Monday, September 30, 2013

Basque Country: huge police raid against humanitarian organization Herrira

At least 18 people have been arrested today in a major repressive operation by the occupant power Castile/Spain. 

The victim of this new operation of political repression is Herrira ("to the country"), an organization focused on the human rights of Basque prisoners, whose main goal is the repatriation of Basque prisoners scattered through the geography of Spain and France. 

The operation is led by judge Eloy Velasco, of the especial political tribunal Audiencia Nacional (instituted by the fascist regime as Public Order Tribunal and historically key legal tool in the repression of dissidents and impunity of the corrupts, torturers and state terrorists). The sees of Herrira in Bilbao, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Iruñea-Pamplona and Hernani are being searched. 


Ten of those arrested were in Hernani, where a meeting was taking place at the time of the raid. Their names are: Nagore García, Manu Ugartemendia, Jon Garay, Sergio Labayen, Eneko Villegas, Roberto Noval, Ibon Meñika, José Antonio Fernández, Oscar Sánchez and Jesús Mari Aldunberri.

Other arrested are according to witnesses: Ekain Zubizarreta (arrested in Andoain by plain clothes police when leaving home),  Imanol Karrera (arrested in Uharte-Arakil when teaching Basque language at the local euskaltegi), Amaia Esnal (arrested in Donostia), Eneko Ibarguren (in Azpeitia) and Ane Zelaia (in Gasteiz). Another person of unknown identity was captured in Lizartza. 

According to the Spanish Interior Ministry, Beñat Zarrabeitia, Gorka González and Francisco Javier Balda complete the list of 18 arrestees.


The Spanish inquisitorial judge Velasco accuses the victims of "apology of terrorism", "membership in armed organization" and "financing of armed organization". Surely most of the charges can't be upheld even in such a rotten court as the AN but the matter will only be judged years from now and the damage is actually done by mere accusation, which leads to preventive outlawing and generalized witch hunt.

We have seen this before. Too many times already in fact. 

According to the Spanish Interior Ministry (press release), Herrira would be "the organization close to the terrorist gang [ETA] with greatest capacity of social mobilization and activation", that "Herrira has assumed, in integral and public form, the goals, structure, functions, financing procedure and methods, iconography and communicative network, that historically was carried by the Pro-Amnesty Commitees/Askatasuna", both declared illegal by the AN in the past.

This seems to be the main charge, because under Spanish exceptional laws, designed specifically against Basque self-organization and civil resistance, organizations are not banned as such but in spirit, so an organization deemed illegal by Madrid at one point cannot ever be replaced by another with even remotely similar ideas, effectively forbidding whatever forms of freedom of speech and socio-political goals that the state decides to outlaw.

Previously there has been a lot of repression against any form of expression of solidarity with Basque prisoners, many of which are not even ETA members but just victims of ideological persecution. Repression that until now was not even legally justified. 

Unpredictable consequences

Many have been saying since ETA declared an unilateral permanent cessation of armed struggle in 2011 (effective since 2010 in fact) that the attitude of Spain, demonstrated once and again, was to sabotage any possible peace process, not just by ignoring all attempts by ETA and/or international facilitators to open some sort of peace talks but also by stepping up political repression in the apparent belief that the state had won the war by military-policial means and that ETA had no other option than outright unconditional surrender.

This public analysis is not just flawed but actually a smokescreen: Madrid is much more concerned in fact by the possibility of Basque Nationalist Left forces gaining power in the Basque semi-autonomous institutions, from municipalities to provincial governments and who knows, never mind possible internationalist alliances with other similar forces in the weakened State of Spain, where Castilians senso stricto only make up 1/3 of the total population. This concern must have grown since Bildu got control of the provincial government of Gipuzkoa and since the grip the Spanish Nationalist twin party (PP-PSOE) holds in Navarre has been eroded because of mass corruption and all polls point to a radical political change in the Old Kingdom as soon as elections take place. 

Obviously, the goal of Spain with this new repressive operation is to attempt, once again, to force the hand of the Basque Nationalist Left (in its widest sense), trying to force ETA back into military action against its strong promises.

Another goal is to divert attention from the many socio-economic problems that Spain has, including the major structural one of systemic corruption, dragged from the times of Philip II but increased dramatically in the last decades. It seems that Spanish authorities deem necessary to have a distraction to those problems of war-like and patriotic nature. They do not dare to confront Great Britain over Gibraltar beyond some noise but they know (or at least believe) that they have the upper hand if they manage to re-ignite the armed conflict in the Basque Country. 

The ETA distraction has worked well for them in the past and they hope it will work again this time. It's hard to know but, considering the deep state of disarray in which the state is, I think that they are very much wrong. 

Whatever the case, even the usually pro-Spanish and anti-ETA, Western Basque Autonomous Government (EAJ-PNV with support of PSOE), has shown its perplexity and rejection of the repressive action (which in other occasions they had no problem to support with the police forces under their command). Speaker Josu Erkoreka spoke of "bad news", "a step back" and that they do not see that "there is any serious work towards a peace scenario". However he still demanded that ETA gives up arms without conditions.

