Bloodshed for oil in Libya continues

This 17 January 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Interest in its Natural Resources Is Tearing Libya Apart

Political writer Greg Shupak discusses the failed attempt in Moscow to reach a ceasefire agreement in the Libyan civil war, and the new attempt in Berlin. As Turkey, the UAE, Egypt, and other regional players

Turkey accused of fuelling resurgence of Isis in Libya: here.

not forgetting the proxy war in Libya between French President Macron and French Total oil on one side, and the Italian government and Italian Eni oil on the other side

interfere to promote their interests in Libya’s natural resources, the country seems as far as it ever was from achieving peace.

Battle continues to rage in Libya despite peace conference as Turkey floods country with jihadists: here.

The Libya conference, which took place this past Sunday in Berlin, was not about “peace” in the war-torn country, but about the distribution of the loot. It is reminiscent of the conferences at which the colonial powers of the 19th century divided up entire regions and continents among themselves: here.

UKRANIAN JET VICTIM RAN SUSPICIOUS COMPANY A passenger killed on the Ukrainian jet downed by Iranian missiles earlier this month was a businesswoman who was the boss of two companies cited in a U.N. report for links to the shadowy arms trade supplying the protracted civil war in Libya. [CNN]

‘Asteroid, not volcanoes, killed dinosaurs’

This 2016 video says about itself:

How Asteroids Really Killed The Dinosaurs – Part 1 | Last Days of the Dinosaurs

In the clip from Last Days of the Dinosaur, we learn how the asteroids really killed the dinosaurs

Asteroid Day is celebrated every year on the 30th of June.

This 2016 video says about itself:

How Asteroids Really Killed The Dinosaurs – Part 2 | Last Day Of The Dinosaurs

Did you know that if the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs from the face of the Earth would have hit another location, they might still be alive? The shallow waters of the Gulf Of Mexico instantly vaporized as the asteroid hit, causing absolute destruction. This was the Last Day Of The Dinosaurs.

From Yale University in the USA:

In death of dinosaurs, it was all about the asteroid — not volcanoes

January 16, 2020

Volcanic activity did not play a direct role in the mass extinction event that killed the dinosaurs, according to an international, Yale-led team of researchers. It was all about the asteroid.

In a break from a number of other recent studies, Yale assistant professor of geology & geophysics Pincelli Hull and her colleagues argue in a new research paper in Science that environmental impacts from massive volcanic eruptions in India in the region known as the Deccan Traps happened well before the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event 66 million years ago and therefore did not contribute to the mass extinction.

Most scientists acknowledge that the mass extinction event, also known as K-Pg, occurred after an asteroid slammed into Earth. Some researchers also have focused on the role of volcanoes in K-Pg due to indications that volcanic activity happened around the same time.

“Volcanoes can drive mass extinctions because they release lots of gases, like SO2 and CO2, that can alter the climate and acidify the world,” said Hull, lead author of the new study. “But recent work has focused on the timing of lava eruption rather than gas release.”

To pinpoint the timing of volcanic gas emission, Hull and her colleagues compared global temperature change and the carbon isotopes (an isotope is an atom with a higher or lower number of neutrons than normal) from marine fossils with models of the climatic effect of CO2 release. They concluded that most of the gas release happened well before the asteroid impact — and that the asteroid was the sole driver of extinction.

“Volcanic activity in the late Cretaceous caused a gradual global warming event of about two degrees, but not mass extinction,” said former Yale researcher Michael Henehan, who compiled the temperature records for the study. “A number of species moved toward the North and South poles but moved back well before the asteroid impact.”

Added Hull, “A lot of people have speculated that volcanoes mattered to K-Pg, and we’re saying, ‘No, they didn’t.'”

Recent work on the Deccan Traps, in India, has also pointed to massive eruptions in the immediate aftermath of the K-Pg mass extinction. These results have puzzled scientists because there is no warming event to match. The new study suggests an answer to this puzzle, as well.

“The K-Pg extinction was a mass extinction and this profoundly altered the global carbon cycle,” said Yale postdoctoral associate Donald Penman, the study’s modeler. “Our results show that these changes would allow the ocean to absorb an enormous amount of CO2 on long time scales — perhaps hiding the warming effects of volcanism in the aftermath of the event.”

The International Ocean Discovery Program, the National Science Foundation, and Yale University helped fund the research.

