Month: July, 2012
Where have all the communists gone? (Repost)
| July 31, 2012 | 10:21 pm | Action | No comments

By James Thompson

Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

Words and music by Pete Seeger

Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the flowers gone?
Girls have picked them every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

The rest of the lyrics of this inspiring song can be found at:
http://www.arlo.net/resources/lyrics/flowers-gone.shtml

Proposed new lines:

Where have all the communists gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the communists gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the communists gone?
Leadership liquidating our party everywhere
When will we ever learn?
When will we ever learn?

LIQUIDATION OF THE PARTY

Much has been written about the CPUSA national leadership’s not so subtle efforts to liquidate the party masked in lofty rhetoric claiming to save the party. The crowning glory of this effort appeared in a recent article by C.J. Atkins in Political Affairs advocating changing the name of the party. This drew a vigorous opposition for the first time to the slow mental water torture administered by national leadership to the often ignored and discounted membership.

However, this proposal should not be a shock to membership since it follows the pattern set by top leadership over the last few years. Just a few reminders would include the jettisoning of the party’s vanguard role, as well as the wholesale give away of the party’s treasures to a private university and the shutting down of the party’s print shop, halting of the print publication of the party’s paper and journal, closing of bookshops, and stopping the publication of pamphlets, position papers or other documents which could be used to build the party. The party’s ideological line can now be characterized as encouraging members to be groupies for the Democrats.

NO MORE COMMUNISTS

Meanwhile, any progressive position that deviates slightly from the Obama administration’s positions is characterized by national office leadership as “ultra-left wing”, “Trotskyite”, “Anarchist” or worse. In an effort to throw the baby out with the bathwater, national office leadership has characterized Stalin as an “abomination.”

However, who are the people who have advocated a change in the party’s name? Who are the people who have blasted Stalin all these years? The Trotskyites and ultra-leftists, of course, have used (alas overused) these worn out tactics to attack the party. National party leadership seems to want to usurp these tactics from the ultra left.

In Houston, we had an anarchist attend some of our meetings. The first thing out of his mouth was a demand that the Houston club submit a resolution to national leadership advocating dropping the “Communist” name. When we discussed his demands in a rational, dialectical manner, he withdrew and never returned to our meetings.

In a recent disgusting e-list exchange, top leadership invoked a paper by Lenin entitled “Strange and Monstrous.” Leadership maintains that this paper provides the rationale for making concessions to the right wing when the movement is under assault and weakening. However, a more sober reading of the words to which Lenin objected correctly “In the interests of the world revolution, we consider it expedient to accept the possibility of losing Soviet power which is now becoming purely formal.” suggests that Lenin was reacting to the ultra-leftist’s willingness to destroy the Soviet state (i.e. jettison the Communist Party) for vague, ephemeral reasons. National leadership’s distortion of this excellent polemic is instructive of their current line of thinking. Lenin did not advocate changing the name of the Communist Party or backing down on the party’s support of working people. The article was about military tactics which were necessary to preserve Soviet power and the Communist Party. There was nothing in the article to suggest that anyone should abandon party ideology or its political line. It is indeed “strange and monstrous” that current leadership has taken steps to weaken the greatest working class movement the world has ever seen by gradually dismantling the party in the world’s most powerful capitalist country. Their actions parallel the extremist’s position in Lenin’s article of sacrificing the party and its ideology to the temple of idealistic thinking, i.e. “the world revolution” expressed in newspeak “the labor-led, all people’s coalition.”

Further examination of the e-list pontifications by top leadership shows that our fearless leader slams Robert Reich, Paul Krugman, Eric Foner and others who dare to sharply criticize the Obama administration when it does not support working people. These commentators are doing the work of the party while our leadership equivocates.

Some reports indicate that in a recent national board meeting, top leadership advocated tearing up the party constitution and rejecting Marxist theory.

There were contradictory reports on the party convention this past summer. Some indicate that it was an astounding success. Some indicate that it was an exercise in crowd control as leadership rammed through a program of tailing the Democrats at all costs. Many people complained that opposing voices were silenced in a very undemocratic fashion. This seems more like the way the Catholic Church would conduct its business than the Communist Party of the USA. CPUSA membership values science and democracy rather than mythology and autocracy.

If we go back to Lenin’s “Strange and monstrous” article, we see that he strongly upheld the necessity of democracy and the right of membership to sharply criticize party leadership.

