CUBA AND NEW YORK: WHAT ARE PEOPLE SEARCHING FOR?

CUBA AND NEW YORK: WHAT ARE PEOPLE SEARCHING FOR?

  Photo by Joshua Tartakovsky © All Rights Reserved 2016. By Joshua Tartakovsky, February 23 2016 Cuba, a country of 11 million people, has physical poverty. People struggle and sweat every day to put enough food on the table.  Although a home and medical care are a given, the prices of basic cosmetics and new clothes are very expensive. But New York, a metropolis of 8 million people and perhaps one of the west’s greatest cities, has spiritual poverty. Many people have much wealth but that is not enough. They are seeking for more. What is it they are seeking for? When Cubans watch scenes of New York from the TV sets in their salons, they are certain that everyone there is rich. It seems that all New Yorkers do all day is go shopping from one store to another while driving around with luxury cards. They do not realize that had they lived in New York, they would have been very busy working many hours to pay the high rent and other expenses including medical ones; they would not be living in a magnificent colonial-era casagiven to them by the state, and most significantly, they would have probably had much less free time and their gamut of social relations would have been very different. Though Cubans work very hard and get paid on average very little (about $20 per month is the official rate), they still have the evenings and weekends to spend with their kids and neighbors, to chat with friends and strangers in the street or in the park. Indeed, Cuban cities are a panorama of constant human...
INTERVIEW WITH DIMITRIS KAZAKIS LEADER OF EPAM. PART 2

INTERVIEW WITH DIMITRIS KAZAKIS LEADER OF EPAM. PART 2

By Joshua Tartakovsky, 21 March 2016 Maybe you can talk about that a little bit… It’s easy. If I am Mr. Buffet, I know we are not talking about Buffet but a financial elite… in order to create new situation of more profit for my own investment capital, I cannot deal with different states. And I have more then, nominally, we have more than 327 trillion dollars in terms of investment capital worldwide. Controlled by 40 banks… even less. 40 banks. 327 trillion… We have a GDP, a world GDP, from 75 to 77 trillion dollars. And they are only for investment. We’re not talking about derivatives or other aspects of the financial market. We’re talking about 327 trillion dollars. So in order to create opportunities for my capital to provide new, or even more profit, for my portal, we have to destroy and re-destroy the whole… I cannot provide more out of the normal economic cycle. We have to destroy and recreate the cycle itself. And there’s no way I can do that if we have normal states or people or national economies, things like that. We tried that through financial means. We saw that. And we saw how the whole market was destroyed back in 2007 up to 2008. After that, they recreated the whole market and right now they have even a worse situation then back in 2007. So, in order to subsist that kind of a situation in the financial market, we need an army, we need political means – the economy cannot provide any more. You will see that the big international corporations are avoiding...
INTERVIEW WITH DIMITRIS KAZAKIS LEADER OF EPAM. PART 1

INTERVIEW WITH DIMITRIS KAZAKIS LEADER OF EPAM. PART 1

Photo taken by Christina Polychronopoulou (C) Joshua Tartakovsky, March 17, 2016   One year ago, while in Athens, Greece, I interviewed Mr. Dimitris Kazakis, leader of United Popular Front (EPAM), a popular Left movement that emerged from the anti-memorandum protests of 2011. Mr. Kazakis is an erudite speaker, a socialist economist, and one who knows both the terrain of the social struggle and the high-end banking sector in London where he worked for many years. At the time, Mr. Kazakis was not very optimistic about Syriza – the Left party governing Greece, if to say the least. He warned that Prime Minister Tsipras has no intention of breaking with austerity and that he will take on a new contract that will enslave the country further. The interview was conducted in February 2015, but it took me months to publish it since I wanted to give Syriza a chance. Mr. Kazakis was right. It happened exactly as he said. One year later, on February 17, 2016, I met Mr. Kazakis at the offices of EPAM in Athens again. Things are much worse in Athens now. Mr. Kazakis covered almost all issues under the sun. He talked about the migration crisis, why he supports a Brexit, Greece’s economic predicament, the world economy, NATO in the Aegean, Erdogan and Merkel, NGOs dubious roles, nationalism, why cosmopolitanism is dangerous, the Germans, perpetual war, Venezuela and Cuba. Below is the full interview. You actually predicted what will happen at the time because at the time what you said was that these negotiations are a sham, they are going to sign on another contract and so...
Venezuela: Not Socialism, Useless Populism. No Revolución, Just Violence

Venezuela: Not Socialism, Useless Populism. No Revolución, Just Violence

Joshua Tartakovsky, 28 January 2016 In December 2015, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro suffered a humiliating defeat as his ruling party, PSUV, got only 55 seats in parliament. The opposition got 112 out of 167. The people of Venezuela gave the opposition a two-third majority and sent Maduro’s party home packing.Now the former opposition plans to release from prison criminals who engaged in violence under the disguise of fighting for democracy, and give people who received the one million houses created by the state a formal title which would allow them to sell them.  More significantly, Maduro is probably in power on borrowed time and will probably be removed from power within six months. While Maduro has the backing of the supreme court, the parliament can remove judges from power. It is only a matter of time before they do so. Photo by Joshua Tartakovsky (c) all rights reserved 2015. The extent of the popular rejection of Maduro’s policies was denied by Maduro himself who preferred to engage in denial as other failed leaders throughout history. Maduro continues to cling to power while repeating tired clichés on the Bolivarian Revolution. Following the results,  Maduro said: “workers of the fatherland know that you have a president, a son of Chávez, who will protect you.” But Maduro did not protect them. That’s why a majority, including many poor, voted for the opposition. Participation was 74%. It is no longer deniable that Venezuela is an utter failure. Inflation is at insane levels. Crime is rampant. Speculation and hoarding are driving basic goods away while prices are skyrocketing. Corruption and wrongdoings are widespread including in...
A Bolivaran Tsipras? Syriza’s Call for German Reparation

A Bolivaran Tsipras? Syriza’s Call for German Reparation

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at the site where 200 Greek Communist partisans were executed by the Germans in Kaisariani. Photo: Reuters CounterPunchWEEKEND EDITION MARCH 20-22, 2015 A Bolivaran Tsipras? Syriza’s Call for German Reparations by JOSHUA TARTAKOWSKY Athens. Developments are happening faster than the speed of light both in Greece and around the world. It is not often that people are happy to be quickly proven wrong, but luckily the opportunity arrived. Following the Eurogroup agreement and the way it was presented to the public as an end of austerity and as a victory, indicated that the Syriza government is a captive to the Institutions. I expressed the possibility that unless public opposition mounts, Syriza will end up bending to pressure. Recent events, however, suggest that this is untrue. A public mobilization was not necessary, Germany’s humiliating dictates while the Greek public is suffering under the yoke of austerity have already turned the tide and the Syriza Government is resisting Germany’s patronizing and suffocating actions. As argued earlier, Syriza is pursuing a policy of uniting the nation by demanding justice. What goal may it have in mind? What caused this turn? and where may it lead to? In his speech to the Hellenic Parliament, Prime Minister Tsipras touched on the issue which both some Anglo-Saxon socialists and Conservative Germans would wish would have avoided. Tsipras brought to public view the issue of reparations of World War II, and the fact Germany did not pay back the interest-free forced loan made on the Greek bank by the German occupation forces until today. While some reparations were paid in the 1950s, these were quite small considering the...