Friday, February 24, 2017

Bannon and the Gang are Preparing for a War Against Workers

Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired
People might be right that Trump may well be stupid, but his main theoreticians aren't. People have said that proof of his stupidity is putting a person who hates the EPA in charge of the EPA, someone who has no respect for workers, hates unions and violates labor law as Secretary of Labor, an idiotic anti-public school religious fanatic in charge of public education, an out of touch surgeon in charge of housing etc.

Bu Bannon, the neo Nazi former Goldman Sachs guy (talk about corporatist) who is his mentor, makes it very clear at the CPAC conference yesterday why these choices are made when he claimed that the goal of the Trump Administration is: “deconstruction of the administrative state”

By this he meant a system of "...taxes, regulations and trade pacts that........  stymie economic growth and infringe upon one’s sovereignty."  “If you look at these Cabinet nominees, they were selected for a reason, and that is deconstruction,” Bannon said.

We should realize that when Bannon talks of sovereignty he is talking about the State/government make no bones about it. He is talking about the all powerful state as the "executive" of the capitalist class as a whole. A state or government that will defend the interests of US capitalism first and foremost on US soil. That part of the state he is attacking, will be eliminating, is that part that protects us to a degree, that part of the state that attempts to regulate the excesses of the so-called free market. That curbs market forces and its rapacious profit seeking adherents from destroying everything they touch, the water we drink,  (flint, West Virginia) the air we breathe, (Porter Ranch) the forests and land we love to walk in and hunt on and fish on (Standing Rock). This was why they had to put an end to the Native Americans and their allies at Standing Rock.

They actually intend to strengthen the state, their state.  The tragic BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico was caused because government regulators allowed the deep water drilling industry write its own laws. But that is not enough for these right wing nationalists, and right wing nationalism is by nature racist. Things were moving too slowly. They want to get their grubby little hands on the USPS, education, transportation, everything public as this is money out, it is our wealth returned to us in part in the form of social services and it took a struggle to get that temporary relief. These crumbs were a concession that has been made to the US working class over time. But this is not productive capital, it pushes private capital out of the marketplace and undermines profit making.

After the collapse of Stalinism, US capitalism talked of "Full Spectrum Dominance". What they meant by this was the freedom of capital to travel the globe free of obstacles like unions, government regulation and the like.  Both parties of capital do this. Clinton, Obama, they all do it. The Democratic Party plays the role of "good guy" in this good cop bad cop political scenario where capitalism seeks to take back from us everything we've won over a century and more. But why the aggression now? Is it wise, might they wake the sleeping giant that is the US working class? They well might, in fact they will. But we cannot blame them for this overconfidence. Bannon and his gang have read the history of the US working class we can bank on it and it is the potential power of the US working class that has slowed them but the US working class has been very quiet of late.

The US capitalist class does not fear the trade union leadership, the present heads of the organized sector of the class that still has the potential to shut down the US economy.  Why should they?  The building trades leaders were in the Oval Office with the Predator in Chief laughing and praising him. The lawyer who heads the Teamsters, James Hoffa, loves the guy. They have savaged us for years and are in the process of eradicating that last bastion of trade unionism in the US-----the public sector.

These are dangerous times but there is the positive side to this. It is beginning to wake the American workers and middle classes out of their stupor.  Republican Senators at Town Hall meetings have faced a barrage of angry constituents, many of them older, many of them registered Republicans who are angry and afraid their health care, limited as it is, will get worse under Trump. Women are concerned and all are concerned about the environment and the affect gutting regulations, giving capital a free rein, will have on their lives.  Immigrants, ethnic minorities, LGBTQ communities, all are concerned about the racism and white nationalism/neo Nazi ideology that is present in the White House.

Those workers that thought Trump will bring back the traditional jobs that have been lost not so much to offshoring but technology and innovation, are in for a surprise. They too will join the ranks of those victimized even more than they are now by the savagery of the so-called free market and the all powerful state.

We are seeing the beginnings of what must become a national movement if we are to halt this offensive. The Wall Street Journal reports today on some of the groups that have been formed since the election and that are organizing many of the protests at the Town Hall meetings. Smaller local groupings like the Voters of Watchung Hills, an affluent community in New Jersey. NJ7, a local group organized in a NJ Congressional District started by a woman who was in the group Pantsuit Nation that supported Clinton. It has 800 members in a Facebook group."I'm just so not political. "I've never been political" says its founder. The Watchung group is having meetings of 60 people or more.There is the Indivisibles, Planned Parenthood and Organize for Action and many more. Hundreds of people have been showing up at what are normally boring, orchestrated Town hall meetings, 900 turned up at one meeting in New Jersey that normally has 100.

