Thursday, June 9, 2016
“Clinton makes History”: CPUSA’s opportunist transformation
To the workers that struggle in the USA
To the communist and workers parties
Reports of an explosion in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan came through social media just before 8:30pm. The explosion has been confirmed by the New York Fire Department. Some 25 people have been injured, according to the New York Fire Department. On Saturday, a massive explosion rattled the Chelsea area of Manhattan. People reported hearing the large blast on social media with the New York Fire Department subsequently confirming that an explosion had occurred. New York City issued an emergency alert telling people to expect traffic delays in the area. At least 25 people have gotten light injuries, according to the New York Fire Department. At least three people were hospitalized. Multiple injuries reported, according to local Pix11 news, from the massive blast that occurred at 135 23rd St. in downtown Manhattan between 6th and 7th avenue. The explosion comes after a pipe bomb was planted near the starting line of a marathon in nearby New Jersey. People have been advised to stay away from the area. The blast has not impacted the city’s subway and train system at this time. Fox 15 news reports that at least 25 people were injured in the blast but the severity of their injuries remain unknown at the present moment. It also is unknown whether the explosion was caused by an act of terror or some natural cause. One social media user under the handle @Shield1631 claims to have uncovered an IED explosive device that was placed in a garbage can in a manner similar to the explosion that occurred at the New Jersey marathon earlier on Saturday. The identification of the device as the cause of the explosion has not been confirmed by authorities, however. The New York Fire Department’s bomb squad has arrived on the scene to inspect the damage and determine whether there remains any not yet exploded devices in the vicinity according to local reports. The Daily Mail reports that it is believed that the structure at 135 23rd St. may have collapsed following the major explosion with reports on social media that the blast shook the entire neighborhood. The NYPD Counterterrorism Unit has been dispatched to the scene with eyewitness reports that police are conducting searches in the vicinity of the explosion, checking for additional explosive devices in the area. So far it is known that the blast was caused by an improvised explosive device placed in a dumpster — similar to the explosion Saturday morning at a marathon in New Jersey — and that at least 25 people have been injured by the explosion. The FBI, ATF, and bomb squad are on the scene. The New York Police Department’s Counterterrorism Chief James Waters acknowledges that the unit is responding to the explosion in Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan and that more details are to follow. The video below shows what is believed to be the garbage can that the explosive device was placed into near the scene of the explosion being looked at by New York City fire fighters. Law enforcement authorities are considering that the explosion could be accidently caused by construction explosives, an unnamed official close to the investigation said. The White House spokesperson said that President Barack Obama has been informed about the explosion, adding that the cause of the incident is still under investigation.
A US Navy ship reportedly fired warning shots at an Iranian military vessel which sailed too close in the Persian Gulf.
RT: The US fired warning shots at Iranian ships near Iranian waters? A bit of a funny situation, isn’t it?
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich: Well, yes. According to [Stars and] Stripes, the American military magazine, they were actually inside Iran’s territorial waters. I think it is very important to make that very clear – they were inside Iran’s territorial waters. In fact, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea stipulates that it allows the innocent passage of vessels, and that costal states should not impede this passage. However, two things to bear in mind here: first, neither the US, nor Iran has ratified this treaty. Secondly, even if we disregard the fact that they are not signatories – innocent passage here stipulates what is very important, because what it means is that if a costal state feels that its peace, good order, or security is being threatened by vessel, it has every right to stop the passing of that vessel.
I think that anybody would agree that a US warship does not sit well with innocent passage, or with the securing of peace. So it can be understandable why, with the given hostilities of the two nations, Iran would want to chase it away. Importantly we have to bear in mind that these US warships in that tiny stretch of water not only threaten the security of Iran as a sovereign nation…In fact, a few years ago they collided with the Japanese oil tanker. It is really fortunate that there wasn’t a loss of life, or that the oil spill didn’t damage the environment. It is very important to point out that it was inside Iran’s territorial waters, and that Iran acted within its right in kind of chasing away the US warships.
RT: Earlier on Thursday, the US was making a fuss about the previous naval encounter which saw several Iranian ships allegedly coming “dangerously close” to American vessels. If these incidents keep carrying on and we see some escalation here, could we see some major diplomatic or some other international scandal?
SS-U: Absolutely. I think what’s happening here is very dangerous. In fact, it had been mentioned on several websites, one of them an Israeli website, that the hope was to provoke Iran into reacting. The hope was that the US would manage to provoke Iran, so that Iran would attack …
I think it is very important to understand that the US has designs on all the major waters around the world. We see what it is doing in the South China Sea. We know that it is arming, training, and giving guidance to Saudi Arabia and that coalition to attack Yemen, so that it can control the Bab al-Mandab Strait.
