The Capitalinian: The First Geological Age of the Anthropocene

John Bellamy Foster and Brett Clark

Monthly Review | Volume 73, Number 4 (September 2021)

Photo by an environmental scientist (crime) investigator of hundreds of fly-tipped tires in a disused chalk quarry in North Kent, England. By Cugerbrant – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0.

The geologic time scale, dividing the 4.6 billion years of Earth history into nested eons, eras, periods, epochs, and ages, is one of the great scientific achievements of the last two centuries. Each division is directed at environmental change on an Earth System scale based on stratigraphic evidence, such as rocks or ice cores. At present, the earth is officially situated in the Phanerozoic Eon, Cenozoic Era, Quaternary Period, Holocene Epoch (beginning 11,700 years ago), and Meghalayan Age (the last of the Holocene ages beginning 4,200 years ago). The current argument that the planet has entered into a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene, is based on the recognition that Earth System change as represented in the stratigraphic record is now primarily due to anthropogenic forces. This understanding has now been widely accepted in science, but nevertheless has not yet been formally adopted by the International Commission on Stratigraphy of the International Union of Geological Sciences, which would mean its official adoption throughout science.

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Abimael Guzmán, leader of Peru’s Shining Path, dies at 86

In Defense of Communism | September 14, 2021

Abimael Guzmán, the historic leader of the Shining Path, died on Saturday at the age of 86 in Peru while serving a life sentence in the maximum security prison of the Callao Naval Base.
Also known by the name “comrade Gonzalo,” Guzmán died due to a generalized infection at the Naval Hospital, where he was being treated for deterioration in his health.

A former philosophy professor, he had been serving a life sentence for terrorism and treason since 1992. In 1969 Abimael Guzmán and 11 others founded the Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso in Spanish), a guerrilla group of Maoist influences which tried to lead a “people’s war” to overthrow Peru’s bourgeois democracy.

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Healthcare Under Socialism: The History of the Soviet Healthcare System

POLITSTURM | September 07, 2021

Healthcare Under Socialism: The History of the Soviet Healthcare System

There are a lot of discussions on the healthcare systems today. Capitalist ideologists try their best to prove that the state healthcare system is too expensive and can not be implemented. But history proved them wrong. How did socialism change the approach to the management of healthcare?

As a result of the October Revolution of 1917, an entirely new state was created in place of the Russian Empire, establishing a proletarian dictatorship. For the first time in history, the country’s resources and means of production were in the hands of the majority of the population, rather than a narrow stratum of the nobility and bourgeoisie. It was a state with different principles of development and a unique communist ideology.

As far back as 1903, Vladimir Lenin outlined the objectives of the state in the sphere of health protection in the 1st Program of the RSDLP. It stressed the necessity of establishing an 8-hour working day, banning child labor, arrangement of crèches in factories, state insurance for workers, sanitary supervision in factories, etc.  But like any new country, Soviet Russia was faced with many problems in all spheres which had to be solved as effectively and promptly as possible. And one of the most serious problems was the lack of a healthcare system.

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Reflections on Events in Afghanistan

M. K. Bhadrakumar

Indian Punchline

15. Enter regional states 

The Taliban hoisted their black and white flag on the presidential palace in Kabul on September 11, which happens to be the twentieth anniversary of the Al-Qaeda’s attack on New York and Washington, DC. The symbolism is too obvious to be missed. Although the Taliban had no hand in the 9/11 attacks, it took the brunt of the US’ revenge act to invade Afghanistan. 

No doubt, the flag hoisting is an assertion by the Taliban that they have returned as the ruling elite 20 years after their government was overthrown, and that is a reality the US cannot ignore. 

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16. Biden’s Taliban blues 

The best part of the visit by the Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, Nikolay Patrushev to New Delhi (September 7-8) was that the two countries may embark upon a voyage of discovery of each other at a phase in their relationship when the US-led Quad irrevocably sets them apart and as Delhi climbs on board the US’ Indo-Pacific Strategy to fight the Chinese on the beaches, in the hills and in the air. 

The Americans are of course back on the cold war era track obsessed with weakening and possibly dismembering Russia, if they can, to realise their elusive dream of ‘nuclear superiority’. 

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17. Foreign Devils on the Silk Road  

The title of an unputdownable 1980 classic by Peter Hopkirk comes to mind even as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the Collective Security Treaty Organisation are preparing to hold back-to-back summit meetings at Dushanbe, Tajikistan, on September 17. 

Foreign Devils on the Silk Road: The Search for the Lost Treasures of Central Asia tells the breathtaking story of the intrepid men who made long-range archaeological raids in far west China looking for the lost cities of the Taklamakan Desert before they were gradually swallowed by the shifting waves of sand (and weren’t rediscovered until the early 19th century.) 

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18. India’s ‘over-the-horizon’ dilemma 

In England, they’d plan a park, build it but wouldn’t complete it until they could observe  for a while the foot tracks of walkers, before deciding where to lay the pathways for optimal utility. 

The Blinken Administration and Modi Govt apparently think they don’t have that luxury when it comes to Afghanistan. That is the troubling signal out of the Congressional hearing on Monday in Washington with Secretary of State Antony Blinken. 

But, for a start, Blinken was rather muted in his reaction on Pakistan’s perceived duplicity in taking advantage of the US. Certainly, he would know three things. 

