Monday, July 24, 2017

Venezuela: ¡Constituent Assembly YES! Interference NO!


International Committee 
for Peace, Justice and Dignity 

¡Constituent Assembly YES! Interference NO!
Photo: Bill Hackwell
Statement from the International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity

The U.S. State Department, the oligarchy and the Venezuelan right, together with the regional and European right have not let up in their attempt to destroy the enormous achievements accomplished by the Bolivarian Revolution of Venezuela and the Government of Nicolas Maduro.
 
The main objective that drives them, constantly and permanently, is to put into practice various methods of war in order to take control of the vast natural resources of the country, especially oil. Since Chavez, all those resources have been put in the hands and stewardship of the Venezuelan people.  
 
It is the first time in two hundred years of history that this has happened, thanks to the emancipatory and anti-imperialist efforts of Commander Hugo Chávez - a direction continued by the Government of Maduro. The oil income is now at the disposal of huge projects aimed at benefiting those who were always forgotten and humiliated; the people, workers, farmers, blacks and native people.
 
Also for the first time in the history of Venezuela, illiteracy has been eradicated; more than 1,500,000 affordable homes have been built, education, culture and sports now reaches every corner and mountain top of the country and is no longer just a privilege to be enjoyed by the rich. Women have recaptured their dignity and today they occupy important positions at all levels of the life of the country, including the armed forces. Social missions have been multiplied to give a roof, work and land to those who never had anything.
 
The generosity of Chavez did not forget a single Latin American. His work and vision changed the map of Latin America and the Caribbean. Along with the resistant and blockaded Cuban Revolution, the solidarity of Fidel and Chavez carried out the largest and most beautiful feats of the century. It was not just Venezuela and Cuba, but all poor people of the Americas. In just a few years, through Operación Milagro and the literacy program Yo Si Puedo, millions of poor Latin American and Caribbean were able to see, read and write.
 
Regional bodies of integration such as Mercosur strengthened, progressive governments in the region and were supported so they could put an end to the historical dependence on the IMF and the World Bank. It was a clear and loud message of NO MORE that was sent to the FTAA and in that ALBA, UNASUR and the Bank of the South were born. Huge efforts were made to start the dialogue of peace between the Colombian Government and the FARC, which, after five years of talks, ended 50 years of war in that country.  For the first time in history a regional body without the presence of imperialism was created in January of 2014 in Havana when CELAC was born declaring Latin America and the Caribbean a "Zone of Peace".
 
All of this was accomplished in less than two decades when there was not really a moment of true peace. Imperialism just could not stand what was happening. 
So they plotted and invented a humanitarian crisis, by urging the Venezuelan right and the oligarchy to hide and destroy food and medicine while the imperialists themselves prevented shipments of these vital items. They gave cover to the cowardly terrorist imperialist right who have systematically refused to engage in dialogue while failing to organize even one "peaceful demonstration" that even remotely matched the size that the legitimate government of Maduro has been able to bring together.
Instead they have resorted to the most inhumane extreme tactics by funding, providing and sponsoring mercenaries that kill in the most horrendous ways any young man who looks like they could be a supporter of Chavez. Many times the color of their skin is enough to be set on fire.
It has been one hundred days of declared war during which an unconstitutional referendum and a so-called parallel government of the "opposition" took place. They have even begun to organize and appointing a future government with absolutely no constitutional basis.
The Trump administration has threatened Venezuela with severe sanctions if it does not desist from conducting the upcoming Constituent Assembly. Meanwhile the lap dog of the empire, Luis Almagro, who heads the Organization of American States (OAS) has demanded a "humanitarian" intervention by the United States. One with the same humanity of those interventions into Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria that has left millions dead and still counting. The sniveling right wing governments of the region and Europe are pathetically joining the choir.
Imperialism, along with its servants and allies are pulling out all the stops to prevent the realization of the Constitutional Assembly taking place on July 30 which is the largest and most significantly representative exercise any nation could conduct. Basically Maduro is putting his trust in the people by empowering them to defeat the fascist coup. No wonder the imperialist are so hell bent on stopping it.
The Empire and the retrograde right fear the Constituent Assembly because it will be the most genuine expression of people power. To support it is not only to defend the sovereign right of the Bolivarian people to decide their own fate in peace. It is also to preserve ours.
We make a call to all our friends in the solidarity movement, to the committees all over the world that for a long time have supported the Cuban Revolution and other people's struggle, the honest men and women, to be permanently alert and mobilized to denounce the imperial right that will attempt to impede the vote to the Constituent Assembly.
This week, on July 28, will mark the 63rd birthday of Hugo Chavez and July 26 will be the 64th anniversary of Fidel's assault on the Moncada Barracks; the best way we can pay tribute to these two heroes of our time is to renew our commitment to the Cuban and Bolivarian Revolutions and their right to exercise their sovereign right to life, peace and dignity.
#Constituent Assembly Yes!!
#Interference No!!
#Venezuela Has to Be Respected!!
#The Constituent Assembly Goes!!
International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity
July 24, 2017   
International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity 
510-219-0092 | info@TheInternationalCommittee.org | Website