Trillion dollar Afghan war, based on lies

This 16 January 2020 video by Democratic party presidential candidate and Iraq war veteran Tulsi Gabbard says about itself:

Trillions spent on Afghan War based on lies

Politicians who say there isn’t enough money to pay for health care or education or infrastructure have been lying to us about “progress” in the war in Afghanistan when they knew/know it is unwinnablelying to justify spending $4 billion a month for 18 years and counting.

Schoorlse Duinen sand dunes, arrival

This 2017 Dutch video is about the Schoorlse Duinen nature reserve.

This area has the highest coastal sand dunes in the Netherlands.

We arrived there on 17 January 2020. During a short walk, I saw a flowering common daisy.

Stay tuned, as there will be more on this blog about this area!

Honduras regime, mass killing of women

This 17 January 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

4 Years Seeking Justice: Daughter of Slain Indigenous Environmental Leader Berta Cáceres Speaks Out

In Honduras, a new report by the Violence Observatory at the Honduran National Autonomous University says that at least 15 women have been murdered in the first 14 days of this year. Violence against women, LGBTQ people, indigenous leaders and environmental activists has skyrocketed in Honduras under the U.S.-backed government of President Juan Orlando Hernández.

The report comes nearly four years after the Honduran indigenous environmental activist Berta Cáceres was shot dead inside her home in La Esperanza, Honduras, by hired hitmen. Last month in the capital of Tegucigalpa, seven men were sentenced to up to 50 years in prison for her killing in March 2016. At the time of her assassination, Cáceres had been fighting the construction of a major hydroelectric dam on the Gualcarque River on sacred Lenca land in southwestern Honduras.

In November 2018, a court ruled that Cáceres’s killing was ordered by executives of the Honduran company behind the Agua Zarca dam, known as DESA, who hired the convicted hitmen. Cáceres won the Goldman Environmental Prize for her work protecting indigenous communities and for her environmental justice campaign against the massive dam in 2015.

In December, we sat down with one of her daughters, Laura Zúñiga Cáceres, in Madrid, Spain, where she was receiving a human rights award. “This is a late conviction. It has been almost four years of seeking justice. It is the product of a rather difficult and painful process that has been putting us as victims in direct dispute with a murderous and aggressive state, and they produced the minimum consequences that the state could have given,” Zúñiga Cáceres says.

STRIKING nurses have accused the Honduran government of treating them like animals, vowing that they will keep going until demands for increased pay and an end to the threat of dismissal are met: here.

Giant squid genome research

This 2015 video says about itself:

A giant Architeuthis dux squid was caught on camera when it swam into a harbor in Japan on Christmas Eve. The young squid is estimated to be 12 feet long, and scientists say the species can reach over 40 feet in length.

From the Marine Biological Laboratory in the USA:

The mysterious, legendary giant squid’s genome is revealed

January 16, 2020

How did the monstrous giant squid — reaching school-bus size, with eyes as big as dinner plates and tentacles that can snatch prey 10 yards away — get so scarily big?

Today, important clues about the anatomy and evolution of the mysterious giant squid (Architeuthis dux) are revealed through publication of its full genome sequence by a University of Copenhagen-led team that includes scientist Caroline Albertin of the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), Woods Hole.

Giant squid are rarely sighted and have never been caught and kept alive, meaning their biology (even how they reproduce) is still largely a mystery. The genome sequence can provide important insight.

“In terms of their genes, we found the giant squid look a lot like other animals. This means we can study these truly bizarre animals to learn more about ourselves,” says Albertin, who in 2015 led the team that sequenced the first genome of a cephalopod (the group that includes squid, octopus, cuttlefish, and nautilus).

Led by Rute da Fonseca at University of Copenhagen, the team discovered that the giant squid genome is big: with an estimated 2.7 billion DNA base pairs, it’s about 90 percent the size of the human genome.

Albertin analyzed several ancient, well-known gene families in the giant squid, drawing comparisons with the four other cephalopod species that have been sequenced and with the human genome.

She found that important developmental genes in almost all animals (Hox and Wnt) were present in single copies only in the giant squid genome. That means this gigantic, invertebrate creature — long a source of sea-monster lore — did NOT get so big through whole-genome duplication, a strategy that evolution took long ago to increase the size of vertebrates.

So, knowing how this squid species got so giant awaits further probing of its genome.

“A genome is a first step for answering a lot of questions about the biology of these very weird animals,” Albertin said, such as how they acquired the largest brain among the invertebrates, their sophisticated behaviors and agility, and their incredible skill at instantaneous camouflage.