What is most appalling about the current political line is the confusion of Communists with Democrats, peace with war, Wall Street with Main Street, materialism with idealism, Congresspersons with the American people, internationalism with global capitalism and Marxism/Leninism with Keynesianism. Whatever happened to the fight against racism and for equality for all peoples? Whatever happened to the class struggle?

Lost is any effort to maintain independence from the Democrats, which raises questions such as “Do Communists favor tax cuts for the wealthy?”, “Do Communists support imperialistic wars around the globe to bolster capitalism?” “Have Communists given up on universal health care, universal education and immigration reform?” “Are Communists agreeable to the ever expanding prison industrial complex and military industrial complex?” “Have Communists given up on the Employee Free Choice Act and the right to form a union?” “Do Communists want to increase the rate of deportation of immigrants?” “Should Communists turn their cheeks to racism in hopes of placating the enemy?” “Should Communists forget about the atrocities administered by the U.S. government to the Cuban people?”

The party has a glorious history of fighting racism as a major part of the class struggle. Recent party history seems to have a blind eye to the devastating effects of institutional racism on communities of color. Again, this is done in the name of the “labor-led, all people’s coalition.”

With the ideological deterioration seen in the party today, it is no wonder that membership has dwindled to almost nothing.

VIEW FROM THE CLUBS

What does it look like from the lowly view of a CPUSA club in the fourth largest city in the U.S.?

Efforts to organize and build a club in Houston have been consistently thwarted and attempts have been made to split the membership of the club. When requests are made to the national office for the names of people contacting the party from Houston, they are met with non-response or frank hostility. Staff at the national office who handle membership requests stand tall behind their bureaucratic procedures which result in few names reaching the Houston club.

Recently, a top leader of the party came to Houston. He was confronted by several non-party activists who were appalled by the party’s refusal to take a principled position on the wars which have been widened by the Obama administration and are draining the resources of this country in the interest of increasing corporate profits. He maintained, “Obama is not a socialist, so we can’t hold him to a socialist standard.” He seemed to have forgotten that we are socialists and we can hold ourselves to the “socialist standard” or better yet, the “communist standard.”

WHAT IS TO BE DONE?

Our position in Houston is clear. We do not favor “tailism”. We do not favor “liquidating the party.” We do not favor a name change. We do not favor “reformism.” We do not favor capitulation and class collaborationism. We do not favor “right opportunism.” We are not anti-communists.

Rather than fighting among ourselves, we should be fighting the right wing elements in the Obama administration, the Republicans and the Tea Party fascists. However, if leadership continues to uncritically endorse all Obama administration policies, we must struggle at this level first before taking on the external enemy.

We support the working class and all that is involved in the struggle to elevate the working class to the ruling class. In this regard, we are not willing to jettison the fight for peace and against racism, sexism and every form of exploitation and oppression to placate the enemy in hopes that they will cut us a deal. We are not willing to give up the fight for socialism, especially at a time when the capitalist system is obviously floundering with 10% official unemployment and polls indicate that a large percentage of the population believe that socialism is more desirable than capitalism. We are not willing to forget the fight for the right to form unions and for universal education and health care and above all, democracy. We are not willing to distance ourselves from our international allies, including Cuba. We are not willing to forego the building of a Communist Party based on Marxist-Leninist philosophy and principles. We are not willing to abandon the role of the party as the vanguard party.

It is our duty as the only working class party to fight for the interests of the working class, which are our interests.

If we shirk our duty to uphold the interests of the working class, we will only further alienate ourselves from the working class and reduce our collective power.

We need a revolution in the party to oppose the regressive and class collaborationist tendencies in our current national and district leadership. All bureaucrats should be unceremoniously expelled as they are poison to a democratic, working class party. Cronyism, careerism, friendships, and personal relationships should not stand in the way of the development of the party. As one party activist once said, “The party must always come first!”

“When will they ever learn? When will we ever learn?”

PHill1917@comcast.net

World peace council resolutions on Syria, Viet Nam and Cuba
| July 28, 2012 | 10:33 pm | Action | No comments

After considering the developments of the situation in Syria, the WPC Assembly convened in Kathmandu/ Nepal 20 – 22 July 2012, reaffirms its strong solidarity with the Syrian people in confronting the harsh imperialist attack that is aiming at changing the geostrategic map of the region in order to speed its hegemony on it.

