North Korea : Human Rights and International Relations

North Korea at night

North Korea has been described by former Australian justice Michael Kirby, in a report to the United Nations Human Rights Councils, as committing crimes against humanity. The report accused the regime of mass killings and torture and said responsible officials should face the International Criminal Court.

Apartheid and Zionism : Precise Definitions, Visceral Ontologies

Nelson Mandela in 2008
The death of Nelson Mandela has reminded many of the criminal history of the apartheid regime in South Africa. Whilst others have spoken about the personal characteristics of Mandela, and have done so appropriately [1], it is also unsurprisingly to see a debate on the critical fringes of politics debating the role of Mandela and the ANC, noisily challenging the polite and mainstream celebrations of his life. From the left, there has been those who have criticised the disconnect between politicians like Obama who celebrate Mandela's resistance, yet still find need to condemn and jail those who leak evidence of widespread surveillance against their own citizens and unfriendly spying activities [2]. Others have drawn attention to the long-term recognition held by Mandela, Tutu, and other anti-apartheid leaders who saw great similarity between their condition and that of Palestinians in the occupied territories. Ami Kaufman, at 972mag, picked five top examples of Israeli politicians who condemn apartheid and celebrate its fighters from afar, but not those who are too close for comfort [3]. Matthew Taylor, at Mondoweiss, described Obama's speech both moving and hypocritical on his failure to make the same connection between South Africa and Israel as Mandela did [4]. Reviewing the difference between Mandela's politics and those world leaders who sing his praises, Seumas Milne writes [5]:

To a New Year, Isocracy!

Back to the Future
The incontrovertible dictates of the Gregorian Calendar state that another year is presently coming to a close, and another, laden with potential, is soon to dawn.

As earnest believers in human freedom, this is one holiday that I believe we can rally behind. A new year, a new chapter in the so far interminable story of our universe that we author for our more intimate human micro-universe.

So, 2014, another chance for human freedom!

Market Fundamentalism as a Religion

Praying to the Bull

by Chet Gaines. Image from Wonkette of people praying to the Golden Bull on Wall Street for economic improvement.

Modern economic theory is presented as a science. Elaborate mathematics and diagrams are employed to derive principles that are assumed to be universal among economic actors, even though the specialized math used is a “dated version” (Keen 6) and such diagrams “often contain outright fallacies” (Keen 14). After a closer examination of the dominant economic theory and its critics, one might come to the conclusion that it is actually a belief system quite similar to a religion, not an actual scientific study. The following definition of religion is given by Clifford Geertz:

“(1) a system of symbols which acts to (2) establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by (3) formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and (4) clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that (5) the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic.” (Bowie 20)

Just a few thousand hectares of your land, please

by Nairi Porter

World map according to cropland

"Buy land, they're not making it anymore", Mark Twain famously urged his audience. These words have been the motto of the markets for agricultural land for a long time, and they describe the mindset of the active land buyers across the developing world.

During the last decade, agricultural land (mostly across Africa and South-East Asia) roughly equivalent to the territory of Germany (33 million hectares, according to the most conservative estimates) has been purchased by foreign governments and companies. They develop enormous estates for food-growing and biofuel processing, the bulk of that production either returning directly to the original market or being exported on the international markets.

Criminalization is the Crime: Part 1 - Original Sin Lies in the State

California prison overcrowding
In the 19th century, amid the turmoil of industrial capitalism's early development, French thinker Pierre-Joseph Proudhon exclaimed that 'Property is theft!' His political work is, in general, highly instructive. In particular, for those of us researching the connection between the criminalization of conduct and the existence of crime, Proudhon's remark is a fitting analogy: Criminalization is criminal!

For there to be a criminal, there must first be a crime, and for a crime to exist, there must first be an authority, namely the State, which purports to act on behalf of the public. Now, whether this means in the public interest or for the public is a different, though crucial point. Each crime recognized by the State calls upon a range of rationales for the so-called public interest. For instance, in criminalizing a drug, say marijuana, the State will muster forth an argument that draws upon moral and social concerns, as well as political and economic factors, some apparent, others perhaps hidden from first glance.

Why We Must End The War on Drugs

Sheep on Drugs logo

Greg Denham was a serving police officer in Victoria and Queensland, including 5 years as a project officer with the Victoria Police Drug and Alcohol Policy Coordination Unit from 1997-2002.

Greg left policing in 2002 and over the past decade has been involved locally and internationally in drug policy issues including seven years living and working in South East Asia and China as a technical advisor on policing, HIV prevention and harm reduction at the Burnet and Nossal Institutes.

Greg is currently the Executive Officer for the Yarra Drug and Health Forum in Melbourne, where there are significant issues related to public injecting, and has called for the establishment of a supervised injecting facility.

He formed the Australian branch of LEAP - Law Enforcement Against Prohibition - in 2010 which unites thousands of police and criminal justice officials worldwide who want to end the war on drugs and advocate for drug law reform.

Isocracy 2013 Annual General Meeting and The Decriminalisation of Drugs

The Isocracy Network will be holding its 2013 Annual General Meeting on Saturday, 21st September, 2013, at the United Voice union offices, 117-131 Capel St North Melbourne. Nominations are are sought for the positions of President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, and general committee positions. Please send these to public@isocracy.org by midnight of Friday 20th of September.

A committee report will be distributed prior to the meeting. Minutes of the last AGM follow some relevant articles on drug law reform.

Eight Pointed Star Movement

Eureka Flag
The Eight Pointed Star Movement takes its inspiration from the Eureka rebels. The Eureka rebels used the eight pointed star on their flag - the Eureka Flag.

  • Human beings are born with inalienable rights and liberties no Government can legislate away or corporation take away. Ultimate political authority rests in the hands of the people, not the State, the Government of the day or the Corporate sector.
  • Citizens should have the ability to initiate legislation through citizen initiated referendums and have the power to recall their political representatives in between elections.
  • All human beings have the same rights irrespective of race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, age or role in society.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders never ceded sovereignty. The 1992 Mabo High Court decision that recognised they had legal rights to land and sea has been drowned by bucket loads of Parliamentary extinguishment. A treaty is the only way to ensure reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians becomes a reality.

Converting The Tyranny of the Majority : The Egyptian Example

Egyptian Freedom
A coup d'état (or putsch, or pronunciamiento), the sudden seizure of governmental power by a small group, is almost invariably a detestable event. Typically a military event, as they have the resources to carry this out effectively, they are often associated with the overthrow of a popular democratic government by a military associated with an existing ruling class with foreign backing. The Pinochet coup against the elected socialist government of Allende in Chile in 1973 being perhaps the most well known example of this type. However this is obviously not the only type. Sometimes a coup can occur from the competing different factions within military-dominated governments. The latter case is often tied to a succession of civil wars, and is particularly the case in resource-rich developing countries where different groups aspire to control monopoly profits.

Recent events in Egypt bring certain questions to the fore. In January 2011, protests rose against the government of Hosni Mubarak, whose authoritarian social-democratic National Democratic Party was a member of Socialist International until these protests. Involving hundreds of thousands of people and with clashes with security forces resulting in over eight hundred deaths. Increasingly however, it became clear that the armed forces would not act against the protesters and in February Mubarak resigned with the military assuming control for a while, resulting in a constitution referendum in March and parliamentary elections in November and January 2012.

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