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Gender: Female
Hometown: Wisconsin
Current location: Tejas
Member since: Thu Jan 17, 2008, 01:44 PM
Number of posts: 31,672

About Me

The most violent element in society is ignorance. Emma Goldman

Journal Archives

Happy Birthday Brother Marx

May 5, 1818

Virtual Picket Line

“It is unconscionable for a company that made more than $4 billion dollars in profits in the first quarter of 2016 alone to cut off health care benefits for the workers who created those profits. This heartless move by Verizon shows why the strike is so important.”


Kent State

TBF note: Students re Kent State era described as "worse than brown shirts and the communist element ...". Sound familiar, Bernie Bros.? The establishment has always been the same - looking out for themselves and their profits. In the case of Kent State it was the profits made off their war-mongering.

Kent State: After 45 Years We Need a Serious Look at What Happened and Why?
By Murray Polner 5/4/16

It’s been 45 years since draft-deferred Ohio National Guardsmen aimed their M-1 rifles and .45 pistols at unarmed Kent State College students, killing four and wounding nine on May 4, 1970. You have to be well into middle age now to remember that day. My memory is stirred whenever I look at three photos: John Filo’s striking shot of teenager Mary Ann Vecchio on her knees weeping as she bends over student Jeffrey Miller’s body, a photo I took of Jeffrey’s grieving mother for a magazine my son Alex once edited, and a picture of two of the forever crippled in wheelchairs, KSU student Dean Kahler and wounded Marine Vietnam vet Ron Kovic of ‘Born on the Fourth of July” fame.

On the 41st anniversary of the shootings in 2011, the state’s largest newspaper, concluded, “There has never been a completely satisfactory explanation for why the Guard fired.” In fact, it went on, “The central unresolved question in the Kent State affair has been why several dozen Ohio Guardsmen pivoted in unison and fired” and for 13 agonizing seconds killed and wounded so many of their peers. The previous year the paper had reported the finding of an audio recording where a Guard office was said to shout, “All right, prepare to fire.” This led to an editorial urging the state to take another look “and give full account of that tragic day.”

“That tragic day” followed Nixon’s announcement that the U.S. had invaded Cambodia and expanded the war, causing antiwar college students throughout the nation to go on strike. It was a time when the President called antiwar students “bums” and Ohio’s Republican Governor James Rhodes, in a tight and ultimately losing race, described students against the war as “worse than brown shirts and the communist element and also night riders and vigilantes. They are the worst type of people that we harbor in America.” ...

More here: http://www.dsausa.org/kent_state_after_45_years_dl

This photo taken by John Filo of runaway Mary Ann Vecchio kneeling by Jeffrey Miller's body. This photo won the Pulitzer Prize in 1971:

Taxing Capitalists

Zucman conservatively estimates that $7.6 trillion is invested in hidden offshore bank accounts, the equivalent of 8 percent of the world’s total wealth. That translates into at least $200 billion in lost tax revenue every year, according to his estimates.
Reintroducing capital controls would help left movements rein in big business.

by Niko Block 5-4-16

<snip intro>

The disclosure of the so-called Panama Papers is again highlighting the United States’s continued influence. The documents implicate tax-dodging individuals and corporations from around the world who have profited handsomely from an offshore system that was established with Washington’s support. The question is not how Panama gets away with it, but why America permits it.

The answer is that the US financial sector benefits immensely from the offshore world. When we hear about the super-rich “hiding” their money in offshore accounts, it is often assumed that these accounts are like glorified piggy banks where money sits and accumulates. In reality, the funds never stay offshore; they are simply scrubbed of any affiliation with their actual owners, repackaged with the names of shell companies, and sent back to major banking centers and financial markets.

As the economist Gabriel Zucman explains,

From their offshore accounts, essentially make the same investments they do from banks located in London, New York, or Sydney: they buy financial securities — that is, stocks, bonds, and, above all, shares in mutual funds. The money in tax havens doesn’t sleep. It is invested in international financial markets.

More here: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/05/panama-papers-capital-mobility-controls/

The Fight

Happy May Day

Working-class radicals understood the unique power of collective action, fighting to ensure that the aggression of employers was often met by a groundswell of workers’ resistance.

Today Is Our Day: This May Day, we should celebrate the historic triumphs of the labor movement and the struggles to come. By Jonah Walters 5-1-16

The first May Day was celebrated in 1886, with a general strike of three hundred thousand workers at thirteen thousand businesses across the United States. It was a tremendous show of force for the American labor movement, which was among the most militant in the world.

Many of the striking workers — who numbered forty thousand in Chicago alone — rallied under the banners of anarchist and socialist organizations. Trade unionists from a variety of ethnic backgrounds — many of them recent immigrants — marched shoulder-to-shoulder, making a unified demand for the eight-hour day.

The movement to limit the workday posed a significant threat to American industrialists, who were accustomed to demanding much longer hours from their workers.

