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Dominican immigration authorities involuntarily expel Haitians. Photo source: Miami Herlad
DOMINICAN REPUBLICAN -The puppets of imperialism who run the Dominican Republic have begun their horrific terrorism against Haitian residents of the DR. More than 350 Haitians have from their homes. Many have been forcibly deported by Dominican authorities. Others have fled in fear after a mob of Dominican reactionaries killed a Haitian man in Neiba, Baoruco.
The Miami Herald quotes a leader of a immigrants’ rights organization in saying “People are being threatened to leave. What is the voluntary nature of their return? They did not want to die.”
This “anti-immigrant” hysteria (neither Dominicans nor Haitians are “immigrants” to the island) arives in the climate created by a new ruling by the boot-licking Dominican Constitutional Court, which tightens immigration enforcement, stripping at least 300,000 Haitians and people of Haitian descent of their Dominican citizenship. The law extends retroactively as far back as 1929, indiscriminately attacking Haitians in what can only be called a legal codification of ethnic cleansing.
The blame also lies on the wealthy Dominican media which whips up bigotry and chauvinism. They use the Haitian people as a scapegoat to distract from the crimes, inflicted on Dominicans and Haitians alike, by neo-colonialism and comprador-bureaucrat capitalism.
The US uses the tentacles of monopoly-capital and brunt military force to control the affairs of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, leeching resources off the island and using poverty to force Dominicans and Haitians to migrate to the US to work cheap, low-wage jobs. In the US they also face barbaric racism and white chauvinism, especially from law enforcement and other thuggish overseers.
The people of Haiti and the Dominican Republic cross the border between the two countries regularly, expressing the organic internationalist spirit of two great people.
Similarly, the crimes of the Dominican state not only threatens and terrorizes Haitian residents of the Dominican Republic, but also poor Dominicians - especially darker-skinned Dominicians - who do not have and cannot afford identification cards.
The power of the state and mass-media reactionaries to galvanize a backwards segment of desperate people around imbecilic anti-Haitian scapegoating is a toxic effect of this backwards society of imperialism and neo-colonialism.
These developments cannot be understood without understanding the Caribbean as a battleground where the US imperialists use CAFTA-DR, CARICOM, HOPE, (Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement) and other weapons to exploit the people and soak up blood-soaked capital like a filthy, mildewed sponge.
In the Dominican Republic, the United States dominates imports of basic subsistence goods such as food, agricultural machinery, petroleum, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, fabric, using the country as a giant slave shop to produce and export gold, silver, sugar, nickel, cocoa, coffee, and other consumer goods to the US. The US represents 46.1% of the DR’s exports and 42.5% of their imports. The situation is quite similar, if not more dramatic, in Haiti, where the US represents the majority of subsistence imports and represents 81.5% of Haitian exports such as designer apparel, mangoes, cocoa, and coffee.
Haiti and the Dominican Republic’s shared neo-colonial servitude. Above: A gold mine in the DR. Below: An apparel factory in Haiti.
This is also true in Jamaica, (where 30.1% of the country’s imports - primarily subsistence goods - come from, and 38.7% of its exports - alumina, bauxite, sugar, yams, rum - go to the US) Cuba, (a country which remains antagonized by aggressive US embargoes, where the largest export partner of goods such as coffee, citrus, and tobacco is the USA’s imperialist partner Canada, and Raúl Castro’s “reforms” have lead to the growth of Special Economic Zones for exploitation by foreign capital) Barbados (where, after Trinidad and Tobago, the US is the largest importer and exporter) and Trinidad and Tobago. (40.3% of exports and 30.8% of imports) Other Caribbean countries such as Grenada, the Bahamas, and Saint Vincand and the Grenadines are maintained almost entirely as giant tourist playgrounds for the hedonistic appetites of the Western imperialist bourgeoisie. Lastly, other Caribbean countries such as Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands remain the direct colonial possessions of the USA.
This is true too of the countries of Central America, and the internally colonized nations of the continental US Sunbelt. (such as New Afrika, which through Florida is a gateway between the US and the Caribbean)
It is in this system of blatant no-colonial oppression that the Dominican comprador-bourgeoisie blames the suffering of the Dominican masses on their Haitian sisters and brothers, who have a shared history of anti-colonial revolt and revolutionary struggle with the Dominican people.
We hope to see a genuinely free and socialist Haiti and Dominican Republic that drives out the imperialist blood-suckers and promotes freedom amongst and equality between the Dominican and Haitian people. It is the duty of all exploited and oppressed people living in the US, not just children of the Haitian and Dominican people, help bring an end to this present situation by making revolution in the US.
March from CUNY Central Offices down 3rd Ave to Baruch @ 2PM
42nd St & 3rd Ave
Rally Outside CUNY Board of Trustees Meeting @ 3pm
Outside Baruch Vertical Campus building
E 25th St between Lexington and 3rd Ave
Recently, the CUNY Board of Trustees has put forth a motion known as the “Expressive Conduct” Policy.
Following the protests against hiring of former General and CIA Director David Petraeus and reintroduction of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) into CUNY, it is clear that the “Expressive Conduct” Policy is part of the ongoing militarization of CUNY. The “Expressive Conduct” Policy aims to quell any dissent which occurs within the walls of the CUNY campus.
The recent proposal for the policy illustrates that there are two visions of what CUNY should be.
On the one hand, the Board of Trustees envisions CUNY to be a mechanism for capitalist class oppression. They want CUNY students to graduate to take on mini-manager positions within a system that benefits the capitalist minority over the oppressed and exploited majority of this city. This is a CUNY which is not only privatized but also gentrified with limited accessibility to the oppressed-nationality proletariat of this city.
On the flipside, there is the vision of CUNY which Assata Shakur and Guillermo Morales, Black and Puerto Rican Liberation fighters. They were socialists who were involved with the Black Liberation Army and FALN. Both Shakur and Morales were CUNY students— specifically City College alumni—who participated in the 1969 student strike that opened CUNY up for black and Latino working-class students for the first time.
It is in their footsteps by which we are guided. Their vision of what CUNY should be is not history. It is the vision that we are also fighting for today.
The “Expressive Conduct” policy has been put on the table after the protests that opposed General Petraeus coming to CUNY. The Board of Trustees are aware that the recent movement against the militarization of CUNY can lead to a broader struggle which can challenge the BOT’s vision of CUNY.
Students within CUNY are an insurgent population. Many of us are of oppressed and working class backgrounds. Access to CUNY opens up the possibilty of understanding this system of oppression and exploitation and fighting against it. What better way to curtail an insurgency by stopping it before it occurs.
If the creation of a educational curriculum tailored to the needs of reproducing the exploitative system is an example ideological repression, then the new “Expressive Activities” policy is an example of legal repression both which can be looked at as pre-emptive counter-insurgency measure.
This repression is also symptomatic of a wider increase of the repressive apparatus of the state throughout white supremacist capitalist-imperialist patriarchal society.
We see it all around us on our campuses, where hordes of public safety officers are omnipresent, especially when there are protests and political events on campus.
We see it at City College, where the administration raided and seized the Morales / Shakur Community Center over a weekend in October.
We see this with the surveillance of organizations like Students for Justice in Palestine and Muslim Student Associations.
We see this with the suspension of comrades Khalil Vasquez and Taffy Sourov.
Outside of CUNY, we see the crushing of dissent through the imprisonment of military whistleblower Chelsea Manning.
We see it with the countless nameless oppressed-nationality and working-class people who are victims of mass incarceration.
We see it with the increasing numbers of ever-present cameras at the MTA train stations, buses, apartment lobbies and just walking down the street.
