Rabbi Warns that Jews May Be Headed for a ‘Cataclysmic Disaster’

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Is Patagonia to Become the New ‘Promised Land’?

By Richard Edmondson

Bible scholars have pointed out that the Gospels of Matthew and Luke appear to have been written with two different audiences in mind. The Gospel of Matthew seems to have been directed at a Jewish audience, while the Gospel of Luke would appear to have been written with a primarily Gentile audience in mind.

One passage in Matthew where we can see the intended audience was Jewish is in the story of Jesus’ birth. Here we encounter a reference to the Old Testament book of Micah–a citation which not only  prophesies the birth of Christ but which clearly  presents the Israelites as divinely chosen. The passage in question is Matthew 2:1-6. The setting is Herod’s court in Jerusalem, where the three wise men from the east have just stopped off in their quest to find the newborn Christ child:

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” 3 When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:

6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who is to shepherd[d] my people Israel.’”

The quote in verse 6 containing the words “my people Israel” is a cross reference to Micah 5:2. It’s rather amazing that the gospel writer supplies us with these words in the story of Jesus’ birth…but then later goes on to give us the following passage in the account of his death:

24 So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” 25 Then the people as a whole answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!”

It is almost as if the Jews have gone from being divinely blessed in the early part of the gospel…to divinely cursed in the gospel’s closing chapters.

The reason I make mention of the birth story from Matthew is not solely because we’re in the Christmas season, but for a couple of other reasons as well. One has to do with a commentary published recently by a rabbi by the name of Brant Rosen; the other in regard to some interesting information presented recently by Thierry Meyssan of Voltairenet.org. Let’s take Rosen’s commentary first.

Rabbi Brant Rosen is an advocate of justice for Palestinians as well as the founder of Tzedek Chicago, a “non-Zionist” synagogue in Chicago. He also maintains a blog, Shalom Rav, where he recently published an article entitled “Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.” In the article he discusses the intersection of Zionism with Jewish messianism, this in the context of Trump’s recent decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem–and he comments that “Zionism has always been, in its way, a kind of false messiah.”

He also warns that Jews today may be headed for a “cataclysmic disaster,” and he quotes Gershom Scholem, a Jewish scholar of the 20th century who authored a biography of Sabbatai Zevi, a Jewish false messiah who gained a huge following in the 1600s. Scholem’s perspective on the subject, written in 1928, reads in part:

The messianic phraseology of Zionism, especially in its decisive moments, is not the least of those Sabbatian temptations which could bring disaster to the renewal of Judaism.

Rosen then goes on to comment:

I genuinely believe that the disaster Scholem wrote of has already come to pass. This zealous drive for political sovereignty and control over Jerusalem as the “eternal undivided capitol of the Jewish people” is a form of idolatry that has all but highjacked a venerable spiritual tradition. Now I fear a much more cataclysmic disaster is waiting in the wings.

Perhaps Rosen isn’t the only Jew worried about a cataclysmic disaster at this point–and this brings me to Meyssen’s article.

Entitled “What is Israel’s Project in Argentina?“, the piece was posted December 12 at Meyssen’s Voltaire blog. In it the author discusses Jewish billionaire Joe Lewis of Britain, who has purchased vast amounts of land in the region of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego in southern Argentina. Meyssen notes that the properties Lewis has acquired “cover areas several times larger than the State of Israel”; that hundreds of thousands of houses have been built upon them, as well as a private airport capable of handling military aircraft; and that 8,000-10,000 Israeli soldiers journey there every year for “holiday camps.”

A  few other interesting points Meyssen makes are:

  • Google Earth has neutralized satellite photographs of the region just as it does with NATO military installations
  • Israel has now secured a submarine base in the area courtesy of neighboring Chile, while “tunnels have been dug in order to survive the polar winter”
  • George Soros is now believed by some inhabitants of the region to be financing a secessionist movement, presumably to “liberate” Patagonia from Argentina

Meyssen comments that it is “impossible for the moment to determine if Israel is engaged in a programme for the exploitation of Antarctica, or if it is building a rear base in case of defeat in Palestine.” Of course if nuclear war breaks out between the US and Russia, Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego would probably be among the less severely impacted parts of the planet–so that might be a factor in the thinking as well. I don’t know.

In any event, I suggest people read Meyssen’s article in its entirety, because there’s a lot of interesting information in it that I haven’t covered here. As for Rosen’s article, while I look somewhat askance at a comment he supplies about “Christian supremacy,” I do note that the remark is made in regard to Christian Zionist pastor John Hagee, and while I confess I find Rosen’s characterization of Judaism as a “venerable spiritual tradition” a tad puzzling, I’ll go out on a limb and guess that he has passages like Exodus 23:9 (“you shall not oppress a stranger…” etc.) more so in mind than the exhortations to blood and genocide. I’m guessing he does not include Talmudic supremacy as part of that “venerable spiritual tradition.” And I’m also guessing he would take strong exception to comments of such as Rabbi Saadya Grama:

Jewish success in the world is completely contingent upon the failure of other peoples. Jews experience good fortune only when gentiles experience catastrophe…The difference between Jews and gentiles is not historical or cultural, but rather genetic and unalterable.

But the fact is that numerous other rabbis, despite this ‘venerable’ spiritual tradition, hold views similar to Grama’s. Whether theirs is a theological ideology or a political ideology, it is an ideology nonetheless that has brought “catastrophe” upon Syrians for the past seven years–and upon Palestinians for the past seventy years.

It may at some point bring catastrophe upon others as well, including Americans. Given the unemployment rate and the totally unprecedented degree of wealth disparity we’re seeing, some might say it already has.

If Jews who subscribe to Talmudic precepts should continue in their endeavors at foisting these catastrophes, the result is going to be a “cataclysmic disaster” upon Jews themselves–if that is the point Rosen is trying to make, then I agree with him and I think his prediction is correct.

What I would say to Jews in general is that moving to Patagonia is not going to save you. Unless you change your ways, you’re going to be hated and resented there just as you are presently hated and resented in Palestine, and just as you have been hated and resented most everywhere else you have settled and lived for the past two millennia, going all the way back to the riots of Alexandria in 38 A.D.–or even earlier.

The only way to break this cycle is by learning to act with kindness, to treat others with love and compassion–which of course were the precise teachings of your messiah–that is to say your true messiah–Jesus.

Doing this would not only save you, it potentially would save humanity as a whole, for the entire planet is teetering on the edge of the abyss right now.

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What is israël’s project in Argentina?

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Owner of 175 companies, including restaurant chains and Tottenham Hotspur football club – whose fans call themselves the « Yid Army » – the very discreet billionaire Joe Lewis speculates on the exchange market in partnership with his friend George Soros.

In the 19th century, the British government were undecided as to where they should settle Israël – either in what is now Uganda, in Argentina or in Palestine. In fact, Argentina was at that time controlled by the United Kingdom and, on the initiative of French baron Maurice de Hirsch, had become a land of refuge for Jews who were fleeing the pogroms in central Europe.

In the 20th century, after the military coup d’Etat against democratically elected President General Juan Perón, a current of antisemitism developed within the armed forces. A brochure was distributed accusing the new State of Israël of preparing an invasion of Patagonia, the « Andinia Plan ».

