Month: January, 2011
Rally in Houston supports democracy in Egypt
| January 30, 2011 | 9:17 pm | International | No comments

Please go to http://www.houstonpeacecouncil.com/houstonians-rally-to-support-the-egyptian-people-and-their-struggle-for-democracy/ to view an article about the rally held today in Houston to support the Egyptian people in their struggle for democracy.

Houstonians express solidarity with peace activists raided by FBI on 1/25/2011
| January 25, 2011 | 9:16 pm | Local/State | No comments

Check out the new article on www.houstonpeacecouncil.com on the protest we held today in solidarity with the peace activists repressed by the FBI.

Statement by the Communist Workers Party of Tunisia
| January 25, 2011 | 8:18 pm | International | No comments

15 January, 2011
STATEMENT BY THE COMMUNIST WORKERS PARTY OF TUNISIA
Filed under: Arab world, Tunisia — admin @ 3:53 pm
Tunisia has lived since December 17, 2010, the day when the current popular revolt against unemployment, exclusion, poverty, cost of living, the shameless exploitation, corruption, injustice and tyranny began. These popular protests started in the city of Sidi Bouzid and have since extended to all parts of the country. Poverty and tyranny, endured in the city, are a general phenomenon that affects all the Tunisian people. The rage and indignation is the same throughout the country. The police and dictatorial regime of President Ben Ali attempted to crush the people’s uprising using misinformation, deception, lies and the brutal repression of the police who fired on the people, killing unarmed demonstrators. This was done with the intention of suppressing the protests quickly and preventing their spread to the rest of the country. These methods failed. Instead they have fueled protests that have extended their range, and drove the demonstrators to turn what began as simple social demands to political demands on the issue of freedom and power. Even when Ben Ali delivered his speech on the twelfth day of the revolt to promise that he would allow elections, nobody believed him and the masses responded that the protests would continue.The placards and slogans put forward by the masses in revolt, from south to north, are clear evidence of the long process of political awareness which has taken place in the minds of Tunisians over the last twenty years of the reign of Ben Ali.
Slogans such as: “Work is a right, band of thieves,” “Hands off the country corrupt band,” Work, freedom, dignity, ” Liberty, freedom and non-life presidency “,” Down with the party of thieves, down with the torturers of the people “,” Ben Ali loose, the people do not let it go “… Finally, the masses have realized that they are being ruled but not represented and that the system represents “a band of thieves”, a handful of families who have plundered the resources of the country, sold its resources and its people to foreign capital, which deprives people of their liberty and their rights, using the brute force of the state apparatus, which has been transformed into a “state of families,” to humiliate, subdue and intimidate the people and discourage them from fighting . Tunisia has been turned into a national prison in which torture and repression was used to terrorise the people. The people demand change in the belief that the aspirations to freedom, democracy and social justice can not be achieved under Ben Ali. The masses involved in the struggle, in the intifada, no longer want dictatorship, and have embarked on a new process in Tunisia.Tunisia needs a new democratic government which represents the national and popular will of the people and represents its own interests. And a system of this type cannot emerge from the current system and its institutions or its constitution and its laws, but only on its ruins by a constituent assembly elected by the people in conditions of freedom and transparency, after ending the tyranny.
The task of a People’s Council is to draft a new constitution that lays the foundations of democratic republic, with its institutions and its laws. The popular protests are still ongoing. No one can predict either their duration or their development. Tunisia has entered a new phase in its history characterized by the rise of its people and their desire to recover their freedom, rights and dignity.This raises the responsibilities of the opposition, especially its most radical wing, to find new policy solutions that place as an immediate priority the requirements of the Tunisian people for a program providing a plan for overall change in Tunisia.The opposition, consisting of all the forces involved in the intifada, has been invited to close ranks for Democratic Change and to form an alternative to tyranny and dictatorship.

