The American Antiterror War: The Home Front

“This unprecedented assault brought us face to face with a new enemy, and demanded that we think anew and act anew in order to protect our citizens and our values.” (Attorney General John Ashcroft before the U.S. Senate, Committee on the Judiciary, “Oversight of the Department of Justice,” May 25, 2002)

Letter to the Editors
Why are many people in developing countries poor?
The Simple Answer … and a commentary on the question

I recently received a letter from a friend of mine in a developing country. An article from a famous local poet was attached, and in this article the poet offered his explanations for the causes of poverty. The poet found, among other things, the people’s own laziness, their lacking industriousness and the indolence and corruption of the ruling politicians all to be at fault for this poverty. As a solution, he recommended strict and disciplined education, so-called “character-building,” in order to alter the people’s mentality.

The WTO Conference in Seattle — “failed”
The Nations’ Struggle for the Wealth of the World and its Latest Battlefields

What goes for all the important institutions of the capitalist world goes for the World Trade Organization (WTO) too: hardly anybody wants to praise it. Those who wish to radiate global economic expertise like to rebuke it for its ‘conceptual weakness,’ its sorry willingness to compromise, its biased and wrong decisions, and the like. They worry about the excessive ‘influence of national egoism,’ and reproach it for its ‘failure.’ In all this, they are really only confirming their indestructible good faith in the WTO as an organization that actually exists to put the brakes on the ruinous competition between states, to bring about consensus in global trade and fairly distribute its blessings; in any case as a definite achievement. The expert commentary on the WTO conference in Seattle conformed to this line of thinking, a conference that was supposed to initiate a new ‘round’ of ‘liberalized’ cross-border business and yet didn’t even manage to create an agenda. Consistent with this, they reproached the — for whatever reasons — hostile demonstrators in Seattle for their ignorance of the true humanitarian mission of the organization; they feared narrow-minded national resistance to the perfectly good purpose of the conference; and they regretted the failure of the conference while expressing the hope that the flagging process of beneficent ‘deregulation’ of global business might continue as soon as possible under the aegis of the WTO as a kind of supranational regulatory authority. A quasi-legal authority over states for supervising the liberality of worldwide moneymaking just doesn’t seem at all paradoxical, or at least suspect, to global economic experts. They consider something like that in principle to be perfectly reasonable, even if its troubles — in this case the failed result of the conference — conspicuously reveal this organization to be about nothing but power struggles over trade policy — even with the drawing up of an agenda for future conferences — and show the widely welcomed “liberalization of world trade” to be nothing other than a pseudonym for the protection provided by the strongest economic powers for their national interests.

Seattle, Melbourne, Prague
Global action against the phantom known as "Globalization"
[Translated from Dokumentation: GegenStandpunkt bei konkret (7), Konkret 2/2001]

Whenever the official delegates from around the world travel to the meetings of the World Trade Organization (WTO), International Monetary Fund (IMF) or World Bank, they are regularly accompanied by thousands of uninvited guests intent on disturbing the meetings of these world market agencies, or if possible preventing them from taking place. The reason: they hold these institutions responsible for the tremendous misery throughout what is truly, since the end of socialism, "one world." In the name of poverty and those afflicted with it, this anti-poverty movement protests — and is thereby proud of maintaining "no ideology" and of making no attempt to clarify its understanding within its own ranks. Its protagonists are of the opinion that any theoretical dispute over the correct explanation of the conditions they denounce would only jeopardize the breadth of the movement. Those affected by poverty ought to know best what they suffer from and what their needs are. However, anyone claiming to have no "ideology" but rather to be directly challenged by poverty and guided by the righteousness of the poor without any mediating thinking, is already following a logic, if only a false one — a real ideology so to speak.

The Kursk has Sunken
How to Reap Political Benefits from a Submarine's Sinking

The Russian nuclear-powered submarine Kursk sank during a maneuver in the Barents Sea. Only a few hours afterwards, actually before, the event became a case for the West and its free media: "Norwegian seismologists registered two explosions in short intervals, a smaller and a bigger one;" "American and British submarines were near the maneuver;" "NATO knows the whereabouts of the Russian submarine fleet at any moment." We scored first, of course, by reporting the disaster before the Russians did. Of course, we had to help as a natural matter of humanity: the Russians couldn't cope by themselves. A British submarine rescue vessel got into waiting position. "GET THEM OUT," a tabloid demanded as both advocate of the victims and in the name of the world's public. The Free World was with the Russians, and the disaster worth a special announcement every day. But, was it really a "disaster?"

News from Moscow
Vladimir Putin Makes a Strong Case for National Renewal

On New Year’s Eve, 2000, Boris Yeltsin surprised his country and others one last time. Before his regular period of office ended, he handed his power over to his prime minister, Vladimir Putin. During his last public appearance on Russian television he affirmed he had wanted only the best for Russia and its people, even if much had turned out quite differently. His successor assured him life-long immunity from any possible prosecution; an assurance the ex-president obviously is in need of. Since then, Mr. Putin has been head of the Kremlin. And he immediately publicized a devastating diagnosis as to the state of affairs in Russia, of which the surprising thing was less the diagnosis itself but the fact that the head of the state no longer deludes himself about the situation…


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