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Q and A with Naila Kabeer on Renegotiating Patriarchy

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 11/06/2024 - 8:47pm in

In this interview with Anna D’Alton (LSE Review of Books), Naila Kabeer discusses her new book, Renegotiating Patriarchy: Gender, Agency and the Bangladesh Paradoxforthcoming from LSE Press in September. The book examines positive social change in Bangladesh over the past 50 years, in particular the factors that enabled significant and rapid gains for women in areas like health, education and employment within a deeply patriarchal society.

LSE Festival Power and Politics 2024

Join Naila Kabeer, Monica Ali, Phillip Hensher and Sarah Worthington for an event, Power and Storytelling on Saturday 15 June as part of LSE Festival.

Renegotiating Patriarchy: Gender, Agency and the Bangladesh Paradox. Naila Kabeer. LSE Press. 2024.

Bangaldesh Paradox naila kabeer book coverWhat is the “Bangladesh paradox”?

Bangladesh has been described as a new nation but an ancient land. For much of its history, Bangladesh was colonised by foreign powers, first by Hindu and Buddhist rulers from other parts of India, then by the Moghuls, followed by the British. When the British left in 1947, what is now Bangladesh was incorporated into Pakistan but occupied the status of a quasi-colony. It fought a war of liberation before finally becoming independent in 1971.

The long history of colonial extraction meant that Bangladesh embarked on independence as one of the poorest countries in the world. It had extremely high fertility rates which made it one of the  most densely populated countries in the world. It had a largely illiterate population that eked out a living in subsistence agriculture. It also had a very patriarchal culture, one it shared with the northern plains of India, that gave rise to very strong son preference and a tradition of discrimination against daughters. The high fertility rates in the country were partly due to the pressure on women to have enough children to ensure a minimum number of sons, pressure which resulted in very high rates of maternal mortality. Bangladeshi women were described by a Population Crisis Committee report from the 1980s as “poor, powerless and pregnant”, with the lowest status among women from the 99 countries covered by the report.

Bangladesh was regarded by the donor community at the time [of independence in 1971] as an “international basket case”[] Yet by the 1980s, fertility rates began declining at a speed that set a record in demographic history.

Bangladesh was regarded by the donor community at the time as an “international basket case”, a country would need foreign aid into the foreseeable future if it was to survive, let alone thrive. Yet by the 1980s, fertility rates began declining at a speed that set a record in demographic history, there were striking improvements in health and nutrition and educational levels began to rise. What stood out about these changes is the disproportionate gains made by women and the resulting decline in gender inequality.  So the term “Bangladesh paradox” is used as shorthand to describe the remarkable progress that the country made in spite of high levels of poverty and poor levels of governance.

There is one other element to the paradox that is less widely remarked on that interests me. The improvements observed in gender equality came at a time when the country had begun experiencing a steady rise in a very orthodox version of Islam, one imported from the Middle East and antithetical to many of the gains women had made.

Q: What aspects of the Bangladesh paradox does your book, Renegotiating Patriarchy address?

There have been many explanations of the Bangladesh paradox, but they tend to focus on the role of powerful actors such as the state, the donors and the non-governmental sector. They all have a part to play, but at the heart of the story I tell in this book is what I believe to be the main driving force behind the changes we associate with the paradox: the ideas, values and motivations of ordinary people. This hidden story of change takes as its starting point the evidence emerging in the literature that there had been a significant decline in son preference and a move towards more egalitarian preferences, with many parents satisfied with only having daughters. This was in sharp contrast to India where parents were seeking to reconcile their desire for fewer children with the practice of female-selective abortion to ensure that their children were only, or mainly sons.

At the heart of the story I tell in this book is what I believe to be the main driving force behind the changes we associate with the paradox: the ideas, values and motivations of ordinary people.

Clearly there had been some kind of shift in the structures of patriarchy in Bangladesh: girls were now more likely to survive the early years of life than boys (the norm in much of the world); they were more likely to be enrolled in primary and secondary school than boys and their labour force participation rates had been rising consistently, overtaking those of India and Pakistan.

My book sets out to find out what led ordinary people make the changes in their lives which coalesced into the Bangladesh paradox. And because there was evidence accumulating in various studies that women had played an important role in making these changes happen, I was particularly interested in this aspect of the story. Given Bangladesh’s patriarchal traditions, I wanted to know what motivated women to seek change and how they were able to bring it about when the changes they sought seemed to go against the grain of these traditions.

Q: What was your methodological approach and how did you arrive at it? 

The book is interdisciplinary in its approach and pluralist in its methodology. As I noted earlier, there have been many “big picture” stories about the Bangladesh paradox. What has been missing are the multitude of “small picture” stories from ordinary men and women. A great deal of the book is made up of these stories, gathered from my own research and from research that others have carried out. By examining the experiences and motivations related by different generations of women and men over successive periods of time, I was able to trace the unfolding of the Bangladesh paradox through the shifts in attitudes that they reported, the actions they took in response to survival imperatives and the changes in their aspirations as new possibilities came into view.

These narratives form the core of my analysis, but I draw on a range of other sources of information as well. I go back into the history of Bangladesh to understand the more tolerant version of Islam that had flourished in the country, an amalgam of the various religions that had co-existed in the region and that may have been a factor in allowing women to make the gains they did. I draw on secondary literature to understand the evolution of the country’s policy and legal architecture, piecing together the story of the economic changes that allowed the country to transcend its past poverty. These constitute the structural context within which individuals and groups were able to exercise certain forms of agency but not others, which allowed women to “renegotiate” the more oppressive aspects of patriarchy rather than to overthrow it.

Individuals and groups were able to exercise certain forms of agency but not others, which allowed women to ‘renegotiate’ the more oppressive aspects of patriarchy rather than to overthrow it.

In addition, woven into my account of the qualitative explanations that men and women gave for their behaviour are statistical findings that helped me to distinguish between the explanations that embodied the experiences of the few, perhaps those who were ahead of their time or lagging behind, and those of the many whose experiences were widespread enough to shape the larger statistical trends.

Q: A central research question in the book is around the decline for son preference among families and communities in Bangladesh. What were the reasons for son preference?  

Bangladesh is a part of a larger region that Deniz Kandiyoti refers to as “the belt of classic patriarchy” stretching from North Africa across the Middle east and the northern plains of the South Asian sub-continent, including Bangladesh. These countries may have very different histories, different religions, different economic trajectories, but they share certain features of their gender and kinship relations in common. They are characterised by patrilineal descent so that the family name and property pass through the male line. There are strict restrictions on women’s mobility outside the home so they are confined to reproductive and home-based activities, dependent on male breadwinners for most of their lives.  Daughters are married off early and leave the parental home to be absorbed into their husband’s lineage. Sons, on the other hand, carry on the family line, inherit its property, engage in productive work and look after their parents as they get older. Not surprisingly, these societies are characterised by a strong preference for sons, with lower levels of female education and labour force relative to male and, in contrast to the rest of the world, higher levels of female mortality, particularly in the younger age groups.

A woman in Bangladesh wearing an orange sari holds a tool and looks off camera with trees behind herA woman in Subarnachar, Noakhali, Bangladesh. Photo © Jannatul Mawa.

Q: In your research, you discovered that there was a decline in son preference in the past forty or fifty years. What were some of the reasons for that decline? 

My interest in son preference goes back to 1980 when I was doing my PhD at LSE and researching the reasons for high fertility in Bangladesh. I spent a year doing field work in a village in Bangladesh where it became clear to me that women had a particularly strong preference for sons over daughters, both to assure their status in their husband’s family and because sons represented security in old age. After my PhD, I joined the Institute of Development Studies, Sussex and continued to do research in South Asia. I was aware of the various studies from Bangladesh documenting, among other things, increasing gender equality in survival rates, health, nutrition and education. To find out why this was happening, I went back to the village in which I had conducted my PhD field work.

My interest in son preference goes back to 1980 when I was doing my PhD at LSE and researching the reasons for high fertility in Bangladesh.

What I found makes up the concluding sections of the book where I also touch on why a similar shift in son preference had not been happening in India. The full answer on the reasons for this shift, detailed in the book, are complicated and tangled up with the overall story of the Bangladesh paradox. The short answer revolves around changing intergenerational relationships and the belief on the part of parents that sons had become more focused on their own wives and children to the neglect of their parents, that daughters-in-law were not as subservient as they used to be and that daughters are now not only regarded as more loyal to their parents than sons. They are perceived as being more concerned about their welfare, but also, with the rise in their income-earning opportunities, in a better position to help them materially. It was mothers who were often at the forefront of this revaluation of daughters.

Q: You deal with the rise in women’s labour force participation in your book. What was its significance?  

It has been very significant. There is an interesting contrast here between Bangladesh and India. India has one of the highest per capita growth rates in the world but its female labour force participation has been declining steadily and is now among the lowest in South Asia. In fact, the jobless nature of India’s growth has seen high levels of unemployment among men as well. Although Bangladesh’s growth rates are also high, it remains far poorer than India.  However, it has had a more labour-intensive pattern of growth and generated opportunities that have benefited women as well as men. Its microfinance programmes have allowed women to take up income-generating activities that could be carried out within or near the home. Its export-oriented garment sector had a largely female labour force. Community-based services, including those provided by NGOs, hire large numbers of women. In Bangladesh, women’s ability to make a direct contribution to household income has been an important factor in enhancing their voice and agency within their households, has made daughters appear less of a burden to their families and has given women the motivation to resist the efforts of Islamist forces to curtail their opportunities.

