Actually, you can find the Cornel West interview in DEMOCRACY NOW with Amy Goodman. I think it happened on October 6. I learned that Cornel West was arrested yesterday in Ferguson. The BOOK is called BLACK PROPHETIC FIRES, and involves an interview between West and a progressive German Christian and scholar. Unfortunately, I forget the German guy's name.
Peut-etre le choix de Mossadegh. La lute pour la liberte CONTINUE Dans tous le pays un chemin de la liberte est possible, mais difficile. Paths to freedom must be found in every country, Islamique et non-islamique Tous les hommes are destinied for freedom, though there will be setbacks and defeats as well as victories and great advances. Meme a Egypt, hardly had the Muslim Brotherhood taken power than there was already popular resistance. Where do you think it came from? Not solely from the Christian or secular minorities. Popular resistance in a Muslim country means much resistance is coming from Muslims themselves--in some cases even from Muslims who foolishly voted for the loony Brotherhood. (A sign of the times? In Christian Germany there was no almost immediate popular resistance within less than a year of der Fuhrer taking power. There would be now, and we also see it now in the Muslim world. Hegel has a point even if I cannot fully embrace his metaphysics: World history is the progress of the consciousness of freedom. The Zeitgeist, the spirit of freedom spreads over the whole earth. But what Hegel calls the Zeitgeist is actually the spirit of man. Freedom isn't some mere property or faculty that we have. It is what we ARE. It constitutes the being of the human--les Mussulman compris.. What has remained is for human beings to develop ever higher awareness of freedom as their destiny as well, growing awareness of the dignity of the human being. I am not naïve. This will involve an PROTRACTED struggle. But I am not pessimistic. The liberation of every man, woman and child on earth will be the fruit born of that struggle. We human beings are so constituted that it can hardly be otherwise. We will be free or we will not be. Human beings will never stop striving for freedom. And in every corner of the globe freedom will rise like the dawn).The only question is : How can I aid its rising?
In post# 895 I quoted your exact words, you stupid g___. Go read what you wrote! LOL! And credibility with YOU? LOL! That is funny. At any rate, I won't waste more words on you. Your four year old nephew would probably make a more intelligent interlocutor. And your obtuseness may be infectious. Au revoir. Countering the war against Black America--for it's not just against men--and the war against the poor, the working classes and other oppressed groups is what everybody should be talking about. Mass demonstrations are happening in Ferguson and elsewhere. Militarized police--who look like Yankee versions of the gestapo--are setting upon NONVIOLENT demonstrators with mace and gas. Not long ago they used rubber bullets. ARRESTS are mounting in an atmosphere which is becoming more and more fascistic. And it hasn't helped that the Supreme Court during the summer of 2013 gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965--once regarded as the crown jewel of civil rights victories of the time. And throughout the nation conservative state government are enacting stiff you requirements for voting which disproportionately work to disfranchise Black and Brown folk. So, while Capree, SBT and others continue their Jerry Springer level chatter, the more mature and socially conscious among us must face the growing shadow Fascism spreading across the land. Now this gets us back to the real issues. And I insist that the war is against Black America. It extends to other oppressed groups as well. And the more conscious and committed must figure out how to prepare our defenses. And also how to strategically mount an offensive.
I believe the media/government is using black people and STAGED RIOTS to not only demonize us as a group but also to set the stage for larger society. It’s like we’re a dress rehearsal for what is coming. Now, there’s a new ‘black’ movie coming out where a black male is terrorizing a black female and her child ALONGSIDE a movie with Denzel Washington where he becomes a superhero “The Equalizer” saving and assisting white people. I try to warn people that ANYTHING YOU SEE ON TV AND COMING FROM HOLLYWOOD is promoting white supremacy and anti-blackness (which amounts to the same thing) and while we’re sitting in these movies we never ask “How come there are no movies where a black man protects black women and black children?” coming out of Hollywood?
HEDY EPSTEIN I want to send a shout out to Hedy Eptein, German Holocaust survivor, who was recently arrested in protests against the injustice in Ferguson, MO. It seems she has had a long history of progressive struggle ever since she arrived in this country. Apparently, this German Jewish lady whose parents sent her to England (thereby saving her life, though not their own) has been involved him human rights struggles since at least the 1940s. It seems she was shocked to learn about the realities of racial segregation in this country during the 1940s. And many of the racially repressive laws directed against Blacks at that time reminded her of similar measures in Germany just prior to Hitler's the "Final Solution." I am perturbed to learn that she has a long history of activist solidarity with Black freedom struggles, but that it was only with her recent arrest that I learned of her. When I began this thread years ago to both elicit the voices of progressive whites, and to celebrate their contributions to emancipatory struggles, it was people like Ms. Eptein that I had in mind. She belongs to that tradition of the Tom Paine, Grimke sisters, the whites of the Mississippi Freedom Summer and many others who have sought justice even if it had to be at the expense of white privilege. Of course, as a European Jew in the Third Reich she belonged to the most detested and persecuted race in Europe---as we have long been in America. I can only imagine that when she saw those militarized police pitted against the Black community ---against NONVIOLENT protestors---she was reminded of the gestapo cops who turned Europe into an inferno. And perhaps she reco9gnized that the fascistic tactics directed against our people must eventually become the commonplace way in which America as a whole would be ruled if it is ignored when done in the Black community. For some Jews--unfortunatel y not all--"Never again!" never again only for the Jews. But never again can atrocities be accepted against ANY human community. She may not represent the majority of white America, but she does represent the BEST of white America....the best in all of us. May she and others like her live ad prosper until the rivers run backward
learned long ago not to take what you say at face value. Suffice it to say that some African Americans might find a TRIP TO DENMARK quite pleasant. And even though I know that there is racism in Europe, I doubt that Denmark or any Western European country is more racist than the good ole USA.
