CAITLIN JOHNSTONE—Humanity’s predicament is the same. I often hear revolutionary-minded thinkers voicing frustration at the mainstream public for choosing to stay within this transparently abusive dynamic instead of rising up and forcing change, and yes, it is self-evident that the citizenry could easily use its vastly superior numbers to do that if it collectively chose to. The door is right there. It’s not even locked.
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ROSS BARKAN—This is not to say, of course, Trump is not a future criminal and the Mueller investigation didn’t perform a service. Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, and Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, are headed to prison. Trump’s conflicts of interest are almost comical. Between the dubious family business dealings and Cohen’s hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels, there’s plenty of material for prosecutors in New York to investigate. Did Trump, in his reckless stupidity, obstruct justice? It’s possible.But none of it will have to do with a fantastic collusion case. Rather, it will concern old-fashioned, sloppy corruption of the type Trump and his ilk – greedy pols and fraudulent businessmen – have engaged in for generations. It’s more destructive and more banal. It will not end his presidency, because federal prosecutors have reached a consensus that a sitting president probably cannot be indicted. Once Trump is out of office, the prosecutorial wheels can keep turning.
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MEDEA BENJAMIN—AIPAC attempts to silence all criticism of Israel by labeling critics as “anti-Semitic,” “de-legitimizers” or “self-hating Jews.” Journalists, think tanks, students and professors have been accused of anti-Semitism for merely taking stands critical of Israeli government policies. These attacks stifle the critical discussions and debates that are at the heart of democratic policy-making. The recent attacks on staffers at the Center for American Progress is but one example of AIPAC efforts to crush all dissent.
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ALAN MACLEOD—Due to the implementation of neoliberalism during the 1980s and 1990s, inequality between the classes in Venezuela greatly increased, and poverty rose rapidly. This led to profound social dislocation, particularly after the 1989 Caracazo, when the government ordered a military crackdown on working-class protesters from the barrios, resulting in the massacre of thousands. The event, and the economic crisis of the 1990s, led to the breakdown of the traditional social order and to the election of a former military officer and political outsider, Hugo Chavez, as president in 1998.Chavez, who came from a poor family, campaigned on the promise of a new Constitution. It was implemented the next year and contained new rights for indigenous groups, the poor and women, among others.
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RAMIN MAZAHERI—What’s sad is that the majority of those arrested are first-time protesters – they simply didn’t know how to deal with cops, how to avoid cops, and how to demand their rights from bullying cops. It’s not the longtime activists who are in prison, but truly the most innocent and the most desperate. Normally in France a sentence of less than 2 years leads to no prison time – a “suspended sentence” – but not for Yellow Vesters.France is not a modern democratic nation but a “rubber bullet republic” led by a “liberal strongman”; it’s not new – Yellow Vests are experiencing what Muslims did during the 2-year State of Emergency.I have only barely discussed the appalling violence, arrests, mass trails and and mass imprisonment of France’s Yellow Vests – these are inflicted by the very cops who Western media repeatedly insist are the greatest heroes of the nation. But only a reactionary believes that – everyone hates the police; only a reactionary hates the Yellow Vests.