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Mimi Soltysik: The Common Sense of Socialism (SOAPBOX PODCAST JULY 23, 2017)

July 23, 2017




Guest: Mimi Soltysik
Topic: The Common Sense of Socialism 

Emidio "Mimi" Soltysik (born October 30, 1974) is an American political activist for the Socialist Party USA. He was the party's nominee for President of the United States in the 2016 election.
From October 2013 to October 2015, Soltysik served as National Co-Chair of the Socialist Party USA. Prior to that, he served as National Vice Chair from 2011 to 2013.

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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Speaking Truth to Empire with Dan Yaseen (July 2017 Edition)

https://soundcloud.com/speaking-truth-to-empire/170719-speaking-truth-to-empire-steve-lendman
CLICK IMAGE TO LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW

July 2017

On “Speaking Truth to Empire,” on KFCF 88.1 FM Free Speech Radio for Central California, Dan Yaseen interviews Steve Lendman, an author, a progressive blogger and an internet radio host. He writes on vital international and national topics, including war and peace, American imperialism, corporate dominance, political persecutions, and a range of other social, economic and political issues. His website is: www.stephenlendman.org

Lendman



Friday, July 21, 2017

Of "Heroes" and "Communist Dictators" by Cindy Sheehan

July 21, 2017

The first time I met Senator John McCain, I was still under the false impression that, even though he was a Republican, he was still slightly independent and not entirely reprehensible.

The occasion was the now infamous meeting our family had with then president George Bush in 2004, about six weeks after Casey was killed in Iraq.

Our family was invited for a “sit-down” with Bush at Ft. Irwin up near Seattle. The government was paying, so we agreed. We had some things we wanted to “chat” with him about, also.

Along with about 16-17 other families in the same piteous situation, we cooled our jets for awhile in a waiting room at the base hospital. After a bit, we were ushered into a small curtained room to wait for 43. While we were waiting, the curtains parted and in walked McCain. I did mention to him that he had been a POW in another immoral war and I asked him why my son had to die. His response: “Well Cindy, if we don’t win in Iraq, then I am afraid for nothing.” After McCain left, we all wondered if he had been the “opening act” for Bush.

Fast forward six months to inauguration day for 43’s second term. 

By that time, I was now very active opposing Bush and the wars and had founded Gold Star Families for Peace. I was invited to appear on Good Morning America (from the Library of Congress) early on the morning of the inauguration. After the interview, I was leaving and John McCain walked in to be interviewed—I reminded him that we had met at Ft. Irwin and I told him what I was up to. His response (which he later denied in our 3rd meeting) was: “The country needs people like you, too.”

After I protested Bush and the wars at Camp Casey in Crawford in August of 2005, I went to Washington DC for a huge antiwar rally in September and I met with many reps and Senators and John McCain was one of them. I reminded him that he had encouraged me to protest the war back in January and he said, “Why would I do that, I support it?” On the way out, he said, “Good luck, Cindy.” I said, “Thank you, you are wishing me luck to end the wars.” He said, “I take it back, then.”

I have been in Phoenix at his office a few times opposing his bellicosity with my dear antiwar friends there.

