Please note I have a new phone number...

512-517-2708

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...

http://peaceandsocialjustice.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-progressive-program-for-real-change.html


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...

Friday, December 4, 2015

We need debates now: Capitalism or Socialism--- Which way for the United States of America?

Something you may want to think about:


In about 150 years the capitalists have polluted and contaminated just about all the air we need to breath, almost all the land required to grow the food we need to eat and most of the water we need to drink and sustain life.


And they have done all of this using exploited labor.


Workers along with no small amount of help from Mother Nature created ALL wealth.


How much longer can we tolerate and allow the exploitation of labor and the rape of Mother Nature?


We have people saying, including many socialists who are supporting Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, that this is no time to initiate a discussion about socialism because it will jeopardize the chances of either Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton being elected.


Considering the predicament capitalism has placed us in I don't think we can afford to not discuss how we can replace capitalism with socialism.


Some people like to push the idea that "humans" are responsible for this climate change and global warming but the culprits are a very small section of humanity--- the capitalists.


Will we allow Wall Street and a handful of financial centers to continue to dominate and dictate how we will live and work and produce and for what ends production will take place?


Will we continue to tolerate the private ownership of the mines, mills, factories, banks, agriculture, health care and energy industries?


All the polls show that after decades of the most vicious red-baiting and government repression, the majority of the American people believe we at least need a discussion about socialism.


Just before the Civil War began Congress was debating whether or not a discussion should be has as to what kind of economy was best for the Nation and all the people.


Granted, it is a little late to now have this discussion but better late than never.


And the only way this discussion is going to take place is if the discussion is advanced from the grassroots just like all struggles for reforms come from the bottom up into the mainstream.


Without this struggle, the battle of ideas in our modern world, the discussion will never take place.
So... Speak up! Write! Talk to people!


There are no capitalist solutions to our common problems.


Solving our problems must include socialist solutions to our specific problems.


Now I know someone is going to come back and say they are sick of hearing nothing but carping from the back rows; so, once again I bring forward specific solutions to our problems... solutions that will get us on the road to socialism.


Remember, we don't need "reforms" intended to "improve," "make better" or make capitalism more people friendly since this can't be done--- there is no such thing as a "people's capitalism" because the very nature of capitalism is that the many work and the few profit.


We need reforms that solve the problems of the people as we struggle for the revolutionary transformation of society.

http://thepodunkblog.blogspot.com/2015/12/so-worthless-democratic-party-hacks.html



Consider organizing a Marxist Study Club and Political Action Committee where you live, go to school or work.


Something else to think about:


Honest people would engage in a discussion about these kinds of reforms and socialism not try to shut discussion down using all kinds of devious and dishonest attacks.


Now would be a good time to organize debates all over the country in urban and rural areas taking up the debate:


Should we continue down the capitalist road or take the road to socialism?


Have a proponent of capitalism and a proponent of socialism debate this question.


Isn't this what democracy is supposed to be all about.


Send me an airline ticket, bus ticket or train ticket and I will travel anyplace, anytime to defend the socialist perspective in a debate with any proponent of capitalism.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

So; the worthless Democratic Party hacks demand to know...

What's my solution the worthless Democratic Party hacks demand to know; as if I don't have any answers...


We need to agitate for a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which would include creating real living wage jobs providing people with not just infrastructure improvements to streets, roads and highways, schools parks and recreation centers but a National Public Health Care System which would provide us with 800 community-based health care centers instead of over 800 U.S. military bases dotting globe acting as security protecting Wall Street's interests and profits abroad attained through cheap labor raping other countries of their natural resources in a way that destroys the planet by leaving behind a mess and contributing to global warming, and we need a National Public Child Care System both publicly financed, publicly administered and publicly delivered services just like public education.

Both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton promote projects falling far short of this kind of "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which is needed, not in "baby steps" or "incrementally" further down the road but right here and now.

Wall Street didn't have to wait for the government that is supposed to be "of, by and for the people" to step in and save them; why should the working class which creates all the wealth and pays for everything have to wait a hundred years or more for what we require to live decent and healthy lives with dignity.

What we need is a new progressive people's party bringing together liberals, progressives and leftists--- the vast majority of the U.S. population which polls tell us that there is a healthy growing surge for socialism as an alternative to capitalism; a party that would be both anti-monopoly and anti-imperialist with the stated goal of challenging our common Wall Street enemies for political and economic power.

When the Sanders and Clinton supporters tell us we have no alternatives to what these Democrats are offering in the way of "properly framed issues" with no specific solutions to our problems we should politely tell them to "go to hell" as we forge a "New Broom" electoral coalition to sweep Washington clean of all the Wall Street bribed politicians who always manage to find a way to finance their dirty imperialist wars but cry like babies when it comes to providing for the needs of the people.

If all the money and human resources wasted voting for a bunch of Dumb Donkeys was spent to create a real working class based people's progressive party we could re-build our country but this can't be done when the wealth and resources of our Nation are being squandered on militarism and war after dirty war.

Are you fed up enough to join a struggle that will break us free from Wall Street's two-party trap--- NOW, not later.

A "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" would create over twenty-million living wage jobs for less what all this militarism and all these dirty wars will cost us and it will be one big leap towards solving climate change since the Military-Industrial Complex leaves in its wake the largest carbon foot-print of any human endeavor.

Debate should center not on whether or not Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton have the best job-creating infrastructure plans but how their proposals stack up against the "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity."

And Affirmative Action should be enforced every step of the way so we finally eliminate racism and discrimination in employment, housing and education.

And people are entitled to, by birth, a Basic Income Guarantee as advocated by our great revolutionary Thomas Paine.

