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Tariq Ali: Greece and the Future of European Democracy

Source: Counterpunch

Creston Davis: Mr. Ali, with regards to your most recent book, The Extreme Center: A Warning, what are the characteristics that define extremism in your opinion?

Tariq Ali: For one, continuous wars—which we have now had since 2001—starting with Afghanistan, continuing on to Iraq. And even since Iraq, it’s been more or less continuous. The appalling war in Libya, which has wrecked that country and wrecked that part of the world, and which isn’t over by any means. The indirect Western intervention in Syria, which has created new monsters. These are policies, which if carried out by any individual government, would be considered extremist. Now, they’re being carried out collectively by the United States, backed by some of the countries of the European Union. So that is the first extremism. The second extremism is the unremitting assault on ordinary people, citizens inside European and North American states, by a capitalist system which is rapacious, blind, and concerned with only one thing: making money and enhancing the profits of the 1%. So I would say that these two are the central pillars of the extreme center. Add to that the level of surveillance and new laws which have been put on the statute books of most countries: the imprisonment of people without trial for long periods, torture, its justification, etc. read more

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There’s no reason to accept austerity. It can be defeated

Source: The Guardian Unlimited

It would hardly be surprising if the large majority of British people who didn’t vote for the Conservatives were daunted at the prospect of what’s now in store for us. David Cameron and George Osborne can hardly contain their enthusiasm for the torrent of cuts and privatisations they are about to unleash.

This is to be austerity on steroids. The full gory details of the £12bn benefit cuts the Tories refused to identify in the election will have to wait for next month’s “emergency” budget. But Osborne has already rushed through £4.5bn of new cuts and asset sales to get us all in the mood. And he and Cameron are counting on a punch-drunk Labour frontbench to smooth the imposition of a punitive fiscal regime. To wrongfoot the opposition still further, the chancellor now plans to enforce permanent budget surpluses in law. It is, as 77 leading economists warned, a dangerous political gimmick that could help trigger another 2008-style debt crisis. read more

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Are Leftist, Feminist Kurds About to Deliver the Coup de Grâce to ISIL in Syria?

Source: The Nation

In the past two weeks, a remarkable new development has taken place in Syria that bodes ill for the future of the so-called Islamic State group, referred to in Arabic as Daesh. Kurdish fighters from the northeast of the country have taken Tel al-Abyad, a key border town with Turkey through which Daesh smuggled arms and fighters. Now, under cover of American bombing raids, they have gone south to take an important army base only 30 miles from the city of Raqqa, the Syrian capital of the self-proclaimed caliphate. As with everything in Syria, these events are fraught with moral and ethical questions, but that they could be a game changer is not in doubt. read more