Perspective on the Iranian protests

first_imgProtesters in Tehran, Iran, December 30, 2017.Mass demonstration in Iran’s provincial cities made international news as 2017 ended and elicited tweets from the U.S. president warning Iran’s government not to suppress the protesters. To help orient the progressive and anti-war movement in the United States, Workers World managing editor John Catalinotto spoke with Sara Flounders, co-coordinator of the International Action Center and organizer of the Stop the War on Iran Campaign. WW: What’s most important for the U.S. movement to know about the events starting in late December in Iran?Sara Flounders: Before we go through the facts as best we know them, we need to first make some overall political points clear. First, from here in the center of world imperialism it is important to hold firmly to a basic understanding of the relation between the United States, which is the center of world imperialism, and Iran, a developing country that Washington has targeted since its revolution in February 1979.That revolution against the hated Shah, while ultimately led by clerics, resulted in Iran gaining control of its resources, thus enabling great gains in modernizing the infrastructure, building mass housing, achieving full literacy through free education and providing free medical care for the people.Anti-war and progressive activists need to start with the basics of what they already know about past U.S. campaigns of subversion in Iran as well as Washington’s attempts at regime change in other countries. Otherwise they can get lost in the morass of corporate and social media disinformation.Washington has also targeted Iran because of its long defense of the Palestinian struggle and aid to Lebanon after the massive Israeli bombardment and invasion in 2006. This increased after Iran’s aid to the sovereign Syrian government. The U.S. attempted regime change in Syria starting in 2011 through bombings, sabotage and arming tens of thousands of right-wing and extremist marauders. More recently, Iran has shown solidarity with Yemen, which is facing a massive, protracted war from the Saudi monarchy, supported by the Pentagon.So whatever the details of the current developments, our position here in the center of imperialism must be clear and forceful: U.S. hands off Iran! No intervention from the U.S. can help the Iranian people.WW: And the current events?SF: As far as we can tell, the protests started in Iran’s second-largest city, Mashad, on Dec. 28 and were over rising food prices and unemployment. These protests, centered on economic grievances, quickly spread to other cities in the provinces but not to the capital, Tehran.We should point out that a major, if not the major, cause of the economic problems is U.S. and European Union sanctions, which were imposed many years ago in order to create and increase internal dissension. U.N. sanctions, however, were lifted two years ago, after Iran suspended its nuclear program.In recent years the low global price of oil, in addition to continued U.S. and EU sanctions, have exacerbated unemployment and decreased the government’s ability to provide subsidies for food, fuel, housing and education.The government and other political forces inside Iran seemed to agree at the beginning that the demonstrations were spontaneous, spread rapidly and focused on justified economic demands and cutbacks of government subsidies that impacted the poorest workers. This was also the reaction of President Rouhani, who said the protesters had the right to demonstrate but not to carry out violent actions.The protests then quickly attracted forces that appeared to be totally hostile to the Iranian Revolution, although the extent of this was likely exaggerated in the imperialist media. People in the Iranian government and state apparatus charged there was outside intervention and planned internal subversion. At rallies, people on both sides were shot.This has also happened in Venezuela, Libya and Syria, in demonstrations where unidentified gunmen fire into the crowds and also shoot at police to instigate repression and chaos, which is then blamed on the government.Meanwhile, there have also been pro-government mobilizations in some cities, in Tehran and in the provinces.WW: What has been the U.S. ruling-class reaction?SF: The U.S. president has been openly super-hostile to Iran and wants to break up the nuclear agreement that removed U.N. sanctions from Iran. Trump intervened in December with tweets attacking the Iranian government and encouraging the demonstrators. U.S. representative to the United Nations Nikki