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...

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Orthorexia nervosa... ever heard of it?

It's a term for a new mental disorder Monsanto and big agribusiness is pushing to be recognized by the psychiatric industry... there is even medication that can be prescribed for you.

If you insist on the right to eat healthy foods or become a food activist you could be considered mentally ill should you be diagnosed with:

Orthorexia nervosa

 

This is a mental illness right up there with hoarding--- when people buy things in quantity on sale or at garage sales.

 

I wonder when the wealthy will be diagnosed with a mental disorder for hoarding the wealth we create?

 

Or, what about those who create hit lists of people to attack with drones knowing most of the "hits" will not even be on the target but kill lots of innocent civilians? Is there a name for this mental illness?

 

Anyways, don't worry about GMO's and what Monsanto does lest you be diagnosed with this mental disorder:

Orthorexia nervosa

 

Don't worry though...

 

Once diagnosed with this mental disorder there is a pill for the problem.

 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service

Save the US Postal Service!

On Feb. 12, 2015 the American Postal Workers Union and more than 60 national organizations came together in A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service!


Read the Alliance Statement and view the list of 60-plus Alliance signatories.


In a two-minute video,<< https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5o6vJw9mkzU>> actor-activist Danny Glover champions the need for a vibrant public Postal Service and asks the public to join with him in A Grand Alliance to save it.



Mission Statement: A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service



The United States Postal Service is a wonderful national treasure, enshrined in the Constitution and supported by the American people. Without any taxpayer funding, the USPS serves 150 million households and businesses each day, providing affordable, universal mail service to all – including rich and poor, rural and urban, without regard to age, nationality, race or gender. The U.S. Postal Service belongs to "We, the People."



But the USPS and postal jobs are threatened by narrow monied interests aimed at undermining postal services and dismantling this great public institution. Even some postal executives have been complicit in the drive toward the destruction of the Postal Service and ultimate privatization: They have slowed mail service, closed community based Post Offices and mail processing facilities, slashed hours of operations, tried ceaselessly to end six-day service as well as door to door delivery, and eliminated hundreds of thousands of living wage jobs.



Good postal jobs are vital to strong, healthy communities, and have provided equal opportunities and the foundation for financial stability for workers from all walks of life, including racial and ethnic minorities, women and veterans. Postal services are essential to commerce and bind together families, friends and loved ones. In the day of e-commerce, a public postal service is as relevant as ever.



Yet those corporate forces who want to privatize public services allege that curtailing postal services and eliminating jobs are necessary due to diminishing mail volume and "burdensome" union wages and benefits. Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, a Congressionally-manufactured USPS "crisis" imposed an unfair crushing financial mandate on the Postal Service that no other government agency or private company is forced to bear. (The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 compels the USPS to pay approximately $5.5 billion per year to fund future retiree healthcare costs 75 years in advance.)



Without this unreasonable burden, the USPS would have enjoyed an operating surplus of $600 million in 2013 and over $1.4 Billion in 2014. The people of this country deserve great public postal services. We advocate expanded services, such as non-profit postal banking and other financial services. We call on the Postmaster General and Postal Board of Governors to strengthen and champion the institution.



The public good must not be sacrificed for the sake of private investment and profit. A strong public Postal Service is our democratic right. Join us in the fight to protect and enhance vibrant public postal services now – and for many generations to come.



Initial Signatories



A. Philip Randolph Institute
AFL-CIO
Alliance for Retired Americans
Amalgamated Transit Union
American Federation of Government Employees
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
American Federation of Teachers
American Postal Workers Union
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance
Black Women’s Roundtable
Campaign for America’s Future
Catholic Labor Network
Center for Community Change Action
Center for Effective Government
Center for Media and Democracy
Center for Rural Affairs
Center for Study of Responsive Law
Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
Coalition of Labor Union Women
Color of Change
Communications Workers of America
Congressional Hispanic Caucus
Consumer Action
Democracy for America
Essential Information
Farm Aid
Gamaliel Network
Greenpeace USA
Healthcare-NOW!
Hightower Lowdown
In the Public Interest
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Interfaith Worker Justice
International Association of Fire Fighters
Jewish Labor Committee
Labor Campaign for Single Payer Healthcare
Labor Council for Latin American Advancement
National Action Network
National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association
National Alliance of Postal and Federal Employees
National Association of Letter Carriers
National Association of Postal Supervisors
National Coalition on Black Civic Participation
National Consumers League
National Council of Churches
National Education Association
National Farmers Union
National People’s Action
National Postal Mail Handlers Union
National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association
9to5
People for the American Way
Pride at Work
Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.
Public Citizen
Rainbow PUSH Coalition
Service Employees International Union
Social Security Works
United For A Fair Economy
USAction
VoteVets Action Fund
Working America


Please distribute and circulate widely.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A not so new kind of anti-Communism making the claim to a new "erratic Marxism" while trying to undermine the efforts of the KKE to free Greece from its debt.

The new Greek Minister of Finance, Yanis Varoufakis, is making the claim that capitalism must be saved in order to save humanity while claiming title to a new kind of thought, an "erratic Marxism."


More than a bit like Herbert Marcuse who used the perverted logic of an upper middle class intellectual to deceive youth in struggle against war, racism and injustice into thinking they should not throw in their lot with "evil" Communists.


Those of the "New Left" who were sucked into following the idiocy of Herbert Marcuse are sure to be sucked in by Yanis Varoufakis and his "erratic Marxism" making the claim that the "problem" with Marxism has been his discovery.


It is no coincidence that those who Gus Hall singled out as being traitors, Sam Webb, Jarvis Tyner, Scott Marshall, Erwin Marquit, Daniel Rubin et. al., who destroyed the Communist Party USA have sucked up this perversion and bastardization of Marxism.


I would point out that Webb and company publish support for Syriza while refusing to publish the views of the KKE (Communist Party of Greece). Again, so much for intellectual honesty and democratic dialog, discussion and debate.


Mikhail Gorbachov must be wondering why he and Raisa were unable to drum up such itsy-pitsy to defend their betrayal of socialism in the Soviet Union.


This is a not so thinly veiled attack on the KKE, the Communist Party of Greece, which has called for the replacement of capitalism with socialism as the solution to the very serious social and economic problems now being experienced by the Greeks.


Those considering sucking in this shit being dished out by Yanis Varoufakis in the name of saving Greece and humanity by saving capitalism might want to read and study Karl Marx, Frederich Engels and V.I. Lenin in order to find out for themselves what these great revolutionary thinkers believed rather than taking the word of Varoufakis to find out where the truth lies.


Anyone who takes the time to read and study the real proponents of Marxism will find out for themselves just how devious, deceitful and dishonest Varoufakis is.


And to top off his dishonesty, Varoufakis has the unmitigated arrogance and dishonesty to ask, "What should Marxists do?" in order to justify his own betrayal of working class struggles.


I thought it just a bit weird that Syriza would pluck up a professor from a U.S. university in Texas known for its support for neoliberalism and make him the Greek Minister of Finance... a real Marxist would never be allowed to teach at the University of Texas.


What follows is not "erratic Marxism" or any other kind of Marxism... certainly not real Marxism of the kind outlined in the "Communist Manifesto" which one may want to read for starters along with Marx's "Capital" and Lenin's "Imperialism" along with the writings of the anti-fascists including Togliatti, Gramsci and Dimitroff.


I would also encourage people to check out the websites of the KKE and PAME:


http://inter.kke.gr/en/


http://www.pamehellas.gr/index.php/en/


By the way, when will the German government finally repay the Greeks for the death and destruction wrought on them by Hitler and his fascist Greek collaborators?