This is the way to a better world creating peace through mutual respect among all peoples.

This is what is required to bring the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights to reality for every human being:



December 10 will mark the 67th Anniversary of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights... as Eleanor Roosevelt and Frances Perkins would have said, they didn't intend for this document to become one more yellowing piece of paper they called for its full implementation... and, it is up to us, you and me, to implement it because all these Wall Street politicians care about is making war after war.

We can do much, much better.




The socialist Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party of Floyd Olson, Elmer Benson and John Bernard had the correct vision and program many years ago and the vision and program is still valid today:

People and the planet before Wall Street's profits.

Peace NOW!


Monday, November 30, 2015

The Philippines and change.

Kenneth Fuller has written an important book that he discussed at a press conference hosted by the Philippine University Press... check it out:

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10154440345542178&pnref=story








Monday, November 23, 2015

Some thoughts about Bernie Sanders, his supporters and dishonesty among the anti-Communist "left."


Thanks for sending all of this interesting stuff along, David.

Just a few thoughts on all of this.

Interesting variety of responses but also the responses are very limited and, quite frankly, very dishonest in that the contributions of the Communist Party are completely omitted as is any mention of Minnesota's socialist Farmer-Labor Party, which, to date, is still the most successful, and best example of, liberals, Socialists and Communists working together. No mention of the Progressive Party which ran Henry Wallace either which was headed up by Minnesota's own former socialist governor, Elmer Benson along with such luminaries as Paul Robeson and W.E.B. DuBois and many labor and civil rights leaders.

It is virtually impossible HONESTLY talk about any of the movements of the 1930's and the following decades without discussing the role of Communists yet all of these writers along with Bernie Sanders manage to do just that.

And to suggest that Eugene Debs was not a friend of the Soviet Union is just plain dishonest.

There is no doubt that the campaign of Bernie Sanders has helped to bring forward a discussion about socialism but it is a very muddle-headed view that he is responsible for kindling support for socialism. Like workers everywhere, workers here in the United States have always had a high regard for socialism but their voices in support of socialism have been severely repressed by employers and this Wall Street dominated government--- a repression directed and carried out against Communists which was intended to silence all liberal, progressive and left voices.

I would point out that the anti-Communist left is just as dishonest as the mainstream media.

Also, no mention of the need for a new political party which is both anti-monopoly and anti-imperialist with the objective of challenging Wall Street for political and economic power since the anti-Communist left has always opposed the concept of building the all-peoples' United anti-monopoly front as being "reformist" when in fact such a front struggles for basic reforms the working class will need in order to live decent lives whether under socialism or capitalism.

But Bernie's main short-coming is his vigorous support for imperialist wars making us too poor to finance even his most modest reform proposals.

Democracy requires ALL views to get a public airing including Communist views.

I would note that Marx, Engles and Lenin have been left off your reading list as well as William Z. Foster, Gus Hall, Paul Robeson and DuBois.

I also want to make special note that Harold Meyerson is a professional anti-Communist and it is laughable he lays claim to being the Vice-Chair of an organization he boasts he hasn't attended a meeting of in years; how democratic can a "Democratic Socialist" organization be which operates in this way?

At best, Bernie Sanders is a half-baked socialist.

Marx and Engels pointed out long ago that "the ownership" question is always front and center when discussing capitalism versus socialism but I guess this doesn't make any difference to Bernie and his most die hard supporters since they state they aren't opposed to capitalists owning the means of production... We see how this panned out for the two-thousand workers once employed by Ford at the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant most of whom have now lost their "buy outs" to a bunch of conniving and crooked "investment advisors" who convinced them their money would be safely invested so they could live the life of Riley.

Oh, and what had happened to the Communist concept of full employment and making the government responsible for attaining and maintaining full employment? I guess Bernie Sanders is content to let Wall Street employers decide who can and can't work, eh?




On Sunday, November 22, 2015, David Shove <shove001@umn.edu> wrote:
PROGRESSIVE CALENDAR  11.22.15

1. Harold Meyerson - Bernie Defines Socialism
2. F
our Takes on Sanders' Democratic Socialism Speech 
   2a. Kshama Sawant
   2b. Nicole Aschoff
   2c. Connor Kilpatrick
   2d. Paul Heideman
3. Internet sources (updated)

--------1 of 3x--------

Bernie Defines Socialism

Harold Meyerson
November 19, 2015
The American Prospect
 
Evoking Franklin Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr., the Vermont senator bridged the aspirations of New Deal liberalism with the democratic socialist tradition.

