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Gender: Female
Hometown: Wisconsin
Current location: Tejas
Member since: Thu Jan 17, 2008, 12:44 PM
Number of posts: 31,869

About Me

The most violent element in society is ignorance. Emma Goldman

Journal Archives

On the loss of the workers' party:

Food for thought today ... how Marx and Engels saw it in March 1850. Think to yourselves about how these principles apply today.

Brothers! (and sisters!)

In the two revolutionary years of 1848-49 the League proved itself in two ways. First, its members everywhere involved themselves energetically in the movement and stood in the front ranks of the only decisively revolutionary class, the proletariat, in the press, on the barricades and on the battlefields. The League further proved itself in that its understanding of the movement, as expressed in the circulars issued by the Congresses and the Central Committee of 1847 and in the Manifesto of the Communist Party, has been shown to be the only correct one, and the expectations expressed in these documents have been completely fulfilled. This previously only propagated by the League in secret, is now on everyone’s lips and is preached openly in the market place. At the same time, however, the formerly strong organization of the League has been considerably weakened. A large number of members who were directly involved in the movement thought that the time for secret societies was over and that public action alone was sufficient. The individual districts and communes allowed their connections with the Central Committee to weaken and gradually become dormant. So, while the democratic party, the party of the petty bourgeoisie, has become more and more organized in Germany, the workers’ party has lost its only firm foothold, remaining organized at best in individual localities for local purposes; within the general movement it has consequently come under the complete domination and leadership of the petty-bourgeois democrats. This situation cannot be allowed to continue; the independence of the workers must be restored. The Central Committee recognized this necessity and it therefore sent an emissary, Joseph Moll, to Germany in the winter of 1848-9 to reorganize the League. Moll’s mission, however, failed to produce any lasting effect, partly because the German workers at that time had not enough experience and partly because it was interrupted by the insurrection last May. Moll himself took up arms, joined the Baden-Palatinate army and fell on 29 June in the battle of the River Murg. The League lost in him one of the oldest, most active and most reliable members, who had been involved in all the Congresses and Central Committees and had earlier conducted a series of missions with great success. Since the defeat of the German and French revolutionary parties in July 1849, almost all the members of the Central Committee have reassembled in London: they have replenished their numbers with new revolutionary forces and set about reorganizing the League with renewed zeal.

This reorganization can only be achieved by an emissary, and the Central Committee considers it most important to dispatch the emissary at this very moment, when a new revolution is imminent, that is, when the workers’ party must go into battle with the maximum degree of organization, unity and independence, so that it is not exploited and taken in tow by the bourgeoisie as in 1848.

We told you already in 1848, brothers, that the German liberal bourgeoisie would soon come to power and would immediately turn its newly won power against the workers. You have seen how this forecast came true. It was indeed the bourgeoisie which took possession of the state authority in the wake of the March movement of 1848 and used this power to drive the workers, its allies in the struggle, back into their former oppressed position. Although the bourgeoisie could accomplish this only by entering into an alliance with the feudal party, which had been defeated in March, and eventually even had to surrender power once more to this feudal absolutist party, it has nevertheless secured favourable conditions for itself. In view of the government’s financial difficulties, these conditions would ensure that power would in the long run fall into its hands again and that all its interests would be secured, if it were possible for the revolutionary movement to assume from now on a so-called peaceful course of development. In order to guarantee its power the bourgeoisie would not even need to arouse hatred by taking violent measures against the people, as all of these violent measures have already been carried out by the feudal counter-revolution. But events will not take this peaceful course. On the contrary, the revolution which will accelerate the course of events, is imminent, whether it is initiated by an independent rising of the French proletariat or by an invasion of the revolutionary Babel by the Holy Alliance ...

Much more here: https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1847/communist-league/1850-ad1.htm

Labor for Bernie

Jacobin is a publication I often share with the socialist progressive group, and I thought folks here might wish to know about it as well. Steve Early, author of this article, was a Boston-based organizer for the Communications Workers of America for twenty-seven years.

Bernie Sanders has a long record of supporting pro-worker policies. Organized labor should back his presidential run.
by Steve Early 5.26.15

When I first met Brooklyn-born Bernie Sanders, he was a relatively marginal figure in his adopted state of Vermont. It was 1976 and he was running, unsuccessfully and for the fourth time, as a candidate of the Liberty Union Party (LUP). Liberty Union was a radical third party spearheaded by opponents of the Vietnam War who had, like Sanders, washed up in the Green Mountain State as the sixties subsided. At its historic peak, the LUP garnered maybe 5 or 6 percent of the statewide vote for some of its more presentable candidates — in short, nothing like the winning margins racked up in recent years by the far more savvy and effective Vermont Progressive Party, which now boasts a ten-member legislature delegation and attracts growing union support.