Particularly, we see this repression embodied in the so-called “boys in blue” (NYPD) who occupy the hood and stop-and-frisk us by the hundreds of thousands. The NYPD overstep their jurisdiction to spy on Muslims. This is the same NYPD which can be found to operate in occupied Palestine even.
This repression in wider society is a repression which is of a class character; it is used to keep one class in power and another class powerless.
This repression also exists within the CUNY system and one way it has manifested itself is through the “Expressive Conduct” Policy. The BOT is merely administrating the needs of the ruling class in this city to repress us and keep us powerless.
The only way for the powerless in CUNY to oppose this “Expressive Conduct” Policy and fight to liberate CUNY for the people.
Abolish the Board of Trustees!
Guaranteed admissions for proletarians of NYC!
Community centers on every campus!
Students Without Borders’ Hip-Hop Embraces Revolution MIC Event, where they did fundraising for the recent typhoon disaster in the Philippines.
Since the founding of the anti-imperialist, anti-fascist Queens College (QC) student organization Students Without Borders in April 2013, there have been several attempts on the part of the college administration and CUNY police (‘Public Safety’) to derail the political work of SWB. Indeed, despite the fact that SWB has undergone all the procedures necessary in order to be recognized as a student club, we are not listed along with the other clubs on campus.
The recent repression faced by SWB must be seen in the wider context of the struggle against the militarization of CUNY, a sequence that began with militant actions against the appointment of General Petraeus as adjunct ‘professor’ and arrest of six comrades (the ‘CUNY Six’). The struggle has intensified recently with the illegal seizure of the Morales-Shakur Center at City College of New York (CCNY) by the CCNY adminstration, the subsequent suspension of militant leaders Khalil Vasquez and Tafadar Sourov, and the grotesque indictment and arrest of those young militants by the capitalist state acting in concert with the repressive machinery of the CCNY administration.
In the spring and summer of 2013, administration mysteriously lost the E-Board election paperwork that we had submitted to them. Not long after we resubmitted the paperwork, they lost it again. After submitting the paperwork for the third time, we were finally recognized as a club by the administration. Without election forms, it was impossible to reserve spaces for meetings or other events.
This was the beginning of a pattern of deliberate repression of political work by our organization at QC.
SWB has over thirty members, but we were never offered a club room, even though such a space is normally provided once a club is officially recognized by the administration at QC. This is particularly telling given that there are rooms occupied by non-functioning clubs. There are numerous vacant club rooms on campus.
On October 30, as several comrades from SWB were handing out flyers for the defense of the Morales-Shakur Center at CCNY, an armed ‘Public Safety’ agent approached us, asked questions and demanded a copy of our flyer. After about ten minutes, he left. Five minutes later, a ‘Public Safety’ SUV pulled up next to us. Two agents emerged from the vehicle and repeatedly asked us questions along the lines of: “Is everything okay here”? They claimed that the very fact that we were assembled prompted their queries. It is clear that this incident was an attempt on the part of CUNY security to intimidate us. It is also clear that the reason they tried to intimidate us was referable to the political nature of our activities.
The most recent example of repression that SWB has faced came out of our attempt to hold an event called H.E.R. (Hip-Hop Embraces Revolution) Open Mic, an event dedicated to artistic performances on anti-imperialism, anti-patriarchy and anti-fascism.
I filled out all the paperwork for the event. I originally asked for a room on November 27, but later canceled that request and asked to reserve a room on November 13, because the latter date could be effectively used to mobilize people to attend our upcoming anti-militarization General Assembly planned for November 21.
In the email that I sent to the relevant administrator, I made it abundantly clear that I wanted to cancel the request for a room on November 27 and instead reserve a space for November 13. In her reply, the administrator wrote “no problem,” and stated that she would sign and stamp the form for the location/time in question. This exchange occurred on October 31, two weeks before the event was scheduled.
During the week of the event, it came to our attention that another club somehow reserved the space that we thought we had reserved, at the same time we reserved it. Their event was a screening of the film “Batman.”
The ensuing series of events was an elaborate, bureaucratic farce, although ultimately the bureaucratism only pointed to (and masked) a concentrated effort at political repression.
After we investigated the situation, the administration claimed that we never had reserved the space. They stated that the form was supposed to get signed and stamped by one administrator and then approved by a second. The problem was that Adminstrator Two supposedly never saw the request for November 13, although they did have a record of the request and cancellation of the room for November 27. The cancellation for November 27 was sent to Adminstrator One in the same email as the request for November 13. However, the second part of the message was never passed along by the Adminstrator One to Adminstrator Two.
Thus the area in question was not double-booked; the administrators had just selectively communicated with each other. After speaking with Adminstrator Two, who gave us the approval for a space on November 13 in a new location, we were then supposed to speak with Administrator One to get the newest paperwork signed and stamped. I did this the following day. When speaking with Administrator One, she said that the venue was not suitable for the event, since there would be classes in session and our event would be too loud. She then spoke on the phone with Administrator Two and both agreed that the venue was not suitable, given the nature of our planned event.
Adminstrator Two knew full well the nature of our event the previous day when she approved it, but now she had suddenly and without warning changed her mind. We then realized that there was not enough time to reserve a new space, since our event was supposed to take place the following day. We then spoke with clubs in the student union and got their approval to hold our event in the open common club area, which has been used in the past for similar events in a less formal style without requiring administration approval. We went ahead with our event on November 13, at the originally scheduled time in the common club area.
The event was successful. It put forward a revolutionary political line in a popular way to a large audience. The next day I received an email from Adminstrator One, stating that SWB would not be able to take out any rooms for at all for the rest of the fall semester of 2013, and that if we do hold events without the area reserved in the future, ‘Public Safety’ will shut down the event. We are one of the only (if not the only) club to get such a response from the administration for an informal event such as this. Even though—or rather precisely because—we had a productive meeting and raised funds for Anakbayan-USA’s Typhoon Haiyan relief campaign, we were faced with this harsh penalty.
This repression demonstrates the sharpening of contradictions between revolutionary students and the administration of Queens College. It also demonstrates the increasingly heavy handed tactics used by the CUNY administration. This political repression is only going to increase as we reinforce and expand our connection with the student masses in the course of our militant struggle.
Punish Manmohan Singh for the usage of chemical weapon on his own countrymen!!
This statement was originally published by the Communist Party of India (Maoist) and concerns the use of chemical weapons by the Indian state against Maoists and adivasi people. Reposted from Signalfire
Manmohan Singh with Obama
America shows no reluctance & seems to be eager to attack Syria for the usage of chemical weapon. some of the European countries backed up to its global propaganda. The Indian premier Manmohan Singh offered his support to America over the usage of chemical weapons but stood with Russia as far as attack is concerned. The same Manmohan Singh who spoke against the usage of chemical weapons with no disinclination, using the chemical weapons on his own countrymen. If the Assad regime of Syria is guilty then Manmohan Singh is liable for punishment. The basic down trodden people never accepted the comprador regime of the imperialism and has been waging the struggle against, since it has been established. People with number of mass movements countrywide had been unabatedly carried forward this legacy.
Manmohan Singh with Dmitry Medvedev, Hu Jintao, Dilma Rousseff and Jacob Zuma.
This mass movement, now with a firm strategy is advancing with the aim of establishing new democratic revolution. By undergoing through the intense fascist repression, to keep alive the movement, people have understood that there is no alternative except the armed struggle. And so that the Indian people have acknowledged this form of struggle and since last 44 years this struggle is continue unabatedly like the heartbeats of the people. Till date the Indian government had perpetuated severe repression on people but they never could suppress the revolutionary movement. So that the madden government had begun using chemical weapons and evidence were found in recent one sided attacks on large scale on revolutionary people by Garhchiroli police this year, in which several have been killed. Now, according to international law would Obama come forward to punish Manmohan Singh and his Government? Maoists are the citizens of this country. The adivasi people of the Garhchiroli are also citizens of this country.
