ppi-news-Le Monde diplomatique-abstracts-June 1998


Richard Moore

Date: Tue, 9 Jun 1998
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                                                    LE MONDE DIPLOMATIQUE

                           Le Monde diplomatique

                              english edition

                                June 1998

                        edited by Wendy Kristianasen


  Giant corporations, dwarf states *

      by Ignacio Ramonet

     The power of the state is in retreat before an onslaught of giant
     corporates, fuelled by a frenzy of privatisation. The recent
     mega-mergers confirm the process of globalisation is beyond the
     control of governments, but should citizens accept it?

                                                  Translated by Ed Emery


  Indonesia, master card in Washington's hand

      by Noam Chomsky

     The Asian crisis has claimed its first victim - apart from the
     millions of workers now unemployed - General Suharto. President for
     over thirty years, he had a monopoly of power based on emoluments
     and corruption. Finally, he proved unable to carry out the reforms
     demanded by the International Monetary Fund or to stop the riots.
     On 21 May 1998 he resigned. His successor, Jusuf Habibie, has given
     some signs of change with the announcement of elections, the
     release of political prisoners and changes at the top of the army.
     But will the country get the thorough-going change it needs?

                                                Original text in English

  Between the finance markets and the army

      by Françoise Cayrac-Blanchard

     Now that the dictator has resigned and been replaced by Mr Habibie,
     whether the transition is towards a "constitutional" or "people's
     power" model of democracy, the army is sure to play a decisive
     role, even if it decides to take a back seat.

                                                  Translated by Ed Emery


  Russia and America at odds in the Gulf *

      by Alain Gresh

     On a visit to Israel at the end of May, a United States Congress
     delegation led by Republican Newt Gingrich and Democrat Richard
     Gephardt confirmed its support for Binyamin Netanyahu's hard line
     and its opposition to any attempt by Washington to put pressure on
     Israel. But the Israeli-Palestinian deadlock is complicating US
     strategy in the Gulf. Unable to mobilise its Arab allies against
     Iraq, America is also encountering reticence on the part of the
     European countries and running up against an increasingly
     independent Russia.

                                              Translated by Barry Smerin

  The Iran factor

      by Alain Gresh

     Iran continues to preoccupy both Russia, with which it has close
     relations, and the United States. Encouraged by President Khatami's
     call for a "dialogue of civilisations", Washington is dropping
     proceedings against Gazprom, Total and Petronas which have signed
     an agreement with Iran to develop a large gas field. The Iran-Libya
     Sanctions Act (Ilsa), adopted by Congress in 1996, had met with
     stiff resistance throughout the world, nowhere more so than in
     Europe. Washington's new approach towards Iran is all the more
     important as President Khatami has limited room for manoeuvre.

                                        Translated by Wendy Kristianasen


  Elections offer brief respite from crisis *

      by Mathias Greffrath

     In Germany, the Christian Democrats are in danger of losing the
     election on 27 September and Chancellor Helmut Kohl, in power since
     1982, may have to step down. Opinion polls at the end of May gave
     Social Democrat Gerhard Schröder a clear lead. But the Germans are
     not exactly thrilled by the alternative on offer. The trouble is
     that the Social Democrat candidate has not put the real choice
     between different kinds of society at the heart of his campaign.

                                            Translated by Barbara Wilson


  Bolt from the blue in Denmark

      by Hubert Prolongeau

     Denmark is being shaken by an unprecedented social movement. For
     the first time since 1961, the workers' rejection of the biannual
     agreement between the blue-collar trade unions and the employers
     gave way to a two-week wildcat strike and the government was forced
     to intervene. At issue is the length of the working week, opening
     an important debate on the future of prosperous societies.

                                          Translated by Francisca Garvie


  The Lomé Convention under threat

      by Anne-Marie Mouradian

     The Lomé Convention, which has been renewed and revised three times
     since 1975, has historically symbolised Europe's ambitions to
     establish new relations with the South. No more were these to be
     dominated by economic interests and power politics. Despite the
     modesty of its achievements, it is one of the last remaining means
     for protecting the world's poor countries from the full force of
     globalisation. But not for long. Europe is preparing to negotiate
     the fifth Convention, and international finance and trade
     organisations are insisting that it be brought into line with the
     rules of the new world economic order.

                                                  Translated by Ed Emery


  India in the hands of the Hindu nationalists

      by Christophe Jaffrelot

     India's controversial nuclear testing has redirected attention to
     the subcontinent where the Indian People's Party (BJP), the biggest
     Hindu nationalist movement, emerged winners in this March's
     elections. The BJP has its roots in the Hindu nationalist movement
     that emerged in the 1920s, that sought to strengthen the Hindus in
     the face of the Muslim minority, and this allegiance still remains
     a constraint to the BJP. Some people have been pleasantly surprised
     by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's reassuring attitude
     towards Pakistan. But there is still rising Hindu nationalism - and
     those nuclear tests.

                                         Translated by Malcolm Greenwood

  Very political crimes in Bombay

      by Jeremy Seabrook

     Social collapse in Bombay has taken the form of a growing number of
     extra-judicial police killings. During the past three years there
     have been almost 150 deaths in what have come to be known as police
     "encounters". Here, in the state capital of Maharashtra and India's
     commercial heart, the distinction between crime and politics has
     become blurred.

                                                Original text in English


  Transport and geostrategy in southern Russia

      by Jean Radvanyi

     "A 21st Century Silk Road" is what people are calling the project
     for a Eurasian corridor in Southern Russia, which has been launched
     by the European Union with the backing of the United States. Road
     and rail networks, ports, pipelines and an air corridor are
     providing access to the region's newly-independent states, but by
     routes which avoid Russia and Iran but increase the crucial role of
     Turkey. No holds are barred in this struggle to exploit natural

                                              Translated by Pat Phillips


  When immigration turns to slavery

      by Thierry Parisot

     The 150th anniversary of France's abolition of slavery was the
     occasion for many events marking the 19th century black slave
     trade. But the enslavement of human beings is just as much a
     reality today, affecting millions of women and children across the
     globe. As this exploitation starts to reach the heart of Western
     Europe, awareness of the phenomenon is slowly growing. The
     children's march was the first public demonstration.

                                         Translated by Malcolm Greenwood

  Organising against child labour *

      by Claire Brisset

     The facts about the world's child labourers are only now beginning
     to be understood for the international scandal and the economic
     folly that they are. A scandal, because it deprives millions of
     them of their childhood; and a folly, because it denies them any
     hope of education, and thus seriously undermines their countries'
     hopes of economic lift-off.

                                                  Translated by Ed Emery

  The Beirut slave trade

      by Marie Odile and Xavier Favre

     Virtual imprisonment and abuse, the hallmarks of slavery in an
     earlier time, are now the daily experience of thousands of Sri
     Lankan women (and others from Africa), employed as servants in
     today's Beirut. The authorities are turning a blind eye and the
     public at large is oblivious to this trade in human labour, which
     goes on behind the closed doors of the employment agencies and the
     employer families.

                                        Translated by Wendy Kristianasen

     (*) Star-marked articles are available to every reader. Other
     articles are available to paid subscribers only.

     Yearly subscription fee: 24 US $ (Institutions 48 US $).

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