During Sanders’s quixotic mid-1970s bid to become governor of Vermont, I accompanied him to a meeting of local granite cutters, teamsters, and electrical workers. This was not a “flatlander” crowd, nor one dominated by full-time union officials. His audience was native Vermonters, some of them Republican, who were still punching a clock at local quarries, trucking companies, and machine tool factories in an era when the future home state of Ben & Jerry’s and Vermont Teddy Bear Co. still had impressive blue-collar union density.

These local union delegates had come together to make candidate endorsements under the banner of the Vermont Labor Forum, a coalition of unions outside the AFL-CIO. Sanders then delivered what is now known — due to its essential continuity over the last four decades — as “The Speech.” (For one of its longer iterations, see his 2011 book by the same name.)

Sanders’s persuasive message to the Labor Forum was that corporations were too powerful, workers were getting screwed, and both major parties were beholden to “the bosses” (or, as Sanders might call them today, “the billionaire class,” a social category not yet invented forty years ago) ...

More here: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/05/bernie-sanders-president-primary-hillary/

NYU ~ The Exploitation University ** SP Group **

The Exploitation University ~ New York University’s labor record epitomizes everything that’s wrong with the neoliberal university
by Jonah Walters 5-23-15

A report released last month describes repeated labor violations during the construction of New York University’s Abu Dhabi campus, including a de facto exemption policy that left roughly one-third of its builders unprotected from conditions of forced labor. And while the university denies any knowledge of the policy, one of its corporate architects is sitting on NYU’s Board of Trustees.

NYU commissioned the report last June in response to demands from campus groups and reports from international watchdog agencies, hiring the private investigation firm Nardello & Co. to examine alleged labor rights abuses during the construction of NYU facilities on Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island.

Since reports of labor abuse first surfaced, NYU has repeatedly responded to student and faculty organizers by instructing them to await the results of the Nardello investigation, ignoring a February report from Human Rights Watch that reaffirmed the mistreatment of construction workers on NYU worksites.

Last month, long after its promised released date, the Nardello report was finally published. And try as it might to deflect responsibility away from NYU, its findings don’t look good for the university ...

More here: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/05/nyu-abu-dhabi-forced-labor-report/

Neoliberal Train Wreck

Literally ... although I must use that phrase 20 times a day in ordinary terms. Here's the story from Socialist Worker:

A neoliberal train wreck?
May 20, 2015 ~ comment by Guy Miller

EVERY INDUSTRIAL accident is different in its details, but depressingly similar in the cover-up.

Before the dust settles and the debris is cleared away, the company spokesperson is busy framing the story and assigning blame. The media are quick to join the feeding frenzy--and the responsibility always stops at the employee farthest down the food chain. On the railroads, that employee is often the engineer.

On Amtrak run 188 on May 12, that engineer was named Brandon Bostian. Brandon's public trial began almost immediately. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter didn't have--or seem to care about--any evidence, but he knew where to point the finger: "Clearly, he was reckless and irresponsible in his actions. I don't know what was going on with him. I don't know what was going on in the cab. But there's really no excuse."

At this point, the engineer's safety record is usually trotted out. In the operating department, "safety violations" litter the records of even the most conscientious employees. Improper footwear, stepping on a rail, failure to ring the bell over one of the hundreds of grade crossings--all of these mean violations placed in a personnel file. Citations are easy to come by. Like a hound dog picks up fleas, conductors and engineers pick up safety violations.

The problem with Brandon Bostian is that his record was spotless. So something else had to be dragged into the equation. That something proved to be Brandon's sexual orientation, which conservative radio host Sandy Rios and later other right-wing media incredibly declared was a "factor" in the crash ...

Much more here: http://socialistworker.org/2015/05/20/a-neoliberal-train-wreck

Sanders Open to Legalizing Marijuana?

Bernie Sanders indicated an openness to legalizing recreational marijuana Tuesday afternoon during an online question and answer session with voters on reddit.

By Tim Devaney - 05/19/15 05:21 PM EDT

Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders on Tuesday hinted at support for legalized marijuana, saying police did not focus on arresting people for the drug when he was mayor of Burlington, Vt.

