Spectre Feature Articles 2002
With the Irish yes in the referendum to approve the Treaty of Nice, the way, theoretically is now clear for the European Union (EU) to undertake a considerable move eastwards. Mike Hindley considers the issues.
Larry Birns explains what is happening in Venezuela as US-backed business and bogus trade unions attempt to destabilise the country in preparation for a second coup.
Jim Addington asks: is this the start of a New Cold War? Ivan Molloy's Rolling Back Revolution: the emergence of low-intensity conflict. Reviewed by Brian Precious
Perry Anderson has pre-emptively surrendered in the face of that threatened pre-emptive war.
Wayne Hall looks at Anderson's Force and Consent New Left Review 17
Alfred Mendes outlines the history of America's beloved First Family and some of their choice friends.
Wayne Hall, a member of ATTAC-Hellas, proposes "a new framework and structures for the European Union which are geared to changes in the world situation, the needs of the citizens of Europe and the future developments of the European Union
Anthony Coughlan considers some key issues surrounding Giscard's Convention on the Future of Europe and its proposed outline for an EU Constitution.
Heather Wokusch looks at what the CIA is really doing to the people it claims to protect.
Jim Addington considers some of the impulses lying behind the USAs warmongering.
Alfred Mendes examines the historical roots of the ongoing crisis in the Gulf
John Manning writes an open letter to this week's National Conference of the All Pakistan Trade Union Federation, in which he finds inspiration and education in history, contemporary events, and the basic tenets of socialist philosophy.
Jose Maria Sison, chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines discusses the latest victim of summary "justice"
"Iraqi oil belongs to Iraqi children, their future depends on it" writes Finnish physicist Dr. Stig Stig Froberg to the foreign ministers of the Nordic countries.
An appalling massacre passed off as victory. Lynette Dumble wonders what any sincere anti-terrorism pundit might find either impressive or successful about Moscow's massacre
We Can Stop This War Before it Begins. David Krieger, president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation addressed a meeting organised by the United Left Group of Euro-MPs. This is what he had to say.
How the Irish people lost the replay. Anthony Coughlan gives a summary account of why Irish voters voted Yes to exactly the same Nice Treaty as they rejected last year.
The Dutch Socialist Party has consistently opposed the onward march of Euro-federalism, yet when its nine MPs were called upon to vote for or against the government's approval of the European Commission's enlargement report the decision was difficult. After a thoroughgoing debate the SP decided to vote in favour, whilst at the same time criticising the way in which enlargement is being managed. SP spokesperson on foreign affairs Harry van Bommel took part in the debate.
Spinning the Euro. Andy Mullen and Brian Burkitt report on attempts to con British voters into supporting the unsupportable
Ireland has voted to ratify the Nice Treaty which it had previously rejected. Anthony Coughlan of Ireland's EU - critical National Platform explains what happened.
Around the world, multinational corporations are at one of the final frontiers for profit making: privatising water services. To discuss what's involved, the European United Left/Nordic Green Left Group in the European Parliament is hosting a conference. Read more
As the US prepares to kill thousands of Iraqi men, women and children in order to secure its grip on the area and its resources, Heather Wokusch looks at one of the deadly legacies of an earlier Gulf war.
The German Party of Democratic Socialism(PDS) had a disappointing election. As the Social Democrats and Greens clung on to power, the PDS failed to reach the 5% threshold which would have seen it maintain its representation in the Bundestag (Parliament). In Germany’s mixed electoral system, it did manage to win two seats outright. Here, the PDS national committee explains the party’s worst election result since reunification.
Harry van Bommel is MP for the Socialist Party of the Netherlands and took part in an international humanitarian mission that visited Baghdad in December 2000 to protest against the UN sanction regime against Iraq. He was one of two SP MPs who attended last weekend’s massive antiwar demonstration in London. Spectre spoke to him about his reasons for campaigning against Bush’s war plans.
As threats to invade Iraq mount, there is both greater urgency and increased opportunity to reach out broadly with an antiwar message. What’s remarkable is that leading figures in the policy-making elite - for their own reasons - are proclaiming that unilateral U.S. action could lead to disaster. Today’s Republican dissidents will fall in line behind Bush if an invasion does occur. But for the moment, their orchestrated campaign to slow Bush down has created the biggest opening for public debate over the "war on terrorism" since 9-11.
