Monday, January 22, 2018

World Socialist Web Site calls for international coalition of socialist and anti-war websites to counter censorship efforts

From the WSWS:

World Socialist Web Site calls for international coalition of socialist and anti-war websites to counter Internet censorship
By Niles Niemuth
World Socialist Web Site International Editorial Board chairperson David North called January 16 for the formation of an international coalition of socialist and anti-war websites and journalists to counter Internet censorship.
North issued the call during a livestreamed webinar with journalist Chris Hedges, Organizing Resistance to Internet Censorship. The webinar attracted a substantial global audience and was viewed more than 15,000 times on Facebook and YouTube in the 24 hours after it aired. A statement from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange supporting the event was read during the broadcast.
“A coalition needs to be formed to rigorously defend internet freedom, net neutrality, to organize the defense of both websites and individuals who come under attack,” North said. He urged participation in the coalition of all “those who are committed to the fight for socialism and opposition to war,” adding, “The World Socialist Web Site and the International Committee are willing on this principled basis to work with those who understand the critical issues involved.” Read more »

One year of Democratic sabotage of opposition to Trump

By Barry Grey
The Trump administration has survived its first year and implemented large parts of its reactionary economic and social agenda. There are two basic reasons for this. First, despite bitter differences within the ruling class over foreign policy issues, Trump has largely retained the support of the financial-corporate elite on the basis of his economic policies.

But what has kept him in power more than anything else is the suppression of popular opposition by the Democratic Party. The Democrats have spent the entire year sabotaging resistance to Trump and working to divert it along reactionary, pro-war lines.

The Democrats’ neo-McCarthyite anti-Russia campaign has been aimed at preventing any retreat from the belligerent anti-Russia policies of the Obama administration and demanding a more aggressive war in Syria. It has born fruit in the administration’s announcement this week of a permanent US troop presence in Syria and de facto American control over a large part of the country, a highly reckless escalation directed above all against Moscow.  Read more »
US budget charade causes government shutdown
By Eric London
The annual back-and-forth budget charade between Democrats and Republicans dragged on late into the night on Friday when Senate Republicans failed to secure enough Democratic votes to pass a four-week federal funding extension. As a result, what has been called a “government shutdown” went into effect at 12:01 AM Saturday morning.
Talks between congressional Democrats, Republicans and President Trump will continue this weekend over protection for 800,000 recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, increased spending for border militarization and deportation roundup squads, disaster relief, and funding for most federal agencies. Whatever deal emerges from the kabuki theater in Washington will shift the entire framework of American politics further to the right.
Knowing that their so-called “continuing resolution” was doomed to fail in the Senate, House Republicans cynically added an extension of the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP) while excluding DACA protection in order to blame Democrats for prioritizing “illegal immigrants” over US citizen children. Five Senate Democrats voted for the Republican measure, including Doug Jones, whose victory in last month’s Alabama Senate race was called “a triumph for decency and common sense” by the New York Times editorial board. Read more »
“Fractures, Fears and Failures:” World’s ruling elites stare into the abyss
By Bill Van Auken
Next week will see some 2,500 bankers, hedge fund managers, corporate CEOS, government officials and celebrities descend once again on the Swiss Alpine resort of Davos for the World Economic Forum (WEF).
Paying $55,000 a head as the price of admission, one could well assume that the representatives of the financial and corporate oligarchy drawn to the annual meeting, and the lavish parties that accompany it, have a lot to celebrate.
Yet the principal report issued as the basis for the four days of meetings and closed-door discussions presents a picture of a global ruling elite living in mortal fear that growing economic and social crises, and, above all, the threat of world war and social revolution, may rob them of not only their fortunes, but their heads as well.
Titled “Fractures, Fears and Failures,” the WEF’s 2018 Global Risks Report includes subheads such as “Grim Reaping,” “The Death of Trade,” “Democracy Buckles,” “Precision Extinction”, “Into the Abyss”, “Fears of Ecological Armageddon” and “War without Rules.” Read more »
Facebook and Google outline unprecedented mass censorship at US Senate hearing
By Andre Damon
Behind the backs of the US and world populations, social media companies have built up a massive censorship apparatus staffed by an army of “content reviewers” capable of seamlessly monitoring, tracking, and blocking millions of pieces of content.
The character of this apparatus was detailed in testimony Wednesday from representatives of Facebook, Twitter, and Google’s YouTube before the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, chaired by South Dakota Republican John Thune.
The hearing was called to review what technology companies are doing to shut down the communications of oppositional political organizations. It represented a significant escalation of the campaign, supported by both Democrats and Republicans, to establish unprecedented levels of censorship and control over the Internet. Read more »
US announces indefinite deployment of military forces in Syria
By James Cogan
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson vowed yesterday that American imperialism will not relent from its neo-colonial ambition to overthrow the Russian- and Iranian-backed Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad. In a display of imperialist arrogance, Tillerson declared that the US will maintain military forces inside Syria indefinitely and not accept any government in Damascus that does not function as an American client state.
Tillerson reaffirmed the determination of the US to pursue regime-change in Syria in a speech to the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in California. It was fitting that his address was hosted by former Bush administration National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, an individual who should be indicted for war crimes for her role in the illegal invasion of Iraq.
The fraudulent pretext that the sole motive of the US in Syria was to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been cast aside. Throughout his speech, Tillerson repeatedly denounced Iran for supporting the Syrian government. The representative of the power that invaded Iraq and props up monarchial dictatorships in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states accused Tehran of seeking “dominance in the Middle East.” He declared that the US was committed to “reducing and expelling malicious Iranian influence from Syria.” Read more »
Massive raids threatened against immigrants in California
By Bill Van Auken
The Trump administration is preparing to launch a massive police-state dragnet against immigrants in California, pouring Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents from all over the country into the state’s northern cities with the aim of rounding up at least 1,500 undocumented workers.
The impending mass roundup was first reported Wednesday by the San Francisco Chronicle based on an anonymous source familiar with the planning for the operation. Both ICE and the Department of Homeland Security have refused to confirm or deny that the US government is preparing what will likely prove the largest immigration raid in US history.
The threat has created terror and panic in immigrant communities in California’s Bay Area, undoubtedly a desired effect on the part of ICE officials. There are reports of residents staying away from work and even leaving the region to escape the clutches of immigration agents. Read more »
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