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Racism, Corruption and the Class Struggle in Arizona

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From Kasama

“Corruption, elite domination, and white favoritism are the most important factors in understanding Arizona’s strange political history, including this latest episode. But class struggle against it is key to understanding why the nation’s strangest state may soon be in the vanguard of struggles for real freedom. Those involved in such struggles stand like saguaros in this beautiful state, even as the snakes and scorpions scurry about us.”

Thanks to Jed for pointing out this essay. The piece first appeared on Facebook.

Corruption and Class Struggle:

What It’s Like to Live in Arizona Right Now

By Joel Olson

With the passage of the notorious anti-immigrant bill SB 1070 last spring, the outlawing of ethnic studies as of January 1, the gutting of the school and university systems, the collapsed housing market, the high unemployment rates, and now the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, you might be wondering what it’s like to live in Arizona right about now.

It ain’t easy.

But it helps to put Giffords’s shooting in historical perspective, which is defined by two things in Arizona: corruption and class struggle. And ironically, this perspective gives me hope about the radically democratic future of my home state.

 

Arozona Gov. Jan Brewer — demonstrating the classic hard-eyed white racist look [Would it be too outlandish to call this look “reptilian”?]

Arizona’s economy was founded on the “Five C’s:” copper, cotton, cattle, citrus, and climate (tourism). These C’s were controlled by big mining and agricultural interests and real estate developers. Corruption was commonplace as they manipulated the political system for their benefit.

A group of these capitalists, called the Phoenix 40, controlled state politics until the 1970s, when the political establishment opened up some. But even after their rule, the state capitol has always been a place to lie, bribe, and scam your way to what you want. If the names Don Bowles, Evan Mecham, AZ scam, Fife Symington, or the Keating 5 (which included Senator John McCain) mean anything to you, then you know that corruption is as plentiful as the parking here. And I haven’t even mentioned Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio or State Senator Russell Pearce, the tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum of racist nativism.*

SB 1070 and Giffords’s shooting, in other words, are but the latest of a storied history of corrupt cowboy capitalism.

Such tomfoolery is part of the class struggle in the Grand Canyon State. Three classes matter in Arizona: elites, the white middle class, and the working class. The elites come mainly from the agriculture/mining, tourism, and construction/real estate sectors (with an emerging tech sector). They are the masters of the corruption I described. But in a system of majority rule, elites need a junior partner to dominate. This is where the white middle class steps in.

The white middle class is the engine of suburban development here. The new housing developments, strip malls, and big box stores that pop up almost daily (until the recession, at least) are built for and fueled by this class. Many in this class run small businesses related to the main sectors of the economy, such as ranching, construction, landscaping, and pool maintenance. Many are retirees who used to manage businesses in other states. This small business atmosphere contributes to the libertarian, Barry Goldwater-style political culture of the state.

For years, this relationship has been mutually beneficial. While legal segregation never took deep root in this state (most of Arizona’s explosive growth took place after Brown v. Board of Education was decided in 1954), unofficial practices have kept many neighborhoods and schools comfortably white for decades, and the best jobs have been traditionally denied to Chicanos and Natives. (With a Black population of just three percent, the racially “out” groups in this state have historically been Chicanos, Mexicans, and indigenous peoples.) Politicians have successfully tied these practices to the laissez-faire economic policies of the elites, giving whites the sense that their success is due strictly to their own work ethic rather than being facilitated by white privilege. As a result, many white middle and working class Arizonans identify with the success—and conservative politics—of the elites.

This collusion has created an anything-goes capitalism mixed with a suburban consciousness. Call my state the Wild West or suburban hell—they’re both accurate to a large degree.

But the partnership has been fraying in the last two decades. Pressures to diversify corporations, universities, and governments have led elites to support various multicultural initiatives, which middle class whites resent. (Arizona voters in November voted to outlaw affirmative action by a wide margin.) The state’s Latino population has outpaced white growth, and the state is now nearly one-third Latino. Areas that were once comfortably white now have Spanish-language business signs. More and more schoolchildren have brown faces—even in the “good” schools. Cars roll down formerly white streets bumping music whose percussion comes from a tuba.

