Postmodern News Archives 1

Let's Save Pessimism for Better Times.

The Conservatives and Canadian Capital
a New Alliance?

By Murray Cooke
From New Socialist Magazine

The Liberal government led by Jean Chrétien was the most conservative federal government of the postwar period in terms of its economic and fiscal policy. However, the Conservative government led by Stephen Harper represents an even greater threat to the working class and oppressed groups.

While limited by its position as a minority government, the Conservative Party is led by hardcore economic and social conservatives. Harper will be carefully attempting to forge a Conservative coalition that can produce a majority government which will be much more aggressive in pursuing its agenda.

One must be cautious in describing the 2006 election as a shift to the right. It would be more accurate to say the Liberals lost the election than to say the Conservatives won. Paul Martin’s Liberals were reduced to minority status in 2004 and then shunted to the opposition benches in 2006. The sponsorship scandal and the revelations from the Gomery Commission led to the Liberals’ defeat. By the 2006 election, the Liberals had alienated not only many voters but also many of their traditional allies in the capitalist class.

In February 2005, when the British magazine The Economist dubbed Paul Martin “Mr. Dithers,” it gave voice to a common perception among Canadian business leaders. As Finance Minister, Martin had been heralded by the business elite, but his tenure as Prime Minister was being viewed with increasing disappointment from the same circles.

Ironically, Martin’s downfall was largely due to the area in which he had built his reputation: fiscal prudence. The financial scandals of the sponsorship program started while he was Finance Minister. Ultimately, Martin’s minority government would be seen from the business perspective as reckless with spending and insufficiently aggressive with tax cuts. Before and during the 2005-06 election campaign, the Liberals were accused of being on a spending spree.

After being reduced to a minority government in 2004, Martin reached a $41 billion, ten-year deal with the provinces for healthcare. In December 2004, Jack Mintz, the head of the right -wing C.D. Howe Institute, complained in Canadian Business magazine about a Liberal “spending orgy.” Mintz suggested that we were seeing “the return of government to the 1980s: lots of misdirected social spending, accompanied by subsidies geared to save politically favoured industries from international competition.” He was especially critical of federal activity in areas of provincial jurisdiction such as cities and childcare.

Then in early 2005, Martin signed a deal with Newfoundland over the relationship between equalization payments and the province’s offshore oil and gas revenues. This deal led to a similar deal with Nova Scotia and demands from Saskatchewan. The Conference Board of Canada, among others, complained that Martin appeared to be agreeing to expensive ad hoc arrangements with little concern for the overall coherence of the equalization payments system.

Business concerns about the minority government were magnified by the Liberal-NDP partnership over the 2005 budget. The NDP amendment included a $4.6 billion spending increase and cancelled corporate tax cuts. Nancy Hughes-Anthony, the president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce complained that “it puts Mr. Martin’s credibility in doubt and Mr. Goodale’s credibility in doubt…Canada’s reputation as a place to do business will be tarnished by this decision.” Tom d’Aquino, the president of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE), described the rollback of tax cuts to be “bad policy that does not serve the interests of Canadians.”

The CCCE is the peak organization of Canadian business, comprised of the chief executive officers of 150 of the largest corporations in the country. In June 2005, the Executive Committee of the CCCE issued a highly critical statement on the direction of the federal government. Overall, it declared that “as a political entity, Canada is a nation adrift. A minority federal government is frittering away the fruits of years of sacrifice…In the political arena, the very idea of strategic policy-making is drowning in the swirling search for momentary tactical advantage.”

Specifically, they warned that “The country’s fiscal base remains strong, but is threatened by runaway spending growth.” On foreign affairs, the CCCE warned that: “The most direct threat to Canada’s interests lies in terrorism’s potential to undermine the efficient flow of goods and people across our border with our largest trading partner, the United States. But the more fundamental threat is to the open global economy on which our prosperity is based and to the values that lie at the heart of our society.” Therefore, the CCCE applauded the expansion of military spending in the budget. According to a separate press release, “The CCCE has argued for many years that an effective military is essential to protect Canada’s sovereignty, do our share in defending North America and make a meaningful contribution to global peace and security.” The CCCE has also been very critical of the Kyoto Accord: “We remain deeply concerned…with the government’s public commitment to the costly and unattainable target set by the Kyoto Protocol.”

Business leaders blamed the Liberals for souring Canada’s relationship with the United States. In 2005, Tom d’Aquino of the CCCE went on a speaking tour of the US calling for a North American customs union, energy pact and security perimeter. On missile defence, he told American audiences that “like many Canadians, I am greatly disappointed by the decision of my government to reject a course of action so manifestly in our national interest and so consistent with our long-standing commitment to the defence of North America. It is my hope that this decision will be reversed by a future Parliament…that will recognize the logic and wisdom of full Canadian participation and that will vigorously make the case for involvement to the electorate.” In December 2005 in another issue of Canadian Business, Jack Mintz worried that if trends continue, “Our relations with the U.S. shall be strained: a protectionist Congress will be in a surly mood to negotiate trade issues with a marijuana-exporting, missiledefence-opposing country that criticizes US policy.”

At a public forum shortly after the 2006 election and in a subsequent article for the Globe and Mail, Canada’s former ambassador to the United States Allan Gotlieb suggested that the Martin government offered lessons on how not to manage Canada-US relations. From this vantage point, even the minutely independent stance taken by the Liberal government on foreign policy is too much. Gotlieb suggested that, “Surely it’s time to tone down our rhetoric and handle our differences with greater regard for US sensitivities.”

On fiscal policy, foreign policy and the Kyoto Accord, the Liberals were offside with the leadership of the Canadian capitalist class.

Historically, Canadian capitalists have hedged their bets by financially backing the two main political parties, the Liberals and Conservatives. The collapse of Mulroney’s coalition of western conservatives, Bay Street and Quebec nationalists created a dilemma for business. They succeeded in ensuring that the Chrétien Liberals followed the neoliberal path, but the collapse of the Progressive Conservatives (PCs) and the emergence of the Reform Party split the right-wing opposition. Business embraced and bankrolled the Liberal government but was unsure about the opposition parties.

The Reform Party was spawned by western disappointment with the Mulroney government. Formed as a regional protest party, Reform received support from members of the Alberta oil patch. The formation of the Reform Party was also supported and promoted by Ted Byfield, the owner/publisher of the hard-right, Christian fundamentalist Alberta Report and BC Report magazines. Stephen Harper was among the former Progressive Conservatives who supported the formation of a new more solidly right-wing option. At the founding convention of the Reform Party in 1987, Harper complained that “the Mulroney government has shown itself far too willing to back down on the issues that matter to its political base.”

The Reform Party achieved its electoral breakthrough in the 1993 election. The party’s main electoral pledge was to eliminate the deficit in three years, which garnered approval from the Globe and Mail and other media. Still, Reform did not have the widespread support of Canadian business. In 1993, Reform received a little over $100,000 from corporations compared to $13.2 million for the PCs and $8.3 million for the Liberals. Even after 1993, the Canadian business elite didn’t know what to make of the Reform Party.

Reform’s financial support from business was limited because it didn’t appear as a legitimate contender for power and it was confined to the west. Headquartered primarily in the Toronto-Montreal corridor, corporate Canada was nervous about Reform’s populism and its anti-French, anti-Quebec stance. Corporate Canada always saw Reform as too unpredictable and divisive. During the election year of 1997, corporations gave just over $3 million to Reform and its candidates, while the PCs received close to $9 million and the Liberals scored over $16 million. Large corporations were now funding three political parties. For example, the chartered banks were making roughly equal contributions to the Liberals and PCs while donating smaller, but sizable amounts to Reform.

It wasn’t until 2000 and the transformation of Reform into the Canadian Alliance (CA) that the party was able to tap into large sources of corporate funds. Buoyed by a leadership race that included Tom Long, an Ontario candidate and one of the architect’s of the Mike Harris regime, the CA and its candidates received over $9 million from corporations in the election year of 2000, compared to only $3.8 million for the PCs (the Liberals cruised along with over $17 million). However, Stockwell Day and the CA failed to “unite the right,” break into Ontario or seriously challenge the Liberals. These failures and the dysfunctional ature of Day’s leadership led to increased pressure from business upon the CA and PCs to get their act together.

Stephen Harper defeated Day for the leadership of the CA in 2002. Though extremely critical of Joe Clark and other “red Tories,” Harper had spent years calling for a coalition of conservative forces from across the country. By 2003, with Manning and Day out of the way, the door was opened to a merger on the Right once Peter McKay replaced Joe Clark. The merger was pushed externally by the capitalist class, and internally by fears of being crushed by Paul Martin.

On his way out the door, Prime Minister Chrétien dropped two bombs on his successor: the sponsorship scandal and a new election finance law that severely limits the ability of corporations and unions to finance political parties. Individuals can donate up to $5,000 per party, while unions and corporations are limited to $1,000 per candidate. Over the previous ten years, the Liberals had raised huge sums of money from the corporate sector while struggling to generate small donations from individuals. Therefore, it’s not surprising that Liberal Party president Stephen LeDrew described the new law as “dumb as a bag of hammers.”

