3 Reasons to Pay Attention to the LA Teacher Strike

1 hour 30 minutes ago

The first mass teacher labor action of 2019 is unfolding in California as the United Teachers Los Angeles walked out for the first time in 30 years.

This strike, which began on Jan. 14, isn’t just important to people …

The post 3 Reasons to Pay Attention to the LA Teacher Strike appeared first on Global Research.

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Romain Rolland: A little idealism to make the war booty more delectable

1 hour 37 minutes ago

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

French writers on war and peace

Romain Rolland: Selections on war

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Romain Rolland
From Liluli
Translator unknown

THE FAT MEN
…Money needs no bridge. Mercury has always had wings on his heels. [To the workmen, pointing to the people on the other bank.] Look, gentlemen, look over there; it’s appalling. They’re armed to the teeth. Cannons and catapults, muzzles pointing, ready to spit, their powder dry and their cord oiled. Halherds, muskets, a forest of surging arms. My flesh creeps, creeps at the sight. Prepare! It’s against us.

THE WORKMEN
No it isn’t, old fool. They’re playing. We’re doing just the same.

THE FAT MEN
They’re doing much more. Count, count! Ah! the brigands! They have seventy-one rifles, while we have only threescore and ten.

THE WORKMEN
But we have twenty-seven catapults against their twenty-six.

THE FAT MEN
Silence! Stop him!…The wretch! He is betraying the secrets of the defense.

THE WORKMEN
Defense against whom? We’re all good comrades.

THE FAT MEN
O, impious, impious! Abject creatures, can you be so far degraded that you don’t know how to hate your enemies?

THE WORKMEN
Faith, no! I neither love nor hate you.

THE FAT MEN
Men without a country! Can’t yon read? It is written: “Your enemies are the robbers who don’t belong here.”

THE WORKMEN
And what about the robbers here?

THE FAT MEN
The game is preserved here. I have a license to shoot.

THE WORKMEN
I don’t see the difference if I’m fleeced here or there.

THE FAT MEN
There’s a very great difference.

THE WORKMEN
Yes, certainly for you.

THE FAT MEN
Would you rather be fleeced here and there also? Listen a bit: isn’t it better that we should rob you in a friendly way, all in the family, leaving you for decency’s sake the breeches to your back? Rather than to see them adorning an alien’s behind? Understand, my lad: that you should be plucked, that is good, very good, and we have no fault to find; it’s the law of nature, the Law. But the law doesn’t demand that a goose should be plucked twice. Why the devil do you want to be? Upon my word I speak as your good friend; I am standing up for your rights…

***

THE CROWD OF GALLIP0ULET
It is God! God has come! God is among us! God is for us! God is ours!

The crowd has fallen into line and Master-God is seen advancing, wearing Gallipoulet uniform, epaulettes, gold braid and all, over his white robe – which makes him look like a sapper. Behind him, carried on a throne in the midst of the Dervishes and the Very-Fat, is Truth. She almost disappears under the heavy, stiff, gold-embroidered chasuble that hides her arms; her head droops under the weight of a massive tiara; a bright metallic veil covers her nose, mouth and chin as though she were an Arab woman: her eyes alone are free. With every appearance of veneration, the Very-Fat uphold the train of her long Byzantine mantle and the gold and silver cords attached to it. She is closely escorted by a bodyguard, bussolanti, journalists and diplomats, who allow no one to come near, and keep off the gapers.

