Sunday, 30 June 2019

Mahua Moitra's iconic speech in Parliament

Sir, I rise to oppose the Motion and to speak in support of the amendments made by our party. First of all, let me begin by humbly accepting the resounding mandate that this government has got. But, it is the very nature of the overwhelmingness of this mandate, of the totality of this mandate, that makes it necessary for us to be heard today, the voice of dissent to be heard today. Had the mandate been any less, there would have been a natural checks and balances woven into the narrative. That is not the case. The House belongs to the Opposition. So, I stand today to reclaim this inch that has been guaranteed to us.

Let me start by quoting Maulana Azad, whose statue stands tall outside this great hall. He once said of this country that he was fighting to build. He said, “It is India’s historic destiny that many human races and cultures should flow to her, finding a home in a respectable soil, and that many a caravan should find rest here. There are cultures, our languages, our poetry, our literature, our art, the innumerable happenings of our daily life shall bear the stands of our joined endeavour.

This is the ideal that was carved into our Constitution. This is the very Constitution each of us has sworn to protect. But, this Constitution is under threat today. Of course, you may disagree with me. You may say, acche din are here and the sun will never set on this Indian empire that this Government is seeking to build. But, then you are missing the signs. If you only would open your eyes, you would see that there are signs everywhere that this country is torn apart.

In the few minutes that have been allotted to me, let me list out these dangerous signs. The first sign – there is a powerful and continuing nationalism that is being sphered into our national fabric. It is superficial, it is xenophobic, it is narrow. It has a lust to divide. It is not a desire to unite. Citizens are being thrown out of their homes and are being called illegal immigrants. People who have lived in this country for 50 years have to show a piece of paper to prove they are Indians. In a country where ministers cannot produce degrees to show that they graduated from college, you expect disposed poor people to show papers as proof that they belong to this country?

Slogans and symbols are being used to test religion. There is no one slogan, no one symbol that ensure any Indian that they are patriot. There is no one test, Sir. No one test.

Sir, the second sign – there is resounding disdain for human rights that is permeating in every level of governance. There has been a ten-fold increase in the number of hate crimes between 2014 and 2019. This is like the valuation of an e-commerce start-up, Sir. There are forces in this country that are sitting there just pushing this number up. The lynching of citizens in broad daylight is being condoned. From Pehlu Khan in Rajasthan last year to Mr Ansari in Jharkhand yesterday, the list is not stopping.

The third sign – there is an unimaginable subjugation and control of mass media today. Five of the largest news media organizations in India are today either indirectly controlled or indirectly debted to one man in this country. TV channels spent a majority of airtime broadcasting propaganda for the ruling party. Coverage of every Opposition party is cut out. Let the government come out with facts and figures to show ad-spend per media house. What are they spending the money on and which media houses are they blocking out? The Information and Broadcasting Ministry employs over 120 people solely to check the content on TV channels every day to make sure that there is no anti-government news being put out.

Fake news is the norm. This election was not fought on the plank of farmer distress. This election was not fought on unemployment. This election was fought on Whatsapp, on fake news, on manipulating minds. Every piece of news that this government, I repeat, every piece of news that this government have put out, every lie that you put out, you repeat and repeat and then it becomes the truth. This is the Goebbels doctrine.

You talk about naamdar and kaamdar? Let me tell you the Congress party might have put up 36 dynasts since 1999 in parliament but the BJP put up 31. Every time you put out one figure anything that is not the truth, you are destroying the fabric of India. Yesterday the floor leader of the Congress party said that the co-operative movement has been a failure in Bengal and I urge him to check his facts. The one co-operative that he is referring to – Bhagirathi – in Murshidabad is now in profit. Every little misinformation that we put out serves to destroy this country.

The fourth sign is that there is an obsession with national security – identification of enemies. When we were children our mother used to tell us to do this and do that or kala bhoot will come. It is as though all of us in this country today are in fear of some nameless, shameless kala bhoot. There is fear pervading everywhere. The achievements of the army are being usurped in the name of one man. Is this correct? New enemies are being created every day and the irony is that over the last five years terrorist attacks have gone up manifold. There has been a 106 per cent increase in the death of jawans in Kashmir.

