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TBF

Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: Wisconsin
Current location: Tejas
Member since: Thu Jan 17, 2008, 12:44 PM
Number of posts: 27,877

About Me

You may say I'm a dreamer But I'm not the only one I hope someday you'll join us And the world will live as one

Journal Archives

Eugene V. Debs on War

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles." — Eugene V. Debs

War & Peace This Veteran’s Day

Remembering Tomas Young November 10, 2014 by Karin Kamp

We’ve just heard that Iraq war veteran Tomas Young, one of the first vets to publicly oppose the war, has died at the age of 34.

Young was featured in Body of War, a documentary by Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro that was featured on Bill Moyers Journal in March 2008. The film focused on Tomas, who was shot and paralyzed just days after beginning his tour of duty in Iraq.

<snip>

“He was a political animal and he had a political statement that he wanted to make,” Donahue told BillMoyers.com. “Tomas wanted people to know that this is the drama being played out in houses across the country occupied by thousands of young men and women who fought in the war,” he said, referring to injuries that left Young in need of round-the-clock care.

The 24-year-old Young enlisted in the Army after the 9/11 attacks because he wanted to fight terrorists in Afghanistan, but instead was sent to Iraq. Five days after arriving there in 2004, he was shot in the chest and severely wounded. He was left paralyzed from the waist down and as the result of medical complications later became a quadriplegic ...

More here: http://billmoyers.com/2014/11/10/remembering-tomas-young-veterans-day/

To End Poverty

Making Poverty History: To end global poverty, we have to end global capitalism.

Jacobin ~ 11.10.14
by Vijay Prashad

In December, the United Nations sounded the alarm. Releasing its report on the World Social Situation of 2013, entitled “Inequality Matters,” the UN warned that inequality was deepening, and that no country was immune from the contagion. In the Global South, the hemorrhaging of incomes among working people has been about as dramatic as in the Global North. If there is one social process that the planet shares, it is global inequality.

How does the UN explain this rise in inequality? What the data suggests, the UN reports, is that “inequality has increased mainly because the wealthiest individuals have become wealthier, both in developed and developing countries.” The top 1% has siphoned off the social wealth for its private gain, and the bottom 99% — which produced the social wealth – has to live off its crumbs. What’s clear is that capitalism is incapable of ending poverty or substantially reducing inequality.

Word comes from China and India that they have dramatically reduced poverty. Take the case of India. Based on official data on poverty, things appear better now than before. But the data is based on a reassessment of the indicators.

The government created a new measure – one is poor if one consumes less than twenty-four pounds of grain per month. The UN World Food Program asked quite simply if it was reasonable to assume that the person who had twenty-five pounds of grain per month was not poor ...

Much more here: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/11/making-poverty-history/

Six Points on the Midterm Elections

by Rich Yeselson ~ What should we take away from Tuesday’s election results?

The election is over, or at least almost over — some votes are still being counted in congressional races, and there will be a run-off for the Louisiana Senate seat that the Republican challenger will win.

Harold Meyerson, social democrat and labor analyst, says the country is looking for solutions for an economy that doesn’t “deliver broadly shared prosperity” and the Democrats, like center-left parties around the advanced capitalist world, have not provided those solutions — and that they better soon if they want to win elections. Larry Kudlow, manic apostle of unshackled capital, triumphantly tweets, “Leftward redistribution lurch over. Free-market capitalism, incentives, free enterprise.”

So what really happened and why? Here are a few points, offered as more of a sketch of an answer to those questions than a definitive reckoning.

1. The Democratic coalition’s turnout declined, but not by that much.

Whites represented 75% of the electorate in 2014, down from 78% in 2012. But, despite this small tilt away from the GOP base, Democrats did a bit worse with its “of color” coalition: 89% with African Americans (vs 93% in 2012), 63% with Latinos (vs 71%), and, most surprisingly, only a split with the small, but fast-growing Asian American cohort (49% vs a whopping 73%).

So whites had a bigger share of the electorate and the Republican Party is the default party of white Christian American, i.e., nonsecular/Jewish/Muslim et al, yet the Democrats didn’t excite their base, either. And, after a while, if you can’t get your base to vote, it’s not much of an excuse. It means that the base, for whatever reason, simply isn’t as politically motivated as the other party’s base. That’s a problem ...

