Month: February, 2013
The ABC of Bourgeois Politics
| February 27, 2013 | 8:23 pm | Action | No comments

ByZoltan Zigedy

Via: http://zzs-blg.blogspot.com/

From the Russian Revolution until the demise of Soviet and Eastern European socialism, one dominant, uncompromising and persistent theme has obsessed ruling elites in the capitalist world and their allies: Anything but Communism (ABC). The ABC doctrine has led to the seemingly contradictory consequence of “champions” of democracy and human rights embracing anti-Communist despots and torturers. It has led the same celebrated values to be compromised in capitalist countries by the violent repression of Communists, leftists, and workers. The doctrine has placed arbitrary limits on the rights of self-determination for any emerging nation daring to flirt with a non-capitalist path. And when Communism threatens to breach the barriers constructed by the capitalist class, that class resorts to the most extreme form of Anything but Communism: fascism.

For the left, ABC has often appeared to be an insurmountable hurdle to the goal of peoples’ power and socialism. Too often the task of overcoming ABC overwhelms the advocates of socialism, leading to compromise, concession and ideological dilution. Certainly, many of the formerly powerful Communist Parties of Western Europe succumbed to this lure. The self-described Euro-Communists, especially, hoped to convince their opponents that they were reliable and docile contestants unworthy of the class hatred embodied in ABC. They thought that by demonstrating their fealty to bourgeois standards of political conduct and by donning the trappings of civil parliamentarians, they would win the respect of their class foes. But the illusion of acceptance through “historical compromise” and electoral coalition proved to be just that—an illusion. Today, these parties have thoroughly demonstrated their “trustworthiness” by totally abandoning Communism for tepid class-neutral reformism.

ABC and Syriza

In the wake of the twenty-first-century crisis of capitalism, the need for a revolutionary movement of peoples’ power and socialism becomes both more apparent and more urgent with every passing day. The material conditions of most poor and working people have sunk to a level demanding far more radical solutions than those offered by the traditional bourgeois parties. Their failure to correct, or even address, the harsh deterioration of mass living standards over the last five years confirms their political irrelevance.

Nor are the romantic and spontaneous movements of the recent past of any use in the face of the ravages of a capitalist economic, social, and political crisis. Subcommandante Marcos or the leader-eschewing leaders of the Occupy movement are incapable of combating the ravages of a wounded capitalism despite the enthusiasm and encouragement of much of the US and European left.

Indeed, the objective conditions call for an organized movement determined to overthrow capitalism and replace it with peoples’ rule and the construction of socialism.

Yet the US left and much of the European left are still captured by the mentality of Anything but Communism. They subjectively hope to manage capitalism and yearn to return to the pre-crisis world of life-style advocacy, promotion of social harmony and tolerance, and incremental social welfare; they imagine class struggle without class conflict; and they share the make-believe hope of class justice without class domination.

This hope is found in the most recent celebrity of the Greek party, Syriza, and its attractive and agreeable leader, Alexis Tsipras. Syriza embodies the delusions of the US and European soft-left in the post-Soviet era: it advocates a noisy but vacuous anti-capitalist posture attached to a program of “enlightened” management of capitalism. Like its forebears in Social Democracy and Euro-Communism, it offers to appease the bourgeoisie while promising a distant goal with no more clarity than that of William Blake’s poetic Jerusalem.

Tsipras reveals the timidity and conservatism of the Syriza program in two recent documents: an interview with Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal published as a glowing opinion piece (The Conscience of a Radical) on January 28, 2013 and an article authored by Tsipras in Le Monde Diplomatique (The Greek Revival Plan, February 16, 2013).

The WSJ interview occurred when Tsipras visited New York to “meet with think-tank scholars, journalists and International Monetary Fund officials, and to be dined at the State Department,” to quote Stephens. It is hard to envision anyone frightening capitalism while maintaining this itinerary. As the friendly Stephens noted: “It definitely amused me to meet him in the breakfast room at his hotel, the Helmsley Park Lane on Central Park South. Not exactly the cafeteria of the proletariat.”

The trusted spokesperson for monopoly capital, Stephens, found much to like in the spokesperson for Syriza. He concludes that: “If the radical in Syriza means a party capable of thinking for itself and posing the right questions, maybe the right answers won’t be far behind.”

Apart from this ringing endorsement, what answers does Tsipras offer to the growing devastation of Greece and the capitalist crisis?

Tsipras assures Stephens that he advocates neither a default on Greek debt nor an exit from the euro zone.

Instead, Syriza is committed to a “conference” with the European Union to discuss negotiating a restructuring of Greece’s debt (Tsipras writes of the “public debt” though he also calls for the recapitalization of Greek banks, presumably mainly private banks). The model for this maneuver is the 1953 conference called to renegotiate the debt of the Federal Republic of Germany (Tsipras fails to acknowledge that there were two Germanys in 1953!) where 21 countries agreed to reduce the FRG debt and invoke less onerous terms. Unsaid in his proposal is the Cold War context of the 1953 conference. Conferees remembered well the consequences for the world of the heavy reparations and debt imposed on Germany after World War I. They were equally anxious to draw the FRG into the Cold War (the FRG joined NATO IN 1955) and in need of the FRG’s growing industrial might. Nothing remotely like these considerations weighs on the other EU members in deciding Greece’s fate today.

