Archive for the Roma people Category

Human Rights Watch report documents attack on democratic rights in US and Europe [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Africa, Anti-Islam hysteria, Egypt, EU, European Union, Fascism, France, Greece, Guantanamo Bay concentration camp, Islamophobia, National Security Agency / NSA, NSA, Obama, Police, Police brutality, Police State, Roma people, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, US imperialism, USA, Yemen on February 4, 2016 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Tom Hall
1 February 2016

Last week, US-based watchdog group Human Rights Watch warned of mounting attacks on democratic rights throughout Europe and North America, which governments have justified as a response to the migrant crisis.

The group’s annual report warned that the arrival of refugees fleeing war and repression in the Middle East is “driving many Western governments to roll back human rights protections,” adding, “these backward steps threaten the rights of all” sections of the population, not just refugees.

In the report’s lead essay, Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth notes, “In Europe and the United States, a polarizing us-versus-them rhetoric has moved from the political fringe to the mainstream. Blatant Islamophobia and shameless demonizing of refugees have become the currency of an increasingly assertive politics of intolerance.”

“Public discourse,” Roth continues, “has been filled with voices of hatred and fear of Muslims, for whom the refugees [arriving in Europe] are surrogates.” This climate contributes to “the persistent discrimination, hopelessness, and despair that pervade neighborhoods on the outskirts of some European cities.”

2015 saw a dramatic rollback of democratic rights throughout Europe and America. In France, the Hollande government pushed through sweeping expansions of government surveillance and curtailing freedom of speech, seizing upon the attacks in Paris this November and the Charlie Hebdo attacks at the beginning of the year. In the United States, the military was deployed to Baltimore to crack down on peaceful protests against police brutality at the beginning of the year, while mass government spying continued unimpeded.

The report contains comprehensive summaries for more than 90 countries for the year of 2015. By far the largest single section, with 24 pages, is on the European Union, more than Saudi Arabia, whose absolute monarchy beheaded record numbers of people last year, including many political prisoners, and countries currently embroiled in civil wars such as Syria and Libya. The United States came in second place, with 17 pages…

…Previous agreements by European governments to resettle asylum seekers throughout the continent remain a dead letter as countries throughout Europe close off their borders to refugees. Only 159 asylum seekers have been relocated from Italy and Greece in spite of an agreement last year to resettle 160,000 asylum seekers from these countries.

Attacks on Muslims rose sharply last year, as far-right and neo-Nazi groups are emboldened by the discriminatory policies of European governments. Such attacks have grown by 46.7 percent in London in the first half of 2015. However, racist attacks are by no means limited solely to Muslims; reports of anti-Semitic attacks are also on the rise, and discriminatory evictions of Roma by governments throughout the EU continue. Widespread discrimination also exists in the Baltic countries against native Russian speakers.

As Roth notes, Europe is joined in its persecution of refugees by the United States. Last year 30 US governors tried to prevent Syrian refugees from entering their states, while current Republican front-runner Donald Trump floated the idea of banning Muslims from entering the country altogether. The United States, the report declares, also “continued the dramatic expansion of detention of migrant mothers and their children from Central America,” many fleeing violence in their home countries, over the course of last year. While not mentioned in the report, the Obama administration rang in the new year last month with a new round of targeted deportations of Central American children.

The report also notes with concern the continued drive to expand state repression and surveillance in the United States and Europe, justified in the main by the supposed threat of terrorism…

…In the United States, spy agency leaders seized upon the Paris attacks last year to renew their calls for a “back door” to online encryption, despite the fact that the Paris attackers did not encrypt their communications. Meanwhile, Guantanamo Bay’s detention center remains open despite years of empty promises by Obama to close it. And last year’s National Defense Authorization Act, signed into law by Obama, “tightened existing restrictions on the transfer of detainees out of Guantanamo,” making the release or transfer of detainees even more difficult.

Many of the worst human rights violations elsewhere in the report were committed by allies of the United States or the European imperialist powers. In discussing the Saudi-led invasion of Yemen, for example, in which civilian infrastructure has been deliberately targeted, the report argues that by virtue of providing “intelligence, logistical support and personnel” to the Saudis the United States would be “potentially jointly responsible for laws-of-war violations by coalition forces.” The report also cites continuing US aid to Egyptian dictator Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as well as the Obama administration’s waiving of provisions of the Child Soldier Prevention Act to continue supporting the militaries of several African countries.

