first_imgThis is the age of imperialism. The Olympic Games cannot escape being drawn into the major contemporary struggles playing out in world politics.At present the U.S. imperialists are locked in a geopolitical struggle with Russia over Syria, Iran, Ukraine, control over the former Soviet republics, the military balance of power in Europe, the safe harbor Moscow gave to Edward Snowden and a host of other issues.The fact is that when the USSR collapsed in 1991, the White House, the Pentagon, and the bankers and bosses in the U.S. were looking forward to absorbing the former USSR with its republics into the Western imperialist system of capitalism. They were salivating over the oil and gas resources, the coal, the steel mills, the gold mines of the former USSR and the republics, including the agricultural wealth of Ukraine.Things seemed to be going in that direction for several years after the counterrevolution. The presidency was put in the hands of U.S. puppet Boris Yeltsin, the coup maker who dissolved the USSR. The socialist industrial infrastructure built up over 75 years was broken up and given to a handful of capitalist billionaires. Russia was opened up to the International Monetary Fund, and U.S. advisers were invited to administer economic “shock therapy.”Putin & the new Russian capitalist classThen Vladimir Putin came in and took over. He represented the rising Russian capitalist robbers who wanted to reclaim the world status gained by the USSR when it was a socialist power — except this time it would be on the basis of expanding Russian capitalism and its regional domination over the former republics of the USSR, including Ukraine. Putin tried to put an end to Russian capitalism’s dependence on and subservience to Wall Street and Washington.Washington’s policy began to shift dramatically in a hostile direction. NATO was expanded to the borders of Russia. The Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania became Western outposts on Russia’s border. Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania also joined NATO.The U.S. announced plans to build a missile system with land- and destroyer-based Aegis missiles. The intent of such systems is to allow the U.S. to retain its first-strike capacity against Russia. The construction of this system has already started in Spain and Romania, and is scheduled to also involve Poland.It is in this context that the publicity and politics surrounding the Sochi Olympics must be viewed.U.S. tries to tarnish SochiThe present games have been surrounded, at least in the U.S. and Europe, with U.S.-generated negative publicity. It is calculated to discredit Russia and undermine the enhanced world status that the reactionary, counterrevolutionary capitalist ruling class in Moscow seeks as host of the games.Regular anti-terrorist warnings have been coming from Washington, peaking just before the opening of the games when the U.S. issued a “travel alert” for Sochi. Special security regulations were issued barring all liquids from U.S. planes bound for Sochi. U.S. press reports for several days warned that alleged “Black Widow” Islamic women terrorists were “known” to be targeting the Olympics.It was announced that President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama would not attend any ceremonies at the Olympics because of the anti-gay laws passed by the Russian Parliament prior to the Olympics. A number of prominent U.S. gay athletes were chosen as delegates to the games to sound a note of defiance against the anti-gay posture of the Putin regime.Of course, the Putin regime is not just anti-gay; it is thoroughly anti-working class as well. The Russian parliament just passed a minimum wage law that is below the poverty level. Workers’ strikes are repressed. There is homelessness and poverty in urban and rural areas alike.The lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer community in the U.S. and throughout the world has exercised its right and duty to protest this reactionary treatment of gay people in Russia, by whatever means necessary. The International Olympic Committee has forbidden open protest. The IOC used a ruling forbidding political gestures of protest that was passed in 1968 after two African-American medalists, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, raised their fists in the Black Power salute at the Mexico Olympics to protest racism in the U.S.Protests by the LGBTQ movement and their supporters, no matter whether they are encouraged and supported by the U.S. government, are wholly genuine and completely justified.But with respect to the U.S. imperialist government, everyone should be clear that Washington is purely hypocritical in its expressions of sympathy for the LGBTQ community.There are 14 states in the U.S. that still have laws on the books outlawing gay sex, even though the Supreme Court declared such laws unconstitutional in 2003. Eight states have laws prohibiting any objective treatment of gay life in the classroom. And numerous states ban same-sex marriage.Yet the Obama administration has been totally inactive about these violations. These U.S. anti-gay laws should be protested in Sochi, as well as in the U.S.Washington has highlighted Russia’s anti-gay legislation not out of concern over LGBTQ rights, but because its geopolitical rival is completely vulnerable due to these backward, reactionary anti-gay laws.Meanwhile, persecution of the fiercest kind faces gay people in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and many other close allies of Washington.In Ukraine right now Nazis from the Svoboda Party are in the streets denouncing communists, Jews and gays; they are part of the U.S.