Month: April, 2014
Convention Discussion: The Communist Party & the road ahead
| April 21, 2014 | 9:47 pm | About the CPUSA, Action | 1 Comment

Via: http://www.cpusa.org/convention-discussion-the-communist-party-the-road-ahead-2/

by: Garon Archer
April 20 2014

Submitted by Garon Arhcer, of Johnson City, TN

As we enter 2014 and the 30th national convention of the Communist Party, we should be asking ourselves the important questions. Has the working class gained significant ground in the democratic struggle against the far-right agenda? How has the playing field changed post Occupy? Are we seeing a resurgence of militant working class struggle? What does this mean for the Communist Party?

Has the working class gained significant ground in the democratic struggle against the far right agenda?

The answer to this question is far too complex to be answered simply. Struggles for immigrants rights, LGBTQ equality, for higher wages and democratic representation have all taken place. But the struggle isn’t one-sided, reactionary representatives of the transnationals have not ceased in their attacks on the gains and democratic rights of the American people. Supreme Court attacks on the Voting Rights Act, failure to extend unemployment benefits, drastic billion dollar cuts to the food stamps and other social welfare programs, Supreme Court deregulation of campaign finance, etc… All of these attacks on working and oppressed Americans have taken place without real and lasting opposition. Much has been lost, but the attacks have spurred a militant resistance and given birth to struggle on a scale not seen in this country in decades.

How has the playing field changed post Occupy?

Just a few years ago an explosion of working class struggle took place on a scale not seen in decades. Taking place under the banner of a massive social movement known collectively as Occupy, the movement brought hundreds of thousand into struggle. Oppressed nationalities, immigrants, low wage workers, the bread & butter of the American working class launched a full scale resistance to the right-wing agenda. They popularized the class struggle with a call for the struggle of the 99% against the 1% and the corporate right-wing agenda. Unfortunately, the movement ultimately failed to offer a solid critique of the capitalist system, an electoral challenge to the far-right agenda, and the leadership required for concrete social change. As a result it dissipated, leaving the masses without leadership. Despite the failures of the Occupy movement, it will have an everlasting effect on American politics. It represents a left turn for many working Americans, a resurgence of working class militancy, and a new willingness for struggle outside of the normal channels.

Is there a resurgence of working class militancy?

Today it’s no doubt that widespread dissatisfaction with the system is growing. We live in an America where 49% of people aged 18-29 favor the concept of socialism over capitalism, according to a recent Pew Poll. An America where over 40% of Americans identify as independent rather than Republican or Democrat, according to a recent Gallup Poll. First we saw the Wisconsin Uprising and the Occupy movement, both examples of mass working class resistance. We’ve seen the heroic struggle of low wage workers through movements like Our Walmart and Fight for 15, both growing rapidly. We’ve seen highly successful independent labor and socialist campaigns in Ohio, Washington State, Mississippi, New England and beyond. We’ve seen the Chicago teachers fight back, we’ve witnessed UAW Volkswagen workers in Tennessee struggle against right-wing repression in a bid to form a union. Many important struggles have taken place lately, more than one can count. It’s clear that we are seeing a resurgence of working class militancy and a willingness to fight back against injustice and exploitation.

What does all of this mean for the Communist Party?

We have entered a new phase of the democratic struggle. The Democratic Party is increasingly pandering to the most reactionary sections of the transnational corporations, becoming increasingly hostile to progressives and the American worker. While the progressive wing of the Democratic Party remains essential in the struggle against the far-right agenda, it has become is increasingly necessary for the Communist Party to offer a left-wing challenge to reactionary Democrats. Many Democrats are lining up to appease capital, calling for compromise with Republicans and joining in on the war against the workers. The Communist Party has historically represented the most advanced sections of the American working class. We are duty bound to provide a challenge to the far-right agenda, be it Republicans or Democrats who are fostering it. We are duty bound to build and lead a mass movement capable of tackling the challenges of our generation.

Change in the political landscape means change for the Communist Party.

Now that the substance of the struggle is changing, so to must the party. The policy of building up an all-people’s front against the far-right has never been as important as it is right now, but we must consider how we can best approach this daunting task.

