New Evidence Shows U.S. Role in Congo’s Decision to Send Patrice Lumumba to His Death by Stephen R. Weissman
August 1, 2010
Fifty years ago, the former Belgian Congo received its independence under
the democratically elected government of former prime minister Patrice
Lumumba. Less than seven months later, Lumumba and two colleagues were, in
the contemporary idiom, “rendered” to their Belgian-backed secessionist
enemies, who tortured them before putting them before a firing squad. The
Congo would not hold another democratic election for 46 years. In 2002,
following an extensive parliamentary inquiry, the Belgian government assumed
a portion of responsibility for Lumumba’s murder.
When those who rant against The Nanny State are pressed about what they’d like to see instead, they often point to philanthropy as their preferred model of social progress and uplift. Proven, effective, and – most of all – voluntary, they’d offer. The billionaire Giving Pledge, in which ultra-wealthy individuals promise to give more than half their loot to ‘good causes’ after they die, hit the headlines earlier this month to the usual cooing from those fulminating against progressive taxation. See? The rich can redistribute their wealth without the state doing it for them. The rich aren’t just rich – they’re generous too!
We offer a brief overview of the expansion of agribusiness in the global
food system in the past two decades, with some thoughts on what we can
expect from these companies in the years ahead.
Farmer suicides sit low in the list of “unlikely subjects for satire’. But if Brasseye can successfully lampoon the moral panic around paedophilia, it’s not a stretch to think that someone might do something similar with agrarian despair. What’s surprising, at least according to the reviews and interviews, is quite how successfully Peepli Live has skewered almost every venerated Indian institution, from media to state to religion. The film’s out soon, and the trailer’s here now.
Status of Female Farmers Rises During Food Crisis By: Rebecca Harshbarger
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Women produce between 60 and 80 percent of the food in poorer countries. Sex-specific data aggregation and the integration of female farmers’ produce into school programs are recent innovations boosting the status of rural women.
The good people at the Takeaway invited me on this morning to talk about a recent NY Times article in which India’s Congress party is reported to be pushing for the right to food to be written into its constitution.
Like most folk I know, I’ve a few friends and comrades who manage somehow to read everything before breakfast, and send out the distilled wisdom of the day’s news. (I’m thinking of you, BK, DM, JH, JC, KN, IHL.) In an occasional series of posts here on the blog, I’ll forward the best of these without comment. Just FYI.
Rural cities in Chiapas: Government plundering the peasantry
(first of two parts) Mariela Zunino y Miguel Pickard – 26-december-2008 – num.571
Introduction After torrential storms in much of South-East Mexico in October and November 2007, the Chiapas state government, led by Juan Sabines Guerrero, put forward the Sustainable Rural Cities program. The program is meant to provide housing for thousands of victims who had lost their loved ones, houses, land, animals and personal possessions. However, the real aim of the Rural Cities program is to “organise” the use of resources in the countryside, which means separating campesinos from the land where they currently live. The program will concentrate people from the countryside into small villages, then transfer ownership of their land and its exploitation to big companies. The origins of the Rural Cities Program At the end of June 2008, the leaders of Mexico, Central America and Colombia decided to relaunch the Plan Puebla Panama (PPP) renaming it the “Mesoamerican Integration and Development Project”, or Mesoamerican Project. This new name is an attempt to rejuvenate the PPP, although its logic remains the same: to integrate the whole territory from southern Mexico to Colombia and make it conform to the needs of large-scale capital. Over 100 economic projects made up the PPP when it began in 2001, but it was agreed to leave only a score of these, concentrating on energy, electricity, health, education, telecommunications, agro-fuels, roads and housing.(1) Thus we now face a “concentrated PPP”. The founding document of the PPP, in its chapter on Mexico,(2) points out that one of the objectives is to generate a sustainable management of resources; hence the need to promote programs of territorial rearrangement due to the highly dispersed population in Southern and South-East Mexico. Similarly, in November 2008, the World Bank published its World Development Report 2009, subtitled “Reshaping Economic Geography”, which claims that economic integration is the key to bringing development to all corners of the world. Economic integration, says the report, means, among other things, bringing urban and rural areas closer together. To quote the World Bank: “The policy challenge is getting density right, harnessing market forces to encourage concentration and promote convergence in living standards between villages and towns and cities.”(3) This is the context in which to view the Rural Cities Program that the government of Juan Sabines intends to carry out in Chiapas, with the same guiding principles: reorganising rural spaces, concentration to overcome dispersion, and bringing rural production into the market framework. It is obvious that the logic of the Rural Cities project is overwhelmingly economic and not social, as its supporters say.
Detroit garden nurtures inmates near end of prison sentences
BY JOHN GALLAGHER
FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER
Michigan prison inmates finishing their sentences at the Gateway
halfway house on East Jefferson Avenue at Lillibridge Street have
created a small but vibrant example of an inner-city garden. Using a
vacant lot and recycled debris from a demolished house nearby, the
inmates are growing corn, tomatoes, peppers, watermelons, lettuce and
The men give away the fruits and vegetables to needy people and
appreciate purposeful work to fill their final days of incarceration.
For James (Bear) Fuller, 51, who spent 34 years in prison for
homicide, the garden is a metaphor for the changes he and other
prisoners have tried to make in themselves.
“I look at vegetables and fruits like people,” Fuller said last week.
“They need to be nurtured, tended to. A garden needs to be weeded just
like a person’s spirit.”