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks at Georgetown University in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015.,AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster,
During the 1930s, conservatives repeatedly alleged that Franklin Roosevelt was really a socialist. Today, BernieSanders said they were right.
In a long-awaited speech heralded as providing his definition of “democratic socialism,” the Vermont senator and Democratic presidential candidate on Thursday afternoon told a packed crowd of Georgetown University students—most of whom waited hours in a drenching rain to hear him—that by democratic socialism, he meant the economic and social principles laid down by FDR, most particularly in his 1944 State of the Union Address. In that speech, Roosevelt proclaimed that the nation needed a second, economic bill of rights. Sanders quoted the passage in which Roosevelt laid out the philosophic basis for such an expansion of rights: “True individual freedom,” Roosevelt said, “cannot exist without economic security and independence. Necessitous men are not free men.” The Vermont senator ran down the list of rights that Roosevelt enumerated: a decent job at decent pay, time off from work, a decent home, health care, and, for businesses, “an atmosphere free from unfair competition and domination by monopolies.”
The only other figure Sanders cited as shaping his vision of socialism was Martin Luther King Jr. (Unlike FDR, King did indeed identify himself a democratic socialist, as did such other key civil-rights leaders as A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin, and James Farmer. Roosevelt called himself various things—most commonly a liberal, and once, when asked his philosophy, responded that he was “a Christian and a Democrat”—but never a socialist.) King, saidSanders, followed in FDR’s footsteps in proclaiming the need for economic as well as civil rights.
Getting down to particulars, Sanders continued that democratic socialism meant creating an economy that works for all, a universal health-care system based on the principle that health care is a right, free tuition at public colleges and universities (and higher Pell Grants and lower interest rates on student loans, which would also make private colleges more affordable), a governmental commitment to full employment, a living wage (with a minimum wage of $15), paid family and medical leave, more progressive taxation, and the automatic voter registration of all Americans when they turn 18.
As the socialist and social democratic parties throughout the West have been doing for 70 years, Sandersdisavowed what was perhaps the classic definition of democratic socialism before World War II. “I don’t believe the government should own the corner drug store or the means of production,” he said, “but I do believe that the middle class and the working families who produce the wealth of America deserve a fair deal.”    
When Roosevelt was president, of course, socialists did believe that the government should own many major industries. The Socialist Party leader in Roosevelt’s time was Norman Thomas, who won almost a million votes in the 1932 election in which Roosevelt ousted Herbert Hoover. By establishing Social Security, granting workers the right to form unions and bargain collectively, and employing millions of the unemployed on the projects (chiefly but not exclusively construction) of the federally funded and operated Works Progress Administration, however, FDR co-opted a share of the socialists’ program, causing such longtime pillars of Socialist Party support as the garment and clothing workers unions to switch their allegiance to Roosevelt and the Democratic Party. So did most of those who had voted for Thomas in 1932. Writer Upton Sinclair, a longtime socialist activist, followed this course to its logical conclusion: He ran and won in the 1934 Democratic primary for governor of California, though a red-baiting campaign by the Republicans ensured that he lost the general election that November.
Beginning in the late 1950s, a number of American democratic socialists began to argue that they should go into the Democratic Party without abandoning their ideology. (The total number of American democratic socialists in the late 1950s, I should add, was almost surely smaller than the crowd that gathered today in the Georgetown auditorium to hear Sanders.) That argument received its fullest expression from Michael Harrington, Thomas’s successor as the leader of socialist movement, who argued in his 1967 book Toward A Democratic Left, that the presumably socialist-free American political landscape actually harbored within the Democratic Party what he termed “a hidden social democracy.” The nation’s more progressive unions, the civil-rights activists, the middle-class liberals (then mounting protests against the Vietnam War)—these were the groups whose European counterparts made up those nations’ social democratic parties. Accordingly, Harrington concluded, American socialists should enter—publicly, unashamedly—the Democratic Party, those hidden social democrats’ political home, where they could work for the kinds of social changes attainable in everyday politics while also campaigning for a future of a more democratic economy and society. In 1973, he founded an organization, the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (now known as the Democratic Socialists of America), which did just that. (Full disclosure: I’m a vice-chair of DSA, though—also full disclosure—I haven’t been to a DSA meeting in years.)
While in college in the late 1950s and early 190s, Sanders belonged to a DSA precursor, the Young People’s Socialist League, whose chief activity was supporting the civil-rights movement. Since then, he has not been a member of any socialist organization. While DSA urged socialists to work within the Democratic Party, without forfeiting their right to criticize the party’s numerous shortcomings, Sanders steered clear of the Democrats as well. In matters of political affiliation, Bernie isn’t much of a joiner. Once he got to Congress, however, and then the Senate, he did join and take an active role in those bodies’ Democratic caucuses.
In a certain sense, what Sanders accomplished today was to signal that the political space between America progressivism and social democracy—at least, as he defines them—has shrunk to insignificance. Clearly, this has not always been the case; it’s taken the dysfunctions of American capitalism that have accumulated over the past 40 years to push progressives, and with them, the center of the Democratic Party, to the left, to within spitting distance of those who call themselves social democrats, or, in Sanders’s case, democratic socialists. By anointing Roosevelt to be the father of them all—liberals and socialists both—Sanders has proclaimed an end to such distinctions. To be sure, calling for Medicare for All places him more on the social-democratic side of the ledger, but then, it places Lyndon Johnson there as well.
If Sanders’s surprising success (thus far) in running as a socialist is partly a function of the widespread recognition of those capitalist dysfunctions, it’s also in part the result of the collapse of the Soviet Union. The great American socialist leaders of the 20th century—Eugene Debs, Thomas, and Harrington—had to make continually clear that their brand of democratic socialism had nothing in common with Soviet communism and its totalitarian progeny, which they each articulately condemned. Sanders labors under no such handicap: The anti-socialist and anti-liberal leaders who deliberately conflated Rooseveltian liberalism with Stalinist communism (the young Richard Nixon was a master at this) were put out of work with the fall of the Berlin Wall.
As the New Deal programs and policies took root on American soil, some observers occasionally remarked that the Roosevelt Democrats had carried out the Thomas socialist platform. Noting the shortcomings of New Deal liberalism (its alliance with the segregationist South and its failure to enact universal health care, among other things), Thomas responded by grumbling, “They carried it out on a stretcher.” Sanders might not contest that judgment, but in harking back to FDR’s 1944 Economic Bill of Rights, he has reconciled the most visionary statement of Rooseveltian liberalism’s aspirations with the democratic socialist tradition—or, more precisely, claimed it as the foundation of his own socialist beliefs.
A recent CBS/New York Times poll found that 56 percent of Democratic voters hold a favorable view of socialism—a figure that exceeds Sanders’s own level of support in that poll by 25 percentage points, which means that a goodly chunk of Hillary Clinton’s backers hold that view as well. What all those Democrats mean by socialism is anybody’s guess, but I suspect their sense of it is close to Sanders’s: An anti-plutocratic and egalitarian commitment to re-democratize the nation; a belief in economic rights; and a sense that the boundaries between socialism and liberalism are at minimum very porous. The cognoscenti might see themselves as the children of Thomas and Harrington, but most would see themselves as the children of Roosevelt and King. Sanders’s message to them all is: They’re right.
Harold Meyerson is the executive editor of The American Prospect and a columnist for The Washington Post. His email is hmeyerson@prospect.org. Follow @HaroldMeyerson

