Sunday, October 28

The California Wildfires and the Capitalist System

It has all the signs of a deja vu. A natural disaster hits, masses of people are forced into a stadium, thousands are left homeless with no aid from the government. The devastation is immense. By now, everyone has heard about the wildfires raging in Southern California. When I say that it has the signs of a deja vu, I'm of course, refering to Hurricane Katrina where people were left for days without food or shelter to starve and die, and when they attempted to gather food, or too leave they faced a hail of bullets from cops who were given the order to "shoot to kill" in order to protect private property. A little more than 2 years later, the people of california find themselves in a similiar situation. The differences though are immense. Hurricane Katrina killed thousands and wrecked a entire city, its destruction was 10 times that of the wildfires. But the difference that is more important I think, is that unlike Katrina, the victims of this natural disaster are both wealthy and working class while the victims of Hurricane Katrina were almost completely working class. This explains the governments' more effective response, along with the fact that they want to avoid the anger, outrage and backlash of the masses that came after the government left the people of New Orleans stranded to die.

Yet despite the corporate media proclaiming a great recovery response, there have been the inevitable failures in the response that come from and imperial system only interested in profit and money not the people. The San Francisco Chronicle earlier this year reported on how the National Guard warned that the imperial occupation of Iraq would hinder a natural disaster response in California. Trucks, radios, generators, fuel, and other supplies are missing from the recovery effort as they are serving in Iraq. This goes to show where the interests of the system we live under are, in effectively exploiting and oppressing people in other countries rather than funding people's needs, not even in emergency situations. The system's attitudes towards its people is fuck 'em, they can live on the streets if it is profitable for us, if they can pay their own way; that's the only way we'll aid them. This is further proven by the fact that after Katrina and already starting now with the wildfires, insurance companies have used the disaster to cancel deals, yet another example of how privatization fails. When privatized, weither it be healthcare or insurance, companies act only when profitable, however under socialism it is the opposite as the system is not designed to serve profit but the people.

Monday, October 22

Fidel Castro on Yesterdays Municipal Elections

From PSLweb: This first appeared Oct. 20 in Cuba's Granma Daily. Over 8.3 million Cubans will participate in municipal elections on Oct. 21, well over 90 percent of the eligible voters.

Our elections are the antithesis of those held in the United States, not on Sundays but on the first Tuesday of

November. Being very rich or having the support of lot of money is what matters the most there. Huge amounts are later on invested in publicity, specialized in brain washing and the creation of conditioned reflexes.

With honorable exceptions, no one can hope to be appointed to an important post without being backed by millions of dollars.

Being elected President in the U.S. requires hundreds of millions, which come from the coffers of big monopolies. Elections can be won by a candidate earning a minority of votes.

Less and less citizens are going to the ballots; there are many who would rather go to work or spend their time doing anything else. There is fraud, tricks, discrimination against ethnic minorities and even violence.

Having more than 90 per cent of all citizens voting in the elections and school children guarding the ballots is an unheard of experience; it’s hard to believe that this occurs in one of the "dark corners of this world," a harassed and blockaded country named Cuba. That is how we exercise the vigorous muscles of our political awareness.

Thursday, October 18

Democrats Revealing Their True Colors

Its no secret anymore, the War on Iraq is a horrific crime. With over a million civilians dead, thousands of working class youth, forced into the army, because they have no other path, to kill other exploited and oppressed people, maimed and buried, with the largest refugee crisis in the middle east since the mass expulsion of Palestinians from their land in 1948, with the country's infrastructure bombed to rubble, with people being deprived of basic needs like clean drinking water and electricity, and with kids afraid to go to school not because of bullies, but because they're afraid of being killed by the occupation, its hard to deem the War on Iraq and its consequences anything but the barbarism of an imperialist occupation and a crime against humanity.

Yet despite this, it didn't come as a suprise to me, when a week or two ago, top democratic candidates for the 2008 election refused to promise that they'd have the troops out of Iraq by 2013. It didn't suprise me that Clinton, Obama, and Edwards took the exact position that they were voted into power to act firmly and immediatly against. What did suprise me a little, I guess, was that they were honest that they would not end this colonial occupation and that they are truly not the anti-war party that they have framed themselves to be.

