Category Archives: Economic Issues

TAKING A STAND : Black athletes revive protest in the sports world

first at –
Raymond V. Murphy
December 2017

Oct. 29, 2017. After the owner of the Houston Texans called the players “inmates,” the team knelt in protest during the national anthem. Photo: Elaine Thompson / AP

When political resistance erupted throughout the country after Trump’s election, professional athletes were hardly expected to be catalysts for social change, or even on the front lines of protest.

Back in the 1960’s individual athletes expressed dissent — U.S. sprinters John Carlos and Tommie Smith gave the All Power to the People salute from the 1968 Olympic podium in Mexico City. Heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali rejected the draft because of his opposition to the Vietnam war. They paid a heavy price. So athletes in team sports usually avoided the political fray. Basketball superstar Michael Jordan avoided political positions because he feared losing commercial endorsements. But things are changing!

Since the start of the 2017 season, up to 350 football players, predominantly Black, have knelt, sat down, locked arms, or stayed in locker rooms during the national anthem. Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick ignited this dissidence in August 2016, when he sat on the bench during the song, to protest police murders of unarmed Black people throughout the country.

Last season, Kaepernick told, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me this is bigger than football.’’ He has been blacklisted from the NFL and players who have joined the protest have been harassed, mocked, and received death threats.

In the sports world, backing the Stars and Stripes isn’t considered political. But when players claim Black Lives Matter or defend gay rights, owners squirm in their luxury box seats. The National Football League, the richest and most politically conservative of all the sports leagues, is comfortably wrapped in the flag and leads cheers for the military industrial establishment. Outrageously, the mega-rich NFL was a non-profit until 2015, only giving up the status to avoid revealing executive salaries.

The military connection. The U.S. armed forces has marketing agreements with most of the major sports leagues, and a congressional report revealed that the Department of Defense paid $6.8 million to sports teams for military propaganda at games from 2011 to 2015. In 2013, the National Guard paid the Atlanta Falcons $315,000 to unfurl the American flag at the Georgia Dome, and paid $10,000 for a swearing-in ceremony at halftime of a Seattle Seahawks’ game.

NFL players used to stay in the locker room until after the national anthem. But in 2009 they were ordered to stand on the sidelines. A league source told ESPN, “It was a marketing strategy to make the players look more patriotic.” It also recruits to a U.S. military stretched thin from endless wars.

The face of protest. Initial support for NFL protesters came from female soccer and basketball players, the lowest paid pros. The Women’s National Basketball Association ranks as the most politically active of professional sports leagues. Their ranks are also overwhelmingly Black. Last year, three entire WNBA teams — the Indiana Fever, New York Liberty and Phoenix Mercury — wore Black Lives Matter t-shirts in support of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, two Black men shot by police in the same week.

WNBA players protested injustice before Kaepernick took the knee. And they still do. At least five WNBA teams stood in protest during the national anthem after an anti-Nazi protester was murdered in Charlottesville in August. At the first game of the WNBA Finals in 2017, the Minnesota Lynx linked arms in solidarity against Trump’s’ “Kick the sons of bitches out!” remarks. The opposing Los Angeles Sparks walked off the court into the locker room. That same weekend, over 300 NFL football players took part in some form of protest.

With Kaepernick out of the league, high-profile players like Seattle Seahawk Michael Bennett, who was attacked and threatened by Vegas cops, and Oakland running back Marshawn Lynch have picked up the protest mantle. Bennett publicly asked for, and got, the support of white players, and has been taking a knee during the anthem since last season, and Lynch has been sitting down for the anthem this season. Protests happen each game day across the league. Kaepernick has filed a grievance with the support of the players’ union accusing the league of colluding to keep him out of football.

Billionaire bosses vs. players. Some NFL owners claimed to care — a little — about players’ free speech rights. But in a closed-door meeting about owners’ response to the protests, Houston Texans owner Robert McNair made his position clear: “We can’t have the inmates running the prison.” The result? Thirty players on the Texans’ 53-man roster knelt during the anthem prior to Houston’s game at Seattle, on October 29.