The fifth sign is that the government and religion are now intertwined in this country. Do I even need to speak about this? Need I remind you that we have redefined what it means to be a citizen? With the NRC and the Citizenship Amendment Bill we are making sure that there is only one community that is the target of anti-immigration laws. Members of Parliament these days are more interested in the fate of 2.77 acres of land than in the 812 million acres of the rest of India.

Yeh sirf 2.77 acre janmabhhoomi ka mudda nahi hain. Yeh sara desh, 80 crore acres, ko akhand rakhne ka prashna hai.

The sixth sign is the most dangerous. There is complete disdain for intellectuals and the arts. There is a repression of all dissent, funding is being cut for liberal education, scientific temperament which is enshrined in Article 51 of the Constitution. There is Article 51 of the Constitution, which demands a scientific temperament. Everything we are doing is pushing India back to the dark ages. Secondary school textbooks are being manipulated and distorted in order to indoctrinate.You don’t even tolerate questioning, let alone dissent.

I wish to quote the great Hindi poet, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar. I wish to tell you this, that the spirit of dissent is integral to India. You cannot shatter us.

“Haan haan duryodhan baandh mujhe, 
baandhne mujhe toh aaya hai. 
Zanjeer bari kya laya hai? 
Yadi mujhe baandhna chahe man, 
pehle toh baandh anant gagan.
Sune ko sadhna sakta hai,
woh mujhe kab baandh sakta hai?”

I ask you this, you cannot keep us down.

Number seven, the last sign; there is an erosion of independence in our electoral system. The Election Commission was used to transfer key officials. Rs 60,000 crore was spent in this election; 50 percent by one party, Rs 27,000 crore.

In 2017, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum put up a poster in its main lobby and it contained a list of all the signs of early fascism. Each of the seven signs I have pointed to you featured in that poster. There is a danger of fascism rising in India. It is incumbent upon all of us to stand up to it. Let us, the Members of this 17th Lok Sabha decide which side of history do we want to be on. Do we want to be upholders of this Constitution or do we want to be its poll bearers?

I do not dispute the resounding mandate that this Government has got but I have the right to disagree with your idea that ‘there was no one before and that there should be no one after you.’

In conclusion, I quote the poet Rahat Indori:

"Jo aaj saahibe masnad hain kal nahin honge 
Kiraaydaar hain jaati makaan thodi hai, 
Sabhi ka khoon shaamil yahan ki mitti me 
Kisi ke baap ka hindustan thodi hai?"

Trinamool Congress MP Ms. Mahua Moitra's 
maiden speech on rising fascism wins cheers

In a Parliament tarnished by heckling, sexist jibes, and blatant misogyny displayed by the old boys’ club, Mahua Moitra just blew their cockiness to smithereens. And the best part is, she did it with so much grace, dignity, and fierceness, that the men, mostly her political rivals, were evidently flummoxed. -- Author and journalist Chandrima Pal

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Climate changes: Our house is on fire - Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg, 16, Swedish girl

 Greta Thunberg (left) takes part in a ‘school strike for climate’
at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. 

Swedish school strike activist Ms. Greta Thunberg, 16, demands economists tackle runaway global warming. Her Davos speech here:

Our house is on fire. I am here to say, our house is on fire.

According to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), we are less than 12 years away from not being able to undo our mistakes. In that time, unprecedented changes in all aspects of society need to have taken place, including a reduction of our CO2 emissions by at least 50%.

And please note that those numbers do not include the aspect of equity, which is absolutely necessary to make the Paris agreement work on a global scale. Nor does it include tipping points or feedback loops like the extremely powerful methane gas released from the thawing Arctic permafrost.