Probably PEOPLE saw the dangers of Fascism in the 1960s because of the repression against movement which intensified in the late 60s. Students shot by National Guard, Panthers killed and railroaded, the atrocities of Mayor Daley's police during the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, the trial of the Chicago 7, etc. George Jackson actually believed that America was ALREADY Fascist, not just moving in that direction. But we have seen that it could get even worse, the Neoconservative movement has tried to undo the progressive accomplishments of the 1960s. So, our struggle must CONTINUE before America does become Fascist, totally and for real. In some collection of his writings, Noam Chomsky stated that if police were allowed to operate throughout the WHOLE of America as they do in Black and Latin communities, the USA would already be regarded as a fascist or police state. Take that as a warning!!! Some whites--like Hedy Epstein--have seen the writing on the wall. We had all better unite soon in defense of what freedom we have left before it's too late. Death to Fascism!
Submitted by Brutal Truth on Tue, 09/11/2012 - 16:20.
Obama had 2 years from January 2009 through January 2011 when this country had a Democratic supermajority in the Senate, a sizeable Democratic majority in the House plus an ostensibly Democratic president. Golden opportunity to actually get off their asses and do something about the minimum wage, the Employee Free Choice Act, single-payer health care... What do we have to SHOW for it?
Minimum wage stuck at $7.25/hour -- great for business owners but absolute sh___ for the average low-wage worker. No Employee Free Choice Act because it would give the capitalist ownership class acid reflux. No single-payer health care, not even a public option, no ability to reimport affordable pharmaceuticals from Canada because that would cut into Big Pharma's profit margins. No, instead what we got was a health care "reform" bill that only Big Pharma and the HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES could love. If you don't believe me ask yourself why did the stocks of big insurance companies skyrocket as soon as word reached Wall Street that the "reform" bill was going to pass in Congress? We also have had an administration that floated a trial balloon in the Washington Post a couple of years ago suggesting they want to privatize public housing. If a white Republican president had suggested that they'd run his a___ out of town on a rail and call him the biggest racist since David Duke. But an African-American Democrat president suggests it and I hear crickets chirping. If a Republican president had ramped up the failed natural gas pipeline war in Afghanistan the anti-war protesters would have come out of the woodwork... but Obama does it and the left doesn't make a sound.
Just what exactly do you expect the billionaires' puppet and corporate (___) Obama to do in the next four years? When he has absolutely no pressure whatsoever from having to face another election? If he didn't do jack nor s____ these last four years knowing he'd have to face progressives at the BALLOT BOX in 2012 what the h___ kind of leverage do you think we'll have with him over the next four? Get real buddy, as Glen Ford and others on this blog have said before Obama is not the lesser of two evils but the more effective evil. Don't be an enabler for him. Vote for none of the above. Refuse to give your endorsement to a transparently phony and meaningless process. Refuse to lend it undeserved credibility. Otherwise you're part of the problem.
Has anyone noticed that Assdurratin's postions here are identical with those promoted by far RIGHT wing racists. Those Voter ID laws are actually more like the poll taxes and other measures which politically disfranchised our ancestors after Reconstruction. It is no coincidence that most people blocked from voting by the new voting restrictions are Black and (increasingly) Hispanic citizens. Also notice Assdurratin's RHETORIC: "Obama the MARXIST." Only a philosophically and politically illiterate simpleton could think that Obama is a Marxist after reading Obama's writings and speeches. But then again, only a political or philosophical illiterate could read Nkrumah and not see that he was a Marxist, though Assdurratin (who claims he's an Nkrumahist) vehemently denies Nkrumah's Marxism.
What a phony he is: an a___ kissing Uncle tom reactionary pretending to be a follower of a left revolutionary African statesman. And now he's DEFENDINGmeasures by his right wing white masters to disfranchise us again, a ,mere 50 years the Civil Rights Act, and 49 years after the Voting Rights Act of 1965. "Traitor go to h___!"
Thanks. Now something interesting happened at my university last week. No classes yet, just some faculty meetings. In one session I an a few others were asked to share our experiences as faculty who were first time or first generation university graduates. There was myself, a brother from the "hood" of east Baltimore, and son of parents who had left the Jim Crow South, a white working class woman from a poor family for whom it was uncommon even to complete high school. A woman from Africa living in the USA, from the lower rungs of the Nigerian middle class, but whose family had never gotten anywhere near a UNIVERSITY EDUCATION. And then there was the organizer of the panel---the daughter of Holocaust survivors. All first time educated folk from underprivileged backgrounds. After telling my story, my family's struggle to secure a decent education for me and my little sis, the lady who organized the panel stated to the audience "I can really relate to Dr. Savant's story because I am also a first generation college graduate. And like Professor Savant, I am a child of people who had to escape racial persecution, and long years of poverty. My parents were also Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany, like Ms. Epstein of whom Savant speaks so eloquently. They were not as poor as Savant's parents--not until Hitler took from them everything they had. And they remained poor for some time after they got to America. But they, too, had that passion for education, the same passion for at least the education of their children that Savant tells us his family and that most people in his community once had." I suggested that with the Jewish people, a "people of the book", learning (or at least love of learning) was also an ancient tradition which she inherited. At one time--not so sure about now--education was virtually a religious devotion in Black America, commonly seen as a key to collective freedom as well as personal advancement, and partly because so many whites (beginning with slaveholders) were so determined that we not be educated. But it's important that we continue to advocate education, not merely for personal economic advancement, but for personal and social liberation and freedom. Education for freedom.
