Five Chinese feminists conditionally released from detention

Five Chinese feminists - Apr 9 2015

China has conditionally released five feminists arrested just prior to International Women’s Day for organizing a protest against sexual harassment on public transportation. They were activists in campaigns against sexual harassment, domestic violence, LGBT rights, disability rights, & employment discrimination & were hauled in without charge on suspicion of “picking quarrels & provoking trouble.”

Conditional release means they can still be charged with something or even disappeared because there is a general crackdown on Chinese democracy & human rights activists. Dissent has been growing a long time in China & is widespread, including around the environment & labor issues. New battalions enter humanity’s historic struggle against neoliberal capitalism, the barbaric phase of capitalism.

The child trash collectors of Kabul

Afghanistan child garbage picker (Wakil Kohsar:AFP:Getty Images) Apr 13 2015

The media caption to this photo read: “A young rubbish collector works at a dump site” in Kabul, Afghanistan. In fact, he’s a kid, a young boy & he’s not a scavenger looking for recyclables but a rubbish collector for the city.

What the caption editor should have said is: “This is emancipation US-style. Child labor has increased under the US-NATO occupation of Afghanistan & now tens of thousands of kids as young as six work under dangerous conditions in coal mines, brick factories, construction, carpet weaving, begging, & in toxic dump sites.”

But the plot sickens from there. After 30 years of constant war & occupation, Afghanistan’s infrastructure was in ruins & one of the most pressing problems was solid waste management. From the US-NATO occupation in 2001 to 2004, Kabul, the largest city in Afghanistan, had grown from one million to four million people. The UN reported the growth as returning refugees & “new urban dwellers.” “New urban dwellers” must be a coy way of saying those thousands of rural Afghans fleeing US-NATO bombing in the countryside as well as the armies of NGO & military personnel swarming like predatory locusts into the country.

UN-Habitat, the agency dealing with urban development, boasted they handed a grant of over $840,000 from the World Bank to the municipality of Kabul to develop a waste management program. They claimed the program cleared mountains of accumulated waste from dump sites around the city. USAID also reported funding a waste management program for the municipality including logistical assistance–first in 2004 to 2007 & again in 2010 to 2013. Now this is quite disturbing because it suggests (actually it confirms what we already knew) that the US as well as the UN & World Bank are aware children are employed in a dangerous occupation where they are susceptible to disease, not to mention vermin.

The more we know about the war in Afghanistan, the more we understand it must be actively opposed.

US out of Afghanistan! US out of Iraq!

(Photo by Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images)

We need a political critique of Hillary Clinton; enough with the gossip!

According to the NY Times, Clinton has announced her candidacy for president. I am constantly surprised at the banality, often laden with a sneering subtle misogyny, that passes for political criticism of Clinton. A few radicals have made a cottage industry of Clinton-criticism which never really rises above the level of gossip & insinuation. In place of hard-hitting expose, we get nitpicking politics.

Since I’ll be running against her, I will be writing a critique that won’t include sneering. Her role as shill-in-chief for US militarism is damning enough but what needs to be exposed is how she used that post for undermining human rights especially when it served personal enrichment. What she & that shabby-assed husband of hers did in Haiti deserves an entire book of condemnations. And what she continues to do to co-opt & turn women’s rights into an elite pastime deserves another book.

It isn’t good enough that she’s a woman. But then I’m still not convinced she stands a snow ball’s chance in hell because the smell of corruption & venality is written all over her resume.