Further, middle class whites increasingly see elites in collusion with the Brown working classes rather than them. They have reasons for believing this. Agriculture, construction, and tourism all depend on a highly exploitable, low-paid working class, which makes migrant labor desirable. Undocumented labor makes up 27% of all construction workers, 60% of agricultural workers, 25% of restaurants workers, and 51% of all landscaping workers in Arizona. This sets small business interests—who usually can’t take advantage of such labor—into a tizzy. It sets off many other middle and working class whites as well, who feel that “they” are stealing “our” jobs. This is the political power behind SB 1070—a law that Arizona’s elites largely oppose.

The frayed alliance between these two classes has created the political mess this state is in today. It is the story behind SB 1070, HB2281 (the anti-ethnic studies law), the elimination of affirmative action, the attack on the public education system, the attack on public workers for enjoying “Cadillac” pension plans, and Giffords’s shooting. The alleged shooter, Jared Loughner, is not only of the white middle/working class, his addled mind is a gross exaggeration of its contradictions and confusions. Of course Loughner is probably crazy, but his mental health—and even his ideology—are not the point. What matters is that the conflict over this frayed class alliance—and all the political vitriol it has generated by Tea Partiers and others—pointed his illness toward Gabrielle Giffords.

In the face of this mess, it is the working class—largely Brown, largely poor, largely poorly educated, largely ignored—that represents the best hope to build a new Arizona within the corrupted shell of the old. Exploited by the elite, despised by many whites, and largely shut out of the political system, this class has had to make its own way through the state’s crazy political landscape.

With a weak Democratic Party, a labor movement crippled by “right to work” laws, a small civil rights contingent, few political nonprofits, and almost no organized left, Arizona’s working class is turning to grassroots democracy, operating outside the “official” political channels and fearlessly making political demands that challenge the pillars of laissez-faire capitalism itself. This path they are carving is quite possibly a model for working class struggles throughout the nation.

Take the grassroots fight against SB 1070, for example. The Tierra y Libertad Organization in Tucson has been a leader in opposing SB 1070. But it is also creating a new model of democracy. Declining to become a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, they raise funds through the community, which they use support their struggle for the self-determination of its base communities. In Phoenix, Puente has organized the major immigrant rights demonstrations in Arizona, but they are also organizing neighborhood meetings throughout the Valley of the Sun. In Phoenix and Flagstaff, the Repeal Coalition (I’m a member of this group) demands that all persons in a global economy be free to live, love, and work wherever they please, and they demand that ordinary people have a full say in those affairs that affect their daily lives. The undocumented workers, moms, and college students who make up the group don’t seem to worry that these demands are deeply radical and disrupt the very functioning of Arizona politics as it currently operates. These groups work with others, such as Border Action Network, No More Deaths, and Arizona Interfaith, that are organized in a traditional nonprofit format but nevertheless encourage face-to-face democracy and are courageously fighting 1070 and myriad other evils.

These working-class struggles suggest a new Arizona. They suggest a world in which working people decide the fate of the community, not the rich. They suggest a world in which democracy rather than white privilege decides how to allocate resources. They suggest a world in which borders are tools of the bosses rather than walls that “defend sovereignty” or “prevent terrorism.”

This class will not win for a while. The elites and the white middle classes are yet too powerful. This coming year, Arizona politicians will gut the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of birthright citizenship, defund public education until it barely operates, and do many more stupid things. But as elites and the white middle class continue to bicker, the Arizona working class continues to learn lessons, develop leadership, practice grassroots democracy, and make demands that seem “unreasonable” today but might tomorrow become as obvious as the multiplication table.

Corruption, elite domination, and white favoritism are the most important factors in understanding Arizona’s strange political history, including this latest episode. But class struggle against it is key to understanding why the nation’s strangest state may soon be in the vanguard of struggles for real freedom. Those involved in such struggles stand like saguaros in this beautiful state, even as the snakes and scorpions scurry about us.

* * * * * * * *

Joel Olson has lived in Arizona for over 25 years. He is a member of the Flagstaff Repeal Coalition and teaches political theory at Northern Arizona University.