But how would Syriza secure such a conference today? By moral suasion? By calling on historical parallels? Neither would move EU leaders or their Central Bankers to participate in a plan that they would perceive as disordering financial markets. To believe so is to vastly misunderstand the logic of contemporary capitalism. There is something remarkably naïve in believing that the Greek crisis can be solved by merely calling a conference of EU leaders.

Tsipras, in both his interview and article, blames Greece’s sorry state on corruption. He does not place the capitalist system, the capitalist crisis, inequality, or any other systemic element or process in Syriza’s sights; rather, he sees Greece declining because of corruption and cronyism. Surely the leader of a “radical left” party must recognize that capitalism breeds corruption just as surely as it generates crisis. Corruption is an inevitable byproduct of capitalism and will reappear and expand as long as capitalism exists. To attack it, one must attack capitalism.

But there is no attack on capitalism in Tsipras’ or Syriza’s plans. Instead, there is “…breaking with the past… working for social justice, equal rights, political and fiscal transparency—in other words, democracy.”

Fine. But these broad slogans are not socialist. They are not even anti-capitalist. In fact, they could be embraced easily by Social Democrats in Europe or even Democrats in the US.

For those who were quick to condemn the Greek Communists (KKE) for not joining with Syriza in an electoral coalition, Tsipras’ and Syriza’s program should cause pause to reconsider. Like previous appeasers of Anything but Communism, Syriza trades on its differences with Communists. It offers a pledge of fidelity to the bourgeois rules of the game. Like other appeasers, it sacrifices principled advocacy of socialism to political expediency, a sacrifice that gets us no closer to peoples’ power or to socialism. Once Syriza is compelled to come forth with a program, it is impossible to locate a common ground with revolutionary Communists.

Tackling global capitalism—essential to reversing the continuing devastation of this deep and profound crisis—requires more than a conference and a series of slogans. Real solutions are not to be found with those promising to guide capitalism out of an inhuman crisis of its own making.

Zoltan Zigedy

zoltanzigedy@gmail.com

Miners arrested in fight to end Peabody’s stealing of health benefits
| February 18, 2013 | 8:45 pm | Action | No comments

Coal Execs deserve “a cell next to Bernie Madoff”

By Kay Tillow

http://tinyurl.com/aw7z5g3

St. Louis, MO. February 13, 2013. Shirley Inman was arrested for
peaceful, civil disobedience as she protested at the Peabody Energy
headquarters against the corporate threat to rob miners and their families
of the health benefits they have earned. Inman, a member of United Mine
Workers of America Local 2286 in Madison, West Virginia, spent 18 years
driving a coal truck. Head held high, Inman faced arrest with a
determination much greater than her petite stature. She is serious about
this fight.

“If I can’t get my medication for my heart disease, I won’t be around much
longer,” said Inman. “I’m a breast cancer survivor and I have coronary
artery disease. Health care isn’t an option for me; it’s what I need to
survive. I’ll do whatever it takes to make these corporate executives keep
the promises they made – and if that means going to jail, so be it.”

Inman was arrested with nine of her union brothers, including UMWA
Secretary Treasurer Dan Kane. This was the second set of arrests at
Peabody Energy, and it looks like there will be more to come. On January
29 UMWA President Cecil Roberts was arrested with the first group, but he
was not present for this rally because of negotiations.

In 2007, Peabody Energy and Arch Coal spun off a large chunk of their
health care and retirement obligations to a new entity called Patriot
Coal. In a financial and bankruptcy transaction that UMWA Vice President
from Alabama, Daryl Dewberry, described as “nickel slick”, Peabody Energy
and Arch Coal are trying to wash their hands of responsibility for the
health benefits for which they had signed contracts.

There was an air of militancy as more than 1,000 miners and supporters
marched to the park and rallied between the St. Louis arch and the Peabody
headquarters prior to the arrests. There was emotion also. Health care
hits close to the heart. The union has challenged the theft of benefits
in court, and the case has been moved to St. Louis. Concerned that
bankruptcy law may not be adequate to protect these benefits, the miners
say they will win this battle by appealing to a higher moral law.

Dan Kane, UMWA Secretary Treasurer explained. “They intentionally put
Patriot in the position for bankruptcy. They want this in the bankruptcy
court—they don’t want it in the court of public opinion. This is about
every man and woman who works for a living. Health care and pension are
not gifts. You paid for it. But these companies are using bankruptcy
more and more. Lawyers will get paid. Million dollar bonuses will go to
executives. The heads of Patriot won’t suffer. Those who did the work
walk out with nothing. That has to stop. We don’t want their sympathy.
What we want is justice.”

“We want what we’ve earned,” said Kane. “They want to go to their
palatial homes—but they deserve a cell next to Bernie Madoff. I’m tired
of an economy that walks all over the workers. I look for a day when we
win the fight so every person who wants to can be in a union without
interference. And next, I look for a day when each and every one drops
their tools and sits down for a day and tells the executives here’s what
it’s like without us.” The protesters roared approval.

