1. unbridled capitalism, 2. socially responsible capitalism, 3. sustainable capitalism, 4. capitalism with a human face
Via Andy Taylor
95 year old Charlotte Despard (1844-1939), speaking at an anti-fascist rally in Trafalgar Square, London, June 1933
How Israel’s war industry profits from violent US immigration “reform”
April 10, 2014
Immigrant rights advocates in the US organized a national day of action on 5 April, the day they expected President Barack Obama’s record-breaking rate of deportations to reach a total of 2 million during his administration.
But scant attention has been paid to the list of global benefactors awaiting the profits from legislation escalating border militarization.
Israel, America’s closest ally, tops the lineup of patrons eager for rewards while advocates demanding a meaningful overhaul of US immigration and border enforcement continue their defiant battle in the streets. In this setting, rights supporters must know which global partners stand beside the US in repressing undocumented im/migrant communities.
But how does the situation in Palestine — thousands of miles away — affect US immigration reform and vice versa? What does one have to do with the other?
Quite a lot, actually.
“Border security on steroids”
Take the recent news that Israeli arms manufacturing giant Elbit Systems won a USDepartment of Homeland Security (DHS) contract to provide surveillance technology along the southern divide with Mexico, initially in Arizona.
Specifically, Elbit will provide its sensor-based Peregrine surveillance system for Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Integrated Fixed Tower project, which consists of ground radar and camera technology mounted on towers strewn throughout the borderlands. Congress approved the plan earlier this year.
A Bloomberg trade analyst estimated that Elbit’s $145 million award “may eventually reach $1 billion if legislation to rewrite US immigration laws passes Congress and helps fund the project’s expansion in the Southwest” (“Israel’s Elbit wins US border work after Boeing dumped,” 27 February 2014).
The little-discussed Corker-Hoeven amendment attached to the 2013 Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744) is the key legislation referenced by the Bloomberg analyst. The Senate passed the bill last June; the House of Representatives has stalled on voting on the package in any form.
Promoted as “border security on steroids” by the bill’s co-author, Republican Senator from Tennessee Bob Corker, the measure sets aside $46 billion for security “triggers” that must be in place in areas including Arizona before a pathway to citizenship can be opened for an estimated 11 million people living undocumented in the US today.
No wonder that DHS’s $145 million payment to Elbit could skyrocket by 700 percent. And that’s just one bid by one Israeli company. There could be many more to come.
Israel and the “homeland security” industry
Journalist Todd Miller, author of the book Border Patrol Nation (City Lights Books), interviewed numerous corporate leaders and scoured boundary-enforcement security fairs and expos across the Southwest.
Miller described to The Electronic Intifada his constant encounters with Israeli security peddlers in the borderlands.
During his research for the book, Miller wasn’t looking for Israel anywhere. Yet the state’s agents kept surfacing at every turn, he said.
Israeli companies, specialists and top military brass have become an increasingly visible presence at border and “homeland security” trade shows in the years since the 11 September 2001 attacks.
The US has spent $100 billion on immigration enforcement in the decade since then.
In that time, Israel became the world’s sixth-largest defense exporter and a leading supplier and consumer in the budding border-security industrial complex (“Israel ranks as the world’s sixth largest arms exporter in 2012,” Haaretz, 25 June 2013).
Companies large and small such as Elta Systems, Elbit Systems and NICE Systems have provided technologies including radar, virtual fencing and CCTV surveillance for Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Phoenix, Arizona department, as Jimmy Johnson has reported (“A Palestine-Mexico Border,” North American Congress on Latin America, 29 June 2012).
Israel aids deadly “deterrence” strategy
Elta Systems got a boost in late 2012 when, Haaretz reported, the US Border Patrol hired the company to provide radar along the border “to protect the US-Mexico border against illegal migrant infiltration.” US Border Patrol’s deal offered the company “a potential market worth hundreds of millions of dollars.”
The US partnership with Israel is reciprocal: where the US has the finances, Israel has the expertise.
