NEW WORLD ORDER: US loses global credibility (while Israel get´s more zionistic)

Israel’s open and deliberate refusal to do as the US demands over settlements in East Jerusalem reflects Netanyahu’s fundamental opposition to a two-state solution

Uncomfortable at the spectacle of the Obama administration in an open confrontation with the Israeli government, Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman – who represents the interests of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party on Capitol Hill as faithfully as he does those of the health insurance industry – called for a halt. “Let’s cut the family fighting, the family feud,” he said. “It’s unnecessary; it’s destructive of our shared national interest. It’s time to lower voices, to get over the family feud between the US and Israel. It just doesn’t serve anybody’s interests but our enemies’.”

The idea that the US and Israel are “family” with identical national interests is a convenient fiction that Lieberman and his fellow Israel partisans have worked relentlessly to promote – and enforce – in Washington over the past two decades. If the bonds are indeed familial, however, the recent showdown between Washington and the Netanyahu government may be counted as one of those feuds in which truths are uttered in the heat of the moment that call into question the fundamental terms of the relationship. Such truths are never easily swept under the rug once the dispute is settled. The immediate rupture, that is, precludes a simple return to the status quo ante; instead, a renegotiation of the terms of the relationship somehow ends up on the agenda.

Sure, the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government are now working feverishly to find a formula that will allow them to move on from a contretemps that began when the Israelis ambushed Vice-President Joe Biden, announcing plans to build 1,600 new housing units for settlers in occupied East Jerusalem. He was, of course, in Israel to promote the Obama administration’s failing efforts to rehabilitate negotiations toward a two-state peace agreement, a goal regularly spurned by Israel’s continued construction on land occupied in 1967.

Once again, as when Obama demanded a complete settlement freeze from the Netanyahu government in 2009, the Israelis will fend off any demand that they completely reverse their latest construction plans. Instead, they will shamelessly offer to continue their settlement activity on a “don’t-ask-don’t-tell” basis, professing rhetorical support for a two-state solution to placate the Americans, even as they systematically erode its prospects on the ground.

There is, as former Secretary of State James Baker has noted, no shortage of chutzpah in this Israeli government. “United States taxpayers are giving Israel roughly $3bn each year, which amounts to something like $1,000 for every Israeli citizen, at a time when our own economy is in bad shape and a lot of Americans would appreciate that kind of helping hand from their own government,” Baker said in a recent interview. “Given that fact, it is not unreasonable to ask the Israeli leadership to respect US policy on settlements” (1).

Sooner or later, the present imbroglio is likely to be fudged over, but make no mistake, it opened Washington up to a renewed discussion of the conventional wisdom of unconditional support for Israel. It also brought into the public arena the way US administrations over the past two decades have enabled that country’s ever-expanding occupation regime and whether such a policy is compatible with US national interests in the Middle East.

Back in 2006, the foreign policy thinkers John Mearshimer and Stephen Walt provoked a firestorm of ridicule and ad hominem abuse for suggesting in their book, The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy (2), that the goals pursued by the two sides were, in fact, far from identical and often at odds – and that partisans motivated by Israel’s interests lobbied aggressively to skew US foreign policy in their favour. Israel partisans also heaped derision on the suggestion by the Iraq Study Group commissioned by President George W Bush that the US would not be able to achieve its goals in the Middle East without first settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Petraeus weighs in

Response to the reiteration of the idea that Israel’s behaviour might be jeopardising US interests has been strikingly muted by comparison. That’s because it came from General David Petraeus, commander of US Central Command (Centcom), which oversees America’s two wars of the moment. He is the most celebrated US military officer of his generation, and a favourite of those most ferocious of Israel partisans, the neocons.

Petraeus told Senators: “The enduring hostilities between Israel and some of its neighbours present distinct challenges to our ability to advance our interests in [Centcom’s] AOR [Area of Responsibility].” He added, “The conflict foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of US favouritism for Israel. Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of US partnerships with governments and peoples in the AOR and weakens the legitimacy of moderate regimes in the Arab world. Meanwhile, al-Qaida and other militant groups exploit that anger to mobilise support. The conflict also gives Iran influence in the Arab world through its clients, Lebanese Hizballah and Hamas.” He also stressed that “progress toward resolving the political disputes in the Levant, particularly the Arab-Israeli conflict, is a major concern for Centcom.”

Normally, any linkage between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a wave of anti-Americanism in the Muslim world is pooh-poohed by neocons and other Israel partisans. Typically, they will derisively suggest that those who argue for the linkage made by Petraeus are naïve in their belief that al-Qaida would give up its jihad if only Israel and the Palestinians made peace. That, by the way, is a straw-man argument of the first order: the US has done plenty on its own to antagonise the Muslim world, and ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would not in itself resolve that antagonism. The point is simply that a fair solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a necessary, if not sufficient, condition for repairing relations between the US and the citizenry of many Muslim countries.

Abe Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League, who has made a profession of trying to negate the difference between anti-Semitism and criticism of (or hostility to) Israel, gamely ventured that “Gen Petraeus has simply erred in linking the challenges faced by the US and coalition forces in the region to a solution of the Israeli-Arab conflict, and blaming extremist activities on the absence of peace and the perceived US favouritism for Israel”. His conclusion: “This linkage is dangerous and counterproductive” (3).

You can hear the pain in Foxman’s admission that “it is that much more of a concern to hear this coming from such a great American patriot and hero”. That Petraeus chose to make his concerns public at the height of a public showdown between Israel and the US, and to do so on Capitol Hill, where legislators seemed uncertain how to respond, signalled the seriousness of the uniformed military in pressing the issue.
The most powerful lobby

Longtime Washington military and intelligence affairs analyst Mark Perry caught the special significance of this at Foreign Policy’s website: “There are important and powerful lobbies in America: the NRA, the American Medical Association, the lawyers – and the Israeli lobby. But no lobby is as important, or as powerful, as the US military” (4). He noted as well that, in a January Centcom briefing of Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen, Petraeus had evidently suggested the Palestinian territories – over which Israel continues to exercise sovereign military control – be included under Centcom’s area of responsibility, a prospect that would make Israel’s leadership apoplectic.