Dewberry said the UMWA was founded in 1890 “when it was not popular to
have all creeds and colors together, but we did it and we’ve been doing it
for over 100 years.” He said that miners are “used to adversity and we
are all our brothers’ keepers. Peabody left scars in Alabama. Arch left
scars in Alabama. They left black lung. Miners took less benefits to
assure health care.”

“Know this, Peabody, we’re seasoned and we ain’t backing down from
nothing,” continued Dewberry. “Our members have been shot at and burned
out and turned out since 1890 and nobody is going to turn us around.” He
then compared the times with an earlier era when Abraham Lincoln said,
“…(C)orporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high
places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to
prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all
wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the Republic is destroyed.”
Dewberry declared of Peabody “They don’t know what a fight is, but we’ll
take ‘em on.”

James Gibbs, UMWA Vice President from West Virginia and a third generation
coal miner spoke. “I think about Peabody and Arch and how they lied to
our retirees who today walk with canes and walkers and carry bottles of
oxygen after working all these years. They were promised health care for
all their lives. We’re not going to let Peabody get by with this. It’s
not right.”

Reflecting the common heritage of the union with the civil rights
movement, Gibbs related the story of Rosa Parks. Then he told of his
father who worked the last 30 years in the mine with an artificial leg,
“yet Pittston didn’t mind a bit to try to take their benefits. But
Pittston didn’t win that fight. We win when we are right.” He was
referring to the 14 month struggle in 1989 when Pittston sought to
discontinue medical benefits to miners, retirees and the disabled.
Pittston was met with massive resistance when miners and their families by
the thousands engaged in non-violent civil disobedience to bring the
company to its knees and to a contract.

The ten volunteers for civil disobedience led the crowd to the street
beside the gleaming Peabody Energy headquarters where they were arrested.
The police secured their wrists with white plastic handcuffs and took them
away. UMWA Vice President Steve Earle announced “We’ll be back in a
couple of weeks.”

The UMWA is taking on a big fight that will impact all workers and our
ability to stop crooked bankruptcies from destroying health coverage.
Please sign the petition to support the miners here:
http://www.fairnessatpatriot.org/take-action/sign-the-petition/

Then ask your local union to endorse HR 676, national single payer health
care, so that we can free our health care from corporate control and
assure all medically necessary care for everyone.

Sample resolution is here:
http://unionsforsinglepayer.org/tools/sample_resolution

You can watch the video of the February 13, 2013 rally and sit in here.

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/mineworkers

(The video begins with Kentucky AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan
introducing Paul Whiteley to sing about Peabody–lyrics by Paul and
Bill.)

Background on single payer: Cecil Roberts speaks on single payer health
care here. http://tinyurl.com/aspchla

Distributed by:

All Unions Committee for Single Payer Health Care–HR 676
c/o Nurses Professional Organization (NPO)
1169 Eastern Parkway, Suite 2218
Louisville, KY 40217
(502) 636 1551

Email: nursenpo@aol.com
http://unionsforsinglepayer.org

Notes from the Brink: The Economy in the Winter of 2013
| February 16, 2013 | 11:30 am | Action, Economy | No comments

By Zoltan Zigedy is available at:
http://zzs-blg.blogspot.com/

Workers’ Woes

Workers at a non-union Toyota plant in Kentucky have been offered incentives to retire early in order for management to replace them with new hires at a lower starting wage. The labor cost advantages formerly enjoyed by Toyota—the non-union premium—is no longer available to non-union plants in the auto industry. It seems the wages and benefits long ago won by a more aggressive UAW have retreated to the extent that non-union plants must now secure lower compensation in order to compete!

Since the UAW has conceded starting pay in the unionized industry down to about $14-16 per hour, Toyota seeks to replace older workers making around $26 per hour in their Kentucky plant with new hires at $16 per hour. Thus, the union shops are paradoxically pressuring the wages and benefits of non-union employees downward.

As reported in The Wall Street Journal, industry experts claim that the non-union manufacturers enjoyed a $29 an hour competitive advantage in wages and benefits as recently as 2008. By the end of 2011, they report that non-union labor costs were about equal with General Motors and actually higher than Chrysler!

It is hard to imagine a more demoralizing consequence for the union movement in the US: if only the market, and not a fighting union, is to competitively determine wages and benefits, how does one entice workers to join the union? For the bankrupt UAW leadership, union growth comes only from striking a deal with the employers– a deal that would promise collaboration and stability at the expense of workers’ pay and benefits.

The decimation of the living standards of US unionized auto workers came with the bailout and subsequent temporary stewardship of the auto industry by a Democratic Party administration. That same administration demanded plant closings and layoffs as a condition of the bailout.

With friends like these, workers are sadly in dire straights.

Clearly, radical changes are in order, changes that cry out for class struggle unionism and independent political action. Without a new direction, US workers will continue the descent towards Depression-era living standards.