On the company’s end, according to Raanan Horowitz, CEO of Elbit Systems of America, the Peregrine system “will meet the demanding mission requirements of the Customs Border Protection (CPB) while enhancing its agents’ safety” (“Elbit Systems of America awarded contract for US Customs Border Protection integrated fixed towers project,” Elbit Systems, 8 March 2014).
But what does this situation look like in terms of human consequences? In CBP’s statedmission of “keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the US,” under the pretext of personal safety, Border Patrol agents have killed at least 19 persons in recent years, often under the alleged threat of rock-throwing (“Border Patrol’s use of deadly force criticized in new report,” Los Angeles Times, 27 February 2014).
In this deadly equation, the reform legislation’s amendment calls for a “military-style surge” of 700 more miles of “border fencing” and doubles the current number of Border Patrol agents to 40,000 (“Border security: Boost for Senate immigration bill,” Associated Press, 20 June 2013).
Two decades of border militarization
Increased deployment of military-style resources to strategic areas along the border has mushroomed since the early 1990s, as Joseph Nevins documents in his book Operation Gatekeeper: The Rise of the “Illegal Alien” and the Making of the US-Mexico Boundary.
President Bill Clinton, expanding on past boundary security-enforcement trends under his predecessors Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, instituted a new “deterrence” strategy designed to “reroute” migrants away from urban areas and into “geographically harsher,” more “remote and hazardous border regions” where the treacherous terrain would potentially kill them (“656 Weeks on the Killing Fields of Arizona,” The Huffington Post, 12 November 2012).
In such a way, planners devised, the “mortal danger” of the “geography would be an ally to us.”
This aggressive shift came less than a decade after the last immigration overhaul. In 1986, the Immigration Reform and Control Act opened the door to citizenship for three million people of extra-legal status and increased border controls for those continuing to come, but without addressing the US-based economic and political policies driving migration.
Predictably, within a decade of the “deterrence” policy’s onset, “Arizona had become a killing field,” Tucson-based journalist Margaret Regan describes in her book The Death of Josseline: Immigration Stories from the Arizona Borderlands.
Israel continues to reap the benefits from US border militarization as the levels of death and suffering grow in line with an enriching investment climate.
Border death rate doubles
A June 2013 study by scholars and forensics specialists at the University of Arizona’s Binational Migration Institute and the local county medical examiner’s office found that the rate of migrant deaths had nearly doubled in the previous two years (“A continued humanitarian crisis at the border: undocumented border crosser deaths recorded by the Pima County office of the medical examiner, 1990-2012” [PDF]).
As more and more bodies are recovered, government and media continue to report all-time lows in apprehensions by the Border Patrol. Yet the simultaneous increase in border deaths remains enormously underreported.
But this is all good news to Senator Corker, who urged those concerned with border security not to worry because the bill is so tough that it’s “almost overkill.”
In fact, the package “is not only sufficient, it is well over sufficient,” Arizona Republican Senator John McCain concurred. “We’ll be the most militarized border since the fall of the Berlin Wall,” McCain boasted.
One provision in S. 744 would add 18 more unmanned aerial vehicles (also known asdrones or UAVs) to the already ballooning fleet operated by Customs and Border Protection.
Israeli-built “Hermes” drones were the first deployed along the southern border with Mexico as early as 2004. Currently, the fleet buzzing throughout the borderlands skies is wholly comprised of US-made Predator B drones, according to a CBP spokesperson.
Rivaling the US as the world’s leader in such technology, Israel can still view immigration reform as a hefty bounty for its “battle-proven” military technology that is “tried and tested on the West Bank and Gaza.”
As proposed in the legislation, the path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people in the US would take at least 13 years. Even then, the measures would benefit only those who are able to afford the mounting fees associated with the process, according to an analysis by Coalición de Derechos Humanos.
