Friday, January 31, 2014

Ukraine: great concern as fascists squads threaten nuclear plants

I haven't commented until now on the growing conflict in Ukraine because I really don't like either side to begin with but also (and relatedly) because the information arriving is very confuse, with most media reports idealizing their favorite side (the protesters if Western media or the government if Russian and some other media). 

But something that has become clear in the last weeks is that the fascist organization "Right Sector", whose red and black banner has nothing to do with similar designs of Anarchists nor American revolutionary movements, has been getting more and more prominence, much as the Islamist terrorist groups did in Syria. This is a clear signature of the "revolution" not being as popular as it might seem and of foreign powers and special interests financing and promoting at least some elements in it. 

Regardless of who is behind the fascists, one thing is clear: these are a most dangerous phenomenon that must be opposed by all means necessary. Once the fascists are on your side we cannot but oppose you, therefore right now Yanukovich looks as the lesser evil, just as Al Assad is in Syria. 

It is notorious that the street conflict, initially peaceful but soon co-opted by the violent fascist movement, began not on social issues but on the colonialist association treaty that the EU attempted to impose on Ukraine, which was rejected by Kiev. The whole movement has enjoyed the support of the most reactionary of the Western establishment, including US Senator John McCain, as well as German and Polish conservative politicians.

But the most recent developments are extremely worrisome. The fascists have not just assaulted government buildings but are also threatening to take over nuclear power plants, what is an extreme risk for all Europe and the World. Naturally the government has stepped up security in the threatened facilities and so far no incident has been reported but everything seems possible. 

The dangerous situation again highlights how perilous are these sources of energy: in stable times they have already caused two or three extremely poisonous catastrophes but in times of upheaval (and we are in them) the already unaffordable risks become just ridiculously extreme. Nuclear energy is a most real and direct threat to the very existence of Humankind (as well as of many other species).

Sources: Energy News (with links to various media from around the World), Webguerrillero[es] (link 1, link 2).

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Oxfam Report: extreme class inequality

I assume that you have already heard by now of the Oxfam report on economic inequality and some of the outraging factoids it exposes such as a mere 85 individuals having as much wealth as 3.5 billion people, the poorest half of Earth's population.

This bit alone is most revealing, not the less because a typical bourgeois fallacious pretext against socialism is that dividing the wealth of the rich would be pointless, a mere drop in the ocean that would help nobody. The facts exposed by Oxfam totally dismantle this hypocritical claim: just dividing the wealth of those 85 top-tier plutocrats among the World's poor would in fact double the resources of these and that's not mere "peanuts" at all.

Ricardo Fuentes Nieva & Nicholas Galasso. Working for the Few. Political capture and economic inequality. Oxfam 2014 → LINK (freely available in English, French and Spanish). 

But I would like to dig a bit deeper than the usual news outlets. For example, table 1 of the report outlines in terms of owned wealth, the class structure of Earth:
  1. Millionaires (owners of > 1 million USD): 32 million adults (0.7% of the global population). Their shared wealth is 99 trillion (41%).
  2. Other privileged (owners of > 100,000 USD): 361 million adults (7.7% of the global population). Their shared wealth is 102 trillion (42.3%).
  3. Middle classes (owners of > 10,000 USD): 1,066 million adults (13,7%). Their shared wealth is 33 trillions (22.9%). 
  4. Poor classes (owning < 10,000 USD): 3,207 million adults (68.7%). Their shared "wealth" is 7 trillions (3%), averaging a mere 2,183 USD each. 
Naturally the low segment still hides lots of inequality but it is clear that a purely egalitarian division of wealth would get everybody owning more than USD 50,000, so the vast majority of the global population would benefit from such a socialist solution - all the poorest segment (almost 70% of the people) and many among the "middle class" segment have as objective interest the sharing of wealth (and power).

Why don't they often have it as subjective interest? Because of the system's propaganda, naturally. Many have-nothings fear to lose when in fact they can only gain with any sort of socialist change. That is why I think it is most important to expose these facts about social inequality and wealth and power grabbing by the bourgeois elites.

