This week The Moral Economy’s Eddy, Chell, Franz, Nawaz and Andrew got around to recording the first podcast of the their third season! You might have noticed that we’ve changed our name from The Moral Economy Podcast to Propaganda, a podcast by the Moral Economy. This is in part do to the fact that we see ourselves as directly working through propaganda. In other words, we’re bringing up current, worldly events presented to us by major media companies and attempt to provide a critical perspective to them. We come with the assumption that all the information we (human beings) receive is in one way or another biased. The second reason we chose Propaganda is because the word “propaganda”, like so many other words, have been transformed through time and power to mean something completely different. We want to take it back to mean: information. Lastly, we chose Propaganda, because it probably made you stop and look. ‘What? These guys are openly admitting that they’re spewing propaganda?’ That’s right, we are, and we like it!
Part 1 (download):
Part 2 (download):
Global Political Situation (GPS)
From Syria to Haiti, Our Leaders Are The Problem, Not The Solution
- US-Russian relations context Syria have been in the news a lot. First, US suspends Syrian cease fire talks with Russia. According to Reuters “The United States broke off talks with Russia on Monday on implementing a ceasefire agreement in Syria and accused Moscow of not living up to its commitments under the Sept. 9 deal to halt fighting and ensure aid reached besieged communities.”
- Second, Russia vetos UN Syrian cease fire resolution because of calls for a halt to Russian bombing (Russia proposes alternative resolution minus halt to bombing, it doesn’t pass). According to The Guardian, “A Russian counter-resolution, which omitted mention of aerial bombardment, was voted down with nine votes against and four in favour.”
- Third, France calls for war crimes investigation against Russia for Aleppo bombing: According to The Independent, “The French foreign minister has said he will ask the International Court of Justice to investigate possible war crimes in Syria.”
Question: Why the pressure by Europe and the US on Russia, when EU and the US already have committed plenty of war crimes, most notably the recent American Saudi supported bombing on the Yemenese funeral home?
This leads to another question. Why is the west so involved in Syria? It’s always been both an ally to the West and Russia. It’s allowed the West to hold their torture prisons, supportive of Israel and at the same time it’s been a close ally to Russia. What interest does the West have in Syria? Why have the vehemently supported known radical Islamists to overthrow the moderate, dictatorship of Assad? And don’t give me the human rights violations bullshit. 🙂
- Fourth, Putin cancels a planned trip to Paris after the Kremlin accused France of trying to humiliate the Russian leader. This came hours after the French president François Hollande said that Russia might face charges war crimes over its bombardment of Aleppo in the Syrian conflict. Putin told French TV, not entirely inaccurately, “I believe deeply that some of the responsibility for what is happening in the region in general and in Syria in particular lies especially with our western partners, above all the USA and its allies, including the main European countries.”
- And, finally, sources indicate that Russia has already established a no-fly zone in Syria (this is espically important given Hillary’s ongoing commitment to establish a US enforced no-fly zone, raising the question, does she want war with Russia?). Russia has also built up its forces in Syria since a ceasefire collapsed in late September.
- In the latest, according to the Guardian an unexpected round of multilateral talks on the future of Syria is to start on Saturday involving initially Russia, the US, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and possibly Qatar, the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has said.” The talks will be held in Lausanne, and will exclude the UK, France and other European states. It is unclear, even with the inclusion of these other European states, how talks between these states could end up with anything good.
- This comes amidst attempts by the Clinton Campaign and the media to smeare Wikileaks for having ties to Russia. Recently Wikileaks released yet more emails from the Clinton campaign. According to the Intercept they show, among other things, that Hilary has repeatedly praised Wal-Mart in her paid speeches, that she acknolowedges Saudi financing of terrorist organisations and acts, and that, behind closed doors, Clinton appears to sympathise with the investment giant Goldman Sachs, despite Goldman Sachs obstructing Democratic proposals for financial reform. The emails are from Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s gmail account and were leaked in the thousands Wikileaks over the past week. These emails reveal a strained relationship with the Saudi Arabian government and tensions over their role in the Syrian conflict. Furthermore, according to Democracy Now! the “leaked emails show how Hillary Clinton’s campaign struggled to deal with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’s popularity during the primary season.”
- The NY-Times then jumps in with the following, “In the final weeks of a dizzying presidential campaign, Donald J. Trump is suddenly embracing an unlikely ally: The document-spilling groupWikiLeaks, which Republicans denounced when it published classified State Department cables and Pentagon secrets about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” How best to discredit something than to associate it with Donald Trump?
- We’re not going to talk about Trump, because everyone talks about him all the time, and it should have been clear many years ago that he is an abhorrent human being.
- In Haiti, the death toll from Hurricane Matthew has topped 1,000. The storm hit a week ago, but many areas have still received no aid. Food and medicine have run out. Authorities are now digging mass graves for those killed by the Category 4 storm. The country is also battling a growing cholera outbreak. United Nations officials say nearly 1 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, with up to 80 percent of Haiti’s food crops destroyed in some areas. Aid agencies estimate that at least 60,000 people are staying in temporary shelters. Over 2.1 million people have been affected by the storm, with 1.4 million being in need of help according to the United Nations.