At places like Davos, people like to tell success stories. But their financial success has come with an unthinkable price tag. And on climate change, we have to acknowledge we have failed. All political movements in their present form have done so, and the media has failed to create broad public awareness.

But Homo sapiens have not yet failed. 

Yes, we are failing, but there is still time to turn everything around. We can still fix this. We still have everything in our own hands. But unless we recognise the overall failures of our current systems, we most probably don’t stand a chance.

We are facing a disaster of unspoken sufferings for enormous amounts of people. And now is not the time for speaking politely or focusing on what we can or cannot say. Now is the time to speak clearly.

Solving the climate crisis is the greatest and most complex challenge that Homo sapiens have ever faced. The main solution, however, is so simple that even a small child can understand it. We have to stop our emissions of greenhouse gases.

Either we do that or we don’t.

You say nothing in life is black or white. But that is a lie. A very dangerous lie. Either we prevent 1.5C of warming or we don’t. Either we avoid setting off that irreversible chain reaction beyond human control or we don’t.

Either we choose to go on as a civilisation or we don’t. That is as black or white as it gets. There are no grey areas when it comes to survival.

We all have a choice. We can create transformational action that will safeguard the living conditions for future generations. Or we can continue with our business as usual and fail.

That is up to you and me.

Some say we should not engage in activism. Instead we should leave everything to our politicians and just vote for a change instead. But what do we do when there is no political will? What do we do when the politics needed are nowhere in sight?

Here in Davos – just like everywhere else – everyone is talking about money. It seems money and growth are our only main concerns.

And since the climate crisis has never once been treated as a crisis, people are simply not aware of the full consequences on our everyday life. People are not aware that there is such a thing as a carbon budget, and just how incredibly small that remaining carbon budget is. That needs to change today.

No other current challenge can match the importance of establishing a wide, public awareness and understanding of our rapidly disappearing carbon budget, that should and must become our new global currency and the very heart of our future and present economics.

We are at a time in history where everyone with any insight of the climate crisis that threatens our civilisation – and the entire biosphere – must speak out in clear language, no matter how uncomfortable and unprofitable that may be.

We must change almost everything in our current societies. The bigger your carbon footprint, the bigger your moral duty. The bigger your platform, the bigger your responsibility.

Adults keep saying: “We owe it to the young people to give them hope.” But I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.

I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.

Greta Thunberg, a Swedish climate activist told world leaders: 
'I don't want you to be hopeful, I want you to panic.
I want you to feel the fear I feel every day and then I want you to act.'
In an impassioned warning to act now on climate change,
Thunberg told her audience at Davos:
'Either we choose to go on as a civilisation or we don’t'