The Oxfam report has many other interesting details, so I encourage everyone to read it in full. However, while I do appreciate the boldness of this charity, which has always been quite outspoken (unlike so many other similar entities), I cannot but shake my head in disapproval on their "good will" recommendations for the mega-rich. Are they serious? Why would they even listen? Isn't it painfully obvious that they are doing only what benefits themselves with total disregard for Humankind as a whole? 

These facts can only lead to one conclusion: open your eyes, sharpen your pitchfork, get organized and let us change the socio-economical order in a revolutionary way. Let's do it now: it is about time!

Blogging and blog continuity

After my blogging vacations, I've been recovering my activity in both blogs but I had no clear yet how was I going to deal with this blog, the political one.

I believe that I have reached some sort of balance already: I am only commenting on really big things and filtering off a lot of interesting stuff that I just don't have enough time to dedicate, unless this was a paid job (and even then). The filter implies geographical inequality (I have some more intense focus on the Basque Country, then in Europe or the Euro-Mediterranean region and then on the rest of the World) but what I get to mention depends also of its intrinsic relevance, what is admittedly a subjective judgment.

So the blog continues but with less content. Hopefully, as I get attuned, quality of the content will also improve but it's not always easy with such a dynamic reality and the almost excessive amount of information we get on daily basis.

Additionally I have begun a column in English language on Basque news at Borroka Garaia Da! The first instance was published a few days ago → LINK.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Mexico exploding: Army and narcos join forces against popular self-defense, several killed

Mexico is a boiling cauldron about to explode. In fact it is exploding as I write this. After two successive fraudulent Presidential elections and the absolute "colombianization" of the country at the hands of US-sponsored mafias, with full connivance of the Mexican state, the whole country is in deep unrest. Last year alone there were more and more numerous protests, often with violent clashes, than in the whole previous decade, in several states guerrillas are active again. 

One of the hot spots is Michoacán, just West of Mexico City. In this state the citizenry, absolutely fed up by the violent chaos caused by the mafias and the passivity or outright collaboration of the state apparatus, has organized its own militia, the so-called autodefensas, to fight against the mafias, notably the Knight Templars cartel. 

Some autodefensas with their main ideologue, Dr. Mireles

This week the Mexican state showed its true face by sending the Army against the popular militias and shooting indiscriminately against the unarmed populace. The information is confuse but at least five people have been killed, one of them an 11 years-old girl. 

A militiaman killed by the Army in Antúnez
Among the reports, it has become evident that the Army is actively collaborating with the Knight Templars narcos. In the town of Antúnez (Parácuaro, a Templar stronghold), the army shot against unarmed civilians, injuring at least 11, but they also observed, tolerated and supported direct armed attacks by the mafia. A local militiaman declared:
"They [the Templars] shot us with an RPG, a Chinese baton, that barrickade was destroyed by the impact but the comrades managed to escape and thanks God there were no casualties".

Both attacks [one by the Army and the other by the mafiosi], he states, were witnessed by a military helicopter, which flied over the area without intervening in defense of the citizenry.

"And the soldiers, instead of landing to support us, are flying over the area with their guns drawn, civilians are scared".

Whatever happens it is clear that the autodefensas will not give up arms: too many abuses in the past and the fear of revenge in the future absolutely impede such an outcome. 

In fact they area already taking over other towns, such as Coahuayana.

Source[es]: Webguerrillero (link 1, link 2, link 3, link 4, link 5, link 6, link 7, link 8).

Update (Jan 16): The Mexican Army is sending heavy armored vehicles to Michoacán to protect the narcos and fight against the popular self-defense militias. Video:

Update (Jan 17):

Unarmed autodefensas and civilians effectively blocked the Mexican Army from entering Buenavista after funeral for Alfredo López Flores, killed by the Army in Nueva Italia.

The militia of Michoacán claims to have 25,000 armed members.

Source: WG[es] (link 1, link 2, link 3).

