[Marxism] 7 highlights from 7 Oaks

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Dec 31 15:15:11 MST 2006

December 31, 2006

The Year in Review: 7 Highlights from 2006

- By the Editors of SevenOaksMag.com

Here, in completely arbitrary order, are 7 of our 
favourite silver linings to the past year in world politics.

7) May Day returns for real. In Bolivia, the 
government of Evo Morales marked the 
international workers day by nationalizing the 
country’s natural gas resources. In the United 
States, millions of Latino immigrants hit the 
streets across the country in a show of strength 
by the “new civil rights movement.”

6) Augusto Pinochet and Milton Friedman croak 
within weeks of each other. Twin heads of the 
neo-liberal monster, they left this world at the 
ages of 91 and 94 respectively, proving 
conclusively that only the good die young. 
Friedman and his “Chicago School” of corporate 
fundamentalism wreaked havoc on the lives of 
millions over the last decades of the twentieth 
century. Pinochet’s dictatorship in Chile 
provided a testing ground for Friedman’s economic 
prescriptions, implemented over the blood and 
bones of the thousands tortured or killed 
following the Setpember 11, 1973 coup against the 
democratically-elected government of Salvador 
Allende. The “pink tide” sweeping Latin America, 
and especially the strident anti-imperialism of 
the Cuban-Venezuelan-Bolivian “axis of good,” 
should keep Pinochet and Friedman spinning in their graves.

5) Six Nations resist at Caledonia. Once again, 
one of the most inspiring acts of resistance 
within the Canadian state this year came from 
indigenous people fighting for their land and 
their rights. Evoking memories of past 
confrontations at Gustafen Lake and Oka – and of 
the police repression that took the life of 
Dudley George at Ipperwash in 1995 – the Six 
Nations set an example with a courageous struggle 
that brought solidarity from far and wide.

4) Donald Rumsfeld quits, at long last. 
Vice-President Dick Cheney provided the perfect 
epitaph to the career of his long-time partner in 
war crimes, outgoing Secretary of State Donald 
Rumsfeld. At Rummy’s departure ceremony, Cheney 
absurdly and straight-facedly declared that 
Rumsfeld was “the finest Defense Secretary this 
nation has ever had.” Such rhetoric 
notwithstanding, the ditching of Rumsfeld was a 
result of the utter failure of the U.S. in its occupation of Iraq.

3) Stephen Colbert roasts George Bush. In a 
once-in-a-lifetime twenty minute gig at the White 
House Press Correspondents dinner, Stephen 
Colbert became one of the world’s most famous 
comedians and a history-making satirist. 
Propelled by the new medium of YouTube and Google 
Video, Colbert’s skewering of Bush became the roast heard ‘round the world.

2) Michael Ignatieff goes down to ignominious 
defeat. With arrogance that would have made his 
czarist forbearers blush, Ignatieff returned to 
Canada following a twenty-five year absence, 
convinced that he would be the country’s next 
Prime Minister and that we should all be grateful 
for it. In the end, however, Ignatieff could not 
outrun his infamous support for the Iraq war and 
his various other apologetics for the U.S. 
empire. Too pompous even to lead the Liberals, 
Ignatieff, despite leading after the first 
ballot, was bypassed by delegates for the 
long-shot Stephane Dion. After watching Ignatieff 
squirm for the camera, forced to pretend for half 
an hour (of extreme close-up time) that he didn't 
know he'd lost, we wonder if now he feels a 
little more empathy for the victims of torture.

1) Malalai Joya speaks truth to power. At the 
absolute other end of the spectrum of politicians 
from the venal Ignatieff and Stephen Harper, 
Malalai Joya stands as an absolute inspiration. 
The 28 year-old elected member of Afghanistan’s 
parliament traveled to Canada this year, speaking 
at the NDP convention in Quebec and urging 
delegates to condemn Canada’s role in her country 
in propping up a pack of warlords in power. For 
her outspokenness, Joya has been threatened with 
rape and death in the Afghan parliament itself, 
and has survived several assassination attempts. 
Her courage is an inspiration to anti-war efforts 
here in Canada, not to mention to women and all 
those fighting for liberation the world over.

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