Red Reading: Spectrezine's latest picks from recent publications

G8
If you want to read about the events at last week's G8 from a range of points of view, Global Policy Forum has put together an informative collection of articles.

France: Sarkozy
"The last president of France fell out of favour with his own party: his successor is a man of the right who has beaten a woman of the left… But Nicolas Sarkozy did not use any new and magic formula. On the contrary, he keenly studied all the political skills used in the United States for the last 40 years. His themes have been national decline and moral decadence, intended to prepare voters for liberal shock treatment and a break with the past; he proposed action against leftist dogma, which he claimed had paralysed the economy and stifled public debate; he wanted to reinvent the right on the lines suggested by Antonio Gramsci, so that Sarkozy can show off his multimillionaire friends, and their yachts. He has redefined the social question — it is no longer about the division between rich and poor or capital and labour, but an internecine feud between two sections of the proletariat, those who won’t work and those who will; he claims to speak for the “persecuted” silent majority and wants to mobilise them. Overall, he means to take an aggressive political stand against a ruling elite that has thrown in the towel. The US right has used these tactics since the presidency of Richard Nixon and need learn nothing from Sarkozy, who took up the most effective arguments of recent US Republican presidents, embellishing them with references to Jean Jaurès, Léon Blum and Guy Môquet." Read the rest of Serge Halimi's take on the recent right-wing victory in the French Presidential election.

Iraq
"War and Occupation in Iraq" is a new report written and produced by Global Policy Forum and co-published by a group of thirty NGOs which includes Arab, Jewish and secular human rights and peace groups, the Global Policy Forum, women's organisations, and the Institute for Policy Studies.
Since the March 2003 invasion, the US-UK occupation of Iraq has utterly failed to bring peace, prosperity and democracy, as originally advertised. This major report assesses conditions in the country and especially the responsibility of the US-led Coalition for violations of international law. In twelve detailed chapters, brimming with information, the authors provide a unique and compelling analysis of the conflict, concluding with recommendations for action. Among the topics covered are: destruction of cultural heritage, killing of civilians, attacks on cities and long-term military bases. Download the Full Report (133 pages)

Africa: Is Bill Gates Trying To Hijack the Continent's Food Supply?

Genetically altered crops will rescue Africa from endemic shortfalls in food production, claim corporate foundations that have announced a $150 million "gift" to spark a "Green Revolution" in agriculture on the continent. Of course, U.S.-based agribusiness holds the patents to these wondercrops, and can exercise their proprietary "rights" at will. Are corporate foundations really out to feed the hungry, or are they hypocritical Trojan Horses on a mission to hijack the world's food supply --- to create the most complete and ultimate state of dependency? Read the rest of Bruce Dixon's piece.

Venezuela
"What if NBC cheered on a military coup against Bush?" asks William Blum in his latest Anti-Empire Report piece. "During the Cold War, if an American journalist or visitor to the Soviet Union reported seeing churches full of people, this was taken as a sign that the people were rejecting and escaping from communism. If the churches were empty, this clearly was proof of the suppression of religion. If consumer goods were scarce, this was seen as a failure of the communist system. If consumer goods appeared to be more plentiful, this gave rise to speculation about was happening in the Soviet Union that was prompting the authorities to try to buy off the citizenry.
"I'm reminded of this kind of thinking concerning Venezuela. The conservative anti-communist American mind sees things pertaining to Washington's newest bête noir in the worst possible light (to the extent they're even being sincere and not simply ideological). If Chávez makes education more widely available to the masses of poor people, it's probably for the purpose of indoctrinating them. If Chávez invites a large number of Cuban doctors to Venezuela to treat the poor, it's a sign of a new and growing communist conspiracy in Latin America, which includes Evo Morales, president of Bolivia. If Chávez wins repeated democratic elections ... here's the recent Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld: "I mean, we've got Chávez in Venezuela with a lot of oil money. He's a person who was elected legally just as Adolf Hitler was elected legally and then consolidated power and now is, of course, working closely with Fidel Castro and Mr. Morales and others." Read the rest.