Yours in the struggle,


Alan L. Maki


Yanis Varoufakis: How I became an erratic Marxist

Before he entered politics, Yanis Varoufakis, the iconoclastic Greek finance minister at the centre of the latest eurozone standoff, wrote this searing account of European capitalism and and how the left can learn from Marx’s mistakes





Yanis Varoufakis



Yanis Varoufakis. Illustration by Ellie Foreman-Peck

In 2008, capitalism had its second global spasm. The financial crisis set off a chain reaction that pushed Europe into a downward spiral that continues to this day. Europe’s present situation is not merely a threat for workers, for the dispossessed, for the bankers, for social classes or, indeed, nations. No, Europe’s current posture poses a threat to civilisation as we know it.



If my prognosis is correct, and we are not facing just another cyclical slump soon to be overcome, the question that arises for radicals is this: should we welcome this crisis of European capitalism as an opportunity to replace it with a better system? Or should we be so worried about it as to embark upon a campaign for stabilising European capitalism?


To me, the answer is clear. Europe’s crisis is far less likely to give birth to a better alternative to capitalism than it is to unleash dangerously regressive forces that have the capacity to cause a humanitarian bloodbath, while extinguishing the hope for any progressive moves for generations to come.


For this view I have been accused, by well-meaning radical voices, of being “defeatist” and of trying to save an indefensible European socioeconomic system. This criticism, I confess, hurts. And it hurts because it contains more than a kernel of truth.


I share the view that this European Union is typified by a large democratic deficit that, in combination with the denial of the faulty architecture of its monetary union, has put Europe’s peoples on a path to permanent recession. And I also bow to the criticism that I have campaigned on an agenda founded on the assumption that the left was, and remains, squarely defeated. I confess I would much rather be promoting a radical agenda, the raison d’ĂȘtre of which is to replace European capitalism with a different system.


Yet my aim here is to offer a window into my view of a repugnant European capitalism whose implosion, despite its many ills, should be avoided at all costs. It is a confession intended to convince radicals that we have a contradictory mission: to arrest the freefall of European capitalism in order to buy the time we need to formulate its alternative.





Why a Marxist?

When I chose the subject of my doctoral thesis, back in 1982, I deliberately focused on a highly mathematical topic within which Marx’s thought was irrelevant. When, later on, I embarked on an academic career, as a lecturer in mainstream economics departments, the implicit contract between myself and the departments that offered me lectureships was that I would be teaching the type of economic theory that left no room for Marx. In the late 1980s, I was hired by the University of Sydney’s school of economics in order to keep out a leftwing candidate (although I did not know this at the time).






Yanis Varoufakis: 'Karl Marx was responsible for framing my perspective of the world we live in, from my childhood to this day.'
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Yanis Varoufakis: ‘Karl Marx was responsible for framing my perspective of the world we live in, from my childhood to this day.’ Photograph: PA
After I returned to Greece in 2000, I threw my lot in with the future prime minister George Papandreou, hoping to help stem the return to power of a resurgent right wing that wanted to push Greece towards xenophobia both domestically and in its foreign policy. As the whole world now knows, Papandreou’s party not only failed to stem xenophobia but, in the end, presided over the most virulent neoliberal macroeconomic policies that spearheaded the eurozone’s so-called bailouts thus, unwittingly, causing the return of Nazis to the streets of Athens. Even though I resigned as Papandreou’s adviser early in 2006, and turned into his government’s staunchest critic during his mishandling of the post-2009 Greek implosion, my public interventions in the debate on Greece and Europe have carried no whiff of Marxism.



Given all this, you may be puzzled to hear me call myself a Marxist. But, in truth, Karl Marx was responsible for framing my perspective of the world we live in, from my childhood to this day. This is not something that I often volunteer to talk about in “polite society” because the very mention of the M-word switches audiences off. But I never deny it either. After a few years of addressing audiences with whom I do not share an ideology, a need has crept up on me to talk about Marx’s imprint on my thinking. To explain why, while an unapologetic Marxist, I think it is important to resist him passionately in a variety of ways. To be, in other words, erratic in one’s Marxism.



If my whole academic career largely ignored Marx, and my current policy recommendations are impossible to describe as Marxist, why bring up my Marxism now? The answer is simple: Even my non-Marxist economics was guided by a mindset influenced by Marx.



A radical social theorist can challenge the economic mainstream in two different ways, I always thought. One way is by means of immanent criticism. To accept the mainstream’s axioms and then expose its internal contradictions. To say: “I shall not contest your assumptions but here is why your own conclusions do not logically flow on from them.” This was, indeed, Marx’s method of undermining British political economics. He accepted every axiom by Adam Smith and David Ricardo in order to demonstrate that, in the context of their assumptions, capitalism was a contradictory system. The second avenue that a radical theorist can pursue is, of course, the construction of alternative theories to those of the establishment, hoping that they will be taken seriously.



My view on this dilemma has always been that the powers that be are never perturbed by theories that embark from assumptions different to their own. The only thing that can destabilise and genuinely challenge mainstream, neoclassical economists is the demonstration of the internal inconsistency of their own models. It was for this reason that, from the very beginning, I chose to delve into the guts of neoclassical theory and to spend next to no energy trying to develop alternative, Marxist models of capitalism. My reasons, I submit, were quite Marxist.






When called upon to comment on the world we live in, I had no alternative but to fall back on the Marxist tradition which had shaped my thinking ever since my metallurgist father impressed upon me, when I was still a child, the effect of technological innovation on the historical process. How, for instance, the passage from the bronze age to the iron age sped up history; how the discovery of steel greatly accelerated historical time; and how silicon-based IT technologies are fast-tracking socioeconomic and historical discontinuities.



My first encounter with Marx’s writings came very early in life, as a result of the strange times I grew up in, with Greece exiting the nightmare of the neofascist dictatorship of 1967-74. What caught my eye was Marx’s mesmerising gift for writing a dramatic script for human history, indeed for human damnation, that was also laced with the possibility of salvation and authentic spirituality.



Marx created a narrative populated by workers, capitalists, officials and scientists who were history’s dramatis personae. They struggled to harness reason and science in the context of empowering humanity while, contrary to their intentions, unleashing demonic forces that usurped and subverted their own freedom and humanity.



This dialectical perspective, where everything is pregnant with its opposite, and the eager eye with which Marx discerned the potential for change in what seemed to be the most unchanging of social structures, helped me to grasp the great contradictions of the capitalist era. It dissolved the paradox of an age that generated the most remarkable wealth and, in the same breath, the most conspicuous poverty. Today, turning to the European crisis, the crisis in the United States and the long-term stagnation of Japanese capitalism, most commentators fail to appreciate the dialectical process under their nose. They recognise the mountain of debts and banking losses but neglect the opposite side of the same coin: the mountain of idle savings that are “frozen” by fear and thus fail to convert into productive investments. A Marxist alertness to binary oppositions might have opened their eyes.
A major reason why established opinion fails to come to terms with contemporary reality is that it never understood the dialectically tense “joint production” of debts and surpluses, of growth and unemployment, of wealth and poverty, indeed of good and evil. Marx’s script alerted us these binary oppositions as the sources of history’s cunning.