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Massive demo takes over Bilbao: solidarity with prisoners in spite of imposed silence

Even if the whole scheme of the protest and even its slogan had to be changed, some 130,000 Basque citizens (110,000 according to police) marched through Bilbao in solidarity with Basque prisoners. 

It is true that the slogan had been changed in a last minute political maneuver to dribble the Inquisition and content the bourgeois regionalist forces but it is also true that, even if the demo was meant to be silent, people continuously chanted slogans of solidarity with the Basque prisoners. 

While the mouthpiece of the Basque Nationalist Left, Naiz Info, censors the actual disruption of the alleged "silent" character of the march, Berria is more straightforward and actually reports how the citizenry continuously cried in solidarity with the prisoners, with phrases like the persistent "Euskal presoak etxera!" (Basque prisoners back home!

Also there were many of the censored "drop" icons present, as well as banners reading a sarcastic "Eskerrik asko Velasco" (Thank you Velasco, in reference to the inquisitor who banned the drop on drop demo).

As the politicians left the scene, the masses sang a popular song in demand of repatriation and amnesty for prisoners. Chorus follows:

Zai dago ama, zai aita
zai andre ta lagunak
hator, hator Euskadira,
hator, hator etxera.

Mother awaits, father awaits,
wife and friends await too.
Come, come to the Basque Country,
come, come back home.

Sources: personal reports, Naiz Info[es], Berria[eu].

Update: Castilian counter-information site La Haine has some details that apparently Basque media decided to ignore, as well as a good photo and video report.

"Basque prisoners and refugees back home"

They underline the important internationalist presence in the demo, particularly from other areas oppressed by the Spanish monarchy and the French republic.

Internationalist group with Castilian and Corsican banners

They also mention that, after the end of the legal demo, a spontaneous one marched through the Old Quarter behind a large banner demanding amnesty:

Also pamphlets were thrown around with the text:

Argala 1979-2014. 35 years later, against bourgeoisie's fascism and mendacity of socialdemocracy. Formation and organization of Basque workers in support of revolutionary struggle.

Argala was an ETA activist of the 1970s, master tactician of the attack against Franco's right hand Carrero-Blanco, and one of the most important Communist ideologues of the late 20th century. You can read some of his thoughts here.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Basque Country: the Inquisition against the Prisoners Solidarity Movement

Calling for the human tide in Bilbao
A demonstration was called for today in Bilbao. Drop on drop (tantaz tanta) a huge human tide was expected to coalesce today in this city for the rights of Basque prisoners, notably against dispersion.

However the Spanish Inquisition (Audiencia Nacional) has been working hard for it not to happen. 

Step 1: police raids against prisoners' interlocutors

Raid in Bilbao: Mikel Almandoz is arrested
To begin with, on Wednesday, the political tribunal created by Franco to protect the adepts and attack the dissidents, ordered the raid of the office of attorney Arantza Zuluaga in Bilbao, the one of Jon Enparantza in Hernani, as well as of several private homes through the country. Eight people were arrested: Jon Enparantza, Aintzane Orkolaga Aitziber Sagarminaga, Jose Campo, Egoitz López de Lacalle, Mikel Almandoz and Asier Aranguren. 

These are members of a larger group formed a year ago to promote dialogue between Basque political prisoners and the wider society, here and through the World. 

Step 2: violent repression of the protests

The victim of police brutality
The Western Basque autonomous government unleashed its police forces to brutally repress the solidarity with the arrested. 

In Bilbao the police forces under control of the bourgeois regionalists (EAJ-PNV) charged against the people concentrated in Elkano Street, beating a young man so badly that he lost consciousness. 

As usual, they arrested him after that and he was charged with arbitrary accusations (aggression, insults and resistance).

Step 3: prohibition of the human tide

Yesterday inquisitor Eloy Velasco, the same judge directing the rally against the prisoners' interlocutors, declared the demonstration illegal and ordered the various police forces to act accordingly. 

