Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Please note I have a new phone number...


Alan Maki

Alan Maki
Doing research at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

A program for real change...


What we need is a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which would make it a mandatory requirement that the president and Congress attain and maintain full employment.

"Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens"

- Ben Franklin

Let's talk...

Let's talk...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

What Wall Street did to Greece

The United States likes to pretend that it is not responsible for the dire economic straits Greece is in today and Wall Street's leading mouth-pieces are trying to portray "the greediness of Greek workers" for the problems; when, in fact, when the truth is finally told, we will find that it is none other than the Wall Street directed U.S. imperialism that is fully responsible for what is taking place in Greece today where the working class is being expected to bear the burden of the economic crisis that Wall Street maintains requires "austerity measures" in order to save "democracy" and "free enterprise" in Greece.

The fact of the matter is that it was the "U.S. Marshall Plan" that set up and set in motion the economic and social problems Greece is experiencing today.

The Marshall Plan (officially the European Recovery Program, ERP) was the primary program, 1947–51, of the United States for rebuilding and creating a stronger economic foundation for the countries of Western Europe. The initiative was named for Secretary of State George Marshall and was largely the creation of State Department officials, especially William L. Clayton and George F. Kennan. George Marshall spoke of the administration's desire to help the European recovery in his address at Harvard University in June 1947.

Does "European Recovery Program" have a special ring to it for Americans? If not, it should, because all the muddle-headed middle class intellectuals supporting Barack Obama called for a "Marshall Plan to save America" and the result was the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009" (stimulus funding) which is going to do to American workers the very same thing the U.S. Marshall Plan has done for Greece and the other European countries having been "lucky" enough to receive such "aid:" impose austerity measures on the working class by driving down our standard of living.

The U.S. Marshall Plan was imposed on the Greek people in 1947 following the victory over Hitler fascism in order to try to head off a popular socialist revolution led by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and its trade union partners which began in 1946--- a bloody reign of fascism in Greece followed the imposition of the U.S. Marshall Plan.

Today, the KKE and PAME lead the way again in the struggle for freedom against Wall Street's drive to profit from the problems being experienced by Greek workers as forced austerity measures from which Wall Street and all the international financial centers of the world comprising imperialism will profit are being shoved down the throats of Greek workers.

The struggle of the Greek working class to be free from fascism and U.S. imperialist dictate was the first battle of the Cold War.Once again Greek workers are on the front lines defending the rights and the living standards of all workers.

American workers would be well advised to beware of what comes in the name of Obama's "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009" because Wall Street is going to try to force workers to "pay through the nose" for its "generosity" in financing the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009."

Today the Greek workers, led by the KKE and PAME are fighting the battle we here in the United States will be fighting shortly unless we are going to become Wall Street's slaves.

American workers would do well to bring themselves up to speed concerning the present struggles in Greece and not accept the force-fed lies of Wall Street's well-paid capitalist apologists intent on "protecting" us from the truth.

Check out the PAME web site for up-to-date information as the Greek workers lead the way in the struggle against Wall Street's austerity agendas...

A message from Greece...
Note: This is the link to PAME, the All Workers’ Militant Front, as mentioned below.:


Communist Party of Greece - [13.05.2010] Message to the National Committee of CP, USA

Communist Party USA,
National Committee,
New York
Athens, Thursday, 13 May 2010

Dear comrades

We would like to thank you for the information regarding your 29th party convention and to extend our greetings to the delegates. Our parties have met in the past in common struggles for workers’ rights, in the struggle against anti-communism, for the defense of socialism and the Soviet Union, for the unity of the communist movement on the basis of our revolutionary principles and traditions.

We are following as closely as we can the developments in the USA, the escalation of the aggression of US imperialism which lately has become quite obvious. The US is striving to respond to the trend of losing ground within the framework of the imperialist system by inciting regional tensions and conflicts, so that it can take advantage of its political and military supremacy in order to safeguard its interests and maintain its spheres of influence.

In Greece, the working class and the popular strata are facing a barbaric attack, on the pretext of the economic crisis; an attack which has been jointly unleashed by the social democratic PASOK government, the EU and the IMF, with the assistance of the conservative ND party and the open support of the nationalist LAOS party.