The new Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) was officially created in December 2003. During the last three and a half weeks of the year (the last year under the old rules), the party received $3.3 million from corporations including $380,000 from Magna International. During the 2004 CPC leadership campaign, Harper raised $2.7 million, a large sum of money that included many corporate donations, but it is paltry compared to Martin’s $12 million war chest.

The Liberals have been slow to adapt to the new party finance regime. In 2005, the Conservatives were able to raise more than twice as much money (close to $18 million) as the Liberals (close to $8 million) and more than three times as much money as the NDP (slightly more than $5 million). While 70% of the contributions received by the Conservatives were under $200 only 59% of NDP and 24% of Liberal contributions fell into this category. The Liberals appear to be reliant on a relatively small base of wealthy individuals, while the Conservatives have a much larger number of contributors, many of them donating small amounts.

The Conservatives have grassroots support but Harper has also positioned the party to strengthen its ties to the corporate elite. Two days after the 2006 election victory, the Globe and Mail reported that, “a small group of Ontario-based business leaders have held meetings with Mr. Harper at Stornoway [the official residence of the Leader of the Opposition] over the past two years to build bridges to the new party.” An unnamed bank official was quoted as saying, “Every large business with registered lobbyists would have had people talking to Stephen Harper and his caucus for several years.”

Bay Street gave positive reviews to Harper’s cabinet choices, including the appointment of Jim Flaherty as Finance Minister. Perrin Beatty, a former cabinet minister under Mulroney, and now the president of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, told the National Post that “Mr. Flaherty is well-known to the business community in Toronto. I found him an excellent person to deal with because he’s open, businesslike and effective.” Garth Whyte of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business described Flaherty as a “thoughtful guy…He reads everything that’s put before him. We want a multi-year tax and debt-reduction plan – and I think we are going to get it.” Tom d’Aquino of the CCCE suggested that “We see it as a government that will govern from conviction. We see it as a government that will be bold, even though it is constrained by its minority status.” An unnamed Bay Street executive was quoted in the Globe as saying that “These are true blue Conservatives, not pink Tories.”

Yet, a few reservations emerged from business circles. For example, the Globe described Gary Lunn, the Natural Resources Minister, as typical of the Conservative cabinet in that “he has first-hand experience in small business, but little connection to Corporate Canada.” Aware of this limitation, Harper sought out ministers more directly connected with the corporate elite. The two surprise additions to the cabinet, former Liberal David Emerson and the unelected Michael Fortier, were presented as additions to represent major cities, Vancouver and Montreal respectively. They should perhaps be more accurately seen as representatives of corporate Canada. Along with stints as a high-level civil servant in the BC government, Emerson was previously the CEO of forestry giant Canfor Corp. He was also one of the few Liberals to have endorsed bank mergers, another bone of contention between sections of business and the Liberals. As the minister responsible for the Vancouver Olympics, Emerson will be working to ensure that public funds enrich corporate interests.

Fortier is an investment banker formerly with Crédit Suisse First Boston and then TD Securities. Previously he practiced law with Ogilvy Renault, the same firm as Brian Mulroney. He also has vast experience as a corporate fundraiser for the PCs and the new CPC. An unnamed investment banker was quoted in the Globe as pointing out that “For all of Flaherty’s experience, he’s not a Bay Street guy, while Fortier is a real player…[he] can give a sense of how the capital markets will react to their plans.” As a banker and lawyer, Fortier is seen as having the skills to handle privatizations and publicprivate partnerships.

The new government is following the agenda set by the CCCE. Conservative priorities include tax cuts, reigning in federal government spending, gutting Canada’s commitment to the Kyoto Accord and improving relations with the US. The Harper government’s first budget presented a wide range of tax cuts, including cuts to corporate taxes and capital taxes. The promise to address the fiscal imbalance with the provinces will involve significantly downsizing the federal government.

The Conservative Party’s ties to the oil patch are demonstrated by the new government’s approach to the Kyoto Accord. The new Environment Minister is Rona Ambrose, an Alberta MP who previously worked for the Klein government. One of the government’s first actions was eliminating the funding for 15 projects related to climate change. Canada’s commitment to Kyoto, which was tenuous at best under the Liberals, is now effectively dead.

The Conservatives have acted quickly to improve relations with the US. Michael Wilson, formerly Brian Mulroney’s Finance Minister, was appointed as ambassador to the US. In 2003 he criticized the Liberal government for not supporting the American war against Iraq. The Harper government quickly finalized a controversial deal with the Americans on softwood lumber. They also reached an agreement to renew NORAD and extend it to marine surveillance.

The election of 2006 was in many ways a repeat of 2004. The results were actually not very different. One of the clearest differences, however, was the media treatment of the respective parties and leaders. In 2006, Harper was portrayed in a more positive fashion and Martin in a less flattering manner compared to the previous election. Obviously the continuing revelations about the sponsorship scandal had something to do with this, but perhaps it also reflects a wider sense among the business elite and the corporate media that it was time for a change.

Stephen Harper has a BA and MA in Economics from the University of Calgary. Throughout his years in partisan politics and his tenure as president of the National Citizens Coalition, Harper’s main focus has been taxation, government finance and reducing state intervention in the market economy. Harper has consistently attacked federal intervention in provincial areas of jurisdiction, including health and social policy. In January 2001, Harper co-wrote the Alberta “firewall” letter, calling on Ralph Klein to create an Alberta Pension Plan, an Alberta personal income tax system, an Alberta Provincial Police force, and to ignore the Canada Health Act and hold a provincial referendum on Senate reform.

Although Harper is an evangelical Christian and a member of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, he has rarely appeared as an enthusiastic supporter of social conservatism. For years, he has advised his party not to take policy positions on so-called moral issues, but to leave this to the individual MP. On various social issues (including same-sex marriage, abortion, bilingualism, multiculturalism and immigration), he has warned of the dangers of extremism and their potential to damage the party image. The success of the Conservatives in keeping a tight lid on their candidates was a key aspect of their success in the 2006 election.

Still, Harper has been well aware of the importance of social conservatives to the party as voters but even more importantly as the activist and financial base. Harper has frequently courted the social conservative vote and insisted upon the compatibility of social and economic conservatism. In an April 2003 speech that was revised for publication in Report magazine, Harper made an unusually outspoken pitch for the importance of social conservatism. He pointed out that fiscal conservatives have been so successful that liberal and social democratic parties have enacted neoliberal policies. “The real challenge is therefore not economic, but the social agenda of the modern Left…while retaining a focus on economic issues, we must give greater place to social values and social conservatism.” Accusing the Left of “moral nihilism,” he suggested that, “On a wide range of public-policy questions, including foreign affairs and defence, criminal justice and corrections, family and child care, and healthcare and social services, social values are increasingly the really big issues.”

Furthermore, “the emerging debates on foreign affairs should be fought on moral grounds…Conservatives must take the moral stand, with our allies, in favour of the fundamental values of our society, including democracy, free enterprise and individual freedom.” Whether this was an attempt to shore up social conservative support for his leadership or a sincere indication of his views on the direction of the party, this speech indicates that it would be a mistake to underestimate the strength of social conservatism of the CPC under Harper’s leadership.

The 26 member Conservative cabinet includes at least nine ministers that are prominent social conservatives. The most notable and highly placed are Stockwell Day, the Minister for Public Safety, Vic Toews, the Justice Minister and Attorney General and Monte Solberg, the Immigration Minister. Unlike recent Immigration Ministers who have hailed from Canada’s largest cities, Solberg is the MP from Medicine Hat, a riding in which less than 9% of the population is comprised of immigrants. Obviously this reduces the incentive for the minister to be sensitive to the concerns of immigrants. Solberg is unlikely to feel any direct political heat for the recent crackdown and deportations.

None of the opposition parties are in a rush to bring down the government, which provides the Conservatives with a window of opportunity to try and broaden their support before the next election. The underlying preoccupations of the Liberal leadership race are likely to be patching up relations with business and searching for a leader who has the ability to attract funds both from business and individual Canadians.

The government of Stephen Harper will be actively pursuing the agenda of the capitalist class and trying to appease the social conservatives from the party base, while hoping that tax cuts and addressing the fiscal imbalance with the provinces can attract the voters that he needs, especially in Quebec, to take the next step to a majority government.

Beyond Vietnam(excerpt)

By Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Listen @ Democracy now!

We in the churches and synagogues have a continuing task while we urge our government to disengage itself from a disgraceful commitment. We must continue to raise our voices if our nation persists in its perverse ways in Vietnam. We must be prepared to match actions with words by seeking out every creative means of protest possible.

As we counsel young men concerning military service we must clarify for them our nation's role in Vietnam and challenge them with the alternative of conscientious objection. I am pleased to say that this is the path now being chosen by more than seventy students at my own alma mater, Morehouse College, and I recommend it to all who find the American course in Vietnam a dishonorable and unjust one. Moreover I would encourage all ministers of draft age to give up their ministerial exemptions and seek status as conscientious objectors. These are the times for real choices and not false ones. We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest.

There is something seductively tempting about stopping there and sending us all off on what in some circles has become a popular crusade against the war in Vietnam. I say we must enter the struggle, but I wish to go on now to say something even more disturbing. The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality we will find ourselves organizing clergy- and laymen-concerned committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy. Such thoughts take us beyond Vietnam, but not beyond our calling as sons of the living God.