The Manmohan Singh led united progressive alliance (UPA-2) Government has waged a war against the people of India in the name of operation green hunt. Weather Maoist or not, rural or urban area, mass struggle or armed struggle, whether it is hunger strike or candle march, either a simple statement or criticizing cartoon, nothing is being tolerated by the government. If an idea of opposing the government comes in your mind that too becomes a threat for the country. Is it the biggest democracy of the world persisting in India and Manmohan Singh boasts about? What does democracy mean to them? They give you the direction and finally give rise to some planned dissent just for a show and that would be well within their control and they display that fabricated dissent as a model of democracy.
And within few days this opponents becomes a minister or president of mahamandal or owner of an educational institution, without any surety a billion dollar creditor or comes into limelight as honorable rewarded social server. And while playing this game they use poverty and other such problems of the people on a large proportion. One could see the proliferation of such awarded social servers in Garhchiroli district. In front of the very eyes of these so called social servers, adivasis are being murdered in the district but they have nothing to do with that. Their lips are locked with the government subvention. The people who were killed by police in the last eight months were all adivasis. For Garhchiroli operation green hunt is nothing but an excretion campaign. As they are running short of rifle bullets now they begin using chemical weapons to kill adivasis. Through this, it is very clear now that this is a defeat alarm for the government.
On April 12, in village Sindesur of Dhanora taluka of district Garhchiroli in an encounter conspired by police in which 7 people got martyred, 2 villagers and 5 mass organizers were among the dead. Among them 5 people got killed by bullets but no scars of bullet injuries were found on 2 dead bodies. Among these two are Mukesh, a villager, and Com. Champa, their death seems to be suspicious. when the PLGA warriors, directly engaged in exchange of fire gave the whole report to the committee, we were completely astonished hearing this shocking experience. When firing was going on they experienced exhaustion, vommiting, headache, allergy, inhalation problem and infection and cough. Initially we considered that it might have happened due to dust. But when on 19 May in an encounter in village Hetadkasa of the same district, all the PLGA members had undergone through the similar problems of exhausting, throat infection and inhalation problem. The PLGA commander present at that moment, when carefully paid attention to this, he realized that the police was shelling some types of bombs that are exploding in the air and fired some particular type of bullets that have given rise to this problem.
At the same time at another side where encounter did not take place, none of the comrade had experienced this. After this incident it has become clear now that the police is using chemical weapons. Then it reveals that the usage of chemical weapons is the exact reason behind the suspicious death of two people in Sindesur incident. The comrades involved in these incident, made complaints about inhalation problem for several days. They recovered after receiving good medical treatment by PLGA doctors. Now it is clear like sunlight that the Indian government in cahoots of Maharashtra government with no reluctance is using chemical weapons. This act is not only shameful for humanity but a biggest crime against humanity too. Who knows, the government must be using chemical weapons in Kashmir, north-east and on rallies and against the agitators to disturb them? If anybody would have paid attention towards this, then only it will get exposed.
We call upon justice-loving people and intellectuals of the country and worldwide that they should with pro-people chemical experts and human rights activists investigate and impartial probe of the arms depository, ammunition of the police camps of the Gadchiroli must be done to unmask the truth. Their arsenal of chemical weapons and weapons of mass destruction would show that the government is waging war against people. Murdering and taking the photographs of those scattered bodies full of blood and preparing flexible banners of those photographs and putting them in villages to terrorize and all above official stamping of Gadchiroli police is an act of ignominious to humanity. This mentality screams loudly and tells that there is no value of human being for this government.
Prithviraj Chavan kicking it in a fancy hotel during an entertainment awards gala
For them Adivasis are nothing but wild animals to be hunted and they are proud of it. People cried loudly when they saw the photographs of women activists martyred in Medri. The people never been part of the movement their heart cried too but police along with ministers seen celebrating in five star hotels. The chief minister of Maharashtra, Prithviraj Chavan and home minister R.R. Patil are seen giving awards to them for killing their own citizens. The throne of these comprador rulers has stood on the dead bodies of Adivasis. This is shame for humanity. The superintendent of police Suvez Haq speaks brazenly that they will shoot the people, which constitution has given him this right? Whether Maoists or anybody else, has anybody got the right to kill his own citizens? Killing the political opponents is the policy of the government.
Political opposition is being finished by physical annihilation. This is not a democracy but regime of medieval age. great human being wrote the constitution in a hope to give justice to poor, wretched, Dalits, Adivasis and affected people but it is being naked in the capitalist market. The peak of the shamelessness is that the 5th Schedule of the constitution being crushed under iron boots and it is called the development of Adivasis. This is happening all over in India. Just as Maoist leadership is concerned more than 3 lakh police and paramilitary forces were given mandate for conducting atrocities on people of the region. Displacing Adivasis from the jungle or terrorizing them so much so that they could not think about anything else rather than saving their lives. They not even should think about their water-forest-land and dignity. Such is the fascist attacks are being perpetuated by the government. Is this the biggest democracy of the world?
The neo-liberal policies of the imperialism adopted by Indian comprador rulers takes this country towards back. Resources and sovereignty has already been sold to foreign companies. Consumerist comprador culture is being injected in the blood veins, consequently crushing human values and social thoughts without a feeling of shame. In retrospect this is being assumed as a development by a section of the society. I have done enough progress, my life is better than others, this type of seeds of social Darwinism are being sowed. As a result the compassion for Adivasis and Dalits has become a thing miles away. In retrospect, some rewarded social servers through their NGOs in the name of removing poverty, they have made it their business to earn money and to grab some awards. Which officer kills more Adivasis and increases his scores of death is being made a hero in the democracy. The comprador leaders who make the corruption of crores of rupees and fills up their Tijoris are selling industries of the country to the foreign companies.
Water, forest and land is being sold, without forest there will be no Adivasis in a true sense, without Adivasis forest, forest vultures, various living species will not be protected. In a protection of these two, against government loot and repression by sacrificing their lives the Maoist guerillas has constructed the great human wall of China. And crossing this ladder has become impossible for the government. That is why the cruel grisly attacks of chemical weapons are being launched on the people. Punishment must be given to these attackers. Manmohan Singh, Prithviraj Chavan, R.R. Patil and other officers, are cognate to this. Manmohan Singh is a criminal for using chemical weapons on his own people. He is liable to the punishment and has no right to speak on Syria.
They must be punished for their crime against humanity. The number one enemy of the world people America, however; cries loudly over Syria but using chemical weapons against Maoists in India is the policy belongs to none another than America itself. The people who waged armed struggle in Syria for democracy are tenable then the Maoists in India are carrying forward the revolutionary movement for new democracy since 44 years. How would they become a threat for India? Obama and the Indian comprador rulers must have to check their minds; they are selfish and are to be all mouth and no trousers. They don’t have even a little honesty; human values are worthless to them. By putting forward the welfare and development of the people they carry out the agenda of loot and repression.
They commodify hunger, disease, illiteracy and in true sense are implementing the neo-liberal theory of Reagan – Thatcherism as Manmohanamics and Obamics to decimate the millions of people to get rid of economic crisis. The usage of chemical weapons on people is the gist of this policy. Pulling them down and punishing them is patriotism and great righteous work done for humanity. That is why we call upon the youths, the citizens in whom the humanity is still alive and true democracy loving people of the country to fight against this war on people especially against the usage of chemical weapons to punish the rulers in the people’s court for their crime against humanity.