As the whole world joins in protest against the U.S. administration's plan to attack Iraq, Prime Ministers Blair of Great Britain and Koizumi of Japan remain the only conformers to Bush's attack on the entire structure of peace-keeping agreements set up in the United Nations to prevent another world war. John Manning's news from Japan
In the Swedish elections the right wing forces were defeated, but the Left Party took a step backwards. Jan Å Johansson analyses the results of a disappointing, but mixed, election.
As the religious right gains ground in the US,
accompanied by politicians evoking the god-fearing
values of good and evil, a culture honoring diversity
is replaced by calls for apocalyptic war. Heather Wokusch
Genetic modification of plants has formed part of agricultural technology for many thousands of years. In recent decades, however, an exponential growth in understanding of molecular biology has enabled scientists to develop techniques which differ markedly from anything previously applied. In the past. The Ecology of Genetic Engineering reviewed by Steve McGiffen
Letter from the Peace History Society which will be sponsoring its third international conference, Peace Work: The Labor of Peace Activism, Past, Present, and Future, April 25-27, 2003 at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, USA.
In the European Union context, much has been said about the obstacles to labour mobility but, the problems with capital mobility are much greater. The transition in the East has displayed a typical market failure. László Andor, associate professor at the Budapest University of Economic Sciences and Public Administration, discusses Finance, Money and EU Enlargement
And in this week's Letters Page , contributions from Ms Juliet Ucelli, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Mr Greg Pason, Socialist Party USA and Paul Le Blanc, Solidarity
Spectre was pleased to hear that after 12 years as a political prisoner, Mark Barnsley has finally been releasedfrom Britain's prisons. But in a remarkably similar case on the other side of the Atlantic, Richard Flood awaits sentence. Anthony Rayson reports.
The US and UK governments are planning to break international law. The government of the United States, almost certainly supported by Blair's British forces, is planning to attack Iraq. Ten years after the Gulf war President Bush is ready to challenge the United Nations Charter and the General Assembly by this illegal act, writes Jim Addington
The Powell Doctrine: with the US poised to attack Iraq, it's helpful to recall what pushed us over the brink last time ... the invisible steps and the unspoken onsequences. Heather Wokusch reports
It’s 140 years since the Emancipation Proclamation, but slavery is alive and well in America’s South. Florida farmworkers are fighting back. Spectre reports on the two year investigation by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) into violent and coercive slavery operations in the Florida citrus fruit industry.
We were somewhere near day 600 of the Bush administration on the edge of sanity when reality began to take hold ... And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us and the future was full of bombs and Enrons and Cheneys, all swooping and screeching and diving around the SUV, which was going about a hundred miles an hour straight into a brick wall. And a voice was screaming: "Holy Jesus! How did we get here?" Heather Wokusch reports.
Oil companies, chemical corporations and mining multinationals will be heading to Johannesburg, South Africa in the next few months – because they want to help save the planet. Spectre investigates
'Soldiers of fortune’ - or mercenaries - have played a destabilising role throughout history but in today’s capitalist world their paymasters are fast becoming business corporations. In view of the enormous potency of modern weaponry coupled with the increasingly global spread of capitalism - with its inherent inequitable class structure - it follows that today the destabilising role of these mercenary groups now poses a far greater and more wide-spread hazard than in times past. Alfred Mendes reports
Palestine: in spite of the high profile of the Oslo peace negotiations and the country’s subsequent role, Norway has failed to focus on the core issue of the conflict. Eva Bjøreng and Steinar Sørlie report.
This past Sunday, Bolivians went to the polls to choose their next president and elect a new Congress. In the balloting for president, nobody earned the "50% plus one" margin required for an outright electoral victory, and so Bolivia's new congress now gets to decide which of the two top vote-getters will be the nation's next leader. Congress's decision is expected at the beginning of August.
On scrapping the ABM treaty: See Letterspage
Why have leading politicians behaved in such a seemingly erratic fashion since September 11? Jim Addington discusses.