--------2 of x--------
Four Takes on Bernie Sanders' Democratic Socialism Speech 
Portside
November 21, 2015

Here are four different takes on the speech Bernie Sanders gave on Democratic Socialism. As Kshama Sawant says, "Such an audience for socialist ideas has been unprecedented in the U.S. in several generations."
     
2a. Kshama Sawant on Bernie Sanders' Democratic Socialism


Sanders spoke today, November 19, at Georgetown University about democratic socialism. Kshama Sawant, Seattle's Socialist Alternative City Councilmember, responds to his message in this video (see transcript below).

Sisters and Brothers,

Socialism is rising.

Just a few minutes ago, Bernie Sanders addressed working people in the United States to speak about democratic socialism. Hundreds of thousands will watch it. Such an audience for socialist ideas has been unprecedented in the U.S. in several generations.

Bernie Sanders is giving voice to the enormous desire for change after a decade of economic crisis where millions lost their jobs and homes and the "recovery" has overwhelmingly benefited the 1%. There is deep anger because the political process has been completely dominated by big corporate interests; structural racism and sexism remain entrenched; and because no decisive measures are being taken to address global warming.

Underlying all of this is a diseased and decaying social system - the failed system of capitalism.

Poll after poll show that people under 30 now support "socialism" and "capitalism" in roughly equal numbers. And we also see that support for socialism leads over capitalism by 12 percentage points within Democratic Party supporters nationally.

But what is socialism?

Socialism is a democratic society based on human need not corporate greed. A society of social, gender and racial justice. A world where black and brown lives matter. A world that will have addressed the crisis of climate change.

How can such a society be achieved?

Take the huge challenge of climate change: 90 companies have caused almost two thirds of all carbon emissions in human history. All for amassing limitless profits. Capitalism is destroying the planet.

We need to take these companies into democratic, public ownership in order to move fully towards renewable energy, and to keep fossil fuels where they belong - under the ground.

Socialism is about working-class democracy, where the 99% make the key decisions, instead of Wall Street and their global capitalist casino.

The 500 largest corporations and giant banks that dominate our economy, control our political system and degrade our environment should be taken into democratic public ownership. This way, the resources of society could be used to benefit society as a whole.

The great German socialist, Rosa Luxemburg, posed the alternatives facing humanity long ago - she said that the future will either be one of socialism or barbarism.

We see barbarism globally today in many forms. We see it in the development of the Islamic State and the horrific attacks in Paris and Beirut last week. We saw it in the barbarous invasion of Iraq by a US government on behalf of a tiny cartel of rapacious oil companies.

The devastating consequences of the Iraq invasion, as well as the preceding decades of imperialist policies, are tearing apart the very fabric of society in the Middle East, fueling the rise of ISIS, and creating the biggest refugee crisis in world history.

We see the shadow of that barbarism here in the US, with huge poverty next to exorbitant wealth, and the rise of anti-immigrant, racist policies emanating from the Republican Party.

We have an alternative to this barbarism. A socialist world.

Bernie said that he supports a coalition of countries to fight ISIS. However all those governments represent the interests of their local capitalist ruling classes. As a socialist, I believe we need a movement of working people, of all nationalities, of all religions or no religion. A movement in the common interests of working people in the Middle East and internationally, to challenge both ISIS and Western imperialism, to create an alternative to the deep humanitarian crisis in the Middle East.

Bernie Sanders spoke today of FDR, the New Deal, and Social Security.

It is no accident that the victories on Social Security in the 1930s and Medicare and Medicaid in the 1960s took place during times of great, historic movements of the working class and youth.

In 1935, when Social Security was passed, workers across America were on strike for a better life. They fought to unionize through sit down strikes. They took over and occupied their factories, and refused to give them back until their unions were won and their demands met.

It was these American workers, this radical labor movement, that won Social Security. Contrary to the popular myth, it was not handed to them by the benevolence of the ruling elite headed by FDR. In fact, Roosevelt had run for office in 1932 on a promise of fiscal conservatism - of shrinking social programs, not expanding them.

The workers movement that won the New Deal was led by socialists.

Similarly, Medicare and Medicaid were won in the context of the radicalized 1960s Civil Rights movement. The battle against segregation, lynchings, against the grotesque brutality of Jim Crow racism. They were won under the pressure of the black activists and also of the developing movement against the war in Vietnam.

Social struggle needs to be combined with building a new political force for the 99%. Bernie Sanders' campaign, which raised $28 million in the past three months and has refused corporate donations, shows the potential for independent working class politics to fight against corporate politics.

Bernie is absolutely correct to call for a federal 15 dollar minimum wage, single payer health care, free college education, and defeating the power of the billionaire class to defend democracy.

That's why I want Bernie Sanders to win the presidency and defeat the agenda of the Billionaire class. [ed emphasis]
But in order to win, Bernie Sanders needs to take on Wall Street and all those corporations who dominate Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic Party machine.