* For the uninitiated or un-Arizonan: Don Bowles was an Arizona Republic reporter who was murdered by a car bomb in 1976 while investigating connections between Arizona elites and the Mafia. Evan Mecham was a racist governor (he was a John Birch Society supporter) from 1987-1988 who was impeached for obstruction of justice and misuse of government funds. The Keating 5 were five U.S. Senators, including Arizona Senators John McCain and Dennis DeConcini, who were accused of corruption in 1989 for illegally intervening on behalf of Charles Keating, whose Lincoln Savings and Loan bank collapsed, causing thousands to lose their life savings. “AZ scam” was a bribery and money laundering scandal that several state legislators were convicted of in 1991. Fife Symington, the governor of Arizona from 1991-1996, was impeached and indicted for 23 counts of fraud and extortion.

 

Interview with Slavoj Zizek: Capitalism is Driving the World to Total Destruction

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Written by chinarose

November 22, 2010 at 7:57 pm

The Onion: U.S. May Have Been Abused During Formative Years

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The Ruling Class’ Murder-Suicide of the Human Race

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Does the Ruling Class Really Want to Commit Suicide?

by Charles M Young, This Can’t Be Happening

BP’s Slimy and Infamous History as the forefront of British Imperialism

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Arm of the British Empire British Petroleum’s Assault on America
June 15, 2010 by JackBlood

by John Hoefle

June 12–British Petroleum is not a corporation, at least not in the way that many Americans think of corporations. What British Petroleum {really} is, is an instrument of the British Empire’s unrelenting war upon the vast majority of the people of the world. British Petroleum is part of a network of giant imperial cartels, created with the aim of replacing sovereign nation-states as the ruling entities of the planet. Under this system, an imperial financier oligarchy runs the cartels, which in turn control the world. This system, marketed as “globalization,” is actually a return to the methods of the evil and corrupt British East India Company.

The drama now playing out in the Gulf of Mexico, in the halls of government in Washington and London, and in the boardrooms of Wall Street and Threadneedle Street, reflect both the astonishing success of this British assault upon humanity, and the necessity for the people of the United States to defeat this attack. If we are to survive, the British Empire and its instrumentalities must be destroyed.

No one should be surprised at the breathtaking arrogance of BP, which has a sordid history of disregard for human life, an imperious disdain for the environment, and a demonstrated unwillingness to pay for anything that cuts into its profits, such as safety equipment, basic maintenance, and oil-spill clean-up capability. The company has been convicted of felonies, one arising from the 2005 explosion of its Texas City, Texas, refinery, in which 15 people were killed, another involving the illegal dumping of hazardous materials in Alaska. It was still on probation for the latter offense, when its Gulf of Mexico well blew out in April. BP was also the company responsible for handling the Exxon Valdez oil spill, but proved so unwilling to meet its obligations that Exxon stepped in to handle the mess. It is, literally, a criminal operation.

That criminality is by design. British Petroleum was formed in 1909, as Anglo-Persian Oil Company, as a monopoly on the oilfields of what is now Iran. The British Monarchy was determined to convert its naval vessels from coal to oil, to maintain the empire’s supremacy on the seas. It was also determined to deny its rivals access to the oil, for the same purpose. This drive to lock up oil supplies led to the creation of an imperial oil cartel–a cartel of giant oil companies–which controls the global production, distribution, and processing of oil today, and controls the mechanisms by which prices are set. This corporate oil cartel does not control all of the world’s oil, but it controls enough to make it a significant factor in the empire’s dominion over nations. To this day, British Petroleum remains an asset of the British Monarchy.

British Petroleum’s sibling in this operation, is the Anglo-Dutch giant Royal Dutch Shell, the result of a 1907 merger between Royal Dutch Petroleum of the Netherlands and Shell Transport and Trading of the United Kingdom. One of the founders of Royal Dutch Petroleum was Sir Henri Deterding, who ran the company for 36 years, and was later notorious for his support of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party.

Royal Dutch Shell also provided a cover for the intelligence operations of Lord Victor Rothschild, whose family played a major role in the company. Lord Victor’s son, Jacob, the current Baron Rothschild, today runs the Inter-Alpha Group of imperial financiers, which, as we shall see, is joined at the hip with British Petroleum and Goldman Sachs.

