Terrorism, Globalization and Conspiracy – Michael Parenti

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Michael Parenti speaking in 2002 but he might as well be speaking now…. and he is well worth hearing now!  An hour of your life to understand the links between Capitalism, Poverty, the Trade Deals, Globalisation, Debt, the fall of the Soviet Union, the invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan and finally, Terrorism.

 

Terrorism, Globalization and Conspiracy – Michael Parenti

Tony Benn never doubted the Labour movement

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It is a sadness that Tony Benn did not live to see the landslide election of Jeremy Corbyn but he never doubted that it could, and would happen… as he makes clear at the end of this speech in the video clip above.

It is very fitting that Jeremy Corbyn should be elected on the anniversary of Allende’s death in Chile.  Pinochet’s dictatorship has acted as a template for the neoliberal ascendancy in the western world, and let us hope that the overwhelming support for Jeremy’s leadership signals the beginning of a ‘domino’ effect for left parties across Europe, and the world in general.  It is fear of this sort of popular rejection of neoliberalism which underpins the trade deals like TTIP… and explains the urgent attempts of the financial-corporate nexus to lock in de-regulation and privatisation, beyond the reach of democratically elected governments.

Now the task is to take on the Tories and their devastatingly, destructive policies both at home and internationally.

A fairer society means breaking the big business stranglehold on politics

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Labour’s challenge to fight inequalities and rebuild democracy rests on addressing Britain’s ‘finance curse’

If the next Labour leader wants a fairer society, they must break the big business stranglehold on politics.

by Nick Dearden Re-posted from openDemocracy 10.09.15

In just a few weeks, the Labour leadership contest has substantially shifted the political debate in Britain, challenging the policy of austerity, raising inequality as the defining issue of our times, highlighting the erosion of democracy.

Fighting inequality and rebuilding democracy depend on breaking the stranglehold of big business and finance on politics in this country.  And this means reassessing Britain’s role in the world, because the prestige of this country is based upon London as a financial hub and a corporate HQ.

We live in an offshore centre for corporate interests, and this has not only fuelled poverty and inequality around the world, it has done so at home too.  Britain’s prestige has not translated into benefits for ordinary citizens here.  Despite this, political leaders have for decades failed to tackle the vested interests that have captured this country.

If they want to really change Britain, top of the list for the next Labour leader is the dependence of our economy on finance.  We have a ‘finance curse’, in the same way oil-rich nations can develop a ‘resource curse’.  Far from harnessing resources to build a fairer society, finance’s dominance has undercut other sectors of our economy.  Today, governments of every shade jump to the tune of finance, as we experiment in ever greater forms of deregulation, allowing the banks to transform everything we value into a derivative to be gambled on.

Britain has been captured by financial interests, which use this island to avoid taxes globally, to unsustainably inflate debt bubbles, and to speculate on the air we breathe.  There is no path to rebuilding democracy which doesn’t involve an almighty battle to ‘tame the City’ – with robust mechanisms to make companies pay their taxes internationally, levy taxes on speculation, restrict stock market listings, cancel unjust debts and reform the Corporation of London.

But finance is only the most obvious case of corporate capture in Britain.  In fact big business has a stranglehold on our politics.  On the one hand our government is aggressively pushing forward a ‘new generation’ of trade agreements like the EU-US investment deal known as TTIP.  TTIP threatens to water down social and environmental standards across the board, seeing such regulations as little more than ‘trade obstacles’.  TTIP will even give multinational corporations a special ‘right’ to sue our government for passing laws which threaten their profits.

On the other hand the British government is obstructing attempts by Latin American countries to hold multinational companies accountable for abusing real human rights, meaning that people have no access to effective legal redress for harm done to them by British-based corporations.  So far is the British state in the pocket of corporate interests that even our aid budget is used to privatise and deregulate economies in Africa, Asia and Latin America.  Aid money is thrown at free market think tanks to privatise energy supplies; agribusiness conglomerates get a helping hand to control seed markets; education multinationals find new markets in some of the poorest countries on the planet.