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Afghanistan: women are at the forefront of protests against the Taliban

Weeda Mehran

The Conversation | Septmber 14, 2021

Despite what they insisted as they swept through Afghanistan, the Taliban appear to have remained largely the same since the days they ruled the roost in the 1990s. But Afghan society has changed tremendously since they were ousted by the US-led invasion in 2001. This is shown by the level of civil resistance observed in the past few weeks, a resistance that has been primarily spearheaded by women.

Such resistance, particularly at a critical time when the Taliban are under the gaze of the international community, is testing the militant group’s claim and ability to govern “fairly” in a changed society. Over the past 20 years, a generation of Afghans has grown up in a country becoming increasingly well-connected to the rest of the world. This generation has led a lifestyle significantly different from what previous generations experienced.

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Chile: 48 Years after the Military Coup, Allende’s Star Still Shines Brightly

RESUMEN | September 11, 2021

The political and human thought of Salvador Allende continues to be valid for the people of Latin America and the world, who struggle today for a more just and equitable society.

Salvador Allende is one of the most important and remembered personalities in the history of Chile. He was elected president of that country in 1970 to serve until 1976, but on September 11, 1973, Augusto Pinochet – in complicity with the United States – led a civilian-military coup against his government. That morning, President Allende died in the palace of La Moneda defending “the mandate of the people”, as he said in his last words.

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Venezuela incorporates Álex Saab into the Mexican dialogue

Blanco Narkys

Últimas Noticias | September 14, 2021

President of the AN / Jorge Rodríguez

The head of the government delegation for dialogue in Mexico, Jorge Rodríguez, reported on Tuesday that diplomat Alex Saab is joining the dialogue negotiations taking place in Mexico.

“We want to inform public opinion that we are incorporating the diplomat Alex Saab as a full member of this delegation and as a delegate before the social table approved in the partial agreement to assist the people of Venezuela,” he said.

He added that the diplomat is perfectly qualified to take part as a full member of the Delegation and the decision will be confirmed to the government of Norway, the government of Russia and all those involved.

Similarly, he stressed that Saab will be a plenipotentiary spokesperson and added that the diplomat is not detained in Cape Verde but has been kidnapped for 400 days.

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Colombia’s Iván Duque Launches Another False Flag Operation Against Venezuela

José Manuel Blanco Diaz

orinocotribune | September 13, 2021

Right wing Colombian president, Ivan Duque. File photo.

Venezuelan Minister for Defense, Vladimir Padrino López, issued a forceful response to new accusations from the President of Colombia, Iván Duque, who recently launched a new false positive against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

Calling out Duque’s manipulation and conspiratorial plans, Padrino López denounced the Colombian president’s pronouncement as a “tormented attempt” to torpedo the Venezuelan government-opposition dialogue that is being held in the Mexico.

In recent days, violent attacks against military and police authorities have plagued Colombia. Without providing any evidence, Colombian authorities have pointed to Venezuela as being the place where these alleged FARC and ELN attacks were planned.

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Bolivarianism & Marxism: Commitment to the Impossible in Defense of Utopia

Jesús Santrich

Translated by W. T. Whitney, Jr.

MR Online | September 07, 2021

| Jesús Santrich | MR Online

Translator’s introduction

Colombian troops killed Jesús Santrich in Venezuela on May 17, 2021. Santrich was a leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and spokesperson for the FARC’s negotiating team during peace talks with the Colombian government that ended in 2016. In this essay from March of 2009, Santrich as political theoretician explores the interrelations of Marxist and Bolivarian thought and the effects on both of utopian longings, political feasibilities, and the reach of history.

This English language version of Santrich’s essay from is incomplete in that some segments of the author’s lengthy quotations from various sources are omitted and sections of two long descriptive commentaries are summarized rather than translated. All translation notes are bracketed in line with the text. Editorial notes are indicated as endnotes. Thanks are due to Professor John Womack for kindly reviewing this translation. Please find additional notes on the translation at the end of the essay.

—W.T. Whitney, Jr.

Dedication: In defense of utopia, as homage to Comandante Manuel Marulanda Vélez, the Insurgent hero of Bolivar’s Colombia, on the anniversary of his journey to eternity. The impossible is what we have to do, because others take care of the possible every day! (Bolivar)

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US Chamber of Commerce Asks Biden to Modify Illegal Sanctions Policy Towards Venezuela

orinocotribune | September 13, 2021

US Chamber of Commerce headquarters in Washington D.C.. Photo by Greg Nash.

On Thursday, September 9, the US Chamber of Commerce released a statement asking the US government to modify the illegal sanctions policy against Venezuela. The statement called the implementation of coercive measures a “failure” that has deeply affected Venezuela’s energy sector.

However, the statement still relies on the same anti-Chavista US narrative that led to the application of these measures in the first place. “While well-intentioned in their aim to rid the longsuffering Venezuelan people of Maduro, the ultimate failure of sweeping cross-sectoral sanctions to spur quick democratic transition unleashed a cascade of negative unintended consequences,” reads the statement.

These illegal sanctions came after the end of US and European companies’ participation in the oil and gas market of Venezuela. Clearly, these coercive measures apply penalties as an obstacle to Venezuelan business both in the United States and in other parts of the world.

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