We express our support to the just and genuine demands of the Syrian people in enhancing democracy and social and economic changes in a way that serve their interests within the framework of its territorial integrity and sovereignty. At the same time, the WPC Assembly condemns in the strongest terms this imperialist interference taking place in all forms and by all means, and calls upon all anti-imperialist, progressive and peace loving forces to work on:

Confronting and disclosing the continuous misleading media campaign which is being organized by the imperialist media empires to distort and reverse the facts in Syria.
Escalating the pressure on the EU and US imperialist governments and their allies from the reactionary regimes in the region in order to stop weapon supplying, financial funding of their proxy the so called ´´Free Syrian Army´´ and other mercenary groups which are carrying out terrorist acts in Syria.
Working on lifting and abolishing all kinds of unjust economic sanctions imposed by the imperialist states and reactionary Arab and Turkish regimes against the Syrian people.
Increase the struggle in order to confront the political imperialist pressures that are exerted on Syria inside the international institutions and organizations, and work on supporting the comprehensive national dialogue among Syrians themselves to come out of this crisis and become the masters of their future.

Kathmandu/ Nepal 22/07/2012

Resolution on solidarity with the victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam

Katmandu, Nepal, July 22, 2012

Considering the Resolution passed in on October 24, 2009 by the Executive Committee of the World Peace Council, declaring the 10th August as the day of solidarity with the Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange/dioxin and calling upon all World Peace Council members and the entire world peace movement to undertake initiatives in support of their struggle for justice;

Recalling the strong appeal and commitment of the Second International Conference of Victims of Agent Orange held in Hanoi on August 8-9,/2012, and signed by the World Peace Council President, to build greater solidarity and intensify international efforts to support victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam;

Recognizing that the victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam are still subject to injustice as a result of the actions of those perpetrators who still remain outside the law and still have taken very little action to fulfill their responsibility to their victims;

Feeling great urgency to act immediately because many Agent Orange victims suffer daily torment and pain and their lifetimes are coming to an end;

Emphasizing that international public opinion for the rights of victims of Agent Orange to life and peace, especially that of the various human rights organizations and of the United Nations, has yet to be fully and effectively realized;

Now, therefore, the World Peace Council Congress hereby declares:

1.That all of humanity, all governments, organizations and individuals, whatever their social or political position, should take immediate, resolute and concrete action to support all victims of Agent Orange, particularly Vietnamese Agent Orange victims. In every country and region, those who believe in peace and justice should organize and develop specific programs for mobilizing material resources to help the victims and raise their voices in every way possible in support of the struggle of Vietnamese Agent Orange victims for justice.

2. That the responsibility of the United States government and chemical companies in solving the Agent Orange problem in Vietnam remains unfulfilled and that all of humanity must call upon those responsible for the suffering of the victims of Agent Orange to take responsibility and compensate their victims.

3. That we pledge to organize and activate members of the World Peace Council to implement the 2009 resolution of the Executive Committee in making August 10th a united and annual focus for concerted and ongoing activity to support the victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam, working together with all organizations and individuals to build a strong international movement which can finally, 51 years after the first use of Agent Orange in Vietnam, win justice for those who have suffered so much!

WPC Assembly resolution of solidarity with the Socialist Cuba

The Assembly of the World Peace Council,held in Kathmandu/Nepal reaffirms its profound solidarity with the Socialist Cuba,its people and revolution.

The delegates of the Assembly condemn the criminal economical blockade imposed by the USA on Cuba which is aming on the punishment of the Cuban people for defending its achievements and their right to decide sovereignly about their future.

The WPC expresses its support and demands the release of the five Cuban political prisoners from the US jails, in which they are being held unjustly. We denounce likewise the “Common Position” of the European Union which is aiming in the interference in the domestic affairs of Cuba.

The Assembly of the WPC denounces once more the USA for ther military base of Guantanamo on Cuban soil and demands the closure of the concentartion camp and the removal of the entire basis.

The Assembly of the WPC 22 July 2012 Kathmandu

Resolution of the WPC Assembly on Iran

The WPC expresses its categorical rejection to the imperialist plans of USA,EU and NATO to attack Iran under any pretext and in particular with the one of the Nuclear program of the country.