After witnessing the success of local progressive & socialist campaigns, it’d be foolish not to participate local electoral struggles. Exclusive support of non-Communists through standard progressive channels isn’t enough. The Communist Party should be fielding Communist candidates, supporting progressive candidates, and building a united progressive electoral bloc. Only the Communist Party can take on the task of building a progressive electoral bloc.

The rise of movements like Fight for 15 and Our Walmart mean that the party policy of industrial concentration has become somewhat outdated. We should be concentrating on low-wage workers in the fast-food & retail industries. The mass struggles of our generation are unfolding at super stores and burger joints, not factories and steel mills.

In conclusion, we must build a strong and independent Communist Party. A party capable of leading the working class into a new phase of struggle against the increasingly vicious far-right agenda. Most importantly, we must remember that struggle against the right-wing agenda is also taking place in the party. The right-wing of our party is fighting for the liquidation of the party into the broader progressive movement, a move that would no doubt have a devastating effect on real working class politics in this country.

Lavrov: US should face responsibility for powers it installed in Kiev
| April 21, 2014 | 9:36 pm | Action, International | No comments

Via: http://rt.com/news/us-responsibility-kiev-lavrov-788/

Published time: April 21, 2014 08:49
Edited time: April 21, 2014 11:34

​The Russian Foreign Minister says the US should take responsibility for those whom they put in power instead of issuing ultimatums to Moscow.

“Before giving us ultimatums, demanding that we fulfill demands within two or three days with the threat of sanctions, we would urgently call on our American partners to fully accept responsibility for those who they brought to power,” said Lavrov during a press conference with his colleague from Mozambique, Oldemiro Baloi.

All attempts to isolate Russia will lead to a dead end because Russia is “a big, independent power that knows what it wants,” he added

Meanwhile, the Russian FM also criticized statements from Western countries and Kiev’s authorities, which “invent possible and impossible arguments against Russia,” claiming that a large amount of Russian arms in the conflict zones proves Russian interference in Ukrainian affairs.

He called the statements absurd as Ukraine has traditionally used Russian-made arms.

“This statement is ludicrous. Everyone has Russian arms in Ukraine,” Lavrov said.

Meanwhile, he also said that TV outlets have reported that US arms were also found in Ukraine and illegal armed groups, not the Ukrainian army were in possession of these American arms.

Speaking about the crisis situation in eastern Ukraine and Kiev’s crackdown on the Donetsk region, Lavrov also said that Kiev authorities don’t want or maybe cannot control the extremists who continue to control the situation in the country.

“The authorities are doing nothing, not even lifting a finger, to address the causes behind this deep internal crisis in Ukraine,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lavrov also said that the Kiev coup-appointed government has violated the Geneva agreements of April 17, after the four-sided talks between the EU, the US, Russia and Ukraine.

“The Pravy Sektor (Right Sector) group has been “running the show” in the streets of central and western Ukraine and is trying to affect eastern regions,” he said, adding that buildings in Kiev seized by the protesters haven’t been freed and the streets haven’t been cleared.

“However, Kiev authorities say that “Maidan” is acting legally which is totally inadmissible,” he said.

Meanwhile, the attack by militants on the checkpoint in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk on Easter Sunday is a crime beneficial only for those who want to derail the Geneva agreements, said the Russian FM.

“The fact that extremists started to shoot at unarmed civilians is unacceptable,” he added.

Meanwhile, he also criticized the attitude of Kiev to foreign journalists in Ukraine as journalists in the country are being arrested and the authorities won’t let them into the regions for them to observe what is happening.

He also stressed that one of the Geneva agreement’s points is to amnesty political prisoners and participants in the protests.

“Instead of releasing the Donetsk governor, Pavel Gubarev, Kiev authorities continue to arrest activists in southeastern Ukraine,” said Lavrov.

According to Lavrov, the Kiev authorities are still spinning out the implementation of constitutional reform in the country.

“Why were they waiting for so long to speak about the necessity of constitutional reform? Why are they spinning out the process?” he asked at the conference.

Lavrov also stressed the necessity of restoring order in the crisis-torn country. By this he meant stopping extremism and religious intolerance, starting constitutional dialogue and disarming the illegally armed groups.

Convention Discussion: No to social democracy
| April 21, 2014 | 12:55 pm | About the CPUSA, Action | No comments

Via: http://www.cpusa.org/convention-discussion-no-to-social-democracy/

by: Jim Lane
April 20 2014

Submitted by Jim Lane, Dallas Texas.