Currency Wars

The 1917 text of Lenin’s Imperialism projected intense struggles between rival capitalist powers. Written during an unprecedented total war between the most economically advanced countries, a war that when settled cost the lives of millions of people, Lenin’s tract explained the First World War as a contest between empires seeking global advantage for the spoils of capitalist exploitation.

Less than twenty years later, the same empire-building forces were again unleashed to carve the world in a desperate attempt to secure markets and sources of strategic resources. World War Two further confirmed Lenin’s thesis that competing capitalist powers were unable to collaborate and cooperate for some greater, universal good. Instead, competition always begets aggression, national chauvinism, and war.

Many were dismissive of Lenin’s prophecies when witnessing the Cold War expediencies of inter-imperial cooperation against the emerging post-war socialist community. With well over a third of the world’s population in the socialist camp, the imperial rivals found a temporary basis of unity around fears and resistance to the success of socialist revolution. The survival of capitalism tamed the inherent rivalries for that moment.

The demise of that threat with the collapse of Eastern European socialism and the accommodation with capitalism by Asian Communists has unleashed the beast of imperial competition. The global economic crisis only serves to fuel the tensions and expose the rivalries.

I wrote in November of 2008 of the “global crackup”, noting that the US was no longer in a position to impose its will on the rest of the world, unable to slough its problems easily upon others. I drew attention to the logic of capitalist competition that, in the long run, denies any hope of cooperation and common solutions.

Today, that tendency— aggressive imperialist rivalry—has found its expression in a new war, a war waged around the relative value of national currencies.

Rulers understand that in a climate of stagnant or declining world trade, nation-states will draw an advantage from devaluing national currencies; by cheapening money—the medium of exchange— domestic enterprises will be able to offer their products at a more favorable price in international markets.

The US tepid “recovery” from the depths of the crisis has largely been won by hyper-exploitation of a docile work force and the dramatic expansion of exports through the Federal Reserve’s massive devaluation of the dollar via the printing press. The Qualitative Easing programs aim to suppress interest rates and remove the corporate garbage generated by the financial promiscuity of 2008-2009. But they also have the not-so-unintended consequence of bolstering the competitiveness of US export manufacturing.

At the same time, US policy makers pointed an accusatory finger at the Peoples’ Republic of China, charging its leaders with currency manipulation. While the charge got little traction from those who closely studied these relationships, it served as a useful diversion from US policies and bolstered rounds of anti-China bashing by do-nothing politicians and labor mis-leaders.

European Union leaders, occupied with the desperate effort to save the Euro, offered little resistance to US currency manipulation.

But with the election of Shinzo Abe in Japan, the currency war was joined. Abe, a right-wing nationalist, exploited the Japanese public’s frustration with years of ineffective governance and economic stagnation to scorn cooperation and offer an aggressive economic program geared towards restoring Japanese competitiveness. Assuming the office of Prime Minister, he launched an aggressive campaign to devalue the Yen. His pressure on the Bank of Japan has already (in less than two months!) produced a drop of 10% in the Yen’s value against the dollar and 15% against the Euro. This means that Japanese products are enjoying a growing competitive advantage in international markets.

International bankers see these moves clearly as the opening salvos in a major escalation of the currency/trade wars. Politicians in countries throughout the world have quietly made similar moves to spur competitiveness, but never with the open audacity shown by Abe.

Perhaps even more disturbing is the unabashed belligerence and arrogant nationalism accompanying these economic moves. The Japanese government has provoked disputes with nearly every Asian Pacific government over barren islands claimed as part of Greater Japan. Imperial aggression is as great a danger today as it was nearly a hundred years ago when Lenin established it as a structural feature of mature capitalism.

A Hushed Mea Culpa

Capital’s policeman, the International Monetary Fund, has offered a quiet confession of an arcane theoretical mistake of enormous consequence. As the leading cheerleader for decades of the “fiscal responsibility” approach to public programs, the IMF can take dubious credit for the policy of austerity as a general panacea for economic duress. A cursory look at the IMF legacy shows a constant, unrelenting enforcement of balanced budgets and meager public spending. Developing countries seeking IMF loans have felt the lash of austerity as a condition of relief.

A cornerstone of IMF thinking was a little discussed macro-economic assumption of the compounding effects of debt reduction. Where “unschooled” common sense might suggest that removing a dollar of public spending from economic activity would remove at least a dollar from a nation’s gross domestic product, the IMF postulated that it would reduce economic activity by only half of a dollar. That is, the “multiplier” for a reduction of public spending was only .5. The assumption, of course, is the neo-liberal axiom that the dollar spent elsewhere in the private sector MUST always be far more productive, must always be greater than unity and, therefore, must always outweigh the loss of “inefficient” public sector spending.

Unfortunately, the axiom is wrong. IMF empirical studies show that, in fact, the multiplier of public spending reductions ranges between .9 and 1.7. In other words, the negative impact of public spending cuts was underestimated by two to three times! The IMF confessed as much in its October report. Unstated, however, is the negative impact of this “error” on hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of people who have lost public benefits to the discipline of IMF imposed “fiscal responsibility”. Even more have suffered from the constraint on economic growth produced by the regimen of austerity.