[Update:] Also Javier Eguiguren, President of the local branch of PSOE, has been quite harsh with this operation at his blog. However, instead of asking his colleagues of the Spanish PSOE to act up, he directs his demands to the Western Basque Government. 

Sources: Naiz Info[es] (link 1, link 2), Ateak Ireki[eu] (link 1, link 2 → video), second image from Eusko Ekintza.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Basque Country: another political arrest

Xabier Sagardoi "Xapo" (pictured) was arrested today in Sorlada (Navarre) after he decided, days ago, go into hiding to avoid prison. Xapo was indicted for being a member of the independentist youth organization Segi, arbitrarily declared illegal by the occupant forces. He was sentenced to six years of prison for the only "crime" of being coherent with his ideas. It is yet another clear case of political persecution under the doctrine of "all is ETA". 

Source: Ateak Ireki[es].

Spain: thousands march against monarchy

Under the slogan Jaque al Rey (Check to the King as used in chess) thousands marched through Madrid yesterday in spite of the heavy rain and some arbitrary police interventions. 

Carrying many Republican flags, the protesters demanded a constituent process, as well as the tackling of the many capitalist abuses. 

Police impeded the arrival of the youth bloc which walked from several working class neighborhoods of Madrid. The protesters were body-searched but the agents could not find any of the alleged "blunt weapons" they supposedly carried. 

In spite of that police forces were not willing to let them pass, so, under attorney advise the column marched to the subway, escorted by police, even in the trains, until they met the main demo.

Source: Webguerrillero[es] (link 1, link 2 - videos in both articles). 

Update: international observers of the OSCE were invited by the Spanish Government to "leave Spain", on the grounds that the demonstration was an "anti-constitutional activity".

Kaos en la Red[es].

Saturday, September 28, 2013

USA bans food imports from almost half of Japan

Nothing less than 14 Japanese prefectures have been banned from exporting food to the USA. Previously it was just eight. 

The affected area includes: Fukushima, Aomori, Chiba, Gumna [sic - Gunma], Ibaraki, Iwate, Miyagi, Nagano, Niigata, Saitama, Shizuoka, Tochigig [sic - Tochigi], Yamagata and Yamanashi prefectures.

For some reason, two of the the three prefectures of Greater Tokyo (Tokyo and Kanagawa but not Chiba), totally surrounded by the banishment zone, are still allowed to export to the USA. Akita, in NW Honshu, is another pocket inside the red zone. 

Of course, it is very logical and reasonable to ask how can any international level games such as the Olympics be held in such conditions, but even more reasonable is to ask why is there not any plan to evacuate all that zone or at least the most severely affected areas? The children even? I know we are talking of millions but, well, precisely: Holocaust by conscious inaction is not any better than Holocaust by action.

This is the largest trade ban of the many that (very justifiably) plague Japan since the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe. For comparison, South Korea has a ban only on seafood and only affecting eight prefectures, while China and Taiwan ban food from 10 prefectures.

Source: EneNews, citing the FDA and Dong-A Ilbo. The map is my work (CC, as usual).

Greece: re-occupation of residential squat ends with police attack and many arrested

The residential squat Orfanotrofio of Thessaloniki was evicted in early September and re-occupied today. However police was determined to impede it and proceeded to kettle all the people gathered in the streets and, then, to raid the building, arresting all those inside. 

As they were being driven to police dungeons the squatters chanted "the passion for freedom is stronger than all prisons". 

Source: Contra Info.

Greece: crackdown against Nazi party

We'll see where this ends but it seems that the Samaras ND-PASOK government is decided to send a clear message of who is in charge after the assassination of Killah P, after years of absolute tolerance, deep Nazi penetration of the state apparatus (notably the police forces) and worrying sabre-rattling by special forces' reserve members, surely also akin to Golden Dawn.

Nikos Michaloliakos, the GD turd-o-führer, and other 13 party members, including MPs have been arrested overnight in a major crackdown against Nazi activities in the European country. The list of those arrested includes names like Ilias Kasidiaris, Ilias Panagiotaros and Ioannis Lagos, names that have all been quite prominent in the interviews that some Nazis have conceded to the media these days. All seem to be related in some way to the murder of Pavlos Fyssas (Killah P).

Is it "too little, too late"? It is certainly very late, I wouldn't dare to say at this moment, when the whole Nazi cupola has been arrested, that it is also "too little". But it may well be if the police and military forces are not radically purged. In fact, in the case of police forces, it would seem that they need to be dissolved because the Nazi penetration is so extreme that it reaches to at least every other police agent, what is totally unbearable and the main reason why Golden Dawn has enjoyed impunity so far.

True that there has been also some limited crackdown in police forces, with five officers suspended and several stations searched but this is certainly not enough and a clear case of "too little".

See also:

Friday, September 27, 2013

European Human Rights Court condemns France again for its abuse of Basque prisoners

It is the seventh such indictment that France gets at Strasbourg regarding illegal retention of Basque prisoners. 

The high European tribunal decreed that the French Republic must pay €5000 to each of the victims and other €2000 as fine for unduly delaying the liberation of Basque prisoners Patxi Abad and Mikel Almandoz. 