It’s not that, as far as we know, Petraeus harbours any particular animus, or affection, for the Jewish state. It’s that, in his institutional role as the commander of hundreds of thousands of US troops stationed across what Washington strategists like to call the “arc of instability”, he is concerned about aggravating hostility towards the United States.

The idea that Washington needs to rein in Israeli expansionism and force a political solution to its conflict with the Palestinians is hardly novel for America’s unsentimental men in uniform. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell and former US Mideast envoy General Anthony Zinni, both of whom had their formative experiences of the region in the course of massive US military deployments there, were on the same page as Petraeus is today.

Lieutenant General Keith Dayton is the US officer responsible for creating and training the Palestinian Authority security force that has cracked down on West Bank militants and restrained them from attacking Israel over the past few years. He was no less blunt than Petraeus in a speech in Washington last year. He emphasised the premise on which the force was built, and withstood charges from within its own community that it was simply a gendarmerie for Israel: its soldiers believed themselves to be the nucleus of the army of a future Palestinian state. The loyalty of his men, he warned, should not be taken for granted: “There is perhaps a two-year shelf life on being told that you’re creating a state, when you’re not.”

Vice-President Biden, too, was quoted in the Israeli press as having berated Netanyahu – behind closed doors – over his plans for settlement expansion, warning that it would put at risk the lives of American personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Tough-love solution

In public, of course, Biden offered familiar pablum direct from Joe Lieberman’s “family” album: “From my experience, the one precondition for progress [in the Middle East] is that the rest of the world knows this – there is no space between the US and Israel when it comes to security, none. That’s the only time that progress has been made.”

In fact, the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict suggests that the reverse is true. The origins of the peace process the Obama administration is now trying so desperately to resuscitate do not lie in the unconditional American support for Israel that has become a third rail in national politics over the past two decades. They lie in the national interest based tough love of the administration of President George HW Bush.

Grounded in a realist reading of American national interests across the Middle East – at a moment when a military campaign to eject Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces from Kuwait had put hundreds of thousands of US troops on the ground there – the first Bush administration recognised the need to balance Israel’s reasonable interests with those of its Arab neighbours. That’s why, in 1991, it dragged Israel’s hawkish Likud government under Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir to the Madrid conference, and so broke Israel’s “security” taboo on direct engagement with Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).

The Bush administration also made it clear that there would be immediate and painful consequences for Israel if it continued building settlements on land conquered in the war of 1967, construction which the US was then willing to term not only “unhelpful” – the preferred euphemism of Presidents Bill Clinton, George W Bush and now Barack Obama – but illegal. Under the direction of Bush family consigliere and Secretary of State Jim Baker, Washington threatened to withdraw $10bn in loan guarantees if Israeli colonisation of Palestinian territory continued. In the resulting political crisis, Israelis – mindful of their dependency on US support – voted Shamir out of office and chose Yitzhak Rabin as prime minister.

Rabin has been rightly lionised as a leader who took a courageous decision to change course in the face of bitter domestic opposition. To understand how Israel started down the path of peace, however, it’s necessary to clean the Vaseline off the lens of history and quiet the string section.

Only three years earlier, Rabin had ordered Israeli troops to use baseball bats to break the limbs of stone-throwing teenagers in hopes of stopping the Palestinian intifada. He certainly did not embrace the Oslo peace process with the PLO out of some moral epiphany. He changed course thanks to a cold-blooded assessment of Israel’s strategic position at the time.

The United States then had a growing stake in creating a regional Pax Americana that required Arab support. Given the end of the cold war, Israel’s value as an ally was diminishing, while its expansionist policies, antagonising Arab public opinion and making it more difficult for vulnerable regional governments to ally with Israel’s enabler, were increasingly a liability for Washington.

Rabin had reason to believe that US support for Israel at the expense of its neighbours would prove neither unconditional nor eternal. At the same time, the PLO had been weakened by years of Israeli military attacks and by a disastrous diplomatic blunder – it had aligned itself with Saddam Hussein in the first Gulf war. It was a fortuitous moment, he concluded, to press for a political solution with the Palestinians on favourable terms, by trading the West Bank and Gaza for peace.
Where are the consequences?

Rabin acted because the consequences of maintaining the status quo seemed increasingly unpleasant, which takes nothing away from his courage in doing so. The same could be said for South Africa’s last white president, FW de Klerk. He opted to negotiate an end to apartheid with Nelson Mandela’s ANC because the collapse of the Soviet Union had removed the most persuasive rationale the US and other western powers had for backing his white-rule regime. Similarly, it’s unlikely that the Soviet political system would have put Mikhail Gorbachev in power if the KGB hadn’t determined that far-reaching changes were necessary to prevent Moscow from being eclipsed as a superpower, thanks to western economic and technological advances.

If US pressure and the spectre of isolation and opprobrium pushed Israel onto the path of a two-state solution, the easing of that pressure and the creation of the “familial” notion of US-Israel ties have coincided with a steady movement away from completing the peace process. Even at the height of the Oslo era, coddled by Clinton, the Israelis kept on expanding the settlements that jeopardised geographic prospects for Palestinian statehood.

The Israeli opposition, led by Ariel Sharon and Netanyahu, sought to prove Rabin wrong. They were convinced that American support could be maintained without conceding Palestinian statehood – by making constant end runs around the Oval Office and appealing directly to Capitol Hill and US public opinion.

Sharon and Netanyahu were vindicated in spades when the suicide-terror strategy taken up by the second Palestinian intifada and the attacks of 9/11 led George W Bush’s administration to re-conceptualise the world on the basis of its Global War on Terror. This, in turn, led Washington’s political class to accept Israel not as just another ally in that war, but as a model for how to conduct it.