Women’s ability to make a direct contribution to household income has been an important factor in enhancing their voice and agency within their households

Q: Do you think that the positive social changes, including the progress on gender equality that the paradox describes will be sustained in the future? 

It’s hard to say. I feel somewhat pessimistic but not just in relation to Bangladesh. The whole world seems to have become darker – it is more unequal, there are more wars, more natural disasters, more financial crises and, of course, accelerating climate change. And the same market fundamentalism that impededes our ability to put things to right in the rest of the world is also holding it up in Bangladesh.

We have seen inequality rising in Bangladesh over the last decades. Whereas in the early years after independence, it was possible to make important gains on the health front with low-cost vertical programmes, we now need broad-based health services so that everyone can be assured of decent care when they need it. Quantity in educational provision has been achieved at the expense of quality, and quality has been undermined by compromising on a secular curriculum in deference to Islamist forces. We have had multiparty democracy since 1990 and mainly civilian rule, but when the same party has been in power since 2009, we know it is not a very healthy democracy. Meanwhile, the rise of an intolerant Islamic orthodoxy has continued and may have been given fresh oxygen by what is happening to Palestinian people in Gaza today. I am not sure whether the pace of social progress we saw in the past will be sustained in the future. But who knows? Bangladesh has defied the odds before; it may do so again.

Note: This interview gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, nor of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Main image credit: A woman in Subarnachar, Noakhali, Bangladesh. Photo © Jannatul Mawa.

 

US Congress passes Act to defund Defense, State Depts and NSC unless Israel gets all arms

US political insanity regarding Israel in a nutshell as politicians move to cripple their own government unless it enables foreign regime’s genocide

The US Congress has passed a bill that will de-fund the Defense Department, State Department and National Security Council if Joe Biden does not immediately agree to send Israel any and all weapons it wants, with no strings attached.

Biden had delayed some shipments of the largest and most indiscriminate bombs, in a token effort to show that he is not enabling Israel’s genocide, after polling showed many usual Democrat voters will not back him in November’s presidential election because of his support for Israel despite its slaughter of tens and tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians, mostly women and children and its deliberate creation of famine in Gaza. But it seems even that token show of resistance is intolerable to Zionist groups.

More than a dozen Democrats colluded with Republicans to pass the new Act titled “To provide for the expeditious delivery of defense articles and defense services for Israel and other matters” by 224-187 votes. The text of the Act reveals the genocidal insanity of a majority of US politicians, most of whom will have received significant funding from pro-Israel groups, or else been threatened that the same groups will fund their opponents at the next election. It mandates the defunding of the three key government departments if Biden does not submit and send Israel :

The world has not gone insane in the fact that so many western politicians – including in the UK – are prepared not just to turn a blind eye to genocide, but to actively enable it. It has long been insane, but the madness has been exposed by apartheid Israel’s nakedly genocidal ambitions.

Biden is said to be prepared to veto the legislation if the Senate does not block it.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

America’s informal empire – what really went wrong in the Middle East

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 02/05/2024 - 7:52pm in

In this edited excerpt from the introduction to What Really Went WrongFawaz A Gerges argues that US interventionism during the Cold War – especially in Iran and Egypt – steered the Middle East away from democracy towards authoritarianism, shaping the region’s political and economic landscape for decades to come.

What Really Went Wrong: The West and the Failure of Democracy in the Middle East. Fawaz A Gerges. Yale University Press. 2024. 

What Really Went Wrong by Fawaz A Gerges book coverAt the end of the colonial era after World War Two, the Middle East was on the cusp of a new awakening. Imperial Britain, France, and Italy were discredited and exhausted. Hope filled the air in newly independent countries around the world. Like people across the decolonised Global South, Middle Easterners had great expectations and the material and spiritual energy needed to seize their destiny and modernise their societies. Few could have imagined events unfolding as disastrously as they did. Yet by the late 1950s, the Middle East had descended into geostrategic rivalries, authoritarianism and civil strife.

What clouded this promising horizon? Digging deep into the historical record, What Really Went Wrong critically examines flashpoints like the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)’s ousting of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq in August 1953 and the US confrontation with Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser in the mid-1950s. My argument is that such flashpoints sowed the seeds of subsequent discontent, hubris and conflict. I zero in on these historical ruptures to reconstruct a radically different story of what went wrong in the region, thus correcting the dominant narrative. My goal is to engender a debate about the past that can make us see the present differently.

What Really Went Wrong critically examines flashpoints like the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)’s ousting of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq in August 1953 and the US confrontation with Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser in the mid-1950s.

I argue that the defeat and marginalisation of secular-leaning nationalist visions in Iran and Egypt in the 1950s and ’60s allowed for Sunni and Shia pan-Islamism to gain momentum throughout the Middle East and beyond. Because of bad decisions made in the White House, power passed from popular leaders and sincere patriots to unpopular and subservient rulers, and the sympathy of the people was hijacked by Islamist leaders and movements. The consequences of events in both Iran and Egypt still haunt the Middle East today.

The dawn of US interventionism

The book’s core concern is with the legacy and impact of US foreign policy during the early years of the Cold War on political and economic development in the Middle East. It focuses on two major pieces of the puzzle: momentous events in Iran and Egypt in which America played a decisive role. Examining these, it shows how Anglo-American interventions in the internal affairs of the Middle East from the early 1950s (till the present) stunted political development and social change there and led the region down the wrong path to authoritarianism and militarism. The Middle East was reimagined as a Cold War chessboard, which left a legacy marked by dependencies, weak political institutions, low levels of civil and human rights protection, lopsided economic growth and political systems prone to authoritarianism. This is the antithesis of often-stated Western values rooted in democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

An informal empire emerges

Developing countries emerged into independence from a history that left its mark on their future. It was difficult enough for countries emerging from colonialism to build sound institutions, gain public trust and extend state authority, and America’s imperial ambitions and actions during and after the Cold War made this all the more difficult, if not impossible. With the foundations of imperialism far from completely dismantled, old structures persisted under new names. In some cases, it was more than just structures that perpetuated dependence. It was the very leaders and their descendants who were co-opted into a neocolonial reality. Anyone challenging that order was swiftly marked as an enemy of democracy and free markets.

With the foundations of imperialism far from completely dismantled, old structures persisted under new names.

Within living memory, the peoples of the Middle East viewed the US with awe and optimism. Unlike its European allies, America had never ruled over Muslim lands and appeared to have no imperial ambitions. Instead, Americans had built hospitals and major universities in the region. Washington could have built relations on the basis of mutual interests and respect, not dependency and domination. When the US signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia to begin oil exploration in 1933, the people of the region saw it as an opportunity to decrease their dependence on the “imperial colossus,” Great Britain. But from the Middle East to Africa and Asia, newly decolonised countries discovered that formal independence did not translate into full sovereignty. A creeping form of colonialism kept tying these countries to their old European masters and the new American power.

As the historian Rashid Khalidi noted, the US was following in the footprints of European colonialism. In his book Imperialism and the Developing World, Atul Kohli compares British imperialism during 19th century with America’s informal empire in the 20th. It might not have been formally called colonialism, but the effects were the same: Washington – often backed by London – pursued its interests at the cost of the right to self-determination and sovereignty of other peoples and countries.

Cold War divisions, US opportunism

Setting up defence pacts in the Middle East in the early 1950s to encircle Russia’s southern flank, Eisenhower’s Cold Warriors pressured friends and foes to join in America’s network of alliances against Soviet communism. Newly decolonised states like Iraq, Egypt, Iran (which was not formally colonised), and Pakistan had to choose between jumping on Uncle Sam’s informal empire bandwagon or being trampled under its wheels.

The Truman and Eisenhower administrations laid the foundation of an imperial foreign policy which was hardened by the Nixon and Reagan presidencies. The US provided arms, aid and security protection to the shah and to Israeli and Saudi leaders during the Cold War. This led to economic growth, but as Kohli notes, it was not evenly distributed throughout the region. After the end of the Cold War in 1989, US imperial foreign policy persisted with George W. Bush, who waged a global war on terror that saw the US invade and occupy Afghanistan and Iraq.

The US foreign policy establishment saw the world through imperial lenses that divided everything into binary terms – black and white, good and evil. In their eyes, the existential struggle against Soviet communism justified violence, collective punishment and all other means to achieve their ideological ends. In June 1961, then-CIA director Allen Dulles, declared that the destruction of the “system of colonialism” was the first step to defeat the “Free World.”

While establishing this foreign policy strategy, the US […] was also building the postwar international financial and trading and security institutions that allowed its competitive corporations to outperform others.