- South African students have been protesting uni fees across the country for the past few months. According to The Guardian “Student protesters at South Africa’s prestigious Wits University forced their way into lecture halls and caused many lessons to be abandoned on Monday, ratcheting up pressure in a dispute over tuition fees. Violent clashes with police have erupted regularly on campuses across the country in recent months, and several universities have been closed to avoid further unrest.” Newspeak aside, the South African governerment says it will try to lower student fees, but protestors are calling for free education. Just last week the police used rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades to disperse protesters at the Wits University campus. At the University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College campus in Durban there are ongoing battles between protesters and police, and there are similar clashes at UWC in Cape Town, NMMU in Port Elizabeth, DUT in Durban, UFS in Bloemfontein, the University of Johannesburg and Stellenbosch University in the Western Cape.
“Essentially what they are saying is if there is no free education, there should be no education at all,” Wits University rector Adam Habib said last week. University authorities claim that many students want to return to class and that the protests don’t represent the majority of undergraduates. According to Thalo Mokoena, of the Student Representative Council: “We wanted to get the university to join us. But if we stop now it means we go back to classes having won nothing.” Students have also been protesting in Pretoria, Capte Town and Durban.
- Not entirely unrelated to student protests, there has been an ongoing US prision strike against prison slavery. According to the
IWW Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee “Prisoners from across the United States have just released this call to action for a nationally coordinated prisoner workstoppage against prison slavery to take place on September 9th, 2016. In one voice, rising from the cells of long term solitary confinement, echoed in the dormitories and cell blocks from Virginia to Oregon, we prisoners across the United States vow to finally end slavery in 2016.”
- The month-long prison strike is the largest prison strike in US history. The strike aims at ending the racist continuation of slavery in the form of prison labour ever since the 13th ammendment made slavery illegal except under incarceration. According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics in 2013 “non-Hispanic blacks (37%) comprised the largest portion of male inmates under state or federal jurisdiction in 2013, compared to non-Hispanic whites (32%) and Hispanics (22%). White females comprised 49% of the prison population compared to 22% black females.” In that year the incarceration rate of the United States was the highest in all the world. While the US has about 4.4 percent of the world’s population, it holds about 22 percent of the world’s prisoners.
- In addition to being held as slaves, prisoners are forced to buy their own things, such as shoes, extra blankets and toilet paper. Some prisons even change for electricity and room and board. Prisoners often owe the state thousands of dollars in debt — which can be a reason to be sent back to prison. In Colorado, there’s a ballot initiative to remove the exception to the slavery prohibition from the state constituition.
- It should be remebered that many slaves are in prison due to drug possession. Now, according to CommonDreams.Org, “two prominent human and civil rights organizations are calling on the U.S. government to decriminalize all drug use and possession”. This is to be found in a new report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) that finds that the so-called war on drugs has caused “devastating harm.” They found that there were 574,640 arrests for the possession of marijuana possession in the US in 2015, which is more arrests than for all violent crimes combined. As a part of ending prison slavery we have to work to end the war on drugs, which has always been a war on poor black and brown communities in order to feed slavery in its new form.
- Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte orders US forces out of country, cutting 65 years of military ties
- “The president of the Philippineshas promised to dismantle the nation’s 65-year military alliance with the United States, warning Washington not to treat the nation’like a doormat’. Rodrigo Duterte has ordered 28 annual military exercises with US forces to be halted and an ongoing US-Philippines amphibious beach landing exercise to be the last in his six-year presidency.” This comes at the heels of increased US criticism of the Philipine leader for his high-ended measures as a part of anti-drug campaign that has seen 3600 people die in a short of span of three months. Western countires, particularly the US, have critisiced the doings of the populist Duterte as being in violation of universal human rights standards.
- Also, the 8th BRICS Summit kicked off in Goa today
- “Top items on the agenda include the New Development Bank and and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement that the BRICS countries, most notably China are pushing for to question Western-dominated world economic infrastructure.
We want to point out to our listeners that, while conflict spreads throughout the world, and people question whether we are approaching a third world war, another danger is looming. Global warming is a threat to us all, and while our leaders are hung up, bickering with one another, and we stand by watching in awe and disgust, we forget how all of these conflicts all over the place — from bombings in Syria and Yemen to scandals in the United States — are connected. Global warming will, without a doubt, exacerbate all of these conflicts, as it will exacerbate current and future political-economic crises. But global warming is only an outward manifestation on a global scale of what takes place in countless communities across the world, especially the West: that is the use of fossil fuels and the wanton exploitation of our planet. And on the local, grassroots level many people agree that we should all pitch in. But that can’t be done unless we all act together, and as we see all over the world, our usual means of acting together and coordinating with each other — the government — is currently going haywire. But the government has always been going haywire; that’s what elections are: institutionalized chaos. Politicians, backed by global capital, fling muck at each other back and forth. But they never point out that the sources of our problems lie in the system itself. Meanwhile people on the ground — workers, students, everyday folk — have to fix the problems that politicians and the global capitalist system create.
In South African students have been protesting uni fees across the country for the past few months. In the US there has been an ongoing prision strike against prison slavery. This last Tuesday climate activists were arrested for attempting to shut down tar sands oil from coming into the United States. In Syria democratic forces are fighting for liberation and protecting refugees all while being shelled and bombed. All of these things, from war refugees to climate refugees, from students to slaves, are the result of the system we are in. And the question that I give now to all of us is, how do we get our heads above the fog of war and the fog of media lies to do something about it?
Current Issue Analysis (CIA)*
“To live! Like a tree alone and free
Like a forest in brotherhood”
Nâzım Hikmet Ran (1902-1963)
Credit to Youtube User ankhst
From Unwomanizers holiday show at 50 Mason St in San Francisco, CA on 3 Dec 2011
*we changed the title from Current Issue to Current Issue Analysis at the last minute