In 1957 a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution. During the past ten years we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which now has justified the presence of U.S. military "advisers" in Venezuela. This need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the counter-revolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala. It tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Colombia and why American napalm and green beret forces have already been active against rebels in Peru. It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken -- the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investment.

I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. n the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life's roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: "This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: "This is not just." The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: "This way of settling differences is not just." This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing, except a tragic death wish, to prevent us from reordering our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.

This kind of positive revolution of values is our best defense against communism. War is not the answer. Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons. Let us not join those who shout war and through their misguided passions urge the United States to relinquish its participation in the United Nations. These are days which demand wise restraint and calm reasonableness. We must not call everyone a Communist or an appeaser who advocates the seating of Red China in the United Nations and who recognizes that hate and hysteria are not the final answers to the problem of these turbulent days. We must not engage in a negative anti-communism, but rather in a positive thrust for democracy, realizing that our greatest defense against communism is to take offensive action in behalf of justice. We must with positive action seek to remove those conditions of poverty, insecurity and injustice which are the fertile soil in which the seed of communism grows and develops.

The People Are Important
These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression and out of the wombs of a frail world new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. "The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light." We in the West must support these revolutions. It is a sad fact that, because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch anti-revolutionaries. This has driven many to feel that only Marxism has the revolutionary spirit. Therefore, communism is a judgement against our failure to make democracy real and follow through on the revolutions we initiated. Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. With this powerful commitment we shall boldly challenge the status quo and unjust mores and thereby speed the day when "every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight and the rough places plain."

A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.

This call for a world-wide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all men. This oft misunderstood and misinterpreted concept -- so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force -- has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Moslem-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John:

Let us love one another; for love is God and everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. If we love one another God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day. We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate. As Arnold Toynbee says : "Love is the ultimate force that makes for the saving choice of life and good against the damning choice of death and evil. Therefore the first hope in our inventory must be the hope that love is going to have the last word."

We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The "tide in the affairs of men" does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: "Too late." There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. "The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on..." We still have a choice today; nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation.

We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world -- a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.

Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter -- but beautiful -- struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message, of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.

Message to the Grassroots(excerpt)

By Malcolm X

I would like to make a few comments concerning the difference between the black revolution and the Negro revolution. There's a difference. Are they both the same? And if they're not, what is the difference? What is the difference between a black revolution and a Negro revolution? First, what is a revolution? Sometimes I'm inclined to believe that many of our people are using this word "revolution" loosely, without taking careful consideration [of] what this word actually means, and what its historic characteristics are. When you study the historic nature of revolutions, the motive of a revolution, the objective of a revolution, and the result of a revolution, and the methods used in a revolution, you may change words. You may devise another program. You may change your goal and you may change your mind.

Look at the American Revolution in 1776. That revolution was for what? For land. Why did they want land? Independence. How was it carried out? Bloodshed. Number one, it was based on land, the basis of independence. And the only way they could get it was bloodshed. The French Revolution -- what was it based on? The land-less against the landlord. What was it for? Land. How did they get it? Bloodshed. Was no love lost; was no compromise; was no negotiation. I'm telling you, you don't know what a revolution is. 'Cause when you find out what it is, you'll get back in the alley; you'll get out of the way. The Russian Revolution -- what was it based on? Land. The land-less against the landlord. How did they bring it about? Bloodshed. You haven't got a revolution that doesn't involve bloodshed. And you're afraid to bleed. I said, you're afraid to bleed.

[As] long as the white man sent you to Korea, you bled. He sent you to Germany, you bled. He sent you to the South Pacific to fight the Japanese, you bled. You bleed for white people. But when it comes time to seeing your own churches being bombed and little black girls be murdered, you haven't got no blood. You bleed when the white man says bleed; you bite when the white man says bite; and you bark when the white man says bark. I hate to say this about us, but it's true. How are you going to be nonviolent in Mississippi, as violent as you were in Korea? How can you justify being nonviolent in Mississippi and Alabama, when your churches are being bombed, and your little girls are being murdered, and at the same time you're going to violent with Hitler, and Tojo, and somebody else that you don't even know?

If violence is wrong in America, violence is wrong abroad. If it's wrong to be violent defending black women and black children and black babies and black men, then it's wrong for America to draft us and make us violent abroad in defense of her. And if it is right for America to draft us, and teach us how to be violent in defense of her, then it is right for you and me to do whatever is necessary to defend our own people right here in this country.

The Chinese Revolution -- they wanted land. They threw the British out, along with the Uncle Tom Chinese. Yeah, they did. They set a good example. When I was in prison, I read an article -- don't be shocked when I say I was in prison. You're still in prison. That's what America means: prison. When I was in prison, I read an article in Life magazine showing a little Chinese girl, nine years old; her father was on his hands and knees and she was pulling the trigger 'cause he was an Uncle Tom Chinaman, When they had the revolution over there, they took a whole generation of Uncle Toms -- just wiped them out. And within ten years that little girl become a full-grown woman. No more Toms in China. And today it's one of the toughest, roughest, most feared countries on this earth -- by the white man. 'Cause there are no Uncle Toms over there.

Of all our studies, history is best qualified to reward our research. And when you see that you've got problems, all you have to do is examine the historic method used all over the world by others who have problems similar to yours. And once you see how they got theirs straight, then you know how you can get yours straight. There's been a revolution, a black revolution, going on in Africa. In Kenya, the Mau Mau were revolutionaries; they were the ones who made the word "Uhuru" [Kenyan word for "freedom"]. They were the ones who brought it to the fore. The Mau Mau, they were revolutionaries. They believed in scorched earth. They knocked everything aside that got in their way, and their revolution also was based on land, a desire for land. In Algeria, the northern part of Africa, a revolution took place. The Algerians were revolutionists; they wanted land. France offered to let them be integrated into France. They told France: to hell with France. They wanted some land, not some France. And they engaged in a bloody battle.

So I cite these various revolutions, brothers and sisters, to show you -- you don't have a peaceful revolution. You don't have a turn-the-other-cheek revolution. There's no such thing as a nonviolent revolution. [The] only kind of revolution that's nonviolent is the Negro revolution. The only revolution based on loving your enemy is the Negro revolution. The only revolution in which the goal is a desegregated lunch counter, a desegregated theater, a desegregated park, and a desegregated public toilet; you can sit down next to white folks on the toilet. That's no revolution. Revolution is based on land. Land is the basis of all independence. Land is the basis of freedom, justice, and equality.

The white man knows what a revolution is. He knows that the black revolution is world-wide in scope and in nature. The black revolution is sweeping Asia, sweeping Africa, is rearing its head in Latin America. The Cuban Revolution -- that's a revolution. They overturned the system. Revolution is in Asia. Revolution is in Africa. And the white man is screaming because he sees revolution in Latin America. How do you think he'll react to you when you learn what a real revolution is? You don't know what a revolution is. If you did, you wouldn't use that word.

A revolution is bloody! Revolution is hostile! Revolution knows no compromise. Revolution overturns and destroys everything that gets in its way. And you, sitting around here like a knot on the wall, saying, "I'm going to love these folks no matter how much they hate me." No, you need a revolution. Whoever heard of a revolution where they lock arms, as Reverend Cleage was pointing out beautifully, singing "We Shall Overcome"? Just tell me. You don't do that in a revolution. You don't do any singing; you're too busy swinging. It's based on land. A revolutionary wants land so he can set up his own nation, an independent nation. These Negroes aren't asking for no nation. They're trying to crawl back on the plantation.

When you want a nation, that's called nationalism. When the white man became involved in a revolution in this country against England, what was it for? He wanted this land so he could set up another white nation. That's white nationalism. The American Revolution was white nationalism. The French Revolution was white nationalism. The Russian Revolution too -- yes, it was -- white nationalism. You don't think so? Why [do] you think Khrushchev and Mao can't get their heads together? White nationalism. All the revolutions that's going on in Asia and Africa today are based on what? Black nationalism. A revolutionary is a black nationalist. He wants a nation. I was reading some beautiful words by Reverend Cleage, pointing out why he couldn't get together with someone else here in the city because all of them were afraid of being identified with black nationalism. If you're afraid of black nationalism, you're afraid of revolution. And if you love revolution, you love black nationalism.

To understand this, you have to go back to what [the] young brother here referred to as the house Negro and the field Negro -- back during slavery. There was two kinds of slaves. There was the house Negro and the field Negro. The house Negroes - they lived in the house with master, they dressed pretty good, they ate good 'cause they ate his food -- what he left. They lived in the attic or the basement, but still they lived near the master; and they loved their master more than the master loved himself. They would give their life to save the master's house quicker than the master would. The house Negro, if the master said, "We got a good house here," the house Negro would say, "Yeah, we got a good house here." Whenever the master said "we," he said "we." That's how you can tell a house Negro.

If the master's house caught on fire, the house Negro would fight harder to put the blaze out than the master would. If the master got sick, the house Negro would say, "What's the matter, boss, we sick?" We sick! He identified himself with his master more than his master identified with himself. And if you came to the house Negro and said, "Let's run away, let's escape, let's separate," the house Negro would look at you and say, "Man, you crazy. What you mean, separate? Where is there a better house than this? Where can I wear better clothes than this? Where can I eat better food than this?" That was that house Negro. In those days he was called a "house nigger." And that's what we call him today, because we've still got some house niggers running around here.