In the Bush years, the peace process and the two-state solution became a hollow catechism that could be mouthed by Israeli leaders (and their supporters in Washington), while getting on with the task of smashing the Palestinian national movement and expanding settlements. In real terms, the peace process – the series of reciprocal moves designed to build confidence for concluding final status talks and implementing a two-state solution – died when Ariel Sharon came to power in February 2001.
Grand guignol

Even his 2005 withdrawal of Jewish settlements from Gaza was never conceived in terms of a peace process; it wasn’t even negotiated or coordinated with the Palestinian Authority. Sharon, in fact, imagined his unilateral withdrawal as a substitute for a peace agreement. It was designed, as Sharon’s top aide Dov Weissglass so memorably explained, as a dose of “formaldehyde that’s necessary so that there will not be a political process with the Palestinians”.

Despite mounting Arab exasperation, the Bush administration put no pressure on Israel to bring the peace process to a conclusion, limiting itself to the Grand Guignol of the “Annapolis process”. With all external compulsion to conclude a peace agreement removed, domestic political pressure in Israel not surprisingly collapsed as well. The Palestinians were now largely locked behind the vast separation wall that winds through the West Bank and the siege lines of Gaza. Their plight is once again invisible to Israelis, only 40% of whom, when asked by pollsters, even express an interest in seeing the peace process restarted. Only around 20% believe that such a move would bring any results.

“Israel has no real intention of quitting the territories or allowing the Palestinian people to exercise their rights,” wrote Israeli political commentator Gideon Levy in Haaretz on 18 March. “Israel does not truly intend to pursue peace, because life here seems to be good even without it. The continuation of the occupation doesn’t just endanger Israel’s future, it also poses the greatest risk to world peace, serving as a pretext for Israel’s most dangerous enemies. No change will come to pass in the complacent, belligerent and condescending Israel of today.”

The Obama administration can’t be under any illusions on this score. And they are being forced to confront it by another kind of pressure. The bills are coming due for Bush’s War-on-Terror adventurism. Those responsible for maintaining the US imperium in the Muslim world are now raising warning flags that the price to be paid for continuing to indulge Israel in evading its obligation to offer a fair settlement to the Palestinians could be high – and, worse than that, unnecessary.

Israel’s leaders, and its voters, have amply demonstrated that they will not voluntarily relinquish control of the Palestinian territories as long as there are no real consequences for maintaining the status quo. Sure, you can tell them that the status quo is untenable, but the whole history of Israel from the 1920s onward has been about transforming the impossible into the inevitable by changing the facts on the ground. Building settlements on occupied territory in violation of international law after 1967 seemed untenable at the time; today, the US government says Israel will keep most of those major settlement blocs in any two-state solution. It is precisely in line with this sort of improvisational logic that Sharon calculated he could hold on to the settlements of the West Bank if he gave up the settlements of Gaza; the same logic allows Netanyahu to say the words “two states for two peoples” while always winking at his base that he has no intention of allowing it to happen.

A peace process that requires Israel and the Palestinians to reach a bilateral consensus on the distribution of land and power under the prodding of US matchmakers is a non-starter – and therefore unlikely to lead to a goal which is of increasing urgency in America’s national interest. Arguably, it’s increasingly important even for the Israelis, since the status quo has already eroded prospects for a two-state solution to the point where both sides may be consigned to an even longer and more bitter conflict.

Hence the necessity of correcting Vice-President Biden: progress in the Middle East will not come until the US changes Israel’s cost-benefit analysis for maintaining the status quo. The only Israeli leader capable of accepting the parameters of a two-state peace with the Palestinians, which are already widely known, is one who can convincingly demonstrate to his electorate that the alternatives are worse. Right now, without real pressure, without real cost, with nothing but words, there is simply no downside to the status quo for Israel. Until there is, things are unlikely to change, no matter the peril to US troops throughout the Middle East.

Ref: Le Monde

The Obama Deception – The New world Order Puppet

The Obama Deception is a hard-hitting film that completely destroys the myth that Barack Obama is working for the best interests of the American people.
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The Obama phenomenon is a hoax carefully crafted by the captains of the New World Order. He is being pushed as savior in an attempt to con the American people into accepting global slavery.

We have reached a critical juncture in the New World Order’s plans. It’s not about Left or Right: it’s about a One World Government. The international banks plan to loot the people of the United States and turn them into slaves on a Global Plantation.

Covered in this film: who Obama works for, what lies he has told, and his real agenda. If you want to know the facts and cut through all the hype, this is the film for you.

Watch the Obama Deception and learn how:

– Obama is continuing the process of transforming America into something that resembles Nazi Germany, with forced National Service, domestic civilian spies, warrantless wiretaps, the destruction of the Second Amendment, FEMA camps and Martial Law.

– Obama’s handlers are openly announcing the creation of a new Bank of the World that will dominate every nation on earth through carbon taxes and military force.

– International bankers purposefully engineered the worldwide financial meltdown to bankrupt the nations of the planet and bring in World Government.

– Obama plans to loot the middle class, destroy pensions and federalize the states so that the population is completely dependent on the Central Government.

– The Elite are using Obama to pacify the public so they can usher in the North American Union by stealth, launch a new Cold War and continue the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.

http://www.obamaimpeachment.org/

More about the Bilderberger group
Who´s in the Bilderbergergroup?

Journalistic Whores

Bilderberg, at one time or another, has had representatives of all major US and European newspapers and network news outlets attend. High-ranking members of the inadequately named “international free press” attend on their solemn promise to report nothing. This is how Bilderberg keeps its news blackout virtually complete in the United States and Europe.