Submitted by Brutal Truth on Tue, 09/21/2010 - 23:03:
True communists are not dictators but in favor of a truer democracy than you've ever experienced with the flaccid, pale puppet SHOW that is American bourgeois "democracy". You don't seem to understand that I'm not talking about a bureaucratic government ownership of the means of production but rather a system in which there is direct worker ownership of the means of production, i.e. businesses being owned jointly by all of its workers (except for those that are small enough to be worked entirely by its owner like hot dog stands or newsstands) which would itself be worker ownership because he or she would be doing all the work on their own.
If you think you can reform a system that is built around greed and screwing over everyone else in order to enrich a tiny clique and somehow transform it into something that really represents what's best for everyone who isn't rich then you're tilting at windmills. Capitalism is doing what it's designed to do and the whole American system including its constitution written by the elite slaveowning planter class in the interests of the elite would be laughable for its irony were it not for the immense HUMAN suffering it overlooks being obviously no laughing matter. It mouths nice and high-minded principles but they have never been lived up to and since the 9/11 false flag operation the mainstreaming of police state measures and descent into overt fascism have been plain for anyone to see.
What you don't seem to grasp is that myself and people like me don't advocate some kind of tyrannical police state with a nightmare of a bureaucracy but the opposite, a transparent, widely decentralized (council communist) government which can be recalled at a moment's notice if it strays from representing the interests of the proletariat. Debate should be encouraged, not curtailed. And the underlying laws governing society would be based upon advancing and bettering society as a whole and transitioning to a classless society; part of this includes being able to do what one wants to do as long as it's not violating anybody else's civil liberties, in other words an adult could choose to smoke herb or choose not to without fear of legal punishment but someone couldn't kidnap a person and force them to smoke it. Likewise someone could work where he or she pleases but the old ideas of (bourgeois) property relations would be discarded , meaning it would be impossible for a citizen to be in a position to economically oppress others in an employer-employee relationship.
Instead it would be a beautiful paradox: Nobody in the bourgeois sense of the word would be a BUSINESS OWNER but at the same time everyone would be a BUSINESS OWNER by being a worker and part-owner of whatever business in which they work.
The betterment of the proletariat is what true communists work towards and that is why we always bring forward the property question. We want a world in which the worker owns his or her own home but not a world in which a person can personally own his own homebuilding business unless he can do all the work himself. Otherwise it would be owned by its workers and whatever would be its profit margin rolled back into payroll. FREE HEALTH CARE, free education through college, a good opportunity from birth for everybody. These are the things that true communists want. To answer your question, if they differ from these things that I mentioned then they are not true communists.
Submitted by Brutal Truth on Wed, 09/22/2010 - 00:48.
Anyone can claim to be working in the interests of something but the proof is in the pudding. As I stated, when Lenin dissolved the workers soviets (councils) from that point onward it couldn't be considered a truly communist state so any comparison isn't valid any more than someone could consider crusaders claiming to be operating in the name of Jesus then beheading villagers in the Middle East to be genuine Christians. It's only a problem for small minded people who can't understand that someone claiming to be something doesn't necessarily mean they are what they claim.
Read what I just posted if you want to know what true communists are in favor of and what we aren't then get back to me. You're repeating points like about bureaucracies I already explained to C.N. Regarding religion however I think that while national and international church hierarchies have no place in a socialist SOCIETY because they have always been used as a mouthpiece for the elite in whichever country one finds them there should be no problem with churches at the local level and attendance should neither be encouraged nor discouraged. Some communists definitely need to be less dogmatic regarding religion and realize that it isn't religion that is evil but the abuse and manipulation of people by using religion by the establishment that is evil. Again, read what I posted above and you'll see what I am saying about non-violation of others' civil liberties underlying the new SOCIETY'S laws. As long as someone isn't violating anybody's civil rights or oppressing others, including economically oppressing them in an employer-employee relationship, then they aren't breaking the law. Debate should be encouraged, I noted that already.
"disregarding culture and viewing HUMAN societies to be merely a series of class relationships is universal? "
What's universal is that proletarian socialism is UNIVERSALLY APPLICABLE to any people's situation because in the capitalist economic model the problem is always the same everywhere, the workers are everywhere enslaved, just in varying degrees of wage slavery. In other words a worker in a maquiladora in Los Angeles has infinitely more in common with a worker in a sweatshop in Cambodia than either of them has in common with the bourgeoisie in their own country.