It has become apparent today that even though the Argentinian extreme right had exaggerated the facts in the 1970’s, there was indeed a project for implantation (and not invasion) in Patagonia.

Everything changed with the Falklands War in 1982. At that time, the Argentinian military junta attempted to recuperate the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, which from their point of view had been occupied by the British for a century and a half. The UNO recognised the legitimacy of the Argentinian claim, but the Security Council condemned the use of force to recover these territories. The stakes are considerable, since the territorial waters of these archipelagos offer access to all the riches of the Antarctic continent.

At the end of this war, which cost more than a thousand lives (official British figures are largely understated), London imposed a particularly severe Peace Treaty on Buenos Aires – Argentinian armed forces are limited to their most simple expression. Above all, the control of their Southern and Antarctic air space is confiscated for the profit of the Royal Air Force, and they are obliged to inform the United Kingdom about all their operations.

In 1992 and 1994, two particularly devastating, murderous and mysterious attacks successively destroyed the Israëli embassy and the headquarters of the Israëli association AMIA. The first attack took place when the station chiefs of Israëli Intelligence had just left the building. The second occurred in the context of joint Egypt-Argentinian research for the development of Condor ballistic missiles. In the same period, the main Condor factory exploded, and the sons of Presidents Carlos Menem and Hafez el-Assad died accidentally. The various enquiries gave rise to a succession of manipulations.

After having blamed Syria, prosecutor Alberto Nisman turned on Iran, whom he accused of having ordered the two attacks, and Hezbollah, who he claimed had carried them out. The ex- Peronist President Cristina Kirchner was accused of having negotiated the end of the legal proceedings against Iran in exchange for advantageous oil prices. Prosecutor Nisman was found dead at his home, and President Kirchner was found guilty of high treason. However, last week, a coup de theâtre destroyed everything we though we knew – the United States FBI handed over DNA analyses which attest to the absence of the presumed terrorist among the victims, and the presence of a body which has never been identified. 25 years later, we know nothing more about these attacks.

In the 21st century, benefitting from the advantages offered them by the Falklands War Treaty, the United Kingdom and Israël are now setting up a new project Patagonia.

British billionaire Joe Lewis has acquired immense territories in the South of Argentina and even neighbouring Chile. His properties cover areas several times larger than the State of Israël. They are situated in Tierra del Fuego, at the extreme Southern point of the continent. In particular, they surround the Lago Escondido, which effectively denies access to the entire region, despite a legal injunction.

The billionaire has built a private airport with a two kilometre landing strip, in order to be able to receive civil and military aircraft.

Since the Falklands War, the Israëli army has been organising « holiday camps » (sic) in Patagonia for its soldiers. Between 8,000 and 10,000 of them now come every year to spend two weeks on Joe Lewis’ land.

While in the 1970’s, the Argentinian army noted the construction of 25,000 empty houses, which gave rise to the myth of the Andinia Plan, hundreds of thousands have been built today.

It is impossible to verify the state of the construction work, since these are private lands, and Google Earth has neutralised the satellite photographs of the area, just as it does with NATO’s military installations.

Neighbouring Chile has handed over a submarine base to Israël. Tunnels have been dug in order to survive the polar winter.

The Mapuche Indians who inhabit both Argentinian and Chilean Patagonia were surprised to learn that the Resistencia Ancestral Mapuche (RAM) had been reactivated in London. This is a mysterious organisation which fights for independence. First accused of being an old association recuperated by the Argentinian secret services, the RAM is today considered by the left as a legitimate secessionist movement, but by the Mapuche leaders as an initiative financed by George Soros.

On 15 November 2017, the Navy lost all contact with the submarine ARA San Juan, which was finally declared lost at sea. It was one of the TR 1700 class diesel-electric submarines which were the flagships of the reduced Argentinian army. The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) has announced that it has recorded an unusual acoustic phenomenon in the Atlantic, close to the area from which the San Juan sent its last signal. The government finally admitted that the submarine was on a non-specified « secret mission », of which London had been informed. The USA began a search, while the Russian Navy deployed a drone capable of exploring the ocean to a depth of 6,000 metres, but found nothing. The San Juan probably exploded. The Argentinian Press is convinced that the submarine had either collided with a mine, or was destroyed by an enemy torpedo.

It is impossible for the moment to determine if Israël is engaged in a programme for the exploitation of Antarctica, or if it is building a rear base in case of defeat in Palestine.

Obama’s Legacy In Latin America: Militarization, Right-Wing Coups, & The Rule Of Wall St.

Obama’s Legacy In Latin America: Militarization, Right-Wing Coups, & The Rule Of Wall St.

It seems we have arrived at the witching hour of Obama’s presidency, when corporate media ghouls continue to breathe out the infectious contagion of liberal lies and half-truths about the Great Dissimulator and his accomplishments.

Whether it’s The New York Times’ opinion pages hailing Dr. Changelove as “The Most Successful Democrat Since F.D.R.,” or the noxious nostalgia for the present injected into the public discourse like so many palliatives into the bloodstream of a terminal patient, the true history of Obama’s presidency is being veiled behind a mask of delusion.

Maybe it’s the Orange-Headed Hydra assuming power in Washington that gives the outgoing administration that air of dignity and grace. Maybe it’s the desire to craft a narrative in which “Hope” and “Change” were something other than hollow campaign slogans deftly employed by a charlatan of the first order. Or maybe it’s just business as usual in the heart of the U.S. Empire. No matter the reason, Barack Obama’s media-induced sainthood is now all but complete in liberal America’s collective psyche.

But the United States is not the only “America.”

Indeed, crossing the southern border and entering into that mysterious place called “Latin America,” one encounters a very different Obama legacy, one that is defined by the same policies that Yankee imperialists have employed for more than a century: destabilization, militarization, and exploitation.

Yes We Can!…continue to pursue a neocolonial agenda in Central and South America.

 

Obama’s love affair with the right wing

An artist who prefers to remain anonymous for security reasons pastes up one of his "interventions" that shows President Barack Obama at a podium surrounded by Honduran politician in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013. (AP/Eduardo Verdugo)

An artist who prefers to remain anonymous for security reasons pastes up one of his “interventions” that shows President Barack Obama at a podium surrounded by Honduran politician in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013. (AP/Eduardo Verdugo)

A mural in Lithuania depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin and President-elect Donald Trump embracing in a passionate kiss has gone viral. The meaning of the image is about as subtle as a sledgehammer to the skull, but it is no less perspicacious for its lack of subtlety. And while Russia has indeed tacitly, and rather shamefully, supported far-right candidates and causes for its own coldly pragmatic political reasons — Brexit, Trump, Le Pen, etc. — the truth is that Obama’s administration has also backed right-wing reactionaries and extremists where it has suited its interests.

Throughout Latin America, President Obama has been a driving force behind the resurgence of right-wing forces that have rolled back the gains of socialist and social democratic governments, targeted indigenous and African diaspora communities, assassinated activists, and toppled governments where they could.

So, yes, let’s talk about “legacy.”

In Honduras, Obama’s legacy was cemented from the very beginning of his presidency. In the summer of 2009, Manuel Zelaya, the country’s democratically-elected left-wing president, was removed from power in a midnight coup orchestrated by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her cronies in Washington and in Tegucigalpa. And while Obama’s tepid condemnation of the coup elicited cheers from many liberals in its contrast to the Bush administration’s loving embrace of the coup against Hugo Chávez in Venezuela in 2002, the reality is that, as with all things Obama, it was mere words. The support of the president and his henchwoman was the driving force behind the coup.