To win, Bernie Sanders needs a mass movement from below and an organization, independent of corporate cash. He needs a mass party of and for working people.

Let's come together to build such a movement and such a party, against the Republican right wing and independent of big business, Clintonite Democrats.

This race is not a race between two progressive candidates. Hillary Clinton served on the Wal Mart board of directors, while Sanders supports the fight for $15. Hillary Clinton is a hawkish supporter of military intervention and voted for the Iraq war. Clinton is the candidate of Wall Street and the Billionaire class.

Clinton does not deserve the support of working people and progressives and can not be supported by socialists.

Win or lose, Bernie Sanders' inspiring campaign offers a unique opportunity to spread socialist ideas to a new generation, to build an independent mass party of working people, to build a new movement capable of defeating the stranglehold of Wall Street over our society.

We can organize the fight back against the billionaire class. Join me in this struggle, join Socialist Alternative.



2b-d. The Socialism of Bernie Sanders - Jacobin Magazine


The novelty of Bernie Sanders has long been his adoption of the term "democratic socialist" to describe his political beliefs. On the presidential campaign trail, by way of definition, he's repeatedly pointed to European countries with relatively robust welfare states.

On Thursday, in a major campaign address, he turned back stateside. Sanders cast himself not as the heir of Eugene Debs -- a portrait of whom hangs in his congressional office -- but of Franklin Roosevelt. In short, for Sanders, democratic socialism means New Deal liberalism.

What should socialists of a more radical bent make of such a definition? To what extent is the Sanders campaign good for social forces to his left? And how should we view the foreign policy portion of Sanders's speech, in which he both criticized US intervention and praised NATO?

Three Jacobin contributors give their thoughts:

Nicole Aschoff is the managing editor at Jacobin and the author of The New Prophets of Capital. Connor Kilpatrick is on the editorial board of Jacobin. Paul Heideman is a PhD student in the sociology department at New York University.

2b. Nicole Aschoff

Bernie Sanders is obviously the best presidential candidate, but he is a deeply flawed representative of the Left. Yesterday's speech illustrates why.

Sanders's Keynes-plus story advocates reining in the big banks, building a stronger social safety net, and deepening democracy. Fine. No disagreement there.

But Sanders never mentioned the word capitalism -- a rhetorical maneuver that sidesteps the systemic basis of inequality and poverty, both in the US and globally. Instead of the imperatives of class and competition he decries greed and corruption in a narrative that sits uncomfortably close to "crony capitalism," the Right's favorite villain.

Sanders says we need to take back our government, to implement laws and taxes and programs to dilute the privilege of the rich. That's a good start. But how? FDR's maverick capabilities rested on a foundation of mass working-class resistance. Sanders likes unions to be sure, but building working-class institutions isn't a central part of his story.

Working for a wage is a defining feature of our society. It is only by organizing and gaining control over our work lives that we will build the collective strength to challenge capital.

Finally, Sanders's geopolitical intervention was predictably awful. He didn't liken Syrian refugees to rabid dogs like Ben Carson or shout for more boots on the ground like Hillary Clinton. But his declaration that the problem of ISIS is primarily a problem of religion that "Muslim nations" must solve is willfully blind to the hand-in-glove relationship between capitalism and militarism.

The US has roughly eight hundred military bases globally and a nearly $600 billion annual defense budget that it uses to unrestrainedly pursue its political and economic interests. With his entreaty to build a bigger, better NATO and set aside "historic disputes," Sanders fails to challenge this terrifying reality.

2c. Connor Kilpatrick

There was nothing much surprising about Bernie's speech. This was the democratic socialism not even of Martin Luther King Jr (who nevertheless got some great shout-outs from Sanders) or Michael Harrington, but of FDR and LBJ. Which is to say, not "socialism" in recognizable form.

The Sanders definition seems to be "things that the government does that are good." If this was true, then socialism could exist within any society at any point in time, even one as rigidly capitalist as ours.

It doesn't help when one of his largest celebrity backers -- Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane -- says we could "use a little bit of democratic socialism," as if he were talking about a few more splashes of hot sauce in a bowl of chili.

But having our bloated military does not mean that soldiers live under socialism. The high marginal tax rates and labor union density under President Eisenhower -- as Sanders likes to point out -- did not make us socialist. Even the most reactionary capitalist regimes have some degree of a welfare state. Gen. Pinochet kept Chilean copper mines nationalized even after he launched a coup in the name of neoliberalism. And the intensely anticommunist Singapore has one of the world's largest sovereign wealth funds. It does not make it a socialist society in the slightest.

But at the same time -- frustrating as it may be -- the popular association of socialism with Scandinavian social democracy rather than "the country with all the gulags that doesn't exist anymore" is a far better starting point for a renewed anticapitalist politics.

We need to accept how much ground has been lost. Today, just 6.6 percent of private-sector workers belong to a union, and the Supreme Court is only a few months away from launching an all-out war on public-sector unionism. In many ways, the US left suffered a fatal wound in the late 1940s, before finally collapsing in the 1970s. Bernie's welfare-state liberalism is radical in today's political context.

So is it important that Sanders even bothers to use the s-word at all? I think so.

Standing on a national stage and using that term implies that there is a radically egalitarian force that is in opposition and even hostile to capitalism -- even if in his particularly strained definition that means that socialism is already here in the form of the US Post Office (and simply on the ropes). Sanders still implies a conflict between the two -- not a corporatist harmony.

It's that definition that we can use. While Sanders thankfully raises the specter of class conflict, it's up to actual socialist activists to define a possible world on the other side of that conflict -- to get a little utopian.