-inspired movement to overthrow the government and bring Ukraine under the domination of the U.S. and Europe. But there have been no press conferences or news reports by Washington denouncing the Svoboda Party.Class character of the Cold WarMany political observers have referred to the current U.S.-Russia conflict as the new cold war. This is correct but incomplete. The present struggle between U.S. imperialism and Russian capitalism might have many of the same geopolitical forms as the Cold War between the U.S. and the USSR. But it has diametrically opposite social content.The previous Cold War was a class war between two opposing social systems. The present cold war is between a weakened capitalist Russia trying to hold on to the geopolitical position it inherited from the Soviet era in relation to Syria and Ukraine, among others, and trying to cement its hold on the former republics in a regional economic union.The previous Cold War was a 45-year campaign to destroy the socialist foundation of the USSR — its socially owned planned economy with a state monopoly of foreign trade and economic and social guarantees for the working class. Imperialism sought to end Soviet aid to Cuba and to the liberation struggles in South Africa, Namibia, Angola and Ethiopia. Rather than having an empire in Eastern Europe, the USSR subsidized oil and gas supplies to the region.The USSR gave aid to numerous post-colonial countries to help them stave off the domination of imperialist neoliberalism. It built construction projects, including the Aswan Dam in Egypt and the first steel mill in India, among others.To the businessmen, rich farmers and their supporters in the streets of Ukraine who want to align with U.S. and European capitalism, the Soviet Union represented “an empire” because under the Soviet regime their class privileges were outlawed and they had to be underground.Understanding the politics around the games must take into account the present geopolitical rivalry between U.S. imperialism and Russian capitalism.While the working class must develop an independent position that fights against both U.S. imperialism and Russian capitalism, it would be a setback if Wall Street were to strengthen its world domination by taking over Russia or any of the former republics, especially Ukraine.Goldstein is the author of “Low-Wage Capitalism” and “Capitalism at a Dead End,” which has been translated into Spanish as “El capitalismo en un callejón sin salida.” Both are available on Amazon.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

first_imgOn Jan. 21, the apartheid Zionist regime of Benjamin Netanyahu was authorized by the United Nations General Assembly to host the first-ever conference devoted to the rise of worldwide “anti-Semitism.”A letter endorsing the conference was signed by the governments of 40 countries, including the U.S. and every member of the European Union. While the discussion on the conference contained references to the rise of extreme right-wing parties in Europe, the press coverage emphasized attacks on Jewish targets by Muslims in general. (New York Times, Jan. 24)This is part of a campaign by the European imperialists and Israeli propagandists to fully equate the racist, scapegoating, anti-Semitic fascism of the oppressing ruling classes with anti-Zionist and anti-Jewish acts carried out by oppressed Muslims. At the same time, it is an attempt to divert attention from charges now before the International Criminal Court in the Hague for Israeli war crimes committed against the Palestinian people during the 2014 attack on Gaza.The imperialist and Zionist strategy is to identify the racist, anti-Semitic persecution of the Jewish people by European fascism with the acts of reprisal, retaliation and resistance of Muslims against Zionism and colonial oppression.Making opposites equal: a big lieThe imperialist rulers apply the same term to describe political acts that are diametrically opposite to one another. The term anti-Semitic is applied equally to, on the one hand, Greece’s pro-Nazi Golden Dawn, the undercover anti-Semites of the French National Front and Germany’s Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (PAGIDA) and, on the other hand, to Hamas, Hezbollah and Muslim individuals or groups that attack Jews in Europe and the U.S.These latter attacks by Muslims arise out of rage against the crimes of torture, bombing, drone attacks, occupation and terror campaigns like the 2014 Israeli 50-day war against Gaza, in which over 2,000 Palestinians were killed, the vast majority of them civilians, including women and children whose homes, schools, hospitals, water supply, etc., were ruthlessly destroyed.Under such circumstances there may be many misguided but understandable acts of violence directed against Jews and other targets associated in the minds of the attackers with the suffering of their people. This association is deepened by the fact that Netanyahu and the Israeli regime repeatedly associate all Jews with Israel and Zionist ideology. The only way to put an end to such anti-Jewish acts is for the imperialists and the Zionists to cease their aggression, which is the ultimate provocation and source of all violent resistance.Rise of fascism and Islamophobia coincideIt is no accident that the rise of fascism in Europe today coincides with the rise of Islamophobia. In fact, Islamophobia is being used as a tool by the ruling class now, just as they used anti-Semitism in the 1930s. In a way, the hatred and prejudice directed at Muslim peoples are an updated version of anti-Semitism, as it is used to divide the masses and find scapegoats in a period when European capitalism is mired in mass unemployment, stagnation and recession and there is growing discontent with the capitalist governments and traditional political parties.If a world conference is to be authorized by the U.N. General Assembly — which is supposed