To answer your question about why systems such as the Soviet Union or P.R. of China have betrayed their originally-stated or at least purported intentions is that by their own weakness the ones originally leading the SOCIAL revolution become corrupted through an over-centralized format of government in which they are the center of it, they lose sight of working in the people's interest and (this is key) the people didn't ensure that they were installing a transparent government that can be recalled if it starts to go off the rails. I already addressed how transparency is absolutely critical and this is why. The Soviet Union became what it hated, a SOCIETY with classes only in their case the ruling class was the pseudo-communist bureaucracy enjoying privileges and wealth unobtainable by the average citizen. It goes without saying that such a system doesn't adhere to communist principles any more than a Muslim theocracy would be a genuine Muslim theocracy if it encouraged everyone to eat pork and get drunk.
Though it would be patently obvious that the latter situation was false it somehow eludes many people that a system that entrenches a new class division in place of the old one and doesn't allow the workers to remove the government if it becomes counter to their interests is (gasp!) not what genuine communism is about at all but 180 degrees away from it.
Basically you're arguing the same exact argument that certainly Leonardo da Vinci had to endure if ever he showed his plans for the flying machine with flapping wings to anybody. "That thing will never fly and it SHOWS that people were never, ever under any circumstances meant to fly through the air. People being able to fly is an unnatural concept and will simply never happen!" But lo and behold in 1903 people were able to take off in a heavier-than-air fixed-wing aircraft and humanity didn't look back. Humanity's advancement will eventually catch up with its visionaries.
Communism is both economic and political in that politics cannot ever really be DIVORCED from economics.
"...in favor of a bureacracy which was supposedly focussing only on the class relationships(as if this was the most important thing). "
The class relationships/class struggle is most certainly the most important thing. You need to understand the historical nature of the struggle and how history MOVES in a certain pattern. All of it comes back to one central issue, that a thread running through all of recorded history is class oppression. It was true when feudalism was the in thing and all the bourgeois epoch has done is substituted a simplified and more overt version of class oppression for the multitude of sub-class gradations of the past like feudal lords, guildmasters, journeymen, serfs, slaves; all that has been simplified into two great opposing classes: the bourgeoisie (the wealthy, ownership class) and the proletariat (which should be considered everyone else who isn't rich.) Until you realize this universal truth that applies to every capitalist society from the U.S. to Poland to Nigeria to Syria, then you won't be able to grasp where communists are coming from when we talk about the universality of capitalism's oppression. Do you honestly think that a guy flipping hamburgers in the hot ass kitchen of a fast food restaurant has more in common with some bourgeois pig in his own country living in a gated community sipping mint juleps and bitching about how inefficient his servants are, than he has in common with someone spinning yarn in a sweatshop in some other country? If so there's not much for us to talk about.
I'm not in favor of eliminating cultures. Someone's culture should be embraced as it's a part of them and part of what makes them who they are. Great, no problem. But that doesn't mean that we should allow the world's (and each individual society's) cultural differences to balkanize us into acting like HUMANITY is more than one species. When we do that we are just doing the work of the bourgeoisie. They want us to remain artificially divided with this ethnic group distrusting that ethnic group because it keeps us from coming together and kicking the shit out of them. Who benefits from white workers living in trailer homes fearing and loathing African American workers living in apartments who make the same starvation wages? The working class whites and AAs? Or the PARASITICfilth that keeps both of them living from hand to mouth? We have to remember who the real enemy is.
Submitted by Brutal Truth on Wed, 09/22/2010 - 19:05.
Russell Means is way too caught up in narrowminded cultural-nationalist thinking to be able to see the forest for the trees so to speak. The answer isn't to distrust everything that doesn't originate within one's own community. Again, that's just lending a helping hand to the ruling elite by ensuring that no one group gains a critical mass of PEOPLE and that everyone remains divided into tiny ethnic enclaves. He fails to comprehend the big picture and seems too hooked on cultural exclusivity. What's the difference between a white bigot claiming that white-oriented culture is superior to all others and a Lakota Indian claiming that indigenous native culture is superior to all others?
The solution isn't to try to revert to some prehistoric Luddite wet dream of a social order where we all worship "mother Earth" and shun advances in TECHNOLOGY and new ideas if they originate with someone who grew up speaking a different language or having a different culture. Likewise Means falls into the same philosophical trap that you seem to be falling into regarding condemning all Marxist thinking by the examples of societies like the Soviet Union that blatantly deviated sharply from genuine Marxist teachings. For example, in Means's railing against Soviet destruction of the environment he overlooks that they were doing so explicitly counter to Marxism. Consider that it states in chapter 2 of the Communist Manifesto that one of the goals of a truly socialist society is "the bringing into cultivation of wastelands and the improvement of the soil GENERALLY IN accordance with a common plan." Nowhere does it say to rape the environment. It would be like me criticizing Christianity for advocating the beheading of people that refuse to convert to Christianity when the crusaders were obviously acting completely 180 degrees against what Christ's teachings were. The actions of the crusaders no more condemn Christ's actual teachings than societies claiming to be acting in the name of Marx but pervert and ignore his precepts could be used to condemn Marxism. If I claim to be a radical environmentalist and in the name of the planet decide to go to an oil refinery and EXECUTE everyone then cause a giant explosion that destroys the surrounding town then does that mean that environmentalism is ipso facto evil because of what I did?
Of course not. This point doesn't need to be belabored, it's self-evident if you think about it.