Both were kept in provisional detention for almost six years before they were brought to trial. The European Convention of Human Rights, of compulsory application in all European states (incl. Turkey and the Transcaucasus), except Belarus, establishes that every person has the right to be judged in a reasonable time or set free.

Source: Ateak Ireki[es].

Greece: the murder of Killah P was necessarily approved by Michaloliakos

Who's Michaloliakos?, you may ask. I also need to copy-paste the spelling, admittedly. He is better known in this blog as the turd-o-führer because I always find extremely hard to believe that such a dumb-looking guy, a dwarf next to his bodyguards, can be the leader of one of the most menacing and openly Nazi movements in Europe (or anything else for that matter). But well, guess that Hitler's ridiculous mustache was also quite unimpressive and he's right now at the right of Satan in the Western mythology of Evil. Well, he is the General Secretary of Golden Dawn.

A former GD member admits in interview that Michaloliakos must have approved the murder of Pavlos Fyssas "Killah P".
I believe that Fyssas became a target because of his songs that were annoying. I believe there clearly was an order for his murder. The purpose of the one who hit him on the heart cannot have been to intimidate Fyssas.

How could Lagos make such a decision without first telling Michaloliakos?
This is not possible.

Therefore Michaloliakos knew that they were going to murder Fyssas?

In my view, yes. There is a hierarchy. This means that a member reports something to the leader of local core; the core leader passes this to the MP who is in charge of the local branch; and the MP passes it to the leader.

More details on the hierarchical responsibility of all GD for the murder:
According to some information, the lifting of the secrecy of communication has shown that Patelis spoke to the perpetrator and Lagos spoke with Patelis.
Of course, they would contact Patelis and then he would call Lagos.

Could Lagos, transgressing the hierarchy, not have contacted Michaloliakos?

I cannot be sure about this. From what I have experienced, the leader is always informed so that he can give permission.

It was an intentional murder:
It is said that Roupakias’s strike was intended to kill.

You don’t strike at the heart if you do not want to kill.

The acting murderer was a tool:
Let’s get back to Roupakias. You are saying that he was not a very intelligent person, he was dependent on GD and he just went there when Patelis asked him to?

When Roupakias joined Golden Dawn everyone was making fun of him. Some people that did not have a personality and could be used to do all sorts of favours were put there to act as henchmen and follow orders. Roupakias was an instrument.

Alright, but how does one reach the point of committing a murder?

Brainwashing. When this moment comes you just do not think of anything. Maybe we was promised something.

Police connivance and collaboration:
Are there policemen helping you?
In Golden Dawn we never had problems with the police. There may have been some police attacks against GD, but they have always been on our side. We never had them against us with exception of Agios Panteleimonas, where they could not have done differently. They cover us in all our demonstrations.

What does this mean exactly? Are there policemen who are Golden Dawners?

There are individuals who are former army officials, other individuals who are policemen, who are not members so that they will not be visible, but are supporters of GD.

Do they also come to the offices?

No, they never set foot in the offices.

How do they communicate with the leaders?

Through the internet and mainly through Facebook, using fake profiles.

Let's recall that every other police agent voted for Golden Dawn in the last elections. So it is a much more widespread and worrying infiltration that these comments admit to.

More on how the murder plan could not have been ignored by the command chain up to Michialoliakos:
Who decides which actions are to take place? Who is the one saying go out to distribute newspapers or have your batons ready and prepare to attack?

There is a discussion in the five-member council (a council consisting of five members that is governing each local branch) and they reach a decision. They pass it to the relevant MP who then passes it to the leader. The leader says OK and then we move into action.

So the leader knows everything? There is no chance Michaloliakos in not informed about anything?
No, there is no such possibility. At least this is what we have been told. Michaloliakos used to always say that if you act on an individual basis you will not have the movement’s support. We should always act as a team.

Roupakias (the murderer) was a member of the Nikaia decision-making council:
There is evidence Roupakias was in Golden Dawn. Even more, he has been a member for a year and he has been one of the five members of Nikaia’s council. But he is not ideologically related with the movement and I cannot know if he was offered something.

There is indeed something strange in the history of Roupakias, a former KKE member who was renowned by his cowardice and lack of compromise, and who suddenly jumps to the Nikaia Nazi council and becomes the murdering hand of GD.

The Leader (Mikhaloliakos) is everything in GD:
I believe the problem starts from the leader. I think he is the worst in there. We are all the leader’s instruments. Even the MPs follow orders from the leader.

All the storm-troopers present must have known in advance about the plan of murder:
Why didn’t the other 30 that were present at the murder try to prevent Roupakias? Did they know they were out to murder?

Those who participate in this storm troop and go out for actions are informed about what they are going to do. They receive orders in advance from the office. They arrange who is going to provide coverage and who is going to do what.

If the Nikaia group acted on their own, they would have been expelled (they were not):
So if Lagos had acted on his own, would he get expelled?