The rule of multinational corporations, which places a higher value on profit than human rights, is a key factor driving inequality. Combatting inequality means the next Labour leader needs to be prepared to use the British veto in Europe to halt TTIP and its sister deals, limit the influence of multinational corporations over the UK political process, establish a commission to tackle corporate abuse of workers’ rights and environmental sustainability, and overhaul the aid budget as a form of redistributive taxation which can help countries across the world develop decent public services.

These proposals form part of a manifesto of policies which we launch today, the first step in beginning to rebuild our democracy and properly fight inequality.  It also includes reducing carbon emissions and giving substantial reparations to help developing countries build democratically-controlled energy systems in low carbon economies.  And supporting small scale, organic agriculture, rather than industrial farming.

If we really want a fairer society, there is no alternative to taking on vested interests.  We can’t just decide to exercise a ‘nicer’ form of global power, because our power is built on a base that necessarily erodes democracy.  A powerful financial sector, unfair trade practices, ideologically-driven privatisation, and many other policies, which we inflict on the world, also serve to make our own country more unequal.  So these policies must be changed not just for the millions of people around the world affected, but for the British people too.

True, it may make our country less ‘important’ at the top table, but that is a price well worth paying for a fairer world, and a happier society

This article is cross posted from Global Justice Now and appears here.

This article is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence. If you have any queries about republishing please contact us. Please check individual images for licensing details.

Fight the Trade Deals or lose our NHS and public services for good

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Whatever politicians and corporate lobbyists tell us, our public services and the NHS are absolutely under threat from the EU-US trade deal (TTIP), the EU-Canadian trade deal (CETA) and the even more secret Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA).  We are in danger of losing any control.  These deals bind in future governments, under international law, and are intended to be irreversible.  In other words, they supercede the democratic decisions of national governments, both now and in the future.

Furthermore, they may be called ‘free trade’ but what they mean, is freedom for corporations and banks not for ordinary people.  They say that they are about removing ‘barriers to trade’ but what they mean is removing protective employment and environmental legislation.  They use the word ‘liberalisation’ which may sounds quite friendly but what they mean is that democratically elected governments cannot reverse privatisation of public services.

John Hilary from War on Want (in the 15 minute video clip below) explains the detail of how these trade deals fit together and build upon each other.

It is worth noting that a You Gov poll for CLASS found  ‘a lack of faith in private sector control of public services, with 12 to 1 people against the NHS being run by the private sector.  67% in favour of Royal Mail being run in the public sector, 66% want railway companies to be nationalised, and 68% are in favour of nationalised energy companies.’  

So much for the democrat will of the people, because regardless of public wishes, the EU Commissioners and our government are going ahead anyway.  We can and must stop them.  The only thing that frightens politicians is widespread public opposition – that’s why the trade deal negotiations are shrouded in secrecy and weasel words.  Sign War on Want’s petition before 10th October – 2 million signatures already and still rising.  Join local groups, get informed and support protests such as 38 degrees day of action on 22nd August 2015. The more we can spread the word, the less likely it is that these destructive and undemocratic deals will be implemented.

 

Trade agreements (TTIP, CETA, TiSA) and public service

Published on Aug 1, 2015

John Hilary, Executive Director of War on Want, talks to Carrie Cracknell about the threat from free trade agreements to public services, in the context of TTIP, CETA, TiSA and other treaties.

Addendum

Earlier this year (well before the Labour leadership contest) Jeremy Corbyn wrote:

‘TTIP will allow companies to control governments …. And from what little has penetrated the veil of secrecy surrounding negotiations, it appears increasingly that any potential positives for workers, and on environmental issues and public services are being sidelined in favour of greedy bankers and multinationals which see vast profits to be made.’

David Malone Interview 2014 : Trade Deals and the Death of Democracy

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David Malone Interview 2014 : Trade Deals and the Death of Democracy