There are certain universal truths in life. One of them is that if someone who owns a business is allowed to then he or she will inevitably pay his or her workers no more than he thinks he can get away with paying them. Honestly, and this may sting a little but it needs to be said: An African American BUSINESS OWNER with a shop in Harlem employing black workers is no more likely to treat them any better than a white business owner in Bel Air would treat his white workers. It is a class issue, a difference of haves and have nots. Moreover, regardless of ingrained prejudices that affect so many of our white brothers and sisters, a black businessman in the conditions of his economic existence has infinitely more in common with white businessmen than he does with his own black workers. The solution: the abolishing of bourgeois property in the interest of the betterment of everyone who isn't of the propertied class. This is the solution whether one is talking about the economically oppressed here or wherever capitalism is the dominant economic system.
True HUMANprogress can only really be defined in terms of economic equality, of advancing to the stage where nobody is born into poverty and nobody is born into wealth. A society's development has to be measured against how close or how far away it is from that end goal. Maybe I'm ahead of my time, in fact I'm pretty sure I am but that's OK. The world will eventually grow the hell up and the vast majority of its people will eventually decide that what is in their own best interests is also in the best interests of their brothers and sisters of the oppressed proletariat much in the same way that nobody in the developed world sends their kids to work in a coal tipple anymore. It's progress and it can be delayed, it can even be reversed temporarily but it can never and will never be permanently derailed. Progress is inevitable. The bourgeoisie is on borrowed time.
Submitted by Brutal Truth on Wed, 09/22/2010 - 20:47.
Yes, the proof is in the pudding as it is very easy to tell if any person or SOCIETY that claims to be Marxist is actually Marxist in the same way that any person that claims to be Christian is actually Christian. It involves nothing more than actually reading their respective literature then comparing and contrasting the actions of the person or society in question with the literature they claim to embrace. Pretty effing simple. Jimmy Swaggart was a con artist. Does that mean Christ and everyone who is a genuine Christian is a con artist?
"my disagreements with marxist theory is that it posits that HUMAN societies most important elements are merely economic relationships(thus reducing the HUMAN experience to merely economic relationships(without considering and to the detriment and neglect of the countless other things that make a HUMAN SOCIETY whole) "
Well human societies' most important elements that determine its current condition are in fact economic relationships, namely the state of its class struggle. Regardless of national differences, cultural differences, differences in cuisine and religion and its own shared group experiences there is something that is unavoidably present in every capitalist SOCIETY and looming over it: The oppression of about 95% of its population by the other 5%, give or take a percentage point or two one way or the other. In essence it is unavoidable that with capitalism one has two distinct and extremely unequal sets of people, the haves and have nots. We can massage it and try to reform it and make it into something that has some compassion for the have nots but trying to reform it offers no changes beyond the cosmetic. If it wasn't about the "sanctity" of an individual being able to economically oppress others for his own personal enrichment then it wouldn't be capitalism. As an economic model it works great for the comparatively tiny clique that owns the wealth but for the rest of the people? Not so much. That's why the BEST BET for the bourgeoisie is to keep us as ignorant of our plight as possible and keep us as divided against one another as possible. Having a narrow focus or disregarding ideas simply because they were put on paper by a white man/European/whatever is closeminded to the Nth degree and playing right into the enemy's hands.
Ultimately what I'm saying is this: Underlying every capitalist society is the same oppression by the haves against the have nots. Yes there are a multitude of different cultures and religions and nationalities and that's a good thing as it would be a pretty damned boring world otherwise. But those differences in no way whatsoever change the fundamental class struggle that itself is the underlying problem within every single capitalist SOCIETY in the world, just in somewhat varying degrees. That much we all as HUMANS have in common if we live in capitalist countries, that this phenomenon is present. With this economic model it has to be present because capitalism is the polar opposite of anything that places human dignity and worth and the advancement of the average person over the narrow class interests of a tiny well-to-do minority. Anything that says the profit margin is more important than people's lives and well-being is inherently evil to its core and is beyond reforming. Tear it down and start over.
Submitted by Brutal Truth on Thu, 09/23/2010 - 21:48.
In Christian literature one doesn't need to go beyond the four gospels and doesn't need to consider anything beyond Christ's actual teachings. Those are pretty straightforward and don't contradict each other. Regarding Marxism, I agree with the vast majority of its tenets but in its application I personally tend to favor a more decentralized approach perhaps somewhat like the anarcho-syndicalist radical leftists in the Spanish Civil War carried out in the territories under their control from 1936-'39. This may just be a problem of interpretation or where the emphasis is placed more than a problem of substance. It isn't the power itself that corrupts a person or a group but the ability to exercise power unchecked with citizens unable to have any recourse or avenue for redress of grievances. This is why I've emphasized transparency in any workers state government. Once the class structure has been smashed it has to be the overriding goal to prevent another class structure from emerging in its place, e.g. a bureaucratic class unto itself that enjoys privileges that the regular citizens do not. This helped sink the Soviet experiment.
When Marx speaks of centralizing this or that in the hands of "the State" he's speaking of the ideal, 100% democratic workers state which would represent the will of the proletariat but even so I like yourself would rather place more power in the hands of local elected councils with the central government being nothing much more than a "meeting place" for representatives of these local councils to decide the few POLICIES that need to be decided at the national level.
All of them certainly subject to recall if they stray from the path of what's best for the proletariat. This is true council communism and the Soviet Union would have been a beautiful thing had it maintained this form of government rather than quickly discarding it in favor of their circular logic of "the Bolsheviks always know best and we're the Bolsheviks so we automatically represent the will of the proletariat so there's no need for elections." No way José, that route can't be taken.
