Victor Grossman on Politics in Germany

Editor’s Note: Victor Grossman is Tikkun’s correspondent in Berlin. Here he reports on the struggle inside the socialist party about whether it should join the government of Angela Merkel, primarily out of fear that a new election might give the rapidly growing fascist an even larger representation in the German parliament (Bundestag). GROKO OR NO GROKO
Victor Grossman

Berlin Bulletin No. 139, January 27 2018

 

It happened in Bonn last Sunday, on January 21st. There were close to 650 delegates, the gallery in the congress hall was also packed with observers.

Losing the American Empire by Alfred W. McCoy

Editor’s Note: While the article below by Alfred McKoy details the decline of U.S. international status and power during the Trump regime, my reaction is to ask: what attitude should spiritual progressives take to that decline? On the one hand, there are many anti-imperialists who will actually cheer on this development after decades of wishing to constrain the destructive impact of American power with its primary goal of promoting the international interests of American corporations in particular and the global capitalist system in general. What could be better than to have American power decline, some are asking. That this is being facilitated by a dictatorial, racist, sexist and idiotic President Trump is worrisome because of the still strong possibility that he might stumble into nuclear war, endangering not only Americans but all life on the planet. Yet, in the long run, the anti-imperialists argue, if Trump can be restrained, his presidency may go down in history as the moment the U.S. stopped running the world, to the benefit of many in nations around the globe!

A Letter to the People of the U.S. from former Honduras President Jose’ Manuel Zelaya Rosales

 

Manuel Zelaya: An Open Letter to the American People

December 22, 2017By José Manuel Zelaya RosalesPeople of the United States:For the past century, the owners of the fruit companies called our country “Banana Republic” and characterized our politicians as “cheaper than a mule” (as in the infamous Rolston letter). Honduras, a dignified nation, has had the misfortune of having a ruling class lacking in ethical principles that kowtows to U.S. transnational corporations, condemning our country to backwardness and extreme poverty. We have been subject to horrible dictatorships that have enjoyed U.S. support, under the premise that an outlaw is good for us if he serves transnational interests well. We have reached the point that today we are treated as less than a colony to which the U.S. government does not even deign to appoint an ambassador. Your government has installed a dictatorship in the person of Mr. Hernández, who acts as a provincial governor–spineless and obedient toward transnational companies, but a tyrant who uses terror tactics to oppress his own people.

The Global Growth of Right Wing Extremism

Editor’s note:

Thanks to Tikkun’s media ally  TomDispatch.com for its analysis, below, of the European versions of Trumpism by John Feffer and the introduction by Tom Engelhardt. In that introduction, Engelhardt wisely notes that there is a method to Trump’s outrageous tweets–it plays to his most racist base. Feffer adds another dimension by pointing to the failure of liberalism as the source of decent people (not all of whom are racist, sexist, homophobic, antiSemitic, Islamophobic, etc) being willing to turn to the Right (I’d add–not because they think that the Right has a solution but because the Right gives them an opportunity to show how angry they are at the world that liberal politics has created–a giant “fuck you” to the Left that I explore in my article on the psychodynamics of the 2016 election https://www.tikkun.org/newsite/the-psychopathology-of-the-2016-election). But there is another element I also want to add to the method behind Trump’s outrageously racist tweets: they often serve an important function by distracting the media, and through them the American public, into sideshows at the very moment when major disastrous decisions are being implemented by the Republican Congress and parts of the Trump Administration. Now, at the very moment when the Congress is implementing a tax cut that will essentially destroy the possibility for funding much of what liberal and progressive forces have created in the way of an (admittedly inadequate) social support network for middle income working people and the poor, the tweets and outrageous statements by Trump distract attention from what will be a disaster for tens of millions of Americans (though a disaster that will not even begin to become clear till after the 2018 elections, and in their fullest level, when taxes on middle income people rise while the tax breaks for corporations remain in place –which wont be till after the 2020 election).

A Note From Germany

FROM GENDER TO JAMAICA

by Victor Grossman, Tikkun’s Berlin Correspondant

 

It didn’t affect many people directly, but even small victories are welcome these days. Germany’s Constitutional Court just ruled that no-one should be forced to declare themselves officially male or female. It thus created a third open category anyone can opt for (or be opted by parents when still a child). I think everyone can approve this step toward getting along together in the world and join in quiet applause. The Bundestag was given a year to conform to the decision with new laws, reprinting questionnaires and probably some signs.

