Archive | December 11, 2011

24 Hours to Save European Democracy from Bankers!

24 Hours to Save European Democracy from Bankers


From Alex, Emma, Ricken, Jamie, Pascal, Giulia, Stephanie, Laura and the rest of the Avaaz team.

In 24 hours, our leaders may wave through a terrifying Merkel/Sarkozy plan that would abolish our right to choose sane economic policies. But, together, we can stop our leaders trashing our democracy and our jobs.

Panicked by big banks, Europe’s governments want to change our constitutions and the EU treaty to permanently ban vital public spending. This is nuts: in the 1930s such spending was precisely what allowed Europe and the US to escape the Great Depression. Europe needs to toughen up and regulate the banks, not tie our governments’ hands to make them happy.

We live in a democracy — so Europe’s leaders should not be able agree to this plan themselves — they need to come up with solutions that have the approval of the people or our Parliament. We only have 24 hours to save our democracies from this attack — our massive call today can force leaders to respect democracy, regulate the banks, reject austerity, and invest in our future. Our demands will be delivered to the leaders and media outside tomorrow’s meeting. Click below to sign and send to everyone you know before the meeting:

The Merkel/Sarkozy plan bans governments from deficit spending over 3% of GDP. This is common practice of almost all governments and a needed tactic to allow for stimulus spending in hard times. It’s true that a few Eurozone countries have taken this too far and seriously over-spent, and Europe needs to stop that happening again. But the tough economic decisions Europe needs must be taken by strong, democratic, accountable institutions, not rammed down our throats during an economic crisis. Even Germany has repeatedly violated its own promises to limit its debt and deficit. Keeping those promises would have only made things worse in a tight economy.

The big banks who have the power to buy government bonds and bring calm to the markets, have already toppled three European governments — let’s make that the limit. If Germany allows it, the European Central Bank can do what other central banks do — intervene to guarantee government bonds and face down the markets. Since Italy isn’t bankrupt the bank can even make money on this. If the ECB buys time the EU can find a more sensible and democratic way out of the current crisis. Some of the Merkel Sarkozy proposals — for example a tax on financial speculation — start us off in that direction. They should build on that and rewrite the package.

This is about the survival of the European welfare state, which represents our core values and helps stabilise our economies when recessions hit. If the new constitutions and treaties are agreed to this week, some government would face referenda or Parliamentary votes, but others would simply implement the changes. This means many of our governments would have to keep cutting spending on unemployment insurance, pensions and health, worsening the recession. It’s a no brainer. For the sake of our democracies, our societies and our economies, we have to say no now, before it’s too late. Sign the petition:

Reasonable people can disagree about the best way to protect us all from national overspending and crippling debt. But imposing austerity measures that we already know won’t work and tying the hands of our democracy is not the answer. Over and over again, our community has stood up and won real accountability from our leaders when they have tried to bypass us — now we must come together and demand to be heard once again.

More information:

Germany’s Denial, Europe’s Disaster (New York Times)

Merkozy EU Treaty plan faces obstacles (Der Spiegel),1518,802221,00.html

Eurozone warned of credit downgrades after Germany and France strike deal (The Guardian)

Killing the Euro (New York Times)

Is the euro zone’s flaw fatal? (Washington Post)

Related Topics:

Global Day of Action against an Irrational Economic System

The United States of Europe!

How Top Central Banks Can Bankroll European Banks

The Sleazy Money that Bankrolls the International Elite

Canada: Now Bush Reappears on the Scene

Has the German Set-up Failed or has Germany Been Set-up!

U.K. Students Have Won the Battle But Not the War

World Bank is Creating Poverty‏

Occupy Movement Aligns with Unions and the Rank-and-File

Occupy Movement Aligns with Unions and the Rank-and-File


From Bail Out the People Movement

Battle lines have formed as the West Coast Occupy movements, from San Diego to Alaska, flex their collective muscle against the federally coordinated, brutal attacks targeting the Occupy movements across the country. They are organizing for blockades of West Coast ports on Dec. 12 in San Diego; Los Angeles/Long Beach; Port Hueneme, CA (central coast); Oakland; Portland, OR; Seattle; Tacoma, WA; and possibly more. Solidarity actions have been called by OWS in New York and by Occupy movements at inland locations, as well.

