Race & Class, April 2003

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90 Inca-Israeli Jews: recruiting for Israel’s demographic war, by David Landy

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90 Inca-Israeli Jews: recruiting for Israel’s demographic war, by David Landy

Israel is facing a demographic crisis. The logic of Zionism dictates that Israel is the land of, and for, the Jewish people. Sharon has boasted of the one million Jewish immigrants he will bring in – to the Galilee, to the settlements, to Jerusalem – in a process that is aimed at dispossessing and driving out the Palestinians ever more ferociously. And the ‘voluntary transfer’ of Palestinians – a euphemism for a form of state sanctioned ethnic cleansing – is, as Landy demonstrates, proceeding apace. But there is a flaw to the Israeli strategy. There is no ‘one million’ seeking entry to Israel, nor ever likely to be; more are leaving Israel than entering it. So the non-proselytising faith of Judaism is being turned, for the purposes of the state, into a missionary venture. And the latest to be caught up in this is one of the poorest groups, in one of the poorest countries – indigenous Indians from Peru. They, and others like them, are now in the front-line of Israel’s war with the Palestinians. What this means for them, for the Palestinian struggle, and for the nature of Israel’s highly-stratified society, is explored with insight and precision by Landy.

The inner city and the favela: transnational black politics, by João Costa Vargas

In the favelas of Brazil and the inner cities of the US, inhabitants of some of the poorest and most stigmatised neighbourhoods have been coming together to share experiences and ways of organising. While the inhabitants of the favelas have been demonised in the media as criminals and drug-dealers, Costa Vargas reveals a sustained grassroots effort, involving all members of the community, to free themselves both from police repression and the incursions of the drugs-trade. In this, they have made links with US black groups that retain a commitment to the radical and liberatory politics of Black Power – in particular, the Los Angeles Coalition Against Police Abuse and the Community in Support of the Gang Truce. Costa Vargas has been actively involved in the work being carried on in Rio and in Los Angeles.

The impact of war on women, by Victoria Brittain

Consideration of the impact of warfare – often going on for decades and leading to unimaginable hardship and deprivation – on women and children has only recently come on to the international agenda. Yet, as Brittain shows in this unsparing analysis, it is a major concern that affects the capacities of societies to function at even the most basic level. There are an estimated 34 million refugees and internally displaced people across the globe, of whom some 80 per cent are women and the children they are responsible for. Yet the attention that is paid to them at governmental and inter-governmental level is slight. Dispossessed of their homes and land, they are prey not only to absolute economic impoverishment but also to every level of health risk, including HIV/AIDs and mental trauma; sexual violence; and the destruction of every opportunity, including educational, to escape from this spiral of deprivation. As Brittain puts it: ‘A massive de-development of huge sections of the world is happening now, out there at the margins that we don’t see.’

Migrants, national security and September 11: the case of Japan, by Satoru Furuya

One effect of the attacks on September 11 has been a worldwide effort to reinforce existing national security regimes and introduce even more draconian measures. Japan is no exception. Already notorious for the severity with which, on occasion, it treats political dissidence, Japan has introduced new security measures which impact even more severely on minorities within its borders and on migrants. Although this is little known outside Japanese borders, foreigners legally resident may now be picked up and deported for trivial offences; the granting of asylum is virtually non-existent; those attempting to enter Japan, or foreigners picked up for violations of immigration control, may be held virtually incommunicado in immigration detention centres, with little right of access to legal representation. As Furuya shows, this is a process that is becoming ever more stringent, with no apparent end in sight.

Global capitalism versus global community, by Walden Bello

The first age of globalisation, in Bello’s view, spanned the nineteenth century to end in 1914. It was marked by the ‘disembedding’ of the market from society, with massive attendant social cost and economic growth. While the second half of the twentieth century was dominated by Keynesian or state socialist attempts to control, at least partially, the operations of the market, such attempts were rapidly reversed in the 1980s, with Reagan and Thatcher as the cheerleaders of the ‘neoliberal revolution’. What has ensued today is growing poverty, increasing inequality and the locking in of developing countries into poverty under an ever more rapacious global system. The legitimacy of globalisation was first seriously called into question by the dire effects of the Asian financial crisis; the depredations of that system have been met by increasing mass political protest – exemplified not only in the mass protests at, eg., Seattle and Genoa but also in the World Social Forum, coming together annually at Porto Alegre in Brazil. ‘There is a global community in the making … composed of many communities that are tied by common fundamental interests and fundamental values but … inflected by different histories and cultures.’

Racism and the market-state: an interview with A Sivanandan

In this provocative and wide-ranging interview, Sivanandan expands on the statement he made, post-September 11, that ‘Globalisation has ushered in a monolithic economic system; September 11 threatens to engender a monolithic political system. Together, they spell the end of civil society’. He discusses what the concept of the ‘market-state’ implies for the form that globalisation is taking today, and the deleterious effects not only on the capacities of Third World countries to defend themselves from the rapacities of the new imperialism, but also its supplanting, in the West, of concepts of civil and political rights and welfare. This has major implications for the struggle against racism – ever more urgent in the context of the continuing media and political attacks on asylum seekers. ‘Because the nature of the state has changed, because it is no longer a welfare state that looks after its people but a market-state which looks after big business, the nature, shape, contours, purpose of racism itself has changed … the fight against racism is a fight against the new imperialism, globalism.’

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