Trump and others are saying, just like bosses' do in strikes, that these events are  organized by outsiders or that people are being paid. The Democrats, who are involved through groups like and others, said the same thing about the Tea Party movement. Activists disagree.  Paid organizers? "I wouldn't even know where to find them" one 53 year old woman told the WSJ. She said her 23 year old taught her how to use Twitter so she could follow Trump's tweets. We must not underestimate the anger that Trump's misogyny and attacks on reproductive rights has stirred up among women.

Given the role of the trade union leadership in supporting capitalism and the failure of the numerous socialist and other left grouplets that have no significant influence in the working class at all, the anger out there is being expressed through all sorts of channels. There are literally thousands of groups springing up but they exist in isolation from each other in the main with no national structure. Here in California we had a state of emergency and an ongoing battle in the Southern part of the state over a gas leak that caused an evacuation of an entire community and we just had the evacuation of 200,000 due to a possible rupture in the country's largest dam.  Then we have had Flint, Black Lives Matter and police brutality and many more. These struggles must be brought together nationally in a direct action movement against Trump and his policies.

It is important for revolutionary socialists and anti-capitalists to participate in these formations in a non sectarian way and help to build and broaden this movement. Lenin may have made his share of mistakes but he was correct when he stressed that, "We can (and must) begin to build socialism, not with human material specially prepared for us, but with the human material bequeathed to us by capitalism."

People learn through struggle and sometimes very rapidly; Every step of real movement is more important than a dozen programs", wrote Marx to a friend. Of course, in the latter stages of a movement, when it become a "real" movement, the program is critical.

Bannon's deconstruction of the administrative state will push the movement forward, it will increase social unrest and that part of the state that quells social unrest, the security apparatus, will be anything but deconstructed. It will be strengthened even further to drive back the working class and the resistance movement.

FFWP in our Think Tank, our weekly conference calls, have discussed whether Trump/Bannon and co are serious about their economic nationalism with regard to US capitalism's rivals internationally or was all this nationalist rhetoric simply a means to win an election?  We have suggested this regime has an eye on tri-polar world under the domination of three major powers, the US, Russia and China. This seems a very likely scenario given Trump's pro-Russia stance.  But a tri-polar world of this nature would also bring serious problems especially as far as the Western Europeans are concerned.

Bannon may also be be a little mad himself, overconfidence can do that and the US bourgeois, particularly the crowd around Trump, Mercer and the Koch brothers for example, is overconfident. If Bannon is serious about economic nationalism  and extreme protectionist measures with regards to international competitors it will lead to a trade war, serious economic instability and the increased chance of a major war.

Either way we are in a new period. As we saw with the women's march, in the developing movement we will be in a struggle with the liberals against their soft approach, an appeal to the better nature of the ruling class and the call for a nicer, friendlier capitalism. The Democrats have proven without a doubt that workers cannot rely on this Wall Street party to fight in our interests and protests alone are not enough.

In this period people will learn this fairly quickly.  Bannon himself said to his audience yesterday that things will get worse, that they will not get "their" country back without a fight. When these people are talking about "Americans' and "our" country, they are not talking about you and me, about working folk. They are not not talking about the small farmer.  Bannon is talking about an extreme right wing sector of the US bourgeois. He is  talking about the Wall Street Americans. In all honesty, do we really believe a Goldman Sachs Banker, a parasitic hotelier and real estate developer and people like De Vos and the crook Wilbur Ross are going to help us build a better, more secure life for working people?

Times have changed. The age of liberal wishful thinking is over. It's time to get serious about who we're dealing with. It's time to push back.

British Workers Must Defend and Strengthen the NHS

From Felicity Dowling in Liverpool UK

The link between the struggle to build, to keep and to improve the National Health Service (NHS) and the need to defeat the Conservatives is simply not clear in the minds of enough of our people.

Some people still see the NHS as being a normal part of the structure of life, like sewers and drains and power.They valur the NHS but they do not see it as being linked to party politics.

"No-one could be that nasty" as one man said in a defend NHS meeting.

The conservatives always SAY they support the NHS.Cuts are always framed in language of improvement, the reality is not reflected in the media.

Someone other than money grabbing, vandalising privateers is always blamed for problems. Blame the old, the fat, the migrant..not the privateers.

Labour involvement in pro privatisation issues in the NHS still lingers in their approach to the issue.
If the NHS is to be saved the issues need to be made crystal clear.