The Workers’ Communist Party renews its invitation to convene a national assembly of the Tunisian opposition in order to confront the issue as quickly as possible.Also renewed has been an invitation to come together to coordinate at national and local level support for the popular movements, and to work towards a set of concrete demands so that the movement does not run out of steam. Among these demands the most immediate are: 1. An immediate end to the dictatorship’s campaign of repression against the people.

2. The release of all prisoners.

3. The arrest and prosecution of all those responsible for repression, the plunder of property, and murder.

4. The repeal of all restrictions on civil liberties, free expression, organization and assembly.The adoption of immediate economic measures to alleviate unemployment and poverty. We demand income security, health care and the immediate recognition of trade unions.
The Workers’ Communist Party will remain, as it has always been, on the side of the workers, the poor and all those at the forefront of a new order in Tunisia. For freedom, democracy and social justice.

End Statement.

Kucinich on universal health care
| January 20, 2011 | 10:19 pm | National | No comments

via Carl Bloice

Quote of the Day
January 20, 2010

‘We have a for-profit health care system, where
$800,000,000,000 every year is spent on corporate
profits, stock options, executive salaries,
advertising, marketing and the cost of paperwork.

‘In the for-profit system that we have, nearly one out
of every three health care dollars goes for things not
related to health care. If we took that
$800,000,000,000 and spent it on care for people, we’d
have enough money to cover all medically necessary
needs in addition to dental care, vision care, mental
health care, prescription drugs and long-term care.

‘We would not have a situation where 50 million
Americans don’t have any health insurance. Americans
would not have to worry about losing everything they
have worked a lifetime for because they have an illness
in the family.

‘This debate is the wrong debate. A for-profit model
is the wrong model. We should be talking about
universal health care, single-payer not-for-profit
health care, Medicare for All, quality health care for
all Americans.”

Dennis Kucinich, a co-author of Medicare for All,
H.R. 676, in the 111th Congress. The bill is expected
to be reintroduced in the 112th Congress.

January 19, 2010

http://tinyurl.com/4fv6pye

PCdoB and Brazilian presidential and parliamentary elections in 2010
| January 20, 2011 | 10:15 pm | Latin America | No comments

Secretary of International Relations of the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB)

We were in the middle of an electoral process politically polarized into two opposing fields. It was essentially a direct battle between popular, democratic and patriotic forces on the one side and right-wing, conservative and liberal forces on the other side. The broad coalition supporting Dilma Rousseff’s candidacy, with eleven left-wing and center parties, is the largest alliances ever achieved to support a left-wing candidacy in the history of Brazil. However, on October 31, the day of the runoff in the presidential elections, it faced José Serra’s candidacy, representing a strong right with the militant support of the monopolist media and anti-communist and reactionary sectors.
Dilma Rousseff won the first round of the elections on October 3 with 47% of valid ballots. Serra won 33% of the votes and Green Party’s Marina Silva won 19% of the votes for president. Marina Silva’s candidacy pushed the elections to a runoff and objectively benefited the right-wing candidacy. Marina Silva offered an anti-development and morally conservative discourse and her economic assistants showed neoliberal inclinations. Other far-left candidacies won 1% of the ballots, an insignificant performance demonstrating that the true alternative is to strengthen the revolutionary left inside the broad coalition supporting Dilma Rousseff.
Below: a table displaying the result of the first round of the presidential elections.
VOTES FOR PRESIDENT – 1st round

Candidate Party / Coalition Valid votes
DILMA ROUSSEFF * PT – Workers Party
PMDB – Brazilian Democratic Movement Party
*PCdoB – Communist Party of Brazil
* PSB – Brazilian Socialist Party
* PDT – Democratic Labor Party
PSC – Social Christian Party
PR – Republican Party
PRB – Brazilian Republican Party and others
46.91%
JOSÉ SERRA PSDB – Brazilian Social Democracy Party
DEM – Democrats
*PPS – Social People’s Party and others
32.61%
MARINA SILVA PV – Green Party 19.33%
PLÍNIO ARRUDA SAMPAIO PSOL – Socialism and Freedom Party 0.87%
IVAN PINHEIRO * PCB – Brazilian Communist Party 0.04%
OTHERS 0.24%
TOTAL 100%
* Members of the São Paulo Forum