Ways to narrow rich - poor gap

Across much of the world, the share of national income flowing to labor has fallen over the past 40 years. Taxing the rich in order to fund spending on the poor is a straightforward solution to inequality problem. But the well-heeled are adept at squeezing through tax loopholes, and at marshaling the political clout needed to chip away at high tax rates. Income inequality is the result of bad policies that favor the rich and leave everyone else struggling. A social wealth fund could narrow the gap between the rich and the poor.
  • People don't realize how wide the gap between rich and poor has become. Credit masks poverty. We tend to see and associate with people who are like us, economically.
  • There's no surer ticket out of poverty than a solid education. But that education has to be affordable and it has to be equally distributed. Poorer students are years behind their richer peers. Richer kids go to a private schools. Poorer students go to a government schools that does not perform well. Education should be a great equalizer, not a source of division. 
  • A hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay. It's impossible to live on today's minimum wages, which are essentially poverty wages. Decent minimum wages (for 8 hours/day, 6 days/week work) must cover home rent, utility bills, groceries, basic health care expenses, children education and some savings, for a family of 2+2. Today's minimum wages or poverty wages that covers food expenses only, for a family of 2+2. They must be at least be double or treble.
  • It's convenient for employers to argue they can't pay higher wages. Their profits indicate otherwise. The reality today is that people who are working full-time are unable meet their family(2+2)'s basic necessities.
  • Tax rates on the very rich are so low. While middle class salaried person on an average pays income tax at more than 20% on gross real income, the rich pays lesser than 10% of his gross real income. The rich must be taxed at least 40-50% of gross real income and this additional amount must be spent for better education and health care of lower income groups. Without good education and sound health, one can't work hard to prosperity.
  • Give workers a voice in their companies. Worker union's role is is declining since 40 years and their voice shrank to a whisper. Meanwhile, the economy is pushing a greater share of money to the top management. While half of the people view worker unions in a favorable light, the other half continue to see unions as inefficient or annoying, but there are other ways to give workers a voice, such as supporting employee-owned companies.
  • Ban political donations by businesses and industry. Let politics get funded by people (individuals only) and government. Compel politicians keep away from influential rich industrialists.
  • Give money to the poor -- maybe at random. Randomly giving poorer people cash may not be such a bad idea. A nonprofit organisation which is experimenting with the concept is seeing promising results. The point is not exactly how a program like this should work but that when we trust people -- when we see them as equals -- they can succeed.
  • We see rich and poor differently. We assume that these divisions are inevitable. They don't have to be.
  • Investing in women (family-friendly work policies, paid parental leave, allowing kids in the workplace etc), agriculture (providing farmers with access to seeds, plant nutrients and production practices, risk mitigation, weather insurance etc) and reforming workplace laws (raising minimum wages and universal basic income etc).
Let us not forget history. The Roman Empire was one of the richest on the planet, with wealth concentrated in the hands of a few senatorial elite and the rest were utterly poor. Warning signs of inequality were ignored and it resulted in civil war and the entire empire collapsed. Do we want that again? Let us collectively work towards making an equitable world.

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Top five regrets of the dying

A palliative nurse who has counselled the dying in their last days has revealed the most common regrets we have at the end of our lives. 
  1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself,
    not the life others expected of me.

    Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
  2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
    They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. They deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

  3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
    Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others and they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
    Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
    Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to themselves, that they were content.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

AP Elections 2019 - Jagan trounces Naidu

In AP, Assembly seats won: YSRCP 151, TDP 23, Janasena 1
In AP, Lok Sabha seats won: YSRCP 22, TDP 3, Janasena 0.
In AP, Popular Assembly vote share: YSRCP 49.9%, TDP 39.2% and Janasena 6.8%.

Why Chandrababu Naidu (TDP) lost and how Jagan Mohan Reddy (YSRCP) won?
  • Chandrababu Naidu had promised virtually the moon but delivered little, during 2014-19. 
  • Massive anti-incumbency vote caused by Chandrababu Naidu’s falling credibility and his several political missteps.
  • Chandrababu Naidu’s running battle with the BJP-Modi government for the past two years and his U-turns on the critical question of getting special category status had badly dented his credibility.
  • Government employees turned hostile because of the use of modern tools such as biometric attendance etc.
  • Chandrababu Naidu chose to ignore the corruption and misdeeds of his party legislators who had become unpopular. They had turned into mini-Chief Ministers in their constituencies, bullying officials and extending patronage to land mafias, sand mafias and illegal liquor networks. Chandrababu Naidu refused to drop the majority of siting MLAs.
  • The incomplete flyover near the Kanaka Durga temple, Vijayawada, stuck out like a sore thumb. 
  • Jagan's 3648 km padayatra. “Why not give him one chance” was the common refrain. Jagan’s direct contact with the people helped him to counter Chandrababu Naidu’s powerful outreach to the media or his media management.
  • Jagan outsmarted Chandrababu Naidu by keeping up sustained pressure on the government for failing to get special category status and accusing Chandrababu Naidu that he had murdered democracy by luring 24 YSRCP MLAs into the TDP’s fold.
  • Jagan's campaign and his slogans such as “nenu vinna” (I heard your woes) and “nenu vunna” (I am there) resonated with the people.
  • Jagan's distasteful personal remarks about Pawan Kalyan, and accusing him of becoming a puppet in Chandrababu Naidu’s hands was unwise & untimely but was lucky at Pawan Kalyan's failure to garner Kapu’s (15.2% of AP population) support with his blurred agenda and the absence of a cohesive election strategy.
  • Condescending attitude. Ridiculing Jagan at every  any opportunity on “having so many criminal cases”.
  • Over projecting capital Amaravati's land pooling and construction with graphics.
  • Chandrababu Naidu’s claims of having pushed the state to the top in the number one position in ease of doing business etc cut no ice with voters. Their anger went much deeper as the party drew a blank in Vizianagaram or the defeat of Nara Lokesh in Mangalagiri, the core capital area?
  • Jagan managed to buck the negative image created by the CBI cases against him, often cited by Naidu. Naidu conveniently forgot that Jagan came very close to capturing power in 2014 Assembly elections losing by just 1.6% vote margin. 
  • Failure to forge alliance with Pawan Kalyan's Jana Sena Party and Left parties. Naidu's last minute welfare schemes failed translate into vote bank.
  • People’s expectations have gone up phenomenally. Prashant Kishore sharpened Jagan's style of campaigning and strategy. 
Jagan owes credit for his victory to Prashant Kishor, who have stayed with the YSRCP for nearly two years, guiding its strategy, conducting campaigns, training the cadres, handling social media and press releases etc. YSRCP's Ummareddy Venkateswarlu candidly said: “Naidu’s downfall began the day he brought his son into politics.”