“While cephalopods have many complex and elaborate features, they are thought to have evolved independently of the vertebrates. By comparing their genomes we can ask, ‘Are cephalopods and vertebrates built the same way or are they built differently?'” Albertin says.

Albertin also identified more than 100 genes in the protocadherin family — typically not found in abundance in invertebrates — in the giant squid genome.

“Protocadherins are thought to be important in wiring up a complicated brain correctly,” she says. “They were thought they were a vertebrate innovation, so we were really surprised when we found more than 100 of them in the octopus genome (in 2015). That seemed like a smoking gun to how you make a complicated brain. And we have found a similar expansion of protocadherins in the giant squid, as well.”

Lastly, she analyzed a gene family that (so far) is unique to cephalopods, called reflectins. “Reflectins encode a protein that is involved in making iridescence. Color is an important part of camouflage, so we are trying to understand what this gene family is doing and how it works,” Albertin says.

“Having this giant squid genome is an important node in helping us understand what makes a cephalopod a cephalopod. And it also can help us understand how new and novel genes arise in evolution and development.”

Australian volunteer firefighters interviewed

Australian firefighter Brendan O'Connor and his wife Wendy

From the World Socialist Web Site in Australia:

Australia: Balmoral firefighters say they were “abandoned” and demand better resources

By our reporters

17 January 2020

Balmoral Village Rural Fire Service (RFS) captain Brendon O’Connor told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) this week that authorities had re-directed firefighting equipment away from the community as it came under attack from the Green Wattle Creek fire on December 21. Balmoral is in the Southern Highlands and about 100 kilometres southwest of Sydney.

The ill-equipped local RFS unit, which is entirely manned by volunteers, desperately fought to save the settlement under conditions where it is not connected to the state water supply and quickly ran out of water. Twenty-two houses or 15 percent of the village’s homes were destroyed by the fire.

“On the Thursday and Friday [December 20] we had a great number of resources, but unfortunately a decision was made on Friday evening to remove all resources from Balmoral, including bulk water, and that was replaced with a small water truck,” O’Connor told the ABC.

“We were asked to remove our own trucks from the village, which I refused to do… We were abandoned during the fight on the Saturday until much later and we’ve been abandoned since… We haven’t seen any government agency, and it’s been too hard for them to come into the village and offer assistance.”

World Socialist Web Site reporters revisited Balmoral last weekend and spoke with O’Connor.

“For the first two weeks we were on our own with no official assistance from outside,” he said, “apart from the wider community through donations of water, non-perishable foods, clothing, bedding, toiletries, which was absolutely overwhelming. We’ve had Indian, Thai, Vietnamese restaurants feeding over 150 people so it’s incredible.

“It’s been a very different [response from the authorities]. Our local council didn’t even know that we were part of this shire. They thought we had town water and didn’t know that there was fire in their shire.”

O’Connor explained that most of the water tanks, which the village relies on for its water, were now contaminated with ash and possibly asbestos. Specialised trucks are required to vacuum the tanks, which have been requested but are yet to arrive. The RFS captain described the considerable dangers posed by dead trees and said that the main road through the village was only 80 percent safe with at least 100 more trees to be felled. “It’ll be months of work cleaning up,” he added.

Asked about Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s holiday in Hawaii, he said: “None of them [government politicians] were paying attention to what was going on. Everyone dropped the ball. It didn’t bother me that Morrison went on holidays but what did bother me is that he didn’t know about that catastrophic day. He should have put his hand up and said ‘I made the mistake.’

“There needs to be a massive inquiry into what has happened and it should not be allowed to happen anywhere again. There’s been too many failings and areas that need changing.

“They [governments] are definitely not looking after us, there’s too many hidden agendas. Things are not being done to make sure we’ve got adequate power or water. It’s scary where we’re going, and it seems to be happening in lots of countries. It’s a failure to look after the people.

“We’ve got to do what’s right for us as a community, a national community, and a world community. It’s people power that should make the decisions, not a few who live in a world very unrealistic to the rest of us. We’re just political footballs in a lot of senses but without the people moving, and their voices being heard, we will be forever put down.”

Charity lunch at Balmoral Village RFS

Wendy, 36, is a railway shift worker and an RFS volunteer. She had worked for 13 days at a time, on 8- to 12-hour shifts, since the Christmas period and said she was getting four or five hours of sleep and then going to Balmoral as a fire fighting volunteer.

