The following website feature commenced on June 7, 2021. It is a compilation of brief comments or analysis of news stories by the editor of A Socialist In Canada, Roger Annis. These comments appeared in one of the three news pages on the website–world news, Canada news, ecology news–in the form of text in square brackets [ ].
Story: Vaccine imperialism at work: U.S. sends Taiwan 2.5 million vaccine doses, tripling previous pledge, Associated Press, June 20, 2021 [Vaccine imperialism is the possession and wielding of Covid-19 vaccines as instruments of imperialist domination of the world’s peoples. It explains why the imperialist countries are resisting the sharing of vaccine manufacturing know-how and it is why they purchased vaccine doses from Big Pharma in numbers many times higher than their respective populations.].
Related analysis: Vaccine donations aren’t enough, by Chelsea Clinton and Achal Prabhala, The Atlantic, June 20, 2021 The pandemic won’t be over until it’s under control around the world.
Story: As Covid-19 crisis ebbs, some in U.S. seeking 9/11-style commission of inquiry, Associated Press, June 21, 2021 [Tremendous resistance can be expected in all of the large imperialist countries to meaningful inquiries into the negligence of their governments in responding to the dire threat of a global pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. That’s because the negligence was universal, implicating not only the governments but also opposition political parties and public health officials. Each of the pandemic experiences in imperialist countries vary in intensity, but the negligence has been universal (exceptions being Australia and New Zealand).]
Story: Anti-China sentiment is becoming anti-Chinese prejudice in Canada, op-ed commentary by Paul Evans and Yuen Pau, The Globe and Mail, June 20, 2021 (Paul Evans is HSBC Chair in Asian Research at the University of British Columbia. Yuen Pau Woo is a senator for British Columbia in Canada’s unelected Senate.) Read the commentary here in pdf format: Anti-China racism in Canada [This is an otherwise unheard of commentary to appear in a mainstream media outlet in Canada, linking the widely reported rise in anti-Asian racism in Canada to the McCarthyite, anti-China outlook and policies of the Canadian government and ruling class. Even in this case, the two writers feel obliged to kowtow to the new McCarthyism by including a rote phrase at the outset of “a more assertive and repressive China”. How many Canadians see through the hypocrisy of the anti-China drive by a Canadian government and media whose past genocidal policies against Indigenous peoples have come newly to the fore following the recent discovery of 215 bodies of Indigenous children at one of Canada’s former ‘residential’ (genocidal) schools? No political analyst in Canada is exploring this question.].
Related news: Ontario gov’t commits $10 million to commence the search for residential school burial sites, but critics say much, much more funding and attention will be needed. By Brendan Kenndy, social justice reporter, Toronto Star, June 20, 2021
Story: Nicaragua’s political opposition as organized crime, commentary by Stephen Sefton, in Telesur, June 15, 2021 (Stephen Sefton is the publisher of the Spanish-language website Tortilla con Sal.)
[The Toronto Star, Canada’s largest circulation daily newspaper, has published a virulent attack against the Nicaraguan government in its edition of Saturday, June 12, 2021, authored by a ‘Carole Jerome’. This attack is mirrored in a new article by writer Dan La Botz published in two Trotskyist (right-socialist) publications in the United States–New Politics and Against The Current. The writer continues his longstanding ‘left-wing regime change for Nicaragua’ argument and that of the two publications where his article appears.].
* The CIA is attempting coups in Nicaragua with tax dollars through U.S. agencies and corporate foundations, by Nan McCurdy, Dissident Voice, June 18, 2021 (Nan McCurdy is a United Methodist Missionary and 36 year resident of Nicaragua)
* How billion-dollar foundations fund NGOs to manipulate U.S. foreign policy: A case study from Nicaragua, by Rick Sterling, Covert Action Magazine, June 8, 2021
* Nicaragua’s green revolution, by Rohan Rice, People’s Dispatch, June 6, 2021 While large polluting countries have refused to take necessary measures to slow the climate crisis, Nicaragua, one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, has taken impressive steps to shift to more sustainable energy
Top prosecutor for NATO-member Turkey re-files case to ban pro-Kurdish, People’s Democratic Party
Story: Why the Green New Deal has failed, so far, by Matt Huber, Jacobin online magazine, May 5, 2021 [This essay is informative but of limited political and economic vision. The essay continues the author’s (and Jacobin‘s) refusal to embrace ‘degrowth’ as a fundamental guideline for political and social strategy in the face of the global warming emergency. This rejection is unfortunately common to the liberal environmental movement, including its ‘ecosocialist’ component. The essay has little to say about whether the imperialist Democratic Party machine can serve as an instrument for fundamental social and ecological change. (This recent commentary is the latest to argue a firm ‘no’ to that proposition.) If the Democratic Party is not such an instrument for change, then what new alignment of political as well as class forces can lead the fight against the exploitative and environmentally destructive policies of globalized capitalism? These policies endemic to globalized capitalism, so what is the systemic alternative? Such questions remain unexplored by critical environmental thinkers and advocates.]