The people of Iran are the sole to decide upon their future and leadership of the country without any political and military interference.

The WPC expresses its solidarity with all progressive and peace loving forces in Iran which are committeed to the struggle for peace and are resisting imperialism. The Assembly expresses its militant solidarity with the working people of Iran in their complex struggle for peace, social progress and decent life expressing also its support to their democratic and people’s rights.

We call upon the peoples of the world to be vigilant for the war plans of imperialism in the coming period.

22nd July 2012 the Assembly of WPC Kathmandu/Nepal

Letter of the KKE Delegation in the European Parliament denouncing the dangerous escalation of the imperialist intervention in Syria
| July 28, 2012 | 10:22 pm | Action | No comments

Athens, 24th July 2012

Via: http://inter.kke.gr/News/news2012/2012-07-25-syria/

The KKE Delegation in the European Parliament, with a letter to Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy, condemns the dangerous escalation of the imperialist intervention of the EU, the USA and the NATO in Syria, which creates the conditions for a general conflict in the wider region. They also underline that the developments in Syria are exclusively a matter of the Syrian people and demands to immediately stop the interventions of the EU, the USA and the NATO against Syria and Iran, to immediately lift the EU sanctions against these countries and their peoples and that Greece does not participate in the new imperialist wars.

In their letter, the KKE members of the European Parliament, Giorgos Toussas and Babis Angourakis, note the following:

“The Delegation of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) in the European Parliament condemns the dangerous escalation of the imperialist intervention of the EU, the USA and the NATO in Syria and the wider region. The recent criminal attack in Damascus that caused the death of the Minister of Defence, Dawoud Rajiha, and other officials of the Syrian government, is the result of the flagrant imperialist intervention that supports the armed opposition and other mechanisms which have no relation to the real interests of the Syrian people. The cruel competition among the imperialist forces, in order to secure their influence and their geostrategic advantages in the wider region of the Middle East and the Persian Gulf, increases the tension and creates the conditions for a general conflict.

Moreover, the pressure and the threats against Iran enter in a new phase, under the pretext of its nuclear program. The atmosphere of war that has been fostered in the wider region of Eurasia for many years is obviously linked to its energy resources and its geostrategic position and not with the alleged “humanitarian” concerns of central and regional imperialist forces. This already explosive situation is aggravated by the escalating threats regarding a unilateral strike against Iran by Israel, which also seeks to consolidate its role as a powerful force against the peoples of the region.

The policy of the EU, the NATO and the USA, the explosive contradictions with forces that claim a role in the area, such as Russia and China, the involvement of anti-people regimes of the region that aspire to play an upgraded role, such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, bring closer the perspective of a general conflict and an open military intervention – as was the case in Libya – in Syria and Iran. Greece is also directly involved in these dangerous plans, mostly because of the US-NATO military base in Souda Bay, which is of strategic importance, and because of the willingness of the Greek government to participate in the criminal plans against the peoples of the region.

The KKE Delegation in the European Parliament underlines the immediate need for resistance by the people of the region against the interventions, in order to thwart the imperialist war.

The developments in Syria are exclusively a matter of the Syrian people, who are the only responsible to decide on their own future and their country’s.

We demand:

•To stop the interventions of the EU, the USA and the NATO against Syria and Iran.

•The immediate lift of the EU sanctions against Syria and Iran that affect their peoples and have negative consequences also on the people in the EU member-states.

•That Greece does not participate in the new imperialist wars which are being prepared against Syria and Iran.

•Not to comply with any “contractual obligation” that involves Greece directly or indirectly.

•Not to use the military base in Souda Bay. It must be closed down immediately.

•The return of all Greek military forces which are abroad.

•To cancel the military manoeuvres and all the agreements of military cooperation with Israel.

The KKE Delegation in the European Parliament calls our people to express their solidarity with the peoples of the region that the imperialists are prepared to drag to massacre in a multifaceted way. To strengthen their struggle for the disengagement from the imperialist unions, the EU and the NATO, that constitutes the most valuable contribution for a peaceful future and people’s prosperity in our region.”

e-mail: cpg@int.kke.gr

Farmers, the Wheat Board and defeating Harper
| July 27, 2012 | 10:56 pm | Action | No comments

By Darrell Rankin, People’s Voice, March 1, 2012

http://www.peoplesvoice.ca/mar-1-2012.pdf

Unless a court overturns Bill C-18, the so-called “Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act”, the loss of the Canadian Wheat Board will be a heavy blow to prairie farmers, to all Canadians, and to the global food system. The millions who rely on grain imports are now more firmly in the grip of giant transnational corporations, based mainly in the U.S. The Harper Conservatives destroyed the CWB as a way to boost their profits and for no other reason.

