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US anthropologists Robert Walker and Kim Hill recently published an article in Science to argue that governments are violating their responsibility to "protect" isolated tribes if they eschew contact with them. Their argument threatens to undercut advances in indigenous rights that have painstakingly evolved over a generation. Walker and Hill show how first contacts with isolated Amazon
16 min 1 sec ago
Mexico City - “People don’t know what ‘fracking’ is and there is little concern about the issue because it’s not visible yet,” said Gabino Vicente, a delegate of one of the municipalities in southern Mexico where exploration for unconventional gas is forging ahead. Vicente is a local representative of the community of Santa Úrsula in the municipality of San Juan Bautista Tuxtepec, some 450
16 min 1 sec ago
Many developing countries still lack the infrastructure to dispense drugs against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Neglected tropical diseases comprise various conditions that are prevalent in poor countries around the equator, but receive little international attention due to their limited spread. They include leprosy, river blindness, Chagas' disease and sleeping sickness. Nearly 1 in 6 people worldwide requires treatment for at least one NTD.
Drug delivery remains a crucial problem. Many NTDs are easily tackled by preventive chemotherapy and transmission control (PCT), a process that combines large-scale drug administration programmes with efforts to improve sanitation and raise awareness of how the diseases are spread. 5 million deaths could be averted.
"We have an abundance of cure," said Desmond Swayne, the United Kingdom's international development minister, during the report's launch last week (25 June) in London. "The problem isn't our ability to provide a cure. It's our will to provide the infrastructure that can deliver it to the sufferers."
3 hours 16 min ago
The state of Kerala in India has 6.29 million families with 4.43 million families, or 70 per cent, having a highest earning household member with salary less than Rs5,000— a sharp reminder of income inequality in the state, which boasts of a trillion rupees in annual remittance coming in from expatriates. Only in about 770,000 families, or 12 per cent of the total number of families, the
3 hours 16 min ago

Ten years ago, the G8 summit was held at the heavily fortified Gleneagles Hotel and  Make Poverty History movement came to Edinburgh with churches and the charities at the forefront with over a quarter of a million marching in the streets, Bob Geldof was hosting a rock concert at Murrayfield for LiveAid and the anarchist Black Bloc was futilely endeavouring to make their presence felt. What did it all accomplish? Not a lot.
What the Socialist Party said at the time in our effort to bring home some unwelcomed truths and spoil the self-congratulating media personalities presentation:“What is now clear is that the anti-globalisation/pro-development movement, however well-meaning, does not seek to replace capitalism with any real alternative social system. At best it attracts a myriad of groups, all pursuing their own reformist agenda. Some call for greater corporate responsibility. Some demand the restructuring of international institutions like the IMF, World Bank and the WTO. Others call for the expansion of democracy and fairer trading conditions, debt cancellation and more aid. All, however, fail to address the root cause of the problems of capitalism and promote the damnable system they are critical of by applauding any meagre reform.One thing is certain: no amount of high table reform is going to legislate poverty out of existence as the MHP coalition believes. Capitalism cannot be reformed in the interests of the world’s suffering billions, because reform does not address the basic contradiction between profit and need. Moreover, reform can be so packaged and camouflaged as to be acceptable to protestors whilst leaving their real grievances unaddressed. The world’s leaders simply cannot be depended upon to implement real change because they can only ever act as the executive of corporate capitalism.The protesters at the G8 might think they are united in common cause, but in truth they are only united in supporting capitalism and in their mistaken belief that poverty can be legislated out of existence, They have no blueprint for change other than the three demands put forward by the Make Poverty History campaign – Fair trade, more aid and debt cancellation. – and this is about as radical as it gets. In mirroring in their objectives the overseas goals of Blair and Brown they are anything but the modern day revolutionaries they claim to be.”
There can be little doubt that the world can still be described as one motivated by greed through the ruthless exploitation of natural and human resources. The main players are still governments, multinational corporations and corrupt local politicians running gangster regimes. The G8 made gestures such as the partial cancellation of Third World debt but the write-off of these dollars will only be a means of continuing their grip on African countries whilst dressing their actions with the phoney rhetoric of care and concern. There was no outcome that solved the problems of the desperately poor of Africa, and no matter how well-meaning were their slogans, campaigners in the developed countries still became involved in the machinations of interest groups whose basic concern is profit and the economic strategies of ruling elites. The G8 protests demonstrated a great strength of feeling but it also demonstrates a great weakness; the lack of control of those who take part and their dependence over the decisions and actions of present power structures. The Make Poverty History marcher were victims of a seductive but deadly process. The capitalist system constantly throws up issues that demand action amongst those who are concerned and by many people who think of themselves as ‘socialists’. As a result, protest tends to become a demand for an “improved” kind of capitalism which leaves the long-term reasons for protest intact.
Given the number of people currently still suffering and dying from the effects of world poverty it should be obvious that we must go far beyond mere reform campaigns and instead organise to abolish the profit system and replace it with a world of common ownership, democratic control and production solely for needs. Such a socialist world would be able to stop people dying from hunger immediately and rapidly increase world food production to reach a point where every person on the planet would have free access to sufficient good quality food to maintain good health. The shortest distance between capitalism and an alternative society is a straight line.  Let’s campaign for the abolition of capitalism and not misdirect our energies in trying to humanise capitalism, which can only – as many now recognise – put profit before people.
This blogger recalls that it was only the Socialist Party that was conveying this message when volunteers from our various branches also gathered in Edinburgh and Gleneagles to distribute leaflets and literature. ?alt=rss
6 hours 18 min ago