This year’s invitees included:

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Nicolas Beytout, editor-in-chief of Le Figaro
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Oscar Bronner, publisher and editor of Der Standard
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Donald Graham, chairman of the Washington Post
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Matthias Nass, deputy editor of Die Zeit
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Norman Pearlstine, editor-in-chief of Time
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J. Robert S. Prichard, president and CEO of Torstar Media Group (Toronto Star)
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Cüneyt Ulsevere, columnist for Hürriyet
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John Vinocur, senior correspondent for the International Herald Tribune
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Martin Wolf, associate editor of the Financial Times
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Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International
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Klaus Zumwinkel, chairman of Deutsche Post
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John Micklethwait, US editor of The Economist
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Adrian Wooldridge, Washington correspondent for The Economist

Micklethwait and Wooldridge acted as the meeting’s rapporteurs.

No such thing as United Nations (we need a new world order and UN that does not shame us all!)

I NEVER imagined I would one day agree with that bizarre neoconservative warmonger John Bolton, who was briefly the US ambassador to the United Nations. In 1994, Bolton was quoted as saying “There’s no such thing as the United Nations. If the UN secretary building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference“. I differ from Bolton only on one point. The entire expensive and useless organization founded in 1945 to prevent wars and pursue human rights should be demolished because it has failed to live up to its charter over and over again.

On Saturday night, the UN Security Council met in a closed-door emergency session so as to agree a resolution on Gaza, where more than 520 Palestinians have been murdered and over 3,000 wounded. But due to American pro-Israel bias, hypocrisy and double standards its members couldn’t even come up with a joint statement calling for an immediate cease-fire.

For once, Britain broke with its joined-at-the-hip US ally and demanded an end to the aggression whereas only last week it, too, had blocked UN calls for a cease-fire. It seems that Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown has decided he is no longer willing to provide Washington with moral cover but unfortunately this is too little, too late.

Saturday’s stalemate is a repeat of attempts in the summer of 2006 to end Israel’s war on Gaza that robbed the lives of 1,200 civilians. Then, the US and Britain, both veto-holders, stood together against the rest of the world and allowed the carnage to go on until it looked like Israel was receiving an unexpected bloody nose.

The council’s current inaction was too much for the president of the UN General Assembly Miguel d’Escoto Brockman, who termed it “a monstrosity”. “Once again, the world is watching in dismay the dysfunction of the Security Council,” he said, while blaming certain countries for playing politics.

Article 1 of the UN Charter headed “Purposes of the United Nations” calls for the body “to maintain international peace and security, and to that end: To take collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace; and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes…”

Article 73 states members of the UN which have responsibilities for the administration of territories whose people have not attained a full measure of self-government must recognize the principle that the interests of the inhabitants of these territories are paramount and must ensure, with due respect for the culture of the peoples concerned, their political, economic, social and educational advancement, their just treatment and their protection against abuses”.

The UN has failed on all the above points and more. It does not maintain international peace and security. It does not suppress acts of aggression or settle international disputes and it does not censure Israel’s willful failure to hold the interests of the occupied Palestinians paramount and protect them against abuses.

The charter is further based on the sovereign equality of all its members. This fine sentiment has turned out to be a huge joke. There is no equality amongst members and there cannot be as long as the five permanent members of the Security Council have veto power – a power, by the way that cannot be withdrawn unless the five veto-holders agree.

In reality, the 192 member states are under the boot of the five veto-holders. This situation makes a mockery of the term United Nations. There are the five bosses and then there are the others.

To be precise, there are six bosses, one unofficial. Israel and the US are practically one when it comes to foreign policy and, thus, Israel receives carte blanche to produce undeclared nuclear weapons, carry out a policy of extrajudicial assassinations as well as bomb and invade neighboring countries at will. The US vetoes most resolutions critical of Israel and blocks all resolutions binding under Chapter 7.

No wonder Israel feels free to publicly confront the veracity of UN representatives who say there is a severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza and expel those it doesn’t like such as UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk, who says he was treated like some sort of security threat locked in “a tiny room that smelled of urine and filth”. Falk received such appealing treatment all because he had spoken out against Israel’s violations of international humanitarian law.

A fair and just world formed by the true will of all the international community requires a nonelitist body where all nations are empowered with a vote that counts. Moreover, such an organization should not be headquartered in the US where delegates are vulnerable to being browbeaten, threatened, bribed and monitored as occurred in the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Instead, a neutral home such as Switzerland or even Dubai should be considered.

In the meantime, Israel continues its bloodletting in Gaza unimpeded while the United Nations will continue to be nothing more than an empty debating society, to borrow an expression from George W. Bush. It needs either a shake-up or a demolition squad. As it stands it shames us all.

Ref: Arabnews

The Subsistence Perspective

I’m Maria Mies, a retired sociology professor. I started working at the Fachhochschule here in the Department for Social Pedagogy in 1972. I am also quite active in various social movements: initially in the women’s movement, but then also the ecology movement became part of these activities, the peace movement, and recently, since 1997, I’ve been active in the anti-globalization movement.

First of all, I have to say that we are not talking specifically about subsistence economy. When I say “we,” I am referring to my two friends Claudia von Werlhof and Veronika Bennholdt-Thomsen, with whom I developed this approach in the mid-1970s. We aren’t speaking of a subsistence economy, but of a subsistence perspective. That is to say, it’s not an economic model, but rather, a new orientation, a new way of looking at the economy. That means something entirely different. It doesn’t just apply to the economy, but also to society, culture, history, and all other possible areas. The second thing is that a lot of people ask: what do you mean by subsistence? I usually say: for us, subsistence is the opposite of commodity production. Commodity production is the goal of capitalist production, in other words, a general production of goods, everything that there is, has to be transformed into a commodity. It is possible to observe that today, especially in the course of globalization. Subsistence production has an entirely different goal, namely, the direct satisfaction of human needs. This isn’t accomplished through money and the production of goods. For us, quite essential is that it is a direct production and reproduction of life. That’s why we talk of “life production” rather than “commodity production.”