And yet debt reduction through choking government spending remains a priority of political parties from the far right to the social democratic left.

The Sky is Falling, but not on Everyone yet!

You would never know it from the Wall Street pundits loudly proclaiming the best January stock market in two years, but the US GDP shrank in the final quarter of 2012 (as it did in the UK, the EU, and even the seemingly bullet-proof German economy).

Generally, negative GDP panics investors and disrupts markets, but we live in special times. To the extent that labor remains quiescent and social movements fail to translate into anti-capitalist uprisings, investors and the capitalist class have made their peace with historically unacceptable unemployment and stagnating, but stable economic growth. It’s the earnings that catch the eye of the investors and the wealthy. And they have been holding up rather well so far.

In fact, they are creating the conditions for another round of risk-taking. Money market funds are flush with cash and seeking greater returns, securitization of debt is on the rise again (securities built on auto loans are greater than at any time since 2005), and banks are again growing their real-estate loan portfolios. Capitalism and the lust for ever greater accumulation never sleep!

Of course it is the very mechanism of accumulation, the search for yield on swelling capital (and the accompanying pressures on profitability), that announces the next round in the crisis.

Zoltan Zigedy
zoltanzigedy@gmail.com

Report of Hu Jintao to the 18th CPC National Congress
| February 13, 2013 | 10:22 pm | Action | No comments

Written by Hu Jin Tao, President, People’s Republic of China

Via: www.mltoday.com

Report to the Eighteenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China by the President of the People’s Republic of China. Other reports of the CPC Congress are at http://china.org.cn/china/18th_cpc_congress/node_7167318.htm>.

Comrades, I now wish to deliver the following report to the Eighteenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China on behalf of the Seventeenth Party Central Committee.

The Eighteenth National Congress is one of great importance being held when China has entered the decisive stage of completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects.

The underlying theme of the congress is to hold high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, follow the guidance of Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thought of Three Represents and the Scientific Outlook on Development, free up the mind, implement the policy of reform and opening up, pool our strength, overcome all difficulties, firmly march on the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and strive to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects.

At this moment when I address you, we are convinced that thanks to over 90 years of hard struggle, our Party has rallied and led the people of all ethnic groups of the country in turning the poor and backward old China into an increasingly prosperous and powerful new China and opening up bright prospects for the great renewal of the Chinese nation.

We are all the more proud of the historic achievements of the Party and the people, we are all the more firm in the ideal and conviction of the Party and the people, and we are all the more aware of the historic responsibility of the Party.

At present, as the global, national and our Party’s conditions continue to undergo profound changes, we are faced with unprecedented opportunities for development as well as risks and challenges unknown before. The whole Party must keep in mind the trust the people have placed in us and the great expectation they have of us. We must aim higher and work harder and continue to pursue development in a scientific way, promote social harmony, and improve the people’s lives so as to complete the glorious and arduous tasks bestowed on us by the times.

Our Work in the Past Five Years and the Basic Experience We Have Gained in the Past Ten Years

Over the past five years since the Seventeenth Party Congress, we have marched boldly on the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. During these five years, we have overcome numerous difficulties and risks and achieved new successes in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. The Seventeenth Party Congress adopted a comprehensive plan for promoting reform and opening up and socialist modernization and attaining the grand goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.

To implement this decision of the Seventeenth Party Congress, the Central Committee has held seven plenary sessions, at which decisions were made and implementing steps adopted on the following issues of underlying importance: deepening reform of the administrative system, promoting rural reform and development, improving and strengthening Party building in a new environment, formulating the Twelfth Five-Year Plan and promoting reform and development of the cultural sector.

During the past five years, we have fulfilled the goals of the Eleventh Five-Year Plan and made good progress in implementing the Twelfth Five-Year Plan, and we have made new and major achievements in all fields of our work. The economy has developed steadily and rapidly. China’s overall national strength has grown considerably. The gross domestic product (GDP) reached 47.3 trillion yuan in 2011, and government revenue increased by a wide margin. The overall agricultural production capacity has increased and grain output has gone up year after year.

Fresh progress has been made in adjusting the industrial structure, and the infrastructure has been extensively upgraded. Urbanization has been steadily advanced, and development between urban and rural areas and between regions has become better balanced.

Notable progress has been made in making China an innovative country, and major breakthroughs have been made in manned spaceflights, the lunar exploration program, and in the development of a manned deep-sea submersible, supercomputers and high-speed railways. Solid steps have been taken to promote ecological progress, and comprehensive progress has been made in resource conservation and environmental protection.

Major progress has been registered in reform and opening up. China’s overall rural reform, the reform in tenure of collective forests and the reform of state-owned enterprises have been deepened, and the non-public sector of the economy has registered sound growth. The country’s modern market system and macro-regulatory system have been steadily improved, and its reform of finance and taxation, banking, prices, science and technology, education, social security, medicine and public health, and public institutions has progressed steadily.