Since my first meeting with McCain in 2004, I am under no illusion that he is “independent” or not too reprehensible. In a nation of reprehensibles, he is near the top (or bottom) of the dung-heap. It's normal that conservatives are praising him, but he is being lauded by liberals as an "American hero" also. That a war criminal who, with his own hands, murdered untold number of Vietnamese and with either incompetence or arrogance murdered 134 sailors on his aircraft carrier the USS Forrestal in Vietnam is considered a “hero” doesn’t say very much about this country.

Among others, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt—-yes, I know technically he is independent, but he’s about as independent from the Dems as McCain is from the GOP) has heaped praise upon the head of the slimy McCain since he was diagnosed with brain cancer. Now, I don’t expect Bernie Sanders to tweet, “Nice, a war criminal has cancer; isn’t karma a bitch?” But how can a person who protested the Vietnam War tweet this about McCain?
 
John McCain is a hero, one of the most respected senators and a friend. The hopes and prayers of the nation are with him and his family.
In the ill-fated campaign of Sanders for president, after he was “accused” of being a supporter of President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela (CitGo oil provides low-cost or free heating oil for poor people in the Northeast), Sanders campaign sent out a fundraising blast to his supporters trashing the beloved Chavez by calling the populist president of Venezuela who was democratically elected many times (and survived a coup attempt and recall effort) a “dead, communist dictator.” (Unfortunately, he got the "dead" part right).

I was very privileged to know Hugo Chavez, and in contrast to McCain who never met a war he didn’t like, or a pocket he didn’t want to pick in reverse Robin Hood style, Chavez was a warm person who had a big heart and used the power of his office to elevate the condition of the poorest—often at the expense of the parasitic wealthy.

When Chavez was a military officer, he noticed that the government that he was sworn to serve was horribly oppressing its own people and, with other officers, tried to overthrow it.

On the other hand, McCain, who graduated 2nd to the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy used his military career to carouse and murder his way through Vietnam and with the help of his Admiral father, covered up his crimes to use his “heroic” “service” as a stepping-stone for greater political power.

If Obama and Sanders and many liberal talking blah-blah heads are praising the “American hero” McCain are they saying that the war in Vietnam was "heroic" and the millions of Vietnamese who died and continue to die from their poisoned country and landmines are just shit? 



Liberals (like this clip from The View), who thought McCain was the reincarnation of Adolf Hitler when he ran against Obama in 2008, are now gushing over how McCain corrected a woman on TV who was afraid of Obama because she thought he was an “Arab.”

“No,” McCain thoughtfully and with his "great" flair of being so gosh-darned "independent" corrected the woman and said that Obama was not an “Arab,” but a “good person.” Cogitate on that for a moment—liberals are praising a deeply bigoted statement. Like the Vietnamese, do liberals consider Arabs as shit?

John “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran (and everywhere else, while we're at it),” McCain has been one of the biggest devotees of this country’s imperial misadventures his entire life; however, the “Communist dictator” never once invaded or infested another country by his military. No, Chavez used Venezuelan oil and the force of his personality to not only improve the lives of Venezuelans, but to forge alliances and friendships throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Yes, even improving the lives of the poor in the United States.

Meeting McCain was like meeting a robot with insincere blue eyes: a male Hillary Clinton, if you will. With few exceptions, the humanoids that inhabit US politics are cold, calculating and murderous liars.

Meeting Chavez was like coming home to your long lost brother who only wanted good things for everyone and was expansive and genuine in his hospitality and courageous in standing up to the Great Satan of the North.

I am not afraid to say that, although I am not thrilled that McCain has brain cancer, I am in no way sad about it, or conflicted about calling out the terrible crimes against humanity this man has committed in the name of American “heroism.” Illness, near death, or death itself should not confer immediate sainthood on profoundly criminal lives.

I would rather see him and his ilk rotting in Ft. Leavenworth.

Cancer claimed the lives of my sister Dede Miller and my comrade Hugo Chavez and millions of other good people, often after torturous struggles. Now, McCain.


The death of Chavez was a great loss to humanity; the death of McCain, not so much. We should have exactly the same sympathy and compassion for McCain that he showed to all his victims--at home and abroad--which is zero. 


Cancer is the deadly and too prevalent equalizer: it takes the good and evil, alike.






Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Soviet Revolution: Lessons for Californians by Matt Owen (Guest blogger)

July 18, 2019
As we celebrate the Centennial of the revolution which brought workers to power in Russia, let us take this opportunity to examine what, if any, lessons we in the California independence movement can apply to our struggle.


One lesson, drawn not only from the Russian Revolution, but from the American Revolution, the French Revolution, the revolutionary process underway in Venezuela, and many other instances, is that movements often end up quite different than when they first began. 



The American Revolution started out as a struggle by the English American colonies to regain the autonomy taken from them by the Crown, backed by a Tory Parliament: only after the British government refused this demand did those colonies unite and declare their independence from Britain (this demand was also the motive for the first Declaration of California Independence from Mexico, made in 1836, the same year Texas was annexed by the US: the Bear Flag Revolt, which resulted in "Anschluss" of California and the US, was a decade later, and led by US settlers).



The French Revolution, inspired by the above, resulted initially in a constitutional monarchy: the failure of the monarch to accept his reduced status set the events in motion which led to the Republic, the Thermidorian reaction, and ultimately the seizure of power by Napoleon Bonaparte.


The Russian Revolution originally overthrew the Tsar in order to end Russia's participation in the First World War: a succession of Provisional Governments failed to make peace with Germany, so the workers finally took matters into their own hands, as they had in 1905 to put an end to the Russo-Japanese War, and the All-Russian Congress of Soviets--the central organ of the Soviets, or workers' councils--was recognised as the government of Russia by the Military-Revolutionary Committees, or military Soviets.



Unfortunately, party after party in the Soviets turned against the All-Russian Congress of Soviets, leaving the Bolsheviks the only party standing in the Soviet government: the result of a very particular situation, as we shall see...


When Hugo Chavez first rose to power at the end of the 20th Century, he was combating the market-totalitarian type of capitalism known as neoliberalism: his MVR offered, and the Venezuelan people embraced, a new Constitution, that of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela: the reaction by the neoliberals and the class they represented necessitated a broadening of the target of the Bolivarian revolution from neoliberalism to capitalism as a whole: while a referendum on a new Constitution for a "Bolivarian Socialist Republic of Venezuela" failed, Chavez did succeed in launching Soviets...Consejos Comunales...in Venezuela, and they've been growing ever since.


Venezuela now finds itself in a struggle to convene a Constituent Assembly: this didn't go so well in Russia, but there, the Soviets were already in power, albeit tenuously--whereas in Venezuela, the struggle is to shift power to the Consejos Comunales and their Comunas.


In California, the election of Trump has resulted in the explosive growth in interest in independence from a United States increasing numbers of us are seeing as falling to fascism: less than 20% supported California independence from the US when Obama was president, whereas one-third of Californians support the idea today--at the same time that about as many Millennials favour socialism as do capitalism, and more people boycotted the 2016 US Presidential election than voted for either candidate!


A potentially explosive political mix: if the boycotters and socialists began to move to California, drawn by single-payer healthcare, a living wage, sanctuary from punitive, racist immigration policies and enforcement, and the like, that mix could explode at any moment--and a truly viable independence movement would be born!


The other lesson we can draw from the history of the Russian Revolution is this: the impossibility of socialism in one country, even one as vast as Russia.


Until Lenin, Marxists believed that socialism, understood as a revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat, was impossible in an overwhelmingly peasant country such as Russia: both Marx and Lenin, however, did think that a socialist revolution could start amongst the Russian working class--but that it must spread quickly to a more industrialised country (most likely Germany) if it was to retain its socialist character.


This is why the Bolsheviks used the ceasefire between themselves and the German Army to agitate German soldiers to join their revolution: don't shoot us, shoot your officers and join us! Unfortunately, the Germans continued to obey their officers, leaving the Russians no choice but to negotiate peace with their government: by the time the peace was inked, Russia had lost much territory to the Germans, and war broke out between the two remaining Soviet parties, the Bolsheviks and Social-Revolutionaries: rooted in the proletariat and peasantry, respectively, this was the opening salvo of a civil war which destroyed the Russian proletariat, leaving the Bolsheviks to lead a peasant country...


