From: “VFPlistserv” <firstname.lastname@example.org>Subject: Ukraine, War Dollars, and Us
Ukraine and the Pathology of the Liberal Worldview: An African American Perspective
by Ajamu Baraka
Reading the March 2 editorial in the New York Times on the so-called revolution in Ukraine, I couldn’t help but marvel at how easily elite opinion makers in the U.S. can call for the use of public resources to bail out the people and government of Ukraine without significant opposition or even serious questions. The Times editorial forcefully argued that in response to the “revolution” in Ukraine, Western powers must “provide prompt and substantial assistance to the Kiev government.” This sentiment was also voiced by a number of conservative Republicans who normally pretend to be fiscal conservatives, at least when it comes to state expenditures for working class and poor people in the U.S.
In response, the Obama administration is calling on Congress to agree to a long-term aid package for Ukraine and announced on Tuesday a short-term billion dollar aid package.
Yet, when it comes to crisis situations like extending unemployment benefits to the 1.3 million people who lost them in December or the forced bankruptcy of Detroit, a major city that happens to have an African American majority, or maintaining food assistance for the working class and poor in the form of the food stamp program, elite opinion in both parties has embraced the “common sense” position that significant reductions in public expenditures and services at every level of government are a reasonable and unavoidable necessity.
The Times editorial further argued that since President Yanukovych left the Ukrainian treasury bare, the West should provide immediate assistance. But what about the people in Detroit, whose government coffers were left bare as result of the predatory looting by big banks that targeted African American families with sub-prime loans and floating interests rates that resulted in them losing their homes? Where is their relief?
And when those same banks seized the properties of more than 100,000 families through foreclosure and then refused to pay property taxes to the city of Detroit—helping to create a fiscal crisis for the city—where was the Federal assistance to replenish the city’s coffers?
They call Pres. Yanukovych a dictator, but curiously, there was no outcry against the governor of Michigan when he engineered the passage of an anti-democratic piece of legislation that allowed him to impose a one-person dictatorial regime over the people of Detroit. Referred to as an “emergency manager,” he was granted the power to nullify decisions of the elected city council and mayor and seize control over all institutions of local government. The main objective of the “emergency manager” is to ensure that the banks that looted the city will get a return on the 22 billion dollar debt that the city accrued.U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry greets Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk before their bilateral meeting at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on March 12, 2014. [State Department photo/ Public Domain].
Ajamu Baraka is a human rights activist, organizer and educator. His latest publications include contributions to two recently published books “Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA” and “Claim No Easy Victories: The Legacy of Amilcar Cabral.” He can be reached email@example.com and Ajamubaraka.com
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