Secretary Com. Sayhadri
CPI(Maoist),Maharashtra State Committee
Sept. 21, 2013
In recognition of the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, the “Communist” Party USA has published some patent nonsense on their People’s World website, promoting pseudo-scientific conspiracy theories about the assassination of John F. Kennedy. They claim that Lee Harvey Oswald was “working under CIA direction” to assassinate Kennedy at the behest of a vast conspiracy of “…the military-industrial complex, the national state security apparatus, powerful right-wing business interests, the Mafia, anti-Castro Cubans, pro-segregationists and other power centers”.
Much of the article’s absurd claims are wholly un-sourced and unsubstantiated. Other claims are sourced back to Kennedy assassination conspiracy theory books and websites.
Kennedy assassination theories have their origin in the revisionist and pro-Democratic left in the US. One of the originators of these theories was Mark Lane, whose New York State Assembly election was supported by Democratic Party elites such as John F. Kennedy and Elanor Roosevelt. His prominent career would later include serving as legal counsel for the social-fascist People’s Temple. Lane produced one of the first printed Kennedy conspiracy theory articles, in the a December 1963 article of the National Guardian, a press outlet of the revisionist and pro-Democratic Party “Left”, including the CP-USA, Progressive Party, and the CIO. One of the first Kennedy conspiracy theorist books was “Who Killed Kennedy?” published in 1964, by Thomas Buchanan, a CP-USA member.
Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories spawned a cottage industry. Although originating as a byproduct of the cultural and intellectual decadence of the revisionist left, Kennedy assassination theories have gained steady popularity among the radical right where they mesh well with irrationalist anti-Semitism and serve radical rightist efforts to claim Kennedy among a pantheon of patriotic American heroes.
The allure of Kennedy assassination theories among the radical right.
The Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories serve to glorify the role of the imperialist president John F. Kennedy and hide his role as an anti-communist and an enemy of the oppressed.
Contrast the CP-USA’s fawning over Kennedy with the attitude of the revolutionary Black nationalist martyr Malcolm X. In a 1962 debate with Bayard Rustin, Malcolm pointed out that Kennedy “promised all the American so-called Negros who vote what he was going to do for him when he got in office, and has yet to do the first thing that he promised, but has paid off the Negro leadership so they are silent and say nothing about the promises that he originally made to get Negroes to vote for him”.
Malcolm stated in a May 1963 magazine interview, that Kennedy, like all US presidents, had “tricked the Negro, and made false promises to him at election times which they never fulfilled”. In a later television interview, Malcolm echoed these sentiments; “Any time a man running for president tells Negroes what he’s going to do for them when he gets in office, and after he gets in office, he has time to do something for everyone else except the people who put him in office. He has time to take a stand against … Castro, against Khrushchev… but when it comes time to correcting the injustices that are being inflicted against Negroes in this country, Kennedy sits up there like Nero. He’s fiddling while Birmingham is burning.”
Even in the wake of Kennedy’s assassination, Malcolm X remembered in a public sermon how Kennedy bought out the “Big 6” leadership of the African-American bourgeoisie as a counter-insurgency strategy to contain the March on Washington. In a follow-up interview, he made the subsequently famous comment on the Kennedy assassination; “Well sir, I don’t think anybody here would deny that when you send your chickens out in the morning from your barnyard, those chickens will return that evening to your barnyard, not your neighbor’s barnyard. I think this is a prime example of the devil’s chickens coming back home to roost. That the chickens that he sent out, that the violence that he perpetrated in other countries, here and abroad,be it four children in Birmingham, Medgar Evars, or Lumumba in Africa, I think this same violence has come back to claim one of their own. In fact as a farmboy myself, chickens coming home to roost never made me sad. In fact, its only made me glad”.
These statements would trigger his falling out with Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam, the circumstances that lead to his ideological turn away from narrow nationalism towards the internationalist left, and to the events of his assassination.
While the revisionist CP-USA was getting cuddlier and cuddlier with the Kennedy administration, Malcolm X’s brutal honesty about Kennedy’s assassination signaled qualitative leap for the actual revolutionary left in the USA.
Far from being a “peace president”, as the recent CP-USA article portrays Kennedy, his administration pioneered the aggressive domino theory policy of US imperialism later followed by Johnson, Nixon, and others. The Kennedy administration began the murderous invasions of Laos and Cambodia as part of US counter-insurgency against Communist-led anti-imperialist struggles in southeast Asia. As Malcolm X noted, Eisenhower’s order to assassinate the Congolese nationalist and anti-colonialist Patrice Lumumba was carried out under the Kennedy administration. Under the banner of anti-communism, the Kennedy administration supported de Gaulle against Algerian independence from French colonialism.” Kennedy signed off on Operation Mongoose, which included thousands of absurd attempts to assassinate Castro with exploding cigars and other spy novel shenanigans, and the CIA-funded Bay of Pigs invasion, in which armed anti-communist Cuban exiles invaded the shores of the country to topple the Castro government.
The Bay of Pigs invasion
Under the Kennedy administration, we saw the CIA assassination of Iraq Prime Minister Abd al-Karim Qasim, a national democrat, and the subsequent installation of the fascist Ba’ath Party regime. Kennedy praised the Shah of Iran for “steadfastness in remaining vigilant against the pressures of international communism”. He also favored regime change in British Guiana, Brazil, and Indonesia. Kennedy famously said that “Communist influence has penetrated further into Asia, stood astride in the Middle East and now festers some ninety miles off the coast of Florida…We must prove all over again whether this nation…can compete with the single-minded advance of the Communist system”, and spelled out US imperialist ambitions plainly when he said “the great battlefield for the defense and expansion of freedom today is the whole southern half of the globe - Asia, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East”. Gore Vidal famously wrote that Truman and Einsenhower “knew that the Communist threat was all nonsense [and] that it was good for business”, whereas “Kennedy believed the nonsense, and he wanted to win the Cold War”.
The only “peace” the CP-USA can claim Kennedy promoted was “peaceful co-existence” between the US and the Khrushchev regime in the USSR, which conducted economic liberalization and drove the USSR onto the capitalist road under the pretense of dismantling the “Stalin cult of personality”, a gesture supported by the revisionist leadership of the CP-USA.
In the US too, Kennedy was close to the anti-Communist witch-hunters such as Joseph McCarthy, who ironically went after CP-USA members the most aggressively. As the populist US historian Howard Zinn put it, “McCarthy’s insistence that Communism had won in China because of softness on Communism in the American government was close to Kennedy’s own view”. McCarthy donated significant financial contribution to Kennedy’s father Joseph Kennedy, and JFK walked out in protest of a banquet honoring Edward R. Murrow. He also enthusiastically supported the Labor Managing Reporting and Disclosure Act (better known as the Landrum-Griffin Act) which banned CP-USA members and convicted felons from holding office in trade unions, tightened prohibitions against secondary boycotts, and gave the National Labor Relations Board injunction powers over unions that engaged in recognitional picketing of employers for over 30 days.
It was Kennedy’s brother, and fellow “progressivist martyr” Robert Kennedy, who as Attorney General wrote off on the FBI wiretapping of Martin Luther King Jr. So when the bourgeois media peddles the mythology of John F. Kennedy and the Kennedy familiy, it is peddling the mythology of imperialism, white supremacy, and capitalist exploitation to the masses.
At the same time, revolutionary communists in the US do not see Kennedy as the primary question facing the masses today. That is many older, progressive working-class people have a romanticized image of Kennedy and project onto Kennedy their own desires which are far more extreme. We are reminded of the historical example of Russia’s Bloody Sunday of January 1905 when thousands of families of striking munitions factory workers stormed the Winter Palace, singing patriotic songs and holding up shrines to Tsar Nicholas II, petitioning him to implement labor reforms, impose universal suffrage, and end the Russo-Japanese War. Despite their patriotism, these workers were attacked by the Tsar’s Imperial Guard. The icon of Kennedy is today’s Tsar Nicholas II.