From my first steps of thinking like an economist, to this very day, it occurred to me that Marx had made a discovery that must remain at the heart of any useful analysis of capitalism. It was the discovery of another binary opposition deep within human labour. Between labour’s two quite different natures: i) labour as a value-creating activity that can never be quantified in advance (and is therefore impossible to commodify), and ii) labour as a quantity (eg, numbers of hours worked) that is for sale and comes at a price. That is what distinguishes labour from other productive inputs such as electricity: its twin, contradictory, nature. A differentiation-cum-contradiction that political economics neglected to make before Marx came along and that mainstream economics is steadfastly refusing to acknowledge today.



Both electricity and labour can be thought of as commodities. Indeed, both employers and workers struggle to commodify labour. Employers use all their ingenuity, and that of their HR management minions, to quantify, measure and homogenise labour. Meanwhile, prospective employees go through the wringer in an anxious attempt to commodify their labour power, to write and rewrite their CVs in order to portray themselves as purveyors of quantifiable labour units. And there’s the rub. If workers and employers ever succeed in commodifying labour fully, capitalism will perish. This is an insight without which capitalism’s tendency to generate crises can never be fully grasped and, also, an insight that no one has access to without some exposure to Marx’s thought.



Science fiction becomes documentary

In the classic 1953 film Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the alien force does not attack us head on, unlike in, say, HG Wells’s The War of the Worlds. Instead, people are taken over from within, until nothing is left of their human spirit and emotions. Their bodies are shells that used to contain a free will and which now labour, go through the motions of everyday “life”, and function as human simulacra “liberated” from the unquantifiable essence of human nature. This is something like what would have transpired if human labour had become perfectly reducible to human capital and thus fit for insertion into the vulgar economists’ models.



Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
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Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Photograph: SNAP/REX
Every non-Marxist economic theory that treats human and non-human productive inputs as interchangeable assumes that the dehumanisation of human labour is complete. But if it could ever be completed, the result would be the end of capitalism as a system capable of creating and distributing value. For a start, a society of dehumanised automata would resemble a mechanical watch full of cogs and springs, each with its own unique function, together producing a “good”: timekeeping. Yet if that society contained nothing but other automata, timekeeping would not be a “good”. It would certainly be an “output” but why a “good”? Without real humans to experience the clock’s function, there can be no such thing as “good” or “bad”.



If capital ever succeeds in quantifying, and subsequently fully commodifying, labour, as it is constantly trying to, it will also squeeze that indeterminate, recalcitrant human freedom from within labour that allows for the generation of value. Marx’s brilliant insight into the essence of capitalist crises was precisely this: the greater capitalism’s success in turning labour into a commodity the less the value of each unit of output it generates, the lower the profit rate and, ultimately, the nearer the next recession of the economy as a system. The portrayal of human freedom as an economic category is unique in Marx, making possible a distinctively dramatic and analytically astute interpretation of capitalism’s propensity to snatch recession, even depression, from the jaws of growth.



When Marx was writing that labour is the living, form-giving fire; the transitoriness of things; their temporality; he was making the greatest contribution any economist has ever made to our understanding of the acute contradiction buried inside capitalism’s DNA. When he portrayed capital as a “… force we must submit to … it develops a cosmopolitan, universal energy which breaks through every limit and every bond and posts itself as the only policy, the only universality the only limit and the only bond”, he was highlighting the reality that labour can be purchased by liquid capital (ie money), in its commodity form, but that it will always carry with it a will hostile to the capitalist buyer. But Marx was not just making a psychological, philosophical or political statement. He was, rather, supplying a remarkable analysis of why the moment that labour (as an unquantifiable activity) sheds this hostility, it becomes sterile, incapable of producing value.



At a time when neoliberals have ensnared the majority in their theoretical tentacles, incessantly regurgitating the ideology of enhancing labour productivity in an effort to enhance competitiveness with a view to creating growth etc, Marx’s analysis offers a powerful antidote. Capital can never win in its struggle to turn labour into an infinitely elastic, mechanised input, without destroying itself. That is what neither the neoliberals nor the Keynesians will ever grasp. “If the whole class of the wage-labourer were to be annihilated by machinery”, wrote Marx “how terrible that would be for capital, which, without wage-labour, ceases to be capital!”



What has Marx done for us?

Almost all schools of thought, including those of some progressive economists, like to pretend that, though Marx was a powerful figure, very little of his contribution remains relevant today. I beg to differ. Besides having captured the basic drama of capitalist dynamics, Marx has given me the tools with which to become immune to the toxic propaganda of neoliberalism. For example, the idea that wealth is privately produced and then appropriated by a quasi-illegitimate state, through taxation, is easy to succumb to if one has not been exposed first to Marx’s poignant argument that precisely the opposite applies: wealth is collectively produced and then privately appropriated through social relations of production and property rights that rely, for their reproduction, almost exclusively on false consciousness.



In his recent book Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste, the historian of economic thought, Philip Mirowski, has highlighted the neoliberals’ success in convincing a large array of people that markets are not just a useful means to an end but also an end in themselves. According to this view, while collective action and public institutions are never able to “get it right”, the unfettered operations of decentralised private interest are guaranteed to produce not only the right outcomes but also the right desires, character, ethos even. The best example of this form of neoliberal crassness is, of course, the debate on how to deal with climate change. Neoliberals have rushed in to argue that, if anything is to be done, it must take the form of creating a quasi-market for “bads” (eg an emissions trading scheme), since only markets “know” how to price goods and bads appropriately. To understand why such a quasi-market solution is bound to fail and, more importantly, where the motivation comes from for such “solutions”, one can do much worse than to become acquainted with the logic of capital accumulation that Marx outlined and the Polish economist Michal Kalecki adapted to a world ruled by networked oligopolies.






Neoliberals have rushed in with quasi-market responses to climate change, such as emissions trading schemes.
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Neoliberals have rushed in with quasi-market responses to climate change, such as emissions trading schemes. Photograph: Jon Woo/Reuters
In the 20th century, the two political movements that sought their roots in Marx’s thought were the communist and social democratic parties. Both of them, in addition to their other errors (and, indeed, crimes) failed, to their detriment, to follow Marx’s lead in a crucial regard: instead of embracing liberty and rationality as their rallying cries and organising concepts, they opted for equality and justice, bequeathing the concept of freedom to the neoliberals. Marx was adamant: The problem with capitalism is not that it is unfair but that it is irrational, as it habitually condemns whole generations to deprivation and unemployment and even turns capitalists into angst-ridden automata, living in permanent fear that unless they commodify their fellow humans fully so as to serve capital accumulation more efficiently, they will cease to be capitalists. So, if capitalism appears unjust this is because it enslaves everyone; it wastes human and natural resources; the same production line that pumps out remarkable gizmos and untold wealth, also produces deep unhappiness and crises.
Having failed to couch a critique of capitalism in terms of freedom and rationality, as Marx thought essential, social democracy and the left in general allowed the neoliberals to usurp the mantle of freedom and to win a spectacular triumph in the contest of ideologies.



Perhaps the most significant dimension of the neoliberal triumph is what has come to be known as the “democratic deficit”. Rivers of crocodile tears have flowed over the decline of our great democracies during the past three decades of financialisation and globalisation. Marx would have laughed long and hard at those who seem surprised, or upset, by the “democratic deficit”. What was the great objective behind 19th-century liberalism? It was, as Marx never tired of pointing out, to separate the economic sphere from the political sphere and to confine politics to the latter while leaving the economic sphere to capital. It is liberalism’s splendid success in achieving this long-held goal that we are now observing. Take a look at South Africa today, more than two decades after Nelson Mandela was freed and the political sphere, at long last, embraced the whole population. The ANC’s predicament was that, in order to be allowed to dominate the political sphere, it had to give up power over the economic one. And if you think otherwise, I suggest that you talk to the dozens of miners gunned down by armed guards paid by their employers after they dared demand a wage rise.