This modern house Negro loves his master. He wants to live near him. He'll pay three times as much as the house is worth just to live near his master, and then brag about "I'm the only Negro out here." "I'm the only one on my job." "I'm the only one in this school." You're nothing but a house Negro. And if someone comes to you right now and says, "Let's separate," you say the same thing that the house Negro said on the plantation. "What you mean, separate? From America? This good white man? Where you going to get a better job than you get here?" I mean, this is what you say. "I ain't left nothing in Africa," that's what you say. Why, you left your mind in Africa.

On that same plantation, there was the field Negro. The field Negro -- those were the masses. There were always more Negroes in the field than there was Negroes in the house. The Negro in the field caught hell. He ate leftovers. In the house they ate high up on the hog. The Negro in the field didn't get nothing but what was left of the insides of the hog. They call 'em "chitt'lings" nowadays. In those days they called them what they were: guts. That's what you were -- a gut-eater. And some of you all still gut-eaters.

The field Negro was beaten from morning to night. He lived in a shack, in a hut; He wore old, castoff clothes. He hated his master. I say he hated his master. He was intelligent. That house Negro loved his master. But that field Negro -- remember, they were in the majority, and they hated the master. When the house caught on fire, he didn't try and put it out; that field Negro prayed for a wind, for a breeze. When the master got sick, the field Negro prayed that he'd die. If someone come to the field Negro and said, "Let's separate, let's run," he didn't say "Where we going?" He'd say, "Any place is better than here." You've got field Negroes in America today. I'm a field Negro. The masses are the field Negroes. When they see this man's house on fire, you don't hear these little Negroes talking about "our government is in trouble." They say, "The government is in trouble." Imagine a Negro: "Our government"! I even heard one say "our astronauts." They won't even let him near the plant -- and "our astronauts"! "Our Navy" -- that's a Negro that's out of his mind. That's a Negro that's out of his mind!

Just as the slavemaster of that day used Tom, the house Negro, to keep the field Negroes in check, the same old slavemaster today has Negroes who are nothing but modern Uncle Toms, 20th century Uncle Toms, to keep you and me in check, keep us under control, keep us passive and peaceful and nonviolent. That's Tom making you nonviolent. It's like when you go to the dentist, and the man's going to take your tooth. You're going to fight him when he starts pulling. So he squirts some stuff in your jaw called novocaine, to make you think they're not doing anything to you. So you sit there and 'cause you've got all of that novocaine in your jaw, you suffer peacefully. Blood running all down your jaw, and you don't know what's happening. 'Cause someone has taught you to suffer -- peacefully.

The white man do the same thing to you in the street, when he want to put knots on your head and take advantage of you and don't have to be afraid of your fighting back. To keep you from fighting back, he gets these old religious Uncle Toms to teach you and me, just like novocaine, suffer peacefully. Don't stop suffering -- just suffer peacefully. As Reverend Cleage pointed out, "Let your blood flow In the streets." This is a shame. And you know he's a Christian preacher. If it's a shame to him, you know what it is to me.

There's nothing in our book, the Quran -- you call it "Ko-ran" -- that teaches us to suffer peacefully. Our religion teaches us to be intelligent. Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery. That's a good religion. In fact, that's that old-time religion. That's the one that Ma and Pa used to talk about: an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth, and a head for a head, and a life for a life: That's a good religion! And doesn't nobody resent that kind of religion being taught but a wolf, who intends to make you his meal.

This is the way it is with the white man in America. He's a wolf and you're sheep. Any time a shepherd, a pastor, teach you and me not to run from the white man and, at the same time, teach us not to fight the white man, he's a traitor to you and me. Don't lay down our life all by itself. No, preserve your life! It's the best thing you got! And if you got to give it up, let it be even-steven.

The slavemaster took Tom and dressed him well, and fed him well, and even gave him a little education -- a little education; gave him a long coat and a top hat and made all the other slaves look up to him. Then he used Tom to control them. The same strategy that was used in those days is used today, by the same white man. He takes a Negro, a so-called Negro, and make him prominent, build him up, publicize him, make him a celebrity. And then he becomes a spokesman for Negroes -- and a Negro leader.

I would like to just mention just one other thing else quickly, and that is the method that the white man uses, how the white man uses these "big guns," or Negro leaders, against the black revolution. They are not a part of the Negro revolution. They are used against the Negro revolution.

When Martin Luther King failed to desegregate Albany, Georgia, the civil-rights struggle in America reached its low point. King became bankrupt almost, as a leader. Plus, even financially, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference was in financial trouble; plus it was in trouble, period, with the people when they failed to desegregate Albany, Georgia. Other Negro civil-rights leaders of so-called national stature became fallen idols. As they became fallen idols, began to lose their prestige and influence, local Negro leaders began to stir up the masses. In Cambridge, Maryland, Gloria Richardson; in Danville, Virginia, and other parts of the country, local leaders began to stir up our people at the grassroots level. This was never done by these Negroes, whom you recognize, of national stature. They controlled you, but they never incited you or excited you. They controlled you; they contained you; they kept you on the plantation.

As soon as King failed in Birmingham, Negroes took to the streets. King got out and went out to California to a big rally and raised about -- I don't know how many thousands of dollars. [He] come to Detroit and had a march and raised some more thousands of dollars. And recall, right after that [Roy] Wilkins attacked King, accused King and the CORE [Congress Of Racial Equality] of starting trouble everywhere and then making the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] get them out of jail and spend a lot of money; and then they accused King and CORE of raising all the money and not paying it back. This happened; I've got it in documented evidence in the newspaper. Roy started attacking King, and King started attacking Roy, and Farmer started attacking both of them. And as these Negroes of national stature began to attack each other, they began to lose their control of the Negro masses.

And Negroes was out there in the streets. They was talking about we was going to march on Washington. By the way, right at that time Birmingham had exploded, and the Negroes in Birmingham -- remember, they also exploded. They began to stab the crackers in the back and bust them up 'side their head -- yes, they did. That's when Kennedy sent in the troops, down in Birmingham. So, and right after that, Kennedy got on the television and said "this is a moral issue." That's when he said he was going to put out a civil-rights bill. And when he mentioned civil-rights bill and the Southern crackers started talking about [how] they were going to boycott or filibuster it, then the Negroes started talking -- about what? We're going to march on Washington, march on the Senate, march on the White House, march on the Congress, and tie it up, bring it to a halt; don't let the government proceed. They even said they was going out to the airport and lay down on the runway and don't let no airplanes land. I'm telling you what they said. That was revolution. That was revolution! That was the black revolution.

It was the grass roots out there in the street. [It] scared the white man to death! Scared the white power structure in Washington, D. C. to death; I was there. When they found out that this black steamroller was going to come down on the capital, they called in Wilkins; they called in Randolph; they called in these national Negro leaders that you respect and told them, "Call it off." Kennedy said, "Look, you all letting this thing go too far." And Old Tom said, "Boss, I can't stop it, because I didn't start it." I'm telling you what they said. They said, "I'm not even in it, much less at the head of it." They said, "These Negroes are doing things on their own. They're running ahead of us." And that old shrewd fox, he said, "Well If you all aren't in it, I'll put you in it. I'll put you at the head of it. I'll endorse it. I'll welcome it. I'll help it. I'll join it."

A matter of hours went by. They had a meeting at the Carlyle Hotel in New York City. The Carlyle Hotel is owned by the Kennedy family; that's the hotel Kennedy spent the night at, two nights ago; [it] belongs to his family. A philanthropic society headed by a white man named Stephen Currier called all the top civil-rights leaders together at the Carlyle Hotel. And he told them that, "By you all fighting each other, you are destroying the civil-rights movement. And since you're fighting over money from white liberals, let us set up what is known as the Council for United Civil Rights Leadership. Let's form this council, and all the civil-rights organizations will belong to it, and we'll use it for fund-raising purposes." Let me show you how tricky the white man is. And as soon as they got it formed, they elected Whitney Young as the chairman, and who [do] you think became the co-chairman? Stephen Currier, the white man, a millionaire. Powell was talking about it down at the Cobo [Hall] today. This is what he was talking about. Powell knows it happened. Randolph knows it happened. Wilkins knows it happened. King knows it happened. Everyone of that so-called Big Six -- they know what happened.

Once they formed it, with the white man over it, he promised them and gave them $800,000 to split up between the Big Six; and told them that after the march was over they'd give them $700,000 more. A million and a half dollars -- split up between leaders that you've been following, going to jail for, crying crocodile tears for. And they're nothing but Frank James and Jesse James and the what-do-you-call-'em brothers.

[As] soon as they got the setup organized, the white man made available to them top public relations experts; opened the news media across the country at their disposal; and then they begin to project these Big Six as the leaders of the march. Originally, they weren't even in the march. You was talking this march talk on Hastings Street! You was talking the march talk on Lenox Avenue!, and out on Fillmore Street, and Central Avenue, and 32nd Street and 63rd Street. That's where the march talk was being talked. But the white man put the Big Six [at the] head of it; made them the march. They became the march. They took it over. And the first move they made after they took it over, they invited Walter Reuther, a white man; they invited a priest, a rabbi, and an old white preacher. Yes, an old white preacher. The same white element that put Kennedy in power -- labor, the Catholics, the Jews, and liberal Protestants; [the] same clique that put Kennedy in power, joined the march on Washington.