While establishing this foreign policy strategy, the US – as the dominant capitalistic superpower – was also building the postwar international financial and trading and security institutions that allowed its competitive corporations to outperform others. This global system of open, imperial economies disproportionately steered the fruits of the world’s economic growth to the citizens of the West, particularly Americans. Kohli argues that the US sought to tame sovereign and effective state power in the newly decolonised world. Regime change, covert and overt military interventions, sanctions to create open economies and acquiescent governments were all among the weapons of the informal Cold War imperialism, all wielded with the soundtrack of piercing alarm about the spectre of a Soviet communist threat.

The “Free World” fallacy

The project was not without opposition, however. Nationalist forces resisted the new imperialism, and US leaders escalated their military efforts to defeat indigenous opposition. With its thinly veiled imperialism, insubstantial justification for using military force and vague claims about impending threats to the “homeland”, the US began to lose credibility. Washington’s shortsighted views ultimately backfired, undermining security globally and forestalling good governance in the Middle East and beyond.

This imperial vision had ramifications for the West’s self-appointed role as the leader of the free world and defender of human rights, going well beyond reputation.

This imperial vision had ramifications for the West’s self-appointed role as the leader of the free world and defender of human rights, going well beyond reputation. Mistrust in the international liberal order has weakened international institutions and eroded deference to norms such as respect for human rights. What unfolds in Guantánamo Bay or Gaza, Palestine does more than hurt the individuals unjustly subject to illegal torture or civilians slaughtered by the thousands; it raises the global public’s tolerance for such abhorrent acts by having them unfold in the heart of the democratic West.

Understanding what happened in the Middle East

The book does not argue that democracy was bound to flourish in the Middle East if the US had not subverted the nascent democratic and anticolonial movements. Rather, America’s military intervention, its backing of authoritarian, reactionary regimes and neglect of local concerns, and its imperial ambitions created conditions that undermined the lengthy, turbulent processes that constitutionalism, inclusive economic progress, and democratisation require. The political scientist Lisa Anderson notes that “it is usually decades, if not centuries, of slow, subtle, and often violent change” that create the conditions for meaningful state sovereignty.

Though the experiences of the Middle East are not wholly unique, some characteristics are specific to the region, such as its contiguity to Europe and its vast quantities of petroleum, strategic waterways and markets which have proved irresistible to Western powers. Western powers have thus persistently intervened in the internal affairs of Middle Eastern countries as they have not in other parts of the world. This “oil curse” has triggered a similar geostrategic curse in the Middle East, pitting external and local powers against each other in a struggle for competitive advantage and influence. As the book explores, this convergence of curses has had far-reaching and lasting political and economic consequences for Middle Eastern states.

The book eschews historical determinism and offers a robust reconstruction of the international relations of the Middle East as well as social and political developments in the region. It also encourages us to reimagine the present in light of revisiting the past. In so doing, we can begin to see lost opportunities and new possibilities for healing and reconciliation.

Note: This excerpt from the introduction to What Really Went Wrong: The West and the Failure of Democracy in the Middle East by Fawaz A Gerges is copyrighted to Yale University Press and the author, and is reproduced here with their permission.

This book extract gives the views of the author, not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Read an interview with Fawaz A Gerges, “What really went wrong in the Middle East” from March 2024 for LSE Research for the World.

Watch Fawaz A Gerges interviewed by Christiane Amanpour about the US’s role in the Israel-Gaza war from December 2023 and by Fareed Zakaria about the prospect of a regional war in the Middle East from January 2024, both on CNN.

Main image: Secretary Dean Acheson (right) confers with Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh of Iran (left) at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C., 1951. Credit: The Harry S. Truman library.

 

She Who Struggles: Revolutionary Women Who Shaped the World – review

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 23/04/2024 - 8:39pm in

In She Who Struggles, Marral Shamshiri and Sorcha Thomson compile a selection of essays about women’s (often overlooked) contributions to revolutionary causes around the world, with particular focus on the Global South. According to Lydia Hiraide, the book is an accessible and stimulating read exploring the role of women and feminist thought in building transnational and anti-colonial and social movements.

She Who Struggles: Revolutionary Women Who Shaped the World. Edited by Marral Shamshiri and Sorcha Thomson. Pluto Press. 2023.

As the title of Marral Shamshiri and Sorcha Thomson’s edited collection affirms, revolutionary women have shaped our world in various ways. This collection of thirteen chapters pays homage to the militant efforts of women revolutionaries whose efforts are often underacknowledged in the dominant narratives of historical and contemporary revolutionary movements. Each chapter is dedicated to one or more women and/or the movements in which they participated, providing space for their stories to be told and for scholars, activists, and students to learn from them.

Each chapter illuminates an example of radical grassroots politics with a fiery militant edge, focusing particularly on the Global South.

This book strikes a tone which departs from the various forms of ‘Lean In’ liberal feminisms, which remain common across the Global North. Each chapter illuminates an example of radical grassroots politics with a fiery militant edge, focusing particularly on the Global South. The movements and histories that the contributors celebrate highlight women’s leadership and deep personal sacrifice in revolutionary movements, paying tribute to women who have lost their lives and loved ones in the struggle for liberation. Maurice J. Casey’s chapter focuses on Mary Mooney, a working-class Irish woman whose campaign for the liberation of political prisoners sprang from the imprisonment of her son, trade unionist Tom Mooney. What started as a personal experience of state violence for Mooney grew into a transnational campaign across the African and Irish diaspora, joining up with the campaigners and mothers of the Scottsboro boys. These stories remind us that the personal losses of women can spur the genesis of transnational solidarity.

In relation to violence, women are not only its victims; they have also been its agents.

But, in relation to violence, women are not only its victims; they have also been its agents. Jeremy Randall’s chapter on Japanese communist Shigenobu Fusako and the Japanese Red Army (JRA) invites us to reflect on women’s capacity for violence in revolutionary settings. Shigenobu, who started out as a student activist, was militant in her commitment to the liberation of all peoples – and particularly, the people of Palestine. She and the JRA in fact relocated to Palestine as a key site from which to foment revolution, in collaboration with organisations such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Under Shigenobu’s leadership, the JRA exploited “violence as a revolutionary tactic” (83). This is, of course, an approach which invites fundamental questions around the legitimacy of violence in the face of violence. Scholarship on the lives and work of figures like Shigenobu Fusako thus grapple with some of the key problematics at the heart of revolutionary political thought and practice. Such is the essence of the burning questions raised by other thinkers and activists, like Frantz Fanon, whose work and life addressed such themes in the context of colonial Algeria.

Chapters explore, for example, the active solidarity of figures like Madame Bình and Madame Nhu in Vietnam, Palestine and Iran as well as Shigenobu Fusako and the JRA across North Korea, Palestine, and Japan. These women’s histories remain startlingly relevant in today’s world

Though each chapter focuses on a different woman or women in their respective geographical and temporal contexts, several clear themes emerge throughout the book. Firstly, the exploration of women revolutionaries, past and present, affirms the central, rather than tangential, importance of women’s politics to nurturing and developing a revolutionary Left politics. Secondly, the book speaks back to dominant narratives which erase the names of women revolutionaries. More than recognising the role of women in general in revolutionary struggle, it names specific women and recounts their contributions. By doing so, it reminds us that these women were “all autonomous people with histories, feelings, dreams, desires and families” (152), while taking their work as serious sites from which to generate political thought and emancipatory action. Thirdly, a striking majority of the chapters emphasise the power of radical transnationalism in the revolutionary efforts of women worldwide. Chapters explore, for example, the active solidarity of figures like Madame Bình and Madame Nhu in Vietnam, Palestine and Iran as well as Shigenobu Fusako and the JRA across North Korea, Palestine, and Japan. These women’s histories remain startlingly relevant in today’s world, as we witness the unfolding of tragedy, resistance and waves of solidarity with Palestinian struggles, many led by women. In this regard, Jehan Helou’s chapter, “TESTIMONY: The Power of Women’s International Solidarity with the Palestinian Revolution” demands the recognition of women’s efforts as an important force in the struggle for Palestinian liberation.

Additionally, the book offers an interesting and welcome engagement with the arts as an important medium of resistance, in particular, poetry. The chapter by Marral Shamshiri offers an articulate exploration of Marzieh Ahmadi Osku’i’s poetry across the contexts of Iran, Afghanistan and India. Shamshiri examines poetry’s permanence in the context of life’s precarity and impermanence: the words of women poets live on in revolution, even when they themselves do not. This chapter is one of several that reminds us that “[f]or women, poetry is not a luxury,” but rather, “a vital necessity for our existence” and resistance. Kebotlhale Motseothata’s chapter “Lindiwe Mabuza: Culture as a Weapon of Resistance in South Africalikewise deals with poetry and the arts as crucial instruments used in the struggle against Apartheid. Motseothata affirms the creative, visionary ways in which women have articulated the pain, struggle, and politics they face in living and resisting the intersections of racial capitalism and patriarchy.

This important book undertakes the vital work of recording and examining the contributions of women revolutionaries, whose stories are too often obscured in the mainstream imaginary

Overall, this is an exciting, informative and timely book. The chapters are relatively short and self-contained, making them ideal materials to assign in politics or history courses exploring ideas around revolution, feminism, anti-colonialism and transnational social movement organising. They are written clearly and dynamically, allowing complex themes and histories to be explored in an intellectually stimulating and accessible way. This important book undertakes the vital work of recording and examining the contributions of women revolutionaries, whose stories are too often obscured in the mainstream imaginary.