Each and every person who comes to understand how the NHS was built and how it could be saved is really important.Winning that one person over is like investing in the NHS.  We have an NHS because the previous generations campaigned and struggled for it. We will keep it only if there is an almighty campaign for it, a campaign like no other.

A campaign that links it to the Women’s Rights sentiments, to anti Trump sentiments, to human rights issues, to opposition to homelessness, to opposition to sanctions.

We need campaigns in every community and in every housing estate in this land.

Such a campaign,if we can build it, will destroy the Tory vote and will ring around the world.

The big demo on March 4th will help. Let's make it an enormous demo, and each person on that demo be empowered and enthused to take the campaign home to build and build the campaign. The utter destruction and looting being done by Tory (and right Labour) privatisers needs to be exposed, ruthlessly.

The right to health care must become clear in peoples minds. We have a right to the best available treatment, in a publically owned, publically provided health service, provided for public good, not for profit, funded by general taxation and staffed by well trained health workers working sane hours

Nothing less will do.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Book Review: Blood At The Root

We reprint this book review from the Freedom Socialist Party for the interest of our readers. Facts For Working People is not affiliated with the FSP.
Sukey Wolf
February 2017


Southern trees bear strange fruit, / Blood on the leaves and blood at the root.
Using these lyrics from a poem by Abel Meeropol, immortalized in Billie Holliday’s song about lynching, author Patrick Phillips opens his tale of terror, theft and racial apartheid in one Georgia county, USA. Following a brutal assault on a white woman in 1912, the white residents of Forsyth County quickly blamed some black teens, and lynched one of them in the town square the very next day. The two other defendants, Ernest Knox and Oscar Daniels, were quickly found guilty in a sham one-day trial, and hanged. One of the boys had a noose placed around his neck to extract a confession.
Blood at the Root describes all-too-familiar racist atrocities — a corrupt local sheriff, a kangaroo court, the never-ending threat of violence toward Black Americans under many decades of Jim Crow. But what happened next was an even graver travesty.
A reign of white terrorism descended on Forsyth County after the trial. Black churches were burned down, Black sharecroppers blasted from their cabins by sticks of dynamite, and Black landowners forced to abandon their farms in the middle of the night. The goal was to drive every African American out of the area, an entirely successful goal for nearly 80 years. So effective, Phillips points out, that Forsyth County never found it necessary to post the “whites only” signs so indicative of the Jim Crow South.
Scrupulous history. Phillips does not merely recite the story of the forced Black exodus, however. The first third of Blood at the Root is devoted to a meticulous examination of the Jim Crow world in which both victims and perpetrators lived. Phillips’ research reveals the individual Black residents whose lives were ruptured. There are excruciating photos of lynching victims, along with the particulars of their ordeals. He was even able to unearth contemporary photos of some of the people he writes about.
In one appalling story, Phillips tells of Laura Nelson from another county in Georgia. When she protested the abduction and lynching, threatening to swear out a complaint, she was lynched on the spot. Pregnant at the time, Nelson was hanged upside down and set on fire. The baby was cut from its mother’s womb and stomped to death.
Another woman was hanged by a white mob after she protested the treatment of her 15-year-old son who was accused of stealing.
These gruesome tales illustrate how lynching was not exclusively committed against Black men accused of raping white women. It was a chilling weapon used against a whole “wrong-colored” population.
Then and now. Phillips is not just a careful historian or journalist, however. He grew up in Forsyth County, moving there with his family in the 1970s. Blood at the Root is his toil to uncover the truth of Forsyth County’s legacy of white supremacy. A Black woman friend not raised in Forsyth urged him to take on this task. Through painstaking research, Phillips forces readers to confront this country’s legacy. We learn the names of lynching victims, their trumped-up crimes, the names of their murderers. We learn about the former slave who owned the land stolen by white neighbors, and what happened to the Black residents of Forsyth County once they were forced out.
There is a long section devoted to the crooked dealings of the local sheriff. And we are told about Joseph Kellogg, a former slave, who owned 120 acres stolen by whites. Clearly, whites’ land theft was a primary reason Black landowners were run out of the county.
Forsyth County did not have a civil rights demonstration until 1987, on the second anniversary of Martin Luther King day. By then the more progressive population of Atlanta had expanded north. Phillips’ parents and sister participated in the march and his mother wound up testifying against the local thugs who rioted against marchers that day. Today, anti-racist residents of Forsyth County far outnumber those thugs.
Reading Blood at the Root, I was struck over and over with one thought. Whites in the United States are more than likely living under apartheid this very day. They tend to marry each other, live together, socialize and attend school in largely segregated neighborhoods. For all the progress among individuals in mitigating racism over the last 100 years, the stubborn fact of ongoing segregation in U.S. society is like the elephant in the room — we all know it’s there.
In his fine book, Patrick Phillips provides the tools to broaden readers’ self-education, and stirs us to tackle apartheid lifestyle in the here-and-now. It’s going to take a conscious, multi-hued political movement to challenge the systemic race segregation that still defines this land.
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Off Duty LAPD Cop Pulls Gun on Teens: They call them Peace Officers.