Why erratic?


Having explained why I owe whatever understanding of our social world I may possess largely to Karl Marx, I now want to explain why I remain terribly angry with him. In other words, I shall outline why I am by choice an erratic, inconsistent Marxist. Marx committed two spectacular mistakes, one of them an error of omission, the other one of commission. Even today, these mistakes still hamper the left’s effectiveness, especially in Europe.



Marx’s first error – the error of omission was that he failed to give sufficient thought to the impact of his own theorising on the world that he was theorising about. His theory is discursively exceptionally powerful, and Marx had a sense of its power. So how come he showed no concern that his disciples, people with a better grasp of these powerful ideas than the average worker, might use the power bestowed upon them, via Marx’s own ideas, in order to abuse other comrades, to build their own power base, to gain positions of influence?



Marx’s second error, the one I ascribe to commission, was worse. It was his assumption that truth about capitalism could be discovered in the mathematics of his models. This was the worst disservice he could have delivered to his own theoretical system. The man who equipped us with human freedom as a first-order economic concept; the scholar who elevated radical indeterminacy to its rightful place within political economics; he was the same person who ended up toying around with simplistic algebraic models, in which labour units were, naturally, fully quantified, hoping against hope to evince from these equations some additional insights about capitalism. After his death, Marxist economists wasted long careers indulging a similar type of scholastic mechanism. Fully immersed in irrelevant debates on “the transformation problem” and what to do about it, they eventually became an almost extinct species, as the neoliberal juggernaut crushed all dissent in its path.



How could Marx be so deluded? Why did he not recognise that no truth about capitalism can ever spring out of any mathematical model, however brilliant the modeller may be? Did he not have the intellectual tools to realise that capitalist dynamics spring from the unquantifiable part of human labour; ie from a variable that can never be well-defined mathematically? Of course he did, since he forged these tools! No, the reason for his error is a little more sinister: just like the vulgar economists that he so brilliantly admonished (and who continue to dominate the departments of economics today), he coveted the power that mathematical “proof” afforded him.





If I am right, Marx knew what he was doing. He understood, or had the capacity to know, that a comprehensive theory of value cannot be accommodated within a mathematical model of a dynamic capitalist economy. He was, I have no doubt, aware that a proper economic theory must respect the idea that the rules of the undetermined are themselves undetermined. In economic terms this meant a recognition that the market power, and thus the profitability, of capitalists was not necessarily reducible to their capacity to extract labour from employees; that some capitalists can extract more from a given pool of labour or from a given community of consumers for reasons that are external to Marx’s own theory.



Alas, that recognition would be tantamount to accepting that his “laws” were not immutable. He would have to concede to competing voices in the trades union movement that his theory was indeterminate and, therefore, that his pronouncements could not be uniquely and unambiguously correct. That they were permanently provisional. This determination to have the complete, closed story, or model, the final word, is something I cannot forgive Marx for. It proved, after all, responsible for a great deal of error and, more significantly, authoritarianism. Errors and authoritarianism that are largely responsible for the left’s current impotence as a force of good and as a check on the abuses of reason and liberty that the neoliberal crew are overseeing today.



Mrs Thatcher’s lesson

I moved to England to attend university in September 1978, six months or so before Margaret Thatcher’s victory changed Britain forever. Watching the Labour government disintegrate, under the weight of its degenerate social democratic programme, led me to a serious error: to the thought that Thatcher’s victory could be a good thing, delivering to Britain’s working and middle classes the short, sharp shock necessary to reinvigorate progressive politics; to give the left a chance to create a fresh, radical agenda for a new type of effective, progressive politics.



Even as unemployment doubled and then trebled, under Thatcher’s radical neoliberal interventions, I continued to harbour hope that Lenin was right: “Things have to get worse before they get better.” As life became nastier, more brutish and, for many, shorter, it occurred to me that I was tragically in error: things could get worse in perpetuity, without ever getting better. The hope that the deterioration of public goods, the diminution of the lives of the majority, the spread of deprivation to every corner of the land would, automatically, lead to a renaissance of the left was just that: hope.



The reality was, however, painfully different. With every turn of the recession’s screw, the left became more introverted, less capable of producing a convincing progressive agenda and, meanwhile, the working class was being divided between those who dropped out of society and those co-opted into the neoliberal mindset. My hope that Thatcher would inadvertently bring about a new political revolution was well and truly bogus. All that sprang out of Thatcherism were extreme financialisation, the triumph of the shopping mall over the corner store, the fetishisation of housing and Tony Blair.






Margaret Thatcher at the Conservative party conference in 1982.
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Margaret Thatcher at the Conservative party conference in 1982. Photograph: Nils Jorgensen/Rex Features


Instead of radicalising British society, the recession that Thatcher’s government so carefully engineered, as part of its class war against organised labour and against the public institutions of social security and redistribution that had been established after the war, permanently destroyed the very possibility of radical, progressive politics in Britain. Indeed, it rendered impossible the very notion of values that transcended what the market determined as the “right” price.



The lesson Thatcher taught me about the capacity of a long‑lasting recession to undermine progressive politics, is one that I carry with me into today’s European crisis. It is, indeed, the most important determinant of my stance in relation to the crisis. It is the reason I am happy to confess to the sin I am accused of by some of my critics on the left: the sin of choosing not to propose radical political programs that seek to exploit the crisis as an opportunity to overthrow European capitalism, to dismantle the awful eurozone, and to undermine the European Union of the cartels and the bankrupt bankers.



Yes, I would love to put forward such a radical agenda. But, no, I am not prepared to commit the same error twice. What good did we achieve in Britain in the early 1980s by promoting an agenda of socialist change that British society scorned while falling headlong into Thatcher’s neoliberal trap? Precisely none. What good will it do today to call for a dismantling of the eurozone, of the European Union itself, when European capitalism is doing its utmost to undermine the eurozone, the European Union, indeed itself?



A Greek or a Portuguese or an Italian exit from the eurozone would soon lead to a fragmentation of European capitalism, yielding a seriously recessionary surplus region east of the Rhine and north of the Alps, while the rest of Europe is would be in the grip of vicious stagflation. Who do you think would benefit from this development? A progressive left, that will rise Phoenix-like from the ashes of Europe’s public institutions? Or the Golden Dawn Nazis, the assorted neofascists, the xenophobes and the spivs? I have absolutely no doubt as to which of the two will do best from a disintegration of the eurozone.



I, for one, am not prepared to blow fresh wind into the sails of this postmodern version of the 1930s. If this means that it is we, the suitably erratic Marxists, who must try to save European capitalism from itself, so be it. Not out of love for European capitalism, for the eurozone, for Brussels, or for the European Central Bank, but just because we want to minimise the unnecessary human toll from this crisis.



What should Marxists do?

Europe’s elites are behaving today as if they understand neither the nature of the crisis that they are presiding over, nor its implications for the future of European civilisation. Atavistically, they are choosing to plunder the diminishing stocks of the weak and the dispossessed in order to plug the gaping holes of the financial sector, refusing to come to terms with the unsustainability of the task.
Yet with Europe’s elites deep in denial and disarray, the left must admit that we are just not ready to plug the chasm that a collapse of European capitalism would open up with a functioning socialist system. Our task should then be twofold. First, to put forward an analysis of the current state of play that non-Marxist, well meaning Europeans who have been lured by the sirens of neoliberalism, find insightful. Second, to follow this sound analysis up with proposals for stabilising Europe – for ending the downward spiral that, in the end, reinforces only the bigots.