I would also like to add that we discovered this perspective – that’s what we really have to call it – at a point when we were just beginning to deal with housework in the women’s movement. At the time, a worldwide discussion was going on, feminists everywhere were involved. The issue was: what does housework mean in capitalism? Why isn’t this work seen as work? Why isn’t it paid? Why is it non-paid labor? We recognized that in capitalism this work can’t be paid, because if it were, the accumulation model would collapse. That doesn’t mean that there wouldn’t be any capitalism anymore, as some thought, but that it would definitely be much too expensive if all of the work done in the household were paid for: bearing children, raising them, reproducing the man – as it was called at the time – taking care of the old and the infirm. If that were paid labor that had to be paid like regular paid labor, then it would be impossible to pay for it and that would fundamentally alter the entire model of capitalism. So we arrived at the concept – which actually doesn’t stem from us, since the subsistence concept is an old concept – that what we call life production is actually necessary as a prerequisite for all types of paid labor. At the time, we stated: without subsistence labor, there would be no paid labor. But without paid labor, there is still subsistence labor: it is the undying prerequisite for not only every type of life, but also every type of work – that food, housing, and immediate life concerns are taken care of.

This work is extremely valuable, but it is never paid for monetarily. That was the point where we saw this connection. And then we also saw that, in addition, housework is not the only type of work that is exploited in this way at practically no cost to capitalism. Instead, there is similar work among small farmers who, everywhere in the world, work for their own subsistence. They sell things at the market, too, but they aren’t wage laborers. And what is interesting about this, is that they are just as absent as women are in the gross national product or gross domestic product. They don’t count, as one of the women from New Zealand, Marilyn Waring described in “If Women Counted” – if women counted, what then? A very interesting book. And then we discovered, third, that the small farmers’ work also has something to do with housework and both have something to do with the work in the colonies. Then this concept emerged, as all three of us were in the Third World for extended periods. I was in India for many years, my two friends were in Latin America, and so we realized: if entire countries hadn’t been exploited as colonies for long periods of time, then there wouldn’t be any capitalism. And if they were treated equally today, all of the work in the “colonies” – I still call them “colonies” – well, then there wouldn’t be much to accumulate. And that’s why we call all of these relations colonial relations. The man-woman relationship is colonial, the relationship between the small farmer and industry is also colonial, and naturally, the colonial relationships between metropolises and colonies are definitely colonial.

First of all, I would like to emphasize that the subsistence perspective and the subsistence societies and economies didn’t disappear by themselves, but instead, that was done to them, those were entirely intentional policies. Subsistence societies existed all over the place prior to World War II, both out in the country and in the city. Here, in Germany, the small farmers were the ones who produced the majority of the foodstuffs and supplied the population. But then again, to my surprise, there was also a wide range of subsistence production in the cities, even in the U.S. An American feminist did research into that and discovered that until the 1960s, a great deal of subsistence activities continued to exist in the neighborhoods in major industrial cities. First, there was the neighborly, mutual aid. This principle of mutual assistance, of reciprocity was in place. Vegetables and fruits were preserved; either one had a little garden somewhere or you bought the produce inexpensively at the market and preserved it. This was mainly a household activity and the same goes for tasks such as sewing, small repairs, whereby a neighbor or a friend always helped out. The working class would probably not have been able to survive in these cities without the prolonged presence of these forms of reciprocity. But then the American government implemented from above an entirely new economic model with the newly emerging Fordism. First, wages for industrial workers went up. If you compared what you could buy for these wages with what you could make yourself, well, there was a huge difference. So people gradually stopped making things.
Through certain measures, the farms then gradually went into debt and could no longer be maintained. At the time, people said – you can’t live off of farming anymore, I’m leaving.
These same policies continue today. The other thing is that there was a push to change the entire agricultural business to monoculture, mass production, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides; to bring in big machines, as that was again something that promoted industry. All of this was based on petroleum. The farmers were meant to mass-produce milk, butter, meat, eggs, etc., and so we now have these huge agrarian factories everywhere. They then got subsidies in order to produce a surplus and this surplus was subsequently dumped on the Third World, as we all know. This opportunity barely existed for the Third World. The same agricultural policies were implemented there, for example, with the Green Revolution, and the small farmers lost their land or they had to sell it because they couldn’t compete with the large ones or because they couldn’t pay back debts. But when they moved to the cities, then they landed in the slums. And there they practiced subsistence production.

That was, by the way, the starting point for our interest in the idea of subsistence. At this conference in Bielefeld, it was about subsistence production in the Third World. A lot of people had observed what people did in the slums in Africa, and in a number of other countries. The people had to survive somehow, but they didn’t have any land anymore. They did everything they could, like casual labor, and they stole, too; they did this and that or they were servants somewhere. No one really paid attention to them. There was no social net to catch them, and there still isn’t today. What that means is that subsistence production was necessary in the rural areas to be able to pose resistance against all of these policies, and in the cities it became a politics of survival.

