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Posts Tagged ‘United States of America’

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

By Jeff Chang - introduction by DJ Kool Herc
hiphop_photo2This book charts the rise of hip-hop activism as well as the commercialisation of the music; and the clash between the two. It profiles the lives and influences of “the trinity of hip-hop music”–Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, and DJ Kool Herc–along with many other artists, label executives, DJs, writers, filmmakers, and promoters. Chang also traces 30 years of the history of the DJs, MCs, b-boys, graffiti art, Black Nationalism, groundbreaking singles and albums, and the street parties that gave rise to a genuine movement.

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The Story of Stuff - Introduction

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

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Zimbabwe Food Crisis

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009


Letter to the President - Review

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

A hiphop perspective

By Lena Stahlschmidt


This film takes a look into the world of politics through a hip-hop lens. It follows the American hip-hop movement from the 80’s to present. Through the voices of the hip-hop community issues such as the war on drugs, Regan presidency, crack epidemic, racial profiling, patriot act, censorship, police brutality, poverty, the industrial prison complex and many other political issues were discussed in relation to their impact on hip-hop.

The underlying inter-connecting issue throughout the film is racism and stereotypes. As it follows American politics it looks at the way hip-hop has been used for those marginalized and oppressed by the racist politic system to have their voices and stories heard and make a difference. It also looks into the current control that corporations and companies have over hip-hop music and how that has contributed to (mainstream) hip-hop loosing its political voice. It explores how companies have used hip-hop culture, which originated as a resistance to inequalities, to advertise as a way to make money that in turn maintains inequalities.

The film presented many issues that I have previously read, studied and heard about however, looking at it through a hip-hop perspective gave me new insight and a broader perspective on many of the issues.

Will Bush go to war with Iran?

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

Jayran Mansouri (May 2006)

In the wake of 9/11, the world has become a much more terrorism-aware place. All of a sudden, it was revealed that the USA was not infallible, Al Quaeda were on the loose, and that terrorism was more likely to occur than we may realise.

Then, the United States declared war on terror. This has been, and will continue to be, a controversial issue with Muslims as well as other people.

Recently, many people have been saying that Bush will nuclear-bomb Iran.

So how likely is Bush to go to war with Iran? How would a war with Iran be justified - or not justified? What are the possibilities of nuclear weapons being used? Are there any peaceful alternatives to a war on Iran?

How likely is Bush to go to war with Iran?
Very, very likely indeed. In fact, it is almost no longer a question of will Bush declare war on Iran, but a question of when.

Most people are of the belief that Bush will go to war with Iran. This is mainly because Iran has allegedly got nuclear weapons, and it is not permitted by the United Nations policies.

Basically, a war with Iran is all but confirmed.

How would a war on Iran be justified or not justified?

The primary reason Bush is considering war with Iran is that Iran has nuclear weapons, or is on the way to making them anyway. Another goal would be changing the regime.

However, while it is almost certain that Iran will develop nuclear weapons, it is not as close as it may seem. This is because the media misquoted the percentage of uranium that was enriched, making it seem higher.

Which means that Iran using the uranium to make nuclear weapons is not as likely as it seems.

But if Iran becomes a nuclear state, then what has happened to MAD?

Not Justified:
MAD stands for Mutually Assured Destruction. The deal is like this: Assume two states have some nuclear weapons. Neither will think of attacking the other, even if they disagree on certain issues, because if they do attack, then the other state will strike back with a nuclear weapon of their own. Then both sides will be annihilated. See the entry for MAD in Wikipedia)

If Bush does go to war with Iran, a disastrous nuclear war will ensue, where millions of innocent lives could be lost.

What are the possibilities of nuclear weapons being used?

Very high. In fact, one article states that Bush is specifically “planning nuclear strike against Iran” (See the article Bush “planning nuclear strike against Iran’ in the NZ Herald on 10.04.06) )

However, my main concern is that the use of nuclear weapons will cause extreme death and destruction.

The last time a nuclear weapon was used it was 1945, towards the end of World War 2. Many innocent civilians were incinerated. Having visited the Hiroshima Peace Park, I feel strongly about this.

Nuclear weapons will almost definitely be used if Bush decides to go to war with Iran, resulting in death, destruction and radiation sickness.

Are there any peaceful alternatives?
George Bush could call a conference to appease the Iranian Government. This would provide an opportunity to make peace, and for both sides to discuss peaceful and moral solutions rather that dropping nuclear weapons on each other.

It would also allow for better press for the US in the Middle East. At the moment, America is very unpopular in the Middle East, and this gives rise to lots of hostility. However, if a conference was held, hostility will decrease, and therefore the risk of war will be decreased.


Images from Creative Commons, and thanks to the Peace and Disarmament Centre in Christchurch.

Two faced land of the free

Thursday, January 12th, 2006

Cameron Walker
petrol pumps
Members of the Bush Administration regularly claim that the aim of American foreign policy is to spread ideals of democracy, freedom and liberty around the world. However, the actions of the US Government in its dealings with other nations regularly seem to contradict this.

