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Im MUND findet Ihr eine Rubrik, die eine Konsequenz aus der redaktionsinternen
Debatte um die Notwendigkeit, sexistische, antisemitische und rassistische
Beiträge nicht zu veröffentlichen, einerseits, die Problematik von
Zensur andererseits versucht: unter "B) Eingelangt, aber nicht aufgenommen"
wird - in anonymisierter Form - auf angehaltene Beiträge hingewiesen
und eine kurze Begründung der/des Tagesredaktuers für die Nichtaufnahme
geliefert. Die AbsenderInnen werden hiervon informiert.
Und für nächsten Donnerstag:
...und was mache ich eigentlich gegen rassisten?
AKTIONEN UND ANKÜNDIGUNGEN
01 call for action on o16
umweltzerstörung - tausendfacher mord!
stopt mc donalds, jetzt sofort!
unten angehängt der call for action
gibts flugis in div. sprachen.
mehr infos über antimcdreck action u. material gibts auf
für wien ist
soweit wir rausfinden konnte noch nichts konkretes geplant.
e.v. wäre ein offenes treffen zur vorbereitung von actions möglich - ist
aber nur noch wenig zeit.
am besten jede/r die/der interesse hat antimcdreck action zu organisieren
bitte mailden oder hier posten.
gerade jetzt wo
die wirtschaft immer tieferen einblick in den finanziellen
abgrund bekommt und die politik gleich bei fuß steht um mit rüstungsausgaben
unter die arme zu greifen und verstärkter repression gegen alles was sich
dagegen wehrt (am einfachsten im namen der humanitären terrorbekämpfung) ist
es wichtig, daß anticapitalistinnen in der öffentlichkeit auftreten.
- global warming kampagne) schlagen eine kundgebung vor
einem stark frequentierten mcdreck vor.
wie bunt, vielfältig und groß das ganze wird hängt vorallem davon ab ob sich
noch mehr aktivistinnen bzw. organisationen finden die die aktion
CALL FOR ACTION ON TUESDAY OCTOBER 16th - WORLDWIDE ANTI-McDONALD'S DAY
The 17th annual
Worldwide Anti-McDonald's Day will be on Tues October 16th
[UN World Food Day] - a protest against the promotion of junk food, the
unethical targeting of children, exploitation of workers, animal cruelty,
damage to the environment and the global domination of corporations over our
lives. Last year, as always there were local protests all around the globe,
involving most of the countries where there have been regular events in the
past - of particular note were the widespread and large protests throughout
Italy (eg at one store in Rome 300 demonstrators succeeded in getting it
closed for the day). But last year also included demonstrations in Hawaii,
Hong Kong, Phillipines and Colombia. As part of the global protests, there
were also some events on Oct 12th - an annual day of solidarity with
[In 1999 we monitored
where the protests took place - we heard of 425
protests and pickets in 345 towns in 23 countries: Argentina, Australia,
Austria, Belgium, Canada, England, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy,
Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Romania, Scotland, South
Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, USA]. Over 3 million leaflets have now
been handed out in the UK alone since 1990 (when the McDonald's Corporation
served libel writs aiming to suppress the London Greenpeace leafletting
campaign) and it is now distributed worldwide.
KOMMENTARE - MELDUNGEN
02 Rasterfahndung an der FH Frankfurt
an der FH Frankfurt
AStA der FH Frankfurt
Polizeiliche Maßnahmen treffen ausländische Studierende an den Hochschulen
In der letzten
September-Woche tauchte das hessische Landeskriminalamt (LKA)
mit Gerichtbeschluss an der Fachhochschule Frankfurt am Main auf und nahm
persönliche Daten von Studierenden auf Datenträgern mit. Betroffen davon
sind Studierende arabischer Herkunft und islamischen Glaubens.
Nach den Hochschulen
in Hamburg und Berlin geben nun die hessischen und
bayerischen Hochschulen Daten ihrer eingeschriebenen und ehemals
eingeschriebenen Studierenden weiter. Die hessischen Hochschulpräsidenten
sahen keine Handhabe die Herausgabe zu verweigern bzw. dagegen zu
protestieren. Dennoch sind sie in der Pflicht, die betroffenen ausländischen
Studierenden über Art und Inhalt der weitergegebenen Daten - auch in einem
Wiederholungsfall - zu informieren. Eine Informationspflicht der
Ermittlungsbehörden gegenüber von Rasterfahndung Betroffenen ist gesetzlich
dieses staatliche Vorgehen ist die rechtlich umstrittene
Rasterfahndung, die das Polizeigesetz im CDU/FDP-regierten Hessen gestattet.
