Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sadly Ordinary Dishonesty - Photographs and Lies

Many thanks for this small gem from Caleb Maupin from Cleveland, Ohio. There is a link to Caleb's blog at the left, or just click here.

A new anti-communist "history" book claims to tell of the horrors of Mao Zedong's "Great Leap Forward" and how it was not a bad economic policy, but an evil genocide against his own people. The cover photo is above. It features what is supposed to be a child starving under Mao's brutal famine.

Here's a closer look:

And this is the photo from Life Magazine, which was used. The photo in Life Magazine is dated in 1946. How did Mao starve this child, when he did not even come to power until 1949? How does this photograph have ANYTHING to do with the "Great Famine" of the early 1960s?

But remember, anyone who questions the narrative of "Mao was another Hitler" is just a lying Communist. Right?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Australian Parliament "debates" Afghanistan war

(Above, Malalai Joya speaking in Canada in 2009)

It is shameful that it has taken the Australian Parliament so long to “debate” Australian involvement in the war in Afghanistan.

I deliberately enclose the word “debate” in quotation marks because the bipartisan approach of the nearly indistinguishable Coalition and Labor parties renders any chance of real debate impossible.

The honourable exception of the Greens and certain independent politicians is recognised.

Australian troops are part of an occupation rabble that oppresses the people of Afghanistan and denies them their freedom and independence.

The Karzai regime comprises murderers, drug lords and fundamentalists. The so-called elections that justify this regime are a joke.

The calls for talks with the hated Taliban, resulting from the current military impasse, shows the moral bankruptcy of our commitment to this war.

I wonder if any Coalition (Liberal-National) or Labor parliamentarian has read the book Raising My Voice, by Malalai Joya?

Malalai Joya, now 32, was the youngest woman elected to the Afghan Parliament in 2005. Faced with threats of death, and expelled from the Parliament for speaking out against the regime’s continuing oppression of women, she declined to contest this year’s elections.

Her book is available in Australian bookstores. If you put "Joya" into the search engine above left, you will get to my review of it.

Speaking in Adelaide on March 13, 2007, Joya said that “no nation can donate liberation to another nation. Liberation is not money to be donated; it should be achieved in a country by the people themselves.”

In her book, she states that the “real purpose” behind the so-called war on terror is “for the United States and its allies to establish permanent bases to serve their strategic aims…They would like to stay in Afghanistan forever, so they can keep military bases and a presence in the region…to counteract China’s influence in particular. The superpowers would prefer to keep the situation unstable so they can stay indefinitely and use and occupy our country as part of a big chess game” (p. 237-8).

Sohaila, another young Afghan woman who spoke in Adelaide on August 8, 2007, and Suraya Pakzad, who spoke here earlier this year, have also condemned the anti-democratic, anti-women and corrupt Karzai regime.

Newspaper headlines depict us as somehow bravely refusing to “abandon” the people of Afghanistan by committing our troops for another ten years. We must reject the framing of the debate on Afghanistan in these terms.

Parliamentarians must have the courage to reject the simplistic nonsense of “staying the course”, of remaining “until the job is done”.

The people of Afghanistan want us out of their country. They have good leaders and great representatives who are more than capable of mobilising popular support for a democratic, secular and independent nation.

The efforts of those people are hindered by our presence as an unwanted army of occupation.

Politicians in this country must reject the easy populism of “We won’t abandon Afghans”.

Uphold the call of the Malalai Joyas of Afghanistan:

The emancipation of Afghan women is not attainable as long as the occupation, Taliban and “National Front” criminals are not sacked!

(Statement of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) on the International Women’s Day, March 8, 2010).

Monday, October 04, 2010

Community fights Labor budget cuts

SA public sector unions and community organisations are continuing their campaign to fight attacks on job security and conditions, including changes to long service leave and holiday leave loading. The video below shows a part of a rally called by the Public Service Association last week. Another rally is to be held this Friday, with yet another planned for October 14.