In fact, a 19th century strategist, Admiral Alfred Mahan had said that the control of the waves would enable you to control the world. Now with everything that the humans have invented it would seem that it… no longer applies, but clearly America doesn’t feel that way, because it does want to control the maritime choke points around the world, and does control. It is not just a passage of oil – that is also passage of finished goods and food. So its acts are so provocative and so dangerous, that if we did have a proper UN, I am sure they would have something to say about it. But unfortunately the US is the biggest financial supporter of the UN…
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
The Spanish Civil War (1936-39) was not a splendid little war. It was an especially vicious one. Some 500,000 people died, most in combat or by political execution. A right-wing coup, led by Francisco Franco and backed by Hitler and Mussolini, toppled a democratically elected government.
It was, though, a strangely literary little war. We remember it today through classic accounts like Hemingway’s novel “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and Orwell’s memoir “Homage to Catalonia.” So many other significant writers and journalists poured into Spain, as observers or participants, it’s hard to keep track of them.
The French novelist André Malraux organized a squadron of volunteer pilots for the anti-Fascist resistance. The aviator and author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry reported for a Paris daily. Hemingway’s suite at the Hotel Floridain Madrid was a boozy hangout for a revolving rat pack of well-groomed foreign correspondents, including Martha Gellhorn, with whom he’d begun an affair. Dorothy Parker, Theodore Dreiser, Langston Hughes and W. H. Auden toured the fighting.
The war resonates visually as well. Robert Capa’s combat photographs are milestones; Picasso’s “Guernica,” painted after the carpet-bombing of that city, is among the most important artworks of our time.
Adam Hochschild’s excellent and involving new book, “Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939,” is not primarily a literary or cultural history. It’s about the moral appeal of the war, about the anti-Fascist and frequently pro-Communist idealism that made so many volunteers from the United States and other countries flood into Spain.
Yet in telling this story, Mr. Hochschild can’t help leaning heavily on the best-written accounts: books, letters, journals. Indeed, his title comes from Albert Camus. “Men of my generation have had Spain in our hearts,” Camus wrote. “It was there that they learned … that one can be right and yet be beaten, that force can vanquish spirit and that there are times when courage is not rewarded.”
What makes his book so intimate and moving is its human scale. Mr. Hochschild follows the paths of a handful or two of American (and occasionally English) volunteers, as well as journalists, and tells the larger story of the war through their tribulations.
These stories are not, in today’s parlance, of the first-person-shooter variety. The resistance was mostly too hapless, too ragtag. We might call these stories first-person shot-at. Orwell’s war ended when he took a bullet in the neck; he stood a towering 6 foot 3, and his head too easily poked over the parapet.
The Spanish Civil War was a forerunner, in a variety of ways, of World War II. Hitler introduced and honed in Spain many weapons the Allies would come to fear, like the German Stuka Ju-87 dive bomber, terrifying for its accuracy and for the dementing sound made by its wind-driven sirens.
World War II has pushed aside the Spanish Civil War in our memories. But Mr. Hochschild reminds us how riveted the world was. “While the fighting lasted, from mid-1936 to early 1939, The New York Times ran more than 1,000 front-page headlines about the war in Spain,” he writes, “outnumbering those on any other single topic, including President Roosevelt, the rise of Nazi Germany or the calamitous toll of the Great Depression.”
Roosevelt refused to involve the United States in this war, later calling its arms embargo a mistake. But some 2,800 Americans went to fight anyway. About 750 of them died there, a higher percentage of participants’ deaths than the United States military suffered in any of its 20th-century wars.
The politics of the Spanish Civil War were, and remain, thorny. The appeal of resisting a coup backed by Hitler and Mussolini was apparent. But the defenders of the Republic, because the United States and other countries would not step in, took military aid from the Soviet Union.
This was at a moment when capitalism was in crisis, and disillusion with the Soviet Union, and Stalin, hadn’t fully set in; the Soviet Union’s economic success made it seem like a beacon of hope. Most of the American volunteers in Spain were Communists or Communist sympathizers.
For them, the war in Spain wasn’t merely a chance to rebuff Fascism. It was an opportunity to stand with Spain’s recently elected government, under which workers had taken over hundreds of factories. “Word of such events thrilled radicals abroad,” Mr. Hochschild writes. “Wasn’t this what they had long dreamed of: the people at last seizing the means of production?”
The moral problem, he notes, is that the defenders of the Republic were, in embracing the Soviet Union, “fighting for one of the finest of causes beside one of the nastiest of allies.” He asks: “If you’re in a desperate battle for survival, do you have the luxury of worrying about who your allies are?”