– Fascism –

Support for the Nazis runs deep in these companies and their controllers. The late, but not lamented, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands was a card-carrying member of the Nazi Party, and part of the industrial espionage unit of the notorious I.G. Farben, of concentration-camp infamy. Prince Bernhard was a founder of the Bilberberg Group, and with Britain’s Prince Philip, of the World Wildlife Fund, two organizations dedicated to pushing imperial fascism. Philip is the creature who has dedicated his life to reducing the world’s population by two-thirds (including you), and has expressed his desire to be reincarnated as a deadly virus so that he may continue to play an active role in that genocide.

These two oil giants are an essential component of the British Empire’s control over raw materials, along with mining companies such as Rio Tinto, Anglo-American, Cargill, and others, which exert significant control over the minerals, metals, petroleum products, food supplies, communications facilities, and finance, necessary to run the modern world. The project to create these cartels was officially launched at the Bilderberg annual meeting in 1968, although this was merely the repackaging of a much older idea.

The plan, as introduced by Lehman Brothers banker and U.S. Anglophile George W. Ball, was for the creation of a “world company” as a replacement for the nation-state. The plan was explicitly Malthusian, based upon the idea that corporations were much better suited to managing the world’s scarce resources than were nations and their governments. Governments, the Bilderbergers complained, had an unfortunate tendency to place the welfare of their people–or at least some of them–above the welfare of the imperial fatcats of the Anglo-Dutch Liberal empire. Far better, the oligarchs insisted, to let bloodless corporations–answerable only to the empire–run the show. It was an explicitly corporatist conception, corporatism being the method by which Benito Mussolini ran his Venetian-dominated fascist state. Under corporatism, the state becomes an appendage of the corporations.

Which brings us back to the case of British Petroleum.

– Corporatism –

What is the U.S. Government under President Barack Obama, if not a corporatist state protecting an imperial cartel-company? At every step of the Gulf crisis, the Obama Administration has acted to protect British Petroleum. The same British Petroleum which has lied at every step, downplaying the volume of oil shooting out of the seabed, denying the existence of underwater plumes, pointing accusing fingers at its partners on the Deepwater Horizon rig, and wasting resources on public relations campaigns, when it needs to be fixing the problem. Through it all, the Obama camp is right there with the company, helping it spread its lies, while taking none of the obvious measures to stop the spill, launch the clean-up, and protect the nation from this attack.

Belatedly, as a sop to public fury, President Mustache has been talking tough, looking for, as he put it, some “ass to kick.” The British, for their part, have begun publicly complaining about Obama’s “anti-British” rhetoric, and wringing hands against the “bloodlust” directed at Britain. Others complain about calling the firm British at all, asserting that it is now a “global” (read, “imperial”) company without nationality. (Thanks for confirming our thesis.)

This “war of words” is a play staged for public consumption. The British Empire is accustomed to working in areas where the local populations hate it, and have developed their psychological operations accordingly. The colonial office learned long ago that, often the best way to protect your local political assets, is to publicly criticize them–sometimes the most vociferous anti-British voice is actually a British agent! So Obama, a British agent, talks tough, the British complain, and the spin machine paints a phony picture of trouble in a relationship that is actually quite cozy.

Obama may indeed be getting angry at the beating his reputation is taking, but his anger is irrelevant, as he remains fully under British control. He is a prisoner of his own Nero-like fantasies. He, and his Administration, remain servants of the Brutish Empire which controls both him and British Petroleum. As long as Obama remains President, the U.S. will remain a corporatist state.

– Behind the Lies –

And, as long as British Petroleum continues to control the crime scene in the Gulf, it remains impossible for outsiders to know exactly what went wrong in the well and on the rig, as well as what the real situation is with the well and its environs today. It has been shown that we cannot believe a word the company says. Neither can we believe the statements of our own government, which has already been forced by events to back off on earlier lies. What we can say, with a fair amount of certainty, is that the situation is far more dire than either party will admit, that much of what we are being spoon-fed is disinformation, and that the clean-up operations are far short of what is required.

British Petroleum has consistently treated this as if it were a public relations problem, rather than a physical disaster. CEO Tony Hayward publicly lamented that he wanted “his life back.” As if anyone gives a damn about his inconvenience, when 11 people died on his rig, a large section of the American economy and way of life has been destroyed, and the oil flows relentlessly into the Gulf, into the marshes and beaches, and out into the Atlantic.