Der Polizei wird Zugriff auf alle Datenbestände gesichert, und auch private
Datenbesitzer können zur Herausgabe der Daten gezwungen werden. Die
eingesammelten Datenbestände, zu denen auch die Daten der
Einwohnermeldeämter gehören, werden nach Personenprofilen durchforstet. Nach
welchem Konzept im aktuellen Fall vorgegangen wird und wie diese Profile
konkret aussehen ist dem LKA offenbar selbst unklar. Auskünfte darüber gibt
das Amt jedenfalls nicht.
wurde u.a. auf Betreiben von Horst Herold, SPD-Mitglied
und BKA-Chef von 1971 bis 1980, unter der sozialliberalen Koalition in der
BRD eingeführt. Mangels Erfolg wurde von dieser Ermittlungsmaßnahme wieder
Abstand genommen. In den meisten anderen Staaten war sie nie erlaubt. Die
Rasterfahndung gehört wie der Lauschangriff zu einer "vorbeugenden"
Fahndung, die rechtlichen Grundsätzen widerspricht, weil nicht nur gegen
konkret verdächtige Personen, sondern auch und zum weit überwiegenden Teil
gegen Unverdächtige ermittelt wird. Rasterfahndung stellt also jeden unter
Generalverdacht. Nicht nur Experten sehen in ihr einen schweren Eingriff in
der Fachhochschule Frankfurt am Main, die zu den
drei deutschen Hochschulen mit dem höchsten Ausländer/innenanteil gehört,
verurteilen wir die fragwürdigen Ermittlungen gegen unsere Kommilitoninnen
und Kommilitonen, die einen Generalverdacht in die Welt setzen, der sich in
die gegenwärtige Hatz gegen arabische Mitbürger einreiht. Weil durch die
staatlichen Maßnahmen Studierende nach Herkunft oder Religion sortiert
werden, sprechen Studierendenvertretungen, darunter der freie zusammenschluß
von studierendenschaften (fzs) von "rassistisch motiviertem Vorgehen der
Polizeibehörden und Nachrichtendienste". Das Ansinnen dieser Behörden und
Dienste, Datenbestände von Kommilitoninnen und Kommilitonen zu sammeln und
auszuwerten, weist auch der AStA der Fachhochschule Frankfurt in aller
AStA FH Frankfurt
4. Oktober 2001
03 Avnery on Bush-Sharon
Hope this might be of some interest.
Thanks to all who congratulated us on receiving the
Alternative Nobel prize. Rachel, I and all the Gush are
The New Bar-Kochba
Ariel Sharon has
declared war on the USA. It can't be defined any
He has not declared war on the Palestinians, because that is not
necessary. The military confrontation between Israel and the Palestinian
people has already been going on for a long time, and nothing has changed
this week. But in Israeli-American relations there has been a dramatic
Thursday, a plane flying from Tel-Aviv to Siberia was brought down.
When the terrible news arrived, Sharon at once ordered a press-conference
to be called at prime television time, to be broadcast live on all Israeli
television and radio stations. As usual, the media stood to attention and
Sharon was sure that the plane was brought down by terrorists (who
else?) and intended to exploit the incident for a dramatic indictment of
Arafat, »bin Laden's twin brother.« But the bad Americans spoiled the
performance out of sheer spite: at the very last moment they announced that
the plane was actually shot down by a Ukrainian missile.
But Sharon was already on his way to battle. When this happens to
him, no force on earth can stop him. Like a bull, he charges forward.
This time he had prepared something special. "He has written the speech
himself," his assistants announced proudly. And, indeed, nobody else could
have, except the loonies of the extreme right.
Addressing the "Western democracies, headed by the United States,"
Sharon compared the present situation of Israel to that of Czechoslovakia
in 1938. The comparison is obvious: Arafat is Hitler, »the Arabs« (all of
them) are the fascist axis, George Bush is Neville Chamberlain, the
Americans are about to sell Israel down the river in order to appease the
Arabs. Munich 2001.
Pedantic historians could point to some faults in this comparison. At
that time, Germany was a mighty military power facing little
Czechoslovakia. While in today's Middle East the situation is the opposite:
Israel is the mighty military power and the Palestinians are a small and
weak people. Furthermore, Germany was not living under a Czech occupation.
Bush is not waving an umbrella, like Chamberlain, but a sword. He is
building a great coalition for starting a war.
But Sharon does not pretend to be a historian. Like his companions
and partners, he lives in the world of his own images, cut off from
international reality. He does not care two hoots about America's
geopolitical considerations, particularly when they are trying to build a
coalition with the Arabs and other Muslims. To make this possible, the
Americans must bring about an end to the Palestinian uprising, which
inflames the masses in all Arab countries. They must prove that they are
striving for a peace that will satisfy the national requirements of the
Because of this Bush declared that the Palestinian state is a
"vision", and Colin Powell is preparing a peace plan for the Middle East,
after consulting with the Saudi prince.
activists see this as a positive development. They know
that at this point in time only foreign intervention can put an end to the
violence and promote the peace. The daily bloodbath, the calls for
vengeance on both sides and the mutual lack of confidence prevent an
Oslo-style face-to-face Israeli-Palestinian dialogue without intermediaries.
But for Sharon, any such intervention would be a disaster. It would
lead to a cease-fire that would compel him to stop all the settlement
activity that is so close to his heart and is also the basis of his
government coalition. These days, thinly disguised new settlements are
being set up at a frantic speed, dozens of others were set up in the last
few months under the auspices of the IDF.
In this situation, Sharon must choose between to options: either to be
flexible and then quietly sabotage the American initiative, or to stand up
and fight the Americans. Shimon Peres, his close associate, counsels him to
choose the first option. After all, since 1948 there have been dozens of
American »peace plans« and all of them were buried by Israel with the help
of the Jewish lobby, the members of Congress and the American media. So why
not now, too?