Though it won overwhelming approval in the Democrat-controlled Senate, the bill has stalled for nine months in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
Many House members are hostile to any pathway to citizenship for undocumented people. Worse, House Republicans, like their Senate counterparts, have shown a penchant for fueling the fantasy of border security as a sound solution to US immigration issues.
A new military occupation
The US and Israel both continue to dispossess indigenous people of their lands, and even of their existence.
In the US, Native peoples are left out of the “immigration reform” discourse altogether. Even though some are US-born, they are “undocumented” in every sense of the term, since they were born at home and lack a birth certificate.
The ancestral lands of the Tohono O’odham people span from modern-day Sonora, Mexico into southern Arizona — bisected by the Mexico-US border wall. Some were born on one side of the divide but grew up or spend most of their time on the other side and are therefore considered suspect by Border Patrol.
Miller writes in Border Patrol Nation: “While it may seem that the days of killing or corralling Native Americans and annexing their territories are an ancient and forgotten chapter in US history, the experience of the Tohono O’odham Nation show us that nothing can be further from the truth.” O’odham people regularly face abuse, harassment and even death at the hands of US Border Patrol.
Some of the country’s largest Border Patrol stations (and at least one US military outpost in a remote location, known as a “forward-operating base”) surround the Tohono O’odham Nation as the second-largest reservation in the US, and military-style checkpoints control all movement entering and leaving the nation. According to Miller, this presence of federal forces occupying permanent positions on Tohono O’odham lands is the largest in US history.
The extra layers of militarized infrastructure isolates the nation while still in Arizona, Miller observes, “as if the nation itself were a foreign country under a new, post-9/11 form of military occupation.”
The more democratic a group or campaign is, the more effective it is, as all people involved can have an input and feel a part of the project.
Although often basic, this information is essential for the smooth-running of an organisation and sticking to these simple guidelines can make the difference between a long lasting successful group and a failure.
Below find tips on many aspects of organising, from facilitating meetings and financing your group, to structure and making decisions.
- How to start a group
- Basic principles of revolutionary organisation
- Coming up with a strategy and set of principles
- Decision making and organisational form
- Financing a group
- Handling difficult behaviour in meetings
- How to organise and facilitate meetings effectively
- Successful delegation guide
- Taking meeting minutes guide
- Building a solidarity network guide
- Federations and networks guide
I didn’t read all of these so I don’t know how useful they all are, but there’s a shortage of good practical documents like these. Maybe they’ll help someone.
In a debate in the Ukrainian Parliament on the situation in the east of the country, MPs from the right-wing ruling party Svoboda (Freedom) attacked the Chairman of the Communist Party Peter Simonenko after he said the nationalists were responsible for the impending division of the country. The session of the Verkhovna Rada was interrupted. The Communists and some of the members of the Party of Regions left the meeting room in protest.
Russia, meanwhile, has reiterated its willingness to negotiate with the EU and the U.S. on the future of Ukraine. It was important, however, for it to set an agenda and participants, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the Interfax news agency on Tuesday. A new Ukrainian constitution should be on the table. In addition, Lavrov spoke in favor of representatives of the Russian-speaking eastern and southern Ukraine, as well as candidates for the presidential election on May 25 to participate in the format. Moscow’s chief diplomat doubted after a telephone conversation with his U.S. colleague, John Kerry, that an intended American deadline in ten days was feasible.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE DON’T SCROLL PAST THIS.
Scarleteen is a vital queer and trans positive sexual health resource. Their staff do an amazing job of creating really comprehensive and helpful articles on literally every sexual topic you can imagine. They also provide live chats, advice columns, moderated discussion forums, and SMS-based peer support. This site has helped me on countless occasions, and I refer at-risk queer and trans kids to this site every single day.
Scarleteen is invaluable.
And Scarleteen needs your help.
During their annual donation drive this year, the site was only able to raise $1,500. Only fifty people out of Scarleteen’s 350,000 unique monthly visitors contributed to the fundraising drive.