Clinton is never one to shy away from an opportunity to boast about the amount of blood on her hands. In a passage which removed from later editions of her book “Hard Choices,” she rather brazenly admitted:

“In the subsequent days [after the coup] I spoke with my counterparts around the hemisphere, including Secretary [Patricia] Espinosa in Mexico. We strategized on a plan to restore order in Honduras and ensure that free and fair elections could be held quickly and legitimately, which would render the question of Zelaya moot and give the Honduran people a chance to choose their own future.”

Obama’s top diplomat was instrumental in installing a right-wing government backed by the wealthiest business interests in Honduras and powerful players in Washington. As Clinton bagman Lanny Davis openly stated in an interview just weeks after the coup:

“My clients represent the CEAL, the [Honduras Chapter of] Business Council of Latin America. … I do not represent the government and do not talk to [interim] President [Roberto] Micheletti. My main contacts are [billionaires] Camilo Atala and Jorge Canahuati. I’m proud to represent businessmen who are committed to the rule of law.”

Indeed, Davis quite candidly exposed himself as an agent of powerful oligarch financiers and landowners who, until the election of Zelaya, had always maintained firm control of the reins of government in Honduras. These are precisely the people, backed by the Obama administration, wielding power in Honduras today through a violent right-wing government that assassinates indigenous leaders and human rights defenders such as Berta Cáceres, Margarita Murillo, and many others for the sake of investors who seek to develop indigenous, Afro-Caribbean, and peasant lands for massive profits.

Student protesters clash with police over the president's decision to run for re-election in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, a year after a controversial Supreme Court ruling voided a longtime constitutional ban on presidential re-election, Thursday Nov. 10, 2016. (AP/Fernando Antonio)

Student protesters clash with police over the president’s decision to run for re-election in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, a year after a controversial Supreme Court ruling voided a longtime constitutional ban on presidential re-election, Thursday Nov. 10, 2016. (AP/Fernando Antonio)

Beyond the killings of activists and the political backing of a right-wing coup government, Obama’s legacy in Honduras is also one of militarization. In 2014, The North American Congress on Latin America reported:

“The steady increase of U.S. assistance to [Honduran] national armed forces has, if anything, been an indicator of tacit U.S. support. But the U.S. role in militarization of national police forces has been direct as well. In 2011 and 2012, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Foreign-deployed Advisory Support Team (FAST)—which had previously carried out military-style missions in Afghanistan—set up camp in Honduras to train a local counternarcotics police unit and help plan and execute drug interdiction operations …

Supported by U.S. helicopters mounted with high caliber machine guns, these operations were nearly indistinguishable from military missions, and locals routinely referred to the DEA and Honduran police agents as “soldados” (soldiers).”

The NACLA report further noted that the Obama administration deployed at least five “commando style squads” of FAST teams across Central America. It added that, in Honduras, U.S. and Colombian special forces units have been training, equipping, and deploying with a new “elite” police unit called the Intelligence Troop and Special Security Group, or TIGRES (Spanish for “tigers”), which human rights groups argue is military in nature.

Ultimately, the man who rode the crest of a wave of “Hope” and “Change” not only brought more of the same to Honduras, and Latin America generally, he actually accelerated the re-conquest of the region by the forces of the military-industrial complex and finance capital.

 

Obama’s rightward push in South America

Demonstrators march with a sign that says in Portuguese "Get out Temer" and a drawing of Cuba's late President Fidel Castro, as they demand the impeachment of Brazil's President Michel Temer in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Nov. 27, 2016. (AP/Andre Penner)

Demonstrators march with a sign that says in Portuguese “Get out Temer” and a drawing of Cuba’s late President Fidel Castro, as they demand the impeachment of Brazil’s President Michel Temer in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Nov. 27, 2016. (AP/Andre Penner)

Another example of this confluence between Obama’s right-wing fetish and Wall Street’s boot on the neck of Latin America came last year in Brazil, when Dilma Rousseff’s democratically-elected government was removed from office in what can only be described as a parliamentary coup.

In mid-April of 2016, Reuters published a story exposing Michel Temer, the right-wing vice president at the time and the current president, as preparing the shortlist of his presumptive cabinet months before the Rousseff government had been toppled.

Temer tapped Paulo Leme to serve as either finance minister or head of the Central Bank. Leme is the chairman of Goldman Sachs’s operations in Brazil, making him perhaps the preeminent representative of Wall Street in the country. While his appointment may have been perceived as too brazen, the trend of Wall Street representatives steering the ship of Brazil’s economic and political life is impossible to ignore.

Perhaps it is no coincidence that the Obama administration, too, has been dominated from the beginning by the same types of financiers — often from the very same companies such as Goldman Sachs — that control the coup government in Brazil. The not-so-invisible hand of finance capital is now tightly coiled around the neck of Brazil. Another feather in Obama’s legacy cap.

Of course, there’s Obama’s graceful tango with the new right-wing government in Argentina led by Wall Street darling Mauricio Macri. While Obama was wining and dining the neoliberal reactionary, Macri was busy loading his new government with Wall Street insiders and representatives of Big Oil and other major industries.

This was the real Obama, the one who will not be paraded before Americans as the revered dear leader already missed before he’s left the stage. Rather, this was the man who, without conscience or compunction, ushered in a wave of right-wing reaction throughout the Western hemisphere.

And he did it with a smile.

 

Obama’s quiet militarization of Latin America

President Barack Obama, left, talks to Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos before the start of their meeting at the Casa De Huespedes during the sixth Summit of the Americas, in Cartagena, Colombia, Sunday April 15, 2012. (AP/Carolyn Kaster)

President Barack Obama, left, talks to Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos before the start of their meeting at the Casa De Huespedes during the sixth Summit of the Americas, in Cartagena, Colombia, Sunday April 15, 2012. (AP/Carolyn Kaster)

One of Obama’s great accomplishments in the service of the military-industrial complex was his below-the-radar militarization of the region. The pervasive myth of Obama as distinctly different from George W. Bush lives on in the diseased minds of liberal sycophants, but the facts tell a different story.

Obama represented continuity with, and an expansion of, the worst policies of George W. Bush and Bill Clinton when it came to Latin America. Plan Colombia, the broad heading for the billions of dollars spent on U.S. military engagement and cooperation in Colombia begun by Clinton and expanded by Bush, was further expanded under Obama.

Just totaling the military, police, and economic aid to Colombia for 2010 to 2015, the United States has given nearly $3 billion to Colombia in the form of “aid” to fight the so-called “War on Drugs,” widely seen as merely a cover for U.S. military power projection in South America. Add to that the fact that during Obama’s tenure, and under former commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command William McRaven, special forces troop deployments ballooned to more than 65,000, with many spread throughout Latin America.

In an eerily similar fashion, Obama expanded funding and scope for the Mérida Initiative, a project launched by Bush in 2008 which essentially makes Mexico’s military and law enforcement into a de facto arm of the U.S. military and government. As with Plan Colombia (and AFRICOM), even though Obama did not launch this initiative, he expanded it significantly, providing more than $2.5 billion since 2008.