World imperialism has justified countless criminal wars over the past quarter century under the fraudulent pretext of “humanitarian interventionism.” Now, a leading human rights group is compelled to admit that these same powers are responsible for major human rights violations within their own borders. This not only exposes imperialism’s professed concern for “human rights” as a fraud, it is also an indication of the growth of police-state forms of rule within these countries…

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/02/01/hrw-f01.html

The Tragic Failure of "Post-Communism" in Eastern Europe [Globalresearch.ca]

Posted in Albania, Anti-Arab / Antisemitism, Anti-communism, Anti-fascism, Bourgeois parliamentary democracy, Bulgaria, Czech Republic / Czechoslovakia, Egypt, EU, European Union, Fascism, GDR / East Germany, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, IMF - International Monetary Fund, Latvia, Libya, Poland, Police State, Roma people, Romania, Russia, Tunisia, USSR on March 16, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Dr. Rossen Vassilev

(Note:  the writer generally uses the term “democracy” in its limited bourgeois sense, failing to distinguish between [Western] bourgeois democracy, aka oligarchy; and centralized socialist democracy, aka socialism / communism. – Zuo Shou 左手)

Just before Christmas Day in 2010, a distraught public-television engineer protesting the government’s controversial economic policies hurled himself off a balcony in the Rumanian parliament during a speech by the country’s prime minister.  The man, who survived the suicide attempt, reportedly shouted before jumping: “You took the bread away from the mouths of our children!  You killed the future of our children!”  The hospitalized protester, dressed in a t-shirt declaring “You have killed our future!”, was later identified as 41-year-old Adrian Sobaru, whose autistic teenage son had recently lost government assistance as part of Bucharest’s latest budget-cutting steps. His attempted suicide was broadcast live on Rumania’s public TV as Prime Minister Emil Boc spoke ahead of an unsuccessful no-confidence vote against his conservative cabinet.  The fiscal and wage austerity measures that Mr. Sobaru was protesting included a 25% pay cut for all civil servants like him as well as severe reductions in social-assistance payments to parents with disabled children, which he had also been receiving until recently.  According to Rumania’s Agerpres news agency, the man’s desperate cries in the parliamentary hall were painfully echoing those heard during the 1989 anti-Communist revolution that toppled Rumania’s maverick and generally pro-Western regime of Nicolae Ceauşescu.

Economic turmoil

Mr. Sobaru’s tragic leap, later telecast all over the world, struck a sympathetic chord with many Rumanians who saw it as a symbol of the savage inequities and injustices of the post-Communist period.  Rumania is mired in a severe recession and its battered economy is expected to decline by at least 2% in 2010, after contracting by 7.1% the previous year.  Instead of trying to assist the unemployed and the socially weak, the Bucharest government, which is reportedly riddled with corruption, cronyism and nepotism, has slashed public-sector pay by one-quarter and trimmed all social expenditures, including heating subsidies for the poor as well as unemployment, maternity, and disability benefits.  At the same time, the national sales tax was hiked from 19% to 24%, as the authorities are striving to hold the national deficit down to 6.8% in order to meet the stringent fiscal requirements of the European Union (EU), which Rumania had joined in January 2007.

These harsh austerity policies have angered millions of Rumanians who are barely making ends meet in a nation where the average monthly per capita income is about $400.  Angry street protests that have gathered tens of thousands of Rumanians reflect the deep dissatisfaction with mass poverty and the continuing economic crisis, which took Rumania to the edge of bankruptcy.  “This isn’t capitalism, in capitalist countries you have a middle class,” one Bucharest-based convenience store manager told an Associated Press reporter.  But Rumanian society, she complained, is divided between a tiny minority of very rich people and a vast impoverished underclass.[1]

While the human tragedy witnessed in the Rumanian Parliament on that pre-Christmas day is quite symptomatic of the Balkan country’s pervasive misery and crushed hopes for a better life, it could have easily taken place in any other of the crisis nations of the ex-Communist world who are equally suffering from high unemployment, massive poverty, declining wages, and severe cuts in public spending and living standards.  At about the time of Mr. Sobaru’s desperate suicide attempt, many of the Czech Republic’s 20,000 hospital doctors were quitting their jobs en masse to protest the decision of Prime Minister Petr Necas’s cabinet to cut all public expenditures, including healthcare spending, by at least 10% in order to keep the country’s troubled finances afloat.  These mass resignations were part of the “Thanks, We Are Leaving” campaign launched by disgruntled physicians across the country aimed at putting pressure on the Prague authorities to increase their low wages and provide better working conditions for all medical workers.  Confronted with the worst healthcare crisis in the ex-Communist country’s history which was endangering the lives of many patients, the Czech government threatened to impose a state of emergency which would force doctors either to get back to work or face harsh legal and financial penalties.