Story: For the past three months, Ukraine has prevented the contact group on the conflict in Donbass from working, by Christelle Néant, founding editor, Donbass Insider, June 6, 2021 [The ‘Contact Group’ is the formal group charged with implementing the ‘Minsk 2’ ceasefire and peace agreement of February 2015. (The text of the Minsk 2 Agreement is here). The Ukrainian government was obliged to accept the agreement following its military defeat at the hands of pro-autonomy rebels in Donbass (the former Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Lugansk). The autonomous (‘peoples’) republics of Donetsk and Lugansk were founded in late 2014 following the extreme-right coup in Ukraine in February 2014 and following the refusal of the new coup government to negotiate political autonomy for Donbass. The two republics receive essential economic, political and diplomatic support from Russia. Minsk 2 was signed by the Russian and Ukrainian governments and representatives of Donetsk and Lugansk. It was endorsed by the governments of France and Germany as well as the UN Security Council. But the NATO-member countries, including France and Germany, have supported Ukraine in its ongoing sabotage of the agreement. Indeed, NATO-member countries continue to arm and train the Ukrainian armed forces, including their neo-Nazi paramilitary units. They continue to wage a ‘low intensity’ war against Donbass.]
Story: Inside the fight to uncover the ‘lab leak’ origins of the coronavirus pandemic, report in Vanity Fair, June 3, 2021
[This is one of the larger articles published in corporate media examining the claim that a ‘leak’ in the security of the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China caused the outbreak of the coronovirus pandemic in late 2019 and early 2020. As such, it is worth reading for what it inadvertently shows: the ‘theory’ is nothing more than a collection of innuendo and conjecture, strung together by experienced journalists in such a way as to make it ‘appear’ as reality.
[The prestigious Nature magazine, meanwhile, has published its own conjecture on the story on June 8, titled ‘The Covid lab-leak hypothesis: What scientists do and don’t know’. Though couched in language that ‘something’ must be going on, the first sub-headline of the article reads, ‘There’s not yet any substantial evidence for a lab leak. Why are scientists still considering it?’ In answer to that question, the article makes no mention of the anti-China new cold war by the Western imperialist powers that is driving the ‘coronavirus lab leak’ story. Later, the article examines the claim that the coronavirus was collected by researchers from bats in a working mine in China some ten years ago. It writes, “There’s no evidence of this, but it can’t be ruled out.”
[This important commentary by a columnist at the LA Times speaks to the factual inacccuracies contained in a May 2020 essay published by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: ‘Lab leak’ theory for coronoavirus origins. That essay, in turn, is cited as an authoritative source by the June 3 Vanity Fair article.
[Seasoned readers of the ‘Russiagate’ conspiracy theories which have dominated state and corporate media in the West for some six years now will rather easily recognize in the ‘lab leak’ theories the telltale signs of a government and media campaign designed, first and foremost, to serve imperialist political objectives.]
Story: New ‘ecosocialist’ statement reveals how the doctrine is spinning its wheels and failing to rise to the challenge of the global warming emergency. [A newly published Ecosocialist Alliance Statement on G7 Conference (June 5) offers another example of how ecosocialism is stuck in the political mire. The entire statement is framed in an unrealistic call, to put it mildly, to the leaders of the large industrialized (imperialist) countries leaders to carry out a transitional, revolutionary program of social and environmental change. Among the reasons for the global warming emergency, according to the statement, is the “failure of governmental and corporate responsibility”. But in trashing the ecology of planet Earth, capitalist governments and corporations are doing exactly what the logic and imperatives of their economic order (capitalism) compel them to do. By their own anti-human standards, their efforts are not ‘failures’ but successes. They can no more change their ways than a leopard can change its spots. That is why a program of planned, step-by-step transitional measures is needed to combat the worst ravages of global warming, and it must ultimately lead to a planned, socialist economy. This is the only hope for humanity. The statement differs little from what coherent thinkers in social democratic or ‘green capitalist’ (Green) parties would write and say. There is no probing of political strategy in the statement, including no suggestions of the novel class alliances that are required to forge new paths for human development amidst the triple threat facing humanity: global warming, rising social and national inequities, and rising imperialist militarism and war (including the rising menace of nuclear weapons). Most notable of all, there is no mention of the imperative of degrowth, by which is meant a planned, radical reduction in the pillaging of the natural resources of the world and simultaneous reduction of the vast disparities in wealth and living standards between the tiny minority of wealthy capitalists and the vast majority of the world’s population, particularly the populations of underdeveloped countries. Instead, we read worn phrases and slogans lacking a coherent whole. The statement is a spinning of the ‘ecosocialist’ wheels in which the vehicle becomes more deeply stuck in a mire of its own making.—Roger Annis ]
Story: Argentina locks back down as coronavirus infections surge, Al Jazeera, May 21, 2021
[Venezuela is also battling a surge in Covid-19 cases, with an average of 1,100 new cases per day for the past two months. That’s a fraction of the numbers in other, large countries in Latin America. Total cases per million population are the following in the following selected countries: Argentina 77,000, Brazil 75,000, Chile 68,500, Colombia 62,500, Peru 57,500, Mexico 18,500, Cuba 11,500, Venezuela 8,000. Source Worldometer.].
