Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Fwd: SEP Newsletter: Ukraine and the pro-imperialist intellectuals

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Date: Feb 9, 2014 12:00 PM
Subject: SEP Newsletter: Ukraine and the pro-imperialist intellectuals
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World Socialist Web Site

Socialist Equality Party Newsletter

Below is a selection of articles appearing on the World Socialist Web Site last week. Six days a week, the WSWS publishes on all the major political, social and cultural developments. To sign up for the daily newsletter, click here.


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Ukraine and the pro-imperialist intellectuals

Alex Lantier
5 February 2014

The "Open letter on the future of Ukraine" issued by a group of Western academics and foreign policy operatives is a vile defense of the ongoing far-right protests in Ukraine supported by Washington and the European Union (EU). It peddles the old lie, repeated over nearly a quarter century of imperialist wars and interventions in Eastern Europe since the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, that US and EU policy is driven only by a disinterested love of democracy and human rights.
It states, "The future of Ukrainians depends most of all on Ukrainians themselves. They defended democracy and their future 10 years ago, during the Orange Revolution, and they are standing up for those values today. As Europeans grow disenchanted with the idea of a common Europe, people in Ukraine are fighting for that idea and for their country's place in Europe. Defending Ukraine from the authoritarian temptations of its corrupt leaders is in the interests of the democratic world."
The identity of the imperialist powers' local proxies demolishes the open letter's pretense that the imperialist powers are fighting for democracy. They are relying on a core of a few thousand fascistic thugs from the Right Sector organization and the Svoboda Party to topple the Ukrainian regime in a series of street protests, replace it with a pro-EU government hostile to Moscow, and impose savage austerity measures. Washington and the EU are not fighting for democracy, but organizing a social counterrevolution. (Read more)
Further coverage on Ukraine can be found here.

Social inequality and the war against the working class

Andre Damon
7 February 2014

Today, President Obama will sign a bill to cut $8.7 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, slashing almost $100 per month in benefits for nearly a million households.
The attack on food stamps comes as Obama and the Democrats posture in the run-up to this year's mid-term elections as opponents of social inequality and defenders of the poor and jobless. Nowhere in the establishment media is the glaring contradiction between what the Democrats say and what they do even discussed.
Obama's action on food stamps is indicative of the state of politics and the reality of social life in America. It is the second cut in three months to a program that provides minimal assistance for the most vulnerable sections of society. The lie that there is simply no money for basic social programs is repeated even as new reports document the unprecedented rise in the wealth of the financial elite. (Read more)
Further coverage on social inequality can be found here.

The return of German militarism

Ulrich Rippert
6 February 2014

The announcement by the new grand coalition government in Germany that the country's previous policy of military restraint is at an end marks a historic turning point. It heralds a new stage of aggressive imperialist foreign policy.
For the first time since the end of World War II and the monstrous crimes of the Nazi dictatorship, Berlin's leading politicians have clearly stated that Germany will in the future intervene in crisis areas and global hot spots more strongly and independently than before, including by military means. The days when Germany was obliged to practice military abstinence are finally over, they insist.
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Social Democratic Party--SPD) first announced the new policy last week in the Bundestag (parliament). He said Germany was "too big and too important" to confine itself any longer "to commenting on world politics from the sidelines." (Read more)
Further coverage on militarism in Germany can be found here.

The revival of Japanese militarism

Peter Symonds
8 February 2014

Nearly seven decades after the end of World II, the right-wing government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is rapidly remilitarising Japan, freeing its armed forces from any legal or constitutional constraints and revising history to whitewash the past crimes and atrocities of Japanese imperialism.
Abe has been engaged in an ideological offensive that was marked by his visit December 26 to the notorious Yasukuni Shrine to Japan's war dead, including 14 convicted class A war criminals. The same month, he appointed four right-wing figures to the board of governors of Japan's public broadcaster NHK in order to shift its political orientation.
The purpose of the appointments has quickly become apparent. In late January, the new NHK chairman, Katsuto Momii, triggered a public furore by justifying the systematic abuse of hundreds of thousands of women as sex slaves by the Imperial Army in the 1930s and 1940s. Momii apologised for expressing his private view in his role as chairman, but did not retract the remarks.
This week, another Abe appointee, Naoki Hyakuta, declared that the Rape of Nanking, one of the worst atrocities of the twentieth century, "never happened." (Read more)
Further coverage on Japan can be found here.


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