to be a parliament of nations but is really an instrument of imperialism — the conference should be on the rise of fascism and Islamophobia among the capitalist powers.The Israeli settler regime has long branded every act of resistance by the Palestinian people over 67 years of brutal and expanding occupation as “anti-Semitic” and “terrorism.” This poisonous and confusing terminology has been adopted by the European imperialists. It has helped to stir the pot of Islamophobia and served to intensify the exploitation and oppression of the Muslim populations of Europe — and the U.S.Anti-Semitism long practiced by European ruling classesAnti-Semitism is a term aptly applied to the scapegoating and practices of expropriation of Jewish property by the European ruling classes, from before the time of the Spanish Inquisition to the Nazi holocaust, in which millions of Jews were exterminated in death camps. Nor should it be forgotten that the Nazis also targeted and killed socialists and communists, Roma people, lesbian and gay people, people with disabilities and progressive people of all types.The French ruling class was filled with anti-Semitic elements. Hitler found a sympathetic section from which to form the Vichy government of France in 1940. Under General Philippe Petain, the Vichy government deported over 700,000 Jews to the death camps. Similar internments and deportations were carried out in northern Italy under the fascist regime of Mussolini, but on a lesser scale.The British aristocracy also had a strong pro-Hitler wing, led by Sir Oswald Mosley and his British Union of Fascists. Mosley was far from an incidental figure in British aristocratic society. In 1920 his wedding was attended by hundreds of guests, included such European royalty as King George V and Queen Mary, as well as the Duke of Brabant — later to become King Leopold III of Belgium.The anti-Semitism of the British ruling classes goes back to the 12th and 13th centuries, culminating in the expulsion of all the Jews from England in 1290 by King Edward I.In fact, the Munich pact, by which the British imperialists recognized Hitler’s takeover of Czechoslovakia in 1938, was carried out by the pro-Nazi appeasement wing of the British ruling class and was calculated to give Hitler a green light to attack the USSR.More recently, the Ukrainian right-wing, pro-U.S. puppet regime in Kiev was catapulted to power in a fascist-led coup by descendents of groups that collaborated with the Nazis in World War II and who still have allegiance to battalions that fought with Hitler.These are the ruling-class forces that turned to fascism and anti-Semitism in the 1930s and used the Jewish people as scapegoats. The capitalists backed the fascists when they needed scapegoats to direct mass hostility toward the Jews because capitalism was crumbling during the Great Depression. At the same time, the fascists wiped out the trade unions and all forms of working-class organization.To equate these reactionary forces and their monstrous persecution and crimes against the Jewish people and all humanity with the angry resistance and retaliation of the Muslim and other oppressed peoples who carry out anti-Jewish acts is to conceal the reality of ruling-class manipulation of ideology through the false application of terminology.The acts of retaliation against Zionism for its genocidal policies or for the oppression of Muslims by French or U.S. imperialism are carried out by people who do not have F-16s, Apache helicopters, laser-guided bombs, Abrams tanks, drones, A-10 killer planes, Cruise missiles and all the modern armaments needed to defend against U.S., British, French and Israeli aggression.‘Secularization’ a cover for anti-Islamic discriminationThe Hollande government in France, where there is currently more than 10 percent official unemployment and much higher youth unemployment, is now sponsoring a new program on “secularization.”Under the new law, which will cost 250 million euros and go into effect in September, students and parents will be required to sign a “secularism charter.” Schools will be urged to have regular ceremonies in which students salute the flag and sing the national anthem. Some 1,000 teachers will undergo training to implement the new law.The new regulation was prompted by the fact that in dozens of schools across the country, students refused to take part in a moment of silence for the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack.The secularism charter, passed in 2013, was used to outlaw wearing headscarves in public schools. This was clearly directed at the religious practices and preferences of Muslim girl and young women students. As such it was a violation of freedom of religion.The secularism charter was supposed to be based on a 1905 law separating church and state. That law was aimed at curbing the reactionary influence of the Catholic Church hierarchy. Catholicism had been made the state religion in 1801 by Napoleon Bonaparte. After that the church was dominant in schools, hospitals, charitable institutions, etc. Divorce was illegal in France. The 1905 law came after the notorious Dreyfus case, in which the anti-Semitic officer corps of the French military framed a Jewish captain for treason and sent him to prison.So the secularism charter, which was meant to curb the power of the reactionary clerical hierarchy, is now being used to deny freedom of religious practice to Muslims in the name of “French Republican values.”The hidden relationship between the rise of fascism in Europe and the rise of Islamophobia was revealed in the recent resignation of a leader of the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West, which has been carrying out anti-Islamic demonstrations in Dresden. Lutz Bachmann was forced to resign after a photo on his Facebook page was made public showing him made up with the hairstyle and mustache of Hitler.As part of this Islamophobic campaign, Netanyahu, Hollande, Merkel, Cameron and Obama want to draw an equal sign between the bloody fascism of the right wing and and its genocide against the Jews on one hand and the desperate resistance and profound anger of the Muslim people against the overwhelming armed might of world imperialism, which is trying to subdue the entire Middle East, western Asia and most of the world, on the other.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