But Sharon is made of different stuff. He is starting a head-on attack
on the Bush administration, at a time when the Jewish lobby does not dare
to open its mouth and Congress, as well as the media, are marching
obediently behind the President.
One thousand eight hundred and sixty nine years ago, the Jewish leader
Bar-Kochba declared war on the Roman Empire and brought about the total
destruction of the Jewish people in Palestine. Now the new Bar-Kochba
challenges the American empire. It will be interesting to see what the
result will be this time.
04 Workers Power Global Week
From: newswire, email@example.com
WORKERS POWER GLOBAL
E-newswire of the LRCI
4 October 2001
Subscribe to: firstname.lastname@example.org
>> WELCOME TO ISSUE #64
Workers Power Global Week is the English language e-newsletter of the LRCI.
To unsubscribe mail to: email@example.com. Please forward this to
DEFEND AFGHANISTAN FROM ATTACK; DEFEAT IMPERIALISM
>>AFGHANISTAN: HOW THE WEST HELPED CREATE THE TALIBAN REGIME
>>WORLD ECONOMY: DO WE FACE A GLOBAL RECESSION?
>>PALESTINE: ONE YEAR OF THE INTIFADA
DEFEND AFGHANISTAN FROM ATTACK; DEFEAT IMPERIALISM
Workers Power Global, London
and military preparations for a US-led attack upon
Afghanistan are nearing completion. The war that is set to be unleashed from
the ruins of the Pentagon will kill and maim thousands more innocent
We have to be clear
that in the event of this war we want to see the
imperialist coalition defeated even if that means siding with Taliban
Blair and Bush¹s
war aim is not simply to "end terror": it is to end
resistance to global capitalism¹s domination of the world.
tens of thousands of people across the globe have come together
to oppose the war.
The American press
has asked the question: "why do they hate us". But few in
the establishment can stomach the answer.
The system of global
exploitation that is run from Wall Street is one, long
Hunger and preventable
disease kill thousands of children every day in the
poorest countries of the world. Heavily indebted countries spend more on
debt repayment than on education and health. And the USA¹s puppets - the
IMF, World Bank and World Trade Organisation - are on a mission to rip away
every obstacle to cheap labour and privatisation.
But global capitalism
does not just kill by starvation and disease. The USA
backs torture regimes and terror groups across the globe.
It backs the death
squads in Colombia. It backs the Israeli murder machine
against the Palestinians. It even backed bin Laden when his terror groups
were useful in the fight against the Soviet Union.
To point to all
these facts is not to justify the September 11 attacks - but
it does justify the mass movement to prevent imperialist war - a movement
that must unite workers, refugees and peace campaigners in the developed
countries with the mass struggles against imperialism that are raging from
Palestine to the Phillipines.
The attack on the
World Trade Centre has given Bush and Blair every excuse
they need to step up repression against liberation movements in the Middle
East and around the world.
It has set the
stage for a crackdown on civil rights, on refugee rights, on
And it has allowed
the West¹s rulers a free hand in the class struggle. As
George W Bush gave a billion dollar handout to the airlines, the airline
bosses were preparing to sack 90,000 - many without redundancy pay or
In Britain, those
who called for the TUC to keep up the fight against
privatisation were denounced as "traitors" - and the GMB union has already
called off its million pound publicity campaign against privatisation. And
Gordon Brown has warned there will be spending cuts to pay for all the bombs
But the class struggle will go on.
And it is no longer
just a struggle against privatisation and poverty. Bush
has drawn the line - you¹re either for us or against us. And Blair has
rushed preening to his side.
Well sorry, Tony
Blair: the millions of workers who voted Labour did not
vote for a US-led military rampage across Asia and the Middle East.
We need mass action, uniting trade unionists, peace campaigners, refugee
groups and the anti-capitalist movement to stop the war. If we fail there
will be a decade of carnage.
In the immediate
aftermath of the World Trade Centre attack there was talk,
in Washington, of carpet bombing and even nuclear strikes. Now it seems the
USA is taking a subtler approach. But it¹s just as dangerous.
in the Bush regime - and many on the USright - wanted to unleash
armageddon, not just on Afghanistan but on all the "rogue states" who will
not play ball with US domination:Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya and North Korea.
They even threatened strikes against Pakistan.
But a different
strategy has now emerged:the "ten year war on terror". Far
from representing "restraint" or moderation, this strategy is designed to
deliver an even more complete US triumph over the peoples of the Third
The USA is busy
constructing a coalition with some of the worst
dictatorships in the world.
Jack Straw was
sent on an errand to kiss the backside of the Iranian
dictatorship that has killed tens of thousands of workers, students and
US diplomats are
showering favours on the military dictatorship in Pakistan.
Musharraf¹s right wing junta can have debt relief and even its own nuclear
weaponry in return for siding with the US.
Russia has been
given the nod to carry on massacring and raping muslims in C
hechnya in return for its support.
are operating the old Vietnam war maxim:"They may be sons
of bitches but they¹re our sons of bitches". As a result, those struggling
for democracy and human rights across the globe will now be on the receiving
end of unbridled repression.
Instead of carpet
bombing, we will likely see massive air strikes, commando
raids and a prolonged "dirty war" against Islamic movements.