“It’s like a blanket has been drawn over Balmoral. The village has been forgotten about. There isn’t the help that the villagers need and they don’t know who to contact or where to turn. They’re going through an emotional roller coaster because as yet there isn’t any counselling services being offered,” she said.

Asked about the millions of dollars donated to assist fire victims, Wendy replied: “The background story is that with big organisations and government agencies, the money doesn’t pass down to the little man. They’re there to assist themselves. The donations will basically go into a kitty and one percent, maybe a bit more, will actually come down to the brigades that have been out fighting or those who have been affected. They’ll be lucky if they see a cent, let alone a dollar.

“I’m disgusted by what happened here. The RFS captain was told that he and the brigade were not to stay and defend the village. What’s the point in having a rural fire service based here?

“Everybody here is a volunteer. It’s home and you do everything to protect and defend it for as long as you can, even if that means that the flames are coming in every which direction and you’re running out of water. These RFS guys are still standing, and they’ll keep doing it, and going against the wishes of the higher authorities.”

Asked about the government response to climate change, Wendy said: “Politicians are only about lining their own pockets. It’s all about making themselves look good and feeding crap to the public so they can achieve what they want, not what the people want. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said Balmoral had been wiped off the face of the Earth, but we’re still here!”


Elisa, another volunteer firefighter, said: “I’m only 24 but I’ve had a lot of experience under my belt with fires for my age. I was on property protection during the fires and helping a fellow firefighter protect his home.” She said that volunteer firefighters had little sleep. Some had not slept for over 24 hours.

“The councils don’t just allow the residents themselves to protect their own homes. We’re not allowed to clear where we think is dangerous or cut down trees. The scientists just do the numbers, but the locals mainly know what to expect, they’ve been here for many years. We need to be able to back burn more often but there’s a lot of red tape with that. Some places haven’t been burnt for 50 or 60 years, that’s probably why it was so bad.

“We need more resources and a lot more access to gear. We have our protective gear but we don’t necessarily get given new ones if they’re wrecked. You have to go down to the headquarters to sign paperwork. We should at least have two sets of boots or two sets of uniforms in case something happens.


Rita, Elisa’s mother, has lived in the Balmoral area for almost nine years. “Six years ago, in 2013 we had a fire but it was nothing like this. So the warning signs were there from 2013 but RFS head office took no notice. They used a simulation to predict what was going to happen and said it’s not going to go through Balmoral.

Rita explained that “Brendon O’Connor, the fire captain, opposed the head office’s view, spoke up and basically went against protocol. He called an urgent meeting on the Tuesday afternoon before the fires. We went up to the station and he was sitting on the chair, hand on his head—a heavy burden on his shoulders. I asked ‘What can I do?’ and he said, ‘Tell people, get out and tell people’ so I went up the road and told people what was going on and that there was a fire coming.”

Referring to the government and media response, Rita said: “The media reporting is just terrible. The premier said this place had been wiped out and they just reported it. We’re the only town that doesn’t have a water supply and we ran out of water in this humongous firestorm. How can you not think about conspiracy?

“Why did Gladys Berejiklian reduce the fire budget? Why did she say Balmoral was wiped out, when she didn’t even come?”

Australia: Balmoral fire captain labels government response a “national disgrace”: here.

Damselfly, dragonfly evolution, new resesarch

This 2014 video is called The Secret World of Dragonflies.

From the University of Minnesota in the USA:

Glimpse into ancient hunting strategies of dragonflies and damselflies

January 16, 2020

Dragonflies and damselflies are animals that may appear gentle but are, in fact, ancient hunters. The closely related insects shared an ancestor over 250 million years ago — long before dinosaurs — and provide a glimpse into how an ancient neural system controlled precise and swift aerial assaults.

A paper recently published in Current Biology, led by University of Minnesota researchers, shows that despite the distinct hunting strategies of dragonflies and damselflies, the two groups share key neurons in the circuit that drives the hunting flight. These neurons are so similar, researchers believe the insects inherited them from their shared ancestor and that the neurons haven’t changed much.

Gaining insight into their ability to quickly process images could inform technological advancements. These findings could inform where to mount cameras on drones and autonomous vehicles, and how to process the incoming information quickly and efficiently.

“Dragonflies and damselflies are interesting from an evolutionary point of view because they give us a window into ancient neural systems,” said Paloma Gonzalez-Bellido, assistant professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior in the College of Biological Sciences and senior author on the paper. “And because there are so many species, we can study their behavior and compare their neural performance. You can’t get that from fossils.”

