[Marxism] Local Politics and Global Capitalism

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Oct 25 08:46:10 MDT 2005

>This NYT story is really beautifully done.  It illustrates the tangled web 
>of economic and political power winding from the President of France to an 
>activist priest working with peasant communities through the satanic hands 
>of  corruption at the highest levels of government.  Really something!
>Paul Dillon

The Times is a fascinating document. Nearly every edition contains some 
evidence that the capitalist system is riven with fatal contradictions, but 
the overall message of the paper is defense of that system.

In Sunday's magazine section, there were 2 articles that are typical of 
this. One was a profile on a brutal officer named Sassaman whose men 
drowned two Iraqis in the Tigris river just because they violated curfew. 
It seems that their truck had broken down. Here's an excerpt:

 >>As a measure intended to persuade the Iraqis to cooperate, wrapping Abu 
Hishma in barbed wire was a disaster. As they lined up at the checkpoints, 
the Iraqis compared themselves with Palestinians, who are sometimes forced 
to undergo the same sort of security checks and whose humiliations are 
shown relentlessly on television screens across the Arab world. "It's just 
like a prison now," said Hajji Thamir Rabia, an old man in the village. 
"The Americans do night raids, come into our houses when the women are 
sleeping. We can't fight them. We don't have any weapons." After Abu Hishma 
was wrapped in barbed wire, the attacks against the Americans dropped off, 
but it was a victory bought at no small price. Much of the village felt 
humiliated and angry, hardly the conditions for future success. Sassaman's 
reputation was sealed, as I discovered when I slipped past the guards and 
into the town. "When mothers put their children to bed at night, they tell 
them, 'If you aren't a good boy, Colonel Sassaman is going to come and get 
you,"' an old man in the village said.<<

full: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/23/magazine/23sassaman.html

The other article deals with the decline of Chilean Sea Bass or toothfish, 
a species that is at the top of the food chain along with Tuna and Cod that 
are also dwindling because of industrial fishing. An excerpt:

 >>As for the toothfish, Dr. Pauly sees a fate for it similar to nearly 
every large marine predator that has come up against mankind. The toothfish 
"will have spent a few years in the sun of the Marine Stewardship Council, 
and then it will go back to obscurity as a collapsed stock, and then we'll 
find something else." The only chance Pauly sees for the survival of fish 
stocks is to go beyond the framework of "sustainable management" and adopt 
a kind of crop-rotation system, where portions of the ocean would be 
allowed to lie fallow for long periods of time without any fishing at all.

If things continue as they are, Pauly foresees a future in which humans 
will gradually eat their way down the food chain or "trophic levels" of the 
ocean, taking out the higher predators like toothfish, white sea bass, 
halibut, cod and striped bass first, then moving on to smaller midlevel 
predators and eventually down to invertebrates like jellyfish and plankton. 
By some arguments this is already happening on the collapsed grounds of the 
Grand Banks. Whereas the Banks once supported the largest cod fishery in 
the world, it is now producing record numbers of snow crabs and other 
bottom-scavenging invertebrates.<<

full: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/23/magazine/23bass.html

I am not sure who is more wicked. The idiots around the American Enterprise 
Institute, Fox TV, the Wall Street Editorial page who never for a minute 
consider that the US occupying forces are largely responsible for the 
growth of an insurgency. Or who deny that overfishing is a problem, etc. Or 
is it the liberal owners of the NY Times who understand that these problems 
exist, but continue to back a system that generates such problems just as a 
spring rain generates mushrooms.



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