China’s open economy has reached a new level, and its import and export volume now ranks second in the world. Living standards have been significantly improved. Efforts to improve the people’s wellbeing have been intensified; urban and rural employment has continued to increase; individual income has increased rapidly; household assets have grown steadily; people’s need for daily necessities such as clothing, food, housing and transportation is better met; subsistence allowances for both urban and rural residents and the rural poverty line have been raised by a big margin; and basic pensions for enterprise retirees have increased continually.

New strides have been made in developing democracy and the legal system. Further progress has been made in reforming the political structure. Urban and rural deputies to people’s congresses are now elected on the basis of the same population ratio. Community-level democracy has steadily developed.

The socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics has been established, and notable achievements have been made in building a socialist country based on the rule of law.

The patriotic united front has been consolidated and expanded. The reform of the administrative system has deepened, and further progress has been made in the reform of the judicial system and the work mechanisms of the judiciary.

Development of the cultural sector has reached a new stage. Intensive efforts have been made to promote core socialist values; comprehensive progress has been made in the reform of the cultural system; important headway has been made in providing public cultural services; the cultural industry has grown rapidly; cultural creation and production is flourishing; and people enjoy richer intellectual pursuits and cultural entertainment. New progress has been made in public fitness programs and competitive sports.

Fresh progress has been made in social development. Basic public services have improved markedly, and access to them has become much more equitable. Education has developed rapidly, and free compulsory education is now available in all urban and rural areas. Marked progress has been made in developing the social security system; the basic old-age insurance system covering both the urban and rural population has been fully established, and a new type of social assistance system is taking shape.

The whole population is now basically covered by medical insurance; the basic urban and rural healthcare systems are taking shape. Construction of low-income housing has been accelerated. We have strengthened and made innovations in social management and maintained social harmony and stability. A new stage has been reached in efforts to strengthen national defense and the armed forces.

Significant achievements have been made in the revolution in military affairs with Chinese characteristics.

Coordinated and all-around progress has been made in efforts to ensure the revolutionary nature of the armed forces and that they are modern and follow standard procedures in all operations. Military preparedness has been enhanced. The armed forces have greatly enhanced their capability of carrying out their historic mission in this new stage in the new century, and they have accomplished a host of urgent, difficult, dangerous and arduous tasks. Work related to Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan affairs has been further strengthened. Hong Kong and Macao have remained prosperous and stable, and their exchanges and cooperation with the mainland have reached a new stage.

We have achieved a major transition in the relations between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits, with direct and two-way links of mail service, transport and trade fully established, and the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement between them has been signed for implementation. All this has promoted extensive mutual contacts and ushered in a new stage of peaceful growth of cross-Straits relations. New progress has been made in China’s diplomacy. We have staunchly protected China’s interests and the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese nationals and legal persons overseas. We have increased exchanges and cooperation with other countries.

We have promoted reform in global governance, enhanced world peace and development, secured more representation and a greater say for China in international affairs, and created favorable international conditions for China’s reform and development.

All-around progress has been made in Party building. Further progress has been registered in strengthening the Party’s governance capacity and its advanced nature. Notable results have been achieved in strengthening the Party theoretically. Significant achievements have been made in studying and applying the Scientific Outlook on Development.

Major progress has been made in conducting reform and innovation in Party building. Intra-Party democracy has been further expanded. Major progress has also been made in strengthening the ranks of Party officials; and new progress has been registered in managing qualified professionals. We have intensified activities to encourage Party members and organizations to excel in their work and to build learning Party organizations. Community-level Party organizations have been strengthened. New progress has been made in improving Party conduct, promoting integrity and combating corruption.

On the other hand, we must be keenly aware that there is still much room for improvement in our work and there are a lot of difficulties and problems on our road ahead. They include the following: Unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable development remains a big problem. The capacity for scientific and technological innovation is weak. The industrial structure is unbalanced. Agricultural infrastructure remains weak. Resource and environmental constraints have become more serious. Many systemic barriers stand in the way of promoting development in a scientific way.

The tasks of deepening reform and opening up and changing the growth model remain arduous. The development gap between urban and rural areas and between regions is still large, and so are income disparities. Social problems have increased markedly. There are many problems affecting people’s immediate interests in education, employment, social security, healthcare, housing, the ecological environment, food and drug safety, workplace safety, public security, law enforcement, administration of justice, etc. Some people still lead hard lives.

There is a lack of ethics and integrity in some fields of endeavor. Some officials are not competent to pursue development in a scientific way. Some community-level Party organizations are weak and lax. A small number of Party members and officials waver in the Party’s ideal and conviction and are not fully aware of its purpose. Going through formalities and bureaucratism as well as extravagance and waste are serious problems.

Some sectors are prone to corruption and other misconduct, and the fight against corruption remains a serious challenge for us. We must take these difficulties and problems very seriously and work harder to resolve them. Our work in the past five years is an important part of our endeavor to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects in the past ten years since the Sixteenth National Congress of the Party.

During these ten years, we have seized and made the most of the important period of strategic opportunities for China’s development, successfully met major challenges and brought socialism with Chinese characteristics to a new stage of development.