Step 4: the demonstration is recycled to include the bourgeois regionalists

I'm going... or maybe not
The organizers of the Tantaz Tanta human tide decided to obey the inquisitorial ruling in order to prevent the predictable police violence. EAJ-PNV's Interior Councilor J. Erkoreka had not declared publicly how police would behave in case the protest would go ahead but I'm guessing he probably made the message known in private somehow: repression would ensue. 

Instead the major political forces EH Bildu and EAJ-PNV (and their Navarrese sidekick Geroa Bai), along with the major worker unions LAB and ELA, decided to call a joint demonstration half an hour later with a very different slogan: Human Rights, Solution, Peace.

I must say that I'm not going to march along the same elements who implement Spanish inquisitorial repression in this country (EAJ-PNV). While the most read slogan all around is "Ni banoa!" (I'm going), I really do not feel like going at all.

Sources[eu/es]: Naiz Info (link 1, link 2, link 3, link 4, link 5, link 6, link 7), Berria (link 1, link 2), BDG!

Also: the first-person story of January 8th raids and police takeover of Basque-Brazilian R. Tsavvko can be read (in Portuguese) at his blog (with photos and video). He seems aware that he only got away, after yelling to military police to go away, because he has a foreign passport. It is in any case an interesting first hand report of the quotidian brutality of occupation and repression in this little country.

Spain: class riots in Burgos and Melilla

The rather conservative city of Burgos has been burning these days as the citizenry of the popular neighborhood of Gamonal rejected the bourgeois plans to build a new boulevard and underground parking, rift with arbitrariness and likely corruption.

Clashes between police and protesters extended for hours.


Update: 17 arrested in Burgos → Naiz Info[es].

Update (Jan 12): more riots this morning in demand of the freedom of those arrested → Naiz Info[es].

Update (Jan 12): 23 people were arrested (11 of them minors) in this second night of fire in Burgos, 12 people are reported injured → Sare Antifaxista[es].

In the colonial enclave of Melilla (Rif, North Africa) several working class neighborhoods rioted (again) against brutal unemployment. 

Police charged with everything including massive amounts of tear gas, which entered the homes threatening the lives of children. 

Also there seems to have been an incident with live fire. Someone may have shot against police with a functional automatic gun. Although nobody was injured a bullet was found embedded in the shield of a riot police agent. 


Friday, January 10, 2014

Europe against democracy from Athens to Hamburg

Two important European cities are this week under exceptional regimes that allow police to exert the most indiscriminate kind of repression and impede citizens from expressing their discontent. 

As I mentioned recently, important areas of the city-state of Hamburg have been declared "danger zone" by police, allowing themselves to search and arrest at whim, just like under Hitler, and also to use all kind of indiscriminate violence against the population.

Meanwhile in Athens, the EU summit serves as pretext for a similar suppression of democracy, forbidding all kind of demonstrations and unleashing the dogs with no restrictions. 

In Hamburg, police is pressing physicians in order to keep the number of victims of police brutality hidden from public scrutiny. Some physicians have however denounced that nearly all people suffering from server injuries are civilians, victims of the most brutal police repression the city has seen in many decades.

In Athens, the situation is similar. A demonstration was called on Wednesday in spite of the arbitrary governmental prohibition and police charged with all they could. 

Whoever still believes that EU means democracy is radically wrong. 

Source: Webguerrillero[es] (link1, link2, link3).

Update: Thousands join pillow protest against fascist regime in Hamburg.

Here in Bilbao there's also a lot of ongoing repression but I'll write about it tomorrow.

Updadate (Jan 11): "Danger zone" status finally lifted, except for three islet areas around police stations (→ WG[es]).

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Hamburg under martial law

Central districts of Hamburg (St. Pauli, Altona and Sternschanze) have been officially declared as "danger zones", giving police exceptional unlimited powers of search and arrest.

The pretext for this militarization of the city is the popular resistance to the eviction of the occupied social center Rote Flora, which has resulted in huge demonstrations and widespread grassroots activism. 

