The TV is full of the sycophantic outpourings of right-wing commentators and politicians about the sudden death of Margaret Thatcher. The Establishment has rallied to praise her. The Queen has sent a personal message of condolence to the Thatcher family. The news is full of tributes, portraying Thatcher as some kind of champion of freedom and liberty. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. She was a champion – a champion of capitalism, the ruling class, and all it represents.
The situation in both Pakistan and Nigeria are quite similar. They are both underdeveloped neo-colonial capitalist countries in crisis. This article is from a Pakistani Marxist, Lai Khan,and the experience which he document is quite similar to that in Nigeria. In Nigeria, there has been a qualitative raise in bloody sectarian violence.
The arson and burning down of 178 houses in the night of 8th and 9th March in Joseph Colony, a Christian neighbourhood near Badami Bagh, in the heart of Lahore is yet another fanatical incident that reflects the malaise afflicting the Pakistani society. A vigilante mob carried out this act of savagery on the pretext of allegedly blasphemous remarks made by a Christian youth in a drunken fracas with a Muslim friend.
The Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, once said that it was not rational to start a bank run but rational to participate in one once it started. These words of wisdom have once again become reality.
It is a week now since the death of Hugo Chávez and there are still kilometer long queues of people coming from all over the country to pay their last respects. Presidential elections have been called for April 14 and the mood is turning angry at the provocations of the oligarchy.
It is very difficult to convey even a fraction of the outpouring of grief and emotion which Venezuela has witnessed in the last week. According to some accounts, as many as two million people came out to accompany the coffin, as it was being transported from the Military Hospital to the Próceres where it was to be displayed. The route is around 8 km long and it took the funeral procession over 7 hours to cover it.
Hugo Chavez is dead, he is no more! The cruel hand of death has finally snatched him away from us. He battled for two years to see if he could complete what he had started, but the dark laws that govern the workings of human systems have destroyed his life. Medicine and series of operations have proved powerless to accomplish what was passionately hoped for, what millions of human hearts demanded.
With the last few comrades registering on Sunday morning (March 10th) the total number taking part in the congress went over 2800. The main discussions of the day were on the coming election campaign, an organisational discussion and a report on the work of the IMT internationally.
Hugo Chávez is no more. The cause of freedom, socialism and humanity has lost a courageous champion. He died on Tuesday, March 5, at 4.25 pm local time. The news was announced by Vice President Maduro. The President was just 58, and had been 14 years in power. He has been battling cancer for the last two years, but when news of his death was announced, it came as a shock.
In a period of crisis and decline of capitalism, to many people religion is the one certainty to cling on to. But if the Pope himself is no longer convinced he can keep his position until his death, this illusion of solidity begins to break down. The effect of the surprise announcement of his retirement by Pope Benedict XVI on the consciousness of over a billion Roman Catholics is going to be that of a spiritual earthquake, and it is surely going to have political consequences too.
The last time a Pope abdicated his position before Benedict XVI was in 1415, when Gregory XII retired with the purpose of recomposing the Western Schism, a forty-year long split between the Church of Rome and the Church of Avignon. The papal spokesman himself has ruled out serious health issues behind the 2013 abdication. It seems that this pontiff’s resignation is also based on a profound split within the Catholic Church and particularly within the Roman Curia, i.e. the government of the Church and the administrative apparatus of its miniature theocracy.
A crisis of the system is what emerges from the Italian elections of February 24/25. The Wall Street Journal reveals the concerns of the international bourgeoisie when it says that, "So far as the market is concerned, the Italian elections have produced the worst possible outcome." Rather alarmed is also the Financial Times which published an editorial statement on February 26 with the title, "Italy takes a step into the unknown."
In recent years, the long drawn out struggle of the FIAT workers in Pomigliano, Italy, has gained an international echo. The attacks on trade union activists and the banning of the only militant trade union with large support amongst the workers, the FIOM-CGIL, by FIAT management reveal the ruthlessness of the bosses in removing the most elementary trade union rights of the workers. We publish here an appeal for solidarity launched by the International Marxist Tendency, IMT ,International Executive Committee two weeks ago, with a first list of signatures from many countries. Workers' Alternative is part of the IMT. This resolution has been translated and published in the factory paper RadioFabbrica produced by workers and shop stewards in the metal industry and all FIAT plants all over Italy, for distribution at the factories gates. We call on our readers and supporters to add their signatures to the appeal.
The answer to this question once seemed like a no-brainer. During the years of the postwar boom, college was sold as a kind of normal stage of life for young Americans, and attaining a degree from a public university was a sure way toward a higher salary. It was often quite affordable as well, thanks to things like Pell Grants and a greater amount of public funding. Those days seem far away now.
This was the pointed question posed in a recent article on the website of Forbes, the proud and unapologetic mouthpiece of capitalism. In the words of the article’s author, Igor Greenwald: “Capitalism has been the dominant economic system in the Western world for, give or take, 400 years. And in that virtual eye blink in the grander scheme of things it has produced more wealth than all the prior economic systems put together ... But nothing—not even the bestest thing ever—lasts forever. Stuff happens. Things change. Systems work until they don’t. How close is capitalism to the end of its useful life? What comes next?”