The reason the
USA has to adopt its "pinpoint" tactics is not the small size
of bin Laden or the Taliban¹s forces.
It is because of
the massive scale of opposition and resentment to
Precisely because they fear the transformation of resentment and opposition
into mass resistance they know Cruise missiles are not enough.
"smart weapons" against revolution are well known and all too
effective. They include police repression, deportation, torture, censorship
and death squads. They include puppet leaders of mass movements and client
states - traitors like Arafat and the Jordanian monarchy. They include tame
Labour and trade union leaders who will agree to suspend the class struggle
for the duration of war.
we must be clear: imperialism¹s target is not just a few Islamic
"terrorists". It is the whole global resistance to capitalism that is in the
crosshairs of the Washington offensive.
And whether liberals
and pacifists in the west like it or not - the masses
of the Third World will fight back.
If the workers¹
movement does not head up the resistance it will be led by
radical right-wing Islamic movements, from Egypt to Pakistan to the
Because of this - and because of the terrible price the imperialists will
extract from a global victory the working class and socialist movements
must put themselves at the head of anti-imperialist resistance.
movement in Britain must combine mourning for US workers who
died on 11 September with commemorating the innocent victims of US foreign
policy in Latin America, the Balkans, the Middle East and across the globe.
The best way to
protect the ordinary people of the USA and the other
imperialist countries against further attacks is to launch a mass movement
to stop the war drive, protect ethnic minorities and defend civil rights.
That includes giving
active support the Palestinian struggle against Israeli
reoccupation of cities and towns in the West Bank.
The anti- war movement
of the 1960s and 1970s must be our model. It acted,
along with the heroic struggle of the Vietnamese people, as a major
deterrent to US military aggression for years.
There already exists
a vibrant mass movement against global capitalism. It
has summit hopped its way into history, paralysing the imperialist economic
diplomacy and shaking the confidence of the system¹s apologists.
Now that movement
- which had begun to unite with organised workers
sporadically and tentatively - must do two things:
_ sink deeper roots
into working class communities
_ come out openly against the war and organise direct action to hinder
the war machine.
The task of the
moment is to prevent the imperialist attack. Blair¹s
ministers have been quietly shocked by the size and immediacy of the
anti-war response. And we¹ve only just started.
But what do we do when the shooting war begins?
In the event of
imperialist attack, the LRCI stands clearly for the military
victory of all Afghan forces that resist the US/UK offensive. This would
include Taliban forces if they resist the imperialist offensive.
The first military
strike against Afghanistan must be the signal for a
generalised protest across the region: strikes, the occupation of roads and
the blockade of US military installations can paralyse the Pentagon
the globe must stand with the ordinary people of Afghanistan
against the military onslaught.
The events of 11
September show that globalisation, and the USA¹s domination
of the world, are not heralding a new era of peace and plenty.
We are entering
a period of dramatic instability, in which the hatred and
revulsion engendered by imperialist policy, global inequality and national
oppression, rouse individuals to acts of desperate violence as well as to
The USA is sowing
the seeds of further conflicts to come, ensuring that the
21st Century will be at least as violent and bloody as the last.
The World Trade
Centre attack sent shockwaves through the world economy -
but it did not cause the recession that is about to be unleashed. Capitalism
itself is the root cause of economic misery.
To the miseries
of repression and war we are about to see added, quite
possibly, a prolonged and co-ordinated global recession.
But another world is possible.
A world without racism, war and unpredictable terror can only come about if
we attack the root causes.
And the root cause is capitalism.
wealth from ordinary people to feed a privileged layer of
rich businessmen. Capitalism dooms humanity to crisis and war.
taking away their wealth and power and putting society under
the control of the working class. It means allocating resources according to
need, not the profit motive.
To get socialism we need a workers revolution.
- not "terror" - is the biggest fear that stalks the
Whitehouse and Downing Street. Our rulers know that every world war has
resulted in huge revolutionary upheavals.
They told themselves
that, with the collapse of the corrupt, decrepit Soviet
bureaucracy they had seen the "end of history". But history has returned,
Of course, as in
all wars, there will be a wave of patriotism when "our
boys" go in. Just as surely there will be a wave of revulsion when some of
these young people come back in body bags while Blair, Brown and Straw sit
smugly thousands of miles from the action.
turn to anger as worker realise it is they who are having to
pay the price: through spending cuts, job losses and curtailed civil
Millions will realise that the war Blair and Bush have unleashed against
"terror" is in fact a war against democracy and social justice.
indebtedness, poverty and the rule of military tyrants are
the real payload on the warheads of the cruise missiles they will aim at
Kabul, Baghdad or Khartoum.
socialists are determined to turn the struggle against the war
into a struggle against the system that has spawned it.
Shoulder to shoulder,
workers and young people across the globe, we can stop
FOR MORE ON ATTACK
ON WORLD TRADE CENTRE SEE:
>>AFGHANISTAN: HOW THE WEST HELPED CREATE THE TALIBAN REGIME
Workers Power Global, London
Whitehall, gave support to both the Taliban and bin Laden
when it suited their own political ends.