A noticeable difference between dragonflies and damselflies is the shape and position of their eyes. Most dragonflies today have eyes that are close together, often touching along the top of their head. Whereas damselflies sport eyes that are far apart. The researchers wanted to know whether this made a difference in their hunting habits, and if it affected how their neural system detects moving prey.

Researchers found:

  • dragonflies and damselflies hunt prey differently, with dragonflies using a higher resolution area near the top of their eyes to hunt prey from below and damselflies leveraging increased resolution in the front of their eyes to hunt prey in front of them;
  • in dragonflies with eyes that merge at the top, the eyes work as if they were two screens of an extended display (i.e. the image of the prey, which would be equivalent to the mouse pointer, can fall on either the left or the right, but never in both screens at the same time);
  • damselflies eyes work as duplicated screens, where the prey image is seen by both eyes at once (i.e. they have binocular vision);
  • both designs have pros and cons, and their presence correlates with the type of prey and the environment;
  • despite different strategies, the neurons that transfer information about a moving target from the brain to the wing motor centers are nearly identical in the two groups — indicating they were inherited from the common ancestor.

The different hunting strategies pay off in different environments. Dragonflies tend to hunt in an open area, leveraging the contrast of the sky to help them spot their target. Although they can’t calculate depth using two images, they rely on other cues. Damselflies tend to hunt among vegetation, where the selective pressure for fast reaction may be absent, or the need for depth perception stronger.

Researchers are now looking to understand how the extended versus duplicated images are calculated in the brain, and how the information is implemented into muscle movements.

“There is still a lot we do not understand,” said Jack Supple, first author and a recent PhD graduate from Gonzalez-Bellidos laboratory. “We do not know how these neurons coordinate all the different muscles in the body during flight. If we tried to build a realistic robotic damselfly or dragonfly tomorrow we would have a difficult time.”

In addition to examining the differences amongst the two insect families, researchers continue to explore differences in species within each family. “While most dragonflies have eyes close together, there are a handful of species with eyes far apart,” said Gonzalez-Bellido. “Some of them are abundant in Minnesota and we are eager to leverage the new flight arena to study their behavior in a controlled setting.”

Researchers aim to collect at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve and Itasca Biological Station and Laboratories this summer, both areas with diverse populations of dragonflies and damselflies.

United States students oppose war on Iran

This video from the USA says about itself:

‘No War with Iran’ protest at University of Michigan

More than 200 protesters braved freezing temperatures Wednesday night January 8, 2020, in Ann Arbor to condemn recent U.S. military action in Iraq.

By Trévon Austin in the USA:

US students and youth speak out against the threat of war with Iran

17 January 2020

The International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) held a series of meetings across the United States on the threat of war in the aftermath of the criminal assassination of Iranian General Qassem Suleimani. The meetings garnered significant attention and many youth demonstrated a genuine concern over the consequences of further escalation of conflict in the Middle East.

There is widespread opposition to war among youth, whose entire lives have been overshadowed by consecutive imperialist wars. This generation, which is the first generation set to be worse off than their parents, is intimately familiar with the fiscal and human costs of war. The multitude of US interventions in the Middle East and North Africa, dating back to 2001, have cost over $6 trillion and created the greatest humanitarian crisis since World War II.

In the United States, the social consequences of endless violence abroad are acutely felt by workers and youth. Exorbitant sums are secured to fund the US war machine, as workers and students struggle to make basic ends meet and are told that there is no money for healthcare, education and other social programs. Students increasingly struggle with food insecurity and homelessness, and incidents of gun violence and police brutality occur with an unnerving regularity.

IYSSE members asked youth who attended meetings about their opposition to war, inequality, and the role of the Democratic Party … . Many of the responses are impassioned and reflect a deep hostility to war and the capitalist system.

Steven, a WSU student

Steven, a student at Wayne State University (WSU) in Detroit, said, “I’m opposed to war with Iran because it’s going to create an economic downslide. It will be the working class who are forced to fight the war. I think young people should get involved and fight for socialism because these are the issues that address how we live as human beings. To ignore them is to ignore the future of our world and our country.”

Jack, another WSU student, told IYSSE members, “I’ve grown up with multiple wars throughout my lifetime and now to see my classmates from high school in Iraq. For 18 years of my life, I’ve watched this war and seen nothing but the profiting, extraction of resources, and the misery and desolation that’s been brought there. Why would I want to see more than that? There’s no reason for us to be anywhere else in the world—we aren’t the world police. The reality is that we’ve manufactured these imperialist wars to profit. Not for us to profit but for those above us—for the ruling class to profit. It’s being carried out for oil execs, Raytheon execs.