It's just like when you've got some coffee that's too black, which means it's too strong. What you do? You integrate it with cream; you make it weak. If you pour too much cream in, you won't even know you ever had coffee. It used to be hot, it becomes cool. It used to be strong, it becomes weak. It used to wake you up, now it'll put you to sleep. This is what they did with the march on Washington. They joined it. They didn't integrate it; they infiltrated it!

They joined it, became a part of it, took it over. And as they took it over, it lost its militancy. They ceased to be angry. They ceased to be hot. They ceased to be uncompromising. Why, it even ceased to be a march. It became a picnic, a circus. Nothing but a circus, with clowns and all. You had one right here in Detroit -- I saw it on television -- with clowns leading it, white clowns and black clowns. I know you don't like what I'm saying, but I'm going to tell you anyway. 'Cause I can prove what I'm saying. If you think I'm telling you wrong, you bring me Martin Luther King and A. Philip Randolph and James Farmer and those other three, and see if they'll deny it over a microphone.

No, it was a sellout! It was a takeover! When James Baldwin came in from Paris, they wouldn't let him talk, 'cause they couldn't make him go by the script. Burt Lancaster read the speech that Baldwin was supposed to make; they wouldn't let Baldwin get up there, 'cause they know Baldwin's liable to say anything.

They controlled it so tight -- they told those Negroes what time to hit town, how to come, where to stop, what signs to carry, what song to sing, what speech they could make, and what speech they couldn't make; and then told them to get out town by sundown. And everyone of those Toms was out of town by sundown. Now I know you don't like my saying this. But I can back it up.

It was a circus, a performance that beat anything Hollywood could ever do, the performance of the year. Reuther and those other three devils should get a Academy Award for the best actors 'cause they acted like they really loved Negroes and fooled a whole lot of Negroes. And the six Negro leaders should get an award too, for the best supporting cast.

Ariel Sharon: War Criminal(excerpt)

By Hadas Thier

From International Socialist Review

During the pre-state days of Israel, Sharon joined the Haganah, the underground military organization formed by the Labor wing of the Zionist movement. In 1953, he was given command of the infamous Unit 101, whose mission was to lead "retaliatory" strikes against Arab terrorism. In reality, these missions took the form of indiscriminate violence aimed at civilians, not at direct sources of terrorism.

Unit 101's first documented assault took place in August 1953, on the El-Bureij refugee camp, south of Gaza. The reasoning given for the attack was "retaliatory," despite no evidence of provocation. An Israeli historian reported 50 refugees killed. United Nations commander Major General Vagn Bennike described the scene: "Bombs were thrown through the windows of huts in which the refugees were sleeping and, as they fled, they were attacked by small arms and automatic weapons."

In October 1953, Unit 101 descended on the Jordanian village of Qibya. This time the "reprisal" was for the killing of a mother and two children in an Israeli village. Jordan condemned the murders and offered to help in the investigation. No connection between the murders and Qibya was suspected. Nevertheless, Unit 101 showed no mercy on the people of Qibya. They blew up 45 houses, a school, and a mosque, and they killed 69 civilians, including dozens of women and children.

The United Nations (UN) military observers who arrived two hours after Sharon's commandos had left the scene reported:

Bullet-riddled bodies near the doorways and multiple bullet hits on the doors of the demolished houses indicated that the inhabitants had been forced to remain inside until their homes were blown up over them.... Witnesses were uniform in describing their experience as a night of horror, during which Israeli soldiers moved about in their village blowing up buildings, firing into doorways and windows with automatic weapons and throwing hand grenades.

Time reported that Sharon's soldiers shot "every man, woman and child they could find. The cries of the dying could be heard amidst the explosions."

In his autobiography, Warrior, Sharon makes the outrageous claim that he was not aware that people were in the houses they were blowing up. "But," says the warrior, "while civilian deaths were a tragedy, the Qibya raid was also a turning point.... [I]t was now clear that Israeli forces were again capable of finding and hitting targets far behind enemy lines. What this means to army morale can hardly be exaggerated.... [W]ith Qibya a new sense of confidence began to take root." He also describes a meeting with Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, who told Sharon the raid on Qibya would "make it possible for us to live here."

The actions of Unit 101 were part of Israel's overall strategy to provoke armed conflict along the borders of UN-partitioned Palestine. The strategy had two goals. One was aimed at the Palestinian population directly: to instill terror, further disperse the refugees, and destroy emerging political and military structures (particularly targeted was Yassir Arafat's Fatah, later the core group in the Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO].) The second was directed toward the surrounding Arab countries: to force the Arab states into confrontations in order to further expand Israel's territory.

The Israeli military handpicked Sharon for this role because he had a reputation as a "loose cannon." He talked a great deal about his insubordination to his superiors. How much this was actually the case is debatable, but it certainly made it easier for the government to distance themselves from his actions. When Unit 101 was disbanded, it was not because the experiment had failed; rather, it was to further integrate the model into the rest of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF.)

Sharon was a major player in the IDF throughout all of Israel's wars. In the 1956 Suez War, he led the initial attack through the Sinai Desert, capturing the Mitla Pass. The overall casualties of the war: 2,000 on the Egyptian side and nearly 1,000 civilians in Port Said, as compared to 160 or so Israelis. During the 1967 Six Day War, in which Israel captured the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Sinai Desert, and the Golan Heights, Sharon commanded brigades that seized Umm-Kateif, blasting an opening into the Sinai. The overall casualties of that war: 759 Israelis and as many as 30,000 Arabs. Refugees from Syria, the West Bank, and the Sinai numbered more than 300,000.

After the 1967 war, Israel succeeded in furthering the territorial goals of a "Greater Israel," but not without resistance. The highest level of Palestinian organization against the occupation was in Gaza. As the head of the IDF's southern command, Sharon was charged with the task of "pacifying" the Gaza Strip. Phil Reeves wrote in The Independent:

The old men still remember it well. Especially the old men on Wreckage Street.... The street acquired its name after an unusually prolonged visit from Mr. Sharon's soldiers. Their orders were to bulldoze hundreds of homes to carve a wide, straight street....

"They came at night and began marking the houses they wanted to demolish with red paint," said Ibrahim Ghanim, 70, a retired laborer. "In the morning they came back, and ordered everyone to leave. I remember all the soldiers shouting at people, 'Yalla, yalla, yalla, yalla!'

"They threw everyone's belongings into the street. Then Sharon brought in bulldozers and started flattening the street. He did the whole lot, almost in one day. And the soldiers would beat people, can you imagine? Soldiers with guns, beating little kids?"

Reeves continues:

In August 1971 alone, troops under Mr. Sharon's command destroyed some 2,000 homes in the Gaza Strip, uprooting 16,000 people for the second time in their lives.

Hundreds of young Palestinian men were arrested and deported to Jordan and Lebanon. Six hundred relatives of suspected guerrillas were exiled to Sinai. In the second half of 1971, 104 guerrillas were assassinated.15

In 1977, a newly formed right-wing Likud party, led by Menachem Begin, won the national elections. Begin and Yitzhak Shamir were the leaders of the pre-state terrorist armies Irgun and Lehi, which carried out massacres of civilians at Deir Yassin and other Arab villages.

The Likud government set to work on furthering the clampdown on Palestinian resistance and continuing the drive to settle the occupied territories. The previous Labor-led government had already increased spending on "security" to 11 percent of the gross national product. Zionist historian Howard Sachar pegged military spending at 14 percent or more. Ariel Sharon, serving as minister of agriculture, was put in charge of settlement policy.

The government and the World Zionist Organization created a commission to devise plans to "incorporate Judea and Samaria" (the Israeli right's Biblical label for the West Bank) into Israel. The commission's purpose flouted international law and numerous UN resolutions. Sharon was put in charge of finding a way to confiscate Palestinian land for Israeli use. Sharon's solution? To redefine private property and state land. Between 1980 and 1981, Israeli authorities surveyed land titles in the area. Families that had not completed the proper paperwork were denied rights to their homes, despite having lived on there for generations. By 1981, Sharon had acquired 31 percent of land area in the West Bank. Forty new settlements were built, tripling the Jewish population to 18,000.

Settlers were given a high level of autonomy on legal, economic, and military aspects. They had their own councils and tax systems, and IDF Chief of Staff Rafael Eitan authorized each town to accept responsibility for its own defense. Settlers were able to transfer from their army units to the settlements, creating militias with an "extensive array of government issue weaponry."

Horror stories of the settlers' brutality abound. Noam Chomsky writes of one Israeli soldier's account:

A soldier reports that 30 12-13-year-old boys were lined up facing a wall with their hands up for five hours in Hebron one very cold night, kicked if they moved. He justified the punishment because they are not "all innocent lambs as they look now, with their hands up and their eyes asking pity... They burn and they throw stones and participate in demonstrations, and they are not less harmful than their parents."