The first victims of the on going privatization of electricity in Nigeria are the ordinary consuming masses who have found their electricity bills go up multiple folds. Today, scores are incurring huge electricity bills as PHCN tariffs have continued to go up and leaving huge dent in the pockets of toiling masses.
Increment in tariffs and outright deregulation are part of the consequences of move towards the privatization of PHCN. The argument of the government is that price increment and total deregulation of electricity tariff would attract the “foreign investors”.
Sometimes decades pass and not much happens. At other times more events take place in days than those that occurred in decades. After the collapse of the Soviet Union twenty years ago we were relentlessly told the great political and economic questions had all been settled and that liberal democracy and free-market capitalism had triumphed. Socialism had been consigned to the dustbin of history. The strategists of capital were exultant. The “end of history” was proclaimed by Francis Fukuyama.
No doubt, Fashola government in Lagos state means different things to different people. To the elite, who wish to drive his car without hindrance through a well-flowered road, a road that is devoid of poor children hawking the streets, with beggars completely packed off the visible arena of passage; to him, Fashola is a hero. It is a different case to a poor woman who had lived all her life selling in one corner of the road, a condition forced down her throat by immense poverty, with her children hawking all over Lagos at the risk of being arrested by the police or even be crushed by moving vehicles. These children suppose to be in school, but public education has completely collapsed and becoming increasingly expensive. When she is ill she has to go to native doctor because public health is dead; a small apartment she stays will either soon be pulled down or is already demolished in the interest of Mega city project; to her, Lagos has never been so hellish as it is now. Of the estimated 18 million Lagosians, 11.55 million (64.2%) are living below poverty level; the question is, under genuine democracy who really own Lagos?
To say that the situation in Nigeria is getting more rotten by the day is an understatement. The country has become notorious as far as the world’s negatives are concerned. Many are barely managing to survive on a dollar a day, unemployment is massive, wages are very low, scores are rendered homeless daily, flood is ravaging everywhere, artificial fuel scarcity and arbitrary price increments are the order of the day. Healthcare has collapsed the same as power supply, which remains highly unstable.
The government seems to have ‘Midas touch’: anything they touch turns to shit! Daily, the airwaves are dominated by reports of insane IMF/World Bank inspired government policies, which only results in more pains for the masses.
The suffering of the people of Pakistan is largely unknown in the West. A veil of silence has been carefully drawn over the number of people killed every day by American drones and Taliban murders. But recently a small corner of the curtain was raised as the result of a particularly appalling event.
Yesterday Malala Yousafzai was brutally shot by gunmen as she was returning home from school. Masked assassins stepped onto a bus filled with terrified children, identified her, and shot her at point blank range in the head and neck.
Who are these men who wage war on defenceless schoolgirls? We know who they are because they have already admitted their guilt. The cowardly murderers who perpetrated this vile deed feel no need to hide away from public opinion. They feel no shame, for they are utterly shameless. The Pakistan Taliban has claimed responsibility for this act of bloodthirsty savagery.
A cheap, crude, anti-Islamic film entitled The Innocence of Muslims, produced and promoted by reactionary Christian fundamentalists in the United States and posted on the internet in July, has led to demonstrations in many countries around the world, including attacks on US embassies and in the case of Libya to the killing of four US diplomats at the US Consulate in Benghazi. We look into why all this is happening.
According to reports, the film originally had the title Desert Warriors and was not about Muhammad at all. Actors who had taken part in the film have claimed they were unaware of the fact that the film was about Muhammad, and that the storyline which transformed the film into the format in which it eventually appeared on the internet was the result of dubbing. The scripting was deliberately designed to be insulting to Muslims.
On Monday, September 3, most of the miners arrested during the Marikana massacre were released after an outcry of protest forced the state prosecutor to withdraw charges of murder against them. The strike at Lonmin continues as well as strikes and protests at other mines. The incident has clearly revealed the real content of the struggle between left and right in the run up to the ANC Manguang Conference.
It is revealing that the 270 miners and others arrested during the Marikana massacre were charged with murder of their 34 comrades who had been killed by the police. It says a lot about how little has really changed despite the 1994 transition from apartheid to formal capitalist democracy. The “common purpose” doctrine which was used to charge them was widely used by the apartheid regime to send MK and ANC fighters to the gaols, without having to go into the trouble to actually find any proof of their guilt. The doctrine states that people involved in a common activity are equally responsible for any damage that results from it, even if they have not physically committed it.
The idea that an independent Scotland on a capitalist basis would solve the problems of the Scottish people is false to the core. On the contrary, it would result in falling living standards as wages were driven down to boost competitiveness.
Scottish National Party
Despite the SNP’s traditional claim of “rich Scots versus Poor Brits” and an economic future based on “Scotland’s oil”, North Sea oil is due to fall from 0.7% of UK national income in 2011-12 to only 0.2% by 2022-23. The banking sector, which plays a big role in the economy, is in difficulties and propped up by the British state.
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