Orwell and Hemingway come alive in this volume. So do the two New York Times reporters, Herbert L. Matthews and William P. Carney, who reported from — and, Mr. Hochschild suggests, sympathized with — opposite sides (Mr. Matthews, the Republic, and Mr. Carney, Franco).
More than a few reporters made no pretense of objectivity. The British journalist Claud Cockburn wrote a fake article about an imaginary battle to make the Republic’s side look stronger than it was. About this trickery, Mr. Hochschild comments, “It worked.”
Mr. Hochschild, a founder of Mother Jones magazine, is the author of seven previous books, including “King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa” (1998), which was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award.
He’s a generally sympathetic observer of this conflict’s journalists, but he can also be stern. He criticizes the herd mentality that led journalists to miss one of the war’s biggest stories — how Franco’s side was propped up with oil delivered by Texaco, at the behest of an executive with Nazi sympathies.
The best stories in “Spain in Our Hearts” tend to be the smaller ones, which the author patiently teases out. We follow a Swarthmore College senior who becomes the first American casualty in the battle for Madrid, for example, and a 19-year-old woman from Kentucky who heads for Spain while on her honeymoon. Details of woe pile up.
These Americans tended to be a bookish lot. Two of them had to buy special gas masks to bring to Spain, Mr. Hochschild writes, the kind that fit over horn-rimmed glasses.
by James Thompson
Many people have noted that the leadership of the CPUSA currently is obviously bent on liquidating the party. The tactic that leadership has employed to these ends is to transform the Communist Party into the Democratic Party, thus alienating the membership. What would happen if Pope Francis announced that the Catholic Church would no longer be Catholic and instead would be Baptist? Of course, Catholics would either overthrow the Pope or bail out of the church and form a new church.
Working people are not fools and the CPUSA leadership should not attempt to fool workers in a play to abscond with party resources.
Why not try honesty for a change? Of course, this would be a novel concept to CPUSA leadership.
CPUSA leadership has been blowing out a lot of hot air about organizing mass movements. Anyone who has followed the party over the last 10 years knows that this is pure balderdash.
Now that leadership has jettisoned many party assets such as historical documents, books and other records of party achievements prior to the chairmanship of Sam Webb, advocated dropping communism, socialism and Marxism Leninism from party discussion and advocated the uncritical stance towards the Democratic Party, why not put your money where your mouth is?
The CPUSA has been posting articles very favorable to the Bernie Sanders campaign. If they want to be Democrats, let them be Democrats.
When Billy Bragg rewrote “The International”, he sang “Don’t hold so tight to your possessions because you’ve got nothing if you’ve got no rights!”
CPUSA leadership: “Don’t hang on so tightly to the party resources because you’ve got nothing if you have no credibility!” Don’t fret and worry about your pensions and how much money Elena Mora will need to go shopping and buy new hats! Liberate yourself from your ill-gotten gains! Instead of taking the money and running, give it to a real people’s movement! Donate all of the worker’s money that you clutch so tightly to the Bernie Sanders campaign. Turn over all party property to the campaign. Offer up your lavish, but unused offices in New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles to the Bernie Sanders campaign.
You’ll feel better in the morning if you do this because you can be sure he won’t squander these precious worker’s resources as you have done.
Bernie Sanders could have used his speech after the Iowa caucuses to take a victory lap after he virtually tied Hillary Clinton, instead Sanders took aim at politics as usual and used his speech to spread his message.
Bernie Sanders could have used his speech after the Iowa caucuses to take a victory lap after he virtually tied Hillary Clinton. Instead, Sanders took aim at politics as usual and used his speech to spread his message.
Sanders said, “As I think about what happened tonight, I think the people of Iowa have sent a very profound message to the political establishment, to the economic establishment, and by the way to the media establishment. And that is given the enormous crisis facing our country, it is just too late for establishment politics and establishment economics.”
Sanders called out the greed, recklessness, and illegal behavior of Wall Street. He said the American people bailed out Wall Street; now it is time for Wall Street to help the American people. Much of the speech was the standard Sanders talking points and stump speech, but he gave Iowa credit for launching the political revolution.
The Sanders speech was a victory speech. For Bernie Sanders, a tie is a win. This speech was all about Bernie Sanders spreading his message while the entire national media was broadcasting live. Sanders earned the large national platform for his message with an outstanding performance.
Sen. Sanders came into Iowa and went toe to toe with a very good Clinton organization. Bernie Sanders took aim at politics as usual and transformed his online support and network of small donors into a potential win in Iowa. Even after everything has been counted and recounted, what people are going to remember most about the 2016 Democratic caucus is that Bernie Sanders made his political revolution a reality in Iowa.