Murders of Palestinians by settlers were recorded, but not punished.20 In fact, soldiers were given instructions to "harass the West Bank population in general, not just those involved in anti-Israeli demonstrations." Threats by soldiers involved in the Peace Now movement prompted one investigation that found Sharon "urged Israeli soldiers to beat Arab schoolchildren in the West Bank."

Begin promoted Sharon to defense minister in 1981, giving him the platform to enact his grand visions for Israel in the region. They included "Operation Peace for Galilee" to crush the PLO, as well as the Syrian presence in Lebanon, and "Operation Big Pines" to set up a "responsible" government in Lebanon. Sharon planned to hand Lebanon's government to Bashir Gemayal's Phalange, a fascist political-military mafia composed of members of the Maronite Christian sect. The "responsible" government would represent a small minority answerable to Israel in an overwhelmingly Muslim country.

With plans for Operations Peace in Galilee and Big Pines laid out, and with approval from U.S. Secretary of State Alexander Haig obtained, Israel looked for an excuse to invade Lebanon. The instigating act was the attempted assassination of the Israeli ambassador to Britain--never mind that his attackers were from the Abu Nidal-led Palestine National Liberation Movement, which organized in opposition to the PLO. Begin declared, "They're all PLO," and the following day the Israeli air force launched a massive bombardment, killing at least 45 Palestinians and Lebanese (210 according to Lebanese police) and wounding 150 to 200. The PLO shelled settlements in northern Israel that wounded eight.

Israeli forces then launched into a full-scale war with 80,000 troops, 1,240 tanks, 1,520 armored personnel carriers, and heavy air bombardments with napalm. Sharon told officers that Palestinian neighborhoods in Beirut should be "utterly destroyed," even though they contained some 85,000 civilians. The American Red Cross counted 10,000 deaths and 100,000 homeless by the sixth day of the attack. Thousands of these deaths occurred at Palestinian refugee camps and Shi'ite Lebanese villages. For more than three months, Sharon led the IDF, working with the Phalangists, in slaughtering 30,000 to 40,000 Lebanese and Palestinians, with 100,000 seriously wounded and half a million homeless.

The IDF and its allies demolished and bulldozed Palestinian camps. The children's hospital in the Sabra refugee camp and the Gaza Hospital near the camps were attacked. When a New York Times reporter asked an IDF official why houses where women and children lived were bulldozed, the answer was simply, "They're all terrorists."

By far the most barbaric episodes of the war occurred at its end. Israel, armed to the teeth by Western powers, had easily crushed the PLO in Lebanon. But Bashir Gemayal wasn't as grateful to Israel as Begin had hoped. On September 14, Gemayal died in a huge explosion in his headquarters. Speculation fingered a more pro-Israeli Phalange faction, who may have assassinated Gemayal with Israel's help. Nevertheless, Gemayal's supporters looked for revenge against the Palestinians. Sharon insisted that the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps harbored 2,000 to 3,000 "terrorists," and he and Eitan met with Phalange leaders on September 15 to discuss a plan. Israel forces would enter West Beirut under the pretext of preventing Christian reprisals (but really to attack Muslim militias), and the Phalange would enter the camps to search for "terrorists." Sharon himself gave the order to allow the Phalange into the camps.

Israeli forces surrounded the camps as the Phalange, with Israeli equipment, killed every man, woman, and child they could find. On September 17, two days into the slaughter, IDF officers met with Phalangist officers. The officers "knew that Phalangists would be in the camps (again) all night and that they were using bulldozers (to dispose of corpses); they also knew about the flight of panic-stricken civilians." About 3,000 Palestinian civilians were butchered in three days. Two Israeli reporters gave the following description:

In addition to the wholesale slaughter of families, the Phalangists indulged in such sadistic horrors as hanging live grenades around their victims' necks. In one particularly vicious act of barbarity, an infant was trampled to death by a man wearing spiked shoes. The entire Phalangist action in Sabra and Shatilla seemed to be directed against civilians....

We have had many accounts of women raped, pregnant women, their fetuses cut out afterward, women with hands chopped off, earrings pulled.

The Kahan Commission, an official Israeli board of inquiry into Israeli complicity in the massacre, found Sharon "indirectly responsible" for the massacre and urged his resignation. Even though the testimony produced in the 1983 commission report would lead any reasonable person to conclude that Sharon and Eitan directly collaborated in the massacre, the Commission still sought to whitewash Sharon's role. No "responsibility should be imputed to the Defense Minister [i.e., Sharon] for not ordering the removal of the Phalangists from the camps when the first reports reached him about the acts of killing being committed." Assessing this cowardly excuse, Noam Chomsky wrote: "One might ask...whether the IDF would have taken a similarly casual attitude, with the support of the distinguished Commission, had it learned that PLO terrorists were killing hundreds of Jews ." Sharon took the Kahan Commission's advice to resign as defense minister. However, instead of disgrace and banishment from government, he took a position as "minister without portfolio."

Canada lags on air-pollution cleanup compared with U.S., coalition finds

From Enviromental Defence

OTTAWA -- Canadians have no reason to feel smug and righteous when comparing their efforts at cleaning up air pollution to the much better performance of the United States, an environmental coalition says.

"In many ways, [President] George Bush's America is doing a much better job of cleaning up pollution than our own country," Rick Smith of Pollution Watch said yesterday.

The United States reduced air-pollution emissions by 45 per cent between 1995 and 2003, he said. "At the same time, Canada has reduced its air pollution by an embarrassing 1.8 per cent."

The group's conclusion -- drawn from data collected by federal environmental agencies in both countries -- seems counterintuitive, because Canadians believe their policies are enlightened and progressive.

But announcing good policies and implementing them are often two separate stories, Mr. Smith said.

Environment Minister Stéphane Dion told Canadian Press the better U.S. record may reflect the fact that the U.S. economy has had a relative downturn while Canadian sectors have been booming, particularly oil and gas.

But the environmentalists disagree, saying the comparative data indicate that Canadian industrial sectors are simply far less efficient than their U.S. counterparts. Thus, Canadian industry is more likely to spew pollutants into the environment, Paul Muldoon of the Canadian Environmental Law Association added.

Canadians are seeing the results in the increases in respiratory illnesses, such as asthma in children, and in record numbers of smog days, the environmentalists said.

"In many parts of our country, smog days are the new normal," Mr. Smith said.

Pollution Watch released a list of the worst emitters of air pollutants. Most are mining and smelting operations and coal-fired power generation plants.

Among them, the top ten are responsible for about 43 per cent of all the air pollution released in Canada in 2003, according to the most recently available figures.

Alberta is the province with the biggest air-pollution problem, the coalition said. One-quarter of all of Canada's reported air pollution originates there. Ontario is second.

Quebec is the only bright spot on the Canadian map, bucking the trend and showing recent decreases, Mr. Smith said.

Pollution Watch did a trend analysis of data collected by Environment Canada as part of a federal reporting system known as the National Pollutant Release Inventory.

But even that measuring stick is inadequate, the environmentalists say, because it fails to record all types of pollutants, including those from vehicles.

The release of the Pollution Watch analysis comes as the federal government prepares to hold an international conference in Montreal next month to launch negotiations for a new round of cuts to greenhouse-gas emissions. Such atmospheric emissions are associated with global warming.

The Canadian record on pollution control is likely to come under close scrutiny from other countries, particularly the United States.

The Bush administration refused to adopt the first greenhouse-gas agreement, the Kyoto Protocol. Canada adopted the Kyoto goals even though many experts, including some of Ottawa's own scientists, said it will be a struggle to meet the targets by the 2012 deadline.

The Pollution Watch coalition wants Parliament to toughen the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.
The top 10 air polluters in Canada are,Inco Limited, Alcan Inc., Ontario Power Generation, Nova Scotia Power, Hudson Bay Mining, SaskPower, Syncrude Canada, TransAlta Corp., New Brunswick Power, and Noranda Inc.

Our Troops Shouldn't Be There

British and Soviet empires both failed in Afghanistan (Why is Canada trying to help the U.S. empire succeed?)
By John F. Conway
CCPA Monitor

The February release of a poll on the war in Afghanistan spread panic among our political and military leaders. The Strategic Counsel poll, taken between Feb. 16 and 19, reported that 62% of Canadians opposed having Canadian troops in Afghanistan, and that 73% wanted a full parliamentary debate on Canada’s role in the war.

To turn public opinion around, our political and military leaders, with the enthusiastic support of the mainstream media, embarked on a massive propaganda effort. Chief of Defence Staff General Hillier made speeches, held press conferences, and talked to the editorial board of The Globe and Mail. Prime Minister Harper and his senior cabinet ministers launched major attacks on those who would undermine support for our troops and their mission, implying that to even debate Canada’s role in the war was an act of disloyalty and an abandonment of our young men and women facing daily danger and death. He then reinforced his pro-war message by paying a surprise secret visit to the troops in Khandahar, vowing Canada will never leave Afghanistan until its commitment to the “war on terror” there is finished.

Canadian causalities, whether from combat or road accidents, became lead stories on national TV news broadcasts, and got huge front-page spreads in newspapers, day after day, featuring sad interviews with family members and pictures of the ceremonial returns of the wounded and the dead to Canadian soil.

