person:pete

  • How music about space became music about drugs - MIT Technology Review
    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/613762/space-music-drugs

    The rock era and the space age exist on parallel time lines. The Soviets launched Sputnik in October 1957, the same month Elvis Presley hit #1 with “Jailhouse Rock.” The first Beatles single, “Love Me Do,” was released 23 days after John F. Kennedy declared that America would go to the moon (and not because it was easy, but because it was hard). Apollo 11 landed the same summer as Woodstock. These specific events are (of course) coincidences. Yet the larger arc is not. Mankind’s assault upon the heavens was the most dramatic achievement of the 20th century’s second half, simultaneous with rock’s transformation of youth culture. It does not take a deconstructionist to see the influence of the former on the latter. The number of pop lyrics fixated on the concept of space is massive, and perhaps even predictable. It was the language of the era. But what’s more complicated is what that concept came to signify, particularly in terms of how the silence of space was somehow supposed to sound.

    The principal figure in this conversation is also the most obvious: David Bowie. In a playlist of the greatest pop songs ever written about life beyond the stratosphere, 1969’s “Space Oddity” would be the opening cut, a musical experience so definitive that its unofficial sequel—the 1983 synth-pop “Major Tom (Coming Home)” by German one-hit wonder Peter Schilling—would probably be track number two. The lyrical content of “Space Oddity” is spoken more than sung, and the story is straightforward: an astronaut (Major Tom) rockets into space and something goes terribly wrong. It’s odd, in retrospect, that a song with such a pessimistic view of space travel would be released just 10 days before Neil Armstrong stepped on the lunar surface. That level of pessimism, however, would become the standard way for rock musicians to write about science. Outside of Sun Ra or Ace Frehley, it’s hard to find serious songs about space that aren’t framed as isolating or depressing.

    Space is a vacuum: the only song capturing the verbatim resonance of space is John Cage’s perfectly silent “4’33".” Any artist purporting to embody the acoustics of the cosmos is projecting a myth. That myth, however, is collective and widely understood. Space has no sound, but certain sounds are “spacey.” Part of this is due to “Space Oddity”; another part comes from cinema, particularly the soundtrack to 2001 (the epic power of classical music by Richard Strauss and György Ligeti). Still another factor is the consistent application of specific instruments, like the ondes martenot (a keyboard that vaguely simulates a human voice, used most famously in the theme to the TV show Star Trek). The shared assumptions about what makes music extraterrestrial are now so accepted that we tend to ignore how strange it is that we all agree on something impossible.

    Unsurprisingly, the ambiance of these tracks merged with psychedelic tendencies. The idea of “music about space” became shorthand for “music about drugs,” and sometimes for “music to play when you are taking drugs and thinking about space.” And this, at a base level, is the most accurate definition of the genre we now called space rock.

    The apotheosis of all the fake audio signifiers for interstellar displacement, Dark Side of the Moon (and its 1975 follow-up Wish You Were Here) perfected the synthesizer, defining it as the musical vehicle for soundtracking the future. Originally conceived as a way to replicate analog instruments, first-generation synthesizers saw their limitations become their paradoxical utility: though incapable of credibly simulating a real guitar, they could create an unreal guitar tone that was innovative and warmly inhuman. It didn’t have anything to do with actual astronomy, but it seemed to connote both the wonder and terror of an infinite universe. By now, describing pop music as “spacey” usually just means it sounds a little like Pink Floyd.

    What has happened, it seems, is that our primitive question about the moon’s philosophical proximity to Earth has been incrementally resolved. What once seemed distant has microscoped to nothingness. When rock music was new, space was new—and it seemed so far beyond us. Anything was possible. It was a creative dreamscape. But you know what? We eventually got there. We went to space so often that people got bored. The two Voyager craft had already drifted past Pluto before Nirvana released Nevermind in 1991. You can see a picture of a black hole in the New York Times. The notion that outer space is vast and unknowable has been replaced by the notion that space is exactly as it should be, remarkable as it is anodyne.

    #Musique #Espace #David_Bowie #Pink_Floyd

  • The Chernobyl Podcast


    RSS: https://feeds.megaphone.fm/thechernobylpodcast

    The official podcast of the miniseries Chernobyl, from HBO and Sky. Join host Peter Sagal (NPR’s “Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me!”) and series creator, writer and executive producer Craig Mazin after each episode as they discuss the true stories that shaped the scenes, themes and characters.

    Great podcast to listen to once you’ve watched the HBO series. The author explains the narrative choices he had to make and how much/when the series departs from what actually happened.

    And for good measure, two episodes of the BBC’s ’More or Less’:
    (RSS: https://podcasts.files.bbci.co.uk/p02nrss1.rss )
    1) Questioning the Chernobyl disaster death count

    The recent TV miniseries ‘Chernobyl’ has stirred up debate online about the accuracy of its portrayal of the explosion at a nuclear power plant in the former Soviet state of Ukraine. We fact-check the programme and try and explain why it so hard to say how many people will die because of the Chernobyl disaster.

    http://open.live.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/6/redir/version/2.0/mediaset/audio-nondrm-download/proto/http/vpid/p07dtdwq.mp3

    2) Is nuclear power actually safer than you think?

    We questioned the death count of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in last week’s More or Less podcast. In the end, Professor Jim Smith of Portsmouth University came up with an estimate of 15,000 deaths.

    But we wondered how deadly nuclear power is overall when compared to other energy sources? Dr Hannah Ritchie of the University of Oxford joins Charlotte McDonald to explore.

    http://open.live.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/6/redir/version/2.0/mediaset/audio-nondrm-download/proto/http/vpid/p07fgfl5.mp3

    #podcast #chernobyl #statistics

  • Feu sur la liberté d’expression en Europe
    dimanche 30 juin 2019 par Coordination nationale de l’UJFP
    http://www.ujfp.org/spip.php?article7264

    Il aura fallu que Yossi Bartal, guide au musée juif de Berlin, démissionne pour qu’apparaissent toutes les manœuvres de l’État d’Israël, toutes ses compromissions aussi.

    La démission de Yossi Bartal(1) se produit huit jours après celle du Directeur du musée, Peter Schäfer (2).

    Peter Schäfer avait protesté avec 240 intellectuels juifs (dont Avraham Burg et Eva Illouz) pour s’opposer à une motion du Parlement allemand qui considérait le mouvement BDS comme antisémite. Il a été directement attaqué par l’ambassadeur d’Israël, Jeremy Issacharoff et Josef Schuster, directeur de l’équivalent du Crif allemand qui n’ont pas hésité à utiliser des « fake news » pour le salir.

    L’année dernière déjà le budget d’une exposition consacrée à Jérusalem, montrant aussi son versant palestinien a été divisé par 2 à la suite d’une intervention de Benjamin Netanyahou (qui réclamait l’annulation totale du budget). De son côté, Josef Schuster avait critiqué le fait que la majorité des employés du musée n’étaient pas juifs. Et les détracteurs de la liberté d’esprit du musée sont soutenus par l’ALD, le parti d’extrême droite…

    Un panier de crabe insoupçonné que nous révèle son (ex) guide. (...)

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    (1) Opinion Why I Resigned From Berlin’s Jewish Museum
    Yossi Bartal - Jun 22, 2019 9:39 AM
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/why-i-resigned-from-berlin-s-jewish-museum-1.7398301

    Last Monday, after guiding hundreds of different tour groups from Germany and around the world to various exhibitions, I submitted my resignation as a guide at the Jewish Museum of Berlin in protest against the crass political intervention by the German government and the State of Israel in the work of the museum.

    The shameful firing of Peter Schäfer, among the most important scholars of Judaism in the world, in the wake of an aggressive campaign of “fake news” conducted by the Israeli Ambassador to Germany, Jeremy Issacharoff, and Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, made it clear that the German government is not interested any more in guarding the artistic and academic autonomy of the museum. And I am not interested in working for an institution that relinquishes its independence to serve the political interests of this or that state.

    From the beginning, working as a Jewish guide at a Jewish museum where most of the staff and visitors are not Jews presented personal, political and pedagogical challenges. Thus questions of representation of the other and of speaking in their name have accompanied the work of the museum since its opening in 2003.

    Is it appropriate for a German state museum to be called a Jewish museum at all, or must it be under the complete control of the official Jewish community (that itself only represents part of German Jewry)? Is a Jewish museum, in the absence of a similar institution addressing the Muslim community or other minority groups, responsible for providing space for the perspectives of children of migrants in Germany, many of whom live in neighborhoods nearby, and for conducting Jewish-Muslim dialogue?

    Should the museum function as a forum in which various opinions in the Jewish world can be heard, those touching on Israel as well? The answer of the head of the Jewish community, the Israeli ambassador and right-wing journalists, who for years have been running a toxic and untruthful campaign against museum staff, is an absolute no.

    Thus a significant portion of the criticism of the museum suggests, or even declares openly, that the very fact that many of the staff members of the museum are not Jews negates their right to social activism that is not in keeping with the political preferences of the Jewish community’s representatives. This discourse reached the point of absurdity when Schuster, the leader of a community in which many members are not considered Jewish according to halakha, negated the museum’s right to call itself Jewish.

    But we should not be confused by the legitimate criticism over the lack of Jewish representation in leading positions in Germany, because this criticism is raised only when non-Jews dare, even in the most sensitive way, to criticize policies of the Israeli government, or to come out against anti-Muslim racism. Proof of this may be seen in the Jewish community’s support for the 10 officials who have been nominated to fight anti-Semitism in the country: All 10 are non-Jews, and all 10 support the position that strong criticism of the occupation and of Israel’s religiously discriminatory character should be seen as an expression of anti-Semitism.

    Not surprisingly, the extreme right-wing “Alternative for Germany” is the party that, by way of parliamentary questions, has been leading the campaign against the museum for the last year, as reported sympathetically by the house newspaper of Benjamin Netanyahu. Despite the Israeli Embassy’s contention that it is not in contact with members of the party, its opposition to museum activities is based on a fervent rejection of democratic discourse, and its absolute conflation of the interests of the Israeli government with those of world Jewry. Already in the past year, as part of an exhibition on Jerusalem and its significance to three religions, the museum was forced to cancel a lecture on the status of LGBTQ Palestinians in East Jerusalem because the Israeli ambassador suspected that the speaker, God help us, supports BDS.

    Accusations of anti-Semitism, which carry enormous weight in Germany, lead more and more to censorship and self-censorship. Cultural institutions in Germany, which are supposed to provide a stage for critical positions, are threatened financially and politically if they even dare to host artists and musicians who at any time expressed support for non-violent resistance to the Israeli occupation. This policy of fear-mongering that Miri Regev leads in Israel is imported by supporters of Israel to Germany. Only in Germany, because of its great sensitivity to anti-Semitism and deep identification with Israel in the wake of the Shoah, are there politicians not only on the right but on the left as well who vehemently endorse the silencing of criticism of Israel.

    The extreme right’s ascendance to power in places across the globe is based in great part on the constriction of democratic space and the intimidation and sanctioning of anyone who dares to oppose suppressive nationalist policies. The efforts of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs and the Foreign Ministry, in cooperation with Jewish and right-wing organizations around the world, to defame and slander anyone who refuses to join their campaign of incitement against human rights activists, has now led to the firing of an esteemed scholar, strictly because he chose to defend the rights of Israeli academics to oppose the designation of the BDS movement as an anti-Semitic movement.