Six months before
the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 the US
commenced covert aid to Islamic fundamentalist guerrillas in Afghanistan who
were fighting the Kabul government. The Soviet backed regime had launched a
land reform and literacy programme.
The then National
Security Adviser in the US, Zbigniew Brzezinski,
commented:"We didn¹t push the Russians to intervene but we consciously
increased the probability that they would do so. This secret operation was
an excellent idea. Its effect was to draw the Russians into the Afghan trap.
You want me to regret that?"
He said this in
1998, two years into the Taliban¹s reign of terror and after
two decades of war and destruction had devastated an entire people. No
The Islamic fundamentalists it is now railing against could not have won
without massive US support.
1980s and into the early 1990s, the CIA, according to
official figures, gave $6 billion of military aid to the Mojahedeen. The CIA
and Britain supplied engineers and advisers to help bin Laden build his
bases. His fighters, together with Afghans, were trained at the High Rock
rifle club in Connecticut and a CIA training camp called "The Farm" in
former organisation, the MAK, received considerable support from
the CIA, as did seven different factions of the Afghan Mojahedeen. Crucially
the US supplied the rebels with US Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, a factor
that many observers point to as the turning point in the Afghan/Soviet war.
Senator Orrin Hatch,
a senior Republican on the Senate Intelligence
Committee, commented on all of this: "It was worth it. Those were very
important pivotal matters that played an important role in the downfall of
the Soviet Union."
This is what Blair
and Bush want us to forget that as they drape themselves
in the flag of "civilisation" and prepare for a war on their former friends
and allies. We won¹t forget it. We will shout it from the roof tops.
The triumph of
the Taliban itself was only possible thanks to the support of
the US and Pakistani secret services. It was they - wanting an end to the
civil war - who organised and trained the Taliban militia and facilitated
their transport from the religious schools of Pakistan into Afghanistan.
the Taliban took Kabul the US started to build friendly
relations with them in order to enlist their support in the "war on drugs".
So, when the Taliban
said last spring that they would stamp out heroin
production the US rewarded them with a $43 million aid package. This took
the US total aid to the Taliban above the $450 million level and Washington
the single biggest sponsor of a regime it now claims to be totally opposed
This took place
a mere four months before 11 September and was justified by
a senior US State Department envoy to the region because, in Washington¹s
words "the Taliban used a system of consensus building."
The US used the
Afghan fundamentalists and bin Laden for their own purposes.
Now, to build a coalition against bin Laden, they are allying with other
despots and torturers across the world. Imperialism is hypocritical to the
DO WE FACE A GLOBAL RECESSION?
Workers Power Global, London
The attack on the
World Trade Centre shut down US aviation for 3 days and
Wall Street for a week. As a result, some businesses will shut forever. The
head of Boeing said this week that up to half America's airlines could go
bankrupt, so finely poised were their finances. The fact that he made this
claim to justify 30,000 job cuts at Boeing itself speaks volumes.
The US economy
was already edging towards recession before the planes hit
the building. But the short term economic impact of the attack, combined
with the long term instability it has injected into the capitalist system,
will prolong and deepen the US recession.
Already the policymakers
are hard at work trying to turn the situation
around. The sight of hardline monetarist right-wingers pleading for
increased spending is nearly as bizarre as seeing buccaneering US airline
bosses call for the nationalisation of the airport security system. But the
addition of big tax cuts and government spending to the already frantic
interest rate cuts simply raises the stakes. If it doesn't work then the USA
is doomed not just to recession but possibly deflation.
How this will impact
onto the wider global economy is a more complex
question, because it depends how much the individual governments of the main
industrial countries are prepared to deviate from the US line. It also
depends on the length and disruptiveness of military action, and on the
effects of working class resistance.
To understand the
complex layers of cause and effect between a US recession
and a global depression - and make no mistake the world's rulers tangibly
fear the latter now - we have to take a snapshot of the US and world
economies as they were at 0845 eastern time, 11 September 2001.
US pundits had
been celebrating not only the longest period of economic
recovery but two highpoints in economics they claimed were related. Between
1995 and 2000 the US economy demonstrated significant productivity growth,
which economists were able to trace to the application of information and
communications technology (ICT) to productive industries. Unlike Britain,
the USA still has a large manufacturing base, both low and hi tech, and the
productivity miracle there was seen as crucial to prolonging the economic
recovery after its "natural" endpoint in 1997.
The year 1997 had
been one of extreme turbulence on the financial markets,
with a stock market crash, the near collapse of a major investment fund and
requiring the US Federal Reserve to inject money into the economy. The fear
was that inflation would follow - but it didn't, and that was put down to
the productivity miracle.
The second gravity
defying phenomenon was the stock market. A combination of
easy money from the Fed, the flight of capital from Asia to the USA and a
new round of capital investment in ICT fuelled the greatest stock market
bubble in history - and the theory that stock market values would no longer
be governed at all by profitability - a theory most notably advocated by
The last two years have been the story of the collapse of these illusion.
First the stock market bubble burst, in March 2000, as the near criminal
lies told by dot.com companies about future growth started to be exposed.