At that same meeting, several team owners blamed San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York for the “crisis” by allowing Kaepernick to get away with kneeling in the first place.

Owner reprisals aside, players’ activism continues. There is no solution while teams are privately owned and run for profit and closely tied to the military.

Sports teams should be publicly owned and run, like the Green Bay Packers. Its game tickets are the most desired in the country, in arenas publicly owned and where taxpayers are not gouged to build stadiums for the profit of private owners. All teams should be required to provide health and retirement protections for players and all other workers involved in the sport.

The ongoing political activism by players and fans has already had an exhilarating effect on a public fed up with Trump twitters, and now is the time to help it grow.

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Callout for Canadian Contacts!!!

To help with the on-going actions in any way please use the contact information and links from the appeal…
GM Workers 1To give a quick overview, I am a volunteer with the Portland Central America Solidarity Committee in Portland, Oregon. I and a number of individuals from other organizations, mostly in Detroit, Michigan, have been supporting the Colombian workers who were injured while working for General Motors at the company’s Bogota, Colombia plant. The injuries were caused by extremely poor working conditions and GM instead of improving the assembly line, rigged a system to illegally rid itself of injured workers.
The injured workers have been challenging GM through all of the government regulatory processes available to them for a number of years and in August of 2011, set up a tent encampment in front of the U.S. Embassy on the street in Bogota, Colombia.

GM Workers 2Since then, they have gone through a series of 4 dramatic hunger strikes with their lips stitched closed with a needle and thread and have maintained the tent encampment to this day- over 1000 days of occupation. The injured workers have received death threats and been victims of politically motivated crimes.

But the pressure that they have generated has resulted in improved conditions within the plant, including $6 million worth of ergonomic improvements to the assembly line and the opportunity for new hires to organize without the same degree of retaliation. Though GM acknowledged the legitimacy of their grievances by sitting down to negotiate with them, the company offered a pittance of a settlement- it was not even enough to cover the back surgeries that many of them need as a result of showing up to work every day. This is a significant shirking of GM’s legal responsibility to these workers as laid out by Colombian law.

So while GM has refused to settle, the workers, permanently disabled, have been unable to find employment and have been slowly sliding into financial misery. Currently injured worker Carlos Trujillo is facing the foreclosure of his home. Luckily he has connected with a foreclosure resistance group on the ground in Bogota, Victimas de Banqueros and they have gone through his papers and found that Colpatria bank (which is owned by Scotiabank) is carrying out fraud in Carlos’ case. They are challenging it legally, though the Colombian courts are tilted heavily toward the banks, and we are trying to create an international outcry. We feel that the mere evidence of this case gaining international attention will create a significant amount of pressure and might be enough to prevent the foreclosure.

As I said, we are a network of individuals in the U.S. Our Detroit team is located close enough to the Canadian border to be planning a trip to Windsor to deliver a letter and do an action in front of Scotiabank. We are hoping to connect with others in Canada who might be willing to do similar actions in their cities as well as to participate in actions such as faxing the president of Colpatria in Colombia (we have a free way to send an international fax online).

We would very much appreciate any connection you can make for us with individuals involved especially in Latin America solidarity and foreclosure resistance campaigns in Canada, although we would be more than happy to work with anyone who cares about human rights or who is interested in supporting this international foreclosure resistance campaign.

I would appreciate any contacts that you could give me. We would be happy to prepare a communique as well as a list of actions that individuals and groups can take.