The Occupy movement is aligning itself with labor and the working class, as the West Coast Occupy movements organize to support the struggle of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, ILWU, in Longview, Wash. Longshore workers there are waging a ferocious battle against transnational EGT, controlled by Bunge Ltd., of the grain cartel that controls most of the world’s trade in food products. EGT is trying to break the ILWU in an attempt to drive down wages and destroy the union.

The West Coast Occupy movements are also aligning with the struggle of port truckers, who are fighting for the right to organize for union representation. Twenty-six of them were fired in Los Angeles for wearing Teamster jackets to work. Occupy LA and Long Beach are targeting SSA, an anti-union port terminal operator, majority owned by Goldman Sachs, the notorious Wall Street investment bank. Teamster president, Jimmy Hoffa Jr., has publicly expressed support for the Occupy movement.

The West Coast Occupy movements are targeting the ports as major commercial centers, showing that they can strike at the institutions which help to aggregate the wealth of the 1 percent by disrupting Wall Street on the waterfront. It’s the history of the militant ILWU which enables this attack to have teeth. The ILWU rank and file have historically supported political struggles such as the anti-apartheid movement, the anti-war movement, in defense of Palestine in the face of attacks on Gaza, in support of the Wisconsin struggle against union busting, etc.

At a December 9th Press Conference regarding the West Coast Port Blockade, rank-and-file workers from the ILWU and Teamsters, local union leaders, veterans, and occupy organizers explained plans for the upcoming West Coast Port Shut Down on December 12 called for by the Occupy Oakland General Assembly:

“Occupy Oakland called for this massive coordinated blockade as a way to strike back at the 1% after their attacks on the Occupy movement and their continued assault on working and poor people” said Boots Riley an organizer with Occupy Oakland. “Our action is aimed directly at Wall Street on the Waterfront and is in solidarity with the struggles of port workers in LA and Longview, WA.”

ILWU veterans say: “We don’t cross community picket lines!”

As pressure builds for the Dec. 12 West Coast port shutdown, the port owners and their media began a battle of ideas to blunt this powerful threat to their profits and control – even for a day. The Port of Oakland launched the first volley of their assault on Dec. 4, with full-page ads in the San Francisco Chronicle and Oakland Tribune against the planned Occupy port blockade. They know all too well how powerful this movement has become, evidenced by the historic general strike call and blockade of the Port of Oakland on Nov. 2, when the Occupy movement, with the support of the ILWU rank and file and port truckers, shut down the entire port.

On Nov. 21, the leadership of the ILWU International issued a memorandum in an attempt to dissuade ILWU members from showing solidarity with the December 12th action. The memo stated that “Any public demonstration is not a ‘picketline’ under the PCL&CA [Pacific Coast Longshore & Clerk’s Agreement]. … Remember, public demonstrations are public demonstrations, not ‘picketlines.’ Only labor unions picket as referenced in the contract.”

Two ILWU members — Clarence Thomas, who is a third-generation longshoreman in Oakland, and Leo Robinson, who is now retired — responded to this memorandum. Both men have held elected office in ILWU Local 10 and have been key labor activists during their years of work in the ports. Their remarks, which clarify the relationship between longshoreman and public demonstrations, are excerpted here.

Clarence Thomas: A picket line is a public demonstration — whether called by organized labor or not. It is legitimate. There are established protocols in these situations. To suggest to longshoremen that they shouldn’t follow them demands clarification. It is one thing to state for the record that the union is not involved, but another thing to erase the historical memory of ILWU’s traditions and practices included in the Ten Guiding Principles of the ILWU adopted at the 1953 biennial convention in San Francisco.

Leo Robinson: The international has taken the position somehow that the contract is more important than not only defending our interest in terms of this EGT but having a connection to the Occupy movement in that when you go through the Ten Guiding Principles of the ILWU, we’re talking about labor unity. Does that include the teachers? Does that include state, county and municipal workers? Those questions need to be analyzed as to who supports whom. The Occupy movement is not separate and apart from the labor movement.

Clarence Thomas: Labor is now officially part of the Occupy movement. That has happened. The recent article done by Steven Greenhouse on Nov. 9 is called “Standing arm in arm.”