But it was not
until late autumn of 2000 that the impact of the share slide
started to be seen in the real economy. Both IT manufacturers and
advertising-driven media companies saw a sharp downturn. Then on 9 January
2001 the Fed chairman Alan Greenspan made his fateful pronouncement that the
main battle was with recession, not inflation. He cut interest rates at an
emergency session and repeated the interest rate cut nine times. The cost of
borrowing money fell from 6% to 3.5% in the nine months before the WTC
Those nine months
were to be a time of pain for US industries. Nearly one
million people were laid off. But the most important figure to watch was
profits: after nearly a decade of "double digit" operating profits, suddenly
there were none. The technology, media and telecoms industries led the way -
but significant old-economy industries were suffering by early 2001 -
especially the auto industry.
As profit warnings
piled one after the other, the US stock market continued
sliding. It lost 18% of its value between 1 January and 11 September. That
destroyed wealth across the board, because around 2/3 of US citizens had
been drawn into share ownership by the seeming miracle of easy gains during
At the same time,
with firms reluctant to sack many highly skilled workers
they had spend thousands of dollars attracting during the boom, productivity
rates declined (and some of the earlier ones were revised down by
Everyone was waiting to see how all this would impact on consumer spending
in the USA - the main driver of economic growth. Just before the attack, it
became clear that the USA was seeing falling consumer spending, falling
prices, a falling stock market, falling profits and falling growth.
It now looks like
growth between April-June 2001 was just 0.3% - and that
the third and fourth quarters will see the US economy shrink: the technical
definition of recession.
With some recessions,
politicians come forward who basically say: "let it
rip". Thatcher and the first term Ronald Reagan did this - refusing to
counteract "market forces" for essentially political reasons, to create the
best conditions to take on and beat the working class, and then move swathes
of industrial production to the third world.
Now, despite the
fact that most capitalist economists subscribe to some form
of neo-liberalism, there are few takers for a let it rip approach. Instead
both sides of the American ruling class are united in the view that
government action must halt and turn round the trend to recession.
The right wing
want massive tax cuts, the Democrats and some Republicans
want a government spending spree and a return to big budget deficits. Both
are now firmly focused on the task of "management of aggregate demand" - the
key obsession of Keynesian economics, and a concept supposedly outmoded by
the triumph of neo-liberal capitalism.
In fact, reality
is turning the debate even further in favour of the real
Keynesians instead of the half-hearted, pragmatic ones. The conservative
parties across the globe are wedded to using interest rates - so-called
monetary policy - to manage the economy. But they are now finding that
interest rate cuts alone are not enough to stimulate demand.
So they look to
tax cuts: but tax cuts when war beckons simply means a
bigger budget deficit. In the end the refusal of the US ruling class to
countenance a straightforward state-interventionist role for ideological
reasons will hamper their counter-crisis programme and deepen the crisis.
The point is, will
government efforts to stimulate demand work? The masters
of the world already have an answer when they look at Japan. Japan has
entered its fourth recession in 10 years. Interest rates there are
effectively nil, having been cut to near zero by successive governments
determined to use monetary policy to overcome the stagnation of the Japanese
economy. But it hasn't worked.
So successive Japanese
governments have resorted to pure demand management
techniques: government spending programmes and infrastructure investment
combined with the central bank simply printing money. Huge modern bridges
with no traffic on them stand in mute testimony to the limits of capitalist
The third big economic
power in the system of global capitalism is of course
the European Union. While Japan struggled to halt deflation, and the USA
underwent its panic conversion to fighting off recession, the Eurocrats did
not seem to notice anything was wrong. The whole basis of economic and
monetary union (ERM) and the Euro was founded on the neo-liberal policy of
keeping inflation and public spending low in all Eurozone countries. If we
believe "being determines consciousness" then the social being of a man like
European Central Bank president Wim Duisenberg says it all.
He behaves like
a number crunching sloth, refusing steadfastly to
countenance anti-crisis measures, because his pension depends on hitting the
right targets on inflation and public spending. In short: the EU under its
current political leadership is making a point of refusing to be bounced
into urgent measures to stimulate demand -and this too will weaken the USA's
In short, Europe
- despite having the best position from which to resist
recession and even take up the strain from the USA as leader of world
growth - lacks the political will to do so: a pro-growth strategy would
probably bust up the Euro and dis-locate the different economic cycles
within the EU profoundly.
To sum up the subjective factor: the EU is still fighting the ghost of
inflation, Japan has exhausted all its weapons against the spectre of
deflation, and the USA's capitalists are stuck with a set of outmoded
ideologies somewhere in the middle.
The USA is pledged
to use the crisis to restart the World Trade Organisation
negotiations that were effectively stymied by the Seattle demo. Indeed from
Gordon Brown to George W Bush all the leaders were quick to say: the best
way to fight back is to restart trade talks. The Australian newspaper even
carried an exhortation "Fight back with free trade". But the ruling classes
of the Third World may see this as a moment to extract a high price in terms
of social concession.
All of this sets
the scene for future conflicts between the imperialist
blocks - despite their shows of unanimity at G7 meetings today.
up to now seemed not possible are all of a sudden not only
possible, but quick action is possible with lots of countries," says US
Treasury secretary Paul O'Neill. "A concerted economic stimulus package is
out of the question," says his German counterpart Hans Eichel. "The attacks
affected the U.S. in a different way to the rest of the world.
is a shift in the international economic situation,
then we may have to consider fresh measures," says Masajuro Shiokawa, the
Japanese finance minister - "But we can't decide what to do so soon."