The present model of politics and elections is very expensive and is heavily dependent on unlawful methods, mafia, liquor and yet attracts many people because of power and corruption money with return to investment exceeding 1,000% p.a. for next 5 years in return for compromising ethics and morals. The campaigning is so vulgar the people of character mutes their TV sets. Naidu's failure is due to over confidence, extravaganza in spending state money, over projecting small achievements, inability to avoid fight with Modi-BJP, failure to forge alliance with JSP, Left parties, impress upon other castes to stay put with TDP, failure to garner woman votes and above all state government employees feeling uneasy in his administration and so on. He virtually committed the identical mistakes as in 2004. If at least Naidu had roped in Pawan Kalyan in alliance with TDP, TDP+ would have got about respectable 70-80 seats or even a surprise victory with 90+ seats. Fighting with all in all fronts (Jagan, Pawan, KCR, Modi etc), there is hardly any way for Chandrababu Naidu led TDP to win these  elections. Hence the TDP's defeat is not a surprise at all but crushing defeat of 23 of 175 is totally unexpected and was easily avoidable.

Monday, 10 June 2019

Uneconomic growth

Growth is uneconomic when it increases environmental and social costs by more than it increases production benefits. The cost associated with economic growth arises as a result of  the social and environmental sacrifices made necessary by that growing encroachment on the eco-system. David Suzuki argued that ecologies can sustain 1.5-3% of economic growth per year and any higher growth will necessarily cannibalize the natural capital of soil or forest. But when growth becomes uneconomic we must find new answers to these problems. 
  • Historically economic growth was the answer given to the major problems raised by Malthus (overpopulation), Marx (unjust distribution), and Keynes (unemployment).
  • Globalization is the current ideological commitment to global economic integration via free trade and free capital mobility. Consequently many tractable national problems like overpopulation, unjust distribution, and unemployment, are converted into one intractable global problem, in the name of “free trade,” and in the interests of transnational capital.
  • Growth in GNP is so favored by economists that they call it economic growth. GNP is supposed to grow forever. There are costs incurred by GNP growth. These costs are depletion, pollution, ecological disruption, sacrifice of leisure time, disutility of some kinds of labor, destruction of community in the interests of capital mobility, takeover of habitat of other species, and running down a critical part of the inheritance of future generations.
  • The law of diminishing marginal utility of income tells us that we satisfy our most pressing wants first, and that each additional unit of income is dedicated to the satisfaction of a less pressing want. So the marginal benefit of growth declines. 
  • The law of increasing marginal costs tells us that we first make use of the most productive and accessible factors of production and only use the less productive factors as growth makes it necessary. Consequently, marginal costs increase with growth. 
  • When rising marginal costs equal falling marginal benefits then we are at the optimal level of GNP, and further growth would be uneconomic.
  • The only limit to economic growth is technology, and there is no limit to technology, ergo no limit to economic growth. Therefore the very notion of “uneconomic growth” makes no sense. Growth does not increase the scarcity of anything, rather it diminishes the scarcity of everything! How can one possibly oppose growth? 
  • Growth that relies entirely on exploiting increased knowledge rather than exploiting increased resource consumption may not qualify as uneconomic growth.
  • Economists agree that GNP was not designed to be a measure of welfare; it measures only activity. Nevertheless they assume that welfare is positively correlated with activity, so that increasing GNP will increase welfare. This is equivalent to believing that the marginal benefit of GNP growth is greater than the marginal cost. The empirical test results turn out not to support the belief.
  • Measures of welfare are difficult and subject to many arbitrary judgments. The empirical evidence that GNP growth has increased welfare is weak. Impact on welfare via policies that increase GNP growth are weak and nonexistent. 
  • Economists habitually argue that we need not worry about global warming because the only climate-sensitive sector of the economy is agriculture, and agriculture accounts for only 3% of GNP. These economists evidently don’t need to eat! 
