family. Justice is for everyone and is everywhere, a universal constant. Justice is without borders.

Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA); World Trade Organization (WTO); North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA; 1994); the USMCA which took effect on July 1, 2020, replacing NAFTA; Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA); Canada–United States Free Trade Agreement (1988, suspended by NFTAA); Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS); European Union (EU); and many more international trade agreements between nations. All international trade agreements must be administered by the Global Trade and Resources Ministry and the Global Ministry of Essential Services as institutionalized by Global Parliament. Today's international trade agreements are obsolete and primitive. They are formed to make a few people on the planet rich and creating a world of overconsumption and wastfully degrading the planet's resources and environment. Let us walk into a sustainable future. Let us first define what we mean by "Global Community" and of course what we mean by "essential services" in the global context of humanity.


Global Ministry of Essential Services

( see enlargement Global Ministry of Essential Services)

Germain Dufour

( see enlargement Global Ministry of Essential Services)

News Media Portal of Global Community

Global Ministry of Essential Services
Report and website Report of Global Ministry of Essential Services
Promo video of Global Ministry of Essential Services.
mp4 (55 MB) Global Ministry of Essential Services
f4v (32 MB) Global Ministry of Essential Services
flv (30 MB) Global Ministry of Essential Services
swf (28 MB) Global Ministry of Essential Services
html (28 MB) Global Ministry of Essential Services

Dialogue on local and global issues.


Global Ministry of Essential Services

Read Report at this Global Ministry website Report of Global Ministry of Essential Services

Table of Contents of Global Ministrty of Essential Services.

I.   Global Movement to Help Global Movement to Help
II.   Global Ministries:
  • Global Ministry of Essential Services Global Ministry of Essential Services
  • Ministry of Global Resources  Ministry of Global Resources
  • Ministry of Global Peace in government Ministry of Global Peace
  • Earth Environmental Governance Earth Environmental Governance
  • Earth Ministry of Health Earth Ministry of Health
  • Global Ministry of Forests Global Ministry of Forests
  • Global Ministry of Agriculture, Food Production and Distribution  Global Ministry of Agriculture, Food Production and Distribution
  • Global Civilization Ministry of Peace and Disarmament  Global Civilization Ministry  of Peace and Disarmament
  • Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs: Global Government of Africa  Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs: Global Government of Africa
  • Global Ministry of Water Resources Protection  Global Ministry of Water Resources Protection
  • Global Environment Ministry  Ministry of Global Environment

III.   Building a Global Civilization for all life. Building a Global Civilization for all life.
IV.   Making clear to all people what they can no longer do, and what they must do for survival. Making clear to all people what they can no longer do, and what they must do for survival
V.   As part of Global Protection Agency (GPA): establishing in each nation an "Emergency, Rescue, and Relief Centre". As part of the GPA: establishing in each nation an Emergency, Rescue, and Relief Centre.
VI.   Establishing a global action plan for survival. Such worldwide action plan be promoted widely during the Global Exhibition. Establishing a global action plan for survival. Such worldwide action plan be promoted widely during the Global Exhibition
VII.   Education for Global Survival Education for Global Survival
VIII.  Applying the proper taxation system to establish confidence and trust in the global action plan for survival Applying the proper taxation system	to establish confidence and trust in the global action plan for survival
IX.   Making available to all nations an efficient global warning system to warn people of imminent danger due to natural or humanmade disasters. Making available to all nations a global warning system to warn people of imminent danger due to natural or humanmade disasters.
X.   Analyzing and publishing local and global impacts of all significant events that affect the survival of life on the planet. Analyzing and publishing local and global impacts of all significant events that affect the survival of all life on the planet.
XI.   Family is important. Family with too many children is a problem. Family is important. Family with too many children is a problem.
XII.   Preventing actions to alliviate the effects of global warming and climate change. Preventing actions to alliviate the effects of global warming and climate change.
XIII.   Making public worlwide a daily list of all people responsible of causing significant deterioration of the global life-support systems. Making public worlwide a daily list of all people responsible of causing significanr deterioration of the global life-support systems
XIV.   Conducting research and development of new ways of saving us all from conflicts, wars, destructive paths or ways of doing things.  Conducting research and development of new ways of saving us all from conflicts, wars, destructive paths or ways of doing things
XV.   Measuring, assessing and publishing daily actions and changes in the world which significantly affect survival  Measuring, assessing and publishing daily actions and changes in the world which significantly affect survival
XVI.   Moratorium on world population and the fertility rate, and ending population warfare. Moratorium on world population and the fertility rate and ending population warfare
XVII.   Ending economic warfare Ending economic warfare
XVIII.   Creating a planetary biodiversity zone Creating a planetary biodiversity zone
XIX.   Establishing a global dialogue between all Peoples. Establishing a global dialogue between all Peoples.
XX.   Humanity new Vision of the World. Humanity new Vision of the World.
XXI.   Global Parliament's Constitution. Global Parliament's Constitution.

References References

Theme of Global Dialogue 2022

(Global Dialogue 2022 begins September 1st, 2021 and concludes on August 31st, 2022)

Global Civilizational State:
Global Protection Agency (GPA) essential services.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction:
    Our Vision is a benchmark for all life. Introduction
  • Global Community 35 th Anniversary Celebration (1985 - 2020.)  Global Community 35 th Anniversary Celebration (1985 - 2020)
  • Definition and goal of Global Community Definition of Global Community
  • Founders of the Global Community organization Founders of the Global Community organization
  • Global Community Affiliated Centres for education and training Global Community Affiliated Centres for education and training
  • Global Dialogue on all local and global issues.Global Dialogue
  • Proceedings of the Global Dialogue   Proceedings of the Global Dialogue
  • Global Information Media (GIM)
    Global Information Media (GIM) daily proclamations concerning actual issues in the world Global Information Media (GIM) daily proclamations concerning actual issues in the world
    Global Information Media (GIM) Main Index Global Information Media (GIM) Main Index

  • Politics and Justice without borders: what we stand for. Politics and Justice without borders: what we stand for
  • Global Community is for all life on Earth and is the 21st century framework for Earth governance Global Community  is for all life on Earth and is the 21st century framework for Earth governance
  • Definition of the Scale of Global Rights. Why it is necessary to replace the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the Scale. Definition of the Scale of Global Rights
  • Global Sustainability Global Sustainability
    Global Sustainability aspects and issues Global Sustainability aspects and issues
    Agriculture and food production aspects and issues Agriculture and food production aspects and issues
    Earth Management aspects and issues Earth Management aspects and issues
    Global development management aspects and issues Global development management aspects and issues
    Agriculture and food production management aspects and issues Agriculture and food production management aspects and issues
    Building Global Communities for all life aspects and issues Building Global Communities for all life aspects and issues
    Sustainable cities aspects and issues  Sustainable cities aspects and issues
  • Portal of Global Civilization Portal of the global civilization
    Portal of Global Civilization aspects and issues ever since 1985. Portal of the Global Civilization aspects and issues ever since 1985.
    Portal of Global Civilization for all life Portal of the Global Civilization for all life
    Our Vision is a benchmark for life Our Vision is a benchmark for life
    Global vision aspects and issues ever since 1985.  Global vision aspects and issues ever since 1985.
  • Global Movement to Help Global Movement to Help
    Global Movement to Help main listing Global Movement to Help main listing
    Essential services Esential services
    Global Essential Services Main Index Global Essential Services Main Index
    Global Community of North America (GCNA) Emergency, Rescue, and Relief Centre  Global Community of North America (GCNA)  Emergency, Rescue, and Relief Centre
    Federation of Global Governments Emergency, Rescue, and Relief Centre Esential services
  • Federation Emergency, Rescue and Relief Centre (FERRC) Federation Emergency, Rescue and Relief Centre (FERRC)
  • Global rights year one Global rights year one
  • Global Law Global Law
  • Justice for all with Global Law Justice for all with Global Law
    Global Rights Global Rights
    The Judiciary Global Parliament Constitution  Chapter VIII     Enhanced cooperation between Member Nations Global Parliament Constitution  Chapter XIV     Global Community Earth Government with its governing institutions and bodies Global Parliament Constitution  Chapter XII     Exercise of Earth Government competence
    Earth Court of Justice Global Parliament Constitution  Chapter XIV     Global Community Earth Government with its governing institutions and bodies  Global Justice Movement for all life aspects and issues   Earth Court of Justice aspects and issues   Global Justice for all life on the planet
    Standards & good practices Global Parliament Constitution  Chapter IV     Global Community concepts and universal values Global Parliament Constitution  Chapter X     Scale of Human and Earth Rights Global Parliament Constitution  Chapter XIV     Global Community Earth Government with its governing institutions and bodies Global Parliament Constitution  Chapter XVIII     Global policies in other areas of Earth Government Global Parliament Constitution  Chapter XIX     Freedom, security and justice without borders Global Parliament Constitution  Chapter XX     Areas where Earth Government may take coordinating, complementary or supporting action
    Global Law & Regulations  God Law, Nature Law, the teaching of the Soul of Humanity with the teaching of the prophet are fundamental pillars of our Global Law Global Citizens Rights, Responsibility and Accountability Act Earth Government Global Law consists of 69 codes, covering various subject areas, the Global Parliament Constitution , Bills and Statutes Global Parliament Constitution  Chapter X     Scale of Human and Earth Rights Global Parliament Constitution  Chapter XIV     Global Community Earth Government with its governing institutions and bodies Global Parliament Constitution  Chapter XVIII     Global policies in other areas of Earth Government Global Parliament Constitution  Chapter XIX     Freedom, security and justice without borders Global Parliament Constitution  Chapter XX     Areas where Earth Government may take coordinating, complementary or supporting action Global Parliament Constitution  Chapter XII     Exercise of Earth Government competence About Global Law, Codes and standards Earth Government Legislation Global Parliament Constitution  Chapter XI     Limits of Earth Government competences Global Parliament Constitution  Chapter XV     Consistency between the different policies and activities of Earth Government Global Parliament Constitution  Chapter XVI     A global market without borders in which the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured in accordance with this Constitution
    Formation of new nations Portal of the Global Civilization  Global Community  organization is calling upon global citizens and all peoples and governments of the world to rally with the GCEG for the good of all.  Unity in diversity. Getting to know one another and ourselves as one humanity. What Peace amongst nations means? Fundamentals of Global Rights
    Settling of disputes between nations through the process of the Earth Court of Justice The settling of disputes between nations Global Parliament Constitution  Chapter II     Earth Security and Peace Global Parliament Constitution  Chapter V     The establishment of Global Communities Global Parliament Constitution  Chapter VI     Earth Government Global Community Citizenship Global Parliament Constitution  Chapter XIV     Global Community Earth Government with its governing institutions and bodies Global Parliament Constitution  Chapter XXIII     Safeguards and Reservations What Peace amongst nations means? Fundamentals of Global Rights
    Codes, Bills, Acts, and Statutes About Global Law, Codes and standards Earth Government Legislation  God Law, Nature Law, the teaching of the Soul of Humanity with the teaching of the prophet are fundamental pillars of our Global Law Global Citizens Rights, Responsibility and Accountability Act Earth Government Global Law consists of 69 codes, covering various subject areas, the Global Parliament Constitution , Bills and Statutes
  • Global Parliament: what we stand for Global Parliament what we stand for
    The House of Elected Representatives, the House of Advisers, and the Global Governments Federation together are the Global Parliament. The House of Elected Representatives, the House of Advisers, and the Global Governments Federation together are the Global Parliament.
    The Federation of Global Governments vs the United Nations The   Federation of Global Governments vs the United Nations
    Federation of Global Governments Federation of Global Governments
    Earth Government Earth Government
    Cabinet Ministers Cabinet Ministers
    History of Global Community Organization and Interim Earth Government 	History of Global Community  Organization and Interim Earth Government
    Annual meeting of the Federation of Global Governments Annual meeting of the Federation of Global Governments
  • Global Parliament schematic Global Parliament schematic
  • Global Community of North America (GCNA) Global Community of North America (GCNA)
  • Global Government of North America (GGNA) Global Government of North America (GCNA)
  • Federation of Global Governments: what we stand for Federation of Global Governments: what we stand for
    Report Main Index
    The Federation of Global Governments vs the United Nations
    Civil Society
    Global Protection Agency (GPA)
    The Judiciary
    Global Ministries
    Essential services

  • Federation of Global Governments Emergency, Rescue, and Relief Centre  Federation of Global Governments Emergency, Rescue, and Relief Centre
  • Global voting on issues Global voting on issues
  • Politics and Justice without borders: Earth Governance Politics and Justice without borders: Earth Governance
  • Global Ministries are about local to global cooperation Global Ministries
  • Global Peace Movement Global Peace Movement
    What Peace amongst nations means? What Peace amongst nations means?
    Global Community Peace Movement has declared a planetary state of emergency.
    Global Community Peace advocates have told their stories
    Global Peace Movement and Disarmament Global Peace Movement and Disarmament
    What Peace amongst nations means What Peace amongst nations means
    The Canadian experience is the pathway to Peace in the world The Canadian experience is the pathway to Peace in the world
    Peace amongst nations means follow the pathway to Peace in the world Peace amongst nations means follow the pathway to Peace in the world
  • The USA wars  The USA wars
  • The Planarchists  The Planarchists
  • Obama world tepee (tea p.) and the Little Red Riding Hood  Obama world tepee (tea p.) and the Little Red Riding Hood
  • Global Crisis Global Crisis
  • NATO (the White House , war industry, big corporate rulers, Christian right) vs Global Rights and Global Justice NATO (the White House , war industry, big corporate rulers, Christian right) vs Global Rights and Global Justice
  • Canada and the United States relationship
    Friendly understanding between President Bush and PM Harper of Canada Friendly understanding between President Bush and PM Harper of Canada
    Two wrongs do not make one right: Canada changing from peace keeping to war making Two wrongs do not make one right: Canada changing from peace keeping to war making
    Canada, the Mexico of the North and next victim of the IMF-World Bank rapacious appetite for nations with valuable resources Canada, the Mexico of the North and next victim of the IMF-World Bank rapacious appetite for nations with valuable resources
  • USA 21st century global economic system  USA 21st century global economic system
  • Global Social Economic Model (GSEM)  Global Social Economic Model (GSEM)
  • Global Social Economic Model (GSEM) vs the actual world economic system as proposed by G8/G20 nations  Global Social Economic Model (GSEM) vs the actual world economic system as proposed by G8/G20 nations
  • The teaching of the Soul The teaching of the Soul
    The teaching of the Soul The teaching of the Soul
    The fundamental criteria of a global symbiotical relationship  The fundamental criteria of a global symbiotical relationship
    Guiding Souls and God want to help us manage Earth Guiding Souls and God want to help us manage Earth
    Guiding Souls to serve God is a part of a new unifying religion of a modern symbiosis global society  Guiding Souls to serve God is a part of a new unifying  religion  of a modern symbiosis society
    The Divine Plan and the higher purpose of humanity  The Divine Plan and the higher purpose of humanity
    Global Community teaching  Global Community  teaching
    Global Law  Global Law
  • Celebration of Life Day Celebration of Life Day
  • Planetary Biodiversity Zone Planetary Biodiversity Zone
  • Planetary biodiversity zone ( Part III ) Planetary biodiversity zone ( Part III ) Planetary biodiversity zone ( Part III )
    Global Community has had work on biodiversity issues, rights and protection ever since 1985 Global Community  has had work on biodiversity issues, rights and protection ever since 1985
    Global Community perspective on the control of the Northwest Passage, Canada sovereignty of Nunavut and 'blood resources' Global Community  perspective on the control of the Northwest Passage, Canada sovereignty of Nunavut and blood resources
    Global Citizens Rights, Responsibility and Accountability Act Global Citizens Rights, Responsibility and Accountability Act
  • The Global Exhibition The Global Exhibition
  • Global Community days of celebration or remembering throughout the year  Global Community days of celebration or  remembering throughout the year
    Cultural Appreciation Day Cultural Appreciation Day
    Along with all the global communities, Global Community , all life on Earth, and the Soul of Humanity can rightfully claim ownership of the Earth as a birthright Claiming ownership of the Earth as a birthright
    Founding of Global Community organization, Earth Government and the Federation of Global Governments Founding of Global Community  organization, Earth Government and the Federation of Global Governments
    Global Citizenship Day Global Citizenship Day
    Tribute to Virginie Dufour, the first Secretary General of Global Community organization, who passed away April 28,2000 Tribute to Virginie Dufour
    The Global Exhibition The Global Exhibition
    Nationalization of natural resources Nationalization of natural resources
    Global Peace Movement Day Global Peace Movement Day
    Global Movement to Help Global Movement to Help
    Global Justice for all Life Day Global Justice for all Life Day
    Global Justice Movement Global Justice Movement
    Global Disarmament Day Global Disarmament Day
    Planetary State of Emergency Day Planetary State of Emergency Day
    Global Community 25 th Anniversary Celebration (1985 - 2010) Global Community 25 th Anniversary Celebration (1985 - 2010)
    Celebration of Life Day Celebration of Life Day
    Planetary Biodiversity Zone Planetary Biodiversity Zone
  • Investigative reports ff
    Global Parliament's Constitution Main Index
    Advisory Board to the Global Parliament's Constitution
    Global Dialogue 2010   Global Dialogue 2010
    Global Political Parties Global Political Parties April 2010 Newsletters
    Global Law Global Law
    Obama’s world tepee (tea p.)and The Little Red Riding Hood The worst kind of planarchists are NATO nations March 2010 Newsletters
    The worst kind of planarchists are NATO nations The worst kind of planarchists are NATO nations January 2010 Newsletters
    Politics and Justice without borders: what we stand for Politics and Justice without borders: what we stand for
    Earth governance at its best vs at its worst Politics and Justice without borders:  Earth governance
    Global Movement to Help main listing:
    Federation of Global Governments Emergency, Rescue, and Relief Centre Federation of Global Governments Emergency, Rescue, and Relief Centre
    Global Parliament Constitution Global Parliament Constitution
    The Federation of Global Governments vs the United Nations
    Annual meeting of the Federation of Global Governments A just, fair and most needed Global Government Federation of Global Governments Head Quarters (HQ) Federation of Global Governments Head Quarters Federation of Global Governments
    Essential services Main index the Global Movement to Help essential services   Essential services
    Global Justice Network Global Justice Network  Global Justice Network
    Global Protection Agency (GPA) Main index of the  Global Protection Agency (GPA)  Global Protection Agency (GPA)
    Global Rights Global Rights
    Portal of Global Community (original Portal from back in 1985) Portal of Global Community
    Portal Global Dialogue 2009 Main website of Global Dialogue 2009
    Global Information Media (GIM) daily proclamations concerning actual issues in the world    Global Information Media (GIM) daily proclamations concerning actual issues in the world
    Portal of Global Dialogue 2008 Portal of Global Dialogue 2008
    Proceedings of the Global Dialogue   Proceedings of the Global Dialogue
    Global Peace Movement amongst nations and people Global Peace Movement amongst nations and people
    Global Citizens voting on issues Global Community voting on issues
    The Federation of Global Governments vs the United Nations
    Civil Society
    Global Protection Agency (GPA)
    The Judiciary
    Global Ministries
    Essential services
    Twenty four years ago Global Community organization was created. Happy 24 th year Anniversary everyone Happy 23 rd year Anniversary everyone

Theme of Global Dialogue 2022 and August Newsletter 2021.
( see enlargement Global Civilizational State reporting on issues. )

Global Civilizational State reporting on issues.
( see enlargement Global Civilizational State reporting on issues. )

Authors of research papers and articles on global issues since 1985.

  • List of all author names in all papers, articles, comments, opinions, recommendations of all Global Dialogues since 1985. Global participants files.jj

    List of all participants and authors with their work from 1985 to 2007.jj
    All work can be found in Global Proceedings.jj

    Global Information Media (GIM) publishing monthly Newsletters dealing with global issues. Global Information Media (GIM) publishing monthly Newsletters dealing with global issues.

  • List of all author names in all papers, articles, comments, opinions, recommendations of Global Dialogue 2020.

  • List of all author papers, articles, comments, opinions, recommendations of Global Dialogue 2020.

  • List of all Monthly Newsletters with all author names in papers, articles, comments, opinions, recommendations concerning the issues of Global Dialogue 2020.

  • We thank authors for their hard work and activism this dialogue. Over the past several decades, they have fought hard for the protection of the global life-support systems. Proceedings of all dialogues are available at:

Authors of research papers and articles on global issues for this month

V A Mohamad Ashrof, John Scales Avery(2), Andrew Bacevich, Dr Ramzy Baroud, Frida Berrigan, M K Bhadrakumar(3), César Chelala, Farooque Chowdhury, Ronan Coddington, Countercurrents Collective(5), Andrew Curry, Nicolas J S Davies, Democracy Now!, Bharat Dogra(2), Dr James M Dorsey, Paul Edwards, Pepe Escobar, Tom Engelhardt(3), Don Fitz, Philip Giraldi, Katharine Hayhoe, Bill Henderson, Robert Hunziker(2), Yanis Iqbal(2), Martin Jacques, P J James, Jay Janson, Jake Johnson, Sajai Jose, Dr Binoy Kampmark, Danaka Katovich, Pradeep Krishnatray, National Alliance of People’s Movements, Samantha Nobles-Block, Emma Pattee, Naveed Qazi, Ramakrishnan, Steven Earl Salmony, Dr Harleen Shergill, Livneet Shergill , Sadiya Sherin C T, Gabrielle Simond, John Stanton, Stephen Sterling, Harsh Thakor, Colin Todhunter, S G Vombatkere, Simon Whalley, Brett Wilkins , Richard D. Wolff.

V A Mohamad Ashrof, Global Classroom- A Concept that has come of Age. Global Classroom- A Concept that has come of Age
John Scales Avery, The Social Responsibility Of Scientists The Social Responsibility Of Scientists
John Scales Avery, A Critical Decade A Critical Decade
Andrew Bacevich, The Passing of the Present and the Decline of America. The Passing of the Present and the Decline of America.
Dr Ramzy Baroud, Free Market Illusions: What is the US’ Endgame in China? Free Market Illusions: What is the US’ Endgame in China?
Frida Berrigan, Living with World’s End in Plain Sight Living with World’s End in Plain Sight
M K Bhadrakumar, A hybrid war to replace Afghan ‘forever war’? A hybrid war to replace Afghan ‘forever war’?
M K Bhadrakumar, CPC transforms China as a world class power CPC transforms China as a world class power
M K Bhadrakumar, US’ pathway to Iran has thorny shrubs US’ pathway to Iran has thorny shrubs
César Chelala, It’s not only guns. It’s the culture. It’s not only guns. It’s the culture.
Farooque Chowdhury, Fred Magdoff discusses capitalist agriculture Fred Magdoff discusses capitalist agriculture
Ronan Coddington, International Energy Agency report underscores inadequacy of US government response to climate change International Energy Agency report underscores inadequacy of US government response to climate change
Countercurrents Collective, Heavy Metals have Contaminated Entire French Population, Warns Study Heavy Metals have Contaminated Entire French Population, Warns Study
Countercurrents Collective, Taiwan, Japan, China: A few developments Taiwan, Japan, China: A few developments
Countercurrents Collective, Coal is coming back in Europe as Gas is Scarce Coal is coming back in Europe as Gas is Scarce
Countercurrents Collective, Hunger, disease, drought: UN report warns of climate crisis Hunger, disease, drought: UN report warns of climate crisis
Countercurrents Collective, Climate Crisis Pushes A Million People in Madagascar to the ‘Edge of Starvation,’ Says WFP Climate Crisis Pushes A Million People in Madagascar to the ‘Edge of Starvation,’ Says WFP
Andrew Curry, The Solar Transition The Solar Transition
Nicolas J S Davies, A People’s Vaccine Against a Mutating Virus and Neoliberal Rule A People’s Vaccine Against a Mutating Virus and Neoliberal Rule
Democracy Now! Leaked IRS Files: Billionaires Bezos, Musk, Bloomberg, Buffett Avoided Taxes as Wealth Soared. Leaked IRS Files: Billionaires Bezos, Musk, Bloomberg, Buffett Avoided Taxes as Wealth Soared.
Bharat Dogra, Why Environment Movement Should Have Much Closer Links With Peace and Justice Movements. Why Environment Movement Should Have Much Closer Links With Peace and Justice Movements
Bharat Dogra, Will Ecosystems Restoration Actually Get A Real and Much-Needed Boost With the Launch of A Decade Dedicated to This? Will Ecosystems Restoration Actually Get A Real and Much-Needed Boost With the Launch of A Decade Dedicated to This?
Dr James M Dorsey, China signals possible greater Middle East engagement. China signals possible greater Middle East engagement
Paul Edwards, Israel’s real character as a xenophobic, apartheid horror of a state to establish a “Greater Israel”. Israel’s real character as a xenophobic, apartheid horror of a state to establish a “Greater Israel”.
Tom Engelhardt, William Astore, Big Lies Have Consequences, Too William Astore, Big Lies Have Consequences, Too
Tom Engelhardt, Living on a Sci-Fi Planet Living on a Sci-Fi Planet
Tom Engelhardt, A World at the Edge A World at the Edge
Pepe Escobar, G7: Desperately Seeking Relevancy G7: Desperately Seeking Relevancy
Don Fitz, Is AltE Truly the Best Solution to Climate Catastrophe? Is AltE Truly the Best Solution to Climate Catastrophe?
Philip Giraldi, Meet Me in Geneva: Biden’s Russophobia means the Summit will fail. Meet Me in Geneva: Biden’s Russophobia means the Summit will fail
Katharine Hayhoe, We Don’t Need a New Report to Know It’s Time to Act Urgently on the Climate Crisis. We Don’t Need a New Report to Know It’s Time to Act Urgently on the Climate Crisis.
Bill Henderson, The Clean Energy Transition Is a Big Time-Wasting Lie The Clean Energy Transition Is a Big Time-Wasting Lie
Robert Hunziker, Toxic Chemicals Engulf the Planet Toxic Chemicals Engulf the Planet
Robert Hunziker, Lethal Heat Hits the Planet Lethal Heat Hits the Planet
Yanis Iqbal, USA’s Hypocritical Dealings with Taliban USA’s Hypocritical Dealings with Taliban
Yanis Iqbal, China’s Programme of Socialist Modernization China’s Programme of Socialist Modernization
Martin Jacques, G7 no longer able to order world around: Martin Jacques. G7 no longer able to order world around: Martin Jacques
Jay Janson, Sadly China & Russia Remain Quiet Re US Past Genocides & Ongoing Genocide in the Middle East & Africa  Sadly China & Russia Remain Quiet Re US Past Genocides & Ongoing Genocide in the Middle East & Africa
P J James, China’s Celebration of its own Brand of Imperialism in the guise of “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics” China’s Celebration of its own Brand of Imperialism in the guise of “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics”
Jake Johnson, ‘Epic Failure of Humanity’: Global Displaced Population Hits All-Time High. ‘Epic Failure of Humanity’: Global Displaced Population Hits All-Time High.
Sajai Jose, When the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ comes knocking. When the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ comes knocking
Dr Binoy Kampmark, The Insurgency Against Big Oil The Insurgency Against Big Oil
Danaka Katovich, Arms Sales: What We Know About Bombs Being Dropped in Our Name Arms Sales: What We Know About Bombs Being Dropped in Our Name
Pradeep Krishnatray, Making Vaccines Mandatory – An Ethical Perspective Making Vaccines Mandatory – An Ethical Perspective
National Alliance of People’s Movements, Scrap the Bunder Diamond Mine Project Scrap the Bunder Diamond Mine Project
Samantha Nobles-Block, An Aspirational Vision of Life After Fossil Fuels An Aspirational Vision of Life After Fossil Fuels
Emma Pattee, The Fallacy of Our Carbon Footprint The Fallacy of Our Carbon Footprint
Naveed Qazi, India’s Connect Central Asia policy. India’s Connect Central Asia policy
Ramakrishnan, The Dubious Narrative of Democracy of the Natural Allies Vs China’s Authoritarianism in India The Dubious Narrative of Democracy of the Natural Allies Vs China’s Authoritarianism in India
Steven Earl Salmony, Human population activity: the primary factor that has precipitated a climate emergency, biodiversity loss and environmental pollution on our watch. Human population activity: the primary factor that has precipitated a climate emergency, biodiversity loss and environmental pollution on our watch.
Dr Harleen Shergill, Mankind’s Struggle Against Zoonotic Diseases….a self fulfilling prophecy Mankind’s Struggle Against Zoonotic Diseases….a self fulfilling prophecy
Livneet Shergill, The Covid Milestone The Covid Milestone
Sadiya Sherin C T, Lakshadweep: The New Administration’s Call And The Impending Ecological Crisis Lakshadweep: The New Administration’s Call And The Impending Ecological Crisis
Gabrielle Simond, Gabrielle Simond: De notre ambassadrice María de los Ángeles Albornoz Argentina. Gabrielle Simond: De notre ambassadrice María de los Ángeles Albornoz Argentina.
John Stanton, The Hell of the Same: Capitalism Breaks Down and Homogenizes Life, Disconnects the Past, Present and Future. The Hell of the Same: Capitalism Breaks Down and Homogenizes Life, Disconnects the Past, Present and Future
Stephen Sterling, Educating for the future we want Educating for the future we want
Harsh Thakor, Communist Party of China turns 100. Communist Party of China turns 100.
Colin Todhunter, From 1980s Neoliberalism to the ‘New Normal’ From 1980s Neoliberalism to the ‘New Normal’
S G Vombatkere, Global Warming, Climate Refugees, Migrations – And Beyond: Need for national-level planning Global Warming, Climate Refugees, Migrations – And Beyond: Need for national-level planning
Simon Whalley, This Is Only the Beginning: It’s About to Get Much Harder This Is Only the Beginning: It’s About to Get Much Harder
Brett Wilkins, Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Hits Highest Level in Over 4 Million Years. Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Hits Highest Level in Over 4 Million Years.
Richard D. Wolff, Why We Need to Democratize Wealth: the U.S. Capitalist Model Breeds Selfishness and Resentment Why We Need to Democratize Wealth: the U.S. Capitalist Model Breeds Selfishness and Resentment

Articles and papers from authors


Day data received Theme or issue Read article or paper
  June 18, 2021
USA’s Hypocritical Dealings with Taliban
by Yanis Iqbal,
Countercurrents.org, in World

Speculations abound over Taliban’s aim to exploit the vacuum left by the partial withdrawal of US-NATO troop to seize control of the capital Kabul and re-establish an Islamic Emirate, similar to the one the US dislodged from power after its 2001 invasion. The ground reality seems to confirm these concerns about an impending civil war.

Violence and territorial contestations are steadily increasing. There has been an over two-and-half fold increase in terrorism-linked fatalities in May, 2021, in comparison to the previous month; the security forces have suffered a three-fold surge in fatalities in the same period. The Afghan National Security Force (ANSF) have suffered disruptions in supply of essentials like ration, shortage of ammunition and witnessed 26 of their bases surrendered to Taliban in May 2021.

Supporting Taliban

The morass in Afghanistan is a byproduct of USA’s hypocritical dealings with Taliban. Beginning from July 1979, Washington financed and armed extremist Islamic forces to invade and destroy the secular, modernizing, Soviet-backed regime in Afghanistan, with logistical support from the Pakistan military and intelligence agencies and financial backing from Saudi Arabia. The strongest of these reactionary mujahedeen groups were called the Taliban. It was they who claimed victory in 1996.

Glyn Davies, then US State Department’s spokesperson, told reporters that he found “nothing objectionable” in the laws of the Taliban state; these, he suggested, were “anti-modern”, not “anti-western” and, therefore, presumably legitimate. He hoped the Taliban would “form a representative interim government that can begin the process of reconciliation nationwide.”

From 1996 to 2001, US relations with Afghanistan revolved around proposed pipelines to bring oil and gas from the Caspian basin on a route that would bypass Russia, Iran and China. Before the September 11 attacks, the American oil giant Unocal had been negotiating with Taliban for the construction of an oil pipeline through Afghanistan to Pakistan and out to the Arabian sea.

In December 1977, a delegation of Taliban mullahs traveled to USA and met State Department officials and Unocal executives in Houston. Zalmay Khalilzad – a consultant for Unocal who would later become the US ambassador to Afghanistan – met the Taliban leaders in a luxury hotel, chatting pleasantly about a proposed multibillion-dollar pipeline deal. He publicly voiced support for the radical Islamists at the time. The “Taliban does not practice the anti-U.S. style of fundamentalism practiced by Iran – it is closer to the Saudi model,” Khalilzad wrote in 1996.

In January 1998, the Taliban signed an agreement that would allow a proposed 890 miles, $2 billion natural gas pipeline by Unocal to proceed. Unocal also considered building a 1000 mile, 1 million barrel-per-day capacity oil pipeline that would link Charzou in Turkmenistan to Pakistan’s Arabian Sea coast via Afghanistan. The cost of this project was estimated at $2.5 billion.

All negotiations over these initiatives collapsed in 1998, when Al-Qaeda bombed two US embassies in Africa. By then, the terrorist group, led by Osama bin Laden, had relocated from Sudan to Afghanistan, where it was offered safe harbor by the Taliban. The US now realized that Taliban was not a dependable instrument for the realization of its interests in Central Asia. Thus, American strikes were being planned against the jihadist entity two months before the terrorist assaults on New York and Washington.


The September 11 attacks provided USA with the perfect excuse to implement a strategy it had been considering for months. In 2001, President George W. Bush launched an offensive in Afghanistan. The US war aims were straightforward: prevent Afghanistan from being a haven for al-Qaeda and bring democracy to Afghanistan by expelling the Taliban. There were also noises made about liberating women and educating the Afghan citizenry.

Bush forged an alliance with powerful local warlords – remnants from the war against the Soviets and subsequent civil war during the 1990s – who had retreated to northern Afghanistan to quickly overthrow the Taliban government. The war lasted a few days, and the Taliban barely resisted. However, after capturing Kabul and defeating the standing army, USA spent the next two decades in losing irregular warfare.

The initial victories laid the groundwork for future defeats. Bombing drove millions of peasants and farmers, shopkeepers and artisans into the local militia. The invaders were defeated by the indigenous forces of religious nationalism linked to families and communities. Billions of dollars were spent devastating the economy and impoverishing the vast majority of Afghans. Only the opium trade flourished. The efforts to create a puppet regime failed miserably.

US military and coalition presence in Afghanistan generated hatred among the Pashtun population – the majority ethnic group constituting the social base of Taliban. Since the invasion, an unstable government, commanded by leaders of different Afghan minority ethnic groups (Uzbeks, Tajiks, Hazaras, etc.), has been in power. This has resulted in a weak government, maintained solely due to the US’ political support and military presence along with NATO’s.

The US, its NATO allies, and the ANSF have killed more than 50,000 Taliban fighters over the years, including, in 2016, its foremost leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor. In 2019-2020, several senior commanders were killed, including the governors of Badakshan, Farah, Logar, Samangan, and Wardak provinces. Yet, the Taliban has managed to replenish their ranks, procure new weapons and ammunition, and raise money, above all through taxes on opium poppy farming.

The US government has spent more than $1 trillion on an invasion that has killed at least 175,000 Afghans since the first air strikes were launched on October 7, 2001. In addition, 3,500 soldiers from the invading coalition have been killed, and many thousands more have committed suicide once they returned home. After all this bloodshed, Afghanistan is on the verge of another civil war. This is the result of the American empire’s disastrous engagement with the country, which is purely motivated by imperialist and commercial interests.

Yanis Iqbal is an independent researcher and freelance writer based in Aligarh, India and can be contacted at yanisiqbal@gmail.com

  Read USA’s Hypocritical Dealings with Taliban
  July 7, 2021
A hybrid war to replace Afghan ‘forever war’?
by M K Bhadrakumar,
Countercurrents.org, in Imperialism

The British newspaper Daily Telegraph did some kite-flying in the weekend that London is considering open-ended deployment of a contingent of elite special forces to Afghanistan “ to provide training to Afghan units and deploy with them on the ground as advisers.”

At the same time, the New York Times reported that White House approves Gen. Austin S. Miller, the top American commander in Afghanistan, staying on at his post for “at least a couple more weeks,” although US troop withdrawal is complete.

Connecting the dots, it appears that the US is trying hard to replace the forever war in Afghanistan with a Syria-like hybrid war. The stunning success Russia registered in ensuring the survival of the Assad regime in Syria provides a role model for the Pentagon commanders.

Thus, Miller will “help transition the American military mission” to a hybrid war. The Pentagon has worked out an “over-the-horizon capacity” whereby American warplanes and armed Reaper drones based mainly in the Persian Gulf will participate or back up the Afghan military operations against the Taliban. read more

The US still hopes to reorganise the counter-terrorism capabilities and assets in the region. Foreign Ministers of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan were recently invited to Washington for consultations to formulate backup plans that could allow the US to bank upon these two countries. Uzbekistan seems favourably inclined, prompting Afghan President Asharf Ghani to visit Tashkent to follow up. (herehereherehere and here)

In effect, Washington is seeking to reposition some forces in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, which means that the first-tier troops, drones, bomber planes, and intelligence assets to be placed at bases or appropriate facilities in these Central Asian countries remain available in real time for intervention in the war against the Taliban.

As in Syria, local Afghan militia groups can be brought into the fight against the Taliban. Afghan warlords have worked with the Pentagon and the CIA previously. Equally, the lobby of Pentagon contractors is very influential in the Beltway and the White House is all but certain to extend their contracts.

The grand strategy appears to be to:

  1. a) beef up the capacity of the Afghan forces which would prevent an outright Taliban takeover but without the US taking on any combat duties;
  2. b) copy from the Russian playbook in Syria by heavily using air power without putting boots on the ground;
  3. c) and, make the Taliban realise through a war of attrition that there is no alternative to a negotiated settlement.

In an interesting role reversal from Syria, the US will claim that its involvement in Afghanistan is at the invitation of the Kabul government.

Indeed, if the strategy is seen to be working, other NATO countries can be expected to join the fray, as had happened in Syria and Iraq, embedded in the militia groups or Afghan military units.

The strength of the Pentagon contractors is put at 18000 personnel, the bulk of whom have served in the US military previously. The activities of the Wagner Group in Libya and some African countries apparently provide an inspiring model for the Pentagon.

The American media is awash with apocalyptic visions of Afghanistan’s descent into civil war. This has helped generate domestic support in the US for the Pentagon and CIA’s continued involvement in Afghanistan, even as President Biden extracts political mileage for ending the forever war.

Simply put, a hybrid war will be a “win-win” situation for the White House, Pentagon and the CIA — and NATO. 

The bottom line is that for geopolitical reasons, the US and NATO are determined to remain as the dominant foreign presence on the Afghan chessboard. Washington visualises that the regional states — Russia, China, Iran or Pakistan — may have serious reservations about a long-term US / NATO presence in Afghanistan, but they will not confront the US.

Will the US strategy of hybrid war work? A definitive answer will be possible only through August, given the variables at work. But the chances are rather bleak.

The humiliating defeat at the hands of the Taliban has created a profound credibility problem for the US in the region.

Besides, intrinsically, this is a high-risk strategy. The Taliban will resist and American lives may be lost. Again, the Central Asian states must agree to provide the staging posts for the hybrid war. The Taliban has sternly warned them.

Indeed, Russia and China are opposed to any American military presence in the Central Asian region. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has hit out at sections of Afghanistan’s ruling elite who are collaborating with Washington’s hybrid war plans, accusing them of trying to prolong the negotiation process and scuttle the prospects for an interim government.

“They should think about the consequences of these actions for their homeland,” Lavrov said. “Russia is already holding consultations both through bilateral channels and within the Collective Security Treaty Organization to protect its neighbours in Central Asia from any direct and serious threat,” Lavrov told reporters in Moscow last week. The remarks were obliquely referring to the US strategists.

But Moscow is not taking chances. Russia’s Southern military district (which includes facilities in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan) will receive advanced military equipment, including the Sukhoi-34 multirole aircraft. The air defence capabilities of the Russian base in Tajikistan are being strengthened, including with deployment of the newest Verba portable anti-aircraft missile systems (MANPADS). President Vladimir Putin had a call with Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmanov last week where he pledged all Russian support to strengthen Tajik defence capabilities.

Most important, the Taliban’s success through the coming 6-8 weeks to batter, demoralise and destroy the Afghan armed forces and shift the politico-military balance in its favour will be a key factor in the shape of things to come. This is where Afghanistan is fundamentally different from Syria. The US is overlooking the big role Iran played in tandem with Russia to turn the tide of the Syrian conflict.

Meanwhile, Taliban has also shown savviness to prevent other Afghan groups from uniting behind Ghani as well as to create synergy between its political track at Doha and the military path in Afghanistan. Against the backdrop of the US’ plans to fight a hybrid war, the Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters on Monday,

“The peace talks and process will be accelerated in the coming days … and they are expected to enter an important stage, naturally it will be about peace plans. Possibly it will take a month to reach that stage when both sides will share their written peace plan… Although we (Taliban) have the upper hand on the battlefield, we are very serious about talks and dialogue.”

The bottom line is that no regional state bordering Afghanistan wants the war to continue in any form. Within Afghanistan too, there is opposition to any further US military intervention. The cowardly manner in which the US troops slunk away from Bagram base will be talked about in the Afghan bazaar for a long time to come and will become folklore. read more

Former President Hamid Karzai, who remains an influential figure in Afghan politics and internationally, gave a string of interviews with the foreign media recently where his constant refrain has been that Afghanistan is done with the US interference, and Afghans should be left alone to manage their affairs. read more


Posted in his blog, indianpunchline, July 6, 2021, by the author.

Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar served the Indian Foreign Service for more than 29 years. He introduces about himself thus:  “Roughly half of the 3 decades of my diplomatic career was devoted to assignments on the territories of the former Soviet Union and to Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan. Other overseas postings included South Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany, and Turkey. I write mainly on Indian foreign policy and the affairs of the Middle East, Eurasia, Central Asia, South Asia and the Asia-Pacific…”

His mail ID : indianpunchline@gmail.com

  Read A hybrid war to replace Afghan ‘forever war’?
  July 6, 2021
The Covid Milestone
by Livneet Shergill ,
Countercurrents.org, in World

We are more than a year and half into the pandemic and this momentous time period has laid bare our vulnerabilities as a global society. The way coronavirus disease has been fought, has brought an enormous shift in our lives. Pandemic protocols, restrictions and lockdowns gave us a glimpse of the world suspended in time. The pandemic is far from over and no one knows how the glass might fall. But the world can’t be shut forever and as the world opens up, it’s time to look back at things we have learnt about ourselves.

For the millennials, lockdown was a new word. For them the world could never be shut and that too at the hands of a virus was off limits. Despite this, what was probably most striking was the degree of adherence to lockdown restrictions, especially in the western world. Barring a few exceptions, like Sweden, most nations were quick to lockdown their people. And countries which didn’t toe in line with the world agenda of lockdowns, were looked down upon as renegades. Suddenly it seemed that the western hemisphere which fiercely guards its civil liberties were going the other way. The people in these countries too complied without little resistance. Citizens of the liberal western democracies were unsettlingly servile and compliant. There was a behavioral shift, the governments acted like a helicopter parent eager to micro manage their subjects. Whether this means the beginning of the end of liberal world order remains to be seen.

The role of China in starting the pandemic has been widely highlighted but it’s role in providing PPE kits, masks etc. to the world, during the time of dire need found little mention. Thus, it emerged that the world cannot do without China. Instead of blatantly criticizing China, the need is to accept our dependence on Chinese goods. Besides this, the pandemic began as a Chinese story, but it narrated an American tale. The health infrastructure of the US was inadequate to handle the Covid toll, it crumbled like a pack of cards. A superpower looked no different from any third world country – desperately helpless. On the contrary China was the quickest in the world to contain the virus.

As nations tried to cope with the onslaught of the disease, a class distinction emerged among the workforce of the nations. Those who could work from home and those who had to go out to work. The pandemic clearly distinguished between essentials and the non-essentials. The ones doing the zoom meetings were the non-essentials. The working class was clearly the winner- they were the essential one.

During these difficult times the world seemed divided and intolerant. Countries were quick to close borders, within countries also each state wanted to safeguard only their immediate citizens. It was the other who was seen as sinful and responsible for spreading the virus and I/we per se had no sin. This distrust of the other has been further accentuated with the talk of vaccination passports.

The ray of hope in these strange times was the inherent goodness in most of the human kind. Even when fear and anxiety was the dominant flavor, many of us discovered our hidden reservoirs of compassion, love and empathy. People helped each other, neighbors were no longer strangers, families came closer to each other, medical fraternity clocked endless hours to save lives, essential service providers risked their own lives and continued serving humanity.

The unprecedented surge of coronavirus across the world shows that mankind is only at the beginning of understanding viruses. As the vaccination drives’ gain momentum around the world, amidst doubts about their efficacy and mistrust amongst the public with regard to the vaccines, the pandemic is far from over. Probably, we still have to ride some more waves of the virus. On this wavy Covid journey we may end up learning to live with the uncertainty and realize that life is many times lived in muddy waters. More importantly, we should appreciate and celebrate our connectedness and interdependence as human race.

Whether the ongoing pandemic is a milestone in itself or a part of the bigger story, only time will tell. In all, the Covid pandemic has been a mixed blessing. Quoting from Charles Dickens’ ‘A Tale of Two Cities’, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going to heaven, we were all going direct the other way…”.


Livneet Shergill is a PhD in Economics. She works as an independent researcher and writing gives her unmitigated happiness. The childhood literary bug has never quite left her.

  Read The Covid Milestone
  July 7, 2021
Heavy Metals have Contaminated Entire French Population, Warns Study
by Countercurrents Collective,
Countercurrents.org, in World

A study has found that nearly all French people are contaminated with heavy metals such as arsenic and mercury, and that exposure levels are higher than in other European countries.

A RFI report said:

France’s national health agency Santé Publique France said smoking and the consumption of fish and seafood products had contributed to the findings, published recently.

The presence of 27 potentially harmful metals were measured in the bodies of children and adults, and cross-checked with data from a decade ago, as part of a so-called Esteban health study that took into account environmental and nutritional factors.

Blood, urine and hair samples were taken from a representative sample of 3,600 people aged between 6 and 74 years, while information was gathered on their lifestyle and food consumption habits.

Between 97 and 100 percent of participants were found to be exposed to heavy metals, depending on the substance.

Santé Publique France said the findings indicated that the entire French population was affected.

“The levels measured were higher than those found in most foreign countries (Europe and North America) except for nickel and copper,” the agency added.

Cadmium Danger

As well as an increase in arsenic and mercury, the results showed a worrying increase in cadmium levels – a metal that has been recognized as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Cadmium is a cumulative toxicant, which means the risk of adverse effects is linked to the dose that accumulates in the body over time. It is harmful to the kidneys, bones and respiratory system, and is suspected of being an endocrine disruptor.

The study found that nearly half of the French population had a cadmium concentration level higher than that recommended by the French National Health Security Agency.

While cadmium is naturally present in soil, air and water, it can also be found in certain industrial and agricultural processes, such as phosphate fertilizers.

“This is particularly true of fertilizers from Morocco, which are rich in cadmium … and which are particularly used in France,” said Pierre Souvet, president of the French Environmental Health Association.

Santé Publique France urged people to diversify their food sources, particularly for fish, to avoid excessive exposure to heavy metals.

Over 7,000 Food Products Recalled in France due to Carcinogens

Another RFI report (https://www.rfi.fr/en/france/20210616-over-7-000-food-products-recalled-in-france-due-to-carcinogens-sesame-health) said on June 16, 2021:

Several thousand food products containing sesame seeds are to be withdrawn from sale and recalled, according to the latest list drawn up by the French competition authority (DGCCRF), after France’s scientific research body said the ingredient in question could cause cancer or abnormalities.

Savory cakes, breads, burgers, rusks, cereals, ice creams and sorbets, teas and coffees, ready meals, spreads, oils and sauces, sweet biscuits, cheese, flours and cooking aids: the products concerned by the recall are from a wide range of categories and brands.

French health authorities were informed at the beginning of September 2020, by their Belgian colleagues, of imported batches of sesame seeds whose ethylene oxide content exceeds the maximum regulatory limit.

Contaminated Sesame

Ethylene oxide is used in the food industry to sterilize spices and seeds, including sesame, which is present in many products.

It is listed by the French National Institute for Scientific Research (INRS) as “capable of causing cancer” and “inducing genetic abnormalities”.

The French competition authority (DGCCRF) has undertaken the necessary investigations to determine the origin of this contamination.

Pending the results of these investigations, they are withdrawing all products that may contain contaminated sesame seeds, but also psyllium and spices, which are potentially involved.

France Shames Fast Food Giants over Recycling Failures

On July 2, 2021, another RFI report (https://www.rfi.fr/en/france/20210702-france-shames-fast-food-giants-over-recycling-failures-mcdonalds-kfc-packaging-plastic-polystyrene-waste-environment) said:

France’s Ecological Transition Minister has named and shamed more than a dozen fast food giants who have failed to live up to commitments to sort and recycle their immense waste.

The list of well-known companies – many of whom spend millions on public relations every year – was published on the Ministry of Ecological Transition’s website Thursday.

Minister Barbara Pompili warned of sanctions and even restaurant closures if the offending brands, which included the likes of McDonald’s, KFC, La Croissanterie and Paul, did not clean up their act.

In 2019, a commitment charter was signed by 16 fast food chains representing 30,000 outlets who serve nearly 6 billion meals each year.

The companies promised to comply with a five-stream sorting system that offered dedicated bins for paper/cardboard, metal, plastic, glass and wood waste, plus a separate bin for biowaste.

Companies ‘on the edge’

Under the rules, 90 percent of a company’s outlets were to have the sorting and recycling system in place by January 1 – rising to 100 percent by the end of this year. Companies were also obliged to issue status reports every six months.

However Pompili told France Inter Thursday that only three brands – Cojean, Burger King and Subway – were following the rules.

“Most companies do not respect them, and are just on the edge,” she added.

While brands such as Class’Croute, Brioche Dorée and Exki were between 84 and 88 percent compliant, pizza chains Domino’s and Five Guys were at the bottom of the pile – the latter only 16 percent compliant.

Other big names that did not make the cut included Starbucks, Pomme de Pain, La Mie Câline and the Jour Healthy Groupe.

Polystyrene ban

The naming and shaming of waste offenders comes as a final ban on polystyrene packaging took effect on 1 July.

Mostly used for takeaway kebabs, the polystyrene packets were prohibited in January under a law aimed at phasing out single-use plastics, with retailers given a six-month grace period to use up existing stocks.

During a visit to a kebab shop in the Paris suburb of Nanterre, Pompili explained that polystyrene took a millennia to completely biodegrade in nature, compared to 450 years for a plastic bag.

Vendors must now turn to recyclable alternatives such as cardboard, pulp or expanded polypropylene boxes.

“Kebab boxes are somewhat emblematic because every year 350 million kebabs are consumed; that’s 11 of them every per second,” Pompili said.

“We won’t find a perfect alternative solution right away, but we’ve taken a step forward.”

Food Brands Shamed for Selling Packets ‘Full of Nothing’ to French Consumers

An earlier report by RFI (https://www.rfi.fr/en/france/20200917-food-brands-shamed-for-selling-half-empty-products-in-french-supermarkets-foodwatch-pleindevide) said on September 17, 2020:

Seven major grocery brands sold in French supermarkets have been accused of “food fraud” by a consumer advocacy group that on launched a petition against what it called excessive and environmentally irresponsible packaging.

The European NGO Foodwatch said products made by Lipton, Léa Nature, Sojasun, Monoprix, Barilla, Carrefour and Leclerc were “full of nothing” and intended to dupe customers into thinking they were buying more food than was actually there.

Monoprix, a well-regarded French retailer, was criticized for placing overly large labels on its herb jars to hide the fact they were a quarter empty.

“It’s all about the judicious positioning of the label and the opacity of the cap,” Foodwatch said, adding that while Monoprix’s spice jars cost less than those of some competitors, the price per kilo was actually much higher.

Ongoing complaints against disproportionately large packaging – including from companies purporting to have strong ecological values – spurred Foodwatch to launch its Full of Emptiness campaign targeting specific brands and retailers.

“This is happening in every aisle, in every supermarket and across every type of product in France,” campaign manager Camille Dorioz told RFI.

“It’s not just about misleading customers – who feel they’ve been had after buying a large product with very little contents – but the environmental repercussions are also unacceptable.”

Consumer groups around the world have long complained of clever packaging tricks being used by companies to mask downsized contents. In turn, retailers have long defended these practices as necessary to maintain profits amid economic difficulty.

Practices not Illegal

While conceding the companies targeted by the petition were not behaving illegally, Dorioz said they were exploiting a “grey area of regulation”, adding that European law clearly states that packaging and marketing practices must not be deliberately misleading.

“We consider oversized packaging to be illegitimate because it is deliberately intended to mislead the consumer.”

Foodwatch said it hoped its petition, which will be emailed to company CEOs with every signature, would help end “abuses” that see up to 60 precent of “nothing” contained in products sold in French supermarkets.

“We’re launching this petition today not only to force these companies to change their practices, but to alert the manufacturers of all brands that consumers have had enough,” Dorioz said.

  Read Heavy Metals have Contaminated Entire French Population, Warns Study
  May 28, 2021
Israel’s real character as a xenophobic, apartheid horror of a state to establish a “Greater Israel”.
by Paul Edwards,
Information Clearing House

Zionist Israel has since used the Holocaust as justification for surprise attacks on neighboring Arab states to expand its lebensraum and establish a “Greater Israel” Because Palestinians resisted having their lands and homes stolen by Israelis, its Zionist government inflicted yet another in their series of murderous assaults on that captive, victim people. This barbarity it pretends to justify on grounds of “self defense”.

Though a child can see through the blatant dishonesty of that absurd claim, American media can’t. The PR arm of our corrupt, deceiving Deep State frames—as it always has—the latest Israeli massacre as a contest of equals, matched opponents, not a clear case of the sadist Zionist army shooting fish in a barrel.

Israel attempts to deflect criticism of the sickening brutality of its Einsatzgruppen military style on grounds that criticism of that sick, evil, murderous state is reprehensible “Anti-Semitism”. This trope, invented by the  Holocaust Industry .  it has assiduously cultivated ever since that grim Nazi horror, is run up the flagpole whenever Zionist governments need cover for the criminal, racist violence they perpetrate at will on demonized Palestinians.

It is so ethically corrupt, so logically null and rationally false, that it would be laughable if it were not weaponized to attack, malign, and silence courageous, honest, honorable critics, and stop valid criticism of that profoundly cruel, rabid, racist state and society.

Consider: I’m an American sickened by my own government’s murderous, imperialist/militarist violence which I vigorously condemn. Does that mean I hate fellow Americans? That I’m “anti-American”..? Does hatred of the regimes of Bolsonaro, Modi, and bin Salman make me anti-Brazilian, anti-Indian, anti-Saudi? Clearly, to say so would be a malicious, dishonest slur, exactly what Israel’s bogus accusations of “anti-Semitism” are.

This cynical con—not believed even by Zionist snake-oil hustlers who peddle it—exposes Israel’s real character as a xenophobic, apartheid horror of a state. It is not only possible to be violently anti-Israel but not anti-Semitic—q.e.d.—it is ethically mandatory for a person of conscience to be so, given the unending brutality and shameless, inhuman savagery of Israel toward Palestinians.

Tragically, for Palestinians, western governments are themselves enmeshed in the anti-Semitism nonsense, out of serious guilt about the Nazi Holocaust atrocity since not a single powerful nation lifted a hand to prevent it. Zionists parlayed this guilt into illegal de facto title to a land stolen from an innocent resident people entirely blameless in the European Jews’ decimation.

Now, after years of complicity with Israeli crimes and locked into lucrative military/financial ties, governments of the U.S and U.K. are awash in effusions of mock concern at the rape they enabled and funded, as this powerful fascist monster, their protege and partner, wreaks its unbridled animosity on its all but impotent prisoner people. And America is the cynosure of this hypocrisy.

It could not be otherwise. After lift-off of the Zionist Project with the British Balfour Declaration, bloody combat exploded between Brit military and Jewish terrorist guerrillas of Haganah, Irgun, and the Stern Gang when the British mandate ended and the killers assaulted Palestine. As Brits fled, the United States took over as champion of those murdering, raping invaders, tacitly backing every horror of Zionist violence, and turning a blind eye to the bloody ravaging of Palestinians in the nightmare of the Nakba.

In that massacre, Zionists drove 700,000 innocent Palestinians at gunpoint from their homeland, obliterated 500 of their villages, and robbed, violated, and murdered hundreds of helpless people.

Zionist Israel has since used the Holocaust as justification for surprise attacks on neighboring Arab states to expand its lebensraum and establish a “"Greater Israel - ”, in the process occupying by armed force lands of Jordan, Syria, and Egypt. All their piratical, so-called “wars” were sold to the world as desperate responses and heroic defenses of poor, victimized Israel, and the American government and press affirmed it, even when America’s own troops were victims of Israeli violence.

Israeli fighter planes attacked and shot up the USS Liberty, which it knew was an American spy ship, in the Six Day War, killing 34 seamen and wounding 171. That Zionist high-command called it a mistake was no shock; that the U.S. government—knowing it was a lie—ate it, buried it, and lied about it to Americans was. Kowtowing to that rogue state—which has denied having nuclear weapons all the world knows they have, and has refused to sign the Non-proliferation Treaty—is baked into American policy. The reason, once simple if dishonest, is now complex and dishonest.

Since Israel’s rape of Palestine, the U.S. gifted billions of dollars in commercial, industrial, and military charity to build a hired ally to buttress American hegemony in the Middle East. While this once seemed feasible, events in recent decades have proven decisively that Israel, with its now suspect military chops, is far more a liability to the U.S. than an asset, and that it may be so loose a cannon as to suck America into a catastrophe that will blow what little remains of our gut-shot dominance there to bits.

So, if Israel’s role as U.S. Marshall in Levantine Dodge is dubious, what does keep the murderous Zionist regime on the U.S. take? Well, what is it that keeps our corrupt, imbecile Congress oiled, kneeling, and subservient to Israel? Is that even in question? Have you seen AIPAC’s political donations lately, or the trainloads of money doled out by PACs, individuals, and corporations allied with it? All that loot is from super-wealthy, right-wing, Zionist American Jews for defense of their beloved criminal Israel. In bankrolling it they are subverting and betraying us and our future.

Oh, I can’t say that? It’s anti-Semitic? Bullshit!

Paul Edwards is a writer and film-maker in Montana. He can be reached at: hgmnude@bresnan.net

  Read Israel’s real character as a xenophobic, apartheid horror of a state to establish a “Greater Israel”.
  May 02, 2021
Why We Need to Democratize Wealth: the U.S. Capitalist Model Breeds Selfishness and Resentment
by Richard D. Wolff,
Information Clearing House

Throughout its history—wherever it arrived and settled in as the dominant economic system—capitalism provoked struggles over the redistribution of wealth. In other words, this system always distributes wealth in a particular way and likewise produces dissatisfaction with that particular distribution. Those dissatisfied then struggle, more or less, consciously or not, peacefully or violently to redistribute wealth. The struggles are socially divisive and sometimes rise to civil war levels.

The French Revolution marked the end of French feudalism and its transition to capitalism. The revolutionaries’ slogans promised the transition would bring with it “liberté, égalité, fraternité” (liberty, equality and fraternity). In other words, equality was to be a key accompaniment to or product of capitalism’s establishment, of finally replacing feudalism’s lord-serf organization of production with capitalism’s very different employer-employee system. Transition to capitalism would erase the gross inequalities of French feudalism. The American Revolution likewise broke not only from its British colonial master but also from the feudal monarchy of George III. “All men are created equal” was a central theme of its profound commitment to equality together with capitalism.

In France, the United States and beyond, capitalism justified itself by reference to its achievement or at least its targeting of equality in general. This equality included the distribution of wealth and income, at least in theory and rhetoric. Yet from the beginning, all capitalisms wrestled with contradictions between lip service to equality and inequality in their actual practices. Adam Smith worried about the “accumulation of stock” (wealth or “capital”) in some hands but not in others. Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton had different visions of the future of an independent United States in terms of whether it would or would not secure wealth equality later dubbed “Jeffersonian democracy.” There was and always remained in the United States an awkward dissonance between theoretical and rhetorical commitments to equality and the realities of slavery and then systemic racist inequalities. The inequalities of gender likewise contradicted commitments to equality. It took centuries of capitalism to achieve even the merely formal political equality of universal suffrage.

Thus, there should be no surprise that U.S. capitalism—like most other capitalisms—provokes a widely troubling contradiction between the actual wealth inequality it produces and tendentially deepens (as Thomas Piketty has definitively shown) and its repeatedly professed commitment to equality. Efforts to redistribute wealth—to thereby move from less to more equal distributions—follow. Yet, they also disturbingly divide societies where the capitalist economic system prevails.

Wealth redistributions take from those who have and give to those who have not. Those whose wealth is redistributed resent or resist this taking, while those who receive during the redistributions of wealth develop rationales to justify that receipt. Each side of such redistributions often demonizes the other. Politics typically becomes the arena where demonizations and conflicts over redistribution occur. Those at risk of being deprived due to redistributions aim either to oppose redistribution or else to escape it. If the opposition is impossible or difficult, escape is the chosen strategy. Thus, if profits of capitalists are to be taxed to redistribute wealth to the poor, big businesses may escape by moving politically to shift the burden of taxation onto small or medium businesses. Alternatively, all businesses may unite to shift the burden of such redistributive taxation onto higher-paid employees’ wages and salaries, and away from business profits.

Recipients of redistributions face parallel political problems of whom to target for contributing to wealth redistribution. Will recipients support a tax on all profits or rather a tax just on big business with maybe some redistribution flowing from big to medium and small business? Or might low-wage recipients target high-wage workers for redistributive taxation?

All kinds of other redistributions between regions, races and genders display comparable strategic political choices.

Conflicts over redistributions are thus intrinsic to capitalism and always have been. They reflect but also deepen social divisions. They can and often have become violent and socially disruptive. They may trigger demands for system change. They may function as catalysts for revolutions. Because pre-capitalist economic systems like slavery and feudalism had fewer theoretical and rhetorical commitments to equality in general, they had fewer redistribution struggles. Those finally emerged when inequalities became relatively more extreme than the levels of inequality that more frequently provoked redistribution struggles in capitalism.

No “solution” to divisive struggles over wealth redistribution in capitalism was ever found. Capitalisms keep reproducing both theoretical and rhetorical appeals to equality as self-celebrations alongside actualities of deep and deepening wealth inequalities. Criticisms of capitalism on grounds of wealth inequality dog the system everywhere. Divisive social conflicts over capitalism’s unequal wealth distributions persist. Endless efforts to find and implement a successful redistributive system or mechanism continue. The latest comprises various proposals for universal basic incomes.

To avoid divisive social conflict over redistribution, the solution is not to distribute unequally in the first place. That can remove the cause and impetus for redistributive struggles and thus the need for endless and so far fruitless efforts to find the “right” redistribution formula or mechanism. The way forward is to democratize the decision about distributing wealth as it emerges from production. This can be accomplished by democratizing the enterprise, converting workplaces from their current capitalist organization (i.e., hierarchical divisions into employers—public or private—and employees) into worker cooperatives. In the latter, each worker has one vote, and all basic workplace issues are decided by majority vote after a free and open debate. That is when different views on what distribution of output should occur are articulated and democratically decided.

No redistribution is required, necessitated, or provoked. Workplace members are free to reopen, debate and decide anew on initial wealth distributions at any time. The same procedure would apply to workplace decisions governing what to produce, which technology to deploy, and where to locate production. All workers collectively and democratically decide what wage the collective of workers pays to each of them individually. They likewise decide how to dispose of or allocate any surplus, which is above the total individual wage bill and replacement of used-up inputs, that the enterprise might generate.

A parable can illustrate the basic point. Imagine parents taking their twins—Mary and John—to a park where there is an ice-cream vendor. The parents buy two ice creams and give both to Mary. John’s wails provoke a search for an appropriate redistribution of ice creams. The parents take away one of the ice creams from Mary and hand it to John. Anger, resentment, bitterness, envy and rage distress the rest of the day and divide family members. If affection and emotional support are similarly distributed and redistributed, deep and divisive scars result. The lesson: we don’t need a “better” or “right” redistribution; we need to distribute more equally and democratically in the first place.

This article was produced by Economy for All, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

Richard David Wolff is an American Marxian economist, known for his work on economic methodology and class analysis. He is Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and currently a Visiting Professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School in New York. . He is founder of Democracy at Work. https://www.rdwolff.com/

  Read Why We Need to Democratize Wealth: the U.S. Capitalist Model Breeds Selfishness and Resentment
  June 10, 2021
It’s not only guns. It’s the culture.
by César Chelala,
Information Clearing House

Unrelenting mass shootings in the United States show that present gun laws are ineffective to stem the increasing tide of gun deaths in the country. Although controlling gun sales is important, it is not sufficient to control gun violence in the country.

Violence is not only the result of gun ownership. Violence is multifaceted and requires the collaboration of individuals and institutions to address it. Violence is a political and legal problem (lawmakers need to pass appropriate laws); a public health problem (firearms injuries are a serious public health problem.); an educational problem (educating youth on its dangers is critical); and a social concern (it disrupts the fabric of society.)

The National Rifle Association (NRA) has been extraordinarily successful in influencing lawmakers. Although the majority of Americans say that gun laws should be more restrictive, Congress continues refusing to pass effective gun control laws.

This reluctance by mostly Republican lawmakers makes one wonder if they have children and grandchildren. How else can it be explained that they are deaf to a phenomenon that costs thousands of deaths and injured people? Why are they unable to do their part to stop a phenomenon that is a curse on our society?

The statistics are eye-opening. The U.S. has the most guns per capita and the weakest gun control laws of any developed country. It is estimated that at least a third of American adults own a gun, and an additional 11 percent live with someone who does. The Pew Research Center reports that for 82 percent of African American adults, gun violence is a very big problem –the largest share of any racial or ethnic group.

Self-defense has been often cited to justify the people’s right to bear arms. Research, however, has shown that a gun kept in a home is much more likely to kill a member of the household or a friend than an intruder. In the U.S., the number of teenagers who die from gunshot wounds is greater than those who die from all other causes combined.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 39,707 firearm-related deaths in 2019 in the U.S., and firearm-related injuries were among the five leading causes of death for people ages 1-64 in the country. In addition, the economic impact of gun violence is substantial. It costs the government $280 billion annually on medical care and lost productivity.

Although many Americans claim that guns are necessary for security, experiences in countries such as Japan prove the fallacy of this argument. In Japan, people who purchase guns have strict background checks. They include a mental health assessment performed at a hospital, checking for evidence of drug use, and the opinion about the applicant by a relative or a colleague. As result, there are less than 100 fatalities for a population of 128 million annually.

Americans are exposed to violence since they are children. It is estimated that when a child becomes an adult, he will have seen 16,000 assassinations and 200,000 acts of violence in television. Can we be surprised when children try to imitate what they see on television and in the movies? For some of them, violence has become the normal way of solving conflicts.

Gun violence can be prevented by applying public health strategies such as continued surveillance of gun-related death and injuries; identification of risk factors; development and evaluation of interventions to reduce those factors; and institutionalization of successful prevention strategies. In addition, it requires de concerted efforts of all community members including law enforcement and public officials, teachers and school administrators, psychology experts and religious leaders.

As gun sales soar in the country, until violence is addressed as a multifaceted problem requiring multifaceted solutions, it will continue to threaten not only people’s lives but our future as a civilized society.

César Chelala is a physician and writer born in Argentina and living in the U.S. He wrote for leading newspapers all over the world and for the main medical journals, among them The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Japan Times, The China Daily, The Moscow Times, The International Herald Tribune, Le Monde Diplomatique, Harvard International Review, The Journal of the American Medical Association, The Lancet, Annals of Internal Medicine, and The British Medical Journal. He is a co-winner of an Overseas Press Club of America award and two national journalism awards from Argentina.

  Read It’s not only guns. It’s the culture
  June 10, 2021
G7: Desperately Seeking Relevancy
by Pepe Escobar,
Information Clearing House

A G7 rebooted as a Sinophobic crusade will have few if any takers due to members’ rising dependence on Chinese goods and markets

"Information Clearing House" - - "Asia Times" - The upcoming G7 in Cornwall at first might be seen as the quirky encounter of “America is Back” with “Global Britain”.

The Big Picture though is way more sensitive. Three Summits in a Row – G7, NATO and US-EU – will be paving the way for a much expected cliffhanger: the Putin-Biden summit in Geneva – which certainly won’t be a reset.

The controlling interests behind the hologram that goes by the name of “Joe Biden” have a clear overarching agenda: to regiment industrialized democracies – especially those in Europe – and keep them in lockstep to combat those “authoritarian” threats to US national security, “malignant” Russia and China.

It’s like a throwback to those oh so stable 1970s Cold War days, complete with James Bond fighting foreign devils and Deep Purple subverting communism. Well, the times they are-a-changin’. China is very much aware that now the Global South “accounts for almost two-thirds of the global economy compared to one-third by the West: in the 1970s, it was exactly the opposite.”

For the Global South – that is, the overwhelming majority of the planet – the G7 is largely irrelevant. What matters is the G20.

China, the rising economic superpower, hails from the Global South, and is a leader in the G20. For all their internal troubles, EU players in the G7 – Germany, France and Italy – cannot afford to antagonize Beijing in economic, trade and investment terms.