But if liberals want to soothe their broken hearts with the fact that Obama did not actually launch these programs, they might want to consider the Central American Regional Security Initiative, created by Obama in 2011.

According to a March 2014 report from the Igarapé Institute, an independent security and development think tank based in Brazil, CARSI and Mérida alone received nearly $3 billion (2008-2013). It is an open secret that the massive funding has been channeled primarily into military and paramilitary programs. Though the United States touts these programs as success stories, their expansion has coincided with increased militarization in every country where U.S. funds have been provided.

In El Salvador, the government led by President Mauricio Funes consolidated military control of law enforcement in the interests of its U.S. backers. These changes took place simultaneous to the implementation of CARSI, and should be seen as an outgrowth of U.S. militarization. In Guatemala, the government of Otto Pérez Molina, a former military leader with a record of atrocities and genocide, further militarized the country before being imprisoned for corruption in September of 2015.

Similarly, Honduras has been transformed into the U.S. military’s primary foothold in Central America. U.S. Coordinator of the National Popular Resistance Front (FNRP) and Refoundation Party (LIBRE) Lucy Pagoada explained in a 2015 interview that “[Honduras] has turned into a large military base trained and funded by the U.S. They even have School of the Americas forces there.”

“There have been high levels of violence and torture since the [2009] coup,” Pagoada continued.

 

Good cop, bad cop: Obama’s policies on Cuba and Venezuela

An image of President Barack Obama wearing fake ears and the slogan "Obama go home" on a street wall in Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro regularly sets social media afire with support, with heavily trending anti-U.S. campaigns such #ObamaYankeeGoHome and #ObamaRepealTheExecutiveOrder, which denounced U.S. sanctions on members of Maduro’s administration. (AP/Ariana Cubillos)

An image of President Barack Obama wearing fake ears and the slogan “Obama go home” on a street wall in Caracas, Venezuela. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro regularly sets social media afire with support, with heavily trending anti-U.S. campaigns such #ObamaYankeeGoHome and #ObamaRepealTheExecutiveOrder, which denounced U.S. sanctions on members of Maduro’s administration. (AP/Ariana Cubillos)

Of course, no discussion of Obama’s actions in Latin America would be complete without an examination of Washington’s attempts to reassert its influence in the region with the simultaneous thaw in relations with Cuba and the destabilization of Venezuela.

Obama signed an executive order on Jan. 13 declaring both Venezuela and Cuba “national security threats” despite no evidence of any such threat. Isn’t it interesting that the president being lauded as the man who sought to normalize relations with America’s long-standing foe in Cuba still manages to not only classify the country as a threat, but to expand that same status to another geopolitical and strategic enemy in the region?

The Obama administration has attempted to undermine and destabilize Venezuela using as pretexts everything from a border dispute with neighboring Guyana to artificially created scarcity of staple goods and speculation against the currency by elites who control commodity distribution networks in the country, and whose backers reside in Madrid, Miami, and Washington. Julio Escalona, an economist and former Venezuelan ambassador to the United Nations, told me in Caracas in 2015: “Our currency is not being devalued by speculation, but by hyper-speculation.”

And, in signature Obama style, Washington has backed the right wing, including many far right fanatics, in an attempt to wrest political control of the country away from the ruling Socialist Party (PSUV) led by President Nicolás Maduro (and in spirit by Hugo Chávez).

Perhaps the best example is the targeted assassination of numerous prominent members of the PSUV, including the 2014 killing of Robert Serra, an up-and-coming Chavista legislator seen by many on the Venezuelan left as the “next Chávez.” Serra was assassinated by individuals connected to Álvaro Uribe, the former president of Colombia and long-standing U.S. proxy.

Similarly, the well-respected journalist and prominent Chavista Ricardo Duran was murdered outside his home in Caracas in January of 2016. Likewise, Fritz St. Louis, international coordinator of the United Socialist Haitian Movement and secretary general of the Haitian Cultural House Bolivariana de Venezuela, was assassinated in March of 2016. In all these killings, the hidden hand of the right wing and its backers in the United States has been an open secret.

And where is the outcry from the liberals who continue to laud Obama? Perhaps now that a Republican is in office they might soon dust off their political consciences to raise their voices against continued U.S. neocolonialism and imperialism in Latin America? Apparently, their interest in human rights and peace is dependent on the color of the tie worn by the man or woman in the Oval Office.

Obama’s legacy in Latin America is, like that of all other U.S. presidents of the last century, one of profit and exploitation, death and destruction. This is surely no secret in Latin America, where millions have raised, and will continue to raise, their voices in opposition to the Yankee Empire.

Unfortunately, the myth of the Nobel Peace Prize winner has become stronger than the reality of lived experience.

In this witching hour, the twilight of Obama’s presidency, let us not be entranced by spells cast by the coven of corporate media warlocks. Let us instead remember Obama’s legacy in Latin America not as “Hope” and “Change,” but as “More of the Same.”

New Files Reveal USA Sold Argentina Military Aircraft to Dump Bodies in Ocean

Source

teleSUR | December 16, 2016

The U.S. provided Argentina with army helicopters despite knowing they were used for death flights.

teleSUR | December 16, 2016

Declassified documents on Operation Condor reveal that the U.S. knew and assisted the Argentine dictatorship as it threw unconscious prisoners to their death in notorious “vuelos de la muerte,” or death flights.

Under the military dictatorship in Argentina, thousands of political opponents were drugged, tossed into aircraft and dumped in the Atlantic Ocean to drown.

According to Adolfo Scilingo, an Argentine naval officer during the dictatorship, the navy conducted death flights every Wednesday between 1977 and 1978, killing up to 2,000 people.

Newly released documents on Operation Condor, the 1970s covert efforts to topple and temper progressive governments outright in South America, show that the U.S. not only knew about the lethal flights — they provided military equipment.

An intelligence report, dated July 1978, states, “terrorists and subversives selected for elimination were now being administered injections of Ketalar.”

“Ketalar is administered in an intra-muscular injection to the prisoner as a preventive health measure, the subject rapidly loses consciousness and vital functions cease. Source alleges that subjects are then disposed of in rivers or the ocean.”

But despite being aware of the horrific death flights, the United States proceeded to sell Argentina army helicopters.

Two months after describing the “new drug” used to paralyze so-called terrorists, then-U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale met with Argentine dictator Jorge Rafael Videla in Rome.

Included in his meeting checklist was a reaffirmation to “improve relations, and to take steps that will lead to such improvement.”

It continues, “As a token of our interest we have taken steps to release export licenses for ambulance aircraft, army helicopters, airport radar equipment and other items.”

Reports suggest Argentina’s death flights began in 1976 and continued until 1983, killing thousands of political opponents — likely with the help of U.S. aircraft.

In 2016, Francisco Bossi, the mastermind of the death flights, confessed to murdering 6,000 people.

The revelations of U.S. involvement and support of the brutal dictatorship come after the Obama administration declassified 500 pages on repression in Argentina during the military regime.

The declassified documents have revealed the U.S. supported torture, tried to “liquidate” human rights activists and destabilize Latin American leftist governments.

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New Operation Condor Files Show Terror, Torture in Argentina

USA Wants Venezuela Recall Vote This Year: What has this to do with USA?