In May, Americans were asked whether they had a favorable opinion of socialism and capitalism. Democrats were split evenly: 43 versus 43 percent. In October, YouGov ran the poll again. This time, 49 percent said they viewed socialism positively, versus 37 percent for capitalism -- a remarkable shift in just five months. I think it's safe to say that that is entirely the work of the Sanders campaign.

If a not-very-politicized liberal was to ask me "what's socialism?" I'd probably go with Richard Wolff's definition and say that it means democratically deciding who makes what, how that's organized, and what we do with the surplus. It knocks down the wall that liberalism erected hundreds of years ago between politics and the economy. And it means a world beyond class society.

But hey, "more welfare state-ism, less billionaire-ism"? We can work with that.

4. Paul Heideman

As with so much of Bernie Sanders's campaign, his speech defining democratic socialism offered much for American socialists to cheer, and much that could only be greeted with puzzlement, or even disgust.

At the core of the speech was Sanders's argument that his version of democratic socialism is a twenty-first century updating of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal. As Sanders pointed out, all of the elements of the New Deal that most Americans take for granted today -- social security, minimum-wage laws, collective bargaining -- were initially condemned as "socialism." Sanders could certainly do worse in terms of inspiration than Roosevelt, who, when asked about business opposition to the New Deal, answered, "I welcome their hatred."

Sanders's updates to the New Deal can only be welcomed by socialists today. He calls for single-payer health care, free public college, and taxing the rich. While none of these would make the US socialist, they would bring about a massive increase in the dismal standard of living of American workers.

Rhetorically, the speech had some nice bits as well. Sanders declared unabashedly that the US has a ruling class, and that progressive change can only come through confronting it. It was, as so often is the case with Sanders, both gratifying and a little strange to hear from a leading presidential contender.

Yet this message also reveals some of the limitations of Sanders's "political revolution." FDR, after all, did not come into office promising the "four freedoms" Sanders has celebrated, but rather a balanced budget. It was only in the face of the growing wave of class struggle in the United States that FDR himself began to embrace more reformist policies, and that a section of the American ruling class could be persuaded that such reforms were necessary to placate that struggle.

This is the contradiction at the heart of Sanders's campaign: while he calls for reforms that no socialist could oppose, his talk of political revolution falls woefully short of the kinds of struggles needed to win those reforms. There is also little evidence at this point that his campaign is providing a spur to those kinds of struggles.

Sanders's talk of revitalizing democracy in American becomes even less convincing when his foreign policy enters the picture. In his speech, Sanders attacked previous US interventions, from the invasion of Iraq to American backing of coups in countries like Guatemala and Iran. Yet his proposed alternatives made it unclear on what grounds he objected to such actions.

In contrast to George W. Bush's unilateral adventure in Iraq, Sanders harkened back to the establishment of the NATO alliance after World War II. But NATO was hardly a force for democracy. The US maintained support for the brutal Greek junta of 1967-74 because of Greece's place in NATO. In Italy, NATO agents helped maintain far-right paramilitary networks linked to the reactionary terrorism attacks of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The suggestions for current foreign policy were not much more encouraging. Sanders lauded King Abdullah II of Jordan (it is never a good look for a socialist to praise a monarch) for his role in the fight against ISIS. Yet Jordan, like most American allies in the Middle East, is a highly repressive country, where criticizing the king entitles someone to three years of imprisonment in the country's notoriously torture-filled jails.

While Sanders is willing to criticize many of the most egregious over-extensions of American empire, it seems he has no interest in contesting the American suppression of democracy across the globe. And this cannot but undermine the struggle for democracy and freedom at home.

Sanders is certainly correct that achieving his reforms will require a political revolution. But it will have to be one that embraces a far more encompassing vision of democracy than he himself has.

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                      INTERNET left news and views, video and audio. FREE.
                                        New listing as of  november 22 2015
  Tired of  the the same old corporate news, ads and omissions? Of time wasted  on Charley Rose or the PBS NewsHour?   Well, you can say “forget you”to them forever -  if you have access to the internet.
  Below are some free regularly scheduled left internet shows. Tthere are many more ad hoc ones available by indivudual speaker or topic which you can get by a little creative google-ing. (Google has the best most complete search engine)

INTERNET left news and views, video and audio; archived, free

                                                           I  DAILY (M-F) 

DEMOCRACY NOW  Amy Goodman. Live morning 7-8am M-F video, audio. Archived, free.
                             See democracy now on google.       [also on AM950  2-3 pm, no ads]

THOM HARTMANN  “The Big Picture” Live each eve M-F. Hour. Archived, free. News, interviews. 
                            [Interviews with Richard Wolff,  Naomi Klein, etc]
              [More compact than the 3 hour ad-filled Hartmann talk show on AM950 11am-2pm]

BLACK AGENDA REPORT. Glen Ford. 5 minutes. Most days. Audio, print. Analysis. Archived, free.   
                                                          
                                                                 II WEEKLY

LAURA FLANDERS show. Video. Hour. New Monday. News. Interviews. Archived, free.
                                    [A strong gutsy woman; you’ll like her]

RICHARD WOLFF  “Economic Update´ Audio. Hour.New late Sunday. News, analysis. see rdwolff.com
                           rdwolff.com lists all his events, most recent first, video, audio, print.

COUNTERSPIN. Janine Jackson. Audio. 30 minutes. New Thursday. News, interviews. Archived, free.
                                     Sponsored by FAIR – Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting

                                                                 III  MONTHLY

RICHARD WOLFF. “Global Capitalism” Video. Filmed second Wednesday eve, available the next day.
                            Usually about 2 hours long. Analysis. See rdwolff.com

                                                               IV  whenever
Bernie Sanders gives lots of speeches to big audiences; and most of them are videoed and free on the internet within a day or two. Given the fact that the corporate media, the DLC, and wealthy pundits try to pretend Bernie does not exist, it is important to see him directly at every chance. The internet is full of Bernie speeches. Watch them. Tell the billionaires Enough is enough

And, here are writers/speakers/thinkers worth looking up on the Google line, all with audio and/or video.

