posted 2012.12.11, under blog
This was going to be a well thought out and researched post. But in the end, it’s not. The conclusion is that the EU has always been at war. But it’s a class war.
This is a case where you could actually argue that, yes, the EU has helped peace in Europe. And it is certainly the case that the EU is not the worst recipient in the prize’s history, but it is certainly not the best.
This also does not devalue the Peace Prize in anyway either. After all, the prize was already considered basically worthless by anyone paying attention. Let’s quickly look at two of the recent recipients: Obama “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”% – given the prize for not being Bush, but still continued Bush’s wars; Gore “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change” % – huh huh. Many of the other recent recipients are also not so worth.
A quick look at previous years has some more outragous names, including Kissinger, the UN(!) and others that you have to wonder, “what’s that person got to do with peace” or “yes they’ve done some good stuff, but it’s not actually related to peace exactly is it…”.
But let’s look at the EU in more detail. It’s prevented war between it’s members in a similar (and slightly more successful) way that NATO has. It has, however, not prevented wars and fighting between its members and other nations (e.g. Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years, Yugoslavia and former Yugoslavia in the 1990s).
But more importantly for this website, it’s a club of the ruling class. The EU is a representative of the global capitalist system which conducts class war everyday of every year. Recent bailouts of banks, and continual anti-union activities in certain countries, and all the agreements (large parts of Schengan for example) to make it even easier for policing to move across borders, but not “criminals” are examples of this.
Moreover the EU is one of the largest weapons producers and exporters in the world. Hardly a peaceful sort of thing to do. It’s trade policies are aggressive. Etc. etc.
“Norwegian protesters say EU Nobel Peace Prize win devalues award” http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2012/1207/Norwegian-protesters-say-EU-Nobel-Peace-Prize-win-devalues-award accessed 2012-12-10
“EU accepts Nobel prize amid criticism” http://www.aljazeera.com/news/europe/2012/12/20121210151530547247.html accessed 2012-12-11
posted 2012.03.03, under blog
Iran had an election recently. Iran has this “Guardian Council” which makes sure candidates are good. In the USA there are different restrictions in different states. You may require signatures if you want to run as a non-Republican or Democrat. And of course, you can only expect to win if you have enough money, or the backing by those who have money. (And of course, you can’t vote if you have a felony conviction in a number of states.) I can’t quickly find information on voter restrictions in Iran.
Conclusion: Depending on where you are in the USA, your rights to stand and vote may be less than your rights in Iran!
Freedom, don’t you love it!
(Also, the answer is, of course, anarchy. Fuck Iran, fuck the USA, and fuck hypocrisy.)
posted 2011.10.09, under blog
Kosovo has been in the news recently because of attempts by ethnic Serbs in the north of that area objecting to being ruled by people they don’t recognize as legitimate. You’d think that they’d have the support of the same sort of people who supported the independence of Kosovo from Serbia because the ethnic Albanians objected to being ruled etc.
The whole affair demonstrates again the absurdity of borders. One group of people think wouldn’t it be great to not have to be ruled by those folk. And declare an area independent. They get the help of some foreign military. But not all the people in the area want to be independent. And they are a clearly defined group, in a clearly defined area.
You’d think in the current state system, that the logical solution would be to let those Serbs join Serbia. Self-determination and all that. But it seems this idea is only used when the people who want to “self-determine” their future are liked by the folks with the biggest militaries (in this case NATO). NATO don’t like Serbs, so those Serbs who don’t want to be part of an independent Kosovo are out of luck.
Really, the best solution would be for the working classes of both Serbia and Kosovo (and everywhere else) to join hands and shoot their rulers. Seriously, who needs ‘em?
posted 2011.09.20, under blog
One state, two state, three state, four!
The current “politically correct” option for the Israel/Palestine problem is the “two state solution”. This calls for two separate and independent nation-states in the Palestine/Israel area. One, Israel, all ready exists, and and proven itself quite capable of defending and expanding it’s borders. The other, based on the area of the West Bank and Gaza that isn’t occupied and settled by Israel, would become the second, “Palestine”. This is a bad option for the Arabic Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, as Israel has shown time and time again that they won’t be happy with the current borders, and will continue to defend and support settlers. Any Palestine state will be given the worst parts of the West Bank. I believe that this is opposed by the Israeli government because it would give even more ammo to calls for them to stop the settlers. The Israeli government aim is a single Jewish state in the entire area. Moreover, the Israeli government continues to attach conditions to its recognition of a Palestinian state. These include “The Palestinian state would have to be demilitarized, with international guarantees that it remain so; it would have to cede control of its airspace to Israel; and it could be created only if the Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland.” (Schneider 2010)
The other option normally tossed around is the “one state solution”. This calls for a single, democratic, secular and liberal country in the entire area of Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, the entire former Palestine Mandate. This “solution” seems to be as unlikely, if not just because the Israeli government won’t want to give Arabs a majority in any such state. Any “one state solution” is likely to result in rather than a democratic and secular country, a quite un-democratic and Jewish state. If things continue as they have been, the settlers will continue to push into the West Bank, and gradually there will be a one state, but it will be “ethnically cleansed” of Arabs. In so far as statehood and nationhood is accepted, a single, democratic, secular and liberal country is by far better than the “two state solution”. But, the more likely one state is worse…
But, considering that states and borders are generally arbitrary, why not a “three state solution”? Or a “four state solution”? Before starting to research this piece, I didn’t know that there was even seriously suggested that there be a “three state solution”. But there is, Israel, Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan. All things considered, this is no worse than the “two state solution”, in that the Palestinians will still have their land taken away gradually by settlers, and the Israeli government will still be continuing the occupation. The term is apparently also used for Gaza and West Bank as independent states, along with Israel. The “four state solution” is also used, this time, drawing a line between two sorts of Israeli, in addition to the Gaza and the West Bank. This, and proposed “five state solution” ideas on the same theme are generally not meant to be taken seriously. At least, I don’t think so.