And further: Uruguay, once a coronavirus model, struggles against a deadly wave, Washington Post, May 13, 2021 [According to Worldometer, total per capita Covid-19 cases in Uruguay are 67,000. This compares to 72,000 in Brazil, 71,000 in Argentina, 66,000 in Chile, 60,000 in Colombia and 56,000 in Peru. The number in Venezuela is 7,500, to which the heartless rulers in Western imperialist governments respond “Bring on a violent coup in Venezuela.”
Story: Corporate media and governments in the West all but ignore the report on pandemic preparedness commissioned by WHO because the report criticizes the pandemic negligence by most of the world’s governments and it doesn’t regurgitate the West’s anti-China propaganda.
[Readers looking for news in mainstream media of the report of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response, issued on May 12, 2021, will be hard pressed to find much. Few media outlets are reporting on panel’s findings. Here are three perfunctory reports: by the BBC, Reuters and NPR. The reason for the near-silence is clear: the report makes no mention of the drumbeat of claims by governments and media in the West that government and public health officials in China ‘suppressed’ news of the emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic virus and ‘silenced’ health experts in China seeking to warn the world. Instead, the panel report focuses squarely on the negligence by most of the world’s governments and health officials after the WHO issued a formal warning on January 30, 2020 of the danger of a pandemic.
[For its part, the Washington Post provides this dismissal at the outset of its May 12 report on the panel’s finding: “On May 12, the 13-member group, known as the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response, delivered a lengthy, significant, but ultimately evasive answer.” The Post writes further, “Here is our guide to what the panel says about what happened — and what is left unsaid.” The ‘guide’ provides this distorted and lying interpretation of the panel report: “In footnotes to the timeline [emphasis added], the panel cites Washington Post reporting about how officials silenced whistleblowers and encouraged residents to keep attending public events despite risks. It also cites an Associated Press series that suggested China’s top leaders, including President Xi Jinping, were involved in the response.” The sly wording implies that the expert panel gives credence to the false accusations made by the Post and Associated Press; this is a lie. The ‘timeline’ mentioned by the Post writer is not listed on the website of the panel and a search for same on website reveals no result!]
Story: How Russian peacekeepers have prevented conflict between Syrian armed forces and the Kurdish movement in northeast Syria. Report by Al-Monitor, May 4, 2021 Under a Russian-sponsored agreement, the Syrian government-affiliated National Defense Forces retreated from the Tayy neighborhood in Qamishli, which is now under the control of the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration
[Al-Monitor is a rare source of news of the role of Russian peacekeepers in facilitating political autonomy for the Kurdish population of northern Syria and lessening tensions between the Kurdish movement and the Syrian government. Left-wing supporters in Western countries (anarchist, Trotskyist) of the pro-U.S.Kurdish movement in Syria never, ever report on Russia’s peacekeeping role in Syria. That is due to the leftists’ confused and anti-Russia outlook which distorts Russia’s role in Syria. It presents Russia as an aggressor alongside what they call the ‘Syrian regime’ or ‘Syrian dictatorship’, while skipping over any analysis of the frankly pro-U.S. orientation of Kurdish forces. See this March 5, 2021 report in the Australian Green Left Weekly as one example, or this report dated April 26 in the same publication. The April 5 report repeats the publication’s false claim that “Turkish troops have been in northern Syria since August 2016. Earlier Turkish military interventions were carried out following agreements between Russia (which backs Syria’s Bashar al-Assad dictatorship) and Turkey (which supports some anti-Assad rebel groups).” This statement distorts the political reality of the situation in Syria and implicitly argues the wildly reckless assertion (frequently cited in Green Left Weekly) that Russia’s failure to enter into war against NATO-member Turkey to halt Turkey’s (ie and NATO’s) interventions in northern Syria are proof of collaboration and cooperation between Russia and Turkey!].