This means that unless Scarleteen sees a stable, sustained, 50% increase in donations, the site will essentially be forced to go dark on May 1. No more new content, no more advice columns, no more forums, no more live chat, no more SMS support.
This is devastating.
If Scarleteen goes dark, millions of young people, vulnerable queer and trans teens among them, will lose access to essential, fundamental sexual health resources. We cannot let this happen.
Please, please, please donate to Scarleteen. Consider making a recurring monthly contribution if you feel that this is within your means. Even $5 or $10 a month will go a long way to helping this very, very deserving organization.
And whether or not you’re able to donate at this time, please signal boost this and spread the word. Scarleteen does incredible, very necessary work, and they need our help.
This website helped me a lot when I was a teen.
Dear Filipino organizers erased by the Cesar Chavez movement,
Coming to America in the 1920s was no vacation. Filipinos were “American nationals,” the result of recent colonization, and ironically exempted from the exclusionary Immigration Act of 1924 that precluded the influx of immigrants from “Asiatic Barred Zones.” Saved from the tyranny of Spain, young Filipinos like you were swallowed by an America famished for cheap labor. From Alaska and Hawaii to the West Coast, Filipino men became the bent backbones and the calloused hands of the sunburnt fields, paid a few dollars for long hours of work. And America was not in the heart, not yours, as it was the high tide of anti-miscegenation laws that made it criminal for Filipinos to marry white women. By 1965 when the United Farm Workers was founded, many of you had been in the fields for decades, organizing strikes and making your voices heard in the muted plains.
We immigrants mark our historical presence in America by the names of heroes who gave us a voice, an anodyne to invisibility in a country where documented history keeps some and discards others. It took me a long time to fully grasp Filipino-American history. Like you, I’m an immigrant who began my American voyage in silence. My political education had many twists and turns. In my 20s, I spent my Sundays teaching English to Chinese sweatshop workers in Brooklyn, my first exposure to the complex nexus of immigrant workers’ rights and organizing. I would learn that self-empowerment was moot unless spoken in the language of the oppressor. The workers’ inability to communicate exacerbated their plight. Word by word, my adult students learned the language of the negotiating table, slowly gaining power to address their oppressive working conditions. Workers’ Rights as a Second Language: strategically similar to the organizing methodologies employed by farmworkers like you in the ’40s and ’50s.
I didn’t know about you when I started organizing in the ’90s. I had role models, but no Filipino-Americans. In the community organizing world, no one ever mentioned Filipinos next to the apotheosized Cesar Chavez. No Larry Itliong. No Philip Vera Cruz. None of these Filipino men and their Agricultural Worker Organizing Committee that spearheaded the very strike that catapulted Cesar Chavez into American memory and left you in the shadows.
In the words of Philip Vera Cruz:
On September 8, 1965, at the Filipino Hall at 1457 Glenwood St. in Delano, the Filipino members of AWOC held a mass meeting to discuss and decide whether to strike or to accept the reduced wages proposed by the growers. The decision was “to strike” and it became one of the most significant and famous decisions ever made in the entire history of the farmworker struggles in California. It was like an incendiary bomb, exploding out the strike message to the workers in the vineyards, telling them to have sit-ins in the labor camps, and set up picket lines at every grower’s ranch… It was this strike that eventually made the UFW, the farmworkers movement, and Cesar Chavez famous worldwide.
Cesar Chavez has become a holiday, a stamp, a foundation, a national monument and a street and school in Delano. It is not surprising as the Latino community becomes a demographic force in the U.S. that 48 years later, a movie is being shown nationwide about the farmworkers movement, with Cesar Chavez at the romantic helm. Unfortunately, in the Hollywood version of historical dismissal, Filipino farmworkers are once again denied the proper recognition they deserve. In a recent appearance at UCLA, the director Diego Luna told a Chicano studies audience, “We have to send a message to the industry that our stories have to be represented. And with the depth and the complexity they deserve.”