If I have misunderstood the direction that the present leadership seems to be taking us, I apologize. As for the main thrust of party work today, defending the working class against the worst of the capitalist class and standing up for democracy, I agree with it. But I am not alone in believing that leadership has been taking our party away from being a revolutionary organization and toward joining the social democracy.

It isn’t just one or two comrades asking, “Why should people join CPUSA?”

For the human race to prosper, capitalism must be overcome. For capitalism to be overcome, the Communist Party must choose the best possible and clearest political path. I would like to be wrong, but I think we have been meandering since shortly after the 2010 convention. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that, instead of going forward into 21st century thinking, we are regressing into 19th century social democracy.

For the present purpose, I’ll take the Merriam Webster definition of social democracy: “a political movement advocating a gradual and peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism by democratic means.” This was the methodology of the minority of the Russian socialists before the majority took a revolutionary course, and it is the ideology of the old American Socialist Party that more or less kicked us out for being too revolutionary in 1919. It was the ideology of the ruling party of the German government that terminated in the Hitler takeover. Social democracy was one of the trends of our own CPUSA minority during the split of 1991. CPUSA Chairman Sam Webb, at that time, sided with the Marxist majority, but has since then indicated that he has rethought his position.

Social democracy is nothing new, and is certainly not 21st century.

Chairman Sam Webb has periodically written long rambling statements that are often more taken up with what he does not mean than what he means, It’s hard to see what he’s getting at, but some themes seem to repeat. For example, he is opposed to our using Russian symbolism and French vocabulary. I agree, even though I don’t think it’s worth nearly the volume of words that Webb has expended. It’s come up so many times that one can only conclude that we aren’t just talking about vocabulary.

I would point out, while we’re on vocabulary and semantics, that “communist” and “revolution” are neither Russian nor French and can’t be stamped out under that particular ruse.

While carrying out our immediate struggles, we must also be clear that our ultimate purpose is to remove the capitalist class from power. We are not social democrats because social democratic ideology has never worked and never will. It ignores the ruthlessness and determination of the ruling capitalist class.

Another point that Comrade Webb has mentioned many times is that the U.S. is in a certain stage of development. That may seem true on the face of it, but how do we define this stage beyond saying, over and over, that “socialism is not on the horizon.” Marxists know that everything is constantly changing and that political horizons, like everything else, are not fixed in time nor space. The suddenness of the government overthrows in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya all occurred since Comrade Webb started defining the horizons. Some of the news reports indicate that modern communications had a great deal to do with these very rapid and unexpected events. The point is that things can change rapidly.

Should a revolutionary party sideline the need to overcome capitalism because it does not immediately appear on somebody’s definition of a horizon?

Comrade Webb has made it very clear that he believes the Soviet Union imploded from its own fault, and that Stalin, whom our party steadfastly supported, was a “monster.” He dismisses the role of capitalist imperialism in quashing the Soviet Union. But do we not see the hand of imperialism today in attempting to overthrow the gains made in Central and South America? If imperialism succeeds in overthrowing the Cubans and Venezuelans, are we going to blame them?

The same can be said of the gains that the American working class has made in our unions. Are not the capitalists forever and always seeking to destroy those unions and those gains? If an American union fails completely, are we going to blame them?

Is Chairman Sam Webb for revolution in the United States? I once heard the question put to him in a meeting. He failed to answer. Later, I asked the questioner why he didn’t push Webb for a response and he replied, “I was afraid of what the answer would be.” I, too, am afraid of what direction the leadership of CPUSA is taking us.

For the human race to prosper, capitalism must be overcome.

Art exhibit illustrates horrors of Iraq occupation
| April 20, 2014 | 7:46 pm | Action | No comments

by: Bernadette StewardIraqi art

April 15 2009

HOUSTON – Upon entering The Station Museum of Contemporary Art on the edge of the city’s downtown to view the exhibition “Iraqi Artists in Exile,” I was hit with the questions “How do we justify the destruction of a country and her people? What do we say?” This wonderful museum is renowned for its thought provoking exhibitions. This phenomenal exhibition has not been placed at any other museum in the United States due to its controversial nature. The exhibition evokes feelings of what oppressed people around the world are experiencing.