Note: This review gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Image credit: thomas koch on Shutterstock

Europeans Have No Right to Tell Palestinians How to Escape Their Prison – with Rania Khalek

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 22/04/2024 - 10:32pm in

Rania Khalek was joined by Yanis Varoufakis, economist, political leader, former Finance Minister of Greece and the author of many books including his latest “Technofeudalism: What Killed Capitalism,” to discuss Israel’s genocide in Gaza.

The post Europeans Have No Right to Tell Palestinians How to Escape Their Prison – with Rania Khalek appeared first on Yanis Varoufakis.

Night Vision

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 18/04/2024 - 11:21pm in

A changing Riyadh hits the big screen.

Revealed: Israel’s Hidden History Of Attacks On Iran

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 18/04/2024 - 12:10am in

Iran’s retaliatory attack on Israel was framed in the West as a reckless attempt to spark a major regional war, but in reality,  Israel has been attacking Iran for decades.

As is routinely the case with Western-backed wars, the corporate media’s timeline begins at the moment that suits their narrative. We have seen this play out recently, with the attempt to rob the Gaza war of all contexts before October 7, 2023. Similarly, when it comes to Israel’s conflict with Iran, the two have been embroiled in what is referred to as a “shadow war,” the details of which are pretty shocking.

While the international media’s attention was riveted on Iran’s retaliatory strikes against Israel, drawing great focus to some 300 drones and missiles used in the attack, no major deal was made of Israel’s strike on April 1 against the consular segment of Iran’s embassy in Damascus, Syria, that killed a dozen people, including seven Iranian officials of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). In this unprecedented act of aggression against Iranian soil, breaking international diplomatic norms, the Israelis were shielded by the U.S. government at the United Nations Security Council, blocking any condemnation of this act.

Despite an admission from British Foreign Secretary David Cameron that had the UK embassy been attacked similarly, they too would retaliate, the double-standard argument that Iran shouldn’t respond continues to dominate the airways.

This is as Iran’s IRGC has received condemnation for seizing a container ship in the Persian Gulf associated with the Zodiac Maritime shipping company of Israel billionaire Eyal Ofer and his family. In 2021, the Mercer Street oil tanker, which Zodiac Maritime also operated, was struck by Iranian drones, prompting similar condemnation. Yet, little was to be said regarding the Israeli-owned company’s role in collaborating with the Israeli military and intelligence establishment to ferry arms and operatives around the region and carry out assassinations or reconnaissance missions.

However, the Israel-Iran “Shadow War” did not begin with recent events. Israel has been carrying out brutal assassinations of civilian scientists on Iranian soil since 2010 while also carrying out acts of espionage that have endangered innocent civilians in the country.

As early as in the years 2010, 2011 and 2012, Israeli Mossad agents have been planting viruses designed to cause malfunctions in Iranian oil and nuclear power facilities. Another kind of provocative action occurred in 2018, when it was reported that an Israeli Mossad team had raided an archive facility in Tehran, stealing documents that pertained to its nuclear power program.

In 2020, the New York Times and Washington Post reported that Israel planted bombs inside Iran’s Natanz Nuclear facility, which almost caused an environmental and humanitarian catastrophe. Later that year, the Israeli Mossad assassinated Iran’s top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, in Tehran. Then, in April of 2021, another explosion occurred at the Natanz facility, which the New York Times reported was Israel’s doing.

The Israelis have also trained members of the MEK terrorist group to carry out attacks on civilian targets inside Iran. The list of Mossad-linked cells that have been arrested by the Iranian authorities or carried out acts of espionage and sabotage is simply too numerous to cover at length. Early last year, U.S. officials even told Reuters that a suicide drone attack targeting a factory in the city of Isfahan was an Israeli attack.

More recently, in late December, Israel launched airstrikes on Damascus and assassinated IRGC official Seyed Razi Mousavi. And in January, Israel launched airstrikes in Damascus, murdering five Iranian military personnel members and Syrian citizens. Then, in early February, Israel was accused of blowing up gas pipelines in Iran. None of these actions, which would likely illicit a response by most nations, provoked Iran to launch a direct strike on Israel.

In addition to all of this, Israel has been the world’s top cheerleader for the West’s crushing sanctions that have significantly impacted Iran’s civilian population, specifically access to lifesaving medical supplies. AIPAC, the powerful Israeli Lobby group in the United States, worked hard to prevent the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal from passing, then pushed for the Trump administration to unilaterally withdraw before pressuring the Biden administration to refrain from reviving the deal despite this being a campaign promise. Israel even played a role in the Trump administration’s assassination of Iran’s top general tasked with battling ISIS, Qassem Soleimani.

Yet, despite Israel’s long history of documented attacks against Iran and around 30 years of false predictions as to when Iran is supposedly going to develop a nuclear weapon, which is the premise for Western sanctions, the corporate media is still trying to sell the public on the lie that Israel is an innocent victim and that there was no justifiable reason for Iran to retaliate.

Robert Inlakesh is a political analyst, journalist and documentary filmmaker currently based in London, UK. He has reported from and lived in the occupied Palestinian territories and hosts the show ‘Palestine Files’. Director of ‘Steal of the Century: Trump’s Palestine-Israel Catastrophe’. Follow him on Twitter @falasteen47

The post Revealed: Israel’s Hidden History Of Attacks On Iran appeared first on MintPress News.

Gaza: The Strategic Imperative

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 14/04/2024 - 9:12pm in

​PROF. MICHAEL HUDSON, THE TRUTH ABOUT THE DESTRUCTION OF GAZA. – Ania K

 

ANIA: Hello, everyone. Welcome back to my channel. Today I have with me for the fourth time, I’m still counting, a very, very special guest, one of the best professors in economics and financial analysts in the world. And I’m very glad we are reconnecting with Professor Hudson again.

I want to start this live stream with asking all of you to check all my links down below this live stream, because being on other platforms, especially nowadays, is very important. So you have my locals there, you have mailing lists, and every other link if you choose to support my work as well.

Also, Professor Hudson’s three links. You have the website (michael-hudson.com), Patreon (patreon.com/michaelhudson), and all the books that Professor Hudson has published so far, you can order. It’s all the way down below this live stream. I’m sure this video will bring you immense value, and I would like you to hit this like, because it helps other people to see it, since YouTube recommends videos with a lot of likes. Leave the comments and also share the video, because the knowledge that you will be hearing today, it’s priceless.

Welcome back, Professor Hudson. Thank you so much for joining me today for this conversation.

MICHAEL HUDSON: Thanks for having me back again.

ANIA: And I would like to say to the audience as well that this video is dedicated to what is taking place, especially in Gaza and Israel. Of course, we will address other countries related to this situation, but Professor Hudson has sent me a very in-depth email after our last live stream a week ago, also on Friday, and we actually decided after we ended that live stream to have this particular topic to be the main topic of this video. So, I give this to you, Professor Hudson, where would you like to start this conversation, please?

MICHAEL HUDSON: I think I should start with my own background, because 50 years ago, in 1974, I was working with the Hudson Institute, with Herman Kahn, and my colleagues there were a number of Mossad agents who were being trained. Uzi Arad was there, and he became the head of Mossad and is currently the main advisor to Benjamin Netanyahu.

So, all of what is happening today was discussed 50 years ago, not only with the Israelis, but with many of the U.S. defense people, because I was with the Hudson Institute, which was a national security agency, because I’d written Super Imperialism, and I was a balance of payments expert, and the Defense Department used my book Super Imperialism not as an expose, but a how-to-do-it book. And they brought me there as a specialist in the balance of payments. Herman brought me back and forth to the White House to meet with cabinet members and to discuss the balance of payments. He also brought me to the War College and to the Air Force think tanks.

So, all of what is happening now was described a long time ago, and Herman was known as a futurist. He was Dr. Strangelove in the movie. That was all based for him on his theories of atomic war, but he was also the main theorist behind Vietnam. And nobody seems to have noticed that what is happening in Gaza and the West Bank now is all based on what was the U.S. strategy during the Vietnam War. And it was based on the “strategic hamlets” idea, the fact that you could cut back, you could just divide all of Vietnam into little parts, having guards at all the transition points from one part to another. Everything that Israel is doing to the Palestinians in Gaza and elsewhere throughout Israel was all pioneered in Vietnam.

And Herman had me meet with some of the generals there to explain it. And I think I mentioned I flew to Asia twice with Uzi Arad. We had a chance to [get to] know each other very much. And I could see that the intention from the very beginning was to get rid of the Palestinians and indeed to use Israel as the basis for U.S. control of Near Eastern oil. That was the constant discussion of that from the American point of view. It was Israel as a part of the oil.

So, Herman’s analysis was on systems analysis. You define the overall aim and then you work backward. How do you do it? Well, you can see what the Israeli policy is today. First of all, you isolate the Palestinians and strategic hamlets. That’s what Gaza had already been turned into for the last 15 years. It’s been carved up into districts requiring electronic passes from one sector to another to go into Israel, to go to Jerusalem, or to go to Israel for jobs to work.

