Population Control & the eugenics movement

Call it the evangelist in me (though I prefer to call it the investigative feminist), but I’m beginning to see eugenics groups out & about more frequently on FB–masked as usual in the garb of humanitarian concern for young women & reproductive rights. I am also noting what appear to be links between sweatshop manufacturers & the eugenics movement; there have long been links between anti-immigration groups & the eugenics movement. Does it surprise anyone that many of the personnel involved are also Zionists & operate with all those hats?

This past week, I outed The Girl Effect. Today. I’m going after Population Connection Action Fund (PCAF) since I was presented with a Care2 petition initiated by them. Ostensibly, the petition is for good cause: advocating for abortion in US population control programs in El Salvador where abortion is illegal.

PCAF was founded in 1968 by Paul Ehrlich, Charles Remington, & some English cricketeer to promote zero population growth. In fact, that was it’s original name. Both Ehrlich (at Stanford) & Remington (at Yale) studied bugs & aren’t well-suited for the study of human beings since many of the alarmist predictions Ehrlich & his wife Anne made in their book “The Population Bomb” never came to pass–though there is considerable evidence of overpopulation among ants. Could it be he got his data mixed up? Until he croaked, Remington was also a leading figure in anti-immigration groups, as is Anne Ehrlich today.

The regrettable political fact is that while feminism is hibernating these days these eugenics groups are taking center stage. But signing on with their dishonest campaigns is no way to defend women’s reproductive rights. What’s that old adage about lying down with dirty dogs & getting up with fleas!? But fleas aren’t the worst of it.

It may appear one is separating wheat from chaff in signing petitions or supporting groups even though they are fronts for eugenics–since after all, they’re engaged in doing good deeds. One can live with fleas but not so much with knowing you lent your support to groups whose goal is the ethnic cleansing of black & brown people. Disassociation should not be too much to ask.

(Photo is Population Connection Action Fund logo)

Commemoration of 1974 Portuguese revolution

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the 1974 revolution that restored democracy in Portugal. Without going into the complexities of that revolution, a dictatorship that had ruled since the 1930s was swept away along with their secret police in what is touted as a bloodless revolution. Civil liberties & political freedoms were introduced, including freedom of speech, the right to vote, labor rights, universal health care, & pension rights. Political prisoners were released & Portuguese colonies in Africa & East Timor were immediately given independence. It was a momentous revolution & the carnation became its symbol.

Now the question must be asked: what distinguishes the fascist dictatorship from the EU-IMF austerity program? With the notable exception of colonies, they’re really quite hard to tell apart. Next time, there may have to be a scuffle or two. The gains of 1974 have not been decisively reversed & the evidence of that is massive opposition by working people to neoliberal plunder.

This man with a carnation is participating in a ceremony marking the anniversary.

(Photo by Francisco Seco/AP)

Grieving & defiance in Bangladesh

This is a portrait of grief & not just grief, but resistance to exploitation. These are people who lost beloved family members when Rana Plaza collapsed one year ago killing 1,138 garment workers. They did not gather yesterday at the site of the collapse just to mourn but to demand change.

Many think they’re fighting a losing battle against superior political & social forces including the Bangladesh government, international retailers like Walmart, & trigger-happy riot cops. Many think they’d better stick to weeping since opposing sweatshop capitalism is a utopian pipe dream. Color those many clueless!

Margaret Mead famously said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” How much more so then can these men, women, & children joined in international solidarity numbering in the millions? Together we can not just end sweatshop manufacturing but we can make this world suitable for human beings to live & love in.

(Photo by A.M. Ahad/AP)

Filipino antiwar movement a beacon for antiwar activists around the world

Filipino antiwar activists are now holding almost daily protests against Obama’s visit starting next Monday & against the military agreement between the US & Philippine governments that would turn their country into a launching pad for war.

Once again, those who claim there’s no purpose to antiwar protest because the movement is too small & too weak need to imitate the intrepid spirit of these activists who don’t let size get in the way of commitment.

(Photo by Bullit Marquez/AP)

Alarming pattern of Roma persecution in Europe

There is a distinct & alarming pattern emerging throughout Europe of extreme persecution of Roma. In one European country after another, including Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, France, England, Denmark, Spain, Romania, & Serbia, riot cops have been breaking up Roma caravan sites & settlements, forcibly evicting residents, & bulldozing homes many have occupied for decades. There has long been considerable discrimination against Romani in every sphere of life including housing, segregated education, denial of social services & health care, massive unemployment; they endure racist harassment (including by the cops), racially motivated crimes, & attitudes which consider them lazy, thieving, dirty freeloaders. But something new is emerging & it is directly related to neoliberal policies, particularly urban development projects bankrolled by European banks, & enforced by the European Union (EU) & IMF austerity programs. It is the same ruthless gentrification process as that displacing people in Manila, Rio de Janeiro, Dhaka, Mumbai, Los Angeles.