The remarkable resistance presented by the labor and popular movement is spearheaded by KKE which continually strives to reveal the real cause of the crisis, the sharpening of the basic contradictions of capitalism. Without the consistent exposure of the compromised and discredited in the eyes of the workers trade union leaderships of GSEE and ADEDY (the national confederations of the private and public sector respectively), without the decisive contribution of PAME (All Workers’ Militant Front), the national trade union front comprised of class oriented Federations, trade unions, labor centers and trade unionists, the labor movement in our country would have been disarmed, unprepared, and unable to fight back.

KKE calls upon the working class, the self-employed, the poor farmers, and the youth to engage in even stronger, more massive and organized actions in order to stave off the onslaught and pave the way for a different path of development. There can be no way other than the nationalization of the monopolies. The working class must take possession of the concentrated means of production and mobilize them with central planning and popular participation. This presupposes a struggle aiming for people’s power, for socialism-communism.

The fightback against anti-communism, the adamant defense of the historical contribution of the Soviet Union and socialist construction in the 20th century, of the identity and revolutionary traditions of the communist movement, take on particular importance today.

As long as the crisis of the international communist movement persists, as long as the situation does not improve and retreats from ideological and theoretical principles are not resolutely confronted, as long as the front against opportunist views that hinder the formation of a single revolutionary strategy against imperialism does not become strengthened, the situation will harbor the danger of an even greater backslide.

The existence of strong Communist Parties steadfast to the principles of Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism, with a revolutionary program for the overthrow of the rule of monopolies, for building socialism - communism, is the foremost demand of our times.

We look forward to learning the conclusions and the resolutions of your convention.

With comradely greetings

The Central Committee of KKE

e-mail: cpg@int.kke.gr

This is an interesting perspective:

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Commentary No. 280, May 1, 2010

"Is Europe Imploding?"

Europe has had its nay-sayers since it started on the long road to unification. There were many who believed it impossible. And there were many who thought it undesirable. Still one has to say that, in the long and sinuous path it has taken since 1945, the project of European unification has done remarkably well. After all, Europe had been torn apart by nationalist conflict for at least 500 years, conflict which culminated in the particularly nasty Second World War. And revenge seemed to be the dominating emotion. As of 2010, what is now called the European Union (EU) houses within it a common currency, the euro, which is used by 16 countries. It also has a zone with 25 members, called Schengen, which permits somewhat free movement without visas. It has a central bureaucracy, a human rights court, and is on track to having a president and a foreign minister.

One shouldn't exaggerate the strength of all these structures, but one shouldn't underestimate the degree to which all this has represented, for good or ill, the overcoming of nationalist resistance throughout Europe, especially in some of the stronger states. Yet, it is also the case that right now Europe seems in some important ways to be imploding. The code words for this implosion are "Greece" and "Belgium."

Greece, as all the world is aware, is undergoing a severe sovereign debt crisis. Moody's has declared Greek state bonds to be junk bonds. Prime Minister George Papandreou has said, very reluctantly, that he would probably have to turn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a loan, a loan that would imply the usual IMF conditions requiring specific forms of neoliberal restructuring. This idea is very unpopular in Greece - a blow to Greek sovereignty, Greek pride, and especially Greek pocketbooks. It was also greeted with dismay in a number of European states that feel that financial assistance to Greece should come first of all from other EU members.

The explanation of this scenario is quite simple. Greece has a big budgetary deficit. Because Greece is part of the eurozone, it cannot devalue its currency to alleviate the problem. So it needs financial aid. Greece asked for European aid. The biggest and wealthiest European country, Germany, has been highly reluctant, to say the least, to give such aid. The German public is strongly opposed to helping out Greece, basically out of a protectionist reflex in a time of European stress. They also fear that Greece is the first of a line of others (Portugal, Spain, Ireland, and Italy) who will make similar demands if Greece gets such aid.

The German public seems to wish it would all go away, or at least that Greece somehow be thrown out of the eurozone. Aside from the fact that this is legally impossible, the country that would suffer most as a result, besides Greece, is surely Germany, whose own economic health is largely based on the strong export market it has within the eurozone. So, for the moment, we seem to be at an impasse. And the market vultures are hovering over all the eurozone countries that are in sovereign debt trouble.