In the late nineteenth century, successive waves of immigration brought millions of immigrants to the United States, many of whom sought work in factories. Because unemployment was so high, employers could easily replace any worker who demanded better conditions or sufficient wages — so long as that worker acted alone. As individuals, workers were in no position to oppose the dehumanizing work their bosses expected of them ...

Much more here: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/05/may-day-history-iww-haymarket-american-labor-movement/

May Day 1913:

Elections and Marxism

So elections may be an excellent means to amplify the socialist message and organize and give shape to movements that develop outside the electoral sphere. But socialism cannot be legislated into existence. The absolute precondition in the U.S. to the building of a genuine socialist movement, embracing millions of workers, the poor and the oppressed, is breaking from the limits imposed by the two-party system and creating a party of workers and the oppressed. But for the socialists to fully succeed in their project, there must be a revolutionary struggle that moves far beyond the limits of our rigged democracy.

Elections and the Marxist tradition

Paul D'Amato, author of The Meaning of Marxism, looks at how socialists--from the time of Marx and Engels through today--have approached politics and voting.
April 26, 2016

THERE IS a still-widespread fallacy that Marxism cares only about economics.

It is certainly true that Marxists believe the economic relations of society constitute its foundation, and you can't understand the dynamics of a particular society unless you understand its underlying relations of production--and, in particular, its class relations. "What distinguishes the various economic formations of society," wrote Marx in Capital, "is the form in which...surplus labor is in each case extorted from the immediate producer, the worker."

But just as a house is more than its foundation and supports, so capitalism is more than its economic structure. As Marx famously wrote in his Preface to A Critique of Political Economy, a "legal and political superstructure" arises on this foundation, "to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness."

One key component of this superstructure is the state, which has, at its core, agencies of coercion and vast official bureaucracies, but also legislative and executive bodies that change hands between competing political parties, at least in systems where elections are held. Engels described the modern state, even in its most democratic form, as "the organization which the ruling classes--landowners and capitalists--have provided for themselves in order to protect their social privileges." ...

more here: https://socialistworker.org/2016/04/26/elections-and-the-marxist-tradition

Incrementalism **Socialist Progressive Group Post **

I think we need to understand that politics involves BOTH economic and social issues, and that they are intertwined. At the root of the divide on DU currently is that some reject capitalism, while others think that perhaps capitalism isn't so bad - it just needs to be accessible to everyone as opposed to oppressing certain genders, races, etc.., (and that to hope for more is too ambitious). In this group previously we have always argued for replacement of the system. That SOP is perhaps getting pressured due to the wide chasm between the two people running for the party nomination this spring. I'm not sure how we reconcile this, but I posit that we are missing the forest for the trees if we do not realize that at minimum we need an FDR style overhaul of the system if we are even going to survive as a planet, much less make improvements. Don't be afraid to dream big - it is fear that is keeping us down.

To Tell The Truth

Born: January 22, 1891

Died: April 27, 1937 (aged 46)

Nationality: Italian

Occupation: Politician

Bio: Antonio Gramsci was an Italian writer, politician, political theorist, and linguist. He was a founding member and a leader of the Communist Party of Italy. He was later imprisoned by Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime.
Read more at http://izquotes.com/quote/74506

Socialize the Banks

So as the banks have a field day, where is the Left? Seemingly nowhere to be found. In the core capitalist countries, the Left has repeatedly failed to crawl out from its defensive trenches and seize the opportunity that the crisis opened.

Socialize the Banks

Breaking up the banks won’t do. They should be publicly owned and democratically controlled.
by Nuno Teles 4/27/16

These days observers worry about banks — European institutions like Germany’s Deutsche Bank, France’s Societé Generale, and Italy’s Monte di Pascoale, not to mention the zombie banks that populate the austerity-ridden eurozone periphery in Greece, Portugal, and Spain. These big banks are widely seen as global capitalism’s next weak link, capable of causing massive financial instability if they go bust. Such concern isn’t particularly surprising — banks were at the center of the latest crisis from the beginning. Indeed, it wasn’t subprime market defaults that unleashed the destructive financial turmoil of 2007–8, but their ruinous impact on a major investment bank, Lehman Brothers. Lehman’s failure — and the state’s subsequent refusal to bail out the bank — created a credit crunch that sent the entire financial sector, as well as the world economy, into a tailspin.

< snip >

Europe’s major banks, already troubled by their souring US investments (among other things) faced collapse. Only the quick substitution of bank-held debt for official debt — taken on from the troika of European lenders and the IMF in return for punitive fiscal austerity — saved them. Yet here we are today, facing another potential wave of failing banks. The lingering instability highlights the hollowness of the G-20 countries’ pledges to reform the financial sector in 2008-09. Promises to “extend regulatory oversight and registration to Credit Rating Agencies,” “take action against non-cooperative jurisdictions, including tax havens,” and “prevent excessive leverage and require buffers of resources to be built up in good times” have yielded little substantive change ..

Much more here: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/04/banks-credit-recession-finance-socialism/

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