Certainly. The movement was traduced. All of the members, we were traduced. Everyone disagrees with the murder. If Lagos had acted on his own, the leader would have abandoned him. Just like what had happened with Periandros a few years ago. Periandros got in jail and Golden Dawn abandoned him; they did not even get a lawyer for him. Periandros’s name is prohibited within Golden Dawn. He had the courage to say after so many years that Golden Dawn would get dismantled if he opened his mouth. After all these years. The only reason he has not already done anything is because he is on a 16-month probation.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

USA: myths and facts of wealth distribution (very informative video)

You may have already watched this because it has not less than 7 million views. Still that's only the thousandth fraction of World's population and just about 2% of US citizenry, so I guess it is still worth spreading around.

What US citizens believe and wish about wealth distribution in their country, the wealthiest one on Earth, and what is the sad reality instead. First of all an screened key graph:

click to expand

Then the whole video (with even more shocking graphs):


As you can see but let's underline it:
1% of US citizens own 24% of all the national wealth (excluding public property such as roads, schools or the military, which is just 9% of the GDP). That makes this super-oligarchic 1% (3.16 million people):
    • Jointly own $ 3.43 trillion.
    • Own on average more than $ 1 million each.

10% of US citizens own around 73% of all the national wealth (again excluding in pure theory that 9% of public share). Therefore the oligarchic 10% (less than 32 million people):
    • Jointly own $ 10.4 trillion (1/7 of the global wealth).
    • Own on average some $ 350,000 each.

These together make up what we can consider the great bourgeoisie and the ones who actually control the country and, to a great extent, the whole planet.

Down the road are the real "middle classes" (petty bourgeoisie and assimilated), which may comprise the next 30%: those who own jointly some 22% of the total wealth (and the vast majority of the remainder), i.e. $ 3.14 trillion. On average someone from this "middle" 30% owns like 33,000 bucks (yearly figures always), roughly the average of the European Union. 

The remaining 60% (~working class) owns barely above 5% of the total wealth, what is like $ 714 billion, less than the GDP of Turkey. Considering that they are 190 million people, they have a GDP per capita of $ 3,750, what is just slightly above that of Vietnamese. Cubans get three times your share (on average, sure, but Cuba has almost no inequality, you know).

But we are still considering the average of this 60%. Most US workers are not actually getting even their fair share of these pathetic crumbs, the 40% of US-Americans barely get 1% or 2% of the total wealth. Let's be "optimistic" and say 2% (I do not have the exact figure, although it may be mentioned somewhere in the video). If so, these impoverished masses, 127 million people, would own jointly less than $ 286 billion (less than the GDP of Egypt). On average some $ 2,250 bucks per year (barely above the average Tajik or Sudanese). Cubans own on average almost five time this figure.

These masses of lower working class are largely made up of ethnic minorities (African Americans and Hispanics mostly) but these minorities only make some 29%, so there must be a good number of whites also in this extremely dispossessed sector of the working class. 

We can conclude that, thanks to the extreme and worsening inequality of the USA, the average Cuban is a lot better than the average US citizen. Of course that in Cuba almost everything belongs to the state but the state largely serves the people, unlike what happens in its northern and oft menacing neighbor.

Credit: politizane.

Update: the US wealth distribution is very markedly unequal but not the worst one at all at global levels, while the USA has a 0.41 score in the Gini coefficient, which measures wealth inequality, South Africa and Namibia (some of the worst cases) score of 0.63.

The sparse data for Cuba shows a clear decline in income equality thanks to the "market friendly" reforms promoted by the current regime but it is hardly comparable when all basic needs are guaranteed by the state at almost no cost. It is the extras which are costly. In the linked article someone complains that they can't buy a moped at the price of $98 (1 CUC=1 USD) but that same moped elsewhere costs $700 or more. The problem is getting dollars or other hard currencies to buy imported goods, not surviving decently.

The best performing capitalist country I could find is Ukraine, with a Gini score of 0.26. Next are other former Soviet bloc countries like Belarus or Afghanistan, but also some formerly socialist countries have quite horrible scores: Russia or China score similarly to the USA, with 0.40 and 0.42 scores respectively, what guess that can be added to the "merits" of Putin and the counter-revolutionary Chinese politburo.

The worst ex-socialist case is anyhow Angola, where oil wealth and civil peace have not served to extend equality but to destroy it. It scores 0.58 in the Gini coefficient.

While searching for this data, one of the most interesting graphs I found was this one on Latin American advances (or lack of them) towards equality by country:

(source: Revolutionary Communist)
We can see that most Latin American countries have improved somewhat their equality performance in the last decade (there are exceptions however: the usual suspects, of course: those still dominated by old school comprador oligarchies) but that some countries have very markedly improved their social-economic balance: Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia have all removed some 10 points from their Gini score (expressed in x100 figures here).

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Greece: antifascists march against Nazi headquarters, police protects the Nazis (again)

Greeks marched in great numbers (at least 50,000) against the Nazi headquarters in Athens. The march began in Syntagma Square at around 18:50 (GMT+2) after a column from Popylea joined the main bloc. In spite of rumors of arrests in Exarcheia, the march went undisturbed to just a few hundred meters from the Nazi see in Mesogeion, where, around 20:20 police blocked it, resulting in fierce clashes.