    Against this paranoid impulse toward purges, which to a great extent recalls the years of McCarthyism in the United States, one must take a clear public stance. If the firing of Peter Schäfer has a moral, it is that no matter how much approbation a person has received for his opposition to anti-Semitism and support for Israel, opposition to Netanyahu’s anti-democratic policies is enough to turn him into an enemy of the people and the nation.

    If the German and Israeli governments are interested in the Jewish Museum representing only their narrow political interests and denying its staff members freedom of expression, I am not interested in having a part in it. So despite my deep respect for the museum’s staff, I proffered my resignation. I and many other Jews of my generation do not want or need a kashrut certificate from the State of Israel or the heads of the institutional Jewish community, nor, certainly, from the German government. Judaism, as a pluralistic and democratic world culture, will continue to exist after the racist, ultra-nationalist politics that has taken over many communal institutions passes from the world.

    The writer has lived in Berlin for 13 years and works as a tour guide.

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    (2) https://seenthis.net/messages/788398

  • Architectural Review : The Irish issue

    https://www.architectural-review.com/my-account/magazine-archive/the-irish-issue-is-here/10042957.article

    Un numéro intéressant consacré à l’Irlande

    Avec cette carte de Belfast en page 106

    ‘If there is a canon in Irish architecture, it seems to be one of ambiguity, of refined cross-pollinations, of great thought in small things’, writes Andrew Clancy. He offers an Irishness in relation, between home and away, one that traverses and returns, to stand at the edge of Europe and before the open ocean. By sending this issue to press at the end of May, the idea was to have caught the islands just two months after the UK’s formal departure from the European Union, with whatever strained solution might have been wrought into the land around the border. We remain, however, afloat in the unknown; and as the interminable process grinds on – as Maria McLintock writes – our language around it remains insufficient, the messy and pulsating borderlands collapsed into ‘backstop’.

    Ignoring the rigid, often arbitrary, frontiers dividing countries, choosing to encompass instead the entirety of ‘the islands of Ireland’ is itself a provocation. But in this issue, we ramble the land from end to end and over the sea to Inis Mór, the ambiguity of our appelation proving productive, to rove around rich seams and difficult terrain to cast an eye over a land in the middle of something.

    In the keynote, Shane O’Toole traces the developments of a critical culture of architecture across Ireland, starting in November 1974 when the AR paid a visit to Dublin, and following on through to the threats posed to the culture today. ‘How long can architects survive on house extensions and other small private commissions before their potential atrophies?’, he asks. In reflection, Eleanor Beaumont considers the ambitious architecture packed into Dublin’s domestic projects, such as those by Clancy Moore, TAKA, Ryan W Kennihan Architects, and Arigho Larmour Wheeler Architects, and Noreile Breen features as this issue’s AREA profile. Going back to Group 91, and the introduction of Irish architecture to an international scene, we also feature a retrospective on Grafton Architects, and their offers of silence in the cacophony of the city.

    We go to Galway, on the Republic’s western coast, to review the recently-completed Pálás cinema by dePaor, a small and fantastical gem fourteen years in the making. Further out in the remote western reaches of Rosmuc and the Aran isle of Inis Mór, we also feature two new school buildings by Paul Dillon, the simplicity and clarity of which does not undermine their value. Looking back to a school rooted in 1970s ideals, we revisit Birr Community School by Peter and Mary Doyle, a school found to be ‘no museum piece’, as John McLaughlin and Aiobheann Ní Mhearáin write: ‘the values it embodies are as pertinent today as they were when it was first built.’

    In Belfast, Mark Hackett asserts that the roads that profess to connect the city can be as divisive as its walls, and Gary A Boyd reviews the transport hub designed by Hackett’s former partners, Hall McKnight, as part of a masterplan hoped to catalyse regeneration of the city’s dislocated fringe. In Outrage, Dawn Foster writes that inequalities in access to social housing continue to perpetuate the divide between Catholics and Protestants. In Cantrell Close in Belfast for example, the banners hung around the purportedly mixed community constitute a warning: symbols become violent, even lethal. As Darran Anderson writes, the land is one of iconographers – but also one of iconoclasts, the violence of the conflict mirrored by symbolic acts of destruction carried out on architecture as a receptacle of collective memory.

    In this issue we also feature The raingod’s green, dark as passion, a lyrical story of Cork by Kevin Barry, while Reputations looks at the life of States-based architect, Pritzker laureate and County Cork native, Kevin Roche.

    #irlande #architecture #conflit #frontière #urban_matter

  • The Tiananmen Square massacre, 30 years on - World Socialist Web Site
    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/06/08/tian-j08.html

    By Peter Symonds, 8 June 2019 - Thirty years have passed since heavily-armed Chinese troops, backed by tanks, moved through the suburbs of Beijing on the night of June 3–4, 1989, killing hundreds, probably thousands, of unarmed civilians. The military forces overwhelmed makeshift barricades with brute force as they made their way to Tiananmen Square—the site of weeks of mass protests by students and workers.

    Those barbaric events, which demonstrated the willingness of the Stalinist Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime to do anything to stay in power, have gone down in history as the Tiananmen Square massacre. Yet most of deaths during that murderous assault were of workers who courageously tried to halt the progress of troops to central Beijing. Estimates vary, but up to 7,000 were killed and 20,000 wounded.

    Moreover, in the reign of terror that followed throughout China it was the workers who received the harshest penalties, including lengthy jail terms and death sentences. Around 40,000 people were arrested just in June and July, mostly members of Workers Autonomous Federations that had sprung up in the course of the protests.
    Protesters in Tiananmen Square

    What is commonly depicted as the crushing of student protesters was in fact a wave of repression directed overwhelmingly against a mass movement of the working class. What had begun in April as student protests calling for democratic reforms had swelled into the millions as workers joined the demonstrations by mid-May, making their own class demands.

    The Beijing Workers Autonomous Federation was established on April 20 with a handful of workers and rapidly expanded to become a major organising centre by mid-May. On May 17, up to two million people marched through the centre of Beijing, the majority being workers and their families under the banners of their work units or enterprises. Reflecting the impact of events in Beijing, Workers Autonomous Federations were established in a host of major cities, including Changsha, Shaoyang, Xiangtan, Hengyang and Yueyang.

    While moderate student leaders were intent on pressing the CCP bureaucracy for concessions on democratic rights, workers were animated by concerns over deteriorating living standards, soaring inflation and a wave of sackings and closures. The regime’s embrace of the capitalist market since the 1970s had led to widening social inequality and rampant bureaucratic corruption and profiteering. Workers were bitterly hostile to the accumulation of privileges and wealth by the top CCP leaders, such as Deng Xiaoping, Li Peng, Zhao Ziyang, Jiang Zemin, Chen Yun and their family members, and were contemptuous of their claims to be communist and socialist.

    A statement by workers issued on May 25 expressed the rebellious currents in the working class. “Our nation was created by the struggle and labour of we workers and all other mental and manual labourers. We are the rightful masters of this nation. We must be heard in national affairs. We must not allow this small band of degenerate scum of the nation and the working class to usurp our name and suppress the students, murder democracy and trample human rights.” [1]

    Premier Zhao Ziyang had been sympathetic to the demands of student leaders and had counselled making small concessions to calls for basic democratic rights. However, no compromise was possible with the working class, whose unrest threatened the very existence of the regime. As the protest movement rapidly grew in size and confidence, paramount leader Deng Xiaoping removed his ally Zhao as premier, installed hardline Li Peng in his place and ordered the military to violently suppress the protests in Beijing and nationally.
    The crisis of Stalinism

    The resort to such extreme measures was bound up with the profound crisis of Stalinism, not only in China but internationally. In response to deepening economic and social crises, a turn was underway in China, Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union toward the dismantling of centralised bureaucratic planning mechanisms, encouragement of private enterprise and establishment of market mechanisms.

    After assuming the leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev introduced his keynote policies of perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost (openness and transparency) that laid the framework for greater autonomy for enterprises outside the central planning mechanisms and, under the guise of democratic reform, sought to establish a base of social support for the regime among the petty bourgeoisie.

    Gorbachev’s pro-market restructuring also encouraged the Stalinist regimes in Eastern Europe in their plans for capitalist restoration, making desperate bids to resolve their mounting economic and political crises. These processes dramatically accelerated as Gorbachev signaled that the Soviet Union would not intervene militarily to prop up its Soviet bloc allies, as it had done in Hungary in 1956 to crush the workers’ uprising and in Czechoslovakia in 1968 to end liberal reforms. In December 1987, he announced the withdrawal of 500,000 Soviet troops from Eastern Europe.

    In a very short period of time, during 1989–90, the Stalinist bureaucracies in one Eastern European country after another moved to restore capitalism, dismantling what remained of nationalised property relations and centralised planning.

    In Poland, talks between the government and opposition Solidarity leaders resulted in a deal in April 1989 to hold limited elections. This paved the way for the installation in August of Solidarity leader Tadeusz Mazowiecki as prime minister. He unleashed sweeping pro-market restructuring.

    Similar negotiations in Hungary, where the processes of pro-market restructuring were already advanced, led to a new constitution in August 1989. Multi-party elections in May 1990 resulted in a government that junked what remained of centralised planning and carried out wholesale privatisation.

    Amid a mounting economic and political crisis, Gorbachev visited Berlin in October 1989 to urge the East German government to accelerate pro-market reforms. Erich Honecker resigned as leader two weeks later. On November 9, the government announced the end of all border restrictions and Berlin citizens tore down the hated Berlin Wall. Before the end of the month, West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl unveiled a plan to integrate East Germany with capitalist West Germany—a process that was completed by October 1990.

    The collapse of the Stalinist regimes in Czechoslovakia, Romania and Bulgaria quickly followed. By the end of 1990, governments throughout Eastern Europe were giving full rein to the plunder of state-owned property, an influx of foreign capital and the dismantling of social services, leading to a precipitous deterioration in living standards.

    Gorbachev’s policies in the Soviet Union gave rise to intense pressures within the Stalinist bureaucracy and the emerging layer of entrepreneurs for a far speedier dismantling of all fetters on private ownership and market relations. This found expression in the installation of Boris Yeltsin in July 1991 and the implementation of pro-market “shock therapy.” In December 1991, the Soviet Union was formally dissolved.

    The break-up of the Soviet Union and collapse of the Stalinist states in Eastern Europe led to an orgy of triumphalism in the capitalist media proclaiming the end of socialism. Pundits, politicians and academics, who had foreseen nothing and could explain nothing, exulted over the triumph of the market, even going so far as to pronounce the end of history. In other words, capitalism supposedly represented the highest and final stage of human development. A new period of peace, prosperity and democracy would dawn, they all declared.

    The International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI), based on the analysis made by Leon Trotsky of Stalinism, had rejected the universal adulation of Gorbachev and warned that his policies were rapidly leading to the dismantling of the gains of the first workers’ state. Its perspectives resolution entitled “The World Capitalist Crisis and the Tasks of the Fourth International,” published in August 1988, made clear that the breakdown of the Soviet Union was not a product of socialism, but rather of Stalinism and its reactionary autarchic conception of “socialism in one country”:

    The very real crisis of the Soviet economy is rooted in its enforced isolation from the resources of the world market and the international division of labour. There are only two ways this crisis can be tackled. The way proposed by Gorbachev involves the dismantling of state industry, the renunciation of the planning principle, and the abandonment of the state monopoly on foreign trade, i.e., the reintegration of the Soviet Union into the structure of world capitalism. The alternative to this reactionary solution requires the smashing of imperialism’s domination over the world economy by linking up the Soviet and international working class in a revolutionary offensive aimed at extending the planned economy into the European, North American and Asian citadels of capitalism. [2]

    In the aftermath of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the ICFI identified the root cause of the crisis of Stalinism in the processes of the globalisation of production that had been underway since the late 1970s, which had undermined all programs based on national economic regulation. While the crisis of Stalinism was the most immediate and acute expression, these same processes lay behind the international embrace of pro-market restructuring by Social Democratic and Labour parties, and trade unions, and their abandonment of any defence of the social rights of the working class.
    Capitalist restoration in China

    The events in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union had a profound impact in China, where processes of capitalist restoration had been underway since the 1970s. The CCP’s decision in June 1989 to use the military to brutally suppress the working class was in no small measure conditioned by its longstanding fear of a repetition in China of the mass strike movement in Poland in 1980–81 that led to the formation of the Solidarity trade union.