The first piece you see upon entering is a man disrobed with his hands bound and his head completely covered by a bag, and he is sitting in a very vulnerable position. This sculpture symbolizes the subjugation of the Iraqi people under the occupation. By some estimates, more than a million people, mostly women and children, have been killed since the 2003 invasion.

While viewing “Iraqi Artists in Exile,” you cannot help but feel the helplessness that comes from someone knocking down the doors of your home and forcing themselves in and kicking you out.

One sixty-five year old Iraqi artist had all of the art that he had created over four decades destroyed. His home was leveled and he was exiled from his country. He said “I must start over.” The one thing that he is holding on to is hope.

Before the U.S. invasion, Baghdad was one of the cultural centers of the world. Like the U.S., Iraq is ethnically and culturally diverse and this is reflected in the exhibition. There were libraries and museums containing historical documents and works of art that were seven thousand years old. These ancient libraries and museums were looted, pillaged and turned into rubble as a result of the occupation. Within these institutions were librarians, curators, and museum staff. All of these tragedies are dramatized by the exhibition, to include the traumatized state of these people, the destruction of their lives, their jobs, their art and their history.

Another theme of the exhibition reveals the true reason for this unnecessary war: a fight for oil and imperial dominance. The use of religious fundamentalism to justify warfare was also highlighted. There is also a reference to the heavily publicized prison atrocities in Abu Ghraib that became the face of the occupation. One artist reminisces about a mother he met and her response to seeing the photograph of her tortured son in prison. She said she wept as if she were the Virgin Mary looking at her crucified son.

The exhibition forces one to consider the question, “Could this happen here?” The great, collective hope is that the occupation of Iraq will end and the world can embark on positive policies that will move us forward.

Bernadette Steward is a graduate student at Texas Southern University.

Free Alan Gross—and the Cuban Five!
| April 18, 2014 | 8:44 pm | Action, Cuban Five, International | No comments

If the U.S. wants Cuba to release USAID contractor Alan Gross, it should give up its own political prisoners from Cuba.

Art by Antonio Guerrero, one of the Cuban 5

Art by Antonio Guerrero, one of the Cuban 5

Painting by Antonio Guerrero, one of the Cuban 5

http://www.thecuban5.org/wordpress/2014/04/18/7435/

While the U.S. government has vigorously protested Cuba’s imprisonment of USAID contractor Alan Gross, it has proven unwilling to make the diplomatic overtures—like releasing the Cuban Five—that could secure his release.

Alan Gross, an American imprisoned in Cuba since December 3, 2009, recently went on a hunger strike in Havana that lasted for eight days. He did so to protest the U.S. and Cuban governments’ inaction in negotiating a solution to his tragedy.

Gross is the latest victim in a long history of conflicts between Cuba and the United States. An international development expert subcontracted by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Gross entered Cuba as a non-registered foreign agent. His mission was to create a wireless internet satellite network based in Jewish community centers that would circumvent detection by the Cuban government.

Gross was quickly apprehended. But while the U.S. government has vigorously protested his treatment, it has proven unwilling to make the diplomatic overtures—like releasing the Cuban Five—that could secure his release.

Regime Change “Cockamamie”

The USAID program that landed Gross in prison was designed during the George W. Bush administration. It received approval under the Helms-Burton Act, a 1996 law that essentially committed the U.S. government to the overthrow of the Cuban regime.

Gross’ program took an indisputably covert and incendiary approach to democracy promotion, never bothering to obtain the informed consent of the Cuban Jewish community. Like most Cuban religious groups, Jews in Cuba have opposed any attempt to politicize religious organizations by turning them into tools to promote opposition to the regime. The Bush administration’s holy warriors at USAID, however, had aspirations far beyond the temple doors¾they aimed to overthrow the Cuban government. If that involved getting Cuban Jews in trouble without their consent, then so be it.

USAID made a peculiar choice in selecting Gross for actions that would come to be condemned in Cuba as subversive. Gross did not know Cuba and did not speak Spanish. He loved Cuban music, but that hardly qualified him for the covert mission he was sent on. Moreover, the U.S. government systematically misinformed Gross about Cuba. According to a confidential summary of an August 2008 meeting between USAID high officials and representatives of Development Alternatives Incorporated (DAI)—the contractor that hired Gross—Bush-era USAID officials recommended that project team members “stay well informed” about Cuba by reading certain blogs. At the head of the USAID-recommended list of go-to sources about Cuba was Babalu, a rabidly right wing blog based in Miami. One of Babalu’s more recent posts labels current U.S. president Barack Obama a “Marxist tyrant” in the tradition of “Mao, Stalin, and Fidel Castro.”