The main bloc of the march went back to Alexandras Av. while clashes continued around the Nazi headquarters. However police attacked them also around 20:55.

The latest update (21:00) said that clashes continued and many had been arrested. 

Reblog: Tsipras' discourse to the European socialdemocrats

A. Tsipras (CC by Joana)
Taken from Yanis Varoufakis' blog. I reblog here in full (including Yanis' own intro in purple) because of its interest (emphasis as in original).

Last week, Alexis Tsipras (SYRIZA’s chair) gave a talk at the Kreisky Forum, in Vienna. In it he addressed Austrian social democrats, in Bruno Kreisky’s old residence. I post Tsipras’ speech here for two reasons: First, because it sends an interesting message to central European social democrats (Austrian and German in particular). Secondly, because this important speech seems to have gone unnoticed by the mainstream media. Your views on the speech below will, as always, be very welcome.

Dear Gertraud, dear all,

Thank you for your kind invitation. I am honoured and glad to be here. In Bruno Kreisky’s home. Among Austrian friends who, I assume, share with me the same concerns regarding our common European home. Our common home which is presently threatened by a dangerous social and political time bomb deep in its foundations. A time bomb which we can and must defuse.

As you know, I am not a social democrat.

But I am deeply aware of Bruno Kreisky’s greatness and of the importance of the social democracy that he believed in and which he practised with honesty and dedication during his lifetime. And I have a huge respect for his achievements.

The reason I begin with the statement that I am not a social democrat is not, of course, because I want to raise an ideological barrier between you and me. Dialogue and political alliances are at the heart of the culture, in the DNA of my party, SYRIZA, as an essential part of the democratic road to socialism with freedom and democracy.

I am sure that with most of you I share the same or similar values. However, I cannot hide my surprise and disappointment with the political turn that most European social democratic parties have taken in recent years.

Dear friends,

As I am sure you are aware, in Greece we have been experiencing lately the revival of the appalling Nazi phenomenon. The atrocious political murder of an anti-fascist musician, Pavlos Fyssas, which took place in a Piraeus neighbourhood, is proof of their goals and methods.

In 1967 Bruno Kreisky was one of the leaders of European solidarity movements to restore democracy in Greece.

Greek democrats will forever be grateful to him and his Austrian comrades for proving their friendship to the Greek people at critical times.

I am afraid that the re-emergence of Nazism is connected to the harsh austerity policies imposed on Greece by the troika of lenders and successive Greek government – notably the one currently in power, which is a coalition government between the conservative New Democracy and PASOK.

Today’s PASOK is in eclipse because it failed to perceive the consequences both of the crisis per se and of the neoliberal management of the crisis for a deficit country, such as Greece, participating in an architecturally flawed monetary union subjugated to an symmetric shock.

There is a lesson to be learned from the crisis for all of us but especially for the social democratic parties

Dear Friends,

In the 1990s, most European social democratic parties gradually divorced themselves from policies that try to regulate capitalism.

However, there were times post-World War II and courageous and inspired European socialists, like Bruno Kreisky, marched on the road of of social democratic values, principles and policies.

In a recent Spiegel article, the Financial Times columnist Wolfgang Munchau argued on the issue:

“The SPD finally gave up on Keynesianism when the last Keynesian in the party, Oskar Lafontaine, quit in 1999, and left the field open to Gerhard Schroeder, who later pursued his supply-side reforms.

Today, the SPD is just another conservative supply side party, where the differences with the CDU are reduced to discussions about distribution, but no longer about fundamental issues. This is why the debate between Merkel and Steinbruck has been so lame – a duet as some newspapers called it”.

I absolutely agree with this view. If social democrats had followed the legacy of statesmen, such as Bruno Kreisky, Willy Brandt or Olof Palme, Europe would not have turned into today’s neoliberal desert.

Dear friends,

Let’s all recall the 1929 Crash. Allow me to encapsulate what had happened at that time in two sentences:
  1. the so to speak “common currency” of that period, that is the Gold Standard being a system of fixed exchange rates crashed and burned.
  2. the government denied that there was an architectural fault in the whole design, insisted on austerity and in the policy of escaping the crisis through net exports.

That was a set of economic policies that historians associate with the rise of fascism in southern Europe and Nazism in Central and Northern Europe.

Do you notice the similarities with the present situation in Europe?

The Eurozone resembles the Gold Standard with a difference that makes things worse: instead of fixed exchange rates among currencies, there is a single currency from which it is impossible to escape at a time of severe crisis.

But, because it is so badly designed, that common currency did two terrible things to us. Two things that make the analogy with the Gold Standard very, very apt:

First, it caused massive capital movements during the first years of its existence from the surplus developed Eurozone countries toward the Periphery.

Surplus countries have capital intensive oligopolistic industries that produce capital goods and consumer goods which the Periphery cannot produce at all – or at a price that is competitive.

By its very nature, a monetary union between such advanced economies and a less advanced and less capitalized Periphery will generate increasing trade surpluses.

