Monday, November 26

Call for a December 4 Day of Blogging Inspired by Fred Hampton

This is my first post here at Rise! Resist! Revolt! blog. I go by the web-name of Left Spot, for the unoriginal reason that I do a blog called Left Spot blog. I would like to thank LeftyHenry for inviting me in as a participant on Rise! Resist! Revolt!. I see it as a good experiment in grouping together a number of bloggers from the Marxist-Leninist milieu of the blogosphere.

Over the past couple of years there have been a number of blogs started by Marxist-Leninist or Maoist bloggers. Unfortunately almost none of the bloggers have been able to maintain a steady stream of new content on as much of a regular basis as we would like. I'm still doing Left Spot blog, but it seems like a good thing to also participate in this multi-blogger blog to see if through 'collectivization' we can get more regular content churning out and inspire each other to write more and better things.

That idea flows nicely into the actual content of this post. Having a multi-blogger blog is one great way to make us more than the sum of our parts within the blogosphere. Another way is to have a group of bloggers all write about a similar theme at the same time. This creates a dialogue across blogs that gives a broader reach than any individual blogger would have. So in that spirit, I am putting forward this call to write and post something inspired by Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton on December 4, the day he was assassinated in 1969. Read on for details, and leave a comment if you plan to participate. Thanks! --Left Spot

On December 4, 1969, Chicago Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton was assassinated as part of the U.S. government's campaign to neutralize the Black Panthers' growing revolutionary influence. Hampton was one of the most dynamic and politically on-point leaders in the Black Panther Party. His death was a huge loss to the BPP, to the Black Liberation Movement, the communist movement and to the revolutionary movement overall in the U.S. Since December 4 is approaching, I'd like to propose that bloggers who are interested should take that day to write and post something inspired by the legacy of Fred Hampton.

It could be something about the politics and legacy of the Black Panther Party; something about Fred Hampton specifically; something about the history or the current state of the Black Liberation Movement or the revolutionary movement in the U.S. in general; Something about how the Black Panthers tried to apply Marxist-Leninist or Maoist politics to the conditions in the U.S. and take out revolutionary politics around mass issues in a way the masses would understand and embrace, etc. Or just make up your own topic.

Almost a year ago (seemingly eons ago in internet-time) way back in January 2007, there was an interesting attempt to have a Blog Against White Supremacy Day on Martin Luther King Day. About 12 or 13 leftist bloggers participated in that and some good and interesting things were written.

I've always been frustrated that Fred Hampton is not better known and that the date of his assassination isn't more widely recognized or commemorated. I don't anticipate that there will be tons of participants in this blogging day, but if even just a few people write something, I think it will be a successful contribution toward the popularizing of Fred Hampton and his outstanding revolutionary spirit.

If you plan to participate, leave a comment here to let folks know.

Saturday, November 24

¡Si, Con Chavez, Con la Reforma!

Now that the privledged upper class students who surrounded pro-chavez students in Caracas' university of social work recieved the reaction they asked for from pro-chavez workers who obviously will not tolerate an attempt at another 2002-style coup and will defend the gains of the revolution that has pulled hundreds of thousands if not millions out of poverty and given the people power. Now that the corporate media uproar against Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution to a opposition instigated situation has calmed down here, I think its important to analyize what's going on in Venezuela and why every one who wants to see a world without poverty, exploitation, and oppression needs to show solidarity with the Revolution in Venezuela.

The biggest question people have to be asking is what are these reforms which people are ready to violently fight back to defend?

1.) Institutionalization and switch of Federal money from bureacratic state & local governors to the Communal Councils. After Chavez's initial election and even before leading up to the 1998 election, councils and groupings started to form in Venezuela all over the countries. When Mao Tse-tung, leader of the Chinese Revolution, said "A Single Spark can light a prarie fire" he wasn't kidding. What started off as a few councils to support Chavez have ignited into nationwide people's cells of power in almost every neighborhood where people decide how to use funding for their communities and how to rule collectively. The constitutional reforms being voted on December 2nd will increase funding to these bodies where everyone can join in and excercise their power. Critics claim that taking money away from the local governments and giving them to these community councils is dictatorial because these councils are a base of support for the Bolivarian Revolution. The truth is that the state governments are bureacratic and remnant of the old order. Ruling class corporate sponsored politicians are in charge in the state governments while its the people who are in charge in the communal councils. Critics in the US corporate media are simply scared of real people's democracy being legitimized in Venezuela because it means that the same type of corporations which fund these news outlets are gonna be losing power in Venezuela. Everyone who believes in real democracy needs to support this reform