A Palestinian state
This week people from the Palestinian Authority are going to the UN to try and gain full membership. This attempt is likely to fail, because to join the UN as a full member, the Security Council needs to approve. The USA has indicated that it will use its veto to stop this from happening. If the PA were to be happy with merely observer status (something the PLO already has), they would only need a two thirds majority of the General Assembly. Something they could get easily. The question is though, why do they need UN recognition to become a “real” state? They don’t. They are already recognised by about 126 countries from around the world. Moreover, there are a number of de facto states that have better control over their borders and security, that are not recognised as such by the UN, and are still recognised as real states by various other states. These include Taiwan, South Ossetia, Northern_Cyprus, Transnistria, and Kosovo.
Much has been written about Israel being a state founded on genocide and displacement of peoples. Why is this a reason to reject recognition of it as a legitimate state? After all, many other states were founded on the same basis, including the USA and Australia. The difference seems to be one of time, Israel was created within living memory of many, unlike most other states. As far as legitimacy goes Israel is no less, or more, legitimate than any other state. Which is to say, it is not at all legitimate.
The no state solution
So, the point of this article is to suggest, once again, that the best option for peace and freedom in the Israel/Palestine area is the “no-state solution”. The “no state solution” is the anarchist solution, calling for a network of independent autonomous communities working under a federated banner. The anarchist solution doesn’t come with complicated blueprints, or propose land-swaps or borders. Instead, it proposes that people live their lives freely and independently, without interference.
The proposal says that no state is legitimate, and therefore, all should be abolished. It is not just a solution for conflict in the Palestinian area, but also for all wars between states. If Morocco was merely a geographical region, rather than a state with an army, there wouldn’t be fighting over who controlled the West Sahraa. If India and Pakistan were dissolved as states, the people of Kashmir could live their lives without having to worry about the army (whichever one) accidentally (or otherwise) shelling their houses.
References and further reading
(Being included here is not an indication of endorsement of the work by the author.)
Howard Schneider (2009-06-15) Israel’s Netanyahu Endorses Creation of Palestinian State but Attaches Conditions
Wikipedia One-state solution
Danny Danon (2011-09-16) The Time Is Now for a Three-State Solution to End the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Wikipedia Three-state solution
A Palestinian state
Wikipedia Foreign relations of the Palestinian National Authority
Wikipedia International recognition of the State of Palestine
Mark R. Crovelli Wipe The State Of Israel Off The Map–And Every Other State, Too!
No state solution
Ryan Chiang McCarthy (2002-02-12) Anarchists And Palestine: Class Struggle Or Popular Front?
Anarchist Federation (2009) No state solution in Gaza
James Herod (2009-02) Palestine: The No-State Solution
Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group (2010-08) Palestine: No State Solution
Randall Amster (2011-06-28) Can the Israel-Palestine Conflict Provide a Path to Peace?
Ilan Shalif Israel / Palestine is not a nice place to live in – it is a war zone
Lamis Andoni (2010) Jordan is not Palestine
Cameron Hunt (2010-10-17) The No-State Alternative – Cameron Hunt
Joseph Massad (2011-09-15) State of recognition
posted 2011.08.17, under blog
There were some riots in England recently. Two articles that I particularly want to point out are:
Choice quotes include:
So there should be no shock that people living lives of poverty and violence have at last gone to war. It should be no shock that people are looting plasma screen TVs that will pay for a couple of months’ rent and leaving books they can’t sell on the shelves. For many, this is the only form of economic redistribution they will see in the coming years as they continue a fruitless search for jobs.
The Solidarity Federation is based in resistance through workplace struggle. We are not involved in the looting and unlike the knee-jerk right or even the sympathetic-but-condemnatory commentators from the left, we will not condemn or condone those we don’t know for taking back some of the wealth they have been denied all their lives.
But as revolutionaries, we cannot condone attacks on working people, on the innocent. Burning out shops with homes above them, people’s transport to work, muggings and the like are an attack on our own and should be resisted as strongly as any other measure from government “austerity” politics, to price-gouging landlords, to bosses intent on stealing our labour. Tonight and for as long as it takes, people should band together to defend themselves when such violence threatens homes and communities.
In Homage to Catalonia, George Orwell provided a useful gneral [sic] starting point for how anarchists view riots, writing
I have no particular love for the idealised “worker” as he appears in the bourgeois Communist’s mind, but when I see an actual flesh-and-blood worker in conflict with his natural enemy, the policeman, I do not have to ask myself which side I am on. What happened in London and spread elsewhere was not some idealised glorious proletarian uprising, but the very real explosion of anger that occurs when years of poverty, police repression, and racism finally reach bursting point.
And, quoted everywhere:
a young man in Tottenham was asked if rioting really achieved anything:
“Yes,” said the young man. “You wouldn’t be talking to me now if we didn’t riot, would you?”
“Two months ago we marched to Scotland Yard, more than 2,000 of us, all blacks, and it was peaceful and calm and you know what? Not a word in the press. Last night a bit of rioting and looting and look around you.”