    China specialist Maurice Meisner explained that the involvement of masses of workers in the protests in Tiananmen Square on May 17 “did much to rekindle the ‘Polish fear’ among Party leaders, their decade-old obsession about the rise of a Solidarity-type alliance between workers and intellectuals in opposition to the Communist state. And that fear, in turn, contributed to their fateful decision to impose martial law.” [3]

    While Deng Xiaoping recognised the affinity of Gorbachev’s perestroika with the policies that he had already enacted, he did not embrace the political liberalisation of glasnost, fearing it would undermine the foundations of the CCP regime. When Gorbachev visited Beijing in mid-May 1989 to cement closer Sino-Soviet ties, the Chinese leadership kept him closeted from public view, anxious that his presence would give further impetus to the protests in Tiananmen Square. The rapid collapse of the Stalinist regimes in Eastern Europe only heightened the determination of the CCP bureaucracy to suppress any opposition.

    The roots of the crisis in China lay in the outcome of the 1949 Chinese revolution. The monumental events that brought the Chinese Communist Party to power ended more than a century of imperialist oppression that had mired the country of more than 500 million in squalor and backwardness. It expressed the aspirations of the vast majority of the population for economic security, basic democratic and social rights, and a decent standard of living. Decades of political upheaval and a war against Japanese imperialism from 1937 to 1945 had ravaged the country and left an estimated 14 million Chinese soldiers and civilians dead.

    Like the Soviet bureaucracy, however, the new CCP apparatus was based on the reactionary nationalist program of “socialism in one country,” which was a repudiation of socialist internationalism and Leon Trotsky’s theory of Permanent Revolution which underpinned the October Revolution in Russia in 1917.

    As a result, the course of the revolution and the subsequent evolution of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) proclaimed by Mao Zedong in 1949 was distorted and deformed by Stalinism, which dominated the CCP in the wake of Stalin’s betrayal of the Second Chinese Revolution of 1925–27. Stalin subordinated the very young CCP to the bourgeois nationalist Kuomintang, resulting in crushing blows to the Chinese Communists and working class in April 1927, and again in May 1927. CCP leaders and members who supported Trotsky’s analysis of the tragedy were expelled.

    In the wake of the 1949 Chinese Revolution, the pragmatic, nationalist ideology of Maoism led China rapidly into a blind alley. Mao’s perspective of a “New Democracy” sought to maintain a bloc with the national bourgeoisie, but the CCP government was driven, under conditions of the Korean War and the internal sabotage by bourgeois and petty bourgeois elements, to go further than intended. By 1956, virtually every aspect of the economy was nationalised and subject to bureaucratic planning along the lines of the Soviet Union, but the working class had no say through its own democratic organs.

    The organic hostility of the Maoist regime to the working class was expressed in its repression of Chinese Trotskyists, all of whom were jailed in 1952 amid the rising resistance by workers. As with the Eastern European states, the Fourth International characterised China as a deformed workers’ state, a highly conditional formula that placed the emphasis on the deformed, bureaucratic character of the regime.

    The national autarky of “socialism in one country” generated worsening economic and social turmoil, and crises for which the CCP bureaucracy had no solution, leading to bitter internal factional warfare. Mao’s fanciful scheme for a peasant socialist society, which underpinned his “Great Leap Forward,” ended in economic catastrophe and mass starvation. His factional opponents, led by Liu Shaoqi, followed the Soviet model of bureaucratic planning with its emphasis on heavy industry, but this provided no alternative.

    The economic crisis was greatly worsened by the 1961–63 split with the Soviet Union and the withdrawal of Soviet aid and advisers, as the two Stalinist regimes advanced their conflicting national interests. In a last desperate bid to oust his rivals, Mao unleashed the Cultural Revolution in 1966, which rapidly span out of his control, leading to confused and convulsive social struggles that threatened the very existence of the regime. Mao turned to the military to suppress workers who had taken literally his edict to “Bombard the Headquarters,” resulting in mass strikes in Shanghai and the formation of an independent Shanghai People’s Commune in 1967.

    Incapable of resolving the immense economic and social problems wracking the country, and facing a military confrontation with the Soviet Union, the CCP bureaucracy forged an anti-Soviet alliance with US imperialism that laid the basis for China’s integration into global capitalism. While Deng Xiaoping is generally credited with initiating market reforms, Mao’s rapprochement with US President Richard Nixon in 1972 was the essential political and diplomatic pre-condition for foreign investment and increased trade with the West.

    The process of “opening and reform” went hand-in-hand with the imposition of strict discipline and emphasis on boosting production in workplaces. Maurice Meissner noted: “Factory managers dismissed during the Cultural Revolution were restored to their former posts, accompanied by calls to strengthen managerial authority, labour discipline, and factory rules and regulations—and to struggle against ‘anarchism’ and ‘ultra-leftism.’ There were dramatic increases in foreign trade and in imports of foreign technology. Veteran party leaders attacked during the Cultural Revolution were ‘rehabilitated’ at an increasingly rapid pace; by 1973, it has been noted, ‘the pre-Cultural Revolution cadres were running the government ministries.” [4]

    From 1969 to 1975, the value of foreign trade increased from $US4 billion to $14 billion per annum. From the end of 1972 until mid-1975, China imported whole industrial plants, valued at $2.8 billion, mainly from Japan and western Europe.

    Deng Xiaoping who had been ostracised during the Cultural Revolution as the “No 2 capitalist roader,” was rehabilitated, appointed a vice premier of the state council under Zhou Enlai. Deng led the Chinese delegation to a special session of the UN in 1974 where he declared that the “socialist bloc” no longer existed and China was part of the Third World. In the factional power struggle that followed Mao’s death in 1976, Deng emerged as the dominant figure in the Stalinist bureaucracy. He embraced US imperialism ever more closely, formalising diplomatic relations in 1979, launching a border war against neighbouring Vietnam, and defending US allies such as the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

    From 1978, Deng greatly accelerated the “reform and opening” pro-market reforms. Four Special Economic Zones (SEZs) were established in 1979 in Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Shantou and Xiamen, where foreign entrepreneurs and joint ventures produced goods for export and enjoyed tax breaks and other concessions. A similar system was later implemented in key port cities such as Shanghai. In the countryside, the collectivised communes were dismantled and restrictions removed on the operation of private enterprises. Prices for agricultural produce were lifted. In the cities, moves were made to transform thousands of state-owned enterprises into profit-making corporations. Private enterprises were permitted, the market was increasingly allowed to determine prices for consumer goods, and a “labour market” was initiated, allowing the hiring and firing of workers.

    The pro-market reforms led to the rapid rise of social inequality. Millions of former peasants were left landless and forced to seek employment in the cities. In the SEZs, where the capitalist market was given free rein, corruption and criminal activity was rampant, including smuggling, bribery and the theft of state-owned property. The sons and daughters of the top party leaders took full advantage of their political connections to establish their own business empires. With the lifting of price restrictions, inflation rocketed to 18.5 percent in 1988, to which the regime responded by drastically reducing credit and re-imposing import restrictions. Hundreds of thousands of workers lost their jobs, as private enterprises reduced their workforces or closed down altogether. Unemployment, the loss of job security, as well as skyrocketing prices, combined with disgust at the corruption and enrichment of CCP bureaucrats, fueled the social unrest that erupted in the mass protests by workers the following year.
    Capitalist restoration following Tiananmen Square

    In the aftermath of the bloody crackdown in Tiananmen Square and the police dragnet throughout the country, the factional battle inside the CCP leadership sharpened in the next three years over Deng’s program of capitalist restoration. In ordering the troops against workers and students, Deng had removed his chief ally in pro-market restructuring, Zhao Ziyang, as premier. Former Shanghai party leader Jiang Zemin was installed as a compromise choice to the top post of CCP secretary general. The initiative shifted to the so-called hardliners—Li Peng and Chen Yun, who, in criticising Zhao, were also criticising Deng’s policies.

    However, in advocating restrictions on market relations, Li and Chen based their policies on the status quo ante and the nationalist perspective of “socialism in country,” which had already proven to be a dead-end. They were looking toward the Soviet Union, even as the deformed workers’ states in Eastern Europe were collapsing and Gorbachev’s policies were undermining centralised planning and nationalised property relations. Their so-called “Soviet faction” represented sections of the Chinese bureaucracy whose power and privileges resided in their control of key sections of state-owned industry and the central apparatus in Beijing.

    At the Fifth Plenum in November 1989, Li delivered the main report, based on the recommendations of a revived State Planning Commission. The adopted plan called for cutting inflation to 10 percent in 1990 and economic growth to 5 percent by maintaining tight controls on credit and balancing the national budget. Rural industries would not be allowed to compete with state-owned enterprises. While keeping the SEZs and “open door” policy in place, the new restrictions hit rural and provincial industries, particularly in the south of the country.

    While Deng no longer held any official party or state position, he still retained considerable political clout, especially in the southern provinces where the new profit-making industries were concentrated. Deng had sided with the hardliners in opposing any political liberalisation and, above all, supported the 1989 military crackdown, but he was adamant that the restrictions on private enterprises and foreign investment had to be completely dismantled.

    The snowballing crisis in the Soviet Union brought matters to a head. An attempted Stalinist putsch in August 1991 to oust Gorbachev and Yeltsin and wind back their program of pro-market restructuring ended in dismal failure. China scholar Michael Marti explained: “This one event changed the thinking about the political equation within the Chinese leadership, including that of Deng Xiaoping. The failure of the Soviet Red Army to support the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in its bid to regain control threw the CCP into a panic. The Chinese leadership feared that a precedent had been established.” [5]

    The factional battle lines were drawn. While the “Soviet faction” began to call into question the entire agenda of pro-market reforms, including the establishment of the SEZs, Deng insisted that the levels of economic growth were too low to maintain employment and social stability. “If the economy cannot be boosted over a long time,” he told a meeting of party elders as far back as late 1989, “it [the government] will lose people’s support at home and will be oppressed and bullied by other nations. The continuation of this situation will lead to the collapse of the Communist Party.” [6]

    Deng was also concerned that the crisis in the Soviet Union, following the collapse of Stalinism in Eastern Europe, would greatly change geo-political relations. Not only had Deng’s strategy sought to balance between the US and the Soviet Union, but his economic policies depended on a large influx of foreign investment, which could potentially shift to exploiting new opportunities opening up in the former Soviet republics.

    Along with provincial leaders in the southern provinces, Deng counted on the support of People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The generals had been shocked by the way in which US imperialism and its allies had deployed hi-tech weaponry in the 1990–91 Gulf War to rapidly destroy the Iraqi military. Their conclusion was that China had to invest heavily in modernising the PLA and only Deng’s policies could transform the economy and produce the growth needed to supply that investment.