More here: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/11/six-points-on-the-midterm-elections/


The October Revolution

ETA (for those who are unfamiliar): The October Revolution, officially known as the Great October Socialist Revolution, and commonly referred to as Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a seizure of state power instrumental in the larger Russian Revolution of 1917. It took place with an armed insurrection in Petrograd traditionally dated to 25 October 1917 (by the Julian or Old Style calendar, which corresponds to 7 November 1917 in the Gregorian or New Style calendar).


Inspirational Leader

Vladimir Ilych Ulyanov, known by his revolutionary nom de guerre, Lenin, inspired a small cadre of Communist intellectuals to agitate amongst the workers and soldiers of Petrograd, today's St. Petersburg. In this photo, his close associate Leon Trotsky stands at the right of the podium:



Posted mainly for the photo gallery which is most impressive: http://content.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1681193_1481200,00.html

What's the Plan?

This is an often asked question and many of us on the left prefer to focus on the "organize and knock it down" side while leaving the question of "what would replace it?" until after the revolution. Seth Ackerman may have a point. After all, the Paris Commune barely lasted a few months before it was destroyed by outside forces. Perhaps having some sort of adaptable plan is a better way to approach revolutionary change. Food for thought:


The Red and the Black
by Seth Ackerman
Profit is the motor of capitalism. What would it be under socialism?

Radicals have a habit of speaking in the conditional. Underlying all their talk about the changes they’d like to see in the world is the uneasy knowledge that our social system places rigid limits on how much change can be accomplished now. “After the revolution…” is the wistful, ironic preface to many a fondly expressed wish on the Left.

Why, then, are radicals so hesitant to talk about what a different system might look like? One of the oldest and most influential objections to such talk comes from Marx, with his oft-quoted scorn toward utopian “recipes” for the “cookshops of the future.” The moral of the quote, supposedly, is that a future society must emerge from the spontaneous dynamics of history, not from the isolated imaginings of some scribbler. This isn’t without some irony, since two years later Marx the scribbler wrote his own little cookshop recipe in his Critique of the Gotha Program — it involved labor tokens, storehouses of goods, and an accounting system to determine how much workers would get paid.

As it happens, Marx’s comment was a riposte to a negative review he’d received in a Paris newspaper run by devotees of the philosopher Auguste Comte, criticizing Marx for offering no concrete alternative to the social system he condemned. (That’s why, in the original quote, he asks wryly if the recipes the reviewers had hoped to see happened to be “Comtist” ones.) To grasp the context, you have to understand that like many utopian writers of the era, Comte proffered scenarios for a future society that were marked by an almost deranged grandiosity, featuring precise and fantastically detailed instructions on practically every facet of daily life. It was this obsessive kind of future-painting that Marx was really taking aim at.

< snip>

In this essay, I start from the common socialist assumption that capitalism’s central defects arise from the conflict between the pursuit of private profit and the satisfaction of human needs. Then I sketch some of the considerations that would have to be taken into account in any attempt to remedy those defects ...

Much more here: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2012/12/the-red-and-the-black/

What is class?

Danny Katch explains what Marxists mean when we talk about social class--and why our tradition looks to the working class majority to change society.
November 6, 2014

LAST YEAR, workers for the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system went on strike, disrupting the daily commute for employees of some of San Francisco companies like Google and Twitter.

Tech executives who normally promote themselves as rebellious "disruptors" of old economic models were furious that they themselves had been disrupted by what they considered the most outdated economic model of them all--a labor union.

<snip>

Like all job actions, but perhaps even more so coming in the heart of the "new economy," the BART strike punctured that fantasy by reminding our Captains of Digital Industry that the working class continues to exist--and worse still, it does so not as an unfortunate object of pity, but as a potentially dangerous force with its own unique form of power.

Until the Occupy Wall Street movement and its talk about the 1 Percent, class was practically a nonexistent topic of public conversation. Even today, almost every time the word is uttered on major media channels, it comes after "middle." Everyone in the United States is supposedly middle class, whether we make $25,000 a year or $250,000. It's unpatriotic to let ourselves be divided by one extra zero.