Paige Shell-Spurling


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Kari Polanyi Book Launch

Presentation and Discussion of Kari Polanyi’s new book “From the Great Transformation to the Great Financialization: On Karl Polanyi and Other Essays”

w\ discussion and introduction by Jooneed Jeeroburkhan and Margie Mendell – from October 15th, 2013

check out this article and review of the book:

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Canada’s Middle – Betrayed by the Right and the Left

Tariq Jeeroburkhan

April 2, 2013 – Canadian politics is the highest form of Canadian fictional literature that exists in this country today. The plot and storyline are just as contrived as the actors and props who consider themselves Canadian “political players.”

canadamoneyThe story lines and agendas are decided upon, literally years in advance, by people whom the Canadian public have never seen, certainly have never elected to represent them, and for the most part aren’t even aware exist. In fact, it is the ignorance of most Canadians as to how this country’s narrative is really decided and applied that provides the opportunity to pretend that we live in a functional democracy.

For these people, and the Canadian Establishment that robs them blind as long as they think everything is okay, ignorance truly is bliss.

Today’s Narrative

Stephen Harper and his Conservative (Right) government have been the face and voice of Canada for the last five years.

Despite the complaints and catcalls from the Canadian Left (who like to be referred to as “progressives”) denouncing Harper as a despot, dictator and determining his caucus to be nothing more than a muppet show, Canadians from the middle were somewhat forced to concede a majority mandate to Harper’s Conservatives in the last Federal election, 2010. The Conservatives were not the best Canada could do, but there were no other options as the Canadian Middle saw nothing different, in practice, from the Canadian Left.

While the Liberals, Canada’s traditional centre-left party, are the ones who have created this mess in our country by leaving fifteen years-worth of political, social, and financial alliances hanging in the wind, they have had little trouble filling Canada’s third party role, which is to be the “voice of conscience” and objects of ridicule for the government and official opposition, when necessary, “in play” for whoever can rein them in.

The anachronistic role a third party is expected to play in Canada’s political storyline, amongst other blatant misdirections, is but one example of what renders the whole act out of date and out of touch with the Canadian people who can no longer identify with the roles. This has been the imposed fate on a Canadian people who are having an increasingly difficult time identifying with the political actors themselves – because we are finally beginning to realize the truth about how Canada’s political theatre operates to exploit us all.

The Reality

The Canadian people no longer see following this melodrama as an acceptable way to live – we don’t want to chase fictional carrots or worse, wait for carrots to be dangled in front of us, we want security

through all forms of independence, financial independence being first and foremost, as long as we live in a society where access is based on financial accumulation.

Therefore, the Canadian people can no longer relate to the Canadian Establishment’s script for this country – mainly because the actors and props within the political parties themselves no longer represent what their parties claim to stand for.

It’s not that we can no longer relate to what the Liberals, the NDP or the Conservatives stand for, it’s that we no longer feel that the political actors themselves, our political representatives, can relate or even care about what they are supposed to stand for.

In most cases they don’t know and in some cases they don’t care. That is how far the separation between the political class stooges, the pigs that pull their strings, and the majority of the Canadian electorate has become. Apartheidists eat your heart out! Canada has perfected it.

Canadian Apartheid

The Apartheid in this country is a mirror of the Apartheid in the US – a conscious effort to create a complete separation between the people who vote and the mob of people who represent them. The goal of this mob, which includes all the lackeys of elected representatives, corrupt civil servants, corrupt security and portions of mainstream media, is to eliminate any honest voice from participating in the formation of legislation, the establishment of national priorities, and most importantly, having any say whatsoever in the distribution of any resources, including our very own tax dollars.

This is somewhat different from the racially or culturally-based Apartheid in old South Africa or today’s Israel, where people who are of different cultures than the majority are ostracized and not provided with equal protections under the laws of state. In Canada and the US all can vote, all have equal protection under the law, only the formation and passing of the legislation and laws have been completely removed from the influence of all people – not just those of different cultures.

How it Works

Before continuing, this must be understood: The entire political class in this country, save for a few honest representatives whose participation within the system is necessary to maintain the appearance of credibility, basically work together as a “family”, regardless of their political stripes, to control the bulk entirety of this country’s resources for themselves.