The British are arguing that punishing the company for this “accident” is unfair, because of the amount of British pension-fund investment in the company. Just as we have seen in the financial crisis, the empire is demanding that its assets be rescued, to save the “little people.” How shameless can they get, and how stupid do they think we are, to push such blatant lies?

However, with this lying line of argument, they do bring us closer to the truth. For British Petroleum, it is largely about the money. In fact, one can make a strong case that British Petroleum is more like a hedge fund that controls oil assets, than an industrial corporation. It outsources much of its operations to contractors. In the case of the well in question, it leased the drilling rig from Transocean, and hired Halliburton to perform some of the well maintenance; British Petroleum’s main role seems to have been stopping safety measures and improperly pushing for premature completion of the well.

We will not speculate in this article about what actually may have happened to this rig, and what is now occurring beneath the waters of the Gulf, but we will say that there are serious questions about British Petroleum’s version of events, and of the authenticity of some of the photographs and videos the company is providing. Given the consistent lying from these weasels, they are not entitled to the benefit of the doubt.

– Spooks –

On the night of June 7, 2010, according to a {Bloomberg} report, “a group including Vittorio Colao, head of telecom company Vodafone Plc, Martin Sorrell, chief of advertising for WPP Plc, and John Sawer, director-general of the [British] intelligence agency MI6,” gathered at British Petroleum’s headquarters in London “to show support for Tony Hayward.”

Just what, we wonder, is MI6’s involvement in this affair? MI6 is the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), which works, incidentally, for the Crown, not the government. Oil companies are, after all, known for providing cover for the intelligence services’ operations all over the world. Could the SIS be involved in any way?

We also note with interest the intelligence connections of Halliburton and Transocean–the latter of which is registered in Rothschild-dominated Zug, Switzerland. Halliburton not only is the company of former Vice President Dick Cheney, but has long-standing connections to the U.S. intelligence community, notably through the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. Transocean is the result of a series of mergers, including the offshore drilling operations of Schlumberger, which, at least in part, is an intelligence agency operating inside an oil-services company. Schlumberger had a hand in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, through the person of Jean de Menil, husband of a Schlumberger heiress, a Schlumberger executive, and a member of Permindex, the Synarchist assassination bureau.

Could the presence of all these spook-related outfits on the Deepwater Horizon rig be related in ways which remain hidden? We don’t know at this point, but we do know that the official story is full of holes, and the whole affair cries out for investigation.

Finally, we note with interest the incestuous relationship between British Petroleum, Goldman Sachs, and the Inter-Alpha Group. Take the case of Sir Peter Sutherland, a Knight Commander of the British Monarchy’s Order of St. Michael and St. George. Sir Petey was, at the same time (2001-09), chairman of British Petroleum; chairman of Goldman Sachs International, the bank’s London branch; and a director of the Inter-Alpha Group’s Royal Bank of Scotland. Sutherland was previously chairman of AIB, the Irish member of Inter-Alpha, and is a former director-general of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and its successor, the World Trade Organization, which plays an important role in promoting globalization. Sutherland, still at Goldman Sucks, is the chairman of the Fabian Society’s London School of Economics, which trained many of the jerks who blew up the world…

G20 Pandemonium: Crash the Meeting Toronto 2010

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ONE BILLION DOLLARS FOR SECURITY to PROTECT THE KINGS & PRINCES OF THE EARTH, AS THEY DETERMINE FURTHER STRATEGIES TO RAPE, ROB, PLUNDER, MURDER, EXTORT & EXPLOIT THE ENTIRE WORLD & MAKE THEMSELVES APPEAR TO BE BENEFACTORS INSTEAD OF OF DEVILS.
Check out this passage from the Gospels. Jesus’ true followers are not authorities and not elitists. They are servants. It’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for Rockefeller, Roosevelt, Rothschild or Obama (or their minions) to enter the kingdom of heaven… This is  classic biblical peripateia [i.e., revolutionary thinking]
24A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. 25 And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. 26 But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. 27Forwho is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.    Luke 22:24-27