Facing a volatile global environment and fierce competition in overall national strength unseen before in this new stage in the new century, we have deepened reform and opening up and accelerated development. We took China’s accession to the World Trade Organization as an opportunity to turn pressure into motivation and turn challenges into opportunities, and we have forged ahead in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.

While we were on the way, we overcame the unexpected outbreak of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). On the basis of reviewing China’s development practices, we gained a good understanding of the essential features of its development in the current stage, set forth in a timely way major strategic thinking including the Scientific Outlook on Development, and have fully applied it, and thus greatly expanded the space for economic and social development.

After 2008, the global financial crisis caused acute difficulties to China’s development. By making resolute decisions and taking major countermeasures on the basis of sizing up the overall development in a scientific way, we made China’s economy the first in the world to make a turnaround, and we have gained important experience in effectively defusing external economic risks and maintaining steady and robust growth. We successfully hosted the Games of the XXIX Olympiad and the XIII Paralympic Games in Beijing and the World Expo in Shanghai. We won great victories in responding to the massive Wenchuan earthquake in Sichuan Province and other natural disasters and in post-disaster recovery and reconstruction and settled major emergencies.

Bracing ourselves against complex domestic and international developments, our Party and people have stood severe tests, consolidated and developed the cause of reform and opening up and socialist modernization, and raised China’s international standing. All this shows the superiority and vitality of socialism with Chinese characteristics and has enhanced the pride and cohesiveness of the Chinese people and nation. Over the past ten years, we have achieved new historic successes and laid a solid foundation for completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects.

China’s economy has risen from the sixth to the second place in the world. The country has undergone new historic changes: Its productive forces and economic, scientific and technological strength have increased considerably, the people’s living standards, individual income and social security have improved significantly, and its overall national strength and international competitiveness and influence have been enhanced substantially.

During this period, China has seen continuous economic development, steady improvement in democracy, and increasing cultural prosperity and social stability, and we have worked hard to ensure and improve the people’s wellbeing and brought them more benefits than ever before. And all this is widely recognized.

These historic successes are attributable to the correct guidance of the Party’s basic theory, line, program and experience; they have been achieved on the firm foundation laid since the founding of New China in 1949 and particularly since the adoption of the policy of reform and opening up in 1978; and they are the fruits of the united efforts of the whole Party and the people of all ethnic groups in China.

Here, on behalf of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, I wish to express our heartfelt thanks to the people of all ethnic groups in China, to the democratic parties, people’s organizations and patriots from all walks of life, to our compatriots in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Macao Special Administrative Region and Taiwan as well as overseas Chinese, and to our foreign friends who view favorably and support China’s modernization drive.

The most important achievement in our endeavors in the past ten years is that we have formed the Scientific Outlook on Development and put it into practice by following the guidance of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents and by making courageous theoretical innovations on the basis of practices and developing closely interconnected new ideas and viewpoints on upholding and building socialism with Chinese characteristics.

The Scientific Outlook on Development was created by integrating Marxism with the reality of contemporary China and with the underlying features of our times, and it fully embodies the Marxist worldview on and methodology for development. This theory provides new scientific answers to the major questions of what kind of development China should achieve in a new environment and how the country should achieve it. It represents a new level of our understanding of the laws of socialism with Chinese characteristics and reaches a new realm in the development of Marxism in contemporary China.

The Scientific Outlook on Development is the latest achievement in developing the system of theories of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and it is the crystallization of the collective wisdom of the Communist Party of China and a powerful theoretical weapon for guiding all the work of the Party and country.

Together with Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents, the Scientific Outlook on Development is the theoretical guidance the Party must adhere to for a long time.

As we advance toward the future, thoroughly applying the Scientific Outlook on Development is of major immediate significance and far-reaching historical significance for upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics. We must apply it throughout the course of modernization and to every aspect of Party building. The whole Party must more purposefully make promoting economic and social development the top priority in applying the Scientific Outlook on Development. We must pursue economic development as the central task and concentrate on it with every determination.

We should master the laws of development, develop new thinking on development and solve problems hindering development. We must implement the strategies for making China strong by developing science and education and training competent personnel and the strategy for pursuing sustainable development. We must step up efforts to create development models as well as institutions and mechanisms that facilitate development in a scientific way. We must continue to release and develop the productive forces and promote scientific, harmonious and peaceful development so as to lay a solid foundation for upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics.

The whole Party must more purposefully take putting people first as the core requirement for thoroughly applying the Scientific Outlook on Development. We must always make realizing, safeguarding and developing the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people the starting point and goal of all the work of the Party and country.

We must respect the people’s creativity, protect their rights and interests, and make continued progress in enabling the people to share in the fruits of development and in promoting well-rounded development of the person.

The whole Party must more purposefully make pursuing comprehensive, balanced and sustainable development the basic requirement for applying the Scientific Outlook on Development. We must fully implement the overall plan for promoting economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological progress, ensure coordinated progress in all areas of endeavors in the modernization drive, balance the relations of production with the productive forces as well as the superstructure with the economic base, and continue to expand the path of development that leads to increased production, prosperity and a good ecosystem.

