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What you want to say – 15th February, Week 7, 2017 February 15, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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As always, following on Dr. X’s suggestion, it’s all yours, “announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose”, feel free.

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1. GW - February 15, 2017

The European Parliament has voted in favour of the CETA so-called ‘free trade agreement’. What CETA really does is:

– Allow corporations to sue governments in secret courts for making laws to protect their citizens.

– Hand multinationals a greater role in making new regulation and thereby risk sparking a race to the bottom in standards for important areas like food safety and environmental regulation.

– Lock in privatisation of services. CETA includes a ‘rachet’ clause which only allows governments to move in the direction of privatisation.

408 for, 254 against, 33 abstentions.

The voting record of MEPs will appear here shortly.

Check your MEP and remember not to vote for them next time around if they voted for CETA.

CETA can still be stopped at the regional or national level.

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CMK - February 15, 2017

What are the options in fighting this? This is a example where the ‘stay in the EU and fight to improve it’ have to set out their overall strategy. I presume it was the vote was along broadly Left/Right lines with the Social Democratic group and GUE/NGL voting against? But again what can be done to overturn the consequences of this vote, which seem pretty dire? Will Varouvakis’ outfit be organising to have it reversed? Will the Social Democratic group? What is the plan? These kinds of things are as bad as Brexit but seem to generate far less heat and light. Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing the resistance to this in the parliament and on the streets.

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GW - February 15, 2017

DiEM25 is already campaigning against it and has been for I think a year now.

Yes, there is a plan.

I’ll give more details of the other movements to oppose it when I get more time.

I suspect many so-called social democrats voted for. But we need to wait for the voting list to come out.

One (remote) possibility would be a campaign for a referendum in Ireland. Would the SP be up for that?

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2. Starkadder - February 16, 2017

2016 was the best year for the racialist right in the US since George Wallace left politics, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Several new hate groups appeared, including eight new
neo-Confederate units.
There was also a 197% increase in anti-Muslim hate organisations:

https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/intelligence-report/2017/year-hate-and-extremism

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3. Michael Carley - February 16, 2017

Might be of interest to many here:

Firstly, the title: Unhappy the Land is offered in light irony. Yet, like many ironic usages, it may end up being taken literally, as endorsing an overall stance which is not actually the author’s. Kennedy is in fact combating the ahistorical thesis that the Irish are ‘the most oppressed people ever’. Of course, he is not denying that there have been many (too many) disasters in the history of Ireland, including one among the most terrible famines ever known. On the other hand, Kennedy does not see all gloom. He worries instead at the cult of victimology that can be found amongst some communities in both Protestant and Catholic Ireland. Hence he took his title from Bertolt Brecht, whose full dictum declared: ‘Unhappy the land that is in need of heroes’.(1) A strong thematic hint. It’s not exactly Kennedy’s case that his fellow citizens need anti-heroes. Nor is he calling for a ‘merry Ireland’ thesis to rival the trope of ‘oppressed Ireland. But he wants much less one-sided and misleading mythology and much more historical realism.

http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/review/2067

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EWI - February 16, 2017

British historians find very persuasive reasoning in strawman arguments that British Empire wasn’t ‘worst oppressor ever’.

It’s not really news, is it?

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4. GW - February 16, 2017

Voting in the EU Parliament over CETA – lotta continua

You can search through the voting records here.

Here’s the voting in more detail:

First the Irish MEPs.

The Hall of Shame includes all the EPP (Fx) MEPs voted for CETA. The names are Brian Hayes, Seán Kelly, Mairead McGuinness & Deidre Clune, in case you need to know who NOT to vote for in the next EU elections.

Lynn Boylan, Matt Carthy & Liadh Ní Riada of SF along with Ming voted with the GUE-NGL line against CETA.

Nessa Childers voted against – against the S&D line; and (to me more surprisingly) so did Marian Harkin – against the ALDE/ADLE line. Fair play to both of them.

The vote result was pretty much a foregone conclusion when the so-called social democrat grouping decided to vote for this anti-worker, anti-democratic, anti-consumer agreement.

Despite a lot of lobbying the voting within S&D was 80 against and 96 for. A sign that 40% didn’t buy Sigmar Gabriel’s bullshit about the ‘concessions’ he supposedly won, but not enough to defeat the motion.

So what happens now?

Well there are various actions in the pipeline at national and regional level.

Some of the more likely to succeed are:

1. A referendum in Austria which will force the government there to veto all forms of TTIP, CETA and TISA. There is a massive majority against CETA in Austria from the Left and Greens the the racist right. It’s a matter of putting enough pressure on the government to force them to call a referendum.

2. A referendum in Holland. They alliance against CETA already has 200,000 of the necessary 300,000 votes to force a referendum, which would probably be lost.

3. In the German Bundesrat (which represents the regional governments at national level) 35 from 69 votes are needed to ratify CETA. So far the government only has 19 and if governments involving die Linke and Green parties abstain, as they should, then it can’t be ratified.

I could go on for a longish time, but I’ll spare you that.

All this goes to show that the EU offers many avenues for opposition to neo liberalism, provided a popular transnational movement chooses to organise against it. We already defeated TTIP, and there’s still a good chance of defeating CETA.

Eds – Stick this up as a post if you think it would be useful / enlightening.

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GW - February 16, 2017

I should have added that Austria has already gone through the process of collecting enough signatures to supposedly force the government into calling a referendum, but as far as I understand it the government only does this as a matter of custom and practice – rather than being constitutionally forced to do so.

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Jim Monaghan - February 21, 2017

Another unfair trade deal being effectively imposed. Though I think bilateral trade deals of teh future will be much more unfair. http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article40360
“The agreement will also provide explicit consent to the submission of a claim by corporations under investment arbitration tribunals. The recent investment arbitral decision on the Baggerwerken Decloedt En Zoon (BDZ) versus the Philippines case in favor of the Belgian corporation should be a wake up call to the Duterte administration on the dangers posed by free trade and investment agreements to our national interest. The International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) has ordered the Philippine government to pay P800 million (US$17 million) to the Belgian dredging company for scrapping the P18.7-billion Laguna Lake Rehabilitation Project (LLRP) in 2011. Aside from the award granted to winning claims, losing parties are also obliged under these agreements to shoulder the legal costs of both parties. In the Fraport case for example, it has been reported that the Philippine government spent US$58 million for litigation. These agreements therefore represent a huge strain on public coffers and on taxpayer’s money.”
From Second round of negotiations for pro-corporate free trade and investment deal between the European Union and the Philippines

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5. Starkadder - February 21, 2017

Milo Yiannopoulos has been banned from a conservative conference
in the US after making appalling comments about child abuse in an interview:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/feb/21/milo-yiannopoulos-book-deal-cancelled-outrage-child-abuse-comments

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CL - February 21, 2017

“Breitbart senior editor MILO claimed it was strange “that one gay guy from Britain has managed to accomplish more than thirty years of other conservatives,” on the American college campus, during SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Sunday.”
http://www.breitbart.com/milo/2017/02/19/milo-one-gay-brit-done-more-for-conservatism-than-30-years-establishment-conservatives/

“All is not well at Breitbart News.
A senior editor at the right-wing publication tells Washingtonian that “at least a half-dozen” employees are prepared to leave the company if Milo Yiannopoulos is not promptly fired.”
https://www.washingtonian.com/2017/02/20/breitbart-employees-threaten-walk-out-over-milo/

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6. sonofstan - February 21, 2017

Quote of the day:

[Gordon]Snell [Labour candidate in Stoke] also said that he had not discussed his “IRA supporting friend of Hamas” tweet with Corbyn

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