    Deng set out on his “Southern tour” in January–February 1992, just 20 days after the formal liquidation of the Soviet Union in December 1991, accompanied by top generals, the state security chief Qiao Shi and party elder Bo Yibo. As he visited the SEZs and southern cities, he declared that there would be no reversal of economic policies in the face of the Soviet collapse. Dismissing concerns about growing social inequality, he is said to have declared: “Let some people get rich first.”

    In a showdown with Chen Yun in Shanghai, Deng reportedly shouted: “Any leader who cannot boost the economy should leave office.” Openly backing capitalist restoration, he declared: “We should absorb more foreign capital and more foreign-advanced experiences and technologies, and set up more foreign-invested enterprises. Do not fear when others say we are practicing capitalism. Capitalism in nothing fearsome.” [7]

    Deng prevailed, opening the door for wholesale capitalist restoration that transformed the whole country into a giant free trade zone for the exploitation of cheap Chinese labour. The crocodile tears shed by Western politicians over the Tiananmen Square massacre were rapidly cast aside as foreign investors recognised that the police-state regime in Beijing was willing to use any method, no matter how brutal, to discipline the working class. In 1993, the CCP proclaimed that its objective was a “socialist market economy,” giving a threadbare “socialist” disguise to its embrace of capitalism.

    In 1994, the CCP formally established a “labour market,” by legitimising the sale and purchase of labour power. State-owned enterprises were corporatised into companies run for profit. The unprofitable ones were restructured or shut down. The better equipped, in sectors not designated as strategic, were sold off or converted into subsidiaries of foreign transnationals. A small number were preserved as state-owned “national flagships.”

    Between 1996 and 2005, the number of employees in state- and collective-owned enterprises halved, from 144 million to 73 million workers. Along with guaranteed life-time employment, the “iron rice bowl” of cradle-to-grave services was also dismantled. Essential services that had previously been provided by state-owned enterprises—childcare, education, health care and pensions—were now left to individual workers.
    Chinese capitalism today

    The restoration of capitalism in China over the past 30 years has only exacerbated the underlying social tensions within Chinese society and compounded the political and geo-political dilemmas confronting the CCP apparatus.

    The extraordinary economic expansion of China to become the world’s second largest economy has rested, in the first place, on the immense gains of the 1949 Revolution that unified China for the first time in decades, created an educated and skilled workforce, and developed basic industries and essential infrastructure. The flood of foreign investment into the country transformed China into the sweatshop of the world and produced a massive 11-fold increase in the economy between 1992 and 2010. This rapid growth, however, did not reflect an inherent strength of the Chinese economy, but rather its role in the world economy, dependent on foreign investment and technology.

    The imperialist powers, above all the United States, were more than willing to exploit cheap Chinese labour as long as China’s economic expansion did not challenge their own established geo-political interests. However, the vast quantity of raw materials and energy that Chinese industries require from around the world have increasingly brought it into conflict with the US and other major powers, in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and internationally. Moreover, as China has sought to create its own hi-tech “national champions” such as Huawei and ZTE, the US, under the Trump administration, has declared economic war on Beijing, not just in matters of trade. It has openly opposed Chinese plans to develop and expand hi-tech industries and to more closely link Eurasia to China through massive infrastructure projects under Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative.

    The delusion promoted by CCP leaders that China could, through a “peaceful rise,” become a world power on a parity with the US has been shattered. China’s expansion has brought it into conflict with the global imperialist order dominated by the United States. Under Obama and now Trump, the US has begun using all means at its disposal to ensure its continued global hegemony. Trump’s economic war goes hand-in-hand with a military build-up in the Indo-Pacific, escalating naval provocations in the South China Sea, under the guise of “freedom of navigation operations, and more open preparations for a war between the two nuclear-armed powers.

    The CCP leadership has no answer to the mounting danger of war, other than desperately seeking an accommodation with imperialism, while engaging in a frenetic arms race that can only end in catastrophe for the working class in China and internationally. Capitalist restoration, far from strengthening China’s capacity to counter the US, has greatly weakened it. The regime is organically incapable of making any appeal to the international working class, as that would inevitably lead to social struggles by the working class at home.

    Having abandoned even its previous nominal commitment to socialism and internationalism, the CCP has increasing relied on whipping up Chinese nationalism to try to create a social base in layers of the middle class. There is nothing progressive about Chinese chauvinism and patriotism, which divides Chinese workers from their class brothers and sisters internationally, and within China from non-Han Chinese minorities. Its repressive measures against Uighurs, Tibetans and other ethnic groups have provided an opening that the US is seeking to exploit. Under the bogus banner of “human rights,” Washington is promoting separatist groups as part of its ambition to fracture and subordinate China to its interests.

    Thirty years after the Tiananmen Square massacre, the CCP leadership is terrified of a renewal of working-class opposition, the first stirrings of which have been seen in the more numerous reports of workers’ strikes and protests, and, significantly over the past year, in a turn by a layer of university students to assist workers in their struggles. Since 1989, the working class in China has vastly expanded to an estimated 400 million and as a proportion of the population. One indicator is the growth of the country’s urban population from just 26.4 percent of the total in 1990, to 58.5 percent in 2017.

    The CCP leadership boasts of having lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty, using the UN’s very austere measures of poverty. Such benchmarks ignore the many factors that are fueling discontent among workers, including the common practice of late or unpaid wages, unhealthy and dangerous factory conditions, harsh corporate disciplinary practices, and the lack of basic social rights for tens of millions of internal migrants in the cities. All of these oppressive conditions are monitored and policed by the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, which functions as an arm of the CCP bureaucracy in workplaces.

    Capitalist restoration has produced a dramatic rise in social inequality: from one of the most equal societies in the world, China has become one of the most unequal countries. It is home to more dollar billionaires than any other country except the United States. While Chinese workers struggle to survive on the minimum wage of $370 a month, the wealthiest individual, Tencent chairman Pony Ma, has a personal fortune of almost $40 billion. These super-rich oligarchs, who in many cases have built their fortunes through naked corruption and the looting of state-owned property, are represented in the Chinese Communist Party and sit on powerful advisory bodies.

    The gulf between the super-rich and the vast majority of the workers and the poor is generating huge social tensions that, sooner rather than later, will explode on a scale that will eclipse the rebellion by workers and students 30 years ago. The lesson drawn by the Stalinist leadership from the 1989 events was that it had to suppress, through all available means, any expression of opposition that could become the focus of a broader movement against the regime. Incapable of meeting the pressing social needs of the majority of the population, the CCP has vastly expanded its police-state apparatus, now spending more each year on its internal security forces than it does on external defence.

    The working class must also draw the necessary political lessons from the defeat of that movement in 1989, which was rapidly assuming revolutionary dimensions. What was lacking was not determination, audacity and courage, nor numbers, which were rapidly swelling across China, but the essential problem facing the international working class in the 20th century—the absence of revolutionary leadership.

    James Cogan summed up the issue in his analysis “Ten years since the Tiananmen Square massacre,” stating:

    Inexperienced politically and lacking a political perspective outside of opposition to the existing regime, the workers’ leaders advanced no alternative to, and deferred to, the student bodies. The workers of China knew in their life experience what they were against—Stalinism and capitalism—but they were not able to articulate any perspective for an alternative social order.

    Decades of domination by Stalinism and the active suppression of genuine Marxism in China meant there was no revolutionary socialist, that is, Trotskyist, tendency in the working class. No organisation within the country could spontaneously advance the program that was implicit in the actions and sentiments of the Chinese working class—a political revolution to overthrow the Stalinist regime and introduce major reforms into the economy for the benefit of the working class. [8]

    The essential political task of building a Trotskyist leadership in the Chinese working class as a section of the International Committee of the Fourth International remains. None of the oppositional tendencies that emerged out of the 1989 protests offer a viable political perspective for the working class. Advocates of independent trade unions such as Han Dongfang, who was prominent in the Beijing Workers Autonomous Federation in 1989, have underscored the political bankruptcy of syndicalism by lurching to the right and into the arms of US trade union apparatus, in other words of US imperialism.

    A layer of youth, intellectuals and workers have turned to Maoism, and its banal “revolutionary” slogans, for answers. Capitalist restoration in China, however, was not a break from Maoism. It flowed organically out of the dead-end of “socialism in one country.” Maoism could aptly be termed Stalinism with Chinese characteristics, with its hostility to the working class, its emphasis on subjective will, and above all its putrid nationalism. It is diametrically opposed to genuine Marxism, that is the perspective of socialist internationalism, which alone was upheld by the Trotskyist movement, including the Chinese Trotskyists.

    The establishment of a genuinely revolutionary party in China, as part of the ICFI, requires the assimilation of the essential strategic experiences of the international working class, of which the Chinese revolutions of the 20th century are a critical component. The CCP leaders are petrified that workers and youth will begin to work over the lessons of history. They attempt to censor and black out any knowledge and discussion of the events of 1989, and continue to perpetrate the lies of Stalinism about the course of the 20th century.

    The crucial political lessons of the protracted struggle of Trotskyism against Stalinism are embedded in the program, perspective and documents of the International Committee of the Fourth International. Workers and youth should make a serious study of the political issues involved, beginning with the documents of the ICFI on the Tiananmen Square massacre, republished this week on the World Socialist Web Site. We urge you to contact the International Committee of the Fourth International, which is the first step toward forging a Trotskyist leadership in the Chinese working class.

    Footnotes:

    [1] Cited in “Workers in the Tiananmen protests: The politics of the Beijing Workers Autonomous Federation,” by Andrew G. Walder and Gong Xiaoxia, first published in the Australian Journal of Chinese Affairs, No 29, January 1993.

    [2] The World Capitalist Crisis and the Tasks of the Fourth International: Perspectives Resolution of the International Committee of the Fourth International, August 1988, Labor Publications, pp.30–31.

    [3] Maurice Meisner, Mao’s China and After: A History of the People’s Republic, The Free Press, Third edition, 1999, p.508.

    [4] ibid, p.389.

    [5] Michael Marti, China and the Legacy of Deng Xiaoping: From Communist Revolution to Capitalist Evolution, Brassey’s Inc, 2002, pp.47–48.

    [6] Cited in John Chan, “Twenty years since Deng Xiaoping’s ‘Southern tour’—Part 1”, 26 November 2012.

    [7] Cited in John Chan, “Twenty years since Deng Xiaoping’s ‘Southern tour’—Part 2”, 27 November 2012.

    [8] James Cogan, “Ten years since the Tiananmen Square massacre: Political lessons for the working class,” 4 June 1999.

    #Chine #4689

  • Connecticut legislators to consider minimum pay for Uber and Lyft drivers - Connecticut Post
    https://www.ctpost.com/politics/article/Connecticut-legislators-to-consider-minimum-pay-13608071.php

    By Emilie Munson, February 11, 2019 - Prompted by growing numbers of frustrated Uber and Lyft drivers, lawmakers will hold a hearing on establishing minimum pay for app-based drivers.

    After three separate legislative proposals regarding pay for drivers flooded the Labor and Public Employees Committee, the committee will raise the concept of driver earnings as a bill, said state Rep. Robyn Porter, D-New Haven, who chairs the committee, on Friday night.

    A coalition of Uber and Lyft drivers from New Haven has been pressuring lawmakers to pass a pay standard, following New York City’s landmark minimum pay ordinance for app-based drivers approved in December. The legislation, which set an earnings floor of $17.22 an hour for the independent contractors, took effect on Feb. 1.