A G7 rebooted as a Sinophobic crusade will have no takers. Including Japan and special guests at Cornwall: tech powerhouse South Korea, and India and South Africa (both BRICS members), offered the dangling carrot of a possible extended membership.

Washington’s wishful thinking cum P.R. offensive boils down to selling itself as the primus inter pares of the West as a revitalized global leader. Why the Global South is not buying it can be observed, graphically, by what happened for the past eight years. The G7 – and especially the Americans – simply could not respond to China’s wide-ranging, pan-Eurasian trade/development strategy, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The American “strategy” so far – 24/7 demonization of BRI as a “debt trap” and “forced labor” machine – did not cut it. Now, too little too late, comes a G7 scheme, involving “partners” such as India, to “support”, at least in theory, vague “high-quality projects” across the Global South: that’s the Clean Green Initiative , focused on sustainable development and green transition, to be discussed both at the G7 and the US-EU summits.

Compared to BRI, Clean Green Initiative hardly qualifies as a coherent geopolitical and geoeconomic strategy. BRI has been endorsed and partnered by over 150 nation-states and international bodies – and that includes more than half of the EU’s 27 members.

Facts on the ground tell the story. China and ASEAN are about to strike a “comprehensive strategic partnership” deal. Trade between China and the Central and Eastern European Countries (CCEC), also known as the 17+1 group, including 12 EU nations, continues to increase. The Digital Silk Road, the Health Silk Road and the Polar Silk Road keep advancing.

So what’s left is loud Western rumbling about vague investments in digital technology – perhaps financed by the European Investment Bank, based in Luxembourg – to cut off China’s “authoritarian reach” across the Global South.

The EU-US summit may be launching a “Trade and Technology Council” to coordinate policies on 5G, semiconductors, supply chains, export controls and technology rules and standards. A gentle reminder: the EU-US simply do not control this complex environment. They badly need South Korea, Taiwan and Japan.

Wait a minute, Mr. Taxman

To be fair, the G7 may have rendered a public service to the whole world when their Finance Ministers struck an alleged “historic” deal last Saturday in London on a global, minimal 15% tax on multinational companies (MNCs).

Triumphalism was in order – with endless praise lavished on “justice” and “fiscal solidarity” coupled with really bad news for assorted fiscal paradises.

Well, that’s slightly more complicated.

This tax has been discussed at the highest levels of the OECD in Paris for over a decade now – especially because nation-states are losing at least $427 billion a year in tax-dodging by MNCs and assorted multi-billionaires. In terms of the European scenario that does not even account for the loss of V.A.T. by fraud – something gleefully practiced by Amazon, among others.

So it’s no wonder G7 Finance Ministers had $1.6 trillion-worth Amazon pretty much on their sights. Amazon’s cloud computing division should be treated as a separate entity. In this case the mega-tech group will have to pay more corporate tax in some of its largest European markets – Germany, France, Italy, UK – if the global 15% tax is ratified.

So yes, this is mostly about Big Tech – master experts on fiscal fraud and profiting from tax paradises located even inside Europe, such as Ireland and Luxembourg. The way the EU was built, it allowed fiscal competition between nation-states to fester. To discuss this openly in Brussels remains a virtual taboo. In the official EU list of fiscal paradises, one won’t find Luxembourg, the Netherlands or Malta.

So could this all be just a P.R. coup? It’s possible. The major problem is that at the European Council – where governments of EU member-states discuss their issues – they have been dragging their feet for a long time, and sort of delegated the whole thing to the OECD.

As it stands, details on the 15% tax are still vague – even as the US government stands to become the largest winner, because its MNCs have shifted massive profits all across the planet to avoid US corporate taxes.

Not to mention that nobody knows if, when and how the deal will be globally accepted and implemented: that will be a Sisyphean task. At least it will be discussed, again, at the G20 in Venice in July.

What Germany wants

Without Germany there would not have been real advance on the EU-China Investment Agreement late last year. With a new US administration, the deal is stalled again. Outgoing chancellor Merkel is against China-EU economic decoupling – and so are German industrialists. It will be quite a treat to watch this subplot at the G7.

In a nutshell: Germany wants to keep expanding as a global trading power by using its large industrial base, while the Anglo-Saxons have completely ditched their industrial base to embrace non-productive financialization. And China for its part wants to trade with the whole planet. Guess who’s the odd player out.

Considering the G7 as a de facto gathering of the Hegemon with its hyenas, jackals and chihuahuas, it will also be quite a treat to watch the semantics. What degree of “existential threat” will be ascribed to Beijing – especially because for the interests behind the hologram “Biden” the real priority is the Indo-Pacific?

These interests could not give a damn about a EU yearning for more strategic autonomy. Washington always announces its diktats without even bothering to previously consult Brussels.

So this is what this Triple X of summits – G7, NATO and EU-US – will be all about: the Hegemon pulling all stops to contain/harass the emergence of a rising power by enlisting its satrapies to “fight” and thus preserve the “rules-based international order” it designed over seven decades ago.

History tells uss it won’t work. Just two examples: the British and French empires could not stop the rise of the US in the 19th century; and even better, the Anglo-American axis only stopped the simultaneous rise of Germany and Japan by paying the price of two world wars, with the British empire destroyed and Germany back again as the leading power in Europe.

That should give the meeting of “America is Back” and “Global Britain” in Cornwall the status of a mere, quirky historical footnote.

Pepe Escobar is correspondent-at-large at Asia Times. His latest book is 2030. Follow him on Facebook.

  Read G7: Desperately Seeking Relevancy
 Jun 08, 2021
G7 no longer able to order world around: Martin Jacques
by Martin Jacques, mj

Martin Jacques was until recently a Senior Fellow at the Department of Politics and International Studies at Cambridge University. He is a Visiting Professor at the Institute of Modern International Relations at Tsinghua University and a Senior Fellow at the China Institute, Fudan University.

Fine words will accompany the G7 summit this week. Much will be promised. And little will be delivered. It has long been like this. The G7 is no longer fit for purpose. Comprising the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and Japan, in the 1970s the G7 was the overlord of the global economy. Today, the G7 is but a pale shadow of what it once was, reduced to the role of a declining faction within the global economy. It still talks in grandiose terms about its intentions, but the world has learnt to discount them. It is entirely appropriate that this week's summit will be chaired by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a grandmaster of verbal exaggeration and empty gestures.

The role and importance of the G7 has been greatly diminished by the rise of the developing world. The latter now accounts for almost two-thirds of the global economy compared with one-third by the West: in the 1970s, it was exactly the opposite, the West enjoying a two-third share and the developing world just one-third. The most dramatic illustration of the G7's waning authority came in 2008 when, at the height of the financial crisis, it was effectively displaced by the more representative G20.

Ever since, the G7 has increasingly become an institution in search of a role. Under Biden, as if to confirm its eclipse as a global institution, there is an ongoing attempt to reframe G7 as the representative and champion of the democratic world in the struggle against autocracy, shorthand for China. To this end, South Korea, India, Australia and South Africa have been invited to attend the G7 summit this week. There is even talk of the G7 becoming the D10 (D being a reference to democracy). This, however, would only serve to emphasize the declining authority of the G7: from global leader to ideological sect.

The truth, however, is that this proposal is unlikely to gain assent either among existing G7 members or potential new members, excepting perhaps Australia. Here we get to the heart of the crisis of the G7. It is the rise of China, above all else, that has transformed the global economy, sidelined the G7 and, at the same time, reconfigured the various G7 economies. Good relations with China are fundamental to the economic prospects of Germany, France and Italy. That is why they are opposed to the G7 becoming an anti-China crusade. So is Japan; and likewise would-be recruits such as South Korea and South Africa. Here laid bare, then, are the fault lines of the G7 and any potential extended membership. The West is divided and fragmenting. The authority of the US is in decline, no longer able to get its way as it once was.

The best illustration of the growing impotence of the G7 concerns its relationship with the developing world. For eight years, the West has been trying to find a way of responding to the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The subject is due to be raised again at this week's G7 summit. All the ideas that have been offered as a basis of a Western alternative to BRI have come to nought. This failure is extraordinarily significant and most revealing about the West on the one hand and China on the other.

BRI is an eloquent articulation of China's relationship with the developing world, rooted in its own semi-colonial past and its position as a developing country. The West, in contrast, has failed because its history has been precisely the opposite, one of colonization and the exploitation and subjugation of these countries. It has neither the experience, empathy nor motivation that is required. The existential gap between the rich Western world and the developing world is a multidimensional chasm.

A dramatic example of the West's indifference to the needs of the developing world will be on full display at the G7 summit. Although the US and UK, and increasingly Western Europe, have vaccinated a majority of their populations against COVID-19, the UK, to take one example, has not exported a single dose of vaccine to the developing world. It has kept all its vaccines for itself, even though its existing stock far exceeds its own future needs. As each new variant spreads around the world, however, it has become patently clear to everyone that no country will be protected until every country is protected.

In a pandemic, no country is an island. The US, which has so far failed to export a single dose of vaccine, is promising to export 80 million doses of vaccines later this year. Compare this with China's record. In addition to the 777 million vaccinations already carried out in China, it has exported more than 300 million doses of vaccines to the developing world. Over half the vaccinations in Latin America, for example, have been sourced by China. It seems all too likely that the West will fail in its moral responsibility to vaccinate the developing world until it is too late and many millions have died unnecessarily.

The author was until recently a Senior Fellow at the Department of Politics and International Studies at Cambridge University. He is a Visiting Professor at the Institute of Modern International Relations at Tsinghua University and a Senior Fellow at the China Institute, Fudan University. Follow him on twitter @martjacques. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

  Read G7 no longer able to order world around: Martin Jacques
  June 16, 2021
Leaked IRS Files: Billionaires Bezos, Musk, Bloomberg, Buffett Avoided Taxes as Wealth Soared.
by Democracy Now!,
Information Clearing House

A major exposé by ProPublica has revealed how U.S. billionaires pay little in income tax compared to their massive wealth, or sometimes even nothing. Private tax records of some of the country’s top billionaires show that between 2014 and 2018 the wealthiest 25 Americans how that between 2014 and 2018 the wealthiest 25 Americans saw their collective wealth jump by more than $400 billion, but they paid just over $13 billion in federal income taxes — amounting to a tax rate of just 3.4%.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: A major leak of IRS tax filing has revealed new details about how U.S. billionaires pay little in income tax compared to their massive wealth — sometimes even nothing. ProPublica obtained the private tax records of some of the nation’s wealthiest billionaires, and the findings are stunning. Between 2014 and 2018, the wealthiest 25 Americans saw their collective wealth jump by $400 billion, but they paid just over $13 billion in federal income taxes — that’s just 3.4% of their wealth increase.

Warren Buffett paid a true tax rate of just 0.1% on income taxes during that period, while seeing his wealth grow by $24 billion. Jeff Bezos, the world’s wealthiest man, paid no federal income taxes in 2007 or 2011. Elon Musk, the second-richest person in the world, paid no federal income taxes in 2018. George Soros paid no federal income tax for three years in a row. And former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg also paid no income tax one year.

The Biden administration responded to the explosive report by announcing a probe into who leaked the private IRS filings.

Meanwhile, Senator Elizabeth Warren repeated her call for a wealth tax, saying, quote, “Our tax system is rigged for billionaires who don’t make their fortunes through income, like working families do. The evidence is abundantly clear: it is time for a #WealthTax in America to make the ultra-rich finally pay their fair share,” she said.

In a moment, we’ll be joined by the ProPublica reporter who, along with several others, broke the story. But first we turn to a short video produced by ProPublica about the ultra-wealthy, how they avoid paying taxes.

NARRATOR: Some of the very richest Americans pay little in taxes compared with how fast their fortunes grow each year. How? They use a tax strategy known as “buy, borrow, die.” It’s like the ultra-wealthy are living on another planet. Average people need income to pay for basics, like housing and food. But the ultra-wealthy don’t. They can just live on borrowed cash.

Step one: buy. The ultra-wealthy buy an asset or build a company or inherit a fortune. As long as they don’t sell, they owe no taxes. They keep their income as low as possible, since every dollar they earn can be taxed.

Step two: borrow. They borrow against their holdings, and the bank gives them a really good deal.

BANKER: I’ll loan you $10 million with only 3% interest. But if you take a $10 million salary from your company, you’ll owe almost 37% to the IRS.

NARRATOR: So the ultra-wealthy use loan money to fund their lifestyles. That’s how a billionaire can live the most luxurious life imaginable while reporting little to no taxable income.

Step three: die. When they die, these lucky few often use complicated trusts and philanthropic foundations to avoid the estate tax. And their heirs can inherit stocks and other assets tax-free. A new generation is ultra-wealthy, and the cycle starts all over again.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s a new video from ProPublica. We’re joined now by Jeff Ernsthausen, senior data reporter there. He’s co-author of the exposé headlined “The Secret IRS Files: Trove of Never-Before-Seen Records Reveal How the Wealthiest Avoid Income Tax.”

Welcome to Democracy Now!, Jeff. It’s great to have you with us. What a stunning report. I think it’s always easiest to link with one person to understand this whole story, and the video was very good. But why don’t you start with Jeff Bezos? And, I mean, this is a man, wealthiest in the world, who got a $4,000 child tax credit, is building a half-a-billion-dollar yacht. Can you explain how this system works?

JEFF ERNSTHAUSEN: Thank you for having me.

So, our story is about a relatively simple concept, which is that typical wage earners like you or me, we pay taxes every time we get a paycheck, right? It comes out automatically. But for the ultra-wealthy, it’s a completely different story. So, they don’t pay taxes until they decide to do something like sell a stock, at which point they’re taxed on it. So this allows them to accrue massive amounts of wealth almost entirely outside of the tax system.

And so, the example of Jeff Bezos is a good one for illustrating this. So, between 2006 and 2018, his wealth grew by almost $130 billion. During that time, he paid something on the order of $1.4 billion in taxes, which sounds like a lot, but it’s almost at 1% on the amount that his wealth went up. And so, in some years he had a very — you know, had registered very low income, and therefore ended up paying almost nothing in taxes, and in a couple years, nothing in taxes.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Jeff, I was most struck by Warren Buffett’s inclusion in this group, given how often Buffett has publicly decried the unfairness of the tax system. The fact that he is, on a regular basis, utilizing the benefits of being able to avoid paying taxes is really amazing. I’m wondering if you could talk about his situation, in particular.

JEFF ERNSTHAUSEN: Yeah, Warren Buffett is sort of the — one of the best examples of how this works. So, Berkshire Hathaway, somewhat famously, doesn’t pay a dividend. And because of that, Warren Buffett’s income, as a major shareholder of Berkshire, ends up being relatively low every year for someone with as much money as he has. And so, his wealth has, you know, shot up by tens of billions of dollars in the five-year period that we focus on in our story, and he paid in the millions in taxes. And that’s because his company is structured in such a way that he’s not ever really realizing any of those gains in a way that the U.S. tax system recognizes.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And what would be the ways that the government could be able to move into this whole area of wealth versus income, in terms — because, obviously, a lot of these ultra-wealthy people, like Michael Bloomberg and Soros and Buffett, end giving a lot of their wealth to foundations as a means for them actually to avoid paying even a wealth tax toward the end of their lives?

JEFF ERNSTHAUSEN: Yeah. I mean, it’s one of the aspects of the system that, you know, if nothing else, if you do donate your money to charity, there’s not going to be a moment when those gains are taxed. So, if you give stock to charity, for instance, you don’t pay. It’s not like you have to sell it and then take a — pay taxes on it and then give it to the charity. You get to give it to the charity, and taxes are never paid on it.

And while these foundations, you know, they may do quite a bit of good in the world, it does sort of allow those who have a great deal of wealth to somewhat pick and choose what they contribute to, while normal, everyday Americans are sort of paying into the general fund, if you will, of expenditures that the government makes.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to turn to a moment in Congress. Abigail Disney, the granddaughter of Roy Disney, the co-founder of the Walt Disney Company, recently testified on Capitol Hill in support of a wealth tax. She was questioned by Senator Elizabeth Warren.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN: If you don’t mind my asking, how much wealth do you have, and how much did it grow last year?

ABIGAIL DISNEY: I have about $120 million, maybe more, depending on how the stock market is on any given day. It grows at about 4 to 8% annually.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN: OK. Thank you. And so, let’s just say — you said 4 to 8%. Let’s just say an average growth of about 6%. That would mean that your wealth grew by about $7 million last year. That is almost 60 times the total wealth of the typical American family. So, let’s, just for a minute, talk about that increase. Do you know how much in taxes you will pay on your $7 million increase in wealth this year, Dr. Disney?

ABIGAIL DISNEY: Not that much. It comes not from wages, but from things like dividends and capital gains and interest and so forth, so all of that qualifies for a lower tax rate than income.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN: All right. And what about your total $120 million fortune? How much do you think you’ll pay in taxes on that this year?

ABIGAIL DISNEY: Nothing. There’s no wealth tax.

AMY GOODMAN: So, that’s Abigail Disney, the granddaughter of the co-founder of the Walt Disney Company. And that, she was being questioned by Elizabeth Warren. The senator responded to the ProPublica investigation by tweeting, “Our tax system is rigged for billionaires who don’t make their fortunes through income, like working families do. The evidence is abundantly clear: it is time for a #WealthTax in America to make the ultra-rich finally pay their fair share.”

Jeff Ernsthausen, can you explain what a wealth tax would look like and also how you calculated the true tax — the true tax, as you called it, on these billionaires — of these billionaires?

JEFF ERNSTHAUSEN: Sure. So, our article was focused on sort of putting out information that we think is important to inform the public debate. There are a number of proposals that people have made for how wealth taxes would work, although it wasn’t sort of the focus of our article. And the way that we did our analysis — and it was something that couldn’t, obviously, be done without having the tax information of these individuals — was to compare how much their wealth went up over a five-year period, according to Forbes, with how much they were paying in taxes. And that’s really the key concept for these folks, because they’re not bringing in a lot of money in wages and traditional income. They’re bringing in money through things like capital gains, growth in stock value. And that really illustrates what matters most for them, which is how much their wealth grows each year.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Jeff, I wanted to ask you — given that this individual tax information, the information of taxpayers, is generally considered secret information, not available to the public, and that you obtained some of these records, there’s now criticism in some parts, especially among some Republicans, that this was somehow an illegal dump of information to you. How do you respond to the Biden administration concentrating now on trying to find out how this leak occurred, rather than try to deal with what it reveals?

JEFF ERNSTHAUSEN: Well, obviously, we think it’s important to inform a public debate about taxation and spending in this country, you know, to know what the wealthiest Americans pay. And we’re being very selective in what we are disclosing in our stories. So, we think this is vitally important information to inform the public.

AMY GOODMAN: [inaudible] spokesperson.

PRESS SECRETARY JEN PSAKI: [Any unauthorized] disclosure of confidential government information by a person with access is illegal, and we take this very seriously. The IRS commissioner said today that they are taking all appropriate measures, including referring the matter to investigators.

AMY GOODMAN: So, again, that is White House spokesperson Jen Psaki. I think it’s interesting this comes right after the Biden administration and the Department of Justice promised they would not be investigating journalists. So, maybe, Jeff, your email and other records will be safe, if in fact this leak investigation goes on. But it’s an interesting contrast between Senator Warren calling for a wealth tax and the Biden administration calling for a leak investigation.

JEFF ERNSTHAUSEN: Absolutely. And we’re, of course, hoping that the administration sticks to some of the rhetoric that we’ve heard in previous days, in recent previous days, regarding that.

AMY GOODMAN: And finally, you have one of the — a number of articles here. It’s a whole compilation of articles. “You May Be Paying a Higher Tax Rate Than a Billionaire.” Explain.

JEFF ERNSTHAUSEN: Yeah. So, we released two articles. One sort of focused on what we’ve discussed so far, which is this tax rate on wealth growth. The other, we focus on the sort of very traditional measure that the IRS often uses, which is taxes paid divided by income as the IRS recognizes it. And it’s what a lot of people think of when they think of their tax rate. And the interesting thing is that, even on that measure, the ultra-wealthy pay less than a large swath of Americans, because the income that they do take, it tends to be at preferential rates, like capital gains, which is taxed at a lower rate than wages. So, even on the sort of traditional measure, this group of the wealthiest Americans pays relatively little.

AMY GOODMAN: And what do you plan to do with all this information? You haven’t released a lot of details. What are you doing over these months?

JEFF ERNSTHAUSEN: Yeah, we’re going to continue to write stories that are related to the information in here. And you can expect a number of additional stories over the coming months based on this trove.

AMY GOODMAN: Jeff Ernsthausen, senior data reporter at ProPublica, co-author of the investigative series, which we will link to, just out, headlined “The Secret IRS Files: Trove of Never-Before-Seen Records Reveal How the Wealthiest Avoid Income Tax.”

Coming up, we’ll look at the shocking treatment of migrant children in U.S. custody. Videos emerged of officials in Texas tasering a 16-year-old boy from Honduras.

  Read Leaked IRS Files: Billionaires Bezos, Musk, Bloomberg, Buffett Avoided Taxes as Wealth Soared
  June 16, 2021
Meet Me in Geneva: Biden’s Russophobia means the Summit will fail
by Philip Giraldi,

 With the exception of his perseverance in a long overdue withdrawal from Afghanistan, President Joe Biden has been assiduously pursuing policies that make the world a more dangerous place for Americans, up to and including opening up the country’s southern border to waves of illegal immigration. Ironically, if an opinion poll were to be taken in the United States it would likely show that most respondents regard the Republicans as America’s designated conflict-friendly party based on the fact that the GOP is considered to be more “conservative” and therefore more likely to resort to force. But that assumption is not actually true as the Republican Party historically has been reluctant to embrace foreign engagements while presidents like Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and even Donald Trump were measured in their responses to developing international crisis situations. Trump, for all his aggressive language and several missteps, actually started no new wars and may even have been genuine in his desire to extricate from foreign conflicts only to be circumvented by his advisers and the entrenched government bureaucracy. He was widely condemned as a “Putin puppet” even though the bilateral relationship actually worsened during his time in office due to his inability to overcome the Establishment forces lined up against him.

Historically speaking, it is the Democrats who can be credited with conniving to enter both the First and Second World Wars while more recently entering into wars that served absolutely no national interest in places like Libya and Syria. They can also get credit for increasing the use of one-off cruise missile attacks supplemented by terrorism-like tactics that might reasonably be construed as war crimes, to include killing civilians using drones based solely on the target fitting a “profile.”

It might be reasonably argued that Washington has only one really important bilateral relationship and that is with Russia since Moscow alone has the capability to destroy the United States. There too it was the Democrats who seemingly deliberately sought to turn a post-Cold War reconstruction of Russia into a looting of the country’s natural resources combined with an encroachment of NATO right up to the Russian border, both initiated and implemented under Bill Clinton. The relationship has been suffering ever since, nearly leading to war when Barack Obama’s Administration spend $5 billion overthrowing a government friendly to Russia in Kiev in 2014. Russia has repeatedly claimed, not without some justification, that successive American administrations have continued that process, using various means to undermine and replace the Putin government.

The Democrats also were the driving force behind the Magnitsky Act, which was sponsored by Russia-phobic Senator Ben Cardin and signed by President Barack Obama in 2012. Using the Act, the US asserted its willingness to punish foreign governments, particularly Russia, using sanctions and other means for claimed violations of human rights. Russia reacted angrily, noting that the actions taken by its government internally, notably the operation of its judiciary, were being subjected to outside interference. It reciprocated with sanctions against US officials as well as by increasing pressure on foreign non-governmental pro-democracy groups and western media operating in Russia, which meant that the Act was actually counter-productive. Tension between Moscow and Washington increased considerably as a result and Congress subsequently approved a so-called Global Magnitsky Act as part of the 2016 annual defense appropriation bill. It expanded the use of sanctions and other punitive measures against regimes guilty of egregious human rights abuses though it has never been applied against well documented serial human rights violators like Saudi Arabia and Israel. It was also sponsored by Senator Ben Cardin and was clearly intended to threaten Russia.

More recently there has been the totally fabricated Russiagate that was intended to place the blame for Hillary Clinton’s defeat by Donald Trump on the Kremlin and Russian President Vladimir Putin. And the pro-Democratic Party media has been working hard to come up with other “news” pieces that depict Moscow as the enemy du jour, including the now discredited claim that the Kremlin has been paying Afghan fighters “bounties” to kill American soldiers.

Now Joe Biden is preparing to meet with Vladimir Putin in Geneva on June 16th and the prospects are not good even if one discounts Biden’s having labeled Putin as a “killer” lacking “soul” as little more than hyperbole. The meeting was requested after a phone call to Putin arranged by Biden in April, at a particularly tense moment when Ukraine was threatening to retake the Crimea from Russia, using its supply of lethal weaponry from the United States to do the job. Washington and the NATO alliance also declared that their support for Kiev was “unwavering” even though they recognized that Ukraine would have little to no chance of defeating the Russian army. The Kremlin responded to the threat by rushing troops to its border and the US sent warships to Turkey to enter the Black Sea, though it quickly withdrew them when Putin made clear that their appearance offshore of Russian territory would be considered a major provocation.

Some rational voices in the US government are, however, prepared to step back from the precipice. William Burns, currently Director of the CIA and Ambassador to Russia under George W. Bush, reported concisely how Moscow viewed the Ukraine situation. He observed in a cable entitled “NYET MEANS NYET: RUSSIA’S NATO ENLARGEMENT REDLINES” that “Russia would view further eastward expansion as a potential military threat. NATO enlargement, particularly to Ukraine, remains ‘an emotional and neuralgic’ issue for Russia…” But even the New York Times is having difficulty in finding a positive outcome that will result in better “management” of the bilateral relationship, reporting that “The meeting comes at the worst point in Russian-American relations since the fall of the Soviet Union about 30 years ago.”

To be sure the spin surrounding the meeting has been intense, with the US media running stories about new cyberattacks on America’s infrastructure, attributing them to Russia with scant evidence, while Putin responded by declaring publicly that he does not expect any breakthroughs, observing that the fractured bilateral relationship has unfortunately become “hostage to internal political processes in the United States itself.” Putin has said repeatedly that he wants his country to be treated with respect by a US that perversely perceives itself as “an exceptional nation, with special, exclusive rights to practically the entire world…I cannot go along with that.”

Biden for his part is also piling on the rhetoric, pledging that he will “stand up to Putin…from a position of strength.” Upon arrival in Britain at the start of his European trip, where he is desperately seeking to be relevant, he pledged to strengthen ties with America’s allies, an interesting objective as it has been recently revealed that the US has been aggressively spying on its closest friends in Europe. He also warned Russia that it will suffer “robust and meaningful” consequences if it engages in “harmful activities.” It was not a good starting point for a meeting intended to establish a modus vivendi between two adversaries. And there is additional noise coming from the Democrats. Former CIA Senior Russia Analyst Ray McGovern asks whether Democratic Party “Representative Jason Crow, really believe[s] that ‘Vladimir Putin wakes up every morning and goes to bed every night trying to figure out how to destroy American democracy.’ And what does Speaker Nancy Pelosi mean exactly, as she keeps repeating ‘All roads lead to Putin’? Are we correctly informed that Hillary Clinton suggested President Putin was giving President Trump instructions on January 6th as [the] Capitol building was attacked?”

The most recent hint of what Biden will want to discuss to make points with the media is that it will be heavy on “human rights,” which is, of course, the issue to raise when all else fails. Human rights means Magnitsky-plus and the subject of imprisoned Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, who is likely an agent of both the CIA and a number of other western intelligence agencies, will undoubtedly come up. That suggests that Washington will yet again be seeking to interfere with Russian internal politics, which will in turn mean that the discussion will go nowhere.

The Times and some other analysts speculate in somewhat positive terms that the meeting might actually be mostly about establishing channels of communication that will enable the two countries to deal confidently with each other, closing the door on any possible surprises that might inadvertently lead to war. Putin has said that he is prepared to “work with Biden” while both Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan have indicated that that will be looking for areas of agreement, to start relations moving in the right direction. If so, it will of necessity avoid any detailed discussions of Ukraine and Syria, where the US and Russia have opposing views, though in both those cases it might benefit from some clarification of where the “red lines” are for the two sides. Areas that are likely to be common ground might well include climate change and combatting COVID and it is hoped that those areas of agreement might lead to other lines of communication.

Sergei Lavrov has in fact to a certain extent set the tone for the gathering, complimenting the US foreign policy team of Secretary of State Toni Blinken and Jake Sullivan for communicating “frankly” and “respectfully” at previous meetings in Reykjavik and Anchorage. Lavrov also made clear that the Biden people, though sure to be highly critical of Russia, might be expected to be more predictable than the Trump rotating cast of characters at cabinet level who frequently contradicted themselves.

But all of that said, it is highly unlikely that Biden will try to mitigate the major irritants between the two countries, even though that is what he has promised to do, because that would mean treating Russia as an equal. Of prime importance are the disagreements that could lead to war, including future status of Ukraine and also Georgia, the bump in the road caused by the current situation in Belarus, and the role of Russia in the Middle East. Biden will also lean heavily on the cybersecurity issue as that is currently popular in the media, but as Putin has already denied any Russian hand in the hacking that discussion is likely to go nowhere. Likewise, any claims that Moscow interfered yet again in US politics during the 2020 election will only poison the discussion.

At the end of the day, the hostility of the Democratic Party towards Russia, which has been festering ever since 2016, will prevail and it is likely that nothing dramatic will come out of the meeting of the two presidents. It is clearly in the United States’ national interest to disengage from those areas like Ukraine which Russia sees as vital and which are of no value to the US, but it is unlikely that Biden or any of his closest advisers can see that far. The Democratic Party in power and controlling both houses of Congress as well as the presidency can only be relied upon to deal with any developing crisis involving Russia with a heavy hand.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.org address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org

  Read Meet Me in Geneva: Biden’s Russophobia means the Summit will fail
China signals possible greater Middle East engagement
by Dr James M Dorsey,
Countercurrents.org, in World.

Two initiatives send the clearest signal, yet, that China may be gearing up to play a greater political role in the Middle East.

Touring the region this week, Foreign Minister Wang Yi laid out five principles Middle Eastern nations would need to adopt to achieve a measure of regional stability.

He called on the region’s rivals “to respect each other, uphold equity and justice, achieve nuclear non-proliferation, jointly foster collective security, and accelerate development cooperation.”

Chinese ambassador to Saudi Arabia Chen Weiqing said China would be “willing to play its due role in promoting long-term peace and stability in the Middle East.” China is focussing on Gulf security and the conflict with Iran as well as the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

Mr. Wang said before leaving for the Middle East that China would be willing to host a multilateral Gulf security dialogue that would initially focus on securing oil facilities and shipping lanes.

China, however, is likely to find that maintaining good relations with all parties works as long as it focuses on economics and even that could prove tricky if a 25-year long political, economic, and strategic China-Iran cooperation agreement signed in Tehran this week by Mr. Wang and Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif proves to be what Iran suggests it could entail.

Moreover, finding common political ground among regional adversaries could be even riskier and more difficult.

Saudi Arabia has so far suggested that it has little interest in a gradual process that would allow Iran and its detractors to address low hanging fruit before tackling thornier issues, despite Chinese hints in recent months that it would engage provided Middle Eastern nations adopted its principles.

Saudi Arabia is the only Gulf country to have in the last year refrained from offering humanitarian aid to Iran, the country in the region hardest hit by the pandemic.

By the same token, Iran is unlikely to appreciate Mr. Wang’s reassurance during his stop in Riyadh that China supports Saudi regional leadership even if it does not express its view publicly in a bid to avoid jeopardizing its closer cooperation with China.

China sees endorsement of its principles as a way of managing rather than resolving myriad Middle Eastern conflicts and avoiding being sucked into them.

The Chinese initiatives are designed to exploit fears in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Israel that US President Joe Biden’s efforts to negotiate a return to the 2015 international agreement that curbed Iran’s nuclear program would not immediately address their concerns.

The Middle Eastern states want any agreement to also include limits on Iran’s ballistic missile program as well as an end to its support of non-state actors in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. The Gulf states and Israel have little faith in the Biden administration’s suggestion that a revival of the nuclear agreement that former US President Donald J. Trump abandoned in 2018 would create the basis for negotiations on non-nuclear issues.

The Chinese initiatives are also intended to cater to Middle Eastern concerns at a time that China and Western nations are locked into a tit-for-tat over criticism of Beijing’s brutal crackdown on Turkic Muslims in the north-western province of Xinjiang.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s two holiest cities, have sought to legitimize the crackdown, which reportedly involves forcing the region’s Muslim Uyghur population to violate Islamic law, by describing it as a legitimate fight against extremism and political Islam.

Saudi and UAE backing of the crackdown fits the two states’ religious soft power endeavours that propagate a vaguely defined notion of ‘moderate’ Islam centred on the principle of absolute obedience to the ruler and repression of political Islam. The Saudi-UAE notions fit hand in glove with Chinese autocracy as well as its efforts to Sinicize Muslim culture in China.

Nonetheless, Mr. Wang’s visit to Iran is likely to have set off alarm bells in Riyadh. A China that feels less concerned about falling afoul of US sanctions on Iran as Chinese-US relations dive could significantly help the Islamic republic dampen the effect of Washington’s punitive measures. Chinese imports of sanctioned Iranian oil have surged in recent months.

Few details of the China-Iran agreement have been made public, but it holds out the promise of Chinese investment in Iranian infrastructure, energy, mining, industry, and agriculture.

Mr. Wang also said on the eve of his Middle East tour that he would be inviting Israelis and Palestinians to Beijing for talks. He held out the prospect of China when it takes over the United Nations Security Council presidency for the month of May pushing for a resolution that would reaffirm the principle of a two-state solution.

There is little prospect that the Chinese initiative would be any more successful than its past efforts to mediate between Israelis and Palestinians, even if the United States were to support the resolution. Israeli elections this month, the fourth in two years, are unlikely to produce a government that would have the stability, cohesion, and willingness to negotiate a deal that would meet minimal Palestinian aspirations.

Said China analyst Eyck Freymann: “The status quo in the Middle East basically works in China’s favour. The United States spends enormous sums to combat extremist groups and protect freedom of navigation in the region, and China benefits… What China wants is to preserve this arrangement while gradually acquiring the ability to pressure individual countries to bend its way.”

A podcast version of this story is available on Soundcloud,ItunesSpotifyStitcherTuneInSpreakerPocket CastsTumblr, Podbean,Audecibel,  Castbox, and Patreon.

Dr. James M. Dorsey is an award-winning journalist and a senior fellow at Nanyang Technological University’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore and the National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute as well as an Honorary Senior Non-Resident Fellow at Eye on ISIS.

  Read China signals possible greater Middle East engagement
  June 11, 2021
Taiwan, Japan, China: A few developments
by Countercurrents Collective,
Countercurrents.org, in World .

In the eastern Asia region, Taiwan has become a sensitive topic, especially as Japan, the U.S. and some other U.S. allies move closer to Taipei.

Relations with Taiwan is unofficial

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told a regular news conference Friday that “Japan’s position is to maintain relations with Taiwan as those of practical and non-governmental” as stated in the 1972 Japan-China joint declaration.

Media reports said:

Japan’s relations with Taiwan are nongovernmental and practical and are based on Tokyo’s recognition of China as the sole legitimate government, Kato said, following China’s protest over a recent reference to the island as a country.

As China’s power increases, the issue of Taiwan is a sensitive topic, especially as Japan, the U.S. and other democracies develop closer ties with the self-ruled island that China regards as a renegade territory to be united by force if necessary.

Kato told a regular news conference Friday that “Japan’s position is to maintain working relations with Taiwan at the nongovernment level,” in line with the 1972 Japan-China Communique, when Tokyo switched the diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China. “That’s our basic policy and there is no change to that.”

Kato’s remark came a day after China protested Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s reference to Taiwan as a country during a parliamentary debate on Wednesday.

Suga, while answering a question about pandemic measures, made a passing reference to Taiwan, New Zealand and Australia as “three countries.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Thursday the comment violated Japan’s “solemn promise to not regard Taiwan as a country.”

“We strongly deplore Japan’s erroneous remarks and have lodged solemn complaints with Japan, demanding that Japan immediately make clear clarifications to eliminate the adverse effects caused by relevant remarks, and to ensure that such situations will not happen again,” Wang said.

On Friday, Japan’s upper house of the parliament adopted a resolution calling on the World Health Organization to include Taiwan in its general meetings, saying its expertise on coronavirus measures is indispensable.

China has so far blocked the move, and has increased Taiwan’s diplomatic isolation, leaving it with just over a dozen formal diplomatic allies. Taiwan still operates a network of trade offices around the world that act as de-facto embassies, including in the United States, Japan and most other major nations.

Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi carefully referred to Taiwan as “a region” in his brief remark emphasizing the importance of including the island for the benefit of international public health.

Japan also has donated 1.24 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Taiwan as it battles its largest outbreak of infections amid a shortage of jabs. Taiwan has blamed China for interfering in a potential deal for another vaccine.

China invites Taiwanese to come to get vaccinated against COVID-19

China’s government said on Friday that it welcomed Taiwanese to come and get vaccinated against COVID-19 and called on Taiwan to remove obstacles and allow its people to receive the “highly effective” Chinese shots.

Taiwan is China’s territory, which is ruled by the Kuomintang Party after it fled away from China in 1949.

China has repeatedly offered to send vaccines to the island, which is battling a spike in domestic infections but has expressed concern about the safety of Chinese shots and has not cleared them for use.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said in a statement two Chinese-made vaccines had been granted emergency use authorization by the World Health Organization and its shots were in use or approved by more than 90 countries, showing their safety and efficacy.

Taiwan people can come to China to get vaccinated against COVID-19, provided they strictly comply with China’s pandemic control measures, the office said.

It urged Taiwan to “quickly remove artificial obstacles for mainland vaccines being sent to Taiwan and allow the broad mass of Taiwan compatriots to receive the safe and highly effective mainland vaccines”.

About 62,000 Taiwanese had been vaccinated in China as of May 31, it added, though many Taiwanese live and work there already.

Only 3% of Taiwan’s 23.5 million people have received at least one shot, though millions of doses are on order. Japan donated 1.24 million AstraZeneca Plc shots last week and the U.S. has pledged 750,000 doses, which have yet to arrive.

  Read Taiwan, Japan, China: A few developments
  July 6, 2021
China’s Celebration of its own Brand of Imperialism in the guise of “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics”
by P J James,
Countercurrents.org, in World.


The most significant component of Chinese Communist Party’s (CPC) Centenary Celebration held on July 1 2021 was the hour-long speech of Xi Jinping, the “core leader”, delivered to the crowd of thousands assembled in Tiananmen Square in a celebratory atmosphere. In his address Xi, as General Secretary of CPC standing ahead of its 25-member Politburo, President of China (the term-limit of which was removed through the 2018 Constitutional Amendment by NPC) and supreme leader of the Armed Forces, called on the members of the CPC to draw strength from the party’s history and strive for “China’s modernisation and national rejuvenation”. Among other things, the crucial highlights of Xi’s speech were an unequivocal praise of the model of “socialism with Chinese characteristics” (so assiduously brought up by CPC since the time of Deng Xiaoping in the post-Mao period) which according to him enabled “China to transform itself from a highly centralised planned economy to a  socialist market economy brimming with vitality, and from a country that was largely isolated to one that is open to the outside world across the board”, “national rejuvenation” (a theme consistently upheld by Xi since his ascension in 2012) based on a “strong military” to “guarantee the security of the nation” as a “historical inevitability”, accomplishment of “the first centenary goal in 2021” of eliminating poverty, a task undertaken since the 2012 Congress (an already achieved  goal during his tenure), a firm resolve to mobilise towards “the second centenary goal in 2049” (centenary of  People’s Republic of China) by transforming it “into a great modern socialist country in all respects” based on a further “acceleration of the modernisation of national defence and the armed forces so as to achieve the target of “complete military modernisation” by 2035, and above all a warning to the rival powers that “no one should underestimate the resolve, the will, and the ability of the Chinese people to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

Exactly one week before (i.e., on June 25) when rehearsals of the upcoming formal celebration were taking place in Beijing’s central Tiananmen Square which was barricaded and closed to the public, China’s State Council Information Office had issued a white paper entitled “China’s Political Party System: Cooperation and Consultation,” elaborating on the distinctive characteristics and strengths of the country’s political system, including a highlight on the advantages of the CPC’s path in terms of confidence and governance ability.  The white paper claimed the political system as the product of a combination of Marxist political party theory and China’s reality, which is able to realize the universality of interest representation and guarantee the effectiveness of national governance. On the same day, at a press briefing on the white paper, vice minister of the United Front Work Department of CPC Central Committee Xu Yousheng said that China’s achievements prove that China’s political party system is the “best cat to catch mice” (revealingly echoing the famous quote from Deng Xiaoping when he initiated the process of “four modernisations”: “It doesn’t matter whether a cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice.” Further, while mentioning China’s party system as a “great contribution of political civilization of mankind”), i.e., the most effective tool capable of accomplishing neoliberal development.   Xu also stressed that “the world’s political party system is diverse, and there is not and cannot be a universal model”. Meanwhile, global corporate media continue with their hate-campaigns on what they call the “disastrous political campaigns” in the early years of Communist rule on the one hand and, showering eulogy on China’s rise to “market reforms” during the neoliberal period that have created the world’s second-largest economy, with a superpower status rivalled only by the United States, on the other.  At the same time, many self-professed communist parties which still uphold China as their role model, have extended their wholehearted greetings to CPC on this auspicious occasion. A typical example is that of the CPI (M), which has fully appreciated China’s success in dealing with the current political-economic issues counterpoising it to “International finance capital-led imperialist neoliberal globalisation showing its total bankruptcy in providing any solution”, as if China is resisting neoliberal-corporatisation.

A Brief History

The Communist Party of China (CPC) founded mainly by the initiatives of two revolutionaries, Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao, with the help of the Far Eastern Bureau of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and Far Eastern Secretariat of the Communist International in July 1921 has turned 100 during the month of July 2021. Mao Zedong was among the 12 delegates who attended the founding meet held in Shanghai. During both the first phase of CPC from the 1920s to 1949 when Chinese Revolution was successfully completed liberating the country from feudalism and imperialism, and the second phase from 1949 to the 1970s during which the fulfilment of revolutionary and democratic tasks was proceeding, Mao Zedong was at the helm ideologically and politically guiding the Communist Party. Thus, during this long period spanning 1920s to 1970s, in spite of shifting trends of rightist obstruction and leftist deviation, Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought remained as the guiding ideology of CPC.

Chinese Revolution of 1949 that broke the imperialist hierarchy inherited from the colonial world order on the one hand, and demolished internal feudal bastion on the other, was an exceptional world historic event having no parallels. After 1949, China traversed a unique path of social, economic and cultural transformation that brought about unparalleled changes in people’s lives. Collectivisation of agriculture, ensuring people’s needs, raising production through appropriate scientific and technological intervention, overcoming malnutrition and illiteracy, integration of manual and mental work, construction of factories and workplaces near farms and schools, comprehensive expansion of health and education, etc., all under  proper integration with the commune system, state-led advances in scientific research and higher-professional education, development of heavy industry and provision of a whole set of social and economic services, and in similar other fields, Chinese experience was unparalleled during the quarter century of socialist transformation that abruptly ended in the seventies. Committees of peasants and workers controlled their workplaces while peoples’ movements together with intellectuals undertook social and cultural requirements. One of the major roles of the army was aiding the people in their dwelling and workplaces. To be precise, the self-reliant commune system, ‘the iron rice bowl of socialism’ that China built up during the quarter century of socialist transformation ensured food, housing, health education and employment to all.

During this period of socialist construction, the CPC undertook many political interventions through social and cultural revolutions with a view to transform the relations of production, revolutionise the superstructure and expand democracy for the people exposing and dealing with bureaucratic tendencies in the Party. Revolutionary committees of party cadres at appropriate levels, technical experts and peoples’ communes were involved in this process. For instance, taking in to account the glaring issues involved in the accepted ‘mainstream development paradigm’ that came to be as conceptualised in the idea of “catching up with the West” that got recognition in Soviet Union, Mao brought out his revealing proposal on “On The Ten Major Relationships” in the 1950s such as: 1. The Relationship between heavy industry on the one hand and light industry and agriculture on the other; 2. The relationship between industry in the coastal regions and industry in the interior; 3. The relationship between economic construction and defence construction; 4. The relationship between the state, the units of production  and the producers; 5. The relationship between central and local authorities; 6. The relationship between the Han nationality and the minority nationalities; 7. The relationship between party and non-party; 8. The relationship between revolution and counter-revolution; 9. The relationship between right and wrong; and 10. The relationship between China and other countries. Though rudimentary, the conceptualisation on “The Ten Major Relationships” put forward by Mao was capable of challenging the mainstream capitalist development paradigm and to deduce effective strategies for advancing along the road of transition to socialism.

And much before this, in 1950, to avoid a repetition of the mistakes in Soviet Union, Mao had raised the question of streamlining state apparatus and reducing military and administrative expenditures as fundamental prerequisites for achieving a “better financial and economic situation”. Mao was very critical of the manner in which peasants were “squeezed” in Soviet Union in the guise of industrialisation and development. At a time when peasant agriculture at a global level is confronting the biggest existential threat today as a result of the onslaught from corporate capital, the observation made by Mao 70 years ago on sustaining agriculture is relevant even now. And regarding the building up of people’s political power at the local level, Mao said: “ We must not follow the example of the Soviet Union in concentrating everything in the hands of the central authorities shackling the local authorities and denying them the right to independent action.” While appealing to the people to firmly reject the decadent bourgeois systems and ideologies of foreign countries, Mao pursued a dialectical approach of “learning the advanced sciences and technologies” and adopting whatever scientific from foreign countries. He opined: “Neither the indiscriminate rejection of everything foreign, whether scientific, technological or cultural, nor the indiscriminate imitation of everything foreign…has anything in common with the Marxist attitude…” – a perspective that Mao upheld even in CPC’s relation with the Comintern from the very beginning. However, though aware of the deviations in Soviet Union, the CPC led by Mao was always in the forefront of acknowledging the great achievements made by the first socialist country under Lenin and Stalin and was quick to defend Soviet Union against anti-communist propaganda by imperialist centres.

But with the ascendancy of Khrushchevian revisionism that, along with a vicious campaign against Stalin, put forward many prognoses such as “weakened imperialism”, “civilized imperialism”, “disappearance of colonialism” and theorised on “peaceful transition” from capitalism to socialism along with the apolitical prognosis of economic development as the principal task of national liberation movements abandoning class struggle against imperialism, etc., the socialist camp faced a grave setback. In this context, through its polemics against the Soviet leadership called Great Debate of the 1960s that laid down the General Line of the International Communist Movement, the CPC led by Mao Tsetung systematically exposed capitalist restoration in Soviet Union and put forward the general approach towards the neocolonial phase of imperialism. Situating neocolonialism as the new phase of imperialism which is a “more pernicious and sinister form of colonialism” led by US imperialism in the postwar period, the CPC went on characterising the revisionist Soviet leadership as “apologists of neocolonialism”, and explained how social imperialism (socialism in words and imperialism in deeds) converges with bourgeois ideology and practice. Meanwhile from 1956 onward, led by Liu Shao Chi, rightist trends with unilateral emphasis on “productive forces” came to the fore within CPC too, and in the inner-party struggle that followed often saw Mao holding a position of a minority within the Party even as he continued his effort for “an integration of the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism with the concrete practice of the Chinese revolution”.

It was in this context, and in view of the emerging internal and external threats, that Mao upholding mass line launched the Cultural Revolution to unleash the revolutionary democratic power of the politicised masses for carrying forward socialist advancement and thus to ward off a repetition of the capitalist restoration in China. Cultural Revolution that began in 1966, in brief, was a vigorous political struggle against the capitalist tendencies and bureaucratic corruption by raising the class consciousness of the people and revolutionalise the superstructure along with increase in production through transforming production relations. However, as already noted by Marxist-Leninists, struggle against rightist deviation led to the emergence of left sectarian tendencies including even intolerances committed on scholars and cultural activists.  Taking advantage of the fierce inner-party struggle, rightist forces even penetrated into the armed forces curtailing people’s initiatives and mass movements. Meanwhile, Lin Biao, who was keeping a low profile after his military initiatives in the 1940s, came forward and took on a leading role in the late 1960s with his adventurist positions.

These domestic repercussions had their international ramifications too. The CPC’s formulation on neocolonialism and analysis of the the postwar phase of imperialism that unravelled the neocolonial strategy and tactics employed by both US imperialism and Soviet social imperialism which were inspiring to proletariat and oppressed peoples of the world, could not be carried forward in the proper perspective.  The ascendancy of left sectarian line led by Lin Biao that interpreted “imperialism heading for total collapse and socialism advancing towards world-wide victory,” was a camouflaged acknowledgement of the prognosis of “weakened imperialism” already put forward by Khrushchevian revisionism in the 1950s. And the erroneous conceptualization of “Soviet social imperialism” as a bigger evil than American imperialism also got acceptance among the left adventurists at a global level. This approach including a host of retrograde moves had its concrete manifestation in July 1971 when Henry Kissinger made his secret visit to Beijing to prepare Richard Nixon’s head-of-state visit to China in February 1972. The “theory of three worlds” which Deng Xiaoping put forward at his UN General Assembly Speech on April 10, 1974 that suggested “Soviet social imperialism” as more dangerous than US imperialism that altogether disoriented both the task of the international proletariat and national liberation movements was the logical corollary of this rightist deviation garbed in sectarianism.  With this, the whole understanding on neocolonialism evolved by CPC as part of its erstwhile critique of Soviet revisionism was also thrown into the dustbin. It was also helpful to US-led imperialism that was facing one of the biggest postwar crises during the early seventies to reorient the neocolonial accumulation process altogether throwing away the welfare mask and resorting to naked global plunder through embracing neoliberalism.

In the meanwhile, with the 10th Congress of CPC in 1973, the sectarian trend led by Lin Biao who “waved the red flag to defeat the red flag” being already fallen in 1971, the stage was set for the rehabilitation of the rightist Deng and his cohorts who had to face severe setbacks during the Cultural Revolution and against whom (the Liu-Deng team) Mao had been consistently carrying his ideological struggle since the 1940s. Taking advantage of the weaknesses of Cultural Revolution, Deng emerged powerful, and colluding with the centrist forces many of whom were elected to the 1973 Central Committee, it was relatively easy for him to mount a counterrevolutionary coup following the death of Mao in 1976, leading to the rehabilitation of all revisionist guards and ushering capitalist restoration in China. After consolidating the reins of power in his hands, from 1978 onward, “socialism with Chinese characteristics” was added to the core ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought fundamentally altering the political-ideological line that CPC was pursuing since 1949.

China’s Capitalist Road

Much has already been written on China’s capitalist transformation during the post-Mao period and hence a detailed analysis is not intended here. Restoration of capitalism meant transformation of the People’s Republic into a state capitalist one led by a Party which transformed itself as bureaucratic bourgeois in character. Revolutionary literature of yester years including writings on Cultural Revolution as well as ideological thinking with a revolutionary orientation were censored and suppressed and many supporters of Mao were persecuted. Workers’ strike and critique of economic policies were dealt with based on the official diktat of “development as an absolute principle”. People’s communes that worked in harmony with state-owned enterprises (SOEs) across China were dismantled and all erstwhile guarantees to food, shelter, health, education and other basic needs were systematically taken away. Along with the catchword “it is glorious to get rich”, Deng’s, already noted oft-quoted dictum, “It doesn’t matter whether a cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice,” was widely popularised on accounted of its implicit depoliticising mission. As a corollary of this, at the international level, since the 1980s, China altogether abandoned the support and solidarity that PRC had been extending to revolutionary movements and national liberation struggles.

The Chinese political-economic developments since the adoption of the slogan “it is glorious to get rich” and announcement of the so called “four modernisations” have been dramatic. Throughout the 1980s the major focus of CPC and the Chinese regime was to lay the badly needed essential foundations for sustained expansion of capitalism. An effective initial move was the merger/integration of the bureaucratic state with private businesses and orienting state-owned banks toward liberally supporting private businesses. Along with this, from the very beginning, unlike neocolonially dependent countries like India, with its own capability to take independent political-economic decisions, the bureaucratic state of China could enter into various joint ventures between state-owned enterprises and foreign corporate capital and adapt itself to the most modern and state-of-the-art technologies on its own terms.  Efforts were also initiated to transform the country as a low-cost export platform making use of China’s inexhaustible source of cheap labour and a number of special economic zones came in to being in many coastal regions of the country. The privatisation strategy got a relative shift since the 1990s, with more focus on FDI inflows. Taking advantage of the cheapest labour, liberal tax and environmental regulations, corporate MNCs and global consultancies quickly made China their favourite destination. This enabled China to become one of the major partners in the neoliberal international division of labour and integrate itself with global finance capital. In conformity with the inherent speculative character of corporate accumulation, real estate, financial markets and other money spinning businesses also flourished in China. To put in brief, thus, from the 1980s, Party-led bureaucratic state of China was transformed into an apparatus committed to safeguard the interests of corporate capital at the expense of workers, peasants and toiling people.

Thus by the turn of the 21st century, China’s bureaucratic state monopoly capitalists had succeeded in building up a number of Chinese monopolies exporting capital to almost a hundred countries (and to more than 125 countries as of 2021). As world’s low-cost production base, China has become successful in capturing proportionately greater share of commodity markets not only in Afro-Asian-Latin American dependent countries, but even in the US itself. At the same time, this Chinese integration with global market has coincided with the emergence of fast moving ‘frontier’ or new generation technologies including  digitisation that were practically insignificant in the 20th century. And closely integrated with the bureaucratic state, many MNCs from China have become pioneers in economic innovation and technological application of these technologies to production at a maddening speed. Many Chinese conglomerations like “BAT” (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent) have reportedly eclipsed or are at par with their US-based counterparts called “Silicon Six” (Google, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Apple, Microsoft) both at economic and technological levels. In close integration with these digital giants China has become the leading country in pioneering digital currency initiatives that is capable of challenging the hegemony of US dollar as the international currency.

As a manifestation of the capitalist transformation and growth in the share of private sector in country’s GDP which now hovers around 70 percent, wealth concentration and inequality (and the concomitant corruption too) in China have risen to horrific levels often greater than that of the US. According to 2021 Hurun Global Rich List, during the last five years, China has added 490 billionaires (compared to 160 in the US) to be the first country in the world to have 1058 billionaires, more than the combined total of US, India and Germany.  In view of this emerging trend, to achieve close integration of the bureaucratic state and corporate capital or the merger between political power and economy, the 16th Party Congress of CPC held in 2002 had resolved to formally extend party membership to corporate CEOs too (the process of inducting wealthy people into the party was initiated by Deng in 1978 itself). Consequently, within two decades, around half of the Chinese billionaires have become members of the higher committees and the proportion of millionaires and billionaires holding membership in the 92 million-member party today is very high compared to the general population.

No doubt, the socio-economic repercussions of the more than four decades of capitalist development are of unparalleled dimensions. One of its conspicuous outcomes has been the prevalence of what is called ‘uneven development’ on account of the abandonment of the principle of ‘walking on two legs’, an aspect highlighted by Mao in his speech on The Ten Major Relationships. Amidst the spectacular GDP over the last four decades, as is obvious, the self-sufficient and self-reliant communes were almost destroyed leading to horrific displacement of the people from agriculture and country-side and being forced to migrate to urban centres and special economic zones  to be subjected to extreme forms of slave labour and super-exploitation. Despite the spectacular economic growth, unlike the western imperialist countries where only 2 percent of the working people is employed in agriculture, around 35 percent of the Chinese working people is still subsisting on agriculture whose contribution to GDP has dwindled to around 10 percent.  On the other hand, in spite of the lowest wage rate which is the major attraction on the part of both foreign and domestic capital, the Chinese labour absorption rate in industry, similar to other countries, is relatively low.  And the tertiary sector, though growing, is not capable enough to absorb the vast ‘reserve army’ of the unemployed. At the same time, speculation, real estate, financial swindles, etc. are flourishing in China and it is also not immune to the intensifying neoliberal crises as its economy is also interwoven with the global commodity and financial markets.  All these are accentuating the contradiction between Chinese state monopoly capitalism on the one hand, and working class and broad masses of people on the other.

 Imperialism with Chinese Characteristics

Obviously, “socialism with Chinese characteristics” is a convenient camouflage used by the “capitalist roaders” to cover-up the capitalist trajectory of China since the 1980s and its eventual transformation as a leading imperialist power, thereby claiming political legitimacy for hoodwinking not only the people of China but the working class and oppressed peoples of the world too. The same rhetoric of ‘socialism’ was effectively used to deal with the Tiananmen flare-up of the late eighties mainly led by liberal intellectuals, students and dissenting sections within the party who aspired political freedom commensurate with ‘market reforms’ and encouragement given to private capital. And for the western imperialists as well as for imperialist think-tanks and neoliberal ideologues the world over, China’s claim on socialism has become an ideological weapon in their anti-communist propaganda.   Meanwhile, based on the laws of motion of capital in the imperialist era as elucidated by Lenin, bureaucratic state monopoly capitalism of Chinas strengthening itself from its growing integration with global market was transforming itself into imperialism. During the late 1990s, the reunification of Hong Kong (1997) and Macao (1999), both being nerve centres of global finance capital, gave further impetus to this process. China’s formal entry in 2001 into WTO, often characterised as the third neo-colonial pillar together with IMF and World Bank, extended it more manoeuvrability in imperialist market and finance capital. By the time of the world economic crisis of 2008, China had become the biggest commodity exporter and was on its way to become the largest capital exporter at par with the US. Along with its active participation in US-led neocolonial political-economic institutions, today, imperialist China is leading several institutions, groupings and initiatives such as Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), BRICS including New Development Bank (NDB), Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP),  etc., Despite its rhetoric on “socialism”, completely repudiating Marx’s perspective on military spending as “non-productive waste of part of the social product”, in tandem with its growing imperialist status, during 2000 and 2020 Chinese military spending galloped by 20 times reaching around $260 billion second to US. In the fields of war and space technologies including missiles, bombers, aircraft carriers, etc., Chinese advancement is at par with that of US.

Today, China’s capital export, transforming many countries such as Pakistan, Iran, Sri Lanka, etc., as heavily dependent on Chinese capital investment, crossing the borders of Asia, has penetrated to the entire African continent and parts of Europe, is now spreading even to Latin America. While Italy has become part of BRI, disregarding US diktats in NATO, both Germany and France have come forward for broad-based EU-China economic and trade relations. Relegating both US and EU imperialists to the background, Chinese imperialism with its advanced technologies have already become the biggest capital exporter to Africa including the establishment of military bases in countries like Djibouti. The decade since the 2008 World Economic and Financial Crisis followed by the Pandemic saw massive Chinese corporate capital penetration under the camouflage of “development aid” to ports, railroads, roads, pipelines and telecommunications.  Quite logically, together with intense plunder of Africa’s precious natural resources and raw materials and super-exploitation of labour, this Chinese neocolonial penetration is also resulting in ruination of the peasantry, unemployment and mass poverty. CPC‘s “Made in China 2025” initiative that envisages a relative alteration from China’s role as a cheap-labour economy to a technology intensive producer and capital exporter also aims at grabbing a greater share in global capital market from its imperialist rivals, especially the US.

Western Notions of Capitalist/Imperialism versus China

A striking aspect to be noted here is that mechanical/western notions of class/property relations and corporate governance do not fit in with the privatisation/corporatisation process in China. The most crucial point is that China being an erstwhile socialist country was delinked from the postwar laws of motion or logic of finance capital during the quarter century from 1949 to mid-1970s. Hence it had the opportunity to evolve a fundamentally different and independent political-economic trajectory till its capitalist restoration in the post-Mao period. As such, rather than a stereo-typed or mechanical analysis that is incapable of unravelling China’s capitalist path and eventual transformation to imperialism, what requires is an analysis of Chinese capitalism/imperialism according to concrete conditions. Moreover, Chinese capitalist roaders and bureaucratic bourgeoisie have learned lessons from the altogether disintegration of the Party itself in Soviet Union. Therefore, since the beginning of its capitalist transformation effectively utilising the industrial and technological base already laid down during the socialist period, the party bureaucracy’s strict supervision was strictly enforced for unleashing the privatisation process, at all levels. Its handling of the Tiananmen unrest was also possible due to this. As such, to ensure constant and strict surveillance, party units or party cells are functioning in almost all business enterprises irrespective of domestic or foreign. Presence of appropriate party representative in the board meetings of companies is the accepted norm, and the decision to give party membership to corporate CEOs is connected with this.  Even Walmart, world’s biggest US-based MNC which a few years back was having more than 70 percent of its procurement from China, and which never allowed even unions in its US stores, had to allow party cells in its Chinese stores. Thus there is no compromise on enforcing the bureaucratic-bourgeois state dictatorship on the unhindered corporatisation flourishing in China.

Under Xi Jinping this trend of bureaucratic streamlining of private corporate sector has strengthened further. For instance the high profile Jack Ma of Alibaba (whose e-commerce empire at one time was estimated as bigger than that of the US and EU combined)  who until recently was the acclaimed “global face” of corporate China, has suddenly fallen from grace, and being dropped from public view, for the last eight months there is no information on him. Meanwhile, according to reports, the Chinese “regulators” have embarked on “rectification” on account of his outspokenness and public criticism of the bureaucratic financial regulations and reluctance to follow them.  This has resulted in a sudden downturn in the fortunes of Ma and as reported shares of Alibaba have slumped around 30 percent since November 2020.  Reports also mention on the warnings issued to more than a dozen technology companies to comply with financial regulations now supervised by the People’s Bank of China.

However, this does not in any way construe to mean any reversal of the corporate wealth accumulation process in China that is proceeding at a fast pace. What took place has been a removal of the hurdles that stand in the way of an appropriate blending of China’s powerful bureaucratic state regime and private corporate capital that is successfully fulfilling the “success story” of Chinese imperialism. The latest addition of Xi Jinping Thought to the core ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought is intended to accomplish this task. In fact, this new formulation is the antithesis of the ideological-political line pursued under Mao during 1949-76. In the meanwhile, presidential term-limit and so called ‘collective leadership’ that have been there were being taken away by Xi, which liberal analysts are interpreting as a move away from “Deng era” to “Mao era”. This makes little sense in the socialist direction since its aim is to promote an image of ‘socialism’ by appeasing the degenerated and depoliticised ‘left’ even as an all-out agenda of bureaucratisation, corporatisation and militarisation and, above all, an assertive role of Chinese imperialism at the global level are in store, which is evident from Xi’s speech, as noted in the Introduction of this article.

P J James is a political activist

  Read hina’s Celebration of its own Brand of Imperialism in the guise of “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics”
The Solar Transition
by Andrew Curry,
Countercurrents.org, in Alternative Energy.

Although futurists aren’t supposed to make predictions, the notion that our energy system is switching much more quickly than expected from fossil fuels to renewables, and that solar energy will be at the front of that change, suddenly doesn’t seem so controversial. Of course, the speed of the change still matters, certainly in terms of global warming outcomes.

And yet until recently the notion that solar energy would be the leading energy source was a possible future that was, broadly, regarded as impossible.

As Jeremy Williams notes in a recent review of Chris Goodall’s new book, The Switch, at his blog Make Wealth History:

The International Energy Agency didn’t think that solar power would ever be affordable at any great scale, and didn’t include it in its projections. In 2013, George Monbiot wrote that “solar power is unlikely to make a large contribution to electricity supply in the UK.” Goodall himself admits that he didn’t think it had much to offer until very recently.

Or, as Bloomberg put it:

The best minds in energy keep underestimating what solar and wind can do. Since 2000, the International Energy Agency has raised its long-term solar forecast 14 times and its wind forecast five times.

So what’s happened? The answer, in headline form, is in the chart at the top of this post.

Exponential fall

The vertical axes, on both sides, showing costs and installation, are both logarithmic scales, which means that they’re telling us that there’s been an exponential fall in the cost of producing solar PV. It is now the cheapest way to produce electricity in many parts of the world. Even in cloudier and cooler parts such as the UK, the cost of solar is now approaching “grid parity”, at which the cost of solar is the same as the average cost of the overall basket of energy sources for the electricity grid as a whole.

(This is one of the reasons why the vast premium on offer to EDF if it ever builds and runs the Hinkley Point nuclear power station, more than a decade down the line, looks increasingly anachronistic. But that’s a post for another day.)

Now, “exponential” is one of those words that gets bandied about dangerously in futurist cicrles. There are people out there who make a good living as keynote speakers from telling their audiences that the world is speeding up, that change is beciming exponential, and that we poor old humans have only linear, arithmetric brains. At some point in the presentation the lily pond gets wheeled out, or thegrains-of-rice-on-the-chessboard parable.

‘It will stop’

I’m sceptical of such broad sweeping claims. The exponential idea is built on the steady progression of Moore’s law over the last 30 years or so; except that this hasnow stopped progressing. As a futurist, I’m more a fan of Stein’s law (“if something can’t go on forever, it will stop”).

But at risk of seeming paradoxical, I think the world’s experts missed the possibility that solar power might see dramatic falls in cost was because their mental models of technological innovation were wrong. As a result, they didn’t expect any exponential change in cost at any time. They assumed–at best–arithmetic or geometric rates of change.

It’s worth unpacking this, not least because these policy assumptions on the future of solar are expensive mistakes. They mean, with the benefit of hindsight, that investment capital has been misdirected. And even if strategy is about the best assumptions you could have made at the time, there are good reasons to believe that strategy would have been better if the mental models of the analysts had also been better.


I think the reason why people get confused about this is partly down to Silicon Valley exceptionalism (“Hey, Moore’s Law!”), and partly from taking a long enough view.

The price/performance ratio of every successful technology follows an S-curve, or logistic curve, and it always looks like exponential growth in the middle.

Source: http://www.gummy-stuff.org/logistic-growth.htm

Engineers tend to understand this better than others. It was Bill Sharpe and Ian Welsh, both ex-HP, who observed to me in 2010 or so that the cost of solar was following a logistic curve that meant it would hit grid parity, even in the UK, around the middle of the decade.

Researchers from the Santa Fe Institute and MIT observed in a paper a couple of years ago that Wright’s Law was the best predictor of this exponential phase. It relates cost to production volumes (whereas Moore’s Law connects price/performance improvements to time). Wright’s Law was formulated in 1936 on the basis of cost curves in aviation development.

The IEEE summary of the research summarised the research this way: The paper

compares the performance of six technology-forecasting models with constant-dollar historical cost data for 62 different technologies—what the authors call the largest database of such information ever compiled. The dataset includes stats on hardware like transistors and DRAMs, of course, but extends to products in energy, chemicals, and a catch-all “other” category (beer, electric ranges) during the periods when they were undergoing technological evolution. The datasets cover spans of from 10 to 39 years; the earliest dates to 1930, the most recent to 2009. It turns out that high technology has more in common with low-tech than we thought. The same rules seem to describe price evolution in all 62 areas.

One other point is worth picking up from the researchers’ abstract (opens pdf):

We discover a previously unobserved regularity that production tends to increase exponentially.

Experience curves

In his book, which I haven’t yet read, Goodall calls this the “experience curve”: as we produce more, costs fall. The Bloomberg article put figures on this:

Every time global wind power doubles, there’s a 19 percent drop in cost, according to BNEF, and every time solar power doubles, costs fall 24 percent.

Solar has doubled seven times in 15 years; wind has doubled four times over the same period.

This looks quite a lot like Wright’s law in action, and like the familiar economics idea of “economies of scale”. There’s a second half as well, which one can call “economies of scope”, in which changes in the price to performance ratio also promotes collective learning as the community around the technology expands and makes connections with related technologies.

This second half of the story is an important part of what’s happening with solar. Battery technology is also making significant improvements as car companies turn their attention to an electric vehicle future, along with the development of other innovative storage solutions for solar-generated electricity.

Cycles of disruption

There’s a further consequence. One of the observations that Bill Sharpe has made to me is that when the price-performance ratio of a technology changes by an order of magnitude (i.e., a factor of 10) then the structure of the industry also goes through a structural disruption. In the case of solar, the first effects of this disruption is being seen in the fossil fuels sector.

Suddently, the majority of new energy investment is going into renewables rather than the fossil fuel sector, the balance sheets of coal companies are weak, and those of smaller oil businesses are starting to look shaky, and the divestment case from coal and oil is not just a moral case, driven by global warming, but a financial case, especially for long-term investors such as pension funds.

Andrew Curry started as a financial journalist for BBC Radio 4’s Financial World Tonight, before moving to Channel 4 News during the 1980s. He still maintains an interest in digital media and in the notion of the creative economy.

  Read The Solar Transition
 July 6, 2021
Is AltE Truly the Best Solution to Climate Catastrophe?
by Don Fitz ,
Countercurrents.org, in Counter Solutions .

Accumulate, accumulate! That is Moses and the prophets!… Accumulation for the sake of accumulation, production for the sake of production: this was the historical mission of the bourgeoisie in the period of its domination …” Karl Marx, Capital, Vol 1, Ch 25

The world is threatened with environmental disaster and capitalists hope to make a killing off of it. Fossil fuel (FF) companies claim they are “environmentally friendly.” Other corporations promote nuclear energy, hydro-power (dams), and solar and wind power as the best energy alternatives.

Yet environmentalists have known for decades that reduction of useless and harmful energy is the “greenest” form of energy available. Over 50 years ago, the first Earth Day recognized this with the slogan “Reduce; Reuse; Recycle.” Today, corporate “environmentalism” chants “Recycle; Occasionally Reuse; and, Never Utter ‘Reduce.’” Even mentioning the word “reduce” can be met with howls of derision that “Reduction means ‘austerity,’” as if any type of collective self-control would plunge the world into depths of suffering.