  • Overpopulation would be cured by the demographic transition. When GNP per capita reaches a certain level children become too expensive in terms of other goods forgone and the birth rate automatically falls. Is it necessary for Indian per capita consumption to rise to the Swedish level for Indian fertility to fall to the Swedish level, and if so what happens to the Indian ecosystem as a result of that level of total consumption?
  • Unjust distribution of wealth between classes would be rendered tolerable by growth, the rising tide that lifts all boats, to recall another slogan. Yet growth has in fact increased inequality both within and among nations. To make matters worse, even the metaphor is wrong, since a rising tide in one part of the world implies an ebbing tide somewhere else.
  • The assumption that growth is economic, that it is making us richer rather than poorer. But now growth is becoming uneconomic. Uneconomic growth will not sustain the demographic transition and cure overpopulation. Neither will it help redress unjust distribution, nor cure unemployment. Nor will it provide extra wealth to be devoted to environmental repair and clean-up. Indirect growth based solutions to the big problems no longer work.
  • We now need more direct and radical solutions to the problems of Malthus, Marx, and Keynes: population control to deal with overpopulation; redistribution to deal with excessive inequality; and measures such as a public employer of last resort, and ecological tax reform to raise resource prices relative to labor. These must be national policies. Many nations have made progress in controlling their population growth, in limiting domestic income inequality, and in reducing unemployment. 
  • Global economic integration by free trade and free capital mobility effectively erases the policy significance of national boundaries. Nations can no longer internalize environmental and social costs in the interests of resource efficiency and social justice, because capital is free to produce elsewhere and still sell its product in the market whose social controls it just escaped. Capital escapes higher wages and taxes of any kind, in particular taxes aimed at re-distributive policies that redress excessive inequality and poverty.
  • Globalization refers to global economic integration of many formerly national economies into one global economy, mainly by free trade and free capital mobility, but also by easy or uncontrolled migration.
  • Whether capital moves to overpopulated low-wage countries, or poor workers move to the high-wage country, the result is the same -- a competitive bidding down of wages to the detriment of countries that have followed a high-wage policy by limiting their numbers and by more equally distributing their wealth.
  • The laboring class in the low-wage country gains in terms of number employed, though not usually in terms of increased wages because of the virtually unlimited supply of cheap labor resulting from past and present demographic growth. The capitalist class in the high-wage country gains from lower wage costs at home as well as abroad. 
  • The big losers are workers in the high-wage countries. With low wages now a competitive advantage in attracting capital, we might expect policies aimed at increasing the supply of labor in previously high-wage countries.
  • Globalization operates by standards-lowering competition to bid down wages, to externalize environmental costs, and reduce social overhead charges for welfare, education, and other public goods. It is far worse than an unrealistic global dream -- it actively undercuts the ability of nations to continue to deal with their own problems of overpopulation, unjust distribution, unemployment, and external costs. It converts many relatively tractable national problems into a single intractable global problem.
Globalization via export-led growth is the new philosopher’s stone of the IMF-IBRD-WTO alchemists. Nations can all turn their lead into gold by free trade. With the revival of alchemy comes a return to the logic of Mercantilism: wealth is gold, and the way for countries without mines to get gold is to export more goods than they import, and receive payment for the difference in gold -- the alchemy of trade. The way to export more than you import is to reduce wages, and to externalize social and environmental costs, because that keeps prices of your exports competitive. Low wages also prevent your laboring class majority from buying imported goods and thereby dissipating the trade surplus. The way to keep wages low is to have an oversupply of labor. An oversupply of labor can be attained by easy immigration and high birth rates among the working class. Globalization requires, therefore, that for a nation to be rich, the working-class majority of its citizens must be poor, increase in number, and live in a deteriorating environment! Behind these absurdities is the further contradiction that under globalization it no longer makes sense to speak of  “nations” (only corporations); nor of “citizens” (only employees).

