On Second Thought - March 2017

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Putin ate missing cat

'If a cat goes missing, Putin must have eaten it' — German comedian.

A German comedian, Lisa Fitz, has called for the end of war as a “multi-billion dollar business” while speaking during an anti-war protest in Munich. She went on to criticize the media for “blaming everything on Putin,” no matter the topic. (More)

By stripping Marine Le Pen of immunity ‘EU is

interfering in French internal affairs’ – UKIP MEP

French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has had her EU Parliamentary immunity revoked. The decision follows the second round of voting held by EU Parliament lawmakers. Le Pen may now face prosecution for tweeting pictures of Islamic State violence. In her latest interview for a French TV channel, Le Pen called the allegations politically motivated. (More)

Think unions are irrelevant?

'With the degree of inequality now the same as it was in the 1920s,

unions are as needed now as they were then'

By David McLaren

Monday 6 March 2017 — A little while ago, Postmedia ran yet another editorial slamming civil servants and their unions for costing us all too much money and pointing to the private sector for how things should be – as if that’s any kind of legitimate measures in these days of precarious work and even more precarious wages and benefits.
The editorial was, I believe, in support of a report from the right wing Fraser Institute that compared public sector wages and benefits with the private sector. It decided that the public employees were being overpaid. But you can use the same report to say that private sector workers are underpaid.
And the data would back you up. Salaries for the vast majority of Canadians have stagnated over the past 30 years or risen only 2% -- in other words we’re doing worse than the economy. But compensation for the 10% at the top of the heap has increased a whopping 76%. CEOs in Canada now make 184% of what they pay their average workers. (More)

The formation of Nobel Prize winner

Gabriel Garcia Marquez's leftist ideology

Monday 06 Mrch 2017 — Affectionately known as “Gabo,” Colombian novelist, screenwriter and journalist, Gabriel Garcia Marquez was one of Latin America’s most iconic figures of modern literature. In 1982, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for his collective work “in which the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination, reflecting a continent's life and conflicts.”

Forever inquisitive, critical and creative, Garcia Marquez was not only a key figure of literature in the region, but was an important figure in leftist politics. On what would be the writer's 90th birthday, teleSUR looks back at the some of the key events that shaped his political outlook.

1. Early Political Education

As well as political events and family relationships that helped to shape a young Garcia Marquez and his ideas, his school education in Zipaquira, north of Bogota, also made a mark on his thinking. It was at this school that he first learned socialist teachings and was introduced to books by Russian Revolutionary Vladimir Lenin.

After graduating, Marquez recalled that he then believed that “good novels must be a poetic transposition of reality, and ... that mankind's immediate future lay in socialism.”

2. An Imperialist Massacre Close to Home

In 1928 – just around the time that Garcia Marquez was born – striking banana workers from the U.S.-based company United Fruit Company organized themselves to demand better pay and working conditions. The strike outside Cienaga in the country’s northeast was seen as communist activity that threatened the company’s interests.

Colombian troops then moved in to quell the strikes. After a brief warning, they opened fire on workers and families after they attended church. While there is no official death toll from the massacre, estimated range from 47 into the thousands.

The massacre shocked Colombia and was seen as key to inspiring revolutionary communist movements, such as the FARC. The impact on Garcia Marquez was significant, as he went on to adapt a fictional version of the event in his most popular novel “One Hundred Years of Solitude.”

While Garcia Marquez´s father was a known conservative, the writer recalled in an interview with the New Left Review in 1983 how his progressive grandfather told him "about the massacre of the banana workers which took place in Aracataca the year I was born. So you see my family influenced me toward rebellion rather than toward upholding the established order.” (More)

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