The Teamsters have been supported by the OWS against Sotheby’s auction house. OWS has been supportive of Communication Workers in its struggle with Verizon. Mary Kay Henry, International President of the Service Employees, has called for expanding the Occupy movement by taking workers to Washington, D.C., to occupy Washington particularly Congress and congressional hearings demanding 15 million jobs by Jan. 1.

Leo Robinson: There was the occupation in Madison, Wis. That was labor-led. People are trying to confuse the issue by saying we are somehow separated from the Occupy movement. More than anything else the Occupy movement is a direct challenge or raises the question of the rights of capital as opposed to the rights of the worker. I don’t understand that the contract supersedes the just demands of the labor movement. It says so right here in the 10 guiding principles of the ILWU.

Article 4 is very clear, very clear. “To help any worker in distress” must be a daily guide in the life of every trade union and its individual members. Labor solidarity means just that. Unions have to accept the fact that solidarity of labor stands above all else, including even the so-called sanctity of the contract. We cannot adopt for ourselves the policies of union leaders who insist that because they have a contract, their members are compelled to perform work, even behind a picket line.” It says picket line. It doesn’t say union picket line. It says picket line.

Clarence Thomas: Only 7.2 percent of private sector workers have union representation today, the lowest since 1900. Facing a critical moment, the labor movement has been re-energized by the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Leo Robinson: Any number of times this union [Local 10] has observed picket lines, including Easter Sunday 1977 when the community put up a picket line at Pier 27 to picket South African cargo. Longshoremen observed that picket line for two days. So I don’t understand how all of a sudden the sanctity of the contract outweighs the need to demonstrate solidarity. It just does not compute. It doesn’t make sense.

Clarence Thomas: The first action against South African apartheid was a community picket line. It was not authorized by the union. It was a community picket line from start to finish.

Leo Robinson: It was about 5,000 people out there on the Embarcadero for two days running a community picket line opposing South African apartheid. Local 10 officers took the position that it was an unsafe situation and our members were not going to cross that picket line, period. It was ruled as such by the arbitrator.

We have never waited for the employer to declare what is safe or unsafe. It is always the union that moves first. We don’t ask the employers what is safe or unsafe. They wouldn’t give a damn one way or the other as long as they got their ship worked. If the police have to escort you in or out, that is patently saying it is unsafe. What if someone decides to throw a rock while you’re being escorted in by the police? Does it make it hurt any less? A longshoreman determines what is safe for him or her — on the job and off.

Clarence Thomas: Our members have been hurt by the police and so has the OWS movement. In 2003 when we were standing by at a picket, police shot our members with wooden bullets. In Longview, WA, at the EGT Grain Terminal, ILWU members and their families have been hurt by the police. We don’t want the police to do anything for us.

Solidarity of Labor Above All Else

Clarence Thomas: Our union is at an historical juncture. Our jurisdiction is being challenged up and down the coast — the issue of logs and Local 10 and use of “robotics.” There has been nothing like this since 1934. If ILWU members don’t honor the community picket lines, it will cause an irreparable breach with the community. If the ILWU can’t support the community, why should the community support the ILWU in 2014 contract negotiations or when the new grain agreement is up next year? Who knows what the employer has up their sleeve when they demanded only a one-year contract.

Clarence Thomas: These ports are the people’s ports. Ports belong to the people of the Pacific Coast. The money came from the taxpayers in California, Oregon and Washington. EGT was subsidized by the Port of Longview. So the people have the right to go down there and protest how their tax dollars have been ripped off.

Fifty-one percent of Stevedoring Services of America is owned by Goldman Sachs. EGT is a multinational conglomerate trying to control the distribution of food products around the world. The face of Wall Street is in the ports.

The ILWU is not some special interest group. We are a rank-and-file militant, democratic union that has a long history of being in the vanguard of the social justice and labor movement.

We don’t cross community picket lines. When people begin to do so they have completely turned their backs on the ILWU’s 10 guiding principles. Is it coincidental that Harry Bridges &rsqou; name has not been asserted in relation to the OWS movement and the history of militancy? Is it an accident? How can we not talk about Harry Bridges? That is how we got what we want.

Related Topics:

World Bank is Creating Poverty‏

U.K. Students Have Won the Battle But Not the War

U.S: Control the Media, Control the People

C0P17: People’s Statement on the Durban Climate Talks

U.S: Silencing the Silent Majority

Stop Indefinite Detention of US Citizens and Others!