Rather than revising USAID’s regime change program, the Obama administration preferred to cover up the mess that the Bush administration had left behind. Worse still, as we just learned this April, even after Gross’ arrest, USAID implemented another covert operation in Cuba: ZunZuneo, or “Cuban Twitter.”

ZunZuneo had been developed under Bush in 2007-2008, but was implemented under Obama between 2010 and 2012. The program’s designers aimed to create a Twitter-like social network among Cuban youth to mobilize “smart mobs” and further the possibility of a revolt. It involved the same disrespect for Cuban sovereignty and civil society that the Helms-Burton law has repeatedly advanced. As always, the purpose was to create chaos and destabilization—this time with the intent of generating a Cuban Spring modeled after the Arab Spring revolts.

Washington maintains that USAID does regular humanitarian work in Cuba. Yet the agency’s own officials show that to be untrue. During an April 8 budget hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee, USAID director Rajiv Shah said that the Helms-Burton law precludes any program to promote child healthcare on the island. Shah is correct. The law only authorizes humanitarian activities, travel, or trade if they are certified to serve the goal of overthrowing the Cuban government. In other words, these programs have nothing to do with promoting human rights or Cuba’s peaceful transition to democracy.

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has called ZunZuneo a “cockamamie idea.” His remarks highlight the way USAID’s deviation from humanitarian aid standards in Cuba has caused tremendous harm to the organization’s more legitimate development efforts elsewhere. Citing Gross and ZunZuneo among other examples, several world governments and political parties have denounced USAID altogether as a tool of American subversion and hypocrisy.

Gross and the Cuban Five

Gross’ detention is considered arbitrary by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions that analyzed his case. According to that panel of experts, his trial in Cuba was politically motivated and lacked the international minimal standards of a fair and just legal process.

But Cuba is not the only government holding political prisoners. The same UN body also considers “arbitrary” the 1998 detention of five Cuban agents, three of whom remain in prison, by the U.S. government. The “Cuban Five” infiltrated anti-Castro groups with a long pedigree of violent actions against Cuba—acts that were planned on U.S. soil with the knowledge of the U.S. government. Most assessments agree that the Cuban agents caused no harm to U.S. national security. According to the UN panel, the political circus surrounding the trial of the Cuban Five in Miami made a fair and just trial impossible. The Cuban government has indicated that it will release Gross if the United States releases the three “Cuban Five” agents who remain in prison.

Aiming to inspire parallel acts of international conciliation, Uruguayan president José Mujica has indicated his country’s willingness to accept some of the detainees who remain imprisoned in the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay. This would contribute to the closure of a camp that has brought tremendous harm to America’s reputation and raised serious questions about Washington’s commitment to international human rights. Mujica said that he hopes the gesture will lead Obama to think about the potential benefit for U.S.-Latin America relations that would follow a release of the three Cubans still in U.S. prisons.

But the same pro-embargo crowd that sent Alan Gross on the ill-conceived covert action leading to his arrest is now willing to keep him locked in prison. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) have called on the White House to demand Cuba’s “unilateral and unconditional” release of Gross—an irrational requirement. Their insistence is a transparent attempt to torpedo Obama’s overall dialogue with Cuba, even when improving relations between the two countries would clearly serve the national interests of the United States.

Rather than seek a realistic solution to Gross’ tragedy, the Obama administration has engaged in semantic nonsense. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her successor John Kerry have both held that Gross was not a spy. They are correct only at the most technical level, since he did not seek secret information. Still, Cuba’s description of Gross as part of a subversive regime-change strategy is difficult to dispute, not the least because U.S. legislation says so openly. In the meantime, while the U.S. and Cuban governments engage in the “spy-not spy” discussion, Gross remains a prisoner.

Gross will be released only as a result of diplomatic compromise. Gross has written to Obama “on behalf of every American who might ever find himself or herself in trouble abroad” and asked him “to direct his administration to take meaningful, proactive steps to secure my immediate release.”