We reprint also an analysis of the SA Budget by Nick G in the October edition of Vanguard, organ of the CPA (M-L).

SA State Budget Report

Nick G

South Australian Labor’s experiment with outsourcing its Budget preparations has failed the test of community interest, according to SA public sector unions.

Treasurer Kevin Foley set up a Sustainable Budget Commission (SBC) in June 2009 to identify public sector programs and services that could be cut.

The Commission has been chaired by Geoff Carmody, a former Federal Treasury official who co-founded Access Economics and campaigned strongly against the Rudd Government’s abortive Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme and in favour of a carbon consumption-based emissions trading scheme. The latter was designed to reduce carbon costs to Australian businesses by transferring costs, for example for coal, to places of consumption, largely offshore.

Carmody was assisted by Bruce Carter, Jennifer Westacott and the heads of the Departments of Premier and Treasury. Monsignor David Cappo, the state’s Social Inclusion Commissioner was thrown in to add a gloss of superficial decency to the process.

Who are Carter and Westacott? Carter was the head of WorkCover SA who presided over savage cuts to injured workers’ entitlements before becoming Chairman of the SA Economic Development Board and the Olympic Dam Task Force. He’s a bean counter and one of Rann’s favourite intermediaries between SA government and business.

Westacott is a senior partner at multinational giant KPMG which sells financial services and taxation advice to governments and the big end of town.

Foley: let private sector dictate public sector terms

Normally we would describe capitalist governments as mere executive committees of the bourgeoisie; in this case, government has created its own budgetary executive of bourgeois elements.

Normally we would see the social democratic variant of capitalist government protecting and extending wages and working conditions in the public sector to gain some leverage over private employers as a trade-off for the electoral support of the extended working class.

However, SA Treasurer Foley has inverted that relationship too, justifying the formation of the SBC in these terms: “Workers at big firms such as Holdens have seen their salaries cut as shifts are reduced, workers in other industries have seen their pay frozen and unfortunately other workers have lost their jobs. I don’t think it is unreasonable for the public sector to show restraint and reflect what is the reality for many South Australian workers.”

In other words, for Foley and the SBC, it is appropriate that the private sector dictates the terms and conditions for public sector employment. In so doing, it attacks private sector workers by depriving them of any comparative arguments for increases in wages and conditions.

One union official commented to Vanguard that “When Foley established the SBC, he linked it to the plight of workers at big firms like Holdens”.

“This was his justification for reducing services offered by the public sector and for attacking the wages and conditions of public service workers.

“However, SA has been a star performer in a strong and resilient Australian economy. Holdens, for example, is expanding production and adding shifts.

“By Foley’s own logic, we should be enjoying an expansionary and stimulus-oriented budget.

“Instead,” she said, “we have a budget in which the community coughs up to pay for further concessions to the big end of town.”

The Property Council of SA’s Justin Hazell, described the Budget as “a big win for the investment sector”. Business SA’s Peter Vaughan endorsed Foley’s strategy, saying “This is an essential move in reflecting the same conditions as those faced by the private sector.”

However, SA Council of Social Services’ Ross Womersley slammed the Budget for attacking low income earners generally. He pointed to motor vehicle licence and registration increases, rising public transport costs, a 25% increase in TAFE fees (already the highest in the country), and the abolition of adult re-entry to schools for persons 21 years of age and older.

And the Commissioner for Social Inclusion? He distanced himself from the SBC’s recommendations and the government’s budgetary decisions, saying that he could not support measures that reduce or diminish services available to vulnerable and disadvantaged persons or that diminish the social fabric of South Australia.

Just to completely endear themselves to South Aussie workers, politicians from both major parties spent budget day rushing through legislation that saw their own rate of superannuation increase from 9% to 15.4%!

Meanwhile, SA public sector unions arranged to meet to discuss a combined response to the issues of job security, long service leave and holiday leave loading for their members.