Tuesday, 15 October 2013


Nozomi Hayase raises a great number of issues about the crisis of democracy in an  article in ROARmag. October 11. I want to examine the implications of some of the issues, and place them in a wider context.

The development of ‘existentialism’ as a philosophy and psychology has given rise to the assertion of individualism, and the expression of selfishness, and personal desires, needs, and wants as paramount.
Nozomi Hayase argues that the agencies of governments and corporations, in association with the media, are involved in the manipulation of individuals and their desires, needs, emotions, drives, ambitions. As a result of these actions there has been an increasing assertion of individual autonomy through the egotistical self; the existential self: what she has called the ‘empty self’. The empty self is filled by the rewards and punishments, the propaganda and projections of the agencies of control, government, manufacture, production, news, magazines, television, video.

But at the same time, the expression of existentialism, and individualism has been countered by the growing awareness of the essentials of social interaction, and community action. I want to argue that community development is as important as individual autonomy!

In the future we need to liberate ourselves from the delusion and fantasy of autonomy and social independence by re-affirming our sense of community, interdependence, social interaction. We will have to discover who we are? and what  we want? Many communities are discovering what they have to do together to gain freedom of expression, and control over  governance .

The crisis of democracy today is that voters have come to realise that many of the people they have voted to be their representatives are serving their own interests and sacrificing the electorate to corrupt and illegal agendas. The emergence of the demands for ‘real democracy’ arise from the demands to be directly involved in their governance. For these demands to be met, it will be necessary for the establishment of active communities with the skills to enact the government of their locality, as well as their country. The skills necessary will include organizing meetings, agendas, discussion, negotiation, compromise, decision-making, planning and setting priorities. A ‘real democracy’ will involve the rejection of the central powers of the State, including civil servants and military forces. However, recent events in Egypt have shown how difficult this will be! 
President Obama and the USA are taken by Nozomi as examples of the totalitarian state pursuing dangerous, illegal, corrupt, and unconstitutional agendas. The murder of citizens in Syria since 2011 reveals that a military totalitarian government  can stifle any attempts at liberation by communities.
What is the nature of power in the USA? The recent embargo of the US government’s budget and the refusal by Congress to approve the  funding of any of the government’s plans brings into question the nature of the power of the President. If the President was a dictator, he would have ordered the military forces into the Congress to arrest all Representatives and Senators. Clearly the government is not totalitarian!  It can be easily blocked by the Congress. However one has to worry about the values of the Representatives and Senators.
State of the Union

The US government is one of the members of the G 8/20/G50 groups of trading partners. They have all been subjected to the consequences of the global banking fraud as led by Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan as well as Lehmans and Royal Bank of Scotland along with a multitude of banks and hedge funds across the world. Why haven’t governments prosecuted ‘banksters’ for fraud? Whereas they have adopted ‘austerity’ strategies that in effect  punish their citizens!
The G20 and the UN Security Council and NATO have all taken global  actions to stop traitors and terrorists. The US is one of many countries, including UK, Germany, China, Russia, India, that are taking direct action to prevent terrorism.                                          
 We have to find out who are carrying out dangerous and illegal actions against their own citizens, or the citizens of other countries? Is it the elected representatives? Or the civil servants? Or the military officers? Or the security agents?

My impression from newspapers in the USA is that ‘fascism’ is alive and well in the USA. Despite the Civil Rights movement, Afro-American citizens are still discriminated against in employment and education. Native Americans are segregated into reserves and deprived of any equality of opportunity.  Migrants from Mexico and other parts of Central America are subject to human rights abuses. Many states in the USA  have passed anti-migrant laws, and place migrants in prison for minor offences. The abuse of civil liberties occurs across the US. The Governor of California recently repealed rules that prevented migrants from having driving licences, and being able to drive. Migrants in California can now drive cars, trucks, motorbikes on the public highways.
In the face of increasingly oppressive military regimes across the ‘developing world’, and the flight of refugees/migrants to the EU, the USA, the AU, Russia, the UK, Australia, Turkey, the ‘developed world’, we see a wave of  rigorous anti-migrant legislation, stopping them from seeking a better life in democratic regimes.

Finally, we may want to have a ‘free press’ whereby journalists should be able to investigate and reveal corruption and violence against citizens. But in the UK the Levenson Enquiry 2012/13 indicated that the rights of journalists to intrude into the private lives of families who have suffered tragedy and loss, such as the McCanns and the disappearance of their daughter; or individuals who are of minor interest to the public; must be carefully regulated. Evidence to the Enguiry revealed an extensive network of hacking, tapping, spying on families so as to generate enough information to create a story! In the UK, a free press has been brought into question by the behaviour of the journalists and their editors.