It’s time to do it.
Arturo Lopez-Levy is a PhD Candidate at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies of the University of Denver. You can follow him on TwitterCuban five UN @turylevy .

PAME Solidarity statement with the Greek steelworkers
| April 17, 2014 | 6:24 pm | Action | No comments

PAME – ALL WORKERS MILITANT FRONT (W.F.T.U. Affiliate)

5b, Ag. Filotheis str., 105 56 Athens, GREECE, Τel. +30210 3305 219,+30210 3301842,+30210 3301847

Fax +30210 3802 864, E-mail : international@pamehellas.gr  http://www.pamehellas.gr

Athens April 16, 2014

Dear colleagues and comrades,

You are all aware of the heroic struggle of steelworkers in our country that lasted nine months and gave lessons of power, determination, strength, unity, pride, against employers, the state and its apparatuses, revealing the inhuman face and the decay of the exploitative system.

Α tremendous struggle supported by the class oriented trade union movement in our country and met a vast moral and economic solidarity from unions around the world. After an intervention staged by the repressive apparatuses of a government that implements the doctrine of law and order, the avant-guarde workers were dragged to court.

An unacceptable court decision sentenced 24 steelworkers in prison time from 21 to 23 months, revealing that Justice is not blind, but the guardian of the business interests that live off the exploitation of workers. This unacceptable decision confirms that class struggle is what really scares the rotten exploitative system.

Many similar decisions have been taken throughout the history of the labour movement proving that the bourgeoisie and its state have created several mechanisms to repress workers’ struggles and all those who fight for their rights.

The bourgeois state sentenced steelworkers in order to condemn their heroic strike, their militant example, their working class solidarity. It wants to intimidate those who will even think to fight and claim their rights.

But the heroic struggle can not be slandered, can not be condemned. It has taken its place in history in the minds of thousands of workers who struggle against monopolies. It has shown the way for the working class to free itself from the chains of exploitation. The motto of this struggle was “all Greece – a Steelwork”, which captured the content of their struggle and prevailed in all militant demonstrations of the class oriented trade union movement in Greece and throughout the world.

PAME thanks once more all the unions and the workers who generously offered their solidarity .

We call trade unions around the world to express their solidarity and to condemn this despicable decision.

You can send your messages at: international@pamehellas.gr

The Executive Secretariat of PAME

Rescuing disposable children in the United States
| April 15, 2014 | 8:44 pm | Action, Analysis | No comments

By W. T. Whitney Jr.

Via: http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/04/08/rescuing-disposable-children/

Barbarism, as in Rosa Luxemburg’s “Socialism or Barbarism,” (Junius Pamphlet, 1916 – from Frederick Engels) should be obvious. That’s the case with killings in war, torture, mass incarcerations, or allowing climate change to work its way. But barbarism may also be slow-moving, even hidden. The outlook for many poor, black children in the United States, for example, is so dismal as to suggest that within that society, they are disposable.

Research studies, validated by experience, point to a strong association between growing up poor and non-white and ending up unprepared for schooling and lifelong health. The University of North Carolina’s Abecedarian Project explored that relationship. An update of the Project’s findings appeared in Science recently and was summarized in the New York Times. The findings invite thinking about ways to promote learning and health, in all children.

For 40 years, UNC investigators monitored more than 100 individuals they indentified at birth. They were poor, and 98 percent of them were African – American. Half the babies, randomly selected, entered a “treatment” group. The rest continued on without intervention. From early infancy through age five, over fifty children benefited from skilled, accessible health care and excellent nutrition. Their parents received nutritional education. Importantly, the very young infants entered full-time day care with heavy educational content. At ages six through eight, skilled home visitors provided parents with advice on how to support children’s learning in school. Over many years researchers periodically evaluated both groups from the points of view of learning ability, social adjustment, and eventually adult health.

The Project’s data, just reported, are astounding. The authors conclude: “[W]e find that disadvantaged children randomly assigned to treatment have significantly lower prevalence of risk factors for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases in their mid-30s. The evidence is especially strong for males. The mean systolic blood pressure among the control males is 143 millimeters of mercury … whereas it is only 126 mm Hg among the treated. One in four males in the control group is affected by metabolic syndrome, whereas none in the treatment group are affected.” The term “metabolic syndrome” signifies the presence of at least three of the following: excess abdominal fat, high triglyceride level, low level of “good cholesterol,” high blood pressure, and high blood sugar.