A Vision of Permanent War: Israeli and Palestinian peace activists respond to George Bush's speech
David McReynolds, the Socialist Party USA presidential candidate in 2001, gives his view on the conflict in the Palestinian occupied territories and the current US response
Close the School of the Americas. An appeal for international pressure in the campaign to shut this training camp for terrorists down for good.
Marelis Perez Marcano, Deputy of Venezuela's Fifth Republic Movement party, president of the Permanent Commission on Women, Family and Youth of the Venezuelan National Assembly, gave an exclusive interview to Susana Santos, special envoy of Hora do Povo to Caracas. As the US gears up for another shot at getting rid of a man who just won’t do as the Bush junta tells him, Spectre is pleased to publish an English translation of this inspiring interview.
The ABM treaty was finally scrapped last week and given the media coverage, you would think that it was all about one thing: missile defence. But while missile defence has given the US a seemingly valid excuse to tear up what they like to portray as an out of date treaty, it is nothing more than a diversion to hide America's real motive. Read More
The recent food summit and the U.S. farm bill have placed the issue of international agriculture trade and US farm policies at the centre of several disputes at the World Trade Organisation. Sophia Murphy reports.
Could conflicts between states such as India and Pakistan go nuclear? As the U.S. War on Terrorism hurtles into uncharted waters could a nuclear strike against a non-nuclear "rogue state" become an American option? These issues are discussed in The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence by Francis A. Boyle. Reviewed by Spectre
Not in my Name is a new video which shows clearly and unambiguously the evil process that has followed the horror bombings of the New York World Trade Centre and how that event has provided an excuse for the murder of innocent Afghans, the detention of equally innocent Muslims and the opportunity for a world wide attack on civil liberties. Reviewed by Spectre.
The proposal to tax currency transactions was first made by James Tobin in the early 70s. It is however only since the late 90s, when it was "adopted" by the social movements against neoliberalism, that it became something of a "battlecry", denoting not just the fight against orthodoxy, but also an alternative approach to globalisation. Spectre reviews Heikki Patomaki's, Democratising Globalisation: The Leverage of the Tobin Tax
Much has been made of Le Pen's scandalous victory in France, and greater Europe's wartime march towards the right. This while the US Administration uses its convenient terror war to justify massive internal societal engineering to the right. What's behind both? Fear. Heather Wokusch discusses the use of fear as a weapon
Ex-President of the US Jimmy Carter has just visited Cuba, the most prominent American citizen to do so since the Revolution. Spectre publishes the text of the speech by Fidel Castro Ruz, President of the Republic of Cuba, during the former President's visit to the Latin American Medical School, May 13, 2002
The incoming Irish Government should "get down at once" to re-running the Nice Treaty referendum, Irish EU Commissioner David Byrne said on the Republic of Ireland's national radio station, RTE, earlier this week. Anthony Coughlan reports.
On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the return of Okinawa to Japan, Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo held a news conference in the Diet Building on May 15th to publish a statement titled, "End the intolerable situation in the 21st century." Shii stated that he will not attend the government-sponsored ceremony to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Okinawa's reversion. John Manning reports.
Many media outlets covered an address on May 6 by US Undersecretary of State John Bolton to the right-wing Heritage foundation. Bolton professed a belief that Cuba possesses offensive biological weapons capacity and that an intelligence compromise within the US defense community contributed to an under appreciation of the situtation in Cuba. Bolton's charge is an extremely grave one and Spectre investigates it.
Japanese workers celebrate May Day : In May Day meetings throughout Japan, Half a million workers called for secure employment and an end to war threats. John Manning reports.
The Initiative Towards a Different Europe is a forum consisting of popular movements and political parties, who are planning demonstrations and other activities during the Danish EU-Presidency in the second half of 2002. Its aim is to make it possible for progressive domestic and international organizations to go to Denmark under the Danish EU-presidency in order to show that there is a different Europe from the one presented by the governments leaders, the European Commission and the multinational corporations. Spectre reports.
