Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Rousseff, Hollande, Merkel: Obama busy mending fences after spying fiasco

Germans protest US spying
by Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

US capitalism is wracked with crisis.  It is not simply domestic concerns like the recent government shutdown brought about by right wing Tea Baggers that have gained considerable influence within the Republican Party. The US is in trouble internationally.

US capitalism still has the most powerful military machine in the world capable of blowing the planet to bits, but there is no doubt it’s global influence is declining. It has wasted trillions of dollars on losing ventures in Iraq and Afghanistan and is some $16 trillion in debt forced by this crisis to place its own working class on rations. It is regarded throughout the world, among the working classes and poor anyway, as the rogue nation of all rogue nations despite its mass media warning its own citizens of the dangers they face from the likes of Iran and Somalia.

It continues to commit the most atrocious war crimes bombing sovereign nations with pilotless drones killing thousands of civilians in the process. The “war on Terror” is indeed the endless war, the right to kill and maim anytime, anywhere.  The existence of the concentration camp in Guantanamo Bay where human beings languish in the most horrific conditions despite being charged with no crimes, is not only a war crime in itself but also a recruiting tool for anti-American sentiment throughout the world.

US capitalism makes heroes of murderers, Kissinger, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld etc. and incarcerates or calls traitors those who dare inform its citizens of its criminal activity, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden.

If all this isn’t bad enough, a month or two after it allegedly pressured Spain, France and Portugal to forbid Bolivian President Evo Marales permission to travel though their air space because Washington thought the dreaded Edward Snowden might be on board, the US government is under assault from some of it’s staunchest allies, Germany and France, for spying on no less than German Chancellor Angela Merkel herself. This comes after Snowden’s revelations through Glenn Greenwald last week that the NSA has been listening in on communications between millions of French citizens, some 70 million digital communications has been collected by the NSA between Dec 2012 and Jan 2013 according to the French newspaper Le Monde. President Obama had to call both the French and German leaders to try and calm things down a bit. “Washington hastily pledged that the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, leader of Europe’s most powerful economy, was not the target of current surveillance and would not be in the future, while conspicuously saying nothing about the past.” Wrote the New York Times.

Latin America, historically, US imperialism’s back yard is not such easy pickin's these days.   Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, cancelled a state visit to the US last month after it was revealed that the NSA was spying on her. In response to being refused European air space, Bolivia’s Evo Morales said that "European countries need to liberate themselves from the imperialism of the Americans."  And Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is not far off the mark commenting on the Morales affair that, "What just happened with the South American indigenous leader Evo Morales shows the level of madness and desperation that the (U.S.) empire has reached,"

Dianne Feinstein, one half of the billionaire duo of Blum and Feinstein, has called Edward Snowden a traitor and that he is guilty of treason, she is a staunch defender of the US government being able to spy on its own citizens any time, anywhere, anyplace, and  wants the government to determine who is a journalist and who is not.

Anyone who hasn’t seen the Collateral Damage video that Chelsea (Bradley) Manning released to the US public should do so.  Manning and Snowden are heroic figures and we should be thankful that they did what they did.

I was thinking about this extensive spying that US capitalism is doing on its own people and the rest of the world, even allies. It sort of makes the old Stalinist regimes look like small potatoes. If it was revealed any other nation was carrying out such invasive measures, particularly on its own citizen’s the US mass media would be on that right away.

These crises are an indication of the decline of US capitalism on the world stage, not its strength.  In nature a wounded animal is known to be an extremely dangerous one. The same is true of politics.  The Apartheid regime in South Africa was no less violent in the period before its demise than it was during times when its grip on society was more secure.  One of British colonialism’s final battles was the most violent and brutal war against the Mau Mau in Kenya, one that eventually ended their direct occupation.

US capitalism is engulfed in a political and economic crisis at home and this will explode on to the streets at some point.  In its weakened state, the offensive against US workers and the middle class has intensified.  We have seen wages, benefits and working conditions of workers driven downward to the point that foreign manufacturers are looking to the US as a cheap place to do business.  Caterpillar closed down its London Ontario plant in the midst of a strike and moved production to the US mid-west where wages are 50^% lower.

We have reported on this blog, the increased resistance to this capitalist offensive.  Here in the San Francisco Bay Area we have seen transit workers strike the light rail system twice and bus drivers reject a concessionary contract their leaders brought to them two times as well.  These developments were yet another opportunity lost due to the refusal of the labor hierarchy to go on the offensive. The mass movement against austerity has been delayed due to the roll played by the heads of organized labor.

It is not an exaggeration to suggest that most people in this world fear the US, not Iran or Somali pirates.  They are correct to do so; there is a lot to lose in this game. The US ruling class is a ruthless and brutal force, it would drop nuclear weapons on its own cities to maintain its power; it is the only nation and the Democratic Party the only political party, to drop nuclear bombs on heavily populated urban centers. US capitalism poured dioxin on the Vietnamese and used depleted uranium white phosphorous in Iraq.

In the era of mass communication though, it is becoming ever more difficult for the 1% to operate behind the backs of the population.  More information will be leaked out as the surveillance community grows bigger and bigger.  Even entrepreneurs who object to the US governments increasing encroachment in to our personal lives have closed operations rather than share their client’s personal data with the NSA.

That the industrial working class has shifted from West to East, from Europe and the US to Asia, and despite the decline of US global economic power, capitalism will not be overthrown and democratic socialism not realized without US workers settling accounts with our own ruling class.

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