We were all told the war on Iraq was to bring democracy to a nation suffering under Saddam Hussein. In the first year of the American occupation of Iraq, the nation came under the authority of the Coalition Provisional Authority and its American head Paul Bremer. During this time Bremer decreed 100 orders or changes Iraq had to make to its’ economy.

Instead of helping Iraqi people rebuild from decades of war these changes all strengthen American corporations at the expense of ordinary Iraqis. For example, Order 39 allows for 100% foreign ownership of Iraqi banks, mines and factories and also decrees that corporations may take 100% of their profit out of Iraq, instead of investing it in the local economy, which is in dire need of development. (Palast Greg Adventure Capitalism’)

Order 81 prohibits Iraqi farmers from saving seed from year to year. Instead they must fork out large amounts of money to buy new seed from American agribusiness corporations, such as Cargill. According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) in 2002 97% of Iraqi wheat farmers saved their seeds. This process helped avert famine during the harsh sanctions on Iraq in the 1990’s. As the British magazine the Ecologist points out:

“The US, however, has decided that, despite 10,000 years practice, Iraqis don’t know which wheat works best in their own conditions, and would be better off with some new, imported American varieties. Under the guise, therefore, of helping get Iraq back on its feet, the US is setting out to totally reengineer the country’s traditional farming systems into a US-style corporate agribusiness.” (Smith Jeremy Order 81’)

No Iraqis were involved in making these decisions. They were forced on the war-wrecked nation in such an un-democratic way it would have made Saddam Hussein proud. An insider implementing the US government’s economic policies in Iraq told the American journalist Greg Palast: “They have [Deputy Defence Secretary Paul] Wolfowitz coming out saying it’s going to be a democratic country … but we’re going to do something that 99 percent of the people of Iraq wouldn’t vote for.”

The one of the few Saddam era laws retained by the American occupation forces in Iraq is the law that restricts union organising in public sector industries. Since 2003 Iraqi unionists have been busy actively opposing American moves to sell Iraqi industries to American corporations. As Hassan Juma’a Awad, a leading member of Iraq’s General Union of Oil Workers says:
“It was our duty as Iraqi workers to protect the oil installations since they are the property of the Iraqi people and we are sure that the US and the international companies have come here to put their hands on the country’s oil reserves”.

Iraqi unionists have had some big victories but also have had to suffer great costs. A general strike broke out in Basra when the British tried to install a notorious mayor who was a member of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath Party. Oil workers forced US Vice President Dick Cheney’s company Halliburton to employ Iraqis to complete reconstruction work in one city where unemployment was as high as 70%, instead of importing Kuwaiti oil workers. (Bacon David Interview with Hassan Juma’a Awad’)

Unions suffered persecution under Saddam. Today they face repression by both the American occupying forces and the remnants of Saddam’s regime that make up part of the murderous insurgency’. Some unionists have been kidnapped and murdered.

While the US is bringing democracy’ and free market capitalism to Iraq at gunpoint, it is also using huge amounts of effort to undermine the democratically elected government of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.

Chavez, described by US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice as “a negative force in the region [South America]”, won a landslide election victory in 1998 and was again popularly re-elected in 2000. In 2004 he won a recall referendum on his rule with 58% of the vote, which was declared free and fair by foreign observers including former US President Jimmy Carter.

In 2002 opponents of Hugo Chavez launched a coup in which the president was briefly overthrown and held under house arrest. The head of the Venezuelan Federation of Business, Pedro Carmona Estranga, appointed himself President.

Most nations around the world condemned the coup as anti-democratic and called for Chavez to be released and returned to office. The USA failed to condemn the coup and became one of the few nations in the whole world to recognise the coup government of Carmona. After a huge public outcry on the streets of Venezuela Chavez was returned to power.

In 2005 the pro-Bush US evangelist minister Pat Robertson said on his TV program, The 700 Club’ that the US should assassinate Chavez.

Why do the US government and its allies hate Chavez so much when he is a seemingly popular democratic leader? Well he has raised taxes on US oil companies and increased the price of oil exports to pay for large social programmes for the poor in urban slums, known as barrios. He vocally criticises US “free trade agreements” in Latin America as new world imperialism and also criticised the war on Iraq.

Despite its rhetoric the US government is quite happy to put corporate profit ahead of democracy.


Bacon David (September 2005) Interview with Hassan Juma’a Awad’ The New Internationalist, p33, issue 382

Hari Johann (August 26, 2005) Awaiting the hit’ in oil rich rogue state’, The New Zealand Herald, pB4

Palast Greg (October 26, 2004) Adventure Capitalism

Smith Jeremy (February 2005), Order 81’, The Ecologist


The Rise of America’s New Enemy by John Pilger

White House and Media Escalate War of Words Against Hugo Chavez by Scott Harris