Presidential elections headed for a runoff
As Dilma Rousseff did not win half of the valid ballots, the election headed for a runoff. Supported by a broad coalition of forces and by president Lula, whose administration is considered “excellent” or “good” by 83% of the population, Dilma Rousseff could have won the election in the first round. The runoff is the result of several factors, but mainly of the sordid campaign of lies, prejudice and hate promoted by the opposition and the monopolist media against Dilma Rousseff and president Lula. The right-wing opposition conceals its real program, characterized by privatization and anti-popular and anti-national policies, and confounded part of the people with a falsely moralizing mermaid spell marked by blatant religious obscurantism.

The left and the Dilma Rousseff coalition have grown in state governments and in the National Congress
In the elections for 27 state governments, 18 were decided in the first round and 9 state governments were disputed in the runoff. 16 of the elected governors are members of the coalitions supporting Dilma Rousseff (11 left-wing and 5 center) and 11 are members of the right-wing opposition.
The coalition supporting Dilma Rousseff won about 70% of the 513 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and of the 81 seats in the Federal Senate. We achieved a qualitative change in the correlation of forces inside the National Congress, although the left amounts to approximately only one third of each legislative chamber.
In the Parliament, the left is composed by members of the São Paulo Forum, namely, the Workers’ Party (PT), with 88 deputies and 13 senators, the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB), with 15 deputies and 2 senators, the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), with 34 deputies and 4 senators, and the Democratic Labor Party (PDT), with 28 deputies and 4 senators.

Below: the composition of the new National Congress.

DEPUTIES

PARTY VOTES FOR THE CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES (%) ELECTED DEPUTIES
* PT – Workers Party 16.74 88
PMDB – Brazilian Democratic Movement Party 13.00 79
PSDB – Brazilian Social Democracy Party 11.82 53
PR – Republican Party 7.58 41
DEM – Democrats 7.57 43
* PSB – Brazilian Socialist Party 7.10 34
PP – Progressive Party 6.56 41
* PDT – Democratic Labor Party 5.02 28
PTB – Brazilian Labor Party 4.19 21
PV – Green Party 3.85 15
PSC – Social Christian Party 3.18 17
* PCdoB – Communist Party of Brazil 2.85 15
*PPS – Socialist People’s Party 2.63 12
PRB – Brazilian Republican Party 1.82 8
PSOL – Socialism and Freedom Party 1.18 3
PMN – National Mobilization Party 1.13 4
* PCB – Brazilian Communist Party 0.06 0
Other parties 3.72 11
TOTAL 100 % 513
* Members of the São Paulo Forum

SENATORS
PARTY VOTES FOR THE FEDERAL SENATE (%) ELECTED SENATORS TOTAL SENATORS IN 2011
* PT – Workers Party 23.12 11 13
PSDB – Brazilian Social Democracy Party 18.13 5 11
PMDB – Brazilian Democratic Movement Party 14.08 16 20
* PCdoB – Communist Party of Brazil 7.37 1 2
DEM – Democrats 6.00 2 6
PP – Progressive Party 5.38 4 5
PTB – Brazilian Labor Party 4.69 1 6
* PPS – Socialist People’s Party 3.97 1 2
* PSB – Brazilian Socialist Party 3.60 3 3
PV – Green Party 2.96 0 0
PR – Republican Party 2.73 3 4
PRB – Brazilian Republican Party 1.96 1 1
PSOL – Socialism and Freedom Party 1.78 2 2
* PDT – Democratic Labor Party 1.43 2 4
PSC – Social Christian Party 0.73 1 1
PMN – National Mobilization Party 0.14 1 1
* PCB – Brazilian Communist Party 0.09 0 0
Other parties 1.84 0 0
TOTAL 100% 54 81
* Members of the São Paulo Forum