On top of all this,
the capitalists are starting to fret about a renewed
third world debt crisis. "We worry that global conditions have deteriorated
to the point that a third world debt crisis like the one in the 1980s could
result," said investment bank Bear Stearns this month. It fears that
Argentina will finally default on its debts under the political pressure of
the working class resistance to austerity - precipitating a wave of
That is only the
most sayable worry. Behind the scenes and closer to home
there is another worry: which financial institutions will be over-exposed to
failing companies as they topple. The insurance industry is already
apprehensive about the eventual cost of paying for the S11 attacks. It will
pass on the costs to cash-strapped industries. And if an airline goes bust
who are its bankers.
The Swiss banks
UBS and Credit Suisse stepped in to save Swissair partly
because a complete collapse would have left them in trouble. But what if
half of America's airlines go bust. What if a hidden iceberg of bad debts
suddenly looms ahead?
All these fears explain why, across the board, the capitalist policy makers
are flexing their muscles to fight off global recession.
With Japan on the
edge of a deflationary spiral and the USA certain to go
into recession, their backs are against the wall. They are using up
ammunition in the anti-crisis battle but it is not working. Beyond the
efforts of the individual imperialist leaders there is a naieve belief that
the "international financial institutions" can save the day. Writing in the
South African Mail & Guardian, economist Charles Feinstein said:
important reason for confidence that there will not be a serious
depression is the profound change in economic understanding and in the role
that is played in the modern world by national governments, central banks
and international agencies."
Like Gordon Brown
he believes that the calculating powers of Microsoft
Excel, combined with nicely timed policy tweaks, can conquer boom and bust.
Yet reality suggests otherwise. It was the IMF which arguably amplified the
Asian crisis of 1997-98: its crass and corrupt actions set the stage for the
mini-revolt of the third world ruling classes at Seattle in November 1999.
The WTO process is moribund. The World Bank is only good at drawing up and
imposing austerity budgets - not what you want in a recession.
was shaping up to be bad even before the 11 Sepetember
attack. The attack will merely concentrate the effects.
Unlike the two
previous recessions, this one is not simply the end of a
cyclical recovery. Previous recessions have been triggered by events in the
financial markets and by monetary policy decisions. Growth peaks and turns
down, cyclically; inflation rises because productivity drops; governments
slam on the brakes with higher interest rates; a credit crunch occurs which
deflates the stock market and the housing market and a short recession
follows: that is the classic model accepted even by some Keynsian-influnced
This one is different.
It did not start
in the financial markets, it started with a real downturn
in profits, reflecting overcapacity across the board from automobiles to
credit-card companies. Profits will not come back until a shake-out occurs:
the natural destruction of capital that the system demands. While it has
depressed the share markets, with some "bubble" companies losing 95% of
their value in 18 months, the worst is yet to come.
Many factors apart
from imperialist economic policy will influence the
outcome of the crisis. Indeed the real crisis begins with the admission that
no theory and no policy - either monetarist or Keynesian - can stop the
runaway train to ruin. Then it becomes a pure question of whether one
country will foist the costs onto another; or one class against another.
The outcome of
that is not decided in economics books or finance ministries,
or in the Afghan mountains - but on the battlefields of class struggle
itself: the workplaces of the world.
FOR MORE ON WORLD
ONE YEAR OF THE INTIFADA
Workers Power, Occupied Palestine
intifada is one year old. Nearly 800 people have died since
28 September last year when the then opposition leader Ariel Sharon visited
the site of the Al Aqsa mosque on Temple Mount in East Jerusalem, a shrine
sacred to Muslims.
He was inciting
the Palestinians to rebel so as to create a pretext for a
massive shift to the right in Israeli policy and so hope to reverse the
wretched concessions made to the Palestinians under the terms of the Oslo
Accords of 1993.
For their part
the masses launched anew intifada not to defend the Oslo
settlement but because its promises of national freedom had proven so
illusory. The intifada is a heroic demonstration that after seven years, the
implementation of the various stages of those accords has not brought
Palestinian national self-determination nearer but have made their national
The peace settlement,
brokered in Norway and signed in Washington on 13
September 1993, was the biggest blow yet delivered against the Palestinians
since they were first driven from their land 45 years earlier.
The first element
of the betrayal lay in the PLO's official diplomatic
recognition of "the right of Israel to live within secure borders"., which
legitimised the pogroms and forced population transfers carried out by
Zionism in 1947-48 against the Palestinian people. It sanctioned the results
of a war by which Israel was founded on 73% of the territory of the
Palestine mandate by 33% of its (Jewish) population.
The new autonomous areas agreed in Oslo were to contain less than 30% of all
Palestinian people. The 4 million Palestinian refugees now the largest and
longest existing such population anywhere were told that they could forget
about any idea of return or compensation.
agreement forever confined the 18% Arab minority within the
Zionist state of Israel to permanent second class status with no hope of
unification with their Palestinian brothers and sisters. Subject to virulent
anti-Arab racism, ghettoised and super-exploited in a few sectors of the
economy, they are forced into competition for jobs with their Arab brethren
across the Green Line.