In the midst of this, the now perennial Belgian crisis has reared its head in a particularly acute way. Belgium, as a country, came into existence as a result of pan-European politics. The collapse of the Habsburg empire of Charles V resulted in the partition of the so-called Burgundian Netherlands into the United Provinces in the north and the Austrian Netherlands in the south. The Napoleonic Wars led to the two parts being put together again in the restored Kingdom of the Netherlands. And the European conflicts of 1830 led to the two parts being split apart again, with the creation of Belgium in more or less the erstwhile Austrian Netherlands, with a king imported from elsewhere.

Belgium was always a composite of Dutch-speaking "Flemish" and French-speaking "Walloons," largely but imperfectly located in two different geographical sectors (the north and south of Belgium). There was also a small German-speaking zone.

Up to 1945, the Walloons were the more educated, wealthier ones, and they controlled the major institutions of the country. Flemish nationalism was born as the voice of the underdogs fighting for their political, economic, and linguistic rights. After 1945, the Belgian economy underwent a structural shift. Walloon areas lost strength and Flemish areas gained strength. Belgian politics became as a consequence a never-ending struggle of the Flemish to obtain more political rights - devolution of powers, with the ultimate objective for many of dissolving Belgium into two countries.

Bit by bit, the Flemish got more and more of their way. Today, Belgium as a country has a common monarchy, a common foreign minister, and very little more. The sticking-point in this arrangement is that Belgium is now a confederal state with three, not two, regions - Flanders, Wallonie, and Brussels (the capital).

Brussels is not only the capital of Belgium. It is the capital of Europe, the locus of the European Commission. Brussels is also a very bilingual city. And the Flemish are insisting on making it less so. The problem is that, even if there were to be agreement on the dissolution of Belgium, there would be no easy way to arrange the fate of Brussels.

The latest negotiations were so intractable that Le Soir, Belgium's leading French-language newspaper, proclaimed that "Belgium died on April 22, 2010." Their lead editorialist asked "Does this country make sense anymore?" At the moment, the king is trying, perhaps vainly, to recreate a government. He may have to call new elections, without much hope that the elections will produce a really different parliament. On July 1, Belgium assumes the rotating six-month presidency of the EU, and it is not certain there will be a Belgian Prime Minister to preside over it.

The Greek problem is the problem of spread. Will Greece's difficulties not be replicated - are they not already being replicated - elsewhere in Europe? Can the euro survive? The Belgian problem presents however an even greater problem of spread. If Belgium comes apart, and both parts are then members of the EU, will not other states consider coming apart? There are after all important secessionist or quasi-secessionist movements in many EU countries. Belgium's crisis could easily become Europe's crisis.

Of the two threatened implosions, the one symbolized by Greece is easier to solve. It basically only requires that Germany realize that its needs are better met by European protectionism than by German protectionism.

The Belgian crisis poses a much more fundamental question. If Europe were ready, right away, to move forward to a truly federal state, it could accommodate the break-up of any of its existing states. But it has not been ready up to now. And the world's collective economic difficulties have much strengthened the narrow nationalist elements in virtually every European country, as all the recent elections have shown. Without a strong European federation, it would be extremely difficult for Europe to survive a stream of break-ups. Amidst the political havoc, Europe could go down the drain.

There is a certain Schadenfreude among U.S. politicians about Europe's difficulties. What may however save Europe from any implosion is precisely the ever-increasing threat of the implosion of the United States. Europe and the United States are on a seesaw, on which as one goes up the other goes down. How this will play out over the next two to five years is not at all clear.

by Immanuel Wallerstein

[Copyright by Immanuel Wallerstein, distributed by Agence Global. For rights and permissions, including translations and posting to non commercial sites, and contact: rights@agenceglobal.com, 1.336.686.9002 or 1.336.286.6606. Permission is granted to download, forward electronically, or e mail to others, provided the essay remains intact and the copyright note is displayed. To contact author, write: immanuel.wallerstein@yale.edu.

These commentaries, published twice monthly, are intended to be reflections on the contemporary world scene, as seen from the perspective not of the immediate headlines but of the long term.]