Russia under Yeltsin and Putin: reviewed. Boris Kagarlitsky looks at the way in which, instead of the defeat of authoritarian collectivism opening up new possibilities for democratic political and social change, the economy collapsed, capital fled, health care and other welfare systems descended into chaos and every indicator of prosperity and wellbeing plummeted
Most U.S. economists believe that the recession will be reversed this year, but neither the war industry’s revitalization, nor increased Pentagon spending have been able to counteract the ravages brought about by a sustained hike in oil prices and the chain reaction unleashed by the Enron energy company scandal. Cuban journalist Raisa Pages looks across the water at her country’s economically troubled neighbour.
Palestinian and Israeli Women Demand Immediate
End to Occupation
The Jerusalem Link comprise two women’s organisations: "Bat Shalom", an Israeli women’s peace organization and "The Jerusalem Center for Women", a Palestinian women's peace organization. The Jerusalem Link has been working to promote dialogue, and to make these women’s vision of a just and lasting peace between their two peoples a reality. Spectre publishes a statement sent last week by Samia Bamieh and Debby Lerman to Members of the European Parliament,
The first round of the presidential elections was a very nasty surprise: the rise of the far right which allowed its leader, Jean Marie Le Pen, to stay for the second round. This result was a political earthquake and was immediately followed by massive demonstrations all around the country Christophe Aguiton explains what happened
US Congesswoman Cynthia McKinney addressed last weekend’s peace rally in Washington, DC. Spectre reports.
The fight against Japan's involvement in the planned "endless war" of the United States for world domination is by no means over. The government is losing one member or supporter after another on proven charges of corruption, As the JCP continues its fight against the war moves of the Koizumi cabinet it keeps up a relentless pressure exposing the endless corruption in the monopoly-controlled government. John Manning reports
The latest move of the puppet Koizumi cabinet of Japan is to push for contingency laws which will make criminals of any Japanese refusing to support wars, which will mean any war the United States starts, since the government has bound itself to take part. John Manning reports from Japan
It looks like Venezuela is not just another banana-oil republic after all. Many here feared that with the April 11 coup attempt against President Hugo Chavez, Venezuela was being degraded to being just another country that is forced to bend to the powerful will of the United States. The successful counter-coup of April 14, though, which reinstated Chavez, proved that Venezuela is a tougher cookie than the coup planners thought.Gregory Wilpert reports from Caracas on the counter-coup that saved Venezuelan democracy.
And from the letters page: Orit Zetouni, Israel:
"I fully condemn any Israeli military actions that are undergoing currently in the territories, just like all of your articles on the subject do, and am completely against Israeli occupation of the territories....
However, I am quite confused about the role of Arafat and the Palestinian Authority in this conflict." Read more
Victor Wallis writes about the way in which state judicial and police authorities can manipulate the law to imprison innocent people for their political beliefs and activities. Wallis reports on the case of Richard Flood
The recurring stand-offs between Iraq, on the one hand, and the US and Britain on the other, demands a second, closer look at the events that triggered this more recent crisis: the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 which resulted in the Gulf War some months later .Alfred Mendes looks at the historical roots of the ongoing crisis in the Gulf
Chennai in southern India, earlier known as Madras, is a city in the throes of a perennial human-made water crisis. Over the last few decades, the city grew, its lakes and tanks were built upon, water courses were blocked, rivers were converted into cesspools of human waste and industrial effluent, and residents and industries sucked the earth dry by sinking deeper borewells running more powerful motors. Nityanand Jayaraman reports on the activities of two French multinationals
The Benes Decrees. George Anthony reports on the hidden agenda motivating those who call for the revision of an important instrument of post-war justice.
"Going west was their enlargement. They found the Rocky Mountains; we found Prague and Budapest," Mr Prodi declares, leaving grave concerns for what lays in store for the hapless inhabitants of Eastern Europe. Brian Denny looks at the new imperialism and the ravings of some Big Chiefs and wonders whether enlargement will end up as nothing more than another Trail of Tears.
Ran HaCohen was born in the Netherlands in 1964 and grew up in Israel. He teaches in the Tel-Aviv University's Department of Comparative Literature. Ran HaCohen reports on Israel's "Auschwitz Logic"
Japan's Self-Defense Forces has accepted a draft of the Japan-U.S. defense planning and mutual cooperation agreement in preparation for Japan's participation in U.S. wars in the Asia-Pacific region. John Manning reports on this and other news from Japan
Adam Keller reports from Israel on why Sharon’s choice will be costly for all the peoples of the Middle East.