To maintain this deception a highly visible and partisan, to the point of belligerent, under-class of political lackeys and wannabes must try to impose on the public consciousness and members of the public itself a belief in the absolute disdain the parties appear to have for each other. These are the spots usually reserved for the sons and daughters of Canada’s corporate and over-privileged classes and this time in their lives is meant to give them an understanding of how this country really is run so they will be ready when they are handed the silver spoon.

These people comprising the Canadian political class, who have described themselves to me as a “family” during their numerous but substantially empty recruiting efforts, obviously do not include the majority of the Canadian people in their concept of “family.” They have a concept of “resources” that includes Canadian citizens as objects and nothing more than unpaid props available for the ruling class’s disposal.

What’s most telling is the “butterfly effect” that one misused or wasted resource can have on the entire dynamic. That is evident in the appalling lack of any practical difference between the actions and priorities of the official leader of the opposition Tom Mulcair and Prime Minister Stephen Harper – the only real difference is how they sell themselves to the Canadian people through the mainstream media.

The only things that ever change is the casting for the roles that each member of the overall troupe is expected to play, depending on who is in the government or opposition at the moment.

This means that had Tom Mulcair been Prime Minister since 2006 instead of Stephen Harper the exact same legislation and policies would have been passed over that time, only they would have been marketed and sold to the Canadian people so as to reflect what the NDP is supposed to stand for, as opposed to what the Conservatives are supposed to stand for.

That is the Canadian Establishment’s favourite game  played by the Canadian political class and their partners in the Canadian mainstream media and security classes who consider the Canadian people to be nothing more than “fish” or “marks”.

This enables that in practice, all legislation meant to pass or fail is already decided upon well in advance in the backrooms and sky-lounges by the corporate establishment who remain in place beyond mandates, while it is the political parties and the individual actors that come and go with each change in government – no surprises for the Establishment business interests.

It is simply up to whoever the people “choose” as government to promote the bills when they come to term and whoever the people “choose” as opposition to oppose them.

The people have no say at all in what legislation gets proposed, even less say in what gets passed, and incredibly, for their part the political class actors and props don’t have much say either (just higher yearly incomes at our expense for their role as mouthpiece – which is what most of them are in it for).

Legislation and priorities are decided upon by members of the Canadian Establishment who pull the strings of their political class puppets to get their agendas approved. The Canadian people and their needs are rendered completely irrelevant in this reality – and so is the choice we make during elections every four or five years, once you realize that the only people we have the option of voting for all take their directives from the same corrupt “family.” This is a “family” that the Canadian people are NOT a part of, and once representatives are elected, regardless of their party ties, intentions or honesty going in, this process of manipulation continues, whether the elected representatives themselves are even aware of what is happening or not.

Most Canadians would be appalled and disgraced to know the percentage of sitting MPs who don’t know or don’t care how Ottawa really works as long as they get their paychecks and they are given enough portfolio work to appear busy to their constituents.

Today’s Backstory

Long before the Liberal government of Paul Martin fell in 2006, the Liberal party understood that there would come a point where the Liberal image, brand and identity would have to be re-made in order to strike a new chord with the Canadian Middle.

What was most important about the timing for the Liberals would be that the party did not lose any of its traditional centre support or voting base to the emerging NDP while the Liberals were undergoing their transition – the Liberal’s current search for a new leader is the middle stage of their re-packaging, time will tell if it will be a true transition.

When Paul Martin’s Federal Liberals came to power in 2003, Tom Mulcair came from the Quebec Provincial Liberals to join the NDP and their new leader, Jack Layton. Mulcair spent eight years as Jack’s apparent “protégé” before Layton’s untimely demise in 2011.

In 2011, with the NDP leadership position open and the Liberals licking their political wounds in the corner of the house, the sponsors and protectors of Paul Martin’s Liberal party threw all their weight and support behind Tom Mulcair’s bid. That support was not only financial, easily allowing Mulcair to outspend the other candidates combined, but it also comprised all the local and ground-level networks that had been created, used and abused by fifteen years of Liberal over-extension in Quebec and beyond.