Richard Mellor

If you read the story so far, the worst it appears that could have happened is that a kid walked on his lawn. This is a representative of the state. These are a bunch of kids, young people that live in the neighborhood. Imagine what this guy does to young males or females for that matter when he's on duty behind the closed gas station or 7/11 perhaps out of sight.

I was a participant in a similar situation in my old neighborhood when a crowd gathered round after two white cops picked up two black youth in the car, kids I knew that "fitted the description". I tried to intervene to get the cop who had one of the kid's mother in a choke hold over the hood of his car. to let her go and talk to us.  He wouldn't listen and his partner backed him up.

A larger crowd gathered and it could easily have developed in to something worse. At then end of it the young white cop called me over to talk, I refused his attempt to separate me from my community which was mostly black folks. I told him he talks to all of us if he wants to talk, but they took off.

This guy here lives in this neighborhood, what sort of person can't build a relationship with the people in his neighborhood? A cop that 's who, because they are not actually part of a community in the normal way, they police a community as representatives of the state, a racist and coercive capitalist state. That's why they can't live in the communities they police on behalf of the landlords and capitalists. As an aside, those 15,000 border agents Trump wants to hire, we'll be seeing them used at protests and on picket lines when we go on strike in the period ahead. After all, a strike is terrorism to them.

Here's some more footage of a protest that follows and the boy's mother speaking.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

So-called lefts who cover for the union bureaucracy who refuse to fight the bosses.

Workers prepared to fight. Union leaders refuse to lead. 
Sean O'Torain.

Labor Notes, the magazine which writes about some aspects of the life of the trade union movement published a couple of letters in its last issue that were written by labor officials and addressed to Trump. 
They can be found here.

As they usually do, these members of the labor officialdom who wrote these articles, make every effort not to offend our enemies, make every effort to appeal to their kindness, their sense of morality. Their approach is pathetic to put it mildly. They are also careful not to offend their colleagues atop organized labor. In one letter, a retired IBEW staffer writes: “I don’t pretend for one minute that any labor leader’s job is easy, especially after the defection of so many union members to a Republican Party that has never buried its animosity toward unions.” He blames the rank and file for their defection from one party that betrays workers to another that also betrays workers as opposed to seeing that it is he and his colleagues failure, refusal, to offer any serious challenge to the increasingly aggressive assault on workers and our unions that is the problem.

In the other letter,  an assistant business manager for another IBEW local writes, “When you build things for a living, you find yourself in coalition with developers and energy companies. This makes some of our environmental friends uncomfortable—just like our friendship with environmentalists makes some of our business allies uncomfortable. But given the state of the labor movement, we need friends, even friends we sometimes disagree with. “

These two letters explain in a nutshell why we’re in the state we are. They both blame Trump as they partner with his class colleagues through the Team Concept that makes building and strengthening the labor movement impossible. A rank and file member looking to change the unions, looking to find some way to fight back, would not be impressed and certainly wouldn’t write such mild mannered rebukes. 

As we have pointed out in previous posts, it is not the weakness of the unions that is the problem; it is the failure of organized labor’s leadership, their refusal to mobilize the potential power of their 14 million members in crucial industries to drive back the bosses’ assault on our living standards. They refuse to abandon the Team Concept philosophy, the view that workers and bosses have the same economic interests and, as we can see from the short quote above, they consider them partners, teammates, and when teammates are in trouble, they help them out. In the building trades, and all unions, the philosophy is to make concessions to the union contractors and bosses in order to help them compete against the non-union companies and workers. Anyone with a brain can see this leads to a race to the bottom and that the way we “lift all boats” is organize the non-union. But that would mean a fight, and threaten the relationship the union officials have built with the bosses based on labor peace.

The bureaucracy atop organized labor has a left wing, many of them academics, lawyers, members or former members of so-called socialist and other left organizations, that support and provide a left/liberal cover for the right wing leadership at the helm.  

