By John Catalinotto
On June 28 just a century ago, Gavrilo Princip, a 19-year-old patriot from the oppressed nation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, assassinated Archduke Ferdinand of Austria. Ferdinand was the symbol of the tyrannical rule of the decadent Habsburg Empire over Princip’s country.
The militarist rulers in Vienna, the capital of the empire, seized on the assassination in Sarajevo as a pretext to declare war on Serbia. This decree essentially launched what was to become World War I. That terrible slaughter killed 20 million people, mostly European workers and farmers.
This is the centennial of the war’s start and the corporate media have already begun to distort the history of the event. The goal is to deflect blame for the disaster away from the capitalist ruling classes, especially in the imperialist countries, whose oppressive and exploitative system made the war inevitable.
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — WHEN I chose to disclose classified information in 2010, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others. I’m now serving a sentence of 35 years in prison for these unauthorized disclosures. I understand that my actions violated the law.
However, the concerns that motivated me have not been resolved. As Iraq erupts in civil war and America again contemplates intervention, that unfinished business should give new urgency to the question of how the United States military controlled the media coverage of its long involvement there and in Afghanistan. I believe that the current limits on press freedom and excessive government secrecy make it impossible for Americans to grasp fully what is happening in the wars we finance.
It’s ridiculous that EU officials express ‘shocked’ at the fact that a Ukrainian warplane was shot down and soldiers that came to kill were killed instead. The mere prospect that if you come to kill and wage war — you can be killed — seems as if something unreal.
But the same officials never expressed ‘shock’ at airstrikes and shelling of residential areas and schools, the Odessa massacre, or the killing of civilians in Slavyansk. Again it’s the same (actually dehumanising of some people) point of view — there are people and ‘terrorists’ (even if the ‘terrorists’ are the majority of the population in a certain region).
— Dmitry Kolesnik via Facebook
With these words, we repeat what is written by children on the walls of their destroyed homes in Slavyansk and other towns and villages in the vast region of South-East Ukraine, which is subject to constant attacks from the Ukrainian army and right-wing militants. Their call sounds now worldwide: “Save the people of Donbass!” “Stop the war!” “Do not let them kill us!”
We know that many in Europe see Ukraine as a European country. Why then does the European Union allow Ukrainian military aircraft to bomb the center of Lugansk, killing civilians near the regional administration building? Why have Ukrainian planes and helicopters bombed the city of Donetsk, population 1 million, which recently took in tourists from all over the world during the European football championship? Do they know that the airport named for the composer Prokofiev, in which they arrived, no longer exists — it was destroyed as a result of air strikes?
Why haven’t they investigated the tragedy of Odessa, where a month ago more than 50 people were burned alive, surrounded by ultra-Nazi football fans, who had been brought there specifically by the oligarchs and Kiev authorities to spread intimidation? Why was there no reaction to the executions of people in the center of Mariupol and Krasnoarmeysk, where oligarch Igor Kolomoisky rushed in right-wing paramilitary groups to intimidate the population?
Why doesn’t the tragedy of Krasny Liman, where the army shot up hospitals and kindergartens, cause the international community to impose sanctions against the illegal regime in Kiev, which came to power in a bloody coup? Why is this regime allowed to turn off the water supply to the cities of Donbass? Why are government security services permitted to abduct innocent people critical of the government, which no one has elected? Why do we have in Ukraine a repetition of the bloody conflicts in Yugoslavia, Libya, Syria and African countries?
Turning to the international community, we demand immediate action to make the Ukrainian authorities cease fire in the civil war and pull back its troops from the front lines. We caution that if the conflict continues, it will lead to mass death of civilians and a humanitarian catastrophe. Responsibility for it falls not only on the illegitimate Ukrainian government, but also on those abroad who are now looking indifferently at the suffering and death of our fellow citizens. The war will expand, covering new regions of Ukraine and destabilizing the situation in the whole of Europe. The consequences of an escalation of the conflict in this region can’t be predicted.
We demand the world act — and now. We are waiting for the international community to respond effectively to what is happening in Ukraine, and what was going on here in recent months. We demand that the bombing and shelling of civilian towns, that has happened here for the first time since the Nazi occupation and the end of World War II, be stopped immediately, and for guarantees of protection against new attacks by the Ukrainian rightists. We ask that progressive and democratic organizations and anti-war movements, and all honest caring people of the European Union and the United States, demand real efforts to stop the war.
Do not let them kill us and our fellow citizens, leaving our home in ruins. Do not allow them to continue the war. World, stop the war in Ukraine – right now!