UNC investigators had already reported on other milestones achieved by children in both groups. Remarkably, children with support showed: “higher cognitive test scores from the toddler years to age 21,” higher academic achievement in reading and math from the primary grades through young adulthood, more years in school, higher average age when a first child is born, and higher educational and employment status for mothers of participant children. Twenty three percent of intervention children graduated from a four- year college. Only six percent of children without treatment did so. Young adults benefiting from early intervention were more than twice as likely to be “consistently employed” than the others.

The project’s findings apply potentially to a huge population. In 2012, 23 percent of all U.S. children were living in poverty, defined as a $23,283 annual income for a family of four. And more: 40 percent of black children and 34 percent of Latino children were poor. As reported by the Children’s Defense Fund: “Approximately 1 in 5 Black and 1 in 7 Hispanic children were living in extreme poverty in 2012.” That’s an annual family income of $11,746.

If current patterns of demographic reshuffle continue, the linkage of poverty, non-white ethnic identification, and diminished lives will become even more prominent within U.S. society. In 2013 white children accounted for 53 percent of all children, with Latino and black children representing 24 and 14 percent of the total, respectively. By 2030, white children will have fallen to 45 percent and Latino children will make up 29 percent. The proportion of black children will remain unchanged.

Clarification is in order: effects of racial and class -based discrimination may be inseparable. A study from Maine 30 years ago, for instance, established a correlation between Maine children’s physical vulnerability and low-come status of their families. The mostly white children – identifiable through participation in social welfare programs – claimed a death rate 3.1 times greater than children not receiving such help when they died. “Children from low-income families were at higher risk for disease-related deaths (3.5:1), accidental deaths (2.6:1), and homicide deaths (5.0:1),”

Many commentators see the Abecedarian Project’s data as lending scientific rationale for universal pre-school education, being pushed now – and justifiably so – at high governmental levels. Yet the main thrust of the UNC study was to look at that stage of child development where intervention does the most good.

That would be the first hours, weeks, and months of a child’s life. According to one specialist, “The simple and unavoidable result of this sequential neurodevelopment is that the organizing, ‘sensitive’ brain of an infant or young child is more malleable to experience than a mature brain.” So, the failure of Head Start children’s gains to last throughout the school years may stem from Head Start intervention being too late. The Abecedarian Project corrected that.

But what about those children enrolled in the Project who received no early educational intervention? They, in fact, are stand-ins for millions of other children who end up marginalized. They are victims of low-key barbarism assuring that many children will never develop as they were able to do. As with disasters cited above, their situation is by no means curable within the structure of U.S. and global capitalism. To expect intensive early intervention being extended to millions of U.S. children under current circumstances is wishful thinking.

It turns out, however, that the needs themselves of young children hint at solution. Child development specialists unite in regarding very early, language-based parent- baby interaction as essential for young infants to make gains. This relationship flourishes through mutual gratification. There are rewards on both sides: the baby smiles – does anything – and a parent is overjoyed. The parent holds, caresses, feeds, and talks, and the baby learns someone cares. Messages go back and forth.

Short circuiting is possible. A parent may be too distracted to engage. Indeed, the world of poverty and racial animosity incubates material shortages, unrealized dreams, anger, a siege mentality, failed human relationships, social isolation, sadness, even depression. A baby may bring parents little joy in such circumstances.

One wonders: what if parents, convinced that a better world is possible, found hope? If they did, maybe children would be bathed in warm expectations. What if parents worked to bring about a new world? Their dignity quotient might be up, and their babies would gain. Of course, most children whose parents are comfortable within U.S. society, and are hopeful, and who value themselves don’t need language-based early intervention.

Beleaguered parents would reject their reality of a dog-eat-dog world and join in on fixing things. They would seek a future where basic human needs are assured, where the intellectual, health, and social potentials of all are realized. Confident and optimistic as they work toward socialist goals, they would enter into new exchanges with babies. There would be a boost even just starting out. Quoting the Spanish poet Antonio Machado, progressive Brazilian educator Paulo Freire observed long ago, “We make the road by walking.”