This can lead to a belief that supporting “alternative energy” (AltE) allows everyone on Earth to pursue a lifestyle of endless consumerism. It avoids the real problem, which is capitalism’s uncontrollable drive for economic growth.

Overproduction for What Purpose?

Acceptance of consumerism hides the twin issues that AltE creates its own disastrous outcomes and that lowering the amount of harmful production would actually improve the quality of life. Simply decreasing the amount of toxic poisons required for overproduction would cut down on cancers, brain damage, birth defects and immune system disorders.

No one would suffer from the massive toxins that would be eliminated by halting the manufacture of military armaments or disallowing the design of electrical devices to fall apart. Very few would be inconvenienced by discontinuing lines of luxury items which only the 1% can afford to purchase.

Food illustrates of how lowering production has nothing to do with worsening our lives. Relying on food produced by local communities instead of food controlled by international corporations would mean eliminating the processing of food until it loses most nutritional value. It would mean knowing many of the farmers who grow our food instead of transporting it over 2000 miles before it reaches those who eat it. It would cut out advertising hyper-sugarfied food to kids.

When I first began studying environmentalism over 30 years ago, I remember hearing that if a box of corn flakes costs $1, then 1¢ went to the farmer and $.99 went to the corporations responsible for processing the corn, packaging it, transporting the package and advertising it. Reduction does not mean “doing without” – it means getting rid of the crap.

Closely linked to food is health. My book on Cuban Health Care: The Ongoing Revolutionpoints out that the island nation’s life expectancy is longer and infant mortality lower than that in the US while it spends less than 10% per person of what the US does. Reducing energy devoted to health care does not mean less or worse care. It means getting rid of the gargantuan unnecessary and expensive components which engulf health care in capitalist society.

Electric vehicles (EVs) embody collective environmental amnesia. Once upon a time, not too many decades ago, people wrote of walkable/bikeable communities and some even put their dreams to the test. Well … crush that dream. Since AltE has become a fad, the idea of redesigning urban space is being dumped so that every person can have at least one EV. Memory of environmental conservation has fallen into oblivion.

Not Getting Better All the Time

Despite the hype about AltE, capitalist use of energy is expanding, not contracting. We are constantly told to buy the latest electronic gadget – and the time period between successive versions of gadgets gets shorter and shorter. AltE exacerbates the crisis of capitalist energy by functioning as a lure to sidetrack people from remembering the centrality of conservation.

The Bitcoin Ponzi scheme reveals the expansion of energy in the service of uselessness. Jessica McKenzie describes a coal-burning power plant in Dresden, NY. The plant was shut down because the local community had no use for its energy. But Bitcoin needed energy to compute its complex algorithms. So, like Dracula, the coal plant rose from the dead, transformed into a gas burning plant.

What, exactly, are Democratic Party politicians like Joe Biden, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and even Bernie Sanders doing to put the breaks on this expansion of FFs in programs like the Green New Deal (GND)? Actually, nothing. As Noam Chomsky points out in his forward to Stan Cox’ The Green New Deal and Beyond, “… the GND does not challenge the fossil-fuel industry.” Congressional proposals leave out the most critical part of reducing FFs – limiting the total quantity that can be produced. Instead, they rely on the fantasy that increasing AltE will somehow cause a decrease in FF use. This is a myth that we know all too well: corporate politicians toss around empty phrases like “net zero” as they further proposals to add AltE to the energy mix in order to help expand energy production.

Are Problems with AltE “Minimal?”

Despite stated goals to “end” FF production by such-and-such a date, the high heat they generate is essential for producing (1) silicon wafers for solar panels, (2) concrete and steel used in construction of windmills and dams, and (3) plastic coverings for industrial windmill blades. Every type of AltE requires FFs. Supporters of AltE often say that it is so much smaller as to pale by comparison to direct use of FFs.

Claiming that the amount of FFs used by AltE is trivial ignores both the quantities actually being used now and, most importantly, the uncontrollable urge of capitalism toward infinite growth. Hydro-power (dams) is currently the greatest source of AltE and is in line to expand most rapidly. Ben Gordesky describes research showing that “Canadian large-scale hydro projects have an ongoing carbon footprint that is approximately 40% that of electricity generated by burning natural gas. These emissions do not include the carbon footprint of dam construction.” This is not a trivial amount of FFs used by dams, especially since hydropower “is expected to grow by at least 45% by 2040.

Estimates are that “Solar and wind have a carbon footprint of 4% to 8% of natural gas.” For the sake of simpler arithmetic, let’s say that hydro, wind and solar average 12.5% of the carbon footprint of FFs (even though is it probably much higher). Then, let’s say that healthy capitalism grows at least 3% annually (even though the phrase “healthy capitalism” is highly dubious), which means a doubling in size every 25 years. If AltE requires 12.5% of the equivalent FFs now, then,

  • in 25 years it will require what is twice that, or 25% of current FF use;
  • at 50 years, it again doubles (to four times its current size), requiring 50% of current FF use; and,
  • at 75 years, the economy doubles (to eight times its current size), reaching 100% of current use.

To put it bluntly, reliance on AltE in no way eliminates FF usage – in only 75 years economic growth would return us to current FF levels.

But would we have to wait 75 years to see current levels of FF restored? For some parts of the economy, the answer is definitely “No.” As Stan Cox documents, “… the huge increase in mines, smelters, factories and transportation required for this transition [to EVs] would continue heightened CO2 levels long before any emission savings would be realized.”

It might be possible theoretically to concentrate energy to reach the extremely high temperatures necessary for production of wind turbines and silicon wafers for solar arrays. Relying on Cox’ calculations, expanding infrastructure to reach 100% AltE by 2030 “… would require a 33-fold increase in industrial expansion, far more than has ever been achieved anywhere and would result in complete ecological devastation. One little fact regarding this quantity of build-up is that 100% RE would require more land space than used for all food production and living areas in the 48 contiguous states.”

Time for Despair?

Is it time to throw up our hands in despair that the only route to preserve humanity is a return to hunter/gatherer existence? Not really. Focusing on local, community-based energy can create sufficient production for human needs.

Many underestimate the ability of low tech devices. When in high school during the 1960s, my science project was a solar oven that could cook via medium heat. When I returned from college a few years later, my mom intimated that my dad, an engineer, thought that a solar reflector device could not possibly generate much heat. So, one morning he used it as a greenhouse for his vegetable seedlings. When he returned later that day, the plants were fried.

Solar power does not require high-tech based on massive arrays. Few techniques are more powerful at reducing energy than a passive house design or use of passive solar for existing homes. It is even possible to run a website via low tech solarwithout destroying farmland for gargantuan solar arrays.

The story of wind power is somewhat different. Kris De Decker edits Low-Tech Magazinewhich spans a variety of ways to heat, cool and provide energy. An outstanding article covers the sharp contrast between ancient wind mills vs. modern industrial wind turbines:

“For more than two thousand years, windmills were built from recyclable or reusable materials: wood, stone, brick, canvas, metal… It’s only since the arrival of plastic composite blades in the 1980s that wind power has become the source of a toxic waste product that ends up in landfills. New wood production technology and design makes it possible to build larger wind turbines almost entirely out of wood again… This would make the manufacturing of wind turbines largely independent of fossil fuels and mined materials.”

A Global Struggle

The obsession of capitalism with expanding production is a social disease that infects every aspect of exploring, mining, transporting, using and disposing of energy infrastructure. For decades, this has been painfully obvious for FFs and nuclear power. Except for those who refuse to see, the opposition rippling through AltE is increasingly clear.

Just a very few examples of those challenging FFs includes Ogoni opposition to pumping oil out of Nigeria’s ground, clashes over pipelines at Standing Rock, rebutting Modi’s plan to open 41 coal plants in India and rejection of fracking in Pennsylvania. Dangers of nuclear power are reflected in demonstrations in Tokyo to remind us of Fukushima Daiichi and struggles by “Solidarity Action for the 21 Villages” in Faléa, Maliagainst uranium mining for French nukes. The new outbreak of conflicts over AltE is unfolding via disapproval of massive solar arrays in Klickitat County, WA; the fight against industrial wind turbine projects by the Broome Tioga Green Party, reactions by the Lenca people to the planned Agua Zarca dam in Honduras; efforts to stop Lithium Americas’ open-pit mine at Thacker Pass; and, widespread disapproval of child laborers dying in Democratic Republic of Congo cobalt mines.

In case you did not notice, the two key words common to all of these efforts is “Stop it!” A better life for all begins with rejecting the limitless growth of capitalism by developing technologies that minimize mining, processing, over-producing goods with short durations, and transporting products over long distances. Instead, we must develop locally-based products that have the least harmful effects.

One of the main problems with tunnel visioning on AltE is that how that approach accepts and perpetuates the ideology of greed, which insists that everyone in the US (and, of course, the world) must adopt the consumerist life-style of the upper middle class. Core to challenging capitalism would be making demands that capitalism cannot possibly fulfill but which rational people have no problem with. The demand to preserve our existence by reducing the overgrown production of capitalism is such a demand. When people say that we must not make a demand such as this, it is time to ask if they are putting the survival of capitalism ahead of the survival of humanity.

Everyone in the world believes in preserving what they hold sacred. For most of us, these include sacred places and beings, the inorganic world, creatures that sleep in water or on land, and human Life. For others, what they hold most sacred is corporate profits.

Don Fitz (fitzdon@aol.com) is on the Editorial Board of Green Social Thought where a version of this article was first published. He was the 2016 candidate of the Missouri Green Party for Governor. His book on Cuban Health Care: The Ongoing Revolution has been available since June 2020.

  Read Is AltE Truly the Best Solution to Climate Catastrophe?
  July3, 2021
William Astore, Big Lies Have Consequences, Too
by Tom Engelhardt ,



William Astore, Big Lies Have Consequences, Too

June 17, 2021

Almost 20 years later, the U.S. military high command still didn't want to leave the country where they had so impressively turned so many "corners" amid so much "progress" for so long. They made it all too clear to President Biden that they wanted to "maintain at least a modest troop presence" in Afghanistan. He nonetheless rejected their advice, ordering a full-scale withdrawal of U.S. forces.  How sad, with success so (eternally) close!  After all, as late as 2017, General John Nicholson, then the commander of American forces there, was still insisting that the U.S. and the Afghan military it supported had finally "turned the corner" and were "on a path to a win." As Foreign Policy reported at the time, he was the eighth commander to make such a claim, including General Stanley McChrystal in 2010 and General David Petraeus in 2011.  Who knew that there were so many corners to turn in that country -- or, for that matter, in similarly invaded Iraq?
It's true that, almost two decades after President George W. Bush ordered the invasion of Afghanistan, the latest and longest-serving U.S. commander there, General Austin "Scott" Miller, has not taken credit for even one more corner turned.  All he's claimed (no less improbably) is that U.S. forces will "go out with our heads held high." In less upbeat times that would simply have been called "defeat."  Meanwhile, lest you thought there was no hope at all, the CIA continues to search for ways to keep the American war going, whether from neighboring states or by drone from the Persian Gulf. (Yes, the Persian Gulf, nine hours away!)
And consider that just a small summary of war, American-style, in the twenty-first century. In other words, we're talking about endless failures -- with more to come if the Washington-backed Afghan government collapses under the pressure of a rising Taliban -- that no one involved would ever imagine taking the slightest responsibility for.
Retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and TomDispatch regular William Astore highlights that very reality today, while asking just who in this country will, in the end, be saddled with the blame for all those corners left unturned, not just in Afghanistan but in this century's never-ending U.S. war on terror across significant parts of the Greater Middle East and Africa. A historian and co-author of Hindenburg: Icon of German Militarism, he reminds us today of what can happen when the blame for defeat in war proves to be up for grabs. Tom



Cercle Universel des Ambassadeurs de la Paix,

Gabrielle Simond: De notre ambassadrice María de los Ángeles Albornoz Argentina.

CONSTRUYAMOS PAZ CONSTRUIRE LA PAIX BUILDING PEACE COSTRUIRE LA PACE CONSTRUINDO A PAZ СОЗДАНИЕ МИРАJohanne Hauber-Bieth, France, Cercle Univ. Ambassadeurs de la Paix, univ.ambassadorpeacecircle@orange.fr


        “Felices los pacíficos porque  ellos
         serán llamados hijos de Dios”

No siembres odio, ni ofendas a tu  prójimo.
No es más fácil ser pacífico, construyendo Paz?
No te engañes, la ausencia de violencia,
no  es suficiente para lograrla.
Solo  conseguirás que reine la paz,
viviendo con amor y justicia.
No cierres los ojos frente al egoísmo,
al sufrimiento humano,
 si lo haces, estarás fomentando la guerra,
aunque  digas querer Paz.
Recuerda que  la Paz es un don de Amor,
para conseguirla, intenta ser justo,
viviendo   en el orden, en el Amor,
Trasciende para llegar a los demás,
busca  estar en Paz contigo mismo.
No será fácil, pero, si cada uno de nosotros,
desde el  lugar donde nos  puso Dios,
 trabajamos  con honestidad, sembrando Amor
¡Lograremos construir la Paz!



      « Heureux les pacifiques parce qu'ils
            ils seront appelés enfants de Dieu"

Ne semez pas la haine et n'offensez pas votre prochain.
N'est-il pas plus facile d'être pacifique, de construire la paix ?
Ne vous y trompez pas, l'absence de violence,
il ne suffit pas d'y parvenir.
Tu ne feras que régner la paix,
vivre avec amour et justice.
Ne fermez pas les yeux face à l'égoïsme,
à la souffrance humaine,
  si vous le faites, vous fomenterez la guerre,
même si tu dis que tu veux la paix.
Souvenez-vous que la Paix est un don d'Amour,
Pour l'obtenir, essayez d'être juste
vivre dans l'ordre, dans l'amour,
Transcender pour atteindre les autres,
cherchez à être en paix avec vous-même.
Ce ne sera pas facile, mais si chacun de nous
du lieu où Dieu nous a mis,
  nous travaillons avec honnêteté, semant l'amour
Nous pourrons construire la Paix !   


   "Blessed are the peaceful ones because they
         they will be called children of God "

Do not sow hatred and do not offend your neighbor.
Isn't it easier to be peaceful, to build peace?
Make no mistake, the absence of violence,
it is not enough to achieve it.
You will only reign peace,
live with love and justice.
Do not close your eyes to selfishness,
to human suffering,
   if you do, you will foment war,
even if you say you want peace.
Remember that Peace is a gift of Love,
To get it, try to be fair
live in order, in love,
Transcend to reach others,
seek to be at peace with yourself.
It won't be easy, but if each of us
from the place where God has placed us,
   we work with honesty, sowing love
We can build Peace!


       "Beati gli operatori di pace perché because
             saranno chiamati figli di Dio"

Non seminare odio e non offendere il prossimo.
Non è più facile essere sereni, costruire la pace?
Non commettere errori, l'assenza di violenza,
non è sufficiente per raggiungerlo.
Regnerai solo la pace,
vivere con amore e giustizia.
Non chiudere gli occhi all'egoismo,
alla sofferenza umana,
   se lo farai, fomenterai la guerra,
anche se dici di volere la pace.
Ricorda che la Pace è un dono d'Amore,
Per ottenerlo, cerca di essere onesto
vivi con ordine, innamorato,
Trascendere per raggiungere gli altri,
cerca di essere in pace con te stesso.
Non sarà facile, ma se ognuno di noi
dal luogo dove Dio ci ha posti,
   lavoriamo con onestà, seminando amore
Possiamo costruire la Pace!


   "Bem-aventurados os pacificadores porque eles
         eles serão chamados de filhos de Deus "

Não semeie o ódio e não ofenda o seu vizinho.
Não é mais fácil ter paz, construir a paz?
Não se engane, a ausência de violência,
não é suficiente alcançá-lo.
Você só vai reinar em paz,
viva com amor e justiça.
Não feche os olhos para o egoísmo,
ao sofrimento humano,
   se você fizer isso, você vai fomentar a guerra,
mesmo se você disser que deseja paz.
Lembre-se de que a paz é uma dádiva de amor,
Para conseguir isso, tente ser justo
viver em ordem, no amor,
Transcenda para alcançar outros,
procure estar em paz consigo mesmo.
Não vai ser fácil, mas se cada um de nós
do lugar onde Deus nos colocou,

trabalhamos com honestidade, semeando amor
Podemos construir a paz!


       «Блаженны миротворцы, потому что они
             они будут называться детьми Божьими »

Не сеять ненависть и не обижать ближнего.
Разве не легче быть мирным, строить мир?
Не заблуждайтесь, отсутствие насилия,
для этого недостаточно.
Ты будешь только миром царить,
живи с любовью и справедливостью.
Не закрывай глаза на эгоизм,
к человеческим страданиям,
   Если вы это сделаете, вы разожжете войну,
даже если вы говорите, что хотите мира.
Помните, что Мир - это дар Любви,
Чтобы получить это, постарайтесь быть справедливым
жить по порядку, в любви,
Превосходите, чтобы достичь других,
стремитесь к миру с собой.
Это будет непросто, но если каждый из нас
из того места, где Бог поместил нас,
   мы работаем честно, сеем любовь
Мы можем построить мир!
  June 10, 2021
When the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ comes knocking
by Sajai Jose,
Countercurrents.org, in Globalisation.

Series Note: We are in the middle of an unprecedented crisis as the Covid-19 pandemic, and the lockdowns implemented in response, continue to deliver a series of economic, social and psychological shocks to the world. In this time of chaos, some of the world’s most powerful interest groups have stepped forward claiming that this crisis presents an opportunity to ‘reset’ the world’s systems.

Leading the charge is Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF) with its ‘Great Reset’ initiative, an ambitious plan to shape the contours of the post-Covid world. This three-part series critically examines the origin, workings and implications of the Great Reset agenda, which its critics have denounced as the corporate capture of global governance and the global commons.

The first part focuses on the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution,’ which forms the centerpiece of the Great Reset, and its implications for the world and for India, particularly its impact on employment.

Why is the Indian government promoting job-destroying ‘smart’ automation when the country is reeling from the worst unemployment crisis in recent history?

In October 2018, the World Economic Forum (WEF) opened its ‘Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in India’ to work in collaboration with the Government of India. Part of a network of such centres being set up across the world, it is located in Navi Mumbai, and was unveiled by none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

But, what exactly is the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution,’ the catchphrase that has been doing the rounds in business, tech and policy circles, which in recent years has been actively popularised by Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the WEF?

The origin of the term itself can be traced back to a 2013 initiative by the German government known as ‘Industrie 4.0.’ It was a strategic policy bid to harness the rapid convergence of digital technologies, manufacturing processes, logistics and human systems to build ‘smart factories’ or ‘cyber-physical production systems,’ with the stated purpose of preserving Germany’s global manufacturing dominance well into the 21st century.

However, this factory-centric understanding of new technologies obscure their true significance, says Schwab, who describes this shift as an Industrial Revolution in its own right. According to this view, the First Industrial Revolution, starting from the 1750s, used steam power to mechanise production; the Second advanced this by using electric power to scale up production in the beginning of the 20th century; while the Third deployed electronics and IT to automate production. Now, he says, a Fourth Industrial Revolution is building on the Third, the information revolution that has been occurring since the last century.

Schwab describes it as being “characterised by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.” However, unlike previous industrial revolutions, it is evolving at an exponential rather than a linear pace. “The speed of current breakthroughs has no historical precedent,” writes Schwab, and it is leading to “a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before.”

Schwab identifies a set of emerging technologies that are driving this change, including Artificial Intelligence, robotics, Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing.

Since this technological shift in production is “disrupting almost every industry in every country,” it also entails a paradigm shift in terms of logistics, trade and exchange, which Schwab calls ‘Globalisation 4.0.’ It refers to new frameworks for international cooperation that he says are needed to manage and adapt to the unprecedented pace and breadth of technological change unleashed by Industry 4.0. Announcing the theme of the WEF’s 2019 meeting as “Globalization 4.0: Shaping a New Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution”, Schwab declared, “Ready or not, a new world is upon us.”

The policy push in India

The WEF’s India Centre, set up in partnership with India’s apex planning body NITI Aayog, defines its mission as to, among other things, “accelerate the adoption of new technologies,” and to “co-design, test and refine governance protocols and policy frameworks to maximise the benefits and minimise the risks” from the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Headed by former Cisco executive Purushottam Kaushik, it has J. Satyanarayana, a former chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), as its chief advisor.

Milind Kulshreshtha, CEO of AIKairos, a company entrusted with running the Industry 4.0 implementation and education programme in India, recently listed the major policy moves by the Central government to advance this agenda. Firstly, the NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog, has been designated the nodal agency to interact with the World Economic Forum for “elaborating the new policy frameworks for emerging technologies” (The terminology is intriguing – ‘nodal agency’ in bureaucratic terms refers to one entrusted with implementation or supervision of a policy or programme. This suggests a subordinate role for the NITI Aayog, India’s apex planning body, in shaping India’s own policy on Industry 4.0).

The prime vehicle for Industry 4.0 implementation in India is the Samarth Udyog Bharat 4.0 (Smart Advanced Manufacturing and Rapid Transformation Hubs) under the Department of Heavy Industries. Underpinning this programme is the National Manufacturing Policy (NMP), which aims at enhancing the share of manufacturing in GDP to 25%, to achieve which “Industry 4.0 is the only way ahead,” according to Kulshreshtha.

Initiatives such as NMP, Make in India, Digital India and now, the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan, add up to a wide-ranging and comprehensive policy framework and fiscal plan being put in place by the Centre for enabling Industry 4.0, which also follows a PPP (Public Private Partnership) model.

Of late, many government initiatives are being launched or rebranded as ‘Industry 4.0’ initiatives. For instance, in September 2019, the Railways announced what it claimed was “a pilot project to introduce Industry 4.0 in the country” at the Modern Coach Factory in Uttar Pradesh’s Raebareli.

The future of jobs

The implications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution are huge, and especially so for countries like India, with its large population. Take for example the all-too-crucial matter of employment, which will be directly hit by ‘smart’ automation, the defining feature of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Here’s what some of the major studies of automation has to say on its potential impact on jobs:

The World Bank’s 2016 World Development Report, ironically titled ‘Digital Dividends,’ makes some alarming projections, estimating that 69 per cent of Indian jobs, 77 per cent of Chinese jobs, 47 per cent of US jobs, and an average of 57 per cent of jobs in OECD countries could be replaced by automated processes and robots.

The WEF’s own annual ‘The Future of Jobs’ report surveyed 12 key industries in 2018, and found that an average of 71% of the total task hours were performed by humans, compared to 29% by machines. The report forecasts that in just a span of four years (by 2022), this will change to 58% task hours performed by humans, versus 42% by machines.

A 2017 McKinsey study found that “50% of current work activities are technically automatable by adapting currently demonstrable technologies.” The study estimates that between 400-800 million jobs could be displaced by automation by 2030. It further states that India’s labour force is expected to grow by 30% or 138 million people by 2030, and the country can accommodate them only by creating enough jobs to offset the effects of automation.

A 2018 Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce (FICCI) report on the future of jobs in India, modelled on the WEF reports, found that 20-35% jobs in the IT/BPM sector “will face an existential threat to their jobs” by 2022. Figures for other sectors are as follows: Automotive (10-15%), Textiles (15-20%), Banking & Financial Services (20-25%) and Retail (15-20%).

Lists of jobs that could disappear entirely due to automation in the next ten years feature not only predictable ones such as manufacturing workers, cashiers and bank tellers, but also telemarketers, stock traders and travel agents. More surprisingly, construction workers and waiters, and even traditional occupations such as farmers and soldiers, too are among those endangered.

A double disruption

The consequences of such rapid scaling up of automation are unthinkable, especially given the massive loss of jobs globally in the post-lockdown scenario, and all the more so in India’s case. Since automation is being implemented more rapidly and at a far greater a scale in industrialised countries, it will also seriously curtail labour emigration globally, with huge implications for the India’s emigrants, the world’s largest.

In 2017-18, the National Sample Survey Office’s periodic labour force survey (PLFS) report revealed that the Indian economy was already in deep trouble, with the country’s unemployment rate at its worst ever in 45 years. The findings were deemed so damaging that the Centre did not release the report, forcing two expert members of the National Statistical Commission to resign.

It was in this already bleak situation that the government implemented the national lockdown, which had a catastrophic effect on the economy. The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy estimated that a staggering 14 crore people were rendered jobless by the national lockdown implemented in March 2020. Joblessness remains at record-breaking levels in India, and recent reports indicate that the country is nowhere close to an economic recovery; which, in this case, only means a return to a dismal pre-lockdown employment scenario.

In fact, the 2020 edition of the WEF jobs report admits that “automation, in tandem with the Covid-19 recession, is creating a ‘double-disruption’ scenario for workers,” the dual impact of which is likely to exacerbate inequality “in the absence of proactive efforts.” Even as the world reels from the biggest ever unemployment crisis in recent history, the WEF has only stepped up its efforts to accelerate automation in the post-lockdown scenario.

The WEF and industry lobby groups and consultancies claim that automation will also create many new jobs, which will compensate for jobs lost, but offers no firm basis for such optimism. All the rhetoric about ‘improved efficiencies’ and so on that surrounds it cannot obscure the unavoidable fact about automation: that its fundamental purpose is to reduce – if not replace altogether – the role of human labour in production.

It’s worth noting that, in the short term at least, these champions of the Fourth Industrial Revolution themselves concede that increasing automation will have a hugely negative impact on employment. And yet, neither the WEF, nor its partner NITI Aayog, nor other automation enthusiasts like FICCI, do not really explain why they want to “accelerate” automation despite this.

A top-down revolution

In his classic work, The Making of the English Working Class, the British historian E.P. Thompson wrote about the social havoc wreaked by the original Industrial Revolution in 18th century England: “The process of industrialisation is necessarily painful. It must involve the erosion of traditional patterns of life. But it was carried through with exceptional violence in Britain… The experience of immiseration came upon them (the working class) in a hundred different forms; for the field labourer, the loss of his common rights and the vestiges of village democracy; for the artisan, the loss of his craftsman’s status; for the weaver, the loss of livelihood and of independence; for the child, the loss of work and play in the home; for many groups of workers whose real earnings improved, the loss of security, leisure and the deterioration of the urban environment.”

In ‘Beware of the Bot,’ one of the few critical studies of Industry 4.0 to appear yet, author Britt Baatjes questions the very notion of an industrial ‘revolution.’ “Indeed, some don’t consider them revolutions at all, because the majority of people have not been the beneficiaries of these so-called revolutions because of the economic system in which they occur. They have dehumanised production, alienated workers and taken people further and further away from their vocations. And, coupled with this, the natural world has suffered irreconcilably. Indeed, the first three industrial revolutions have caused many of our current environmental problems and contributed to the ecological crisis. The ‘revolutions’ have simply shaped and reproduced capitalism in various ways and always favoured the rich,” she writes.

As the people of India – and humanity at large – stare at yet another top-down ‘revolution’ conceived and implemented unilaterally by financial and technocratic elites who are not accountable to the public, it is important to remember this historical record. Especially when its proponents themselves admit that it will be far more disruptive than previous Industrial Revolutions.

The debate around the Fourth Industrial Revolution – and there’s none yet – is particularly crucial for India, expected to be the world’s most populous country as early as 2027. Why then is the Modi government, whose record on employment in the pre-lockdown period was already abysmal, actively promoting automation in the post-lockdown scenario? And that too in the middle of record joblessness? Indeed, how wise is it for a demographically booming India to blindly embrace a technological shift conceived by highly industrialised nations with declining populations? These are questions every Indian should ask, and before it’s too late.

In the short term at least, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is set to transform the world to an unprecedented degree. What may turn out to be the most consequential change of our times is happening silently, without parliamentary debate, judicial oversight, media scrutiny or public discussion; the standard checks and balances of any democratic society. That should worry us all.

Sajai Jose  is a freelance journalist

Originally published in NewsClick

  Read When the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ comes knocking
  June 2, 2021
From 1980s Neoliberalism to the ‘New Normal’
by Colin Todhunter,
Countercurrents.org, in World.

Sold under the pretence of a quest for optimising well-being and ‘happiness’, capitalism thrives on the exploitation of peoples and the environment. What really matters is the strive to maintain viable profit margins. The prevailing economic system demands ever-increasing levels of extraction, production and consumption and needs a certain level of annual GDP growth for large firms to make sufficient profit.

But at some point, markets become saturated, demand rates fall and overproduction and overaccumulation of capital becomes a problem. In response, we have seen credit markets expand and personal debt increase to maintain consumer demand as workers’ wages have been squeezed, financial and real estate speculation rise (new investment markets), stock buy backs and massive bail outs and subsidies (public money to maintain the viability of private capital) and an expansion of militarism (a major driving force for many sectors of the economy).

We have also witnessed systems of production abroad being displaced for global corporations to then capture and expand markets in foreign countries.

The old normal

Much of what is outlined above is inherent to capitalism. But the 1980s was a crucial period that helped set the framework for where we find ourselves today.

Remember when the cult of the individual was centre stage? It formed part of the Reagan-Thatcher rhetoric of the ‘new normal’ of 1980s neoliberalism.

In the UK, the running down of welfare provision was justified by government-media rhetoric about ‘individual responsibility’, reducing the role of the state and the need to ‘stand on your own two feet’. The selling off of public assets to profiteering corporations was sold to the masses on the basis of market efficiency and ‘freedom of choice’.

The state provision of welfare, education, health services and the role of the public sector was relentlessly undermined by neoliberal dogma and the creed that the market (global corporations) constituted the best method for supplying human needs.

Thatcher’s stated mission was to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit by rolling back the ‘nanny state’. She wasted little time in crushing the power of the trade unions and privatising key state assets.

Despite her rhetoric, she did not actually reduce the role of the state. She used its machinery differently, on behalf of business. Neither did she unleash the ‘spirit of entrepreneurialism’. Economic growth rates under her were similar as in the 1970s, but a concentration of ownership occurred and levels of inequality rocketed.

Margaret Thatcher was well trained in perception management, manipulating certain strands of latent populist sentiment and prejudice. Her free market, anti-big-government platitudes were passed off to a section of the public that was all too eager to embrace them as a proxy for remedying all that was wrong with Britain. For many, what were once regarded as the extreme social and economic policies of the right became entrenched as the common sense of the age.

Thatcher’s policies destroyed a fifth of Britain’s industrial base in just two years alone. The service sector, finance and banking were heralded as the new drivers of the economy, as much of Britain’s manufacturing sector was out-sourced to cheap labour economies.

Under Thatcher, employees’ share of national income was slashed from 65% to 53%. Long gone are many of the relatively well-paid manufacturing jobs that helped build and sustain the economy. In their place, the country has witnessed the imposition of a low taxation regime and low-paid and insecure ‘service sector’ jobs (no-contract work, macjobs, call centre jobs – many of which soon went abroad) as well as a real estate bubble, credit card debt and student debt, which helped to keep the economy afloat.

However, ultimately, what Thatcher did was – despite her rhetoric of helping small-scale businesses and wrapping herself in the national flag – facilitate the globalisation process by opening the British economy to international capital flows and allowing free rein for global finance and transnational corporations.

Referring back to the beginning of this article, it is clear whose happiness and well-being counts most and whose does not matter at all as detailed by David Rothkopf in his 2008 book ‘Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They Are Making‘. Members of the superclass belong to the megacorporation-interlocked, policy-building elites of the world and come from the highest echelons of finance, industry, the military, government and other shadow elites. These are the people whose interests Margaret Thatcher was serving.

These people set the agendas at the Trilateral Commission, Bilderberg, G-7, G-20, NATO, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization.

And let us not forget the various key think tanks and policy making arenas like the Council on Foreign Relations, the Brookings Institute and Chatham House as well as the World Economic Forum (WEF), where sections of the global elite forge policies and strategies and pass them to their political handmaidens.

Driven by the vision of its influential executive chairman Klaus Schwab, the WEF is a major driving force for the dystopian ‘great reset’, a tectonic shift that intends to change how we live, work and interact with each other.

The new normal

The great reset envisages a transformation of capitalism, resulting in permanent restrictions on fundamental liberties and mass surveillance as livelihoods and entire sectors are sacrificed to boost the monopoly and hegemony of pharmaceutical corporations, high-tech/big data giants, Amazon, Google, major global chains, the digital payments sector, biotech concerns, etc.

Under the cover of COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, the great reset is being rolled out under the guise of a ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ in which smaller enterprises are to be driven to bankruptcy or bought up by monopolies. Economies are being ‘restructured’ and many jobs and roles will be carried out by AI-driven technology.

The WEF says the public will ‘rent’ everything they require: stripping the right of ownership under the guise of a ‘green economy’ underpinned by the rhetoric of ‘sustainable consumption’ and ‘climate emergency’.

At the same time new (‘green product’) markets are being created and, on the back of COVID, fresh opportunities for profit extraction are opening up abroad. For instance, World Bank Group President David Malpass has stated that poorer countries will be ‘helped’ to get back on their feet after the various lockdowns that have been implemented in response to the Covid-19 crisis. This ‘help’ will be on condition that neoliberal reforms and the undermining of public services are implemented and become further embedded.

Just a month into the COVID crisis, the IMF and World Bank were already facing a deluge of aid requests from developing countries. Scores of countries were asking for bailouts and loans. Ideal cover for rebooting the global economy via a debt crisis and the subsequent privatisation of national assets and the further ‘structural adjustment’ of economies.

Many people waste no time in referring to this as some kind of ‘Marxist’ or ‘communist’ takeover of the planet because a tiny elite will be dictating policies. This has nothing to do with Marxism. An authoritarian capitalist elite – supported by their political technocrats – aims to secure even greater control of the global economy. It will no longer be a (loosely labelled) ‘capitalism’ based on ‘free’ markets and competition (not that those concepts ever really withstood proper scrutiny). Economies will be monopolised by global players, not least e-commerce platforms run by the likes of Amazon, Walmart, Facebook and Google and their multi-billionaire owners.

Essential (for capitalism) new markets will also be created through the ‘financialisation’ and ownership of all aspects of nature, which is to be colonised, commodified and traded under the fraudulent notion of protecting the environment.

The so-called ‘green economy’ will fit in with the notion of ‘sustainable consumption’ and ‘climate emergency’. A bunch of billionaires and their platforms will control every aspect of the value chain. Of course, they themselves will not reduce their own consumption or get rid of their personal jets, expensive vehicles, numerous exclusive homes or ditch their resource gobbling lifestyles. Reduced consumption is meant only for the masses.

They will not only control and own data about consumption but also control and own data on production, logistics, who needs what, when they need it, who should produce it, who should move it and when it should be moved. Independent enterprises will disappear or become incorporated into the platforms acting as subservient cogs. Elected representatives will be mere technocratic overseers of these platforms and the artificial intelligence tools that plan and determine all of the above.

The lockdowns and restrictions we have seen since March 2020 have helped boost the bottom line of global chains and the e-commerce giants and have cemented their dominance. Many small and medium-size independent enterprises have been pushed towards bankruptcy. At the same time, fundamental rights have been eradicated under COVID19 government measures.

Politicians in countries throughout the world have been using the rhetoric of the WEF’s great reset, talking of the need to ‘build back better’ for the ‘new normal’. They are all on point. Hardly a coincidence. Essential to this ‘new normal’ is the compulsion to remove individual liberties and personal freedoms given that, in the ‘green new normal’, unfettered consumption will no longer be an option for the bulk of the population.

It has long been the case that a significant part of the working class has been deemed ‘surplus to requirements’ – three decades ago, such people were sacrificed on the altar of neo-liberalism. They lost their jobs due to automation and offshoring. They have had to rely on meagre state welfare and run-down public services.

But what we are now seeing is the possibility of hundreds of millions around the world being robbed of their livelihoods. Forget about the benign sounding ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ and its promised techno-utopia. What we are witnessing right now seems to be a major restructuring of capitalist economies.

With AI and advanced automation of production, distribution and service provision (3D printing/manufacturing, drone technology, driverless vehicles, lab grown food, farmerless farms, robotics, etc), a mass labour force – and therefore mass education, mass welfare, mass healthcare provision and entire systems that were in place to reproduce labour for capitalist economic activity – will no longer be required. As economic activity is restructured, labour’s relationship to capital is being transformed.

In a reorganised system that no longer needs to sell the virtues of excessive individualism (consumerism), the levels of political and civil rights and freedoms we have been used to will not be tolerated.

Neoliberalism might have reached its logical conclusion (for now). Making trade unions toothless, beating down wages to create unimaginable levels of inequality and (via the dismantling of Bretton Woods) affording private capital so much freedom to secure profit and political clout under the guise of ‘globalisation’ would inevitably lead to one outcome.

A concentration of wealth, power, ownership and control at the top with large sections of the population on state-controlled universal basic income and everyone subjected to the discipline of an emerging biosecurity surveillance state designed to curtail liberties ranging from freedom of movement and assembly to political protest and free speech.

Perception management is of course vital for pushing through all of this. Rhetoric about ‘liberty’ and ‘individual responsibility’ worked a treat in the 1980s to help bring about a massive heist of wealth. This time, it is a public health scare and ‘collective responsibility’ as part of a strategy to help move towards near-monopolistic control over economies by a handful of global players.

And the perception of freedom is also being managed. Once vaccinated many will begin to feel free. Freer than under lockdown. But not really free at all.

Colin Todhunter is an independent writer specialising in development, food and agriculture

  Read From 1980s Neoliberalism to the ‘New Normal’
  June 26, 2021
The Hell of the Same: Capitalism Breaks Down and Homogenizes Life, Disconnects the Past, Present and Future
by John Stanton,
Countercurrents.org, in Life/Philosophy.

Capitalism is often interpreted as a religion. However, if religion is understood in terms of Religare, as something that binds, then capitalism is anything but a religion because it lacks any force to assemble, to create community…And what is essential to religion is contemplative rest, but this is the antithesis of Capital. Capital never rests. It is in its nature that it must always work and continue moving. To the extent that they lose the capacity for contemplative rest, humans conform to Capital. The distinction between the sacred and profane is also an essential characteristic of religion. The sacred unites those things and values that give validity to a community. The formation of community is its essential trait. Capitalism, by contrast, erases the distinction between the sacred and the profane by totalizing the profane. It makes everything comparable to everything else and thus equal to everything else. Capitalism brings forth a hell of the same. Byung-Chul Han, The Disappearance of Rituals.

“Western tradition both underscores and denigrates matter—a duality more than evident in the history of subjugated persons: those un-consenting women, children, slaves, and aboriginal peoples who have been used as mere property and all others who have been merely used by others, rather than beheld as thinking, desiring agents. In or greed for power and novelty, is there anything that might escape the inevitable obsolescence of use? Once our labor, our health, our traditions and knowledge, our emotions, our very thoughts become commodities, they are stripped of life and growth…The environmental catastrophe we think of as the ruin of nature is in fact the ruin of human nature, the end of our sustainable life on Earth” Susan Stewart, The Ruins Lesson: Meaning and Material in Western Culture.

In the English lexicon of the day, it is verboten to mention that some inspiration, sense of wonder, or a pause to reflect on a passage from the texts of ancient myth and/or religion is a positive. You run the risk at a Washington, DC, cocktail party of being ostracized if you praise Pope Francis for washing people’s feet or visiting Iraq, discussing the myths of the Saints, or even the tales of more ancient deities of Rome, Athens, Babylon, and pharaonic Egypt. Who cannot but like the Greek story of Orpheus and Eurydice?

Instead, its “Hey! See the latest American Idol? How about that language in the federal budget that I got in there for my client? Why do you care about these f*&^%$# children’s tales and that Pope guy? What’s that good for?”

Vicars of Capitalism

The gimpy Pope, with one kidney, visited the Iraqi cities of Ur, Baghdad, Mosul, and Najaf, among others. Even Hezbollah lauded the Pope’s calls for unity and peace in Iraq, a country essentially destroyed by the number one capitalist country on the planet, the United States. His faith and mission to unify people carried him to a demolished and barely functional Iraq. If that cannot be considered inspirational, that means that capitalism has successfully commodified the Pope turning him and his likeness into a key chain or a pen. Which one of the following vicars of 21st Century capitalism would undertake such a Pope-like endeavor: Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Bill Gates (Microsoft, retired), Elon Musk (Tesla, Space X), Richard Branson (Virgin Atlantic). Security issues, you say. Well, what enterprising remnant of the Islamic State would not have liked to take a shot at the Pope?

Exploitation of the Many by the Many: It is Your Job!

Sure, the ancient myths, religious beliefs—to include Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism—can be positioned as quaint fairy tales with silly rituals, and not worthy of the brain power expended in reading them. But who can’t but be inspired by the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, the Egyptian Tale of Sinhue and The Four Vedas (Ka by Roberto Calasso is a brilliant text on the Vedas). Texts like these tell the stories of early humanity and are rich in color, allegory, and of course myth. They go beyond the major religions of the book as explorations that might as well be on the moon for their time.

It is not possible to read these texts straight through like a sprinter running the 100 meters. Many pauses are required to think through what has just been read. It is akin to a long contemplative walk where frequent stops are made to look around, to ponder, to be amazed. It hits you when you realize the ancients, the authors-editors-translators of the texts are all part of an interconnected world in which humans seek meaning.

Capitalism has little time for sub-surface thought, for depth. It is all about how fast one can consume, as Han indicates in his book. One is trained in the capitalist system and subsequently pushed into the ruthless routine of consumption and competition with all humans beings encountered through life’s assembly line.

Capitalism is the practice of exploitation of the self and others. The focus on Wall Street, Bezos/Musk or capitalism and its past history is ill placed. No, the worst and most damaging part of the cult of capitalism is that it quietly plants a seed of destructive exploitation in each and every person’s head that says, “It’s ok to exploit everyone, everywhere at all times. I will sell my soul. Everyone does it. I’ll get mine.” There is always money to made on any concept, emotion, historical wrong, death, etc. Family, friends, coworkers, teachers, children, professors are easy targets for exploitation. Watch television, surf the web, check your hand-held, go to the movies, read the newspapers (online), play with Tik Tok. The gears of capitalism will grind on and will never stop until someone, or something, presses the stop button (even the Pandemic could not stop capitalism).

Above all capitalism is manically authoritarian and indoctrinating. It slowly crushes any ideas, beliefs not conducive to turning people into information speed freaks who do not realize they possess only administrative freedom. Capitalism molds everyone and everything into malleable forms with minor variations which appeal to the majority of society, consisting of the unfree consumer, who has been pummeled with marketing slogans and television commercials, and advertising pop ups/click bait on the computer.

Capitalism also seeks to stifle freedom of speech unless it is digital speech maintained in bits and bytes and approved for entertainment value. Capitalism has turned people into fireflies in the dark night: A brief flash of chemical light and the creature is gone. A person’s ability to think disappears as quickly as the fireflies’ light and, perhaps, so does its existence.

I currently feel for the Social Justice vanguard. Capitalism will crush that movement too. For the moment, the issue is hot and trendy. In fact, capitalism applauds the erasure of Western Civilization’s history. Guilt sells. There is always a tidy profit to be made using destroying the past to create a future with a new or no identity or history, and no vocabulary.

There is Nothing Below the Surface

One cannot engage in an in-depth conversation about these issues unless you fork over $100,000 to a college or university to discuss them. But wait! Ancient texts? Religion? Literature? These are studies that are probably in the Liberal Arts/Humanities departments which are being strangled of funds. But that is all part of the capitalist plan. As Henry Giroux points out

Education within the last three decades has diminished rapidly in its capacities to educate young people to be reflective, critical, and socially engaged agents. Despite all attempts to degrade the value and purpose of education, the notion of education as the primary register of the larger culture persists. Yet, under a neoliberal regime, the utopian possibilities formerly associated with public and higher education as a public good capable of promoting social equality and supporting democracy have become too dangerous for the apostles of neoliberalism. Critical thought and the imaginings of a better world present a direct threat to a neoliberal paradigm in which the future must always replicate the present in an endless circle in which capital and the identities that legitimate it merge with each other into what might be called a dead zone.”

No Closure

Combine the push of the Critical Theorists with capitalism’s doctrines and you have got a quicker, more “legitimate” way to purge Liberal Arts/Humanities or White history. Critical Theorists have played right into capitalism’s hands. “Just another means to erase the past,” the capitalists will say. “Just another way to unmoor a large swath of the populations. There’s money to be made in Guilt. You know, we will sell it like we did diet cola or sugar free gum. Wipe your guilt away with brand X.” The capitalist process involved is sad. No one can see it, or acknowledge it.

Capitalism has the patience of Job and ensures that nothing is really complete, according to Han. One is always pushing to an incomplete future from a foggy present and unknown past.

We are losing the capacity for closure and this means that life is becoming purely an additive process. For something to die life must find its own closure. If life is deprived of any possibility of closure it will end in non-time. Because it rushes from sensation to the next, even perception is now incapable of closure…Where everything is connected, no closure is possible. The loss of forms of completions that accompanies overproduction and overconsumption lead to systemic collapse. The neoliberal imperative of optimization and performance does not allow for any completion. Everything is provisional and incomplete; nothing is final and conclusive…The We that is capable of joint action is also a form of closure. Today, it disintegrates into egos who voluntarily exploit themselves as entrepreneurs of their own selves…Flexibility is enforced by the ruthless destruction of bonds.

Capitalism is not a definable thing. I was walking outside here in Northern Virginia and heard the humming, electric buzz of a million Cicadas. It was not possible to see all the critters parked in the trees. But they were there, yelling/buzzing in their own way. I thought then of a dense fog in which nothing can really be seen. Only the noise, a cacophony of strange creatures can be heard.

And then I thought that capitalism is really some sort of creature, present since humanity started to value things, people, animals, clothes, voices, trade. It is ancient. It is not a system imposed by some alien force. Capitalism is the Sirens from Greek mythology

Maybe it is a return to symbols, rituals and ancient tales that can help us escape the fog of life that capitalism produces. If we can’t find meaning from ancients that searched for it when the world was largely unknown to them, and applaud their effort,  then where else might we find it. In the stars, solar systems long dead from the past. Or how about self-help books or the next war coming up to provide meaning.

I don’t have a good answer.

John Stanton is a Virginia based writer. Reach him at jstantonarchangel@gmail.com.

  Read The Hell of the Same: Capitalism Breaks Down and Homogenizes Life, Disconnects the Past, Present and Future
  May 26, 2021
The Social Responsibility Of Scientists
by John Scales Avery,
Countercurrents.org, in Book Review.

A new freely downloadable book

I would like to announce the publication of a book which discusses the duty of scientists and engineers to try to prevent the catastrophes that currently threaten human society and the biosphere. The book may be freely downloaded and circulated from the following link:


Three major threats to human society

Science and technology have conferred many benefits on human society, but as we start the 21st century, most thoughtful observers believe that our science-driven and information-driven industrial civilization has entered a period of crisis.

All indices are increasing rapidly – population, total wealth, industrial output, rates of scientific discovery, and so on. But it is clear that the total human footprint on the face of nature has become too great. A sixth mass extinction of plants and animals is already in progress. Insects are disappearing, and with them, birds. Tropical rain-forests are being lost at an alarming rate. Ice loss at both poles is increasing. Temperatures worldwide are rising at an accelerating rate because of greenhouse gas emissions. There is a great danger that if immediate and drastic action is not taken, feedback loops will be initiated which will make human efforts to prevent climate change useless. Thus there is a threat of an ecological mega catastrophe, of which catastrophic climate change is a part.

Another serious threat comes from nuclear war. Despite the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which makes them illegal, the nuclear powers retain their weapons and even spend enormous amounts of money “modernizing” them.

A third threat is an extremely widespread famine, which could occur by the middle of the 21st century from a combination of population growth, climate change and the  end of the fossil fuel era.

Catastrophic climate change

A major problem with mobilizing the political will needed to take strong action to prevent the catastrophe is a contrast between time-scales. Action must be taken immediately if feedback loops, such as the albedo effect or the methane-hydrate feedback loop are to be avoided, because if these feedback loops take hold, human attempts to avoid disaster will become useless. But although drastic action must be taken immediately, the most disastrous effects of climate change lie in the long-term future, centuries, or even thousands of years from now.

I personally do not believe that catastrophic climate change will lead to the extinction of the human species; but I think that since it threatens to make most of the earth’s surface uninhabitable, it could lead to a drastic reduction in the global population of humans.

An all-destroying nuclear war

Mr. Javier Prérez de Cuèllar, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, emphasized the insanity of nuclear war in one of his speeches:

“I feel”, he said, “that the question may justifiably be put to the leading nuclear powers: by what right do they decide the fate of humanity? From Scandinavia to Latin America, from Europe and Africa to the Far East, the destiny of every man and woman is affected by their actions. No one can expect to escape from the catastrophic consequences of a nuclear war on the fragile structure of this planet. …

“No ideological confrontation can be allowed to jeopardize the future of humanity. Nothing less is at stake: todays decisions affect not only the present; they also put at risk succeeding generations. Like supreme arbiters, with our disputes of the moment, we threaten to cut off the future and to extinguish the lives of innocent millions yet unborn. There can be no greater arrogance. At the same time, the lives of all those who lived before us may be rendered meaningless; for we have the power to dissolve in a conflict of hours or minutes the entire work of civilization, with all the brilliant cultural heritage of humankind.

“…In a nuclear age, decisions affecting war and peace cannot be left to military strategists or even to governments. They are indeed the responsibility of every man and woman. And it is therefore the responsibility of all of us… to break the cycle of mistrust and insecurity and to respond to humanity’s yearning for peace.”

The eloquent words of  Javier Pérez de Cuèllar express the situation in which we now find ourselves: Accidental nuclear war, nuclear terrorism, insanity of a person in a position of power, or unintended escalation of a conflict, could at any moment plunge our beautiful world into a catastrophic thermonuclear war which might destroy not only human civilization but also much of the biosphere.

An extremely widespread famine

Unless efforts are made to stabilize and ultimately reduce global population, there is a serious threat that climate change, population growth, and the end of the fossil fuel era could combine to produce a large-scale famine by the middle of the 21st century.

As glaciers melt in the Himalayas and the Andes, depriving India, China and South America of summer water supplies; as sea levels rise, drowning fertile rice-growing regions of Southeast Asia; as droughts reduce the food production of North America and Southern Europe; as ground-water levels fall in China, India, the Middle East and the United States; and as high-yield modern agriculture becomes less possible because fossil fuel inputs are lacking, the 800 million people who are currently undernourished may not survive at all.

The duty of scientists is to prevent these catastrophes

The three threatened dangers to human civilization just mentioned are linked to the rapid changes that have resulted from advances in science and engineering. Therefore scientists have some responsibility for helping to prevent the disasters that threaten us today.

Many scientists have accepted this duty to act. For example, Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs is an organization which was set up by scientists to deal with the global problems that scientific work had created.

Scientists who have consciences, and those who don’t

In “The Social Responsibility of Scientists”, we look at the lives of several scientists who had a social conscience – for example Albert Einstein and Linus Pauling.

However, not all scientists and engineers have a sense of social responsibility, and many seem to have no conscience of any kind. They prostitute their talents to the war industry and to the fossil fuel corporations which offer them lucrative jobs. Without them, modern warfare would be impossible. Without them the dangerous extraction of fossil fuels would be impossible.

We must educate our scientists in such a way that the acquisition of a sense of social responsibility will be part of their education. It has been suggested that graduates in these fields should take an oath, analogous to the oath taken by medical students, never to use their education in a way that could harm human society or the biosphere.

Other books and articles about  global problems are on these links:




I hope that you will circulate the links in this article to friends and contacts who might be interested.

John Scales Avery is a theoretical chemist at the University of Copenhagen. He is noted for his books and research publications in quantum chemistry, thermodynamics, evolution, and history of science. His 2003 book Information Theory and Evolution set forth the view that the phenomenon of life, including its origin, evolution, as well as human cultural evolution, has its background situated in the fields of thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and information theory. Since 1990 he has been the Chairman of the Danish National Group of Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. Between 2004 and 2015 he also served as Chairman of the Danish Peace Academy. He founded the Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes, and was for many years its Managing Editor. He also served as Technical Advisor to the World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe (19881997). http://www.fredsakademiet.dk/ordbog/aord/a220.htm. He can be reached at avery.john.s@gmail.com. To know more about his works visit this link.  https://www.johnavery.info/

  Read The Social Responsibility Of Scientists
  May 30, 2021
Global Classroom- A Concept that has come of Age
by V A Mohamad Ashrof,
Countercurrents.org, in Life/Philosophy.

Global Classroom is a novel and innovative way to gain international experience, virtually, from wherever you are! When talking about Global Classroom we mean a unique class consisting of students from two or more different countries. Even while students in a virtual classroom are divided by physical space, they are connected by being involved in the identical practical activities, learning the similar material and discussing it in an open manner. Contrasting the traditional class, a virtual class allows the students to log in and out any time, still maintaining a feeling that they are united in a common, shared initiative through cyberspace.

Imagine a world where students from Chicago take a virtual field trip to the pyramids in Egypt with students from China, learning from a teacher who is an expert in her field. In this future, education will become borderless, and geographical barriers will be broken. The classroom will no longer be tied down by physical constraints; it will be a true classroom in the cloud. I firmly believe that when children can learn about the world around them by meeting other children from across the world and experiencing other cultures (even virtually), they are on the path to becoming global citizens. 1

In Global Education projects, internet tools are usually used for customary aims – to teach students where to find useful information, how to use it properly, how to research efficiently, etc. In the case of distance education, particularly in the social sciences, electronic online tools facilitate students’ active engagement in their studies even while not necessarily being physically close to a single college or to each other. Distance learning is a way to teach students from different regions and even countries all together as if they were enrolled in one physically exclusive class room. Therefore, a Global Classroom is not only invisible, but also very plausible. In it, participants reassure one another by sustaining intellectual contact, debating issues, exchanging opinions, completing joint tasks and the like.

For teachers, assisting their students to learn with and from their peers abroad is a most satisfying reward. Online dialogue is one of the most interesting one to students as citizens of an evolving knowledge-based global society.

In Global Classroom students learned from online mini-lectures written by the professors, and from additional assignments based on electronic texts. A Student-Led Discussion discussing common topics raised by the readings and also current events in the world, all of which helped them understand foreign (‘other’) cultures, and historical backgrounds.

In teaching evaluations we will get first-hand information about each country and they did not experience common problems. This collaborative, intercontinental, distance-learning experience has also a lesson to democracy and human rights. Ground-breaking synergy is created when higher-education and the communities unite to tackle educational challenges and achieve common goals.

*Historical Evolution:*

Way back about one hundred years ago, Rabindranath Tagore, a visionary poet of India imagined a globally interconnected world. On 22 December 1921, Visva-Bharati was formally founded by Tagore; its global scope was obvious from the motto of the university, ‘Where the world makes its home in a single nest’. The constitution of Visva-Bharati is as follows: • To study the mind of man in its realization of different aspects of truth from diverse points of view. • To bring into more intimate relation with one another through patient study and research, the different cultures of the East on the basis of their underlying unity. • To approach the West from the standpoint of such a unity of the life and thought of Asia. • To seek to realize in a common fellowship of study the meeting of East and West and thus ultimately to strengthen the fundamental conditions of world peace through the free communication of ideas between the two hemispheres. • And with such ideals in view to provide at Santiniketan, a centre of culture where research into the study of the religion, literature, history, science and art of the Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Zoroastrian, Islamic, Sikh, Christian and other civilizations may be pursued along with the culture of the West, with that simplicity of externals which is necessary for true spiritual realization, in amity, good fellowship and cooperation between the thinkers and scholars of both Eastern and Western countries, free from all antagonisms of race, nationality, creed or caste and in the name of one supreme being who is Shantam, Shivam, Advaitam. 2

During the 1990s, the development of the Internet gave rise to ideas such as the global village, and novel ways of teaching and learning involving hypertext, multimodality and virtual classrooms. There are many recent precedents for the Global Classroom project: it was initiated at the Earth Institute, Columbia University, in 2008 by the members of the MacArthur Foundation-funded International Commission on Education for Sustainable Development Practice. The Commission brought together 20 prominent specialists from around the world to consider novel types of multidisciplinary educational projects to address the practical challenges of sustainable development. The Global Classroom has addressed a broad range of essential issues, including health, economics, policy, agriculture, ethics, and education. All course materials, including reading materials, and assignment questions, should be available to participants of Global Classroom. Students from around the world were assigned the same readings and then can join their classmates for live sessions with international professionals.

*What should be the Ingredients of Global Classroom?*

The educational system deals primarily in what E. F. Schumacher called it “convergent problems,” not “divergent problems.” The former are linear and thereby amenable to scientific or technological solutions. The latter are more like dilemmas that are, by definition, unsolvable but avoidable with foresight. Increasingly, our basic problems are of the latter sort: they are divergent moral and political questions “refractory to mere logic and discursive reason.” 3

One could therefore say that the global classroom is a place where the educational uses of technology are coming together in terms of development and application and new ways of teaching and learning are becoming apparent. At the cutting edge of this plane of change is the relationship between tacit and designated learning opportunities that new technologies give rise to. For example, the learning communities that one finds online or in social networking software programs are at the same time part of the complex identity units and distribution facilities for ideas about current culture. Teachers in these situations need to be aware how new forms of language, values, group dynamics and shifts in behavior will change the learning requirements of their cohorts. 4

We need their assistance to imagine a non-violent world, one free of nuclear weapons. We need educators and educational institutions that nurture a profound yet practical awareness of our interrelatedness in the evolving enterprise of life. The repair and renewal of educational institutions, however, will require a more critical assessment of education that keeps in the mind following:

  • Ecological disorder reflects a prior disorder in the way we think and what we think about; • Humans are fast thinkers but slow learners;•It is possible to educate someone beyond their level of comprehension; •Not all knowledge is good, and not all of it can be deployed responsibly in a world of feedback loops, leads and lags, surprises, and longtime lapses between cause and effect; •New knowledge is not necessarily better than old knowledge rediscovered, i.e., “slow knowledge.”  5

We need the help of the new generation to restore respect for truth, facts, logic, data, and history. We need their creative powers to help recalibrate failing institutions, constitutions, and economies with the way Earth works as a physical system. We need their example as models of solar-powered, ecologically designed communities. We need their help to equip the young to be citizens in a civic community and in an ecological order—a generation of “radical professionals” competent dual citizens with purpose, stamina, and vision. 6

While international schools have always enrolled students with different racial, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds, globalization and massive immigration trends are making the student populations of nearly every school increasingly diverse. What was once the particular challenge of international school teachers now faces us all? To accommodate the new makeup of classrooms and the disappearing distances between cultures, teachers need to focus on each student’s learning needs while simultaneously imparting global competence—the ability to understand other cultures, to respect and appreciate differences, and to move gracefully and graciously between cultures. To see our students succeed, we all must embrace this paradox of personalizing learning in the global classroom. 7

Education systems, schools, and teachers have an urgent and undeniable obligation to inculcate “international mindedness” in their students. Students are our partners in learning, and this partnership can be dramatically illustrated in the global classroom, where cultural and learning diversity offer the potential for rich and dynamic interaction. 8

What does cultural competence look like in a global classroom? We believe that it is expressed in an attitude of curiosity, exploration, and respect. We come to know ourselves culturally through understanding the cultures of others. The multitude of cultures and perspectives present in the global classroom invite us to think beyond the limits of our own systems. In order to genuinely respect other cultures, we need to question our assumption about what is “normal” or “right.” 9

The new generation would surely demand that we stop using the atmosphere as a dump and that we preserve the world’s forests, rivers, soils, seas, mountains, life-forms, and grasslands. Definitely, they would ask us to enlarge the democratic vista to include them, their great-great-grandchildren, and other species—an intergenerational, interspecies democracy of sorts. They would anticipate us to have created a hard-wearing foundation of well-considered personal rights and responsibilities, tolerance for differences and dissent.

Global Schools need to focus on intellectual connectedness, pluralism and diversity that complement rather than oppose, and productive learning that can occur when difference is recognized and interwoven in learning. In intercultural communication classes, a vibrant component is the opportunity to engage in dialogue with students from diverse cultures. In many classes this is possible if there are students from varied cultures.

Students in a global classroom engage in learning that is participatory, shared and connected. By designing and facilitating realistic social studies learning for such environments, students are able to develop a greater understanding of who they are as global citizens. Designing and facilitating genuine learning in social studies through a global classroom approach enables students to develop a greater understanding of who they are as global citizens.

Every child deserves a global classroom that is accessible, affordable, and personalized. The reason why humans are able to create a better world is that we have education. Every tiny change and innovation in education may have far-reaching significance for human development. 10

The character and uses of the global classroom are vital to the future of liberal democratic and pluralistic society. The twenty-first century calls for pedagogies that cultivate integrated knowledge and global citizenship. The global classroom may be characterized as a plane of transformation involving personal and group identities learning through technological mediation. An intelligible educational policy and knowledge framework may be developed in order to prepare populations for new curricula. The character and uses of the global classroom are vital to the future of liberal democratic and pluralistic society.


  1. Lily Jones, The Global Classroom, New York: Skyhorse, 2019, p.109
  2. Kumkum Bhattacharya, Rabindranath Tagore- Adventure of Ideas and Innovative Practices in Education, New York: Springer, 2014, p.64
  3. E. F. Schumacher, Guide for the Perplexed, New York: Harper & Row, 1977, p.128
  4. Darren L. Pullen, David R. Cole, Multi-literacies and Technology Enhanced Education: Social Practice and the Global Classroom, New York: Information Science reference, 2010, p.16
  5. Erwin Chargaff, “Knowledge without Wisdom,” Harpers, May 1980, pgs.41-48
  6. Jeff Schmidt, Disciplined Minds, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000, pgs.265-280
  7. William Powell, Ochan Kusuma-Powell, How to Teach Now, Vantura: ASCD, 2011, p.2
  8. William Powell & Ochan Kusuma-Powell, How to Teach Now, Vantura: ASCD, 2011, p.19
  9. William Powell & Ochan Kusuma-Powell, How to Teach Now, Vantura: ASCD, 2011, p.83
  10. Lily Jones, The Global Classroom, New York: Skyhorse, 2019, p.110

Biographical sketch:

V.A. Mohamad Ashrof is one among the Muslim scholars of Kerala who is regularly publishing articles and papers dealing with Islam and Contemporary Affairs. He has worked as the Executive Editor of Al-Harmony, a Quarterly Journal on Islam and Thought and Ethics, for 10 years. He is the joint secretary of Forum for Faith and Fraternity- a Muslim think tank based in Kochi. He is the author of 2 English Books (‘Islamic Dimensions’, ‘Islam and Gender Justice: Questions at the Interface’) and 2 Malayalam books (The Host and the Hunter: Critique of Anand’s writings). One Malayalam book ‘Christian Zionism: Critique’ has attained great acclamation from the scholarly world.

(V.A. Mohamad Ashrof is the Joint Secretary of Forum for Faith and Fraternity Kerala and receives his mail at: vamashrof@gmail.com)

  Read Global Classroom- A Concept that has come of Age
  June 6, 2021
Why Environment Movement Should Have Much Closer Links With Peace and Justice Movements
by Bharat Dogra,
Countercurrents.org, in Environmental Protection.

There is an increasing realization that the mobilization of people on environmental issues will be increasingly important in the days and years to come. Left to themselves the world leadership will be unable to make some of the most important changes in time. So a considerable strengthening of environmental movement all over the world with a clearer vision and proper priorities is an essential condition for the accomplishment of the most urgent steps that need to be taken for life-saving environment protection on our once  beautiful, bountiful  but now badly endangered planet.

How can the environmental movement be strengthened? Apart from self-introspection and improvement, there is a very clear need for making closer and stronger linkages with other movements particularly the peace movement. There are very strong reasons for this. War and all preparations for war, growing militarization and arms race, proliferation of weapons , emergence of more dangerous weapons/weapon systems,  potential risks of space warfare,  ever-present threat of nuclear weapons  taken together constitute perhaps the biggest polluter, if direct and indirect aspects are added up. As long as the world lives under the shadow of power rivalries and the urge of dominating others, the close cooperation needed, with continuity and without disruptions, for resolving the most urgent environmental problems cannot be achieved. On the other hand, accentuating environmental problems, for example water crisis, can themselves become the cause for serious conflicts and war.

Clearly this understanding provides very strong reasons for environmental and peace movements to work in close cooperation with each other. The strength of both movements needs to increase greatly and in addition they should work in close cooperation, increasing the impact and success of each other.

In addition, however, there is a definite need for both movements to have a clearer understanding of various justice and equality related movements and to work in cooperation with them. This includes the movements of workers and peasants, movements of justice at international level , gender issues, movements of oppressed communities and the movements for more equality at various levels. There is need for removing misunderstandings and false sense of conflicts as in reality all these movements can work together and there are no real conflicts once proper understanding of issues is established.

The worldwide need for very important issues relating to environment protection and peace is becoming  more and more urgent and it is a really a survival issue now. While increasing this understanding at world level, the peace and environmental movements can succeed in mobilizing a large number of people only if they understand justice issues and have close links with justice movements. When they are isolated from justice concerns , several environmentalists , despite good intentions, tend to adopt  narrow and distorted approaches which cannot go very far. Peace without justice in many contexts is an empty concept which cannot go very far in achieving more durable peace.

Hence clearly the environmental movement can succeed best by increasing its closeness and understanding with movements for peace and justice, and it is very important to move in this direction.

Bharat Dogra is a journalist and author. His recent books include Planet in Peril and Protecting Earth for Children.

  Read Why  Environment Movement Should Have Much Closer Links With  Peace and Justice Movements
  June 5 2021
Will Ecosystems Restoration Actually Get A Real and Much-Needed Boost With the Launch of A Decade Dedicated to This?
by Bharat Dogra ,
Countercurrents.org, in Environmental Protection .

The special theme of the World Environment Day observed on June 5 relates this year to the restoration  of ecosystems, certainly a subject of very great importance in times of so much ecological ruin. It is even more encouraging, and of more durable value, that  the United Nations has declared 2021-30 to be the UN Decade for Ecosystem Restoration and this decade will be launched on June 5. While  this work is also a part of the normal agenda of the United Nations,  expectations are being expressed  that the  United Nations,  led by its two agencies the United Nations Environment Program( UNEP) and  the Food and Agriculture Organization ( FAO) , will now be  giving much more emphasis to promotion of Ecosystem Restoration compared to normal times.

The publicity literature for the launching of the new decade states that along with restoration of ecosystems there can be very significant gains in two areas of climate change mitigation and creation of jobs. It is not difficult to see that tremendous potential indeed exists for this, with the added advantage that the jobs created may be very creative and sustainable ones, and such jobs may well be created in remote places and among vulnerable communities where these are more needed.

To give an example, in the context of several countries like India, several of these jobs can be created among tribal communities living in more remote villages, or among hill people living in very inaccessible areas including parts of the Himalayan region.

One of the obvious examples of such work relates to regeneration of degraded forest areas. In a typical degraded forest area, one of the obvious  approaches for regeneration and restoration would be to involve the local community with special emphasis on weaker sections and women. With their help and support from an official agency, patches of the degraded area can be closed to human intervention for a period considered adequate for this purpose. As one patch after another is regenerated the entire forest can be regenerated within a decade or so. This will lead to an enhanced based for sustainable livelihoods of people based on minor ( non-timber ) forest produce including fodder, although care will have to be taken to ensure that again there is no excessive pressure and forest health is maintained on the basis of same mobilization which made possible the restoration in the first place.

Hence environmental education including a strong component on sustainability aspects has to be an important part of such efforts. If this is possible, then clearly the livelihood base in a remote area will be enhanced significantly on a sustainable basis ( other than the jobs created in the course of the restoration process) . In addition of course the entire effort will contribute greatly to climate change mitigation and adaption, soil and water conservation.

A question here is whether sustained support for the community effort can be ensured. Particularly in the early stage support for such community efforts is needed. In India there are several existing schemes under which such work can be supported but aside from patches of success stories here and there, any great success at national level has not taken place yet. To what extent will the situation change specifically in the Decade for Ecosystems Restoration? Will the certain availability of longer-term funds for such works of undoubted importance increase? The UN system often promotes some good initiatives, but can it also contribute more specifically in terms of ensuring a significant and definite increase in unconditional funds ( not loans but grants), to coincide with the Decade for Ecosystem Restoration?

Similar kinds of work can also be supported by the special green fund to be created as a part of UN climate change negotiations for helping the poorer countries in their climate change mitigation and adaption programs. 100 billion dollars was supposed to be made available by the developed rich countries for this purpose on annual basis. With about one-fifth of the people living in poorer countries, India would have been in a position to get 20 billion dollars from this fund on annual basis for such work and other related work. But such promised funds are nowhere to be seen. The United Nations despite good intentions has not been able to ensure the availability of promised funds to poorer countries. So we do not know to what extent all the good declarations of ecosystem restoration will actually result in more specific committed funds for this purpose in poorer and poorest countries.

Secondly, the challenge ahead is not just one of restoring ecosystems but also the one of preventing further destruction of ecosystems. Who was most responsible for destroying the existing ecosystems which we are now trying to restore. In many cases these are big business interests, including multinational companies and their local agents. Even now all the time the new and ongoing projects of these most powerful actors on the world economic scene which destroy forests and other ecosystems are being reported  on daily basis. The entire notion of protecting a forest ecosystem is destroyed when a most powerful company appears on the scene which has only one aim of extracting minerals from this land.