It is a good time to look at the fight to save the CWB, and to discuss strategy to stop the Conservative campaign to dismantle Canada and turn it over to their favourite bidder.

By killing the Wheat Board, the Conservatives declared war on the family farm. Thousands of small farms will be ruined if the CWB’s single-desk mandate ends in August. This places the matter of building labour-farmer unity as a key strategy to defeat Harper’s big business agenda.

A crack is being created in the relationship between big business and farmers. To find a comparable conflict between small and big business in Canada, we have to go back the Mulroney Tories’ introduction of the GST in 1991, the last time a general strike was considered by the Canadian Labour Congress.

An anti-CWB farmer, Jeff Nielson, told MPs at a House of Commons committee last fall that there were “about 20,000 commercial grain producers in western Canada,” and complained the CWB sent out plebiscite ballots to 66,000 producers. The significance of this figure is enormous.

Nielson’s comment reveals a sharpening struggle between large and small farms in Canada, sparked by the giant corporations/ Tories, where the commercial farms have the upper hand. These larger capitalist farmers hope to prevail and profit from the demise of 46,000 smaller farms.

Most family farmers have small operations and have to make ends meet with offfarm jobs. They are partly in the working class and partly self-employed capitalists. Many are already members of trade unions.

They are often close to losing their farms and joining the ranks of the working class. These farmers can work with the labour movement in creating a better society, where the family farm has a future and city dwellers have food they can trust.

When the labour movement picks the time for a battle in its own name to bring down the Harper Conservatives, it will have a potential ally in the majority of prairie farmers. That is the crowning achievement of the last several months.

Two tactics: the NDP and the Communists
When Tory agriculture minister Gerry Ritz vowed after the May 2 federal election to destroy the Wheat Board, the NDP said it would do all in its power to block such a law. It assigned MP Pat Martin (Winnipeg Centre) to head up the effort.

Martin spoke often to Parliament and the media. But he never tried to engage groups outside parliament to block Bill C-18 or to build support for farmers in the trade union movement. That says much about why the Conservatives were able to pass the bill without paying a much higher political price.

On the eve of the first big protest by farmers in October (soon after C18 was introduced), Martin declared defeat: “This is a runaway freight train and I don’t think there’s any stopping it.” The comment was not warmly received by farmers who had worked all summer to build alliances and protests.

The only way to defeat the Conservative agenda is to help mobilize and unite all sections of working people – something the NDP is failing to do. The exclusively parliamentary path to defeating the Tories is one of disappointment and defeat.

Since the federal election, the Communist Party fought to save the Wheat Board by building labour-farmer unity, helping to organize protests and establish coalitions to defend the family farm. We were part of the effort that helped win the support of the CLC and the prairie provincial labour federations for the CWB. We are planting the seeds of a better future.

Anti-communist slander

Anti-communist slander is one of reaction’s most crude and dishonest weapons. An internet search contains at least a thousand references to the “Communist Wheat Board.”

Some top Conservative politicians took part in the effort, such as David Anderson, the Tory minister responsible for the Wheat Board. Anderson posted a video on his website portraying a CWB official telling a wheat farmer who wants to sell his grain to a baker “Slow down, young man. You are talking Eskimo. You cannot do those things in Saskatchewan.” The farmer questions how the CWB can exist, arguing that it seems “kind of communist.”

This anti-Aboriginal racism was condemned by Inuit leader Mary Simon. The video also promotes the false idea that the main market for farmers’ grain is small bakeries across the prairies, and thus there is no need for single-desk selling. I’d like to live in Anderson’s world, without the giant grain transnationals!

Agriculture minister Gerry Ritz sent out a statement in early September, complaining about the large farmer meetings organized by CWB directors to discuss the board’s future. He huffed that “pro-board participants had to be bused in to legitimize the process. Even cousin organizations of the CWB, such as the Communist Party of Canada, were fully represented” (Western Producer, Sept. 15).