There have been no changes whatsoever in how these networks have been used or supervised between Martin’s Liberals and Mulcair’s “orange wave,” except for the colour of the shirt. Why would there be? The decision-makers from each entity are one and the same and consider themselves to be the patriarchs of the entire Quebec-based portion of the “family”– the Quebec Establishment–all in it together to extort with impunity what they can from the Canadian people.

It is these ground swell networks and their finances that effectively buoyed the Quebec “orange wave” in 2010 and provided Mulcair with the funding necessary to accrue the leadership of the NDP in 2011. That’s what he had been put there for in 2003, to ensure the continuation of these Liberal networks on the ground, even when the Federal Liberal party itself was reduced to third party status and a scapegoat role.

Mulcair’s reward from his Liberal sponsors for ensuring that the Liberals lose no long-term ground to the NDP federally will be the leadership of the Quebec Provincial Liberal Party (after the NDP fails in the 2015 Federal Election). Eventually, the Establishment’s goal is to award Mulcair’s loyalty with the premiership of Quebec: where the same networks of Martin Liberals and Jean Charest’s Quebec Liberals will combine with Mulcair’s “orange wavers” to renew the control the Establishment had in Quebec with Charest, only updated for a new generation.


Among countless examples since his 2011 election as leader, Mulcair’s absolute refusal to move ahead with a Quebec Provincial NDP party, as per the requests of the NDP Quebec membership, is based on the fact the his future lies with the Quebec Provincial Liberals, and he knows it – even if half his caucus is being kept in the dark.

quebecredsquareOther examples persist. The muzzle Mulcair placed on his caucus this past summer to prevent any criticism whatsoever of Jean Charest and his Quebec Liberals was right in line with Mulcair’s refusal to support Quebec’s red-square student movement with anything more than lip service. The student movement in Quebec provided the NDP “orange wave” with its most concrete and potentially long-term electoral support, and by turning his back on the students, Mulcair did what was most urgently necessary to ensure the NDP would and will not be able to rely on the majority of the next generations’ political support at the expense of future Liberal parties.


Moving Forward

Now, with their own actor at the head of the “rival” NDP, the Liberals have no fear of losing any support or voting base while they re-brand, and simultaneously half of the NDP caucus and membership base is getting scammed. The only question is whether the Quebec Establishment will continue to use Mulcair’s NDP as their vehicle moving forward or revert to the new-look Liberals for implementation of their agendas.

The answer will be a combination of the two: Mulcair’s horde within Quebec and the new-look Liberal party on the national level, UNLESS the new leader of the Federal Liberal Party is truly able to turn the page and clean out all the Quebec-centric corrupt pigs.

The most important point to understand is this: whether their actors are wearing red or orange the Quebec Establishment will try to impose the exact same legislation and priorities through their mouthpieces of choice.

Permanent control of Quebec by the Establishment business interests in this province becomes far more important as Quebec will have less and less of a say in Canada’s affairs. And that is the future for a province whose corruption the rest of Canada has worn around the neck like an albatross for the past 40 years. That will be Quebec’s legacy and it is high time, according to the people across Canada who want the next Quebec Separation vote open to all members of the country so Quebec can be kicked out, regardless of how the majority of Quebecers feel.

Now, what about the Conservatives? Don’t hold your breath, but don’t be surprised either if some form of Western Canadian separation referendum is tabled should the next federal government revert to appeasing Quebec once again at the expense of the Rest of Canada. In more ways than one, today’s Conservatives are stockpiling Canadian wealth for the west specifically so generations of future Canadians can entertain that option and no longer be held hostage by the corrupt mob that controls Quebec politics.