Pandemonium, the Congress of Demons, in Paradise Lost by John Milton
Meanwhile the winged Heralds, by command

Of sovereign power, with awful ceremony

And trumpet's sound, throughout the host proclaim

A solemn council forthwith to be held

At Pandemonium, the high capital

Of Satan and his peers.  Their summons called

From every band and squared regiment

By place or choice the worthiest: they anon

With hundreds and with thousands trooping came

Attended.  All access was thronged; the gates

And porches wide, but chief the spacious hall

(Though like a covered field, where champions bold

Wont ride in armed, and at the Soldan's chair

Defied the best of Paynim chivalry

To mortal combat, or career with lance),

Thick swarmed, both on the ground and in the air,

Brushed with the hiss of rustling wings...
But far within,

And in their own dimensions like themselves,

The great Seraphic Lords and Cherubim

In close recess and secret conclave sat,

A thousand demi-gods on golden seats,

Frequent and full...
...we now return

To claim our just inheritance of old,

Surer to prosper than prosperity

Could have assured us; and by what best way,

Whether of open war or covert guile,

We now debate.

[A debate ensues between Moloch (war), Belial (deceit), Mammon (greed), Beelzebub (false gods) and Satan himself…]

Re Moloch: from Howl, by Alan Ginsburg

Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unobtainable dollars! Children screaming under the stairways! Boys sobbing in armies! Old men weeping in the parks!

Moloch! Moloch! Nightmare of Moloch! Moloch the loveless! Mental Moloch! Moloch the heavy judger of men!

Moloch the incomprehensible prison! Moloch the crossbone soulless jailhouse and Congress of sorrows! Moloch whose buildings are judgement! Moloch the vast stone of war! Moloch the stunned governments!

Moloch whose mind is pure machinery! Moloch whose blood is running money! Moloch whose fingers are ten armies! Moloch whose breast is a cannibal dynamo! Moloch whose ear is a smoking tomb!

Moloch whose eyes are a thousand blind windows! Moloch whose skyscrapers stand in the long streets like endless Jehovas! Moloch whose factories dream and choke in the fog! Moloch whose smokestacks and antennae crown the cities!

Moloch whose love is endless oil and stone! Moloch whose soul is electricity and banks! Moloch whose poverty is the specter of genius! Moloch whose fate is a cloud of sexless hydrogen! Moloch whose name is the Mind!

Moloch in whom I sit lonely! Moloch in whom I dream angels! Crazy in Moloch! Cocksucker in Moloch! Lacklove and manless in Moloch!

Moloch who entered my soul early! Moloch in whom I am a consciousness without a body! Moloch who frightened me out of my natural ecstasy! Moloch whom I abandon! Wake up in Moloch! Light streaming out of the sky!

Moloch! Moloch! Robot apartments! invisable suburbs! skeleton treasuries! blind capitals! demonic industries! spectral nations! invincible madhouses! granite cocks! monstrous bombs!

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US & Israel Criminality – and Impunity – Threatens the World with Annihilation

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Israel’s massacre at sea

3 June 2010

The Israeli military’s killing of nine civilians and wounding of scores more on a ship carrying humanitarian supplies in international waters was an act of cold-blooded murder and a war crime.

For millions of people around the world, this military assault on an aid convoy carrying wheelchairs, cement, water purification systems, children’s toys and notebook paper to Gaza—all items barred by Israel’s blockade of the occupied territory—epitomizes the role played by Israel, as well as that of its US sponsor, in global affairs.

As always in the aftermath of such atrocities, the Israeli government has blamed its victims. In a televised speech Wednesday, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu described the aid convoy as a “flotilla of terror supporters” and praised the slaughter on the high seas as an act of self-defense by besieged Israeli commandos.

Those who engaged in self-defense were the passengers on the ship, and they had every right to do so. The fact that nine of them were killed, while the Israel Defense Force (IDF) commandos suffered not a single fatality, is evidence as to who was the aggressor.