Let me now conclude with two confessions. First, while I am happy to defend as genuinely radical the pursuit of a modest agenda for stabilising a system that I criticise, I shall not pretend to be enthusiastic about it. This may be what we must do, under the present circumstances, but I am sad that I shall probably not be around to see a more radical agenda being adopted.





My final confession is of a highly personal nature: I know that I run the risk of, surreptitiously, lessening the sadness from ditching any hope of replacing capitalism in my lifetime by indulging a feeling of having become agreeable to the circles of polite society. The sense of self-satisfaction from being feted by the high and mighty did begin, on occasion, to creep up on me. And what a non-radical, ugly, corruptive and corrosive sense it was.



My personal nadir came at an airport. Some moneyed outfit had invited me to give a keynote speech on the European crisis and had forked out the ludicrous sum necessary to buy me a first-class ticket. On my way back home, tired and with several flights under my belt, I was making my way past the long queue of economy passengers, to get to my gate. Suddenly I noticed, with horror, how easy it was for my mind to be infected with the sense that I was entitled to bypass the hoi polloi. I realised how readily I could forget that which my leftwing mind had always known: that nothing succeeds in reproducing itself better than a false sense of entitlement. Forging alliances with reactionary forces, as I think we should do to stabilise Europe today, brings us up against the risk of becoming co-opted, of shedding our radicalism through the warm glow of having “arrived” in the corridors of power.



Radical confessions, like the one I have attempted here, are perhaps the only programmatic antidote to ideological slippage that threatens to turn us into cogs of the machine. If we are to forge alliances with our political adversaries we must avoid becoming like the socialists who failed to change the world but succeeded in improving their private circumstances. The trick is to avoid the revolutionary maximalism that, in the end, helps the neoliberals bypass all opposition to their self-defeating policies and to retain in our sights capitalism’s inherent failures while trying to save it, for strategic purposes, from itself.



This article is adapted from a lecture originally delivered at the 6th Subversive Festival in Zagreb in 2013

It didn't take long for the Syriza leadership to sell out the Greek people... just as the Greek Communists (KKE) projected.

Greek Resistance hero and Syriza MEP has issued a statement urging opposition to the deal done by the party's leadership on Friday

Manolis Glezos kickstarted the Greek Resistance when in early 1941, he and a friend climbed the Acropolis to tear down the Swastika the Nazi occupiers were flying.
He now sits, aged 92, as a Member of the European Parliament for Syriza. Glezos commands huge respect across the Greek left; in this statement he urges resistance to the deal agreed by Syriza's leadership on Friday.
The fact that the Troika has been renamed ‘the institutions’, the Memorandum has been renamed the ‘Agreement’ and the Creditors have been renamed the ‘Partners’, in the same manner as renaming meat as fish, does not change the previous situation.
And you can’t change the vote of the Greek People at the January 25 election.
The Greek people voted what Syriza promised: that we abolish the regime of austerity that is the strategy of not only the oligarchies of Germany and the other creditor countries but also of the Greek oligarchy; that we abrogate the Memoranda and the Troika and all the austerity legislation; That the next day with one law we abolish the Troika and its consequences.
A month has passed and this promise has yet to become action. It is a pity indeed.
From my part I apologize to the Greek people for having assisted this illusion.
Before the wrong direction continues.
Before it is too late, let’s react.
Above all the members, the friends and supporters of Syriza, in urgent meetings at all levels of the organization have to decide if they accept this situation
Some people say that in an agreement you must also make some concessions. By principle between the oppressor and the oppressed there can be no compromise, as there can be no compromise between the slave and the conqueror; Freedom is the only solution.
But even if accept this absurdity, the concessions that have already been made by the previous pro-memoranda government with unemployment, poverty and suicide, are beyond any limit of concession...

Manolis Glezos, Brussels, 22 February 2015

On the death of Erwin Marquit

No tears are being shed for this creepy CIA/FBI movement infiltrator who worked to split and divide the revolutionary working class movements here in the United States and around the world.

Erwin Marquit was to the progressive and left wing movements what the Reuther Brothers in service to the CIA/FBI were to organized labor.

Good riddance.

A "Ride Sharing AP"

I received an e-mail suggesting every state should offer a ride sharing application.

This is a great idea about the states offering a free ride sharing application that could be accessed through cell phones, tablets and computers.


Wall Street is our common enemy...

As far as what liberal, progressive and leftist thinking people and grassroots and rank-and-file activists and supporters should do now...

My suggestion would be that a real program and platform be formulated around the legislated reforms required to help working people get through this economic mess capitalism has created and that we simultaneously launch a push to remove Wall Street from all positions of power--- political and economic--- by using massive, militant, united people's power in the streets along with forming a working class based progressive anti-monopoly people's party that would take up the struggles in the streets at the ballot box and in the legislative arena; a party that would be anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist working in international solidarity with people across the globe struggling against the financial centers of the G-8, with Wall Street in the forefront, which are creating problems for people and our living environment everywhere. A movement in the streets, in our places of employment, in the schools and a party at the ballot box for peace, social and economic justice built around demands for reforms that will solve the problems of the people created by Wall Street greed which would create decent jobs with real living wages.

We need to break free from Wall Street's two-party trap. Supporting a bunch of Dumb Donkeys by holding up the tails of these Dumb Donkeys being satisfied with what the sparrows leave behind will not alleviate poverty nor put an end to the suffering and misery created for so many people by the parasitical Wall Street crowd.

Society needs these capitalist parasites about as much as my dog Fred needs ticks and fleas.  

For example: 

A National Public Health Care System which would provide every single person living in the united States with free health care through neighborhood and community centers would create over twelve-million new, decent, good-paying/living wage jobs. Publicly financed, publicly administered and publicly delivered just like our system of public education which performs with excellence when properly funded.  

A National Public Child Care System free for all would create over three-million new real living wage jobs. Again, Publicly financed, publicly administered and publicly delivered just like our system of public education which performs with excellence when properly funded.  

Making the Minimum Wage a real living wage by legislatively linking it to all "cost-of-living" factors would go a long ways towards eliminating poverty and a Basic Income Guarantee based on the same "cost-of-living" factors which was initially advocated by American revolutionary Thomas Paine would be the end of poverty in the U.S.A.

In short, what we would be bringing before the American people is making the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights a living reality rather than mere words on a piece of paper...

Defend the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights... don't stand for the Wall Street bribed politicians and their prosecutors, judges and police trampling these rights. These rights are to protect people and our living environment not corporations.

We need a new set of priorities: Fund human needs not militarism and wars. Use the wealth created by workers to create a just society for all instead of feeding the insatiable greed of the little Wall Street crowd.

This is what grassroots and rank-and-file activists should stand for; and fight and struggle for.

Education. Organization. Unity. Action. The key to working class victories.

There is nothing far-fetched here. Our survival depends on such an approach. Citizen activism. Common sense. And an appeal to reason.

We shouldn't be satisfied with "inching" our way towards minimal reforms intended to divide and split us.

We shouldn't stand for being patient while Wall Street grabs, controls and manipulates the wealth we as working people have created... especially when this wealth is squandered on militarism and dirty imperialist wars for which we pay and they profit.

People are suffering as Wall Street profits, and we shouldn't stand for this one minute longer. Enough!

Wall Street is our common enemy.

Yours in the struggle,

Alan L. Maki

Monday, February 23, 2015

Congressman Alcee Hastings wants 55 percent increase in Florida's Minimum Wage.

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings wants a referendum on the ballot next year to increase Florida's minimum wage to $12.50 an hour.