As for the NDP itself after Mulcair’s hijacking is complete? The honest intention is to return to Jack Layton and Ed Broadbent’s vision for the party and to continue anew, with the Mulcair experience in tow – perhaps even returning to the original yellow colour to indicate a return to true NDP values.

Mulcair will take his inner team with him to the provincial Liberals but just to make sure the NDP doesn’t come up too strong after Mulcair leaves, Project Montreal, a municipal party in the city has been set up to accommodate the scores of the political actor mob who won’t be going with Mulcair to Quebec City but were only in the NDP at all to make sure that Mulcair had the votes to secure the party and will leave as soon as he does.


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China’s Yuan: Can it Challenge the Dollar?

this article appeared at

Angelo Young

February 27, 2013 – China has long had the ambition of seeing its currency, the yuan, challenge the hegemony of the U.S. dollar. If recent history is any indication, the country is well on its way to achieving that goal.

One of main reasons for its progress toward that goal has been Beijing’s willingness to gradually surrender at least some control of the yuan’s value to the world market.

For years China undervalued the yuan to make its exports more competitive. It worked, but at the price of provoking major trading partners, like the U.S. and Europe. The issue emerged as a point of contention during the last U.S. presidential race, with Republican candidate Mitt Romney lambasting President Barack Obama for not doing enough to get China to begin valuing its currency more fairly.

offshore-yuan-chart-graphicChina has been more than aware of such criticisms, and it has been responding, albeit slowly. In 2009 it began a pilot program of internationalizing its currency by allowing Hong Kong banks to trade the yuan.

And since then the number of yuan-held deposits in Hong Kong has exploded, from less than 100 billion in the first half of 2010 to about 600 billion in 2013. Also in 2010, China eased the yuan back to a managed float after it established a completely fixed currency in 2008 as an emergency response to the American subprime mortgage meltdown.

In January 2011, the Chinese began allowing Americans to trade in the currency; and China-based companies were allowed for the first time to use the yuan for business outside the mainland. By October 2011, foreign companies were allowed to settle direct investments on the mainland using the yuan.

Then last year, Beijing eased the yuan’s trading band against the dollar for the first time in five years – allowing the currency to fluctuate more broadly.

This rapid growth in off-the-mainland yuan deposits caught the attention of the Chicago Mercatile Exchange, which announced Monday it would join Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKG:0388) and start trading CNH futures under contracts of up to three years.

Letting the yuan float freely with the ebb and flow of the global currency market could give a boost to economies that depend on exports to China. The downside, however, to that is the initial shock to the economy that can occur when a currency that is artificially under- or overvalued suddenly sees an overnight adjustment, as occurred when Mexico allowed its peso to float freely at the end of 1994. (It took a decade for the country to begin benefiting from the move, according to The Financial Times.)

But China isn’t Mexico. In addition to the concerns over a deep economic blow that could destabilize the country, a Chinese economic crisis like the one in the mid-’90s that hit Mexico – which was the first developing country to let its currency float freely – would have global repercussions.


Angelo Young is a reporter from the International Business Times, where this piece first appeared.

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Canada, UK given ‘Dodo Awards’ by Civil Society – Governments Singled out on Geo-engineering, Biofuels and Financing

by globalforest

Hyderabad, India.  October 17, 2012 – The Dodo Bird is coming to Hyderabad, to give the Dodo Awards to those governments who have failed to evolve, and whose actions at the CBD are contributing to, rather than preventing, biodiversity loss.

And the Dodo Bird has spoken – the awards go to Canada and the UK.

Canada is the clear leader, for breaching the moratorium on ocean fertilization and geo-engineering adopted by the CBD in 2008 and 2010, said Silvia Ribeiro of ETC Group.  “Right in the middle of CBD negotiations, we discovered that Canada had “ignored” a huge ocean fertilization event that were recently carried out off their Pacific coast, in violation of two international conventions”, said Ribeiro.