But these trade surpluses immediately create mountains of profits in the surplus countries that far exceed their investment needs.

The result is that the interest rates collapse in the surplus countries and, for this reason, the northern bankers have an incentive to divert their capital to the Periphery, where interest rates are higher. This is why capital flows to the Periphery in large quantities.

And why is this capital flow a problem?

Because the money that flows into the Periphery creates bubbles.

In Greece, it caused a bubble of public debt as the state borrowed on behalf of the developer-cleptocrats who then used the money to create all sorts of bubbles indirectly.

Then, all of a sudden, but very predictably, Wall Street collapsed in 2008. All this capital that had flooded the Periphery left instantly. And those who had never benefitted from any of these bubbles ended up owing all the money.

Just like Hoover, in the late 20´s and 30´s, European conservative and social democratic governments insisted that un-payable debts must be still be paid.

But how?

With new debts that were taken from the surplus countries.

It was in this way that bankrupt Greece ended up, in May 2010, accepting the largest loan in human history which accelerated national income loss.

The absence of social democrats in the tradition of Bruno Kreisky created the political space for anti-crisis policies which gave rise to a new and invisible economic wall between the creditor surplus countries of the North and the debtor deficit countries of the South.

Dear friends

I have been speaking for a while now and I have hardly mentioned Greece.

Let me, therefore, say a few words about my long-suffering country.

Greece is not a special case.

Greece may have been the weakest link of the Eurozone chain.

But even if Greece did not exist, the Eurozone chain would have another weakest link.

Greece was, to put simply, the canary in the mine whose death should sound the alarm – telling the miners – the rest of our European partners – that there is something wrong with the mine.

Instead, the dying canary was starved to almost-death; it was treated like a scapegoat.

Even if Greece had managed to become far leaner, fitter and modernized before 2008, we would have fallen flat on our faces within a Eurozone that could not sustain the earthquake of 2008.

Perhaps we would not have been the first to fall. But we would have fallen anyway. For if Ireland, the country that topped all lists for ‘good’ outcomes, fell, Greece was bound to fall too. As was Portugal, Italy, Spain – eventually even France.

I do not wish to argue that Greece requires no reforms or has no weaknesses. That would be absurd.

All that is true. But no reforms can take place if the economy collapses.

However, there is another truth that you may not have heard of.

It is the fact that our cleptocracy has formed an alliance with Europe’s elites to propagate a number of lies about Greece.

Lies that shift the blame for our country’s weaknesses from the cleptocrats to the common, hard working Greek people.

Lies that help them impose policies that are terrible for Greece, awful for Austria and the rest of Europe but excellent for the bankrupt bankers and convenient for the Eurocrats.

Please allow me to dispel some of these mythical lies:

Myth Number One

Greek labour is over-protected.

Myth Number Two

The Greeks are lazy.

Myth Number Three

The Greek labour market is too rigid.

Do you know that since 2001, every year one third (33,3%) of waged workers are laid off.

Myth Number Four

Greek unemployed workers are receiving over-generous unemployment insurance payments.

Myth Number Five

Real wages in Greece converged between 2000 to 2009 toward average Eurozone real wages,

They never actually reached that level.

I could go on and on. But I choose to stop here.

If you really want to understand why Greece remains in depression the answer is simple: It is caught up in a Eurozone that imposes austerity upon Greece and upon the rest of the Periphery.

However, now that we are in it, the cost of dismantling it would be horrendous for all of us.

So, even if we think it is a terrible monetary union, one that divides our peoples by means of a single currency, we have a duty to re-designe it.

Unfortunately, such a re-design will not be effected easily.

There are huge vested interests, in keeping things the way they are.
  • The bankrupt bankers of Greece and Spain, in total cooperation with the bankrupt bankers of Germany and France, do not want to see any drastic changes.
  • The politicians presently in power do not want any radical changes either.
  • The Euro-crats are particularly against any admission to having designed bad institutions.

Unfortunately, if the bankers, the ruling politicians and the Euro-crats get their way, Europe will disintegrate.

Do you want a glimpse of what will happen here in Vienna once the disease spreads from the Periphery, as it definitely will?

Then come to Greece and look for yourselves at the boarded up shops, the empty factories, the fear that migrants have on their faces as they walk home at night.

Dear friends

It doesn’t have to come to that.

SYRIZA will win the next elections in Greece and will succeed a fundamental political change.

A government of the Left in Greece will extend a hand to Europe’s social democrats, to Europe’s free thinking liberals, to all Europeans who do not want Europe to slide into a nightmare.

And we will ask them to join us in a common project: The project of stabilising the Eurozone – a first step towards an open, democratic and cohesive Europe.

To do this, we will have to negotiate forcefully with the main levers of institutional neoliberalism in Frankfurt, in Berlin, in Brussels, in Paris.

To do so, we will need your support.

Not just in order to achieve a better outcome for Greece. But in order to forge a better Europe, a humane Europe.

A SYRIZA government will not expect the suffering workers of Germany or Austria to bankroll our recovery, against their interests.

A Syriza government will put on the table a European Marshall Plan, which will include a proper banking union, a centrally managed public debt by the ECB, a massive program of public investment.