Hastings, a Democrat who represents parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties, said the 55 percent increase from the current $8.05 an hour, is a "starting point." He said he'd prefer $15 an hour, but wouldn't ask for that much because opponents would "go bonkers."

Read more:

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/politics/fl-minimum-wage-increase-hastings-20150215-story.html#page=1


Being lost in all of the increase the Minimum Wage proposals is the fact that whether it is $8.50, $10.10, $12.50 or $15.00 an hour, the only way the Minimum Wage will ever be anything other than a poverty wages providing employers with cheap labor is if the Minimum Wage is legislatively tied to the actual and real "cost-of-living" factors as monitored by the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics and then linked to inflation.

Here in Minnesota, the Democratic Governor, Mark Dayton, who promised to make the Minimum Wage a living non-poverty wage in order to get elected, ended up giving his cabinet heads raises that were more than what most workers make in a year while legislating one more poverty Minimum Wage for workers.

Here is the kicker: Dayton and Minnesota Democrats claim they are looking out for tax-payers but giving his cabinet members these huge raises is a burden on tax-payers while raising the Minimum Wage to a real living non-poverty wage wouldn't have cost tax-payers one single penny.

While no one is dumb enough to turn down a raise of any amount, this struggle for a just Minimum Wage needs to get centered on wages and cost-of-living not just "raising the Minimum Wage" which lets these politicians, most of whom are multi-millionaires, off the hook.



Lynching and Jeff Davis Highway

I read an interesting article in Consortium News about the naming of a highway in Virginia the Jefferson Davis Highway.

Link: https://consortiumnews.com/2015/02/12/lynching-and-jeff-davis-highway/

See full article below.

I posted this comment:

I lived in Virginia for several years and was always amazed how, when visiting historical sites and battlefields of the Civil War era, how things were stated by tour guides.

Things like, "Our boys put up a good fight." When I asked, "Which boys put up a good fight?," I would receive dirty looks and told, "Confederate soldiers."

When I would ask, "Who won the war?" no one wanted to comment.

Even worse than the monuments erected to the Confederacy and its leaders, were the deplorable present day working conditions and poverty wages I experienced.

In one sweatshop in Virginia Beach, working conditions were so deplorable and harsh, one elderly Black woman told the plant manager, "Why don't you just bring back the chains?"

Just recently I visited the Lyndon B. Johnson exhibits in Texas and one exhibit about Civil Rights noted that Texas has more KKK chapters than any other state and Texas is often held up as an example of "the new South."

I also learned that it is in Texas where what is published in school text books becomes the standard for the entire country and a bunch of right-wing racist bigots dominate the Texas text book commission. So, it is no wonder people have become so ignorant about the Civil War and who the real heroes of this period were.

More people visit the Alamo where, when the truth is told, these "heroes" died for the defense of slavery, than who visit the Lyndon B. Johnson ranch--- the Texas White House where one learns the evils of racism and how Johnson ended up supporting George McGovern, another little fact the textbooks omit.

While those like slavery defender Jefferson Davis are given prominence and honored, others like W.E.B. DuBois and Paul Robeson are being written out of history and text books and it is workers paying the ultimate price as Wall Street corporations use racism to try to squeeze more and more production (profits) out of workers using many of the same methods as the slave owners along with the same sick racist ideas modified to better fit "the new South" and its corporations which have replaced the slave plantations for generating tremendous wealth.

It isn't just the naming of streets and highways in honor of these defenders of human barbarity that is repugnant and indecent--- it is the way our society is being built on their very ideas with the origin of profits owned and controlled by the wealthy still not being explained in order to put an end to human misery, the product of a sick system of exploitation held in place largely by racism in all of its ugly forms--- social, institutional and historic.

But doesn't a sick society and economic system need to elevate to prominence those like Jefferson Davis and all the evils he stood for in order to continue its own evil existence?

There is a reason Black History and Black Studies are being taken away under the guise of "reforms" and the struggles of the Civil Rights Movement are being perverted in school history books.

As for labor history, which embodies so much of the Civil Rights Movement and the struggle against slavery and racism, labor history has never been told in our schools and universities. When labor history is told, it is usually so perverted and nothing but lies not even basic truths can be found by reading between the lines.


Here is the story I commented on:

Lynching and Jeff Davis Highway

Exclusive: Many parts of the South, including Arlington, Virginia, just outside the U.S. capital, still honor Confederate President Jefferson Davis by attaching his name to important roadways. But a recent study on lynching puts the motive for honoring that white supremacist in a sickening new light, writes Robert Parry.


By Robert Parry


A new study of Southern lynching of blacks, sharply raising the total to nearly 4,000 victims, adds some context to the decision in 1920 to attach the name of Confederate President Jefferson Davis to parts of Route One, including stretches near and through African-American neighborhoods. That period was a time when the number of lynchings surged across the South and whites were reasserting their impunity.


According to the study by the Equal Justice Initiative, the use of lynching – mob killings and mutilations of blacks by hanging, burning alive, castration, torture and other means – was nearly as high around 1920 as it was in the latter part of the Nineteenth Century. There was a gradual decline in lynchings in the early Twentieth Century, but the pattern reversed and the use of lynching surged to about 500 during a five-year period heading into 1920.


A Civil War-era African-American soldier and his family. (Photo credit: Encyclopedia Virginia)
A Civil War-era African-American soldier and his family. (Photo credit: Encyclopedia Virginia)

That period also marked a determination by many Southern whites to reaffirm the rightness of the Confederate cause and to reassert white supremacy. Thus, in 1920, to drive home the point of who was in charge, the Daughters of the Confederacy had Southern states name portions of Route One after Jefferson Davis, who was hailed as the “champion of a slave society” when he was chosen to lead the Confederacy in 1861.


Besides honoring a dyed-in-the-wool white supremacist who favored keeping African-Americans in chains forever, the Daughters of the Confederacy saw these designations of Route One as a counterpoint to plans in the North for a Lincoln Highway in honor of assassinated President Abraham Lincoln.


But bestowing this honor on Jefferson Davis was also a political message of pro-Confederate defiance that was not limited to the brutal era of 1920. The Jefferson Davis designation was extended to parts of Route 110 near the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, in 1964 as Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement were pressing for landmark civil rights legislation to end segregation and as white Virginian politicians were vowing to resist integration at all costs.


A year or so ago, I wrote to the five members of the Arlington County Board and urged them to seek an end to this grotesque honor bestowed on a notorious white racist. When my letter went public, it was treated with some amusement by the local paper, the Sun-Gazette, which described me as “rankled,” and prompted some hate mail.


One letter from an Arlington resident declared that it was now her turn to be “RANKLED by outsiders like Mr. Parry who want to change history because it is not to his liking. … I am very proud of my Commonwealth’s history, but not of the current times, as I’m sure many others are.”


I was also confronted by a senior Democratic county official at a meeting about a different topic and urged to desist in my proposal to give the highway a new name because the idea would alienate state politicians in Richmond who would think that Arlington County was crazy.


But the new study on the terrorism of lynching reminds us that attaching Jefferson Davis’s name to roadways wasn’t just some romantic gesture to honor an historical figure beloved by Southern whites who in 1920 still pined for the ante-bellum days when they could own black people and do to them whatever they wished.


The years around 1920 marked a violent revival of the carnival-like scenes in which whites treated the lynching of blacks as a moment for community hilarity and celebration, often posing with their children for photographs next to the mutilated corpses. Stamping Jefferson Davis’s name on a highway that passed near and through black neighborhoods was another way to send a chilling message to African-Americans.