first_imgWadiya Jamal was finally allowed to visit her spouse, Mumia Abu-Jamal, on May 21. “He was in a wheelchair; his legs are swollen; his hands are blistered and dried up and they hurt,” Jamal told supporters after leaving SCI Mahanoy prison in Frackville, Pa.For a week starting May 12, the internationally known African-American journalist had been held virtually incommunicado at the Geisinger Medical Center, where he was shackled to his bed as he underwent medical tests and was being treated for a severe skin disorder. He was not allowed to communicate with family, lawyers or even doctors who had been advising him. On May 20, he was transferred back to the prison infirmary.The transfer occurred after hundreds of supporters from around the world contacted prison and government officials by phone and email. In addition, a lawsuit was filed May 18 seeking an end to the violation of Abu-Jamal’s constitutional right to contact his lawyer and family.Jamal ended her report with a plea to “Free Mumia before they kill him.”FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

first_imgArnaldo Otegi, the recognized leader of the Basque Patriotic Left, was released on March 1 after more than six years in prison. He immediately reentered the political struggle for self-determination for the Basque Country from the kingdom of Spain.Another nearly 500 Basque political prisoners have been dispersed all around the Spanish state and around France. Most are located between 300 and 700 miles away from their family, friends and comrades, who live in the Basque region in north-central Spain. The movement that won Otegi’s freedom plans to continue the struggle to free the hundreds of other political prisoners.The Basques are a people who number between 2 and 3 million worldwide, most of whom live in the highly industrial Basque region, with a smaller number to the east across the French border. They speak a unique language with no relation to the Romance languages spoken in France and other parts of the Spanish state.The dictatorship of Francisco Franco, which lasted in Spain until Franco’s death in 1975, repressed the Basque language and people. The Basques opened an armed struggle for liberation in 1959 and continued it when the new 1978 Constitution continued to repress the region. The liberation organizations initiated a peace process in 2006; since 2010 there has been a decision by the armed liberation organization, known as ETA, to cease military operations.Otegi is the leader of the political organization of the liberation movement, which is now known as Sortu, and was a leader of the peace process. The leaders of the Spanish imperialist bourgeoisie, especially the right wing in the so-called Peoples Party and in the state apparatus, feared the development of a strong popular movement for liberation under peaceful conditions. Thus they targeted Otegi for arrest and imprisonment in 2009, charging him with being a leader of ETA, along with eight other Basque leaders.The movement for self-determination has great support among the Basques, who vote for independence and for left parties in much greater proportion than others in the Spanish state. , with the possible exception of the voters in Catalonia, another nation and people inside the Spanish state. In the most recent national election on Dec. 20, the Basque Country gave the largest vote to Podemos, a dissident party that grew out of the “indignant ones” movement of 2011 and campaigned against austerity.Speaking before more than 10,000 supporters who spilled out of the Velodrome — the bicycling arena — in the city of Donostia (San Sebastian) on March 5, Otegi pledged that Sortu would continue the peace process, saying, “We are fighting for the liberty of this country and we will never stop.” (Japan Times, March 6)Many observers note the parallel between Otegi’s role and that of Gerry Adams of the Irish political party Sinn Fein. On the websites of the two organizations are many statements and articles of mutual solidarity, as well as solidarity with the movement for Kurdish self-determination.Workers World sent a message of solidarity greeting Otegi’s release and pledging “to continue our support for the struggle of the people of the Basque Country and of all freedom-loving people to bring the Basque prisoners back to their homeland and to free all the political prisoners.”FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