2.) Lowering the amount of hours in the work day from eight to six. Venezuela has alredy garunteed all its people pensions, raised the minumum wage to the highest in the region and in general taken big steps to protect working people's rights. Lowering the amount of hours in the work day is another big step. It means working people will have more time to relax, spend time with their family, and in general enjoy life. This reform in particular has scared the US government and corporate media because it represents everything the US government stands against. People's rights? Worker's rights? This means that US corporations in Venezuela will be less profitable and more humane, something corporations are modeled to be the polar opposite of. This reform is an example of Venezuelan workers taking their country out of US corporate hands and Venezuelan robberbaron hands and putting it into their own.

3.) Lowering the voting age from 18 to 16. The prospect of a larger amount of youth and young people getting involved in the political process is a scary thought to the rulers of the US because the youth have always been the ones who are ready to change shit, they are the most progressive sector of society and they have the longest time to live in this world of any other sector of the population, thus logically they will vote based on what they think is the best for humanity in the long term rather than what's gonna get them lower taxes and out of paying for things like young peoples pensions and education like the older generations tend to vote based on. In any case this is a very democratic no matter what because its simply allowing more of the Venezuelan population into the political process. Not suprisingly, US corporate media tries its best to ignore this part of the new reforms and continues to call Chavez a evil dictator.

4.) Abolishing Term Limits. As you can probably imagine the US corporate media jumped like heroin fiend at this part of this reform using it as alledged proof that Chavez is the evil dictator ready to destroy the world and create a breeding ground for terrorism in Venezuela. What the corporate media ignored however, was the fact that countries deemd "beacons of democracy and liberty" throughout Europe have no term limits! Also the US itself has no term limits in its house and many states have no term limits for their governors. On the contrary, have no term limits is more democratic. The Bolivarian Revolution has a bold leader, so why should he go if the people don't want him too?

5.) Nationalize the Central Bank. The last major reform being proposed is taking the central bank out of the hands of the rich and wealthy bankers and putting it in the hand of the people so that any surplus value made will go to funding people's needs like healthcare and education rather than a new yacht or golf course for some banker. The corporate media reports this as Chavez the dictator taking control of the bank, but the truth is that it is not Chavez who will benefit from this, it is the working people of Venezuela.

In Summation, all progressive people need to stand with these reforms despite the widespread campaign by corporate media to spread disinformation about them. Anyone who supports real democracy should be behind Venezuela's Socialist process going on right now. It's because of this that I encourage everyone in the New York City Area to come out at 1 PM on December 1st to the Venezuelan Consulate located on 7 East 51st Street (between 5th Ave. and Madison Ave.) You can take the E, the V, or the 6 train. The ANSWER Coalition along with other organizations are calling for a emergency picket in support of the reforms which will be voted on the next day. Bring your friends, bring family, and be loud!

Thursday, November 22

A Day To Give Thanks?

The following is a piece written by Ward Churchill on Thanksgiving and the genocide of Native Americans it celebrates. Ward Churchill is a prominent political professor at the University of Colorado who has faced a large amount of political persecution being the central target of neo-conservative witchunt against professors in Universities who speak out and challenge the ruling classes version of history and current events. Horowitz, who believes black people are indebted to America for slavery, once said that there is one Ward Churchill but there are many like him all over the country and that they must all be denied tenure and essentially fired, as Ward Churchill has been. With that said, Churchill is in my view, a symbol of academic dissent against the ruling class. His piece basically addresses everything that is important to remember as you enjoy your Thankstaking.

Thanksgiving is the day the United States celebrates the fact that the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony successfully avoided starvation during the winter of 1620-21.

But from an American Indian perspective, what is it we're supposed to be so thankful for?

Does anyone really expect us to give thanks for the fact that soon after the Pilgrim Fathers regained their strength, they set out to dispossess and exterminate the very Indians who had fed them that first winter?

Are we to express our gratitude for the colonists' 1637 massacre of the Pequots at Mystic, Conn., or their rhetoric justifying the butchery by comparing Indians to "rats and mice and swarms of lice"?

Or should we be joyous about the endless series of similar slaughters that followed: at St. Francis (1759), Horseshoe Bend (1814), Bad Axe (1833), Blue Water (1854), Sand Creek (1864), Marias River (1870), Camp Robinson (1878) and Wounded Knee (1890), to name only the worst?