The runoff decided an election of strategic importance
The true “political war” that characterized the first round of the dispute intensified in the runoff and Dilma Rousseff was elected the first woman president of Brazil. Candidate Dilma Rousseff won the run off with 56% against 44% of valid votes obtained by the right-wing forces.
VOTES FOR PRESIDENT – 2nd round

Candidate Party / Coalition Valid votes
DILMA ROUSSEFF * PT – Workers Party
PMDB – Brazilian Democratic Movement Party
*PCdoB – Communist Party of Brazil
* PSB – Brazilian Socialist Party
* PDT – Democratic Labor Party
PSC – Social Christian Party
PR – Republican Party
PRB – Brazilian Republican Party and others
56.05%
JOSÉ SERRA PSDB – Brazilian Social Democracy Party
DEM – Democrats
*PPS – Social People’s Party and others
43.95%
TOTAL 100%
* Members of the São Paulo Forum

Among the reasons leading to the third victory of popular forces in 2010 (the two first ones being the victories of president Lula in 2002 and 2006) is the fact that the differences between the programs of the two candidacies became clearer for the people. Dilma Rousseff fought for the program that is being put into practice in the Lula administration, which turned Brazil into a respected nation in the international arena with an anti-imperialist foreign policy defending world peace, Latin America integration and national sovereignty. That program gave greater liberties to popular struggles, broadened democracy and economic and social development and improved the living standards of workers. Dilma Rousseff was a leading person in the success of Lula’s government and, as a candidate, declared that continuity in this case is “to advance, advance, advance” with changes.
During the runoff, Renato Rabelo, national president of PCdoB, declared “we are not facing any given battle, but a political battle that has a strategic character for our country.” The communists, as part of the Brazilian left and our coalition, faced the task of making a more vibrant campaign with greater participation of the militant cadres and progressive sectors of the people.
Along with the party’s militant forces, organizations of the popular movements also took part in the dispute, among which unions such as the Brazilian Workers Central (CTB) and the Unified Workers’ Central (CUT), student organizations such as the National Students Union (UNE) and the Brazilian Union of Secondary Students (UBES), and farm workers from the Brazilian Farm Workers Union (CONTAG) and Landless Workers’ Movement (MST), which supported with their great strength Dilma Rousseff’s candidacy in the runoff.

PCdoB’s electoral result and perspectives for communists
In the last parliamentary elections PCdoB has grown continuously and steadily. When compared to 2006, the votes for PCdoB increased 41%, reaching 3% of total votes in the Chamber of Deputies. The Party went from 13 to 15 federal deputies and we achieved the merit of keeping the greatest proportion of women among the parties in the Chamber of Deputies.
The Communist Party of Brazil was the 4th most voted party in the Senate and now has 2 senators. PCdoB won 7% of the votes for Senate. PCdoB disputed the government of the state of Maranhão with a candidate that did not go to a runoff due to a very small difference in the number of votes.
The popular forces won the elections in Brazil. PCdoB will fight for the success of the Dilma Rousseff administration in the execution of the advanced measures listed in her program. In the course of this journey the Communist Party of Brazil will try to reinforce its role and political influence among the Brazilian people and develop in ideological and organizational terms.
PCdoB will keep on fighting to allow workers and all the Brazilian people to turn the revolutionary hope of a socialist Brazil into a reality.

Renato Rabelo highlights inauguration’s unique meaning
“Today Dilma Rousseff’s inauguration as the President of the Federative Republic of Brazil has a unique meaning for the Brazilian politics,” affirmed Renato Rabelo, president of the Communist Party of Brazil.