It is not clear to what extent such ongoing, accelerating ecosystem destruction is going to be opposed by the United Nations system in the course of the decade for ecosystem restoration. Is such opposition at all on the agenda, and will it get due importance in the overall efforts? What is deeply worrying is that the United Nations agencies have been increasingly silent and non-committal on such issues. Instead many of these multinational companies involved in ecosystems destruction at various levels have good accommodative relationships with several United Nations agencies. In agriculture and in other areas the concerned UN agencies involve them closely in their programs.

All these issues are very relevant to  eventually how this UN decade evolves, its actual achievements and results. The reality may well differ from the rhetoric in several cases. No doubt there will be several celebrations of this decade in the days to come, and it will be well to keep in mind a more sincere commitment to ecosystem restoration on such occasions.

Bharat Dogra is a  journalist and author, is Convener of Campaign to Save Earth with its SED Demand ( declaration of next decade as save the earth decade). His recent books include Planet in Peril, Protecting Earth for Children, Man Over Machine and Earth Without Borders.

  Read Will Ecosystems Restoration Actually Get A Real and  Much-Needed Boost With the Launch of A Decade Dedicated to This?
  June 5 2021
India’s Connect Central Asia policy
by Naveed Qazi ,
Countercurrents.org, in World .

Narendra Modi, like his predecessors, P.V Narasimha Rao and others, visited the central Asian countries in July 2015. Although, he became the first Indian prime minister to visit all five of them.

Back then in 2015, Modi signed memoranda of understanding (MOUs) and agreements related to defence and military technical cooperation with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan.

In the future, it seems that the Indian government is also looking for a stronger economic cooperation in the region. India maybe eyeing for its natural resources, to spur its deprived energy sector. It is because over the next decade, as India’s economy grows, its demand for energy will also increase, which will prompt it to diversify sources beyond the Gulf.

Modi’s antecedent, Narasimha Rao, had visited four of the five republics – Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan in 1993, followed by Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan in 1995. This visit had emphasised the shared secular values and drew attention to common perils such as religious fundamentalism, ethnic chauvinism, narcotics-funded violence and crime. Some commentators suggest that this was articulated through a ‘Look North Policy’ that emphasised shared concerns along with a desire to ‘promote stability and cooperation without causing harm to any third country.’ Modi’s attempt to anew similar political associations might develop something constructive for India in the future.

In these advantageous times, several profitable Indian companies would be looking to tap markets, where they can expand their business operations. Indian agrarian sector, which is one of the spheres, that drives the local economy, might be a good match for the export business inside central Asia, if the crops are of good quality with value additions.

The central Asian regions, being backward, is one of the prejudiced reasons, which regional economists and analysts, give about low Indian investments there. However, it is not the case, as several country indexes put central Asian regions above south Asian nations in terms of infrastructure, human capital, and economic development. India, now, must take a note of this reality, which would inturn make it imperative for India to connect with central Asia, for its energy needs. It is because with Middle East, India doesn’t have a bargaining power in oil prices. India also suffers from extremely high transportation costs, from places where it has bought oil fields.

Historically, India’s ties with central Asia can be traced back to the ancient Silk Road, when civilisations and ideas intermingled, and when goods and people moved freely. After the dissolution of the Silk Road, there were limited exchanges between two regions. Additionally, there was also a period of long engagement during the Kushan Empire.

In the recent past, India’s foreign policy was largely not aimed at central Asia, because of the region’s colonial heritage. Countries were part of erstwhile USSR till 1991. And, India at the time of the dissolution of USSR, was fighting its own tribulations, when it attempted for economic reforms in 1991. After India’s independence, the country’s foreign policy focused primarily on immediate neighbourhood, the major powers in global system, and as with solidarity with other Afro-Asian colonies.

Since the turn of the century, central Asia, nevertheless, had become pivotal to India, for maintaining regional stability, especially in the border areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Strategically, during the 1990s central Asia was seen as a route for supplying the anti-Taliban coalition, the Northern Alliance, in Afghanistan. The region also neighbours ‘Golden Crescent’ of opium production (Iran –Afghanistan-Pakistan), and is also a victim of extremism, illegal arms trade, and ISIS extremism. Instability, due to these factors, in central Asia and beyond, can have a spillover effect with India.

In practice, it was only Tajikistan, which functioned as India’s bridgehead in the region. India provided material and logistics assistance to the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, routed through Tajikistan. Subsequently, Tajikistan also became the recipient of long-term Indian military training as well, as well as a prospective location of what could have been India’s first overseas military base. In 2002, India and Tajikistan signed a bilateral defence agreement, as part of which India refurbished Ayni, a disused Soviet airbase. However, the plan did not eventually materialise. Though, India’s military role with other central Asian nations has been limited, it conducted its first ever joint military exercise with Kyrgyzstan, Khanjar, in 2011.

However, since the last few years, India should realise central Asia’s growing important economic- geostrategic position, despite the fact that an increasing importance of the region’s oil and gas resources has generated new rivalries among other external powers: China has made deep inroads through Belt and Road Initiative in the central Asian republics in terms of investments in and with the region. Also, Russia convergence in central Asia, given its fractious ties with the West after its annexation of Crimea. has also changed the dynamics of India’s relations with central Asia.

The only significant achievement for India in the energy sector has been civil nuclear cooperation. In 2008, Kazakhstan supported India in obtaining India-specific exemption to allow civil nuclear cooperation with the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) countries. The following year, India and Kazakhstan signed an agreement for the supply of 2,100 tonnes of uranium to India until 2014. Two years later, during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Kazakhstan, they signed an agreement for ‘Cooperation in the Field of Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy.’ In 2015, with their earlier deal having expired, India and Kazakhstan signed a new agreement for the purchase of 5000 tonnes of Kazakh Uranium until the end of 2019. Currently, both sides are negotiating a third agreement, as part of which Kazakhstan is planning to increase its supplies to India to 7500-10000 tonnes. In 2019, India has also signed a uranium supply agreement with Uzbekistan.

India’s Connect Central Asia policy has the potential for extensive potential for trade, investment, and growth, as the region is richly endowed with commodities such as crude oil, natural gas, cotton, gold, copper, aluminum, and iron.

The economic development of central Asia has also triggered a construction upsurge, and development of IT, pharmaceuticals and tourism in the local business clusters. India has expertise in these sectors, and a deeper cooperation will give a fresh momentum to trade relations with these countries.

In this quest for New Great Game, India must balance the realpolitik and moralpolitik. But there are enormous challenges to India in terms of connectivity. Due to landlocked nature of central Asian states, there is no direct sea route between India and the region. The region doesn’t share a border with India. So, it would be better for India to establish a seamless connectivity with the region. For this purpose, India has faced enormous challenges. In the long-delayed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline, backed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which was first proposed in the mid-1990s, all actors officially signed an intergovernmental agreement in 2010. Since then, progress has been stalled due to the instability in Afghanistan, and the lack of trust between India and Pakistan.

Due to border disputes, ethnic problems and conflict over control of natural resources, central Asian countries have also failed to congregate as a regional bloc, like SAARC or ASEAN, despite some of central Asian’s countries being part of the Euro Asian Economic Union. Hence, it has been difficult for India to formulate a coherent regional policy, despite drafting the Ashgabat agreement, International North-South Transport Corridor, and Chabahar port agreement in the past.

Naveed Qazi is an author of six books. He is the editor of Globe Upfront, and can be mailed at naveedqazi@live.com

  Read India’s Connect Central Asia policy
 June 6, 2021
Free Market Illusions: What is the US’ Endgame in China?
by Dr Ramzy Baroud,
Countercurrents.org, in World .

Why does the US advocate a free market while doing its utmost to stifle it? The current US-China economic war is a perfect example of this perplexing question.

The legacy of Milton Friedman, the founder of America’s modern political economy, was a representation of this very dichotomy: the use, misuse and manipulation of the concept of the free market.

Through the Chicago School of Economics, whose disciples have proved most consequential in the formation of the American approach to foreign policy, especially in South America, Milton constantly championed the virtues of the free market, emphasizing a supposed link between freedom and capitalism and insisting that governments should not micromanage markets.

But theory and practice are two different notions that hardly meet.

The ‘Chicago Boys’ – South American economists who were mostly educated under Friedman himself – were dispatched in the 1970s and 80s to advise some of the continent’s most notorious dictatorships on how to manage their economies. They selectively advocated free-market economics that seemed to only serve the interests of the US and, to a lesser degree, the ruling classes of various South American nations. The bloodbath that ensued in much of the continent during those years can still be felt to this day, from Chile to Argentina and elsewhere.

Friedman died in 2006, after receiving accolades from his own government, in addition to the British government during the reign of Margaret Thatcher. However, his supposed wisdom continues to shape the mindset of mainstream US economists to this day, thus allowing for the unresolved dichotomy to persist: how can the US government ‘stay out’ of the free market while, simultaneously, intervening to control this very free market whenever the outcomes do not suit its interests? A perfect case in point is the ongoing US economic war on China.

Contrary to the common perception, this war was not initiated by the Trump Administration when the US President slapped a series of tariffs on Chinese exports to the US, starting in June 2018. Indeed, it has existed for much longer. Even the supposedly more amiable Barack Obama Administration was engaged in this war. We could argue that Obama’s Pivot to Asia in 2012 was a renewed war declaration.

When the new Joe Biden Administration declared a major ‘reset’ in its foreign policy, Biden did not see the need to engage with China through friendly diplomatic channels. The hostilities continued between both countries simply because this ‘conflict’ has been the status quo ante for decades.

Last April, a bipartisan push at the US Congress raised the heat on Beijing by linking the latter’s human rights record with its economic practices, proposing to funnel billions of dollars into the US economy to, essentially, micromanage the ‘free market’ in favor of the US and to challenge China’s ascendancy.

On May 25, the Chairman of the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, Gregory Meeks, introduced the 470-page Bill, entitled, “Ensuring American Global Leadership and Engagement Act.” This EAGLE Act “addresses a range of issues, including increased investment to promote U.S. manufacturing, trade, work with allies and partners, re-engagement in international organizations and recognition of the treatment of China’s Uyghur Muslim minority as genocide,” Reuters reported.

The Bill advanced after a Senate vote two days later, and is expected, once finalized and signed into law, to serve as the legal and political foundation of Biden’s economic war on China. Like previous administrations, Biden’s is motivated by the Chicago Boys’ mentality, i.e. free market that suits the interests of the US and economic war when this ‘free market’ deviates from its ultimate goal.

One of the most baffling aspects of the US-Chinese economic war is that both countries are similar in terms of economic ambitions. In some ways, the Chinese copied various aspects of the American economic model of yesteryears. China is a capitalist country though it is managed by a ‘Communist Party’. The Party’s intervention in the economy, though it uses unique ideological justification and political discourse, is similar to the US government’s management of the US economy, especially during times of crisis, for example, the 2008 recession.

This ‘conflict’ is hardly motivated by an ideology or human rights violations, but by the fact that China’s economy continues to soar, thus increasing its share of the global economic largesse. With an 18.3% growth in the first quarter of 2021 – the biggest jump in GDP since 1992 – the Chinese momentum is eclipsing the performance of the US economy and its European allies. With economic power, political influence follows, with China now hoping to rearrange global alliances, not just in Asia, Africa and South America, but also in Europe.

According to many mainstream analysts, such as Stuart Anderson, writing in Forbes in June 2020, Trump’s economic war on China has failed. That failure is the direct result of, as Panos Mourdoukoutas concludes, also in Forbes, “the lack of clear direction of what the American side wants from China.” This lack of clarity continues to “give Beijing an upper hand.”

The ill-defined US objectives in China continue to also characterize the new Administration. Even the massively expensive Congressional Bill, once it becomes law, will not be able to answer the simple question: what is the US endgame in China?

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) and also at the Afro-Middle East Center (AMEC). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

  Read Free Market Illusions: What is the US’ Endgame in China?
  July 5, 2021
Scrap the Bunder Diamond Mine Project
by National Alliance of People’s Movements,
Countercurrents.org, in Environmental Protection .

NAPM strongly opposes the destruction of Buxwaha protected forest region in Madhya Pradesh, for proposed Bunder diamond mining project. Government must immediately withdraw all projects which threaten the ecological and socio-cultural significance of Buxwaha. 5th July, 2021: NAPM condemns the decision of the Government of Madhya Pradesh to carry out the proposed Bunder diamond block in the Buxwaha protected forests of Chhatarpur. The project, spearheaded by Aditya Birla Group’s Essel Mining and Industries Ltd. (EMIL), will lead to irrevocable destruction of dense forest land, including over 2 lakh trees. We convey our full solidarity with the struggle of the local communities and citizens campaigns to save Buxwaha forest and call upon the Govt of MP to scrap the diamond block project with immediate effect.

EMIL is currently in the process of obtaining regulatory clearances for a fully-mechanized open-cast mine and processing plant for diamonds on 364 hectares of protected forest land near Sagoria village. The project is expected to begin in 2022 and the company claims that it has the potential to be the biggest diamond mining plant in Asia.

However, the mine will have devastating social and environmental effects on the Buxwaha protected forests and surrounding region. It will lead to the cutting of at least 2.15 lakh trees, severely threatening the region’s rich biodiversity and the local Adivasi communities. The project threatens critical wildlife habitats, including those of at least seven species listed in Schedule I of Wild Life Protection Act, 1972. It will also adversely impact the tiger corridor between the Panna National Park and the nearby Nauradehi forests of Bundelkhand. 

Moreover, Bundelkhand is drought prone and the water situation in the Buxwaha region itself has been declared as ‘semi-critical’. The large water requirement for the mining project (1.6 crore litres per day) will lead to diversion of vital seasonal water sources found in the forests. Mining to depths of more than 1,100 feet will also severely deplete the already low groundwater levels.

Instead of fulfilling their responsibility to protect forests and support local communities, government officials are going out of their way to facilitate the project. Reports by Chhatarpur’s District Forest Officer (DFO) and Chief Forest Conservator (CFC) assert that no wildlife species of specific importance or belonging to endangered categories are found in the region. They also make the blatantly false claim that Adivasi communities are ‘not dependent’ on the area. However, at least 8,000 residents from more than 20 nearby villages rely heavily on these forests for their livelihoods and food security. Such attempts by the government to sacrifice natural resources and local communities for private profit are highly condemnable.

The experience from the Sardar Sarovar dam and other dam projects in the Narmada Valley also shows that the MP government cannot be relied on to carry out proper ‘compensatory afforestation’ programs to compensate for the proposed destruction of Buxwaha forests. In many compensatory afforestation areas of the Narmada Valley, no tree plantation was ever carried out, or the trees have already died and the land is now degraded. It is also important to recognize that no compensatory afforestation can replace the old, dense forests and rich biodiversity of Buxwaha.

The project has already seen severe opposition from affected communities and activists. Groups like Buxwaha Jungle Bachao Abhiyaan and Paryawaran Bachao Abhiyaan have come together as part of the struggle to save Buxwaha from corporate intrusion. In keeping with recent trends where a lot of young people are expressing solidarity with environmental issues across the country, #SaveBuxwaha Campaign has also been highlighted through social media. Despite officials trying to prevent ongoing peaceful forms of local protest like Harit Satyagrahas, the people of the region are determined to save the forest.

The latest order by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to temporarily stay felling of trees and set up an expert panel under the provisions of the Forest Conservation Act is a welcome step which brings some immediate relief. However, concrete government actions are needed to ensure the project is fully withdrawn. 

Madhya Pradesh, a state with rich biodiversity is also recklessly pushing ahead many other environmentally destructive projects like the Ken-Betwa River Interlinking Project, Bundelkhand Expressway and other proposed projects in the Bundelkand region, which will cause irreparable damage to local communities and ecosystems.  All these projects violate existing legal provisions and their socio-ecological costs need to be critically reviewed.

National Alliance of People’s Movements condemns the Govt of MP’s prioritizing of profit over the lives, livelihoods and culture of Adivasi people, and at the cost of irreparable destruction of the environment, in blatant disregard of existing legislation. We stand in solidarity with the people’s protests against the proposed Bunder diamond mine and destruction of Buxwaha forests. We demand that:

  1. Existing sanctions for development of the Bunder diamond block should be immediately revoked.
  2. An urgent social and environmental impact assessment of the area should be conducted, which accurately recognizes the Adivasi communities’ dependence on the area for their livelihood and food security, and records the true extent of the loss of biodiversity and wildlife due to the project.
  3. Govt of MP must not allow diversion of forest land without full recognition and settlement of forest rights under FRA, 2006. Outstanding Community Forest Rights of affected villages over Buxwaha forests under the Forest Rights Act, 2006 should be recognized with immediate effect. 
  4. The Government of Madhya Pradesh should stop inviting fresh bids for mining in protected forest areas and offer unconditional protection to Buxwaha Protected Forest and Panna National Forest regions from similar projects in the future.

Medha Patkar, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM); Dr. Sunilam, Adv. Aradhna Bhargava, Kisan Sangharsh Samiti; Rajkumar Sinha, Chutka Parmaanu Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti, Amula Nidhi, NAPM, Madhya Pradesh;

Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey, Shankar Singh, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS), National Campaign for People’s Right to Information; Kavita Srivastava, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL); Kailash Meena NAPM Rajasthan;

Prafulla Samantara, Lok Shakti Abhiyan; Lingraj Azad, Samajwadi Jan Parishad & Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti, Manorama, Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti; Lingaraj Pradhan, Satya Banchor, Anant, Kalyan Anand, Arun Jena, Trilochan Punji, Lakshimipriya Mohanty and Balakrishna Sand, Manas Patnaik, NAPM Odisha;

Sandeep Pandey (Socialist Party of India); Richa Singh & Rambeti (Sangatin Kisaan Mazdoor Sangathan, Sitapur); Rajeev Yadav & Masihuddin bhai (Rihai Manch, Lucknow & Azamgadh); Arundhati Dhuru & Zainab Khatun (Mahila Yuva Adhikar Manch, Lucknow), Suresh Rathaur (MNREGA Mazdoor Union, Varanasi); Arvind Murti & Altamas Ansari (Inquilabi Kamgaar Union, Mau), Jagriti Rahi (Vision Sansthan, Varanasi); Satish Singh (Sarvodayi Vikas Samiti, Varanasi); Nakul Singh Sawney (Chal Chitra Abhiyan, Muzaffarnagar); NAPM Uttar Pradesh

P Chennaiah, Andhra Pradesh Vyavasaya Vruthidarula Union-APVVU, Ramakrishnam Raju, United Forum for RTI and NAPM, Chakri (Samalochana), Balu GadiBapji Juvvala, NAPM Andhra Pradesh;

Jeevan Kumar & Syed Bilal (Human Rights Forum), P. Shankar (Dalit Bahujan Front), Vissa Kiran Kumar & Kondal (Rythu Swarajya Vedika), Ravi Kanneganti (Rythu JAC), Ashalatha (MAKAAM), Krishna (Telangana Vidyavantula Vedika-TVV), M. Venkatayya (Telangana Vyavasaya Vruttidarula Union-TVVU), Meera Sanghamitra, NAPM Telangana;

Sister Celia, Domestic Workers Union; Maj Gen (Retd) S.G.Vombatkere, NAPM, Nalini Gowda, KRRS, Nawaz, Dwiji Guru, Nalini, Madhu Bhushan and Mamatha Yajaman, Susheela, Shashank, NAPM Karnataka

Gabriele Dietrich, Penn Urimay Iyakkam, Madurai; Geetha Ramakrishnan, Unorganised Sector Workers Federation;  Suthanthiran, Lenin, Inamul HasanArul Doss,  Vikash NAPM Tamilnadu;

Vilayodi Venugopal, CR Neelakandan, Prof. Kusumam Joseph, Sharath Cheloor, Vijayaraghavan Cheliya, Majeendran, Magline, NAPM, Kerala;

Dayamani Barla, Aadivasi-Moolnivasi Astivtva Raksha Samiti; Basant Hetamsaria, Aloka Kujur, Dr. Leo A. Singh, Afzal Anish, Sushma Biruli, Durga Nayak, Jipal Murmu, Priti Ranjan Dash, Ashok Verma, NAPM Jharkhand;

Anand Mazgaonkar, Swati Desai, Krishnakant, Parth, Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti; Nita Mahadev, Mudita, Lok Samiti; Dev Desai, Mujahid Nafees, Ramesh Tadvi and Bharat Jambucha, NAPM Gujarat;

Vimal Bhai, Matu Jan sangathan; Jabar Singh, Uma, NAPM, Uttarakhand;

Manshi Asher and Himshi Singh, Himdhara, NAPM Himachal Pradesh

Eric PintoAbhijeetTania Devaiah, Caroline, Diana Tavers, Emil, Francesca, NAPM Goa

Gautam Bandopadhyay, Nadi Ghati Morcha; Kaladas Dahariya, RELAA, Alok ShuklaShalini Gera, NAPM Chhattisgarh;

Samar Bagchi, Amitava MitraBinayak Sen, Sujato Bhadro, Pradip Chatterjee, Pasarul Alam, Amitava Mitra, Tapas Das, Tahomina Mandal, Pabitra Mandal, Kazi Md. Sherif, Biswajit Basak, Ayesha Khatun, Rupak Mukherjee, Milan Das, Asit Roy, Mita Bhatta, Yasin, Matiur Rahman, Baiwajit Basa, NAPM West Bengal;

Suniti SR, Sanjay M G, Suhas Kolhekar, Prasad Bagwe, Mukta Srivastava, Yuvraj Gatkal, Geetanjali ChavanBilal Khan, Jameela, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan; Chetan Salve, Narmada Bachao Andolan, Pervin Jehangir, NAPM Maharashtra;

J S Walia, NAPM Haryana;  Guruwant Singh, Narbinder Singh, NAPM Punjab;

Kamayani Swami, Ashish Ranjan, Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan; Mahendra Yadav, Kosi Navnirman Manch;  NAPM Bihar; Sr. Dorothy.

Rajendra Ravi, NAPM; Bhupender Singh Rawat, Jan Sangharsh Vahini; Anjali Bharadwaj and Amrita Johri, Satark Nagrik Sangathan;  Sanjeev Kumar, Dalit Adivasi Shakti Adhikar Manch; Anita Kapoor, Delhi Shahri Mahila Kaamgaar Union; Sunita Rani, National Domestic Workers Union; Nanhu Prasad, National Cyclist Union; Madhuresh Kumar, Priya Pillai, Aryaman Jain, Divyansh Khurana, Evita Das; Anil TV, Delhi Solidarity Group, MJ Vijayan (PIPFPD)     

For any further details, contact: napmindia@gmail.com

  Read Scrap the Bunder Diamond Mine Project
  July 5, 2021
Global Warming, Climate Refugees, Migrations – And Beyond: Need for national-level planning
by S G Vombatkere,
Countercurrents.org, in Climate Change .

It is well established that global warming (GW) is driving climate change (CC). Thinkers believe that in coming years, GW-CC will adversely affect societies and nations on a global scale like nothing before.

Important among the IPCC-predicted long-term effects of GW-CC, as applicable to India, are:

(1) Rise in sea level due to polar ice-melt, leading to coastal erosion or submergence,

(2) Melt and recession of Himalayan glaciers, leading to depleted non-monsoon river flow,

(3) Rainfall pattern disruption, leading to desertification of large areas, and

(4) Extreme events like severe cyclonic storms.

The effect of these four will be on the biosphere in general, but more specifically on human life (including health) and livelihoods; forests, green cover and water bodies; food & water resources; property; and on social, economic and political structures.

Their combined effect boggles the mind. The questions agitating thoughtful persons are: # When serious outcomes may commence, and # Whether the so-called tipping point has already been reached.

India’s June 2008 National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) does not go beyond simply taking cognizance of migration of affected coastal communities. This article focuses on migration affecting lives and livelihoods, as one outcome of GW-CC, in the Indian and South Asia regional context.

A mean sea level (MSL) rise of 15-cm to 38-cm is expected along India’s coast by 2050. However, before MSL rises by even 10-cm, ocean wave-action and coastal erosion would have invaded land and seriously impacted lives and livelihoods. Indeed already, gradual and barely noticeable, but relentless rise in MSL has caused coastal erosion in many places on our 7,500-km coastline, resulting in loss of land. The Sunderbans region, partly in West Bengal and partly in Bangladesh, is especially seriously affected, and migrations are a reality, putting a strain on already scarce resources of all sorts. This will only increase in the future.

Similarly, rising average temperatures, water-stress and floods will cause increased rural to urban migrations.

India has 13 coastal cities including Mumbai on the West coast, and 8 coastal cities including Chennai on the East coast, besides dozens of coastal towns. These will all be affected by sea level rise combined with flood during monsoon or due to extreme-event rainfall, because urban growth blocks natural watercourses which carry rainfall runoff into the sea. Over time, this will lead to slowdown/shutdown of different livelihood and economic activities, causing migration of affected people of all socio-economic sections for shelter and livelihood.

Apart from coastal urban settlements, people living in low-lying coastal rural areas and in hundreds of fishing villages on mainland India and its island territories, will be forced to move inland, away from the coast, and get classed as “migrants”.

Over the past many years, the annual monsoon river flooding in Brahmaputra, Ganga and their tributaries, and in several peninsular rivers, regularly dislocates normal life. Additionally, the extreme events of very heavy unseasonal rains due to GW-CC has caused very serious flood disasters, forcing people to move or migrate. The courses of Ganga and its major tributaries undergo shift within their flood plains from year to year due to annual flood flow. These shifts  cause erosion-loss of land in one area and “new” land exposed in a different area. This magnifies the vulnerability and distress of people who perforce live or work in the flood-plains, including those who are “protected” by embankments.

It is beyond dispute that almost all the coastal-erosion and flood-affected people are from the lowest economic sections, and are poor-to-very-poor. Due to loss of land and livelihood, they migrate to small towns and cities. These migrants are in addition to the migrants who have been leaving rural areas permanently because of the unviability of agriculture (happening for a variety of reasons which have been discussed threadbare elsewhere), and due to displacement caused by infrastructure and industrial projects.

According to a December 2020 report by Climate Action Network South Asia & Action Aid, an estimated 14-million people may have already migrated internally due to slow-onset impacts, such as sea-level rise, water stress, crop-yield reduction, ecosystem degradation and habitat loss, and drought.

Migrants are unwelcome in the destinations to which they are forced by circumstances to migrate in search of food, shelter and livelihood. They are considered encroachers by individuals, society and governments. The resultant competition for scarce basics of land/shelter, food-water, livelihood, etc., continues to cause fresh problems, or increases existing social tensions within and among all rural and urban societies and communities.

It will not be an over-statement that migrations caused by GW-CC will dwarf past migrations. In coming years, migrations in terms of sheer numbers, whether from neighbouring countries into India or refuge-seekers from India’s coastal areas and other environmentally degraded areas, will lead to extremely challenging socio-economic situations at all levels from local to national. Besides affecting individuals and societies, it will severely impact our nation’s economy.

GW-CC migrations aggravating already difficult-to-manage internal conflicts may well lead to unmanageable law and order situations, rupture the social fabric, and compromise both internal and external security.

This is undoubtedly a bleak scenario, but it is realistic, not pessimistic.

The future depends on what we do in the present

GW-CC induced migration has cross-border implications. Therefore, border security and diplomatic initiatives need assessment at the highest level, and integration into strategic planning by the National Security Council. The situations posed by GW-CC may need to be war-gamed, and addressed not only as national calamities, but cause for overarching regional concern affecting South Asia.

India could provide leadership in integrating SAARC and other regional bodies to proactively plan mitigation of massive and unprecedented migration which is likely to follow GW-CC catastrophes. Such an initiative may provide India additional diplomatic advantage and leverage in international fora. The National Security Council would do well to give this matter very serious and immediate consideration, and strategize for handling regional and domestic conflict/security situations.

Beyond migration, survival

There is no evidence that indicates serious consideration having been given to strategizing now, for future generations. The NAPCC is woefully inadequate, and does not point in the right direction. Neglect of planning for the future is the real disaster which needs to be managed.

Political leaders and opinion-makers need to acquire practical wisdom to understand that GW-CC is an existential threat to most living species and certainly to human societies. The threat is growing, not receding. Measures based on that understanding need implementation to mitigate the effects of GW-CC, to find an effective transition to “deep adaptation” necessary for species survival.

Political leaders and opinion-makers may also understand that technology cannot solve human social problems, and that only genuine implementation of the principles of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity, are the way forward. Changing or tweaking existing economic, legal and political systems will not reach beyond partisan benefit. Protecting, preserving and conserving natural resources and bio-diversity, to ensure egalitarian provision of the basic needs of water & food security, clothing & shelter, and health, education, welfare and employment, for all.

These matters are simultaneously urgent and important. Is any leader even capable of hearing, leave alone listening, amid the distractions of petty politicking and self-congratulatory grandstanding at public expense?

Major General S.G.Vombatkere (Retd), VSM, writes on development and strategy.

Email: <sg9kere@live.com>

  Read Global Warming, Climate Refugees, Migrations – And Beyond: Need for national-level planning
  June 7, 2021
The Clean Energy Transition Is a Big Time-Wasting Lie
by Bill Henderson,
Countercurrents.org, in Climate Change .

“(W)e haven’t even started to talk about what might be ‘possible’ and are still mostly arguing about what is ‘feasible without compromising economic growth.’ These are of course extremely different things, and the latter will not get us anywhere near the 1.5 degrees C target.” Damon Matthews

Although last weeks court cases and shareholder battles have been (rightly) called a bad, bad day for oil, climate hawks will see much more evidence that we are still stuck in the continuing era of predatory delay. As with the commentary after the recent IEA Roadmap to Net-Zero report, there is renewed hope (wrongly) in the ‘energy transition’ instead of needed refocusing upon a draconian, last chance, regulated reduction of GHG emissions.

Coverage of the IEA report headlined a call for no new investment in fossil fuel exploration and infrastructure. This would have been a very welcome development two decades ago and if acted upon then we wouldn’t have invested the trillions of dollars that will continue to expand production  for at least the next several decades. But a call for an end to new investment now – instead of a call to decrease fossil fuel use in order to actually reduce emissions by the required 7-10% per year this decade – just indicates how those seeking to prolong fossil fuel use still control how we perceive climate mitigation.

The court cases in the Netherlands and Australia and the shareholder battles are being interpreted as instruments to put pressure upon industry to hasten action in the energy transition but the emerging climate science – what is to expected to be front and center in the next IPCC assessment report scheduled for 2022 – is clear that if we care to act responsibly, that there is no more time for the allowed, orthodox decarbonization conception of climate mitigation – the clean energy transition – where renewables out compete fossil fuels in existing markets, aided by carbon pricing and/or industrial policy. There is no time for a government led Green New Deal to speed up this energy transition either (even if the GND was politically possible).

For only one example, consider a recent paper on permafrost carbon feedbacks and how – when finally incorporated into IPCC reporting – these feedbacks will decrease carbon budgets for staying below 2C. Add in GHGs from carbon sinks that are switching to sources – like forests globally, and from present sinks that are predicted to diminish in their capacity to store carbon, especially soils, and the timeline for needed mitigation shrinks considerably. Plus, overshoot scenarios in previous IPCC projections do not consider that negative emissions in the second half of the century will also have to include these building GHG emissions from feedbacks.

Maybe we should instead consider urgent, effective mitigation policies like supply-side regulation of fossil fuel production that could and would reduce emissions this decade.

The energy transition has turned out to be a good time waster over the past several decades, allowing fossil fuel expansion and use for those for whom predatory delay is in their vested interest – for those who have been working hard to save business as usual from needed climate mitigation.

Additionally, there is disturbing new thinking that the elusive inflection point in the transition to renewables will happen much later than presumed:  what matters is how profitable fossil fuels are, rather than just cost in competition with renewables – renewables are getting cheaper, but fossil fuels are still more lucrative. This should lead climate hawks to renounce the energy transition false path and put more pressure on governments for regulated managed declines.

Of course, reduction of fossil fuel use is impossible without alternate sources of energy and the beginning conceptions of climate mitigation were and should have been about making an energy transition. But now, today, we require emission reduction urgently at a far faster pace than is possible through replacement with renewables. Our obligation to future generations requires powering down, a systemic transition from the fossil fuel generated economy. (We will still need a strong Green New Deal to both build the renewable capacity possible and to support non-energy innovation in building a post-carbon economy.)

Instead of a regulated reduction of what has now become a potentially fatal toxin, we are still obviously trying to hurry up a 100% renewables energy transition that was always a comforting daydream, a stretch  even on the 2050 timeline,  but that now promises only limited emission reduction in a fossil investment fueled BAU till at least 2040. The new MIT 2021 Global Change Outlook predicts only a modest reduction in fossil fuel use by 2050 in it’s three scenarios.

Fossil fuel companies are still obviously in charge of the emission reduction timeline. We aren’t going to reduce emissions at a scale needed this decade without change to a much more aggressive (and much more contentious) mitigation path.  To try and stay safe from the potentially existential consequences of climate change we now need to challenge continuing predatory delay, challenge those fossil fuel powers that still restrict mitigation policies, and wake up those that remain wedded to a dream that is now an obstacle, a buttress for continuing denial, to doing the right, responsible thing for our descendants..

Bill Henderson is a long time climate activist and Countercurrents contributor – bhenderson(at)dccnet(dot)com

  Read The Clean Energy Transition Is a Big Time-Wasting Lie
  June 7, 2021
A World at the Edge
by Tom Engelhardt,
Countercurrents.org, in World.

Let me start with my friend and the boat. Admittedly, they might not seem to have anything to do with each other. The boat, a guided-missile destroyer named the USS Curtis Wilbur, reportedly passed through the Straits of Taiwan and into the South China Sea, skirting the Paracel Islands that China has claimed as its own. It represented yet another Biden-era challenge to the planet’s rising power from its falling one. My friend was thousands of miles away on the West Coast of the United States, well vaccinated and going nowhere in Covid-stricken but improving America.

As it happens, she’s slightly younger than me, but still getting up there, and we were chatting on the phone about our world, about the all-too-early first wildfire near Los Angeles, the intensifying mega-drought across the West and Southwest, the increasing nightmare of hurricane season in the Atlantic and so on. We were talking about the way in which we humans — and we Americans in particular (though you could toss in the Chinese without a blink) — have been wreaking fossil-fuelized havoc on this planet and what was to come.

And oh yes, we were talking about our own deaths, also to come at some unknown future moment but one not as far away as either of us might wish. My friend then said to me abashedly, “I sometimes think it’s lucky I won’t be here to see what’s going to happen to the world.” And even as she began stumbling all over herself apologizing for saying such a thing, I understood exactly what she meant. I had had the very same thought and sense of shame and horror at even thinking it — at even thinking I would, in some strange sense, get off easy and leave a world from hell to my children and grandchildren.

Nothing, in fact, could make me sadder.

And you know what’s the worst thing? Whether I’m thinking about that “destroyer” in the Strait of Taiwan or the destruction of planet Earth, one thing is clear enough: it wouldn’t have to be this way.

China on the Brain

Now, let’s focus on the Curtis Wilbur for a moment. And in case you hadn’t noticed, Joe Biden and his foreign-policy team have China on the brain. No surprise there, though, only history. Don’t you remember how, when Biden was still vice president, President Obama announced that, in foreign and especially military policy, the U.S. was planning a “pivot to Asia“? His administration was, in other words, planning on leaving this country’s war-on-terror disasters in the Greater Middle East behind (not that he would actually prove capable of doing so) and refocusing on this planet’s true rising power. Donald Trump would prove similarly eager to dump America’s Greater Middle Eastern wars (though he, too, failed to do so) and refocus on Beijing — tariffs first, but warships not far behind. Now, as they withdraw the last U.S. troops from Afghanistan, the Biden team finds itself deep in its own version of a pivot-to-Asia strategy, with their collective foreign-policy brain remarkably focused on challenging China (at least until Israel briefly got in the way).

Think of it as a kind of pandemic of anxiety, a fear that, without a major refocus, the U.S. might indeed be heading for the imperial scrapheap of history. In a sense, this may prove to be the true Achilles heel of the Biden era. Or put another way, the president’s foreign-policy crew seems, at some visceral level, to fear deeply for the America they’ve known and valued so, the one that was expected to loom invincibly over the rest of the planet once the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991; the imperial power our politicians (until Donald Trump) had long hailed as the greatest, most “exceptional” nation on the planet; the one with “the finest fighting force that the world has ever known” (Barack Obama), aka “the greatest force for freedom in the history of the world” (George W. Bush).

We’re talking, of course, about the same great power that, after almost 20 years of disastrous wars, drone strikes, and counterterror operations across vast stretches of the planet, looks like it is sinking fast, a country whose political parties can no longer agree on anything that matters. In such a context, let’s consider, for a moment, that flu-like China obsession, the one that leaves Washington’s politicians and military leaders with strikingly high temperatures and an irrational urge to send American warships into distant waters near the coast of China, while regularly upping the ante, militarily and politically.

In that context, here’s an obsessional fact of our moment: these days, it seems as if President Biden can hardly appear anywhere or talk to anyone without mentioning China or that sinking country he now heads and that sinking feeling he has about it. He did it the other week in an interview with David Brooks when, with an obvious on-the-page shudder, he told the New York Times columnist, “We’re kind of at a place where the rest of the world is beginning to look to China.” Brrr… it’s cold in here (or maybe too hot to handle?) in an increasingly chaotic, still partly Trumpian, deeply divided Washington, and in a country where, from suppressing the vote to suppressing the teaching of history to encouraging the carrying of unlicensed weapons, democracy is looking ill indeed.

Oh, and that very same week when the president talked to Brooks, he went to the Coast Guard Academy to address its graduating class and promptly began discussing — yes! — that crucial, central subject for Washingtonians these days, freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. (“When nations try to game the system or tip the rules in their favor, it throws everything off balance. That’s why we are so adamant that these areas of the world that are the arteries of trade and shipping remain peaceful — whether that’s the South China Sea, the Arabian Gulf, and, increasingly, the Arctic.”) You didn’t know, did you, that a guided-missile destroyer, not to speak of aircraft carrier battle groups, and other naval vessels had been anointed with the job of keeping “freedom of navigation” alive halfway across the planet or that the U.S. Coast Guard simply guards our coastlines.

These days, it should really be called the Coasts Guard. After all, you can find its members “guarding” coasts ranging from Iran’s in the Persian Gulf to the South China Sea. Evidently, even the coast of the island of Taiwan, which, since 1949, China has always claimed as its own and where a subtle dance between Beijing and Washington has long played out, has become just another coast for guarding in nothing less than a new “partnership.” (“Our new agreement for the Coast Guard to partner with Taiwan,” said the president, “will help ensure that we’re positioned to better respond to shared threats in the region and to conduct coordinated humanitarian and environmental missions.”) Consider that a clear challenge to the globe’s rising power in what’s become ever more of a showdown at the naval equivalent of the O.K. Corral, part of an emerging new cold war between the two countries.

And none of this is out of the ordinary. In his late April address to Congress, for instance, President Biden anxiously told the assembled senators and congressional representatives that “we’re in a competition with China and other countries to win the twenty-first century… China and other countries are closing in fast” — and in his own strange way, Donald Trump exhibited similar worries.

What Aren’t We Guarding?

Now, here’s the one thing that doesn’t seem to strike anyone in Congress, at the Coast Guard Academy, or at the New York Times as particularly strange: that American ships should be protecting “maritime freedom” on the other side of the globe, or that the Coast Guard should be partnering for the same. Imagine, just for a second, that Chinese naval vessels and their Coast Guard equivalent were patrolling our coasts, or parts of the Caribbean, while edging ever closer to Florida. You know just what an uproar of shock and outrage, what cries of horror would result. But it’s assumed that the equivalent on the other side of the globe is a role too obvious even to bother to explain and that our leaders should indeed be crying out in horror at China’s challenges to it.

It’s increasingly clear that, from Japan to the Taiwan Strait to the South China Sea to the Indian Ocean, Washington is pushing China hard, challenging its positions big time and often in a military fashion. And no, China itself, whether in the South China Sea or elsewhere, is no angel. Still, the U.S. military, while trying to leave its failed terror wars in the dust, is visibly facing off against that economically rising power in an ever more threatening manner, one that already seems too close to a possible military conflict of some sort. And you don’t even want to know what sort of warfare this country’s military leaders are now imagining there as, in fact, they did so long ago. (Daniel Ellsberg of Pentagon Papers fame only recently revealed that, according to a still-classified document, in response to the Chinese shelling of Taiwan in 1958, U.S. military leaders seriously considered launching nuclear strikes against mainland China.)

Indeed, as U.S. Navy ships are eternally sent to challenge China, challenging words in Washington only escalate as well. As Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks put it in March, while plugging for an ever larger Pentagon budget, “Beijing is the only competitor potentially capable of combining its economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to mount a sustained challenge to a stable and open international system… Secretary [of Defense Lloyd] Austin and I believe that the [People’s Republic of China] is the pacing challenge for the United States military.”

And in that context, the U.S. Navy, the Air Force, and the Coast Guard are all “pacing” away. The latest proposed version of an always-rising Pentagon budget, for instance, now includes $5.1 billion for what’s called the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, “a fund created by Congress to counter China in the Indo-Pacific region.” In fact, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command is also requesting $27 billion in extra spending between 2022 and 2027 for “new missiles and air defenses, radar systems, staging areas, intelligence-sharing centers, supply depots and testing ranges throughout the region.”

And so it goes in the pandemic world of 2021.

Though seldom asked, the real question, the saddest one I think, the one that brings us back to my conversation with my friend about the world we may leave behind us, is: What aren’t we guarding on this planet of ours?

A New Cold War on a Melting Planet?

Let’s start with this: the old pattern of rising and falling empires should be seen as a thing of the past. It’s true that, in a traditional sense, China is now rising and the U.S. seemingly falling, at least economically speaking. But something else is rising and something else is falling, too. I’m thinking, of course, about rising global temperatures that, sometime in the next five years, have a reasonable chance of exceeding the 1.5 degree Celsius limit (above the pre-industrial era) set by the Paris Climate Accords and what that future heat may do to the very idea of a habitable planet.

Meanwhile, when it comes to the U.S., the Atlantic hurricane season is only expected to worsen, the mega-drought in the Southwest to intensify (as fires burn ever higher in previously wetter mountainous elevations in that region), and so on. Within this century, major coastal cities in this country and China like New Orleans, Miami, Shanghai, and Hong Kong could find themselves flooded out by rising sea levels, thanks in part to the melting of Antarctica and Greenland. As for a rising China, that supposedly ultimate power of the future, even its leadership must know that parts of the north China plain, now home to 400 million people, could become quite literally uninhabitable by century’s end due to heat waves capable of killing the healthy within hours.

In such a context, on such a planet, ask yourself: Is there really a future for us in which the essential relationship between the U.S. and China — the two largest greenhouse gas emitters of this moment — is a warlike one? Whether a literal war results or not, one thing should be clear enough: if the two greatest carbon emitters can’t figure out how to cooperate instead of picking endless fights with each other, the human future is likely to prove grim and dim indeed. “Containing” China is the foreign-policy focus of the moment, a throwback to another age in Washington. And yet this is the very time when what truly needs to be contained is the overheating of this planet. And in truth, given human ingenuity, climate change should indeed be containable.

And yet the foreign-policy wing of the Biden administration and Congress (where Democrats are successfully infusing money into the economy under the rubric of a struggle with China, a rare subject the Republicans can go all in on) seem focused on creating a future of eternal Sino-American hostility and endless armed competition. In the already overheated world we inhabit, who could honestly claim that this is a formula for “national security”?

Returning to the conversation with my friend, I wonder why this approach to our planet doesn’t seem to more people like an obvious formula for disaster. Why aren’t more of us screaming at the top of our lungs about the dangers of Washington’s urge to return to a world in which a “cold war” is a formula for success? It leaves me ever more fearful for the planet that, one of these days, I will indeed be leaving to others who deserved so much better.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Books, John Feffer’s new dystopian novel, Songlands (the final one in his Splinterlands series), Beverly Gologorsky’s novel Every Body Has a Story, and Tom Engelhardt’s A Nation Unmade by War, as well as Alfred McCoy’s In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power and John Dower’s The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II.

Tom Engelhardt created and runs the website TomDispatch.com. He is also a co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author of a highly praised history of American triumphalism in the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture.  A fellow of the Type Media Center, his sixth and latest book is A Nation Unmade by War.

Originally published by TomDispatch

  Read A World at the Edge
  June 7, 2021
A People’s Vaccine Against a Mutating Virus and Neoliberal Rule
by Nicolas J S Davies ,
Countercurrents.org, in World.

A recent Yahoo News/YouGov poll found that worries about the COVID pandemic in the United States are at their lowest level since it began. Only half of Americans are either “very worried” (15%) or “somewhat worried” (35%) about the virus, while the other half are “not very worried” (30%) or “not worried at all” (20%).

But the news from around the world makes it clear that this pandemic is far from over, and a story from Vietnam highlights the nature of the danger.

Vietnam is a COVID success story, with one of the lowest rates of infection and death in the world. Vietnam’s excellent community-based public health system prevented the virus from spreading beyond isolated cases and localized outbreaks, without a nationwide lockdown. With a population of 98 million people, Vietnam has had only 8,883 cases and 53 deaths.

However, more than half of Vietnam’s cases and deaths have come in the last two months, and three-quarters of the new cases have been infected with a new “hybrid” variant that combines the two mutations detected separately in the Alpha (U.K.) and Delta (India) variants.

Vietnam is a canary in the pandemic coal-mine. The way this new variant has spread so quickly in a country that has defeated every previous form of the virus suggests that this one is much more infectious.

This variant must surely also be spreading in other countries, where it will be harder to detect among thousands of daily cases, and will therefore be widespread by the time public health officials and governments respond to it. There may also be other highly infectious new variants spreading undetected among the millions of cases in Latin America and other parts of the world.

A new study in The Lancet medical journal has found that the Alpha (U.K.), Beta (South Africa) and Delta (India) variants are all more resistant to existing vaccines than the original COVID virus, and the Delta variant is still spreading in countries with aggressive vaccination programs, including the U.K.

The Delta variant accounts for a two-month high in new cases in the U.K. and a new wave of infections in Portugal, just as developed countries ease restrictions before the summer vacation season, almost certainly opening the door to the next wave. The U.K., which has a slightly higher vaccination rate than the United States, had planned a further relaxation of restrictions on June 21st, but that is now in question.

China, Vietnam, New Zealand and other countries defeated the pandemic in its early stages by prioritizing public health over business interests. The United States and Western Europe instead tried to strike a balance between public health and their neoliberal economic systems, breeding a monster that has now killed millions of people. The World Health Organization believes that six to eight million people have died, about twice as many as have been counted in official figures.

Now the WHO is recommending that wealthier countries who have good supplies of vaccines postpone vaccinating healthy young people, and instead prioritize sending vaccines to poorer countries where the virus is running wild.

President Biden has announced that the United States is releasing 25 million doses from its stockpiles, most of which will be distributed through the WHO’s Covax program, with another 55 million to follow by the end of June. But this is a tiny fraction of what is needed.

Biden has also agreed to waive patent rights on vaccines under the WTO’s TRIPS rules (the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights), but that has so far been held up at the WTO by Canada and right-wing governments in the U.K., Germany, Brazil, Australia, Japan and Colombia. People have taken to the streets in many countries to insist that a WTO TRIPS Council meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 8-9, must agree to waive patent monopolies.

Since all the countries blocking the TRIPS waiver are U.S. allies, this will be a critical test of the Biden administration’s promised international leadership and diplomacy, which has so far taken a back seat to dangerous saber-rattling against China and Russia, foot-dragging on the JCPOA with Iran and war-crime-fueling weapons-peddling to Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Ending international vaccine apartheid is not just a matter of altruism, or even justice. It is a question of whether we will end this pandemic before vaccine-resistant, super-spreading and deadlier variants fuel even more toxic new waves. The only way humanity can win this struggle is to act collectively in our common interest.

Public Citizen has researched what it would take to vaccinate the world, and concluded that it would cost only $25 billion – 3% of the annual U.S. budget for weapons and war – to set up manufacturing plants and distribution hubs across the world and vaccinate all of humanity within a year. Forty-two Progressives in Congress have signed a letter to President Biden to urge him to fund such a plan.

If the world can agree to make and distribute a People’s Vaccine, it could be the silver lining in this dark cloud, because this ability to act globally and collectively in the public interest is precisely what we need to solve so many of the most serious problems facing humanity.

For example, the UN Environment Program (UNEP) is warning that we are in the midst of a triple crisis of climate change, mass extinction and pollution. Our neoliberal political and economic system has not just failed to solve these problems. It actively works to undermine efforts to do so, granting people, corporations and countries who profit from destroying the natural world the freedom to do so without constraint.

That is the very meaning of laissez-faire, to let the wealthy and powerful do whatever they want, regardless of the consequences for the rest of us, or even for life on Earth. As the economist John Maynard Keynes reputedly said in the 1930s, “Laissez-faire capitalism is the absurd idea that the worst people, for the worst reasons, will do what is best for us all.”

Neoliberalism is the reimposition of 19th century laissez-faire capitalism, with all its injustices, inequality and oppression, on the people of the 21st century, prioritizing markets, profits and wealth over the common welfare of humanity and the natural world our lives depend on.

Berkeley and Princeton political theorist Sheldon Wolin called the U.S. political system, which facilitates this neoliberal economic order, “inverted totalitarianism.” Like classical totalitarianism, it concentrates ever more wealth and power in the hands of a small ruling class, but instead of abolishing parliaments, elections and the superficial trappings of representative government as classical totalitarianism did, it simply co-opts them as tools of plutocracy, which has proved to be a more marketable and sustainable strategy.

But now that neoliberalism has wreaked its chaos for a generation, popular movements are rising up across the world to demand systemic change and to build new systems of politics and economics that can actually solve the huge problems that neoliberalism has produced.

In response to the 2019 uprising in Chile, its rulers were forced to agree to an election for a constitutional assembly, to draft a constitution to replace the one written during the Pinochet dictatorship, one of the vanguards of neoliberalism. That election has now taken place, and the ruling party of President Pinera and other traditional parties won less than a third of the seats. So the constitution will instead be written by a super-majority of citizens committed to radical reform and social, economic and political justice.

In Iraq, which was also swept by a popular uprising in 2019, a new government seated in 2020 has launched an investigation to recover $150 billion in Iraqi oil revenues stolen and smuggled out of the country by the corrupt officials of previous governments.

U.S.-backed former exiles flew into Iraq on the heels of the U.S. invasion in 2003 “with empty pockets to fill,” as a Baghdad taxi driver told a Western reporter at the time. While U.S. forces and U.S.-trained Iraqi death squads destroyed their country, they hunkered down in the Green Zone in Baghdad and controlled and looted Iraq’s oil revenues for the next seventeen years. Now maybe Iraq can recover the stolen money its people so desperately need, and start using its oil wealth to rebuild that shattered country.

In Bolivia, also in 2019, a U.S.-backed coup overthrew its popular indigenous president, Evo Morales. But the people of Bolivia rose up in a general strike to demand a new election, Morales’ MAS (Movimiento al Socialismo) Party was restored to power, and Luis Arce, Morales’ former Economy Minister, is now Bolivia’s President.

Around the world, we are witnessing what can happen when people rise up and act collectively for the common good. That is how we will solve the serious problems we face, from the COVID pandemic to the climate crisis to the terminal danger of nuclear war. Humanity’s survival into the twenty-second century and all our hopes for a bright future depend on building new political and economic systems that will simply and genuinely “do what is best for all of us.”

Nicolas J. S. Davies is an independent journalist, a researcher for CODEPINK and the author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq.

  Read A People’s Vaccine Against a Mutating Virus and Neoliberal Rule
 June 8, 2021
Educating for the future we want
by Stephen Sterling,
Countercurrents.org, in Counter Solutions.


Our ability to achieve a livable future for all depends on whether we can foster an unprecedented degree of social learning. There is no change without learning, and no learning without change. But with the stakes higher than ever before, time is worryingly short. How, under such urgency, do we effect such a large-scale paradigm shift?

Formal education systems have—or should have—a critical role in the global social learning process underpinning the Great Transition. On the face of it, the challenge seems straightforward. If current educational policies and practices insufficiently address ecological, social, and economic sustainability, we can just do some tweaking and add on some key ideas. Job done. Except it is not so simple. If education is to be an agent of change, it has itself to be the subject of change. Our educational systems are implicated in the multiple crises before us, and without meaningful rethinking, they will remain maladaptive agents of business as usual, leading us into a dystopian future nobody wants.

Over the past few decades, new movements have championed social change education centered on such themes as the environment, peace, human rights, anti-racism, multiculturalism, alternative futures, and global citizenship. For compactness, this diverse constellation will be referred to as “sustainability” education. Despite this array of efforts and the common values of social justice and ecological integrity, the fragmentation of energy and effort has limited the potential for significant progress.

The possibility of greater coherence arose three-and-a-half decades ago with the emergence of the sustainable development framework, which in turn spurred the concept of “education for sustainable development” (ESD). The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the lead global agency on sustainability education, has been the primary proponent of ESD, with the UN launching a “Decade of ESD” that spanned 2005 to 2014 and culminated in the report Shaping the Future We Want.1 While the work of UNESCO and its partners has been impressive, several fundamental constraints have hampered the realization of the goal of “educating for the world we want.”

First, there is a limited conception of the role education can even play. Sustainable development efforts have downplayed the potential for education to help to realize more equitable, ecologically healthy futures, or have viewed it in isolation from other instruments of social change. The role of education tends to be narrowly confined to such aims as basic literacy and education for all (EFA), which are necessary but not sufficient for deeper change.

Second, a limited view of where “education” takes place stresses formal educational structures at the expense of other learning contexts. As education is primarily associated in the public mind with schools and universities, forms of education critical to empowerment and social change—such as lifelong learning, non-formal education, and community education—have received less attention and support.2

Finally, mainstream education policy and practice exhibits an alarming lack of engagement with the broader challenge of securing a safe local and global future. This distant relationship between the worlds of sustainable development and education has tended to be self-perpetuating over years.3

The gap has shrunk notably since the launch of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015. Initially, the role of education as a means of addressing the SDGs was not well recognized. However, many international agencies and networks have begun to endorse education as a change agent for the SDGs, and an increasing number of universities have begun to see the SDGs as an important focus for their work, more easily engaged with than the broader and less defined challenge represented by ESD.4

Still, urgent questions remain about the proportion of institutions engaged worldwide, the extent of engagement across the spectrum of university functions, and the depth of such initiatives, namely, the degree to which this response shifts the underlying assumptions and values driving institutions. If we are to embrace the SDGs seriously, we must critically examine the structural factors that led to the multiple crises that made the SDGs necessary in the first place while also interrogating the concept of sustainable development itself.5

Broadly, education systems have taken one of four approaches to the sustainability agenda: (1) no response, (2) accommodation, (3) reform, and (4) transformation. In the first, current global precarities are absent or barely reflected in policies and practices; in the second, institutional responses center on campus greening and curriculum accommodation in “obvious” disciplines only. The latter two responses go further. A reformative response reflects intentional re-thinking at a policy level leading to shifts across much of the institution. A transformative approach nurtures a sustainability ethos as the driver of purpose, policy, and practice. This active perspective results in fundamental redesign and iterative learning. Most institutions remain in the first two categories. Yet a trend of institutional learning is becoming evident as schools and universities increasingly open themselves to a degree of reformative self-examination—driven by rising awareness of the human and planetary predicament, and, importantly, by intensifying demands by students keenly aware of threats to their life chances. The transformative approach, however, remains rare.

Educating for the World We Don’t Want

There are without doubt examples of outstanding and innovative sustainability education practices across the world. Nonetheless, the notion that educational systems are heading (and heading us) in the wrong direction has been growing, particularly since the launch of the SDGs.

As this sense has grown more widespread, the language employed by UNESCO has become more radical, going so far as to endorse transformation. Yet the understatement in one line from UNESCO’s “Roadmap: ESD for 2030,” which will be officially launched at the UNESCO World Conference on ESD in May 2021, speaks volumes: “[O]fen ESD is interpreted with narrow focus on topical issues rather than with a holistic approach on learning content, pedagogy, and learning outcomes.” Clearly, we have a long way to go.

Left unanswered is why sustainability education is not more widely recognized or why it is “interpreted with narrow focus,” thereby remaining safely within conventional development paradigms.6 Answering these questions sufficiently—as well as explaining the from whereto where, and why of social transformation—requires a critical examination at the paradigmatic level, i.e., the epistemic sets of values and ideas which fundamentally influence purpose, curriculum design, pedagogy, and all other aspects of education.

Any kind of paradigmatic breakthrough also requires clear acknowledgement of the socioeconomic, political, and technological pressures on the system—very real constraints and influences that weigh heavily on mainstream educational thinking and practice, even those with “transformative” intentions. In recent decades, the dominance of neoliberal thinking in economics, politics, and wider society has usurped previous conceptions and traditions of education as a public service for the public good. A narrowly instrumental view of education, modeled to serve the perceived demands of a globalizing economy and culture, now defines and shapes learning. This turn is reflected in an increasingly market-driven educational system maintained by a proliferating “global testing culture.” The system fosters competition, homogenization, and standardization in both national and international spheres. These developments rest on a conviction that education should serve a growth-oriented economy, fallaciously equated with the social good. Over time, this neoliberal wave has subtly but powerfully displaced more educationally defensible practices informed by liberal, holistic, and humanistic philosophies regarding the nature and purpose of education.

The neoliberal framework has spawned a Global Education Industry driven by private sector organizations and businesses, worth several trillion dollars and boosted significantly by the phenomenal growth of online learning as a result of COVID-19. This is exemplified by the burgeoning influence of “EdTech,” a massive effort by tech philanthropists, tech giants, and edu-business companies to shape educational policy and delivery.7 This “reimagining education for the future” appears to have little to do with human or planetary needs, and more to do with tech means becoming universal ends. While digital learning has a role to play in transformative education, the overall effect of the contemporary push, such as by EdTech, is to displace progressive models while restricting the potential for liberatory innovation.

Neoliberal thinking has narrowed conceptions of education’s purpose (what we think education is for), breadth (what we conceive as valid educational content and curricula), and depth (pedagogy and the learning experience). Sustainability, by contrast, requires deep attention to interlaced paradigms, policies, purposes, and practices to understand education’s historical contribution to current crises, its adequacy for the age we find ourselves in, and its potential as a remedial agency. The transformative paradigm of sustainable education promises a liberatory escape from the bedrocks of the prevalent education epistemology—reductionism, objectivism, materialism, and dualism—and the collective psyche that maintains them. These deep influences manifest in much of the educational landscape above the surface: unitary disciplines and separate departments; belief in value-free knowing; privileging cognitive over affective and practical knowing, as well as analysis over synthesis; prescriptive curricula and measurable learning outcomes; and learning that fails to examine and challenge basic assumptions, values, and ethics.8

The challenge calls for much more than the oft quoted objective of “integrating sustainability into education”: the planetary context must now be paramount. More than ever, educators and students are questioning educational policies and practices maladapted to real-world crises and a threatened future. However, although education is purportedly about the future, many mainstream policymakers, senior managers, and academics still seem oblivious to the perils society faces.

Overcoming such stasis requires a strategy of critical reflexivity that illuminates and challenges the dominant technocentric and economistic “rationality” that pervades thinking and practice, as well as the funding and reward structures that constrain innovative collaboration and forward-looking creative thinking. We need to break down barriers through communication and networking, dispersed and transformative leadership, intergenerational initiatives, inter- and transdisciplinarity, and action research and community initiatives. This emerging path offers a relational, ecological, participative, and holistic alternative that speaks to the real needs of individuals, communities, and the planet.

Class Struggles

The wider political and cultural factors discussed above help explain the weak response of educational systems and institutions to calls for reorientation. Rather than leading to deep institutional learning and transformation, the mode of incorporation of sustainability issues has typically been accommodation that leaves fundamental assumptions and practices largely unquestioned and unchanged. This incremental approach has some value if seen as a first step in a longer transition, but is an impediment to fundamental progress where regarded as a sufficient action.

Recently, however, there are increasing signs of genuine rethinking that transcends accommodation, a recognition that deeper change is required. This growing awareness parallels and derives energy from similar shifts in other sectors across society as “business as usual” looks less and less tenable. New ways of seeing, thinking, and doing are burgeoning, prompted further by the disruptive effects of COVID-19. This ferment offers the exciting possibility of a shift in education from a vehicle of social reproduction and maintenance, towards a vision of continuous co-evolution of education and society in a relationship of mutual transformation: a “future-creating, innovative and open system” of education.9 Such real-world engagement provides a motivating environment for quality learning and enhancing educational outcomes for students and the world they are inheriting.

In the last few years, more academics have become educational activists through their publications, research collaboration, community engagement, and campaigning.10 Inter-university networks and intersectoral initiatives are on the rise. The Regional Centres of Expertise in ESD, led by universities networking with local stakeholders on sustainability awareness, education, and capacity building, now number some 180 globally.11 Growing numbers of international academic networks and initiatives reflect sustainability concerns.12 Although more radical initiatives for pursuing transformative ideas head on are often sidelined, some independent institutions have managed to make an outsized impact. Notably, Schumacher College, in Devon, UK, has gained an international reputation during its thirty years of existence for fostering transformative learning experiences and seeding pioneering initiatives across the world.13 The task ahead for all of these networks and institutions is to manifest and champion a more holistic, humanistic, ecological, and integrative form of education within established systems, and with colleagues who may still be uncomprehending or apprehensive.

Education for a Great Transition

While a new discourse on repurposing education is arising in some circles, a dangerous disconnect remains between Westernized formal education systems and the dynamic social learning needed in this watershed moment. The world of institutions, concerned largely with income and status in a competitive market, is on a collision course with the larger world, which faces an existential threat to human survival and the integrity of the biosphere underpinning all life. How do we rapidly recalibrate education so that it serves rather than undermines the future?

Historically, the central role of education has been to socialize the young and to ensure continuity in society, whether indigenous, pre-modern, or modern. In stable conditions, this reproduction function is sufficient. But not in volatile and uncertain times, when the future will not be a linear extension of the past and when social innovation, creativity, and experimentation is critically important. The contradiction now is that the more we try to ensure continuity by doing more of the same, the greater the prospects for a discontinuous and chaotic future become.

Some social critics think biophysical limits will inevitably usher in a post-growth world characterized by relocalization, profound hazards, and discontinuities for both human and natural systems. This very real prospect behooves educational institutions to become systemic learning organizations infused by a transformative pedagogy within education systems that reaches policymakers and practitioners. This transition would constrain the standardizing global testing culture while circumventing economistic educational rationales in favor of a purpose and role aligned with the immense challenge and exhilarating possibility of securing social and ecological wellbeing. Notably, the university then becomes an adaptive, innovating institution engaged in an ongoing co-evolutionary learning process with community and society. In this scenario, the conventional concerns of status, reputation, and income are subsumed within a nobler culture of critical commitment.

An ecological reimagining of education requires reclaiming authentic education by drawing from progressive, liberal, critical, emancipatory, and holistic educational antecedents. In the best traditions, universities are seen as sites and guardians of critical scholarship, creativity, empowerment, and contribution to the common good. Resurgent educational institutions can—in tandem with movements in wider society—build resilient communities, ecologies, and localized economies. This kind of transition education is beginning to happen—a living learning process essential for generating the collective intelligence for survival, security, and well-being of social-ecological systems.

Beyond the whole institutional strategies of a small but increasing number of universities internationally, interest is growing in “critical engagement” and “regenerative education” by committed staff and students in research and teaching. This engagement takes forms such as education for resilience, service learning in the community, experiential pedagogies, collaborative inquiry across disciplines, embrace of alternative and non-Western knowledge traditions, the development of sustainability competencies, and futures work. These pioneering shifts may not yet warrant announcing the onset of widespread transformative education, but they do open a pathway for a Great Transition in higher education as a critical component of social learning and cultural change.

We are approaching fifty years since the UN Conference on the Environment in Stockholm endorsed the key role of education, nearly thirty years since Agenda 21 proposed that education is “critical for achieving environmental and ethical awareness,” and five years since the SDGs set a target date of 2030. The ambitious UNESCO “Futures of Education” initiative promises a chance to reset direction and priorities. But to date, strong cultural inertia and the counterforce of neoliberalism have slowed progress, and the time is long overdue for holding Westernized education policy and practice to account. Now, efforts to transform education are greater than ever, but so, too, are the stakes and urgency. We need to move fast and with bold aspiration, while retaining critical reflexivity, as we create a new chapter in the evolution of our ways of educating on this—as yet—still beautiful planet.

1. Carole Buckler and Heather Creech, Shaping the Future We Want: UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (Paris: UNESCO, 2014), https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000230171. 2. Brikena Xhomaqi, ed., Lifelong Learning for Sustainable Societies (Brussels: Life Long Learning Platform, 2020), https://lllplatform.eu/news/lllp-position-paper-lifelong-learning-for-sustainable-societies/. 3. Stephen Sterling, “Separate Tracks, or Real Synergy?: Achieving a Closer Relationship between Education and SD Post 2015,” Journal of Education for Sustainable Development 8, no. 2 (September 2014): 89–112. 4. Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Accelerating Education for the SDGs in Universities: A Guide for Universities, Colleges, and Tertiary and Higher Education Institutions (New York: SDSN, 2020), https://resources.unsdsn.org/accelerating-education-for-the-sdgs-in-universities-a-guide-for-universities-colleges-and-tertiary-and-higher-education-institutions. 5. Hikaru Komatsu, Jeremy Rappleye, and Iveta Silova, “Will Education Post-2015 Move Us toward Environmental Sustainability?,” in Grading Goal Four- Tensions, Threats, and Opportunities in the Sustainable Development Goal on Quality Education, ed. Antonia Wulff (Leiden: Brill, 2020). 6. Iveta Silova, Hikaru Komatsu, and Jeremy Rappleye, “Facing the Climate Change Catastrophe: Education as Solution or Cause?,” NORRAG, October 12, 2018, https://www.norrag.org/facing-the-climate-change-catastrophe-education-as-solution-or-cause-by-iveta-silova-hikaru-komatsu-and-jeremy-rappleye/. 7. Ben Williamson and Anna Hogan, Commercialisation and Privatisation in/of Education in the Context of Covid-19 (Brussels: Education International Research, 2020), https://issuu.com/educationinternational/docs/
. 8. Stephen Sterling, Sustainable Education: Re-visioning Learning and Change (Cambridge, UK: Green Books, 2001); Stephen Sterling, “Sustainable Education,” in Science, Society and Sustainability: Education and Empowerment for an Uncertain World, eds. Donna Gray, Laura Colucci-Gray, and Elena Camino (New York: Routledge, 2009). 9. Béla H. Bánáthy, Systems Design of Education (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications, 199l), 129. target="_blank" rel="noopener" name="endnote_10">10. The international call to education to take action on climate found at https://educators-for-climate-action.org/ has attracted nearly 2000 signatures. The Transition Lab (https://www.transitionlab.earth/) launched an open letter to university senior managers in 2019 which quickly attracted over 1000 signatures. 11. You can find more about UNU Regional Centres of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development (RCEs) at https://www.rcenetwork.org/portal/. 12. These networks include Global Alliance of Tertiary Education and Student Sustainability Networks, IAU’s Higher Education and Research for SD Cluster; the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative; University Alliance for Sustainability; The Green Office movement; and Learning Planet (a global alliance of educators and institutions). More radical initiatives which address the Great Transition explicitly include Campus de la Transition and Gaia University. 13. Stephen Sterling, John Dawson, and Paul Warwick, “Transforming Sustainability Education at the Creative Edge of the Mainstream: A Case Study of Schumacher College,” Journal of Transformative Education 16, no. 4 (July 2018): 323–343.

Stephen Sterling is Emeritus Professor of Sustainability Education at University of Plymouth and Distinguished Fellow of the Schumacher Institute. He is coauthor of Post-Sustainability and Environmental Education: Remaking Education for the Future.

Originally published by Great Transition Initiative

  Read Educating for the future we want
  June 8, 2021
International Energy Agency report underscores inadequacy of US government response to climate change
by Ronan Coddington ,
Countercurrents.org, in Climate Change .

The International Energy Agency (IEA), a Paris-based affiliate of the Organisation for Economic Co-ordination and Development (OECD), has released a special report outlining various pathways to ensure a world with a net zero carbon emissions rate by 2050.

The report, which is titled Net Zero by 2050, states that in order to achieve a carbon neutral world by that year producers will need to immediately stop any new fossil fuel production. This is only one of 400 “milestones” along the road to 2050, and its implausibility only underscores the difficulties of combining a rational, science-based response to the danger of climate change with the maintenance of global capitalism, driven by private profits and the interests of rival nation-states.

The report, issued May 17, is billed as “the world’s first comprehensive study of how to transition to a net zero energy system by 2050.” It promises to do so “while ensuring stable and affordable energy supplies, providing universal energy access, and enabling robust economic growth,” according to its press release.

Countries will need to increase solar and wind production by roughly 400 percent more than the current rate. This would occur with a phasing out of coal and gas plants, in favor of solar and nuclear plants, as well as the retrofitting of coal and gas plants with carbon capture devices, where the carbon will later be injected underground. According to the special report, this transition must finalize before 2040. As it stands, roughly 80 percent of the world’s energy grids are powered by fossil fuels.

By 2040, a significant amount of air travel would have to be done with renewable fuels like hydrogen. By 2030, the majority of cars sold would need to be electric. By 2035 most vehicles involved in the transportation of goods would also need to make this transition.