MASTER-GOD
Yes, my friends, I am yours, wholly at your service, myself, my relations, my servants and my lady [He bows his head.] – the lady Truth, your queen and servant. Since one is your God, it is our duty to obey you. And, God’s truth, I love you; one is very comfortable staying in your house; the food is good; therefore your cause could not be bad. You laugh at me sometimes, I admit; but I can laugh too, and I can appreciate the worth of a good joke. Laugh away, my sons; you’ll pay for it later all the more; in the end you’re as meek as sheep. I love you, we love one another, we’re as thick as thieves. Therefore, since the time has come to take, let us take. But first a little idealism! The booty will seem the more valuable for that. Attention, please; for I am beginning…Your possessions, my friends, are sacred; so will other people’s be when they become yours, for you have Truth on your side (you can see her: she’s veiled so as not to spoil her complexion); and along with her you have Right, Mighty Liberty, Authority, Money and the Virtues (who, prudent girls, never marry a beggar). Capital and the Ideal, the Spirit that flies, hands that filch – in a word, the monopoly of Civilization. Everything about you is holy, holy, and you are holy little saints yourselves. Consequently anyone who attacks you is accursed and you may suppress him: ’tis an act of piety. Now it is obvious that you are being attacked: Truth has the proofs in a sealed envelope: but we mayn’t show them you: it’s a secret. Besides, it would really be undignified to discuss them: you are in the right; you have all the trumps in your hand; so you ought to be attacked. And attacked you are. Attack away, then; you will only be doing so to defend yourselves. What say I, yourselves alone? You will be defending Justice, the Virtues and myself, by God! whom you represent – I am not being modest – far better than We could ever do. On then, courage, kill, kill! For that is war. It is quite true that in my books it is written: “Thou shalt not kill. Love thy neighbor.” But the enemy is not your neighbor. And defending oneself isn’t killing. It’s only a matter of coming to a proper understanding of the question. My servants are here to set your hearts at rest. Cheerily, cheerily! my sons, come on; let’s fight!

ONE OF THE THIN MEN
But, my Lord, here’s Truth. Why does Truth not speak?

MASTER-GOD
She’s afraid of the air, my dear child. Her throat is delicate and she has toothache. But if you care to ask one of these gentlemen carrying her, the journalists of the escort, they know her from top to toe; they have viewed her between a pair of sheets.

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Final Steps in Syria’s Successful Struggle for Peace and Sovereignty

2 hours 10 minutes ago

The situation in Syria evolves daily and sees two situations very closely linked to each other, with the US withdrawal from Syria and the consequent expansionist ambitions of Erdogan in Syria and the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) takeover in Idlib

The post Final Steps in Syria’s Successful Struggle for Peace and Sovereignty appeared first on Global Research.

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No-Confidence Survivor: Theresa May and Brexit

2 hours 13 minutes ago

Theresa May’s prime ministership remains one of torment, drawn out, and weakened daily.  But does it really matter?  If it is true to claim that people deserve the government they elect, then there is something madly representative of the

The post No-Confidence Survivor: Theresa May and Brexit appeared first on Global Research.

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Nationwide strike by Tunisia's public sector workers

2 hours 51 minutes ago

Tunisian public sector workers ignored an appeal to limit calls for protest by the Tunisian President Beji Caïd Essebsi on Thursday by turning up in their numbers to continue requests for pay rise.

The general strike of the Tunisian public sector workers was well attended on Thursday.

Public schools, public transport and the national airline have been disrupted by this movement, initiated by the powerful trade union centre, UGTT.

Tunisian civil servants and public sector employees are demanding higher salary increases than those proposed by the government. The government proposed 20 euros for 2019 and 30 for 2020.

The union has justified its request citing the decline in purchasing power due to inflation, which reached 7.5% in 2018.

But Tunisia’s Minister of Finance in a televised speech on Wednesday evening assured that the state of public finances will not allow the UGTT’s requests to be accepted.

Youssef Chahed added that negotiations should continue after the 24-hour strike, the first of its kind, affecting both the civil service and public companies, according to the UGTT and historians.

AFP

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Burkina Faso insecurity challenge toughens [The Morning Call]

3 hours 5 minutes ago

It’s a case of one two many kidnappings in recent weeks. To the very latest, a Canadian national Kirk Woodman working for a mining company has been abducted in Northern Burkina Faso near the border with Niger.

Some weeks back in December, it was the case of a pair of aid workers, Canadian Edith Blais and Italian Luca Tacchetto also going missing.

But even for locals there are huge security concerns. Several thousand people protested last saturday in several cities of the country over increasing violence and attacks.

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Fuel protests continue in Zimbabwe despite crackdown [The Morning Call]

3 hours 5 minutes ago

There have been major clashes in fuel protests held across two of Zimbabwe’s main cities Harare and Bulawayo.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Wednesday called for calm as he vowed to tackle the ‘monumental task’ of fixing the shattered economy that has sparked the violent protests.

The protests entered their third day yesterday and security forces have so far attempted a crackdown with reports saying several people have been killed and hundreds arrested in the protests.

And speaking about arrests, a prominent activist, Pastor Evan Mawarire was taken from his home and charged with inciting violence on wednesday.

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Buhari says he is fit to govern, Atiku is 'ready to die' for Nigeria

3 hours 6 minutes ago

Nigeria’s two main presidential candidates, Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar, are intensifying their efforts to convince voters, with one month to go to polling in Africa’s most populous nation.