first_imgA criminal at work. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.A spokeswoman and assistant communications director for right-wing West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey was revealed on Aug. 25 to have been featured in white supremacist propaganda, a “Stop White Genocide” video.In the video, Carrie Bowe, previously employed by the conservative Family Policy Council, recites numerous racist talking points. Many of the slogans are common in the white supremacist and neo-Nazi movement, such as “Anti-racist is a codeword for anti-white.” Bowe also states there is “a program of genocide against my race, the white race.” The video features four white women dressed all in white against a white background, with each spouting that white people are victimized and oppressed by “race mixing” and immigration.The video was originally uploaded to YouTube in 2012. An hour after the Charleston Gazette-Mail exposed the video, Morrisey fired Bowe. Morrisey, a conservative white man tasked as the state attorney general with defending civil rights, says he was “unaware” of Bowe’s views.Delegate Sean Hornbuckle, one of only three Black lawmakers in the 134-member West Virginia Legislature, told the Gazette-Mail that the firing was only because of the upcoming election: “[Morrisey] fired somebody because he wants to win an election. It’s terrible that you have people in your office secretly, behind closed doors, doing things like this. If your [assistant] communications director feels like that, it shows a lot.”Though trying to distance himself from the overt “white nationalist” he employed, Morrisey has his own reactionary and racist positions. Bowe officially represented his office this year at an event in support of a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (HB 4012). This bill and ones like it across the U.S. are notorious for attempting to provide a legal pretext for business owners to discriminate against LGBTQ individuals, Arabs, Muslims or anyone else they deem contrary to Christian “religious beliefs.” (The bill passed in the state House of Delegates, but was killed in the state Senate.)Morrisey also went out of his way to support a restrictive voter-ID law in North Carolina that attacked the Black community and other marginalized groups. When the law was appealed to the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court, Morrisey, along with thirteen other Republican attorneys general, wrote a letter asking the court to keep its restrictions in place.In July, the appeals court struck down the North Carolina law. Writing for the unanimous three-judge panel, U.S. Circuit Judge Diana Gribbon Motz noted, “The new provisions target African Americans with almost surgical precision. … Winning an election does not empower anyone in any party to engage in purposeful racial discrimination.”FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

first_img#J20Resist Washington, D.C.Washington, D.C., Jan. 23 — The last of the Workers World delegation left Washington, D.C., today with people affiliated with Shut It Down NYC. Three of them were among the more than 200 who had been kidnapped, tortured, detained and slapped with trumped-up charges after protesting the official coronation of the newest defender of the ruling class on Jan. 20. The state, in its eager effort to stamp out any spark of resistance to President Donald Trump’s racism and sexism, was swift in its attempts to repress anti-Trump activists.Despite that, Jan. 20 was a day of determined fightback, beginning with the J20 Resist rally at Anti-Columbus Circle, which generated a mood of revolutionary optimism that continued throughout the day. The Boston School Bus Drivers Union, United Steelworkers Local 8751, arrived in formation before the sun was up, chanting slogans and joining others for hot coffee and breakfast. Then North Carolina comrades arrived, their chants raising the energy of the crowd to an even more spirited level. By the time the rally ended at 11 a.m., thousands of militant socialists had gathered to march.The J20 Resist crowd, 2,500 strong, streamed out from its Union Station site toward the White House, frequently branching from its publicized path to assert independence from police control. At the same time, a furious, young, multinational and multigender vanguard ran through the D.C. streets, liberating it block by block as cops fell back. The so-called “Black Bloc” marched while waving the “antifa” flag, representing antifascist unified action among communists, anarchists and socialists.As the J20 Resist march neared its rally site at McPherson Square, the organizers received word that youth, many of whom identify as queer and of color, were being “kettled” and arrested at 12th Streets. Kettling is when cops unlawfully detain people in large groups for long stretches of time in order to arrest them.State escalates repressionJ20 Resist continued its march, with cooperation of several groups, including Workers World Party and Freedom Road Socialist Organization, toward 12th and I to show support to those threatened with arrest.The youth were kettled for more than eight hours. In the cold rain, dehydrated and exhausted from resisting, a large group of people were not allowed medical attention, access to an attorney, food or water. They were not even allowed to relieve themselves out of public view.After the young activists’ arrests, the state levied serious felony charges against them. This has been given no play so far in the mainstream media. In fact, the media have represented these bold expressions against Donald Trump as “violent” and “unorganized,” if the actions were covered at all.The charge against the activists is the so-called Felony Riot Act, which carries a sentence of 10 years and/or a $250,000 fine. At least six journalists, several National Lawyer Guild observers and many medics were charged with this act, along with protesters.One participant, Holly from Florida, said the brutality of the police was “completely unprovoked. I was just looking around to see what needed to be done.”A J20Resist marcher, Arlo from New York, said this was the first time he’d seen anything like it: “I understood that police would commit unprovoked violence, but seeing it first-hand made it real and important in a way that I hadn’t expected.”A Shut It Down member, kept in a cell with 30 other people who were given only eight sandwiches to share, said of the guards, “These were not correctional officers. These were U.S. Marshals.”The state’s escalation of repression was no surprise to J20 