Now you ask me, quite justifiably, how can a life, which is often so wretched, provide a perspective for a better society? At first it sounds a bit absurd. But if we look closely at how people survive and everything that they do then we discover that the old principles I spoke of previously were reactivated: there is mutual assistance and people are again willing to do everything they possibly can do by themselves. That is a new and positive perspective, since with these activities – even if they take place at a very low level – people rediscover their sovereignty, their own authority to produce their lives, as we call it. That is no shortcoming, it is something very positive to discover, that we are entirely capable of collectively producing and organizing our lives together, with others. Naturally, you also need money. I don’t want to deny that at all, but exclusively working for money is not the best thing – that is only one side of it. The other is that subsistence production, or subsistence orientation, satisfies needs in a much more comprehensive way than purchased products ever could. These purchased goods actually don’t contain anything. It is dead labor that is materialized there. They are used, then they’re gone, then you have to buy new goods and people are never satisfied. That is, namely, the point. That begins with all of the appliances and technical achievements: first you have a black and white television, then that isn’t enough, then you have to have a color television, then you need a computer, then a cell phone, now children have to have cell phones and it goes on and on. But can we say that we have a happy, satisfied society? I’ve heard of a movement in the U.S. that is searching for the good life. That is an old economic concept, already established by Aristotle as the goal of the economy. The goal of the economy is the good life. The people in the U.S. say, we work and work, but the good life never arrives. Where is the good life? That’s why we say that that is the goal of subsistence. Subsistence is not shortcoming and misery, as we are constantly made to believe. If it is understood correctly that is, and not as individual subsistence – which is not possible – then you always have to get together with others to do something, not only to survive, but to live well. Then it is actually possible to create the good life. You experience that you are your own authority, that together with others, you’re sovereign. That is an entirely different type of satisfaction than when you have your eight-hour day behind you and perhaps also earned quite a bit. The good life is meant to arrive at the age of sixty-five, but even then it doesn’t come. I think that is one of the reasons why people in our society are so unhappy. The alienation of paid labor can’t be neutralized by even such great sums of money. But in the subsistence perspective, that is entirely possible. And I can prove that based on a few examples.

Friends of mine in Bangladesh began to defend themselves against what the major multinational concerns were doing in the agricultural industry. They found out that the soil is destroyed, that the water is full of arsenic and the yields are sinking. The promise of the Green Revolution was that in monoculture everything would be produced in great amounts. They found out that that wasn’t true. Then they realized that earlier, it wasn’t the case at all. And they founded a new farmers’ movement called Nayakrishi Andalon, started by women. The women realized that since the Green Revolution, the men had started to beat them. They hadn’t known such violence before as they were the guardians of the seeds. The seeds were in their control, they stored them, told the farmers when it was time to sow, etc. So they got together and decided they wanted to change things. The entire initiative was started by women to regain a fulfilling and happy life. That was their first explicit goal. We want to have a happy life! If you ask the farmers in this movement, then all of them will tell you that they want a happy life. Just ask a farmer here in Germany if his work makes him happy… The first thing the women said was that there would be no multi-national corporations allowed in. They declared the villages as non-toxic villages. No multi is going to come in here with all of the poisons that they spray. I forgot to say that many of the women, because they were so unhappy, committed suicide by drinking the pesticides that were standing around and poisoning themselves. Now today, the same principles are back in practice again, actually, old principles, but also new ones allowing agriculture to be fruitful and productive without putting in all of the inputs from industrial countries. There are a lot of things that they rediscovered, such as diversity. They aren’t practicing monoculture, they use their own compost, they help each other, and they don’t purchase seeds anymore. In almost all villages they have seed houses, and these are again under the control of the women who store and preserve the seeds. They are sovereign again; they have what the Via Campesina, an oppositional, worldwide small farmers’ organization, calls nutritional sovereignty. I think that all subsistence begins with nutritional sovereignty. That is an example and that’s now a huge movement in Bangladesh.

There are also many examples here, in our country, which aren’t so well known. There are the communes, those are more well-known, such as Niederkaufungen or Longo Mai, that have already worked for a long time as communes in a subsistence lifestyle. But what impressed me most are the communal international gardens that have existed in Germany for some time now. They were founded by refugee women in Göttingen. The first ones were planted in Göttingen when the women said that they weren’t happy there and didn’t want to just get charity the whole time. A social worker asked them what was missing, what do you want most? They said that what they missed most were their gardens. Then they got land from the Evangelical Church and began to garden together. Not allotment plots, but communal gardens where the different groups of migrant women and men (men joined in later) do their gardening. Meanwhile, there are already seventy of these communal, international gardens in different cities in Germany. There are also a few in Cologne.

It is very, very essential that we look at the whole picture nowadays.
We can’t just set up a little subsistence island somewhere in a village or in the city and then be satisfied with that. Instead, we need to maintain a global view since today we have a globalized economy. That is simply a fact.

There are a few principles that are just as modern today as they were before. I have already mentioned a few of them. If these principles were at the center of the economy rather than individual egoism, as is the case today – all of economics is based on the assumption that at the center is individual use, individual interest. If instead, there were something there such as mutual aid, reciprocity, communality, collective work, and also collective enjoyment, then that would be another matter. When consumption and production are no longer so strongly separated, then that is also another matter. Those are thoughts that first must enter our minds. That is not so simple, and I can see that myself. It is difficult to step down from this consumption model that we have now, although people know that it hasn’t made us happy.

If we had a subsistence orientation, then we would need different technology. Built everywhere into our technology is wear and tear, work stress is built into the technology and as I always say, our technology is not system neutral. It is capitalist. Apart from that it is patriarchal, but I don’t want to go into that now. We need a different way of thinking about technology. We have to also ask what type of technology we need to actually make our work easier and not to simply throw more goods onto the market.

The idea that industrial society and industrial monoculture are the most productive systems continues to dominate. That applies not only to agriculture, but also to all other forms of monoculture, that this type of work is the most productive and subsistence production is entirely unproductive. That’s why it isn’t included in the gross national product, for example. It is not productive; only what can be measured monetarily is productive. Of course that’s not true even with this well-known productivity concept, which is much too narrow to grasp the true productivity of labor and of subsistence production.
This diversity, this symbiosis between various forms of life – animals, plants, and people – all living together in a certain area, all with their livelihood and good life, you couldn’t achieve that by putting together as many monocultures as you like.

Ref: Republicart

Translated by Lisa Rosenblatt

Transcription of a video by O. Ressler,
recorded in Cologne, Germany, 26 min., 2005

Understanding the Beijing Consensus

The decades of the Washington Consensus and its imposition of a liberal model of world trade and financial good behaviour are over. What will replace it and which states will be the power-brokers?