“You see it everywhere, every day—the promotion of war. Raytheon is now one of the sponsors of the Girl Scouts of America. This is becoming ingrained in our culture but there has to be some point that we say this is enough. And if we’re not going to say no now, when are we going to say it? So no, I do not think we should go to war with Iran.”

When asked about the Democratic Party, Jack responded, “Every part of the Democratic Party’s actions is just performative. The impeachment process, for example; they’ll vote to impeach [Trump] but then they’ll immediately pass his border funding, and they’ll willingly pass increased military spending. So, you’re telling me we can outspend the next eight countries combined for military spending, year after year after year, and continue to increase that spending and yet somehow there’s still people who are homeless? … And there’s no money, somehow, to pay for their schooling. But we can drone strike leaders of sovereign nations? It doesn’t make sense to me at all.

Jack from WSU

“Literally every day Trump is in office he’s committing crimes. He’s committing crimes publicly! He laughs about them, and we can’t go after any of those? We have to focus it on Ukraine? They want to make it look like they’re doing something against Trump, but it’s all performative. The Democratic Party isn’t really an opposition party, it’s not meant to enact change. It hasn’t enacted change in over 50 years, it literally just exists to maintain the status quo.”

He continued, “We’re forced into these arbitrary choices between the two parties. One side’s pretty bad and the other side is a little less bad, so I guess I’m supposed to go with the side that’s a little less bad? Year after year after year. There has to be some kind of change, some kind of stop to this cycle. There is no opposition party. Effectively, the Democrats don’t oppose anything.”

Indya, a student at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, said, “My biggest fear is a war with Iran. While Iran isn’t really much of a threat to us because of its low technological capabilities, the country is allied with many of our bigger enemies like Russia and China. Our president isn’t helping; he’s escalating the problem and fueling the fire. This could really set us up for WWIII. I know how crazy that sounds, but there’s really enough going on here that it could truly happen.

“This war is going to devastate the working class, as many more of us will be the ones who actually get sent off to fight. The ruling class, that is the top 1 percent, are the ones who will be making money off of our family members being sent to die.

“There’s so many of us who are already being pushed down by the system. Why are we having to suffer so that the ruling class enrich themselves and build new penthouses, and more private islands? They’re using my parents’ tax money to fund their wars.

“But if we all came together, we could become a truly unbeatable force.”

Discussing the threat of nuclear war, Indya said, “With nuclear war, if there’s one strike, there’s going to be more out of retaliation. And nuclear weapons have a much higher destructive capacity than they did in WWII. We’re still suffering the environmental effects from that war. It’s a really scary thought that we might not be able to repair the world from another nuclear conflict. It’ll affect generations for years to come.”

Sam, a theater student at the University of Michigan, attended the IYSSE meeting in light of his developing interest in Marxism. He told IYSSE members he wanted to hear a socialist perspective on the question of war.

Asked about endless imperialist wars, Sam responded, “I disagree with our entire history on this, and the idea that we should be in any war at all in the first place, especially done with an imperialistic motivation, for colonial reasons or imperial reasons or fascist reasons. I’ve never agreed with it, but I would like to do what I can now to stop this from continuing anywhere in the world.” …

Sam from the University of Michigan

Sam stated he was glad the meeting emphasized the importance of internationalism:

“I think it’s incredibly important to organize workers on a worldwide basis so that if we do create a social revolution and create a socialist government, we can utilize those worldwide trade organizations, to operate independently with workers at the helm. And the best, or only, way to do that would be on a global scale. Internationalism is incredibly important. I was glad to hear it brought up so directly.”

Beth, a pharmaceutical worker attending an IYSSE meeting, said, “I think the attack on Iran is totally criminal. I believe in the slogan ‘law, not war’, as I’ve been reading recently about Ben Ferencz, the American lawyer who fought in World War II and who eventually prosecuted in the subsequent Nuremberg trials. He believed that there should be a universal law that applies to everyone, across international boundaries. Trump is guilty of war crimes and could totally be prosecuted if we were using the same standards.

“We know who war benefits. It benefits the rich, and it’s always the poor and the working class who suffer the consequences. My father fought in World War II and the Korean War and it totally destroyed him. He suffered with alcoholism my entire life, and his experiences haunted him.”