Obviously there would have to be some kind of equivalent to a federal government if for no other reason than to organize the common defense of the workers state; in that vein I favor instead of a large standing army like seems to be popular among pseudo-communist countries/deformed workers states rather having a military that is sort of like a high-tech militia that can be called out when needed. Sort of borrowing from the Hezbollah model. It would be nothing that could be used to mount a real invasion and occupation of another country but something that is intended for deterrence against foreign counterrevolutionary incursions.
Regardless I think the key to the whole thing is transparency and ensuring that any central government that would necessarily need to exist would be 100% subject to the workers councils. The best way to accomplish that would be a national-level "parliament" made up entirely of elected workers who also serve in their local councils. That's how I've always envisioned it as it dovetails nicely with worker ownership of the means of production and exchange.
Decisions affecting a locality, e.g. whether or not to build a broom factory there or convert acres of pastureland into cropland would have to be approved locally with a referendum, with the federal government in a position to advise but not insist. No permanent bureaucracy and no unelected officials. No CAREER politicians. As long as it is transparent and accountable to the will of the people at every moment then I see no problem in a central government being formed. My difference with Karl Marx is in the emphasis, in that I would want the default to be the decision being made at the local level and anything that could not be decided locally would then have to be decided by the "federal" government which in my opinion should be just an extension of all the local governments.
Above all else we would have to remain careful to not allow any government to become a class unto itself or else we've defeated the whole purpose. I think you and I agree on most of this anyway. We're definitely on the same side.
Submitted by Enlightened Cynic on Wed, 09/22/2010 - 10:40.
You can't conflate Chavez with Castro. Whether you like it or not, Chavez is DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED. Usually in overwhelming majorities. Your criticisms of "socalism" aside, don't buy the Pentagon, CFR, and Mass Media hysteria about Chavez being a dictator. No more "dictator" than GWB who stole 2 elections. (Where was the UN on that one?)
You might aver that Chavez manipulated the Constitution to engineer additional term(s) blah, blah, blah. But didn't the UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT manipulate the Constitution to engineer a Bush win in Florida? Didn't Diebold and the GOP steal Ohio in the subsequent election? How many Black (or other) felons are still denied the right to vote, or work for wages cheaper than those in Barundi under the prison system that incarcerates more PEOPLE than anyone in the world? Try to start a new political party and watch how much money or how many legal obstacles are placed in your path.
Americans like to believe we are a democracy, we have freedom of speech, we can own "property," blah blah blah. Bull___. We have manufactured consensus and election results engineered by the Elites.
Freedom of speech? Don't make me laugh. How many times do we need to see peaceful protesters arrested whether on sidewalks or the Halls of Congress for speaking truth to power? If most, if not all of us said what we write here at BAR at work, in our local papers, in our churches, we'd be fired and ostracized to high heaven. The "consensus BUILDING SYSTEM" would punish us economically and marginalize us socially for not adopting American Exceptionalism, the root and branch of global racism.
Think 9/11 Truthers.. tell your co-workers you believe 9/11 was an inside job and watch what happens to your PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL. All of a sudden C.N. becomes a "poor fit," "he's not a 'team player' anymore," and soon his ass is unemployed and blackballed. Say what you will in America but pay dearly. Just because we can go to WalMart every other weekend and get on-demand porn don't mean we're "free."
Cuba would be faring much better were it not for the criminal US embargo, Venezuela is doing better than us despite repeated US covert actions to subvert the will of the PEOPLE. Despite decades of the US foot on it's throat Cuba has the finest medical system in Latin America. Both Castro and Chavez have raised standards of living of the general populace because they don't interpret "property rights" through the Western lense.
Many of these so-called "socialist countries" would do fine if the US just left them the fuck alone. But you know as I do that anyone that doesn't toe the line is a "threat" which typically means anyone who speaks truth to power is a threat. Or anyone who experiments with a different political economy is a "threat." Start kicking up the dust around the lunch/breakroom about the real deal behind 9/11 if you doubt me, and you'll see how fast you on the outside looking in, on the sidewalk eating twinkies standing in the unemployment line.
Hey I'm all for self-help and sufficiency, which Blacks engaged in for millenia in the global sphere and hundreds of year in the American sphere. I mean, exactly WHEN were Blacks fully integrated into the "Capitalist System?" or are we even fully integrated NOW? Somebody please pencil in the date for me. Give the Euro-centric worldview a rest, it's bullshit.
Read the article on Hudson's address to BRIC. "Not so fast my friend."
Submitted by Brutal Truth on Mon, 09/20/2010 - 18:43.
"As flawed as USA capitalism is, I still think it is the best system in the world."
It's not even the best system compared to other capitalist SOCIETIES like those found in western Europe where at least the workers have a little bit of clout, the government isn't unabashedly union busters and the people are educated enough to realize that socialism isn't a dirty word but the opposite. Capitalism is a heartless and evil system that works great for the wealthiest 1% or 2% or sometimes even 5% of the population but hands a giant shit sandwich to the remaining 95%+ percent and expects them to like it. Capitalism is very good at doing what it's designed to do: Make the rich richer with the consequence of making the poor poorer. It should not be applauded or apologized for but torn down and replaced with a system designed around what's best for the average non-wealthy person, not the average Rockefeller.