Some revealing news items appeared this year even before the financial hurricane. There are now more internet users in China than in the US, and the US accounts for only 25% of global traffic on the web, compared with more than 50% a decade ago; attempts to revive the Doha round of international trade talks failed, mostly because India and China refused to sacrifice their impoverished farmers to free trade; in the war with Georgia, Russia defied the US’s half-hearted protestations and defended its national interests in the Caucasus.

These diverse facts indicate dramatic changes in international relations — chiefly the end of the absolute domination that the West has enjoyed since the first half of the 19th century. The current collapse of the financial system can only weaken it further. “The end of arrogance” was the headline in the German weekly Der Spiegel on 30 September, with the subtitle: “America is losing its dominant economic role.” It is one of the ironies of history that this follows less than 20 years after the collapse of the camp led by the Soviet Union, and the apparent triumph of liberal economic policies.

It is always dangerous to make prophecies. In 1983, two years before Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in the Kremlin, the French intellectual Jean-François Revel predicted that democracies would crumble in the face of “the most dangerous of its external enemies, communism, the current and complete model of totalitarianism” (1). A few years later, Francis Fukuyama announced the “end of history” with the supreme triumph of the Western model. After the first Gulf War (1990-91) many observers thought they saw the dawning of the American 21st century. Fifteen years later, another consensus is emerging, closer to reality: we are entering a “post American world” (2). As the White Paper on defence and national security adopted by the French government in June 2008 acknowledges: “Economic and strategic initiatives are no longer the sole preserve of the western world (essentially, Europe and America) in the way they were as recently as 1994” (3).

Will the world become multipolar? Without doubt the US will remain the dominant power for many years, and not just militarily. But it will have to take account of emerging centres of power in Beijing, Delhi, Brasilia and Moscow. The lack of progress in the WTO talks, the impasse in the Iranian nuclear crisis, and the complex negotiations with North Korea, all underline how the US, even allied to the European Union, is no longer able to impose its point of view, and needs other partners to resolve crises. Richard Haas, a former senior official in the administration of President George Bush senior, and then in the State Department, and now the president of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, lists other powerful players in his description of a “non-polar world” (4): the International Energy Agency, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (5), the World Health Organisation and its regional bodies, Shanghai and Sao Paolo, Al-Jazeera and CNN, militias from Hizbullah to the Taliban, drug cartels, and NGOs. “Today’s world is increasingly one of distributed, rather than concentrated power,” he concludes.

States, which have, despite predictions, survived the onslaught of globalisation, all want their place in the sun. China, India, Russia and Brazil assert their global ambitions and reject an international order that marginalises them. Other countries, from Iran to South Africa, Israel, Mexico and Indonesia, have more limited ambitions, but still defend their interests. None of these is driven by a global ideology, as the Soviet Union was, and none is setting itself up as an alternative model. They have all, more or less, accepted the market economy. But none would consider compromising its national interests. Their main struggle is to control their rare and expensive resources, primarily oil and gas; and their agricultural products to be able to feed their populations when agricultural production, already falling, is threatened by global warming. Their second priority is to protect their strategic interests, based on their political vision and history: Taiwan and Tibet for China, Kashmir for India and Pakistan, Kosovo for Serbia, and Kurdistan for Turkey. These conflicts have not dissolved in the harmonious global village, but involve more people than before, and are no closer to being resolved.

A brief glance at a map of the world shows that the majority of these tensions are based around an “arc of crisis”, which, according to the White Paper, stretches from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean. Its writers warn that “a new risk is emerging of the conflicts within the Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan connecting up. The existence of (usually clandestine) nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programmes increases the danger. The countries of these regions are acquiring, whether openly or not, large military capacities based on missiles and missile carriers. The destabilisation of Iraq, divided into rival communities, risks spreading throughout the Middle East. Instability in this geographical arc could directly or indirectly affect our interests. European countries have a military presence in Chad, Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan. Europe and France will probably be called upon to intervene in this region even more in the future, to help prevent and manage crises” (6). This analysis is closely akin to that of most US strategists, and the senior US State Department official William Burns summed it up: “Ten years ago Europe was the epicentre of American foreign policy… But now everything has changed… The Middle East in particular is now… the place that Europe once was for the administrations of the 20th century” (7). That this region holds most of the world’s oil reserves, at a time when the price per barrel remains high, adds to the strategic importance of the “Greater Middle East”.

That explains why the largest number of western troops since the end of the second world war is in this region, from Iraq to Chad, Afghanistan to Lebanon. By incorporating all these conflicts into its war on terror, the US has helped create an international resistance united only in its opposition to US hegemony. This resistance can also be seen in the crucial realm of the economy. Unlike past crises (Asian, Russian), the current financial storm has confirmed the marginalisation of international organisations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. Soon after 2000, Russia, Thailand, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Serbia and Indonesia decided to pay back their IMF debts early (8), to be free of the rules imposed by these international bodies.

Will the “Washington Consensus” (9) be replaced by the “Beijing Consensus” (10)? The man who came up with this phrase, the economist Joshua Cooper Ramo, believes a country from the South can take its place on the global chessboard through a willingness to innovate; or by taking account of quality of life as well as economic growth, and providing enough equality to avoid unrest; and by valuing independence and self-determination and refusing to let other (western) powers impose their will.

This viewpoint has aroused much debate (11) – does China really offer a new model, when inequality there is growing, and it has willingly subscribed to the globalised economy? The analysis does explain how, for the first time since decolonisation, the countries of the South are able to follow their own political direction, and find partners, states as well as businesses, not aligned with the US vision. New relationships are being forged, as demonstrated by the China-Africa summit, or the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) foreign ministers’ meeting in New York on 26 September. Countries can plan their own development without having to accept the unfavourable terms of the old “Washington Consensus”.

