Georgia on my mind – gangsters, oil and blood

August 16, 2008

Warning: this post contains some AO language and is not really about taxi drivers at all.

I have a lot of respect for cab drivers. Most of the time they’re really well-educated and they’re all very, very  street-smart. Last night I got a ride home with Ahmad. He’s from Afghanistan and he was listening to the BBC World Service.

There were items about the conflict in Georgia and so we got to talking. It was quite funny to realise that my chat with Ahmad was the perfect dessert to my main course argument with my colleague Wayne at the Brooklyn.

Wayne and I had been talking about Russia, Georgia, gangster capitalism, transnationals and failed or failing states. Ahmad segued straight into that line of thinking off the back of the World Service reports from Georgia. Ahmad has been all over the world. He thinks the Russians are crazy and hates the American presence in his homeland. There’s a nice, balanced logic to his position and I’m instantly drawn to a stranger who’s making my journey smooth on a soggy Auckland night.

My conversations with Wayne and Ahmad  led to this little tome: gangster capitalism, the looming resource wars and ‘regime change’.

What happens when you give gangsters access to new-killer weapons of mass distraction?

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Boris Yeltsin – an obituary that tells the truth

April 26, 2007

Boris Yeltsin 1931-2007|Socialist Worker

The mainstream media has been hailing the late Boris Yeltsin as the man who helped destroy “communism” in the 1980s with his heroic leadership of the Russian people against a “fascist” coup by disgruntled elements still loyal to the old ways.
They say he was a lovable rascal. Boll!x
This obituary from Socialist Worker (UK) lays it out:

Yeltsin was curiously split. Right wing newspapers couldn’t decide whether to celebrate Yeltsin as “the man who brought down Communism” or lampoon him as a drunken fool who wrecked Russia’s economy.

Yeltsin was a privileged member of the Russian ruling class who dealt with the capitalist institutions of the West – the IMF and so on – in order to secure the ongoing wealth of his friends. The disaster that is Russia today owes a lot to Yeltsin and his cronies, including Putin.