President Buhari of the ruling All Progressives Congress party (APC) and Atiku of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) both staged set-piece meetings to secure the support of a record 84 million registered voters at the ballot on February 16.

Emerging issues

As in 2015, security looms large, with a surge in attacks from the Islamic State-allied faction of Boko Haram against troops, forcing thousands of civilians to flee.

Concerns about electoral fraud are also high, with both the ruling and main opposition party accused of widespread vote-buying at recent gubernatorial polls.

In the past week, the government has faced claims it is trying to manipulate the judiciary after the country’s most senior judge was charged with non-disclosure of assets.

That has triggered concerns he could be replaced with a more sympathetic nominee, who could rule over any disputed result.

I am fit to govern: Buhari

Buhari, Atiku and other presidential candidates have been pencilled in to face off in a televised debate this weekend, as campaigning steps up a gear.

But on Wednesday Buhari made a rare appearance at a live question and answer session, at which he pointedly rejected concerns he was too old and too ill to seek a second term.

The 76-year-old former army general, who headed a military government in the 1980s, last year underwent months of treatment in London for an undisclosed illness.

Before the last election four years ago, he was forced to deny claims from the then-ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that he was terminally ill with prostate cancer.

Asked whether he was fit enough to withstand another four years in office, he said only: “I think we have made our case.”

Instead, he urged voters to assess his fitness on the campaign trail.

“Let’s see whether I’m fit or not,” he added.

This year’s elections will be the fifth time Buhari has stood for the presidency. He lost in 2003, 2007 and 2011, and disputed the results in court.

He was finally successful in 2015 in what was the first victory for an opposition candidate in Nigeria’s history.

Then-president Goodluck Jonathan was widely praised for conceding defeat, which helped avoid deadly violence that has characterised the aftermath of previous polls.

I am ready to die: Atiku

Abubakar, meanwhile, was in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, to meet business leaders and outline his economic policies.

The wealthy 72-year-old businessman, who was president Olusegun Obasanjo’s deputy from 1999 to 2007, has been seen as the more business-friendly candidate.

Nigeria is struggling to recover from months of recession that saw the value of the naira currency plunge, inflation soar and the government grapple to reverse the slump.

Atiku’s plan to revive Nigeria’s economy

In an interview with Bloomberg, Abubakar said he would remove central bank head Godwin Emefiele and float the naira if he is elected.

“I don’t think he’s pursued the right policies,” he was quoted as saying of Emefiele. Buhari’s stewardship of the economy, meanwhile, had been “clueless”, he added.

Earlier he vowed to “liberalise the economy to create jobs” in Nigeria, where despite being Africa’s leading oil producer, most of the more than 180 million people are poor.

High unemployment has been a persistent problem, particularly among the young.

Atiku also said he was committed to privatising state-run companies such as the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC).

The NNPC and other public bodies have been viewed as unofficial slush funds for successive governments, particularly around election time.

“I swear even if they are going to kill me, I will do it,” he said, characterising them as ‘mafia organisations’.

The corruption question

Buhari, who is also oil minister, promised to tackle endemic graft in Nigeria, including overhauling the NNPC to claw back billions of dollars in looted public funds.

But his critics argue his anti-corruption campaign has produced few prosecutions and been disproportionately focused on opposition figures.

Abubakar himself has long been dogged by accusations of corruption and the embezzlement of state funds during his time in office.

He has also been the subject of investigations in the United States. He denies any wrongdoing and has never been prosecuted.

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Human Beings Are Destroying Life on Earth. The Biosphere and Endless Wars

3 hours 10 minutes ago

It is easy to identify the ongoing and endless violence being inflicted on life on Earth. This ranges from the vast multiplicity of assaults inflicted on our children and the biosphere to the endless wars and other military violence as

The post Human Beings Are Destroying Life on Earth. The Biosphere and Endless Wars appeared first on Global Research.

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Martin Luther King Commemorations Take Place Amid Government Shutdown and Worsening Capitalist Crisis

3 hours 12 minutes ago

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 and grew into maturity in the Deep South city of Atlanta, Georgia during the Great Depression of the 1930s and early 1940s.

Therefore King witnessed firsthand the racism and …

The post Martin Luther King Commemorations Take Place Amid Government Shutdown and Worsening Capitalist Crisis appeared first on Global Research.

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