Buses had nothing to do with bringing more than 2,000 farmers to seven large meetings last summer. The Communist Party handed out leaflets at these meetings, which is our democratic right.

In fact, farmers have direct experience how the government cancels democracy by dropping them off voters’ lists and replacing their elected directors. Some sent letters to the Producer rebuffing Ritz’ anti-communist outburst (Stooping low; Waste of Energy, October 27), and the struggle continued.

Then there is Nielsen’s comment to the Commons committee that looked at Bill C18. He said the “so-called producer meetings where special interest groups and the Communist Party of Canada were allowed to attend and spread their propaganda” was all part of the CWB’s “constant standoff” with the government.

Although Nielson is deeply offended by democracy, farmers will continue to meet across the prairies to resist the Tories. And the Communist Party will continue to distribute literature as it has for more than ninety years, legal or not.

Anti-communism is the crude weapon of people who want to disguise their real agenda. Stephen Harper’s agenda is being more loyal to the giant U.S. grain transnationals than to prairie farmers. U.S. reactionaries consider Canada “communist,” because for many years we have had medicare, the CBC and the Canadian Wheat Board. Harper is working hard to please his masters in Washington, selling out Western wheat farmers and the country along with them.

Bernie Sanders, 2012, and fighting the oligarchy
| July 27, 2012 | 10:52 pm | Action | No comments

Here is an interesting article from Sam Webb. Please feel free to make comments.

By Sam Webb

Via: http://peoplesworld.org/bernie-sanders-2012-and-fighting-the-oligarchy/

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders is the people’s tribune. In a recent appearance before a Senate committee where he spoke about the current assault on democracy, that quality of Sanders was on display. But before I elaborate on his speech, a few general observations on democracy are in order.

Democracy is a contested idea and practice. It was never a gift bestowed on the multitude by the top layers of our society, either at the country’s founding or in its subsequent history.

Historically speaking, the boundaries of freedom and democracy have been fluid. Gains in popular democracy secured in one period and thought to be permanent more than once were rolled back in the next period.

The movement toward a more inclusive democracy was never a smooth stroll forward. It always met resistance from entrenched power blocs, fixated on maintaining the status quo and the privileges therein.

In these battles each side attempted to appropriate and give content to the idea and practice of freedom and democracy (freedom for the slave, freedom for the slaveholder, etc.). Even those opposing inclusiveness claimed to be advocates of democracy and freedom.

The outcome ultimately rested on which side could amass enough power – political, economic, ideological, and sometimes military – to scatter, demoralize, and push back its opponents. In other words, force, not necessarily in its violent form, became the final arbiter in settling the conflict over the political content of democracy.

Compared with earlier pre-capitalist class systems, capitalism opened up some democratic space not formerly afforded to exploited classes of earlier times. But at the same time, its over-arching, unending, built-in drive for capital accumulation and profit-maximization inexorably and from the beginning gave rise to structural and social constraints on democratic development, including the democratic character of the state.

And yet, as restrictive and class-determined as the democratic space and institutions of capitalist society were and are, it would be a mistake either in the past or present to take a standoffish attitude toward them. Indeed, it is imperative for the forces of popular democracy to turn those democratic spaces and institutions that are available into a platform for expanding their limited content and narrow bounds. That ultimately includes getting rid of the capitalist shell in which democracy is now confined and restricted.

Which brings me back to Senator Bernie Sanders’ appearance before the Senate committee. In his speech, he warned the country of the increasing dangers to democracy in today’s political and economic climate.

” … we are now facing the most severe attacks, both economically and politically, that we have seen in the modern history of our country. Tragically … we are well on our way to seeing our great country move toward an oligarchic form of government – where virtually all economic and political power rests with a handful of very wealthy families.”

How true!

He went on to say, “This is a trend we must reverse.”

Indeed, we must! But the vexing question is: how and where to begin?

In my view it won’t happen if the democratic movement does nothing but complain about the Obama administration and abandons the electoral arena of struggle in the name of political purity.

The stakes are too high to do either.

Let’s face it. The outcome of the November election will not simply determine who will occupy the White House and Congress.

This election is about more than that.

It is about the balance of power between the class and social forces of democracy and those of anti-democratic reaction. It is about which side gains the initiative and leverage in the post election period. It is about which outcome will best position the people’s movement to struggle against the economic crisis and for democracy and equality in the years ahead. And it is about striking an absolutely necessary blow against right-wing extremism – the main organizing vehicle of the oligarchic trend in U.S. politics.