Haley then raised in the U.N. Security Council the question of alleged Iranian government repression. Washington was clearly trying to use the events to tear up the nuclear treaty.Whether in Venezuela, Libya, Syria, Yugoslavia, Zimbabwe or Iran, imperialism attempts to provoke internal dislocation and highjack whatever opposition arises in order to turn it into a tool against the government. Regardless of the class basis of the original protests, the orientation of the internal right-wing forces, the U.S. State Department and numerous imperialist secret agencies is to make every effort to immediately impact their political character and weaken the state, which they see as an enemy of imperialism.At the U.N., Washington had little support for this, even from the other imperialist countries, which so far have supported the nuclear treaty.Corporate media coverage of the Iranian protests has been extensive and sympathetic to the protesters. It has exaggerated the extent of the protests while criticizing Tehran for repression. How unlike their meager coverage, for example, of Black Lives Matter protests in the U.S., pro-Palestinian demonstrations anywhere or the ongoing protests of the fraudulent election in Honduras.The U.S. government and corporate media hypocritically express full support for protests over rising food prices and economic hardship even as Washington imposes sanctions that dislocate economic development and create wrenching shortages, which can be as brutally effective and destructive as bombs.It is reasonable to suspect a U.S. role in any turmoil in Iran, as the U.S. engineered the 1953 coup that replaced an elected government with rule by the hated shah. In 2009 a U.S. think tank, the Brookings Institute, published a manual on how to overthrow the Iranian government and take control of the country. Chapter headings included: “The Velvet Revolution: Supporting a Popular Uprising” and “Inspiring an Insurgency: Supporting Iranian Minority and Opposition Groups.” ( the existence of these U.S. plans doesn’t explain the origin of every struggle.WW: What is the nature of the internal struggle in Iran?SF: Iran is a capitalist country, but its ruling bodies are rooted in a revolutionary upheaval that totally threw out U.S. imperialist domination. It nationalized the oil and gas resources, Iran’s greatest source of wealth. It now has a strong state sector.In the internal class struggle in Iran, as in every capitalist country, the capitalist class seeks to use every leverage and form of corruption to increase its wealth and position.The government of President Rouhani was committed to finalizing negotiations with the U.S. and European powers to end the strangulating economic sanctions. In order to normalize economic relations, the Iranian government also accepted many International Monetary Fund and World Bank demands to drastically reduce subsidies and privatize some industries. This policy was favored by the capitalists and middle class.The IMF and World Bank had earlier made these same demands on Syria and Libya as the price of normalizing economic and especially banking transactions. Before 2011, the IMF had demanded a cut in subsidies to the working class and poor as the price for normalizing relations with these two countries.Currently the Iranian government provides $100 billion per year in subsidies for fuel, bread, sugar, rice, cooking oil and medicine. About 90 percent of the population receives direct cash subsidies each month directly into their bank accounts, at a cost of $30 billion. These subsidies soften the impact of high youth unemployment and closed industries.The recent protests were triggered when cuts in subsidies by the Rouhani government led to a rapid 40 percent increase in the price of eggs and poultry. For the poor to battle these cuts is justified. These were demonstrations demanding social justice. The problem is U.S. intervention and the attempt to wield the protests against the government.WW: And how would you summarize?SF:  While as you can see there are other points that help explain the current crisis and the demonstrations, these need to be balanced with defense of Iran’s sovereignty and our complete opposition to U.S. imperialism.The anti-imperialist view from here in the center of U.S. imperialism is: Hands off Iran! End the sanctions! Stop the threats!Don’t believe the corporate media hype. The U.S. sanctions, war threats and sabotage are the greatest source of the problems facing Iran, which is still a developing country.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Discovery Center opens with new virus restrictions