Should we be thankful for the scalp bounties paid by every English colony -- as well as every U.S. state and territory in the lower 48 -- for proof of the deaths of individual Indians, including women and children?

How might we best show our appreciation of the order issued by Lord Jeffrey Amherst in 1763, requiring smallpox-infested items be given as gifts to the Ottawas so that "we might extirpate this execrable race"?

Is it reasonable to assume that we might be jubilant that our overall population, numbering perhaps 15 million at the outset of the European invasion, was reduced to less than a quarter-million by 1890?

Maybe we should be glad the "peaceful settlers" didn't kill the rest of us outright. But they didn't really need to, did they? By 1900, they already had 98 percent of our land. The remaining Indians were simply dumped in the mostly arid and unwanted locales, where it was confidently predicted that we'd shortly die off altogether, out of sight and mind of the settler society.

We haven't died off yet, but we comprise far and away the most impoverished, malnourished and disease-ridden population on the continent today. Life expectancy on many reservations is about 50 years; that of Euroamericans more than 75.

We've also endured a pattern of cultural genocide during the 20th century. Our children were processed for generations through government boarding schools designed to "kill the Indian" in every child's consciousness and to replace Native traditions with a "more enlightened" Euroamerican set of values and understandings.

Should we feel grateful for the disastrous self-concept thereby fostered within our kids?

Are we to be thankful that their self-esteem is still degraded every day on cable television by a constant bombardment of recycled Hollywood Westerns and television segments presenting Indians as absurd and utterly dehumanized caricatures?

Should we tell our children to find pride in the sorts of insults to which we are subjected to as a matter of course: Tumbleweeds cartoons, for instance, or the presence of Chief Wahoo and the Redskins in professional sports?

Does anybody really believe we should feel honored by such things, or by place names like Squaw Valley and Squaw Peak? "Squaw," after all, is the Onondaga word for female genitalia. The derogatory effect on Native women should be quite clear.

About three-quarters of all adult Indians suffer alcoholism and/or other forms of substance abuse. This is not a "genetic condition." It is a desperate, collective attempt to escape our horrible reality since "America's Triumph."

It's no mystery why Indians don't observe Thanksgiving. The real question is why do you feast rather than fast on what should be a national day of mourning and atonement.

Before digging into your turkey and dressing on Nov. 23, you might wish to glance in a mirror and see if you can come up with an answer.

Monday, November 19

Putting Reparations on the Socialist Agenda

According to the International Monetary Fund(IMF), in 2006 the United States of America had a GDP of more than $13 trillion and thus ranking it as the largest national GDP in the world. GDP, or gross domestic product, is the value of all final goods and services from a nation in a given time period. Yet, this wealth is becoming gradually concentrated as yearly statistics show. According to State of Working America, in 2004, 12.7% of the population, 37 million persons, were considered poor. Not only is wealth in America unequally distributed, but poverty is as well also, with 30 percent of Blacks being poor, 20 percent of all Hispanics, but only 9 percent of Whites. How did America generate and continue to generate this vast amount of wealth and is there a connection between that process and it's disproportionate allocation?

Slavery and Primitive Accumulation of Capital

Primitive, or "original accumulation", refers to the initial process that led to a 'critical mass' of accumulation that enabled capital to be set in motion. It's a concept developed by Karl Marx to explain how the capitalist mode of production came into fruition. Marx says we must envision an accumulation of capital that was not a consequence of capitalist production but was the starting point of capitalist production. He called this "primitive accumulation of capital".

So what is this primitive or original/previous accumulation of capital? According to Marx it was the,

discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the indigenous population of that continent, the beginnings of the conquest and plunder of India, and the conversion of Africa into a preserve for the commercial hunting of blackskins, are all things which characterize the dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic proceedings are the chief moments of primitive accumulation. [Marx 1977, p. 915]

Capitalist development was due to the brutal exploitation of Blacks and indigenous people as consumers and workers. African slaves were forced to perform free labor for almost 250 years. Karl Marx notes,

Direct slavery is just as much the pivot of bourgeois industry as machinery, credits, etc. Without slavery you have no cotton; without cotton you have no modern industry. It is slavery that has given the colonies their value; it is the colonies that have created world trade, and it is world trade that is the pre-condition of large-scale industry.
-The Poverty of Philosophy: A Reply to M. Proudhon’s Philosophy of Poverty, New York, International Publishers, n.d., pages 94-5.