Roma often established settlements on public lands, making them formally illegal. But they have lived there for decades, often without sewage, plumbing, or electric power, & were never required by officials to regularize tenancy or the buildings they constructed. Neoliberalism is changing all that. In the last decade, municipalities began transferring title of the land to private investors for urban development projects which prioritize infrastructure projects over housing. The European Investment Bank (EIB) imposing the IMF austerity programs bankrolls multi-million dollar urban development projects like luxury malls & roads & bridges to facilitate plunder & when an EIB project comes up against a Roma community, they bulldoze it.

Roma political & rights groups denounce forcible evictions for violating human rights & international law, even calling them ethnic cleansing since thousands are made homeless, including elderly, infirm, disabled, & children. In a recent case of eviction in Eforie, Romania, Roma were offered temporary asylum in a filthy abandoned school house; in Serbia & Romania, they’ve been offered shipping containers as housing, as if they were nothing but dry goods & hardware. Mostly, they’re just bounced to the street.

Undocumented immigrants & Roma have long been used as political scapegoats, with racism the common denominator. Governments orchestrate injustice & blame it on those who own & control nothing. Under fascism, this led to the persecution & murder of one million Roma, six million Jews, & an unestimated number of people with disabilities, homosexuals, socialists, communists, liberals.

The persecution of Roma under the banner of urban development is a call to arms. The ass you save will be your own.

This is a photo of Roma in Eforie, Romania at the abandoned schoolhouse they occupied after the city recently bulldozed their settlement.

(Photo by Antonin Kratochvil/Wall Street Journal)

Shell Petroleum plunder in the Niger Delta

Earth Day in Nigeria 2014: Even the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico (from April to July 2010) pales in comparison to the destruction Shell Petroleum has wrought in the Niger Delta of Nigeria. And not just massive environmental destruction, but neoliberal plunder & political corruption so colossal it is nothing less than a dystopic hell. It requires a revolution. There is no other possible amelioration.

Nigeria is a major oil producer & 80% of government revenues come from oil exports. But after 58 years of oil exploration in Nigeria, the government neither meters nor monitors the volume of oil production by Shell & other oil companies, has no functioning regulatory agencies, & doesn’t have a clue what is produced & loaded on to oil tankers. After greasing the palms of corrupt government officials, the oil companies simply loot thousands of barrels a day. That would explain why Nigeria has to import most of its fuel, ostensibly due to lack of refining facilities. In one of the barbarities of neoliberal plunder, the IMF insisted in 2012, despite massive popular resistance, that the government reduce the fuel subsidy to Nigerians–70% of whom live on $2.00 a day.

Shell blames the massive environmental blight of farm lands & rivers in the area on illegal siphoning & sabotage of crude oil bunkers by Nigerian pirates, militant groups, & criminal groups. Surprisingly, they haven’t yet accused al-Qaeda. Shell officials claim that their flyovers have spotted unknown persons tapping pipelines & installing valves to waiting barges & trucks. An always compliant media denounces these unidentified pirates for killing their own economy, sabotaging their government, threatening the very foundations of Nigeria’s petroleum industry. Beware such screeching & howling in the media.

Shell has a long history of collaboration with the Nigerian government in employing deadly force & repression against opposition to their presence in the Niger Delta. In a US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks, Nigerian politicians & military officials are exposed as the culprits in the of majority of oil thefts. They commandeer & control access to barges & tankers to help oil companies loot. The diplomatic cable reads: “The military wants to remain in the Niger Delta because they profit enormously from money charged for escorting illegally bunkered crude & from money extorted in the name of providing security on the roads.”

Many belief socialism is utopian & only works on paper, but capitalism doesn’t even work on paper. And in real life, it’s becoming a living hell. The immense natural resources of Nigeria which could provide a decent life for all are instead ruthlessly plundered, leaving the population impoverished. Neoliberalism is the barbaric phase of capitalism & exploitation & plunder is the name of its game.

This photo is by noted Nigerian photographer, George Osodi, who comes from the Niger Delta region & has long documented the unspeakable environmental destruction.