Friday 5 October 2007

Cairo calling

International Campaign against Zionist and American Occupation

Announcement and Call for Participation
Cairo International Conference and Liberation Forum, 27-30 March 2008
For National and Individual Liberation
In support of resistance to the Zionist/American Project
Against Zionism and Imperialism
Against despotism and oppression
Against exploitation and corruption

The Egyptian Organising Committee announces the start of preparation for the Cairo International Conference and Liberation Forum, 27-30 March 2008. This year's events will be held under the general motto: "Towards an International campaign against Israeli Occupation and Apartheid in Palestine"
In addition, the following issues will be addressed:
• Reinforcing resistance to the occupation of Iraq;
• Combating racist policies of imperialist countries;
• Opposition to despotism and exploitative globalisation in Egypt and the Arab countries.

The Egyptian Organising Committee invites all political and popular movements, as well as individual fighters for freedom, democracy and social justice, in Egypt, the Arab countries and the world at large, who stand against imperialism, zionism and exploitative globalisation, to contribute to the activities of the Conference and Forum.

For additional information and communication of proposals, please contact the executive director: Nivin Samir:
Cell phone: +2- 0123567772

Don't interfere!

George Bush has warned Syria not to interfere in Lebanon's elections.

The money quote is:

"I am deeply concerned about foreign interference in the election. The message has been sent to nations such as Syria that they should not interfere."

The report in China's news agency then dropped a little fact in for us to chew on: 'A top U.S. military commander will go to Lebanon to asses the needs of Lebanese security forces, Bush said.'

Hmmm, and that's not interfering, apparently.

Meanwhile the counterterrorismblog reports that, "A well-informed sources close to the teams working on the Lebanese file within the Administration and in Congress told us today that the Lebanese legislators are the only ones who have been mandated by their voters to elect a new President of the Republic in Lebanon..."

But, "The sources added that they have been informed about a so called proposal by Iran’s leadership to politicians in Lebanon on virtue of which Tehran and Damascus would stop the violence campaign, allow an acceptable President (by them) to be elected and conclude a truce; in return the new cabinet formed after the election would stop calling for the implementation of UNSCR 1559 and the disarming of the militias, particularly Hezbollah.

"The sources said if this is what these politicians want, they need to understand that they will not be backed by the international community or by the United States. They will face Syria and Iran alone and will have to explain it to their constituents.

"The sources said these messages will be soon transmitted to whoever has to hear them."

I wonder if Hariri "got the message". Well yes, apparrently, as he rushed to announce that "his country was facing a potential crack-up unless the United States threw its weight behind the pro-democracy movement" (otherwise known as the sectarian rulers and war criminals).

Thursday 4 October 2007

The US 'not interfering' in 1958

US troops enter the port of Beirut in 1958. Over 38,000 US troops were send to Lebanon to crush a national rebellion against the western backed government of Camille Chamoun.

Bint Jbail

A new play by Saseen Kawzally has caught the attention of the Guradian newspaper in London. Saseen covered the the July War with the BBC and is writing a play about how a family in the small town of Bint Jbail survived the onslaught.

Ben Harrison writes in his blog:
"We go and fetch the actors, and they all sit in the space. It is like a shrine. A dead place, empty, annihilated. An almost total sense of emptiness. Saseen asks around and we get the address of two of the survivors.

"A childlike woman of 70 welcomes us into her home, and is very open about the details of her terrible experiences, until one of the other survivors, the matriarch of the house, interrupts: 'We don't want to talk about the past. What about the future, the promised reconstruction?' "

What price for bread?

Tymat’s (Leftist Assembly for Change— Lebanon) has an article by Adnan Hajj on the price rises during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Below is an edited translation, the original in Arabic can be found on their website.

“This year Ramadan comes against a background of continuing political and economic crises, and amid the wave of inflation—in recent weeks prices have risen by over 15%.

“The month of fasting also coincided with a growing bread crisis. This is due to the global rise in wheat prices, a curb on imports and low stocks of flour.

“Compounding this is a rise in the price of diesel fuel for heating. With the advent of winter, this will hit the poorest hardest, especially in the mountainous and remote areas.

“These extra burdens come at bad time of year for most families with the start of the new academic year. School costs, including textbooks, have risen 20 percent.

“This fact has increased the burden of living of families and is compounded by the rise in unemployment, a the drop in social benefits and in the health insurance fund (the social safety net for Lebanon’s poor).

"The painful facts can be summarised as follows:
Prices of vegetables and potatoes have risen by more than 55 percent in recent weeks, making the cost of an Iftar meal for family of four about 5000LL (£2,50), without counting the cost of a bag of bread (1500LL).

"The quantities of flour available to the mills is only sufficient for ten days.

"The price of a kilo of lamb rose from 12,000LL (£6) to 20,000LL, and beef from 8,000LL to 12,000LL. The price of chicken has risen between 20 percent and 25 percent.

"The prices of milk products have risen 40 percent, while medicine has rocketed more than 15% in two months."

What causes inflation?

In an analysis of the causes of inflation Anindya Bhattacharyya writes in Socialist Worker:

During a period of growth, bosses compete to invest where they think they can make a profit. Typically this involves different capitalists all trying to buy the same raw materials – thus driving up their price.

This price rise eats into their profits, so they respond by raising the prices of the commodities they produce. The effect is to pass the costs on to other capitalists, who in turn raise their prices, all the way down the chain to commodities bought by ordinary people.

Wage rises are a secondary effect of inflation. As inflation kicks in, workers start to notice that their pay packets do not stretch as far as they used to. This in turn leads them to demand pay rises from their employers.

Employers do not want to give their workers pay rises, but can be forced to do so through industrial action, or to head off a threat of industrial action. In certain circumstances, they may have to compete for scarce labour, which again raises wages.

A rising wage bill once more eats into profits, which can be yet another excuse for bosses to raise prices. But the overall reason for inflation is always the drive to keep profit rates up, not the "greed" of workers trying to make ends meet in a climate of rising prices.

If the economy could be planned, then in theory these kinds of vicious circles could be ironed out. But that would involve the interests of businesses being subordinated to the interests of the people.

Wednesday 3 October 2007

Arming the world

Mosaic TV picks up story of US arms sales... including to poverty stricken Africa. And a good report on Palestinian mothers and resistance.

Monday 1 October 2007


Yes, aparently Pepsi Cola will be shooting "a ground breaking film" in Lebanon.

Ground breaking? What does that mean?

Well according to Talal el-Khalil, vice president for the Levant Unit: "Pepsi has already brought many local and international superstars together such as Amr Diab with Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez and Elissa with Christina Aguilera and now the new movie, produced by Pepsi will introduce a totally new experience for our consumers, who are always eager to discover the company's new creations."

Oh my lord!