Resist organizers, who had issued briefings to explain the violence of the state to the thousands participating in the march from Anti-­Columbus Circle.Anti-protester disinformation “documentaries” had been circulated on social media in the days leading up to the march. One 23-minute film incited the new administrators of global capitalism to go after Workers World Party and the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, calling them “domestic enemies” of the state. Some “investigative journalists” infiltrated organizing groups — including J20 Resist and Disrupt J20 — with secret cameras and microphones in an effort to embarrass or intimidate.Ruling class can’t stop historyDespite the disinformation, the Jan. 20 resistance to white supremacy, misogyny and capitalism was militant and strong. Thousands of multinational, multigender people of all ages were in the streets shouting “Black Lives Matter!” and “Whose nation? Our nation!” Thousands were holding signs exhorting people to destroy capitalism and fight for socialism. They could not be pushed back, except momentarily by overwhelming police ­violence.The day after the arrests, D.C. Superior Court was packed with movement people providing jail support and solidarity. The state flexed its muscles by lining up cops with military gear and shields outside the courthouse and attempting to keep ­activists out.But the ruling class can’t stop history.The turnout for Donald Trump’s election was sparse. The threats of thousands of bikers to show up in D.C. to “protect” Trump from protesters was laughable, as no such mobilization occurred. The difference between those marching against Trump and the people draped in fur coats on their way to inaugural balls could not have been more stark.The state itself, with all its racism, misogyny, bigotry and warmongering, is Trump’s main support, not the masses and not the working class.It is with this encouraging analysis and broad solidarity that we enter the next phase of building a revolutionary socialist movement inthe United States.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

first_imgThe Atlantic magazine published an article in the June 2017 issue entitled, “My Family’s Slave,” by journalist Alex Tizon.  His article regarding the story of Eudocia Pulido, known as “Lola,” and her forced migration and exploitation as a modern-day slave in the United States highlights the current conditions facing Filipino women.Eudocia Pulido’s story cannot be understood outside the context of Philippine society and history — which is rooted in U.S. imperialism and neoliberal economic policies that have caused the systemic suffering of many underpaid domestic helpers like Lola.The Philippines is one of the largest labor exporters in the world with 6,000 Filipinos, 60 percent of them women, leaving the country every single day in order to work.  This is because of rampant poverty, joblessness, and landlessness inside the country.The women are lured to apply for positions that do not exist, with promises of legal status and decent wages.  Instead, they become undocumented, and are drowning in debt and isolated in a foreign country. Thousands of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) end up working in virtual slavery.Recruiters and employment agencies take advantage of these women by charging them exorbitant fees, demanding loan “repayments” and threatening them or their families with deportation or physical violence. Living in fear and with no place to go, many OFWs endure the discrimination, abuse, and exploitation in order to survive.It is important that we not whitewash the writer’s parents and family’s crimes of slavery, imprisonment, and trafficking. Tizon’s account of Eudocia Pulido’s story does not exonerate him from his family’s complicity in the abuse and exploitation of another human being. Also, it is critical to recognize that this particular experience is not an isolated one — and it stems from the Philippines’ feudal, patriarchal, and imperialist structure.The commodification and exploitation of generations of Filipina women continue to be an inherent effect of the country’s ever-worsening conditions.  These will  persist and generate many more stories like Eudocia Pulido’s until comprehensive and fundamental socioeconomic and political changes are made to address the root causes of the country’s poverty.Members of GABRIELA USA continue to take action and call for an end to the exploitative system in the Philippines.  We denounce the Philippine government for neglecting its own people inside the country and lack of protections for OFWs abroad. In addition, we uplift the voices of Filipino migrant women and encourage them to tell their own stories.GABRIELA USA seeks to empower migrant women to know and understand their rights, to fight back against oppression and exploitation, and to participate in the movement for national democracy in the Philippines. If you are moved by Lola’s story, we encourage you to join a chapter of GABRIELA USA and join the fight against feudal-patriarchy and the systems of power that allow women like Lola to be forced into exploitation.GABRIELA USA is a grass-roots-based alliance of progressive Filipino women organized in the United States which seeks to wage a struggle for the liberation of all oppressed Filipino women and the rest of our people. While we vigorously campaign on women-specific issues, such as women’s rights, gender discrimination, violence against women, and women’s health and reproductive rights, GABRIELA USA also addresses national and international economic and political issues that affect Filipino women. GABRIELA USA is an overseas chapter of GABRIELA Philippines, and is a member organization of BAYAN-USA and the International Women’s Alliance. See thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