Helena Paul of EcoNexus said Canada was also chosen for their strong stance on biofuels.  “Canada insisted that the CBD is not a place to discuss food security, and so the impacts of biofuel expansion on food should not be considered”, she said.  Furthermore, “After asserting the biodiversity benefits of biofuels, Canada threatened that they would call for a deletion of text including socio-economic issues, and re-introduce other proposals if other governments proposed any further changes to the biofuels text”.

The CBD Alliance, convenors of the Dodo Awards, also said that Canada was noted for their refusal to recognize the importance of the participation of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities in the EBSA process, for trying to stop the CBD taking up Synthetic Biology as a new and emerging issue, and for blocking progress on financial commitments.

The UK was the other winner of the Dodo Award.  “The UK is busy behind the scenes blocking attempts in the EU and the CBD to adopt a precautionary approach to synthetic biology, and establish or maintain moratoria”, said Helena Paul.   “The UK government hopes to become a leader in these technologies, primarily for the benefit of their own economy”.

“At the same time, the UK is busy commodifying biodiversity and the functions of ecosystems by developing biodiversity offsets, said Paul. “Offsets don’t reduce biodiversity loss. Instead, the idea is to ‘pay for your sins’ elsewhere. Does the UK hope that biodiversity offsets and other financial mechanisms will replace the financial commitments that industrialized countries urgently need to make to the global effort to stem biodiversity loss?  Many in the global South call this the ecological debt owed to them by developed countries”, she said. “It also seems that the UK hasn’t learned the lessons about market mechanisms from the recent and ongoing economic crisis.”

The Dodo Award winners were chosen by consensus within the CBD Alliance members.  Runners up included China, Brazil, and Paraguay.

–  30 –

The CBD Alliance is a loose network of activists and representatives from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), community-based organizations (CBOs), social movements and Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations (IPOs) advocating for improved and informed participation in CBD processes.   Website:

For more information and interviews:

Tasneem Balasinorwala  081-06413450   email:

Sai Bhaskar  09246352018   email:

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MENACES SUR LA DÉMOCRATIE AUX USA: La puissance de l’argent et l’exclusion de votants

Article paru dans Le Mauricien

Jooneed Jeeroburkhan

October 18, 2012 – Il reste à peine trois semaines avant les élections étatsuniennes, mais ça fait longtemps déjà que j’ai décroché – comme le font de plus en plus de gens d’ailleurs.

Je n’ai donc pas suivi les débats (le dernier entre Barack Obama et Mitt Romney est fixé au 22 octobre). Mais je n’ai pu les éviter : j’ai eu beau zapper, les têtes parlantes réapparaissaient sur une bonne quinzaine des 60 canaux de télé que je reçois chez moi.

Et que dire des inlassables et omniprésentes litanies des « spin doctors » de tous bords, passées en boucle sur ces mêmes réseaux pour influencer l’électorat dans un sens ou l’autre. Voilà comment l’Establishment et les médias privés dominants (appelés ici Corporate Media) utilisent le dernier droit de toute campagne pour enfermer l’électeur/trice dans le tunnel de la pensée unique.

