Category Archives: Staying in power – Struggle for control

This section considers the second of two fundamental ways in which a social system where harm is important differs from a productive one: maintaining control. It is a much more substantial problem for such societies. Threats come from two sources, those who would replace them, while maintaining harm, and those who would reduce harm.  This control takes place in the political, economic and social spheres; in the consideration here, the emphasis is on the political.

I have included three subcategories to bring out important aspects of maintaining control. Harming people – Keeping people oppressed  brings out the often brutal oppression of people by those who control productive + harmful economic systems.

Opposing oppression and injustice illustrates how people have fought against oppression and injustice. This section is perhaps an inadequate appreciation on my part for the struggle that they have waged, but it is something.

Conflict.  This is included because I think conflict is an important part of harm which has not received the attention that it deserves from this point of view.  It is thought of as “national defense” in the pursuit of “strategic self-interest” with some “collateral damage” which minimizes its role as harm.

Oppression and Exploitation News November 26 – December 2

Harm through the government 2020

The rotting of the Republican mind. When one party becomes detached from reality. David Brooks New York Times November 26, 2020 (Opinion)

Harming people – Keeping people oppressed 2020

Jailed, exiled and silenced: smothering East Africa’s political opposition Abdi Latif Dahir New York Times November 27, 2020
In several countries, entrenched leaders are taking advantage of coronavirus restrictions and a world distracted by the pandemic to clamp down hard on prominent political opponents.

Tax havens 2020

The ominous rise of African financial centers: The case of Mauritius Pritish Behuria Review of African Political Economy December 1, 2020

Control of land and natural resources 2020

If TIAA’s Roger Ferguson wants to be Treasury Secretary, he should fix his farmland problem Jim Goodman, Jason Jarvis, and Doug Hertzler ActionAid USA November 20, 2020

Oppression and Exploitation News November 19 – 25

Damage to the U.S. economic and financial system 2020

Mnuchin to end key Fed emergency programs, limiting Biden Jeanna Smialek and Alan Rappeport New York Times November 19, 2020
The Treasury Department asked the Federal Reserve to return unused funds, downsizing the next secretary’s ability to restart the economic support.

A revealing report on the mid-March financial crisis Nick Beams World Socialist Web Site November 19, 2020 See the Financial Stability Board’s full report (60 page PDF file)

Harming people – Keeping people oppressed 2020

Trump’s attempts to overturn the election are unparalleled in U.S. history David E. Sanger New York Times November 19, 2020 (news analysis)
The president’s push to prevent states from certifying electors and get legislators to override voters’ choice eclipses even the bitter 1876 election as an audacious use of brute political force.

They championed Venezuela’s revolution. They are now its latest victims. Isayen Herrera, Anatoly Kurmanaev, Tibisay Romero and Sheyla Urdaneta New York Times November 19, 2020
In an effort to complete his consolidation of power, Nicolás Maduro is cracking down on the leftist activists who once supported him, but have begun to speak up against his administration’s corruption and cronyism.

Opposing oppression and injustice 2020

Uganda releases opposition leader after clashes kill at least 28 Abdi Latif Dahir New York Times November 20, 2020
Two days after police took him into custody, presidential contender Bobi Wine resurfaced on Friday in court where he was charged with flouting coronavirus rules and released.

‘Now, we fight face to face’: Thailand’s protests shatter taboos Hannah Beech and Ryn Jirenuwat New York Times November 18, 2020
Antigovernment demonstrations have grown bolder, even insulting the king, but reform remains elusive and fears of a crackdown persist.

Harm through the government 2020

Egypt arrests human rights leader, continuing crackdown on dissent Vivian Yee New York Times November 19, 2020
The head of a human rights group and two of its other staff members have joined thousands of opposition figures, protesters and activists already in prison.

U.S. to drop case against Mexican ex-official to allow inquiry in Mexico Michael S. Schmidt and Natalie Kitroeff New York Times November 17, 2020
The announcement by the Justice Department was an abrupt turnaround a month after the high-profile arrest of a former defense minister.

Slavery, forced labor 2020

Apple is lobbying against a bill aimed at stopping forced labor in China Reed Albergotti Washington Post November 20, 2020
Apple wants to water down key provisions of the bill, which would hold U.S. companies accountable for using Uighur forced labor, according to two congressional staffers….While U.S. law already prevents companies from importing goods that were made using forced labor, the law is seldom enforced, and it’s difficult to prove U.S. companies know about the use of forced labor.