The CP-USA’s love affair with Kennedy has its origins in the revisionism (the “revising” of Marxism to fit the needs of capitalism) of a once-revolutionary party. In his famous critique of the CP-USA’s revisionism, CPUSA member Admiral Kilpatrick wrote “With his smooth metaphysics and idealism, [William Z. Foster] was really trying to brainwash the working class and the common people in the USNA into believing that they had a great friend in Roosevelt, the representative of USNA imperialism. The truth of the matter is that it was Roosevelt who closed the banks throughout the country, making it possible for the USA monopoly bandits to rob millions of their pennies and dimes. Further, Roosevelt’s so-called National Recovery Act (N.R.A.), through various twists and turns, pumped billions of dollars into various capitalist industries in this country in order to keep a sick economy alive.”
Kilpatrick also wrote, in the same document, “One example of this revisionism and a candid expression of the tailism spoken of above is the slogan which Browder came out with at the Party’s eighth convention in Cleveland, Ohio in 1934. Browder’s ‘dynamic quotation’ was that ‘Communism is 20th century Americanism.’ How could a man who was living in the cradle of USA imperialism make such philistine statements at a time when the capitalist class was going through one of its worst crises and trying to force the whole burden onto the backs of the USNA working class? It was this kind of thinking which was responsible for tying the Party to the shirt tail of the Roosevelt administration and his New Deal.”
Similarly, Harry Haywood, in his famous critique of the degeneration of the CP-USA towards revisionism and white chauvinism, wrote “Central to [the CP-USA’s thinking is the notion of] a peaceful, parliamentary, constitutional transition to socialism would be the development of an anti-monopoly coalition which would be developed by ‘labor and popular’ forces gaining ‘decisive influence in key Democratic Party State organizations, and even liberal Republican movements.’ Thus would develop the ‘American Road to Socialism.’”
The “Communism is 20th Century Americanism” slogan was an early symptom of opportunism in the CP-USA
This is why the CP-USA to this day paints Kennedy as a “peace president” and paints Oswald as a pawn of the “military-industrial complex, the national state security apparatus, powerful right-wing business interests, the Mafia, anti-Castro Cubans, [and] pro-segregationists”. This is also why they opportunistically campaign for the Democratic party every election year, including in 2008 and 2012 when they campaigned for Obama. The CP-USA’s glorification and romanticism of Kennedy is a symptom of their status as a thoroughly rotten revisionist party that serves as a lackey of the Democrats, on the side of US imperialism and not the masses of people.
Yesterday, Tafadar “Taffy” Sourov and Khalil Vasquez, two leaders of the CUNY student movement, were arraigned at the Manhattan Criminal Court, after spending more than 24 hours in jail. They are now facing criminal charges, in addition to academic discipline, for their role as leaders in the campaign to save the Morales / Shakur Center at City College and the broader struggle to liberate CUNY for the people.
The allegations against them stem from an October 24 demonstration at City College against the CUNY administration’s illegal raid and seizure of the Morales / Shakur Center. The State filed multiple criminal charges against them, including several class A misdemeanors, such as inciting to riot, riot in the second degree, obstructing governmental administration, and two counts of criminal mischief.
More than a hundred students, faculty, and community members gathered to greet Khalil and Taffy as they emerged from jail. The supporters began the morning with a rally at 9 AM, featuring speakers from the Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee, IGNITE, the Internationalist Group, the Morales / Shakur Center Coordinating Committee, as well as other individuals. They packed the limited seating in the courtroom and the overflow crowd spilled into the halls outside.
Members of the Professional Staff Congress (CUNY faculty and staff union), Sister Circle Collective, People Power Movement, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, Stop Stop and Frisk Freedom Fighters, the People’s Survival Program, and several other organizations joined Khalil and Taffy’s comrades, friends, and family to send a message of defiance and opposition against this latest round of repression against the CUNY movement.
The struggle to defend Khalil and Taffy continues on Friday, November 22, 9 AM at their second academic disciplinary hearing at City College and Wednesday, January 9, 2014, 9:30 AM at their second court date at the NYC Criminal Court.
The repression against Khalil and Taffy is the cutting edge of an ongoing reactionary trend to more thoroughly transform CUNY into an ideological bastion of white-supremacist capitalism. By punishing Khalil and Taffy, the ruling class hopes to strike fear in all CUNY students who might speak out and protest. Not only is the fate of two key student leaders at stake here, but the entire character of what CUNY will be in the coming years and decades is at stake.
Leaving the courthouse
As the speaker from RSCC said at the morning rally:
“In New York City, there are two visions of CUNY. There are two visions of who CUNY should serve. There are two visions of what CUNY should be. There are two visions of how CUNY should be governed. …
The capitalist class wants a CUNY where Black and Latino students from New York City are driven out. The working class wants a CUNY that is open to every high school graduate in New York City.
The capitalist class wants a CUNY that is more and more expensive. The working class wants a CUNY that is free.
The capitalist class wants a CUNY where students learn from a war criminal like David Petraeus, to become a tool of imperialism like Colin Powell. The working class wants a CUNY where students learn to serve the people, to become revolutionaries who return to the neighborhoods we come up, to uplift our class through militant struggle.
The capitalist class wants a CUNY without a Morales / Shakur Center. The working class wants a CUNY where there is a Morales / Shakur Center on every campus.
The capitalist class wants the police and the District Attorney to run CUNY. The working class wants the exploited and oppressed people of this city to run CUNY.
CUNY today exists to serve the needs of capitalism. The CUNY we want will be a base area for building a revolutionary youth and student movement for socialism.”
by Khali Vasquez
Finally Home, out the Beast and Free! (actually, still not really; since we are almost on the verge of approaching and struggling against fascism).
I want to give a big thank you and Revolutionary solidarity shout out to all who came out in support, and those who couldn’t. TO ALL the class-mates, Professors and Comrades. It is not our sacrifice alone making history, it is your support overall making history together. It is our pleasure to be around so many allies in struggle.
I’ve been to bookings in the Bronx and Manhattan 4 times before, demoralized and mellow. But There is no way to express in words the feeling of being caged for the People, and to then come out received by all of you, because this time unlike the others it was more than worth it.
Just being homeless: One of the “crimes” that people are jailed for in the Bronx and Manhattan central bookings.
While in the central bookings, I and Comrade Taffy were constantly reminded what we are Fighting for in CUNY. Most of the men we saw (Only men, because they separate males from females) are arrested for being poor (literally). Since about 90% of those incarcerated with us were arrested for: Open container; just being homeless; smoking a cigarette in a building; marijuana; hopping the train; and even ASKING for a swipe on the subway.
It reminded us that CUNY will be won on the basis of the struggle of oppressed peoples, and not narrow student-centric issues.
Because the experience reminded us that not only as students but as working-class, oppressed nationalities, and oppressed genders, it is the organizations like Picture the Homeless , the Professional Staff Congress, and people Power Movement, and Party for Socialism and Liberation and Stop ‘Stop-and-frisk’(headed by Jose LaSalle ), People’s Survival Program and many, many others who in their political work in our community struggle for US!. And SO, when the RSCC’s struggles in CUNY it is for the community we came from: That is the Legacy of 69’ and 76’, 89’ and 91’.