Discrimination Against Black Workers

Los Angeles Black Worker Center
October 5, 2017
Discrimination has created a crisis in the Black community. Although the passage of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act forbids racial discrimination in the workplace, black workers continue to face higher rates of discrimination in the workforce than white workers do. ‘Whether working full-time or part-time, Black workers earn only three-quarters of what white workers earn,’ as stated in the introduction of the brief. , ,

Dear Friends and Allies:The Los Angeles Black Worker Center (LABWC) and National Employment Law Project (NELP) demonstrates the need for California to explore expanded anti-employment discrimination to better protect workers in the era of Trump. You can download the white paper HERE

You can view the white paper HERE

Los Angeles, California, October 5, 2017 – The National Employment Law Project and the Los Angeles Black Worker Center released a white paper today that offers analysis on why anti-discrimination laws must be strengthened to protect communities of color in the workforce as national civil rights enforcement agencies are threatened with cuts and elimination.  The report is published as a broad coalition of unemployed, underemployed and union workers call on Governor Brown to sign Senate Bill SB 491- The California Anti-Employment Discrimination Action of 2017- a bill that would begin the process of expanding anti-discrimination enforcement authority to local governments to fill the enforcement gap.

Merkel Clobbered While Rightists Threat Grows

[Editor’s note: the rise of the racist Right in Germany in the Sept. 2017 election once again demonstrates the weakness of a centrist politics whose only holy principle is compromise in order to get or hold power. Just as in Brexit in England and in the Trump victory in the U.S., the centrists continue to believe that “more of the same” will satisfy people whose lives are filled with pain and frustration. Sadly, the European left, like the American left, has little to offer beyond rational economic programs–unable to understand the psycho-spiritual pain generated by the competitive market place and hence unable to speak to the depth of frustration many experience in their daily lives. We at Tikkun have analyzed these dynamics in The Left Hand of God: Taking Back our Country from the Religious Right (HarperSanFrancisco) and in our analyses of the 2016 election https://www.tikkun.org/newsite/we-cant-transform-american-politics-till-we-understand-the-psychodynamics-at-play .

Grassroots Venezuelans in the Midst of the Economic War

https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/11177
The Real Price of Trump’s Venezuela Sanctions
https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/13332

 
By RYAN MALLETT-OUTTRIM, August 25th 2017

TAGS

economic crisis 2017
U.S. sanctions

Five hundred and sixty seven thousand dead children. That was the death toll of international sanctions on Saddam’s Iraq, according to a 1995 study published in The Lancet by researchers from the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation. The conclusions of the study were shocking: five years after sanctions had been first implemented, UN humanitarian workers found a once rich, oil producing nation wracked with famine. The sanctions were aimed at pressuring Saddam, though in reality their impact was felt most by the poorest Iraqis. One researcher found that around a third of children under the age of 10 in Baghdad showed signs of stunted growth, while 12 percent were in urgent need of immediate medical attention due to extreme malnutrition.

G20 in Hamburg

FIRE AND RIDDLES AT HAMBURG

Berlin Bulletin No. 130, July 10, 2017

Victor Grossman, Berlin

The concert hall in Hamburg’s wonderful new Elbphilharmonie edifice resounded with Schiller’s thrilling Ode to Joy and world brotherhood in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. Nineteen heads of state were there for a G-20 conference; only Erdogan from Turkey was missing; he may not appreciate Beethoven or was too busy worrying about the huge peaceful march to Istanbul, a first major response to his repression. All other leaders and their spouses heard the music; even Donald Trump was seen for a TV moment with half-closed eyes, in euphoric enjoyment of Beethoven, we assume. Or why else?

U.S. Imperialism–Changing Direction?

 Editor’s note: As in all articles published by Tikkun, except our editorials, Tikkun does not necessarily agree or endorse the views we publish. We choose our articles to present views that are rarely aired in the mainstream media and which might contribute to the healing and transformation of our world that Tikkun seeks. But we don’t have staff or resources sufficient to ensure that the views and facts presented in our articles are accurate or that they will for sure lead to the world we want. Sad, but with a total of 2.5 people working at Tikkun, it’s the best we can do!–Rabbi Michael Lerner, Editor

US Imperialism: Changing Direction? 

By Zoltan Zigedy

Developments over the last few weeks further remove the fog obscuring the foreign policy objectives of the US ruling class. A series of seemingly unrelated events casts light on the goals of US policy makers in an era of intensifying international rivalries.

Life So Good

There was another picture of her at their wedding. Two young boys in coffee-colored suits stood behind them, holding guitars way too big for their bodies, surrounded by a crowd of what must have been a hundred, their priest dressed in white toasting them with a big glass of red wine.

Response to Martha Sonnenberg’s Kaddish for Che

March 6, 2017

Reader response to Martha Sonnenberg’s Kaddish for Che:

 
Querido Che: Che está Presente
by Nancy Scheper-Hughes

 

The spiritual and political afterlife of Che, like the afterlife of Jesus of Nazareth, begins with their brutal torture and deaths at the hands of ignorant soldiers, colonizing forces, and local collaborators. Both faced their capture and deaths with equanimity, gentleness, and love. Both were given opportunities to surrender and save themselves, but  both acquiesced to their fate, remained true to their beliefs, and faced their executions with words of comfort and of love. Che: “I know you are here to kill me. Shoot, you are only going to kill a man… please, tell my wife to remarry and try to be happy.” Jesus: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”.