In Defense of Occupy LA

Reoccupying Egypt

Is it true 1% of Americans Control a Third of the Wealth?

Global Day of Action against an Irrational Economic System

What’s Really Going on in Syria!

What’s Really Going on in Syria!


Sometimes, the news defies logic resting on the fact that with the world upside down, the general public will accept whatever is being said without question. That was the case after all for Qathafi /Gadaffi, until the truth began to seep through.

For a country that seems to have closed its doors to all those who would seek to enter out of fear of further interference it is quite intriguing for a heavily conservative government how news seems to emanate on a daily basis on what is happening including the most recent fatalities.  It is far from news to read of the oft-repeated mantra from the U.Ns pro-U.S. Ban Ki-moon that Bashar-al-Assad is responsible for all that is happening in an ‘exclusive” interview with the pro-U.S. Qatari-based Al-Jazeera. It just seems rather strange that if this is the case that the President of Syria would declare in a recent “exclusive” interview with ABC’s Barbara Walters (December 7th 2011) that he ordered the bloody crackdown that has been taking place for 8+ months now. When one’s antenna is twitching, the whole situation is missing a few scenes.

The ABC interview which took place in the Biblical city of Damascus  differs somewhat to the transcript on Assad’s website. For instance one cannot easily identify his following statement, and probably the reason why he agreed to the interview:

“I would like to reiterate what I used to say after 11th of September, to every American delegation I met, first of all I think the American people, people should know more about what’s happening beyond the ocean, second the American media I would like them to tell only the truth about what’s happening in the world, and for the American administration. Don’t look for puppets in the world.”

If anyone read/heard that statement would have probably accepted the official corporate version of what is going on in Syria. Or whether Assad really believes in the following statement he made in that interview:

‘What’s important how the Syrian people look at you, not how you look at yourself. So I don’t have to look at myself. This is… second, it’s about the system. You have a dictator and you have dictatorship, there’s a big difference between the two, dictatorship is about the system, we never said we are democratic country, but we’re not the same, we– we are moving forward in, in reforms, especially during the last nine month, so I think we are moving forward, it takes a long time, it takes a lot of maturity to be full fledge democratic country, but we are moving that, that direction, for me as a person, whatever I do should be based on the will of the people, because you need popular legitimacy and this is against dictatorship for person.”

If all that is being said about him is true, how stupid can he be too come to the world through the media to say otherwise, unless one falls for the racist, stereotypical image of an “Arab” (Syrians are not Arabs) as portrayed in the U.S. response to Al-Assad’s interview!

Then to add to the conundrum, after all that they have suffered from the occupation of the U.S. and their allies, the Iraqi government is totally against the U.S- Arab League intentions to isolate Syria!

The only evidence that we have in front of eyes is that which the corporate media presents, a media that places little effort to report on the protests around the world that is against the very system that the corporate media represents. As one sees the same news being reported in the Arab world, no room is allowed for sceptics out of fear that NATO-UN-US will do as was done in Libya. What one can say according to that evidence that undoubtedly thousands of people have been killed (in fact much less than in Libya by NATO, but a life is a life), the questioned who are the armed forces, and does that armed force/s represent Bashar ‘Al-Assad’s government.  These armed forces receive without difficultly armed shipments from Turkey and Lebanon that include pump action shotguns, machine guns, Kalashnikovs,RPG launchers, Israeli-made hand grenades and explosives which are paid for.  Jeremy Salt reports from Turkey that people who have been said to be killed have turned up alive, and incredulously in Barbara Walters interview when she referred to a case where Al-Assad himself said that 13-year old boy is alive – he followed the case up himself when he heard the news, and spoke with the girl’s father, but who are we led to believe a man who is only the face of the government, and not the government itself, or the incorporated U.S. world. Or if we fail to believe any of those entities, maybe we will believe that Arab League, or Turkey all flocking to handover Syria to the imperialist powers along with the barbaric Libyan rebels who are fighting side by side with the Free Syria Army.

The interview with ABC comes two weeks after economic sanctions begin to fall into place, and a mass demonstration from the Syrian people themselves asking the world (including) the Arab world not to carry-out these sanctions, so where are these people in all of this?