Alperovitz Gar
Bacevich Andrew
Chomsky Noam
Domhoff G William
Ewen Stuart
Flanders Laura
Foster John Bellamy
Frank Thomas
Greenwald Glenn
Hartman Thom
Harvey David
Hedges Chris
Jensen Derrick
Johnson Chalmers
Klein Naomi
Korten David C
Le Feber Walter
McChesney Robert
McGovern Ray
McMurtry John
Moore Michael
Moyers Bill
Nader Ralph
Palast Greg
Parenti Michael
Phillips Kevin [intelligent conservative]
Ruppert Michael C
Sanders Bernie
Stone Oliver
Vidal Gore
Wallerstein Immanuel
Wolf Naomi
Wolff Richard
Wolin Sheldon
Zinn Howard
And there are many more.

And, for print on onlne, see Common Dreams (quick review), Dissident Voice (opinion),   CounterPunch (opinion), Monthly Review (longer Marxist essays). And there are many more….

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                                                          Shove Grove



-- 
Alan L. Maki
 
58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763

Cell: 651-587-5541

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Boycott, Divest, Sanction

The US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) salutes the American Anthropological Association, whose general conference voted in a landslide last night in support of a resolution for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israeli academic institutions.
The resolution, which passed with 1040 votes in favor and 136 votes against, mandates the AAA to honor the call from Palestinian civil society to boycott Israeli academic institutions. The resolution will now go to a vote of the full membership. An anti-boycott resolution was overwhelmingly defeated, with 1,173 against and 196 in favor.
The AAA is the largest academic association to date to pass an academic boycott resolution in response to the Palestinian call. It follows the adoption of the boycott by the American Studies Association, Association for Asian American Studies, African Literature Association, Critical Ethnic Studies Association, Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies, Association for Humanist Sociology and the Peace and Justice Studies Association.
Anthropologists for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions, the group that led this effort in the AAA, issued a statement saying:
“As heirs to a long tradition of scholarship on colonialism, anthropologists affirm, through this resolution, that the core problem is Israel’s maintenance of a settler colonial regime based on Jewish supremacy and Palestinian dispossession. By supporting the boycott, anthropologists are taking a stand for justice through action in solidarity with Palestinians.
Today’s historic result is due to over three years of organizing within the Association to educate and mobilize members to stand against Israel’s widespread, systematic, and ongoing violations of Palestinian rights, as well as to protest the complicity of Israeli academic institutions in these abuses. The vote was also a powerful act of protest against U.S. support for Israel’s actions.”
The boycott resolution concludes by affirming the BDS movement, noting that ” AAA will support the rights of students and scholars everywhere to engage in research and public speaking about Israel/Palestine and in support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.”
USACBI salutes the powerful efforts of Anthropologists for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions, who have gathered the public support of over 1000 anthropologists in support of the resolution, developed resources, hosted teach-ins, and engaged with an AAA task force to build a solid movement within the AAA and the discipline of anthropolgy to stand with the Palestinian people’s struggle for justice and against colonialism through the boycott of Israeli academic institutions.
We urge all anthropologists and AAA members to vote in favor of this resolution in the upcoming full membership balloting, and urge all other academic associations to follow in the footsteps of the AAA and adopt the boycott of Israeli academic institutions, which are deeply complicit in the colonization, apartheid and occupation imposed upon the Palestinian people.
This achievement adds fire and inspiration to all other ongoing boycott campaigns, including the upcoming discussions of academic boycott in the Modern Language Association (MLA), representing 25,000 scholars.