In my 37 years living in Virginia, I have always been struck by the curious victimhood of many Southern whites. Because of the Civil War, which some still call “the War of Northern Aggression,” and the Civil Rights Movement, which finally ended segregation, they have been nursing grievances, seeing themselves as the real victims here.


Not the African-Americans who were held in the unspeakable conditions of bondage until slavery was finally ended in the 1860s and who then suffered the cruelties of white terrorism and the humiliation of segregation for another century. No, the whites who lorded over them were the real “victims” because the federal government finally intervened to stop these practices.


Yet, while some white Virginians remain “very proud” of that history, there has been a studied neglect of other more honorable aspects of Arlington’s history, including the role played by Columbia Pike as an African-American Freedom Trail where thousands of former slaves, freed by Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, traveled north to escape slavery.


Many were given refuge in Freedman’s Village, a semi-permanent refugee camp along Columbia Pike on land that now includes the Pentagon and the Air Force Memorial. Some of the men joined the U.S. Colored Troops training at nearby Camp Casey before returning to the South to fight for freedom, to end the scourge of slavery once and for all.


As blacks joined the Union Army, Confederate President Jefferson Davis ratified a policy that refused to treat black men as soldiers but rather as slaves in a state of insurrection, so they could be executed upon capture or sold into slavery.


In accordance with this Confederate policy, U.S. Colored Troops faced summary executions when captured in battle. For instance, when a Union garrison at Fort Pillow, Tennessee, was overrun by Confederate forces on April 12, 1864, black soldiers were shot down as they surrendered. Similar atrocities occurred at the Battle of Poison Springs, Arkansas, in April 1864, and the Battle of the Crater in Virginia. Scores of black prisoners were executed in Saltville, Virginia, on Oct. 2, 1864.


Yet, while Jefferson Davis’s name remains on roadways through Arlington — and as the Confederate president is effectively honored whenever people have to use his name — there is still no commemoration of Freedman’s Village (though something is supposedly being planned) and no one apparently even knows the precise location of Camp Casey, arguably one of Arlington’s most significant and noble historical sites. (Camp Casey is believed to have been located close to where today’s Pentagon now is, an area that in the 1860s was called Alexandria County before being renamed Arlington County in the Twentieth Century.)


Apparently, recognizing the place where free African-Americans were trained and armed to defeat the Confederacy and end slavery might “rankle” some white Arlington residents.


Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). You also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

Who are the "phony leftists" I refer to?

Sam Webb, is one of these phony leftists.

Below you will find an article he wrote.

Obama and the Wall Street Democrats can always count on Sam Webb to defend them and make up excuses for them from a "left" point of view.

Note some things when reading Webb's article attacking grassroots and rank-and-file activists who have become impatient with corrupt and incompetent union leaders--- most of whom have never been democratically elected to their offices by the rank-and-file:

First; Gus Hall, the former head of the Communist Party U.S.A., called Sam Webb and his band "a bunch of traitors."

Second; Webb spent over one-million dollars remodeling the CPUSA's offices while refusing to spend one single penny to develop an alternative to Obama's Wall Street agenda. In fact, in this article below, Webb fails to even mention that Obama is Wall Street's president.

Third; Webb declares the corrupt, incompetent millionaire union leaders and their foundation-funded associates backing Obama to be the leaders of the democratic movements. These "leaders" Webb refers to from the labor unions spend more time making up excuses for Obama and the Democrats then they spend time or allotting resources to solving the problems of workers in their places of employment.

In fact, Webb identifies with these corrupt labor leaders because, like them, he is corrupt. Webb has become a millionaire himself through pilfering the funds of the Communist Party. For over 40 years, Webb has been on the CPUSA payroll and what is there to show for this? A Communist Party USA that has dwindled from thousands to less than 200 members nation-wide with many of these "members" still members only because Webb has them on the payroll for being his loyal kiss-asses.

Webb refuses to recognize that Obama is Wall Street's president but then goes on--- with his silence--- to defend Obama's criminal acts and dirty deeds in service to imperialism with his bloated increased military budgets simultaneously cutting social programs as he increases spending for nuclear weapons and continues to expand the dirty imperialist wars begun by Bush. Obama has started new wars of his own.

No mention of drones. Hit lists. Killing, murder and mayhem. Barbarity defying everything humanity and civilization is supposed to be supposed to.

For Webb, Obama's Wall Street agenda, a big part of which is militarism and wars, amounts to victory after victory for working people and he urges us to be patient in inching our way forward when, in fact, Obama is responsible for massive attacks on our rights and our standard of living.

Where are the progressive victories Webb alludes to? He doesn't provide a single detail out of fear his words might be subject to debate. This is sheer intellectual cowardice on Webb's part; it is nothing short of working class betrayal.

Webb is to the Communist movement what Richard Trumka is to the trade unions--- he splits and divides the working class with his words of praise for Wall Street's President, Barack Obama.

It must be noted that Webb joined with these crooked and corrupt millionaire labor leaders to shove Obama down our throats as some kind of "progressive" and a "leader of the people's movements" of which none is true.

Obama promised single-payer universal health care to get the nomination and once elected silenced the voices of the proponents of single-payer--- going so far as to have some of these proponents of single-payer arrested; many of whom were stupid enough to support Obama in the first place--- and some are even still so stupid they still do support Obama and now voice their support for Hillary Clinton.

Isn't it interesting Sam Webb has made no observations concerning Hillary Clinton's drive to become president? Come on Sam, tell us what you think about Hillary Clinton--- should she be supported for president, too, because the Republicans will be so much worse?

Isn't it interesting that Sam Webb has never joined us in voicing OUTRAGE when it comes to Obama's dirty Wall Street imperialist wars that are making us all poor?

If Sam Webb didn't steal the Communist Party's funds, where did the millions of dollars go?

Notice, also, Webb has never written in defense of what working people require in the way of reforms in order to live more decent lives free from poverty.

Notice, also, Webb has never supported one single resolution articulating any needed reform to be brought before the Democratic Party which he supports.

The American people are outraged and angered with Obama's dirty wars and the austerity measures being shoved down our throats to pay for these dirty imperialist wars.

The American people are outraged and angered about this "cost-of-living crisis" we are being forced to endure.

Perhaps Webb, the recently new millionaire, doesn't understand why the American people, rank-and-file workers in the first place, are outraged and angered because he has no need nor inclination towards urgency in solving the many pressing problems working class families are being forced to endure?

Webb is one more millionaire urging us to be patient in "inching" our way to reforms as they laugh all the way to their banks.

Isn't it just a bit strange this moron, Sam Webb, who claims to be the leader of the Communist Party U.S.A.--- a position he wasn't even elected to by the membership--- writes more about the need to defend Obama from attacks by the left than explaining the problems of working people and becoming involved in searching for solutions?

If Sam Webb would like to answer the questions and comments I have posed I will post his response.

By the way, just like the Dumb Donkeys, including Obama, who Webb supports--- not once has Sam Webb ever mentioned the fact that working class families are caught up in a crisis of everyday living at which the "cost-of-living crisis" is smack dab in the center of--- spun by increased spending on militarism and these dirty imperialist wars defending Wall Street's investments, holdings and profits and Wall Street's monopoly price-fixing.

And Webb never so much as mentions state-monopoly capitalism because he might have to explain Obama's role in all of this.

Is Obama the people's President looking after "We The People;" or, is Obama Wall Street's President looking out for Wall Street's interests which stand in complete contradiction to the people's interests.

No doubt Webb finds such a question to be insulting.