On December 21st, 500 civilians and 120 police agents were injured in the clashes that followed the brutal repression of an initially peaceful demonstration. Since then popular self-defense groups numbering the hundreds patrol those areas and have attacked police stations and patrols (doubtful, probable police propaganda). The number of political prisoners for this escalation is already of at least 30.

Source: Webguerrillero[es].

One of the several videos of the December 21st clashes you can find online:

Update: attacks to police stations almost certainly false.

Sare Antifaxista reports (on German sources) that not a single piece of evidence of the existence of such reported attacks exists, in spite of all police stations having many security cameras. It seems to be just a pretext to crush human rights and popular resistance.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Revolutionary anniversaries in a time of much needed revolutions

January 1st, Roman New Year, was at least in two occasions much more than a mere holiday of hangovers and good wishes.

55 years ago, before dawn, dictator Flugencio Batista cowardly fled Cuba after a last hypocritical harangue to his forces to resist to the last man (not him, of course). The Communist forces led by Castro, Cienfuegos and Che, among others, had managed to win a relatively quick guerrilla war an establish a provisional government in Santiago.

The Freedom Caravan, led by Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos reached Havana almost unopposed on January 8th. Since then Red Cuba has been a key reference and support for the revolutionaries of America, Africa and even Europe. It is almost certain that the Apartheid regime of South Africa would have never yielded would not have been for the determined Cuban support for the armed resistance in the region, which had inflicted the racist regime key defeats that did not allow its continuity.

Whatever criticisms we may have for some aspects of the Cuban regime (too deeply rooted in Leninism, with Stalinist undertones, to be a perfect model) it is clear that it is fresh and genuine enough to persist in spite of the imperialist blockade and rather futile agitation. Not just its citizens know well that they are much better off in Havana than in the heartless capitalism of Miami or New York but its international network has been growing rapidly in the last decades, as more and more American countries decide that the only logical way to go is to develop some sort of socialism and join forces against the Empire of Evil. 

I am too young, even if I'm getting already quite old, to remember that glorious epic of 1959, but I'm old enough to remember that other epic uprising of January 1st 1994, when a bunch of Mayas with poor armament managed to effectively hit by surprise the Mexican Army and create an standoff that forced D.F. to negotiate, which was all they could hope for. 

Most importantly the Zapatista uprising, still alive and well, induced a deep reconsideration of the potential forms of Communism in a time when the old Stalinist regimes of the Fordist disciplinary era had collapsed. On one side the classical communitarian, grassroots democratic, essence of original Communism was rescued within the renewed traditions of a People still largely uncorrupted by the godform Money, on another, the issue of Native peoples, of people-nations as opposed to the self-proclaimed nation-states (enemy of the nation-peoples) was brought to the forefront with such an uprising that in essence demanded total democracy, free from the oppressor neocolonial state and free from the exploiter dictatorship of private property. They also had to reconsider some of their own traditions (revolutions always affect society) and accept equal standing for men and women for example, something they did without second thoughts, very bravely. 

Sadly Mexico overall has not yet been able to ride the Zapatista wave and has instead declined in a spiral of Capitalist corruption, mafioso violence and robbed elections. These of course lead nowhere and eventually the North American republic will have to go through the unavoidable process of a true revolution. Social conflict, sometimes armed but mostly in terms of massive demonstrations, has been growing exponentially in Mexico the last year. The decision by the second illegitimate President in a row to privatize the oil and energy sectors against the overwhelming popular will is the last atrocity of a regime that seems as corrupt and weak as that of Batista six decades ago.

It seems clear to me that something big will happen in Mexico soon. There are no alternatives, unless one considers a Mad Max style scenario not just desirable but sustainable. 

There are other hot spots however. Many of them. Last year we saw the popular uprisings in Turkey and Brazil, as well as a popular tide in Egypt that ended up with dubious results (the return of Mubarakism) which are almost certainly untenable. Other hot spots coming from further back are Greece, Spain (notably Andalusia), Tunisia, etc. 