The Vermont senator indicated an openness to legalizing recreational marijuana afternoon during an online question and answer session on Reddit, though he did not explicitly endorse doing so nationwide.

“I can tell you very few people were arrested for smoking marijuana [when I was mayor],” Sanders said. “Our police had more important things to do.”

Sanders, a self-described Socialist who is running for the Democratic nomination, said he supports decriminalizing recreational marijuana in Vermont, and is watching the situation in Colorado “very closely.”

More here: http://thehill.com/regulation/legislation/242569-bernie-sanders-talks-pot

He's Already Facebook Royalty

Bernie Sanders Wants to Be President, but He’s Already Facebook Royalty
By NICK CORASANITI MAY 18, 2015 (New York Times)

WASHINGTON — The quotes he posts are rarely pithy, and often sayings he thinks up in the shower. The photographs he puts up sometimes show him frowning, while others show him gazing oddly into the horizon. And he does not seem to care about the importance of videos.

But somehow, Bernie Sanders, the 73-year-old senator from Vermont, has emerged as a king of social media early in the 2016 presidential campaign, amid a field of tech-savvy contenders.

His Facebook posts attract tens of thousands of likes and shares, and threads about him often break through to the home page of Reddit, where the cluster of topics rarely focuses on presidential election politics.

< snip >

Mr. Sanders’s prominence online is all the more improbable given that he does not do many things the way social media experts say they should be done ...

Much more here: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/19/us/politics/bernie-sanders-wants-to-be-president-but-hes-already-facebook-royalty.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=photo-spot-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

Path to Victory

just posted on Bernie's facebook page: Watch my interview with CNN on our path to victory in 2016


Making the World Safe for Big Business

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is about expanding US hegemony in East Asia.
by Sean Starrs ~ 5.13.15

(Yesterday the Senate voted 52–45 against giving President Obama “fast track” authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The details of the accord have been shrouded in secrecy. Today Jacobin is publishing two comprehensive pieces on the trade deal.)

After five years of intense negotiations, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) may come to fruition by the end of this year. Much has been written (and rightly so) about the negative consequences of the TPP for American labor. But what are the international implications of the TPP, and in a world awash with bilateral and multilateral trade and investment treaties (there are over 3,200 international investment treaties alone), how is this one different?

And when the future of global capitalism seems to hinge on the relations between China and the United States, why is the US not allowing the world’s largest exporter, China (which has expressed interest), to join the TPP negotiations?

< snip >

On the one hand, the transformation of China from being one of the twentieth century’s leading anticapitalist and anti-Western imperialist nations to, by the twenty-first century, being one of the nations most eager to integrate with global capitalism — has been surprising to say the least, and certainly a boon for American capital.

On the other hand, China, a paradoxical bastion of illiberal/liberal state capitalism, remains relatively geopolitically independent from the United States. Of all the large economies, China is at once one of the most open and closed to foreign capital on Earth. Many sectors related to the commanding heights — such as banking, energy, telecommunications, and utilities — are totally closed to foreign capital. Many other sectors, however, are relatively open, and foreign investment has penetrated China more deeply than most other large economies (like Japan), especially those at similar levels of development ...

Much more here: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/05/trans-pacific-parternship-china-united-states-asia/

Thought for the day ~

The Building Blocks of Deprivation

Ruling elites in Baltimore and cities like it have pushed a development model that enriches the few and marginalizes the many.
by Daniel Pasciuti & Isaac Jilbert 5-11-15

he protests, anger, and violence that have fixed the eyes of the world on Baltimore over the past couple weeks are easily attributable to systemic inequality and poverty.

But concepts like inequality and poverty are rarely unpacked, and use of these broad terms often ignores, or glosses over, the mechanisms and processes that propagate inequality over time. No credit is done to the concerns and demands of Baltimoreans who struggle every day under systemic constraints if we fail to understand how the inequality they face is replicated.

To understand the building blocks of deprivation in Baltimore, it is necessary to examine both the historical legacy of city planning and the “comeback” of America’s old industrial centers.

The engineering projects of Robert Moses and others in mid-century cities created a legacy of physical and social divisions that continue to edit the lived landscape of Baltimore. Today, new economic and social development projects — the “Urban Renaissance” — are creating new divides in which there has been astounding success for some, built on the premise of excluding others, and creating new contradictions that are becoming impossible to ignore ...

Much more here: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/05/baltmore-freddie-gray-protests-poverty-inequality/

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