As a Marxist-Leninist, I've always known that the Democrats are a ruling class party. I've known that the democrats are complicit with the war. They are the ones who voted for it, fund(ed) it, armed it, and are now running it, but what's frustrating as a Anti-War activist and someone who has done a lot of organizing against the war, is seeing people continue to think that the democrats are going to end this occupation, like activists in the UFPJ continue to think despite all signs signaling the opposite. This position is detrimental. The fact of the matter is that the democrats are complicit in this war. They are a ruling class party and this war is key to their ruling class interests.

The ruling class in the US needs this war. Earlier this year, Bush toured Latin America. He went from country to country, town to town, and every place he went, he was followed by angry, militant, anti-imperialist working class protestors. The oppressed of Latin America poured out into the streets in opposition of the Bush agenda. It was a expression of the fact that the people of Latin America are tired of NAFTA and CAFTA kicking farmers of their land, they are tired of the brutal exploitation for low wages, and of the plunder of their countries' resources for private profit. The fact that so many people took action against Bush's tour is a reflection of why the War in Iraq is so crucial to the US. There is growing Anti-imperial sentiment in Latin America, headed by Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela alongside Cuba, but also with countries like Nicaragua, Ecuador and Bolivia, US interests in Latin America are threatened like they haven't been since the Sandinistas and the July 26th Movement seized power in the height of the "cold war". But what's different today is that it is oil in particular that is threatened alongside other markets, while in the past in Cuba and Nicargua and Chile it was soley crops like sugar and bananas. The difference is that oil is what makes the system run, oil fuels everything. Oil equals your electricity, transporation, heating etc.. oil is energy. Sugar and bananas, while valuable, is far less important than oil. The Bolivarian Revolution everyday moves to deprive the US of imperial domination of the vast oil fields of Venezuela, a country which has always historically been a major exporter of oil to the US. The US ruling class has extracted a fantastic amount of surplus wealth/profit from Venezuela's oil industry over the years and put it in their pockets. But now with the oil industry nationalized and the wealth rather than going to corporate executives pockets, it is going to fund people's needs. Whats more dangerous, other countries are following Venezuela's lead! To the shock and horror of the wealthy elite in the US, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Bolivia have joined Venezuela (to different extents) and formed ALBA, the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America, a anti-imperialist trading bloc based on mutual benefit of oppressed Latin American countries, not on the robbery of one country by another. This alongside Iran's growing influence in the Middle East and its own deprivation of US imperialists of its oil fields, the US more than ever needs to secure oil markets. Iraq is just that oil market that needs to be secured.

Securing Iraq would mean that the US could clamp down on Venezuela and Iran, it could embargo left and right and take action to crush the rising Anti-US sentiments in Latin America. Pulling out of Iraq though, would mean the US loses that market, and it loses the potential of controlling the Middle East and its oil in the way that it finds ideal.

Thus its no suprise the democrats are hesitant to say they won't pull out Iraq by the end of their term limit, they hold just as much interest in staying there as the Republicans do!

Saturday, October 13

Remembering Ernesto "Che" Guevara: Live for the People!

Last Monday marked the Fortieth Anniversarry of the death of Ernesto "Che" Guevara, the Cuban revolutionary who devoted his life to waging revolution to end the oppressive system of imperialism and unite Latin America. Forty years after his death in Bolivia while waging guerrilla warfare against the US back Bolivian puppet government and fighting off Green Berets for 12 months, Che Guevara still remains an international icon of revolution and liberation, a icon of hope for those oppressed and liberty from US imperialism. Che was born to a once wealthy, but now pauperized Argentinian family. Most of his childhood was spent impoverished. His father was out of job for most of his youth, so growing up he struggled, yet he managed to get a college education and become a doctor despite this. The most decisive factor in Che Guevara's shaping was his travels of Latin America. The book and now hollywood movie The Motorcycle Diaries illustrate his journey through Latin America with his best friend on a small, old, rusty, but mostly reliable motorcycle. While the journey was filled with stories which make you shake your head and say "those crazy kids", it was also a very lifechanging experience for Che. Che was able to experience first hand the horrors of imperialism. He saw the mass poverty, the diesease, multiple times Che tried to use his doctoring knowledge to help those who were denied healthcare for example, he also saw the oppression of governments on the working class as well as a seeing US intervention in Guatamala. Throughout all this Che Guevara grew more and more progressive, militant, and revolutionary until he met the young exile in Mexico, Fidel Castro. According to legend, Fidel and Che spent a whole night talking about the world, about poverty, and about Revolution. Fidel told Che of his plans for revolution on the little island of Cuba to overthrow the oppressive US backed Batista regime. Che immediately agreed to join him. Che would emerge as a leader during the revolution, after the revolution, he would be the most anti-imperialist, and the most militant. Che was a fighter though, and soon after liberation of Cuba, he felt he had to continue the struggle elsewhere throughout the world, something he would die doing.