As we pointed out in another post on the Boeing vote in South Carolina, the role of the leadership is rarely if ever mentioned by these lefts that have become "experts" on the labor movement and are referred to in some circles as labor leaders themselves.

Steve Early for example, is doing the rounds talking about his new book. He has written extensively on the labor movement. He is speaking in Chicago on March 6th. Early is a lawyer and writer who was a former CWA staffer for years. His labor life has been in the ranks of the bureaucracy in one way or another. He “finished his career with CWA in 2007” his bio says.  It was a “career” for him as it is for so many of those like him. And in this present climate, one cannot get in to these positions in the labor hierarchy without being “safe”, without letting it be known one will not orient to the ranks, will not help organize a rank and file movement from below against concessions and for rank and file power. How can you organize a rank and file movement when you don’t have a base in the rank and file?

Bill Fletcher, also somebody who poses as a left is a former advisor to former AFL-CIO head John Sweeney. He is similar to Early, raises mostly organizational issues in relation to the trade unions. But what did he do when he was in the movement? His role and Early's role allows them to be considered labor leaders in liberal circles.

In meetings like these such as the one to be held in Chicago we must not miss the chance to discuss the role of the trade union leadership in bowing to the bosses through the Team Concept and bowing to them politically by supporting Clinton and the Democrats. And now the building trades leadership meeting with and glad-handing with the Predator in Chief, Trump. Any discussion about the present situation which omits the role of the union leadership and of self styled lefts like Steve Early who are, or were, part of the union leadership and who have and still do support the union leadership, will be a waste of time. It’s one thing if they admit their mistakes. But that’s not likely as they don’t think they made any. They think the reason for the decline in the trade union movement and trade union struggles is what they consider the low consciousness of the working class rather than the real reason which is the role of the trade union bureaucracy and their collaboration with the bosses and their support of the bosses system - capitalism. 

At Steve Early’s meeting in Chicago and others like them, it is imperative that we  raise and discuss the abysmal role of the union leadership. Think about this in relation to the recent women's marches. 250,000 were on the one in Chicago. If the trade unions, and in Chicago there are some 320 locals in the Chicagoland area and around half a million workers affiliated to the Chicago Federation of Labor, if this movement with its banners and its heads held high had marched as a great labor contingent in the women's march it would have tremendously increased the size of the march and also changed its class content. Not only that, but the 250,000 marchers would have seen this great labor contingent with them and would have been drawn towards the trade unions and activity in the trade union movement. Many of the marchers were already union members. You would think it was obvious that the trade union leaders should have taken such action. But they did not. And they did not for the following reasons. 

Such action by the trade union membership was the last thing the trade union leaders wanted. This would have activated their existing membership and drawn in new members and this would have resulted in a transformation of the trade unions and with this a questioning of the policies of the trade union leaders which have been and are presently to capitulate to the bosses’ offensive. And another thing, an increased membership and an activated membership would have resulted in a questioning of the obscenely high wages and the perks and privileges of the union leadership. The union leadership would not have wanted that either. Better to have an inactive membership. 

I was at a rally at Cook County hospital today organized by the SEIU. The crowd was addressed by a man in a fancy suit. I assume he was an SEIU official as he looked like a lawyer. None of the listeners had fancy suits. What was the slogan of the SEIU leadership? It was - "Congress: What is your policy for health care?" This is staggering. 

Here was a union leadership that claims to be one of the more militant of them and their main slogan was directed at the extreme right wing Republican dominated congress asking this body what is its policy for health care.That is SEIU’s "rallying cry?" Not free health care for all. But "Congress what is your policy for health care?” We all know what its policy is, the dogs in the streets know what its policy is. Wreck it. We need to know how to stop it, how to mobilize against it. This approach is staggering in its willful undermining of the willingness of workers to struggle.  

How could you mobilize the membership of the unions and unorganized workers on this slogan. You cannot even really call it a slogan. It is more like the bleat of a sheep. As I say if Early’s meeting does not take up the role and capitulating policies of the leadership of the unions it will be a waste of time - except of course he might sell some books. My past experience of Steve Early is he defends the role of the union leadership in capitulating to the bosses and their parties and in suppressing any rank and file members and movements who want to fight the bosses. This is what he did when he was a full time member of the union leadership/bureaucracy. A new rank and file fighting movement has to be built in the ranks of the trade unions and in the workplaces.