In Germany, however, events took turn after turn as the Germans faced their own defeat by the addition of US forces to their foes: Eugene V. Debs, the only antiwar socialist leader other than Lenin, was in jail, and within a year of defeating the Russians, it was the Germans' term to taste defeat. The armistice their enemies forced them to sign was as onerous as that they imposed on the Russians--and that, like the Russian defeat before it, set things in motion.


By 1919, the Kaiser was overthrown...and a Soviet Republic proclaimed from the balcony of the Kaiserpalast was opposed by the Social Democrats in the Reichstag: the Social Democrats put down the pro-Soviet uprising using demobilised soldiers reorganised into "Freikorps"...and for the next few years, they played "whack-a-mole," putting down Soviet uprisings up and down Germany, but not throughout the whole country simultaneously...


...Until 1923! In that year, the Reichsmark became worthless, and as a direct result Soviets sprang into being throughout Germany, and began arming themselves...


...However, the new Communist Party of Germany had just inked a "United Front" agreement with the Social Democrats: as happened in Russia, the forces used by the anti-Soviet government to crush the Soviets tried to overthrow it and new fascist forces were growing, especially the "German Workers' Party" after it came to be led by one Adolf Hitler, who imbued it with an ideology, "National Socialism," that is, violent nationalism with a socialist face.


Because of the United Front agreement with the Social Democrats, when they demanded that the Soviets disarm and dissolve, the Communists complied...


...But what if they hadn't? What if the German Communists did what their Russian comrades had done, and instead led a Soviet revolution in Germany? How differently history would have turned out had the Soviet Union grown to the Rhine, encompassing not only the peasantry of Russia, but the German proletariat!



This, I submit to you, is the juncture at which we once again find ourselves:


Venezuelan socialism is under siege at precisely the moment that its Soviets, its Consejos, now must walk through the door to power: if not, socialism will be crushed in Venezuela...


...Unless the 21st Century socialist revolution spreads to a country with a larger economy, more diversely developed than Venezuela, with about the same population...


A country poised to break free from the imperialist hegemon.


Our country. California.


Socialism isn't on the agenda "por ahora" but I predict that the struggle for our independence, like the antiwar struggle in Russia, and the antineoliberal struggle in Venezuela, will make socialism the order of the day.


When that happens, we revolutionary socialists must be organised to lead that fight: to that end I propose a California analogue of Venezuela's PSUV, a California Socialist Party, drawing on existing Socialist and Communist organisations.



¡Venceremos! 
¡Viva California libre, soberana, y independiente, con libertad, justicia y democracia de, por, y para el pueblo!

¡Viva la República Socialista de California!
 
http://cindysheehanssoapbox.blogspot.com/p/tax-deductible-donation.html
Matt Owen is a Californio striving to make California a worker's paradise.

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Cindy Sheehan at California Freedom Coalition Open House in Berkeley (July 23, 2017)


 
 CFC Open House in Berkeley
The California Freedom Coalition has been busy. We have been highlighted in the news and the initiative is very close to being approved by the state. We would like to invite you to an Open House in Berkeley. Well known peace activist, Cindy Sheehan will be in attendance. Please join the California Freedom Coalition (CFC) for a bite to eat and drinks (heavy hors d'oeuvres will be served). The CFC is a non-profit formed to restore Californian's voting rights. CFC Board Members, including well known peace activist Cindy Sheehan, will be speaking on the CFC's progress and answer any questions you might have. Please visit our website for more information about the CFC: calfreeco.org. Please register here: https://cfcopen-berk.eventbrite.com
 
 
 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Why the Russian Revolution Matters Today (SOAPBOX PODCAST JULY 16, 2017)

July 16, 2017





Guest: Luciana Bohne
Topic: The Russian Revolution and Why it Matters Today

This week, Cindy chats with professor Luciana Bohne about many fascinating topics:

Her early years in post-WWII Yugoslavia
The October Bolshevik Revolution in Russia
The Soviet Union and Why it Dissolved
Today's Neo-McCarthyism



Check out the Professors new article at Counterpunch:

Yemen: The War That Isn’t Happening Even as It’s Happening

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For more information on the Great October Revolution

Check out the Series from the 

Revolutionary Organization of Labor, USA

Great October Socialist Revolution Series 

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