Above all, we are requesting a special conference on the european debt in the entire periphery, by analogy to he 1953 London Conference for the German debt at the time, which decided to cut a large portion of it, a moratorium on the payment of interest and a growth clause.

These are the minimum demands of a future Syriza government.
  • They can be granted today without any Treaty changes.
  • Without any need for the German or the Austrian taxpayers to pay for the Periphery.
  • Without any loss of sovereignty of our Parliaments.

My intention is to look at the hard working German or Austrian worker in the eye and say to her or to him:

They made us take the largest loan in history from you. But none of that benefitted our people. It was all a cynical ploy to transfer losses from the northern banks’ books to your shoulders.

It will not be easy to convince Mrs Merkel, Mr Asmussen, Mr Draghi.

We shall have to be ready to suffer the consequences of their resistance.

But I shall suffer these consequences.

The only alternative is to accept the slow death of my nation and the slow disintegration of the Eurozone – which will destroy the European Union itself.

To conclude, my party, Syriza, is intent on promoting a European agenda for the salvation of the Eurozone as a means to giving Greece a chance to breathe.

I do not know whether the Austrian social democratic party will join me in this struggle, for saving Europe from itself.

But I am convinced that Bruno Kreisky would want them to join me.

Let’s join forces to do good. Accross Europe.

Thank you

Germany: the struggle against fascism in Magdeburg (video)

In April, I echoed some 2003 photos of a younger and much slimmer Angela Merkel visiting what seemed to be a Nazi hideout in Magdeburg. The subsequent discussion arose only in these last few days and has provided some background[de]: the youth club she visited had been the crime scene of the murder of an antifascist just months earlier and was declared "officially" a Nazi locale just days after Merkel's visit. 

It is not fully clear how much Merkel was aware, how much she meant to be supportive of the Nazis or how much she was "good heartedly" trying to get them out of that extremist path. But what is clear is that the German state does actually protects the Nazis, has the secret services and police forces intimately hybridized with them, and, as the above mentioned German article says: it is not blind of the right eye, it is always looking with both eyes to the left and only to the left.

The following video-documentary (15 mins., mostly in German, with English subtitles, 2013) tells the story of Nazi appropriation of the city of Magdeburg on the yearly commemoration of the allied bombing, their denialist propaganda and the protection that the German state gives them. It also tells of the growing antifascist resistance in that city that has managed to deter the Nazis somewhat in spite of police protection.

No Pasaran Uncut from CS Productions on Vimeo.

(h/t CerebralScars)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Bangladesh: 50,000 march for labor rights in textile industry

Some 50,000 people marched through Dhaka in demand of a salary increase of 5000 takas ($70). Workers also blockaded road access to the capital and caused damages to dozens of textile factories. 

The government rejects the salary demand on the pretext that multinational corporations want cheap products. The textile sector generates 80% of Bangladeshi GDP and employs four million workers.

Source: Webguerrillero[es].

WHO blocks report on cancer in Iraq

Map of the 2010 Iraqi report
The World Health Organization has blocked, against its mandate, the release of a report on cancer and birth malformations in Iraq. The damages, attributed to the use of weapons of mass destruction by the USA, be them chemical weapons, depleted uranium or even, some have claimed, a real nuclear bomb dropped near Basra in the early 90s, seem to be really alarming for the WHO to act this way. 

Whatever the case the UN organization is morally and legally obliged to release this report. Blocking the information is a clear act of complicity with genocide. 

A previous report by the Iraqi government in 2010 highlighted the massive damages, mostly attributed to depleted uranium, as well as the pollution caused by the destruction of oil facilities.

Sources: Global Research, Webguerrillero[es].

USA: violent repression and political persecution against anti-Petraeus protesters

This video shows just some of the violence that police used against demonstrators who protested peacefully against a conference by former Middle East proconsul and CIA chief David Petraeus in CUNY university.

An eyewitness description of police brutality follows:
“As students were chanting ‘War Criminal Petraeus Out of CUNY Now,’ I was shocked to see several police officers grab and brutalize one of the demonstrators,” said City College student Yexenia Vanegas. “This was completely unprovoked, as demonstrators made clear that they were there to defend our university in a peaceful protest.” The attack occured in front of CUNY’s Macaulay Honors College, where Petraeus has been appointed to teach a class on public policy. “Protestors were marching in a circle on the sidewalk and chanting, but the police forced them into the street and then charged. One of the most brutal things I saw was that five police officers slammed a Queens College student face down to the pavement across the street from Macaulay, put their knees on his back and he was then repeatedly kneed in the back,” said Hunter student Michael Brian. The student was one of those pointed out by “white shirt” officers, then seized and brutalized. A Latina woman student was heaved through the air and slammed to the ground.

The repression did not stop there. Six students were arrested and now face arbitrary charges.

Sources: Kasama, Webguerrillero[es].

Italy: anti-homophobia law depleted of meaning

The new anti-discrimination law passed on September 19th was amended so it lost almost any meaning. The original bill was meant to dissuade and repress homophobia and transphobia but the provisions against discrimination will not apply, after the amendment, to "organizations in the fields of politics, unions, culture, health care, education, religion or cults". 