The pathways described by the IEA also include enabling access to clean electricity and cooking to everyone in the world and making the world’s electric grid completely carbon neutral by 2040. “The sheer magnitude of changes needed to get to net zero emissions by 2050 is still not fully understood by many governments and investors,” stated IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol.

The agency, which functions as an advisor for numerous national governments, stated: “[c]limate pledges by governments to date—even if fully achieved—would fall well short of what is required” to achieve these goals. The report calls for “a historic surge in clean energy investment that creates millions of new jobs and lifts global economic growth.” The agency’s underlying assumption is that this can be done under capitalism.

The pathways and benchmarks provided by the IEA are based upon goals set by the 2015 Paris Climate Accord, a nonbinding pact which most leading world governments have signed onto. In addition to being unenforceable, the Paris Accord presumes that rival capitalist nation-states will put aside their differences for the sake of the environment.

A number of alternative approaches suggested by the IEA are problematic in their own right. Vast quantities of lithium are needed for the manufacturing of electric vehicles and for nearly every form of renewable energy. Without investment in proper recycling infrastructure, lithium extraction is itself an extremely damaging process to the surrounding environment.

Additionally, the vaunted target of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is also worthy of criticism. Keeping temperature rises within this limit fails to take into account various climate feedback loops that could push the global temperature to increase past that point even if net carbon emissions cease.

Typifying such inadequate responses was US President Joe Biden’s climate initiative announced on international Earth Day in April. The president unveiled his plan at a climate summit at the White House that was attended by numerous world leaders. A fact sheet presented by the White House declared that it has set “ambitious goals,” which put “the United States on an irreversible path to a net-zero economy by 2050.” Biden revealed that the United States would cut carbon emissions in half by 50 percent by 2030.

The emissions the Biden administration has pledged to cut in half are based on levels from 2005, a year with especially high pollution. Since 2005, the US has achieved a 14-15 percent decrease in overall emissions. This means that Biden, who will be long gone by 2050, can take credit for decreases that happened before he was even elected.

While the IEA’s report called for an immediate stop to any new fossil fuel production within the US, the Biden administration has, within its first few days of power, issued 31 drilling permits on federal land. The Biden administration has also approved 22 offshore drilling permits to companies, such as Shell and British Petroleum.

Biden’s Department of Justice (DOJ) recently contested a lawsuit brought forth by environmental groups to stop a Trump-approved oil extraction operation in northern Alaska. The project, dubbed “Willow,” is expected to extract roughly 100,000 barrels of oil a day for the next 30 years.

Leaving aside the political improbability of the US actually following the path outlined in Biden’s plan, there is a more fundamental issue: If the world as a whole is to reach net-zero emissions, this cannot be a matter of each of more than 200 countries separately reaching that goal. For many of the poorest countries, that would be a recipe for mass starvation. To overcome poverty and malnutrition, their energy consumption must grow.

A global solution to the climate change crisis thus necessarily requires global economic planning, which is incompatible with both the nation-state system and the profit interests of nationally based corporations and banks.

The New York Times, the mouthpiece of the American ruling class, has sought to provide apologetics for the Biden administration. An article last month, headlined “Biden’s Fossil Fuel Moves Clash With Pledges on Climate Change,” sought to explain away the administration’s hypocritical moves, saying: “Biden is trying to avoid alienating a handful of moderate Republicans and Democrats from oil, gas and coal states who will decide the fate of his legislative agenda in Congress.”

In fact, the paralysis of the entire capitalist class in the face of the climate crisis is rooted not in this or that pragmatic maneuver but in the profit system itself. And in addition to all rational and scientific responses being contingent upon the profitability of various energy conglomerates, the ruling class is also seeking to gain ground against its various geopolitical rivals.

This is demonstrated by the White House fact sheet’s declaration that the new climate initiative will “Center the Climate Crisis in U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security Considerations.”

Biden has named former Obama Secretary of State John Kerry as his climate envoy. As the World Socialist Web Site noted in January, this appointment, as with the rest of Biden’s agenda, is “driven, first and foremost, by the geopolitical needs of American imperialism.” This related particularly to Washington’s “predatory aims for the subjugation of China and Russia, which Washington regards as its two biggest military and security rivals,” the WSWS explained.

From the recent unveiling of Biden’s massive military budget proposal, which focuses on the US’s mounting confrontation with China, as well as the administration’s efforts to blame the latter for COVID-19, to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s abandonment of public health as the pandemic continues, the US capitalist class has made clear its intent to pursue profit at the cost of human life.

Originally published in WSWS.org

  Read International Energy Agency report underscores inadequacy of US government response to climate change
  June 6, 2021
Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Hits Highest Level in Over 4 Million Years.
by Brett Wilkins ,
Countercurrents.org, in Climate Change .

New data released Monday showed atmospheric carbon dioxide reached a monthly average level of 419 parts per million in May, which is not only the maximum reading ever recorded since accurate measurements began 63 years ago but also the highest level the planet has experienced in over four million years.

Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Scripps Institute of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego working at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Atmospheric Baseline Observatory in Hawaii said the May measurements—an increase from 417 parts per million (ppm) in May 2020—mean that “the atmospheric burden of CO2 is now comparable to where it was during the Pliocene Climatic Optimum, between 4.1 and 4.5 million years ago, when CO2 was close to, or above 400 ppm.”

“During that time, sea level was about 78 feet higher than today, the average temperature was 7°F higher than in pre-industrial times, and studies indicate large forests occupied areas of the Arctic that are now tundra,” they said.

The scientists noted that while the worldwide economic slowdown during the coronavirus pandemic led to a significant but temporary decrease in global greenhouse gas emissions, the drop had no discernible impact on the rate of atmospheric CO2 accumulation.

 As Common Dreams reported, atmospheric CO2 concentrations surged past 420 ppm for the first time in recorded history in April.

Ralph Keeling, the geochemist in charge of Scripps’ Mauna Loa program, said that “the ultimate control knob on atmospheric CO2 is fossil-fuel emissions” and that “we still have a long way to go to halt the rise, as each year more CO2 piles up in the atmosphere.”

“We ultimately need cuts that are much larger and sustained longer than the Covid-related shutdowns of 2020,” he added.

Pieter Tans, a senior scientist at NOAA’s Global Monitoring Laboratory, noted that CO2 is stored in the Earth’s oceans and atmosphere for thousands of years after it is emitted.

“We are adding roughly 40 billion metric tons of CO2 pollution to the atmosphere per year,” Tans said in a statement announcing the new figures. “That is a mountain of carbon that we dig up out of the Earth, burn, and release into the atmosphere as CO2—year after year.”

“If we want to avoid catastrophic climate change, the highest priority must be to reduce CO2 pollution to zero at the earliest possible date,” stressed Tans.

Such a reduction would require a dramatic shift human activity—especially by the world’s wealthiest 1%, who according to a September 2020 study by Oxfam emit more than twice as much CO2 as the poorest 50% of humanity.

“The solution is right before our eyes,” said Tans. “Solar energy and wind are already cheaper than fossil fuels and they work at the scales that are required. If we take real action soon, we might still be able to avoid catastrophic climate change.”

The new figures come as world leaders and policymakers prepare for the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference—also known as COP26—which will be held in Glasgow, Scotland this November.

Originally published in CommonDreams

This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

  Read Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Hits Highest Level in Over 4 Million Years
  July 3, 2021
China’s Programme of Socialist Modernization
Yanis Iqbal,

On July 1, 2021, Chinese President and Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping delivered a speech marking the centenary of the Communist Party of China (CPC). “Any attempt to divide the party from the Chinese people or to set the people against the party is bound to fail,” he said during the ceremony in the capital, Beijing. Xi said “the strengths of socialism with Chinese characteristics are attributable to the fact that Marxism works”. Saying that Marxism remained “the guiding ideology upon which our party and country are founded,” he pledged the CPC would continue developing it in line with changing conditions in both China and the world.

Xi’s speech encapsulates the complex nature of China’s socialist-oriented developmental journey. The country’s tremendous progress, including the more than fourfold increase in economic growth since the late 1970s and the recent elimination of absolute poverty, has been made possible due to a controlled integration into the global economy. Four elements of the Chinese system stand out: (1) social ownership of land, which in the countryside is still partly managed collectively by village communities; (2) state ownership of strategic sectors of industry, including banks, allowing for high rates of investment; (3) public control of money and finance; and (4) a robust planning architecture, complementing the market economy, overseen by the CPC through five-year plans.

The existence of a social structure of accumulation characterized by a mix of market and statist tendencies has resulted in a dynamic economic configuration. First, despite the clear evidence of rising income inequality and the formation of a propertied class, China has not witnessed a genuine capitalist class formation. Chinese elites’ power and wealth are interlinked with their political fortunes. Their wealth is not easily inheritable or transferable among industries or abroad; it majorly exists in the form of property that cannot be liquidated at will. It is closely tied to political conditions, which can change radically and unpredictably.

Second, the working population does not constitute a well-defined proletariat. In the state sector, which continues to occupy more than half of the economy, workers enjoy rights and protections; these are invariably subject to contestations. Even in the private sector, creation of an entirely fluid labor market, having the real attribute of an abstract commodity fully movable among industries, is highly incomplete. Third, one must take into account the still-powerful pre capitalist formations that shape socio-economic relations in China. Workers in the cities often have enduring ties to the villages from which they originate, where they and their families have communal obligations that undermine the capitalist valorization of their labor power.

The continued advancement of China’s sovereign project has been fundamentally aided by the CPC. China was able to overcome both the internal political avalanches of the late 1980s and the vicissitudes of an era marked by the predominance of neoliberal ideology, building institutions that consolidated the country’s core sectors, overcoming uneven development and tackling the tendency towards the deterioration of terms of trade. The Chinese state pursued the preservation of huge state-owned conglomerates, and the strengthening of a strong public financing system. Thus, the CPC able to isolate monetary policy from external capital flows, increasing the policy space for economic policies relatively independent from international financial vagaries.

The exchange rate of the national currency, the renminbi, is determined by the People’s Bank of China (controlled by the CCP), and the banks are indigenous and mainly state-owned. Thanks to these, China has been able to keep market forces under control and use them to encourage domestic economic development and improve the well-being of the population. Capital controls have been used on a stop-and-go basis, as the leadership of the country has tried to strike a balance between the needs of market forces and the goal of indigenous development, which is officially aiming towards socialism. A mix of flexible monetary, fiscal, industrial, and sectoral policies, along with the intensification of import substitution, shaped China’s transformation into the “factory of the world.”

The development of superior technological and industrial capabilities is conducive to the structural changes necessary to insulate the economic system from intense international, low-cost competition, and hence to resist the downward movement of prices and, therefore, wages. Between 1988 and 2008, China’s average per capita income grew by 229%, 10 times the global average of 24%. In 1994, a Chinese factory worker made $500 a year, only a quarter of the wage of her counterpart in Thailand. In 2020, the average annual income in China exceeded $10,000 – three times the figure for Thailand. These improvements are the direct result of a long-drawn-out process of socialist modernization headed by the CPC.

Yanis Iqbal is a freelance journalist

  Read China’s Programme of Socialist Modernization
  July 3, 2021
CPC transforms China as a world class power
by M K Bhadrakumar,
Countercurrents.org,in World.

The CPC’s centennial marks a historic breakthrough for China by far exceeding the predictions of most foreign observers.

In a nutshell, the CPC has achieved the twin collective goals of getting rid of poverty and standing up to bullying by foreigners.

The CPC is omnipotent in China and has become synonymous with the nation, the society and its politics.


This is the season to reread Edgar Snow’s Red Star Over China, the classic work on the birth of the communist movement in China. Alongside John Reid’s Ten Days That Shook the World, the gripping eyewitness account of the Bolshevik Revolution, Snow’s book was compulsive reading in the first flush of revolutionary enthusiasm as college students.

Then, inevitably, time took its toll. There is a famous work The Anatomy of Revolution (1939) by the American historian of France Crane Brinton which outlines the uniformities of four major political revolutions — the English Revolution of the 1640s, the American, the French, and the 1917 Russian Revolution. Brinton concluded how revolutions followed a life-cycle from the Old Order to a moderate regime to a radical regime, to Thermidorian reaction.

He likened the dynamics of revolutionary movements to the progress of fever. Brinton’s book appeared a full decade before the Chinese revolution. However, although much water has flowed down the Yangtze since the “Thermidorian reaction” set in, there is still keen delight in the precarious notions the Revolution left behind in China, which are both dramatic and didactic and inspire animated discussion.

Without doubt, the Communist Party of China (CPC), whose centennial falls on 1st July, has a great deal to celebrate. It took almost three decades after the revolution (1949) for the CPC to realise that development, not ideology, is the hard truth.

In Deng Xiaoping’s words, “It doesn’t matter if a cat is black or white so long as it catches mice.” Those poignant words signalled that China was changing course and embarking on a radically new development path required to meet the country’s actual conditions at that point in time. Deng’s reform and opening up in 1978 unshackled China from the ideological straitjacket.

When Mao died in 1976, China’s per capita GDP was more or less that of Bangladesh. Today, the United States feels greatly agitated that China is the world’s second largest economy already, and well set to overtake it before the end of this decade.

The World Bank estimates that the CPC lifted 800 million people out of absolute poverty in the four decades since 1978, a stupendous feat in human history.

In 2012, Xi Jinping as the new General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee pledged that the 100 million people who were still below poverty line would move up the ladder by 2020. He redeemed that pledge last December as China became completely free of poverty. 

To spearhead the poverty alleviation programme, from 2013 to 2020, the CPC selected and dispatched as first Party secretaries and resident working team members to rural and remote areas to accurately identify each and every poor family and poor village, and implement targeted projects nationwide to comprehensively improve their lives and livelihood. 

It is precisely this unique Party-State system that explains China’s epochal rise. The CPC is omnipotent in China and has become synonymous with the nation, the society and its politics. Succinctly put, national development flows from the robust pursuit of long-term goals set by the CPC.

The Party system is based on educated, competent functionaries who have risen to the top with grassroots experience in multiple provinces that moulded their national outlook, which makes the top leadership collegiate and helps consensus-building on major national issues. 

Indeed, it strengthens cohesion and ensures continuity in the party as it transits from one generation to another.

The annual conclave at the seaside resort of Beidahe testifies to the continuity and change in orderly transition — something which no other communist party in the world could emulate.  

The CPC’s centennial marks a historic breakthrough for China by far exceeding the predictions of most foreign observers. In a nutshell, the CPC has achieved the twin collective goals of getting rid of poverty and standing up to bullying by foreigners.

The CPC could do it only by shunning the ideological dogmatism of Marxism-Leninism and developing “socialism with Chinese characteristics” through a continuous process of experimenting, innovating, and correcting and overcoming mistakes. No doubt, the CPC drew appropriate lessons out of the collapse of the Soviet Union. 

The CPC realised that its political legitimacy ultimately lies in building a strong economy and constantly raising people’s living standards in a climate of stability and predictability. Today, the nation brims with hope for a still better tomorrow.

The CPC cannot be simply categorised nor compared to any other political party in history.

In addition to its wide membership (95 million), the party is also unique in its attributes. Apart from being a super political force, it also defines China’s institutional form and state form.

Unlike in the West where a political party may maintain the balance of political power for a while, the CPC undertook the mission of leading the Chinese people generation by generation.

Evidently, the Party clearly exceeds the cognitive framework provided by Western political knowledge and experience.

In a stirring editorial today, the People’s Daily wrote,

“In the most critical moments of modern times, Chinese Communists turned to Marxism-Leninism. Adapting the theories to China’s actual conditions, Chinese Communists invigorated the great civilization created by the nation over thousands of years with the power of the truths of Marxism. The Chinese civilization again shined with tremendous spiritual strength.

“One hundred years on, Marxism has profoundly changed China, while China has also greatly enriched Marxism.

“The CPC upholds the unity of emancipating the mind and seeking truth, as well as the unity of the consolidation of tradition and innovation, and has constantly opened new horizons for Marxism.”  

However, China is not prescriptive.

The CPC’s path is defined by China’s civilisation foundation of thousands of years, which instills deep into the collective consciousness the special meaning of a unified political system, prevents destructive competition and regional divisions, and maintains national security to the Chinese society.

The great inclusiveness of Chinese society the CPC represents has no parallel. 

That is why it is a delusional thought that through Western political experience, China can be forcibly transformed.

The West is in denial mode as regards the validity of China’s exploration of its own development path.

Beijing does not present the CPC as a model for the rest of the world.

On the contrary, the CPC’s explorations are carried out on the Chinese soil and the Party draws inspiration out of its own experience of modernisation and from the resources of China’s own civilisation.

So, what is this Indo-Pacific ‘itch’ about?

Plainly put, it is the manifestation of a seething rivalry borne partly out of the obsessive US exceptionalism but largely due to the growing sense of envy and unease that another country is fast closing ranks and that might spell the doom for America’s global hegemony.

Despite all bravado, the point is the US is hard put to compete with China’s dynamic, innovative and rapidly growing economy that is already world’s number one in terms of purchasing power parity.

Professor Stephen Watt at Harvard Kennedy School tweeted today, “A lot of US foreign policy experts are worried about China’s rise.  Me too.  But how many of these experts have reflected on the fact that China hasn’t been fighting wars in lots of places, while steadily gaining greater wealth, power and influence?” 

Quintessentially, what the US faces is a self-invited predicament.

The wasteful wars and military interventions have drained trillions of dollars worth resources, which could have been diverted to the restoration and renewal of the country’s dilapidated economic infrastructure and for the redressal of accumulated social contradictions ranging from deep-rooted racism, violence, inequities in wealth and economic disparities, apart from a dysfunctional political system with hopelessly outdated electoral laws that hamper people’s empowerment.

From President Xi’s address in Beijing today, it is clear that China is determined not to capitulate to the US bullying.

As he put it, the Chinese nation carries no aggressive or hegemonic traits in its genes but will never allow foreign bullying or attempts at suppression or subjugation.

In sum, the “founding spirit” of the CPC developed by the pioneers of Communism in China will be a force to reckon with in world politics. 


Posted in his blog, indianpunchline, July 1, 2021, by the author.

Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar served the Indian Foreign Service for more than 29 years. He introduces about himself thus:  “Roughly half of the 3 decades of my diplomatic career was devoted to assignments on the territories of the former Soviet Union and to Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan. Other overseas postings included South Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany, and Turkey. I write mainly on Indian foreign policy and the affairs of the Middle East, Eurasia, Central Asia, South Asia and the Asia-Pacific…”

His mail ID : indianpunchline@gmail.com

  Read CPC transforms China as a world class power
 July 3, 2021
Fred Magdoff discusses capitalist agriculture
by Farooque Chowdhury ,
Countercurrents.org, in Counter Solutions.

Ecological and social conditions are mostly ignored in a system in which profit is the goal

Fred Magdoff, Professor Emeritus, University of VermontPlant and Soil Science, in an interview conducted by Farooque Chowdhury in June 2021, discusses aspects of capitalist agriculture, and politics with the agriculture system. The interview was conducted in view of Fred Magdoff’s (with Professor Harold van Es) forthcoming 4th edition of the Building Soils for Better Crops. Fred Magdoff, a regular Monthly Review contributor, is author of numerous articles and books on soil fertility,  ecology, ecological agriculture, problems of capitalist agriculture, and the U.S. economy, including Minimizing Nitrate  Leaching in Agricultural Production: How Good Can We Get? (1992)A Rational Agriculture is Incompatible with Capitalism (2015)Approaching SocialismHarmony and Ecological CivilizationMultiple Crises as Symptoms of an Unsustainable SystemAn Ecologically Sound and Socially Just Economy (2014)The Problem is CapitalismThe World Food Crisis: Sources and Solutions (2008)Twenty-First-Century Land Grabs: Accumulation by Agricultural Dispossession (2013)Agriculture and Food in Crisis: Conflict, Resistance, and RenewalLeibig, Marx, and the Depletion of Soil Fertility: Relevance for Today’s AgricultureThe Great Financial Crisis, Causes and Consequences (with John Bellamy Foster, Monthly Review Press, New York, 2009), What Every Enviromentalist Needs to Know About Capitalism (with John Bellamy Foster, Monthly Review Press, New York, 2011), and Creating an Ecologial Society (with Chris Williams, Monthly Review Press, 2017), and Creating an Ecologial Society (with Chris Williams, Monthly Review Press, 2017). Farooque Chowdhury is author/editor of a number of books in Baanglaa and English including Micro Credit, Myth Manufactured (ed.); The Age of CrisisThe Great Financial Crisis, What Next, Interviews with John Bellamy Foster (ed.) and a pamphlet-series on the Great October Revolution, writes from Dhaka, Bangladesh.


Q 1:Your (with Professor Harold van Es) book Building Soils for Better Crops is coming out of print shop soon. It’s going to be the book’s 4th edition. Why is the book in such a demand?

Fred Magdoff: I think that there are a number of reasons. There are few solid resources on managing soil using ecologically sound practices. In addition, the book, while rigorous and comprehensive, is written using what might be called plain language, with a minimum of jargon. It was written to be accessible to farmers in the United States and extension agents who advise farmers. We know that it is also used in university agroecology courses here in the U.S. We have heard directly from farmers and extension agents that they have found the book to be very helpful. Although it has been translated into Chinese, hope there will be more use of the book abroad. The material can be customized for situations and conditions in other parts of the world. While specific details may differ, the general problems such as erosion, loss of organic matter, loss of biodiversity, common use of intensive tillage, and so on are experienced in all countries. And the general approaches to creating a healthy soil are also the same no matter where you live.

The practices discussed and promoted will help repair and heal soils degraded by erosion as well as loss of organic matter, soil biodiversity, and soil structure caused by industrial-style farming promoted by corporations that uses high amounts of inputs from off the farm, poor crop rotations (including mono-cropping), intensive tillage, and separation of animals from the land that grows their feed and concentrating them in factory-style farms.

Q 2: Is there any reason for an ordinary reader like me who is concerned with ecology-environment to go through the book? Or, is the book only for farmers, soil scientists and students?

FM: Farmers, people who work with them (such as agricultural extension educators) are the main audience for the book. But we hope that people who are interested in gardening will find it of use. Those interested in ecology and environmental issues may find certain chapters of particular interest. For example, Chapter 8 — “Soil Health, Plant Health and Pests”— contains discussion of some basic ecological concepts, and how to build strengths of natural systems into agricultural ecosystems. This means paying attention to the promotion of healthy habitat in and surrounding the field as well as in the soil. The chapter also discusses the ways that plants defend themselves from diseases and insects, even emitting chemicals that attract beneficial insects to counter insects feeding on their leaves. Because soil supports all terrestrial life, it is one of Earth’s key natural resource. It is not only essential for our food supply but also influences key regional and global cycles such as the carbon cycle and the hydrologic cycle. All people — especially those interested in the environment and ecology — should become more familiar with their properties and importance.

Q 3: You, in the book, have claimed that an article by three scientists in Vermont Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin No. 135(1908) “is strikingly modern in many ways.” You have also claimed that Edward Faulkner’s Plowman’s Folly is as valid today as in 1943 when it was first published.” After so many years, more than a century, and more than 70 years, how such claims stand as, by this time, capitalism has turned more aggressive, more intensive, more wide; its clawing of everything including soil has turned more brutal? How do you substantiate your claim?

FM: There is a mountain of evidence that supports the claims you mentioned. Many articles in recent scientific journals and books indicate both the profound importance of soil organic matter (as claimed in the 1908 publication) and the value of greatly reducing soil disturbance that commonly occurs when farmers plow and harrow soils to prepare for planting (as Faulkner claimed in the 1940s). Some farmers are already using these ideas to improve their practices.

Agriculture that developed under the conditions of capitalism in the United States and Europe, emphasized production of undifferentiated commodities to sell into regional, national, and international markets. The emphasis and incentives of the system lead toward many problematic practices such as mono-cropping: growing the same crop again and again without rotation and covering large areas of land with a single crop. These lead to loss of soil fertility, biodiversity, and water storage capability. It also leads to soil compaction and creates conditions that promote outbreaks of organisms that harm plants (usually referred to as pests). There are also built-in incentives to create ever-larger farms, putting small farmers out of business. In other words, ecological and social conditions are mostly ignored in a system in which production for profit is the goal. However, farmer experience and scientific evidence indicate that we know how to grow an abundance of food using ecologically sound methods. What’s needed is a system that not only encourages such an approach and has a goal of providing everyone with a varied and wholesome diet.

Q 4: In the book, you write, “Many civilizations have collapsed from unsustainable land use, including the cultures of the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East, where the agricultural revolution first occurred about 10,000 years ago. The United Nations estimates that 2.5 billion acres have suffered erosion since 1945 and that 38% of global cropland has become seriously degraded since then.” And, “In the past, humankind survived because people developed new lands. But a few decades ago the total amount of agricultural land actually began to decline as new land could no longer compensate for the loss of old land.” And, “We […] are running out of land. We have already seen hunger and civil strife […] over limited land resources and productivity, and a global food crisis break out in 2008. Some countries with limited water or arable land are purchasing or renting land in other countries to produce food for the ‘home’ market.”And, “The food we eat and our surface and groundwaters are sometimes contaminated with disease-causing organisms and chemicals […] Pesticides […] can be found in foods, animal feeds, groundwater, and surface water running off agricultural fields. Farmers and farm workers are at special risk. […] [H]igher cancer rates among those who work with or near certain pesticides. Children […] are also at risk of having developmental problems.” And, “[F]armers are in a perpetual struggle to maintain a decent standard of living.” How do you relate these issues in the book?

FM: The book’s purpose was not to go into details about the ecological damage done by conventional agricultural practices. Rather it was to discuss how to manage an agroecosystem holistically in order to try to avoid such problems. Thus, we only briefly point out the damage caused by the lack of attention to ecological principles as agriculture developed under the constraints and incentives of the profit motive. The dramatic increase in the use of pesticides in the 20th century took place in the context of ever larger fields, decreased emphasis is on crop rotation, and ignoring soil health. Each occurrence of an insect or disease or weed that might harm crops as was treated as a separate issue, each dealt with by applying pesticides, the suggested approach of the agro-chemical corporations (who, of course, profit from sales of these materials). However, the problems of soil degradation and pest outbreaks that plague farming are primarily the result of inadequate and un-ecological management of farms and fields — lack of good rotations and/or polycropping, not using cover crops, intensively tilling soil, and so on.

Q 5: The issues you have addressed in the book are related to, if I’m not wrong, a particular type of agriculture – a capitalist agriculture, an agriculture defined by imperialist world market system. It’s the reality irrespective of country, other than a few, in today’s world. Does the book signal this?

FM: The forces of capitalist economies tend to push farmers in certain directions such as mono-cropping, selecting crops based on expected short-term return and not towards what is needed for promoting a balanced ecosystem that can feed all the people in the community, region, or country. In addition, the agri-chemical industry that developed in the 20th century provides much of the information that is readily available to farmers. They, of course, push the use of inputs that they can profit from — especially fertilizers, pesticides, and proprietary seeds (many of which are GM). On the other hand, as we stress in the book, ecological approaches aim towards prevention of problems through management practices that build strong and resilient agroecosystems.

Q 6: The book says: “The whole modern system of agriculture and food is based on extensive use of fossil fuels […] With the price of energy so much greater than just a few years ago, the economics of the ‘modern’ agricultural system may need to be reevaluated.” So, it means, there’s politics. Am I wrong?

FM: You are not wrong. The current system of large-scale production and intensive use of inputs from off the farm is expensive. And it is not just the fuel used on the farm; a significant amount of energy goes into production of nitrogen fertilizers as well as other inputs.

The system especially harms small farms. Large farmers have economies of scale on use of large equipment. They also have other advantages; because of the quantity of inputs they purchase, they usually get discounts. And when they sell their products they may actually receive more per unit. Thus, there are economic advantages of scale as well as the physical advantages of scale such as using a tractor over more acres. And, of course, being highly mechanized, they produce more per hour of labor than do smaller size farms.This means that they can make profits on lower prices than a smaller farm is able to. This is why smaller farms tend to be pushed out of existence as the number and size of large farms grows.

Any challenge to an entrenched system such as that of “modern” agriculture means confronting powerful economic and political forces that promote and profit from the current system. This means that farmers and farm organizations need to counter these forces politically as well as directly working through organizations to implement new ecologically-based practices. And there are organizations doing this in countries around the world. On all continents there are groups that are promoting agroecology, which promotes both ecologically sound practices and progressive social relations. (A short video about the global reach of agroecology: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqfInrTfs-U)

Q 7: What the small/marginal farmers, in the face of invasion of large industrial agriculture companies, or we may call these industrial-agriculture complex in view of their world-wide operations beginning from production of inputs used on farms to farming (the actual production) to marketing and their control over policies of state machines, should do to survive? Isn’t it a struggle for humankind’s survival, a struggle against capital’s scourging of soil – a base for survival?

FM: Increasing farm scale, the concentration of the input (seeds, agrichemicals, farm machinery) and output (purchasing and processing) industries, and the opening up to widespread food imports from other countries puts immense pressure on small farmers. If they are selling a lot of their crops in local markets, as I just mentioned, it is hard to compete with generally low commodity prices that might be sufficient for a large farm. This is a political and economic issue and cries out for solution at the national level. But, it is also part of a system that tends to degrade soils and pollute the environment.

I think that the best that farmers can do in the face of such pressures is to join together in local groups that promote agroecological practices and also help with marketing products. Pressure can be applied on local institutions such as schools, restaurants, and hospitals to purchase from local small farmers instead of through the normal marketing channels. So even before a transformation of the entire society or its agriculture, there are approaches that farmers can use to improve the health of their soil and of their farm.

Q 8: You were in Venezuela, helping with a workshop in a farming community. What’s that experience? How do you relate that experience with lessons of your Building Soils for Better Crops?

FM: The workshop was held in the Andean region of Venezuela in which farmers were growing relatively few economically rewarding crops. The village’s land was mostly on hillsides and evidence of soil erosion was quite visible. It reminded me of something that we stress in the book — that while each farm and field might be different, and farmers in different parts of the world and with unique soil conditions don’t have the same constraints, there are general ecologically sound practices that are widely applicable. Of course, they need to be modified or customized for the particular local conditions. But even under harsh conditions such as highly erodible soils there are practices to ameliorate the situation. For example, cover crops could be grown when the soil would otherwise be bare, providing ground cover and enhancing soil health. Also, diversion ditches that move surface water gently across the slopes can help significantly. With few crops being grown by the village’s farmers, sometimes the same crop was grown in successive years, other crops need to be explored to try to develop a more complex rotation and enhance biodiversity.

Farooque: Thanks for sharing your ideas related to agriculture and a few of the related issues.

Fred: You are very welcome!

Note: The interview was first posted in MR Online on June 30, 2021 (“Soil ecology and capitalism agriculture: Fred Magdoff interviewed by Farooque Chowdhury”).

  Read Fred Magdoff discusses capitalist agriculture
  July 3, 2021
This Is Only the Beginning: It’s About to Get Much Harder
by Simon Whalley,
Countercurrents.org, in Climate Change .

Our planet hasn’t seen temperatures this hot in fifteen million years, when the sea level was forty meters higher than it is today.

This is just the opening salvo. As the American west is gripped by potentially the worst drought since algebra was invented 1,200 years ago and temperature records are once again shattered on a weekly basis, we are entering into unknown territory. Lytton in Canada reached a staggering 49.6°C on Tuesday which is hotter than Las Vegas has ever recorded. Portland topped 46.7°C and this is higher than anything experienced in Houston, Texas. This has been building for a long time, but things are about to get much much worse.

Globally, the planet experienced its second hottest year ever recorded in 2019, just 0.4°C cooler than 2016. If 2019 was feeling a little inferior, 2020 arrived on the scene, full of confidence, to claim the prize of warmest year ever recorded on Earth. The average temperature was 1.2°C above the 1859-1900 level. This was also a year in which our civilization was brought to its knees because of the ongoing pandemic. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) says that the warmest six years on record have all occurred since 2015.

With the carbon already in the atmosphere, the extreme heat we are witnessing now will become the new normal. The impacts of a warming planet will be felt by us all. In fact, they already are. Storms, droughts and heatwaves have increased by a third in just the past ten years.  Scientists analyzing models in Switzerland and the UK declared that heat events like that of 2018 were unprecedented prior to 2010 and don‘t occur in historical simulations.

As fossil fuels continue to be pumped into the atmosphere, forests are felled and oceanic ecosystems destroyed, the extreme heat we have seen the past five years is only going to get worse in the next decade. Anthony Arguez at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information in Asheville, North Carolina warns that:

“After the last five years, we’ve really separated ourselves from the past,” and he adds, “It looks pretty likely that we’re going to have a whole lot of top 10 years.”

In total, natural-disaster loss events have more than tripled in the past forty years. It is debatable whether we can continue to call these events ‘natural’ when they are being fueled by human activity. The world is moving into uncharted territory, and our planet has only warmed by 1.2°C so far.  The most likely scenario sees the temperature rising by at least 3°C by 2100, and possibly much more, and possibly sooner. What will the future look like if we continue on our current path? The current trajectory we are on would see temperatures rise by between 3.1°C and 3.5°C by 2100.  Try to imagine the storms, wildfires, droughts and floods that will become normal if we allow this to happen.

If things are this bad at just 1.2°C of warming, more than 3°C will likely be dire for the future of our species. Also, take into account that these are global average temperatures. At the poles and over land the temperature could be double.  For every 1°C of warming, areas affected by heat waves like 2018’s will increase by 16% and are predicted to happen in two out of every three years if temperatures reach 2.7°C, and every year at 3.6°C.

Our planet hasn’t seen temperatures this hot in fifteen million years, when the sea level was forty meters higher than it is today.  The Arctic and Antarctic were home to vast forests. This warming was caused by volcanic activity in North America and the warming happened 1,000 times slower than the human caused warming we see today. If 2100 seems a long way away, children born today will be in their eighties. If that still doesn’t concern you, we will lose all the world’s coral reefs at 2°C of warming, hundreds of millions of people will be on the move in search of food and water. There will be forty-one more marine heatwaves than now. All the Arctic Sea ice will be gone.  The average length of a drought will be ten months. At least 388 million people will be exposed to water scarcity. Maize production will be 9% lower, and wheat 4% lower at 2°C. The population will have risen to around eleven billion. Sea level will have risen by fifty-six cm. Flooding from sea level rise will cost upwards of $11.7 trillion each year at just 2°C. And the most alarming change will be under the ground in the Arctic region where at least 6.6 million km² of permafrost will have thawed. The result of this thawing could trigger the emissions of billions of tons of methane, and what scientists call runaway climate change.

“It is worse, much worse than you think,” is the opening line to David Wallis-Well’s seminal, but terrifying book, The Uninhabitable Earth. He describes life on our planet at varying degrees of warming. At 5°C, large parts of Earth would be unliveable for humans. At 6°C, New York would be hotter than Bahrain today. At 4°C, wildfires will burn sixteen times more land in the American West. There will be hundreds of drowned cities. Going outside will be a dangerous act across India and the Middle East at just 2°C of warming. Even if we meet the Paris goals, Wallace-Wells says the deadly heatwave that killed thousands in India and Pakistan in 2015 will have become annual events. At 4°C, the 2003 heat wave that claimed the lives of around 2,000 people each day in Europe will be a standard summer event. That means more than 35,000 people will be killed each and every summer by intense heat. Keeping temperatures under 1.5°C, of warming, as opposed to 3°C, will save between 110 and 2,720 heat-related deaths in fifteen American cities. The Union of Concerned Scientists are predicting that hundreds of U.S. cities will experience a whole month above 37.8°C by mid-century. Scientists expect the extreme heat to cause large scale relocation of residents as Boston becomes the new Columbia, South Carolina and Chicago experiences the heat of Lafayette, Louisiana. The pilgrimage to Mecca will become impossible for the two million Muslims currently making the trip. Wallace-Wells adds that even if we keep warming under 2°C, half the population will be exposed to deadly heat waves more than twenty days a year. If we don’t keep warming under 2°C, that number will rise to three quarters.

recent study found that we may be fast approaching the threshold of 1.5°C. Scientists stated that there is a 40% chance that we may temporarily pass this figure by 2025. Our feckless leaders are aiming to halt warming at 1.5°C by 2050 yet we may pass this target twenty-five years earlier. It is abundantly clear that we are not on target to stop the worst from happening and that we need rapid decarbonisation immediately if we are to avoid mass starvation and suffering. We can all make changes to our lives from talking about the crises, only buying things we need, leaving animals off our plates to cycling and growing our own food. It is only coordinated government action that will be enough though, and our leaders won’t act without grassroots pressure. That’s where we all have a part to play. We cannot give up without a fight. The future is worth our sweat and tears now. If it isn’t, there will be blood.

Simon Whalley is a an English teacher at a university in Japan and co-founder of Extinction Rebellion Japan.

Originally published in CommonDreams

  Read This Is Only the Beginning: It’s About to Get Much Harder
  July 4, 2021
Lakshadweep: The New Administration’s Call And The Impending Ecological Crisis
by Sadiya Sherin C T,
Countercurrents.org, in Environmental Protection.

A number of articles and series of news stories have already appeared in the mainstream media regarding the exceptionally illogical, and troubling new rules and regulations of the recently appointed administrator of Lakshadweep, Praful Khoda Patel, who served earlier as a home minister in the Narendra Modi-led Gujarat government. The actions taken by the new administration received much attention in a sense, the proposed action plan will eventually destroy the unique culture of Lakshadweep and seriously curtail their rights. Those articles and reports are rich enough in explaining (and expressing solidarity) both the cultural and human rights issues that are going to unfold. However, the ecological and environmental impacts of the new action plan are less covered. Environment and ecology have a significant importance while we talk about a geographical landscape, because its deterioration will put in peril the lives of people living there and cut them away from their cultural roots. As a student interested in ecology, this article is an attempt to bring forth the ecological and environmental disasters that await over a fragile ecosystem.

Peculiarities and threats

Lakshadweep, is a small archipelago in the Arabian Sea comprising 36 islands with unique culture and biodiversity. From the 36 islands, 10 islands are inhabited (Agatti, Amini, Androth, Bitra, Chetlat, Kadmat, Kalpeni, Kavaratti, Kiltan and Minicoy) and Bangaram Island has a tourist resort     . Lakshadweep islands are the only atoll islands in India, which are ring-     shaped coral reefs including a coral rim that encircles a lagoon partially or completely and with or without a coral island/cays on the rim. The atolls have 4 distinct biomes comprising the      islands, lagoons, reefs and the Open Ocean. Although the land area is extremely small (32 km2), Lakshadweep islands are bestowed with a large lagoon area of 4200 km2, which is the basis of the physical existence of islands. Within this lagoon, land area, the territorial water area (20000 km2) and in the exclusive economic zone (40000 km2),  lies the coral reef and seagrass species that serves as the foraging, breeding and resting habitat for a range of marine fauna. Reefs are considered to be the centres of high biological productivity, CO2 sinks and rich in biodiversity. They are a source of calcium carbonate deposit and aid in shoreline protection. Coral reefs can also serve as the indicators of potentially catastrophic consequences on natural communities as well as human societies. These coral reef systems and the surrounding biota are the backbone of the livelihood of Lakshadweep people, which are at a high risk at present.

The coral reefs of the world are deteriorating vastly. Pollution, habitat destruction, and several anthropogenic and natural pressures triggers the mass bleaching and outbreak of diseases are the main causes of this reduction. Lakshadweep experienced 3      El Nino southern oscillations, (ENSO) events, and coral mortality rates were reported in 1998(80%) 2010(44%), and 2016(31%). Although coral      reefs in Lakshadweep islands showed a remarkable ability to regenerate after these events, several other fauna, which are mediating communities and keystone species in the reefs, were severely outnumbered. It is expected that 32 per cent of the reefs may be lost in the next 30 years if the threats are not reduced (1). Loss of healthy coral reefs will lead to elimination of primary sources of food, income and employment for millions of people around the world, as well as the extinction of many fascinating and beautiful marine species. Some live corals are getting affected by crown of thorns (Acanthaster planci) infection. The live coral cover of the Lakshadweep Islands ranged between 17.5% and 44.3% during 2009 (2). The lowest percentage of live coral cover was recorded at Suheli Island and the highest percentage at Bitra Island.

The biodiversity of Lakshadweep island were estimated by several researchers and the Corals are represented by 148 species; fish-126 families and 601 species; crustaceans-68 species; mollusks-227 species; sponges-91 species; mangroves-2 species; seaweeds-114 species; echinoderms-78 species, seagrass-6 species; sea turtles-4 species; 101 species of birds and 12 species of cetaceans,248 species of plants etc. Pitti Island, a sand bank situated nearly 24km northwest of Kavaratti with an area of only 1.21 ha, is an island of birds and declared as a bird sanctuary (3). This is a breeding ground for 4 species of terns and therefore the island has great significance since such breeding colonies are very rare in the Indian territorial areas. Most of these organisms are irreplaceable chains in the web of ecological balance and are providing significant roles in ecosystem functioning. Sea grasses are important in preventing the sea erosion and movement of beach sediments. Sea cucumbers, on the other hand, one of the most valuable species from the Lakshadweep islands, are important in nutrient cycling and enjoy the same status as tigers and lions As per Schedule I of Wildlife Protection Act. Schedule 1 stands for absolute protection and offences under it invite the highest penalties. It was in this context that the Lakshadweep administration announced the creation of the world’s first conservation area for endangered sea cucumbers in an area spread in 239 sq. km. (4) even though sea      cucumbers, blue whales, dolphins and turtles are protected under schedule 1, they are the most exploited species and this fragile coral ecosystem is deteriorating due to many natural and manmade causes.

It is imperative that, apart from the current plans of extensive tourism, conservation measures be urgently implemented in some of these islands to preserve and protect these habitats for scientific, cultural and economic purposes. The new administrator claims that this plans are made up for the future of the islands along the “developmental lines of Maldives” which is against the wishes of local people as well as the previous action plans for Lakshadweep islands. The coral islands and lagoons are home to a variety of threatened and endangered species which will possibly attract more tourists by the upcoming projects, but the ecological impacts on these fragile ecosystems cannot be determined easily. Because, Lakshadweep is already suffering from several anthropogenic threats, by dredging of the reef to create wider entry points for navigation, collection of corals and shingles from the reef for construction activities, overexploitation of certain resources (movement of human beings in the reef for gleaning, dragging fishing nets and the drop in the number of live-bait fishes),Oil spills, sewage, presence of synthetic products such as rubber, plastics, cements and heavy metal pollution which likely to have an adverse effect on corals that will ultimately affect many other reef organisms, which rely on these healthy communities either directly or indirectly.

The research of Rohan Arthur and colleagues (5) showed the reefs in Lakshadweep islands are eroding faster than they are accreting, and the trends shows that, most of the islands will experience increasing land erosion, shortage of fresh water stocks, and increased damage on every major cyclones or climatic events in the following decades. This implies the prime importance to climate resilience while dealing with each and every developmental or tourism projects of Lakshadweep islands and for the better implementation they should be more transparent and should be with the involvement of both the government and civil society. The action plan of Lakshadweep in 2012 (6) acknowledged the reality of climate change and listed out the consequences of extensive tourism, developmental projects and other exploitation project, even though the proposed strategies were not enough to deal with the current problems. But the current draft of Lakshadweep development authority regulation 2021, is far away from the ecological and climate change concerns and more focused on the developmental infrastructure, good governance, and sound planning. The proposed regulation looks to centralise all the decisions about the land and property which can determine the future projects within the land. This reinforces the domination of administration over the island and its inhabitants. The new regulation diluted most      of the unambiguous recommendations provided by the report of justice Raveendran committee (2014), appointed to evaluate the draft IIMP (Integrated Island Management Plan) received from National Centre for Earth Science Studies (NCESS). The report warned to consider the ecological fragility, and the essentiality of protecting corals, sea grass and other ecosystems from anthropogenic activities while considering developmental projects and are now diluted by the recent NITI Ayog plans for the new projects of Lakshadweep.

The developmental projects and new tourism plans are highlighted as a win-win for the stakeholders and local people. But Threats to Lakshadweep and its people from these so-called “holistic island development” plans are clear, and the people are afraid of influential corporates       descending on the Lakshadweep islands and ruining their culture and livelihoods. Islanders fish in the lagoons for their daily consumption. Lagoon fish are also the backbone of Lakshadweep’s famous sustainable and indigenous tuna fishery industry. And the beaches are heavily used: catch is processed and sundried on these sands. With tourism, and the spatial restrictions it could bring, locals fear that they will not be able to use the beaches or lagoons for their traditional livelihoods. Together, these assign unquestionable authority to the Administrator, including giving him total eminent domain powers over the territory and people of the Islands, enabling the administration to take over any part of the islands in the name of “development activities”, including ecologically damaging mining and extraction of mineral resources; to forcibly remove or relocate any islander owning that land, despite the fact that over 95% of islanders belong to Scheduled Tribes whose lands cannot be easily alienated; to bypass Panchayats and other local government bodies; and, amazingly, placing any such actions by the Administrator beyond appeal or judicial review.

The scope of tourism developments by trading the natural beauty of Lakshadweep islands are      long discussed by most of the governments and the Narendra Modi government showed      a special interest in improving tourism facilities in islands. In January 2020, India’s Home Minister Amit Shah, chaired a meeting of the Island Development Agency, wherein the government reviewed the progress made towards the development of islands. The meeting produced an official statement about the land based and water villa projects for inviting the participation of the private sector. The proposed projects include the first ever water villa projects in the Indian ocean islands, scuba diving and other water sports, eco-tourism under NITI Ayog, promotion of seaplane operation in Lakshadweep and cruise tourism in the islands. The government expects a large influx of tourists through the upcoming projects, but which may be greater than the carrying capacity of these small islands and the impacts on these ecological paradise will be overwhelming. The Lakshadweep action plan on climate change (2012) predicts the future pressures from the scarcity of fresh water, and the influence on the ground water resources, which will become a limiting factor for the survival of the inhabitants of the islands in the coming years. In the light of this evidence, any developmental or infrastructure development of these fragile and sensitive area require more imagination and climate resilient plans than the current plans. There are several data gaps to be addressed in order to develop strategies for adapting to climate change. The Lack of scientific knowledge and the data gap can also result in devising mal-adaptive strategies, under the climate change realm, which in turn can impact the fragile ecosystem.

Maldives model – a marker of disaster

Tourism in the Maldives exists solely due to the physical and geographic features of the coral islands exactly in the case of Lakshadweep. The beauty of the underwater world at the reefs, clean water in the lagoons, white and pristine sandy beaches, rich island vegetation and ideal tropical climate which form a virtual paradise that attracts tourists. According to the proposal of the NITI Ayog plan similar water villas to be constructed at Minicoy, Suheli and Kadmat islands of Lakshadweep and the government has already started inviting bids for more than six such ecotourism projects which will be based on public-private partnership model. Apart from the aesthetic similarity with Maldives, there are a number of limiting factors for the so-called      tourism in Lakshadweep. Maldives consist of 1192 islands and most of them are uninhabited islands. The population density of Maldives is      also nearly half of the Lakshadweep islands. Beyond that, the model of tourism was      exclusively for the business interests and it will expel the local communities.

The other side of this ‘Maldivian model’ of tourism development merely considers the peripheral beauty and appearance only. But each island ecosystem is very unique in terms of biodiversity, physical environment and threats by natural and anthropogenic factors. Isolation of islands promotes high endemism and specialised flora and fauna and the majority of recorded extinctions have been in islands over the last 500 years (7). the Significant impacts noted from Maldives were the increased level of reef fishing to service the tourism industry, beach erosion, sewage disposal, groundwater      depletion and threats by the solid waste with rising number of tourists will provide an insight to the similar state of Lakshadweep in the near future.

The administration solely shielded the impacts and warnings      from experts just to launch the new plans and projects, by ruining the livelihood of local people as well as the ecosystem. This does not mean that the      environment and natural resources should not be used for human progress. But the developmental projects should be participatory that includes the local knowledge, experience and address the requirements of the local community. Otherwise it will be ecologically disastrous and undemocratic.

  1. Laretta Burke, Kathylene Reytar, Mark Spalding, Allison Perry, Reefs at risk revisited (2011), World Resources Institute.
  2. Report on visit to Lakshadweep- a coral reef wetland included under national wetland conservation and management programme of the ministry of environment and forests, (2018)
  3. K Muhammad Koya and Abdul Azeez (2017), Fishing in atolls- trade-off between harvest and conservation, pelagic fisheries division, ICAR, central marine fisheries institute.
  4. Union territory of Lakshadweep administration, department of environment and forest, F.No.2/26/2020-E&F
  5.  Rohan Arthur (2008) Patterns of benthic recovery in the Lakshadweep islands, coastal ocean research and development in the Indian Ocean state report.
  6. Lakshadweep action plan on climate change (LAPCC) (2012), U.T of Lakshadweep
  7. John C. Briggs (2017), Emergence of sixth mass extinction, Biological journal of Linnean society.

Sadiya Sherin C.T., Research Scholar, Dpt. Of Ecology and Environmental Science, Pondicherry University. I am currently working on forest ecology. As a scholar, published articles on ecology and environmental politics in various web portals.   Sadiyasherin6@gmail.com

  Read Lakshadweep: The New Administration’s Call And The Impending Ecological Crisis
  June 9, 2021
Arms Sales: What We Know About Bombs Being Dropped in Our Name
by Danaka Katovich ,
Countercurrents.org, in Imperialism.

At some point before the summer of 2018, an arms deal from the US to Saudi Arabia was sealed and delivered. A 227kg laser-guided bomb made by Lockheed Martin, one of many thousands, was part of that sale. On August 9th, 2018 one of those Lockheed Martin bombs was dropped on a school bus full of Yemeni children. They were on their way to a field trip when their lives came to a sudden end. Amidst shock and grief,  their loved ones  would learn that Lockheed Martin was responsible for creating the bomb that murdered their children.

What they might not know is that the United States government (the President and the State Department) approved the sale of the bomb that killed their children, in the process enriching Lockheed Martin, which makes millions in profits from arms sales every year.

While Lockheed Martin profited from the death of forty Yemeni children that day, top United States weapons companies continue to sell weapons to repressive regimes around the world, killing countless more people in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and more.  And in many cases, the United States public has no idea this is being done in our name to benefit the largest private companies in the world.

Now, the newest $735 million in precision-guided weapons that are being sold to Israel- are destined to have a similar fate. The news about this sale broke in the midst of Israel’s most recent assault on Gaza that killed over 200 Palestinians. When Israel attacks Gaza, it does so with US-made bombs and warplanes.

If we condemn the abhorrent destruction of life that occurs when Saudi Arabia or Israel kills people with US-manufactured weapons, what can we do about it?

Arms sales are confusing. Every once in a while a news story will break about a certain weapons sale from the United States to some other country across the globe that is worth millions, or even billions of dollars. And as Americans, we virtually have no say in where the bombs that say “MADE IN THE USA” go. By the time we hear about a sale, the export licenses are already approved and Boeing factories are churning out weapons we’ve never even heard of.

Even for people who consider themselves well informed about the military-industrial complex find themselves getting lost in the web of procedure and timing of weapons sales. There is a gross lack of transparency and information made available to the American peoples. Generally, here’s how arms sales work:

There is a period of negotiation that takes place between a country that wants to buy weapons and either the US government or a private company like Boeing or Lockheed Martin. After a deal is reached, the State Department is required by the Arms Export Control Act to notify Congress. After the notification is received by Congress, they have 15 or 30 days to introduce and pass a Resolution of Joint Disapproval to block the issuance of the export license. The amount of days depends on how close the United States is with the country buying the weapons.

For Israel, NATO countries, and a few others, Congress has 15 days to block the sale from going through. Anyone familiar with Congress’s arduous way of doing things may realize that 15 days is not really enough time to carefully consider whether selling millions/billions of dollars in weapons is in the political interest of the United States.

What does this time frame mean for advocates against arms sales? It means that they have a tiny window of opportunity to reach out to members of Congress. Take the most recent and controversial $735 million Boeing sale to Israel as an example. The story broke only a few days before those 15 days were up.  Here’s how it happened:

On May 5, 2021 Congress was notified about the sale. However, since the sale was commercial (from Boeing to Israel) instead of government-to-government (from the United States to Israel), there is a greater lack of transparency because there are different procedures for commercial sales. Then on May 17, with only a few days left in the 15-day period Congress has to block a sale, the story of the sale broke. Responding to the sale on the last day of the 15 days, a joint resolution of disapproval was introduced in the House on May 20. The next day, Senator Sanders introduced his legislation to block the sale in the Senate, when the 15 days were up. The export license was already approved by the State Department that same day.

The legislation introduced by Senator Sanders and Representative Ocasio-Cortez to block the sale was virtually useless as time had run out.

However, all is not lost, as there are several ways a sale can still be stopped after the export license is granted. The State Department can revoke the license, the President can stop the sale, and Congress can introduce specific legislation to block the sale at any point up until the weapons are actually delivered. The last option has never been done before, but there is recent precedent to suggest that it might not be totally pointless to try.

Congress passed a bipartisan joint resolution of disapproval in 2019 to block an arms sale to the United Arab Emirates. Then President Donald Trump vetoed this resolution and Congress didn’t have the votes to override it. However, this situation showed that both sides of the aisle can work together to block an arms sale.

The convoluted and tedious ways arms sales go through raise two important questions. Should we even be selling weapons to these countries in the first place? And does there need to be a fundamental change in the procedure of selling weapons so that Americans can have more of a say?

According to our own law, the United States should not be sending weapons to countries like Israel and Saudi Arabia (among others). Technically, doing so goes against the Foreign Assistance Act, which is one of the main laws governing weapons sales.

Section 502B of the Foreign Assistance Act says that weapons sold by the United States cannot be used for human rights violations. When Saudi Arabia dropped that Lockheed Martin bomb on those Yemeni kids, no argument could be made for “legitimate self defense.” When the primary target of Saudi airstrikes in Yemen are weddings, funerals, schools, and residential neighborhoods in Sanaa, the United States has no legitimate justification for their use of US manufactured weapons. When Israel uses Boeing joint direct attack munitions to level residential buildings and international media sites, they are not doing so out of “legitimate self defense”.

In this day and age where videos of US allies committing war crimes are readily available on Twitter or Instagram, no one can claim that they don’t know what US-made weapons are used for around the world.

As Americans, there are important steps to be taken. Are we willing to put our efforts into changing the procedure of arms sales to include more transparency and accountability? Are we willing to invoke our own laws? More importantly: are we willing to put our efforts into drastically changing our economy so that Yemeni and Palestinian parents who put every ounce of love into raising their children do not have to live in fear that their whole world could be taken in an instant? As it stands, our economy benefits from selling tools of destruction to other countries. That is something Americans must realize and ask if there is a better way to be a part of the world.  The next steps for people who are concerned about this newest arms sale to Israel should be petitioning the State Department and asking their members of Congress to introduce legislation to block the sale.

Danaka Katovich is a campaign coordinator at CODEPINK as well as the coordinator of CODEPINK’s youth cohort the Peace Collective. Danaka graduated from DePaul University with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science in November 2020 with a focus in international politics. Since 2018 she has been working towards ending US participation in the war in Yemen, focusing on Congressional war making powers. At CODEPINK she works on youth outreach as a facilitator of the Peace Collective which focuses on anti-imperialist education and divestment.

  Read Arms Sales: What We Know About Bombs Being Dropped in Our Name
  June 11, 2021
Toxic Chemicals Engulf the Planet
by Robert Hunziker,
Countercurrents.org, in Book Review .

Worldwide chemical emissions are six times global warming emissions. This hidden dilemma is fully exposed in a superbly researched new book by science writer Julian Cribb: Earth Detox, How and Why We Must Clean Up Our Planet, Cambridge University Press, scheduled for release August 2021.

The planet has become a toxic soup of tested, untested, and inadequately tested chemicals that includes deadly toxins. Within only a couple of generations, and largely unnoticed, this startling episode is unique to our generation. Far and away, it exceeds global warming emissions. Yet, it’s a pressing issue that’s not publicly recognized as such. Earth Detox is an eye-opening exposure of unintentional toxic chemical warfare lodged against humanity virtually everywhere, all over the planet. Throughout this challenging subject matter, Cribb’s work is supported by extensive scientific data, for example: “Americans are a walking cocktail of contaminants.” That statement alone is provocative enough to demand more facts, a whole lot more. For example, why and how has American life been reduced to such a degenerative status? More on this to follow.

But most alarming of all: “More than 25,000 human lives are being lost daily to chemical poisoning.” That statistic of 25,000 deaths/day comes from UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) in its 2019 Global Chemicals Outlook II report, which Cribb disparagingly describes: “With unassailable scientific evidence that more than 25,000 human lives are being lost daily to chemical poisoning, and in the face of a mountain of fresh evidence of chemical harm that has accumulated since its 2013 report, the 2019 report betrays a chilling lack of urgency. Its language is softer and less candid, its proposals more soothing to industry than its predecessor. Indeed, it asserts: ‘We cannot live without chemicals’. It is hard to escape an inference that UNEP has been ‘got at’.” (pg. 216)

It’s a compelling invisible issue. What else in the world accounts for 25,000 daily deaths?

Yet, across the globe there are no signs of concern, no long banners flapping in the breeze on Main Street, no NGOs, no marches, no petitions, no pesky fund-raisers, no signature gatherers at grocery store parking lots, no public demonstrations of concern about this hidden peril found throughout the planet from the top of Mount Everest, where researchers, to their dismay, discovered toxic compounds in-excess of EPA standards, to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, where small crustaceans that live in the pitch-black waters of the trench, captured by a robotic submarine, were contaminated with 50 times more toxic chemicals than crabs that survive in heavily polluted rivers in China.

Still, society fails to address this most pressing issue of the 21st century. According to Cribb: “A worrisome component of the poisoning of the planet is the absurd fact that modern society exists and functions as a result of these poisons. For example, industrialized food production uses five million tonnes of specialized poisons to control weeds, insects, rodents and moulds to feed the world.” Here’s the kicker, the vast majority of the chemicals used to produce food negatively impact “non-target organisms,” like honeybees, farm workers and consumers.

Cribb has produced a landmark study that demands further analysis and investigation at the highest levels. It belongs on reading lists of every educational institution and in the hands of policymakers as well as consumers worldwide. Cribb’s gifted science-oriented prose provides an ideal fundamental resource for: (1) supplemental textbooks (2) advocacy groups (3) policymakers (4) critical information for every householder in the world to better understand what’s at stake in everyday life. For example: “Never eat any food containing a substance you can’t pronounce or you don’t trust.” (pg. 67) In other words, read the damn labels!

Earth Detox is truly a masterpiece of deeply researched facts exposing a very, very big story, as big as the survival and condition of Earth’s basic resources that support existence.  An opening statement in Cribb’s own words sums up the extent: “Earth and all life on it are being saturated with chemicals released by humans, in an event unlike anything that has occurred ever before, in all 4 billion years of our Planet’s story… Ours is a poisoned world… this has all happened quite quickly and has burgeoned so rapidly that most people are still unaware of the extent or scale of the peril… crept up on us unseen… in a social climate of trusting acceptance of authority, over barely the span of a single human lifetime… impacts are only now starting to emerge.” (pgs. 3-4)

Accordingly, a 2020 study by a team of international scientists led by Switzerland’s Institute of Environmental Engineering: “Over 350,000 chemicals and mixtures of chemicals have been registered for production and use, up to three times as many as previously estimated… identities of many chemicals remain publicly unknown because they are claimed as confidential.” (pg 7)

The Swiss study is the world’s first-ever compilation of global chemical inventory and surprisingly discovered three times previous estimates, which speaks to the lax governance issue, nobody really knows for sure what’s going on, three times previous estimates is evidence of failure to observe. The study uncovered “widespread secrecy, misidentification and obfuscation,” leading to a question of who effectively monitors this darkened world that ultimately reaches into everyone’s home?

It’s the vastness and fragmentation of worldwide manufacturing that makes regulation so difficult. After all, one thousand (1,000) new chemicals are added to the mix every year. The chemical industry is the second largest manufacturer in the world, totaling 2.5 billion tonnes each year.

Yet, according to Cribb: “Regulation has so far banned fewer than one per cent (1%) of all intentionally made dangerous chemicals – and then only in certain countries… large parts of the world’s most polluting industries are relocating away from countries where high standards of regulation and compliance, and high costs, apply.” (pgs. 191-92)

All of which conforms to economic dicta following post-Reagan globalization schemes subsequently embraced by neoliberalism’s penchant for weakening regulations and powerfully goosed ahead via massive deregulation under the Trump administration’s “intentional collapse of scientific wherewithal,” one of America’s darkest hours.

Indeed, chemical usage is an ever-present quandary that’s a challenge to navigate if only because so much of it is necessary in today’s world, leading to one of the great paradoxes of all time, a virtual “Catch-22”: “Man-made chemicals are so widespread in the world today because they are very useful, very valuable, very profitable and help to enhance billions of lives. They are central enabling technology in the modern global economy. They are never going to be universally banned – and nor should they be. But neither should they flood the Earth uncontrolled. The magnitude of our chemical – especially toxic chemical – exposure has crept up on the human population unawares.” (pg. 192)

Cribb has created nomenclature for the chemical epidemic: Anthropogenic Chemical Circulation (“ACC”). “The ACC is just like our carbon emissions – only much bigger and far more noxious… For the first time in the Earth’s history, a single species – ourselves – is poisoning an entire Planet.” (pgs. 20-21)

ACC aptly defines the risks: Man-made chemicals are always on the move constantly in space and time, all around us, traveling on wind, in the water, attached to soil, within dust and plastic micro particles, in traded goods. Chemicals stay with us forever reforming, recycling, recombining, and reactivating as part of an unending planetary river, the Anthropogenic Chemical Circulation. Nothing escapes toxic pollution: “Even the mud on the sea floor is becoming poisonous.” (pgs. 35-37)

Polluted People

It is highly likely that readers of Cribb’s exposé will have been exposed to toxic chemicals without knowing it. You only know, or suspect, after something goes wrong, like cancer or Alzheimer’s but by then forgetfulness masks the original cause/effect.

According to Cribb: A chilling glimpse of the big picture comes from the USA, among the heaviest chemical users on the Planet. For more than two decades its Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has run a national survey of chemical pollution in the blood, serum and urine of up to 2500 Americans every year.” (pg. 53) The survey reveals: “Americans are a walking cocktail of contaminants. The CDC readily admits that the health effects of many chemicals are not yet clear. WHO says the number of chemicals is ‘very large’ and health risks ‘are not known… Ipso facto, never eat any food containing a substance you can’t pronounce or you don’t trust.” (pg. 67)

The modern industrial food supply chain, from A to Z, is loaded with chemicals. For starters, pesticides used to grow food and livestock end up in human bodies one way or another, and in high enough concentrations proven to influence cancers, brain, nerve, genetic and hormonal disorders, kidney and liver damage, asthma and allergies. Besides pesticides, some 3,000 chemical food ingredients are permitted by the FDA used to enhance freshness, taste, and texture. Preservatives, for example, which extend shelf life, are chemicals that poison the bacteria and moulds that cause food to rot.  “Common chemical preservatives such as sodium nitrate and nitrite, sulphites, sulphur dioxide, sodium benzoate, parabens, formaldehyde and antioxidant preservatives, if over-consumed in the modern processed food diet, may also lead to cancers, heart disease, allergies, digestive, lung, kidney and other diseases and constitute a further reason for avoiding or reducing one’s intake of ‘industrial food’.” (pg 70)

By all appearances, based upon Cribb’s extensive research, the Industrial Food Frankenstein, which traverses pesticide-laced farmland-to-artificial (toxic) plastic packaging-to home refrigeration, given enough time, kills or cripples wide-eyed consumers. There’s little middle ground with industrial foodstuff.

It should be noted, aside from Cribb’s book, a major Rand Corporation study shows “sixty percent (60% or almost 200 million) U.S. adults have at least one chronic condition, 42% have more than one, and 12% have five or more,” e.g., high cholesterol, high blood pressure, anxiety, arthritis, heart disease and diabetes. Whereas, European chronic conditions at 30% are one-half the U.S. on the same timeline as the Rand study. Thus, connecting the dots, it brings to mind whether adverse conditions, like excessive exposure to toxic chemicals, cause chronic conditions?

“Interestingly, Europe only permits the use of 400 food additives out of 3000 permitted in the US. Essentially, Europe has banned 4/5ths of the chemicals allowed in the US food chain. Europe outlaws any chemicals that do not meet its criteria for “non-harm to humans or the environment.” (pg. 73)

“It is important to remember that the universal penetration of man-made chemicals into the food chain has mainly happened in just the last half-century. No previous generations were subjected to such a wholesale chemical exposure.” (page. 76) “There could be anything up to 16,500 different chemicals in the modern food chain today that simply weren’t a part of your grandparents’ diet.” (pg.90) That one sentence says it all in less than 25 words with an underlying message: Avoid industrial food. Eat fresh food.

A major test of a family of five in San Francisco that ate industrial packaged food for a period of time followed by a diet of fresh food for a comparable period of time showed significant reduction of toxic BPA (used to make plastics) and phthalates (used to make household goods) of 67% to 90%, which is extraordinarily meaningful. (Source: Earth Detox) (According to Mayo Clinic, research shows BPA may be directly linked to high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Phthalates makes plastics more durable used in hundreds of household products and can damage the liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system)

Unfortunately, the full scale of the impact of toxic chemicals to humans is not yet fully understood by science, not by governments, not by industry and not by communities. However, numerous studies show mixtures of chemicals connecting dots to cancers, autism and several other diseases. “We are, every one of us, the ‘laboratory rats’ in a vast worldwide chemistry experiment involving an immense cocktail of substances, over which we have neither say nor freedom of action. It is an uncontrolled global experiment that defies the very ethics which outlaw the scientific testing of mixture toxicity in humans.” (pg. 96)

“While global chemical use is forecast to intensify, growing by around 3 per cent per year up to 2050, the world’s ability to regulate and restrict it is weakening… The main reason for this is that, in their efforts to evade regulators, chemical corporations are winding back their operations in the developed world and moving to more poorly regulated countries, mainly in Asia. In the first two decades of this century, chemical output in Asian countries grew three to five times faster than in North America and Europe.” (pg. 196)

Earth Detox offers solutions. Here’s one: “A core finding of this book is that we must build a Global Detox Alliance… Such an alliance would not engage in consumer bans or boycotts, physical confrontation, lawsuits or other direct action against industry or science; to do so will only entrench mutual mistrust and opposition, delay the move to clean production and drive industry into greater secrecy and into unregulated parts of the world. Clean up will do best if founded on principles of co- operation, consensus, openness and equality between society, industry and government.” (pg. 236)

Above all else, readers of Cribb’s fact-filled gem must read the Postscript: “A Cautionary Tale From Deep Time,” which is an extremely intriguing very thought-provoking detailed description of how life on Earth originated, from day one, with some surprising results along the way. Don’t miss it. After all, who doesn’t wonder about the wonders of life’s creation?

Postscript: Ours is a poisoned world… this has all happened quite quickly and has burgeoned so rapidly that most people are still unaware of the extent or scale of the peril… crept up on us unseen… over barely the span of a single human lifetime… impacts are only now starting to emerge. (Julian Cribb)

Someday we shall look back on this dark era of agriculture and shake our heads. How could we have ever believed that it was a good idea to grow our food with poisons? (Jane Goodall, Harvest of Hope, 2005)

Annotation: The quotes with page references in this article come from the publisher’s “Proof” and may not conform to the final book publication.

Robert Hunziker is a writer based in Los Angeles

  Read Toxic Chemicals Engulf the Planet
 June 13, 2021
Human population activity: the primary factor that has precipitated a climate emergency, biodiversity loss and environmental pollution on our watch.
by Steven Earl Salmony,
Countercurrents.org, in World.

Homo sapiens is a creature of earth, not separate from the natural world. Just as it is for other species within the web of life of earth, food is a fundamental basis of life for the human species. There are other factors that help sustain life, but food is a root cause of the growth of all species (3,4,5).

Population growth of a species can become a biological problem. In the case of H. sapiens, a self-reinforcing feedback loop has been established in the food-population relationship because other natural limiting factors to the unbridled growth of human population numbers have been eliminated by human ingenuity (e.g., sanitation, medical technology). Humans are an exceptional species in many ways, but not in terms of population dynamics (3,4,8). Hence the recent explosion of absolute global human population numbers that are primarily caused by spectacular annual increases in the human food supply is derived from enhanced food production and distribution capabilities. Other species cannot produce food beyond that provided by the natural world.

The conundrum: increasing food production and distribution capabilities continuously, specifically for the purpose of meeting the needs of a growing human population, has also fueled a population explosion. With each passing year, more people are being fed, yet more people are going hungry.

Regardless of what we believe because it is politically convenient, economically expedient, socially correct, religiously tolerated and/or culturally syntonic to do so, we are currently confronted with an undeniable biological problem that is explained in uncontested ecological science of human population dynamics. A new biological understanding is emerging from ongoing research that replaces a biologically implausible, ideologically driven, logical contrivance. Stated simply: as is the case with other species, food is the independent, not the dependent, variable in the relationship between food and population numbers (3,4,7).

