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.
Editor’s note: Here is a perspective from the U.K. which presents an overview of how some British Muslim progressives are trying to make sense of Trumpism, the British exit from the UK’s previous integration into the Common Market, and the growth of right-wing movements manipulated by elites of wealth and power.
The Fear and the Passion
By Tahir Abbas
Since the inauguration of President Trump, barely a month ago, many people around the world have been deeply disturbed by his many negative utterances, provocative put-downs of other countries, and by the people he has appointed to run major elements of the American government. The result has been a global outcry among women, the young, minorities and liberal-minded people at the narcissism and self-centred nature of much of President Trump’s limited but impactful words. Right-wing extremists have felt empowered by a form of triumphalism reflected in Trump’s repeated theme ‘to make America great again’. The impact this has on minority communities of all backgrounds, but especially among Muslim and Jewish groups, are painfully felt. In this short essay, I explore the depth of this upset and discuss what it means for communities with shared norms who would otherwise not be allied.
Pope Francis: capitalism is “terrorism against all of humanity”
Once again, Pope Francis has made global headlines, shocking reporters late Sunday after blaming the “god of money” for the extremist violence that is taking place in Europe and the Middle East. A ruthless global economy, he argues, leads disenfranchised people to violence. Responding to a question from a journalist about whether or not there is a link between Islam and terrorism, more specifically addressing the fatal attack on a priest by a Muslim extremist in France last week, Pope Francis said, “Terrorism grows when there is no other option, and as long as the world economy has at its center the god of money and not the person.” “This is fundamental terrorism, against all humanity,” he continued. “I ask myself how many young people that we Europeans have left devoid of ideals, who do not have work. Then they turn to drugs and alcohol or enlist in [the Islamic State, or ISIS],” he said.
Editor’s Note: Our correspondent from Berlin gives us a picture of the dangerous rise of fascistic and racist forces and the problems faced by a splintering Left. Might this be a warning sign for politics in all the capitalist countries in the coming decades? To understand his analysis, remember that the Linke party is probably the most progressive in Germany, next most are the Greens, and the SPD (social democrats) are much like the Democratic party in the U.S.
BERLIN AND OMENS
2016 September 22
There is currently too much dramatic news abroad in the world, mostly bad. What can an election in one single city mean, far from most fronts? Yet the voting in Berlin last Sunday (September 18th) was full of drama and meaning, also outside Germany. The results caused some to grieve, some to applaud and analysts like soothsayers to turn to arithmetic.
The impeachment of a dignified and innocent President by a mentally and financially corrupt pack
Once upon a time there was a nation that was great in terms of her territory and her cheerful people who, nevertheless, were unjustly treated. The people suffered misery mostly in the great peripheries of the cities and deep in the interior of the country. For centuries it had been governed by a small wealthy elite, who never cared about the fate of the poor. As a mulatto historian put it, the people was socially«castrated and castrated again; bled and bled again». But slowly Brazil’s poor began to organize, in every type of movement, accumulating social power and nourishing a dream of a different Brazil.
by Tikkun’s correspondent in Germany, Victor Grossman
BERLIN BULLETIN No. 115August 15 2016
Soul-searching is often on the agenda for people who long for peace, better lives for everyone and for the rescue of our planet. November 8th in the USA is one case in point, but I refrain here from announcing my own decision in my New York, a “safe” state. Germany also demands soul-searching – not only with the refugee question. On the national level, stout, commonly self-assured Sigmar Gabriel, head of the Social Democrats (SPD), is less popular than ever and so is his party, now down to 22 % in the polls.
Editor’s Introductory Note: The vote by a majority in the UK to exit from the European Union (Britain exiting, now called Brexit) is actually a cry of pain by the working people of Britain, and a reflection of the growing pain that will shape the social and political lives of our world in the coming decades till that pain is fully addressed. Unfortunately, the media and the ruling elites refuse to take responsibility for the global mess they’ve been making. Instead they seek to put the blame on a sudden surge of ultra nationalism and hatred of immigrants. But this is a distorted picture that seeks to blame working people’s fears on their own reactionary ideologies, and misses the way the ruling elites of the society, the !% of richest people and their millions of allies in the upper levels of banks and corporations, media, academia, law, government and politics, who have developed a neo-liberal economic strategy that has resulted in massive loss of jobs and a triumph of the values of materialism and selfishness in daily life, are actually now trying to blame everyone else for the global mess they have made. Don’t get taken in by the media and the politicians and their superficial explanations–read the two articles below please!
In case you who missed it, here’s Rabbi Lerner’s talk at Muhammed Ali’s funeral. His vision is all the more relevant given the horrific killings in Orlando and the way it is being used to promote fear, hatred and Islamophobia. It has gone viral on social media and inspired over a million people already. If it inspires you as well, please read below for how to be an ally with Rabbi Lerner to help build the world he describes.
From Tikkun’s Berlin Correspondent Victor Grossman
BLUE SKY IN HAMBURG AND PIE IN HANOVER
Berlin June 6 2016
I’ll begin with a happy report. The Hamburg group of “Fighters and Friends of the Spanish Republic 1936-1939” had its annual get-together in late May, again honoring those bravest of the brave men women who risked and often lost their lives fighting for democracy in Spain. Only a handful survive, none at all in the USA, Germany or Austria, but a video greeting from Gert Hoffmann in Vienna, who came to these meetings until shortly before his death, was especially moving. A boat trip around the harbor and a visit to a seaman’s club hidden in the amazing labyrinth of piers and channels in the giant port facilities, with a fine worker’s choir and militant songs, offered chances for German and foreign participants to exchange ideas on past and present. There was a fascinating mix of accents of people from Wales, Scotland, Ireland, various regions of England and the USA and that of the good German translator.