The whole Party must more purposefully take the holistic approach as the fundamental way of thoroughly applying the Scientific Outlook on Development.

We must base ourselves on reality in everything we do, gain a full understanding of the major issues in the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics and handle them properly. We must take a holistic approach to our work relating to reform, development and stability, to domestic and foreign affairs as well as national defense, and to running the Party, the country and the military.

We must coordinate urban and rural development, development between regions, economic and social development, relations between man and nature, and domestic development and opening to the outside world. We must balance the interests of all parties and keep them fully motivated so that all people do their best, find their proper places in society and live in harmony.

Freeing up the mind, seeking truth from facts, keeping up with the times and being realistic and pragmatic – these are the salient features of the Scientific Outlook on Development. There is no end to practice, to seeking truth, or to making theoretical innovations. The whole Party must boldly engage in practice and make changes and innovations.

We must respond to the call of the times, follow the aspirations of the people and explore and master the laws of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

We must ensure that the Party is always full of vigor and that China always has the driving force for development. By doing so, we will open up a bright future for developing socialism with Chinese characteristics through the creative practices of the Party and the people.

November 8, 2012

Videos of Gus Hall
| February 13, 2013 | 10:16 pm | Action | No comments

Here are some videos of Gus Hall that are worth watching:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1X-e3JnnzsQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_fG2WHIq_8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xzIgpmIErI

No to Austerity and War!
| February 13, 2013 | 9:27 pm | Action | No comments

No to Austerity and War!
Unity and the fight for a People’s Alternative

Miguel Figueroa, leader of the Communist Party of Canada, is touring the country to speak with working people about the fight against austerity policies. He is presenting the Communist proposal for a People’s Alternative, policies that can check corporate power and put people’s needs before profit!

Wed., Feb. 20, 2013
Doors open 6:30 p.m., Meeting begins 7:00 p.m.
Millennium Library, 2nd fl. (Donald & Graham)

Info: Manitoba Committee, Communist Party of Canada
(204) 586-7824 or cpc-mb@changetheworldmb.ca

Please invite your friends!

Forward this message or invite them via facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/events/calendar#!/events/390023854430217/

Family Visits With Ramon Labanino: Does Mrs. Alan Gross Deal With Stuff Like This?
| February 12, 2013 | 8:26 pm | Action | No comments

Written by W. M. Tillow

Via: http://mltoday.com/subject-areas/cuba/family-visits-with-ramon-labanino-does-mrs.-alan-gross-deal-with-stuff-like-this-1605-2.html

Ramon Labanino’s 74-year-old father, his younger brother, and oldest daughter were slated to visit him at the Federal Prison in Jesup, Georgia from December 23rd through January 11th.

This would allow him to have visits on 12 days, the maximum number of days allowed under the 8-point system at Jesup Federal Correctional Institution (FCI).

In June of last year, Ramon was told that. because of his cumulative good behavior, he would be moved to a lower- level security facility. On December 11th he was told to pack all his personal belongings and be prepared to move at any moment. Because he was afraid that he would be moved before his family arrived, or in the middle of their two -week visit, he decided that the visit should be postponed and airline tickets and hotel reservations were cancelled.

He was moved from Jesup FCI on January 11th and returned there on Jan 22nd after the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) admitted that he was sent to the wrong facility. Because he knew that the BOP would keep him at Jesup for a minimum of 15 days and because the visas of his father, brother and daughter were about to expire, he made a decision that his family should make a hurried visit even though it meant that they would only be allowed to visit on eight days.

His family arrived on January 27th and left on Feb. 9th. They saw him on the first two visiting days. When they arrived at the prison (a 30-mile drive) on day three, a sign said “Lockdown No Visits.” The lockdown lasted for three visiting days. After the lockdown ended, his family saw him for a third day of visiting.

Ramon told them that he had been notified that he would be moved on Friday, Feb. 8th and therefore they would not be able to visit him that day. They arrived at the prison on Thursday, Feb. 7th, for what they thought would be their 4th and last visiting day, only to be told he had already been moved.

In total, they were able to see him on 3 of the 8 days he was eligible to have visits and they made two wasted 60 mile round trips to the prison and back. They returned to Havana on Feb. 9th. Being experienced visitors in the ways of the BOP they were able to say their goodbyes and have prison pictures taken with Ramon on the last day they actually got to see him.

Ramon’s oldest daughter, Aili, explained that as an older teenager, she traveled alone to visit him at the maximum security prison in Beaumont, Texas where he was jailed after the trial of The Five concluded. When she arrived at the prison she found it was locked down. Every day for 30 days she traveled from her hotel to the prison only to find the lockdown still in effect. After 30 days, with her visa about to expire, she went home without seeing her father.

In Jesup, visitors have had to wait for up to three hours before being admitted, while prison authorities waited for a fog to lift (you read it correctly). Visitors have been turned away because someone said their jeans were too tight, or blouses too suggestive, or shoes were not the correct kind. Only a quick trip to a 24-hour Walmart nearby saved that day’s visit.

One wonders if Judy Gross, or any of Alan Gross’ other visitors, has to endure anything like this?

February 11, 2013