There is another major change affecting the geopolitical architecture. On 17 April 2007 the UN Security Council held, for the first time, a meeting dedicated to the political and security implications of global warming. This is now being taken into account in strategic planning, by the US, France and Australia (12). Extreme climate conditions will affect food crops and contribute to epidemics. The rise in sea level will not only create millions of environmental refugees – 150 million by 2050, according to estimates – but will also revive disputes over territorial boundaries, as the disappearance of atolls and islands affects exclusive economic zones (13). The soaring price of food already threatens stability in many parts of the world.

With multipolarity and so many different development models, it is no longer just the West’s economic domination that is being challenged, but also its right to define right and wrong, to lay down international law, and to interfere in other countries’ affairs on moral or humanitarian grounds. The former French foreign minister, Hubert Védrine, said the West has lost its monopoly on history, on “the big story”. World history, as invented two centuries ago, is the story of the rise and dominance of Europe. The movement towards a multipolar world may be seen as an opportunity to progress towards a genuine universalism. But it can also bring out deep fears in the West – that the world is becoming more threatening, that values are under attack from China, Russia, Islam – and that the West must embark on a Nato-led crusade against the barbarians who want to destroy it. If we are not careful, this vision could become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Ref: Le Monde

Thinking the unthinkable

So, everything was possible after all. Governments could take radical action in the financial sector. The constraints of the European stability pact could be forgotten. Central banks could kowtow to governments and stimulate the economy. Tax havens could be blacklisted. Everything was possible because the banks had to be rescued.

For 30 years, any suggestion that the liberal order might be amended to improve the living conditions of ordinary people, for example, met with the same stock responses: the Berlin wall has gone, didn’t you notice?; that’s all ancient history; globalisation is the order of the day now; the coffers are empty; the markets won’t stand it.

And for 30 years, “reform” went ahead – in reverse. This was the conservative revolution, handing over increasingly substantial and lucrative swathes of national assets to the money men, privatising public services and transforming them into cash machines to “create added value” for shareholders. This was liberalisation, with cuts in wages and social security, forcing tens of millions of people to borrow in order to maintain their purchasing power, and “invest” with brokers and insurance agents in order to cover the cost of education, healthcare and pensions.

Falling wages and social security cutbacks naturally led to financial excesses. Creating risks encouraged people to take steps to protect themselves. Speculation boomed, fuelled by the ideology of market forces, and housing became a prime target for investment. Attitudes changed, people became more selfish, more calculating, less public-spirited. The 2008 crash is not just a technical hitch that can be put right by “learning lessons” or “putting a stop to abuses”. The whole system has broken down.

The would-be repair men are already at work, hoping to restore it, plaster over the cracks, give it a fresh coat of paint, all ready to commit yet another offence against society. The wiseacres who now pretend to be disgusted with the reckless results of liberalism are the very ones who provided all the incentives – budgetary, regulatory, fiscal and ideological – for the ensuing spending spree. They should feel disqualified, but they know an army of politicians and journalists are eager to do a whitewash job.

So we have Gordon Brown, whose first act as Chancellor of the Exchequer was to “liberate” the Bank of England, José Manuel Barroso, president of a European Commission obsessed with “competition”, and Nicolas Sarkozy, who invented the “fiscal shield”, introduced Sunday working and privatised the post office: all, it seems, busy “rebuilding capitalism”.

Their effrontery marks a strange hiatus. What has happened to the left? As for the official left, it just wants to turn the page as quickly as possible on a “crisis” for which it is jointly responsible. This is the left that went along with liberalisation, Democratic president Bill Clinton deregulating the financial sector, François Mitterrand ending index-linked wages, Lionel Jospin and Dominique Strauss-Kahn privatising public services, Gerhard Schröder axing unemployment benefit.
So be it. But what about the other left? Will it be content, at a time like this, to dust off its most unambitious projects, the serviceable but terribly timid plans for the Tobin tax, an increase in 
the minimum wage, a “new Bretton Woods Agreement”, wind farms? In the Keynesian era, the liberal right thought the unthinkable and took advantage of a major crisis to impose it. Friedrich Hayek, intellectual godfather of the movement that spawned Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, stated the case in 1949: “The main lesson which the true liberal must learn from the success of 
the socialists is that it was their courage to be 
Utopian which… is daily making possible what only 
recently seemed utterly remote.”

So will someone now call free trade into question, free trade which is the very heart of the system (1)? “Utopian”? But everything is possible when it comes to banks

Ref: Le Monde

What the Fuck is a Vietnam?’: Touristic Phantasms and the Popcolonization of (the) Vietnam (War) + VIDEO: The American War: The U.S. in Vietnam

America never declared war and the Paris Peace Agreement was never observed –there was no war and there is no peace. Even the charade following the My Lai massacre points to this. First the massacre was denied enough to have those responsible walking free. Then, after 30 years of forgetting, the limelight was turned on Hugh Thompson and others who tried to prevent it, and they were declared American heroes, decorated with medals to prove it.

With this shrewd scheme, an indiscriminate slaughter has been transformed into a triumph of American ideals while the ideology of carnage that caused it has been left intact. Now the only nation ever condemned for terrorism by an international court can claim to lead a righteous war against terrorism while doing its best to throw spanners in the works of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The establishment of the ICC should of course be criticized for sanctioning war-as-usual – with a juridical positivist demarcation of odd ‘war crimes’, most slaughters will inevitably be construed as ‘just wars’.

For all the wrong reasons, American wants none of that – their wars are all just! In present-day post-ism, this New World Order of ours – where meek war critics can help America to get away with losing a war and still end up winning it – it might be wise to take heed of our conceit in order to avoid continuously having to write the history of our own obscurity with author/North Vietnamese Army-veteran Bao Ninh’s lament: ‘The future lied to us, there long ago in the past’ (1993: 42).

With war-as-usual, the fact that Vietnam is a war that never was has never been truer – as if the whole gory beach-adventure never took place. Freedom is being sacrificed on the altar of the Free World.

Download the whole article!

Ref: Victor Alneng

Four Hours In My Lai

The American War: The U.S. in Vietnam