I don't realistically expect (but who can be "realistic" in the midst of this decadent Chaos?) many revolutions to happen this very year but I would expect some of them to take place in the upcoming years indeed, certainly within a decade. Consciousness and organization is not yet mature enough in most places, but both are clearly growing everywhere.

Also entropy is increasing very fast as this late decadent Capitalism becomes financier and therefore empty of any substance, eroding fast its own foundations, which are nothing but the ability to create some social stability and well being, building a social consensus on that. 

I must mention, of course, the unprecedented massive uncontrollable environmental catastrophe of Fukushima, which is poisoning Earth and especially the North Pacific Ocean with growing amounts of radioactive pollution. This is just part of the generalized environmental catastrophe that the irrational "growth" doctrine is causing all around and that threatens our very continuity as species, as well as that of many other innocent species caught in our destructive dynamics. 

"Growth" can only happen at the expense of something, Thermodynamics dictates, and these hidden costs are every day more obvious and threatening. We must change radically if we are to survive our own madness. 

I must mention also the growing disbelief of the peoples. Yesterday I read that more than 50% of Canadians think that the 9-11 attacks were self-inflicted, the figure is only slightly smaller in the USA. You can't deceive everyone forever, Uncle Sam. Worse: you have critically eroded with such blatant lies the much needed trust required to rule. You have shot yourself on the foot and now you can barely stand on crutches. 

There are other reasons for such distrust: the bourgeois regimes rely on the existence of a wide cushion of "middle classes", most of them workers with a decent pay and decent labor conditions. These "middle classes" have been demolished. It's not just downward mobility but actually collapse into outright poverty, being unable to pay their survival costs. In Britain tens of thousands have to choose between heating or food, what puts their very lives at risk, in the USA they struggle badly to reach the end of the month. This does not affect a few anymore but it is becoming generalized. 

I have also to consider the untenable situation of Europe, or more precisely the European Union. It will collapse. There's no way forward and everybody is looking outright desperate, withing the Eurozone and outside of it. However there is a serious danger of fascist manipulation of the popular anger and despair and it is clear that the Capitalist elites are trying to elicit this new fascism in order to defend their ill-gotten gains. 

But there are two key differences between the present crisis and that of the 1930s:

On one side, we are not anymore in the Fordist disciplinary paradigm, which created classical fascism as well as Stalinism, but in the much more chaotic Toyotist one in which leadership and vertical hierarchies are weak and not really respected. Capitalism, like Midas, corrupts all it touches and the corpse of Absolutism and Catholic Propaganda, on which fascism was built has long been buried so stinky it had become. The paradigm of today's fascism is Honduras and it is a mere mafioso catastrophe, not the Mussolinian vertical "New Deal", which is impossible now because Capitalism declared long ago social welfare obsolete and undesirable. So today's fascism has nothing to offer but mafioso violence and arbitrariness, something clearly insufficient to rule a society.

On the other side, this crisis is in almost everything much more comparable to the crisis of the Ancien Régime in the late 18th century. It was a persistent, seemingly unsolvable, crisis with a strong financial slant caused by the extreme privileges of the ruling classes (or castes), who accumulated nearly all the wealth but paid almost no taxes. That is exactly what happens nowadays. Like then, the privileged elites control the state apparatuses blocking any reforms that may even slightly threaten their wealth and power and promoting even more suicidal "reforms" that only increase the wealth gap and impose most of the taxes (often feudal-like tariffs like electricity prices of private de-facto monopolies) on a growingly impoverished populace. 

Such extreme situation can't but explode. And it will no doubt. The question is when and how. We are all part of this unstable equation, ruled only now by the unpredictable laws of Chaos. We can all therefore impel, if Fortune smiles upon us, a butterfly effect of radical consequences, or be part of it. 

Contrary to Fukuyama's fallacy, History is happening now and it is at least to some extent in our humble hands. Let's not lose hope, let's get ready for the great changes we have to be part of. 

Best wishes in this new year. Be strong, be smart, be radical!