first_imgImam Siddique Abdullah HasanAn emergency alert has been issued for support for Lucasville Uprising death row defendant Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan, who has been transferred into solitary confinement. Organizers are preparing a “phone zap” of protest to Ohio prison authorities. (See details below.)The Lucasville Uprising, as it has come to be known, took place in 1993 at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility. There were many issues pushing inmates to the point of rebellion, including overcrowding; guard violence and guard-instigated inmate-on-inmate violence; poor sanitation, food and medical care; and allowing only one phone call with loved ones per year. The straw that broke the camel’s back was the forcing of Muslim inmates to take a TB test that involved ingestion of an alcoholic substance, forbidden by their faith.A point won in the subsequent negotiated surrender agreement was that there would be no retaliation against anyone tied to the Uprising. In fact, several dozen inmates were falsely sentenced in the murder of a guard and/or inmate hostages. Five — most of whom were involved in negotiating the surrender and actually prevented additional loss of life — remain on Ohio’s death row 25 years later.There is a need to grow the movement to free Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan, Keith Lamar, Namer Mateen, George Skatzes and Jason Robb. Solidarity meetings recognizing the 25th anniversary of the rebellion have been held around the country this year.On the evening of July 21, Hasan was transferred to the hole — i.e., put in solitary confinement. Authorities accused him of organizing for a prison work stoppage.Boston activists were holding a meeting July 27 and expecting a call from Hasan. When the call did not come through, they learned about Hasan’s transfer from an Ohio supporter.This is not the first time authorities have targeted Hasan and other Lucasville defendants. Earlier this year the four death row defendants, along with Greg Curry, were abruptly denied phone and email access on the anniversary of the negotiated surrender of the Uprising. Essentially the prison administration is doing the same thing to Hasan they did in 2016, when they aimed false, racist and Islamophobic accusations that Hasan tried to recruit a faith leader for a suicide bombing plot.How to supportA phone zap in support of Imam Hasan will begin at 9 a.m. EDT on Monday, July 30. Please start calling the numbers below at that time and continue to call and email:Ohio State Prisons: 330-743-0700 (Fax: 330-743-0841)Warden: Richard A. Bowen, Jr. [email protected] Regional Director David Bobby: 614-752-1736 [email protected] updates, visit “Phone Zap: Defend Imam Hasan” where more details will be posted.Write letters of support to Hasan and get them in the mail ASAP so that authorities know that people are mobilizing in his defense.Siddique Abdullah Hasan130-559878 Coitsville-Hubbard Rd.Youngstown, Ohio 44505FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

first_imgVenezuela’s government organized 2.3 million soldiers to participate in Bolivarian Shield defense exercises in mid-February.Published in on Feb 18. Translation by John Catalinotto. The military has been deployed in Venezuela — not only in Caracas, where weapons, soldiers and militia could be seen — but throughout the country. All five components of the Bolivarian National Armed Force (FANB) were activated: the Bolivarian National Guard, the Bolivarian Army, the Bolivarian Navy, the Bolivarian Military Aviation and the Bolivarian Militia.President Nicolás Maduro announced Feb. 14 that this exercise, called “Bolivarian Shield 2020,” activated 2.3 million combatants. The last operation of a similar type took place in September 2019.  Under the name “Sovereignty and Peace,” it focused on the border areas.Remigio Ceballos, strategic operational commander, said: “The FANB’s strategic operational command, the eight strategic regions of integrated defense, the 28 operational zones of integrated defense, the 99 areas of integrated defense, the groups and popular bases of integrated defense, and the popular units of integrated defense are all deployed in the national territory.”The televised exercises showed what a military deployment might look like in the event of an attack.  They demonstrated how the deployment of soldiers, the anti-aircraft system and the firing of missiles from warships would look.  And they showed how an operation to establish resistance centers in Caracas, in the event of a bombing and troop attack, would appear.Activation of the Militia was one of the significant elements within the Bolivarian Shield. General in Chief Vladimir Padrino López highlighted its importance: “The incorporation of the Militia as a special component of the FANB grants an added value to the defense of the Nation […] they are regular combatants, not armed civilians.”The Bolivarian Militia has been the target of many attacks by the Venezuelan opposition, which has oscillated between ridiculing those who are part of the Militia — and on the other hand — showing its fear about the growing number of women and men in the Militia and the extent of their training.Masses involved in defenseThis is one of the most distinctive features of the Venezuelan political process, as it allows and encourages the participation of the population in the defense of the nation under Article 130 of the Constitution. The Militia consists mostly of women and men, workers, from the popular sectors, slums, and rural areas — those who identify with Chavism [the revolutionary process begun by the late President Hugo Chávez] and realize the need to prepare themselves for upcoming threats.These threats come at a decisive moment in Venezuela, following the U.S. government’s organized tour for [self-proclaimed “president’] Juan Guaidó.  