The aim all along has been to kill them. Or first of all, to make life so unpleasant for them that they’ll emigrate. That’s the easy way. Why would anyone want to stay in Gaza when what’s happening to them is what’s happening today? You’re going to leave. But if they don’t leave, you’re going to have to kill them, ideally by bombing because that minimizes the domestic casualties. Israel doesn’t want its soldiers to die any more than Americans do. So, the American form of war, as it was in Vietnam, is bombing them. You don’t want person-to-person contact because people fighting for their lives and liberty tend to be better fighters because for them it’s really essential. For the others, they’re just doing soldier’s work.

So, the genocide that you’re seeing today is an explicit policy, and that was a policy of the forefathers, the founders of Israel. The idea of a land without people was a land without Arabs in it, the land without non-Jewish people. That’s really what it meant. They were to be driven out starting even before the official funding of Israel, the first Nakba, the Arab Holocaust. And the two of the Israeli prime ministers were members of the Stern gang of terrorists. The terrorists became the rulers of Israel. They escaped from British jail and they joined to found Israel. So, what you’re seeing today is the final solution to this plan. And the founders of Israel were so obsessed with the Nazis, essentially, they wanted to do to them what they did to us, is how they explained it to people.

For the United States, what they wanted was the oil reserves in the Middle East. And again and again, I heard the phrase, ‘you’re our landed aircraft carrier in Israel’. Uzi Arad, the future Mossad head, would be very uncomfortable at this because he wanted Israel to be run by the Israelis. But they realized that for Israel to get by with the money that it needed for its balance of payments, it had to be in a partnership with the United States.

So, what you’re seeing today isn’t simply the work of one man, of Benjamin Netanyahu. It’s the work of the team that President Biden has put together. It’s the team of Jake Sullivan, the National Security Advisor Blinken, and the whole deep state, the whole neocon group behind them, Victoria Nuland, and everyone. They’re all self-proclaimed Zionists. And they’ve gone over this plan for essentially America’s domination of the Near East for decade after decade.

But as the United States learned in the Vietnam War, populations protest, and the U.S. population protested against the Vietnam War. What the Biden administration wants to avoid is the situation that President Johnson had in 1968. Any hotel, any building that he went to, to give a speech for his re-election campaign, there were crowds shouting, LBJ, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today? President Johnson had to take the servants entrance to get away from the press so that nobody would see what he was doing. And essentially, he went on television and resigned.

Well, to prevent this kind of embarrassment, and to prevent the embarrassment of journalists who were doing all this, Seymour Hersh described the [Mai Lai] massacre, and that helped inflame the opposition to Johnson. Well, President Biden, who’s approved Netanyahu’s plan, the first people you have to kill are the journalists. If you’re going to permit genocide, you have to realize that you don’t want the domestic U.S. population or the rest of the world to oppose the U.S. and Israel. You kill the journalists. And for the last, ever since the October 2nd Al-Aqsa event, you’ve had one journalist per week killed in Israel. That’s part of it.

The other people you don’t want, if you’re going to bomb them, you have to start by bombing the hospitals and all of the key centers. That also was part of the idea of the Vietnam War. How do you destroy a population? This was all worked out in the 1970s, when people were trying to use systems analysis to think, how do you work back and see what you need? And the idea, if you bomb a population, you can’t really hide that, even if you kill the journalists. How do you kill a population passively? So you minimize the visible bombing. Well, the line of least resistance is to starve them. And that’s been the Jewish, the Israeli policy since 2008.

You had a piece by Sarah Roy in the New York Review, citing a cable from 2008, from Tel Aviv to the embassy saying, as part of their overall embargo plan against Gaza, Israeli officials have confirmed to the embassy officials on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gaza economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge. Well, now they’re pushing it over the edge.

And so Israel has been especially focusing after the journalists, after the hospitals, you bomb the greenhouses, you bomb the trees, you sink the fishing boats that have supplied food to the population. And then you aim at fighting the United Nations relief people.

And you’ve read, obviously, the whole news of the last week has been the attack on the seven food providers that were not Arabs. And this was, again, from a systems analyst point, this is exactly what the textbook says to do strategically. If you can make a very conspicuous bombing of aid people, then you will have other aid suppliers afraid to go, because they think, well, if these people, aid suppliers, are just shot at, then we would be too.

Well, the United States is fully behind this. And to help starve the Gazan people, Biden immediately, right after the ICJ finding of plausible genocide, withdrew all funding from the United Nations relief agencies. The idea, again, the hope was to prevent the United Nations from having the money to supply food.

So when the United States is now trying to blame one person, and Biden goes on a television recorded call with Netanyahu saying, please be humane when you’re dropping your bombs, do it in a humane way. That’s purely for domestic consumption. It’s amazing how nakedly hypocritical all this.

And ever since the Al-Aqsa Mosque was raided by Israeli settlers on October 2, leading to Hamas’s Al-Aqsa Flood retaliation on October 7, it was closely coordinated with the Biden administration. All the bombs have been dropped day after day, week after week, with the whole of the US. And Biden has said on a number of occasions, the Palestinians are enemies.

So I think I want to make it clear that this is not simply an Israeli war against Hamas. It’s an American-backed Israeli war. Each of them have their own objectives. Israel’s objective is to have a land without non-Jewish population. And America’s aim is to have Israel acting as the local coordinator, as it has been coordinating the work with ISIS and the ISIS commanders to turn them against targets provided by the United States.

Basically, that’s the duopoly that’s been created.

And I think Alastair Crooke has cited Trita Parsi, [the US-Iranian relations scholar], saying the objective really in all this, of Israel’s conflict and Biden’s acquiescence to it, is that Israel is engaged in a deliberate and systematic effort to destroy existing laws and norms about warfare. And that’s really it.

You have people, you have reporters, such as Pepe Escobar, saying that the United States is a chaos agent. But there’s a logic in this. The United States is looking forward to what it’s going to be doing in the Near East, in Ukraine, and especially in the China Sea and Taiwan. Looking forward, the United States says, how do we prevent other nations moving against us in the international court or suing or somehow putting sanctions against us? Israel is the test case, not simply for what’s happening there in Israel and Palestine itself, but against anything that the United States will be doing through the rest of the world.

That’s why the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., echoed by [Blinken] and other U.S. officials, said there’s no court of justice ruling against genocide, that it was a non-binding ruling. Well, of course it was binding, but it has no means of enforcement. And both [Blinken] and yesterday, the head of the army said, there is no genocide taking place in Gaza. Well, what that means is you have to go to a court, and that’s going to take years and years. And by the time the court case is over and there’s any judgment of reparations due, then you’re going to, by then the Gazans will all be dead. So the U.S. aim is to end the rule of international law that is why the United Nations was founded in 1945.

And in fact, this international law goes way back to 1648 with the peace of Westphalia in Germany to end the 30 years war. All the European nations agreed not to interfere with the internal affairs of other countries. Well, that also was part of the United Nations principle.

And yet you have the United States explicitly advocating regime change in other countries, and most specifically in Russia and throughout the Middle East. So if you can end the whole kind of rule of law, then there’s really no alternative to the United States rules-based order, which means we can do whatever we want, chaos.

And if you look at what’s happening in Gaza is facilitating a transition from a orderly world of the United Nations to chaos, then you’re going to understand basically what the whole, the big picture, the long range picture that’s been put in place really over a series of decades. That’s why the United States, and the United States has no plan B. It only has the plan A to do this. It’s not taking into account the counter reactions and the feedback. Maybe we can discuss that a little later. I’d better leave the questions up to you.

ANIA: Thank you. You actually have already answered many of my questions in that intro, but I want to ask you this now. I will jump a little bit now. I have a question about something that you wrote to me in your email.

I believe looking at many, many situations that are taking place in the world, that sometimes all you really need to do is to follow the money and it will give you a lot of answers. So as you said in your email that, let me check, where is it? The Israeli developers already are planning to turn Gaza into luxury beachfront properties.

So let me ask you here, Professor Hudson, What is really the main goal for Israel’s existence? And in this case, is this really about their luxurious properties, oil? What else is this region really about? Why is it so crucial?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, it’s not just about beach properties. It’s what’s off the beach, the gas, the natural gas that they’ve discovered right offshore the Mediterranean that belongs to Gaza. So the Israelis are after the gas.

But your basic question, you’d sent me a list of questions you were going to go through. And I think if you keep to that sequence, it’s good. What you’re really asking is, you know, what’s the main goal for Israel’s existence? And I think if people don’t really, their sense of justice is so strong that they can’t believe what the original goal was. And the initial goal in the 19th century was formed in a period where Europe was anti-Semitic. The most anti-Semitic part of all was Ukraine. If you read Leon Trotsky’s autobiography of growing up in Odessa, he described the pogroms there. And so the Zionists, the first wave of Zionists, were looking for how can the Jewish people escape from this anti-Semitism.

Here’s the problem. By 1947, when Israel was formed, anti-Semitism was passé. Most Jews in the United States, certainly who I grew up with, they were all assimilated. Of course, they had well wishes for Israel. There was very little talk of the Arabs. But you had two arms of Judaism.

The one arm were the people who remembered with a vengeance what was done for them against them in Ukraine and Russia, and especially by Hitler and the Holocaust. They wanted to be separate and to have just to be protected.