<snip>

IN THE Marxist view, capitalism has three main classes: capitalists who own the means of production, workers who sell their labor power to those owners, and a middle class of managers, professionals, small business owners and others, whose function combines aspects of both bosses and workers, in differing proportions depending on the occupation ...

Much more here: http://socialistworker.org/2014/11/06/what-class-and-isnt

Republicans win control of Senate

Republicans win control of Senate in US congressional elections
By Patrick Martin
5 November 2014

The Republican Party won control of the US Senate in Tuesday’s midterm elections, taking more than the six Democratic-held seats needed to obtain the 51 required for a majority. Republican candidates defeated incumbent Democratic senators in North Carolina, Arkansas and Iowa and won open Democratic seats in West Virginia, Iowa, South Dakota and Montana.

< snip >

The outcome of the vote is a debacle for the Democratic Party and the Obama administration, which threw in the towel in terms of the House of Representatives months ago and concentrated their efforts on holding onto a handful of Senate seats needed to maintain a narrow majority in the upper house. This effort produced dismal results, with only one of the threatened Democratic seats, in New Hampshire, successfully defended.

The Republican victory does not represent a shift by the American population to the right, but demonstrates the bankrupt and reactionary character of the Democratic Party and the mass disillusionment with the Obama administration. In the absence of any progressive alternative to the two right-wing, corporate-controlled parties, the majority of potential voters stayed home. Voter turnout hit another record low, with only 38 percent going to the polls.

The working class had no representation in the 2014 elections in either party. The Democrats, like the Republicans, are controlled by the financial aristocracy that rules America. Corporate bosses and billionaires dictate the policy and personnel of both parties, and they are now demanding a further shift to the right in official Washington ...

More here: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/11/05/lead-n05.html


Congressional Seats Sell for Record Four Billion Dollars

Borowitz Report
Today 11:43 am
By Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Congressional seats are on pace to fetch a whopping four billion dollars on Tuesday night, a record-smashing sales figure that has exceeded the expectations of even the most optimistic insiders.

The seats, which include four hundred and thirty-five in the House of Representatives and thirty-six in the Senate, have attracted buyers from a broad spectrum of industries, including investment banking, energy, pharmaceutical, and gun.

“With all of the uncertainty in the world today, the United States Congress is considered a very safe place for the rich to invest their money,” said Charles Michollot, of the auction house Sotheby’s. “Congressional seats are like Manhattan real estate—they aren’t making any more of them.”

But Anton Pickardin, of the rival auction house Christie’s, sounds more skeptical. “I hate to be a wet blanket, but these sales figures lack rhyme and reason,” Pickardin said. “When someone is willing to pay millions of dollars for a pre-owned Mitch McConnell, you know that people have lost their minds.”

More here: http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/congressional-seats-sell-record-four-billion-dollars


(well, sort of ...)

Education, Inc.

by George Joseph - 11.4.14
George Joseph is a NYC labor and education reporter. He is currently an undergraduate, organizing around campus labor issues and studying to be a high school teacher.

Over the summer, FBI agents stormed nineteen charter schools as part of an ongoing investigation into Concept Charter Schools. They raided the buildings seeking information about companies the prominent Midwestern charter operator had contracted with under the federal E-Rate program.

The federal investigation points to possible corruption at the Gulen charter network, with which Concept is affiliated and which takes its name from the Turkish cleric Fetullah Gulen. And a Jacobin investigation found that malfeasance in the Gulen network, the second largest in the country, is more widespread than previously thought. Federal contracting documents suggest that the conflict-of-interest transactions occurring at Concept are a routine practice at other Gulen-affiliated charter school operators.

The Jacobin probe into Gulen-affiliated operators in Texas, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and California found that roughly $4 million in E-Rate contract disbursements and $1.7 million in Department of Education Race to the Top grantee awards were given to what appear to be “related parties.” Awarding contracts to firms headed by related parties would seem to violate the FCC’s requirement that the school’s bidding process be “competitive” as well as “open and fair.”

Unlike most charter schools networks, the Gulen charter network has received significant scrutiny in the US press, primarily because of the international profile of its Islamic cleric leader and xenophobic fears of “education jihad.” Such coverage distracts from what appears to be systemic corruption at the public’s expense, a predictable consequence of the US charter school model ...

More here: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/11/education-inc/

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