In other words: if you are a private citizen devoid of any affiliation you can be persecuted by acts of homophobia but, if you belong to any institution, be it political, religious or even public services, you will get away. 

It just makes no sense whatsoever. 

Basque Country: one arrested on Burger King protests

One person has been arrested today in Iruñea-Pamplona (Navarre) accused of "coercion" in a Burger King restaurant. The exact details are not known yet but the junk food facility has been the target of many anti-Imperialist and anti-Capitalist protests as of late. 

Source: Ateak Ireki[es].

Fukushima latest

Some of the latest (and of course disturbing) news on the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe.

Tokyo suburb contamination worse than near Fukushima Daiichi

The data collected by a new study on radioactive pollution in Japan (→ LINK, open access) shows that some areas of Tokyo (Kashima) have levels of cesium contamination four times worse than some sites just two kilometers from the devastated nuclear plant. 


Tokyo governor: Fukushima is "NOT under control"

Tokyo governor Naoki Inose declared that: the leakage of contaminated water is not under control necessarily at this stage

The Town Assembly of Namie (Fukushima), in an unanimous decision, also protested PM Shinzo Abe's claims of the catastrophe being "under control", claims made to influence the Olympic games decision but which bear no resemblance to reality. 

Radioactive scrap metal seized in China

A shipment of radioactive scrap metal from Japan was seized by port authorities in China.

Russia to extend ban of Japanese seafood imports

Russia will continue rejecting the import of Japanese seafood from NE Japan, in line with a similar recent decision by South Korea.

Another illegal dump of radioactive material

Hundreds of tons of radioactive waste (cesium-tainted wood chips reading up to 3000 Bq/kg) were found near Japan's biggest lake (Lake Biwa) in yet another case of mafioso crime against health and ecology.


Refugees forgotten in abandoned school

Some 100, mosly elderly, refugees from Futaba Machi have been forgotten by the Japanese authorities in an abandoned school building. 


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Widespread protests and direct actions against Nazi impunity in Greece

Many protests have taken place in all Europe in repulse of the murder of rapper Killah P by a Nazi terrorist in Piraeus this week. Some of them in brief:

Zaragoza (→Madriz Rebelde[es]):

Dublin (→El Norte de Irlanda[es]):

Bilbao (→Sare Antifaxista[es], Naiz Info[es]):

Baiona (→Vegan Pays Basque[fr]):

In Greece the protests have taken a more direct slant:

In Ioanina, the demo was called an intervention, as it marched through the area of Kardamitsia, which has become a breeding ground for the Nazis, who recruit youths in that area mostly, sending them to the center of the city to spray Nazi slogans or even start fights with the antifascists, in some cases even pulling out knives. 

“Neither in Kardamitsia, nor anywhere – Bash the fash in every neighbourhood”

The 60-strong antifascist march chanted anti-Nazi slogans, spammed thousands of leaflets and scratched the homes and body-building gyms of the Nazis in the neighborhood. The cowards did not show up. 

In Karditsa, a dozens marched spontaneously after an open air film screening. They went to the local GD office and encountered four Nazis, who attempted to bully the demo out. As result one of them was beaten and the other three run away in panic. 

In Thessaloniki, an antifascist cell attacked the cafeteria Astoria, owned and frequented by the Nazis. 

In Messollogi Golden Down offices were torched with petrol bombs.


These are just some of the many antifascist activities which took place these days in Europe, I just don't know of most of them. Keep it up! Zero tolerance against fascism!

Update: more anti-Nazi actions in Greece:

In Epirus' capital Ioanina, it seems that the previously reported march was just an aperitif: Kimonas Potsis, said to be "a minion" of Christos Pappas a notorious Nazi MP, was spotted along with other two Nazis in an anti-fascist hangout, beaten, kicked and expelled from the café. Soon after, another member of his cell was beaten again in the streets and sent to hospital.

Contra Info.

In Patras some 120 people took part in an antifascist demo on motorbike that lasted an hour.

Contra Info.

In Cephalonia, an antifascist gathering evolved into a direct action of paint-throwing against the local Nazi see. When one of the Nazis inside used a water hose against them, the throwing became one of rocks.

Contra Info.

In Kavala a 500-strong antifascist demo marched through the city. Those present denounced that no SYRIZA member showed up.

“Your democracy stinks fascism. Antifa means attack”

Contra Info.

In the popular Exarchia neighborhood of Athens, a police bus was torched, allegedly in response to the murder of Killah P by Nazis with police complicity. The police occupants managed to get away unharmed... this time.

Contra Info.

Also it has been reported in the news that Golden Dawn has closed its office in Ierapetra, Crete, fearing attacks. They have moved the whole see to Heraklion, the island's capital.


More solidarity protests through Europe:




Donostia (San Sebastian):












Source (for all the locations above): Madriz Antifascista[es].

Update: some 5000 people marched in Kerazin (Athens) chanting anti-Nazi slogans and clashed violently with police when these tried to repress them.