We were reminded that the full force of the Bourgeois White-Power Imperialist State came down on us for our political views, it has always been repressing and militarizing our communities here and back home in the Third World. That is what we must take from the horrible experience of being in the Tombs (central bookings)
The Struggle to Liberate CUNY is a struggle is a struggle that requires the unity of the faculty,students and community to overthrow the current administration.
It is a struggle that not only guarantees admissions for our peoples (having a seat for every NYC Public Highschool graduate), But also must challenge the white-supremacist, patriarchal, bourgeois education system itself (by maintaining and/or expanding Gender Studies, Ethnic studies and Labor studies; For starters at least).
A struggle that not only opens CUNY to the People, but one that serves the people, and equips the working-class and the oppressed people to resist against their annihilation.
We want a Liberated CUNY; a CUNY ran by New Democratic organizations of Faculty, students and the NYC community.
And this task is one Revolutionaries in NYC must embark on to be able to struggle in other fronts against police repression and killings; against the slumlords and real-estate agents promoting gentrification and exploiting our people; against the public and private monopolies exploiting us at work and as consumers (ie; Service industries and MTA); against the bourgeois politicians and their NGO poverty pimps and against the Bourgeois bureaucracies that disable our peoples and run them through (ie; welfare , food stamps).
We will be returning to the court (in)justice system Janurary 9th (along with 4 out of the CUNY 6, for a different Case)
In the end Revolutionaries are moved by the most powerful forces of love.
It is our love for the people that moves us to sacrifice.
But, Revolution as a process for our Liberation is not love.
Revolution is a Hammer that the Oppressed use to Crush the Enemy…
The Daily Mail is reporting a story from US labor activists indicating that the management of a Walmart in Canton, Ohio is conducting an internal fund drive for its own “associates”, (the euphemism that Walmart commercial circulation monopolies use to refer to their impoverished wage slaves) an embarrassing tacit admission that the company pays its employees starvation wages.
Walmart stores are high-tech plantations, where the proletariat is exploited every day. From front end cashiers, whose hands pass over thousands of dollars of revenue yet often return home to empty refrigerators and stacks of utility bills they cannot afford to pay, to greeters and other front end associates who are often trampled by crowds of holiday shoppers, janitors who handle hazardous chemicals for pocket change, and general merchandise receiving workers who break their backs in cramped, cluttered, and hazardous warehouses only to retire in poverty if they are lucky.
Being one of the largest civilian employers in the US, Walmart takes care to promote attacking the commercial proletariat and glorifying the bourgeois owners of circulation and distribution. This includes but is not limited to breakroom comic books urging associates to snitch on their co-workers, posters containing falsified workplace statistics, propaganda ads - targeting workers - playing at all times on televisions throughout the stores, and the perverted cult of personality around deceased Walmart CEO Sam Walton. (Who was “honored” with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by murderous imperialist George H.W. Bush)
Ways in which Walmart justifies itself include; toothless corporate anti-discrimination policies that mask the racialized and gendered division of labor within its stores, and complex layers of lower management and ritualistic promotions that erode labor solidarity and encourage a “race to the bottom” mentality in which workers viciously compete for each other for low-wage positions in lower management. In particular Walmart employs a pseudo-feminism, claiming the large female representation in layers of lower management as women’s empowerment, rather than a reflection of the reality that Walmart is based on the pervasive exploitation of preponderantly female part-time and temporary associates, of whom only a fraction begin the short crawl up the diminutive ladder of full-time employment and lower management.
Another lie Walmart peddles is that its basic Medicaid and Medicare provisions and puerile breakroom anti-tobacco posters (Such as “How much money do you spend on cigarettes in a year? Three words: Big Screen TV.”) constitute a “healthcare plan”. In truth, “healthcare” for the proletariat in the US is nothing more than a system of medical debt and state-mandated fees to insurance companies. This is solidified in Obama’s “healthcare reform” which a nothing more than a handjob for health insurance lobbyists, providing timid half-measures and reforms that do not alleviate the medical suffering of the workers. Industries such as Walmart, Target, Yum!, and McDonalds actively destroy the health of the proletariat, peddling soda, junk foods, fast foods saturated with synthetic fat, cigarettes, booze, and other addictive poisons used to siphon off even more money from the pockets of their workers.
Walmart is the poster child of the Southern style of late-capitalist wage exploitation in the US, including reactionary “right to work” laws which are in fact the bourgeois right to provide no legal protections of job security to US workers.
The gears of Walmart are the gears of genocidal late imperialism in zones of de-industrialized rural poverty, like Blackbelt southeast, the rural white midwest and border-south, the Chicano and American Indian southwest, and the predominately American Indian northwest and Alaska. And it is the same all over the world, including semi-colonial countries like Bangladesh, where factory workers are immolated in sweatshops producing goods for US and West European capital. Its the same in revisionist and social-imperialist China, where Walmart provokes riots among the masses, who already understand what Walmart represents to people more dependent than ever on US imperialism and Chinese monopoly-bureaucrat capitalism.
At the same time as we condemn Walmart, we also condemn the petit-bourgeois attitude that promotes “small business” divorced from a class-analysis. While it is true that Walmart destroys the financial livelihood of an impoverished lower layer of the petit-bourgeoisie, this anti-Walmart, pro-“small business” attitude is an attitude of the middle and upper petit-bourgeoisie that mocks workers who can only afford to shop at corporate discount stores such as Walmart and Family Dollar, while simultaneously aligning through chambers of commerce with police in gentrifying and ethnically cleansing urban slums. We condemn the imperialist regime-union leadership like the SEIU who claim the interests of low-wage service workers are the same as mercenary thugs of the state such as prison guards and police. (On the metaphysical grounds that they all provide “services”!) We condemn the leadership of labor aristocrat unions in general, like the anti-communist AFL-CIA, who have a white male chauvinist guild-consciousness. This guild consciousness sells out the lower proletariat, who are concentrated in low-wage, non-union industries like Wal-Mart.
Regime unions like the SEIU, and interest groups protecting the middle and upper petit-bourgeois botiques and salons, are neither willing nor able to emancipate the workers of Walmart. What will emancipate the workers of Walmart? The seizure of Walmart and all other industries by the proletariat, of course!
This morning, Khalil and Taffy were forced to present themselves at the Manhattan District Attorney’s office to be arrested. We are calling on all people to come out for a press conference right before their first court appearance tomorrow:
Manhattan Criminal Court
100 Centre Street
Press Conference: 8:45AM
Arraignment Part AR1, First Floor, Room 130
Wear red shirts!
Both CCNY students have been leaders in the Ad Hoc Committee Against the Militarization of CUNY, which organized protests against the appointment of ex-General and ex-CIA director David Petraeus as a visiting professor, and against the re-emergence of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.
In the past two months, they led protests against the City College administration’s raid and seizure of the Morales / Shakur Center. More recently, on October 28, they were suspended from campus for their political activity, without a prior hearing. However, the repression did not stop there.
CUNY invited the Manhattan District Attorney’s involvement, further intensifying the repression of the organizing against the militarization of CUNY. The level of repression involved, at this moment, is unprecedented in the history of CUNY.
From the demonstrations against Petraeus and ROTC to the present, CUNY security has been calling the shots. In the past, CUNY security consulted the CUNY administration and received orders from them. White activists from the 1960s and 1970s generation were disciplined multiple times, before they were given lengthy suspensions. What we see today is a reverse in the chain of command, along with repression against student organizing.
This became evident on November 8 when a student disciplinary hearing was scheduled for Khalil and Taffy. Even though the chair of the hearing ruled for a public hearing and for a larger room, CUNY security turned him down.
