The free market played a crucial role in the 2005 destruction of New Orleans and the death of thousands of its residents. Forewarned that a momentous category 5 hurricane might hit that city and surrounding areas, what did officials do? They played the free market. They announced that everyone should evacuate. All were expected to devise their own way out of the disaster area by private means, just like people do when disaster hits free-market Third World countries.It is a beautiful thing this free market in which every individual pursues his or her own private interests and thereby effects an optimal outcome for the entire society. Thus does Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” work its wonders in mysterious ways.In New Orleans there would be none of the regimented collectivist evacuation as occurred in Cuba. When a powerful category 5 hurricane hit that island in 2004, the Castro government, abetted by neighborhood citizen committees and local Communist Party cadres, evacuated some 1.5 million people, more than 10 percent of the country’s population. The Cubans lost 20,000 homes to that hurricane—but not a single person was killed, a heartening feat that went largely unmentioned in the U.S. press.
Right after Turkey’s June 7 parliamentary elections, I forecast the following: “Change will not come easily to Turkey. The ruling AKP doesn’t have enough seats to form a government on its own as it runs the risk of losing a potential vote of confidence. Coalitions won’t be easy either under [President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan’s omnipresence. Despite his now-devastated dream to become an executive president, he arguably could be tempted to leave his mark on any upcoming political deal to save his future.”
After Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AK party) proved unable to form a coalition government with other parties in parliament, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan used his constitutional authority to call for an early election.In November, Turkish voters will go to the polls for the fourth time in the last two years and the second since June.The newly formed interim government will oversee the country during this period. This is also the first time an interim government was formed after the failure of the political parties to form a coalition
The recent decision by Al Jazeera English to use the word “refugees” instead of “migrants” to describe the thousands of people who risk their lives to make dangerous journeys to reach secure territories is an historical act – maybe even a delayed one.The use of terminology is of critical importance in shaping our perceptions, attitudes and behaviours. Calling those who flee from persecution, inhumane treatment, torture, violence and war as “migrants” may have irreparable consequences on government policies and the lives of thousands of actual refugees.
What a Band of 20th-Century Alabama Communists Can Teach Black Lives Matter and the Offspring of Occupy
On the 25th anniversary of the groundbreaking history, Hammer and Hoe, author Robin D.G. Kelley discusses the lessons Alabama’s forgotten black communists can offer today’s activists.
Thousands of Iranians celebrated in Tehran’s streets on 14 July after the agreement between Iran and the P5+1 Group (China, US, UK, France, Russia and Germany) in Vienna. After 12 years of crisis and a diplomatic marathon of 21 months, this first step thrilled Iranians hard hit by sanctions. In the excitement some people, including women, even wore the US flag on their clothes, unthinkable a few years ago.Within a month, delegations of western businessmen and ministers arrived, hoping for the speedy reopening of the Iranian market. But several important questions remain about Iran’s future and a deal that was to stop Iran from getting the bomb, a project the Iranian authorities had always denied. Iran made important concessions to get sanctions lifted: freezing some research areas, dismantling sites, reducing the number of uranium enrichment centrifuges and agreeing to inspections.
“Water,” said the Syrian banker, who holds an accounting degree and an MBA. “All I want is water.” It was 2am on Thursday morning and Youssef, a 29-year-old refugee, was on a dark residential side street on the Greek island of Kos, having just been released from a tiny stadium.Youssef had been trapped on its sandy pitch, sandwiched between its few shallow stands, for most of the previous day by the island’s authorities. At one point, he’d had more than 2,000 fellow Syrians for company, and for much of the time officials had provided them with no water or food, nor opened any toilets.When supplies and portable loos finally arrived, 16 hours after the first refugees were shut in, there weren’t enough for many people – including Youssef. “The first time we had water was around 1pm,” he said. “And even then it was only the people at the front.”
The human sea of yellow swarming though the streets of Kuala Lumpur on the weekend looked, at first glance, like an overwhelming show of people power directed against a government and a prime minister deeply imperilled by political and financial scandals.But the rally, smaller in number than hoped for and lacking a representative ethnic mix, served only to show that democracy in Malaysia is more troubled than many previously thought. A splintered opposition failed to mobilise supporters on the scale hoped for and those who did turn up – and without a doubt, there were tens of thousands of them – were predominantly from the minority ethnic Chinese and Indian communities.
“Shocked”, “sickened”, and “appalled” were appropriate words to describe the international reactions – and some of the local ones – to the second sentencing of Al Jazeera journalists and their colleagues in a Cairo court on Saturday.”The verdict today … sends a message that journalists can be locked up for simply doing their job, for telling the truth, and reporting the news. And it sends a dangerous message that there are judges in Egypt who will allow their courts to become instruments of political repression and propaganda.”
Barack Obama and Mitt Romney both spent around $1bn on their 2012 presidential campaigns. Rather than fund a candidate in 2016, New York billionaire Donald Trump decided to stand himself. “My income is $400m a year,” he claimed. “Sure, I would spend it [on campaigning].” In 1992 billionaire Ross Perot promised to “buy the White House to give it back to Americans who can no longer afford it.”Like Perot, Trump will probably fail, while shedding his own light on how the US political system works: “I gave to many people before this … two months ago I was a businessman. I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And you know what, when I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them. They are there for me.” Hillary Clinton, former senator for New York and candidate in the Democratic primaries, was “there” too: “For Hillary Clinton, I said be at my wedding and she came to my wedding. You know why? She had no choice because I gave to a foundation that frankly … is supposed to do good.” If you want an incorruptible president, Trump suggests, choose a corrupter.