But most of the Jewish population in America and Europe was thoroughly assimilated. And the last thing they wanted was to be separate. They wanted just the opposite. They wanted anti-Semitism to end.

But the Zionists who were in charge of Israel, the Stern Gang leaders, were obsessed with the old antagonisms. And in a way, they were obsessed with Nazism and said, well, we want to do to them what they did to us.

And again, the idea of a land without a people meant a land— we intend to make Israel into a land without non-Jewish people. That’s what a land without people, their slogan, meant. And from the very beginning, they started by driving Arabs out of Palestine, destroying their olive trees, destroying their orchards, taking their houses, and just killing them. That’s why the English threw them in jail before turning around and said, well, it’s true that we’ve thrown all the leaders in jail, but let’s recognize Israel and make Israel a whole country to do what these leaders that we were before throwing in jail were doing.

ANIA: Thank you.

You said also in your email that ISIS is part of America’s foreign legion. Can you please elaborate on that?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, ISIS was organized originally to fight in Afghanistan against the Russians. And al-Qaeda, which was the parent of ISIS, was simply the roster of people who were willing to fight under the U.S. command.

Well, part of al-Qaeda turned against America on 9-11, but most, especially the Sunni followers of Wahhabi theology, were very eager to fight against the Shiites. Islam is divided into two parts, the Sunni Islam of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Republics, and much of the Near East, and the Shiites from Iran and maybe half of Iraq and parts of Syria also.

So you had these two sectarian groups fighting each other, and the United States provided the funding and the organization to them and essentially delegated to Israel much of the organization of organizing ISIS to fight against Assad, to fight against whomever the United States designated as our enemies, meaning we want to take their oil lands. America has taken Iraqi oil and won’t leave, is taking Syrian oil and won’t leave.

So essentially, the U.S. has used ISIS to fight against all of the Shiites on the theory that the Shiite Islam is all controlled by Iran, and they want to essentially wipe out the Shiites as they’re doing in Gaza, even though I think the Palestinians are mainly Sunni, but you should think of the ISIS as America’s foreign legion. They’ve hired them, they pay them, and they recruit from them.

You’ve just seen in what happened in Russia from the Ukrainians, Ukraine recruited Sunni terrorists from Tajikistan. You’ve seen the United States trying to use ISIS to recruit, to fight in Russia’s southern periphery in Central Asia and to fight in the Uyghur territories of Xinjiang in Western China. They’re using ISIS to try to essentially attack the integrity of China, Russia, and Syria and any other area where the United States wants a regime change to put in the usual client oligarchy.

ANIA: So interesting, and they sell it under the description that this is the enemy and terrorist, and they are founding it. And the public is still buying this, Professor Hudson. How is this possible?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, this is hypocritical. Everybody throughout the world is appalled by the cruelty and the barbarism of ISIS. The United States is not going to come right out and say, hey, that’s us that they’re fighting. We’re directing ISIS from the presidential office. We love ISIS.

Well, Biden loves ISIS, and Blinken loves ISIS, and the entire neocons, the CIA loves ISIS because they’re all running it, but they can’t say it to the American public. They have to pretend just like they’re pretending with Netanyahu that, oh my heavens, look at [what] ISIS is doing. We’ve really got to fight against it.

And for instance, when it put in the white helmets in ISIS, these were the American supplied public relations unit to essentially do false propaganda, false images, make false flag attacks. All of these false flag attacks, all of the white helmets and the propaganda has all been coordinated by the United States.

ANIA: I want to ask you now a question that to some extent you actually answered already. Does Israel make any independent decisions that are not consulted with the United States in regards to bombing Gaza?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, the question is, what is the United States or what do you mean by the United States? They don’t need official approval. There’s already a broad agreement in principle. Do whatever you have to do.

The United States has given them a free hand saying, we’re not going to interfere. You’re our managers on site. Just as you’re managing ISIS, you can manage certainly your own country. The U.S. has given blanket approval for Israel’s genocide. That’s why it says there’s no genocide there.

And it shares the aim of extending the war to fight Iran. Again and again, what Netanyahu is saying, we’re not going to be safe until we defeat Iran. Well, the United States has, that’s America, that’s the neocon plan outlined in the 1990s. It was spelled out, I think, by Wesley Clark of first Afghanistan, then Iraq, then Syria, and then Iran. All of this was worked out from the beginning. The United States is trying to figure out, how do we do it?

Well, there’s a general expectation that one way to do it is to have Israel mount a false flag attack, something Iran does that is so bad that Israel retaliates and then, as it just bombed the Iranian embassy in Syria, that Iran is going to then do something to Israel and the United States will come to protect our Israeli brothers and world peace and prevent the genocide that the Gazans are trying to do against Israel and that Iran is trying to do against the rest of the world and bomb Iran.

Back in 1970s, there were discussions of what do you do? What will Iran do to fight back? Well, there’s one thing that Iran can do, that it doesn’t have to bomb American troops in Syria or Iraq. It doesn’t have to bomb Israel. All it has to do is sink a ship in the Strait of Hormuz. That’s the big strait. You’ve seen what happened, what the Houthis have done with the Red Sea. The big traffic is the Strait of Hormuz. That’s where Saudi Arabian oil and we could call it the oil gulf. It’s called the Persian Gulf, but it’s really the oil gulf. That’s where all the oil trade is. If you sink a ship or two in the oil gulf, that’s going to push oil prices way, way up because that’s going to cut most of the world off for as long as Iran wants from the Middle Eastern oil supply.

Well, that’s what really terrifies Biden because he’s pretending that there’s no inflation in the United States and that the economy is quite heavy. The inflation that would follow from Iran sinking a ship in Hormuz will essentially be crowning the American opposition to Biden, which is growing.

It’s one thing to be against genocide and killing people, but much more important is if your gas prices go up, the American people think that that’s really much more important than the fact of genocide and crimes against humanity. That’s really what is frightening the US.

The question is right now, how do they make the Israeli provocation against Iran— an excuse for the United States to come in with all of NATO’s and European support and somehow prevent Iran from having the power to close down the Straits of Hormuz. That’s what they’re trying to figure out now. I don’t know what they’re going to do, but when Blinken has said, Israel has not broken any rules. It’s all okay. What the United States really is [saying], if they can get away with this, they can say there are really no rules at all for the whole world. We can do whatever we want. Right now is coming to a peak. It’s the follow-up that was all thought in advance of the whole Israeli movement against Gaza.

ANIA: Thank you, Professor Hudson.

Next question that is about targeting civilians, journalists, and workers. Again, you’ve addressed this already, but I will ask you this. Why is the Israeli army targeting all those groups?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, it’s targeting everyone. It’s targeting all civilians because it wants a land without Palestinian people. It’s targeting the most critical people necessary for a Gazan society to survive. It targets the journalists because it doesn’t want the world to see what it’s doing, because Israel has already lost its standing in the world. The United States tells them, especially, you’ve got to kill the journalists because if you don’t kill them, we, the Biden administration, are going to look bad. We already have the Americans turning against the war.

There’s only one anti-war candidate running in the presidential elections for this November. That’s Jill Stein. Every other candidate is completely backing Israel in the war, but the American people, the majority of Americans look at what’s happening in Israel as genocide and as a crime against humanity. They’re not going to vote for Biden. Biden is going to lose the election or certainly not win it. It may go into the House of Representatives if nobody wins it.

In order to drive the rest of the Gazan populations out, you have to, number one, get rid of the journalists. Number two, you want to get rid of the hospitals. As you’re bombing the people, a lot of them are going to get injured. You want all the injured people from the bombs to die. For that, you have to bomb the hospitals. You especially have to target the doctors for killing. Not only will there not be doctors to heal the wounded people, but other doctors, doctors without borders from other countries, will be afraid to go into Gaza because if you go there, you know that if you’re a food worker bringing aid or a doctor or an aid worker, you’re going to get shot because you’re at the top of the target list.

ANIA: It’s horrible. Just listening to this, you know, it’s very hard to…

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, imagine how I used to feel sitting in meetings and all of this was just said as if this is part of a game and this is how we’re planning it all out. All of this was what was discussed. How do we do evil? I mean, this…

ANIA: Yeah, but those are not humans to me. They are not humans to me.

MICHAEL HUDSON: That’s right.

ANIA: Soulless beings that are not humans. That’s all I say here.

Professor Hudson, next question is about those Israeli developers who, as you said in your email, are already planning to turn Gaza into luxury beachfront properties. So what do you really know about this? They are already planning this? Like they have plans for those properties?

MICHAEL HUDSON: The Americans made a start. They began by building docks. You not only want beachfront property, you want docks for the buyers to have a place to tie up their yachts or their sailboats.

And so the United States is building these piers. One reason it’s doing it is it can pretend that it can say, we’re not building the piers for Israeli property owners to have yachts, we’re going to deliver food. But by the time we finish building the piers, there’ll be no more Gazans. I mean, that’s the whole point. By building the piers, they’ve enabled Israel to prevent the food trucks from coming in from the south. So building the piers is a means of pretending to help without doing anything at all to help actually [deliver] food to Israel.