US Wants Venezuela Recall Vote This Year

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday urged Argentina to be patient with the slow pace of economic progress under its new government, and urged Venezuela to allow a vote this year on whether to recall President Nicolas Maduro.

In his first trip to Argentina as America’s chief diplomat, Kerry praised President Mauricio Macri, a free-markets proponent who took office in December promising to attract a wave of private investment that has yet to materialize.

Kerry also said he was concerned that the government of Venezuela has failed to enter into meaningful dialogue with the opposition, which is trying to organize a referendum to kick Maduro out of power.

“We encourage Venezuela to embrace the recall not in a delayed way that pushes it into next year, but to do this as a sign of respect for the constitution of the country and the needs of the people of the country,” Kerry told reporters.

The timing is crucial because if Maduro were to lose a referendum this year, as polls indicate he would due to the country’s moribund economy, it would trigger a new presidential vote, giving the opposition a chance to end 17 years of socialism.

But should he lose a referendum next year, Maduro would be replaced by his vice president, maintaining the Socialist Party in power until the OPEC nation’s next presidential election scheduled for the end of 2018.

“BAD HABITS”

Kerry also addressed growing discontent voiced by Argentines over an economy beset by stagflation.

“It’s not all going to change overnight,” Kerry told a group of business leaders at a breakfast meeting in Buenos Aires.

“Getting rid of bad habits takes a little bit of time and investment takes a little bit of time to take hold and begin to create momentum,” he added. “But I am 100 percent confident, as is President Obama, that Argentina is on the right course. People need to be patient.”

Macri’s policies follow heavy state control of the economy and allegations of corruption under previous leader Cristina Fernandez. Her former secretary of public works was caught in July trying to hide almost $9 million in a Buenos Aires convent.

Argentina’s economy is expected to shrink 1.3 percent this year, according to a central bank poll of analysts. The government has not made a forecast.

Kerry met with his Argentine counterpart Susana Malcorra to discuss issues including Venezuela.

Fernandez supported Hugo Chavez’s self-styled revolution in the oil rich country, and the administration of his protege Maduro. Macri is one of the region’s leading critics of Maduro, accusing him of unjustly jailing opposition leaders.

From Buenos Aires Kerry was set to go on to Brazil where he will attend the opening ceremony of the Olympics on Friday.

Headwinds from Argentina’s recession-racked northern neighbor are not helping Macri’s investment push. Brazil, the region’s biggest economy, has been paralyzed by corruption scandals and political turmoil after the suspension of President Dilma Rousseff from power.

(Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

USA causing problems all over Latin America

Washington’s ‘New Managers’ in Latin America: Oligarchs, Bankers and Swindlers

By James Petras

Amid raging corruption, social pathologies and outright political thuggery, a new gang of vassal regimes has taken-over Latin America. The new rulers are strictly recruited as the protégé’s of US financial and banking institutions. Hence the financial press refers to them as the “new managers” – of Wall Street.

The US financial media has once again provided a political cover for the vilest crimes committed by the ‘new managers’ as they launch their offensive against labor and in favor of the foreign and domestic financiers.

To understand the dynamics of the empire’s new vassal managers we will proceed by identifying (1) the illicit power grab (2) the neo-liberal policies they have pursued (3) the impact of their program on the class structure (4) their economic performance and future socio-political perspectives.

Vassals as Managers of Empire
Latin America’s current vassalage elite is of longer and shorter duration.

The regimes of longer duration with a historical legacy of submission, corruption and criminality include Mexico and Colombia where oligarchs , government officials and death squads cohabitate in close association with the US military, business and banking elites.

Over the past decades 100,000 citizens were murdered in Mexico and over 4 million peasants were dispossessed in Colombia. In both regimes over ten million acres of farmland and mining terrain were transferred to US and EU multinationals.

Hundreds of billions of illicit narco earnings were laundered by the Colombian and Mexican oligarchy to their US accounts via private banks.

The current political managers, Peña in Mexico and Santos in Colombia are rapidly de-nationalizing strategic oil and energy sectors, while savaging dynamic social movements – hundreds of students and teachers in Mexico and thousands of peasants and human rights activists in Colombia have been murdered.

The new wave of imperial vassals has seized power throughout most of Latin America with the direct and indirect intervention of the US. In 2009, Honduras President Manuel Zelaya was ousted by a military coup backed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Zelaya’s program of agrarian reform, regional integration (with Venezuela) and constitutional elections was abolished. Zelaya was replaced by a US vassal, Roberto Micheletti who proceeded to murder several hundred landless rural workers and indigenous activists.

Washington moved to organize a constitutional cover by promoting a highly malleable landowner, Porfirio Lobo Sosa to the presidency.

The State Department next ousted Paraguyan President Francisco Lugo who governed between 2008-2012. Lugo promoted a moderate agrarian reform and a centrist regional integration agenda.

With the backing of Secretary of State Clinton, the Paraguayan oligarchy in Congress seized power, fabricated an impeachment decree and ousted President Lugo. He was briefly replaced by Vice President Federico Franco (2012-2013).

In 2013, Washington backed, the capital, Asuncion’s, notorious crime boss for President, one Horacio Castes – convicted for currency fraud in 1989, drug running in 1990, and most recently (2010) money laundering.

The Honduras and Paraguayan coups established (in miniature) the precedent for a new wave of ‘big country’ political vassals. The State Department moved toward the acceleration of banking takeovers in Brazil, Argentina and Peru.

In rapid succession, between December 2015 and April 2016 vassal managers seized power in Argentina and Brazil. In Argentina millionaire Mauricio Macri ruled by decree, by-passing constitutional legality. Macri fired scores of thousands of public service workers, closed social agencies and appointed judges and prosecutors without Congressional vote. He arbitrarily arrested social movement leaders – violating democratic procedures.

Macri’s Economic and Finance Ministers gained millions of dollars by ‘buying into’ multinational oil companies just prior to handing over private options on public enterprises.

The all-encompassing swindles and fraud carried out by the ‘new managers’ were covered up by the US media,who praised Macri’s professional team.

Moreover, Macri’s economic performance was a disaster. Exorbitant user fees on utilities and transport for consumers and business enterprises, increased three to ten-fold, forcing bankruptcy rates to soar and households to suffer light and gas closures.

Wall Street vulture funds received seven billion dollar payment from Macri’s managers ,for defaulted loans purchased for pennies over a dollar, twenty-fold greater then the original lenders.

Data based on standard economic indicators,highlights the worst economic performance in a decade and a half.

Price inflation exceeds 40%; public debt increased by twenty percent in six months. Living standards and employment sharply declined. Growth and investment data was negative. Mismanagement, official corruption and arbitrary governance, did not induce confidence among local small and medium size businesses.

The respectable media, led by the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post falsified every aspect of Macri’s regime. Failed economic policies implemented by bankers turned cabinet ministers were dubbed long-term successes; crude ideologically driven policies promoting foreign investor profiteering were re-invented as business incentives.

Political thugs dismantled and replaced civil service agencies were labelled ‘a new management team’ by the vulgar propaganda scribes of the financial press.

In Brazil, a phony political power grab by Congressional opportunists ousted elected President Dilma Rousseff. She was replaced by a Washington approved serial swindler and notorious bribe taker, Michel Temer.