Globalization is accelerating the shift to an era of uneconomic growth, a time when, as John Ruskin foresaw, “That which seems to be wealth may in verity be only the gilded index of far-reaching ruin.”

Sunday, 2 June 2019

China putting minority Uighur Muslims in concentration camps

China is accused of locking up hundreds of thousands of Muslims without trial in its western region of Xinjiang. The government denies the claims, saying people willingly attend special “vocational schools” which combat “terrorism and religious extremism”. A BBC investigation has found important evidence of the reality. The first reports that China was operating a system of internment camps for Muslims in Xinjiang began to emerge last year (2017). The facilities are exclusively for Xinjiang's Muslim minorities, many of whom do not speak Chinese as their mother tongue.

What's happened to the vanished Uighurs of Xinjiang? 

The United States accused China on May 3, 2019 of putting more than a million minority Muslims in concentration camps. Former detainees have described of being tortured during interrogation at the camps, living in crowded cells and being subjected to a brutal daily regimen of party indoctrination that drove some people to suicide. The Chinese Communist Party is using the security forces for mass imprisonment of Chinese Muslims in concentration camps. The estimated number of detained Muslims could be “closer to 3 million citizens.” An assistant secretary of defense, defended the use of a term normally associated with Nazi Germany as appropriate, under the circumstances.

There are more than 10 million Uighurs in Xinjiang. Resentment among Uighurs over the perceived uneven distribution of the proceeds of that growth has simmered. In the past decade hundreds of lives have been lost to a mixture of riots, inter-community violence, premeditated attacks and the police response.

Over the past four years, Xinjiang has been the target of some of the most restrictive and comprehensive security measures ever deployed by a state against its own people. These include the large-scale use of technology - facial recognition cameras, monitoring devices that read the content of mobile phones and the mass collection of bio-metric data. Harsh new legal penalties have been introduced to curtail Islamic identity and practice - banning, among other things, long beards and headscarves, the religious instruction of children, and even Islamic-sounding names. Uighurs are now subject to ethnic profiling at thousands of pedestrian and vehicle checkpoints while Han Chinese residents are often waved through. They face severe travel restrictions with an edict forcing residents to surrender all passports to the police for “safe keeping”. Uighur government officials are prohibited from practicing Islam, from attending mosques or from fasting during Ramadan. Cross-referencing information with other media sources, at least several hundred thousand and possibly over a million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities could have been interned for re-education. The documents never refer to the facilities as internment camps, but as education centers, or more accurately, “re-education centers”. Academics and journalists have documented grid-style police checkpoints across Xinjiang and mass DNA collection, and human rights advocates have decried martial law-type conditions there.

The Chinese government wants to delete Uighur identity from the world.