It is food availability that drives population increases and it is that population growth which fuels the false perception, the misleading impression, the fatally flawed conception that food production needs to be increased to meet the needs of a growing population. Year after year, while food production is increased, leading to global human population number increases, hundreds of millions in the human family continue to go hungry. Why are those people not getting fed? And why is it that future generations may never be fed? We are increasing the number of hungry people as we feed more people. World hunger grows annually despite abundant total food harvests. Starvation has not been remedied by boosting food production. Increasing food production to eliminate malnourishment, hunger, and starvation has not been a solution. See graph, World News, 1 billion worldwide are hungry, U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization says; prices blamed in part. Updated January 12, 2019. Posted October 15, 2009.

What is becoming evident is that the overproduction, overconsumption, and overpopulation activities of the human species are occurring synergistically and simultaneously threatening life as we know it. The spectacular increases of these distinctly human overgrowth/overshoot activities are causing the mass extirpation of earth’s biodiversity, the relentless dissipation of its limited resources, and the unbridled degradation of its environs which, when taken together, present a clear and immediate threat to a healthy future for children everywhere and coming generations.

The enormous, unbridled increase in the overall magnitude of the human population in our time on a planet with the size, composition, and ecology of earth has precipitated a growing number of deleterious circumstances, including environmental pollution, biodiversity loss, ecological disruption, and climate destabilization. Global human activity is threatening the future of life as we know it and the planet as a fit place for human habitation (1,6).

After thousands of years of stable human population numbers, the past 225 years have seen total population increase in size from 1 to 8 billion. How are humans going to limit sensibly and effectively the current unbridled growth of their population numbers without beginning to limit “increases only” in the total production of food for human consumption? Alternatives to this step (e.g., educational/economic opportunities for females, contraception for males/females, and voluntary sterilization) represent necessary goals to be achieved, that is certain. But these and other helpful interventions, by themselves, will prove insufficient to stabilize human population numbers because human beings will continue to live or die primarily as a function of food supply (1,3,4,5,7).

The science of human population dynamics makes one thing clear. The United Nations mantra “food production must be increased annually to meet the needs of a growing population” is a widely shared and consensually validated mistake of colossal proportions (2.3,7). This mantra is not an expression derived from language of science. By recognizing how the mistake is generated out of the realm of the preternatural, we can replace it with a more accurate understanding of a condition of being human (i.e., population dynamics of H. sapiens) and a more fulsome appreciation of the way the world we inhabit works, with humans now visibly disclosed as an integral part of the web of life.

If ever the human community is sensibly and meaningfully able to restrain the recent bacteria-like growth of human population numbers, limiting increases in total food production for human consumption will need to be a part of any program of action. If food harvests that sustain the lives of eight billion people are simultaneously and more fairly redistributed so that the human family is provided sustenance along with universal, free, safe, accessible, voluntary contraception/sterilization, such steps in a comprehensive program of action might well lead toward population stabilization and the reduction of human suffering associated with the insufficient availability of food.


1.Christopher Bystroff. Footprints to singularity: A global population model explains late 20th century slow-down and predicts peak within ten years. May 2021, PLOS ONE, 16(5): e0247214

2.Jared L. Diamond. The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race. 1987, Discover 8(5): 64-66

3.Russell P. Hopfenberg and David I. Pimentel. Human Population Numbers as a Function of Food Supply. January 2001, Environment Development and Sustainability 3(1):1-15

4.Hopfenberg RP. Human Carrying Capacity Is Determined by Food Availability. January 2003, Population and Environment. 25(2):109-117

5.Steven Earl Salmony. Food and Population Growth. June 2004, EnvirHealthPersp. 112(6): A339-40

6.Salmony SE. The Human Population: Accepting Earth’s Limitations. January 2005, EnvirHealthPersp. 112(17): A979-80

7.Salmony SE. The Human Population: Accepting Species Limits. February 2006, EnvirHealthPersp. 114(1): A17-18

8.Diny Zulkarnaen and Marianito R. Rodrigo. Modelling human carrying capacity as a function of food availability. July 2020 ANZIAM Journal.62(3):313-333

Steve Salmony is a self-proclaimed global citizen, a psychologist and father of three grown children and 4 grandkids. Married 49 years ago. In 2001 Steve founded the AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population to raise consciousness of the colossal threat that the unbridled, near exponential growth of absolute global human population numbers poses for all great and small living things on Earth in our time. His quixotic campaign focuses upon the best available science of human population dynamics and human overpopulation of the Earth, in order to save the planet as a place fit for habitation by children everywhere and coming generations. He can be reached at SESALMONY@aol.com.

  Read Human population activity: the primary factor that has precipitated a climate emergency, biodiversity loss and environmental pollution on our watch
 June 13, 2021
A Critical Decade
by John Scales Avery,
Countercurrents.org, in Book Review .

A new freely downloadable book

I would like to announce the publication of a book, which discusses the urgent changes that are needed to save our planet and our collective future. The book may be downloaded and circulated free of charge from the following link:


Humanity has reached a critical decade

A new report, published on 14 March, 2021 in the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences’ journal Ambio, points out that humanity is hurtling towards destruction unless we have the collective wisdom to change course quickly. Here is a link to the artocle:


The Ambio article was written as part of the preparation for a meeting of Nobel Prize winners to discuss the state of the planet. The virtual meeting was held on April 26-28, 2021.

Nobel Prize Laureates and Other Experts Issue Urgent Call for Action

Here are  some quotations from the statement, which was signed by 126 Nobel laureates and other experts:

…“Science is a global common good on a quest for truth, knowledge, and innovation toward a better life. Now, humankind faces new challenges at unprecedented scale. The first Nobel Prize Summit comes amid a global pandemic, amid a crisis of inequality, amid an ecological crisis, amid a climate crisis, and amid an information crisis. These supranational crises are interlinked and threaten the enormous gains we have made in human progress. It is particularly concerning that the parts of the world projected to experience many of the compounding negative effects from global changes are also home to many of the world’s poorest communities, and to indigenous peoples. The summit also comes amid unprecedented urbanization rates and on the cusp of technological disruption from digitalization, artificial intelligence, ubiquitous sensing and biotechnology and nanotechnology that may transform all aspects of our lives in coming decade…

“The summit has been convened to promote a transformation to global sustainability for human prosperity and equity. Time is the natural resource in shortest supply. The next decade is crucial: Global greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut by half and destruction of nature halted and reversed. An essential foundation for this transformation is to address destabilizing inequalities in the world. Without transformational action this decade, humanity is taking colossal risks with our common future. Societies risk large-scale, irreversible changes to Earth’s biosphere and our lives as part of it.

“We need to reinvent our relationship with planet Earth. The future of all life on this planet, humans and our societies included, requires us to become effective stewards of the global commons – the climate, ice, land, ocean, freshwater, forests, soils, and rich diversity of life that regulate the state of the planet, and combine to create a unique and harmonious life-support system. There is now an existential need to build economies and societies that support Earth system harmony rather than disrupt it…”


Here is a list of  chapters in my new book:

The Scientists’ Warning

Other Warning Voices

Extinction Events and Feedback Loops

The Global Food and Refugee Crisis

Sir David Attenborough

Greta Thnberg

Continued Extraction of Fossil Fuels Must Stop!

The Health of Our Oceans

The Global Human Footprint





North America


Other books and articles about  global problems are on these links



John Scales Avery

I hope that you will circulate the links in this article to friends and contacts who might be interested.

John Scales Avery is a theoretical chemist at the University of Copenhagen. He is noted for his books and research publications in quantum chemistry, thermodynamics, evolution, and history of science. His 2003 book Information Theory and Evolution set forth the view that the phenomenon of life, including its origin, evolution, as well as human cultural evolution, has its background situated in the fields of thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and information theory. Since 1990 he has been the Chairman of the Danish National Group of Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. Between 2004 and 2015 he also served as Chairman of the Danish Peace Academy. He founded the Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes, and was for many years its Managing Editor. He also served as Technical Advisor to the World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe (19881997). http://www.fredsakademiet.dk/ordbog/aord/a220.htm. He can be reached at avery.john.s@gmail.com. To know more about his works visit this link.  https://www.johnavery.info/

John Scales Avery


Avery, John Scales: Scientific publications, 2014 
Avery, John Scales: Against The Institution Of War
Avery, John Scales: All Adult Citizens Are Breaking the Law If Complicit in War Crimes Committed by Their Governments
, August 6, 2012
Avery, John Scales: Book Review: "Soldiers in the Laboratory", by Chris Langley
 - April 26, 2005. 
Avery, John Scales: Back to Child Labor and Slavery?
, March 25, 2012.
Avery, John Scales: Benefits of Equality
, May 20, 2012
Avery, John Scales: The Danish Peace Academy
Avery, John Scales: Collected Essays
. The Danish Peace Academy, 2013. - 313 pp. 
Avery, John Scales: Collective Punishment and the Blockade of Gaza
, November 22, 2012
Avery, John Scales: Construction Versus Destruction
, September 19, 2012
Avery, John Scales: Dangers of Nuclear Power Generation
, May 2012.
Avery, John Scales: Developing the social responsibility of scientists and engineers

Avery, John Scales: Economic predictions for 2013
, January 5, 2013.
Avery, John Scales: Eliminating the Causes of War
Avery, John Scales: Entropy and Economics
, April 2012 Avery, John Scales: The Evolution of Cooperation, September 2012 
Avery, John Scales: Four Futures
, June 9, 2012.
Future Environment of Health in Europe: Technology, by J. Avery, World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe (Copenhagen), Report of the Second Consultation on Future Trends in Society and the European HFA Strategy, (1992).
Avery, John Scales: The Future of International Law
Avery, John Scales: The Future of International Law
, September 9, 2012
Avery, John Scales: Gandhi's solutions to today's problems

Avery, John Scales: Facing a Set of Linked Problems
, July 23, 2012.
Hospitaler eller kampfly?
 / Anne og John Avery.
Avery, John Scales: Health Effects Of War And The Treat Of War. 1988.
Avery, John Scales: Human Rights
, December 10, 2012
Avery, John Scales: The illegality of nuclear weapons

Avery, John Scales: En international politistyrke
The Impact of Science and Technology on the Fate of Humankind, by J. Avery, in Remember Your Humanity, J. Rotblat Editor, World Scientific, London, (1999), pages 873-880.
An International Police Force?, by J. Avery, in The Long Roads to Peace, J. Rotblat editor, World Scientific, (2001), pages 221-223.
Avery, John Scales: Iran: Automatic Escalation to World War III?
, September, 24, 2012
Avery, John Scales: Iran and the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty
, November 18, 2012
Avery, John Scales: Kill or be Killed – Or Both
, November 13, 2012
Avery, John Scales: Limits to Growth and Climate Change
, July 14, 2012
Avery, John Scales: Limits to Growth and Fractional Reserve Banking
, February 20, 2012.
Avery, John Scales: Loyalties
, September 12, 2012.
Avery, John Scales: Malthus' Essay On The Principle Of Population
Avery, John Scales: Malthus Revisited, by J. Avery, Proceedings of the 42nd Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs, Volume 2, World Scientific, London, (1994), pages 817-821.
Avery, John Scales: Nuclear Weapons, Non-Violence, and the Nuremberg Principles

Avery, John Scales: One Step Backward Taken
, May 3, 2012
Avery, John Scales: Den oversete kernevåbentrussel
Avery, John Scales: Pax Americana?

Avery, John Scales: Perpetual War
, November 5, 2012
Avery, John Scales: Perpetual War (Version 2)
, September 7, 2012
Poverty, Disease and War, by J. Avery, in The Long Roads to Peace, J. Rotblat editor, World Scientific, (2001), 380-383.
Avery, John Scales: The Protection Racket
, August 21, 2012
Avery, John Scales: The Real and Propaganda War Against Iran
 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXQ7TVA1Qk8
Avery, John Scales: Reformed Teaching of History
, August 2, 2012
Avery, John Scales: Reciprocity and Karma
, January 28, 2013
Report on Working Group 5: Developing in Peace, by J. Avery, pages 58-60, Proceedings 46th Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs, Lahti, Finland, September 2-7, (1996), Joseph Rotblat, Ed., World Scientific, London, (1998).
Report on Working Group 10: Social Responsibility of Scientists, by J. Avery and I. Slaus, Procedings, in Remember Your Humanity, J. Rotblat Editor, World Scientific, London, (1999), pages 97-99.
Avery, John Scales: Science and Society
. H.C. Ørsted Institute, University of Copenhagen. 1995.
Sir Joseph Rotblat
. In: Politiken, 09/04/2005.
Avery, John Scales: Strengthening The Role Of The United Nations
Avery, John Scales: Space-Age Science and Stone-Age Politics
. 2004. 
Avery, John Scales: Styrkelse af FN's rolle
Technology, Economics and Population in the 21st Century, by J. Avery, in Security, Cooperation and Disarmament, the Unfinished Agenda for the 1990's, J. Rotblat, editor, World Scientific, (1999), pages 562-567.
Avery, John Scales: Targeting Civilians.
Avery, John Scales: Ted Turner Protests Against the Death of Democracy
Avery, John Scales: Thou Shalt Not Kill
, May 14, 2012
Avery, John Scales: The Titanic as an Allegory
, April 16, 2012
Towards a Sustainable Global Society
, by J. Avery, in A World at the Crossroads: New Conflicts, New Solutions, J. Rotblat and S. Hellman Editors, World Scientific, London, (1994), pages 163-171.
Towards a War-Free World, by J. Avery, in Security, Cooperation and Disarmament, the Unfinished Agenda for the 1990's, J. Rotblat, editor, World Scientific, (1999), pages 165-170.
Avery, John Scales: The Training of Soldiers
, October 18, 2012.
United Nations Charter Reform, by J. Avery, in Proceedings of the 44nd Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs, World Scientific, London, (1994), pages 334-335.
Avery, John Scales: Tribalism and Agreed-Upon Lies
, February 7, 2013
Avery, John Scales: Using Material Goods for Social Competition
, January 23, 2013
Avery, John Scales: The Way Is Now Open For a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone In Northern Europe
, January 20th., 2009.
Avery, John Scales: The World As It Is, And The World As It Could Be
Avery, John Scales: World War: Nobody Had the Slightest Idea What It Would Be Like
, August 31, 2012.

  Read A Critical Decade
  June 16, 2021
The Fallacy of Our Carbon Footprint
by Emma Pattee,
Countercurrents.org, in Climate Change .

In 1992, a Canadian ecologist named William Rees coined the term “ecological footprint,” a measurement of how much any entity was impacting the planet’s ecology. A decade later, British Petroleum started promoting a new term: “carbon footprint.”  In a splashy ad campaign, the company unveiled the first of its many carbon footprint calculators as a way for individuals to measure how their daily actions—what they eat, where they work, how they heat their home—impact global warming.

BP did not adopt the footprint imagery by accident. In the 30 years prior to the carbon footprint campaign, polluting companies had been using advertising to link pollution and climate change to personal choices. These campaigns, most notably the long-running Keep America Beautiful campaign, imply that individuals, rather than corporations, bear the responsibility for change.

“It was done so intentionally,” says Susan Hassol, director of the nonprofit science outreach group Climate Communication. “It’s a deflection.”

The universal adoption of the term “carbon footprint” hasn’t just changed how we speak about climate change. It’s changed how we think about it. Climate change has become an individual problem, caused by our insatiable appetite for consumption, and therefore a war that must be waged on our dinner plates and gas tanks, a hero’s journey from consumer to conservationist.

Yet the reality is that the future of civilization is being decided at a political and corporate level that no individual can impact. Just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions. Fossil fuel giants are funding climate change skepticism while simultaneously lobbying for tens of billions of dollars in subsidies. Big corporate names like Costco and Netflix are loudly committing to reduce emissions but unable to set meaningful targets or put plans in place. The Trump administration rolled back more than 100 environmental rules and regulations.

The same way that you give your child a toy to play with so you can finish your task uninterrupted, everyday citizens are busy changing out lightbulbs and buying electric cars while the true cause of global warming continues uninterrupted: a civilization dependent on fossil fuels. As Mike Tidwell, the executive director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, wrote in a 2007 op-ed, “every time an activist or politician hectors the public to voluntarily reach for a new bulb or spend extra on a Prius, ExxonMobil heaves a big sigh of relief.” A complete paradigm shift is needed—both in the way we conceptualize our individual climate impact and in the ways we calculate the emission impacts of those ultimately responsible: corporations and governmental systems.

One of the challenges with the carbon footprint measurement is how few of the factors an individual controls. Most of us have limited options for where we live, how far we have to commute to get to work, what kind of energy is available to heat our homes, etc. If we don’t own our home (and more than 30% of Americans don’t), we may not be able to properly insulate or install high-efficiency appliances. One research report from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology found that roughly one third of a city dweller’s carbon footprint is determined by public transportation options and building infrastructure. “We build our cities this way,” Hassol says. “It’s system change that’s really needed so that people have better choices.”

The inadequacy of our carbon footprint as a driver of change is painfully highlighted when you look at single-use plastics. Much attention has been given to how much plastic Americans consume (35.3 million tons per year, enough to fill the 104 million-cubic-foot AT&T Stadium in Dallas every 16 hours) and how each individual should be changing their behavior to help combat this waste. Everywhere you look, there’s a campaign to recycle more, or use metal straws, or bring your own bag to the grocery store.

In contrast, there are no public campaigns about the fact that packaging, an area where consumer control is limited, is the top driver of plastic production by a significant margin. The emissions impact of plastic manufacturing itself is rarely mentioned, along with the fact that much of our recycling still ends up in landfills. Some of the poorest nations are left to deal with hundreds of thousands of tons of soft drink bottles. The plastics are often just incinerated, creating serious environmental and health consequences. It’s a question as to whose carbon footprint is making a deeper impact on the environment: the family whose lettuce comes sealed in plastic (and who pays, not only for the product, but also for the waste collection and management services), or the company that is continuing to package food products in plastic materials, and then opting out of responsibility for their disposal.

Even if we just wanted to measure individual impact on climate change, the carbon footprint falls painfully short: “The current concept of a carbon footprint is too narrowly drawn,” Hassol explains. “It’s only the things I’m actively using and doing in my personal life and it doesn’t draw on other actions that are perhaps more important in the big picture as far as addressing climate change.”

For example, the average American has a carbon footprint of 16 tons. The average individual footprint globally is 4 tons. But that calculation doesn’t include who you vote for, how you invest your money, who you work for (and how much you travel for work, versus for leisure), or how you talk about climate change and influence others to get involved. “All of that should be part of the way we conceptualize our impact,” Hassol says.

Instead of obsessing over a single metric, Cameron Brick, a social psychologist from the University of Amsterdam, says he urges people to have an ongoing and evolving conversation between themselves and their chosen lifestyle. “It’s not a single number, because anytime you pick a metric, then we will begin to game it,” he says. Instead, a minimal-carbon lifestyle is a process—one that involves community-building and continuing to make improvements over time, he says. “My lifestyle is not perfect either, but probably better each year.”

Hassol points out that one of the most important ways that an individual can impact emissions on a wider scale is also the hardest to calculate: social contagion. “When people do something, it affects others around them and their emissions,” she says.

Studies have shown that energy-related behaviors are heavily influenced by peer groups, even more than cost or convenience. A study in California showed that every time a solar panel was installed within a certain ZIP code, the probability of another installation in that area increased by 0.78%. Similarly, if you know somebody who has given up flying because of climate change, you are 50% more likely to also reduce your own air travel.

“Your individual footprint is not the full measure of your contribution because you’re encouraging other people through your personal actions,” explains Hassol. She recommends that people who want to do more should research community solar options and ways to buy into clean energy in their communities, and then publicize those options among their families, friends and social networks, in order to create that initial momentum for change.

But what could system change look like? For starters, using measurements that actually hold the decision makers responsible for their emissions impacts, for the entire lifecycle of their product or service. That might look like Big Soda being held accountable not only for the manufacturing and transportation of their single-use plastics, but also for each and every bottle that ends up in somebody’s recycling bin (Coca-Cola is the top producer of plastic waste in the world). The shift also might look like emissions information being printed on product labels and unbiased regulatory bodies certifying the accuracy of corporate emissions reports.

On the policy level, interest in a carbon tax is growing. The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act was reintroduced in Congress this year (as Senate bill 984 and House Resolution 2238), and would force a temporary moratorium on virgin plastic production, require minimum recycled content, and ban some single-use plastic food service items. Many states already have some form of a producer responsibility program, where the producer of hard-to-dispose products such as paints, batteries, and other hazardous materials, must finance proper disposal. This creates an incentive to design reusable or less-toxic products.

When we shift the focus from changing consumer behavior to changing producer behavior, we see where true change happens: in corporate boardrooms and among political leaders. The irony of the carbon footprint is that individual action does have the power to change the world, just not on the lightbulb and recycling level.

“This problem is too big to solve voluntarily one person at a time,” Hassol says. “We need to change the system and you have a role in changing that system.”

Emma Pattee covers topics related to climate change and feminism. Her work has been published in The New York TimesThe CutWIRED, and others. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Originally published in YES! Magazine

  Read The Fallacy of Our Carbon Footprint
  June 16, 2021
An Aspirational Vision of Life After Fossil Fuels
by Samantha Nobles-Block ,
Countercurrents.org, in Counter Solutions .

What will life be like after peak oil, in an age of major climate shifts? Hollywood movies often depict it as a bleak, dystopian world where each day is a struggle to survive after every system we depend on has been stripped away.

Unfortunately, that version of the story seems to be on track so far. Despite mounting scientific consensus on everything from the rate of polar ice melt to the increase in disastrous fire and weather events, the collective human response to the climate emergency has been, to put it mildly, underwhelming.

Governments and institutions fail to take truly effective action, miss emissions targets, or deny the issue outright. Individual responses range from blind faith that a technological miracle will occur to bringing reusable bags to the grocery store. Even as it becomes clear that the age of cheap energy and throwaway culture must end, many of us are still metaphorically hiding under the covers.

But what if, instead, a post-peak-oil lifestyle was something we aspired to? It’s a radical idea that involves reimagining existing societal structures and what constitutes progress. The Transition movement is built around this concept; it’s a worldwide web of local, community-based efforts to reduce fossil fuel reliance and relocalize economies. The structure of the Transition model reflects older values, mirroring the traditions of community-based self-reliance found in many Indigenous cultures. Transition also weaves the threads of the modern-day permaculture, homesteading, DIY, and maker movements into a cohesive vision of strong, resilient, connected communities that can mitigate and survive climate change.

“The environmental field, in general, takes a technocratic approach: ‘We have all the right technology, and we just need the right policies and politicians,’” says Asher Miller, the executive director of the Post Carbon Institute and a Transition U.S. board member. “Transition has a larger view of the problem: It’s not just climate. That may be the symptom that kills us, but it’s just a symptom.”

A core tenet of the Transition movement is that people would be happier with more community and less cheap energy (and the culture of stuff that it fuels). But it’s going to take a major shift of both systems and minds to get there.

Miller says, “Transition is the transformation that we all need to make, because the way we’re living is unsustainable and unsatisfying.”

Refreshing Honesty

The Transition movement was founded in the U.K. in 2005 by environmental activist and author Rob Hopkins, who outlined in his Transition Handbook a utopian vision of fossil-fuel-free communities. Rather than an apocalyptic future, Hopkins provided a detailed, hopeful blueprint of what life after peak oil could be.

“Transition was the first environmental movement that spoke honestly about the inevitability of climate change,” says Leslie MacKenzie, who helps run Transition Twin Cities. “It gives people accurate information and tools and community to deal with it.”

The concept spread rapidly, both within the U.K. and abroad. In the dozen or so years since Transition made the trans-Atlantic leap to the United States, initiatives have sprouted from California to New York. More than 100 community-based efforts now exist across the country. Transition groups can be town- or citywide, or, in more densely populated areas, neighborhood-based. Each group undertakes different activities, depending on the needs of the local community. The national organization, Transition U.S., provides training and administrative support to local efforts.

Transition Twin Cities is a loose network of neighborhood-based Transition organizations throughout St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Their work has taken root and spread in unexpected ways, seeding a complex tree of localized climate change resilience projects. In Saint Anthony Park, a neighborhood of about 8,000 people in northwest St. Paul, for example, Transition efforts led to the birth of an affiliated group called Transition Your Money.

“We wanted to explore all the different ways we can break the system that’s keeping all our money in Wall Street,” says Pat Thompson, one of the offshoot’s founders. One result is a community investment group called Local Dough. Each month, its 23 members pool their contributions to invest in local businesses that support community and sustainability. Their first two investments are solar projects. The first, Cooperative Energy Futures, is a community energy cooperative that builds solar gardens atop urban structures. The second, a solar development project by the Red Lake Nation, is designed to help the tribe achieve off-the-grid energy independence.

Another subgroup of Transition Your Money members (including Thompson) founded a new 3,000-square-foot community center and coworking space called CoCreatz. Located in a historic commercial district between St. Paul and Minneapolis, the center is near both public housing and a light rail line to make it accessible to under-resourced communities.

In Berkeley, California, Transition efforts have taken a different shape. Founder Linda Currie says, “Before Transition, we weren’t connecting resources to people or each other. The Ecology Center, the university, the Sierra Club, the city—there was a web that was missing. By starting Transition Berkeley, I felt it would be a way to connect all these groups.” Currie and Bonnie Borucki have since incorporated Transition Berkeley as a nonprofit, and the group’s work now includes pollinator gardens, local government advocacy, and repair events.

Their grant-funded Repair Cafés, held multiple times each year, play a core role in helping the community move away from a culture of disposability. At their November 2019 event, almost 90 people brought broken items, ranging from appliances to bikes to computers, and roughly 30 skilled repair volunteers got to work. The Repair Café events achieve “fix rates” between 65 and 86%. In 2019 alone, they kept close to 760 pounds of household items out of landfills.

The Challenges of Inclusivity and Growth

Despite the success stories, the Transition movement has lost some of its steam in the United States. A number of the original groups have gone defunct. That’s in direct contrast to other countries, where the movement is still rapidly expanding. Pamela Boyce Simms, who worked with Transition U.S. for six years as a trainer and convener says, “Here we are in 2020, with Siberia and Australia and California burning, climate disruption and crop cycle disturbances everywhere. Why has the Transition movement not deepened? We need to take a deep look inside ourselves.”

Cultural differences may help explain why the Transition movement has gained more traction in other countries. Boyce Simms, who now works on projects ranging from the African Diaspora Earthcare Coalition to a resilience network she calls Community-Supported Enlightenment, says, “In the U.K. and in other places, where there’s a sense of community, where the communal is embedded in the DNA of society, it works. In the U.S., because of the culture of individuality and competition, it’s harder. It’s just the way the U.S. works. It’s in the air we breathe.”

Another constraint for the Transition movement—one it shares with other environmental movements—is that participants who have the time and the resources to focus on the work tend to be White and affluent. Communities of color and low-income groups are often on the fringes, if they’re included at all. But many of those same communities will be disproportionately affected by climate change and are most in need of community-based resilience strategies.

“There’s a certain privilege of time that people need have to be able to consider these issues,” says Miller, Transition U.S. board member. “You find this in the environmental movement in general: You see retirees; you see students. If you’re a family struggling financially, finding the headspace for this work is hard.”

Boyce Simms has a different assessment of inclusivity within the Transition movement: “At the national level, there was no effort to include people that didn’t look like them,” she says. “At the local level, the interest might be there in terms of doing the right thing—these are good people who are focused on the right things—but people often didn’t know how.”

Hope in Action

Efforts to combat exclusivity are gaining ground. Transition Berkeley now collaborates with Church by the Side of the Road. Their pastor, the Reverend Dr. Ambrose Carroll, helps lead Green the Church, an internally driven effort to help Black churches become more sustainable. As a first step, Transition Berkeley and the church held a Community Climate Healing Circle in the Fall of 2019 to acknowledge the issue of inclusivity and create a welcoming space. They are now partnering to develop a variety of events and activities around Earth Day.

Other historically marginalized communities are being approached through active outreach. In South Dakota, Bryan Deans, a member of the Lakota tribe, connected with the movement when Transition U.S. asked for more information about the energy self-reliance projects he was implementing in his community. “A lot of what I do is remembering Lakota ways and then transitioning back to them,” he says. “There’s only so many trees you can cut. There’s only so many minerals you can extract.”

Deans founded the Oglala Lakota Cultural & Economic Revitalization Initiative to restore his tribe’s traditional self-sufficient and community-based way of life. Now under construction, their off-grid site on the Pine Ridge Reservation will include a food production and storage system, generational housing, solar and wind power, and a community center designed to preserve Indigenous wisdom and history.

At its core, the modern-day Transition movement seeks to replicate the same community structures, self-sufficiency, and resilience that Deans is helping rebuild for his tribe. And while the future growth of the U.S.-based Transition movement may be uncertain, it’s not going away anytime soon. More than 100 groups are active in the U.S. today, and many efforts incubated by Transition have since spun off and grown.

The movement’s powerful combination of unflinching honesty about climate change combined with community-based blueprints on how to mitigate it resonates deeply with people. And the vision—that a community without fossil fuel dependence is something to strive for rather than panic about—brings a rare spot of hope to a gloomy landscape.

“It’s the antidote to fear,” MacKenzie of Transition Twin Cities says. “We have this huge change coming. How can we live our best lives possible in community?”

Samantha Nobles-Block is a San Francisco Bay Area-based freelance writer. She is a monthly columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle’s Culture Desk, and her work has appeared in San Francisco Magazine, Hyperallergic, Heated Magazine and Edible East Bay, among others. You can read more of her work at www.SNBwords.com.

Originally published by YES! Magazine

  Read An Aspirational Vision of Life After Fossil Fuels
  June 16, 2021
Coal is coming back in Europe as Gas is Scarce
by Countercurrents Collective ,
Countercurrents.org, in Climate Change .

Coal is a hot issue in this energy-starved world. There is a drive to get out of coal for a better climate. But coal is coming back in Europe.

A Bloomberg report said:

“Europe is so short of natural gas that the continent — usually seen as the poster child for the global fight against emissions — is turning to coal to meet electricity demand that is now back to pre-pandemic levels.”

The report said:

“Coal usage in the continent jumped 10% to 15% this year after a colder- and longer-than-usual winter left gas storage sites depleted, said Andy Sommer, team leader of fundamental analysis and modeling at Swiss trader Axpo Solutions AG. As economies reopen and people go back to the office, countries like Germany, the Netherlands and Poland turned to coal to keep the lights on.

“Europe has long been at the forefront of the battle to reduce global warming. The continent has the world’s largest carbon market, charging the likes of utilities, steel producers and cement makers for polluting the environment. But even with record carbon prices this year, low gas reserves mean burning coal — the dirtiest of fossil fuels — has become more widespread again.

“‘Energy demand has been pretty strong in Europe and we have seen a recovery from the pandemic,’ Sommer said in an interview. ‘Gas storage is so low now that Europe cannot afford to run extra power generation with the fuel.’”

It added:

“The return of coal is a setback for Europe ahead of the climate talks in Glasgow later this year. Leaders of the world’s biggest economies failed to set a firm date to end coal burning at the meeting of the Group of Seven at the weekend in Cornwall, U.K.

“Europe faced freezing temperatures earlier this year, boosting demand for heating at a time liquefied natural gas cargoes were being sent to Asia instead. Russia sent less gas to the continent via Ukraine ahead of the start of the Nord Stream 2 link to Germany, expected later this year.

“All of that mean that European storage is currently 25% below the five-year average and benchmark Dutch gas surged more than 50% this year. Futures are currently trading near their highest level for this time of the year since 2008.

“‘People thought Russia was going to book more capacity via Ukraine and that just hasn’t happened in a meaningful way,’ said Trevor Sikorski, head of natural gas and energy transition at consultants Energy Aspects in London. ‘The market is super tight, it’s trying to get less gas into power.’

“Electricity demand, which crashed as the coronavirus locked down cities from Frankfurt to London, is now back. Usage in countries including Germany, Spain and the Czech Republic are above the five-year average, while demand is flat in Italy and France, Morgan Stanley said in a report Monday.

“With gas supplies already tight amid heavy maintenance cutting flows from Norway, utilities have turned to coal to keep the lights on. While the price of carbon is trading near a record, many have hedged it years in advance. That means burning coal could still be profitable.

“Generators with ‘highly efficient’ new plants can probably manage to produce power from coal until 2023, even with high carbon prices, Axpo’s Sommer said.

“The G-7 recognized that coal is the single biggest cause of greenhouse gas emissions in its final communique. But the group promised only to ‘rapidly scale-up technologies and policies that further accelerate the transition away from unabated coal capacity.’

“‘It’s not a great a message to be sending,’ said Ursula Tonkin, portfolio manager of the Whitehelm Capital Low Carbon Core Infrastructure Fund, the Australia-based company that has $4.4 billion of assets under management in all of its funds.

“While it would be ‘fantastic’ if politicians came to a deal, coal is likely to be phased out anyway by 2030, 2035, said Tonkin. ‘Politics are important, but you also have the economics of the transition really kicking in within that timeframe,’ she said.”

Deep divisions in Europe over gas

There are deep divisions in Europe over gas.

A media report on the last EU energy ministers’ meeting (“Infrastructure dispute reveals deep divisions in Europe over gas”, by Kira TaylorEURACTIV.com, Jun 15, 2021) said:

The final compromise text, agreed by EU countries on Friday, left some capitals unhappy with the bloc’s restrictive approach to gas while others refused to support it because it allows too much fossil gas into Europe’s future pipeline network.

What the Dutch delegation called an “even distribution of unhappiness” over the issue also casts a long shadow over any future debate around gas.

“It clearly shows how controversial the gas issue is, even within the institutions,” said Elisa Giannelli, policy advisor at E3G, a climate think tank.

“It’s a controversial issue that will keep splitting the majorities in every institution,” she added. “I think that what we saw on Friday doesn’t really set the best type of precedent for the upcoming legislation.”

The revision of the regulation on trans-European energy infrastructure (TEN-E) saw an even split between 11 mostly western European countries and nine mostly central and eastern European countries over natural gas.

Both sides had a blocking majority, making a compromise extremely difficult to find.

The hard-fought agreement left the door open for some natural gas projects, including grandfathering – or rolling over – for current projects in Cyprus and Malta aimed at connecting the two Mediterranean islands to the European gas grid.

Another hotly contested issue was whether the EU should provide financial support for blending hydrogen into fossil gas. Up to 20% hydrogen can be safely added to existing gas pipelines without requiring retrofitting, a move supporters say can be a first and easy step to decarbonise Europe’s gas grid. Above that threshold, pipelines require an expensive retrofitting or refurbishing to carry greater quantities of hydrogen.

On Friday, EU energy ministers agreed to end financial support for blending gas projects in 2027 rather than 2029. They also agreed to stop financing for “retrofitting” pipelines, but left in the possibility for “conversion”.

But according to Giannelli, this is more a play on words rather than a significant increase in ambition.

“I think that a better compromise could have been found. When you look at the original Commission proposal, yes, you have low-carbon references, but you don’t have any grandfathering, you don’t have any blending,” she told EURACTIV.

European Union energy ministers on Friday (11 June) agreed to prolong EU support for some cross-border natural gas projects, despite a push from 11 countries and the European Commission who said such funding should end to comply with climate change goals.

Europe divided

The report said:

The TEN-E regulation creates a framework for the European Union to finance cross-border energy infrastructure. It decides which projects qualify for Europe’s list of projects of common interest, which opens the door to faster permitting and a €5.8 billion pot of money exempt from EU state aid rules.

At Friday’s meeting, some EU countries, including the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania, supported a larger role for gas, with Poland suggesting blending could be permanent and the Czech Republic saying it could continue until 2035.

They were up against 11 mostly Western EU countries, led by Luxembourg, which wanted to keep gas out of the regulation.

Four of them refused to support the final agreement, with Spain citing issues around smart gas grids and Luxembourg, Germany and Austria refusing to support the wording around electrolysers, which are used to produce green hydrogen.

“The electrolysers category does not give enough priority to renewables” while “the smart gas grids category does not contain enough sustainability criteria and leaves the door open to low-carbon gases whose climatic performance is questionable,” said a diplomat from one of the four countries that refused to back the compromise.

Luxembourg led a last-minute attempt to boost the role of renewable power for electrolysers, but failed to garner enough support. Even Denmark, which had initially sided with Luxembourg, said it could live with the proposed compromise.

France, like Italy and Finland, has kept quiet throughout the gas debate. While earlier in the day, the French delegation had shown some support for limiting the role of gas, the country’s call to support the Portuguese EU Presidency proposal might have swayed other countries to support it, said Giannelli.

Eleven EU countries have signed a declaration calling on the European Union to stop funding fossil fuels under its trans-European energy infrastructure regulation (TEN-E), which is currently under revision.

Poland has a very different approach. According to Michał Kurtyka, Polish Minister of Climate and Environment, existing gas networks should be repurposed to transport hydrogen and help boost demand.

“We need to adapt the networks. We need to make sure that the already existing gas infrastructure will be adapted to also transport decarbonised gases, including hydrogen,” he said at an online event about hydrogen in Central and Eastern Europe on Friday (12 February).

The EURACTIV report said:

Existing gas networks should be repurposed to transport hydrogen and help boost demand, said Michał Kurtyka, Polish Minister of Climate and Environment at an online event about hydrogen in Central and Eastern Europe on Friday (12 February).

The TEN-E regulation is not the only piece of legislation covering gas. But it is the first to reach EU ministers, and as such, it holds huge political relevance as a waymarker in the gas debate.

The EU’s sustainable finance criteria has already met delays because of divisions over gas and these are only likely to grow as more laws are put on the table to be revised.

Another battle lies ahead in December when the European Commission is due to table a comprehensive revision of EU legislation covering gas.

  Read Coal is coming back in Europe as Gas is Scarce
  June 18, 2021
Mankind’s Struggle Against Zoonotic Diseases….a self fulfilling prophecy
by Dr Harleen Shergill,
Countercurrents.org, in World .

As we make virtue out of necessity by celebrating Earth Day, Environment Day, Water Day….a pandemic like Covid-19 only debunks our claims to protect and respect nature. In the course of evolution, as we graduated from animal kingdom to human kingdom and exerted our dominance fueled and fooled by our belief of superiority and arrogance about our superior intelligence, the rivalry has since become severe, and has often boomeranged and jeopardized our very own existence.

As E.F.Schumacker, remarks,” Modern man does not experience himself as a part of nature but as an outside force destined to dominate and conquer it…”. Historically, deadly epidemics have challenged us, their occurrence and reoccurrence exposing our doomed relationship with other living inhabitants of the biosphere.

The advent of settled life made the spread of diseases easier, our meat eating culture amplified it, and globalization upsurged it. The disease history of mankind, boasts of ample proof that most epidemics had Zoonotic origins. Plague, the first known pandemic, spread by rats and fleas, can be traced back to as early as 430 B.C. Athens, and has since resurfaced many times, the latest being in 2019, China. The pandemics that followed, remind us of our fragile existence and continuous conflict with nature-Cholera, Spanish Flu, Asian Flu, Leprosy, Small Pox, Fiji Measles, rendered millions dead, thousands permanently disabled and destroyed economies across the globe, challenging our supremacy claim.

In words of British Naturalist, Charles Darwin,” It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent but the most responsive to change”. Darwin’s prophecy of – Survival of the fittest has turned true not only for humans, who evolved with bigger-better brains, but also for pathogens who prevailed with mutations, emerging as equal players in the fight for survival.

The massive boom in our population to 6 billion from a mere 1.6 billion, in a span of 100 years (1900to 2000), further escalated the exploitation of other living organisms. China, which was worst affected by population explosion, suffered recurring famines and insufficient food grain production resulting in excessive wildlife hunting, bushmeat consumption culture and rampant deforestation to make space for rising population, thus turning into a hotspot for pandemic outbreaks. Studies suggest, not only Asian Flu, SARS, Hong Kong Flu originated from China, even the deadliest of all, Plague and Spanish Flu which ravaged the entire world had their roots in China. China’s infamous wet markets or rather wild life markets are potential breeding grounds for new viruses and random mutations, with neglected sanitation, missing food security regulations and closely stacked animals. More so, China’s fascination for Traditional medicine, is also equally responsible for ramping up illegal wild life trade.

Our incursions into animal habitats have been responsible for deadlier diseases like HIV/AIDS, originating from our closest primate cousins, first identified in 1981, has resulted in 39 million deaths till 2013, according to WHO, millions living with the infection still await vaccine or medical cure. Another zoonotic disease, Ebola, discovered in 1976, still continues to haunt us, making it imperative to upend our profound contact with nature.

Overtime, there has been a rise in zoonotic diseases. According to a WHO report,75% of emerging human disease are zoonotic in origin. The pathogens have not only become more virulent and adaptable but involve new animal hosts each time. The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), originated from camels and started in hot climatic conditions of Saudi Arabia, shattering the myth of safer climates.

In recent times albeit, our encounters with pestilence have been a result of our own suicidal behaviour. As scientists still grapple with the Wuhan lab leak theory, manipulation with viruses in the lab resulting in lab leaks have happened in the past and will possibly happen in future as well.

Smallpox virus, leaked twice after eradication, firstly in 1972 from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and second time from Birmingham Medical School in 1978, both times due to human error. The first lab leak of SARS happened in August 2003, from a virology lab in Singapore, the second incident occurred in Taiwan in December in the same year.

Many scientists claim that, the 1977 H1N1 Influenza pandemic was also a result of lab leak, though it was never publicized. Brucellosis, outbreak in China in 2019, occurred due to the use of expired disinfectants at the Lanzhou Veterinary Research Institute, infecting thousands in a single outbreak, probably Covid-19 also has a similar story.

As humans we prefer to evade the bitter truth, why else would we spend millions on inventing anti-biotics and vaccines to compete and outsmart nature, when the solution lies in eliminating them completely, with intelligent food choices, sustainable agricultural practices, population control and most importantly to overcome our self -regarding and subjugating attitudes. The ongoing pandemic is a wakeup call to mend our   relationship with other habitats and to accept their essential existence.

Dr. Harleen Shergill, Ph.D. Economics, Free-lance researcher and author.

  Read Mankind’s Struggle Against Zoonotic Diseases….a self fulfilling prophecy
  June 19, 2021
‘Epic Failure of Humanity’: Global Displaced Population Hits All-Time High.
by Jake Johnson,
Countercurrents.org, in World.

A report released Friday by the United Nations Refugee Agency finds that more than 82 million people across the globe were forcibly displaced by war, persecution, the climate crisis, and other factors by the end of 2020, a record high that one international aid group called “an epic failure of humanity.”

The U.N.’s annual Global Trends in Forced Displacement (pdf) assessment estimates that girls and boys under the age of 18 account for 42% of the 82.4 million people who have fled their homes in search of safety and basic human dignity. Nearly a million children were born as refugees between 2018 and 2020, the report shows.

“Behind each number is a person forced from their home and a story of displacement, dispossession, and suffering. They merit our attention and support not just with humanitarian aid, but in finding solutions to their plight,” said Filippo Grandi, the U.N. high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR). “The tragedy of so many children being born into exile should be reason enough to make far greater efforts to prevent and end conflict and violence.”

Though the deadly coronavirus pandemic led countries around the world to close off their borders to refugees and asylum-seekers, many people still fled across national lines in 2020, the ninth consecutive year in which the number of forcibly displaced people has reached a record high.

According to the new U.N. report, 26.4 million people were living as refugees in 2020, and more than two-thirds of those who fled abroad came from just five countries: Syria (6.7 million), Venezuela (4 million), Afghanistan (2.6 million), South Sudan (2.2 million) and Myanmar (1.1 million).

The U.N. figures show that in addition to those who were forced by circumstance to leave their home countries, 48 million people were internally displaced by the end of last year, up from 45.7 million in 2019.

“Climate change is driving displacement and increasing the vulnerability of those already forced to flee,” the report states. “Forcibly displaced and stateless people are on the front lines of the climate emergency. Many are living in climate ‘hotspots’ where they typically lack the resources to adapt to an increasingly inhospitable environment. The dynamics of poverty, food insecurity, climate change, conflict, and displacement are increasingly interconnected and mutually reinforcing, driving more and more people to search for safety and security.”

Jan Egeland, secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, said in a statement that “despite the staggering statistics, world leaders have been inept to resolve the greatest emergency of our generation.”

“Far more people are on the move today than anytime during World War II, yet we say we live in an unprecedented era of global peacetime,” Egeland added. “We need to rewrite tomorrow’s history books to reflect today’s reality, that we live in an unprecedented era of persecution and suffering.”

Absent dramatic action from the international community to end conflicts, combat the climate crisis, and mitigate other major factors driving forced displacement, the U.N. report warns that “forecasts for 2021 are equally worrying, with some of the world’s worst food crises—including in displacement-affected countries such as South Sudan, Syria, and the Central African Republic—at risk of turning into famine.”

“The question is no longer if forced displacement will exceed 100 million people—but rather when,” the report states. “Clearly, the need for preventing conflicts and ensuring that displaced people have access to solutions has never been more pressing than now.”

Originally published in CommonDreams

  Read ‘Epic Failure of Humanity’: Global Displaced Population Hits All-Time High
  June 24, 2021
Living with World’s End in Plain Sight
by Frida Berrigan ,
Countercurrents.org, in World.

Groton and New London, Connecticut, are home to about 65,000 people, three colleges, the Coast Guard Academy, 15 nuclear-powered, nuclear-armed submarines capable of destroying the world many times over, and General Dynamics’ Electric Boat, a multi-billion-dollar private corporation that offers stock options to its shareholders and mega-salaries to its top executives as it pockets taxpayer dollars and manufactures yet more of those stealthy, potentially world-ending machines. Whew!  That was a long sentence!

Naval Submarine Base New London stretches along the east side of the Thames River, straddling the towns of Groton and Ledyard. Occupying at least 680 acres, the base has more than 160 major facilities. The 15 subs based there are the largest contingent in the nation. They’re manufactured just down the river at Electric Boat/General Dynamics, which once built the Polaris and Trident nuclear submarines, employs more than 12,000 people in our region, and is planning to hire another 2,400 this year to meet a striking “demand” for the newest version of such subs.

Some readers might already be asking themselves: Are submarines still a thing? Do we really still put men (and women) far beneath the ocean’s surface in a giant metal tube, ready to launch a nuclear first strike at a moment’s notice? At a time when the greatest threats to human life may be viruses hidden in our own exhales, our infrastructure is crumbling, and so much else is going wrong, are we really spending billions of dollars on submarines?


Back in 2010, the Department of Defense’s Nuclear Posture Review called for a “recapitalization of the nation’s sea-based deterrent,” as though we hadn’t been spending anything on submarines previously.  To meet that goal, the Obama administration, the Trump administration, and now the Biden administration all agreed that, on a planet already filled with devastating nuclear weapons, the U.S. must begin construction of a new class of 12 Columbia ballistic missile submarines.

The Navy’s 2021 budget submission estimates that the total procurement cost for that 12-ship class of subs will be $109.8 billion. However, even a number that big might prove nothing but rough back-of-the-napkin figuring. After all, according to the Navy’s 2022 request, the cost estimate for the first submarine of the 12 they plan to build, the lead ship in its new program, had already grown from $14.39 billion to $15.03 billion.  Now, that may not sound like a lot, but string out all those zeros behind it and you’ll realize that the difference is more than $640 million, just a little less than what Baltimore — a city of more than 600,000 people — will get in federal pandemic relief aid.

Swirling around those submarines are descriptions citing “strategy” and “capability.” But don’t be fooled: they’ll be potential world killers. Each of those 12 new subs will be armed with 16 Trident D-5 submarine-launched ballistic missiles, or SLBMs, which have a range of 4,500 miles and can carry 14 W-76-1 thermonuclear warheads. Each one of those warheads is six times more powerful than the atomic bomb that the U.S. military detonated over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Start multiplying 12 times 16 times 14 times 6 and there isn’t enough world to destroy with math like that. After all, the single Hiroshima bomb, “small” as it was, killed an estimated 140,000 people and turned the city into rubble and ash.

The best way to understand the Columbia class submarine, then, is as a $100 billion-plus initiative that aims to deliver 16,128 Hiroshimas.

Submarine Capital of the World

My family and I live in New London and evidence of the military is everywhere here. There’s a cannon planted amid the roses at the entrance to the motel right off the highway near our house. And another in front of the laundromat. Huge American flags flap at the car dealership that offers special financing to Navy personnel.

Signs declaring New London/Groton to be the “Submarine Capital of the World” festoon the highways into town. The huge naval submarine base and the General Dynamics/Electric Boat yards dominate the Groton side of the Thames River. There’s a massive garage for half-built submarines, painted a very seventies shade of green, that chews up most of the scenery on the Groton side of the river, alongside cranes and docks and industrial buildings in various hues of grey. It’s dismal. New London’s waterfront homes and private beaches look out on three generations of military-industrial-complex architecture. We wouldn’t want to live in Groton, but at least they feast their eyes on our quaint downtown and the parks that stretch along our side of the river.

On the New London side, General Dynamics/Electric Boat looks more like a corporate campus than a shipyard. It employs a lot of people, but there are still plenty of New Londoners who work at jobs that have nothing to do with the military or the business of building and designing submarines. Unfortunately, that seems to be changing, because General Dynamics is ramping up its engineering and manufacturing operations in order to build that new fleet of submarines.

Local developers smell money in the air, which means that our downtown is getting a makeover intended to attract the sort of young professionals who will design and oversee the production of those subs. A new development right near New London’s General Dynamics complex is now renting studio apartments for $1,300 a month, even though ours is the fifth poorest city in Connecticut.

Side Bonus? Killer Kitsch

An uproar of protest over our rampant version of local militarism rose to a sustained din in the 1970s and 1980s but has since dulled to a whisper, despite regular protest vigils and demonstrations carried out by a stalwart handful of people. It’s tough to understand since the danger is still so imminent. After all, the symbolic Doomsday Clock of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists now stands at 100 seconds to nuclear midnight, as close as it’s ever been in its 70 years of existence. Meanwhile, the United States will once again spend staggering sums on its military in fiscal year 2022.

The upside? Our local thrift stops are full of the strange kitsch that comes with military occupation. I drink my morning coffee out of a white mug that commemorates Electric Boat’s 1987 Christmas Blood Drive, emblazoned with a red drop of blood, the company’s logo, and the phrase “I give so that others may live.”

I’m a lifelong pacifist, the child of people who, as protesters, climbed over fences and cut through locks in order to enter U.S. weapons facilities like that naval base at Groton. I spent my childhood at the Pentagon, where, a few times a year, my parents and our friends made elaborate spectacles out of blood and ash and cardboard tombstones, leaving Pentagon workers to walk through the muck and mess, tracking it into the headquarters of the Department of Defense. And yet I’ll confess to you, in the privacy of TomDispatch, that I do have a genuine weakness for military kitsch.

My husband is a lifelong pacifist, too. His parents went to malls to hold “Stop War Toys” demonstrations and entered toy stores to put “this glorifies violence” stickers on G.I. Joe and Rambo dolls. He spent his summers outside Electric Boat in Groton. His family and their friends went to the commissionings and christenings of newly built subs, holding protest signs, blocking the entrances, and trying to leaflet the well-dressed guests coming to those strange ceremonies with oddly Christian baptismal overtones to them. And yet (or do I mean, and so?) he loves military kitsch, too. As a result, whenever we go to our local Goodwill, Salvation Army store, or neighborhood yard sales, we invariably keep a lookout for mugs and beer glasses from our corner of the military-industrial complex.

It’s the ultimate in-joke for us. Such killer kitsch helps us manage our deep discomfort with living in a militarized community.

One made-in-China coffee mug of relatively recent vintage that we own, for instance, has a picture on one side of a submarine and the phrase “Virginia Class: Confronting the Challenge, Driving Out Cost.” The other reads: “Designed for Affordability: General Dynamics, Electric Boat.”

That second mug always makes me snicker because the Virginia Class submarines were built by Electric Boat in New London/Groton in collaboration with Newport News Shipbuilding, part of Huntington Ingalls in Virginia.

Those boats cost a mere $3.45 billion each and that “two-yard strategy” — Connecticut and Virginia — was meant to keep both of those corporate entities from financial disaster. (“Afloat” is the word that comes to mind.) However, it made for an even more expensive product as partially assembled submarines had to be floated laboriously up and down the Eastern seaboard. According to Ronald O’Rourke of the Congressional Research Service, “A primary aim of the arrangement was to minimize the cost of building Virginia-class boats at a relatively low annual rate in two shipyards (rather than entirely in a single shipyard) while preserving key submarine-construction skills at both shipyards.” Not likely, as it turned out. Then again, what weapons-building project doesn’t have staggering cost overruns in twenty-first-century America?

Honestly, can you imagine the federal government contracting with Hershey and Nestle to collaborate on a gigantic new candy bar and then paying extra for it because their workers needed to pass the product back and forth between their factories, hundreds of miles apart? Such thoughts regularly occur to me as I drink my morning coffee out of that hilariously labelled “Designed for Affordability” mug. The anger that follows is like a second jolt of caffeine!

Happy Hour?

Speaking of rage, we drink our happy-hour beers out of glasses commemorating the USS Pittsburgh, SSN 720. That Los Angeles class submarine was commissioned in 1985 and was one of two that launched Tomahawk Cruise missiles at Iraq during 1991’s Gulf War.

The beer glasses make me think of the dingy strip of bars right outside the main gate of the Electric Boat shipyard in Groton. They’re all closed now, but in the 1970s heyday of submarine manufacturing, bars like El Bolero (shortened to The Elbow) and Elfie’s served the shipyard workers and submariners alike. The lunch crowd was thick, the bar full of small glasses of beer, and the workers would drop dollar bills in garbage cans as they filed out and back across the street to work. Those bars estimated then that they made more in their daily lunchtime dollar-bill rushes than other local bars and restaurants made in a week.

At some point, the higher-ups at Electric Boat grew embarrassed by the daily spectacle of drunken workers, beer bottles littering the curbs, regular fender-benders, and the fights that tend to accompany excessive drinking. Their solution? They stopped letting the workers leave for lunch.

As a younger person, I imagined that daytime drinking served to dull the cognitive dissonance of working people who put food on the table for their children by welding the machines that threatened all children anywhere on this planet. As I grow older, however, I wonder if such daytime drinking wasn’t just fun.

The Small No

Another way we manage our discomfort with our local version of the military-industrial complex and what it means for this country and this planet is to be a small but visible “No” amid the ubiquity of militarism in this town, amid all those chubby, cute submarines that adorn our public spaces.

We stand on a bleak street corner near the base for at least an hour once a week to protest the world we find ourselves in. It’s admittedly a small thing, but we do it without fail. Souped-up trucks and fast cars with custom paint jobs rev their engines as they pass, cutting that corner uncomfortably close, while tossing gravel in their wake. The vehicles are mostly driven by clean-cut young men, often in the uniform of the Groton-New London Naval Submarine base. They’re off for an hour of freedom at the newly completed, squeaky-clean Chipotle up the hill or the seedy Mynx Cabaret across the street. If we have staying power, we’ll see the Chipotle crew come tearing back down the hill at the end of that hour.

On one corner is a grimy little liquor store with a big parking lot, the kind of place that should make you question your drinking habits. (If I don’t have a problem, why am I parked here?) On the second corner is an empty lot with the vestiges of a once-thriving car-repair shop. The third has a truck rental company, the signpost of a transitory community. And sure enough, the license plates on the cars streaming into the base hail from Navy-centered communities like ours around the country.

Route 12 is a mini-highway where cars regularly hit 70 miles an hour as they roar up the hill. We’re desperately small and slow by comparison. My mother paces the sidewalk, I stand still, shifting my weight from one foot to the other, while our friend Cal Robertson sits. A Vietnam Veteran, he came back from that long-gone war physically unscathed but deeply disturbed by everything he witnessed and experienced.

Cal holds a sign emblazoned with this question: “What About the Children?” Some cars honk in response.  My guess: not so much in support of his message as in recognition of his regular presence over these long decades. My mother and I are interlopers, occasional sign holders counting down the minutes, but Cal — comfortable in a walker than converts to a chair — could do this all day.

My mother holds a simple sign that reads “No Nukes.” For the men in trucks headed out to lunch, I painted on mine: “Meatball Subs, not Nuclear Submarines.” It receives an occasional nod or grin. And in the meantime, in our very community, the place where I’m raising my kids, the military-industrial complex continues to invest in and build vessels meant only for the end of the world.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Books, John Feffer’s new dystopian novel, Songlands (the final one in his Splinterlands series), Beverly Gologorsky’s novel Every Body Has a Story, and Tom Engelhardt’s A Nation Unmade by War, as well as Alfred McCoy’s In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power and John Dower’s The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II.

Frida Berrigan is the author of It Runs In The Family: On Being Raised by Radicals and Growing into Rebellious Motherhood. She is a TomDispatch regular and writes the Little Insurrections column for WagingNonviolence.Org. She has three children and lives in New London, Connecticut, where she is a gardener and community organizer.

Originally published in TomDispatch

  Read Living with World’s End in Plain Sight
  June 24, 2021
The Insurgency Against Big Oil
by Dr Binoy Kampmark,
Countercurrents.org, in World.

While Australian politicians languish in a world blotched by climate change scepticism and fossil fuel love-ins, global oil and gas companies have been shaken.  Three titans of oil fame – Shell, ExxonMobil and Chevron – faced a range of decisions in May that promise to dramatically shape their future operations.  The point is not negligible, given that this triarchy produced, between 1988 and 2015, 5% of total global scope 1 and 3 emissions.

Royal Dutch Shell was the first giant humbled by a Dutch court ruling that it was required to reduce total emissions by net 45% of 2019 levels by 2030.  “The reduction obligation relates to the Shell group’s entire energy portfolio and to the aggregate volume of all emissions (Scope 1 through to 3).”  The case had been brought by a number of environmental groups, including Milieudefensie, claiming that RDS had “an obligation … to contribute to the prevention of dangerous climate change through the corporate policy it determines for the Shell Group.”  To not do so would result in a breach of human rights.

The company submitted the rather amoral rationale that not selling its products would simply mean that others would do the same thing.  A vain effort was also made to convince Judge Larisa Alwain that RDS was sufficiently doing its bit to deal with climate change by reducing its Net Carbon Footprint comprising direct, indirect carbon emissions and customer emissions for products sold “by 20% in 2035 and by 50% in 2050.”

RDS also claimed that there should be no legal solution to this dispute: climate change policies were ultimately up to lawmakers and politics, not judicial heads.  These grounds were soundly dismissed by the court.  The judgment found that RDS was “free to decide not to make new investments in explorations and fossil fuels, and to change the energy package offered by the Shell group”.

While not facing the ire of courts, Chevron was tackling climate change activism from within, meeting a proposal by shareholder activist firm FollowThis to reduce its Scope 3 emissions by selling reduced quantities of fossil fuels.  The measure had the support of 61% of investors.   Other measures voted upon registered lower but not insignificant numbers: 48% of shareholders wished for a report on the impacts of a 2050 net-zero outcome while the same number also voted for a report on “dark money” lobbying.

One could hardly see this as a tree-hugging measure of ecological fancy.  Investments were potentially at stake.  “As shareholders, we understand this support to be part of our fiduciary duty to protect all assets in the global economy from devastating climate change.  Climate-related risks are a source of financial risk, and therefore limiting global warming is essential to risk management and responsible stewardship of the economy.”  Not willing to be dictators on the issue, those making the proposal did not wish to limit “the Company’s powers to set and vary their strategy or take any action which they believe in good faith would best contribute to reducing GHG emissions.”

To the two giants facing the headaches of necessary reform can be added Exxon Mobil.  Last month, Exxon Mobil’s CEO Darren Woods failed to quash what was described as an “insurgency” at the company’s Annual Shareholder Meeting.  Engine No. 1, a small activist hedge fund with a mere 0.02% stake and no history of oil or natural gas activism, daringly nabbed two seats on the board.  This took place, despite the warning by Woods that voting for such an environmentally minded concern would “derail our progress and jeopardise your dividend.”

One of Engine No.1’s backers, California State Teachers’ Retirement System, called the vote “historic”, representing “a tipping point for companies unprepared for the global energy transition”. Climate change constituted “the greatest threat to our future” and it was incumbent on shareholders “to hold the ExxonMobil board accountable to mitigate risk and contribute to the sustainable value of their investments.”

This would have come as a rude shock to a company with an extensive record of concealing its own research on climate change.  In September and October 2015, it was revealed by InsideClimate News, the Los Angeles Times and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism that one of the planet’s largest oil companies was well immersed in the study of global warming.  Its public front was one of scepticism.  In 1990, the board claimed that the company’s “examination of the issue [of global warming] supports the conclusions that the facts today and the projection of future effects are very unclear.”

Despite this terse dismissal, it transpired that engineers and researchers in the employ of Exxon were conducting work on how best to adjust the company’s approach to rising temperatures.  Internal briefing papers were circulated and discussed, data generated and mulled over.  In 1978, James Black of Exxon’s Products Research Division wrote a paper for discussion with the unmistakably relevant title of “The Greenhouse Effect”. This followed on from his 1977 presentation to the management committee.  “Present thinking holds,” writes Black, “that man has a time window of five to ten years before the need for hard decisions regarding changes in energy strategies might become critical.”

In 1991, senior ice researcher Ken Croasdale of Exxon’s Canadian subsidiary told an engineering conference that “any major development with a lifespan of say 30-40 years will need to assess the impacts of potential global warming.”  This was particularly pertinent “of Arctic and offshore projects in Canada, where warming will clearly affect sea ice, icebergs, permafrost and sea levels.”  Not wishing to bite the hand feeding him, Croasdale brightly considered the benefit a warming planet might have for company operations in the Beaufort Sea: “potential global warming can only help lower exploration and development costs”.  This is no longer the case: the investors and funds are in revolt and such large oil companies are counting a different set of costs.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.  Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

  Read The Insurgency Against Big Oil
  June 24, 2021
Hunger, disease, drought: UN report warns of climate crisis
by Countercurrents Collective,
Countercurrents.org, in Climate Change.

Hunger, disease and drought will afflict tens of millions of more people within decades, warns a draft UN assessment that lays bare the dire human health consequences of a warming planet. “Life on Earth can recover from a drastic climate shift by evolving into new species and creating new ecosystems,” the report says. “Humans cannot.”

The forthcoming 4,000-page draft report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a copy of which was obtained by Agence France-Presse (AFP), offers a distressing vision of the decades to come: malnutrition, water insecurity, pestilence.

The UN’s IPCC warns that unless drastic and immediate action is taken to limit greenhouse gas emissions and keep global temperatures from rising further, life on earth is poised for a catastrophic reckoning.

It predicts that up to 80 million more people than today will be at risk of hunger by 2050.

Across Asia and Africa, 10 million more children than now will suffer from malnutrition and stunting by mid-century, saddling a new generation with life-long health problems – despite greater socioeconomic development.

As with most climate impacts, the effects on human health will not be felt equally: the draft suggests that 80 percent of the population at risk of hunger live in Africa and Southeast Asia.

Research looking at water supply, agriculture and rising sea levels shows that between 30 million and 140 million people will likely be internally displaced in Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America by 2050, the IPCC report says.

It projects disruptions to the water cycle that will see rain-fed staple crops decline across sub-Saharan Africa. Up to 40 percent of rice-producing regions in India could become less suitable for farming the grain.

Policy choices made now, like promoting plant-based diets, can limit these health consequences – but many are simply unavoidable in the short term, the report says.

The exclusive AFP report said:

The UN report warns of the cascading impacts that simultaneous crop failures, falling nutritional value of basic foods, and soaring inflation are likely to have on the world’s most vulnerable people.

Depending on how well humans get a handle on carbon emissions and rising temperatures, a child born today could be confronted with multiple climate-related health threats before turning 30, the report shows.

The IPCC’s 4,000-page draft report, scheduled for release next year, offers the most comprehensive rundown to date of the impacts of climate change on our planet and our species.

Global maize production has already declined four percent since 1981 due to climate change, and human-induced warming in West Africa has reduced millet and sorghum yields by up to 20 and 15 percent respectively, it shows.

The frequency of sudden food production losses has already increased steadily over the past 50 years.

“The basis for our health is sustained by three pillars: the food we eat, access to water, and shelter,” Maria Neira, director of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health at the World Health Organization, told AFP. “These pillars are totally vulnerable and about to collapse.”

Emerging hotspots

Even as rising temperatures affect the availability of key crops, nutritional value is declining, according to the report.

The protein content of rice, wheat, barley and potatoes, for example, is expected to fall by between six and 14 percent, putting close to 150 million more people at risk of protein deficiency.

Essential micronutrients – already lacking in many diets in poorer nations – are also set to decline as temperatures rise.

Extreme weather events made more frequent by rising temperatures will see “multi-breadbasket failures” hit food production ever more regularly, the report predicts.

As climate change reduces yields, and demand for biofuel crops and CO2-absorbing forests grows, food prices are projected to rise as much as a third at 2050, bringing an additional 183 million people in low-income households to the edge of chronic hunger.

“There are hotspots emerging,” Elizabeth Robinson, professor of environmental economics at the University of Reading, told AFP. “If you overlay where people are already hungry with where crops are going to be most harmed by climate you see that it’s the same places that are already suffering from high malnutrition.”

Water crisis looming

The AFP report said:

The report outlines in the starkest terms so far the fate potentially awaiting millions whose access to safe water will be thrown into turmoil by climate change.

Just over half the world’s population is already water insecure, and climate impacts will undoubtedly make that worse.

Up to three quarters of heavily tapped groundwater supply – the main source of potable water for 2.5 billion people – could also be disrupted by mid-century.

The rapid melting of mountain glaciers has already “strongly affected the water cycle”, an essential source for two billion people that could “create or exacerbate tensions over water resources”, according to the report.

And while the economic cost of climate’s effect on water supply varies geographically, it is expected to shave half a percent off global GDP by 2050.

“Water is one of the issues that our generation is going to confront very soon,” said Neira.

“There will be massive displacement, massive migration, and we need to treat all of that as a global issue.”

‘Fault lines’

As the warming planet expands habitable zones for mosquitoes and other disease-carrying species, the draft warns that half the world’s population could be exposed to vector-borne pathogens such as dengue, yellow fever and Zika virus by mid-century.

Risks posed by malaria and Lyme disease are set to rise, and child deaths from diarrhoea are on track to increase until at least mid-century, despite greater socioeconomic development in high-incidence countries.

The report also shows how climate change will increase the burden of non-communicable illnesses.

Diseases associated with poor air quality and exposure to ozone, such as lung and heart conditions, will “rise substantially”, it says.

“There will also be increased risks of food and water-related contamination” by marine toxins, it adds.

As with most climate-related impacts, these diseases will ravage the world’s most vulnerable.

The Covid-19 pandemic has already exposed that reality.

The report shows how the pandemic, while boosting international cooperation, has revealed many nations’ vulnerability to future shocks, including those made inevitable by climate change.

“Covid has made the fault lines in our health systems extremely visible,” said Stefanie Tye, research associate at the World Resources Institute’s Climate Resilience Practice, who was not involved in the IPCC report.

“The effects and shocks of climate change will strain health systems even more, for a much longer period, and in ways that we are still trying to fully grasp.”

The draft states that mankind may have already missed its opportunity to keep the climate from passing a series of thresholds that will further spur the warming of the planet.

The thresholds, or feedback loops, include the melting of permafrost, which in turn releases methane gas into the atmosphere. This further amplifies the greenhouse gas effect, pushing temperatures even higher. As a result of the melting of the polar ice caps and loss of sea ice, the earth absorbs far more of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation and heat, which further contributes to ice melt.

Since preindustrial times, the earth has warmed by 1.1 degrees Celsius. In its landmark 2018 report, the IPCC warned of dire consequences should humankind fail to keep average global temperatures from rising higher than 1.5 degrees Celsius. But most climate scientists now believe that meeting that goal will be all but impossible, given the rate at which emissions continue to rise.

The draft report, which is being prepared ahead of the November meeting of world leaders at UN climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, also cautions that 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming will require humans to adapt in ways almost unimaginable just decades ago.

“Even at 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming, conditions will change beyond many organisms’ ability to adapt,” the report states. “Current levels of adaptation will be inadequate to respond to future climate risks.”

The costs of adapting to this new reality will be steep, especially in parts of the world where resources are already scarce.

Adaptation costs for Africa

“Adaptation costs for Africa are projected to increase by tens of billions of dollars per year with warming greater than two degrees,” the report states.

Amazon rainforest basin

In another tipping point, the Amazon rainforest basin, where flora absorbs carbon dioxide and helps keep temperatures from spiking, could soon be transformed into a savannah, according to the report.

Coastlines around the world

The report also notes that coastlines around the world already experiencing sea-level rise will be forced to deal with uninhabitable conditions as tropical cyclones continue to strengthen. Heat waves like the ones gripping the western United States, and wildfire seasons that continue to set records around the world, will also only worsen over time.

“The worst is yet to come, affecting our children’s and grandchildren’s lives much more than our own,” the report says.

The window of opportunity to stave off dire consequences is quickly shutting, the report warns.

“We need transformational change operating on processes and behaviors at all levels: individual, communities, business, institutions and governments,” it says, adding, “We must redefine our way of life and consumption.”

  Read Hunger, disease, drought: UN report warns of climate crisis
  June 25, 2021
Climate Crisis Pushes A Million People in Madagascar to the ‘Edge of Starvation,’ Says WFP
by Countercurrents Collective,
Countercurrents.org, in Climate Change.

Climate crisis has pushed communities in Madagascar to the verge of starvation. The World Food Programme (WFP) says resources are scarce in the country after the worst drought in four decades.

The WFP said more than a quarter of people are suffering in one area. And $78.6 million is needed to fight the crisis.

Climate change is the driving force of a developing food crisis in southern Madagascar, the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) has warned.