Editor’s Note: This article shows how near impossible it is to sustain a populist regime without dismantling the institutions of global capitalist society. In sober and careful analysis of what happened in Brazil, the author shows how the compromises and being “realistic” with existing power relations in capitalist society finally undermined the very noble intentions of seemingly radical reformers. Before the Coup: 13 Years Under Lula, Dilma and the PT (Partido dos Trabalhadores), 2003–2015
MATTHEW J. MEDRANO·TUESDAY, MAY 24, 2016
The following is meant to serve as an exhaustive overview and analysis of what transpired under the PT (Workers’ Party) administrations of Luís Inácio Lula da Silva (2003-06 and 2007-10) and Dilma Rousseff (2011-14 and 2015-2016) prior to the May 2016 parliamentary “soft” coup that removed Dilma from office (the fallout will be covered at the end with updates). With regard to the data included below, one cannot stress enough the fact that both achievements and contradictions should not be underestimated (nor, in the former’s case, exaggerated either). Romanticization is antithetical to properly grasping things at the root.
Yes, Bernie won in Wisconsin. He also won in Berlin, Germany! 556 US citizens here, a record number, participated in the Democratic primary, and a full 79.5% voted for Sanders. In all such primaries in Germany Bernie won by 69%, in fact he won them in countries all over the world, for example with ex-pats in Israel by 249 to 160 or in Japan with 1190 to 176. I spotted two exceptions: Clinton won out in a small vote in Singapore and scored a sweeping victory in Nigeria: 4 votes to 1!
Duty to Warn
by Dr. Gary Kohls
The Execution of Berta Caceres, the United Fruit Company and the US Military: A Historical Timeline Identifying Some of the Perpetrators
By Gary G. Kohls, MD
THE FOLLOWING QUOTES (EXCEPT AS NOTED) ARE FROM:HTTPS://NEWREPUBLIC.COM/ARTICLE/120559/HONDURAS-CHARTER-CITIES-SPEARHEADED-US-CONSERVATIVES-LIBERTARIANS
“In the early 1950s the United Fruit Company hired legendary public relations expert Edward Bernays to carry out an intense misinformation campaign portraying then-Guatamalan president Jacobo Arbenz as a communist threat.” — Scott Price, IC Magazine
“Between the time of the (Honduran) coup (June 2009) and February 2012, there were at least 59 politically motivated assassinations of civilians associated with the resistance movement. This is a low estimate, as intimidation and fear of reprisal prevents communities and family members from reporting many such deaths. There were at least 250 violations of human rights in the military junta’s first three months alone.” — Committee of Family Members of the Disappeared of Honduras (COFADEH), respected human rights organization. “I’ve seen all sorts of horrific things in my time. but none as detrimental to the country as this.”
ECONOMY & WORK
The Sanders “Economic Plan” Controversy
Economist Gerald Friedman did an analysis of Senator Bernie Sanders’s plan suggesting it would produce significant growth in the economy — and then a group of left-leaning economists flipped out. BY DAVE JOHNSON | FEBRUARY 23, 2016
The Sanders “Economic Plan” […]
A trader monitors offers in the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index options pit at the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) on August 24, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
This post first appeared at Campaign for America’s Future. “When you dare to do big things, big results should be expected. The Sanders program is big, and when you run it through a standard model, you get a big result.”
– James K. Galbraith
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says he wants the American people to join him and “fight for a progressive economic agenda that creates jobs, raises wages, protects the environment and provides health care for all.” His website outlines a number of proposals toward this end, including increasing taxation of corporations and the wealthy and using the money to repair the country’s infrastructure, extending public education four years to cover college, extending Medicare to everyone, expanding Social Security and addressing climate change.
IMMIGRANTS AND MENACES –a report on European responses to the flood of immigrants
by Victor Grossman – Berlin
Like the rising sea level endangering the Maledives, Marshalls and other islands, the immigrant question is changing political geography in Germany. But it is not the refugees who are posing the threat, despite their number; it is instead those forces, never eliminated, whose goals and methods all too vividly recall events here 85 years ago. (May I make a US comparison: It’s not the Syrians but Trump or Cruz?)
An estimated one million will have arrived in Germany by the end of the year. The government is sending back those from Africa, Eastern Europe and other areas, no matter what the consequences in many cases. Those from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq are generally accepted; it is ironic that the cause of chaos, desperation and flight in those three countries was military interference by the western powers and their hugely well-armed allies from Riadh, the Gulf Coast or Ankara. Hardly anyone outside the small left-wing press even mentions this basic matter.
We at Tikkun’s Network of Spiritual Progressives are part of the Citizens Trade Campaign coalition of forces that have challenged the Clinton Administration and now the Obama Administration in their proclivity to create trade policies that are destructive to the environment and to the well being of working people here and around the world. The latest such is the Trans-Pacific Partnership which, while having some positive aspects, would restrict countries from passing important environmental and health care related legislation that might interfere with corporate profits. This latest effort to give multinational corporations powers that supersede the powers of national governments is one more reason we need the ESRA–Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The ESRA would, among many other important measures, overturn any such international agreement that has been approved by the U.S. government or will be approved in the future–please help us get it endorsed after you read it at www.tikkun.org/esra.
Rabbi Michael Lerner issued the following response about the newly released full version of the TPP:
The TPP agreement violates a basic command of the Bible: that human beings must protect and act as stewards for the earth. Instead, it provides a path for corporations to overturn the most moderate environmental restraints on corporate avarice, much less the far more stringent actions that environmentalists tell us are needed to even begin to reverse climate change and preserve the earth for future generations.