    Connecticut drivers have no minimum pay guarantees.

    Guillermo Estrella, who drives for Uber, worked about 60 hours per week last year and received $25,422.65 in gross pay. His pay stub doesn’t reflect how much Estrella paid for insurance, gas, oil changes and wear-and-tear on his car. Factor those expenses in, and the Branford resident said his yearly take-home earnings were about $18,000 last year.

    Estrella and other New Haven drivers have suggested bill language to cap the portion of riders’ fares that Uber and Lyft can take at 25 percent, with the remaining 75 percent heading to drivers’ pockets. The idea has already received pushback from Uber, which said it was unrealistic given their current pay structure.

    Connecticut legislators have suggested two other models for regulating driver pay. State Sen. Steve Cassano, D-Manchester, filed a bill to set a minimum pay rate per mile and per minute for drivers. His bill has not assigned numbers to those minimums yet.

    “What (drivers) were making when Uber started and got its name, they are not making that anymore,” said Cassano. “The company is taking advantage of the success of the company. I understand that to a point, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of the drivers.”

    State Rep. Peter Tercyak, D-New Britain, proposed legislation that says if drivers’ earnings do not amount to hourly minimum wage payments, Uber or Lyft should have to kick in the difference. Connecticut’s minimum wage is now $10.10, although Democrats are making a strong push this year to raise it.

    As lawmakers consider these proposals, they will confront issues raised by the growing “gig economy”: a clash between companies seeking thousands of flexible, independent contractors and a workforce that wants the benefits and rights of traditional, paid employment.

    Some Democrats at the Capitol support the changes that favor drivers.

    “I thought it was important to make sure our labor laws are keeping up with the changes we are seeing in this emerging gig economy, that we have sufficient safeguards to make sure that drivers are not being exploited,” said Sen. Matt Lesser, D-Middletown.

    But the proposals also raise broad, difficult questions like what protections does a large independent contractor workforce need? And how would constraining the business model of Uber and Lyft impact service availability around the state?

    Sen. Craig Miner, a Republican of Litchfield who sits on the Labor committee, wondered why Uber and Lyft drivers should have guaranteed pay, when other independent contractors do not. How would this impact the tax benefits realized by independent contractors, he asked.

    Uber and Lyft declined to provide data on how many drivers they have in the state, and the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles does not keep count. In Connecticut, 82 percent of Lyft drivers drive fewer than 20 hours per week, said Kaelan Richards, a Lyft spokesperson.

    Last week, Hearst Connecticut Media spoke to 20 Uber and Lyft drivers in New Haven who are demanding lawmakers protect their pay. All drove full-time for Uber or Lyft or both.

    An immigrant from Ecuador, Estrella, the Branford driver, struggles to pay for rent and groceries for his pregnant wife and seven-year-old son using his Uber wages.

    “A cup of coffee at the local Starbucks cost $3 or $4,” said Estrella. “How can a trip can cost $3 when you have to drive to them five minutes away and drop them off after seven or eight minutes?”

    In December, 50 Uber and Lyft drivers held a strike in New Haven demanding better pay. The New Haven drivers last week said they are planning more strikes soon.

    “Why is Uber lowering the rates and why do we have to say yes to keep working?” asked Carlos Gomez, a Guilford Uber driver, last week.

    The drivers believe Uber and Lyft are decreasing driver pay and taking a larger chunk of rider fares for company profits. Many New Haven drivers said pay per mile has been decreasing. They liked Sen. Cassano’s idea of setting minimum pay per mile and per minute.

    “The payment by mile, it went down by 10 cents,” said Rosanna Olan, a driver from West Haven. “Before it was more than one dollar and now when you have a big truck SUV, working long distance especially is not worth it anymore.”

    Uber and Lyft both declined to provide pay rates per mile and per minute for drivers. Drivers are not paid for time spent driving to pick up a passenger, nor for time spent idling waiting for a ride, although the companies’ model depends on having drivers ready to pick up passengers at any moment.

    Lyft said nationally drivers earn an average of $18.83 an hour, but did not provide Connecticut specific earnings.

    “Our goal has always been to empower drivers to get the most out of Lyft, and we look forward to continBy Emilie Munson Updated 4:49 pm EST, Monday, February 11, 2019uing to do so in Connecticut, and across the country," said Rich Power, public policy manager at Lyft.

    Uber discouraged lawmakers from considering the drivers’ proposal of capping the transportation companies’ cut of rider fares. Uber spokesman Harry Hartfield said the idea wouldn’t work because Uber no longer uses the “commission model” — that stopped about two years ago.

    “In order to make sure we can provide customers with an up-front price, driver fares are not tied to what the rider pays,” said Hartfield. “In fact, on many trips drivers actually make more money than the rider pays.”

    What the rider is pays to Uber is an estimated price, calculated before the ride starts, Hartfield explained, while the driver receives from Uber a fare that is calculated based on actual drive time and distance. Changing the model could make it hard to give customers up-front pricing and “lead to reduced price transparency,” Hartfield said. New York’s changes raised rates for riders.

    James Bhandary-Alexander, a New Haven Legal Assistance attorney who is working with the drivers, said Uber’s current pay model is “irrelevant to how drivers want to be paid for the work.”

    “The reason that drivers care is it seems fundamentally unfair that the rider is willing to pay or has paid $100 for the ride and the driver has only gotten $30 or $40 of that,” he said.

    Pursuing any of the three driver-pay proposals would bring Uber and Lyft lobbyists back to the Capitol, where they negotiated legislation spearheaded by Rep. Sean Scanlon, D-Guilford, from 2015 to 2017.

    Scanlon said the companies eventually favored the bill passed in 2017, which, after some compromise, required drivers have insurance, limited “surge pricing,” mandated background checks for drivers, imposed a 25 cent tax collected by the state and stated passengers must be picked up and delivered anywhere without discrimination.

    “One of my biggest regrets about that bill, which I think is really good for consumers in Connecticut, is that we didn’t do anything to try to help the driver,” said Scanlon, who briefly drove for Uber.
    By Emilie Munson Updated 4:49 pm EST, Monday, February 11, 2019
    emunson@hearstmediact.com; Twitter: @emiliemunson

    #USA #Uber #Connecticut #Mindestlohn #Klassenkampf

  • MoA - Tian An Men Square - What Really Happened (Updated)
    https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/06/tiananmen-square-do-the-media-say-what-really-happened.html

    June 04, 2019
    Tian An Men Square - What Really Happened (Updated)

    Since 1989 the western media write anniversary pieces on the June 4 removal of protesters from the Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The view seems always quite one sided and stereotyped with a brutal military that suppresses peaceful protests.

    That is not the full picture. Thanks to Wikileaks we have a few situation reports from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing at that time. They describe a different scene than the one western media paint to this day.

    Ten thousands of people, mostly students, occupied the square for six weeks. They protested over the political and personal consequences of Mao’s chaotic Cultural Revolution which had upset the whole country. The liberalization and changeover to a more capitalist model under Deng Xiopings had yet to show its success and was fought by the hardliners in the Communist Party.

    The more liberal side of the government negotiated with the protesters but no agreement was found. The hardliners in the party pressed for the protest removal. When the government finally tried to move the protesters out of the very prominent square they resisted.

    On June 3 the government moved troops towards the city center of Beijing. But the military convoys were held up. Some came under attack. The U.S. embassy reported that soldiers were taken as hostages:

    TENSION MOUNTED THROUGHOUT THE AFTERNOON AS BEIJING RESIDENTS VENTED THEIR ANGER BY HARASSING MILITARY AND POLICE PERSONNEL AND ATTACKING THEIR VEHICLES. STUDENTS DISPLAYED CAPTURED WEAPONS, MILITARY EQUIPMENT AND VEHICLES, INCLUDING IN FRONT OF THE ZHONGNANHAI LEADERSHIP COMPOUND. AN EFFORT TO FREE STILL CAPTIVE MILITARY PERSONNEL OR TO CLEAR THE SOUTHERN ENTRANCE TO ZHONGNANHAI MAY HAVE BEEN THE CAUSE OF A LIMITED TEAR GAS ATTACK IN THAT AREA AROUND 1500 HOURS LOCAL.

    There are some gruesome pictures of the government side casualties of these events.

    Another cable from June 3 notes:

    THE TROOPS HAVE OBVIOUSLY NOT YET BEEN GIVEN ORDERS PERMITTING THEM TO USE FORCE. THEIR LARGE NUMBERS, THE FACT THAT THEY ARE HELMETED, AND THE AUTOMATIC WEAPONS THEY ARE CARRYING SUGGEST THAT THE FORCE OPTION IS REAL.

    In the early morning of June 4 the military finally reached the city center and tried to push the crowd out of Tiananmen Square:

    STUDENTS SET DEBRIS THROWN ATOP AT LEAST ONE ARMORED PERSONNEL CARRIER AND LIT THE DEBRIS, ACCORDING TO EMBOFF NEAR THE SCENE. ABC REPORTED THAT ONE OTHER ARMORED PERSONNEL CARRIER IS AFLAME. AT LEAST ONE BUS WAS ALSO BURNING, ACCORDING TO ABC NEWS REPORTERS ON THE SQUARE AT 0120. THE EYEWITNESSES REPORTED THAT TROOPS AND RIOT POLICE WERE ON THE SOUTHERN END OF THE SQUARE AND TROOPS WERE MOVING TO THE SQUARE FROM THE WESTERN SIDE OF THE CITY.

    The soldiers responded as all soldiers do when they see that their comrades get barbecued:

    THERE HAS REPORTEDLY BEEN INDISCRIMINATE GUNFIRE BY THE TROOPS ON THE SQUARE. WE CAN HEAR GUNFIRE FROM THE EMBASSY AND JIANGUOMENWAI DIPLOMATIC COMPOUND. EYEWITNESSES REPORT TEAR GAS ON THE SQUARE, FLARES BEING FIRED ABOVE IT, AND TRACERS BEING FIRED OVER IT.

    Most of the violence was not in the square, which was already quite empty at that time, but in the streets around it. The soldiers tried to push the crowd away without using their weapons:

    THE SITUATION IN THE CENTER OF THE CITY IS VERY CONFUSED. POLOFFS AT THE BEIJING HOTEL REPORTED THAT TROOPS ARE PUSHING A LARGE CROWD OF DEMONSTRATORS EAST ON CHANGANJIE. ALTHOUGH THESE TROOPS APPEAR NOT TO BE FIRING ON THE CROWD, POLOFFS REPORT FIRING BEHIND THE TROOPS COMING FROM THE SQUARE.

    With the Square finally cleared the student protest movement ebbed away.

    Update (June 5)

    Peter Lee, aka Chinahand, was there on the ground. He just published his eyewitness account written down at that time.

    Western secret services smuggled some 800 of the leaders of their failed ’color revolution’ out of the country, reported the Financial Times:

    Many went first to France, but most travelled on to the US for scholarships at Ivy League universities.

    The extraction missions, aided by MI6, the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service, and the CIA, according to many accounts, had scrambler devices, infrared signallers, night-vision goggles and weapons.

    bigger

    /End of Update

    It is unclear how many people died during the incident. The numbers vary between dozens to several hundred. There is no evidence that the higher numbers are correct. It also not known how many of the casualties were soldiers, or how many were violent protesters or innocent bystanders.

    The New York Times uses the 30th anniversary of the June 4 incidents to again promote a scene that is interpreted as successful civil resistance.

    bigger

    He has become a global symbol of freedom and defiance, immortalized in photos, television shows, posters and T-shirts.