This constant expropriation of surplus value, at a high rate of exploitation, was the driving force behind capitalist development, as well as the underdevelopment of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Where did the reproduction and growth needed for capital investment come from after the abolishment of slavery?

Abolition and Permanent Accumulation of Capital

After the abolishment of the slavery mode of production in the South, the United states still continued to generate wealth. Rosa Luxemburg proposes that the cause of this continual generation of wealth is due to what is called, permanent accumulation of capital. The difference between Marx and Luxemburg is that, for Marx, primitive accumulation is the starting point for capitalism proper, whereas for Luxemburg it is an ongoing process. Even after Black Americans were "freed", they still were subject to economic exploitation and political disenfranchisement. This was accomplished by the racist/capitalist state through, but not limited to, Black Codes, convict lease, peonage, Jim Crow laws as well as institutional racism. The rate of exploitation was higher for black workers than white workers, allowing capitalists to accrue higher profits from black workers than their white counter-parts. This discrepancy still occurs today, according to State of Workign America, "For every dollar of whites’ income, minorities receive only 56 cents. For every dollar of networth that whites control, minorities control only 27 cents."

A Call for Reparations

The National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America(NCOBRA) views reparations as a "process of repairing, healing and restoring a people injured because of their group identity and in violation of their fundamental human rights by governments or corporations. Those groups that have been injured have the right to obtain from the government or corporation responsible for the injuries that which they need to repair and heal themselves. In addition to being a demand for justice, it is a principle of international human rights law. As a remedy, it is similar to the remedy for damages in domestic law that holds a person responsible for injuries suffered by another when the infliction of the injury violates domestic law". Economist Larry Neal, estimates that unpaid net wages to blacks before emancipation amount to $1.4 trillion today. While, University of California at Berkeley calculated the gains of whites from labor market discrimination from 1929 to 1969 to total $1.6 trillion. In total, there are estimates that blacks are owed up to 10 trillion by the US government. Yet, through all of NCOBRA's legal routes and tribunals , blacks have yet to receive any compensation. Nor, is it for certain that the government ever will as history has shown in the promise of '40 acres and a mule'.

Revolution is the Solution

There is a direct correlation between the development of capitalism and the underdevelopment of Black America. The exploitation of blacks is the motor for the United States rapid accumulation of capital. The high rate of exploitation, combined with the expropriation of surplus value from black labor is not only the cause of America's vast amount of wealth, but also the reason why that wealth is disproportionately allocated. Therefore, it is in the best interest of the capitalist class to continue to accumulate profit through division of labor according to race. The legal route for reparations and the development of Black America is a dead end. The only solution is it's usage as a backbone of a political movement towards a socialist revolution.

In that sense, reparations for Africans and indigenous people must be included on the socialist agenda. The only way compensation and development will be achieved is through the destruction of the vary economic system and state apparatus that is the cause of the underdevelopment of Black America. One of the first tasks of a socialist society would not only to meet the basic needs of the people, but to develop historically oppressed communities. The socialist society will give preference to developing these areas not to recreate inequality, but to raise the standards of life for everyone in society. This task cannot be successfully done in a capitalist society, but only a post-revolutionary socialist one.


"Four hundred years the white man has had his foot-long knife in the black man's back - and now the white man starts to wiggle the knife out, maybe six inches! The black man's supposed to be grateful? Why, if the white man jerked the knife out, it's still going to leave a scar!"
-Malcolm X

Tuesday, November 13

Rise! Resist! Revolt! is Changing...

Comrades, RRR is changing as a blog. The main change that will take place is that its open to all Revolutionary Leftists now. Any Marxist who would like to post can feel free to contact me by dropping a comment or sending an email. Several comrades of mine from a good mix of political backgrounds have wanted to join the team. When I started this blog, I was hoping to update it more frequently, but alot of things have popped up making it harder too find the time, so I got the idea to try to get together a grouping of people who share a hatred of capitalism and all the problems it brings the world; Racism, Poverty, Oppression, War, Starvation etc.. and recognize the need for a revolution to establish socialism a system where the working class owns the means of production and the wealth created is used to benefit everyone. Blackstone, from the Power to the People! blog (check my blogroll), is the first comrade to join the team. Look out for his insightful and revolutionary commentary.