Acute malnutrition in Madagascar has almost doubled in just the last four months.

A mother of three said about children she takes care: “I rely on God. Today we have absolutely nothing to eat except cactus leaves that we are trying to clean up. We have nothing left. Their mother is dead and my husband is dead. What do you want me to say? Our life is all about looking for cactus leaves again and again to survive.”

David Beasley, WFP’s executive director, said: “It’s seven times worse than it was just a year ago. Seven times more children are in trouble. Why? Because of drought. We’re facing the worst drought in over 40 years, and this is an area where people depend on their own agriculture; home-grown school meals, smallholder farmers, this is how they live down here but with drought back to back to back, people can’t survive and so the government partnering with WFP and others we’re doing the best we can, but it’s a terrible situation.”

The African island has been plagued with back-to-back droughts — its worst in four decades — which have pushed 1.14 million people “right to the very edge of starvation,” said David Beasley in a news release Wednesday.

“I met women and children who were holding on for dear life, they’d walked for hours to get to our food distribution points. These were the ones who were healthy enough to make it,” Beasley said.

“Families are suffering and people are already dying from severe hunger. This is not because of war or conflict, this is because of climate change. This is an area of the world that has contributed nothing to climate change, but now, they’re the ones paying the highest price.”An estimated 14,000 people are already in catastrophic conditions, according to the WFP, a number that is predicted to double to 28,000 by October. Thousands in southern Madagascar have left their homes in search of food, while those who remain are resorting to extreme measures such as foraging for wild food to survive, the WFP said.

“This is enough to bring even the most hardened humanitarian to tears. Families have been living on raw red cactus fruits, wild leaves and locusts for months now. We can’t turn our backs on the people living here while the drought threatens thousands of innocent lives,” said Beasley.

“Now is the time to stand up, act and keep supporting the Malagasy government to hold back the tide of climate change and save lives.”

Beasley’s warning came a day after the WFP said 41 million people in 43 countries were now teetering on the edge of starvation, with 584,000 already experiencing famine-like conditions across Madagascar, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Yemen. This number has increased from 27 million in 2019.

Conflict, climate change and economic shocks are all driving the rises in hunger, the WFP said, with those pressures on food security compounded by steep price increases for basic foods this year.

“Global maize prices have soared almost 90% year-on-year, while wheat prices are up almost 30% over the same period. In many countries, currency depreciation is adding to these pressures and driving prices even higher. This in turn is stoking food insecurity in countries such as Lebanon, Nigeria, Sudan, Venezuela and Zimbabwe,” said the WFP statement.

The WFP needs about $6 billion to provide 139 million people this year with life-saving food and nutritional assistance, it said, in what the UN agency describes as “the biggest operation in its history.”

  Read Climate Crisis Pushes A Million People in Madagascar to the ‘Edge of Starvation,’ Says WFP
 June 26, 2021
Lethal Heat Hits the Planet
by Robert Hunziker,
Countercurrents.org, in Climate Change.

The news does not get much worse than a recent scientific report that the planet is trapping twice as much heat as it did only 14 years ago.

If this one report does not turn heads and create a sense of panic to get off fossil fuels, as soon as yesterday, then nothing will ever move the needle to fix the planet’s broken climate system. (Source: Norman G. Loeb, et al, Satellite and Ocean Data Reveal Marked Increase in Earth’s Heating Rate, Geophysical Research Letters – Advanced Earth and Space Science, June 15, 2021)

Scientists have been warning about the consequences of human-generated greenhouse gases ever since James Hansen testified before a Congressional committee 33 years ago: “The greenhouse effect has been detected, and it is changing our climate now.”

In fact, the warnings have been coming for 44 years. Prior to James Hansen’s testimony before the Senate committee, the most publicized report came from the National Academy of Sciences in 1977 when it warned that burning coal would crank up global temperatures to intolerable levels by 2050.

Meanwhile, a well orchestrated core of climate deniers, including many members of the Republican Party, current and past, for decades have worked to create “doubt” about human impact on global warming in order to safeguard the fossil fuel industry and as a consequence block effective governmental policies to halt greenhouse gas emissions.

That type of obstructive behavior was formidably demonstrated only recently by former president Trump along with his entourage, like Pompeo, who shortsightedly celebrated Arctic ice loss in an Arctic Council speech. Unfortunately, he described as a positive event the meltdown of the planet’s greatest safeguard against global warming, i.e., Arctic ice. As the former secretary of state spoke, the planet was in its final throes of losing its biggest, most important giant reflector of incoming solar radiation, which has been around since humans discovered fire but now gone in only a few short decades because of human-generated global warming greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels like oil and natural gas and coal.

The climate denier class, especially in America, carries a heavy burden for the current out of control status of the planet’s climate system. It is beyond shameful that repeated warnings by the nation’s scientists have been ignored for decades, finally leading to the current state of a worldwide climate emergency. Deadly heat is tormenting the world.

Along those lines, Donald Trump’s destruction of environmental agencies and the removal of scientists and destruction of years of irreplaceable scientific data and removal from the Paris climate agreement of 2015 will go down in history as the worst-timed stupidest policies in all of American history.

The shocking Loeb study that lamentably demonstrates a frightening rise in heat absorbed by the planet utilized satellite data via CERES instrumentation that measures how much energy the planet absorbs in the form of sunlight and how much it emits back into space in the form of infrared radiation. This measures “energy imbalance.” Their study found a doubling of the imbalance for the period from 2005 to 2019. That’s exceptionally troubling, almost beyond comprehension, data collection is indicative of a climate system that’s way out of balance as an impending threat to existence.

Meanwhile, making matters doubly bad and emphasizing the fact that the planet is absorbing twice the heat, NASA reported 2020 as the “hottest year ever.” And, by all appearances, 2021 is shaping up to break the records once again, as abnormally high temperatures throughout the planet exceed all-time records. The planet is literally in a burn mode like humanity has never experienced, and nobody is doing anything about this burning dilemma with any sense of global reach. Meanwhile, talk of holding back temperature by controlling emissions at the nation/state level remains, like always, very cheap and ineffective. As well as totally remiss of the big picture of a global mess that requires global unity, or the lights go out fairly soon, here and there all across the land.

Confirmation of the Loeb study’s CERES data was established using Argo, which is an international network of sensors in the world’s oceans used to measure the rate at which the oceans absorb heat. This strengthened and confirmed the CERES data that the planet is trapping twice the amount of heat of 14 years ago.

According to the scientists for the study: “The two very independent ways of looking at changes in Earth’s energy imbalance are in really, really good agreement, and they’re both showing this very large trend,” Norman Loeb, lead author for the new study and principal investigator for CERES at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. (Source: Earth is Trapping Twice as Much Heat as it did in 2005, Space. Com, June 24, 2009.)

Thirty-three years after James Hansen testified to Congress, global carbon dioxide emissions have increased by 70% and have never gone down in any given year, always up, never down. When Hansen testified, fossil fuels were 79% of the world’s energy. It’s 84% today in the face of every wind turbine and solar panel that’s been installed over the past decades ever since Hansen spoke out about the dangers of greenhouse gas emissions.

Frankly, the world is getting what it deserves and what it has failed to recognize in spite of the world’s top scientists’ warnings, a lot of heat!

Robert Hunziker is a writer from Los Angeles

  Read Lethal Heat Hits the Planet
  June 27, 2021
US’ pathway to Iran has thorny shrubs
by M K Bhadrakumar,
Countercurrents.org, in World.

Iran’s president-elect Ebrahim Raisi addresses his first press conference in Tehran, June 21, 2021

Raisi said: “European countries and the US should look at what they have done towards the nuclear deal; the US violated the nuclear deal and the Europeans did not fulfil their undertakings. We tell the US that it is duty-bound to lift all sanctions and that it should return and implement its undertakings. The Europeans should not be influenced by the US pressure and should act upon what they have promised. This is the Iranian nation’s demand from them.” 


It is painful to read the US reports commenting on the result of Iran’s presidential  election. The New York Times carried a blurb on Monday, “Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s ultraconservative president-elect, said that he would not meet with President Biden, and that Tehran’s position on its ballistic missile program was “nonnegotiable.”

The report estimated that “The comments appeared to signal a hardening of Iranian policies as the conservative faction takes control of all branches of the government: Parliament, the judiciary and soon, the presidency.”

The Times report would cast a pall of gloom over the prospects for the US-Iran relationship for the foreseeable future. To be sure, thorny shrubs clutter the Biden administration’s pathway.

However, the Biden administration has no dearth of sophisticated minds with discerning capacity to decode Iran’s ‘Shia’ politics. Indeed, in the tricky period of transition that lies ahead when the frozen relationship holds a tantalising potential to become deliquescent, a misreading can prove very costly.

Typically, thorny bushes can be a challenge, but if the shrubs and their locations are chosen carefully, they can also be highly valuable in the home landscape design.

Such characterisation — “ultraconservative” — conjures up misleading notions. If it means that Raisi is profoundly committed to Iran’s Velayat-e faqih, its Islamic jurist system of governance, yes, it is possibly so. But why should that perturb the White House — that is, assuming that the Biden administration is not aiming at a regime change in Iran?

Now, below that threshold comes a variety of concerns. In the economic sphere, does “ultraconservative” mean the North Korean or the erstwhile Soviet model of command economy? Certainly, that is not the case with Raisi who is an ardent votary of the market.

In fact, he kickstarted his election campaign at Tehran’s Grand Bazaar. His agenda to rejuvenate Iran’s economy places high importance to the private sector’s role, participation and initiatives. Ironically, being “conservative” in Iran’s context actually means somewhat “leftish” in regard of allocation of resources and industrial policy.

All indications are that Raisi will pursue an economic model that would approximate to what President Biden himself is aiming at — the government stepping in to moderate capitalist principles through selective intervention and by resorting to public investments on infrastructure with a view to create and sustain a welfare programme and, importantly, to foster job creation.

Like Biden, Raisi is also under compulsion to woo the lower middle class and the working class, which is an imperative need to arrest further erosion in the social base of the Islamic Revolution.

Raisi is unhappy that the infamous bonyads which are supposedly charity organisations, render scanty services to the poor and have become conglomerates at the hands of interest groups and fuelled the black market and spawned corruption.

As chief justice, Raisi has had first hand knowledge of the cancerous growth of corruption in Iran and he took his gloves off to confront that malaise, with the full backing of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. He can be called an “ultraconservative” in the intolerance he has shown toward corrupt syndicates.

But why should the US resent it if Raisi pilots an anti-corruption campaign in Iran with renewed vigour as president? Arguably, it will only create better business climate for investors from abroad.

There is absolutely no doubt that Raisi is intensely conscious of the imperative need to improve the living standards of the common people. He is not alone here. The entire top leadership has reason to feel worried.

The voter apathy in the recent election (50%) gives a stunning message to the political elite that Hassan Rouhani is leaving office as a discredited “reformist”.

Of course, Rouhani’s tragedy was that Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo made a lethal duo who, with an eye on the utility of the Israeli lobby and the evangelicals to help advance their political career, decided to give Iran hell. Period. But Biden is not a prisoner of wealthy Jews, nor does he need evangelics for pillow talk.

At his very first press conference in Tehran on Monday, Raisi said, “The world should know that our government’s foreign policy does not start by the nuclear deal and it will not be limited to the nuclear deal. We will pursue interaction with the whole world and all the world states under broad and balanced interaction in foreign policy, and only those negotiations which ensure national interests are definitely supported, but we will not tie economic situation and people’s conditions to the negotiations…We will continue contacts if they yield results for the people in line with lifting restrictions…”

Raisi added: “European countries and the US should look at what they have done towards the nuclear deal; the US violated the nuclear deal and the Europeans did not fulfil their undertakings. We tell the US that it is duty-bound to lift all sanctions and that it should return and implement its undertakings. The Europeans should not be influenced by the US pressure and should act upon what they have promised. This is the Iranian nation’s demand from them.”

What does it add up to? Plainly put, Raisi’s message is that Iran will not remain entrapped in the bitterness of the JCPOA saga that Trump and Pompeo conspired to create in self-interest, but is instead keen to move on.

He has pledged to pursue “interaction with the whole world and all the world states under broad and balanced interaction in foreign policy” in the country’s national interests. It is crystal clear that Raisi will welcome western investments, trade, technology transfer and so on that will help ameliorate the “people’s conditions”.

Succinctly put, Raisi underscored that the European countries and the US would have an obligation toward his government by fulfilling, even if belatedly, their commitment to integrate Iran to the world economy.

The Biden administration should be well aware that the possibilities are almost seamless in economic cooperation with Iran. Iran is a fabulously rich country potentially and can generate an income level that can make it the last frontier for the post-pandemic economy recovery of the industrial world.

Wisdom and sagacity lies in leveraging the economic cooperation to enter into serious non-nuclear conversations with Iran’s leadership. “Footfalls echo in the memory/Down the passage which we did not take/Towards the door we never opened/Into the rose-garden.” TS Eliot’s words are most appropriate here.

This is not the moment to get frantic about Iran’s ballistic missiles programme, or its regional policies in general, which quintessentially relate to certain circumstances prevailing in that country’s external environment. The US played a big role in contriving to create those circumstances. And, herein lies the paradox: the US is also best placed to moderate those circumstances.

If the Biden administration does that, the regional states and the international community will only applaud it as its finest legacy in the politics of West Asia.

Successive administrations in the Beltway have experienced that unless the relations with Iran got normalised, the US’ policies would  remain ineffectual and unproductive. Iran is one of those regional powers — such as India, for instance — that cannot be suppressed.

On the contrary, good relations with Iran would have positive fallouts on a number of fronts in the West Asian region as well as in surrounding regions — as far apart as Afghanistan and Yemen. That is why, a good beginning with Raisi becomes critically important.


Originally published in  indianpunchline

Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar served the Indian Foreign Service for more than 29 years. He introduces about himself thus:  “Roughly half of the 3 decades of my diplomatic career was devoted to assignments on the territories of the former Soviet Union and to Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan. Other overseas postings included South Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany, and Turkey. I write mainly on Indian foreign policy and the affairs of the Middle East, Eurasia, Central Asia, South Asia and the Asia-Pacific…”

His mail ID : indianpunchline@gmail.com

  Read US’ pathway to Iran has thorny shrubs
  July 7, 2021
Making Vaccines Mandatory – An Ethical Perspective.
by Pradeep Krishnatray ,
Countercurrents.org, in Life/Philosophy.

On June 28, the Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra said that only those who have received two doses of vaccines will be permitted entry into theatres, multiplexes, coaching centres, and colleges.

A few days before, on June 24, the Gujarat High Court granted temporary relief to an IAF officer who received a show-cause notice from Indian Air Force over refusal to take Covid vaccine.

In March 2021, KPMG reported that 94 percent CEOs of major Indian companies plan to ask their employees to return to office only after vaccination. And state officials have been seen visiting households asking residents to vaccinate failing which water and electricity connections will be severed.

While Covid vaccination remains voluntary, state officials, agencies and organisations are acting in a manner that appears to suggest that vaccination is mandatory. Experience of countries shows that making (Covid 19) vaccination mandatory (or compulsory) requires meeting four conditions to make it ethically correct and morally sound.

One, is there a grave threat to public health? Covid 19 is admittedly a public health hazard. It is not only so in its scale, speed and spread, but by the economic and social disruption it causes. One may agree or disagree with the vaccination drive, but few will deny its gravity

Two, is the vaccine safe and effective? Vaccines are safe when they do not debilitate or cause death. In the case of Covid, a class of people has feared both and such fears have only multiplied. They see long Covid as an example of physical debility, and there is enough going around about death due to Covid 19 vaccine.   Both the central and state authorities have failed to address, adequately and squarely, such fears. The science about vaccine is very clear though. Those who succumb due to Covid are infinitesimally small. However, when people think of science of vaccination, they think in terms of cure, not numbers, averages and probabilities.

Covid vaccine has also redefined effectiveness. The popular understanding about vaccines is that they are effective against diseases. That is, once inoculated, the person will not contract them. The belief, proven by experience, is that vaccines protect.  A child vaccinated for measles or polio, for example, will not contract the disease. Such an expectation has turned out overwhelmingly true. However, in the case of coronavirus, effectiveness does not mean the same. Our housemaid who refuses to receive the Covid vaccine argues, “Why should we continue to wear masks and maintain physical distance once vaccinated? That means, vaccine by themselves do not work.”  The logic of explaining anything different to her runs up against accumulated previous experience. Is she wrong? Well, how about this: No country has ever produced a safe and effective vaccine against a coronavirus.

Three, does mandatory vaccination have a superior cost/benefit profile compared with other alternatives. This is perhaps the most relevant condition for vaccine acceptance. However, the approach relies on cognitive elaboration and the ability to think in term of utilities. For example, what is the expected utility of Covid vaccine when compared with the expected utility of relevant alternatives such as lockdown, washing hands, wearing facemasks, etc.?  Undoubtedly, Covid vaccine costs less (not just monetarily) and the benefits it offers are more lasting than any other alternative. However, such an approach, based on decision theory, requires a type of training and education among people that ought to begin before society lands in a public health emergency.

Fourth and final, is the level of coercion proportionate. In public health ethics, the concept of ‘least restrictive alternative’ informs that in order to decide which policy to implement among the potentially effective options, policymakers should ideally adopt principles of least infringement and of least restrictive alternative. In other words, an alternative is least restrictive when it achieves a given outcome with the least coercion and least restriction of liberty.

The incidents mentioned above are not only coercive but impose restrictions on individual liberty. In doing so, they give rise to two ethical dilemmas. The first relates to a conflict between individual best interest and individual autonomy. Let us understand the conflict with help of a different example. It is in individual’s best interest to marry, but to do so (or not do so) is her or his autonomous decision. Similarly, it is in individual’s best interest to vaccinate, but to vaccinate or not, is individual’s decision. The state or an institution cannot perform a paternalistic role, especially when it does not provide for vaccine injury compensation funds.

The second ethical dilemma relates to the conflict between individual autonomy and public health. The latter, by definition, is a matter of collective responsibility (think herd immunity). Where, and to what extent, does individual responsibility figure in the collective?  Parfit’s “Harmless Torturers” case captures the conflict between the two. In it, each torturer contributes only negligibly to the pain experienced by the victims, but the victims feel pain because of the contributions of a sufficiently high number of torturers. In such case, the moral obligation not to inflict pain is collective, and not individual, since each individual torturer is “harmless”. Demanding people to vaccinate captures the same dilemma.

Pradeep Krishnatray is former director, Research and Strategic Planning, Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, New Delhi.

  Read Making Vaccines Mandatory – An Ethical Perspective.
  July 1st, 2021
Living on a Sci-Fi Planet
by Tom Engelhardt,
Countercurrents.org, in World .

Yes, once upon a time I regularly absorbed science fiction and imagined futures of wonder, but mainly of horror.  What else could you think, if you read H.G. Wells’s War of the Worlds under the covers by flashlight while your parents thought you were asleep?  Of course, that novel was a futuristic fantasy, involving as it did Martians arriving in London to take out humanity. Sixty-odd years after secretly reading that book and wondering about the future that would someday be mine, I’m living, it seems, in that very future, however Martian-less it might be.  Still, just in case you hadn’t noticed, our present moment could easily be imagined as straight out of a science-fiction novel that, even at my age, I’d prefer not to read by flashlight in the dark of night.

I mean, I was barely one when Hiroshima was obliterated by a single atomic bomb. In the splintering of a moment and the mushroom cloud that followed, a genuinely apocalyptic power that had once rested only in the hands of the gods (and perhaps science-fiction authors) became an everyday part of our all-too-human world.  From that day on, it was possible to imagine that we — not the Martians or the gods — could end it all. It became possible to imagine that we ourselves were the apocalypse. And give us credit. If we haven’t actually done so yet, neither have we done a bad job when it comes to preparing the way for just such a conclusion to human history.

Let’s put this in perspective. In the pandemic year 2020, 76 years after two American atomic bombs left the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in ashes, the world’s nuclear powers actually increased spending on nuclear weapons by $1.4 billion more than they had put out the previous year.  And that increase was only a small percentage of the ongoing investment of those nine — yes, nine — countries in their growing nuclear arsenals. Worse yet, if you happen to be an American, more than half of the total 2020 “investment” in weaponry appropriate for world-ending scenarios, $37.4 billion to be exact, was plunked down by our own country. (A staggering $13.3 billion was given to weapons maker Northrop Grumman alone to begin the development of a new intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, the one thing our thoroughly troubled world obviously needs.) In all, those nine nuclear powers spent an estimated $137,000 a minute in 2020 to “improve” their arsenals — the ones that, if ever used, could end history as we know it.

In the Dust of the History of Death

Imagine for a second if all that money had instead been devoted to creating and disseminating vaccines for most of the world’s population, which has yet to receive such shots and so be rescued from the ravages of Covid-19, itself a death-dealing, sci-fi-style nightmare of the first order. But how could I even think such a thing when, in the decades since this country dropped that first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, it’s learned its atomic lessons all too well?  Otherwise, why would its leaders now be planning to devote at least $1.7 trillion over the next three decades to “modernizing” what’s already the most modern nuclear arsenal on the planet?

Let me just add that I visited Hiroshima once upon a time with a Japanese colleague who had been born on an island off the coast of atomically destroyed Nagasaki. In 1982, he took me to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, which, despite exhibiting a carbonized child’s lunchbox and permanently imprinted human shadows, can obviously offer a visitor only a hint of what it was actually like to experience the end of the world, thanks to a single bomb. And yet I found the experience so deeply unsettling that, when I returned home to New York City, I could barely talk about it.

Admittedly, though nine countries now possess nuclear weapons, most of them significantly more powerful than the single bomb that turned Hiroshima into a landscape of rubble, not one has ever been used in war.  And that should be considered a miracle on a planet where, when it comes to weapons and war, miracles of any sort tend to be few and far between.  After all, it’s estimated that, in 2020, this country alone had more than 5,000 nuclear weapons, at least 1,300 of them deployed and ready to use — enough, that is, to destroy several worlds.

Consider it an irony of the first order, then, that U.S. leaders have spent years focused on trying to keep the Iranians from making a single nuclear weapon, but not for a day, not for an hour, not for a second on keeping this country from producing ever more of them and the delivery systems that would distribute them anywhere on this planet.  In that light, just consider, for instance, that, in 2021, the U.S. is preparing to invest more than $100 billion in producing a totally new ICBM, whose total cost over its “lifespan” (though perhaps the correct word would be “deathspan”) is already projected at $264 billion — and that’s before the cost overruns even begin. All of this for a future that… well, your guess is as good as mine.

Or consider that, only recently, the American and Russian heads of state, the two countries with by far the biggest nuclear arsenals, met in Geneva, Switzerland, and talked for hours, especially about cyberwar, while spending little appreciable time considering how to rein in their most devastating weaponry and head the planet toward a denuclearized future.

And keep in mind that all of this is happening on a planet where it’s now commonplace scientific knowledge that even a nuclear war between two regional powers, India and Pakistan, could throw so many particulates into the atmosphere as to create a nuclear winter on this planet, one likely to starve to death billions of us.  In other words, just one regional nuclear conflict could leave the chaos and horror of the Covid-19 pandemic in the unimpressive dust of the history of death.

A Slow-Motion Hiroshima?

And yet, here’s perhaps the strangest thing of all: we’re still convinced that, since the obliteration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, no matter how much world-ending weaponry has been stockpiled by China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, none has been used.  Unfortunately, that should increasingly be seen as a Martian-less fantasy of the first order.

While it’s seldom thought of that way, climate change should really be reimagined as the equivalent of a slow-motion nuclear holocaust. Hiroshima took place in literally seconds, a single blinding flash of heat. Global warming will prove to be a matter of years, decades, even centuries of heat.

That all-too-apocalyptic phenomenon was set off in the nineteenth century via the coal-burning that accompanied the industrial revolution, first in Great Britain and then elsewhere across the planet.  It’s only continued over all these years thanks to the burning, above all, of fossil fuels — oil and natural gas — and the release of carbon (and methane) into the atmosphere. In the case of climate change, there are no ICBMs, no nuclear-missile-armed submarines, no nuclear bombers. Instead, there are oil and natural gas companies, whose CEOs, regularly abetted by governments, have proven all too ready to destroy this planet for record profits. They’ve been perfectly willing to burn fossil fuels in a criminal fashion until, quite literally, the end of time. Worse yet, they generally knew just what kind of harm they were causing long before most of the rest of us and, in response, actively supported climate denialism.

No, there was no mushroom cloud, but rather a “cloud” of greenhouse gases forming over endless years beyond human vision.  Still, let’s face it, on this planet of ours, not in 2031 or 2051 or 2101 but right at this very moment, we’re beginning to experience the equivalent of a slow-motion nuclear war.

In a sense, we’re already living through a modern slo-mo version of Hiroshima, no matter where we are or where we’ve traveled.  At this moment, with an increasingly fierce megadrought gripping the West and Southwest, the likes of which hasn’t been experienced in at least 1,200 years, among the top candidates for an American Hiroshima would be Phoenix (118 degrees), Las Vegas (114 degrees), the aptly named Death Valley (128 degrees), Palm Springs (123 degrees), and Salt Lake City (107), all record temperatures for this season.  A recent report suggests that temperatures in famed Yellowstone National Park are now as high or higher than at any time in the past 20,000 years (and possibly in the last 800,000 years). And temperatures in Oregon and Washington are already soaring in record fashion with more to come, even as the fire season across the West arrives earlier and more fiercely each year.  As I write this, for instance, California’s Big Sur region is ablaze in a striking fashion, among growing numbers of western fires.  Under the circumstances, ironically enough, one of the only reasons some temperature records might not be set is that sun-blocking smoke from those fires might suppress the heat somewhat.

You should know that you’re on a different planet when even the most mainstream of news sources begins to put climate change in the lead in environmental pieces, as in this recent first sentence of a CNN report: “The incredible pictures of a depleted Lake Mead, on the Nevada-Arizona border, illustrate the effects of drought brought on by climate change.”

You could also imagine our modern Hiroshimas in the Florida Keys, where inexorably rising sea levels, due in part to the massive melting of ice in Greenland and Antarctica, are already threatening that especially low-lying part of that southern state. Or perhaps the Gulf Coast would qualify, since the heating waters of the Atlantic are now creating record tropical-storm and hurricane seasons that, like the heat and fires in the West, seem to arrive earlier each year.  (One Florida city, Miami, is already contemplating building a massive seawall to protect itself against devastating future storm surges.)

In this desperately elongated version of nuclear war, everything being experienced in this country (and in a similar fashion around the world, from Australia’s brutally historic wildfires to a recent heat wave in the Persian Gulf, where temperatures topped 125 degrees) will only grow ever more extreme, even if, by some miracle, those nuclear weapons are kept under wraps.  After all, according to a new NASA study, the planet has been trapping far more heat than imagined in this century so far. In addition, a recently revealed draft of an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report suggests that our over-heating future will only grow worse in ways that hadn’t previously been imagined. Tipping points may be reached — from the melting of polar ice sheets and Arctic permafrost (releasing vast amounts of methane into the atmosphere) to the possible transformation of much of the Amazon rain forest into savannah — that could affect the lives of our children and grandchildren disastrously for decades to come. And that would be the case even if greenhouse-gas releases are brought under control relatively quickly.

Once upon a time, who could have imagined that humanity would inherit the kinds of apocalyptic powers previously left to the gods or that, when we finally noticed them, we would prove eerily unable to respond? Even if another nuclear weapon is never used, we stand capable, in slow-motion fashion, of making significant parts of our world uninhabitable — or, for that matter, if we were to act soon, keeping it at least reasonably habitable into the distant future.

Imagine, just as a modest start, a planet on which every dollar earmarked for nuclear weapons would be invested in a green set of solutions to a world growing by the year ever warmer, ever redder, ever less inhabitable.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Books, John Feffer’s new dystopian novel, Songlands (the final one in his Splinterlands series), Beverly Gologorsky’s novel Every Body Has a Story, and Tom Engelhardt’s A Nation Unmade by War, as well as Alfred McCoy’s In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power and John Dower’s The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II.

Tom Engelhardt created and runs the website TomDispatch.com. He is also a co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author of a highly praised history of American triumphalism in the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture.  A fellow of the Type Media Center, his sixth and latest book is A Nation Unmade by War.

Originally published in TomDispatch

  Read Living on a Sci-Fi Planet
  June 26, 2021
Sadly China & Russia Remain Quiet Re US Past Genocides & Ongoing Genocide in the Middle East & Africa
by Jay Janson,
Countercurrents.org, in Imperialism.

The world facing desperate situations of climate change, planetary degradation and nuclear war preparation desperately needs protection from inhumane deceiving war promoting Western media, and from where shall it come if not from the bountiful and powerful two great designated adversaries of the Western powers, China, the world’s most populous nation and largest economy, and the Russian Federation encompassing 11% of the planet’s landmass. 

Seems That the World Has Let Americans Get Away With Murderous Genocide in So Many Countries

Let’s begin with acknowledging that officials of the United States of America, its military, its clandestine operating CIA, and personnel within its criminal media cartel have been committing crimes against humanity free of any worry or concern of prosecution.

Let us also acknowledge that though there is relatively free speech throughout most of the world, no one seems to ever be talking about the multitude of legally prosecutable monstrous crimes against humanity committed by Americans with impunity, many of which involve the death of millions of innocent men, women and children. There is a strange absence of much talk about them even as the horrific acts of genocide that they were.

The World Court of Public Opinion Is Not Yet In Session Regarding US Crimes Against Humanity

Sure, there are quite a few anti-imperialist books in print that are critical of US genocides, but the great court of world pubic opinion has not been in session since 1945 when there was consensus among people throughout the world for demanding the ultimate legal punishment of the leaders of the fascist nations for the murderous horrors perpetrated during their invasions and bombings in the course of the Second World War.

Americans Are Vulnerable for Having Confessed or Bragged About Their Illegal, Unconstitutional and Genocidal Crimes

How is it that even government officials of nations presently under attack by the United States of America, and those of nations invaded and bombed by the US in the past, passively continue to allow Americans to get away with murder, the present murdering of thousands and the past mass murder of many millions, when massively murderous crimes against humanity have even been openly admitted to by high officials of the government of the United States of America by their openly characterizing them either as having been mistakes or by bragging about their having been successful.

–  American officials claiming that their mega genocidal invasions, bombings and occupation wars in Vietnam and Iraq were honest mistakes are the two most devastating examples.We were wrong, terribly wrong. We owe it to future generations to explain why.” — former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara,[1] “It was a mistake, and I acknowledge that,” Presidential candidate Joe Biden referring to his vote in favor of the Iraq invasion war when he was chairman of the powerful US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.[2] But no talk of Americans paying for their ‘mistakes,’ of years long murder and maiming of millions and the destruction of their countries.

–  The CIA official in charge of the the US/UK covertly engineered bloody overthrow of Iranian democracy in 1953 has even written a book bragging out his crime,[3] which the CIA has publicly admitted to.[4]

–  American murderous invasions of Cuba, Dominican Republic, Panama, Grenada and covertly arranged and financed devastating civil war in  Guatemala and El Salvador are openly acknowledged (without any sense of responsibility for the suffering).

–  The undercover arrangements for the brutal assassination of democratically elected popular first Congo President Patrice Lumumba were entertainingly reviewed in a televised segment of the US government’s Smithsonian Institute Channel in US mainstream media,[5] no contrition indicated.

No Uproar in Reaction to Americans Massive Murdering of Millions of Innocent Men, Women and Children in Their Own Beloved Countries Far Away From the Invading United States of America

Martin Luther King’s & Nelson Mandela’s Exceptional Outcries 

Oh, from time to time there have been accusing outcries from individuals: “The greatest  purveyor of violence in the world is my own government,” Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1967 made headlines in newspapers throughout the world,[6] and South African President Nelson Mandela in 2003,“If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities it is the United States of America,”[7] Of course CIA controlled criminal mainstream media vilified King, didn’t report Mandela’s outcry, and has made sure that few people ever heard of King’s condemnation of his government again. However, neither King nor Mandela called for prosecution of the perpetrators and compensation for victims of the atrocities they decried. (King did say that Americans ‘must make what reparations they can for the damage they did and provide the medical aid that is badly needed, making it available in the US if necessary, but said nothing about prosecution of Americans.)

In Western alternate media, the finest independent journalists, top intellectuals and historians stick to reporting and chronicling events of human horror as if they were imperial RealPolitik, as unchallengeable as the weather, rarely including the whole truth that they are obviously prosecutable as crimes against humanity, crimes against peace and genocide. Inversely, in the case of domestic homicide on a city street anywhere in the world, the public clamors to know whether or not what happened was a crime or not. Amazingly, in world coverage independent journalism this writer finds the word ‘crime’ is never or hardly ever employed. Journalists report mass murderous world events as terrible or mistaken foreign policy, rarely, if ever, citing a need for reparations, indemnity, or compensation for surviving victims.

Sadly, when an Iraq mom, managed to get her lawsuit against President Bush and members of his administration as far as a US Federal Court of Appeals,[8] it received only a very modest amount of coverage even in anti-imperialist independent alternate media.

     There’s Freedom of Speech But No One Speaking Out

Why is there is no outcry around the world against the dozens of US invasions, bombings, occupation wars and deadly sanctions in and on smaller nations? The US bloodletting is probably rarely even much of a topic of pubic conversation anywhere except within the populations of the countries under US attack. Independent peoples historians assume that it is because of the enormous influence of monopolized CIA overseen giant worldwide media conglomerates.

For decades, powerful CIA controlled Western news and entertainment media, with it’s television’s worldwide satellite reach has mesmerized and totally bamboozled its planetary audience into ineptitude with its programing of indulgence, of very restricted and twisted selective news, deceitfully blacked out critical information, misinformation, and often outright lies ultimately portraying the many US regime change invasions, bombings, sanctions and occupation wars as benevolent and necessary to protecting American freedom and democracy. [9]

Way back in 1950, Albert Einstein explained “Under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights.” [10]

Albert Einstein wrote that in 1950, even before the CIA operation Mongoose.[11]had completed its control over everyone of any appreciable importance in American media and sources of information and in much of Western Europe and on the other continents, see the lengthly article: Worldwide Propaganda Network Built by the C.I.A. 12/26/1977, The New Times [12][13]

Powerful Western Media Has Anesthetized Majority Humanity But Why Are Even Nations Under US Attack Relatively Silent Re US Crimes Against Humanity?

Unfortunately, some nations currently under American military attack have pro US war lord governments installed by American occupying forces as in the case of Afghanistan and Somalia, and the populations of many nations formerly invaded, bombed and sanctioned by Americans, like Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia want to put their enormous suffering behind them. Their governments seek to avoid confrontation with the USA, long become trading partners.

A majority of small countries in the world once attacked by Americans, British or French have governments either economically, politically and militarily controlled by the USA or by a Western colonial power, or if enjoying a degree of independence, fear criticizing the US would bring economic punishment and/or covertly arranged disturbances.

Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Syria, Yemen and North Korea For Years Under Mortal Attack From USA! China & Russia  Targeted with Nuclear Missiles – All Have Independent Governments

This is all to say that humanity can only hope for calls for international law to come down on the past and present murderous lawlessness of the  American empire from nations presently under attack which have independent governments free from US control, like China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Syria, Yemen and North Korea. However, up to now, the these nations have not taken advantage of the US wars confessed to as mistakes, which it seems could easily be profiled into world public awareness of USA guilt of genocide, at least in Vietnam and more recently in Iraq.

Likewise would the repeated quoting publicly of Martin Luther King’s blistering condemnations of his government damage the credibility of Western media, which has for more than a half-century blacked-out Kings damnation of his government. These glaringly obvious ways to fight back against the insanely criminal USA that is attacking their nations and constantly threatening world war are not being taken advantage of though many nations suffer US sanctions and worse.

Solidarity and Truthful Counter-Propaganda from Independent Nations Under US Attack Woefully Insufficient 

The US was sued by Nicaragua in the World Court in 1984 for mining Nicaragua’s harbors and other hostile acts (Nicaragua v. United States). The Court ruled in Nicaragua’s favor and found the US in violation of customary international law. The court put the United States of America under obligation to make reparation to the Republic of Nicaragua for all injury caused to Nicaragua. The US ignored the ruling but apparently stopped the mining. The suit brought international attention to US being guilty of crimes against a tiny country and it considering itself above the law.

This conviction by the International Court of Justice should not have been allowed to be forgotten as well as the US mega genocides committed in Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Iraq, and all the other regime change murderous invasions, bombings and deadly sanctions of Latin American, Middle East and African nations.

An Absence of Law

No leader anywhere ever seems to call for prosecution of US invasions under the Nuremberg Principles of International Law. Even the very leaders of nations under illegal US NATO attack fail to even speak of laws broken during yearly UN General Assembly Debates

There has long been an atmosphere of appeasement in the UN General Assembly’s yearly General Debate. Delegate after delegate from Africa, Asia and Oceana seem to adhere to some ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ not to embarrass the great and powerful United States of America when describing the appalling conditions prevailing throughout the 3rd World.

How strange, mysterious, unexplainable, illogical, baffling and painful for millions grieving over past genocidal military action and the millions facing death or worse today, that since the inception of the United Nations, no delegate to the UN General Assembly, with one exception (to the best of this historian’s knowledge), has called for justice under the law, for any of the the tens of millions of survivors of past mega profitable crimes against peace, crimes against humanity and forms of genocide. The single exception this author could find was Muammar Gaddafi’s comprehensive UN General Assembly address calling for investigation of all wars and restitution for victims of US NATO UN crimes against humanity.

That one exception occurred during the UN General Debate in 2009, when Gaddafi, Leader of the Revolution of the Socialist Peoples Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, spoke in the name of the African Union: “We are about to put the United Nations on trial; the old organization will be finished and a new one will emerge.”  Gaddafi called for investigations into past wars of permanent members of the Security Council, the US, UK and France, to be followed by trials of those guilty of causing these wars and millions of deaths and suffering “that has surpassed that brought by the Nazis.”

Speaking before the UN General Assembly in 2009, Gaddafi, had called the Security Council a “Terror Council” for the sixty-five wars it has failed to prevent, even approving or participating in most of them. How prophetic for what would come Gaddafi’s way so soon.(See Time to Expose Media Manufactured Uprising CIA Terrorists US-NATO Air Strikes On Wealthy Libya) [14]

By not using their veto power, the two giant independent nations, Russia and revolutionary China, gave the colonial powers the 2011 No-Fly Zone resolution which US and NATO military used to destroy all Libya’s army and militias which had been successfully fighting a CIA created terrorist rebel army that was executing black Libyans.[15]

China and Russia also voted for a resolution precipitously accusing Libya’s government leaders and armed groups of violently suppressing peaceful demonstrations.

However, the Prosecutor of International Criminal Court Fatou Bensouda, stated that Mr. Gaddafi is just one of several individuals in Libya whose alleged criminal acts could fall within the jurisdiction of the ICC which continues to monitor criminal actions of armed groups in the country. These armed groups represent a major threat to long-term peace and stability in Libya.” There never was a single documenting video or photo of a peaceful anti-government demonstration, let alone, one being fired upon. To the contrary, there was a near million wildly demonstrating in favor of Gaddafi and Libya’s Green Book socialism while NATO planes bombed never reported in the New York Times or elsewhere in the US or Europe.[14]

The colonial powers had sufficient influence in both the Arab League and the African Union to have both organizations vote against Gaddafi, which in turn influenced China’s UN posture.

China, after indicating it was against military intervention, abstained instead of voting no on the UN Security Council resolution calling for war on the Libyan government with the fig lief of enforcing a no-fly zone to protect civilians – a war by white neocolonialist powers on their former African colony that had raised its Arab socialist living standard to be higher than nine European nations including Russia.

China lovers were instantly stumped into incomprehension, bewilderment, dismayed, the rug pulled out from underneath their feet. Their confidence lost that the fifth of Mankind with wisdom gained during five thousand years of practical living would protect the rest of us from the insanely barbaric, homicidal imperialism wrought by predatory capitalism that had once colonized the whole nonwhite world, including China. This confidence or hope was now destroyed with our witnessing China going along with a classic example of false flag violence fostering a civil war in the age old imperialist principle of divide and conquer.

Vladimir Putin was not president of Russia during the Libyan debacle, and this author later published Russians Calling Medvedev a “Traitor” for Not Vetoing UN NATO War on Libya in Larger Context  the article’s larger theme is the willingness of humanity to accept White world profitable investments in genocide until world economic power shifts from Europeans and their descendant nations overseas to the six sevenths of humanity they plunder. Article portrays the immediate before and after of the preposterous destruction of Libya.

The White folks nations led by the US have been throwing up a solid anti-Russian and anti-Chinese barrage of accusations, but the two great designated adversaries of the West remain polite and defensive.

China is accused of cultural genocide in Xinjiang, US President Biden labels Russian President Putin “a killer,” while even the West’s obvious backing of horrific ISIS goes unmentioned by the Russians and Chinese.(See: An American Senator Writes of ISIS “Hellish Filth We’ve Recruited, Armed and Trained for 8 Years!” “The Syrian War had ” much to do with clandestine actions of CIA, MI-6, Mossad, Turkish MIT, French DGSE, Saudi GID and others. “would never have occurred without American planning and execution.” (and criminal CBS NBC ABC CNN FOX PBS genocidal fake news) [16]

Chinese & Russian Diplomacy Quiet Re America’s Massive Genocide [17]in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan

About 2.4 million people have been killed as a result of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, while about 1.2 million have been killed in Afghanistan and Pakistan as a result of the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan. About 250,000 Libyans have been killed in the war, violence and chaos that the U.S. and its allies unleashed in Libya in February 2011. It is estimated that about 1.5 million people have been killed in Syria since the Islamic terrorists, ISIS and others were introduced into Syria. Estimates of people killed in Somalia since 2006 must be somewhere between 500,000 and 850,000. Estimates for Yemen are about 175,000 people killed, a minimum of 120,000 and a maximum of 240,000.

After 16 years of war, about 6 million violent deaths, and the killing continues as we read this.

After 21 years of war, 6 countries utterly destroyed and many other destabilized, and this reality carefully omitted from what qualifies as the evening news on telecasts in America, Europe and most of the TV watching world audience.[18] Would that a compassionate supreme being looking down at planet Earth, would somehow see to this information being presented to Earthlings, that they might be motivated to put a end to such a inhuman catastrophe.

The world facing desperate situations of climate change, planetary degradation and nuclear war preparation desperately needs protection from inhumane deceiving war promoting Western media, and where shall it come if not from the bountiful and powerful two great designated adversaries of the Western powers, China, the world’s most populous nation and largest economy, and the Russian Federation encompassing 11% of the planet’s landmass.

Until now, seems that both Russia and China have confined themselves to presenting convincing domestic media and have spent only modest resources in reaching out internationally beyond cultural and scientific news coverage.

It bears mention that if China and Russia sought to seriously expand their international news coverage to include some occasional  overview of the mega massive loss of life in the millions brought about by the genocidal foreign policies of the United States of America and its allies since 1945, both could expect some somewhat similar charge of at least one genocidal policy each. China’s invasion of Vietnam in 1976, was described infamously by leader Deng Xiaoping as “to teach Vietnam a lesson” – a lesson that took the lives of 30,000 human beings. Over the span of years from 1991 through 2017, Russia first lost the Chechian war for independence, then reconquered Chechnya amid a terrific loss of life and deadly Islamic terror, and in 2008 fought a heavy handed war with Georgia over the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia from Georgia.

However, it is China and the Russian Federation that represent humanity’s hope and profound desire for a peaceful world of cooperation and non-belligerence. At present a wild insistence is being broadcast for war preparation with its seemingly unlimited financing constantly demanded in the media of the US-led Western neo-colonial capitalist democracies. The list of genocidal regime change wars, invasions, bombings and sanctions perpetrated by the US led Western powers since 1945 is inclusive of nearly a majority of the formerly militarily colonized peoples of the world and the deadly violence continues in more than a half dozen nations. This is what needs media attention for protection of those who will otherwise continue to suffer death, maiming and immeasurable suffering.

Though for the Chinese, confrontation, both in the martial arts, as in Kung-fu, and in social behavior and personal demeanor is a face and balance losing stance, Chinese cities are targeted with US nuclear warheads, and since either by accident, mistake or intention, a millionfold catastrophe could occur, it would seem some outspoken attention, some awareness, some warning for all humanity is in order. NATO has threateningly declared China a global security challenge.[19]

Military and nuclear confrontation seems to be no problem for President Putin, however given the awesome challenge of climate change and planetary degradation being derailed by the mega enormous financial and human resources wasted on military spending, a facing off in a tough cold war posture does not seem a sufficient response to the continuing menace from the United States of America and her allies.

In this no win situation, may some Chinese philosophical wisdom be introduced in some fresh world media in time to prevent the third world war being so assiduously invested in, planned, prepared for and promoted, while the effects of climate change and Earth degradation slowly inundates humanity in a lethal future.

End Notes

  1. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, writing in his 1995 memoir, In Retrospect, on the management of the Vietnam War


  1. Presidential candidate Joe Biden referring to Iraq invasion war. During a 2020 presidential debate, Biden delivered an apology for Iraq War vote] As Chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee, Senator Joe Biden’s enthusiastic support for war on Iraq was crucial.


  1. ‘Countercoup: The Struggle fro the control of Iran’ is the memoir of CIA man Kermit Roosevelt, grandson of former US President Theodore Roosevelt.the book recounts his role in overthrowing democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh with triumphant zeal.


  1. The CIA has publicly admitted for the first time that it was behind the notorious 1953 coup against Iran’s democratically elected prime minister Mohammad Mosaddeq, in documents that also show how the British government tried to block the release of information about its own involvement in his overthrow. The US national security archive at George Washington University published a series of declassified CIA documents. 8/19/2013, The Guardian


  1. Devil Eisenhower ordered the assassination of President Patrice Lumumba,  YouTube 1/13/2017, BBCFOUR Smithsonian Channel telecasted https://www.bing.com/videos/search


  1. Martin Luther King, Jr., Beyond Vietnam — A Time to Break Silence

Delivered 4 April 1967, Riverside Church, New York City



  1. AP in Johannesburg and agencies, 30 Jan 2003


  1. https://www.arabamerica.com/former-us-attorney-general-ramsey-clark-joins-lawsuit-against-bush-cheney-et-al-for-illegal-war-in-iraq/


  1. Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent revisited | The Listening Post 12/22/2018, You Tube


  1. Albert Einstein, Essays in Humanism


  1. Mockingbird was a secret operation by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to influence media. Begun in the 1950s, organization recruited leading American journalists into a network to help present the CIA’s views, and funded some student and cultural organizations, and magazines as fronts and also worked to influence foreign media and political campaigns.

After 1953, Operation Mockingbird had major influence over 25 newspapers and wire agencies. The usual methodology was placing reports developed from intelligence provided by the CIA to witting or unwitting reporters. Those reports would then be repeated or cited by the preceding reporters which in turn would then be cited throughout the media wire services. These networks were run by people with well-known pro-American big business and anti-communist views.

The CIA currently maintains a network of individuals around the world who attempt to influence opinion through the use of covert propaganda, and provide direct access to a large amount of newspapers and periodicals, scores of press services and news agencies, radio and television stations, commercial book publishers, and other foreign media outlets.”


The CIA and the Media – Carl Bernstein


After leaving The Washington Post in 1977, Carl Bernstein spent six months looking at the relationship of the CIA and the press during the Cold War years.


Newly Declassified Govt Docs Reveal Operation Mockingbird is Alive …

thefreethoughtproject.com ” Be The Change

Oct 2, 2015 – For those unfamiliar, Operation Mockingbird was a CIA operation began as the Cold War ramped up in the 1950’s. In an attempt to gather …


  1. 12. Church Committee (the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities) was a U.S. Senate select committee in 1975-6 that investigated abuses by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), National Security Agency (NSA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Chaired by Idaho Senator Frank Church amazingly criminal findings must have the publishers of the New York Times some obligation to report on covert criminal activity the Church Committee had brought to public attention.


Dirty Work: The CIA in Western Europe: Philip Agee, Louis …

https://www.amazon.com ›

The agency appears to be a serial violator of human rights around the world including inside America itself. The books shows everyone how to identify CIA …


Operation Mockingbird, CIA Media Control Program – YouTube

1976, Senator Church live with his investigating committee re Operation Mockingbird


  1. Manufacturing Consent by Ed Herman and Noam Chomsky, 1988, Pantheon Books


  1. A month before French and British planes would eventually destroy Libyan Armed Forces and militias, and hunt Gadaffi down there was a massive pro-Gadaffi Green Libya demonstration of a near million Libyans and Gadaffi address the multitude from hiding even while NATO planes bombed. It went unreported in Western media and videos of the event have recently been removed, blocked. For years they could be viewed at  HUGE PRO GADDAFI RALLY IN TRIPOLI – RAW FOOTAGE, 7/2/2011, http://www.blacklistednews.com/?news_id=14505 among other alternate media sites. All now blocked or no longer available.


  1. There were armed attacks on police stations (even traffic police) and vicious attacks on Chinese and Korea construction workers already two days before, and during the anniversary of the Danish Cartoons or “day of rage,’ executions of 50 captured Libyan soldiers, one beheaded, some hung along with police officers. And who knows how many ordinary Libyan civilians harmed by tough guys brought in to Benghazi and other Cyrenaican towns. This was reported by Reuters and BBC, but not CNN. There are (now were) some horrifically gruesome cell phone videos on the Internet of grisly hangings, beheadings, bloody beatings of blacks and others loyal to their government. (Libya has a black population, mostly in South Libya, of half a million. Libya under Gaddafi has eliminated a good deal of race discrimination, so black Libyans are especially loyal to the government.) There Was No Libyan Peaceful Protest, Just Murderous Gangs and Nic Robertson, By Jay Janson, 16 June, 2011 Countercurrents.org


  1. Ask Hillary Who Buys ISIS et al Terrorists Helping US Oust Assad NewToyota Trucks/ Heavy WeaponsSec. Hillary oversaw regime change wars in Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, S. Sudan, Syria, Yemen; should be asked to explain new Toyota trucks/heavy weapons coming to ISIS/other terrorists, who have been mass murdering US designated enemies in Assad’s Syria and Shiite wherever they are; why superpower US ‘fighting’ for 5 years can’t defeat ragtag force of 25,000; involved false flags attacks on US to prove innocence?


ISIS IS US: The Shocking Truth: Behind the Army of Terror …

https://www.amazon.com/ISIS-US-Shocking-Behind-Terror/dp/1615771522In ISIS IS US, a panel of cutting-edge researchers tell what ISIS really is, and what has been going on behind the scenes in Iraq, Syria and Libya. The conclusion: Like Iran-Contra, the ISIS death squads were set up by the US to crush a nation.


  1. Article 2 of the The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide adopted by the United Nations General Assembly effective 1/12/1951, defines genocide as

… any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;


18.How Many Millions Have Been Killed in America’s Post-9/11 Wars? Part 3: Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen

April 25, 2018 By Nicolas J S Davies Special to Consortium News


  1. NATO declares China as global security challenge

in World — by M K Bhadrakumar — 18/06/2021


Jay Janson is an archival research peoples historian activist, musician and writer; has lived and worked on all continents in 67 countries; articles on media published in China, Italy, UK, India, Sweden and the US; now resides in NYC; First effort was a series of articles on deadly cultural pollution endangering seven areas of life emanating from Western corporate owned commercial media published in Hong Kong’s Window Magazine 1993; Howard Zinn lent his name to various projects of his; Global Research; Information Clearing House; Counter Currents, Kerala, India; Minority Perspective, UK; Einartysken, Sweden: Saker Vineyard, Germany; Dissident Voice; Greanville Post; Ta Kung Pao; Uruknet; Voice of Detroit; Mathaba; Ethiopian Review; Palestine Chronicle; India Times; MalaysiaSun; China Daily; South China Morning Post; Come Home America; CubaNews; TurkishNews; HistoryNews Network; Vermont Citizen News have published his articles, 400 of which are available at: click http://www.opednews.com/author/author1723.html ; Weekly column, South China Morning Post, 1986-87; reviews for Ta Kung Bao; article China Daily, 1989. Is coordinator of the Howard Zinn co-founded King Condemned US Wars International Awareness Campaign: (King Condemned US Wars) http://kingcondemneduswars.blogspot.com/ and website historian of the Ramsey Clark co-founded Prosecute US Crimes Against
Humanity Now Campaign
 a country by country history of US crimes and laws pertaining.Jay Janson is an archival research peoples historian activist, musician and writer; has lived and worked on all continents in 67 countries; articles on media published in China, Italy, UK, India, Sweden and the US; now resides in NYC; First effort was a series of articles on deadly cultural pollution endangering seven areas of life emanating from Western corporate owned commercial media published in Hong Kong’s Window Magazine 1993; Howard Zinn lent his name to various projects of his; Global Research; Information Clearing House; Counter Currents, Kerala, India; Minority Perspective, UK; Einartysken, Sweden: Saker Vineyard, Germany; Dissident Voice; Greanville Post; Ta Kung Pao; Uruknet; Voice of Detroit; Mathaba; Ethiopian Review; Palestine Chronicle; India Times; MalaysiaSun; China Daily; South China Morning Post; Come Home America; CubaNews; TurkishNews; HistoryNews Network; Vermont Citizen News have published his articles, 400 of which are available at: click http://www.opednews.com/author/author1723.html ; Weekly column, South China Morning Post, 1986-87; reviews for Ta Kung Bao; article China Daily, 1989. Is coordinator of the Howard Zinn co-founded King Condemned US Wars International Awareness Campaign: (King Condemned US Wars) KING CONDEMNED US ATROCITY WARS & COVERT VIOLENCE MEANT TO MAINTAIN PREDATORY INVESTMENS and website historian of the Ramsey Clark co-founded Prosecute US Crimes Against Humanity Now Campaign http://prosecuteuscrimesagainsthumanitynow.
 a country by country history of US crimes and laws pertaining.

  Read Sadly China & Russia Remain Quiet Re US Past Genocides & Ongoing Genocide in the Middle East & Africa
  June 28, 2021
The Passing of the Present and the Decline of America.
by Andrew Bacevich ,
Countercurrents.org, in Imperialism.

I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep.” — Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five (1969)

Kurt Vonnegut’s famous novel about the World War II bombing of the German city of Dresden appeared the year I graduated from West Point. While dimly aware that its publication qualified as a literary event, I felt no urge to read it. At that moment, I had more immediate priorities to attend to, chief among them: preparing for my upcoming deployment to Vietnam.

Had I reflected on Vonnegut’s question then, my guess is that I would have judged the present to be both very wide and very deep and, as a white American male, mine to possess indefinitely. Life, of course, was by no means perfect. The Vietnam War had obviously not gone exactly as expected. The cacophonous upheaval known as “the Sixties” had produced considerable unease and consternation. Yet a majority of Americans — especially those with their hands on the levers of political, corporate, and military power — saw little reason to doubt that history remained on its proper course and that was good enough for me.

In other words, despite the occasional setbacks and disappointments of the recent past, this country’s global preeminence remained indisputable, not just in theory but in fact. That the United States would enjoy such a status for the foreseeable future seemed a foregone conclusion. After all, if any single nation prefigured the destiny of humankind, it was ours. Among the lessons taught by history itself, nothing ranked higher or seemed more obvious. Primacy, in other words, defined our calling.

Any number of motives, most of them utterly wrong-headed, had prompted the United States to go to war in Vietnam. Yet, in retrospect, I’ve come to believe that one motive took precedence over all others: Washington’s fierce determination to deflect any doubt about this country’s status as history’s sole chosen agent. By definition, once U.S. officials had declared that preserving a non-communist South Vietnam constituted a vital national security interest, it became one, ipso facto. Saying it made it so, even if, by any rational calculation, the fate of South Vietnam had negligible implications for the wellbeing of the average American.

As it happened, the so-called lessons of the Vietnam War were soon forgotten. Although that conflict ended in humiliating defeat, the reliance on force to squelch doubts about American dominion persisted. And once the Cold War ended, taking with it any apparent need for the United States to exercise self-restraint, the militarization of American policy reached full flood. Using force became little short of a compulsion. Affirming American “global leadership” provided an overarching rationale for the sundry saber-rattling demonstrations, skirmishes, interventions, bombing campaigns, and large-scale wars in which U.S. forces have continuously engaged ever since.

Simultaneously, however, that wide, deep, and taken-for-granted present of my youth was slipping away. As our wars became longer and more numerous, the problems besetting the nation only multiplied, while the solutions on offer proved ever flimsier.

The possibility that a penchant for war might correlate with mounting evidence of national distress largely escaped notice. This was especially the case in Washington where establishment elites clung to the illusion that military might testifies to national greatness.

Somewhere along the way — perhaps midway between Donald Trump’s election as president in November 2016 and the assault on the Capitol in January of this year — it dawned on me that the present that I once knew and took as a given is now gone for good. A conclusion that I would have deemed sacrilegious half a century ago now strikes me as self-evident: The American experiment in dictating the course of history has reached a dead-end.

How could that have happened over the course of just a few decades? And where does the demise of that reassuring present — arrangements that I and most other Americans once took to be fixed and true — leave us today? What comes next?

Inflection Point

So it goes.” As Vonnegut recounts the journey of his time-traveling protagonist, Billy Pilgrim, in Slaughterhouse-Five, that terse phrase serves as a recurring motif. It defines Vonnegut’s worldview: fate is arbitrary, destiny inexplicable, history a random affair. There is no why. Whatever happens, happens. So it goes.

Such sentiments are deeply at odds with the way Americans are accustomed to thinking about past, present, and future. Since the founding of our republic, if not before, we have habitually imputed to history a clearly identifiable purpose, usually connected to the spread of freedom and democracy as we understand those concepts.

Yet as crises without easy solutions continue to accumulate, Vonnegut’s cynicism – tantamount to civic blasphemy — might warrant fresh consideration. “So it goes” admits to severe limits on human agency. While offering little in terms of remedies, it just might offer a first step toward recovering a collective sense of modesty and self-awareness.

Because he’s president, Joe Biden must necessarily profess to believe otherwise. By any objective measure, Biden is a long-in-the-tooth career politician of no particular distinction. He is clearly a decent and well-meaning fellow. Yet his prior record of substantive achievement, whether as a long-serving senator from Delaware or as vice president, is thin. He is the Democratic Party’s equivalent of a B-list movie actor honored with his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in tribute to his sheer doggedness and longevity.

That said, some Americans entertain high hopes for the Biden presidency. Especially in quarters where Trump Derangement Syndrome remains acute, expectations of Biden single-handedly charting a course back from the abyss toward which his predecessor had allowed the nation to drift are palpable. So, too, is the belief that he will thereby reconstitute some version of American political, economic, and military primacy, even in a world of Covid-19, climate change, a rising China, and a host of other daunting challenges. Despite this very tall order, “so it goes” can have no place in Biden’s lexicon.

During its decades-long interval of apparent global dominion, American expectations about the role presidents were to play grew appreciably. Commentators fell into the habit of referring to the occupant of the Oval Office as “the most powerful man in the world,” presiding over the planet’s most powerful nation. The duties prescribed by the U.S. Constitution came nowhere near to defining the responsibilities and prerogatives of the chief executive. Prophet, seer, source of inspiration, interpreter of the zeitgeist, and war-maker par excellence: presidents were expected to function as each of these.

In 1936, Franklin Roosevelt boosted the morale of Depression-era Americans by assuring them that they had a “rendezvous with destiny.” At the very moment when he entered the White House in 1961, John F. Kennedy thrilled his countrymen with a pledge to “pay any price, bear any burden, [and] meet any hardship” to prevent the extinction of liberty itself globally. In his second inaugural address, delivered in the midst of two protracted wars, George W. Bush announced to his fellow citizens that “ending tyranny in our world” had become “the calling of our time.” Even today, tyranny shows no signs of disappearing. Even so — and notwithstanding four years of Donald Trump — the delusion that presidents possess visionary gifts persists. And so it goes.

As a result, whether he likes it or not — and he probably likes it quite a lot — observers are looking to Biden to demonstrate similarly prophetic gifts. Even though expressing himself in less than soaring terms, he’s sought to oblige. According to the president, the United States — and by implication the world as a whole — has today arrived at an “inflection point,” a technocratic tagline that’s become a recurring motif for both him and his administration.

That “inflection point” conveys little by way of poetry in no way diminishes its significance. Quite the opposite, it expresses Biden’s own sense of the historical moment. Implicit in the phrase is a sense of urgency. Also implicit is a call to action: “Here we are. There is where we need to go. Follow me.” Consider it the very inverse of “so it goes.”

Three Vectors

Given both Biden’s advanced age and his party’s precarious majority in Congress, not to mention the legions of Americans hankering to return Donald Trump to the White House, the opportunity to act on this imagined inflection point may well prove fleeting at best, nonexistent at worst. If Republicans gain control of the Senate or House of Representatives next year, “so it goes” may become the mournful refrain of a lame-duck presidency. Hence, Biden’s understandable determination to seize the moment, before rising inequality at home, a rising China abroad, rising seas everywhere, and a potentially resurgent Trumpism swamp his administration.

So even though the Biden team is not yet fully in place, the inflection point already finds expression in three distinct commitments. Together, they give us a sense of what to expect from this administration — and what we should worry about.

The first commitment bears the imprint of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. It assumes that vigorous government action under Washington’s benign and watchful eye can indeed repair a battered and broken economy, restoring prosperity, while redressing deep inequities. Given the necessary resources, that government can solve problems, even big ones, has for more than a century been a central precept of American liberalism. To demonstrate liberalism’s continued viability, Biden proposes to spend trillions of dollars to “build back better,” while curbing the excesses of a neoliberalism to which his own party contributed mightily. The spending and the curbs inevitably elicit charges that Biden has embraced socialism or something worse. So it goes in American politics these days.

The second commitment that derives from Biden’s inflection point centers on the culture wars. Its progressive purpose is to supplant a social order in which white heterosexual males (like Biden and me) have enjoyed a privileged place with a new order that prizes diversity. Creating such a new order implies expunging the non-trivial vestiges of American racism, sexism, and homophobia. Given trends within late modernity that emphasize autonomy and choice over tradition and obligation, this effort may eventually succeed, but rest assured, such success will not come anytime soon. In the meantime, Biden will catch all kinds of grief from those professing to cherish a set of received values that ostensibly formed the foundation of the American Experiment. So it goes.

The third commitment deriving from that inflection point relates to America’s once-and-future role in the world. Suffused with nostalgia, this commitment seeks to return the planet to the heyday of American dominion, putting the United States once more in history’s driver’s seat. Reduced to a Bidenesque bumper sticker, it insists that “America is back.” With decades of foreign policy experience to draw on, the president appears committed to making good on that assertion.

His much ballyhooed first trip abroad put this aspiration on vivid display, while also revealing its remarkable hollowness. As a start, Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson issued a vapid revision of the 1941 Atlantic Charter, in essence posing as ersatz versions of Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. Few who witnessed the charade were fooled.

Then Air Force One delivered the president to Brussels where he cajoled the members of NATO into tagging China as a looming threat. Doing so meant ignoring the ignominious failure of NATO’s mission in Afghanistan and disregarding French President Emmanuel Macron’s reminder that “NATO is an organization that concerns the North Atlantic,” whereas China just happens to be located on the other side of the world.

The pièce de résistance came when Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a nearly substance-free “summit” in Geneva. Possessing neither the drama of Kennedy vs. Nikita Khrushchev in 1961, nor the substance of Ronald Reagan’s encounter with Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985, it proved an empty show, even if it did play to a full theater.

Still, the entire trip and the bloated media coverage it generated were instructive. They illuminated what Biden’s inflection point truly signifies for America’s role in the world. The Biden administration yearns to reinstall familiar verities dating from World War II and the Cold War as the basis of U.S. policy. Many members of the press corps share that yearning. Hence the inclination to define the present age in terms of a new Cold War version of great-power competition, while paying little more than lip service to the need for fresh thinking and vigorous action on matters like climate change, environmental degradation, refugee flows, and nuclear proliferation.

Modeled at least in part on a New Deal that Americans remember fondly but inaccurately, Biden’s economic policies will in all likelihood promote growth and reduce unemployment. Even taking into account the risk of unintended consequences such as inflation, the effort is probably worth undertaking.

By wading into the culture wars, Biden might also bring the country closer to fulfilling the aspirations expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. No doubt arguments about the proper meaning of freedom and equality will continue. But the correct goal is not utopia. Merely reducing the gap between professed ideals and prevailing practice will suffice. Here, too, the effort is at least worth undertaking.

When it comes to America’s role in the world, however, it becomes difficult to profess even modest optimism. If Biden clings to a calcified and militarized conception of national security — as he appears intent on doing — he will put his entire presidency at risk. Rather than restoring American primacy, he will accelerate American decline.

Harkening back to where the nation was when I received my commission in 1969, I’m struck today by how little we Americans learned from our Vietnam misadventure. Pain did not translate into wisdom. That we have learned even less from our various armed conflicts since appears only too obvious. When it comes to war, Americans remain willfully and incorrigibly ignorant. We have paid dearly for that ignorance and will likely pay even more in the years ahead. So it goes.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Books, John Feffer’s new dystopian novel, Songlands (the final one in his Splinterlands series), Beverly Gologorsky’s novel Every Body Has a Story, and Tom Engelhardt’s A Nation Unmade by War, as well as Alfred McCoy’s In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power and John Dower’s The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II.

Andrew Bacevich, a TomDispatch regular, is president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. His new book, After the Apocalypse:  America’s Role in a World Transformed, has just been published.

Originally published in TomDispatch

  Read The Passing of the Present and the Decline of America
  June 29, 2021
We Don’t Need a New Report to Know It’s Time to Act Urgently on the Climate Crisis.
by Katharine Hayhoe,
Countercurrents.org, in Climate Change.

The record-breaking heat and intensifying drought engulfing the western U.S. right now are a stark reminder of how climate change is loading the weather dice against us. It’s making heatwaves hotter and longer, and droughts stronger. Yet, what we see today is just a fraction of what’s anticipated unless serious and immediate actions are taken to reduce carbon emissions.

Last week, a European news agency leaked quotes from a working draft of the second volume of “AR6” – the forthcoming Sixth Assessment Report from the one of the world’s most important independent scientific bodies, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

This report will not be formally released until February 2022, three months after the critical UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow. But for anyone who follows the scientific literature or even just reads the headlines, no new report is required to understand the need to act. The dire warnings have been clear for decades: Climate change is real; it’s human-caused; the impacts are serious; and there are solutions if we act now.

Now, though, we’ve hit a steep curve in our climate road, and it’s a curve we’ve constructed ourselves. Massive amounts of heat-trapping gasses are building up in the atmosphere, wrapping an extra blanket around the planet. Despite the temporary drop in emissions caused by the pandemic, we know that global temperatures continue to rise faster than at any time in human history as a result. As far back as we’re currently able to dive into the paleoclimatic record, we haven’t found any other time when this much carbon was being discharged into Earth’s atmosphere this fast. This metaphorical curve is unprecedented, and our collective wheels are already teetering at the edge of the precipice.

The case for action has never been more urgent. Again and again, assessment after assessment, the IPCC has already made it clear. Climate change puts at risk every aspect of human life as we know it, from our health and the safety of our homes to our ability to provide food and water for the nearly 8 billion people who share this planet.

We are already starting to experience those risks today; but we know what we need to do to avoid the worst future impacts. The difference between a fossil fuel versus a clean energy future is nothing less than the future of civilization as we know it.

Where can we start? By ramping up ambition at every level: our neighborhoods and cities, our places of work and worship, our cities and our countries. Glasgow is calling and while we scientists will continue to bang the drum as hard as we can, our power only extends so far. Now, it’s up to you.

Why you? Because to care about climate change and support climate action, you don’t have to be a scientist, a campaigner or the citizen of a low-lying island nation. You simply have to be a human being, living here on this planet. And we’re all that.

Katharine Hayhoe, Ph.D., is the chief scientist for The Nature Conservancy and the Paul Whitfield Horn distinguished professor and endowed chair in public policy and public law at Texas Tech University. Her new book, “Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World,” will be published by One Signal/Simon & Schuster in September 2021.

Originally published in The Hill

  Read We Don’t Need a New Report to Know It’s Time to Act Urgently on the Climate Crisis
  August 6, 2021
The Dubious Narrative of Democracy of the Natural Allies Vs China’s Authoritarianism in India
by Ramakrishnan,

We are supposedly natural allies: the Biggest (Indian) and greatest (US) “democracies”, sharing the same values, it is claimed. People know and see how US has been fighting for democracy around the world, at great expense of US dollars waging wars and killing millions. It “sacrificed”  thousands of American men too in those expeditions, still going on. India too did it, say many in Srilanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Sikkim etc. They both also export democracy, even India, though they are ‘mistaken’ by many for hegemonism, global and regional. How Modi is celebrated as one of the greatest, all-time greatest leaders by foreign media has been a popular myth.

The knowledgeable can easily see through how foreign, mostly American and Western, media is almost the sole (also soul) source for anti-China venom the Indian media regularly indulges in. The moment foreign media writes anything critical about Modi’s India, they are damned by our nationalists and deshbhakts.

Certain classes  in India are fond of discussing the topic, India’s  Democracy Vs China’s Authoritarianism, as if both are unquestionable truths, in black and white. They find nothing grey. India’s Big Media sells this story regularly. Many in smaller and online media, with a few honorable exceptions like countercurrents.org, also indulge in anti-China venom regularly.