To say that it makes no difference who wins in November is to take leave from reality. It amounts to substituting the politics of self-gratifying outrage and broad generalizations for solid class politics – that is, politics that makes a careful and concrete assessment of which political grouping is the main danger to democracy and class advance, given the balance of class and social forces at this moment.

Bernie Sanders, I suspect, is well aware of the dirty laundry on both sides of the aisle and of the motley character of the two-party system, just as he is undoubtedly fully conscious of the exploitative and oppressive nature of the system of capitalism and the 1 percent that it serves.

But he has also made it clear that he knows who the main political obstacle to social progress is in this era of unprecedented wealth-taking, and has no intention of sitting out this election on the basis of some “higher” political-class-moral principle. Neither should anyone else who is concerned about our country’s democracy and future.

Hiroshima and the U.S. pivot to Asia
| July 25, 2012 | 8:23 pm | Action | No comments

By Darrell Rankin

People’s Voice, August 1, 2012

This will be posted in a few days at http://www.peoplesvoice.ca/

Hiroshima Day, August 6, is humanity’s chance to reflect on the danger of world nuclear war and recall what today would be a serious war crime – the obliteration of two cities in Japan by atomic bombs in 1945.

As the U.S. threatens Iran for its alleged intention to develop a nuclear weapon, another danger is the move of 60 per cent of U.S. naval power to the Asia-Pacific region by 2020. This is the “pivot to Asia,” announced earlier this year as a result of a major military strategic review.

In atomic diplomacy, it is important to “follow the weapons” to gain a true understanding of the nuclear danger. The pivot signifies the transfer of much of the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal half way around the world.

Essentially, the U.S. is shifting its military focus from the Middle East to Asia, from oil to people. The shift is seen by some U.S. strategists as “overdue” because of concern over China’s emergence as a regional power. This, of course, is nothing but a canard against China and an excuse to dominate Asia.

The pivot helps position U.S. military forces to attack both China and Russia. But the more important reason for the shift is to augment U.S. influence and power in the region, especially the all-important U.S. corporate investments in China and other Asian countries, including by force if necessary.

In fact, the long history of U.S. nuclear policy in Asia is one of proliferating nuclear weapons, starting with Hiroshima and continuing with its anti-China nuclear threats during the Korean war. The nuclear arsenals of China, India and Pakistan are puny compared to the U.S. arsenal.

The pivot also needs to be placed in the context of capitalism’s deepening global crises. U.S. ruling circles are counting on their war machine to save their overseas investments from revolutionary change. The pivot is a direct threat to an “Asian Spring.”

The pivot places U.S. naval forces closer to its new Africa Command and ready to assist its re-established Fourth Fleet whose purpose is to dominate and frighten South America.

U.S. imperialism is re-positioning itself to crush social change anywhere it may occur.

The crime of Hiroshima, the long history of US atomic threats against China, and the present pivot underline the racist nature of U.S. imperialism. If an Asian nuclear war takes place, U.S. ruling circles may expect that North America will escape serious loss of life or that they will escape political and legal responsibility. This is both misguided and criminally dangerous.

Without a large and serious campaign to abolish nuclear weapons, the world will continue to soar towards nuclear Armageddon, accidental or deliberate, triggered by doctrines such as those of the U.S. that allow for “first use” of nuclear weapons, including by U.S. naval commanders who may use such weapons without the president’s permission.

The U.S. openly proclaims the need for military force to protect U.S. foreign investments, a doctrine that equally infuses its nuclear policy. Until overseas investment, the material basis for global domination, disappears it is unlikely we will rid the earth of nuclear weapons.

As Hitler’s generals found out after the last world war, humanity will never permit doctrines that allow for the murder of tens of millions. Those controlling the U.S. nuclear arsenal have doctrines that could kill billions. After all, the reality is that war is merely the continuation of foreign policy by violent means, and foreign policy in the age of capitalist imperialism aims at domination, not equality among nations.

The inhumanity of the capitalist social system cannot be erased from history. In 1945, U.S. leaders 1945 chose to use atomic bombs on cities to display the overwhelming danger of such weapons on civilians, not on a more remote, less populated part of Japan. Imperialism’s nuclear strategy is the most important reason why socialists say disarmament is our ideal.