Firstly, according to the communist leader, it is the “third consecutive national victory of the democratic, progressive and left-wing forces, maintaining the political cycle that Lula opened in 2002.”
One must also take into account the fact that “Dilma Rousseff’s election takes place as the outcome of a successful democratic and popular government with broad popular support.”
The third point stressed by Rabelo is the fact that “now Brazil finds itself in a favorable situation for a fast development in a world undergoing a systemic crisis of capitalism, heading towards a transition in the global political system.”
“President Dilma Rousseff acknowledges the fact that the essence of continuity in her government is advancing, which, according to our point of view, is the continuation of greater changes towards an advanced, sovereign, democratic and popular government,” he added.
Lastly, he mentioned that “the victory of the first woman President of the Republic after the successes of the first blue-collar worker in that high political post has a remarkable meaning for the civilizing advance in the history of the Brazilian nation.”

By the editorial staff of “Vermelho” – www.vermelho.org.br

Statement from the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs
| January 18, 2011 | 9:07 pm | Latin America | No comments

ON January 11, 2011, the United States government announced new measures in relation to Cuba. Although it is necessary to await the publication of the regulations in order to understand their true significance, according to preliminary information released by the White House press office, the measures will:

* Authorize travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens for academic, educational, cultural and religious purposes.

* Allow U.S. citizens to send limited remittances to Cuban citizens.

* Authorize U.S. international airports to request permission to operate charter flights to Cuba under certain conditions.

The adoption of these measures is the result of efforts by broad sectors of U.S. society which, in their majority, have been demanding the end of the criminal blockade of Cuba and the elimination of the absurd prohibition of travel to our country.

It is also an expression of recognition that the U.S. policy towards Cuba has failed and new ways to accomplish the historic objective of dominating our people are being sought.

Although the measures are positive ones, they are much less than what is being justly demanded, their reach is very limited and they do not modify policy against Cuba.

The announcement by the White House is basically limited to reestablishing the regulations which were in place in the 1990’s during President Clinton’s administration and were eliminated by George W. Bush in 2003.

The measures only benefit certain categories of U.S. citizens and do not reinstitute the right to travel to Cuba for all U.S. citizens, who will continue to be the only people in the world who cannot freely visit our country.

These measures confirm that there is no willingness to change the policy of blockade and destabilization against Cuba. Upon announcing them, U.S. government officials made it very clear that the blockade will remain in force and that the administration is proposing to use the new measures to strengthen subversion and intervention in Cuba’s internal affairs. This confirms the charges presented in the MINREX statement of January 13.

Cuba has always been in favor of interchanges with the people of the United States, its universities, academic, scientific and religious institutions. All the obstacles which make visits by U.S. citizens difficult have always been, and continue to be today, created by the U.S. government.

If a real interest in broadening and facilitating contact between our peoples exists, the U.S. should lift the blockade and eliminate the prohibition that makes Cuba the only country to which U.S. citizens cannot travel.

Havana, January 16, 2011

Feeling locked out of the American Dream?
| January 13, 2011 | 7:14 pm | Economy | No comments

Twenty-first century science and technology make it possible for all the world’s people to have good food, good health, good education, a good job and a fulfilling life.

What stands in the way? Capitali$m – an economic and political system that puts profits before people.

Q: What’s wrong with capitalism?

A: It puts profits before people.

The heart of capitalism is the drive for more and more profits for banks and corporations no matter what happens to our nation’s people and environment. The results of this built-in greed are horrible:

  • 20 million people out of work, including 25% of our young adults.
  • Exporting jobs to wherever workers get paid the least. Wiping out American industry.
  • Draining the public treasury with tax breaks and bailouts for the super-rich and giant corporations.
  • People’s needs go down the toilet. Public schools, health services, parks, libraries, and transit systems are cut back or closed.
  • Poisoning our drinking water, air, food supply and oceans.
  • Cutting workers’ pay and benefits, stealing pensions.
  • Corruption of Congress and our democratic institutions by corporate dollars and lobbyists.
  • Denying workers the right to join unions.
  • Record levels of inequality.
  • Greed for profits is the impetus for war – for oil, for domination of other countries’ markets and profits of military contractors.
  • Capitalism foments racism, sexism, homophobia and anti-immigrant campaigns.

Capitalism is un-American. Instead of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, it traps us in a political system and economy focused on greed and the pursuit of private profits.