Indeed, in the age of American ethnic diversity, it is all about representation, all about visibility — a spiritual mission to bring you, our fathers, back in the light. History might have worked in favor of Chavez in the past decades, but many Filipino Americans will do what it takes to put your names in the pages of American movements. A new documentary titled, Delano Manongs, interrogates the erasure of Filipinos from the farmworkers movement and presents the story from the point of view of the leader of the movement himself, Larry Itliong. In 2013, the New Haven Unified School District of Union City, CA renamed Alvarado Middle School Itliong-Vera Cruz Middle School. Even a new generation of Filipino Americans on the East coast, the Pilipino American Unity for Progress (Unipro), has made your invisibility part of their discourse.
Sí, se puede: the motto of the farmworkers movement, in Spanish — a language many of you didn’t speak, as if to say the movement was not spoken by your blood. But Cesar Chavez also said that “once social change begins, it cannot be reversed … you cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore.” Kaya Natin, we must say, We Can Do This. Kaya Natin: bring back your honor, bring back your light.
President Obama denounces Russia, defends war in Iraq as legal
March 28, 2014
President Barack Obama gave a speech Wednesday in Brussels where he denounced Russia and defended the 2003 Iraq War as legal and done while working within the international system. The speech comes after the Crimea was annexed by Russia under a controversial referendum and American neoconservatives have criticized the Obama Administration as naive and ineffective.
The remarks on Iraq came as Obama responded to complaints by the Russian government and others that America’s position on respecting sovereignty was hypocritical given the 2003 Iraq War.
Russia has pointed to America’s decision to go into Iraq as an example of Western hypocrisy. Now, it is true that the Iraq war was a subject of vigorous debate, not just around the world but in the United States, as well. I participated in that debate, and I opposed our military intervention there.
But even in Iraq, America sought to work within the international system. We did not claim or annex Iraq’s territory. We did not grab its resources for our own gain. Instead, we ended our war and left Iraq to its people in a fully sovereign Iraqi state that can make decisions about its own future.
Worked within the international system? So if Russia had gone to the UN to get a resolution, failed, then annexed Crimea it would have been OK?
President Obama then oddly tried to conflate the Arab Spring protests in Tunisia with the far right revolt in Ukraine. Obama also falsely claimed that the US had no role in promoting the protests despite clear evidence to the contrary.
It’s not America that filled the Maidan with protesters. It was Ukrainians. No foreign forces compelled the citizens of Tunis and Tripoli to rise up. They did so on their own. From the Burmese parliamentarian pursuing reform to the young leaders fighting corruption and intolerance in Africa, we see something irreducible that all of us share as human being: a truth that will persevere in the face of violence and repression and will ultimately overcome.
America actually gave $5 billion to help foment “protesters” and was caught advising the current “interim” leader in Kiev, Arseniy Yatsenyuk. So while US officials may not have bussed people to the Maidan, America helped fund the operation and continues to advise and support those who came to power from it.
While the American people are uninterested in pursuing further action in Ukraine, President Obama seems determined to remain confrontational. But to what end?
Obama’s revisionist defense of the Iraq War as a war fought within the parameters of the international system is ridiculous: we attacked a sovereign country after failing to acquire UN Security Council approval, and we subsequently occupied that country for the next eight years. Nearly nine hundred people have died in gun/bomb violence in Iraq this month alone, part of the deadly legacy the US has left behind despite no longer occupying the country.
Obama didn’t just defend the Iraq War, either. What got lost in the speech was Obama defending the US/NATO bombing of Yugoslavia and the US-backed annexation of Kosovo. Appendix B of the Rambouillet accord called for a total occupation of Yugoslavia that Milosevic would have to accept. Whatever one thinks of Milosevic, it was probable that the head of a sovereign nation would not accept a total occupation, and indeed it later turned out to be the case that the threshold was deliberately set too high to render negotiations impossible and pave the way for a US/NATO incursion into Yugoslavia.
Mass Incarceration In The U.S.