As people outside were waiting to get inside for the hearing, CUNY security continuously told protesters that the room could only fit 15 people. While Khalil and Taffy were in the hearing room with their lawyers, the witnesses stayed in a much larger lecture hall that could have been used for the hearing. There were also three large lecture halls nearby that could have been used. CUNY security’s claim that only a small number of people could attend the hearing is groundless.
Another disciplinary hearing is scheduled for this Friday, November 22, but the CUNY administration has already put holds on Khalil and Taffy’s registration for Spring classes. This means that the CUNY administration has already decided Khalil and Taffy’s fates, without a hearing!
As revolutionary students, we know that this current CUNY system does not serve us or our communities. This is why they have acted this way towards our organizing and why they are attempting to make examples out of Khalil and Taffy. This is why we must be present tomorrow to support Khalil and Taffy at their first court appearance!
All out to defend Khalil and Taffy!
Stop the militarization of CUNY!
Serve the people!
In this exclusive interview, a People’s Voice correspondent sat down with a group of alternative media journalists from Brazil to hear their thoughts. Topics include megagames, the peasant question, transit hike resistance, militant teacher’s strikes, Black genocide in the favelas, struggles against the criminalization of homosexuality and abortion, revolutionary hackers, tactical unity between Maoists and anarchists, and the mainstream appeal of animal liberation in a country whose government claims to be socialist.
They spoke to us under the condition of anonymity, and are not part of any organization or collective. They’re here in the USA only briefly, thanks to the commendable efforts of the CrimethInc. Ex-Worker Collective in organizing a regional speaking tour on the recent uprisings in Brazil. A very special thanks to our comrades the Flying Brick Library for organizing this event locally, and making this unique opportunity possible.
The People’s Voice: How do you see the struggle developing in Brazil?
"There were networks of collectives that made calls for demonstrations in June against increases in the transportation fares, and what we saw was the police repression in the way people spread police brutality through the Internet made lots of people join demonstrations, and the opportunity to be there fighting made a big part of the youth adopt militant and radical tactics, like the black bloc tactics, but not necessarily coming from an anarchist background, so we can see this molecularization of tactics and aesthetics, [in other words, the growing popularity of militant protest tactics and “black bloc” style within mainstream youth culture -Ed] because the discontented youth were using this to protest. This thing is being like the door through which some people are getting into politics, and being at demonstrations for the first time.”
Feminist protesters attack a flasher. In Brazil, abortion is only legal cases of rape, and Evangelical politicians advocate for state-enforced “cures” of homosexuality
TPV: What is the role of women, and the feminist and queer struggles, in the mass movement?
"The feminist and the non-hetero struggles are joined to the protests on the street to ask for their demands. We can see there are a lot of issues related to abortion rights. Women only have that right in the case of being raped, and really homophobic laws, people could stop those laws going into the street, and that is something that they used to expose their issues and make people aware of what is going on, what laws the politicians were trying to approve…"
The capitalist accumulation leading up to the World Cup has displaced 250,000 people. Tenants and owner-occupants are relocated to areas far from their places of employment, and petty home-owners to sell their houses to the state at a fraction of the original market price. The World Cup and the Olympics are used as pretense for anti-terrorist legislation that criminalizes political movements.
TPV: What are your comments on the World Cup as a weapon of urban population control?
"The megagames, not just the World Cup, but we are about to host the two biggest mega-events of the world, the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games. They are trying to use these mega-events as an excuse to build some infrastructure that needs to remove people, so many poor and non-white communities are losing their homes and their place to live, and being forced to accept unfair price for their homes, (the government buys $100,000 homes for $20,000) and long distance from their places of work, or outside of their routines and lifestyles. In building roads, stadiums, complexes, we already have 250,000 people lose their homes. Socially and politically, these events are excuses to approve anti-terrorist laws under the pressure of FIFA and the United States, especially, and said laws that criminalize social movements, where people can be arrested for 30 years if they block a street; it will be a crime to strike during the World Cup."
The struggle began over Brazil’s privatized dysfunctionally operating public transit, where transit fare hikes meant Brazil’s minimum-wage workers spent 30% or more of their paychecks communing to and from work
TPV: What role did public transit fare hikes play in the popular struggles, and what is the present situation in regards to the transit riders’ struggle?
"In the beginning of the year, we saw this in two cities in Brazil, Porto Alegre and Goiania. They were the first examples in the year where the cities started the increases in transport fare, and saw these struggles. In June, we had this movement, the MPL, that called for demonstrations in several cities of the countries against the increase of fares that happened in each city. Suddenly, people started to get more involved with this, more and more people, with numbers that we never saw before, reaching 200,000 people on the street. After seven huge demonstrations, they stopped the increase in more than 100 cities in Brazil. During this, there were other demonstrations and other issues that people were bringing into the streets, and inspired people to get into the street and ask for their demands, and not exactly the call for the increase, but the way that the people took the street shows to people themselves that they can fight harder for what they need. Then after June, several other issues took the streets too, and different movements, and now the streets are completely different in Brazil, every demonstration can become a riot, and the government is very scared about that, trying to criminalize those movements and especially black blocs and anarchists."
Youths attack Special Police Operations Battalion (BOPE) Armored Vehicle, or Caveirão. This photograph is now a symbol of resistance by predominately-Black favela-dwellers against programs by military and paramilitary police.
TPV: Can you give specifics on the UPP (Police Pacification Unit) occupation of favelas in Rio De Janeiro?
"The UPP is a thing that is happening in the favelas, in the slums, in Rio De Janeiro specifically. That is something that is headquartered there after a huge military occupation perpetrated by the elite military police of Rio De Janeiro, with the excuse to pacify the neighborhood and get rid of the drug market. But it is a way for the state to take control of these parts where they are not present in other ways, and where people that squatted the places, squat empty areas and build houses with whatever they find, and try to illegalize and force people to pay for what they already do illegally, such as [access] water, electricity, Internet…it was one of the first times we’ve noticed that it was police and military operation that was financed by private capital, so big companies were investing money in policing shanties, which is really scary for us, but it’s not being successful. The police there act brutally and people react to this. We have many protests against this, and people attacking it, and several cases of young people being murdered by the police there, doing searches and other daily activities."
Prime Minister Dilma and former Prime Minister Lula. Brazil’s ruling Worker’s Party (PT) are comprador-bourgeois pigs masquerading as socialists and friends of the workers. This is one important regional difference between Brazil and the US; in the US the bourgeoisie openly and unanimously attacks socialism. In Brazil, the bourgeoisie waves the red flag to attack the oppressed and destroy revolutionary movements.
TPV: What is the role of the electoral leftist parties in relation to the regime and the popular movement?
"We have a general disbelief in the leftist parties and institutions, like unions and social mobilizations for now, and at the same time we have one of the biggest movement, which is MST. (Landless Workers’ Movement) That has connections with the PT (Worker’s Party) that is in party now, the national government, the president. But they are losing – the left parties and the unions – they are losing the space now, and it was something we could see in the streets in June especially, because one of the first big mobilizations was called without parties, without unions … and the scandals of corruption with the Worker’s Party helped peoples’ disbelief in the Left in power."
Indigenous fishermen block the construction of the Belo Monte dam in 2010.
TPV: How does the land question for poor farmers and indigenous people play into the struggle?
"First, for indigenous communities, we have problems with the construction of dams for energy in the north of Brazil, called the Belo Monte in Xingu National Park, that is a traditional indigenous land. Since two years ago, its provoked several demonstrations and protests against this, and the ongoing construction already brought many problems for the region, like prostitution, drug addiction, and alcoholism. We are having several problems too with the enclosure of indigenous territories, [like reservations in the US -ed] because the state has to set and protect part of the territory for the indigenous communities, but they are trying to push it further and further because of the agribusiness lobby, and the agribusinesses – one of the things that is causing conflicts in the countryside for traditional peasants and workers of the land. The agribusiness is produced for exportation, and this is the priority of the government, and the peasants that produce on familial level, the workers that work with their families in small farms – they produce more of the food that the people eat. The farms are traditionally worked in small families, on small markets, for an internal market. The priority of the government is to export soy and other commodities for agribusiness.”