Well, it appears that the propaganda effort is paying off. A later Ipsos-Reid poll reported that 52% of Canadians favoured continuing with our troops in Afghanistan. While this was a dramatic turnaround in public opinion, the numbers still revealed a nation haunted by doubt about the wisdom of joining the Americans in fighting this war.

Canadians are being told we are there to rebuild the country (which the Americans bombed into rubble), to help it achieve a civilized democracy, and to defend Canadian values in the global war on terrorism. This is hokum. Our troops are fighting and dying in Afghanistan to support the American empire and its geopolitical aspirations for domination in the region. The U.S. bombardment, invasion, and occupation of Afghanistan was and remains an illegal war of aggression, violating the UN Charter.

After failing to get UN support to help in the occupation and battles against Afghan resistance, Bush went to NATO. Now it is a NATO operation. What is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization doing in Afghanistan? It is certainly not defending Europe and North America from a war of aggression. But it is fighting an American imperial war for hegemony in the region.

It won’t work. The insurgency will go on endlessly, just as it has in the past. Every great modern empire has tried and failed to gain control of Afghanistan. The British empire, bloodied and battered, finally gave up in 1919 after wars in 1839-42, 1878-80, and 1919. The Soviet empire invaded in 1979 and retreated, humiliated, in 1989. The Afghan debacle contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Now the American empire is also trying to do the impossible.

Why Afghanistan? First, insurgents continue to resist American domination. Second, pacifying Afghanistan is essential to American plans for oil and natural gas pipelines through Pakistan to the Arabian Sea from the now independent and oil-rich Muslim republics in the former Soviet Union.

This American imperial adventure is not worth one drop of Canadian blood, and we should bring our troops home now, before the death toll begins its inevitable climb. We have already squandered too many lives of young Canadians.

General Rick Hillier has crossed the line into politics in this affair, and should be fired. No prime minister should accept Hillier’s aggressive political advocacy and posturing. Generals–and the top military brass as a group–in a free and democratic society cannot be permitted to abuse their office and their rank by indulging in open public political advocacy.

Not only has Hillier brazenly intruded into the area of setting Canadian military and foreign policy, but he also has made clearly partisan remarks against the former Liberal government and in favour of the current Conservative government. Hillier, in a very public way, is basically instructing the government on Afghan policy and clearly advocating a long-term commitment of Canadian troops to the misadventure. Equally as serious, his characterization of the governments of Prime Ministers Chrétien and Martin as “a decade of darkness” is quite simply unacceptable.

Military and foreign policy should be set by Parliament and the democratically elected government of the day. While the advice of the Chief of Defence Staff is sought, such advice is given privately and secretly to the prime minister and the cabinet. A democracy cannot countenance a Chief of Defence Staff who goes on the hustings to win public support for a particular foreign and military policy.

Prime Minister Harper’s duty to Canadians and to Parliament is clear: He should fire General Hillier and bring our troops home.

(John Conway is a political sociologist at the University of Regina.)

CUPE Ontario Takes Important Step Against Israeli Apartheid

By Adam Hanieh

Canadian Dimension

At the annual convention of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario, held 24-27 May 2006 in Ottawa, the union passed a resolution of historic importance. Resolution 50 — adopted unanimously by the 900 delegates at the largest convention in the union’s history — expressed support for the global campaign against Israeli apartheid. The union stated that it would educate its members on the apartheid nature of the Israeli state and Canadian political and economic support for these practices. It also declared that CUPE Ontario would participate in the international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until the realization of Palestinian self-determination. Most importantly, the union highlighted the significance of the right of return of Palestinian refugees as a critical component of Palestinian self-determination.

Resolution 50 is a vital step for both Palestinian rights and the North American labor movement. CUPE Ontario is the largest public sector union in Ontario and represents over 200,000 workers in the most highly populated province of Canada. The resolution represents the most powerful statement in support of Palestinian rights ever made by a North American trade union.

Two days after Resolution 50 was adopted, another boycott resolution was passed by the largest union of university teachers in Britain, the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (NATFHE). NATFHE, representing around 70,000 members, declared its active support of boycotts against Israeli academics and academic institutions that do not publicly take an explicit stand against Israeli apartheid and Israel’s discriminatory educational system.

These two resolutions represent the latest in a snowballing movement to isolate Israeli apartheid in the manner of South African apartheid. A long list of institutions, city councils, religious organizations, political parties and unions have endorsed the call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (see below for a selected list of these initiatives). Two weeks ago, the Green Party of the United States issued a powerful policy statement that supported “divestment from and boycott of the State of Israel until such time as the full individual and collective rights of the Palestinian people are realized.” In February 2006, the Church of England’s general synod-including the Archbishop of Canterbury-voted to disinvest church funds from companies profiting from the Israeli occupation. On 16 December 2005, the regional council of the Sor-Trondelag in Norway passed a motion calling for a comprehensive boycott on Israeli goods to be followed up with an awareness raising campaign across the region. Sor-Trondelag was the first Norwegian county to boycott South Africa and is now the first to boycott Israeli apartheid.

This growing movement has provoked a widespread crisis within the Zionist movement. The Israeli press is full of stories, editorial comment and debate about the boycott, divestment, sanctions campaign. No other international solidarity effort has so dominated the Israeli debate. Underlying most of this commentary is a deep fear that the identification of Israel with apartheid is reaching a critical mass within popular consciousness world-wide. The response of the Zionist movement has been strikingly incompetent and reflects their inability to deal with the charge of apartheid.

Take for instance the Canadian Jewish Congress’s (CJC) “action alert” against the CUPE Ontario decision. The alert raises three questions that the CJC urges its supporters to raise with CUPE Ontario leaders:

**Last summer, Israel withdrew its settlements from Gaza and the northern West Bank. A new Israeli government has just been elected on a platform of continuing this disengagement process. Why would CUPE Ontario call for a boycott that will punish Israelis just as these important steps are being taken?

**The Palestinian election of a Hamas-dominated government that supports terrorism and is committed to the destruction of Israel has led to an economic crisis; international aid has correctly been denied to this recognized terrorist organization. Concerned Canadians should be looking to offer humanitarian help to the Palestinians, not to punish Israelis. Why would CUPE Ontario fail to use its voice in a constructive way?

**CUPE Ontario’s resolution calls for the unlimited return of refugees to Israel. It is well recognized that this approach would spell the end of a Jewish state. Why is CUPE Ontario adopting this extreme position ?

The most striking feature of the CJC alert is that it completely avoids any mention of the question of apartheid. The word itself does not appear at all in the entire statement. This is a most remarkable omission and can only be considered deliberate given that the main thrust of the CUPE Ontario decision (see below) is the comparison with South African apartheid. Indeed, the first item of the CUPE resolution is to conduct an “education campaign about the apartheid nature of the Israeli state”. Only one conclusion can be drawn from this omission: the CJC is neither able nor willing to argue against the charge of Israeli apartheid.

The three points raised by the CJC confirm this conclusion. While the CJC praises Israeli “disengagement”, this so-called concession is widely accepted as the final step in the construction of an apartheid solution. Apartheid-era South Africa placed the black population into territorially disconnected areas called Bantustans. Bantustans appeared to give blacks control over their own municipal affairs while denying them self-determination and any real or effective control of their lives. Movement in and out of the Bantustans was controlled by permits and pass cards. Economic control remained in the hands of the white apartheid state. This is precisely the situation that ‘disengagement’ is meant to formalize in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

All informed commentators agree that Olmert’s disengagement plan is aimed at leaving the major settlement blocs in the West Bank intact. Olmert himself touts this as the major plank of his plan. The aim is to win international acceptance for Palestinian Bantustans - the Palestinian population crowded into isolated and divided cantons separated by settlements, Israeli-only roads and military checkpoints. This is not a new strategy; it has been the clear intention of Israeli leaders since the occupation of these areas in 1967.

The current situation in the Gaza Strip is a powerful illustration of this apartheid reality. Israel completely controls the economy and borders of this tiny area that constitutes the most densely populated place on earth. Israeli missiles can be dropped on Gaza day and night, with the population starved from all work, outside supplies and possibility of travel. This is what ‘disengagement’ portends for the West Bank.

Precisely because Israel controls all flows of funds, people and goods into the isolated Palestinian Bantustans the CJC is able to champion the severing of aid to the Palestinian Authority. In the last month, this has led to deaths of at least four hospitalized Palestinians who were unable to obtain dialysis treatment due to Israeli control of what goes in and out of Palestinian areas. A few weeks ago, Palestinian prison guards were forced to appeal to relatives of inmates to provide food because there was not enough to feed prisoners. Enforced mass starvation of a civilian population is quite simply a war crime. An important statement signed two weeks ago by ever major Palestinian organization in Canada put it this way: Palestinian right to life should not be conditional on acquiescence to Israeli apartheid.

Finally, the third CJC talking point reveals the crux of the debate. The CJC states that the right of return of Palestinian refugees “would spell the end of a Jewish state.” Israeli apartheid is founded upon the notion of an exclusively Jewish state that denies equal rights to everyone else. In 1948, 80% of the indigenous Palestinian population were driven from their homes and land and became refugees. The Israeli state guarantees any person of a Jewish background, anywhere in the world, the right to become a citizen of Israel yet the indigenous population is refused their right to return. The right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and land is not simply a legal question (although it is guaranteed under international law). Most significantly, it points to the fact that we should oppose any state that operates on the basis of one religious or ethnic exlusivity. The central goal of the anti-apartheid struggle is a state in which anyone can live, regardless of their religious or ethnic background. This unquestionably means the right of return of Palestinian refugees to their homes and lands from which they were expelled in 1948.