In fact, Obama is not inching us towards reforms. What Obama is doing is pushing us relentlessly into World War III with his support for a bunch of Nazi lovers in the Ukraine.

Not one single Communist leader from anyplace in the world can be found who will publicly defend and support Sam Webb's very dishonest and confusing views.

Sam Webb is a deceitful, dishonest coward who refuses to debate his views side-by-side with a leftist who will refute his views. in fact, Webb will not even allow those who oppose his views to state their views along with his; what kind of leftists engages in this kind of anti-democratic activity.

Instead of pushing an agenda which would include rank-and-file trade unionists fighting for action and democracy in the unions which would get rid of these corrupt, class collaborationist, millionaire labor leaders supporting war mongers like Obama who are attacking working class families, Webb is defending the status quo.

One can conclude from Webb's previous statements proclaiming Obama to be the leader of the democratic people's movements and now his pronouncement that a bunch of crooked and corrupt millionaire union leaders and wealthy foundation-funded outfit directors to be leaders of the democratic people's movement that Webb doesn't even know what constitutes a democratic people's movement.

Webb's criticism of outraged leftists reminds me of the dogs barking as the caravan passes... of course, it is writings like this from Webb which places him on the sidelines like a toothless barking dog.


Read what this phony leftist Sam Webb has to say in his defense of Obama:


Obama and the politics of outrage

obamaaddress520x320


Some of the commentary from the left on President's Obama's recent State of the Union address struck me as too negative, even cynical in a few instances. It's said that the speech was at once too little, too late, and too celebratory. Some left critics went further, claiming that it was nothing but idle, and even deceptive, chatter since the president knew that any progressive initiatives in his speech are dead on arrival in the Republican-controlled 93rd Congress.


This contrasts with the reaction of the larger movement. Labor's take on the speech was very positive.


Much the same can be said about the African American community and other communities of color (for example, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and NAACP). The movements for women's and gay rights found stuff in the speech that they liked, as did many fighting for policing and sentencing reforms. Ditto the immigrant rights movement and the organizations and people fighting for livable wages and union rights. And progressives in Congress said they were buoyed by the president's speech. Photos showed them leading the cheers to the speech, while congressional Republicans, looking dour and sitting silent, inwardly burned with rage at Obama's every word and his mere presence at the podium.

In other words, the major democratic forces and movements got a lift from the speech, while understanding full well that the terrain of struggle is still uphill. They saw openings and opportunities in Obama's words, though not agreeing with his every word.

They liked how he framed many questions and the spirit and oratorical power that he exhibited to spotlight the deeply reactionary role of the Republican Party, even if they thought his counter-proposals should have gone further.

And they were encouraged by the fact that the speech signaled a refusal on the president's part to cede initiative and ground to the Republicans and their reactionary agenda over the next two years, despite enormous pressure on him to do so coming from many directions.

How do we explain this contrast, this differing take on this State of the Union address?

Speaking generally, the leaders of the democratic movements don't pigeonhole the president as simply an unreconstructed neoliberal. They don't peg him as nothing more than a centrist in the mold of Bill Clinton. Nor do they believe that he cynically "plays" the American people with his "fancy" rhetoric and oratory, while paying obeisance to his first and abiding focus group - Wall Street (and its deep pockets.) They also don't subscribe to the notion that Obama's presidency is summed up as "the triumph of identity as content" (Adolph Reed writing in Harper's). Finally, they are particularly aware of the toxic, crude, and unremitting racist invective directed at the president.

In other words, these mass movement leaders don't hollow Obama out to the point where he is nothing but an abstract and frozen political category with absolutely no progressive instincts, potential, or record of achievement. In fact, they note that the president has a genuine democratic sensibility and a list of political and legislative successes that have made a difference, large and small, in the lives of millions of working class people.

Moreover, in sharp contrast to some on the left, leaders of the main mass organizations want him on their side. Victories, they know from experience, are much more difficult to secure with a president opposing them or assuming a position of neutrality. They have no truck with a one-sided Howard Zinn view of historical progress and radical social change, in which political compromises, unreliable allies, tactical and strategic retreats, stages of struggle, participation in electoral politics, and so on are to be studiously avoided. Based on their real movement experience, they conclude that such a hopelessly uncomplicated reading of the past and what it will take to make a more livable future for the vast majority is politically wrong-headed and counterproductive.

Finally - and maybe above all - the leaders of the broader democratic movement are aware that the president governs in a concrete political context in which the singular mission of the opposition party, dominated by right-wing extremists, isn't simply to wreck the Obama presidency. It extends far beyond the occupant of the White House to every political, economic, and social right and gain secured over the past century - not to mention the institutional bases of the broad democratic movements, labor in the first place. The wholesale decimation of democratic rights, organizations, and institutions may seem an unlikely possibility to some, but leaders as well as activists of the broader movement are keenly aware that right-wing extremists, who are in the driver's seat in half the states and show no hesitation to use power in ruthless ways when given the opportunity, are only one election away from gaining control of the one remaining branch of the federal government not now in their reckless, authoritarian hands.

None of this makes the president above criticism in the view of progressive movement leaders, but when they offer criticism it is contextualized and carefully calibrated. Its purpose isn't to show up the president or bring him down. Or simply to be right without a thought as to how words and the way they are expressed educate or miseducate and mobilize or demobilize people. Its intent is to nudge, prod, and move President Obama, inch by inch if necessary, in a progressive direction. And we should never forget, as an astute trade union leader once reminded me, that a lot of people live on those inches.

Perhaps there is something that the left can learn from here.

Shouldn't our political categories and analysis - not only as it applies to the president, but to political phenomena generally - be more open-ended and elastic to allow for contradictions, inconsistencies, indeterminacy,new experience, and, not least, human agency?

Shouldn't we complicate our understanding of the process of social change and bid farewell to cut and dried schemes, pure forms, and pat answers?

Shouldn't we - much like the broader democratic movement does - make the actual balance of class and social forces, the depth of political understanding and unity of millions, and what people (not just the left) are "ready to do" an indispensable frame for our politics and practice?

Shouldn't we attach as much significance to the electoral and legislative arena as a major locus of power and necessary gateway to social change as the broader democratic movement (and perhaps even more so the right wing) does, even at this stage of struggle and level of political independence?
The point of this isn't to water down the critical-analytical, organizing, or visionary-programmatic role of the left, but to develop a politics - strategy, tactics, demands, message, language, etc. - that can break the current political impasse (now more than 30 years long), unite broad cross-sections of people, and lift the country to higher ground where freedom and justice penetrate every aspect of life - probably not all at once, but in the course of a protracted mass, nonviolent struggle that draws strength from the formerly passive and backward sections of the American people.

Without such a reset, I suspect that too many on the left will continue to spend too much time bellyaching, talking only to each other, living in their own cocoon of struggle, and missing opportunities to join with others in broader campaigns for justice, equality, and freedom.

The politics of "opposition and outrage," which too large a section of the left has turned into a refined art form over the past half century, is like a drug. It brings a momentary high, but later on leaves its practitioner feeling washed out and utterly frustrated. It may register some victories here and there, but it has no transforming potential.

What is to be done, someone, once asked long ago and then answered: Put an end to the past period. The left would do well to do the same, but that will only happen if we get rid of narrow, simplistic, schematic, and small-universe ideas - some of which have become nearly second nature to too many of us. And that can be easily done without sacrificing a morsel of our anti-capitalist perspective and goals - our freedom dreams.

Photo: President Obama delivers the State of the Union address in the House chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Jan. 20, 2015. White House photo/Pete Souza