first_imgSome of the larger exhibit components have been removed to allow for social distancing. After months of being closed, the center says its excited to see families return. Each exhibit now has a sign hanging up stating how many families are allowed in at a time, and in the more interactive exhibits a majority of the touchables have been removed. (WBNG) — The Discovery Center opened its doors Friday and there is a few changes you should expect. Additionally, the museum was opened up for private parties. To set up a time slot to visit the center and schedule a private party, click here.center_img The Discovery Center has also ramped up its cleaning methods and brought in more disinfectant to ensure a safe experience. “We are so happy, we have goodie bags for the kids today. We are also opening up the museum for private parties. We used to host birthday parties on the weekend but now you can have the whole museum to yourself.” said Assistant Executive Director Cheryl Dutko. There is a 25 percent capacity for the visiting the museum.last_img read more

Pac-10 depth good for USC

first_imgFor the second straight week, ESPN’s College GameDay will feature a matchup with a Pac-10 team.For the second straight week, USC is not that team.In the previous decade, this would have been unthinkable. Pete Carroll invaded the Pac-10 and the Trojans were soon lords of the empire. Only a few times during USC’s run of seven straight Pac-10 championships — most notably in 2007 when Oregon and Cal both rose to No. 2 and Arizona State hit No. 5 nationally — did the rest of the conference try to throw a coup d’état.The matchup between No. 4 Oregon and No. 9 Stanford this Saturday, two of the three Pac-10 teams currently ranked higher than undefeated USC, officially signals the rise of depth and parity in the Pac-10.Believe it or not, that’s a good thing for the Trojans.Or course, this makes the most sense if USC can remain undefeated and beat the higher-ranked foes. If this happens, the Trojans will most likely be in the top 5 come November, and then there will be talk about them winning the AP title even though they can’t go to a bowl game.Without the depth in the Pac-10, USC wouldn’t even have a chance to crack the top 5, maybe even not the top 10. Unfortunately for the Trojans, its non-conference schedule of solely FBS teams turned out to be easier than slicing a fork through tiramisu. That, combined with the negative national perception of USC thanks to the sanctions, ousting of the athletic director and Heisman Trophy fiasco, doesn’t give voters the sense of gusto USC once had.But say the Trojans don’t win. Say the depth and strength of the Pac-10 is too much for them to handle and they end up in the middle of the conference at the end of the season. Is the depth still good for them?While anyone’s initial reaction would be to go all Will Smith and say “Aw hell no,” Trojan fans should take a deeper look and realize the depth could still help the Trojans.It’s no secret that USC has played with far less than the maximum number of scholarship players allowed on the roster this season. The Trojans are so stretched to the limit that coach Lane Kiffin half-joked at practice Tuesday that he had kids from science class who had never played football filling out the practice squad. Kiffin limits tackling during practice to keep the team healthy, because one or two injuries could be the difference between one loss and three losses.With three Pac-10 teams above USC trying to hog the conference spotlight this year, the pressure is off the Trojans to do well. Almost everyone expects them to finish third or fourth in the conference at season’s end. This means that USC doesn’t have to worry about embarrassing itself (for the most part) on the national stage.This is important because now the Trojans have a few years to buy into the philosophy of its new coach. Kiffin could not have chosen a better time to come to USC. The pressure is off him to win the BCS Championship in his first few years, meaning that the microscope isn’t so sharply focused on him and he can spend some time making his mark on the program. Fans and supporters will also have an adjustment period instead of calling for his head if he doesn’t win the national championship in his first year.USC’s role as an underdog, something it hasn’t been in quite some time, benefits the program as well. With the sanctions on the team, the Trojans have shown that they are down, but not out. In any situation, the best thing to do after getting a blow to the face is retreat to your corner, get stitched up and think of a new plan of attack so that when it’s time to get back into battle, you will be ready.With the newfound conference depth, the Trojans are able to do just that, lick their wounds and get healed. If they were supposed to be the best team in the league, they would have to try to recuperate with the expectation of winning the Pac-10, which is tough to do. I’m not saying the team is just giving up and doesn’t expect to win the conference, because it does, but there’s a difference between national expectations this year and a few years ago.The Trojans are still putting their full effort into winning the AP national championship and the Pac-10 title, but the depth of the Pac-10 allows them to let someone else carry the conference burden. With that in place, the Trojans can now sneak up on the leaders and reclaim the throne that they lost.“Spittin’ Sports” runs every Thursday. To comment on this article, visit or e-mail Kenny at [email protected]last_img read more

West Ham and Birmingham keepers linked as Warnock is said to want Kenny

first_imgLeeds United boss Neil Warnock wants to sign Paddy Kenny from QPR, who are eyeing Robert Green and Ben Foster as potential replacements, according to The People.Kenny knows Warnock well.Kenny, whose contract expires in 2013, was signed for Rangers by Warnock and also played under him at Sheffield United and Bury.Warnock’s Loftus Road successor Mark Hughes was linked with Birmingham keeper Foster before the transfer deadline and it is now claimed that West Ham’s Green is also on his radar.The People also suggest that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is to hold face-to-face talks with Jose Mourinho about a return to Stamford Bridge for the Real Madrid boss.France coach Laurent Blanc is also said to have been sounded out, but Mourinho is apparently willing to discuss taking his old job back.But The Sun on Sunday say Abramovich has ruled out taking Mourinho back to the club.Abramovich is said to be interested in appointing Capello.It is claimed that although Mourinho has been linked with the manager’s position, Abramovich has no intention of appointing him.A Blues source is quoted as saying: “There is absolutely no way Roman will go back in for Jose — no way.“Russians never go back, they replace things rather than fix them and they never admit they are wrong.“While Roman continues to own the club people should forget about him returning.”The Sun on Sunday also say that Salomon Kalou, whose Chelsea contract expires this summer, is a target for Tottenham and Arsenal as well as Bayern Munich and clubs in France, Russia and Spain.Meanwhile, the Mail on Sunday suggest Fabio Capello is ready to return to England to manage in the Premier League, which will apparently alert Abramovich to the possibility of appointing him.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