Submitted by Enlightened Cynic on Thu, 09/16/2010 - 23:20.
Part of the difficulties in establishing new paradigns is because of the uncritical acceptance of "received wisdom" about what particular, iconic terms mean. Below is a definition of capitalism and it's one that's clearly slanted towards the "system." As evident by arguing that MOST importantly is a "moralistic system." Get that, a moralisitic system. LOL Now anyone with half a brain knows better.
Here's another ANALYSIS that get's at my point:
"Many Greens, Marxists and anti-Globalists agree that the governments of the major industrial economies are not serving in the role of protecting "the FREE MARKET", but would go on to say that these governments are, in fact, acting to protect the owners of capital and corporations as their first priority, sometimes expressed as "socialism for the rich, capitalism (cut throat competition) for the poor." These critics, therefore, would assert that the correct term for the core industrial nations is neither capitalism, nor mixed economy, but corporatist. Libertarians and other free-market advocates may also share this opinion regarding some or all of the major economies.
Nevertheless, mainstream economists, for their part, admit that the present economic systems have diverged from earlier forms labeled "capitalism", and many believe that some of the modern economies are still best described as being "capitalism" rather than "mixed economy" or "corporatist.""
There you have it folks. Capitalism is a loaded term. It is also distinctively Euro-centric and thus ethnocentric. It comes encrusted with American (and Western) Exceptionalism and other potent toxins. (Which is why it underlines the rhetoric of the Tea Party)
Why are we describing the exchange of goods and services, whether through trade or batering or other forms of mutual economic exchange as "capitalism?" We need to be mindful that "trade" existed long before capitalism, long before the system of indebtedness that followed capitalism, long before excess production/consumption or concepts of private property, long before the Euro-centric political economy. Capitalism makes us "slaves" although we think we're free. The system squashes free thought and speech, punishes us economically if we speak or write or otherwise step outside the box. The system will blackball us into extreme poverty.
F___ the western definition of capitalism which is racist, ethnocentric, and narrow minded. Africans, Asians and other cultures were engaged in trade when Whites were still in caves or warring for 100 years. That's not intended as an expression of who's superior, just a simple expression of FACTS. And most importantly a reminder that the "West" didn't invent FREE TRADE. We don't need no stinkin capitalism, we can create fairer instruments of trade. Islamic culture for instance frowns on usury to this very day.
"HUMANITY originated in Africa, and as soon as HUMAN societies existed so did economic activity.
Earliest humans were hunter gatherers living in small, family groupings. Even then there was considerable trade that could cover LONG DISTANCES. Archaeologists have found that evidence of trade in luxury items like precious metals and shells across the entirety of the continent."
Thanks to you all for the many insightful suggestions. But let's keep in mind that usage of the term "capitalism" is full of unnecessary baggage. It confuses and stunts the dialogue between "Left" and "Right." The Left wants to categorically assume capitalism is unfair but yet want to be fairly REWARDED for their talents and labors, the Right assumes socialism is bad, yet negates the fact that capitalism institutionalizes inequalities. The language is nothing but an intellectual straight jacket.
Until we begin to think outside the box in terms of what is or isn't "capitalism," until we acknowlege the true origins and facts of world COMMERCE and trade we'll continue to hamstring our efforts to create a new and workable paradignm. Everybody engages in trade, but not all trade is "capitalistic." Well, it certainly doesn't have to be so, does it??
Submitted by Brutal Truth on Thu, 09/23/2010 - 21:11.
Considering the country's infrastructure is literally falling down around our ears I think there is a hell of a lot of opportunity out there for PEOPLE to be employed in rebuilding it if we had a government that put a priority on employment rather than toadying to the oil barons. Who really benefits from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? Those who 1.want to force a different way for natural gas to be transported out of Turkmenistan without having to go through Russia or Iran; 2.those who want to take advantage of Iraq as the soon-to-be center of gravity of the 21st Century world's oil production and get their hooks in it to privatize its resources into being subsidiaries of Exxon Mobil, Chevron Texaco and Conoco Phillips; 3.the armaments manufacturers; 4. the mercenary "contractors" like Blackwater/Exe, Triple Canopy etc. In other words a pretty small slice of the American population.
The enormous amount of CORPORATE GIVEAWAYS to this tiny sliver could be infinitely better spent on programs of social uplift and employment projects like a second New Deal. Maybe call it the Real Deal? The late great Dr. King once said that "Any society that spends more on military defense than it spends on programs of social uplift is headed for spiritual death." From where I sit its spiritual EKG is looking pretty damn shaky.
The person most subservient to whites herd is you. After all, you don't see me singing the praises of white women while vilifying Black women. You don't see me deifying whites in general while disdaining my own people. Such sickness is yours, not mine. And self-hatred is a sickness---as well as the paranoia of seeing ghosts called "Mace" under every treed, every carpet, every bed, and in every closet. Even before your cognitive faculties disintegrated to the point they have now I warned you that this anti-Black hatred would ruin your mind, what mind you still had left. And obviously it has. If you have an ounce of sound judgment left then you will seek counseling on your own before you are involuntarily subjected to medical supervision.