Deux raisons entre beaucoup d’autres

Les raisons de mon désintérêt ne manquent pas. Sans entrer dans les messages des candidats et partis ni dans leurs projets ni dans leurs positions face à la crise ou à la guerre et la paix, j’en retiens deux qui ont trait au seul processus électoral et qui violent l’idée même de démocratie aux États-Unis.
L’argent d’abord. Le cycle électoral 2012 va coûter plus de $6 milliards, estiment la Commission électorale fédérale et des think tanks comme le Center for Responsive Politics et le Carter Center de l’ancien président Jimmy Carter. Selon la Sunlight Foundation, les élections de 2008 avaient coûté $5,2 milliards déjà !
Vous imaginez ce que représentent $6 milliards ? C’est près de 200 milliards de roupies mauriciennes. Cela représente $45 par tête pour chacun des 131 millions d’électeurs qui sont allés voter en 2008 ou $18 par habitant, contre $8 par habitant au Canada (2011) et 50 cents (R15) au Royaume-Uni (2010).
La démocratie du plus offrant
En se basant sur un électorat de 825.000 pour Maurice, la norme US de 45$ signifierait des dépenses électorales de R1,1 milliard ! Vous me direz que Maurice s’en approche à grands pas, au point de se mériter peut-être un quelconque prix Mo Ibrahim. Je vous réponds que c’est justement cette vente de la démocratie au plus offrant qui fait problème, aux États-Unis comme à Maurice.
Jimmy Carter s’en inquiète. Le processus électoral « est troué par une corruption financière qui menace la démocratie », a-t-il dit, rappelant qu’il avait affronté Ford (1976) et Reagan (1980) « sans toucher un cent du privé » car dépendant uniquement de fonds publics. Il a qualifié de « stupide » le jugement de la Cour suprême accordant en 2010 au privé et aux lobbies la liberté totale de financer partis et élections – au nom de la « liberté d’expression ».
Des webzines alternatifs comme AlterNet, OpEd News et MRZine FeedBlitz sont furieux et le font savoir chaque jour. On s’y attend, venant d’eux. Mais voilà que le vénérable New York Times s’en mêle. « La cacophonie de l’argent », titre un récent éditorial. Un article souligne qu’il n’y a pas que le lobby israélien ; il y a aussi le lobby saoudien. Un autre détaille le poids des PACs et SuperPACs jusqu’aux niveaux des États (sénatoriales) et des districts (la Chambre des représentants). Le columnist Joe Nocera accuse : « Buying the Election ».
Les infâmes “ID Laws”
L’autre raison de mon désintérêt porte sur l’enregistrement des électeurs. Sachez qu’aux États-Unis la responsabilité entière des élections fédérales (et autres) est entre les mains des États et des élus locaux – avec tout ce que cela comporte de manigances pour favoriser tel ou tel candidat, tel ou tel parti, bien implantés localement.
Si bien que la taille réelle de l’électorat n’est jamais connue. Les analyses des élections, et il n’en manque pas, ne portent que sur le nombre de votants totalisé à la fin du scrutin – et s’emploient à fouiller le vote des femmes, des jeunes, des Blancs syndiqués, des Noirs, des Hispaniques, et d’autres minorités. Le découpage des districts est lui aussi à la merci des États et des élus locaux.
Les obstacles érigés devant ceux qui veulent s’inscrire sur les listes électorales font surface à chaque scrutin. Cette fois, le problème le plus discuté est l’exigence d’une carte d’identité dans certains États, exigence que le bloguiste Jeremiah Goulka, un ancien républicain, qualifie de « raciste » sur AlterNet.
Réprimer le vote, pas la fraude
« Comment se fait-il que l’électeur républicain ne voit pas que si son parti adopte des ID Laws, c’est pour empêcher certaines gens de voter, pas pour réprimer la fraude », écrit-il, racontant son expérience dans un riche quartier de Chicago, ville contrôlée de longue date par le Parti démocrate.
« Il fut un temps où l’impôt censitaire et les tests d’alphabétisme privaient les gens de leur droit de vote. L’obstacle moderne se nomme ID Laws », écrit l’American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sur son site Web, en indiquant qu’elle a logé des plaintes dans divers États, dont le Wisconsin, la Pennsylvanie, le Texas, pour contester la légalité de ces lois discriminatoires.
Quand j’étais jeune journaliste au Canada, et que je « couvrais » les campagnes électorales de long en large aux USA, je pensais que l’élection du président et du Congrès US concernait toute l’humanité, et que le monde entier devait donc y voter. Vous devinez que je n’y crois plus ; je pense en fait que ces élections sont de plus en plus néfastes pour les États-Unis eux-mêmes !

A Propos de l’Auteur


Jooneed Jeeroburkhan


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