One may also recall the largely unreported 2009 food riots in Latvia, the much lauded “Baltic miracle” darling of the mainstream Western media, where the deeply unpopular incumbent Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis was re-elected in 2010 despite having severely cut public expenditures and Latvians’ already meager living standards (the election campaign focused instead on the nasty clash between Latvian nationalists and the country’s sizeable and restive Russian-speaking minority).  According to Professor Michael Hudson, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, as sharp government cutbacks in social welfare, education, healthcare, public transportation, and other basic social-infrastructure spending threaten to undermine economic security, long-term development, and political stability across the ex-Soviet bloc countries, young people are emigrating in droves to better their lives rather than suffer in an economy without any employment opportunities.  For example, more than 12% of the total population of Latvia (and a much larger percentage of its labor force) now works abroad.

When the “neo-liberal bubble” burst in 2008, Professor Hudson writes, Latvia’s conservative government borrowed heavily from the EU and IMF on punishing repayment terms that have imposed such harsh austerity policies that the Latvian economy shrank by 25% (neighboring Estonia and Lithuania have experienced an equally steep economic decline) and unemployment, currently running at 22%, is still rising.  With well over a tenth of its population now working abroad, Latvia’s guest-workers send home whatever they can spare to help their destitute families survive.  Latvian children (what few of them there are as the Baltic country’s marriage and birth rates are plunging) have been thus “left orphaned behind,” prompting social scientists to wonder how this small nation of 2.3 million people can survive demographically.[2]  These are the results of post-Communist austerity budgets that have cut ordinary people off at the knees while international creditors and local bankers are bailed out.

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“Another NATO Intervention? Libya: Is This Kosovo All Over Again?” by Diana Johnstone [Globalresearch.ca]

Posted in 9/11, Africa, Albania, Beijing, Libya, NATO, Roma people, Serbia, UNSC, Yugoslavia - former FRY on March 16, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

March 8, 2011

Less than a dozen years after NATO bombed Yugoslavia into pieces, detaching the province of Kosovo from Serbia, there are signs that the military alliance is gearing up for another victorious little “humanitarian war”, this time against Libya.  The differences are, of course, enormous.  But let’s look at some of the disturbing similarities.

A demonized leader

As “the new Hitler”, the man you love to hate and need to destroy, Slobodan Milosevic was a neophyte in 1999 compared to Muammar Qaddafi today.  The media had less than a decade to turn Milosevic into a monster, whereas with Qaddafi, they’ve been at it for several decades.  And Qaddafi is more exotic, speaking less English and coming before the public in outfits that could have been created by John Galliano (another recently outed monster).  This exotic aspect arouses the ancestral mockery and contempt for lesser cultures with which the West was won, Africa was colonized and the Summer Palace in Beijing was ravaged by Western soldiers fighting to make the world safe for opium addiction. 

The “we must do something” chorus

As with Kosovo, the crisis in Libya is perceived by the hawks as an opportunity to assert power.  The unspeakable John Yoo, the legal advisor who coached the Bush II administration in the advantages of torturing prisoners, has used the Wall Street Journal to advise the Obama administration to ignore the U.N Charter and leap into the Libyan fray. “By putting aside the U.N.’s antiquated rules, the United States can save lives, improve global welfare, and serve its own national interests at the same time,” Yoo proclaimed.  And another leading theorist of humanitarian imperialism, Geoffrey Robertson, has told The Independent that, despite appearances, violating international law is lawful. 

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Kosovo and Albania: Dirty Work in the Balkans by NATO’s KLA Frankenstein [Antifascist Calling / Globalresearch.ca]

Posted in Albania, Austria, CIA, Connection to drugs and narcotics, DEA, FBI, Germany, Greece, IMF - International Monetary Fund, Israel, Italy, Kosovo, NATO, Roma people, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, State Department, Sweden, Switzerland, Torture, Turkey, UNSC, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, Western nations' human rights distortions, Wikileaks, Yugoslavia - former FRY on January 31, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Tom Burghardt

January 28, 2011

The U.S. and German-installed leadership of Kosovo finds itself under siege after the Council of Europe voted Tuesday to endorse a report charging senior members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) of controlling a brisk trade in human organs, sex slaves and narcotics.