So yes, all throughout the news, there have been statements by the Israeli real estate companies saying, Gaza could have been a nice place to live if there weren’t Arabs in it. And now if we can clear the land of Arabs, make it a land without those people, then this is a wonderful property. And it has natural gas to help the Israeli balance of payments. So the whole idea is to make this a center of Israel luxury development.

ANIA: Again, absolutely disgusting to me, just listening to this. I want to ask you now about, were Gaza [to cease] to exist completely, what will happen to all the Palestinians who survived?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, the land is going to be there, and it’ll be beachfront property. Alastair Crooke has been, I think, the clearest writer. He was one of the negotiators between Israel and the Palestinians. He’s explained that there cannot be a two-state solution anymore.

The Israelis say, we are going to kill all of the Palestinians. The Palestinians say, well, we can’t exist with the Israelis, and we have to defend ourselves. If we don’t kill them, they’re going to kill us. So Israel has to be either Palestinian or Israeli. It can’t be both. That is ended forever. So anyone who talks of a two-state solution, they’re just not looking it up.

So the question is, how is Gaza going to exist? Either it’s going to be all Israeli, and the Gazans will be forced to flee. The Israelis want them to flee by boats and to be sunk, most of them will be sunk in the Mediterranean, just like after America and France destroyed Libya. The Libyans tried to flee in boats, and they were sunk.

So either they will drown, or they will somehow work their way into a prison camp that Egypt and its leader is setting up for Gazan refugees. And then the Gazans will somehow try to gain entry into Europe or other countries. So you can expect a huge influx of Gazans into Europe.

Some people have suggested, well, now that Ukraine is turning into a land without a people, maybe either the Gazans can turn Ukraine over to the Palestinians, or we could give it to the Israelis, saying, well, this is your ancestral land, this is where all of the pogroms that started Zionism began. Now you can go back and there are no more Ukrainians. They have programs against you. Maybe the Israelis should go to Ukraine. One population or the other has to emigrate.

Well, Israelis already have been losing a huge chunk of their population, especially their working age population, especially those who have jobs in information technology or highly paying jobs. So, you’re already seeing a population outflow.

So, Gaza will exist geographically, but we have no idea about what is going to be the demographic composition.

And I think the Israeli Defense Forces Chief, Herzi Halevi, said just last Sunday that Israel, he announced Israel knows how to handle Iran, just as they’re handling Gaza, that they’ve prepared for this. They have good defensive systems. And he said, we are operating and cooperating with the USA and strategic problems partners in this region. So, the US is going to be putting pressure on Egypt to expand the concentration camps that it’s setting up and to pressure the Europeans. Maybe so many Germans are leaving their country now that there’s no more work for them. Maybe the Palestinians will go to Germany and other European countries, and wherever they can find some kind of refuge.

America was willing to give the Jewish population refuge as long as the Jewish population served European imperialist aims of controlling the Near Eastern oil. But what can Palestine offer to be protected? If the Palestinians don’t have anything to offer the Europeans or the Americans, their governments simply do not care. They’ve done absolutely nothing to protect the Palestinians because they don’t care if there’s no money in it for them. And the Arab countries with money, the Saudi Arabians, the United Arab Republics have not really lifted a hand to help this. Even though a large labor force in Saudi Arabia is already Palestinian, they don’t need more Palestinians there. So, that’s basically what’s happening.

ANIA: Thank you, Professor Hudson. You know, before I ask you my last question, you know, people’s beliefs that the governments care about them. This is the most… I don’t understand how people can still believe that any government really cares about them in the world, looking at the situation like this. It’s heartbreaking. Just listening to what you said is a lot for me to take in.

The last question is when the bombing will stop and who is going to rebuild Gaza Strip?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, the bombing will stop when there are no more Palestinians to bomb. Israel doesn’t have the money to rebuild it or the intention of rebuilding. And even if Israel wants to rebuild it with nice homes all the way to the beachfront, who is going to do the building?

Well, already Israel has made a deal with India to get a lot of Indian construction workers from the poorest provinces of India coming over there. But again, who’s going to pay them? You can give them work permits, but the answer is who will pay them will be the contractors who are given the contracts to rebuild homes and offices and the new Israeli compound in Gaza, unless the world works and says, no, the Israelis have to give back all the land and it’s Israel that will be a minority under a Palestinian government.

You cannot have an Israeli government that is over the whole region because its policy is to kill the Palestinians. So I don’t see that, again, you can’t have a two-state solution. It doesn’t look like anyone’s supporting the Palestinians right now.

Who would help rebuild it? Well, the Turkish builders might come in and build it. Other Middle Easterners would rebuild it. Saudi Arabia could finance huge developments there. The United Arab Republics could buy land. American investors, maybe Blackstone could help develop there, but it’ll be foreign investment.

And if you look at the fact that the foreign investors of all these countries are looking for what they can get out of the genocide against Palestinians, you realize why there’s no real opposition to the genocide that’s taking place.

And the great benefit to the U.S. of all this is that as a result of this absence of any kind of the moral feeling that you’ve just expressed, no claims can be brought against the United States for any of the warfare, any of the regime change, interference that it’s planning for Iran, China, Russia, and as it’s been doing in Africa and Latin America. So Israel and Gaza and the West Bank should be seen, I think, as an opening of the new Cold War. And whatever you see happening in Gaza after the Gazans are driven out, you see this is really the plan for what the United States wants to do in China, in Russia, in Africa, in the whole rest of the world. You’re seeing a plan for basically how to financialize and make money out of genocide and the destruction of society. And in order to do that, you have to prevent anything like the United Nations of having any authority at all.

And the irony in all this is that the United States is creating just the opposite of what it wanted to do. I mean, obviously, while this is happening in Gaza, most of the global majority that we’ve spoken before, the world outside of NATO, America and Europe, are appalled. And the only way of stopping what’s happening in Gaza happening in the rest of the world is to create an alternative to the United Nations, an alternative to the World Bank, to the IMF, an alternative to all the organizations that the United States has controlled to turn the whole rest of the world into Gaza, if it can.

ANIA: Dr. Hudson, Professor Hudson, I want to thank you for coming back. I want to thank you for telling me after our last live stream to address this, because you shared it with me and with the audience. And I really hope that you will spread this video, guys, you will share it.

So I personally believe that we are fighting evil. And the way that I feel I am in a small way contributing to this is to trying to seek the truth and bring people who have knowledge and understanding and can share the facts and the truth with the world. Because if you don’t know what you’re fighting against, what you’re fighting with, then you’re like Don Quixote. You have to know what is the problem. And I am immensely grateful for guests like yourself to be on my channel and to share your knowledge with the audience. I can only imagine knowing all of this, what you shared with us today, living with this for so many years and watching the [unfolding] of those events in the world. For someone who has feelings and emotions, it’s very hard to bear. I can only imagine. So thank you for your contribution.

MICHAEL HUDSON: I’m on your show, Ania, because you see that this is evil, and it is evil.

ANIA: Yes. Thank you so much. I know you have to go. And I want to invite you again, of course, in the near future. Hopefully, you find time for our next conversation. To everyone who’s watching, make sure to check all the links to Professor Hudson that are already attached down below this live stream. And like I said, please share the video. Hit this like. It’s free of charge, and it helps the channel also. And more people can hear this information in the world. Thank you, everyone. And until next time.

 

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The post Gaza: The Strategic Imperative first appeared on Michael Hudson.

My Berlin speech on Palestine that German police entered the venue to ban – and whose publication here led to my being banned from Germany!

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 14/04/2024 - 12:03am in

Watch/read the speech that I could not deliver because German police burst into our Berlin venue to disband our Palestine Congress (1930s style) before I could address the meeting. Today, because I dared publish this speech here, the Ministry of Interior issued a “Betätigungsverbot” against me, a ban on any political activity. Not just a ban on visiting Germany but also from participation via Zoom. Judge for yourselves the kind of society Germany is becoming when its police bans the following words:

Friends,

Congratulations, and heartfelt thanks, for being here, despite the threats, despite the ironclad police outside this venue, despite the panoply of the German press, despite the German state, despite the German political system that demonises you for being here.

“Why a Palestinian Congress, Mr Varoufakis?”, a German journalist asked me recently? Because, as Hanan Ashrawi once said: “We cannot rely on the silenced to tell us about their suffering.”

Today, Ashrawi’s reason has grown depressingly stronger: Because we cannot rely on the silenced who are also massacred and starved to tell us about the massacres and the starvation.

But there is another reason too: Because a proud, a decent people, the people of Germany, are led down a perilous road to a heartless society by being made to associate themselves with another genocide carried out in their name, with their complicity.

I am neither Jewish nor Palestinian. But I am incredibly proud to be here amongst Jews and Palestinians – to blend my voice for Peace and Universal Human Rights with Jewish Voices for Peace and Universal Human Rights – with Palestinian Voices for Peace and Universal Human Rights. Being together, here, today, is proof that Coexistence is Not Only Possible – but that it is here! Already.

“Why not a Jewish Congress, Mr Varoufakis?”, the same German journalist asked me, imagining that he was being smart. I welcomed his question.

For if a single Jew is threatened, anywhere, just because she or he is Jewish, I shall wear the star of David on my lapel and offer my solidarity – whatever the cost, whatever it takes.