    But three decades after the Chinese Army crushed demonstrations centered on Tiananmen Square, “Tank Man” — the person who boldly confronted a convoy of tanks barreling down a Beijing avenue — is as much a mystery as ever.

    But was the man really some hero? It is not known what the the man really wanted or if he was even part of the protests:

    According to the man who took the photo, AP photographer Jeff Widener, the photo dates from June 5 the day after the Tiananmen Square incident. The tanks were headed away from, and not towards, the Square. They were blocked not by a student but by a man with a shopping bag crossing the street who had chosen to play chicken with the departing tanks. The lead tank had gone out its way to avoid causing him injury.

    The longer video of the tank hold up (turn off the ghastly music) shows that the man talked with the tank commander who makes no attempt to force him away. The scene ends after two minutes when some civilian passersby finally tell the man to move along. The NYT also writes:

    But more recently, the government has worked to eliminate the memory of Tank Man, censoring images of him online and punishing those who have evoked him.
    ...
    As a result of the government’s campaign, many people in China, especially younger Chinese, do not recognize his image.

    To which Carl Zha, who currently travels in China and speaks the language, responds:

    Carl Zha @CarlZha - 15:23 utc - 4 Jun 2019

    For the record, Everyone in China know about what happened on June 4th, 1989. Chinese gov remind them every year by cranking up censorship to 11 around anniversary. Idk Western reporters who claim people in China don’t know are just esp stupid/clueless or deliberately misleading

    In fact that applies to China reporting in general. I just don’t know whether Western China reporters are that stupid/clueless or deliberately misleading. I used to think people can’t be that stupid but I am constantly surprised...

    and

    Carl Zha @CarlZha - 15:42 utc - 4 Jun 2019

    This Image was shared in one of the Wechat group I was in today. Yes, everyone understood the reference

    bigger

    Carl recommends the two part movie The Gate To Heavenly Peace (vid) as the best documentary of the Tiananmen Square protests. It explores the political and social background of the incident and includes many original voices and scenes.

    Posted by b on June 4, 2019 at 03:00 PM

    #Chine #4689

  • Le directeur du musée juif de Berlin démissionne après une polémique sur l’antisémitisme
    Mis à jour le 15/06/2019
    https://www.francetvinfo.fr/monde/europe/allemagne/le-directeur-du-musee-juif-de-berlin-demissionne-apres-une-polemique-su

    Le directeur du musée juif de Berlin, Peter Schäfer, a démissionné, vendredi 14 juin, sur fond de polémique. En cause : un tweet controversé de son établissement recommandant la lecture d’un article critique de la décision, en mai, du Parlement allemand de considérer comme « antisémites » les méthodes du mouvement BDS (Boycott Désinvestissement Sanctions). Peter Schäfer a remis sa démission à la ministre de la Culture allemande, Monika Grütters, « pour éviter de nouveaux préjudices au musée juif de Berlin », a indiqué ce dernier.

    #BDS

    • Berlin Jewish Museum Director Resigns After Tweet Supporting BDS Freedom of Speech

      Peter Schäfer steps down days after sharing of petition calling on German government not to adopt motion defining anti-Israel boycotts as anti-Semitic
      Noa Landau - Jun 14, 2019 8:48 PM
      https://www.haaretz.com/world-news/europe/berlin-jewish-museum-director-resigns-after-tweet-supporting-bds-freedom-of

      The director of Berlin’s Jewish Museum has resigned, the museum announced Friday, days after it was criticized for endorsing a petition against a parliamentary motion defining anti-Israel boycotts as anti-Semitic and banning the boycott movement from using public buildings.

      The resignation of museum Director Peter Schäfer comes after Israeli Ambassador to Germany Jeremy Issacharoff called the museum’s sharing of the petition “shameful.”

      The petition, asserting that “boycotts are a legitimate and nonviolent tool of resistance,” was signed by 240 Jewish intellectuals.

      The signatories, among them Avraham Burg and Eva Illouz, called on the German government not to adopt the motion, to protect freedom of speech and continue funding of Israeli and Palestinian organizations “that peacefully challenge the Israeli occupation, expose severe violations of international law and strengthen civil society. These organizations defend the principles and values at the heart of liberal democracy and rule of law, in Germany and elsewhere. More than ever, they need financial support and political backing.”

      An Israeli guide at the Berlin museum told Haaretz he planned to resign in protest of “the crude interventions by the Israeli government and Germany in the museum’s work.”

      Professor Emeritus Yaacov Shavit, former head of the department of History of the Jewish People at Tel Aviv University, told Haaretz that “this whole story is nothing more than a cause to displace Prof. Sheffer, a researcher of international renown of the Second Temple period, Mishna, and Talmud.”

      “Community leaders in Berlin needed to be grateful that someone like him agreed to serve as manager of the museum. This foolish act by community leaders is outrageous and bothersome,” he added.

      Last year, it was reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanded from Chancellor Angela Merkel that Germany stop funding the museum because it had held an exhibition about Jerusalem, “that presents a Muslim-Palestinian perspective.” Merkel was asked to halt funding to other organizations as well, on grounds that they were anti-Israel, among them the Berlin International Film Festival, pro-Palestinian Christian organizations, and the Israeli news website +972, which receives funding from the Heinrich Böll Foundation.

      Netanyahu did not deny the report and his bureau confirmed that he had raised “with various leaders the issue of funding Palestinian and Israeli groups and nonprofit organizations that depict the Israel Defense Forces as war criminals, support Palestinian terrorism and call for boycotting the State of Israel.”

      The Bundestag’s motion last month marked the first time a European parliament had officially defined the BDS movement as anti-Semitic. The motion, which is a call to the government and isn’t legally binding, won broad multiparty support from Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, the Social Democrats and the Free Democratic Party. Some members of the Greens Party also supported the motion, though others abstained at the last minute. The motion stated that the BDS movement’s “Don’t Buy” stickers on Israeli products evoke the Nazi slogan “Don’t buy from Jews.”

  • YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki says vetting videos before they go up isn’t the right answer
    https://www.vox.com/recode/2019/6/10/18656937/youtube-susan-wojcicki-code-conference

    YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki is okay with taking content down, but she doesn’t think it’s a good idea to review it before it goes up on the massive video-sharing platform. That’s one big takeaway from her interview with Recode senior correspondent Peter Kafka at this year’s Code Conference. “I think we would lose a lot of voices,” Wojcicki said. “I don’t think that’s the right answer.” She also warned that it could be difficult to come up with criteria as to what could be uploaded in the first place (...)

    #YouTube #censure #discrimination #harcèlement #LGBT

  • Rosa Valentin, Rafael Martinez & Elizabeth Cotten
    https://www.nova-cinema.org/prog/2019/172-folk-on-film/folk-on-film-america/article/rosa-valentin-rafael-martinez-elizabeth-cotten

    1965, US, video, VO ANG ,52’

    A l’époque comme de nos jours, personne ne connaissait ces deux jeunes portoricains. Ils chantent le répertoire hispanique latino, rempli de l’imaginaire révolutionnaire de son temps. Pete en profite pour nous ressortir « Guantanamerra », qu’il a en grande partie fait connaître mondialement. Son arrangement de guitare n’est d’ailleurs pas pour rien dans le succès de la chanson. Elizabeth Cotten, autrice et musicienne « oblique », fut par un hasard compliqué, la gouvernante de Peggy, demi sœur de Pete. Voyant que la famille Seeger s’intéresse aux musiques folks, elle empoigne un jour une guitare, et, jouant à l’envers, laisse l’illustre famille bouche bée. Ils la font découvrir dans les milieux folks où elle fait un tabac. C’est elle qui a écrit à 8 (...)

  • #Géographie_féministe

    GeoAgenda 2019/1 est dédié à la géographie
    féministe. Les Guest Editors Sara Landolt
    et Marina Richter proposent en introduction
    un état de l’art de la géographie féministe
    en Suisse.

    Jasmine Truong et Carolin Schurr présentent ensuite le nouveau groupe de recherche « Geographies of the global intimate » de l’institut de géographie de l’Université de Berne. Isabella Stingl offre une contribution sur la production de connaissances scientifiques féministes au sein de la recherche sur les #migrations. Jennifer Steiner, Karin Schwiter et Anahi Villalba introduisent le projet de « Live-in care », liant le travail de #soins à domicile et la #migration_internationale. Susan Thieme et Marina Richter proposent, quant à elles, une analyse intersectionnelle des compétences du #personnel_médical dans les #hôpitaux au prisme du #genre et du #parcours_migratoire. Kathrin Naegeli et Marlene Kronenberger présentent le programme « #Girls_on_Ice ». Enfin, Karine Duplan et Elisabeth Militz font un résumé du workshop « Bodies, space and difference in the global intimate » qui s’est tenu lors du Swissgeosciences Meeting 2018.
    Dans la rubrique « Autres Contributions », Suzy Blondin nous emmène dans la vallée du #Bartang au #Tadjikistan. Juliane Krenz présente un guide pratique de l’étude du sol, en tant qu’expérience d’enseignement de la géographie. La contribution de Itta Bauer propose de penser au-delà des frontières disciplinaires de la géographie et de la didactique. Finalement, Stephanie Summermatter et Peter Stucki discutent des enjeux liés aux inondations en Suisse, à partir d’une perspective historique remontant à 1868.


    https://sciencesnaturelles.ch/uuid/dfabd5da-19c7-5496-b075-6a3cbad19e0c?r=20190205110021_1557134729_

  • Quoi ? comment ? Le Monde raconte parfois n’importe quoi ?

    La NSA n’avait (donc) pas espionné la France | BUG BROTHER
    http://bugbrother.blog.lemonde.fr/2019/06/02/la-nsa-navait-donc-pas-espionne-la-france

    La NSA n’avait (donc) pas espionné la France

    En 2013, The Intercept, le média créé pour enquêter sur les révélations Snowden, avait confié à plusieurs journalistes et médias européens une série de documents censés démontrer que la NSA faisait de la « surveillance de masse » des citoyens de plusieurs pays européens. En France, Le Monde avait ainsi titré, en « Une« , des « Révélations sur l’espionnage de la France par la NSA américaine« .

    The Intercept vient de reconnaître s’être trompé, et de confirmer ce que j’avais depuis fact-checké (cf « La NSA n’espionne pas tant la France que ça« ). Dans ma contre-enquête, effectuée dans la foulée de celles de Peter Koop sur electrospaces.net, j’avançais qu’il s’agissait en réalité de données collectées par la DGSE, à l’étranger, et partagées avec la NSA. Il s’agissait en fait de données collectées, non pas par la seule DGSE, mais par les services de renseignement techniques militaires français, déployés en Afghanistan.

    Ironie de l’histoire, The Intercept présente désormais ces mêmes documents comme la preuve que la NSA contribue à… sauver des vies d’Européens, à commencer par les militaires déployés « sur zone » de guerre.

