Saturday, December 05, 2009

Freedom and its adversaries (supported by Coca-Cola)

Many thanks for Karl over at his excellent blog 'Eastern Europe Watch' for alerting me to the 'Freedom and its Adversaries' conference, which was held in Prague last month to commemorate 20 years since the 'Velvet Revolution', and which was supported by several western multinationals, including the Coca-Cola Company, Deloitte and TNT Post.

You can read a list of the participants here and what a bunch they were too.
Neo-con pin-up boy Vaclav Havel, described by current Czech President Vaclav Klaus as 'the most elitist person I have ever seen in my life', Iraq war supporting philosopher Andre Glucksmann and the fanatically anti-communist playwright Tom Stoppard, who is on the advisory board of the hardcore neocon magazine Standpoint.

And guess who’s there on top left? Yup, former US Secretary of State, 'Mad' Albright (above).

Her bio says:
As Secretary of State, she reinforced America’s alliances, advocated democracy and human rights, and promoted American trade and business, labor, and environmental standards abroad.

Well, I think we can fairly say Mad ‘promoted American trade and business‘- but ‘advocated democracy and human rights’?

By supporting the genocidal sanctions on the people of Iraq?.

"When asked on US television if she thought that the death of half a million Iraqi children was a price worth paying, Albright replied: "This is a very hard choice, but we think the price is worth it."

Or by bombing innocent Yugoslav citizens and helping to topple a democratically elected government whose only ‘crime’ was continuing to run an economy where social ownership predominated a decade after the Berlin Wall came down?

The 'freedom' that Ms Albright wants is the 'freedom' for big corporations to make money. Certainly not the freedom of people to elect governments the US State Department and global capital disapproves of.


KNaylor said...

And, of course, thanks Neil for the mention !

KNaylor said...

Albright also likes to give talks on how God backs American foreign policy as at this talk, The Mighty and the Almighty: American Foreign Policy and God, sponsored by Clive Tuggle ofCoca Cola as well.

It appeared on the laughable Tony BlairFaithFoundation website

Michnik likes to quip about how the Poles are more American than the Americans, something not exactly proved by the fact 77% of Poles are against the war in Afghanistan.

In the face of such opinion, the PO government has responded by increasing Polish troops by yet another 700 to make 2,600, comparable to the mumber they had in Iraq, another war backed by the "dissident" Michnik.

This conference came across as mostly one for wittering has-beens who whatever they had to say about Communism now still see the world in dated Cold Warrior categories and had nothing to say from the ivory tower about how many of the liberal-left leaders of Solidarity betrayed the workers who had fought for an end to the system.

Michnik was always a 'gadula' a man prone to wordly rhetoric more of a political fixer and activist with a strong streak of self regarding vanity. He never cared that much for ordinary Polish workers

In Takie Czasy (These Times ) in 1985 he launched an attack Polish workers for being impetuous and irrational in believing strike action could bring about change. As David Ost writes in the Defeat of Solidarity,

"Far from being the guarantor of democracy, labor activism is one of the main dangers to democracy. The rational elite, he argues, would have to take the place of workers in the Solidarity leadership if the organization was truly to be the agaent of democratic transformation".

"In 1980 we might, he argues, to have thought about them as sensible and rational actors. In fact they are really irrational hot heads, hostile to reason and common sense, contemptuopus of the notion of the compromise, and incapable of recognizing the „limits and realities“ of the real world.

That contempt was subsequently reflected in his support for the shock therapy of Balcerowicz and the emulation of the neoliberal model that caused so much misery and bitterness and set the path to the revival of an ugly populist right wing reaction in the Kaczynski Twins.