Monday, 7 October 2013




October saw the publication of two significant reports concerning climate change, the warming of the oceans, the release of  greenhouse gases, the emission of  pollutants. 
The first report was the 5th. Assessment Report,  published by the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] . 
The second report was produced by IPSO, [the International Programme on the State of the Ocean].

Working Group 1 of the IPCC declared that there was clear evidence that the Earth climate system  is warming:
1. the oceans and the atmosphere have warmed;
2. amounts of snow and ice have decreased;
3. Sea level has risen;
4. greenhouse gases have increased;
5. heat waves have increased in Europe, Asia, Australia;
6. the troposphere has warmed since 1950 and become more disturbed by convection.

Their work revealed that ocean warming leads to increases in the energy stored in the climate system. The upper 75m of the oceans have risen in temperature, giving rise to greater evaporation, and increased salinity. Since 1971 the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have been losing mass. Glaciers have shrunk. Arctic sea ice, and Northern Hemisphere spring snow cover decreased. Permafrost will reduce.

Ocean warming has resulted in glacier mass loss, and ocean thermal expansion.  Sea level has risen every year since 1850. Working Group 1 suggests that ocean warming will continue during the 21st Century and the heat will penetrate to deep ocean and effect the circulation, and initiate changes in the climate system.

The researches of the IPCC indicate that the atmospheric concentrations  of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide have increased to levels not seen for 800,000 years. What is more, the increases since 1750 are due to human activity. The continued emission of greenhouse gases are the result of industrial processes by humans.

IPSO declared that ocean degradation is greater and faster than previously thought.
IPCC noted that the global ocean is absorbing much of the warming as well as unprecedented levels of carbon dioxide.
IPSO reported that there are decreasing levels of oxygen in the ocean as the result of climate change; nitrogen run-off; chemical pollution; rampant over fishing.
IPSO found that the ocean is subject to
7. De-oxygenation - the result of increases in coastal hypoxia with eutrophication; that is, lack of oxygen with too much organic matter such as sewage
8. Acidification - due to increasing levels of carbon dioxide and the lack of calcification resulting in the extinction of coral, and loss of bio-diversity;

9. Warming - leading to reduced seasonal ice zones; disappearance of sea ice; increased venting of methane from the Arctic seabed; increased anoxic and hypoxic events :too little oxygen associated with pollution; stratification of the ocean and temperature zones; oxygen depletion;
10. Over fishing undermines the survival of key species. World fish populations are unsustainably exploited.

IPSO identified actions that must be taken if ocean degradation is to be controlled.
11. If  temperature rise is to be controlled, global carbon dioxide emissions must be limited and reduced to 350 ppm at least;
12. Fishing must be managed so as to control the catch. Small scale fisheries are to be implemented;

13. the UN should implement structures for the governance of the high seas. For example, seas like the Baltic Sea should  be kept clear and clean, and not  left to become increasingly polluted, filling up with sewage!

The IPSO report has categorically placed the state of the Ocean as a key factor in planning for the conservation of the natural environment.[www.stateoftheocean.org].

Both reports have made it clear that while there are many factors in play in the climate system, human influence is paramount in generating green house gas emissions, and raising temperatures; as well as creating sewage pollution and depriving waters of oxygen and reducing biodiversity.

The researchers acknowledge that there are natural processes and cycles that contribute to changes in the climate system. But their effects are magnified by the consequences of  human activity across the globe. Any rises in temperature are increased by the emission of carbon dioxide. The degradation of the levels of oxygen in the oceans is exaggerated by the accumulation of sewage and bio-pollutants in river deltas, coastal zones, and inland waters.

The reports assert that the cycles of  rapid climate change are the result of human behaviour in the troposphere.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013