    #nsa #lemonde #Manach #paranoia #surveillance

  • Statistiques de la conférence de presse des organisations syriennes et de la défense civile aujourd’hui sur les résultats de la récente campagne sur les zones libérées, #Idlib :
    - 600 victimes
    - 5 marchés populaires ciblés
    - 22 installations médicales ont été détruites
    - La fermeture de 55 établissements médicaux
    - Utilisation de chlore à Canibiet
    - 80 enfants tués
    - 50 écoles ciblées
    - 45 000 enfants sont sortis de l’éducation
    Déplacés 307 000 plus de 50 000 familles
    - 27 mosquées détruits
    - Destruction de 9 fours de production du pain
    - Brûler des cultures avec du Phosphore

    #guerre #conflit #victimes #statistiques #chiffres #phosphore #armes_chimiques Canibiet #destruction #écoles #enfants #déscolarisation #morts #décès

    Reçu d’un ami réfugié syrien qui vit à Grenoble, via whatsapp, le 01.06.2019

    • Stop the carnage: doctors call for an end to Syria hospital airstrikes

      Dozens of prominent doctors have called for urgent action to halt the bombing campaign by Syrian and Russian planes that has targeted more than 20 hospitals in Syria’s north-west, putting many out of action and leaving millions of people without proper healthcare.

      Coordinates for many of those hit had been shared with the regime and its Russian backers by the United Nations in an effort to protect civilians. The Syrian opposition were promised war planes would avoid identified sites on bombing raids; instead they have endured more than a month of fierce attacks.

      Since late April, in defiance of a truce brokered by Moscow and Ankara last year, regular airstrikes on opposition-held territory in northern Idlib province have killed hundreds of civilians and displaced hundreds of thousands more, rights groups say.

      They have also destroyed key parts of the healthcare system, says a letter from doctors around the world published in the Observer. “We are appalled by the deliberate and systematic targeting of healthcare facilities and medical staff,” they warned. “Their [the medical staff’s] job is to save lives, they must not lose their own in the process.”

      Signatories include Denis Mukwege, a gynaecologist who won the Nobel peace prize last year, Peter Agre, a physician who won the Nobel prize in chemistry in 2003, MP and doctor Sarah Wollaston, and Terence English, former president of the Royal College of Surgeons, as well as David Nott, a surgeon who works in war zones, and Zaher Sahloul, a Syrian exile, doctor and founder of a medical charity. They urged the UN to investigate the targeting of listed hospitals and asked the international community to put pressure on Russia and Syria to stop targeting medical centres and reverse funding cuts to surviving hospitals and clinics that are now overwhelmed by refugees.

      One paediatrician, Abdulkader Razouk, described to the Observer how he and his colleagues evacuated an entire hospital including dialysis patients, mothers in labour and premature babies in incubators, as airstrikes began in their town, at least 12 miles from the frontline. “After the airstrikes, but before the direct attack, we knew the hospital would be targeted,” he said in a phone interview about the Tarmala hospital, which was eventually hit on 10 May. “Only a few medical staff stayed to provide emergency response.”
      Letters: The BBC’s wish for a finger in every pie
      Read more

      The airstrike destroyed more than half the hospital and much of its equipment from beds and generators to the operating theatres, emergency services and pharmacy. Staff went back briefly to hunt through the rubble for any supplies that survived the onslaught but the building is now abandoned. “It would be impossible to rebuild and reopen now,” Razouk said. “The airstrikes are continuing and still targeting the hospital until this moment, even though it’s empty.”

      The May bombing was not the first attack on the hospital. That came in 2015, first with the Syrian military’s wildly inaccurate barrel bombs, and later by Russian missiles, that destroyed a residential building next door but spared the clinic itself. In 2018 there was a direct hit on the clinic but then it was able to reopen after repairs.

      However the damage after the latest attack was so severe that it is beyond repair, and anyway most of the civilians it served have fled, Razouk said.

      “This was the worst attack, it has been very tough, there is no possibility whatsoever to continue work there,” he said. “Life can’t return to this area, especially under these brutal attacks. There are no people, not even animals, there’s nothing left in there, it’s like a doomed land. There is no hope to go back.”

      He and other staff are opening a new temporary hospital near the Turkish border, where most of the residents of Tarmala have fled and are now living in refugee camps. It will have some of the neonatal incubators and dialysis machines evacuated before the strike, but there is a desperate need for more supplies.

      Around 80 medical facilities – including clinics and hospitals – have been shut because of damage in attacks or because of fear they will be targeted, said Mohamad Katoub from the Syrian American Medical Society. The huge number of refugees displaced by attacks has left those that are still operating overwhelmed.

      “The tactic of attacking health and other civilian infrastructure in Syria is not new, displacement is not new, these are all chronic issues. But this is the biggest displacement ever, and it is much further beyond our capacity as NGOs to respond,” he said.

      Turkey, which backs Idlib’s rebel groups, is already home to 3.6 million Syrians and faces the dilemma of whether or not to absorb any of the newly displaced. A group were reportedly planning a protest march to the border at the weekend.

      The de-escalation deal brokered last autumn saved Idlib and the surrounding countryside from an impending government assault. At the time, aid agencies warned that a military campaign would put the lives of 3 million civilians at risk, and trigger the worst humanitarian crisis of an already protracted and bloody war.

      But the agreement has unravelled since January, when the hardline Islamist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) wrested control of the area from more moderate rebels.

      Damascus and Moscow have said the HTS takeover legitimises the current campaign against Idlib as they are targeting terrorists not covered by the ceasefire deal.

      Many civilians in Idlib now feel they have been caught between the harsh rule of HTS and the intensified regime assault, and say that life has all but ground to a halt.

      “I was studying at Idlib university but I’ve had to stop going. So has my sister,” said 22-year-old Raja al-Assaad, from Ma’arat al-Nu’maan, which has been under heavy attack.

      “Some people have left to try to go to Turkey but the truth is that there is nowhere to go. Nowhere in Idlib is safe. And in my town we already have lots of people who have been displaced from lots of other areas of Syria.”

      “All normal life has shut down and there is nothing for us to do except wait for death.”

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jun/02/doctors-global-appeal-stop-syria-bombing-hospitals-idlib

    • Russie/Syrie : Nouveau recours à des #armes interdites

      Ces attaques qui aggravent les souffrances des civils violent les normes du #droit_international.

      Les forces armées russes et syriennes ont utilisé de manière indiscriminée des armes interdites en vertu du droit international contre des zones civiles dans le nord-ouest de la Syrie au cours des dernières semaines, a déclaré Human Rights Watch aujourd’hui. Selon les Nations Unies, cette région est actuellement habitée par environ trois millions de civils, dont au moins la moitié sont des personnes déplacées ayant fui d’autres régions du pays.

      Depuis le 26 avril 2019, l’alliance militaire russo-syrienne a mené quotidiennement des centaines d’attaques contre des groupes antigouvernementaux dans les gouvernorats d’Idlib, de #Hama et d’#Alep,, tuant environ 200 civils, dont 20 enfants. L’alliance a utilisé contre des zones civiles densement peuplées des armes à sous-munitions et des armes incendiaires, pourtant interdites selon le droit international, ainsi que des barils d’explosifs (« #barrel_bombs ») largués sur ces zones, d’après des secouristes, des témoins et des informations disponibles via des sources en accès libre. Le 17 mai, le Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies a tenu une deuxième réunion d’urgence au sujet de la situation dans le nord-ouest de la Syrie, sans pour autant élaborer une stratégie précise pour protéger les civils qui y résident.

      « L’alliance militaire russo-syrienne utilise de manière indiscriminée contre des civils piégés une panoplie d’armes pourtant interdites par le droit international », a déclaré Lama Fakih, directrice par intérim de la division Moyen-Orient à Human Rights Watch. « Entretemps, la Russie exploite sa présence au Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies pour se protéger et pour protéger son allié à Damas, et pour poursuivre ces exactions contre des civils. »

      Les armes à sous-munitions peuvent être lancées depuis le sol par des systèmes d’artillerie, des roquettes et des projectiles, ou bien larguées depuis le ciel. Elles explosent généralement dans l’air, dispersant plusieurs petites bombes, ou sous-munitions, au-dessus d’une vaste zone. De nombreuses sous-munitions n’explosent toutefois pas lors de l’impact initial, ce qui laisse au sol de dangereux fragments explosifs qui, à l’instar des mines terrestres, peuvent mutiler et tuer, des années après.

      Les armes incendiaires, qui produisent de la chaleur et du feu par le bais de la réaction chimique d’une substance inflammable, provoquent des brûlures atroces et sont capables de détruire des maisons et d’autres structures civiles.

      La Convention de 2008 sur les armes à sous-munitions interdit l’utilisation d’armes à sous-munitions, tandis que le Protocole III de la Convention sur les armes classiques interdit certaines utilisations des armes incendiaires. La Russie et la Syrie ne font pas partie des 120 pays ayant adhéré à la Convention sur les armes à sous-munitions, mais la Russie est un État partie au Protocole sur les armes incendiaires.

      https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2019/06/03/russie/syrie-nouveau-recours-des-armes-interdites

    • La battaglia per Idlib

      Dal 26 aprile le forze del governo siriano, sostenute dall’assistenza militare russa, hanno intensificato un’offensiva a Idlib, nella provincia nord-occidentale della Siria, l’ultima roccaforte dell’opposizione armata al presidente Assad. A Idlib vivono quasi tre milioni di persone, metà delle quali sfollate internamente. Per questo gli accordi di Astana firmati proprio dalla Russia, insieme a Turchia e Iran, indicavano Idlib come una zona di de-escalation delle violenze. Un accordo però che non sembra più aver valore. Ieri la Russia ha bloccato una dichiarazione del Consiglio di sicurezza dell’ONU, con la quale il consiglio voleva lanciare un allarme per l’intensificarsi del intorno alla provincia di Idlib, con l’intento di scongiurare un disastro umanitario.

      Anche nel conflitto libico i civili sono quelli a pagare il prezzo più alto. Attualmente in Libia ci sono oltre 1 milione di persone bisognose di assistenza umanitaria e protezione. Non solo migranti e rifugiati, ma anche sfollati libici che vivono in condizioni di estrema marginalità sociale, senza accesso a cure e servizi essenziali e martoriati dal conflitto in corso. La campagna #Oltrelefrontiere ” promossa da CIR vuole migliorare il livello di protezione di migranti, rifugiati e sfollati interni, fornendo assistenza umanitaria e promuovendo la ricerca di soluzioni durature, per contribuire alla progressiva normalizzazione delle loro condizioni di vita.

      https://www.raiplayradio.it/articoli/2019/06/Rai-Radio-3-Idlib-Siria-4e42d346-f7d0-4d71-9da3-7b293f2e7c89.html

  • L’oligarchie s’amuse

    Le bal masqué de Dior à Venise, échos d’un Fellini contemporain - Godfrey Deeny - traduit par Paul Kaplan - 19 Mai 2019 - fashion network
    https://fr.fashionnetwork.com/news/Le-bal-masque-de-Dior-a-Venise-echos-d-un-Fellini-contemporain,10


    Pietro Beccari, le PDG de Christian Dior, et Elisabetta Beccari - Photo : Virgile Guinard

    Maria Grazia Chiuri ne prend jamais vraiment de vacances. À peine deux semaines après le défilé de la collection Croisière 2020 de Christian Dior, organisé à Marrakech, la créatrice italienne a dessiné les costumes d’une performance fantasmagorique donnée samedi soir, juste avant le bal Tiepolo organisé par Dior à Venise, qui faisait écho aux revendications politiques et à l’ambiance générale de la Biennale.

