SILENCING THE LAMBS. HOW PROPAGANDA WORKS

John Pilger

In the 1970s, I met one of Hitler’s leading propagandists, Leni Riefenstahl, whose epic films glorified the Nazis. We happened to be staying at the same lodge in Kenya, where she was on a photography assignment, having escaped the fate of other friends of the Fuhrer.

She told me that the ‘patriotic messages’ of her films were dependent not on ‘orders from above’ but on what she called the ‘submissive void’ of the German public.

Did that include the liberal, educated bourgeoisie? I asked.  ‘Yes, especially them,’ she said.

I think of this as I look around at the propaganda now consuming Western societies.

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Cuba’s “Code of Freedom” inspires US-based activists, academics

Natalia Marques

People’s Dispatch | September 29, 2022

Activist Karina Garcia asks question to Cuban officials at Cuban Mission to the UN in New York City (Photo: Emily Brease)

The people of Cuba approved their new Family Code on September 25, now the most progressive code of families in the world. With 74.01% of eligible voters participating, the Family Code passed in a landslide victory. 66.87% of participants voted in favor of the new code and 33.13% voted against. 

On September 27, the Cuban mission to the United Nations hosted US scholars, activists, union leaders, lawyers, journalists and judges in order to share the Cuban experience in winning and ratifying their new Family Code. People in the US were able to dialogue directly with Cuban officials, and many expressed their admiration for the victory.

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Changing food systems and infectious disease risks in low-income and middle-income countries

Prof Jeff Waage, PhD; Prof Delia Grace, PhD; Prof Eric M Fèvre, PhD; John McDermott, PhD; Prof Jo Lines, PhD; Barbara Wieland, PhD; Nichola R Naylor, PhD; James M Hassell, PhD and Kallista Chan, MSc

The Lancet | Open Access | Published: September, 2022 | DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(22)00116-4

Summary

The emergence of COVID-19 has drawn the attention of health researchers sharply back to the role that food systems can play in generating human disease burden. But emerging pandemic threats are just one dimension of the complex relationship between agriculture and infectious disease, which is evolving rapidly, particularly in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) that are undergoing rapid food system transformation. We examine this changing relationship through four current disease issues. The first is that greater investment in irrigation to improve national food security raises risks of vector-borne disease, which we illustrate with the case of malaria and rice in Africa. The second is that the intensification of livestock production in LMICs brings risks of zoonotic diseases like cysticercosis, which need to be managed as consumer demand grows. The third is that the nutritional benefits of increasing supply of fresh vegetables, fruit, and animal-sourced foods in markets in LMICs pose new food-borne disease risks, which might undermine supply. The fourth issue is that the potential human health risks of antimicrobial resistance from agriculture are intensified by changing livestock production. For each disease issue, we explore how food system transition is creating unintentional infectious disease risks, and what solutions might exist for these problems. We show that successfully addressing all of these challenges requires a coordinated approach between public health and agricultural sectors, recognising the costs and benefits of disease-reducing interventions to both, and seeking win–win solutions that are most likely to attract broad policy support and uptake by food systems.

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ECONOMIST RICHARD WOLFF: SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA, INFLATION & CLASS WAR

Mintpress News | September 12, 2022

European countries, as well as the United States, continue to be imperiled by an economic crisis following the imposition of sanctions on Russia. The policy has backfired spectacularly and has had worse economic ramifications on those levying the sanctions, than those being sanctioned. In this week’s episode, Lowkey speaks to respected U.S. economist Dr. Richard Wolff, discussing the links between the war in Ukraine, inflation, and the class war at home.

Before exploring the people’s definition of inflation, Dr. Wolff contextualizes the economic crisis currently unfolding across the West.

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Life expectancy and human development in the 21st century

Michael Roberts Blog | September 11, 2022

Life expectancy is one of the best measures of human development.  In hunter-gather societies, on average, about 57-67% of children made it to 15 years. Then 79% of those 15 year-olds made it to 45 years.  Finally, those remaining at 45 years could expect to reach around 65-70 years. So we can see that life expectancy at birth in these societies was very low, given high child mortality. But some 40% did make it to about 65 years on average.  It seems to have been worse in the class-based feudal and slave societies.  The average medieval life expectancy for a peasant was only a mere 35 years of age at birth, but it was closer to 50 years on average for those who made it beyond 15 years. 