Che is still an important figure today because he is a concentration of everything a revolutionary stands for. A comrade of mine recently said at a Public Party meeting that he is concentration of so much it is impossible for me to explain in a really concentrated way. However a couple days later, I think Fidel Castro came close:

I make a halt in my daily struggle to bow my head in respect and gratitude to the exceptional combatant who fell in combat on October 8th, forty years ago; for the example he passed on to us as leader of his Rebel Army Column, crossing the swampy grounds of the former provinces of Oriente and Camag├╝ey, while being chased by enemy troops. He was the liberator of the city of Santa Clara and the mastermind of voluntary work; he accomplished honorable political missions abroad and served as messenger of militant internationalism in East Congo and Bolivia. He built a new awareness in our America and the world.

I thank him for what he tried and failed to do in his home country, because he was like a flower prematurely severed from its stem.

He left to us his unmistakable literary style. He was elegant, swift and true to every detail of whatever happened to cross his mind. He was a predestinate, but he didn’t know it. He still fights with us and for

How Capitalism is Destroying Our Planet

In recent years, Global Warming has seen an incredible jump in attention recieved. Seeing as today is Blog Action Day for enviromental justice, I thought I'd post on what the real reason for why our planet is slowly rotting and what the solution is.

The Capitalist "laissez-faire" system, is a system which puts profit above all else. The economy is organized not according to what is best for the people, but what will make the most money. Because of this, there is little or no incentive for the people with power; wealthy politicians, corporations, executives, bankers and so on to do anything to care for our earth. The fact that Global Warming is also portrayed as a sort of mystical idea that won't affect us until later also helps further this because capitalism is a system which only works for the now, not for the future. This isn't a coincidence, it's the same people destroying the enviroment because it's profitable that are the ones funding the mainstream media, paying its bills with commercials. This is why you rarely hear about what kind of a danger global warming really is on CNN and FOX and other corporate media outlets, fear that car companies, for example, will pull their ads. The question still remains though how do these companies destroy the enviroment?

This question was really answered for me after I saw the film Who Killed the Electric Car? Basically, this movie was about how in the early 90s in California, new, sleek-looking, cars that produced zero carbon emissions and used no gas whatsoever hit the highways with long lists of people trying to get their hands on them. Ten years later, every single one of these cars had been impounded and destroyed. The movie explores how the companies quickly realized that these cars put gas guzzling cars in danger, and how gas company lobbies felt threatened. These two companies hold such a strong say in the government because they provide campaign funding for candidates in exchange for the candidates supporting their interests. These companies threatened the government if they didn't repeal the 1990 California law which required the companies to sell electric cars in the first place. Once the law was repealed the car companies essentially pigeon-holed this new car realizing that it would endanger the countless gas-guzzling car manufacturing plants they ran, but more importantly, that it was such a easy car with basically no matenance meaning that people would buy these cars and never need another car again.

This movie made me realize, what kind of incentive is there for companies to do enviromentally conscious things. Look at hybrids today for example, yes, they are a step up and its great that we have them, but look at how expensive they are compared to a regular car. Because of this people choose to buy things with in their budget, cars that are less expensive are worse for the enviroment, thus alot more focus is put on these cars by car companies.

This brings back to my point that things are done in this system for profit. Until we break out of that, and until we have a system -- socialism -- which puts people's needs and the earth the people live on first, there will be no significant enviromental change for the better.

Thursday, October 11

Until the Jena 6 are Free, Neither are We!