The new economic managers were predictably controlled by Wall Street, World Bank and IMF bankers. They rushed measures to slash wages, pensions and other social expenditures, to lower business taxes and privatize the most lucrative public enterprises in transport, infrastructure, landholdings, oil and scores of other activities.

Even as the prostitute press lauded Brazil’s new managers’, prosecutors and judges arrested three newly appointed cabinet ministers for fraud and money laundering. ‘President’ Temer is next in line for prosecution for his role in the mega Petrobras oil contracts scandal for bribes and payola.

The economic agenda by the new managers are not designed to attract new productive investments. Most inflows are short-term speculative ventures. Markets, especially, in commodities, show no upward growth, much to the chagrin of the free market technocrats. Industry and commerce are depressed as a result of the decline in consumer credit, employment and public spending induced by ‘the managers’ austerity policies.

Even as the US and Europe embrace free market austerity, it evokes a continent wide revolt. Nevertheless Latin America’s wave of vassal regimes, remain deeply embedded in decimating the welfare state and pillaging public treasuries led by a narrow elite of bankers and serial swindlers.

Conclusion
As Washington and the prostitute press hail their ‘new managers’ in Latin America, the celebration is abruptly given way to mass rage over corruption and demands for a shift to the political left.

In Brazil, “President” Temer rushes to implement big business measures, as his time in office is limited to weeks not months. His time out of jail is nearing a deadline. His cabinet of ‘technocrats’ prepare their luggage to follow.

Maurico Macri may survive a wave of strikes and protests and finish the year in office. But the plunging economy and pillage of the treasury is leading business to bankruptcy, the middle class to empty bank accounts and the dispossessed to spontaneous mass upheavals.

Washington’s new managers in Latin America cannot cope with an unruly citizenry and a failing free market economy.

Coups have been tried and work for grabbing power but do not establish effective rulership. Political shift to the right are gyrating out of Washington’s orbit and find no new counter-balance in the break-up of the European Union.

Vassal capitalist takeovers in Latin America generated publicist anesthesia and Wall Street euphoria; only to be rudely shocked to reality by economic pathologies.

Washington and Wall Street and their Latin America managers sought a false reality of unrestrained profits and pillaged wealth. The reality principle now forces them to recognize that their failures are inducing rage today and uprisings tomorrow.

 

Anglo-America: Regression and Reversion in the Modern World

Global Research, May 31, 2016
James-Petras

Professor James Petras

What does it mean when the US and British financial systems launder hundreds of billions of dollars of illicit funds stolen by world leaders while their governments turn a ‘blind eye’, and yet the very same Anglo-American officials investigate, prosecute, fine and arrest officials from rival governments, rival banks and political leaders for corruption?

What does it mean when the US government expands a world-wide network of nuclear missiles on bases stretching from Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, the Gulf States to Japan, surrounding Russia, Iran and China, while the very same US and NATO officials investigate and condemn rival defense officials from Russia, China and Iran, as military threats to peace and stability?

What does it mean when Anglo-American economic officials devote decades to raising the age of retirement, reducing working and middle class household income, cutting workers compensation, expanding part-time work, setting the stage for mass layoffs slashing unemployment and health benefits and reducing social spending by the hundreds of billions of dollars and then turn around and investigate and threaten rival countries, like China and Argentina with loss of markets, investment and employment for not doing the same thing ?

The meaning of Anglo-America’s long-term, large-scale structural regression is clearly evident across the world.  From Europe to Latin America and from Asia to Africa, socio-economic and politico-military agendas have been reversed.

Since the end of the Second World War there had been incremental gains in labor rights, stable employment, poverty reduction and working conditions.

Recently, these have all been reversed:  Longer working days and weeks with reduced salaries and benefits; unstable temporary work replaces stable employment; employer-funded pensions are eliminated and replaced by multi-billion dollar corporate tax cuts and off-shore tax evasion.

Systematic structural swindles by the leading financial institutions have forced employees to delay retirement for years in order to ‘self-finance’ their own meager ‘pensions’, some expecting to ‘die at the job’.

Capitalist regression has been implemented by arbitrary state dictates and authoritarian decrees, erasing any pretense of democratic procedures and constitutional laws.

The regressive and retrograde leader-states from the imperial centers impose their conditions on follower regimes like Mexico and Russia forcing them to reverse their legacy of social progress while blackmailing these regimes’ oligarchs with the loss of lucrative markets, access to tax and money-laundering havens and impunity for their crimes and swindles.

Anglo-America:  Historic Reversion

For the past three decades, the US and Great Britain have led the global drive to undermine labor’s advances.  First, the economic structure sustaining labor organizations were dismantled and fragmented.  Then organized labor was decimated, co-opted and corporatized.

Capital proceeded to reverse labor and social welfare legislation and lower wages, in order to impose longer workdays and destabilize employment.

The mass media re-packaged the regression cycle as  ‘economic reform’, a euphemism, which disguised the re-concentration of power, wealth and income over the last three decades.

The growth of inequality and the concentration of wealth and assets to the 1% became ‘the standard’ for the Anglo-American era.  However, class organization and the vicissitudes of class struggles continued to constrain efforts to impose unchallenged Anglo-American capitalist rulership throughout the world.

The first decisive blow against  social reform resulted from the systematic Anglo-American breakdown of the former USSR and allied nations of the Warsaw Pact in East Europe.  This was followed by the endogenous dissolution of Communist Party rule in China, Russia, Eastern Europe, the Baltic and Balkan states and their conversion into capitalist satellites.  Social welfare, full employment, public pensions and health systems were shredded; labor lost all its rights except one – the right to emigrate to the West as cheap labor.

From Russia to Latvia and Poland to Bulgaria and Romania, there were massive layoffs, plant closures and the total dissolution of social security networks driven by the Anglo-America neo-liberal onslaught.  The Atlantic Alliance brought their new Eastern satellites to social submission.

Until the second decade of the 21st century, Western Europe’s centers for the defense of the progressive social agenda were in France, Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal.  The social agenda in Latin America and China faced the Anglo-America offensive even earlier.

France:  The Strategic Key to Anglo-American Social Regression

France has been the center where the Anglo-American regressive attack on socio-economic policy and Southern Europe’s resistance has been playing out.

By 2015 the regressive alliance had overturned all progressive social policy in the former communist bloc countries.  Their alliance with Germany’s finance sector give them tight control of the EU and they successfully decimated the progressive social programs and labor legislation in Greece, Spain and Portugal.

France became the centerpiece for Western capitalism’s drive to incorporate Italy into the regressive orbit.  The conquest of France and Italy would completely reverse 70 years of incremental labor gains after the defeat of fascist capitalism.

The assault on  France’s progressive social agenda is spearheaded by the retro-Socialist President Francois Hollande and his troika of authoritarian hyper-capitalist ministers:  Financial Minister Michel Sapin, Prime Minister Manuel Valls and Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron.

The strategy of relying on a ‘nominal socialist’ to destroy the social welfare state is a classic ‘Trojan Horse’ operation. Hollande’s virulent anti-labor policy is implemented by decree under a joint plan developed in association with France’s leading industrialists.

The imposition of the regressive policy in France began in stages.  It first established the retrograde political leadership with Valls, a notorious authoritarian police-state official willing to over-ride any democratic niceties.  The Economy Minister, Emanuel Macron, a millionaire investment banker, is a direct associate of the financial elite, with no qualms in slashing labor programs.  The Finance Minister Michel Sapin, a long-time accomplice of the French bureaucratic-capitalist elite, is prepared to slash pensions and public services while reducing job security in order to lower the cost of labor to capital.