Coming on the heels of a retrial later this year of KLA commander and former Prime Minister, Ramush Haradinaj, by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, an enormous can of worms is about to burst open.

Last month, Antifascist Calling reported that Hashim Thaçi, the current Prime Minister of the breakaway Serb province, and other members of the self-styled Drenica Group, were accused by Council of Europe investigators of running a virtual mafia state.

According to Swiss parliamentarian Dick Marty, the Council’s Special Rapporteur for Human Rights, Thaçi, Dr. Shaip Muja, and other leading members of the government directed–and profited from–an international criminal enterprise whose tentacles spread across Europe into Israel, Turkey and South Africa.

For his part, Thaçi has repudiated the allegations and has threatened to sue Marty for libel.  Sali Berisha, Albania’s current Prime Minister and Thaçi’s close ally, dismissed the investigation as a “completely racist and defamatory report,” according to The New York Times.

That’s rather rich coming from a politician who held office during the systematic looting of Albania’s impoverished people during the “economic liberalization” of the 1990s.

At the time, Berisha’s Democratic Party government urged Albanians to invest in dodgy pyramid funds, massive Ponzi schemes that were little more than fronts for drug money laundering and arms trafficking.

More than a decade ago, Global Research analyst Michel Chossudovsky documented how the largest fund, “VEFA Holdings had been set up by the Guegue ‘families’ of Northern Albania with the support of Western banking interests,” even though the fund “was under investigation in Italy in 1997 for its ties to the Mafia which allegedly used VEFA to launder large amounts of dirty money.”

By 1997, two-thirds of the Albanian population who believed fairy tales of capitalist prosperity spun by their kleptocratic leaders and the IMF, lost some $1.2 billion to the well-connected fraudsters.  When the full extent of the crisis reached critical mass, it sparked an armed revolt that was only suppressed after the UN Security Council deployed some 7,000 NATO troops that occupied the country; more than 2,000 people were killed.

Today the Berisha regime, like their junior partners in Pristina, face a new legitimacy crisis.

As the World Socialist Web Site reported, mass protests broke out in Tirana last week, with more than 20,000 demonstrators taking to the streets, after a nationally broadcast report showed a Deputy Prime Minister from Berisha’s party “in secretly taped talks, openly negotiating the level of bribes to back the construction of a new hydroelectric power station.”

As is the wont of gangster states everywhere, “police responded with extreme violence against the demonstrators; three people died and dozens were injured.”

While the charges against Thaçi and his confederates are shocking, evidence that these horrific crimes have been known for years, and suppressed, both by the United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK) and by top American and German officials–the political mandarins pulling Balkan strings–lend weight to suspicions that a protective wall was built around their protégés; facts borne out by subsequent NATO investigations, also suppressed.

Leaked Military Intelligence Reports

On Monday, a series of NATO reports were leaked to The Guardian.  Military intelligence officials, according to investigative journalist Paul Lewis, identified Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi as one of the “‘biggest fish’ in organised crime in his country.”

Marked “Secret” by NATO spooks, Lewis disclosed that the 2004 reports also “indicate that the US and other western powers backing Kosovo’s government have had extensive knowledge of its criminal connections for several years.”

According to The Guardian, the files, tagged “‘USA KFOR’ … provide detailed information about organised criminal networks in Kosovo based on reports by western intelligence agencies and informants,” and also “identify another senior ruling politician in Kosovo as having links to the Albanian mafia, stating that he exerts considerable control over Thaçi, a former guerrilla leader.”

As noted above, with the Council of Europe demanding a formal investigation into charges that Thaçi’s criminal enterprise presided over a grisly traffic in human organs and exerted “violent control” over the heroin trade, it appears that the American and German-backed narco statelet is in for a very rough ride.

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Reflections of Fidel – The infinite hypocrisy of the West: The Gypsy/Roma Holocaust from the Middle Ages to Nazi Germany and Sarkozy’s France [Granma Internacional]

Posted in Cuba, Fascism, Fidel Castro, Germany, Iran, Roma people, UNSC, Western nations' human rights distortions on September 17, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Havana.  September 9 2010
Reflections of Fidel
The infinite hypocrisy of the West

ALTHOUGH several articles on this subject were published before and after September 1st, 2010, on that day the Mexican daily La Jornada published one of great impact entitled “El holocausto gitano: ayer y hoy” (The Gypsy Holocaust: yesterday and today) which reminds us of a truly dramatic history.  Without adding or removing a single word from the information contained in the article, I have selected some lines referring to certain events that are really moving.  Neither the West nor -most of all- its colossal media apparatus have said a single word about them.