You can see that measuring life expectancy at birth is not a perfect guide to how long humans did live in pre-capitalist societies.  Nevertheless, there is no doubt that life expectancy on average rose sharply once science came to bear on hygiene, sewage, knowledge of the human body, better nutrition etc.  Of course, there were sharp inequalities in life expectancy in class societies between rich and poor.

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Ten Years Ago, Chicago Teachers Gave Us All a Jolt of Hope

Alexandra Bradbury

Labor Notes | September 10, 2022

Chicago teachers marched in a mass rally on May 23, 2012, part of the ramp-up to their big strike that fall. Photo: Sarah Ji, loveandstrugglephotos.com.

On the tenth anniversary of the Chicago Teachers Union’s groundbreaking strike, we’re reissuing our award-winning book How to Jump-Start Your Union: Lessons from the Chicago Teachers. This is the new introduction.

If you feel like your union needs a jump-start—whether you’re a longtime shop steward or just started your first union job—this book is for you.

The impulse you have (“This union could be stronger and better, and I want to help change it”) makes you part of a long tradition—what we at Labor Notes affectionately call the trouble-making wing of the labor movement.

One basic principle unites us troublemakers. We believe democracy, meaning broad member participation at every level of the union, is the heart of union power.

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U.S. IMPERIALISM IS A PAPER TIGER

Mao Tse-tung

[JoP Editorial Note: In commemoration of the great revolutionary Mao Tse-tung’s 46th death anniversary on 9 September, we reproduce this valuable piece on imperialism.]

The United States is flaunting the anti-communist banner everywhere in order to perpetrate aggression against other countries

The United States owes debts everywhere. It owes debts not only to the countries of Latin America, Asia and Africa, but also to the countries of Europe and Oceania. The whole world, Britain included dislikes the United States. The masses of the people dislike it. Japan dislikes the United States because it oppresses her. None of the countries in the East is free from U.S. aggression. The United States has invaded our Taiwan Province. Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam and Pakistan all suffer from U.S. aggression, although some of them are allies of the United States. The people are dissatisfied and in some countries so are the authorities.

All oppressed nations want independence.

Everything is subject to change. The big decadent forces will give way to the small new-born forces. The small forces will change into big forces because the majority of the people demand this change. The U.S. imperialist forces will change from big to small because the American people, too, are dissatisfied with their government.

In my own lifetime I myself have witnessed such changes. Some of us present were born in the Ching Dynasty and others after the 1911 Revolution.

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Having a Queen Was Stupid; Having A King Is TOO Stupid  —  Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Caitlin Johnstone

I can’t stop laughing at the fact that we have a King now. “Hello I am the actual, literal King. Please bow to me and put a crown on my head.”

It gets funnier and funnier the more you think about it. Having a queen was really stupid; having a king is too stupid. People aren’t going to buy it, I don’t care how good your PR is.

Just stop having a royal family; it’s so dorky. This isn’t Lord of the Rings. They’re like fantasy LARPers running around with swords and scepters and crowns and junk, except fantasy LARP props aren’t normally encrusted with priceless jewels stolen from colonized territories.

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Travelling with Fidel Castro

E P Menon

Frontier | Vol 55, No. 10, Sep 4 – 10, 2022

Way back in 1966 when I received an invitation to join the Indian Delegation to Cuba for participating in the first ever Tri-Continental Conference involving only those countries from Latin America, Africa and Asia, I was delighted and agreed immediately. It was a 14-member group under the leadership of Aruna Asaf Ali and endorsed by the Government of India.

More than 1500 delegates were accommodated in the majestic Hotel Havana Libre for two weeks and after the 10-day events we were all given a country-wide tour for two weeks which was indeed very educative and forward-looking for building better human solidarity and world peace. Two specific events can never be erased from my mind.

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Russia Commits To Increase Grain Deliveries to Poorest Nations

teleSUR | September 09, 2022

According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, most of the grain exported under the Ukrainian grain deal is destined for EU countries. Sep. 9, 2022. | Photo: Twitter/@AfricanSoil

“We believe it to be right to ramp up deliveries to the poorest countries,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

The President said Russia would supply about 30 million tons this year with a view to reaching 50 million tons, prioritizing the least favored and food insecure nations.

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