    Des dieux et des déesses dorés, plusieurs Jules César, des comtesses aux proportions divines, des courtisanes cruelles, des dandys coiffés de plumes géantes, une Cléopâtre majestueuse, et diverses figures célestes - dont une qui a passé la soirée perchée au sommet d’une grande échelle à pêcher un globe argenté parmi les célébrités... Karlie Kloss jetait des oeillades fatales derrière son éventail, vêtue d’une robe corset imprimée. Sienna Miller est arrivée sous une gigantesque cape en soie beige et une robe moulante et scintillante, pendue au bras de son nouveau cavalier, Lucas Zwirner. Tilda Swinton était sanglée dans un costume en soie bouclée et Monica Bellucci et Dasha Zhukova resplendissaient dans leurs robe et cape à fleurs. 100 % Dior.

    Samedi soir, après un véritable embouteillage nautique, des dizaines de bateaux de luxe Riva ont débarqué les invités sur les marches du palazzo, tandis que la troupe de danseuses Parolabianca se produisait sur une terrasse au bord du canal. Trois d’entre elles étaient juchées sur des échasses pour donner encore plus d’ampleur aux motifs étranges de Maria Grazia Chiuri - imprimés pêle-mêle d’animaux mythologiques, de cieux nocturnes, de crustacés géants, de taureaux en plein galop et d’amiraux de la Renaissance. « Des voyages célestes et ancestraux à travers le ciel », résume la directrice artistique des collections féminines de Dior.

    « Je pense que nous, Italiens, avons oublié que nous sommes une nation de navigateurs, surtout les Vénitiens. Que nous avons fini par nous intégrer dans des centaines de cultures et de pays. Et que nous sommes une nation d’immigrés sur toute la planète depuis de nombreuses générations », rappelle-t-elle.

    Des images dignes de cette Biennale, marquée par l’appel de nombreux artistes en faveur de frontières plus ouvertes . Cet après-midi-là, l’artiste aborigène australien Richard Bell a fait remorquer une péniche autour de Venise, transportant un pavillon factice enchaîné sur le bateau pour critiquer l’#impérialisme et le #colonialisme de son pays. Dans l’Arsenal, centre névralgique de la Biennale, l’artiste suisse Christoph Büchel a installé Barca Nostra, un bateau de pêche rouillé de 21 mètres qui a coulé au large de Lampedusa en 2015, entraînant la mort de près d’un millier de #réfugiés.

    Dans le cadre de l’exposition principale, nombreuses étaient les images puissantes d’exclusion et de dialogue des cultures - on retient surtout les photos nocturnes de Soham Gupta qui représentent des étrangers indiens errant dans les décombres de #Calcutta, les films d’Arthur Jafa sur les droits civiques et les superbes collages autobiographiques de Njideka Akunyili Crosby, artiste américaine née au Nigeria. Sans oublier la Sud-Africaine Zanele Muholi qui a fait un autoportrait quotidien pendant un an pour dénoncer les crimes de #haine et l’#homophobie dans son pays natal, tandis que le pavillon vénézuélien n’a pas ouvert en raison des troubles politiques dans son pays.

    De l’autre côté de la ville, le bal avait lieu au Palazzo Labia, célèbre pour les fresques sublimes de Giambattista Tiepolo, notamment dans l’immense salle de bal aménagée sur deux étages, ornée de scènes légendaires de la vie d’Antoine et Cléopâtre. La somptueuse soirée de Dior rappelait le célèbre bal oriental de 1951, organisé dans le même palais par son propriétaire mexicain de l’époque, Charles de Beistegui, qui avait redonné à l’édifice sa splendeur d’origine. Entré dans l’histoire comme « le bal du siècle », l’événement est resté dans les mémoires grâce aux nombreux costumes et robes dessinés conjointement par Salvador Dali et Christian Dior.

    C’est Dior qui a financé le bal, qui a permis de récolter des fonds pour la fondation Venetian Heritage, qui soutient plus de 100 projets de restauration du patrimoine vénitien et dont c’est le 20e anniversaire cette année. Le président américain de l’organisation internationale, Peter Marino, est un architecte qui a dessiné des boutiques parmi les plus remarquables du monde, pour des marques comme #Louis_Vuitton, #Chanel et, bien sûr, #Dior.

    « Les temps changent. Le bal de Beistegui était un événement fabuleux organisé pour les personnes les plus fortunées de la planète. Celui-ci aussi est un grand bal, mais il a pour but de récolter des fonds pour nos projets », précise Peter Marino, vêtu d’une veste, d’une culotte et de bottes Renaissance entièrement noirs, comme Vélasquez aurait pu en porter s’il avait fréquenté les bars gays de New York. Après le dîner, une vente aux enchères a permis de recueillir plus de 400 000 euros pour protéger le patrimoine vénitien.

    Comme pour sa collection Croisière - qui contenait des collaborations avec des artisans marocains, des fabricants de tissus perlés massaï et d’imprimés wax ivoiriens, des artistes et des créateurs de toute l’Afrique et de sa diaspora -, Maria Grazia Chiuri a travaillé avec des acteurs locaux de premier plan pour son bal Tiepolo.

    Les tables joliment décorées, en suivant des thèmes variés selon les salles - jungle, sicilienne et chinoise - comportaient des sphinx égyptiens, des œufs d’autruche géants, d’énormes candélabres en verre, des perroquets en céramique et des nappes sur mesure du légendaire fabricant de tissus et peintre vénitien Fortuny. Les invités ont pu déguster un pudding de fruits de mer composé de caviar, de homards et de crevettes, suivi d’un délicieux bar, préparé par Silvio Giavedoni, chef du restaurant Quadri de la place Saint-Marc, étoilé au guide Michelin.

    Pour ses costumes de bal, Maria Grazia Chiuri a également fait appel au fabricant de soie Rubelli, ainsi qu’à Bevilacqua, le célèbre spécialiste du velours et de damas « soprarizzo », dont le siège se trouve de l’autre côté du Grand Canal, en face du Palazzo Labia. Une demi-douzaine de danseuses de la troupe Parolabianca ont clôturé la soirée en dansant sous les fresques maniéristes de Tiepolo, au son d’une harpe malienne et de violons.

    Un événement vif, effronté, licencieux et provocateur... comme tous les grands bals masqués. Le #masque donne la liberté d’être poliment impoli - si on croise quelqu’un qu’on préfère éviter, il suffit de prétendre qu’on ne l’a pas reconnu. La soirée s’est déroulée dans une ambiance digne d’un film de Merchant Ivory ou de #Fellini et de son Casanova. Personnage que Sienna Miller a d’ailleurs côtoyé dans un de ses films...

    « Monsieur Dior a toujours adoré Venise. Ses artistes, ses artisans et son art font donc partie du patrimoine de Dior. Une raison de plus pour laquelle j’ai adoré mettre à contribution le savoir-faire vénitien pour organiser le bal », confie Maria Grazia Chiuri.

    Geste gracieux, Dior a offert un éventail à chaque invité, imprimé d’une célèbre phrase de son fondateur : « Les fêtes ont ceci de nécessaire qu’elles apportent de la joie ».

    #fric #ruissellement #bernard_arnault

  • ALLIANCEOF MOTHERNATURE’SGUARDIANS
    http://planeteamazone.org/documents/AGMN/AMNG-2017_EN_web.pdf

    What is the Alliance of Mother Nature’s Guardians ?
    The Alliance of Mother Nature’s Guardians in action
    The founders of the Alliance of Mother Nature’s Guardians
    The Constitution of the Alliance of Mother Nature’s Guardians: 17 proposals for the planet and future generations

    Planète Amazone - ONG de défense des peuples autochtones
    http://planeteamazone.org

    Gert Peter Bruch | IUCN évènement
    https://www.70uicn.fr/en/gert-peter-bruch

    Committed since 1989 next to indigenous peoples of the Amazon, Gert-Peter Bruch is founder of the NGO “Planet Amazon”, which ensures the respect of their rights and the recognition of those of nature. To this end, he organized numerous field missions and awareness campaigns, including three international tours of Cacique Raoni Metuktire, emblematic defender of the Amazon rainforest.
    Gert-Peter Bruch is also a film director and co-founder and member of the Executive Committee of the “Alliance of Guardians of Mother Nature”, an international movement of proposals and actions to fight against global warming and preserve living conditions viable for future generations.

    #environnement #écologie #ngo #activisme

  • Jean Redpath & Roscoe Holcomb
    https://www.nova-cinema.org/prog/2019/172-folk-on-film/folk-on-film-america/article/jean-redpath-roscoe-holcomb

    1965, US, video, VO ANG ,52’

    Jean Redpath, chanteuse écossaise émigrée aux Etats-Unis, a une voix superbe. Sublime interprète, elle a mis en musique Robert Burns, LE poète fondateur pour l’Ecosse. Elle chante ici des « tubes » du répertoire. Roscoe Holcomb est l’une des énormes découvertes du revival folk des Sixties. Natif des Appalaches, il est une sorte de Buster Keaton du folk. Voix tendue et impressionnante, technique unique de banjo et de guitare, son visage n’exprime rien. Mais la puissance de son interprétation figea le monde du folk quand il fut découvert, déjà âgé. Pete n’en revient pas et n’a jamais entendu cet accordage de banjo. Il égraine l’instrument... et nous permet de lui piquer son truc.

    dimanche 26 mai 2019 à (...)

  • Southern Comfort
    https://www.nova-cinema.org/prog/2019/172-folk-on-film/folk-on-film-america/article/southern-comfort

    Walter Hill, 1981, US, 35mm, VO ST FR, 99’

    Après avoir écrit dans l’espace le script d’"Alien", réalisé un méchant film urbain new-yorkais ("The Warriors") et un western, Walter Hill se lance dans un succédané de « Deliverance », sans succès commercial. Les critiques y voient une métaphore de l’embourbement de la guerre du Vietnam, sans y adhérer. Keith Carradine (le frère de David, cf. « Bound for Glory »), et huit autres membres d’une patrouille militaire (dont Power Booth, Fred Ward, Peter Coyote) vont s’entraîner dans le bayou de Louisiane. Pour déconner, après leur avoir volé leur barque, ils tirent, à blanc, sur des cajuns redneckisants. Ceux-ci ne rient pas (faut dire que bon…), ripostent, et les poursuivent dans ce terrain qu’ils connaissent bien pour les tuer (...)

  • The New Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan review – the present and future of the world | Books | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/may/11/new-silk-roads-peter-frankopan-review

    We are at the beginning of an epochal shift, but the forces disrupting the world order now are far bigger than specific nation states. They are the #digital revolution and, pre-eminently, climate change. To modify Mackinder, whoever controls water supplies will control the world – and China’s rulers seem to know it.

    #eau #climat #numérique #Chine

  • Le numéro 2 de la revue Oeuvres ouvertes vient de paraître.

    Voici le sommaire de ce numéro que nous avons intitulé « Kafka n’est pas mort » d’après une note extraite d’un carnet de Peter Handke. On pourra y lire des nouvelles traductions de Kafka et des essais, mais aussi des fictions d’auteurs contemporains.

    SOMMAIRE

    Laurent Margantin - Préface
    Peter Handke - « Kafka ist nicht gestorben »
    Laurent Margantin - Pourquoi une nouvelle traduction du Journal de Kafka ?
    Franz Kafka - Extraits du Journal
    Nelly Engel - Deux lettres de Franz Kafka
    Haggaï Linik - Kafka
    Noëlle Rollet - Milena Jesenska, le regard et le désir
    Sabine Huynh - K comme dékalage
    Franz Kafka - Un entretien d’embauche
    Serge Bonnery - L’auxiliaire
    Jérôme Orsoni - Qualité de lumière
    Pierre Cendrin - Cessation
    Laurent Margantin - Google Death

    http://oeuvresouvertes.net/spip.php?article4080