“1496:  the boom in humanist thinking.  The Roma peoples (gypsies) from Germany are declared traitors to the Christian nations, spies in the pay of the Turkish, carriers of the plague, witches and warlocks, bandits and kidnappers of children.

“1710:  the century of Enlightenment and reason.  An edict orders that adult gypsies from Prague be hanged without trial.  Young people and women are mutilated.  In Bohemia, their left ears were cut off; in Moravia, their right ears

“1899: the climax of modernity and progress.  The Bavarian police found the Special Section of Gypsies’ Affairs.  In 1929, the section is promoted to the category of National Central section and is moved to Munich.  In 1937, it is established in Berlin.  Four years later, half a million gypsies die in the concentration camps of Central and Eastern Europe.”

“In her PhD thesis, Eva Justin (assistant to Dr. Robert Ritter of the Racial Research Section of the German Ministry of Health), asserted that gypsies’ blood was extremely harmful to the purity of the German race.  And a certain Dr. Portschy sent a memorandum to Hitler suggesting that gypsies should be submitted to forced labor and mass sterilization because they jeopardized the pure blood of the German peasantry.

“Labeled as inveterate criminals, the mass arrest of gypsies began and, from 1938, they were interned in special blocks at the Buchenwald, Mauthausen, Gusen, Dautmergen, Natzweiler and Flossenburg camps.

“In a concentration camp he owned in Ravensbruck, Heinrich Himmler, chief of the Gestapo (SS), created a space to sacrifice gypsy women who were submitted to medical experiments.  One hundred and twenty Zingari girls were sterilized.  Gypsy women married to non-gypsy men were sterilized at the Dusseldorf-Lierenfeld hospital.

“Thousands of gypsies were deported from Belgium, the Netherlands and France to the Polish concentration camp of Auschwitz.  In his memoirs, Rudolf Hoess (commander of Auschwitz) wrote that among the gypsies deported there were elderly people almost one hundred years of age, pregnant women and a large number of children.

“At the ghetto of Lodz (Poland) […] none of the 5,000 gypsies survived.”

“In Yugoslavia, gypsies and Jews were equally killed in the forest of Jajnice.  Campesinos still remember the screaming of the gypsy children who were taken to the places of execution.”

“At the extermination camps, only the gypsies’ love of music was a source of comfort to them on some occasions. In Auschwitz, starving and infested with lice, they gathered together to play music and encouraged the children to dance.  But the courage of gypsy guerrillas who fought as part of the Polish resistance in the region of Nieswiez was also legendary.”

Music was the factor that kept them together and helped them to survive, just as much as religion was for Christians, Jews and Muslims.

The successive articles published by La Jornada from the end of August onwards have reminded us of events that were almost forgotten about what happened to the gypsies in Europe.  After having been affected by Nazism, they were consigned to oblivion after the Nuremberg trials in the years 1945 and 1946.

The German government headed by Konrad Adenauer declared that the extermination of the gypsies prior to 1943 was a result of the state’s legal policies.  Those who had been affected that same year did not receive any compensation.  Robert Ritter, a Nazi expert in the extermination of gypsies, was released.  Thirty nine years later in 1982, when most of those affected had already died, the government recognized their right to compensation.

More than 75% of gypsies, whose total number is estimated to be between 12 and 14 million, live in Central and Eastern Europe.  Only in Tito’s socialist Yugoslavia were gypsies recognized as having the same rights as the Croatian, Albanian and Macedonian minorities.

The Mexican newspaper described as “particularly perverse” the mass deportation of gypsies to Romania and Bulgaria ordered by the government of Sarkozy –a Jew of Hungarian descent-; these are the exact words used by the newspaper. Please do not take this as an act of irreverence on my part.

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France ‘carrying out racial holocaust’, claims Castro [Telegraph.co.uk]

Posted in Ethnic purges, Fidel Castro, France, Roma people on September 13, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Fidel Castro, the former Cuban leader, has accused France of carrying out a “racial holocaust” over its expulsion of Roma migrants [“Gypsies”] back to their homes in eastern Europe.

10 September 2010

He said that strong protests in France were “essential” to counter the expulsions, “especially when at the same time millionaires are limiting the rights to retirement and reducing employment opportunities”, referring to recent plans to raise the retirement age in France from 60 to 62.