Union Borotba (Struggle)
By Meredith Aby-Keirstead
President Obama announced May 27, that by 2015 the U.S. will have 9,800 troops in Afghanistan and that by the end of 2016 the U.S. will leave troops to guard the U.S. embassy in Kabul.
The next day when Secretary of State John Kerry was interviewed by Chuck Todd on MSNBC, Todd pointed out that “there’s eight more years of that agreement, and the next president, without the authorization of Congress, without seeking new permission from Afghanistan, could end up sending more troops back in” and Kerry agreed that it is possible that the U.S. could send in more troops. He was quick to point out that that decision would be made under a different administration though.
While the President’s speech focused on how the U.S. is changing its operation in Afghanistan, many in the anti-war movement see the speech as a political smokescreen for the U.S. continuing its war and occupation of the country.
US Secretary of State John Kerry says “all options” are on the table against Venezuela days after a US Senate panel approved the imposition of sanctions on the Latin American country.
During his first visit to Mexico as the US secretary of state which was aimed at increasing educational ties between the two countries, Kerry spoke forcefully on Wednesday about the recent political unrest in Venezuela, saying the US is losing patience with the Venezuelan government.
“All options remain on the table at this time with hopes to move this process forward,” Kerry said in Mexico City. “Our hope is that sanctions won’t be necessary.”
Kerry, Obama and Congress support fascist war against the people of Venezuela and Ukraine.
By Bill Dores
The Soviet Union no longer exists. The Russian Federation is not socialist. But the U.S. military and political establishment is deliberately provoking confrontation with the largest former Soviet republic. The corporate-owned media are egging it on.
What drives this seemingly irrational course of action is the same thing that drove the President George W. Bush regime to invade Iraq in 2003: financial need. And cold economic calculation.
Not the financial need of the hungry and homeless, of the millions who need jobs at living wages, of those who can’t pay their rent or mortgage or must choose between heating and eating.
It’s the financial need of giant banks and corporations to pump up their profits, stock prices and the value of their invested capital amid a global economic slowdown caused by capitalist overproduction.
I was watching “12 Years a Slave” with my almost 11 year old son yesterday, and within minutes of watching the movie he begged me to switch it off, specifically, during the scene where the lead character, Solomon Northup, wakes up to find himself shackled and whipped into enslavement. Although my son has a higher tolerance for TV violence than I do, he was particularly distressed by this scene, or to quote his words “disturbed because he was being forced against his will and I put myself in his place. I can handle violence but not slavery”.
It got me thinking about how justice is not merely experienced rationally, but also originates in our emotions and intuition which we express as moral outrage. It also reminded me how justice-seeking, compassion and outbursts of moral indignation are defining features of childhood which society—capitalism specifically—tries to control and harness as we grow up through various mechanisms. Emotional/intuitive justice is eclipsed by purely rational, western liberal notions of justice as “fairness” as found in “procedural” justice.
The mechanisms capitalism employs to enforce this shift include western theories of “human nature” which perpetuate the myth that the default human character is one marked by aggression, the hunger for power and self-interest, and is hence, naturally disinclined to social and economic justice, and requires hegemonic political power to restrain it.
Another mechanism is the psycho-pathologization of justice-seeking behaviour and the refusal to submit to domination, by branding them “disorders” like “anti-social personality disorder” and “oppositional defiant disorder,” whose hallmark “symptoms” are the “failure to conform” to social and political norms and in the case of the latter, “arguing” and “anger”.
The mainstream media is also guilty of disabling our gut reaction to injustice. Western media coverage of imperialist military aggression and political domination serve to at once justify and rationalize these injustices while desensitizing us to the suffering of their victims. It also achieves this by dismissing anti-imperialist leaders as demagogues who command “personality cults”, and in so doing, reducing the just causes they represent to the irrational impulses of the raucous mob.
Our inherent sense of justice is also stifled by western academic standards which require “emotional distance/detachment” in the social sciences, so that we are forced to adopt neutral positions in the face of gross social and political injustices. Thus for example, intellectuals who decry the injustices of American and Israeli aggression and occupation are discredited as “emotional”, while those who publish papers on how best to secure US “national interests” are deemed “scholarly”. In this manner, works guided by notions of naked self-interest and brute power are elevated to the status of “knowledge” while those guided by a social conscience are stigmatized as irrational rambling.
As people who pursue justice, we should always strive to naturalize moral outrage, by inculcating it in our children and refusing to be stigmatized medically or professionally for expressing it. We must work hard to retain those child-like outbursts of moral outrage which are the essence of our humanity.