Once the Hollande and his troika took control of the centers of political power, (and after militarizing French society in response to the terrorist attacks), the regime launched its anti-labor offensive to shred the progressive social agenda.  Its first target was its most formidable – the mass of the French working class.

Declaring ‘anti-ISIS’ martial law powers, Hollande adopted an outright authoritarian strategy, bypassing the elected French Parliament in the legislature and imposed ‘rule by decree’ with the announcement of a highly regressive labor law against the French people.

The dictatorial labor decree was a first step to weaken organized labor’s capacity to protect wages and job security in order to give a powerful impetus to employer control over the French labor force.

Once Hollande’s labor decree established capitalist supremacy, his Troika would be in a decisive position to reverse seventy of incremental social advances.

The joint Hollande-Troika-capitalist bloc emasculated the legislature, leaving a weak, bleating chorus of so-called ‘left Socialists’ to bemoan their political impotence. Then an entirely new business anti-labor code was rolled out, which included the right of bosses to hire and fire workers at will, extend the workday , lengthen the work week, undermine labor’s bargaining power and restrain strikes and job actions.  This would open the way for a wave of irregular and contingent jobs for new workers . . . Using the pretext of terrorist attacks, the French capitalist class had begun to rule by decree to further expand and deepen their long planned assault on labor.

Hollande’s troika and France’s capitalists are lowering corporate taxes and employer contribution to social payments.   Regulations that restrained the concentration of elite power were eliminated.

With curfews and ‘anti-terrorist’ militarized police in the streets, French business elite could now freely begin to to imitate the Anglo-American capitalist elite and impose an iron-fisted New Order.

Without labor constraints on French capital, the bosses are is free to relocate factories and investments any and everywhere, under the most favorable wage, tax, employment and environmental conditions.

No longer required to invest in French industry, the business elite can transfer capital from industry to financial sectors, allowing hundreds of billions of euros to be laundered in off shore tax havens.

The Hollande troika will now also establish its own version of ‘Security and Exchange investigators’ to prosecute and fine its rival Anglo-American financial swindlers, just as the Anglo-Americans pursue their French competitors today.

The Hollande regime’s regressive social agenda has opened the door for an even more extreme Presidential prototype to follow and Alain Juppe is waiting.

The rabid Republican Party presidential candidate, Alain Juppe, promises to go ‘whole hog’ in utterly destroying the French welfare state, as it has existed since the fall of fascism.  If elected president, Juppe promised to slash 100 billion euros from the budget – double the amount that the Hollande regime currently seeks to cut.  Juppe has pledged to eliminate 250,000 civil service jobs in all vital social sectors; to delay the retirement age from 62 to 65; eliminate the 35-hour workweek; facilitate worker layoffs and decimate unemployment benefits.  Finally, Juppe has promised French capital that he would implement their entire business agenda, cut taxes for business and bankers and eliminate the tax on inheritance implemented nearly four decades ago.

In other words, the Hollande regime’s assault on labor and embrace of business has opened the door for the rise of the extreme right.  Moreover, Hollande has manipulated the incidents of Islamist terrorism to assume arbitrary decree powers wiping out any pretense of a democratic government.  The terrorist incidents are arguably related to Hollande’s colonialist embrace of the ‘regime change’ assaults against the secular nationalist governments of Libya and Syria and his policy of sending (or tolerating the recruitment of) marginalized French youth of North African ancestry to fight in the ensuing civil wars.  This has further strengthened the rise of the extreme right in France.

As the Socialist and Republicans compete for dictatorial powers to serve business’ regressive agenda, the nationalist, protectionist and social reformist policies of the National Front are emerging as the populist alternative in the coming presidential race.  Anti-fascist rhetoric has worn thin and important sectors of the working class will turn to the National Front in defense of their jobs and social legislation.  The anti-immigration rhetoric of the National Front is now part of the political vocabulary of the Republicans as well as Prime Minister Valls.

The only alternative to a power grab by the French hard right is a mass general strike and sustained street battles in order to resist the reaction by decree.

As throughout history, popular struggles in France begin in the streets – among the trade unions and young workers angrily facing low wages, austerity and the grim prospect of ‘permanently’ temporary jobs.

The outcome of the intensifying French labor-capital conflict will have a decisive impact on the future of labor throughout Europe, especially among all Left unionists.

Latin America:   The Labor-Capital Showdown

Beyond Europe, the Anglo-American onslaught against labor and the working class resonates most directly in Latin America and to a lesser extent in Asia and Africa.

The first country to fall victim to capital’s attack was Mexico with the implementation of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  By the early 1990’s NAFTA had demolished the independent Mexican trade unions, crippled social legislation, eliminated subsidies to small corn farmers, forced peasants into debt, reduced minimum wage, doubled poverty levels and turned the majority of the labor force into landless, indebted, casual workers.  On the other hand, NAFTA has been a bottomless source of wealth as capitalists accumulate double and triple digit profits and absolute power to hire and fire employees.  Mexico’s government, under Anglo-American capital, has allowed the illicit transfer of hundreds of billions of dollars of Mexican assets to US, English and other overseas banks, which have become immense money-laundering operations.  The proximity of Mexican drug cartels to the US banks has facilitated the extension of their networks into the US market.   The horrific expansion of drug cartel death squads, linked to Mexico’s political leaders, dates from the 1990’s and the signing of NAFTA.  This bloody nexus has consolidated neoliberal political power in Mexico and weakened the possibility of a viable mass electoral alternative.

Anglo-American dominance in Latin America in the 1990’s led to an entire panoply of regressive policies: privatizing and denationalizing the most lucrative natural and state resources, banks and industries; reducing wages and social spending for labor while increasing the concentration of capital.  By 2001 however the Anglo-American edifice collapsed throughout South America with the demise of its neo-liberal political leadership.

From Venezuela in 1999, to Argentina in 2002, Brazil 2003, Bolivia 2006 and Ecuador 2007, left and center-left parties capitalized on their mass support and were elected into power.  They took advantage of global economic conditions with the rising commodity prices, booming Chinese markets and new regional alliances to fund a variety of progressive social agendas, including increased social expenditures, guaranteed pensions, family allowances, minimum wages, wage increases for public sector and expanded labor rights.

The Anglo-American power elite was in retreat and isolated, but it was far from defeated.  They retrenched and prepared to re-mobilize their strategic business, banking and political allies when the opportunity arose.   They counter-attacked when global and regional conditions turned unfavorable to the social regimes.

The assault on Latin America was preceded by the Anglo-American neo-liberal take-over of Northern Europe from the 1990’s to the first decade of the 21st century.  This was followed by the sweep and grab of the Balkans and Southern Europe.  The combined Anglo-American-EU-NATO offensive now seeks to reverse the last social-welfare regimes in Europe: France and Italy with the help of President Hollande and Prime Minister Renzi.

Simultaneously the Anglo-American offensive has been launched throughout Latin America.  Their goal is to recover the imperial prerogatives, political power and economic privileges lost during the previous decade.  The primary Euro-American target is the ‘golden triangle’, Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela.  These countries constitute a global center of immense oil and agro-mineral wealth.

