Category Archives: Conflict

Conflict is an essential element, probably the most important one, in creating societies where exploitation is important.  It is easy to see in the past: one group or nation conquered another and put those conquered in a subsidiary status, taking their land, taxing them and placing them in an inferior position through various means. (See the exploitation sections in Understanding exploitation, especially  conflict theory, some economic historians, and primitive accumulation in the exploitation in Marxism section.)  These patterns frequently continue into the present, in (usually) weakened, but still present, form.  Conflict can also arise when people who are oppressed fight for their freedom.
Conflict, even narrowly defined, is an important activity. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimates world military expenditure at $1.8 trillion in 2017, or 2.1 percent of global gross domestic product (SIPRI 2019).  It does use resources that can be devoted to productive activity.
The drastic worsening of peoples’ lives is the second major source of harm from conflict. The global population of forcibly displaced increased by 2.3 million people in 2018. By the end of the year, almost 70.8 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations. They have moved from normal lives to the bleakness and hopelessness of a refugee situation.

Oppression and Exploitation News March 19 – 25

Control of land and natural resources 2020

Conflicts over indigenous land grow more violent in Central America Alexander Villegas and Frances Robles New York Times March 9, 2020
Faced with government inaction, some activists try to reclaim ancestral lands on their own. Often, they pay a high price.

Conflict 2020

USA and France dramatically increase major arms exports; Saudi Arabia is largest arms importer SIPRI March 9, 2020

Opposing oppression and injustice 2020

Darius Swann, lead plaintiff in Supreme Court busing case, dies at 95 Harrison Smith Washington Post March 23, 2020
He and his wife sued the Charlotte-Mecklenberg school district in 1965 to send their son to an integrated N.C. school.

Betty Williams, Nobel laureate and leader of peace movement in Northern Ireland, dies at 76 Emily Langer Washington Post March 23, 2020
After witnessing the deaths of three children during the Troubles, she co-founded a campaign that drew thousands of protesters to the cause of peace.

Catherine Hamlin, OB/GYN who healed injured and ostracized mothers, dies at 96 Harrison Smith Washington Post March 22, 2020
She and her husband perfected surgical techniques to treat obstetric fistulas, a debilitating childbirth injury common in Ethiopia.

Charles Trimble, advocate for Native American rights, dies at 84 Katharine Q. Seelye New York Times March 20, 2020
He dedicated his life to advancing the tribal causes of self-determination, sovereignty and human rights.

Tex’ Harris, U.S. diplomat who exposed human rights abuses in Argentina, dies at 81 Matt Schudel Washington Post February 29, 2020
Sending reports through a special ‘dissent channel,’ he brought worldwide attention to the military junta’s ‘dirty war.’

José Zalaquett, champion of human rights in Pinochet’s Chile and around the world, dies at 77 Emily Langer Washington Post February 20, 2020
A Chilean lawyer, he was jailed and ultimately expelled from his country for his efforts on behalf of political prisoners and “disappeared” people.



Oppression and Exploitation News February 20 – 26

Conflict 2020

800,000 Syrians have fled in three months: this is what it looks like Vivian Yee, Allison McCann, Hwaida Said, and Haley Willis New York Times February 14, 2020
Some crowd into trucks. Others go on foot. The current Syrian crisis is similar in scale to the Rohinga crisis of 2017. Hundreds of thousands of people are trying to escape relentless airstrikes in northwest Syria.

Language as a means of control

A function of the political use of language is to make your side sound (be!) correct and the other side mistaken. Manufacturing consent and spin are some terms used.

No. 1 sponsor of terrorism? US media name Iran, but overlook a candidate closer to home Joshua Cho Fair February 13, 2020
This article says that both Iran and the United States are doing the same types of things, but one is described as a state sponsor of terrorism, while U.S. actions are viewed as legitimate.

The US’s inalienable right to violence Gregory Shupak Fair January 20, 2020

Russia has ‘Oligarchs,’ the US Has ‘Businessmen.’ In 150 NYT, CNN and Fox articles, ‘oligarch’ seems reserved for Slavic billionaires Alan MacLeod Fair September 14, 2019

Oppression and Exploitation News January 23 – 29, 2020

Conflict 2020

U.N. Court orders Myanmar to protect Rohingya Muslims Richard C. Paddock New York Times January 23, 2020
The International Court of Justice said Myanmar must “take all measures within its power” to prevent its military or others from carrying out genocidal acts against the Rohingya, who it said faced “real and imminent risk.”

People return from Iran at a border crossing near Zaranj in Afghanistan’s Nimroz Province on 19 January 2020. (Stefanie Glinski/TNH)

People return from Iran at a border crossing near Zaranj in Afghanistan’s Nimroz Province on 19 January 2020. (Credit: Stefanie Glinski/TNH)

Conflict, refugee returns fuel Afghanistan displacement—most returnees end up displaced as conflict swells Irwin Loy New Humanitarian January 20, 2020

War has ripple effects. I am a military widow. I know what the true cost of conflict is. Karie Fugett New York Times January 17, 2020

Conflict 2020

Conflict is an essential element, probably the most important one, in creating societies where exploitation is important.  It is easy to see in the past: one group or nation conquered another and put those conquered in a subsidiary status, taking their land, taxing them and placing them in an inferior position through various means. These patterns frequently continue into the present, in (usually) weakened, but still present, form.  Conflict can also arise when people who are oppressed fight for their freedom. Also see Conflict

USA and France dramatically increase major arms exports; Saudi Arabia is largest arms importer SIPRI March 9, 2020

800,000 Syrians have fled in three months: this is what it looks like Vivian Yee, Allison McCann, Hwaida Said, and Haley Willis New York Times February 14, 2020
Some crowd into trucks. Others go on foot. The current Syrian crisis is similar in scale to the Rohinga crisis of 2017. Hundreds of thousands of people are trying to escape relentless airstrikes in northwest Syria.

“I lost my two legs after I stepped on a mine laid by Da’esh [the Arabic acronym for IS] when we tried to escape from al-Shaafa 10 days ago,” 17-year-old Ammar said, as his father Ahmed drew back the blanket covering his legs, both blown off below the knee.  “We didn’t have access to a hospital, so I had to prepare his bandages at home, with salt and water,” explained Ahmed. His youngest son, sitting in the back seat, lost his legs in the same escape attempt. “I thank God we managed to flee at last,” Ahmed said. “But why did my sons have to go through all this pain?” Credit: New Humanitarian/Constantin Gouvy

Fleeing the last days of Islamic State in Syria Constantin Gouvy New Humanitarian January 24, 2020

Sibri Natana sits at a restaurant in Fada N’gourma with two of her children. In December she was forced to watch as jihadists murdered her brother. Credit: Sam Mednick/TNH

In eastern Burkina Faso, spreading violence and little international aid Sam Mednick New Humanitarian January 21, 2020

People return from Iran at a border crossing near Zaranj in Afghanistan’s Nimroz Province on 19 January 2020. (Credit: Stefanie Glinski/TNH)

Fleeing the last days of Islamic State in Syria Constantin Gouvy New Humanitarian January 24, 2020

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