There is an important difference between the political symbolism of the Brazilian flag and that of the US flag. At the same time the Brazilian flag is the preferred protest symbol of the middle-class “anti-corruption” forces.
TPV: What is the significance and political content of ambiguous Brazilian nationalist symbols, such as the Brazilian flag, in the popular demonstrations?
"We think that maybe there’s a difference between the symbols of nationalism here and there. We could see those symbols and national flags and anthems on the streets when the middle-class took the streets too, with this broader discourse of “anti-corruption” and non-combative and not real struggles for the people, more generic issues. We could see in the end of June, the absence of parties became against parties. The Portuguese term is “without parties”, not “anti-parties”, because the risk of being anti-party in Brazil is return to dictatorship. The right-wing took over this sense of parties to claim their issues against the Worker’s Party, not with a libertarian or radical issue, but as a fascist proposal. Now they are outside the streets, they are not that much of a presence on the streets any more, but we still have this – in the middle-class in Brazil, especially, they occupy the streets during carnivals and soccer games, expressing their love for the nation and the colors of the flag."
An occupation of the Chamber of Commerce in Porto Allegre. There is a tendency of “red unity” in Brazil between feminists, anarchists, Maoists, and other revolutionary communists. Photo courtesy of CrimethInc.
TPV: As a Maoist, I often see the necessity for principled tactical unity between Maoists and anarchists. What are your thoughts on this arrangement as it exists in Brazil?
"It is too early to have some more clear opinion about this, but we can see that there is a tendency to unity to the red cause, especially on the street, and especially in Rio De Janeiro where the struggles are being more and more militant, and the fights were really brutal. We could see Maoist newspapers [Journal of New Democracy - ed] covering the demonstrations, doing livestreams, and complete reports of what was going on, and trying to be really close to the front line of the conflicts, and we could see too by the pictures - because we’re not from Rio De Janeiro - we could see the presence of the anarchist and communist flags and shields, using Maoist and communist symbols, they were marching together and carrying the Red Call posters and banners. This is something that we saw on the streets. We could see through this coverage, when the newspaper goes over and covers, this Maoist paper is doing. We can not say if there is a movement or coalition, or if they get along. We cannot say that, but one thing we can say is that for the police, all the radicals are a target now, and they are concerned about violence on the streets in the next months and in the next year.”
"You may have just awoken, but the ghettos were never asleep". This slogan is a response to the populist slogan "Brazil awakes", and is similar to the slogans "Occupy the Hood" in the US, "Never Been Idle" in Canada, and "We are Not Indignant, We are Pissed" in Spain.
LIBERAL DEMOS IN THE CITY CENTERS, “URBAN BLACK GENOCIDE” IN THE FAVELAS
The popular demonstrations were polarized along the lines of class. The more middle-class and white elements from the urban centers favored peaceful demonstrations, used symbolism such as the Brazilian flag and the Guy Fawkes Mask, and used the slogan “the giant awakens”. (The equivalent of say, “we are the 99%!”) They tended to get more attention and sympathy from the capitalist media, and the police were more likely to attack them with “non-violent” weapons such as rubber bullets. The poor, semi-proletarian, indigent and lumpenized strata in the city peripheries, predominately Black, countered with the slogan “You may have just awoken, but the periphery was never asleep”. They specifically attacked what they correctly characterized as “urban Black genocide” in the prisons and favelas, such as the extrajudicial mass-executions by police of Black youth committed under the pretense of fighting “drug dealers”. These sort of protests were more militant, and were more likely to be countered by military police with live ammunition. One of the speakers contrasted the class-consciousness of Black people who experience genocidal state violence every day with the white middle-class who only knew violence through “video games and Hollywood movies”.
The spontaneous rebellion of the proletarian youth include looting grocery stores, torching buses and government buildings, swarming and attacking BOPE Swat Cars, assaulting military officers, and ripping down street signs in bourgeois neighborhoods, and destroying businesses that are symbols of gentrification. This sight does not induce soul-searching as it does in the US, violent youth outbursts are generally accepted by the public as an inevitable component of strikes and political demonstrations.
STUDENT RADICALISM AND DECLASSED NIHILISM
When asked about the class forces at play, they identified the opposition to the rebellion stems from the white, Evangelical, masculinist urban upper-petit-bourgeois. However, they also noted that Brazilian students, despite being overwhelmingly middle-class, also overwhelmingly supported militant tactics. In addition to anarchists, feminists, Maoists, and the queer movement, there is also a large strata of youth participating in the uprising who are motivated by a sense of nihilism that was previously unfamiliar to the politics of Brazil. This nihilism, although reactionary and rightist, is also fuel for potential development of revolutionary consciousness. One of the speakers identified the material source of students’ alienation with capitalism; frustration with low-wage white-collar jobs such as telemarketing.
Striking teachers support black bloc tactics. The use of black blocs to protect strikes and labor demonstrations has lead to the increased public popularity of such tactics in Brazil.
BLACK BLOC AS GUARDIANS OF LABOR
The militant mass-movement certainly includes general strikes, including violent uprisings of workers on construction sites. A pivotal moment was the teacher’s strikes which swept the country. Teachers filled the streets striking against low pay and attacks on retirement benefits, and the police attacked them without provocation. The black bloc tactics manifested as militant students defending the economic demands of their teachers from police violence. Prior, the mass-media portrayed the black blocs and the youth as “vandals”. The intense solidarity between black blocs and labor strikes such as the teacher’s strike cemented public support for the black blocks. The striking teachers said “the police are the ones attacking us, and the black bloc are the ones protecting us from violence.”
The mainstream Brazilian talk show hosts found the Animal Liberation Front action in São Paulo endearing and photogenic.
ANIMAL LIBERATION GOES MAINSTREAM
Even the Animal Liberation Front actions in Brazil have taken on a mass-character. In one action in São Paulo, a group calling itself the “Animal Liberation Front” raided an animal-testing lab and freed hundreds of beagles, handing them over to a crowd of the people for adoption as pets. The mainstream media found this event sympathetic, photogenic and endearing enough to sing the praises of the ALF. Regardless of ones opinions on animal liberation, this shows how something considered by the mainstream in the US to be an an extremist, weird, and dangerous form of counter-culture rebellion has gained mainstream appeal in the political climate of Brazil.
A recent cyber-vandalism of the United States NASA website (the intended target was likely the similarly named NSA) is an example of how the Internet is considered an important terrain of class-struggle in Brazil. Mainstream media relies on the Internet social media of Brazilian Maoist journal A Nova Democracia (who have over 40,000 “likes” on Facebook) for coverage of the protest, and youth have gotten decades-long prison sentences for creating Facebook fan-pages for the black bloc.
CYBER-WAR AND CLASS WAR
The Internet is an important factor. The mass-movements used social media websites to organize demonstrations, as a form of popular media in contrast to the tightly controlled capitalist print and broadcast media. At the same time, the regime uses social media websites as a tool of monitoring and surveillance. Recently politicized and naïve youth created black bloc fan-pages on Facebook, and faced state repression for such actions. More organized, disciplined, and technologically sophisticated elements used Deepweb for organizing. Hackers broke into government websites and leaked documents in tandem with the riots and demonstrations. The Internet played a crucial role in the relationship between simultaneous popular struggles in Brazil and Turkey, who looked to each other for inspiration.
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