Ted Glick is the National Coordinator of the Independent Progressive Politics Network and the N.J. Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate this year . Ted Glick reports on the forthcoming US National Mobilization
“What did this Administration know, and when did it know it about the events of September 11? Who else knew and why did they not warn the innocent people of New York who were needlessly murdered?” asks Congresswoman Cynthia A. McKinney
The neighborhood assemblies that have mushroomed throughout the capital of Argentina since the December protests and rioting that toppled two presidents within the space of two weeks have achieved some concrete results. But they have also become the target of violence at the hands of thugs at the service of certain political forces. Marcela Valente reports from Buenos Aires.
There are several timebombs facing Bush/Blair. When Ian Henshall first mentioned Enron in the INK newsletter it had exploded on the net, writes , but US Democrats had not yet decided to fight back on the issue. Since then it has become a big mainstream issue and seen the fall of John Wakeham in the UK.
Ukraine’s counterfeit left and the Parliamentary Elections: A Shameful Affair. Christopher Ford reports on this weekend’s elections.
We publish an Open Letter, signed by over 25 organisations from around the world, which speaks out against UN Under-Secretary General Nitin Desai's recent endorsement of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and their self-proclaimed commitment to sustainable development.
Enron, once the seventh largest US company, is now the biggest bankruptcy in US history. 4,500 employees and thousands of pensioners have lost all in this giant company's collapse amid a welter of financial scandal. Valued in the September stock market for $66 billions, it's equity is almost certain to prove worthless, the shock waves of its downfall threatening to resonate for some time yet. George Anthony reports.
On March 8th, 2002 - International Women's Day - Marjorie Rivette was just one of hundreds of thousands of women prisoners held in jails throughout the world, a huge proportion of them following legal processes which were flawed by sexist assumptions. The Haiti Support Group chose the day to highlight her case.
Wayne Hall tells the story of two men who ended up in prison for the crime of thinking that televiewers and newspaper readers have the right (perhaps the duty) to apply in practice what they are taught in principle.
We publish the briefing paperThe Nation, State Sovereignty and the European Union - Nine Democratic Principles prepared for distribution at the Annual General Meeting of The European Alliance of EU-Critical Movements(TEAM) in Prague, Czech Republic, this weekend, 9-10 March.
"There were thousands marching through the nearly-empty streets of central Jerusalem, past the sites of past suicide bombings, past shops and restaurants closed down for lack of customers. Then, we came to the Prime Minister's residence, in front of which a moment of silence was observed, and the blame for the cycle of bloodshed was placed squarely where it belongs - upon the ongoing occupation and upon the government which insists upon perpetuating that occupation."
Adam Keller & Beate Zilversmidt report on the demonstration for The Other Israel,
EU-critical Danish MEP Jens-Peter Bonde has written a new work on the Convention on the Future of Europe. Here, he introduces his website-published book
Did you know that many of the terrible injustices committed by Franco have not been put right to this very day? One particular case that is very much in the news (here in Spain) is the case of the Salamanca Blood Papers. Antony Strubell reports from Spain on an attack on history itself
Ted Glick looks at the coming “Mobilization” and considers the way forward for the US left in the wake of September 11th.
Biopiracy, GMOs and Resitance in the Phillipines. Elenita C. Dano explains what lies behind the actions of multinational corporations and the politicians who serve their interests, and how and why local people are resisting.
No new features this week
In the Letters Page: reaction to a new book about the person who organised the coup in Chile and kept the Vietnam war going for another four years at the cost of an uncalculated number of lives.
The Eurocrats’ burden? Brian Denny analyses the relationship between Europe (or parts of it) and Africa, and gets a strong whiff of a system which would have been all too familiar in the century-before-last.