USACBI stands in solidarity with Professor Steven Salaita in his legal settlement with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.  
Last week, the University agreed to pay Salaita a reported total of $875,000.
As was widely reported, UIUC fired Salaita in 2014 after he made comments on his personal Twitter account critical of Israel’s massacre of more than 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza.  Salaita sued the University in response.
USACBI supports Salaita unequivocally.  He has fallen prey to the ‘Palestinian exception’ to the First Amendment, having been singled out for his criticisms of Israeli state policies and for his vigorous and eloquent advocacy of the academic boycott and BDS.  As reported by Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights, more than 300 incidents of repression of Palestinian free speech on college campuses have been recorded in recent times:https://ccrjustice.org/the-palestine-exception.
The legal settlement in the Salaita case reflects the power Zionist donors holdover the University: their aspirations to keep Salaita off the faculty have been achieved, even as the lawsuit led to the exposure of documents evidencing their undue influence. Despite this, the UIUC administration has admitted no wrongdoing, and said it never intended to offer Salaita a job, demonstrating how firm the administration’s commitment to Zionist interests are. The Salaita case also led to the significant weakening of the Department of American Indian Studies at UIUC and represents an erasure of faculty autonomy and democratic campus governance.
UIUC chose not to give Salaita his job back in the face of a boycott by 5,000 academics from around the nation, formal censure by the American Association of University Professors, and two million dollars in legal costs.  These facts also speak to the power of Zionist politics and the neoliberal, corporate, donor-driven politics of the University.
More broadly, the Salaita firing and settlement have underscored the growing impact of the academic and cultural boycott of Israel and more generally of the Palestinian liberation struggle on the University.
Salaita, who is and remains a member of USACBI’s Organizing Collective, wrote in public support of the American Studies Association’s vote to boycott Israeli Universities in 2013. He remains a principled and prolific  public intellectual respecting the boycott. Only last week, he asserted, in a statement published after the settlement, that he will “always condemn injustice, no matter the state of [his] employment.”  UIUC’s actions against Salaita cannot be delinked from his open and principled espousal of the BDS movement.  Indeed former UIUC President Phyllis Wise, who delivered Salaita’s termination notice, was an open opponent of the academic and cultural boycott of Israel.
Salaita’s firing has therefore revealed how the university remains an important primary site not only for Zionist and corporate-funded repression, but also of political organizing and resistance for supporters of Palestinian liberation. The campaign sparked by Salaita’s case has also revealed the will of many faculty to challenge this nexus of neoliberalism and Zionism in the university, especially faculty at UIUC who mobilized in defense of Salaita, and who have called for his reinstatement in a fraught climate.
The Salaita case also led to the significant weakening of the Department of American Indian Studies at UIUC and represents an erasure of faculty autonomy and democratic campus governance.  Because the settlement has left these issues unresolved faculty members around the country are now asking the AAUP to retain its censure. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1FcwyvJyxGoV45lpNRUbcAeMhB_kiqE8h-DBNy6txf3s/viewform?c=0&w=1
USACBI recognizes the efforts of these faculty and calls on our supporters to recommit your efforts to the academic and cultural boycott of Israel in the wake of the Salaita case. If Salaita continues to condemn injustice, whether in Lebanon or the U.S., we who have the privilege to work in the U.S. academy must step up, speak out, and continue to organize against the collusion of the neoliberal academy with Zionism and the repression of indigenous struggles.
Expanding the BDS movement can help strengthen the Palestinian struggle against apartheid and occupation , and help build networks of support and defense for students and scholars facing repression for standing in solidarity with movements for Palestinian self-determination and indigenous survival.
Endorse the call for academic and cultural boycott at: http://www.usacbi.org/

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Speak out against the ant-Syrian hate.

The anti-Syrian hate in this country is rising to a demented and psychotic fascist level.



Bomb a people back into the stone-age under the guise of "humanitarian intervention" and then denounce them as evil terrorists when the perpetrators of the evil are our own politicians and those who profit from these wars.


We need a massive outpouring of the people to end these dirty wars and to drive the warmongers out of Washington.


The danger of World War Three is staring us in the face and every bullet shot along with every bomb dropped takes us closer to nuclear annihilation.


The great peace politician, George McGovern, predicted that all of this would happen as soon as George Bush and Dick Cheney launched the war on Iraq but it was impossible to predict the depths and magnitude of the barbarism that would be spawned.


Anyone who thinks that more bombing, more killing and more war will keep us protected and free from terrorism is a complete idiot and fool who has fallen for all the lies, jingoism and great power chauvinism being spun by Wall Street's over-paid degenerate pundits posing as "experts on terrorism."

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Are you concerned about workers' rights?

For those who believe the Democratic Party presents an opportunity for workers to be heard, I suggest they introduce resolutions at precinct caucuses, county, state and the national convention calling for the rescinding of "At-Will Employment."

You will get a real quick education as to just how much the Democrats care about the working people they expect to vote for them.

At-Will Employment... do workers have a voice at work?

If the millionaire labor "leaders" like Richard Trumka and his circle were truly concerned with workers having a voice at work they would be insisting that the very reactionary and repressive anti-worker legislation of "At-will Hiring and At-will Firing" be rescinded and replaced with "Just Cause" legislation in which would provide workers with a multi-step process when it comes to workers being reprimanded for failing to follow employer rules and guidelines in the performance of their jobs. This would include proper counseling and coaching, providing workers with the opportunity to do the job as directed or explain why they can't perform to management's expectations because management's expectations are not realistic.

It is workers who produce ALL wealth; and, as such, workers should be extended every opportunity to keep their jobs.

But, how is it that this so-called "White House Summit on Worker Voice" could even take place without labor leaders and rank-and-file activists being present to insist that this most reactionary and repressive legislation of "At-Will Employment" not be challenged and rescinded with "Just Cause?"

Richard Trumka and his circle of millionaire labor leaders claim they are trying to organize the unorganized workers.

Well, common sense should be telling us all that when workers can be fired and terminated "At-Will" they won't dare take the initiative to organize.

Perhaps Richard Trumka and his millionaire circle of labor leaders are afraid that workers without the hindrance of "At-Will Employment" will organize themselves into new unions outside of the non-struggle confines of the AFL-CIO and these unions might decide to affiliate with the World Federation of Trade Unions instead of the International Trade Union Confederation which continues to front for the CIA in countries where workers are fighting back against big capital and fighting to replace capitalism with socialism in countries like Greece where workers are having austerity measures shoved down their throats.

"At-Will Employment" is the major and number one obstacle to union organizing in this country and the President who promised to trade in his high-priced Wall Street shoes for marching shoes and lays claim to being some kind of "constitutional lawyer" and a defender of Human Rights doesn't even recognize or comprehend that "At-Will Employment" is a violation of everything decent and just in the workplace which deprives workers of a voice at work?

Once "At-Will Employment" legislation is rescinded and replaced we will see union organizing take off in this country like no one has ever seen union organizing before.

Richard Trumka and his circle of millionaire labor leaders have attacked me as a "Red" for talking like this and this issue of the need to rescind "At-Will Employment" legislation wouldn't even be being brought up if not for this "Red."

Does the concept of "democracy" extend into the workplace?

In the upcoming Democratic Party Presidential Debate being held at union buster Steve Wynn's Casino/Resort/Entertainment Complex, will any of the Democratic Party candidates be asked where they stand regarding "At-Will Employment?"