4 Ways to Prepare for the Next Wave of Digital Transformation

first_imgRelated Posts Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Suresh Sambandam is the CEO of KiSSFLOW, a disruptive, SaaS-based enterprise-level workflow and business process automation platform enterprises with more than 10,000 customers across 120 countries. Tags:#digital transformation#IT The next wave of digital transformation is on the horizon — and it’ll be a veritable tsunami. A 2017 SAP report showed that 84 percent of organizations think digital transformation is vital to their success but that only 3 percent have completed their transformation initiatives.This wave will consist of applications built by citizen developers. Soon, these developers will be able to build their own applications just like business users can build out their own spreadsheets, documents, and presentations.Where’s IT in all of this? Right now, companies relying on IT alone to propel digital transformation are running at a pace that’s far too slow. If they work solely with professional programmers, organizations will never reach the necessary level of digital transformation.IT of the PastTraditionally, IT services has approached digital innovation very slowly. They have also viewed themselves as the gatekeepers of technology: If you want to use it, you have to go through them first. IT teams have done this because they see their primary role as safeguards of the current system — not as digital disruptors. In large enterprises especially, the goal of IT services is to not mess anything up.For almost as long as IT departments have been around, they have been battling it out with business users for resources and acclaim. But as technology has advanced, this rivalry has grown. If an organization hopes to stay competitive, business and IT teams need to work together.When computers first came on the business scene, IT was in charge of all technology decisions, both software and hardware. Security is the main reason IT has traditionally been given the final say. But as technology has developed, more and more business leaders and employees have found ways to circumvent IT and use the machines and programs they prefer.This creates a layer of instability, making true IT security almost impossible. In fact, a study conducted by SafeBreach found that malware succeeds about 60 percent of the time. Having an appropriate security plan in place is not only proactive — it’s absolutely necessary.With cloud technology and digital solutions required across any enterprise, a new IT approach needs to be developed. Rather than serving as security wardens, IT services should think of themselves as the enablers of technology usage. These teams should search for platforms that offer business users the ability to create solutions of their own. Swaths of core technology haven’t yet reached the masses; IT can democratize technology for those people.Digital Transformation of the FutureThe next wave of transformation will be wide, not deep. Most deep solutions needed by business users have already been solved. But hundreds of long-tail solutions are still needed in each organization. This includes customer-facing aspects of the business: An AlixPartners and MIT study found that a mere 23 percent of companies have fully digital business operations and customer interfaces.Achieving full digital transformation means finding a way to scale and reach these solutions. The advent of citizen developers will help. These individuals should know the business inside and out — they should be able to work directly with the technology.Enabling citizen developers, however, means eliminating full-code platforms. Platforms should be simpler, easier to use, and geared toward common business users. In other words, platforms for non-IT users should have a heavy emphasis on UI/UX while offering robust features.Ready to get started conquering the next wave of transformation? Here’s how:1. Expand your imagination.Many business leaders haven’t yet considered creating their own solutions. But IT doesn’t have to exist in a security-focused vacuum. Start thinking about technology as a solution to business problems. Encourage cross-organizational collaboration between business users and IT professionals. Share stories across departments to inspire all team members to think about using technology to solve business challenges in sophisticated ways.2. Train your workforce.Whether you’ve identified them or not, you have plenty of current and future citizen developers in your midst. But it’s possible some of them are too intimidated to jump into the world of building out their own solutions without encouragement. You should identify these eager team members and champion a select group of pioneers who are willing to create custom applications. Fostering a group of leading citizen developers will not only build up those individuals’ confidence in their abilities, but it will also show people across the organization that it is possible.3. Invest in the appropriate platforms.While products were the technological golden child of the past 10 years, platforms will become the go-to solution in the next decade. Groups within your organization want to build their own custom applications, so make sure that your company has the best technology possible for multiple functionalities. Consult with leaders of different teams in your organization. Right now, research shows that only 60 percent of business process management is digital, significantly behind the 79 percent of IT management that can claim to be digital — it’s time to catch up.4. Think about processes, not tasks.The workforce is increasingly volatile for companies. The freelancing economy continues to gain prominence, with an increased focus on remote work over the typical 9-to-5 desk job. In fact, as of 2016, about 35 percent of the American workforce was made up of freelancers. This disruption is likely to cause churn within teams. Enterprises should be thinking about processes that capture as much data as possible without being dependent on specific employees. This process-first approach will make transitions easier, as context-aware platforms can help onboard and offboard staff more fluidly.The growing wave of technology capabilities isn’t slowing down any time soon. Companies need to prioritize their own digital transformation to keep up, no matter what industry they are in. Leaders should follow these four steps to ensure they have a digital-first mindset that can keep up with the upcoming wave. What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Suresh Sambandam Follow the Puck Trends Driving the Loyalty Marketing Industrylast_img read more