Jonathan Cook, an outstanding journalist for the British newspaper, The Guardian, recently discussed how Olmert’s disengagement plan confirms the basic premise of the current anti-apartheid struggle:

“Olmert outlined to Israel’s Haaretz newspaper the most serious issue facing Israel. It was, he said, the problem of how, when the Palestinians were on the eve of becoming a majority in the region, to prevent them from launching a struggle similar to the one against apartheid waged by black South Africans. Olmert’s concern was that, if the Palestinian majority renounced violence and began to fight for ‘one- person, one-vote’, Israel would be faced by “a much cleaner struggle, a much more popular struggle — and ultimately a much more powerful one”. Palestinian peaceful resistance, therefore, had to be pre-empted by Israel. The logic of Olmert’s solution, as he explained it then, sounds very much like the reasoning behind disengagement and now convergence: ” formula for the parameters of a unilateral solution are: to maximise the number of Jews; to minimise the number of Palestinians”. Or, as he put it last week, “division of the land, with the goal of ensuring a Jewish majority, is Zionism’s lifeline”.”

Both the CUPE Ontario and NATFHE resolutions are big steps forward in the struggle against Israeli apartheid. They confirm that recognition of Israel as an apartheid state is now approaching a stage of popular acceptance. This victory was not achieved overnight but is the culmination of the work of many activists worldwide who have persevered with the ongoing tasks of leafleting, postering, teach-ins, demonstrations and many other activities. Most of all, it is testament to the unbelievable endurance of the Palestinian people on the ground in Palestine and in refugee camps throughout the region. Our challenge is to continue to deepen the confidence among wider layers of the population in Canada and elsewhere in arguing for and becoming active in the struggle against Israeli apartheid. The resolutions of the last week have made this task much easier.

Adam Hanieh is a member of the Al Awda Right of Return Group (Toronto), the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid and CUPE.

Canada in the Haitian Coup

Derrick O'Keefe Interviews Anthony Fenton

From Dissident Voice

1. We hear so little about Haiti in the mainstream media. Most networks don't even have correspondents there right now. What is the reality on the ground in occupied Haiti?

Tragically, the reality in Haiti is very much like the reality of Haiti in 1915, the Dominican Republic in 1965, and is similar in many ways to the long list of military interventions in the hemisphere since the U.S. became the dominant force. What’s being heavily suppressed is that, far from ‘bringing stability’ to Haiti, the imperialist intervention and subsequent installment and propping up of an illegitimate regime is having dire consequences for Haiti’s mostly impoverished masses. Continued political persecution of anyone, and specifically leaders, known to be associated with the Lavalas political party, or of those who are pro-Constitutionalist generally, is the norm. It has been reported that Haiti’s jails and penitentiaries are full of these types of political prisoners.

Fewer children are able to go to school, peasants are having their land stolen from them by former landowners who will likely re-impose feudal conditions on them, and the cost of living has skyrocketed. On top of this the dreaded Haitian military is doing its best to be formally reinstituted and this is not being seriously opposed by any of the other forces operating in Haiti, as per, so it seems, the original plan as hatched by the “imperial community.”

2. What political groups or tendencies are opposing the occupation in Haiti, and what are they demanding?

The most active and vocal groups in Haiti have been consistently demonstrating against the occupation and for the return of Constitutional rule, or, the return of Aristide. They have done this despite facing severe repression since February 29. They’ve also been demanding the release of political prisoners. I’d also say that they’re demanding that the citizens of the imperial countries who stole democracy from them do what is necessary to hold their governments to account for this miscarriage of justice. Certainly these Haitians are vehemently opposed to the return of the murderous army and will, rightly, oppose this. But they need voice to do this, voice that is currently being silenced through repression, illegal detainment, and the like, not to mention the predictably duplicitous role of the media.

3. You have written extensively of Canada's involvement in the regime change in Haiti. What was Canada's role in Aristide's ouster?

Canada is perhaps as deeply involved in Aristide’s ouster as any client government has been historically in assisting the U.S. in enforcing Monroe Doctrine-like principles in the hemisphere, and this includes the present cover-up that is being undertaken. Diplomatically, as the Jean Chretien regime was wringing their hands in the face of popular opposition over their potential role in the ‘coalition of the willing’ in Iraq, they were helping to plan regime change in Haiti. Three weeks before regime change, on February 5, Pierre Pettigrew consorted with rebel “mastermind” Paul Arcelin, who had previously been arrested for plotting a coup in 2003. Pettigrew also has strong ties to Gildan Activewear, Hydro Quebec, and other corporations that stand to benefit from a government that is willing to follow the “American Plan” in Haiti. Just the person we want as Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Since the coup, Canada has helped prop up the puppet regime and has actively prevented the realities of post-coup Haiti from being heard or seen by the ‘mainstream’ Canadian public. The Canadian Commander of ‘Task Force Haiti’ deliberately evaded questions about extensively documented human rights abuses that took place while Canadian soldiers were still occupying the country. Among other things as well, Canadian NGOs such as “Development and Peace,” “Rights and Democracy,” and “FOCAL,” helped foment the demonization and destabilization campaign against the elected government, and are aiding and abetting this massive cover-up.

4. What specifically have you been able to uncover regarding the Ottawa Initiative on Haiti meeting?

Not much beyond what Michel Vastel exposed originally on March 15, 2003, in L’Actualite. That, according to Denis Paradis and the French government, a Kosovo-like “tutelage” for Haiti was discussed, along with the return of the Haitian armed forces, and, of course, the ouster of Aristide. Paradis recanted what he said not long after Vastel wrote his piece, and again recently denied that "regime change” was planned in Ottawa. Paradis reveals, however, in my recent interview with him, that “the responsibility to protect” is a theme that was discussed, which is part of a new language and dialogue that imperialists are developing to help justify and legitimate imperialist interventions in so-called “failed states,” by way of the “tutelage” concept discussed in Ottawa in January 2003.

5. What are the causes of this so-called failed state, of Haiti's poverty, which is the worst in the western hemisphere?

That’s the thing: those forces who deem Haiti to have failed are the same forces that brought about Haiti’s “failure,” by destabilizing the government, seeking to divide the electorate, and the Left, by hammering away at public opinion with mountains of mis or disinformation and propaganda, and by starving the country of desperately needed economic aid and loans. There is also a tiny elite in Haiti that controls most of the economy and in so doing prefer to have Haitians uneducated, illiterate, and impoverished. Canadian “development assistance” to Haiti began under the Duvalier dictatorships, so we can see, historically, the kind of “development” that has led to Haiti’s perpetual “failure” and extreme poverty.

6. How is Canada's role in Haiti related to changes in Canada's overall foreign policy direction?

Canada has deep colonial roots, so it really only took the ‘right’ circumstances, such as a ‘war on terror’, to begin to bring these latent imperial instincts to the surface. Ottawa is being more or less explicit as they go about legislating Canada’s commitment to the Bush administration’s “war on terror.” For example, with nary a murmur of criticism, Canada tabled its first-ever National Security Policy in April, styled on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. These developments are also in accordance with the ‘recommendations’ of the corporate community, primarily speaking, defense contractors who know that Ottawa has to be in lockstep with the U.S. if they are to profit from the windfall accompanying the perpetual ‘war on terror.’

Clearly, Canada is becoming a more overt security state, and is thus far, if somewhat silently, doing all of the things necessary to achieve this: spending more money on security, increasing the size of the Canadian forces, and creating the conditions whereby dissent against this increasing militarism will not be tolerated. As stated, I’m not sure if Canada has ever been so heavily involved in an illegal intervention abroad such as in Haiti. So this is all quite indicative of where Canada is headed; it’s not un-coincidental, mind you, that Canada, being a settler-state with a penchant for the internal colonization of Native peoples, has been able to make the smooth “transition” to overt imperial/G-8 power abroad.

7. What actions should be being taken by those who are opposed to Canada's participation in the ouster of Aristide, and in the occupation of Haiti today?

It’s useful to remember that the Chretien and Martin regimes have carried these things out in Canadians’ names. For those who are working to expose this and to somehow help end this brutal imperialist occupation, – carried out or supported by militaries, CIA-trained death squads, and some NGOs – we have to ask ourselves how can we hold the government(s) to account for these actions? Has the Canadian Left ever successfully held the government accountable for similar crimes? We must learn from previous experience, here and elsewhere, and allow it to inform our tactics and strategies.

Clearly, we have to pressure people, media outlets, and/or political parties that are in a position to give a wider voice to the horrific realities in Haiti today. If these imperialists are never forced to acknowledge their culpability in these crimes, then they cannot be held accountable. They know this and it informs their actions; accordingly, it should inform ours as well. Canadians can also arrange delegations to go to Haiti, help organizations that are taking great risks documenting the human rights and other abuses, and help educate people in their communities, reach out to their MPs, etc. The anti-war movement in Canada, especially given the extent of Ottawa’s involvement, might consider means by which they can help elevate the level of public consciousness on these issues.