“The last thing one would expect is the news of the expulsion of French gypsies, who are victims of the cruelty of the extreme rightwing in France,” Castro said at an event to promote the second volume of his autobiography.

Some 7,000 migrants are “victims of another kind of racial holocaust,” Castro said…

Full article here

Back to Vichy: Sarkozy’s Roma purges, fascist policies a throwback to France’s Nazi collaborationist period [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Anti-Islam hysteria, Economic crisis & decline, Ethnic purges, Fascism, France, Italy, Roma people, Sarkozy, Spain, USA on September 2, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手
25 August 2010

by Alex Lantier

There is a stench of fascism arising from the anti-immigrant, law-and-order measures being implemented by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.  Policies and methods which people had hoped were forever left behind in the 1930s and 1940s are being revived by the European bourgeoisie in an attempt to deal with the consequences of the global economic crisis.

There is no clearer example than the mass deportations of Roma, a population once targeted for extermination by the Nazis.  They and their collaborators killed between 250,000 and 500,000 Roma.  The French collaborationist Vichy authorities raided Roma communities and held their inhabitants in concentration camps such as Jargeau, near Orléans.

While European governments do not yet encourage anti-Semitism, in part due to popular awareness of the Holocaust, they encourage and exploit anti-Roma hatred.

Other measures proposed by Sarkozy also borrow directly from the legal arsenal of fascism.  Having moved to ban the burqa, the government aims to strip French citizenship from naturalized citizens who clash with the police.   It is also threatening parents of juvenile delinquents with jail time if their children violate restrictions placed upon them by the justice system.

The last time France revoked citizens’ nationality for non-capital crimes was under the Vichy regime, which took away 7,000 Jews’ citizenship.  Holding families criminally responsible for actions of their members, the Nazis’ Sippenhaft policy, has been condemned as barbaric since the collapse of the Third Reich.

While Roma and burqa-wearing women are first in the government’s line of fire, its ultimate target is opposition to austerity and war by the entire working class.

The government has looted the economy in the interests of the financial aristocracy.  Having orchestrated a €360 billion handout to the banks and allegedly taken campaign contributions from billionaire Liliane Bettencourt while helping her evade taxes, Sarkozy is pressing ahead with pension and budget cuts.  The press is also calling for France to boost its military spending, anticipating broader wars in the Middle East and Asia.

Sarkozy’s measures are a preparation to meet social opposition to these policies with violent repression.  This is endorsed by the entire political establishment.  The bourgeois “left’s” criticisms are largely from the right.  The Socialist Party and its allies pose as more skilled administrators of the police than Sarkozy.

The particular measures Sarkozy is proposing suggest that he anticipates a clash with youth in impoverished suburban estates, largely populated by immigrant families.  The government is preparing to respond with mass jailings and deportations.  When such riots broke out in 2005, then-President Jacques Chirac imposed a three-month state of emergency.  Sarkozy, as interior minister, demanded that foreigners participating in the riots be deported.

The situation is broadly similar in countries around the world.  European governments have widely incited anti-Muslim sentiment, often under the guise of defending women’s rights.  National burqa bans have passed or are under consideration in Belgium, France, Italy and Denmark, and by local authorities in Spain.  Last year, a Swiss referendum banned the construction of minarets.  The far-reaching, reactionary implications of such measures, which paved the way for the current right-wing campaign in France, are now becoming apparent.

In Italy, which is also deporting Roma, Interior Minister Roberto Maroni applauded Sarkozy’s measures and repeated a proposal to expel citizens of other European Union countries who cannot support themselves. This policy was previously struck down by the European Commission (EC). However, the EC now endorses Sarkozy’s far-right measures. EC spokesman Matthew Newman has stated that the commission does not consider the French government’s large-scale expulsions of Roma to meet the criteria for a “mass expulsion.”

In the United States, there is an ongoing legal battle over an Arizona state law allowing police to arrest anyone who fails to show documents proving he or she is not an “illegal” immigrant. The law, which would pave the way for mass deportations, including of legal immigrants, is the outcome of a decades-long promotion of xenophobia and chauvinism by forces within the Democratic as well as the Republican Party, and within the trade union bureaucracy.

Now the plan to build an Islamic community center two blocks from the World Trade Center buildings destroyed in the 9/11 attacks has become the occasion for a fascistic campaign against Muslims…

Contine reading full article here