Neymar dazzles as Barcelona down Juventus

first_imgView comments Neymar had kept the guessing game about his future bubbling away after posting a picture of himself looking pensive on Instagram on Friday.But there was little to suggest that the charismatic striker is overwhelmed by the transfer saga as he produced a bewitching performance in front of a sell-out 82,104 crowd at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsThe Brazilian broke clear after only four minutes but saw a tame shot from near the edge of the area drift away from the goal.Barcelona, with Lionel Messi starting, looked by far the more threatening of the two teams with Aleix Vidal and Messi both drawing early blocks from the Juventus defence. Church, environmentalists ask DENR to revoke ECC of Quezon province coal plant National Coffee Research Development and Extension Center brews the 2nd National Coffee Education Congress LATEST STORIES Barcelona rang the changes at half-time, withdrawing all but two of their starting line-up, Neymar exiting for Sergi Roberto and Arda Turan replacing Messi. Juventus also made a raft of substitutions which led to the introduction of Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain and Douglas Costa amongst others.The changes immediately gave Juve a sharper attacking edge and Dybala was quick to test Adria Ortola with a rasping shot on 62 minutes that was turned around for a corner.From the ensuing setpiece, Giorgio Chiellini nodded home Dybala’s cross to make it 2-1.However it was Barcelona who finished the stronger of the two sides, with Luis Suarez repeatedly threatening to extend the Spanish side’s lead.Man of the moment Neymar departed the stadium without addressing reporters, while Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde could only repeat his desire to keep the Brazilian.“We want Neymar to be with us,” Valverde said. “We know his value on the pitch and what he brings to the locker room.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Trump strips away truth with hunky topless photo tweet Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. center_img Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ FEU Auditorium’s 70th year celebrated with FEU Theater Guild’s ‘The Dreamweavers’ MOST READ Chris Weidman tops Kelvin Gastelum in UFC college homecoming Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim At the other end Mario Mandzukic might have given Juve the lead on 14 minutes but his header from a Stefano Sturaro cross went wide.The Italians were made to rue Mandzukic’s profligacy a minute later when Neymar fired the Catalans into the lead, playing a clever one-two with Paco Alcacer and drilling his finish past Gianluigi Buffon.Nine minutes later and Neymar grabbed his second, picking his way through a static Juventus defence before burying a low shot beyond Buffon once more.Neymar might have had a hat-trick three minutes from half-time, when Messi floated a delightful pass in behind the Juve defence for the Brazilian.Buffon on this occasion was equal to the challenge however and blocked safely.ADVERTISEMENT Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (R) and is teammate Brazilian forward Neymar warmp up before the International Champions Cup (ICC) match between Juventus FC and FC Barcelona, at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on July 22, 2017.FC Barcelona defeated Juventus 2-1. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMADNeymar gave Barcelona fans a dazzling reminder of what they could be about to lose on Saturday, scoring twice as the Spanish giants defeated Juventus 2-1 in a pre-season friendly.The 25-year-old Brazilian superstar is at the centre of frenzied speculation linking him to a gargantuan, world record 222-million-euro ($256.8 million) transfer to Paris Saint-Germain.ADVERTISEMENTlast_img read more