FACT: The richest 400 people in America have more wealth than 155 million other Americans combined!

FACT: The average corporate executive makes $500 for every $1 paid to the average worker even though it is the workers who actually create our nation’s wealth.

IN A SOCIALIST ECONOMY, PEOPLE COME FIRST, NOT PROFITS

Socialism means re-structuring our economy to be fairer and more democratic.

Right now Americans already produce our nation’s wealth socially. We work together in factories, offices, schools, stores, laboratories, hospitals and on farms and construction sites.

What’s not decided together is how the wealth we create could be fairly distributed. In a socialist economy, there would be social ownership and social control instead of private ownership and control.

The people would decide. The deciding factor would no longer be what’s best for corporate profits.

  • Banks, oil companies, utilities and key sectors of the economy such as steel and transportation would be publicly owned and operated.
  • Small business would still be a vital part of the process
  • There would be enough resources freed up to fully fund public education, health care, mass transit, child care and any other priorities the American people decide on.
  • In a socialist society, people would get paid for the work they do and rewarded for the initiatives they take. The difference? No corporate big shots getting paid billions for the work others do.
  • War, racism, sexism and homophobia would lose their corporate sponsors.
  • Reversing climate change, developing green industries, and sustainability would be top priorities. No doubt millions of young people would lead the way with such initiatives.
  • The rich and diverse multi-cultural American heritage could flourish in music, literature, dance, sports, film and art.

BILL OF RIGHTS SOCIALISM

Socialism in the United States would be built on the strong foundation of our Constitution’s Bill of Rights, guaranteeing freedom of speech, freedom of religion and equality for all. Other fundamental rights, such as the right to a job, health care and education could be added.

A socialist society would need to create organizations at the grass roots level to assure democratic controls.

Americans already have great traditions of such grass roots organizations such as town hall meetings, PTAs, unions, churches and charitable organizations. In a socialist society, we could expand those traditions to make our country’s economic life more democratic.

Another world is necessary – and possible!

HOW DO WE GET THERE?

Capitalism in the United States can and will be replaced with a people-first socialist system. This will happen when a majority of our country’s people are convinced of the need for such revolutionary change and are ready to make it happen.

To make that change will require a very broad coalition, a movement with workers, including unemployed workers, at its heart. This coalition must also include small business people, students and professionals. The union movement as well as African American, Latino, Asian American, immigrant and Native American communities will be central parts of that alliance. The involvement of youth, women, seniors, the LGBT community, environmentalists and people of faith is vital. It will be the same kind of people’s movement that is fighting for progress today, but even bigger and broader.

We can gain this majority by uniting for people’s needs. That means combating racism, sexism, anti-immigrant hysteria, and homophobia. It means showing in the course of grass roots struggles how these are used to divide and conquer the movement for progressive change. In the fight for jobs, education, the environment, health care, peace and human rights, at the workplace, at the polling place and in the community, this unity can be built.

AMERICANS ALREADY HAVE LOTS OF EXPERIENCE WITH PUBLIC OWNERSHIP

Here are some examples:

  • Bank of North Dakota – founded in 1919, its profits go to benefit the people of that state.
  • Credit union – 87 million Americans participate in these local financial institutions that are owned and controlled by their members.
  • Cleveland Public Power – which provides electricity at affordable rates to that city.
  • Cooperative societies – farmer co-ops, housing, co-ops, food co-ops, etc.
  • Union pension funds.
  • Social Security.
  • Veteran’s Administration health care network.
  • 16,000 municipally owned and operated sewage treatment systems.
  • Tennessee Valley Authority – provides electrical power for 8.5 million Americans in 7 states.

Some famous American socialists: Angela Davis, Juan Chacon, W.E.B. DuBois, Paul Robeson, Helen Keller, Woody Guthrie, Eugene Debs, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Albert Einstein.

More on socialism and social change on the People Before Profits Network:

Communist Party USA | cpusa.org