Well, here's what Dr. King himself had to say about Democrats and Republicans:" This dearth of positive leadership from the federal government is not confined to one political party. Both political parties have betrayed the cause of justice. The Democrats have betrayed it by capitulating to the prejudices and undemocratic practices of southern Dixiecrats. The Republicans have betrayed it by capitulating to the hypocrisy of right wing, reactionary Northerners" (Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr., pp. 108--109) By the way, he did comment Eisenhower for his stand in Little Rock, as he would later commend Kennedy for forcing George Wallace to back down, and Johnson for supporting the Civil Rights Act of 1954 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Notice King commended PARTICULAR ACTIONS, when they coioncided with justice--but NO PARTY
Racism and Communism are different ideologies and tendencies. BOTH political parties have a tawdry record of racism, but both are (and have always been) anti-Communist. So stop using empty rhetoric. In fact, it is interesting that in America the most militantly anti-Communist have more often than not been the most militantly racist. No one was more anti-Communist in the bad old days as the Dixiecrat segregationists and their reactionary Northern Republican allies. But one thing that did happen is that due to the pressure of progressive movements in the 1960s, especially the Black Movement, the national Democratic party was pushed in a more liberal direction. At the level of national politics this meant a kind of alliance of moderate and liberal Democrats with moderate and liberal Republicans which facilitated civil rights victories at the federal level--isolating reactionary Dixiecrats and right wing Republicans. Barry Goldwater's 1964 campaign helped to bring together right wing Republicans and reactionary Dixiecrats in what became a foreshadowing of the neoconservative movement which would reach its peak in government during the Reagan Administration. What many people fail to recall is that in the 1950s ALL Republicans were not conservative or right wing. There were rightists, centrists and liberals in both Republican and Democratic parties. King knew this; Hence he never supported a particular party, only certain programs. Had a liberal Republican won the 1960 elections and did (under Movement pressure, of course) essentially the same things as were done under the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, that Party would almost certainly have a large (if not majority) part of Black electorate today. But with Barry Goldwater's public opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights law, an opposition which helped switch many Dixiecrat votes to the Republicans--but evoking vehement opposition from Dr. King and the Movement--Republic ans began to wreck any chances they might still have for AA voter support. The passage of a large number of voter restriction laws by Republican administrations in various states, only reinforces the image of the Republicans as the anti-Black party--not the party of Lincoln or Emancipation. Publicly stated opposition to the Civil Rights Act by both Ron and Rand Paul nearly fifty years after the fact, hasn't helped either.
Uncle Tom A___ Clarence, as one Black nationalist called him, is controlled by the Republican wing of the corporate elite. Clarence Thomas, who is always berating poor Blacks for using racism as an excuse for their own inadequacies, was himself screaming about a "high tech LYNCHING" when called to answer accusations about sexual harassment. But I wonder: How did he vote when the Republican majority Supine Court decided to gut the Voting Rights Act last summer? The enforcement clause, I mean.
Actually, Dr. King was NEVER a Republican, though Daddy King was for awhile. King, Sr. seems to have shifted from Republican to Democrat to support the Kennedy bid for the presidency. Again. in his Autobiorgraphy Dr. King stated that he preferred to stay clear of BOTH parties. Ironically, that one point on which Martin and Malcolm X both agreed.
Let's be clear. Dr. King was cautious about both parties, and would only support certain policies or programs, not parties. After all, both Kennedy/Johnson and George Wallace were Democrats. There were in those days still liberal or progressive Republican who supported civil rights and reactionaries (like Goldwater) who opposed it. Edward Brooke was a black liberal Republican, and supporter of civil rights. Barry Goldwater was a right wing white Republican who opposed it. So, what do you do? Worry less about the labels and more about the ideas, policies and programs.
In fact, it is the Left that has supported revolutionary developments in Africa--including those magnificent Black leftists, Dr. King and Malcolm X. It was the Right--like Reagan and his negro lapdogs--who promoted "constructive engagement" with the fascist regime in South Africa. It was they who backed up traitors like Chief Buthelezi. It was the left and progressives who supported groups like the ANC and the PAC. We revolutionaries and progressives also raised material support for FRELIMO, PAIGC and other revolutionary forces in Africa. Just because you're a right wing reactionary, militant Islamicist fundamentalist and possibly COINTELPRO agent, doesn't entitle you to lay claim to the work of others--work which you and your fellow reactionaries have tried to undermine.
Obama got a little over 40% of the white vote in 2008, and 35% of the white vote in 2012. He's the only Black and one of the few Democrats since Johnson to win that large a part of the white vote. But he didn't get half of it. Both in 2008 and 2012, Republicans still got a majority of the white vote.
Oh yes. Black and white reactionaries have more in common that immediately meets the eye, and more than they will admit. No wonder the American Nazi party was sympathetic to NOI in the time of Elijah Muhammad.
"I choose to identify with the underprivileged. I choose to identify with the poor. I choose to give my life for the hungry. I choose to give my life for those who have been left out of sunlight of opportunity...seei ng life as a long desolate corridor with not exit sign. This is the way I'm going. If it means suffering a little bit, I'm going that way...If it means dying for them, I'm going that way." Martin Luther King, Jr. "The Good Samaritan," Chicago, August 28,1966 Check this out in GOING DOWN JERICHO ROAD: THE MEMPHIS STRIKE AND MARTIN'S LUTHER KING'S LAST CAMPAIGN, by Michael K. Honey
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