Well There Is No Reason to Read The Nation Anymore…
| July 25, 2012 | 8:13 pm | Action | No comments

By Zoltan Zigedy

Via: http://zzs-blg.blogspot.com/2012/07/well-there-is-no-reason-to-read-nation.html

Alexander Cockburn has died. Nearly thirty years ago, I began borrowing copies of The Nation magazine from a friend in order to read Cockburn’s weekly column. In a publication then notable for its determination not to completely surrender to Cold War hysteria, Cockburn stood out as a stubborn and fearless champion of reason and fidelity to leftist values—not the values that pass as leftist today, but genuine values of internationalism and advocacy for those on the bottom.
Later I learned of Cockburn’s familial roots: his father was the estimable Claud Cockburn who wrote for the UK Daily Worker, was a partisan reporter on the Republican side during the Spanish Civil War, and served as a thorn in the side of the puffed-up English upper classes for most of his life.

Claud authored the novel that served as the basis for the obscure, but delightful John Huston movie, Beat the Devil, a cinematic parody that relentlessly poked fun at nearly every stereotype and prejudice.

Alexander’s writing carried the same level of disdain for self-satisfaction and smugness. Cockburn, the elder, famously remarked that one should “Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.” Alexander Cockburn’s writing reflected even broader truths: Never believe anything uttered by your nation’s public officials or their media hand maidens. And always regard with a measure of respect the claims of their opponents. This motto would serve the journalism profession far better than the usual hypocritical nonsense about fairness and objectivity. It would also well serve a public that readily identifies the media lies when it is itself the specific target, but exhibits a blind, groundless, and sheep-like trust of the media on other matters (think of Syria!).

In that spirit, Alexander Cockburn’s column pierced the inflated egos of wind bags, charlatans, and courtiers from Henry Kissinger through the financiers Jamie Dimon and Robert Diamond, the subjects of his final column.

I don’t know that Alexander considered himself a Marxist, though he acknowledged that his father flirted with and perhaps embraced the views of the old Moor. Certainly Alexander came closer than any other contemporary writer in English, despite his occasional eccentricities, to the acerbity and intolerance for hum-buggery of our beloved KM.

As The Nation moved away from its legacy of popular front progressivism and anti-anti-Communism and towards drawing-room liberalism, Cockburn became more of an internal critic. He began to take shots at Nation writers and columnists who were more comfortable reporting conversations at dinner parties than in reporting on Appalachia or big city ghettos. He rightly called out writers whose views seemed to unerringly march in lock step with the Democratic Party leadership.

Though The Nation editors would deny it, his punishment was to see his popular column reduced from every issue to every other issue.

Nonetheless his column persisted despite the magazine’s further ideological acceptance of the tighter and tighter Democratic Party leash. In recent years, the taming of The Nation forced me to discontinue my twenty-five-year subscription when I concluded that even Cockburn could not hold me.

But a ten-dollar desperate renewal offer (the way of all print magazines starving for support) brought me back recently, a happy move since it delivered me Alexander Cockburn’s last column. But o how far The Nation has sunk! The funeral issue contained three tortured and embarrassingly pandering defenses of Obama’s grossly misnamed Affordable Care Act (four if you count Katha Pollit’s lame cheer-leading in her column: “Obamacare(s) for Women”), all a transparent call to vote for Obama in the fall election. Poor Alexander Cockburn’s last column was sandwiched between these crude political ads.

The rest of the issue included a bizarre “vindication” of right-wing scumbag David Frum (his mother was a feminist!), a pathetically and needlessly “scholarly” critique of Charles Murray’s scurrilous attack on working class white males, and a Princeton professor’s paean to Jurgen Habermas’ vapid pontifications on the meaning and future of the European Union.

Pity poor Eric Foner, who joins Cockburn with an article in such dreary company.

Needless to say, I will not be renewing my Nation subscription (unless the price comes down even further!). I’ve had enough and, with Cockburn gone, I can catch the occasional significant article from friends on the ‘net.

I will miss Alexander Cockburn—more than a little. I regret that I never followed him closely on Counterpunch, but I trust that its archives are full of his sterling and stirring writing. I’m sure collections of his essays and articles will soon appear. I look forward to reading them. I hope others will as well.

Zoltan Zigedy
zoltanzigedy@gmail.com