He made key appearances at the State of the Union address in the U.S. Congress and at a meeting with President Donald Trump in the White House. These were not just photo opportunities.A sector of the Venezuelan right-wing is openly calling for the use of force against the Venezuelan government. That wing of the opposition is lobbying in the U.S. in order to bring about aggressive action. They are active where a sector of the Republican Party and the deep state [Pentagon, CIA, etc.] act along those lines.Within this framework, Bolivarian Shield 2020 was a demonstration of force, military readiness and dissuasion aimed at the United States and Venezuela’s neighboring countries, particularly Colombia and Brazil.  There have been instances of serious tension coming from across the border of these two countries aimed at  Bolivarian Venezuela.This is not the only defensive action which the Maduro government has developed.  Other operations are used to prepare for potential conflicts where regular military action would be the least likely. The framework of possible attacks suggests that potential operations are focused on aggression by paramilitaries, mercenaries – with attempted surgical shootings, such as assassinations or extractions – or attacks aimed at provoking social upheavals.The military exercise was also a reaffirmation of the existing command of President Nicolás Maduro, and the fictional presidency of Juan Guaidó, who has given no concrete or decisive announcements since his return to Venezuela.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

first_imgFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare this By Manlio DinucciPublished in the Italian web newspaper, Il Manifesto, March 3. Translation by John Catalinotto.The United States has raised the coronavirus (COVID-19) alert for Italy to level 3 (“avoid nonessential travel”), bringing it to 4 (“do not travel”) for [the northern regions of] Lombardy and Veneto — the same as for China. American Airlines and Delta Air Lines suspended all flights between New York and Milan. U.S. citizens going to Germany, Poland and other European countries, at alert level 2, must “take increased precautions.”However, one category of U.S. citizens is exempted from these rules: the 20,000 soldiers beginning to arrive from the United States in European ports and airports for the Defender Europe 20 exercise, the largest U.S. troop deployment in Europe in the last 25 years. Including those already present, about 30,000 U.S. troops will participate in April and May, flanked by 7,000 troops from 17 NATO member and partner countries, including Italy.US Army Europe logoThe first armored unit arrived from the port of Savannah, Ga., to that of Bremerhaven in Germany. Altogether 20,000 pieces of military equipment arrived from the USA in six European ports (in Belgium, Holland, Germany, Latvia, Estonia). Another 13,000 pieces are supplied by the U.S. Army in Europe from prepositioned depots, mainly in Germany, Holland and Belgium. These operations, reports the U.S. Army in Europe, “require the participation of tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians from many nations.”At the same time, the bulk of the contingent of 20,000 soldiers arrives from the U.S. in seven European airports. Among these are 6,000 National Guard coming from 15 states: Arizona, Florida, Montana, New York, Virginia and others.At the beginning of the exercise in April, reports the U.S. Army in Europe, the 30,000 U.S. soldiers “will spread through the European region” to “protect Europe from any potential threat,” with clear reference to the “Russian threat.”Gen. Tod Wolters — who commands the United States forces in Europe and at the same time those of NATO as Allied Supreme Commander in Europe — assures everyone that “the European Union, NATO and the European Command of the United States have worked together to improve the infrastructure.” This will allow military convoys to move quickly along 2,500 miles of transit routes.Tens of thousands of soldiers will cross borders to conduct exercises in 10 countries. In Poland, 16,000 U.S. soldiers will arrive in 12 training areas with about 2,500 vehicles. U.S. paratroopers of the 173rd Brigade stationed in Veneto and Italians in the Lightning Brigade stationed in Tuscany will go to Latvia for a joint launch exercise.Defender Europe 20 is being conducted to “increase the ability to rapidly deploy a large combat force from the United States to Europe.” It is therefore carried out with timescales and procedures that make it virtually impossible to subject tens of thousands of soldiers to COVID-19 health regulations and prevent them from coming into contact with the inhabitants during rest periods.In addition, the U.S. Army in the Europe Rock Band will hold a series of free concerts in Germany, Poland and Lithuania that will attract large audiences.The 30,000 U.S. soldiers, who “will spread through the European region,” are in fact exempted from the preventive COVID-19 regulations that apply to civilians. The assurance given by the U.S. Army in Europe that “we are monitoring the Coronavirus [COVID-19]” and that “our forces are in good health” is enough.At the same time, the environmental impact of a military exercise of this magnitude is ignored. U.S. Abrams tanks will participate, weighing 70 tons, with depleted uranium shells. Each tank consumes 400 liters of fuel per 100 km, producing heavy pollution to deliver maximum power.In this situation, what are EU and national authorities doing, what is the World Health Organization doing? They put the mask on over their eyes, as well as over their mouth and nose.last_img read more