By now, most people have heard of the Jena Six. During the build up to September 20th, when 50,000 people from all over the country marched on Jena, as well as after the mass outpouring, the corporate media felt forced to address it. With every hotel booked to capacity in the week leading up to the demonstration within Fifty miles of Jena, it was an impossible thing to ignore. But for those who haven't heard, The Jena Six refers to a case which started last year in a small Louisiana town. Basically it all started when a new black student at the local high school decided to sit under a tree which only white students sat under. The next day, 3 nooses, symbolizing the KKK, lynching, etc.. were found hung on the tree, this sparked the black students in the school to protest by all sitting under the tree the day after, a clear stand against racism. As a result of this, the situation exploded, the system showed its true colors. The District Attorney called a schoolwide meeting in the school auditorium, and separated students based on race. Facing the black students directly, the District Attorney said "I can write your life away with the stroke of a pen." Later, one of the black students who sat under the tree was invited to a all white party, when he got there, he was beaten by racist white students at the party. When the police came by, they came only to tell the black student to get back to his side of town. The next day, the student was in a convenience store where he saw one of his attackers. Heated words led to the attacker pulling out a sawed-off shotgun on the black student. When he managed to wrestle it out of the hands of the white student, the police arrested him and charged him with theft! The systematic and institutionalized racism peaked when a white student provoked 6 black students by supporting the nooses, supporting lynching black people, and etc.. to beat him. Even though the student wasn't hurt, and it was just a schoolyard fight and the student went to a high school dance that night, the 6 black students involved were charged with all kinds of insane charges amounted from 15-20 years in prison.

The fact that a school yard fight has been used to throw away the lives of six promising young black students, all of them star athletes with a real chance to break out of the the dire exploitation and oppression black people all over this country face, while white students who did far worse have gotten off free is a reminder of what kind of system we live under, what the roots of this country and the capitalist system really is; white supremacy and national oppression.

Gloria La Riva, a leader of the Party for Socialism and Liberation and a videographer attended the September 20th demonstration in Jena, Louisiana and filmed a large portion. She put together this short video. In the video, a speaker comes onto the podium and remarks that the prosecuter told the masses not to come to Jena on the 20th, that the people don't know what goes on in Jena. She then said, well, we do know what goes on in Jena, because it goes on in DC, it goes on in New York, it goes on in LA and etc...

This is a reflection that the Jena 6 is just one of many, many examples of institutionalized racism. 50,000 people did not pour out into the streets of Jena because this case is so unusual, something out of the ordinary. 50,000 people showed up because this is the reality of this racist system. Weither it be the fact that in New York City, 86% of all people frisked are black despite making up less than half the city's population, or it be the consistant racist police killings and the terrorism against black communities weither it be Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, or the countless others killed.

Such a system which has racism so deeply rooted into it, cannot be ridded of racism. There will be racism no matter what type of reforms the people force out of the system. The only way to stop this from happening again, as we always claim after something like this happens (Never Again! was the rally call for Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo etc) is a socialist revolution. Only socialism puts people before profit, while capitalists attempt to profit off of racism.

Welcome to My New Blog; Rise! Resist! Revolt!

Welcome, if you're reading this then you're reading the first post of my new blog. I am LeftyHenry, I am a Marxist-Leninist and a high school student in the Bronx, New York. My old blog was Word of the Left. I decided to abandon it and start a brand new blog because I wasn't able to update it as frequently as I liked, and I felt like I needed a fresh start. So this is my attempt at a brand new blog. The central theme of my blog will be political, revolutionary, and militant. The system we live under today; capitalism is useless, oppressive, exploitative, and in general a miserable system. All of the world's problems stem from this system, a system where wealth produced by working class people is stolen from them and controlled by a tiny percentage of bankers and capitalists to meet their needs; and endless pursuit of profit. Weither it be racism being profited off by capitalists who use police terrorism against black people and immigrants from Latin America in order to get them to work for less and keep them in a position where they have so many problems they don't bother to resist, or it is the military and economic rape of the third world by developed capitalist states in pursuit of natural resources and cheap labor. We need a system where the needs of the people are met, a system where the working class is in control of everything it makes and the economy is oreintated to meet the needs of the people, not profit. For me this blog is a way of expressing my thoughts, my anger with the system, as well as communicating with other people in the struggle. I hope you enjoy reading it : )