I am a European citizen, who came  to live in Greece in 2006.
I want to argue that the rise of   the Fascist movement  in Greece has been directly associated  with the bankruptcy of the Greek Government, the economic collapse of industry, and the imposition of  austerity.
During the time that I have lived in Greece, it has been in a state of humiliation: a ‘bankrupt’ appealing for bailouts to enable the Treasury to confront its debts, and to organize itself to become solvent. And yet at the same time rejecting the help offered as unnecessary interference! leading to civil disorder.
Its creditors, the  so-called Troika [the EU, the IMF, the World Bank] have insisted on the adoption of austerity measures and the severe reduction of spending, and costs.
As a result of spending cuts, many workers have lost their jobs.  Civil servants have not only lost their jobs, they have lost their privileges. Anyone who still has a job has to come to terms with lower wages and no pensions.      
During this time, the privileged elites [the rich and millionaires] have been able to freely move their monies from one investment centre to another so as to protect their wealth and to maximize their profits. They have been actively avoiding paying tax by placing their money in tax havens. They have been the direct targets of the Troika, who are determined to increase tax income for the Greek government and the EU.
During this time, these privileged elites have pursued  campaigns against the EU, the IMF, and the World Bank. They have been concerned to emphasise the viability of  Greek entrepreneurs, and the superiority of the Greek culure. Economic collapse has prompted political nationalism.
In a society in which the government has failed, and gone bankrupt, several times, and been subject to constant criticism and ridicule by the Germans, and French, Spanish, Italians, these campaigns have led to the emergence of Fascism against the Socialists, and  anti-German attitudes. The collapse of employment and the rise of unemployment within many Greek communities has given rise to anti-immigration politics and racist actions against any ‘foreigners’.
The development of fascism in Greece is directly linked to the imposition of austerity and the punishment of the bankrupts! It has been further emphasized by the necessity for the coalition ‘to do as they have been told’! if they want to be given the bailout loans.

In the last few days, the ruling coalition has moved against, and arrested the MPs of the new Fascist Party, Golden Dawn.
Their actions raise a number of issues concerning the nature of democracy in Greece.

If one is living in a society ruled according to a legal framework in which anyone and any group is free to stand for Parliament, and say what they want, and do what they wish, then it is to be expected, even acceptable, that Nazis/fascists/communists/racists/anti-equalitarian/ anti-homosexuals and any extreme group will be voted to Parliament. It would be normal for such groups as ‘Golden Dawn’, a nazi/fascist group to have representation.

But Greece is not that sort of Democracy. It is a constituent member of the European Community, the European Union.
The EU has set up a legal framework in which right-wing and left -wing groups are formally illegal, and any support for the Nazis, the purveyors of hatred and war, is prohibited. Expressions of Nazi ideas were prohibited in Europe following the defeat of the German Nazis after 1945, and the persecution of the Jews, Romanis, Slavs in the Holocaust [1933-1945].  Any political group must not express Nazi ideas-even though they are known to support National Socialism. It is to be expected that the 'Golden Dawn' will deny being a Nazi party - even though all their policies are Nazi!
Greece is intended to be a democracy in which all official political groups are open, democratic,  power sharing and not war-mongers. The emergence of Nazi parties is not to be allowed.
The ‘Golden Dawn’ party should not have come into existence. However……..
It came into existence…….. in the wake of  the bankruptcy  of the country; the imposition of austerity by the EU led by the Germans, French, Italians, Spanish.; the humiliation of the peoples of Greece through debt, and unemployment.

On reflection, it has become clear that the governments of the day [2005 -2013] did not feel confident to rule a country through economic collapse in the face of  the opposition of  political  nationalism. On the other hand, by a twist of fate, the governments have managed  the economic collapse  by organizing the support of political nationalism by means of  the help of  the Golden Dawn, a Nazi party. The Golden Dawn was supposed to be part of the solution but have become the problem! when that party  refused to cooperate, and  started to attack and murder its opposition, openly declaring its criminal intentions.

The ways in which the coalition governments have incorporated the fascists into the government, leads us to ask whether the coalition governments of Greece are fit for purpose? In operating a democratic government by promoting right wing fascism has threatened the very basis of representative democracy.
The next steps it has taken has challenged the whole concept of  voter representation. The present government has  arrested  and imprisoned  fascist MPs. In this way it has re-structured the House of Representatives and returned to the days of the Junta when MPs were voted for by the electorate, and then further selected by military forces.
If the coalition government had ruled according to democracy then the rights of citizens would have been upheld and extreme repressive groups kept out of Parliament The fascists would not be allowed to form political parties. Even now, in their attempts to remove extremist politics, by arresting MPs, the coalition has resorted to anti-democratic actions and called into question their ‘fitness to rule’.
In a democracy the arbiters of power  are the voters, not the voted.
But we have to confront the ‘catch 22’ situation that is operating in Greece at the moment whereby anti-democratic groups are well organized to gain democratic power  and challenge  the coalition government, and render the country bankrupt, If the coalition called an election now  it  may  have to confront more rigid  austerity, and more street violence!
The coalition government has to work to resolve the financial future of Greece without sacrificing the people to the demands of creditors.
Alternative economics is essential for a viable future.