So, let’s be clear: If Jews were under attack, anywhere in the world, I would be the first to canvass for a Jewish Congress in which to register our solidarity.

Similarly, when Palestinians are massacred because they are Palestinians – under a dogma that to be dead and Palestinian they must have been… Hamas – I shall wear my keffiyeh and offer my solidarity whatever the cost, whatever it takes.

Universal Human Rights are either universal or they mean nothing.

With this in mind, I answered the German journalist’s question with a few of my own:

  • Are 2 million Israeli Jews, who were thrown out of their homes and into an open air prison 80 years ago, still being kept in that open air prison, without access to the outside world, with minimal food and water, no chance of a normal life, of travelling anywhere, while bombed periodically for these 80 years? No.
  • Are Israeli Jews being starved intentionally by an army of occupation, their children writhing on the floor, screaming from hunger? No.
  • Are there thousands of Jewish injured children no surviving parents crawling through the rubble of what used to be their homes? No.
  • Are Israeli Jews being bombed by the world’s most sophisticated planes and bombs today? No.
  • Are Israeli Jews experiencing complete ecocide of what little land they can still call their own, not one tree left under which to seek shade or whose fruit to taste? No.
  • Are Israeli Jewish children killed by snipers today at the orders of a member-state of the UN? No.
  • Are Israeli Jews driven out of their homes by armed gangs today? No.
  • Is Israel fighting for its existence today? No.

If the answer to any of these questions was yes, I would be participating in a Jewish Solidarity Congress today.

Friends,

Today, we would have loved to have a decent, democratic, mutually-respectful debate on how to bring Peace and Universal Human Rights for everyone, Jews and Palestinians, Bedouins and Christians, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea with people who think differently to us.

Sadly, the whole of the German political system has decided not to allow this. In a joint statement including not just the CDU-CSU or the FDP but also the SPD, the Greens and, remarkably, two leaders of Die Linke, Germany’s political spectrum joined forces to ensure that such a civilised debate, in which we may disagree agreeably, never takes place in Germany.

I say to them: You want to silence us. To ban us. To demonise us. To accuse us. You, therefore, leave us with no choice but to meet your ridiculous accusations with our own rational accusations. You chose this. Not us.

  • You accuse us of anti-Semitic hatred
    • We accuse you of being the antisemite’s best friend by equating the right of Israel to commit war crimes with the right of Israeli Jews to defend themselves.
  • You accuse us of supporting terrorism
    • We accuse you of equating legitimate resistance to an Apartheid State with atrocities against civilians which I have always and will always condemn, whomever commits them – Palestinians, Jewish Settlers, my own family, whomever.
    • We accuse you of not recognising the duty of the people of Gaza to tear down the Wall of the open prison they have been encased in for 80 years – and of equating this act of tearing down the Wall of Shame – which is no more defensible than the Berlin Wall was – with acts of terror.
  • You accuse us of trivialising Hamas’ October 7th terror
    • We accuse you of trivialising the 80 years of Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and the erection of an ironclad Apartheid system across Israel-Palestine.
    • We accuse you of trivialising Netanyahu’s long-term support of Hamas as a means of destroying the 2-State Solution that you claim to favour.
    • We accuse you of trivialising the unprecedented terror unleashed by the Israeli army on the people of Gaza, W. Bank and E. Jerusalem.
  • You accuse the organisers of today’s Congress that we are, and I quote, “not interested in talking about possibilities for peaceful coexistence in the Middle East against the background of the war in Gaza”. Are you serious? Have you lost your mind?
    • We accuse you of supporting a German state that is, after the United States, the largest supplier of the weapons that the Netanyahu government uses to massacre Palestinians as part of a Grand Plan to make a 2-State Solution, and peaceful coexistence between Jews and Palestinians, impossible.
    • We accuse you of never answering the pertinent question that every German must answer: How much Palestinian blood must flow before your, justified, guilt over the Holocaust is washed away?

So, let’ s be clear: We are here, in Berlin, with our Palestinian Congress because, unlike the German political system and the German media, we condemn genocide and war crimes regardless of who is perpetrating them. Because we oppose Apartheid in the land of Israel-Palestine no matter who has the upper hand – just as we opposed Apartheid in the American South or in South Africa. Because we stand for universal human rights, freedom and equality among Jews, Palestinians, Bedouins and Christians in the Ancient Land of Palestine.

And so that we are even clearer on the questions, legitimate and malignant, that we must always be ready to answer:

Do I condemn Hamas’ atrocities?

I condemn every single atrocity, whomever is the perpetrator or the victim. What I do not condemn is armed resistance to an Apartheid system designed as part of a slow-burning, but inexorable, ethnic cleansing program. Put differently, I condemn every attack on civilians while, at the same time, I celebrate anyone who risks their life to TEAR DOWN THE WALL.

Is Israel not engaged in a war for its very existence?

No, it is not. Israel is a nuclear-armed state with perhaps the most technologically advanced army in the world and the panoply of the US military machine having its back. There is no symmetry with Hamas, a group which can cause serious damage to Israelis but which has no capacity whatsoever to defeat Israel’s military, or even to prevent Israel from continuing to implement the slow genocide of Palestinians under the system of Apartheid that has been erected with long-standing US and EU support.

Are Israelis not justified to fear that Hamas wants to exterminate them?

Of course they are! Jews have suffered a Holocaust that was preceded with pogroms and a deep-seated antisemitism permeating Europe and the Americas for centuries. It is only natural that Israelis live in fear of a new pogrom if the Israeli army folds. However, by imposing Apartheid on their neighbours, by treating them like sub-humans, the Israeli state is stoking the fires of antisemitism, is strengthening Palestinians and Israelis who just want to annihilate each other and, in the end, contributes to the awful insecurity consuming Jews in Israel and the Diaspora. Apartheid against the Palestinians is the Israelis’ worst self-defence.

What about antisemitism?

It is always a clear and present danger. And it must be eradicated, especially amongst the ranks of the Global Left and the Palestinians fighting for Palestinian civil liberties –around the world.

Why don’t Palestinians pursue their objectives by peaceful means?

They did. The PLO recognised Israel and renounced armed struggle. And what did they get for it? Absolute humiliation and systematic ethnic cleansing. That is what nurtured Hamas and elevated it the eyes of many Palestinians as the only alternative to a slow genocide under Israel’s Apartheid.

What should be done now? What might bring Peace to Israel-Palestine?

  • An immediate ceasefire.
  • The release of all hostages: Hamas’ and the thousands held by Israel.
  • A Peace Process, under the UN, supported by a commitment by the International Community to end Apartheid and to safeguard Equal Civil Liberties for All.
  • As for what must replace Apartheid, it is up to Israelis and Palestinians to decide between the 2-state solution and the solution of a Single Federal Secular State.

Friends,

We are here because vengeance is a lazy form of grief.

We are here to promote not vengeance but Peace and Coexistence across Israel-Palestine.

We are here to tell German democrats, including our former comrades of Die Linke, that they have covered themselves in shame long enough – that two wrongs do not one right make – that allowing Israel to get away with war crimes is not going to ameliorate the legacy of Germany’s crimes against the Jewish People.

Beyond today’s Congress, we have a duty, in Germany, to change the conversation. We have a duty to persuade the vast majority of decent Germans out there that universal human rights is what matters. That Never Again means Never Again. For anyone, Jew, Palestinian, Ukrainian, Russian, Yemeni, Sudanese, Rwandan – for everyone, everywhere.

In this context, I am pleased to announce that DiEM25’s German political party MERA25 will be on the ballot paper in the European Parliament election this coming June – seeking the vote of German humanists who crave a Member of European Parliament representing Germany and calling out the EU’s complicity in genocide – a complicity that is Europe’s greatest gift to the antisemites in Europe and beyond.

I salute you all and suggest we never forget that none of us are free if one of us is in chains.

The post My Berlin speech on Palestine that German police entered the venue to ban – and whose publication here led to my being banned from Germany! appeared first on Yanis Varoufakis.

Yemen ‘promises Iran 400,000 troops’ in event of regional war

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 07/04/2024 - 10:50pm in

Fighters “ready to completely blockade the Red Sea and target US bases in Africa and the Middle East”, says Iran Observer

Image: Iran Observer

Yemen has promised Iran the support of 400,000 troops if regional war breaks out after Israel’s bombing of the Iranian embassy in Syria to murder a top Iranian military officer, Iran Observer Twitter/X account has said this afternoon. The account, which has 233,000 followers and appears to have access to a stream of information from within the region, notes that Yemen has recruited 200,000 additional fighters since Israel began its genocidal assault on the Palestinians in Gaza and says that the fighters are:

ready to completely blockade the Red Sea and target US bases in Africa and the Middle East.

The news came as Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in Lebanon appeared to warn that the group’s relative restraint so far in the face of Israel’s attacks on homes and bases in Lebanon had run out and that ‘all scenarios’ are possible. Yemen’s Houthis have been attacking – in response to the International Court of Justice’s findings against Israel – Israel-bound and -owned shipping off its coast, undeterred by attacks by the UK and US, whose governments continue to collude in Israel’s genocide in Gaza, which has killed and maimed well over 100,000 people so far, mostly women and children, and has put more than two million into famine.

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