This is a regular pattern. The massacre in the Mediterranean comes just a year and a half after Operation Cast Lead, the far greater slaughter that the Israeli regime unleashed against the suffering people of Gaza. Claiming then as now to act in “self defense,” in December 2008 and January 2009 Israel rained bombs, missiles and tank and automatic weapons fire upon Gaza, killing over 1,400 Palestinians, the overwhelming majority of them unarmed men, women and children. This one-sided war by one of the world’s most powerful military machines against a relatively defenseless civilian population claimed just 13 Israeli lives, all but three of them soldiers.

The aid convoy was a response to the barbaric blockade that has subjected an entire population of 1.5 million people in Gaza to hunger, disease and misery.

Since the tightening of the blockade in 2007, according to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the number of Gazan refugees living in abject poverty has tripled.

The UN reported at the end of 2009 that “insufficient food and medicine is reaching Gazans, producing a further deterioration of the mental and physical health of the entire civilian population since Israel launched Operation Cast Lead against the territory.” Among the starkest expressions of Israel’s deliberate starvation of an entire population was a finding by the Food and Agriculture Organization last year that 65 percent of babies between the ages of nine and 12 months suffer from anemia.

Israel is able to carry out this kind of medieval siege as well as piracy and murder not merely because of its own military might, but thanks to the unwavering patronage and funding of Washington. This latest mass killing has only underscored that—as with so much else—the advent of the Obama administration has effected no significant change in US policy.

While issuing a hypocritical expression of “deep regret at the loss of life,” the Obama administration is doing everything it can to assure that Israel bears neither blame nor consequences for these killings. It quashed any criticism of Israel’s action at the UN Security Council and has implicitly adopted the Zionist state’s justification for the massacre.

Israel’s criminality and Washington’s role as its unconditional enabler both have a long history. It is worth recalling another Israeli attack on a vessel in international waters that took place 43 years ago. In that attack, 34 sailors aboard the USS Liberty were killed by Israeli napalm, missiles and machine-gun fire, while another 171 while wounded—the worst casualties suffered by the US Navy in a hostile action since World War II.

An intelligence ship, the Liberty was attacked off the Sinai Peninsula on June 8, 1967 in the midst of the Six-Day War. While Israel called it a tragic “mistake,” ample evidence emerged that the Zionist state attacked the ship because it wanted to stop Washington from listening in to its communications. Intercepts flatly contradicted Tel Aviv’s claim that it was acting in self-defense and revealed that Israel wanted to conceal evidence of its aggressive intentions as it moved to seize Gaza, the West Bank and the Golan Heights, all of which remain under illegal occupation to this day.

Much of the criticism of this week’s attack on the aid convoy, including within Israel itself, has treated it as a “botched” operation, an excessive use of force and a public relations fiasco. But this is not a matter of a government losing its head. The Netanyahu regime’s policies are directed to a definite socio-political base, composed of religious extremists, right-wing settlers and the most politically reactionary layers within Israeli society. Its orientation is personified by the fascistic background and ideology of its foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman.

Deeply reactionary and in deep political crisis, the Israeli government is driven more and more to act as a global pyromaniac, threatening renewed wars against Syria and Lebanon and, according to a report in the London Times this week, sending submarines armed with nuclear missiles to the waters off Iran.

The unconditional support and approximately $3 billion in annual aid to Israel bestowed by Washington—and continued under Obama—pose a mortal danger to people across the globe.

This is not a matter merely of a single outlaw regime, but of a general descent of world affairs into a state of criminality and the disintegration of any semblance of international law, with Israel’s main patron setting the pattern.

The Obama administration continues two wars of aggression initiated under Bush and has maintained intact a police state apparatus of unlawful detentions, rendition and torture. It has now earned the ignominious designation as the number one practitioner of “targeted killings”—assassinations—through CIA drone attacks that have killed “many hundreds of people” in Pakistan, according to a United Nations report released Wednesday. The report condemned Washington for claiming a “license to kill without accountability.”

The behavior of the US and other governments as if they were the state incarnation of Murder Inc., acts of state terrorism and piracy like that committed by Israel this week, and the constant threats of new aggression have created a global climate that bears ever closer resemblance to the conditions that prevailed on the eve the Second World War.

These developments are driven by the mortal crisis of world capitalism and will not be reversed by either protests or pacifism. Only by uniting the working class, including both Jewish and Arab workers in the Middle East, in a common struggle to put an end to the profit system can a new global conflagration be prevented.

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