Thirdly, the PLO
betrayed the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. By
renouncing real sovereignty over the territory they have been granted by
Israel, the PLO abandoned the legitimate national aspirations of the
Palestinians for their own state in return for a supervised series of
mini-bantustans with limited devolved powers.
The agreement agreed
that Israeli troops should be withdrawn from Gaza and
Jericho in the West Bank. A PLO police replaced them and Israeli military
administration of these areas gave way to PLO administration in tourism,
education, welfare, health, taxation. None of these go to the heart of state
power _ that is, sovereign political institutions, with control over all
areas of civil society, the ability to conclude diplomatic treaties or build
an army to defend its borders.
The Oslo accords
were designed to segregate the Palestinians into enclaves
surrounded by Israeli-controlled borders, with settlements and settlement
roads punctuating and essentially violating the territories' integrity.
Theft of land and house demolitions proceeded apace after Oslo.
armed to the teeth expanded: 200,000 Israeli Jews have
been added to Jerusalem, 200,000 more in Gaza and the West Bank. The
Israelis insisted upon the right to maintain an armed presence outside of
Arab population centres but capable of immediate deployment against the
On 28 September
last year they said: enough! They rebelled and 90% of those
killed in this rebellion have been Palestinians, mostly unarmed and many of
them children, who have died trying to expel an occupying power from their
It has been a year
of murderous assaults by tanks and Israeli troops on
Palestinian controlled land in the West Bank and Gaza, bulldozing homes, a
year of heroic resistance by Palestinian youth.
It has been a year
of economic catastrophe for tens of thousands of
Palestinians who have been subject to Israeli curfew or not allowed to go to
work as normal inside Israel.
It has been twelve
months of helicopter gunships and F16 planes dropping
bombs on Palestinian towns and widespread assassination of Palestinan
political activists by the Israeli security services.
It has also been
a year of massive political polarisation. Ariel Sharon, the
terrorist butcher of the Shabra and Chatilla refugee camps in 1982 was
elected Prime Minister on the back of a shift to the right of the Israeli
His policy is to
tear up all previous agreements brokered by the US between
Israel and the PLO and annex 50 per cent of the West Bank and allow Israeli
supervised "autonomy" to the Palestinians in the rest.
But this reactionary
repression and ambition has only served to radicalise
the Palestinian masses. Arafat is so weak he dare not arrest Hamas and
Islamic Jihad militants who are responsible for suicide bombs in Israel for
fear of provoking mass uprising against his Palestinian National Authority.
In an unprecedented
move the 20 per cent of Israeli citizens who are
Palestinian have taken to the streets as never before in solidarity with
their oppressed brothers and sisters in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The DFLP, opposed
to the Oslo process, and marginalised and repressed in the
1990s as a result, has suddenly found new life and prominence.
of the intifada and the Palestinians within the Occupied
Territories is not in doubt. But they cannot defeat Israel on their own.
They neither possess the military force or the social weight to score a
lasting success, in expelling Zionism from their lands.
The key to the
next stage of the intifada is to build on the undoubted
sympathy of the working class and poor peasants in the surrounding Arab
states for their plight and to turn this support into action.
For the last 12
months the repressive regimes in the Gulf monarchies and
Egypt have controlled and severely curtailed the expression of support for
the intifada. Yet the USA and Israel fear a major destabilisation in the
region. The threat of actuality of mass protest and more in these countries
which also targets the complicity of the their own governments in refusing
to help the Palestinians alarms the USA.
After the 11 September
attack on New York and Washington, the USA has been
forced to make concessions to these very regimes in order to draw them into
their war coalition against Afghanistan. Bush has even been forced to
announce his (rhetorical) support for a Palestinian state and to urge Sharon
to avoid provocations against the Palestinians.
Now is the time
to generalise and deepen the initifada, to ignite the
hostility many Arabic and Islamic people feel to imperialism its war
plans, its record of oppression, of its greed for the region¹s resources
into one mass movement that can rock the region and force Zionism and
imperialism to concede to the just claims of the Palestinians for national
o Victory to the
o For an unconditional and immediate end to the military occupation in all
of the Occupied Territories! Drive the Zionist settlers front line troops
of Zionist expansionism back to Israel; there can be no self-determination
for the Palestinians while they are there against the will of the
oOpen the borders between the West Bank and Israel, remove all restrictions
on movement. Immediate release of all political prisoners and an end to all
repressive and discriminatory legislation.
oImmediate building of popular camp, village and workplace com-mittees of
resistance to the occu-pation. Build mass defence militia. Put the tenzim
under the control of the camp and town committees not the PNA and Fatah. For
a revolutionary Constituent Assembly to debate what kind of state and
government the Palestinian masses need.
o For mass demonstrations in Cairo, Beirut, Jordan, Damascus against Israel
and the passivity of the Arab rulers. The only solution to decades of
oppression and war is the permanent revolution, the overthrow of all the
bourgeois governments of the region and the creation of a Socialist
Federation of the Middle East.
FOR MORE ON PALESTINE
AND THE INTIFADA SEE:
>> BECOME A CORRESPONDENT FOR WPG
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we have no correspondents. Send us your news and views:
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7. Oktober 2001, 10:00 Uhr
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