It is another matter that hundreds of sedition cases are framed against critics of the governments, more so the one in the Centre. They are languishing in prisons for years, denying them even bail, though top Courts said bail should be the rule, and incarceration an exception. Even the topmost Court denied bail to many renowned scholars, academics, writers, media persons etc. Even when top intellectuals-  like Nobel laureates, former judges and bureaucrats – made appeals, for their release or bail, they are mostly not heeded by the deaf rulers, as also the Courts.

China is currently busy preparing for celebrating the Centenary year of CPC. Its media carry plenty of stories around it. A chance finding is mentioned below.

China’s ruling communist party (CPC) has a well-organized website. It features many aspects about itself.

In the process it mentioned many articles critical of the CPC, and published the relevant links too, under the heading What Foreign Media Say on the Topic?

One can find the relevant feature, in chinatoday.com, see link below:  http://www.chinatoday.com/org/cpc/

What Foreign Media Say on the Topic?


A few articles are listed here as a sample:

Great Party, but Where’s the Communism?

Kung fu propaganda – There’s a ton of easy money in praising the party.

China hauls away activists in congress crackdown;

Departing Chinese Leader Tries to Cement Legacy Opposing Reform;

From Toys to TV News, Jittery Beijing Clamps Down;

Why China’s  richest man is joining the communists;

Wen Jiabao’s 1.68bn family wealth: China furious at US expos by New York Times;

Hu warns Chinese Communist Party (details on BBC);

The princelings are coming –on a new generation of privileged political heirs, ( the Economist);   

China issues ethics rules for party -Frequently broken;..

‘Illicit benefits’ include vacations, karaoke (link to the Gazette)…

China’s party princelings fight for a chance to go back to the future; ..

It’s not if, but when, China owns the world..

CNN Report on 16th Party Congress: “Jiang rules out democratic reform”; ..

World Tibet Network News: Hu Jintao…

The more detailed list, with links to relevant articles is as follows:

What Foreign Media Say on the Topic? Jilted lover has final word as party man forced out (link to full story)

Xi Jinping gave his first speech as general secretary of the Communist Party,- A Promise to Tackle China’s Problems, but Few Hints of a Shift in Path (click for full story)

Departing Chinese Leader Tries to Cement Legacy Opposing Reform (full story)

China Communist Party Congress: Hu Jintao dismisses any hopes of reform – The Chinese Communist party began its once-in-a-decade handover of power by vowing that while its leaders are changing, there will be no change to its hardline policies. (full story)

China hauls away activists in congress crackdown (click link for full story)

From Toys to TV News, Jittery Beijing Clamps Down (click link for full story)

Wen Jiabao’s 1.68bn family wealth: China furious at US expos – New York Times website blocked after disclosing web of assets in new embarrassment for Communist party (click for full report)

Chinese Communist newspaper urges unity in Bo Xilai scandal (full article)

Why China’s  richest man is joining the communists  (link to full story)

Hu warns Chinese Communist Party (details on BBC)

Kung fu propaganda – There’s a ton of easy money in praising the party (details)

This Fourth, light a sparkler for China’s future – As China’s Communist Party celebrates its founding, it is stuck in an internal debate on whether to admit that values such as human rights are universal or merely Western. Aren’t all good ideas universal? (click for details on Christian Science Monitor)

Great Party, but Where’s the Communism? (click for details)

China Communists celebrate 90 years – Wearing matching baseball hats for easy identification, Chinese tour groups are an increasingly common sight. By Michael Bristow, BBC News (click for full report)

Reel China: Political maneuvers drive ‘Beginning of the Great Revival’s’ success – The epic about the Chinese Communist Party stars China’s most famous actors. Theaters have cleared room for it and companies are pushing employees to see it. (click for details on Los Angeles Times)

The princelings are coming – Next year’s changes in the leadership will bring on a new generation of privileged political heirs (click for details on the Economist,  June 23, 2011)

Red alert: China gears up to avoid Soviet-style collapse (click for details)

China Unrest — Instability Grows as China’s Citizens Yearn for Something the Communist Party Can’t Provide (click for details)

‘Red song’ campaign in China strikes some false notes – Before the Communist Party’s 90th birthday, people are singing in homage. The ‘red song’ campaign began in Chongqing, launched by an ambitious party figure. Some see shades of the Cultural Revolution. (link to source of this article)

China’s party princelings fight for a chance to go back to the future (click for details)

It’s not if, but when, China owns the world  – Business should be wary of the Communist Party’s role in the corporate culture, says Isabel Hilton. (click for details on the Sydney Morning Herald)

How to Understand China: Summer Reading – By Michael Levy. (details)

The party’s the problem By Paul Monk

China: When the party is over – By Benjamin A Shobert  (click for details)

China’s next leader? A look Xi Jinping’s rise – Vice President Xi Jinping was promoted Monday to vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, a key post seen as the penultimate step on the ladder to China’s top job in 2013. (Click for details on the Christian Science Monitor)

China’s Communist Party opens to media (click for details)

Communist Party of China’s gesture of ‘openness’ to the media (click for details)

China orders officials to declare marital status (click for details)

China issues ethics rules for party -Frequently broken; ‘Illicit benefits’ include vacations, karaoke (link to the Gazette)

60 years of Communist Party rule

China’s leaders give little away – By Kent Ewing

China’s Communist Party mulls new anti-graft rules – Party meeting may also give more power to President Hu’s apparent successor

China VP Set to Get Military Post in a Step to Top – China’s elite open conclave, with vice president set to get post on military commission

China Watched for Sign of New Leader

CNN Report on 16th Party Congress: “Jiang rules out democratic reform”

CNN looks back at the 80 years of rule by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and reports on the nation’s economy and political climate.

Jiang Zemin – CNN In-Depth Specials CNN profiles the president of the People’s Republic of China who is also head of the military and general secretary of the Communist Party.

Early Years of the Chinese Communist Party Looks at the early years of the Communist Party in China and profiles the efforts of pioneer organizers Li Dazhao and Chen Duxiu. Historical Documents from the Communist Party of China (CPC)

World Tibet Network News: Hu Jintao

Britannica: Zhou Enlai  – profile of the leading figure in the Chinese Communist Party and the premier and foreign minister of the People’s Republic of China.

Columbia Encyclopedia: Communist Party, in China

Statement of The Central Committee of The Chinese Communist Party, February 1, 1947  – from the Modern History Sourcebook

Modern China: The Chinese Communist Party


Is McCarthyism coming back in 21st Century?

Human rights in Kashmir is a well-known  red rag, where India protests even comments by US, despite India tailing USA on Israel. Tens of thousands of kashmiri civilians were killed as admitted by India’s Home Minister, Amit shah, in parliament.   Communists are hunted and harassed in the west, in particular in US, and India where thousands were bumped off in recent decades also, in encounters, as they are called. Top courts heard matters on what are alleged to be fake encounters. Thus  McCarthyism has come back even 21st Century.

  Read The Dubious Narrative of Democracy of the Natural Allies Vs China’s Authoritarianism
in India
  June 30, 2021
Communist Party of China turns 100.
by Harsh Thakor ,
Countercurrents.org, in World.

On July 1st the Communist Party of China turns 100.Without doubt it’s formation was one of the greatest turning points in the history of mankind. It shaped the political course of China being a precedent to many a historic event, be it the Long March of 1935,the anti-Japanese War from 1937-45 , the civil war of 1946-1949, the New Democratic revolution of 1949, the Socialist Revolution from 1949-56 the Great Leap Forward, the Socialist Education Movement of 1962, and finally the Great Proletarian Cultural revolution of 1966-76 .All these events enriched the ideology of Marxism Leninism to a pinnacle with symmetry and continuity and unprecedented penetration of practice of massline and  It is a great travesty that at the very time of celebration the CPC has completely betrayed the path it undertook from the 1930’s itself to morally make it an anti-thesis of Marxism-Leninism. With the very induction of the four modernisations by Deng Xiaoping the very backbone of Socialism was destroyed in China and seeds planted for capitalism to bloom.

China from 1949-76 took social equality or revolutionary democracy to unprecedented realms, surpassing every third world country in literacy, health, agricultural and industrial production. I recommend readers to refer to the books of Edgar Snow, William Hinton, Joan Robinson, Felix Greene, Maria Antonietta Macciocchi , Rewi Alley, Charles Bettelheim etc.who visited the very heart of China to discover the magical strides and expose the lies and pretensions of the Western media. It is hard to describe the intensity of how the hearts of people reverberated at the very core, after reading about the realities of China. Never in the history of the world was a set up constructed with factories created just besides farms and schools. Experiments in the field of medicine traversed unparalleled regions. Manual and mental labour was integrated as never before. Technicians were sent to work in factories, intellectuals to toil in the fields, students made to learn from the peasants. All commodities were more affordable than in any third world country before, unemployment unheard of, and price rise controlled as nowhere else. No army in the world was more democratic or ethical, exchanging roles of the workers and peasantry and aiding them in labour as the Peoples Liberation Army. The workers controlled and revolutionized production decisions and methods in factories to anextent no country ever did .Through revolutionary committees peasants exercised rights as nowhere else. Forms of mass movements were innovated and undertaken to enable the masses to exercise their rights unparalleled in history, with the big character posters a concrete example.

Revolutionary democratic power reached unprecedented heights through the democratic methods of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, surpassing the democratic levels of the earlier three antis campaign and five antis campaign. Path breaking experiments were made by the CPC penetrating regions untouched before. Inventiveness or creative energy of the workers and peasants in production methods and movements touched mythical heights.Emphasis was placed on creating an inner change in people or transforming thought process through re-moulding ,instead of coercion.

For the first time in history of man were ranks abolished in the army. In the pre -revolutionary period the CPC reminded you of a womb in a mother’s stomach. in the manner it weaved its path. The CPC evolved in the most endangered path or precarious situations, when confronted with the overwhelming power of Chiang Kai Shek on one hand and Japan on the other. The 365 day and 6000 mile Long March was an achievement in the magnitude of a pinnacle reached. The manner the march was executed from Kiangsi to Yenan by initially a small bunch of cadres to turn into a mighty army, braving every possible hazard or obstacle is unprecedented in history of man.

It is must for every cadre to study Chairman Mao’s revolt against the Stalinist urban putchist line of Wang Ming and Li Li San and advocated line of agrarian revolution which was rural based. What was relevant was within the very Communist party itself he challenged the line of urban based insurrection, which emerged victorious in the Tsunyi conference of 1935.

Chairman Mao made many a path breaking contribution to Leninism whether in philosophy or in practice. Lenin’s writings on dialectical materialism and democracy were developed even further and Mao was the pioneer of the first military theory ever for a third world country. It is notable that write from the 1920’s to the 1960’s Chairman Mao held a position of a minority within the Chinese Communist Party when waging his struggle for mass Line.This is apparent in the early 1930’s ,1956 or even 1966.

The practice of the CPC before 1949 also elevated democratic practice within a Communist party to an unequalled magnitude. William Hinton’s experience in Long Bow Village in book ‘Fanshen’ in 1937 itself is a must read. So is Edgar Snows China which most illustratively recounts how the CPC established genuine democratic institutions through building base areas in Hunan, Shanghai or Kiangsi and portrays how the red army was built and based in the very heart of the people. It narrates how land distribution was undertaken by the red army applying the massline.It is most intriguing how the CPC adapted Leninism in respect to the very condition s prevailing, understating the very idioms of the masses. It is a revelation reading about how the Communists established genuine democracy in base areas with the peasants controlling production after confiscation of land from warlords and schools built for villager’s children.

I suggest everyone read Edgar Snows’ account of the ‘Long March’ in China which vividly illustrates how the CPC turned a spark into a Prairie fire. The construction and functioning of the Tachai brigade formed in 1963, took revolutionary power of the peasants to heights unexplored or unprecedented in history of mankind. Two major conferences were launched there in 1975 and 1976. Similarly the student capture of Tsinghua University in 1968 was another path -breaking experiment as well as the workers capturing the Municipal headquarters in Shanghai in 1967.

China exhibited no degree of nation Chauvinism from 1949-76, supporting every national liberation movement and challenging the hegemony of both superpowers, America and Russia. It never intervened or imposed itself on the foreign policies of other countries, not even Communist parties. It is fascinating that CPC even opposed the formation of a Communist International in the 1960’s.Most unfairly China was blamed for the 1962 war when the fault lay with India ,itself who cut across the Macmohan line.China played a major role in Vietnam’s triumph over America. Its behaviour with North Korea in 1954 in the war was an exemplary example of its foreign policy exhibiting no nation chauvinist tendencies. I deeply admire that CPC gave no big brotherly treatment to the Indian C.P.I. (M.L) and infact advised it not to imitate the Chinese path.

Apart from Chairman Mao and Premier Zhou En Lai the most notable contribution from 1949-76 was made by Chang Chun Chiao who was the biggest crusader in challenging  the revisionist line ,as well as Chiang Ching who revolutionised art to give it  a proletarian form, at  a degree never paralleled. They both comprised the ‘Gang of four’ with Wang Hongwen and Yao Wenyuan. Lin Biao made a historic contribution at one juncture as a military commander in the 1940’s ,when abolishing ranks and revolutionising the Peoples Liberation Army in 1962 and enforcing the Socialist Education Movement but after 1976 made a 360 degree turn to give a blow to the Socialist Road.

Irrespective of it’s great achievements ,there is no  doubt the Chinese Communist party displayed considerable flaws and made serious mistakes. Where CPC erred was in my view was in not condemning assassination of Salvador Allende  by America in Chile, becoming a part of the United Nations in 1971, placing more emphasis on confronting  Soviet Social Imperialism than US imperialism, dismantling revolutionary Commitees after 1969,delaying the Socialists transformation and Great debate, converting the Shanghai Commune into revolutionary Commitees and in assessing 2-line struggle within a Communist party to be sufficient for the victory of revolutionary democracy.

I must admit that left sectarian tendencies were predominant during the Cultural Revolution as well as excessive power awarded to the military. Most regrettable excesses were committed on intellectuals, writers and artists and arguably even the revisionists were meted out too harsh treatment. The Red Guard depredations too abused human rights. There was deep penetration of rightist commanders in the People’s Liberation Army and insufficient practice of the masses checking the party. William Hinton brought to our notice how the ‘Gang of Four’ failed to properly establish the united front by winning over the middle sections, and thus properly applying mass line.

In my view the Maoists’ or CPC failed to give sufficient respect to the inner or spiritual aspect of man or human psychology. It did not sufficiently build institutions of revolutionary democracy independent of the Communist party .It solely depended on struggle within the framework of a Communist party itself, instead of completely broadening base of democracy. Mass movements were not launched independent of the Communist party, rising to factional tendencies resembling tussle of many characters in a plot.

It is most challenging for Marxist historians to critically study the phenomena of the rise of Lin Biao in the late 1960’s to position of head of state, or earlier Liu Shao Chi in 1956.Similarly the rally of the Chinese people in a counter revolutionary rally in 1976 supporting Hua Kuofeng and condemning  the Gang of four testifies the weakness in practice of massline.To completely develop proletarian revolutionary power movements and organisations should be created outside the orbit of the Communist Party.

No doubt Comrade Zhou En Lai made a monumental contribution but made a major error in re-instating Deng Xiaoping into the Communist party. I also feel CPC from 1949-56 did not adequately sharpen the sword against capitalism or revisionism allowing revisionists like Liu Shao Chi to blossom. In the Great Leap Forward it displayed most hap hazard planning. Unintentionally Confucian thinking affected the political work of leaders and cadres. Intervention of the People’s Liberation army was excessive in preventing mass movements to blossom to the full. There is a tendency for intellectuals to solely blame Lin Biao or make him a scapegoat without being properly self-critical of the overall political conduct of the CCP. On the other hand certain Maoist unfairly tag Premier Zhou En Lai as a capitalist roader, giving him no credit for being Chairman Mao’s comrade in arm still the very end. Arguably the CPC also was unable to sufficiently mobilise the working class or penetrate the proletarian headquarters. I am also critical of the CPC calling itself ‘The great, glorious nod Correct Communist Party.’ which illustrates idealist point of view or non –dialectical approach.

It is debatable whether one can analyze CPC in Mao’s time as a protagonist of Stalinism. In important ways it did continue Stalin’s legacy but on crucial issues extricated from it.CPC lacked the methodology or planning of USSR under Stalin and failed to completely overpower the capitalist roaders within the party. However till 1976 it consistently initiated 2 line struggles against revisionism and maintained the legacy of the party as a vanguard. Unlike Stalin it did not execute enemies or opposition in purges but galvanised masses into struggles to challenge capitalist roaders through movements like the Cultural Revolution. Mao extricated from Stalin’s bureaucratic practices. Still in my opinion CPC under Mao exhibited vanguardist Stalinist tendencies that did not enable mass revolutionary movements to flower at their full bloom or facilitate the masses to supervise the party.CPC under Mao did not completely fulfil the democratic aspirations or visions  of Karl Marx or even Lenin, which was testified in the factional tendencies. I am a strong adherent that Chairman Mao did not foster a personality cult and took every possible step to eradicate it.

Still we must be sympathetic to the fact that the CPC was implementing the first ever revolution of its kind. whereby a struggle was waged in a Socialist Society itself. The old thinking process of Confucian tradition was strongly embedded in the Chinese culture and it was very challenging to completely extricate from it. The Sino-Soviet conflict too considerably affected the CPC political line and mass movement , diverting attention to border disputes with USSR.

Sadly after 1978 China reverted it’s policies and followed a path in a directly opposite direction to that of 1949-76. It made phenomenal achievements in production, but to serve the ruling classes or create billionaires. It is ironic that today many Communist party members in China have become millionaires and corruption has reached a scale on par with countries like even India. Latin American countries of African nations. Workers are subjugated to misery in sweat shops and denied adequate wages. After 1978 China made a 360 degree turn from it’s Socialist path, reverting it’s earlier Socialist path completely. It dismantled all the communes, re- introduced ranks in the armies, introduced Special economic zones, privatised health and education and at an international level abandoned all support to national liberation Struggles. Today China is a major imperialist country which is a contender for world hegemony over markets and pursues expansionist military policies. It has exhibited considerable nation chauvinism in recent years. Morally a free market economy has been instated. All cadres must meticulously study the priority leaders like Liu Shao Chi,Lin Biao and later Deng Xiaoping placed on development of productive forces. They all advocated ‘It does not matter whether the cat is white or black as long as it catches the mice.’Deng Xiapong raised the slogan ‘It is glorious to get rich.’

It is notable today that the present CPC smashed every brick in the wall to suppress the Maoist resurgence in China. It has supressed or censored many a writing of the Cultural Revolution period. Its persecution of the supporters of Mao in 1981 was like a fascist sentence, Workers strikes have been brutally suppressed in recent times. Consumerism has virtually reached a crescendo. Still in China large volumes of sympathy are still demonstrated for Mao’s policies.

We have to counter those who praise China after 1978.Such intellectuals state that it has introduced Socialism in another form, but is in essence marxist.They fail to understand how china to the last drop exploits other third world countries, literally tightening a noose around them. China displayed territorial expansionist policy in Phillipines recently. The only plus point is their confronting the hegemony Of USA ,supporting Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and condemning Israeli aggression also praise their sporting achievements which is a direct consequence of the Socialist sports policy which gave opportunities to all. To an extent I also praise its planning and organisation in handling the Covid crisis.

I am curious how Socialism can be resurrected in China in the future with the forces of globalisation operating at a crescendo. Younger cadres must learn from the lessons of the New Democratic, Socialist and Cultural Revolutions but not blindly imitate them. In the digital age or one of mechanisation  different methods of work may have to be devised .I feel the vanguard concept of Communist party cannot be mechanically applied .Genuine Maoists may even work within the framework of the existing mass organisations in China to expose the essence of revisionism. Still it is complex how Communists can build a revolutionary movement in a one-party, revisionist or social –imperialist state. New revolutionary elements could also emerge within the People’s Liberation army. Chinese people have an advantage of being indoctrinated with Marxism-Leninism or complete exposure to the writings of Marx and Lenin. Young cadres today may well be inspired by the achievements of CPC before 1976.It is through mastery of the essence of Marxism-Leninism that the revisionist CPC could cut by the throat the genuine Socialist revolutionaries and disguise or mask themselves as Socialists. Marxist analysts must probe into why a serious Revolutionary movement has not arisen in China today challenging the oppression of the bourgeois state. A new Socialist Society  in China would have to integrate considerable degree of mechanisation ,even if applying Mao’s directives.

I recommend all to read ‘Edgar Snow’s China’, William Hinton’s ‘Fanshen’, ‘Long Road to Revolution’ by Edgar Snow, ‘Red Star Over China’ by Edgar Snow ‘The Wall has two sides’ by Felix Greene’ ‘Daily life in Revolutionary China’ by Maria Antonietta Macciocchi   , ‘Travels in China by by Rewi Alley ,’Cultural Revolution and Industrial Organisation in China “ by Charles Bettelheim Deng Yuan Tsu and Pao Yu –Ching’s ‘Rethinking Socialism’ and articles by Moba Gao  on “Why Is the Battle for China’s Past Relevant to Us Today? ”and Dang Hongpin on “The Socialist Legacy Underlies the Rise of Today’s China in the World.”The most illustrative or pictorial perspective is by Edgar Snow  with the least of propaganda and the most open or objective analysis. For sheer economic study Charles Bettleheim’s work is  a masterpiece portraying the very essence of  Mao’s line in establishing peoples political power.  To portray the phenomenal achievements of China in Socialist era ‘Daily life in Revolutionary China’ by  Maria Antonietta Macciocchi   is a classic . Moba Gao and Dang Hongpin are much more recent intellectuals who make an ideal contrast between China of today and the China before 1978.William Hinton in ‘Fanshen’ exhibits the greatest political mastery. ‘ Deng Yuan Hsu and Pao Yu Ching’s ‘Rethinking Socialism’  is  a true classic in defending Marxist Leninist polemics and dialectically making a distinction between the Socialist and capitalist path in ChinaShe brilliantly portrays the vey continuity and symmetry of all the periods. Of CCP and how post-1978 Deng Xiaoping completely re-railed Socialist path.

I must state that many of these writers were originally bourgeois democrats and only after encountering the thick of the skin of China did their views transform. Raymond Lotta’s 6 part  serial of articles in ‘Socialism is Much Better Than Capitalism and Communism Will Be a Far Better World.’ Is also a most illustrative project revealing the truth on China.

I also advise readers to refer to the massline.info blog of Scott Harrison and the Democracy and class Struggle blog of Nick Glais. Both have rendered an invaluable service to the massline of CPC.


  1. A de-centralized medical system creating Barefoot doctors. Medical field saw most innovative changes. Services which were unheard of even in developed countries were implemented. Before this, in no Asian, African, Latin American country medical services were made available for the poor peasantry and other sections to such an extent.
  2. Stopping examinations in schools and colleges and making students learn from the peasants and workers as well as by participating in productive labour. Now it was the peasants and workers who taught the students. Factories were attached to schools so that students would learn science from production. In the villages students would learn about agriculture and peasants would explain them their problems and about production.
  3. Enabling workers to be masters of Marxist Leninist philosophy through study in factory schools which enabled workers to build their own machines and run their own factories.
  4. Revolutionary committees were launched where the workers’ and peasants’ democratic rights were represented. There were ‘three in one’ committees. These were far more effective than the committees in factories under bourgeois democratic system.
  5. The Army was called upon to serve the people doing work like construction, building canals and rotated the jobs of Workers and peasants. They were politically enlightened and trained about the role of revolution and history and politics in connection to Marxism Leninism. The Army was asked to defend and protect the mass movements unlike bourgeois states. Ranks were abolished in the military.
  6. Revolutionizing the Agricultural Communes through mass movements and introducing piecemeal wage system. Tachai was the best Example as well as Shanghai.
  7. There were mass rallies where the broad masses could print big character posters. The CPC was not afraid of disorder breaking out due to people’s movements. “Great Debates’ and anti-Rightist campaigns were held. The masses could voice their demands to punish corrupt officials, oppose bureaucraticism, fight for press freedom and for democratic Rights. They had the four great ‘freedoms ‘of speaking out Freely, airing views folly, holding great debates, and writing big character posters.
  8. The Army was asked to represent the heart and the soul of the broad masses, they being based from the basic classes. Once the Cultural Revolution started in earnest, the Army was not allowed to intervene in what emerged as a civil war between the various factions of Red Guards and Red Rebels. The PLA was ordered by Mao to “support the left” by standing aside, even when their arsenals were looted by the civilian combatants. But when the chaos were claimed to have reached its climax, when the Party was in disarray and the economy faced challenges, the Army appeared to be the only functioning organization left, and the leaders turned to the PLA to restore order. As a result, the PLA emerged from the chaos with greatly increased position and power: senior Army men headed the newly-formed revolutionary committees responsible for local administration; so almost half of the Central Committee members elected in the Ninth Congress of 1969 were soldiers; and half of the State Council members in 1971 belonged to the PLA. The Army had to participate in the production in factories and help the peasants in production. They were involved in digging the countryside, transporting grain and all kinds of furniture on carts, leading Children in drills in schools etc.
  9. Great innovations in the field of art and literature representing the Proletariat also took place.



One worker explained that he was working in a dyeing and weaving workshop in Factory No2since he was 17 years old. His father had died from illness because he didn’t have proper medical care and his salary meant to support 5 people could hardly keep 2 people alive. They had to eat bean curd and potatoes and in the winter had only thin jackets. Workers had hernias and rheumatism and hid their illnesses for fear of being been laid off. However in the liberation period in 1949 the conditions of life were like “going to heaven.”

Besides the Revolutionary Committee in the factory the workers representative committee played an instrumental role. It was an organ of red power elected by all the workers and in charge of the daily problems of the factory. It co-ordinated with the revolutionary committee and with the workers council replaced the trade Union. The party has a leading role, the Revolutionary Committee is responsible for management, and the workers council is in charge of the revolutionary reorganization of work and acts as a control from the base levels on the higher echelons. Piecework wages and incentive bonuses were abolished. The highest salary was 120 yuan,the lowest 50 yuan.The difference between the pay of an engineer and that of a skilled technician was 40 Yuan. A struggle-criticism-transformation movement dealt with the salaries problem (Taken from Daily Life in Revolutionary China).

In revolutionary China peasants built their own houses through co-operative efforts. A peasant explained that before the liberation the peasants had no political power. They merely had a harvest of 450 pounds per mou and had to give 350 to the landlord. After liberation they could purchase a bicycle, a sewing machine and furniture. For the first time in their lives they could get clothes, ate what they wanted and sent their children to school. (Taken from Daily Life in Revolutionary China).


Barefoot doctors performed phenomenal feats. One doctor re-attached 2 fingers on a peasant’s hand-something unheard of in pre-revolutionary China swearing by Mao TseTung Thought. Similarly poor peasant women had her leg replaced. A professor narrated his experiences of meeting the poor peasants and how it changed his life. The peasants re-educated the professor enabling him to transform his entire outlook. Working in the Countryside made the professor a different person. Despite being over 70 years of age the professor traveled climbing mountains to share the experiences of toiling people. He started how he leant Marxism Leninism from direct contact with peasants rather than books. One Comrade Lin told reporters where he went to the villages to learn from the poor peasants. He explained how their team stopped in a village where there was a woman who was considered incurable. The family was already preparing for the funeral. Applying Mao Tse Tung Thought he developed a form of medicine that cured the patient. The patient was suffering from chronic Arthritis. Another professor explained that only by being re-educated by the peasants and changing his ideology he cured 20 incurable patients. He elaborated by transforming his world outlook he developed his techniques and that the peasants had cured him of his ‘ ideological sickness.’ There was a child who had a tumour on his arm as large as the head of a foetus. The Doctors cut away the diseased part and re-attached the arm This could never have been done in Pre Revolutionary China. Doctors were able to remove a 100-pound tumour said to be incurable. An electric mower cut one peasant’s hand and his fingers fell to the ground. The new doctors looked for his fingers, found them and put them on ice. The fingers were re-attached! In the old society this could never have taken place. Another girl who once had a clubfoot was operated. Her tendons were lengthened and now she could carry a load of about 50 pounds on her shoulders. The peasant and the girl attributed their cures to Mao TseTung Thought. This in actual fact meant de-centralization of medicine, which brought doctors to the most remote places, which made them test their skills. The doctors traveled through the mountains, border regions, islands Etc Revolutionary Committees ran hospitals and each ward had it’s own revolutionary committee. (Excerpted From Daily Life in Revolutionary China)

This is a quote from a specialist in internal medicine.

“In the fall of 1968 I went into the countryside to learn from the poor peasants. Once our team stopped in a village where there was a woman who was considered incurable. The family was already preparing for the funeral. I decided I had to pay a call on those women too. I examined her closely and I realized that she had a generalized arthritis; she had not been treated in time and she had swelled up. I asked her family,’ Why don’t you take her over to the doctor?’ Her husband told me angrily that they had taken the sick women on a stretcher to a ciy hospital four years before, that this had cost them much money, but that the hospital had told them she was incurable. Back in her village, the woman took the medicine prescribed for her but he sickness worsened steadily. I learned from her husband that the doctor inn question belonged to the same hospital as I did. When I returned, I looked through the files and found that the doctor who had made the incorrect diagnosis was me” Here he lowered his head like a guiltyman. “I was tremendously upset and full of self-contempt.’ Whom do we serve? I always replied to that question in the following way. We live in a Socialist Society. It is therefore clear that we serve the workers, peasants and the soldiers. For a young person like me, the important thing is to raise the level of medicine to serve the people. But the story of the sick woman taught me many things. I was medically prepared to cure the sick, bit I just lacked an ideology. That was why first I examined the women superficially and was unable to meet the correct diagnosis.

“I returned to the countryside and took up my work with the barefoot doctors. The treatment I gave her for me the beginning of the struggle of seeing the world differently. After 2 months I had cured the women. She was able to get up.”

“After I changed my ideology, I cured 20 patients who had been considered incurable. It was the poor peasants who cured me of my ideological sickness, and not I who cured the peasants.”

One Dr .Ling stated. “In 1968, 10,000 worker doctors were sent from Shanghai into rural zones. A revolutionary Committee runs the hospital and each ward has it’s own revolutionary committee. Since the re-construction of the party -reorganization, which took place during the last year, the party is in charge of the hospital’s political direction, while administrative matter are handled by the Revolutionary Committee various decisions are approved by the leadership after it has been elected according to democratic election principle of the Paris Commune. Here thee is no trace left of the former hierarchy. Now there was a hospital chief and a committee of hospital administration composed of professors and specialists. men who had transformed their conception of the world. The Old director now works as an ordinary doctor. The Peoples Liberation Army Comrades work in administrative work too. There is a three in one combination operating. Specialists and professors are allowed to work in rotation.

Control by the masses is necessary for the good administration of the hospital. The patients are the best judges of this, but they are not allowed to participate in the elections because they are only here temporarily. However, they can set up groups to study Mao Thought in which patients and doctors work together. The Revolutionary Committee has created a special team, which collects the criticisms and opinions of patients on the operation of the hospital and on the abilities and political spirits of doctors.

We have a safety network of worker-doctors who go to work in particular enterprises. The doctors live in the factories and study what the most recurring illnesses are. They examine inquiries and take preventive measures. Only because they live in the factory can the doctors accomplish this. For example in a chemical factory harmful fumes circulate during production. The doctor who has practical experience of living in the factory knows exactly what has to be done to eliminate toxic gases.

Medical students do a type of medical internship we call open instruction. Students are sent to factories and into the countryside to deepen their knowledge.

Scientists share a comradely relationship with ordinary doctors, nurses, and hospital personnel Scientists carry out struggle-criticism -transformation and are not paid higher salaries than doctors or nurses.

“Western and Chinese medicine is fused The metaphysical aspects of Western Science is cut out. Dialectical materialism teaches us that everything is in movement and transformation. Human knowledge and it’s potential for transforming what seems incurable hat is why we sat that there are no illnesses that are absolutely incurable. Even Cancer will be cured when we learn the natural they obey as has happened with other laws they obey. The movement of transformation in the World of objective reality is without end, and hence man is never done learning the truth from practice.”

“As we examine the human body, we consider that it is always a unity of opposites. It’s various parts are united, one to the others: They are in opposition and at the same time depend on each other. It is only in dialectically examining the relations between the parts and the whole I all their aspects, and in regulating them, that we can know the disease and cure it. “In the case of fractures we put little wooden splints on the limb to fix the bone after setting it back to position, and we make sure that movement can begin after setting it back to position, and we make sure that movement can begin as soon as the bone has set. It is a question of resolving the contradiction between the stability and movement. By Western methods, the limb is enclosed in a cast to wait for the bones to merge again. The arm can’t move, and sometimes it takes 3-6 months of absolute immobility. Since we previously did not use x-rays, we did not know that in traditional medicine, exactly how the bone had broken and that was a drawback. In shot, one type of method treat only the fracture and neglect articulation and the overall body. Others do not limit their interest to the beneficial aspect of immobility for setting a bone, but also note he drawbacks of a healing method that prevents the simultaneous reassertion of the bone’s solidarity and the functioning of the whole limb.

Thus in short, the doctor workers of China combine what is positive in Western medicine and what is positive in traditional Western medicine. This is an example of the Unity of Opposites.

“Regarding research for Cancer in medical centres people study plants and prepare local recipes for medicines that are tried in the treatment for cancer. For cancer, too we apply the dialectical process.”

“Barefoot doctors are all attached to Communes. who divide their time between medicine and soil. Generally they are 25 years old and earn 250 to 300 Yuan, 100 from Agricultural Work, the rest in fees. Barefoot doctors earn as much as the manual workers in the Countryside. They treat the less serious diseases, thus the peasant can be treated within his village. Barefoot doctors also make plant medicines which cure burns constipation, stomach aches, diarrhoea Etc. The work of the barefoot doctors ensured a basic health system, for where Universities take years to produce a doctor; we take only a few months to train a barefoot doctor.

“Ina surgical department for children, there was a child who had a tumour on his arm as large as the head of a foetus. Previously they would have amputated his arm. But what would a worker’s son have done with only one arm? “We cut away the diseased part and re-attached the arm.”

“We are able to re-attach hands higher up when they have been severed. When one peasant lost a part of his forearm, we attached his hand at the mid-point of the forearm. Not only can we attach completely severed arms, but also fingers cut off by thresher’s legs severed by trains Etc.

“In the overall context the expression, “The Thought of Mao Tse Tung meant that due to de-centralisation of medicine doctors were brought to the remotest places, which made them test their skills, using every means they could find on the high plateaus, in the border regions, on islands, in order to cure people considered incurable.


Writer Han Suyin with remarkable insight and perspective in her book ‘China in the year 2001’ summarised the essence of the ideology of Mao Tse Tung thought and how it paved the path for liberation. She explained the very thread of continuity of the Chinese Communist party and the Red Army from the Chingkang mountains in 1928 to the launching of the Cultural Revolution in 1966.

Quoting writer Han Suyin in Cinia in the year 2001.’The Thought of  Mao is universalised and its main application to the present epoch is ‘Road to Chingkang mountains’, use of military might to develop insurrection, ‘The road of the Chingkang mountains is the road of the armed struggle, characterised by the establishment of the rural proletarian revolutionary base areas and the countryside encircling the cities and ultimately taking them. In other words it is the road of Mao Tse Tung that is guiding the revolution to victory. ‘This means a continuing series of people’s wars.’

‘It was upon the manpower reserves of the peasantry that the Chinese revolution was based. In his speeches Mao Tse Tung refers to its peasant base to the alliance of the worker peasant, which formed the red army: The great task of the Communist Party in its militant expression, the Red base area, was the solution of the peasant question and the liberation of the peasantry from oppression. In Mao’s mind, the educated, scientific minded peasant, who can plant and plough, write and discuss philosophical concepts, and also handle a gun or a machine is the new man the society must build.’

‘The defeat of the revolution in 1927 by Chiang Kai Shek and Mao’s subsequent actions to save the Communist Party remnants and establish the first base areas in the Chingkang mountains are inseparable from his view of the role of the army, its organisation and leadership. The red bases could only survive because of army-peasant co-operation ,and this co-operation was in turn based on fulfilling the peasant’s co-operation, and this co-operation was built on fulfilling the peasant’s  aspirations, abolishing taxes, carrying out land reform, and making the army ‘brother’ to the peasant. ‘It was this background that developed the peoples wars’’.



Lee Fegion was not a Marxist-Leninist but in his biography of Mao Tse Tung reflected how morally China made strides in revolutionary democracy at a magnitude unsurpassed and extricated itself from the bureaucratic practices of the USSR. He expressed great praise for how education and literacy penetrated at unprecedented levels, with ever worker and peasant able to provide an education for their children. Lee Fegion was critical of excesses of CPC in red guard factional duels and of incoherent organisation and planning in the Great Leap Forward. However he praised China’s achievements in establishing self-reliance and de-centralising power in the villages to give the peasantry a complete say in organisational decisions.

Quoting author Lee Fegion in ‘Mao-a Re-Interpretation’, ‘The speed of China’s economic growth from 1949-1966 was unprecedented in history. Amazingly the production doubled from 1966-76.The rate of Growth CPC achieved in the Cultural Revolution era far exceeded that of the first ten years of Deng Xiapoing’s years, growing at 8 percent. Mao took the Chinese govt. Out of business and controlled the day to day lives of the peasantry. The reason for the substantial growth was that during the Cultural Revolution, Mao reverted to giving priority to rural industrialisation. Local governments were given the right to manage their independent finances. Mao wanted more financial and investment decisions to be made by the local government, not the central authorities. He made factories increasingly self-reliant, subject only to the demands of the party, and the administrative organs of their locality or region. Central control was not completely dissolved; broad decisions still followed party policies dictated from above. Mao’s attacks on the bureaucracy, his efforts to level distinctions between mental and manual labours, and his empowerment of workers and education of peasants made the distribution of income in China among the most balanced in the world, surpassing that of every Asian country. Mao succeeded in ousting more than 70 % of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Commitee, reducing and decentralising the Soviet Style bureaucracy that was dominating China. Mao had deep conviction that the bureaucracy entrapped China. Mao broke the unity of the Communist party, by attacking the system of consensus under which the party had built it’s rule, during the previous decades. He was convinced that corruption had its roots in bureaucratism. Mao’s method of dealing with the bloated bureaucracy were unlike Stalin’s, never executed from above ,but from below by the red guards who confronted it from below, promoting de-centralisation of the government. ‘Lower level education was altered by Mao’s Cultural Revolution, with examination system abolished. Specialized Agricultural Schools were abolished as well as technical training schools. However elementary school enrolment increased from 116.21 million in 1965 to 150.1 million in 1976.Middle school enrolment grew from in 1965 from 9.34 million to 67.8 million in 1976.’

‘In October, 1967 after re-opening the universities, allowed admissions to colleges based on recommendations from one’s work unit. It enabled peasant youths to gain a better education than would have been done by the earlier policy.’

‘Mao initiated the formation of red guards who confronted corrupt party officials and the Royalist red guards who were established. Major clashes erupted between the 2 red guard factions. Mao’s efforts virtually dismantled official avenues of communication between bottom and top. Even when Maoist leaders attempted to contact the various red guard groups to give them personal instruction, they struggled. The Central govt could no longer control day to day affairs and new rebel factions formed daily. The situation grew more chaotic when revolutionary red guards attempted to seize power in factories, confronting the workers.’

‘A very significant development of the Cultural Revolution was that the new core leadership at all levels included a substantial number of worker rebels. During the previous seventeen years of Communist rule, workers representatives had been selected for their diligence at work for their obedience to party directives and had served a little more than tokesnat people’s congresses. By contrast the new cadre corps of worker rebels evidenced a keener understanding of political operations and greater willingness to speak their minds.’

‘In sum the empowerment of ordinary villagers promoted a change of political culture in villages. Production team leaders were now chosen by production team members.-with ordinary villagers having a major say in the process. If the production team leaders did not do a good job, they would lose their position at the end of the year. In some cases, the production team leaders had to be replaced every year. Before the Cultural Revolution production team leaders were appointed by village leaders, who were in turn appointed by commune leaders.’

‘A significant achievement of the Cultural Revolution was the reducing of monopoly of agricultural policy, promote local self –sufficiency and encourage co-operative, labour intensive institutions.’


Dongping Han was born in Jimo County, Shandong Province, China in 1955. He grew up on a collective farm, and starting working with villagers when he was nine years old during the weekend and school vacations. After high school, he returned to his village to work full time. He worked in the fields for a while, and then was recruited to operate a lathe in the village’s industrial enterprise. He was also the manager of the collectively owned village factory for four years. The village had 173 workers, generating an output of over one million yuan a year, before he went to college in the spring of 1978. In his writing he brilliantly contrasted Maoist China from that of Deng .He summed up ho win essence genuine revolutionary democracy was built in the Cultural Revolution. At the vey grassroots he narrated experiences of the Chinese people in controlling their lives.

Quoting Dongping Han “One of the most important accomplishments of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was the empowerment of ordinary people and the democratization of Chinese society. ‘

‘’Most people who talk about democracy in this world tend to make the concept of democracy very complicated. Democracy is a very simple and straightforward concept. It means that, contrary to the old system which allowed the elite to run the political affairs, the ordinary people participate in decision making. It means that ordinary people are part of the governance of their society. In order for democracy to work, ordinary people have to be empowered and made equal to the government officials, the old elite. In a democratic society, there should be no privileged classes and there should be no elite. Everybody should be equal politically and economically. That is a prerequisite of democracy.’’

‘’In the so-called western democracies, one per cent of the people own most of wealth. Because of this gap in wealth, the small rich minority can buy power, influence, and control. They literally have a monopoly over power. That is not a real democracy at all. Democracy like that is in name only. It is fake. The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution tried to build a real democracy. It empowered the ordinary Chinese people to write big character posters to criticize their leaders, and required their leaders to participate in manual labour like everybody else. It was a big step forward in the progress of Chinese society. During the Cultural Revolution, most Chinese officials had lifestyles similar to those of ordinary people. They lived in houses similar to those of ordinary people. Their children went to the same schools as other Chinese people. They went to work on bicycles like everybody else. Production team leaders were elected by peasants and worked with peasants in the field every day. Village leaders worked with peasants 300 days a year in the fields because they had to attend meetings and make plans for the community. Commune leaders were required to work 250 days a year with peasants in the fields and county government leaders had to work with peasants for two hundred days a year.’’


Mobo Gao was born and brought up in a small Chinese village, and did not leave the village until he went to Xiamen University to study English. He thereafter went to the UK and completed his Master’s and doctoral degrees at Essex.

Professor Gao has worked at various universities in China, the UK and Australia, and has been visiting fellow at Oxford, Harvard, and other universities. At present he is the Director of the Confucius Institute at Adelaide.

‘Moba Gao gives a striking blow to the revisionists with the cutting edge of a sword illustrating the 360 degree contrast between CPC before 1978 and after.He gives most accurate figures which testify the gigantic strides of CPC in the Cultural Revolution and degeneration of CPC in the last few decades.Moba also summarises how Mao never initiated struggle for personal power.

Quoting Mobo Gao ‘’Those who want to preserve the hegemonic status of capitalist values have tried very hard to erase the facts of socialist achievements from history. For those who want to fight against this hegemony we need to bring out the facts before the world. We have to remind the world that it was during the Mao era that the average Chinese life expectancy rose from 38 years in 1949 to 68 years by the 1970s. During the same period, the literacy rate increased dramatically and rural health improved dramatically, so much so that it prepared for millions and millions of skilled and healthy workers in the post-Mao period economic expansion.  The “barefoot doctor” health care system invented in the Mao era was acclaimed by the United Nations as an incredible success story. The system was successful in China for three important reasons:  Firstly, it was primarily directed at the poor people in rural China; secondly, it focused on prevention; and thirdly, it combined Western and Chinese medicine (Chen 2004). These three strategies are significant for developing countries, even today.’’

‘’Despite all the claims to the contrary, socialist China’s GNP grew at an average annual rate of 6.2 per cent between 1952 and 1978. Indeed, as Lin (2006) points out, the industrial sector outperformed most other developing economies. Although rural development was not as fast as was desired owing to the industrialization strategy that aimed at speedy accumulation of capital from the rural sector, the quality of life by the 1970s in rural China was  improved and was on the edge of being transformed throughout county towns and villages. Though decades behind the economically developed world, China was already “on a par with middle-income countries” in human and social development (Bramall 1993, 335). Measured by social indicators such as life expectancy, infant mortality and educational attainment, China, especially urban China, in the Mao era had already forged way ahead of most market economies at similar income levels and surpassed a number of countries with per capita incomes many times greater.  By the late 1970s, China stood up as a nuclear power, able to defy the bullying of capitalist superpowers, a country that had satellite technology and became the sixth largest industrial power in the world – whereas in 1949, when the PRC was established, China’s industrial capacity was that of tiny Belgium (Meisner 1999).’’

‘The Cultural Revolution has been routinely touted as Mao’s personal power struggle against his designated successor Liu Shaoqi, even though all the documentary evidence suggests otherwise. Mao’s authority in the CCP and PRC was supreme, so much so that it could never be challenged by anyone. Mao knew it and everyone else knew it.  Mao could have gotten rid of Liu easily without mobilizing a mass movement like the Cultural Revolution that was supposed to have lasted ten years, from 1966 to 1976. In fact, as early as August 1966, when the Cultural Revolution had just started, during the Eleventh Plenum of the Eighth Party Congress held in Beijing, Liu was already demoted from number two position in the party to number eight. All Mao had to do to achieve this was to have written a few lines on a piece of scrap paper called the “big poster”. Many years later Liu’s widow, the very intelligent Wang Guangmei, who also suffered personally during the Cultural Revolution, admitted that Mao and Liu had policy differences, and that initially Mao did not intend to remove Liu politically. (Liu’s political and even personal fate went downhill only after Mao was presented with “solid evidence” that Liu was once a traitor during his days when he was an underground communist activist.)’’

Writer Joseph Ball must be complimented for striking the enemy at it’s hardest point by at the very root exposing the lies of Intellectuals like Frank Dikotter .His brilliant and most dialectical  analysis portrays how China in the Great Leap Forward stitched the very fabric of revolutionary democracy ,surpassing production figures of any third world country.


‘In ‘the Great Famine Frank Dikötter alleges that the Great Leap Forward starved the Chinese masses. This was a complete distortion of history with the book literally twisting facts.Josepb Ball most effectively countered the lies of Dikottter,hitting back at the very root.Quoting writer Joseph Ball on the Great Leap Forward “To read many modern commentators on Mao’s China 4, you would get the impression that Mao’s agricultural and industrial policies led to absolute economic disaster. Even more restrained commentators, such as the economist Peter Nolan 5 claim that living standards did not rise in China, during the post-revolutionary period, until Deng Xiaoping took power. Of course, increases in living standards are not the sole reason for increases in life expectancy. However, it is absurd to claim that life expectancy could have increased so much during the Mao era with no increase in living standards.’

‘For example, it is claimed by many who have studied figures released by Deng Xiaoping after Mao’s death that per capita grain production did not increase at all during the Mao period. But how is it possible to reconcile such statistics with the figures on life expectancy that the same authors quote? Besides which these figures are contradicted by other figures. Guo Shutian, a Former Director of Policy and Law in the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, in the post-Mao era, gives a very different view of China’s overall agricultural performance during the period before Deng’s “reforms.” It is true that he writes that agricultural production decreased in five years between 1949-1978 due to “natural calamities and mistakes in the work.” However he states that during 1949-1978 the per hectare yield of land sown with food crops increased by 145.9% and total food production rose 169.6%. During this period China’s population grew by 77.7%. On these figures, China’s per capita food production grew from 204 kilograms to 328 kilograms in the period in question.’

‘Even according to figures released by the Deng Xiaoping regime, industrial production increased by 11.2% per year from 1952-1976 (by 10% a year during the alleged catastrophe of the Cultural Revolution). In 1952 industry was 36% of gross value of national output in China. By 1975 industry was 72% and agriculture was 28%. It is quite obvious that Mao’s supposedly disastrous socialist economic policies paved the way for the rapid (but inegalitarian and unbalanced) economic development of the post-Mao era.’

‘There is a good argument to suggest that the policies of the Great Leap Forward actually did much to sustain China’s overall economic growth, after an initial period of disruption. At the end of the 1950s, it was clear that China was going to have to develop using its own resources and without being able to use a large amount of machinery and technological know-how imported from the Soviet Union.’

‘Although problems and reversals occurred in the Great Leap Forward, it is fair to say that it had a very important role in the ongoing development of agriculture. Measures such as water conservancy and irrigation allowed for sustained increases in agricultural production, once the period of bad harvests was over. They also helped the countryside to deal with the problem of drought. Flood defenses were also developed. Terracing helped gradually increase the amount of cultivated area.’


The most politically insightful or illustrative work was by William Hinton who could perceive the intensity of the mass revolutionary movement at the very core and portrayed how seeds were planted to germinate genuine working class power. No writer projected such a sound or analytical political perspective. Being a visitor three times Hinton penetrated the very heart of China and upheld CPC politically before 1978 than any foreign writer.

Quoting William Hinton in ‘Fanshen’, ‘The heart of the Cultural Revolution has indeed been a struggle for power, a struggle over the control of state power….But it has not been a struggle over power for power’s sake….It has been a class struggle to determine whether individuals representing the working class or individuals representing the bourgeoisie will hold state power. It has been a struggle to determine whether China will continue to take the socialist road and carry the socialist revolution through to the end, or whether China will abandon the socialist road for the capitalist road.

Socialism must be regarded as a transition from capitalism to communism (or in the case of China from new democracy to communism). As such it bears within it many contradictions, many inequalities that cannot be done away with overnight or even in the course of several years or several decades. These inequalities are inherited from the old society, such things as pay differentials between skilled and unskilled work and between mental and manual work, such things as the differences between the economic, educational, and cultural opportunities available in the city and in the countryside, as long as these inequalities exist they generate privilege, individualism, careerism and bourgeois ideology….They can and do create new bourgeois individuals who gather as a new privileged elite and ultimately as a new exploiting class. Thus socialism can be peacefully transformed back into capitalism. (

In Turning Point, Hinton placed the Cultural Revolution within an international context. China faced a serious threat from U.S. imperialism in the Pacific and Southeast Asia (the Vietnam War was still raging in 1971). In Siberia, the Soviet Union posed a growing and possibly imminent threat to China’s nuclear program and plants.

The primary foreign policy issues in the Cultural Revolution were: how to deal with military threats from the Soviet Union and the United States; how to develop modern defensive armaments; and how to continue supporting national liberation struggles. China was the largest source of military aid for the peoples of Indochina. A key question was what kind of “opening” or political alliance socialist China should develop with the West to deal with the Soviet Union’s growing military threat to China, especially its nuclear program. Deng saw this opening in strategic terms and was able to use it to rip China off the socialist road and integrate China into the U.S. imperialist-dominated global economy. While these questions “helped to define the dividing line between the contending forces in China,” Hinton emphasized that the Cultural Revolution developed as a result of internal contradictions arising out of socialist construction in China.


In my view Charles Bettelheim created outstanding research which most vividly portrayed the essence of the goals’ and practice of the Cultural Revolution. Of great relevance was his describing the General knit wear factory, Transforming the Social division of Labour, and revolutionising the means of production. Most methodically he summarises how revolutionary democracy was virtually elevated to a new height .No writer at factory level portrayed how democracy in functioning was virtually elevated to a new dimension and the magnitude with which workers democracy was established. His writing portrayed the clear demarcation of CPC from the Stalinist path or that of the USSR. At the economic level no writer was more penetrative on analysing the dynamism of the Cultural Revolution.

In the preface  of Charles Bettleheim in his book ‘ Cultural Revolution and Industrial Oganisation in China “The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution thus represents an ideological and political struggle the effects of which bear both on the economic base and on the superstructure, destroying the old social relationships and giving rise to new ones. The very fluctuations of the struggle which unfolded during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution evidence the degree to which its outcome depended both on the mass movement and on its correct orientation by a revolutionary leadership.

“At each stage of the Cultural Revolution, the adherents of Mao Tse-tung’s revolutionary line had to accomplish an enormous labour of discussion. At the outset, for instance, it took several months for the workers to rebel against the prevailing methods of management and the division of labour and against the diehard supporters of the existing relations in the factories. It was only gradually, through the give and take of prolonged discussion, that they began to realize that the old relations were obstructing progress along the road to socialism. When I visited China in 1967 the members of various revolutionary factory committees told me that during its initial stages they believed the Cultural Revolution to be concerned only with literature and the arts, and that they had distrusted the critics of the situation in their own factories. Eventually they came to understand that the prevailing conditions in the factories had to be changed before further advances along the road to socialism could be made. “

“Later, when confronted with the task of elaborating new relations, the workers were often at odds about how to interpret the slogans of the revolutionary line. Months and even years of discussion and struggle were required to achieve the unity indispensable to the success of the Cultural Revolution.[3] Through discussions and struggles involving millions of workers and vast sections of the population, a new road was opened up in the struggle for socialism. There is no precedent for such an attempt to transform social relations. It constitutes a decisive and permanent achievement, as decisive and permanent as any scientific or social experiment which discovers new processes or new objective laws. “

“In brief, this book argues that the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution represents a turning point of the greatest political importance; it “discovered” (in the sense in which Marx used the expression in connection with the Paris Commune) an essential form of the class struggle for the construction of socialism. It will be recalled that Marx stressed the significance of the Paris Commune in these words: “The struggle of the working class . . . has entered upon a new phase with the struggle in Paris. Whatever the immediate results may be, a new point of departure of world historic importance has been gained.”

‘’The General Knitwear Factory affords a concrete instance of general transformation. Its history during the Cultural Revolution provides us with the basic features of these changes. In the production units, the Cultural Revolution pursued the objectives of correcting the role and work of the cadres, strengthening the relations between cadres and workers, changing the style of management, and promoting a socialist outlook in everyday life — a proletarian morality based on a proletarian world outlook (in family life, production, etc.). Central to this vision is the will to subordinate individual and particular interests to the overall interests of the revolution. ‘’

‘’Substantial progress was made toward the realization of these objectives when the masses began to appropriate revolutionary ideas. This involves a study of the basic writings of Marx, Lenin, and Mao Tse-tung while relating this study to practice. It also requires collective discussion and study, both inside and outside the factory (in the family, for instance). These collective discussions take many forms. Their primary focus is the effort to understand Marxism and to struggle against revisionism and its ideological consequences’’

“One aspect of this activity was the mass movement of criticism directed against the errors of the factory cadres. Its aim was not to eliminate these cadres, except when they had made serious errors, but to help them learn from their mistakes and assimilate revolutionary ideas and the revolutionary line. Wherever the old cadres were reinstated, this was done by the masses. Many of them, after having been criticized, would have preferred not to resume their functions — largely because, under the influence of the “ultra-leftist” line, criticism was extended to cadres who had committed only slight errors, and sometimes assumed brutal forms (including physical assault). Such methods, instead of helping the cadres correct their practice in keeping with the directives of the party Central Committee, tended to demoralize them and induce them to limit themselves to work involving little political responsibility). It was emphasized that this criticism was meant not to punish, but to educate as many people as possible.     This movement of criticism brought about profound changes both in ideas and in the everyday relationships between workers and cadres, and was made possible by the unifying role of the Chinese Communist Party. Party intervention was of a general character; it influenced the workers even in cases when — as happened in this factory — the local party organizations were temporarily shaken up.”

“”The Cultural Revolution sets in motion the inexhaustible participation of the masses, which accelerates and puts into concrete form the appearance of proletarian democracy of which the Chinese speak. How else are we to define the politicization of the masses, which I saw during the trip? The moment the masses no longer fear coercion from the state apparatus, proletarian democracy begins to establish itself. It is here on the level of consensus, that the mass line conceived by Mao more than 40 years ago undergoes it’s broadest development This unprecedented reliance on the masses might merely conceal a pedagogical and academic character were it not based on social practice, did not explode within the heart of the ideological apparatus.”; “The constant reliance on the masses, seems to be the most valid contribution of the Chinese Revolution. MaoTse Tung’s dictatorship of the proletariat in actual fact is the ‘broadest democracy for the masses of the people. The Chinese Revolution reminds us that the dictatorship of the proletariat is nothing other than proletarian democracy, democracy for the broadest masses of the people.”


Raymond Lotta of the Revolutionary Communist Party,USA with vivid clarity narrated in a series of articles how revolutionary democracy flourished at the base with a series of path breaking experiments. In his 6 part serial on the Cultural Revolution he most dialectically projects how mass revolutionary power reached unparalleled heights.

Quoting Raymond Lotta  “The Cultural Revolution saw great debate and questioning. There were political demonstrations, protest rallies, marches, and mass political meetings. Small newspapers were published. In Beijing alone, there were over 900 newspapers. Countless mimeographed broadsheets were handed out. Materials and facilities for these activities were made available free, including paper, ink, brushes, posters, printing presses, halls for meetings, and public address and sound systems.’’

‘The Red Guards helped spread the movement to the proletariat. And as the Cultural Revolution took hold among the workers, it took a new turn. In 1967-68, 40 million workers engaged in intense and complicated mass struggles and upheavals to seize power from entrenched municipal party and city administrations that were hotbeds of conservatism. Through experimentation, debate, and summation, and with Maoist leadership, the masses forged new organs of proletarian political power.”

In its scope and intensity, the Cultural Revolution has no parallel in human history. The routine of daily life was blown wide open. People from every social milieu engaged in broad debate.”

‘’Peasants were discussing the ways ancient and reactionary Confucian values still influenced their lives. Workers in factories in Shanghai were experimenting with new forms of participatory management.’’

‘’Nothing and nobody was above criticism. Political, administrative and educational authorities who had become divorced from the people were called to account. No longer could officials be tucked away in offices just barking out instructions. They had to go down and be part of the situation of the workers and peasants.’’

Edgar Snow was the most illustrative writer ever on Red China who shimmered the democratic spirit of CPC more than any person outside China in his lifetime. No writer with such a magnitude of intensity narrated the day to day lives of the CCP and Red Army or gave such a vivid character portrayal. Displaying no bias he described why the CCP was the epitome of People’s Liberation and the almost miraculous transformation it made to the lives of the Chinese people, breaking the shackles of slavery.

Quoting Journalist Edgar Snow” Most Red Army soldiers were peasants and workers who joined to “help the poor and save China”. Officers and soldiers were equal, and the casualty rate was high among commanders as they fought side by side with soldiers. The ruddy-faced young soldiers were, as Snow observed, “cheerful, gay, and energetic”. In the Soviet Area, schools were opened to provide free education to poor kids. Theatres were free of charge with no exclusive seating or luxury boxes, with officials usually sitting among the audiences. Children called the Red Army “our army”. Peasants referred to the government of the Soviet Area as “our government”. There were no opium, corruption, slavery or begging. The freedom of marriage was respected and protected. In every Muslim neighbourhood they stayed, the Red Army helped guard and clean the mosques. People were impressed by “their careful policy of respecting Islamic institutions”, even the most suspicious ones among peasants and imams, according to Snow.”

After over 100 days in Shaanbei, Snow found the answer he had been looking for. He was fascinated by this unique charm of the East, something he believed representing the light of rejuvenation for the ancient nation of China. For him, the Communists were the most outstanding men and women he had met in China in the past decade with the “military discipline, political morale, and the will to victory”, and “for sheer dogged endurance, and ability to stand hardship without complaint”, they were “unbeatable”. He recalled his four-month time with the Red Army as a most inspiring experience, during which he had met with the most free and happy Chinese he’d ever known. In these people who devoted themselves to what they believed was the right and just cause, Snow felt a vibrant hope, passion and the unbeatable strength of mankind, something he had never felt again ever since.

When asked by Snow, “What do you think of the Red Army”, a bare-footed farmer boy said, “The Red Army is the army for poor people, and they fight for our rights”. And when asked “How do you know they liked the Reds”, the soldiers answered, “They made us a thousand, ten thousands, of shoes, with their own hands. Every home sent sons to our Red Army.” “We, the Red Army, are the people.”


Pao Yu Ching  ‘s  book  ‘Rethinking Socialism” with most outstanding  and dialectical analysis and lucidity of words has made the distinction between the Socialist path of Mao and the capitalist road of Deng Xiapoing .In recent times no writer made a more classical analysis of the mass line and how CCP practiced it before 1978.She has reviewed Chinese Communist history ,penetrating it at its very core  whether the 1949 revolution, the Socialists transition period, the revolutionary war period before 1949 ,the Great Leap forward or the Cultural Revolution .She brilliantly portrays the vey continuity and symmetry of all the periods .Above all she elaborates how Mao never fought for personal power but was  a crusader of tow line struggle and mass line.

Quoting book Rethinking Socialism “We think that mass movements sponsored by the party in power is unusual, because authority usually fears not only that such movements might end up in chaos but also that mass action might target the authorities themselves. Furthermore, we believe that mass movements in the past were the only counter-vailing forces that challenged the concentration of power in the State (and the Party) apparatus as well as the structural rigidity of Chinas bureaucratic system. During mass movements, cadres were subjected to the criticism of the masses and were forced to reform their bureaucratic style of management. To a large extent, the abuse of power was contained. However, before the Cultural Revolution, all mass movements were sponsored and organized by the CCP. It was only during the Cultural Revolution that young students and the masses began to organize themselves. Instead of having the CCP give direction to the movement, many initiatives came from below at the grassroots level. It was during the Cultural Revolution that “seizing power” was first mentioned. Slogans such as “making revolution is not a crime, open revolt has a reason” were widely publicized. This change in focus was very important because it was an open admission, for the first time, that the masses had the right to challenge those in power. It was true that this revolutionary ferment created a certain amount of chaos and some people were wrongly punished. However, it was most important that the masses learned from this experience that they could challenge not only some corrupt officials in government as in the past but also the decisions made by the Central Commit-tee of the CCP. The divine image of the CCP, which could do no wrong, was thus smashed. During the Cultural Revolution, attempts were made to search for an alternative to the existing power structure. One example was setting up Revolutionary Committees to manage factories and other administrative functions.. For reasons yet to be analyzed, these attempts failed. When we assess the Cultural Revolution from the viewpoint of the proletariat, what the Cultural Revolution accomplished outweighed what it failed to accomplish. As Mao said, “It will take many more cultural revolutions to finish the task. Therefore, revolution continues.’’


What does this small spot on the grand map of China have to teach others, especially in agriculture, and already for thirteen years? Dazhai is a microcosm of the forces at play in China. The struggles of the peasants of Dazhai in coping with the human and natural contradictions in their situation has lead them through their own efforts to achieve solutions to the problems of social organization and production that now put them in the forefront in China. Dazhai is also a window on the future as to where China is going and how she will get there. The lessons of Dazhai are the lessons of struggle, conflict, leadership, commitment, dedication, hard work, and that change in rural China is taking place from below at the team, brigade and commune level and not being imposed from above and outside. The manifesto of the 1975 conference on learning from Dazhai called for the peasants and cadres of China to confront the contradictions in their own social situation and production, to remake themselves and the face of nature as Dazhai has done by making Dazhai-type counties throughout China.



Chairman Joma Sison who is head of the National Democratic Front of Phillipines is one of the outstanding Marxist scholars in the world today. His most penetrative grasp of Marxism Leninism enabled him to perceive how capitalism penetrated the very heart of Chin after 1978.

Quoting chairman Joma Sison “Indeed, the Dengist counterrevolution resulted in the restoration of capitalism in China and its integration in the world capitalist system. By Lenin’s economic definition of modern imperialism, China may qualify as imperialist. Bureaucrat and private monopoly capital has become dominant in Chinese society. Bank capital and industrial capital are merged. China is exporting surplus capital to other countries. Its capitalist enterprises combine with other foreign capitalist enterprises to exploit Chinese labor, third world countries and the global market.”

“China colludes and competes with other imperialist countries in expanding economic territory, such as sources of cheap labour and raw materials, fields of investments, markets, strategic vantage points and spheres of influence. However, China has not yet engaged in a war of aggression to acquire a colony, a semicolony, protectorate or dependent country. It is not yet very violent in the struggle for a redivision of the world among the big capitalist powers, like the US, Japan, Germany and Italy behaved in joining the ranks of imperialist powers.

It is with respect to China’s contention with more aggressive and plunderous imperialist powers that may be somehow helpful to revolutionary movements in an objective and indirect way. China is playing an outstanding role in the economic bloc BRICS and in the security organization Shanghai Cooperation Organization beyond US control.”


The Great Reversal by William Hinton is the first critical study of the widely heralded reforms currently transforming China’s economy. From his long experience in Chinese agriculture, Hinton first examines the course of agricultural reform over the past decade, then looks at its consequences in different areas of the countryside and considers its implications for the country as a whole. He raises troubling questions about China’s capitalist future—the growing landlessness, increasing inequality, and above all, the destruction of the nation’s natural resources and the collectively built infrastructure that was the great achievement of the revolution. In so doing he sheds new light on the sources of discontent behind the demonstrations that culminated in the Tiananmen massacre of June 1989. In The Great Reversal and his speeches in the 1990s, Hinton marshals facts to demonstrate why Chinese agricultural production is already stagnating and in some areas is in acute crisis as a result of the capitalist “reforms.” He points to high levels of unemployment, migration, social ills, and open political unrest. He points to growing social polarization and a greater vulnerability of the Chinese economy to crises in the world capitalist economy. His conclusion: The future does not look bright for Deng’s successors.

Throughout the 1980s, it appears that Hinton believed that the political direction of the new regime could still be reversed within the party by honest cadre. By 1989, in the wake of the Tienanmen Massacre of several thousand students and workers by units of the erstwhile People’s Liberation Army from Sichuan (Deng’s home province), Hinton had reached a new view.

My estimate is that there are large numbers of dedicated communists in the Chinese Communist Party and also in the army. I foresee the possibility of change brought about by the mobilization of such people—perhaps through an army coup led by radical officers who can rally all the revolutionary elements in the army, in the party, and in society. (191)

Putting aside the wisdom of a “change” strategy based on the party and army, Hinton no longer believed that the new regime could be reformed by means of non-antagonistic struggle within the Communist Party. Hinton would be very pleased to hear of the case of the Zengzhou Four, veteran workers from Henan who passed out flyers titled “Mao Zedong Forever Our Leader” on December 26, 2004, Mao’s birthday. The flyers denounced the party leadership and called for a return to the socialist road. Tens of thousands of people from all over China attended their trial, and news of their courageous actions spread over the internet


Quoting Dongpin Han ‘The market reform Deng Xiaoping introduced in China restored capitalism in China. A great number of billionaires have been created in a very short time. According to some statistics, China has more billionaires than any other country except the United States. As a result, China’s Gini index (a measure of inequality, in which ‘0’ is perfect equality, and ‘1’ is perfect inequality, with all wealth concentrated in the hands of one person) reached 0.7, and  thus China became one of the most unequal societies in the world. But during the socialist era, China was one of the most equal societies in the world; its Gini index was only 0.29 then.’

‘With the restoration of capitalism, all the social vices returned with a vengeance. Prostitution, drug trafficking, drug addiction, trafficking of women and children, petty crime, organized crime, official corruption, and everything related with profiteering, have become rampant in China. The Government became powerless to fight these social vices. Corruption among officials is so rampant that it would be hard to find an official who is not corrupt any more. I have encountered Government officials who openly say that by Chairman Mao’s standards they should be killed several times over. Some Chinese peasants told me that if they killed every official, there might be one or two in one hundred who would be wronged. But if they shoot every other official, then too many corrupt ones would have escaped punishment. In a social climate like this, all the Government’s efforts at ‘fighting corruption’ are useless. It seems that the more the Government ‘fights corruption’, the more corrupt the system becomes. And the people are no longer convinced about the effectiveness of the Government’s anti-corruption measures. Purges have instead become a method for the Government to remove people who pose a threat to it.’’

‘The Chinese government has been boasting about China’s development model. Its model has been very simple. It has been plundering the accomplishments of the Mao-led Chinese revolution to get capital for its capitalist development. It sold the land, the houses, the factories, and hospitals confiscated by the revolution and very many more built during the Mao period. According to some statistics, over 80 per cent of local government revenue came from selling land to developers. A model like this has no applicable value elsewhere. They are able to do this because of Mao’s revolution, even though they are constantly trying to devalue the significance of Mao and his revolution.’’

‘The reason Mao’s new democratic revolution and socialist revolution succeeded was that they were aimed at benefiting the overwhelming majority of Chinese people. Therefore, the revolution got the support from the overwhelming majority of the Chinese people.’

‘Deng Xiaoping’s reform was bound to fail because, from very beginning, his policy was aimed at allowing a small minority of people to get rich first. When this small minority happened to be his own children, other high officials’ children, and officials themselves, people became resentful. But the Government refuses to respond to people’s resentment, and continues to insist that the reform was good and sound. Of course, the reform was good and sound for them, because they and their families profited from it. But the ordinary people, who are the overwhelming majority, have lost in the bargain, and they will continue to resent their losses. Their resentment will accumulate and some day the resentment will explode, which is one of the reasons that the rich and powerful are leaving China.’’

‘’Any reform that only benefits the minority will not succeed, and will only lead to self destruction in the end, even if it appears to be going well in the beginning.’’

‘’What is the way ahead for China? A return to socialism is the only way out.’’

Harsh Thakor is a freelance journalist.Toured India,particularly Punjab .Written on Mass movements ,,Massline,Maoism on blogs like Democracy and Class Struggle and frontierweekly .An avid cricket lover too who has posted writings on blogs like Pakpassion Indian Cricket Fans and Sulekha.com


  Read Communist Party of China turns 100

Go to the top of the page