The Argentine neo-liberal restoration took off in December 2015 with the election of  far-right President Mauricio Macri (image left).   His junta wasted no time in stripping the state of its social legislation, dismantling job security through large-scale layoffs and assuming authoritarian rule by decree to devalue Argentina’s currency by 40% and to eliminate state subsidies and raising the price for gas, electricity, transport, and water between 300 and 800 %.

The regressive offensive was in full force.  Next, Brazil’s twice elected President Dilma Rousseff was ‘impeached’ and essentially overthrown by a bizarre legislative right-wing coup-d’état, designed to reverse a generation of progressive regulatory, labor and employment legislation.  It was also secretly designed to halt corruption investigations against many right-wing politicians.

Venezuela is next.  It will be the scene of a full-scale-elite coup-d’état with imperial backing, to overthrow the government of President Maduro and end decades of progressive social advances under the Chavista governments.

While in France and Italy, the great social reversal is being implemented by internal enemies from the ‘progressive’ political parties (“Trojan Horses”), in Latin America the reversal is led by openly hostile class enemies who depend on the arbitrary exercise of executive power.  The drive to put a definitive end to the ‘welfare state’ in Europe and Latin America is marked by the use of dictatorial decrees, (in the style of Mussolini in the 1920’s) as exercised by Argentina’s elected President Marci in January 2016 and Brazil’s ‘Interim (Coup) President’ Temer in April 2016.  Meanwhile capitalist lockouts, hoarding and sabotage are being used to crush Venezuela’s elected government.

This epochal confrontation has spread across Africa and Asia. China’s capitalist offensive has seen a four-fold increase in the number of new billionaires in less than a decade, at the expense of hundreds of millions of workers stripped of their rights and social programs.

South Africa, under the ANC government, turned its back on social gains promised by the liberation struggle and has imposed regressive social legislation and repressive anti-labor decrees.  A corrupt class of black and white billionaires now rule by guns and clubs over the black working class.

In Africa and the Middle East, the social welfare states of the nationalist regimes in Iraq and Libya have been completely shredded through imperialist military intervention and civil war.  Their once advanced societies have been thrown back into ethno-tribal warfare with no remaining modern social institutions in those two blighted, resource-rich nations.

Wither the Class Struggle:  Historical Reversal and Class Revolt?

The Anglo-American offensive to reverse decades of social advance has captured most of Europe.  They have incorporated or coopted the Social Democratic parties and are moving swiftly toward dismantling the decade-long center-left welfare states in Latin America.

In Africa, the centerpiece of Anglo-Americanization is South Africa, the continent’s most advanced bastion of international capitalism.

In Asia, China, the second most important capitalist economy in the world, has been leading the struggle to overturn the social agenda of the revolutionary past.

Large-scale, prolonged class resistance in several decisive centers is emerging to confront this Anglo-American process of reversion. The class confrontation however takes specific characteristics in each country.

In France, the major protagonists of street fighting and marches are young unemployed or casual workers, members of the strategic transport and oil unions and student-workers facing a bleak future of marginal employment and a shredded social safety net.

Trade unions and farmers’ association have joined the street struggles on numerous occasions, possibly in preparation for a general strike.

In Latin America, the center of the class struggle is Argentina.  Power-mad President Macri immediately imposed regressive policies against all sectors of the working class.  His actions managed to unite the four major trade union confederations, multiple retirees associations and small businesspeople bankrupted by exorbitant charges on gas and electrical use and regional neighborhood federations.  The widespread growth of job actions among public sector employees points to a general strike.

The regressive assault on long-term social legislation in Brazil immediately followed the thinly disguised capitalist coup.  The ousting of President Rousseff has provoked street demonstrations, led by the huge rural landless workers movement (MST), the confederation of industrial and service workers (CUT), social movements of the homeless workers and the recipients of Lula’s poverty programs.  New revelations, based on taped conversations among the coup plotters reveal their plans to oust the incumbent President Rousseff in order to derail official investigations into their own corruption scandals.  This has enraged the general public.

With the initial take-over, the Brazilian political-financial elite has prepared to launch its full-scale reversal of pensions and employment laws and wage guarantees.  The pro-business leadership plans to slash corporate and wealth taxes and to appoint business executives to all leading ministries.  The deep corruption scandal and the mass demonstrations suggest the rightwing power grab may not survive.

The regressive offensive in Venezuela has severely crippled the national economy and deeply eroded living standards of the vast majority of the working class.  The rightist Congress, backed by the US and allied with international mass media, industry and multinational banks, are trying to force the resignation of Socialist President Maduro.

Maduro has declared a state of emergency and mobilized the armed forces.  He  called on the military and popular militia to defend the constitutional order and has threatened to mobilize the workers to “take control of the means of production”.  Still, the leftist government vacillates over arming the militias and workers.   A wide gap remains before the word and the deed.

In the meantime Venezuela’s right wing and left-wing mass mobilizations face each other in the streets seething with class hatred and waiting to engage in a decisive confrontation.  The military thus far remains constitutionalist and on the side of the elected president.

In South Africa, the corrupt pro-business ANC led by President Zuma (image right) murdered dozens of striking mine workers.  It has impoverished millions of shantytown residents, while increasing the wealth and power of the black-white elite.  On April 30, 2016, 1.1.million South African activists, including civil society and community organizations and trade unions covering the mining, manufacturing and service sectors have organized to form a new confederation linked with informal, unemployed and poor workers.  The South African Workers Summit replaces the moribund and corrupt labor confederation, COSATU, the ‘labor desk’ for the neo-liberal ANC regime.  The new confederation will co-ordinate mass struggles and reclaim social programs as a central part of the anti-capitalist revolution.

In China, the growth and consolidation of the world’s second largest concentration of billionaires has led to the proliferation of large-scale industrial workers’ strikes, walkouts and confrontations with factory bosses, company unions and government officials.  China is becoming the epicenter of Asia’s working class struggles.  Chinese workers have forced the government to investigate and jail over 200,000 corrupt officials, high and low, and to concede substantial wage increases and social compensation to factory workers.  Fearing more social upheaval, China’s billionaires and multi-millionaires have transferred hundreds of billions of dollars of stolen assets abroad in a buying spree of high-end property in the ‘safe’ Anglo-American “heartland” of world reaction.

The continued advance of working class struggles against the public and private oligarchs has forced the Chinese Prime Minister to reform elite privileges and prosecute large-scale banking swindles and illegal seizure of farmland.  Especially important, millions of workers have successfully secured double-digit wage increases and the right to legally live in urban/industrial and construction centers.

As it gains momentum, class struggle in China can become the centerpiece for a wider Asian social transformation and a great leap forward to socialist values.

Conclusion

The Anglo-American drive to establish a global regressive social order has pushed billions of workers on five continents into destitution, insecurity and lifelong exploitation.  The capitalist world rules by fiat and violence, declaring that social regression and worker repression are the ‘wave of the future’. For the elite, the proper order of the universe is being ‘restored’!

In response, new working class organizations have emerged and engage directly to defend their historic social advances and economic rights.

In the course of defending their past progressive social legacy, the new working class militants can clearly see the imperative to challenge and overthrow the entire political and economic order.  From France to Latin America, from China to South Africa, class struggle is defining the present and future of class relations.

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