We publish A Socialist Party USA Response to President George W. Bush's State of the Union Address and to the Democratic Response by Rick VanWie. Co-Vice Chair, Socialist Party USA
"In a monstrous historical irony, we can see today that neither the Israelis nor the West in general have learned any lesson from the Holocaust, except on how to make acceptable and normalize policies that are "beyond belief" but which they now pursue" writes Edward S Herman
With the approach of the EU’s coming enlargement, the Swedish Left Party’s agricultural policy workgroup presents its view in this report as to how the EU’s agricultural policy should be changed
The Bush administration of the U.S. is using the reactionary Philippine government's attack on Moslem dissidents as a pretext to get its "war on terrorism" rolling in Asia, sending in troops from Okinawa under the cover of "exercises" John Manning writes
"Ridley Scott’s film Black Hawk Down is one of the bluntest imperialist propaganda coups since John Wayne strutted around in the comically jingoistic Green Berets, produced to justify the slaughter of millions of people in Vietnam" Reviewed by Brian Denny
Despite increasing pressure from the United States and the biotech industry, the EU's moratorium on GMO approvals has been consolidated by recent positive developments in Belgium and Germany, both of which can now be considered as part of the moratorium countries. Gill Lacroix reports
"The euro can be seen as a political tool, designed to dismantle national democracy and sovereignty not only in the eurozone but in large parts of the Balkans where it has also become the official currency" argues Brian Denny
Okinawa is the planned site for a new U.S. air base The Japanese Communist Party and other anti-base forces are opposing re-election of Mayor Kishimogo Tateo, with the central issue being to stop construction of the war base. John Manning reports
Excerpts from a press interview given by General of the Army Raúl Castro Ruz, minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR), at the Loma Malones observation point, Guantánamo, after the conclusion of the rally in a nearby municipality. Parts of the interview were broadcast live by U.S. television network ABC and it was summarised by foreign news agencies.
Nice treaty and EU enlargement. Grattan Healy puts the record straight about the treaty that the Irish people thought they’d killed.
Confronting Empires sets out in clear and concise language what every student of international affairs and personalities ought to know about the histories and the underlying causes of imperialism. Reviewed by George Anthony
Steve Gibbons introduces the latest edition of the Journal of the International Centre for Trade Union Rights which focuses on the Americas
And on the Letters Page.... The Center for Public Integrity and veteran investigative journalist Steve Weinberg are researching cases of prosecutorial misconduct that lead to wrongful convictions, and would like to hear from anybody with evidence of prosecutorial misconduct.
US constructs “military stronghold” in Okinawa . John Manning puts the latest disturbing news from Japan into context.
Former government minister and Member of Parliament Tony Benn argues for a truly independent, non-aligned Britain.
“Globalisation” is a term used with increasing frequency in the popular media, by activists in a range of organisations, and by politicians, yet discussion of its precise meaning has tended to be confined to academic circles, to economists and students of international relations. Spectre's editor, Steve McGiffen, reviews a new book on the topic
The AFL-CIO, the United States’ main labour union confederation, has given support for Bush’s war. Ted Glick discusses.
Wayne Hall reports on the background to the Conference of the European Network for Peace and Human Rights, which will take place at the European Parliament, Brussels on 31st January - 1st February 2002
The United Nations, now more than half a century old, suffers from a lack of credibility in peace-making. Despite its position as the only world peace enforcement organisation, with over 190 member nations its word is not law. Jim Addington discusses.
'It is strange to welcome the New Year with the imminence of war staring us in the face. As planes drone over Karachi and newspapers in Mumbai throw out images of Indian soldiers standing ready at the border....' An Indian and a Pakistani woman, Kalpana Sharma and Ayesha Khan, plead for peace.
John Manning presents the latest in his regular roundup of news from Japan, the world’s second largest industrial power
Mat Coward takes us on a moving, nostalgic journey through his badge collection.
And visit our Progressive Press section for a guide to alternative publications. Updated weekly.
Via Campesina started in 1993 as a political reaction to the incorporating of agriculture in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Now, 8 years later, VC plays an active role in the international debate on food security and the necessity of food sovereignty. Aina Edelmann explains one key component of its view of a just and sustainable world.
last week we reported the fine Christmas news that a US judge had rule that Mumia Abu-Jamal was entitled to a resentencing. But the struggle goes on. Daryle Lamont Jenkins reports