Charles Glass informs:

“Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater, a private security company that massacred 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad’s Nissour Square in 2007, told Vanity Fair last January: “In Syria, we did the signals intelligence to geo-locate the bad guys in a very denied area.” A month later, ABC News reported that Select PTC, a Blackwater subsidiary, “was involved in classified clandestine activities in countries around the world, including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and the Philippines, according to a former military intelligence officer …” American involvement with the Syrian opposition began much earlier, when the Bush administration publicly funded Syrian exile groups and awarded $6 million in 2006 to an anti-Assad television station, Barada TV.

Washington’s support for regime change has escalated in recent months, backed by the region’s major Sunni-led states – Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Syrians have legitimate grievances but they should be wary of inviting foreigners with their own agendas to assist them.

“It didn’t work out well in 1917, when some of them collaborated with Britain to expel their Turkish rulers and ended up with 25 years of European colonial domination.”

It seems the spin on daily news out of Syria arises from the Lond-based “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights”in coordination with  US-funded NGOs and the British  Foreign Minister!

The irony is if we roll over and let the imperial powers do as they please our part of the world wherever that world is will not be safer, and we will just be pawns in a game that seeks to dominate, control and exploit that which everyone holds dear, one’s liberty.  One could say much more than this, but right now what is important is that everyone discovers the truth for themselves about many things before it is far too late far too soon!

December 29 2011

In short…

“…the situation in Syria is characterised by an armed insurrection and foreign interference in the affairs of a sovereign state namely Syria and that the situation on the ground which the mission has observed does not correspond to what the media has been feeding us in the last few months –I am talking about the Western media– largely based on information from the Syria Observatory in London which we know is supported by the Western military alliance and which is in permanent liaison with the British Foreign Office.”

Iranian Envoy: Syrian Terrorists Killing People with US, Israeli Weapons*

First published 5 March 2012… Reprinted here just in case the source cannot be accessed!

A senior Iranian diplomat blasted the western countries, especially the US, for their double-standard attitude towards terrorism, and said the Syrian people and security forces are being killed by the al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists who are armed with the US and Israeli weapons.

“The West does not speak about the ties between the terrorist groups in Syria and the al-Qaeda which slaughters the people with US and Israeli weapons in that country,” Iranian Ambassador to Uruguay Hojjatollah Soltani said on Monday.

He also said that the western countries are making an instrumental use of the scene of massacres in Syria, which have been created by the al-Qaeda terrorists, to portray President Bashar Assad as a killer and pressure his government.

This is while Assad has done a lot in recent months to reform laws and conditions in his country. The Syrian president announced the end to the state of emergency, granted citizenship to many Syrian Kurds and promised parliamentary elections later this year. In January, he issued the latest of thousands of amnesties for those detained since the uprising began.

Syria also in February held a referendum on the country’s new constitution. More than 14 million Syrians over 18 could vote and almost 90 percent of the voters approved a new constitution in the referendum.

Under the new charter, freedom is ‘a sacred right’ and ‘the people will govern the people’ in a multi-party democratic system based on Islamic law, the state television reported.

The document allows multiple political parties to compete in elections for the legislature, sets a limit of two seven-year terms on the president, and eliminates a clause that guarantees political supremacy to Assad’s Ba’ath Party.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March with organized attacks by well-armed gangs against Syrian police forces and border guards being reported across the country.

Hundreds of people, including members of the security forces, have been killed, when some protest rallies turned into armed clashes.

The government blames outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorist groups for the deaths, stressing that the unrest is being orchestrated from abroad.

In October, calm was eventually restored in the Arab state after President Assad started a reform initiative in the country, but Israel, the US and its Arab allies are seeking hard to bring the country into chaos through any possible means. Tel Aviv, Washington and some Arab capitals have been staging various plots in the hope of stirring unrests in Syria once again.


Glass, C. “US Interference In Syria Could Bring About Another Iraq.”

Goldman, R. “Defiant Assad Denies Ordering Bloody Syrian Crackdown.”

“President Al-Assad’s Abc Interview

Salt, J.Truth and Falsehood in Syria.”

“Syrian NGOs Working Directly With British Government.”

Related Topics:

Syria and the Threat of Imperialist Intervention

Maybe the Libyan and Syrian Rebels Have Something in Common Afterall!

Libya: NATO and NTC Still Bombing and Torturing

Reflections on Islam, Liberty and Development II

U.S: Control the Media, Control the People