The authors of this Blog have repeatedly stated that when workers consider moving into struggle they see that they face a fight on two fronts. One is against the bosses and their system. Another is against their own leadership who collaborate with the bosses and support the bosses system. A new fighting working class movement has to be built. 

There is also of course the self styled revolutionary left grouplets who either do not participate in the trade unions or if they do also capitulate to the union bureaucracy. They are just about of no significance. But that is another story for another day. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

US Capitalist Strategist calls for "Trump Doctrine."

Sean O'Torain.

Trump's foreign policy scares more astute sections of US imperialism.

Zbigniew Brzezinski is a major strategist of US imperialism. He was a counselor to Lyndon B. Johnson from 1966 to 1968 and National Security Advisor (so-called) for Carter from 1977 to 1978. He was also a founder of the Trilateral Commission. He is not a lightweight or a buffoon like Trump. Like the rest of the more conscious and astute sections of the capitalist class in the US, he has been watching the Trump regime with alarm, especially its foreign policy, and weighing up what to do about it and the regime overall.

Facts For Working People has  been saying that so far the dominant more astute sections of US capitalism have concluded that to remove Trump at this stage would be the worst of the options. It would further undermine their system, further increase destabilization of their rule. So they are keeping him in power and trying to influence and hopefully control him. You can see this in a number of ways.

 Secretary of Defense Mattis, in reality Secretary of Foreign Invasions, Occupations and World Wide Looting, has recently stated US support for NATO and also that US imperialism was not going to grab the oil of the Middle East, (well not any more than they already do.) Both of these statements by Mattis contradict statements made by Trump in the recent past. Mattis is being used by the more balanced sections of US capitalism to try and reign in Trump. It remains to see if he will be successful. If not, the dominant sectors of US capitalism might decide that Trump would have to go. One way or another. There are probably enough tapes out there to bring him down and allow them to avoid more extreme measures.

This statement in today's New York Times by Brzezinski where he calls for Trump to have a  "Doctrine" in relation to world affairs is part of this process of trying to control and guide him, trying to tie him to a coherent policy which would be more to their liking. But before going on to that, more on Bzsezkinsky's record. After Russian Stalinism's invasion of Afghanistan, Brzezinski traveled extensively in the area especially to Pakistan where he helped create the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

Brzezinski has justified US imperialism's leading role in setting up the Taliban and al-Qaeda  as it led to the military defeat of the Soviet Union and this was a major factor in the its collapse and the restoration of capitalism to that part of the world. Brzezinski is a top strategist and experienced leading member of the US ruling class. It is useful to see what he is calling for in relation to the Trump regime.

We in Facts for Working people have for some time been discussing the possibility, that in spite of their antagonisms the various major imperialist powers might try and stabilize the world again, try and build a new equilibrium of a tri-polar character. This is what Brzezinski calls for and calls on Trump to adopt as his doctrine. He writes in today's New York Times :"We may disagree with President Trump on day-to-day decisions, but we urge him to recognize that the ideal long term solution is one in which the three militarily dominant powers - the United States, China and Russia - work together to support global stability."

There is no doubt that this is in the minds of the major powers. But it is a very delicate operation. It involves changing relationships, it involves especially changing relations between the US and Western Europe. With all the major powers especially Western Europe, it involves diplomatic handling of relations between them and the other major imperialist powers and it involves doing this while the US, the major imperialist power, seeks to maintain and even expand its position. The US has held the  totally dominant position in the world for the past century. In spite of what Brzezinski says it will not find it easy to give this up. It involves it having to face up to it not being able to build a "New World Order" based on what it called "Full Spectrum Domination," where it would still be top dog. This will not be easy. It needs a much more experienced, not to say intelligent, political operative and strategist than Trump who about goes blundering and insulting the global community and stirring up all kinds of instability within the US itself.

We in Facts For Working People in our Think Tank and weekly conference calls, continually discuss what our enemy, the capitalist class and the various imperialist countries are up to. It is important to try and understand how our enemy thinks and what they are striving for. We think we are generally correct in thinking that the most thoughtful strategists of imperialism are thinking about a new tri- polar world. But we also think that this will be very difficult to achieve. Especially with a new world recession, maybe even a depression round the corner. And of course, there is also the reality that capitalism will never be able to overcome the boundaries of the various nation states. We are already seeing Western European capitalism's attempt at a United States of Europe beginning to come apart. 

There is also the new rising movement of working people around the world. This will complicate all the strategies of the major imperialist countries. And then again, we come back to the reality that we have the stupid, arrogant, Trump sitting in the White House with more access than we'd like to the nuclear codes

Be prepared for a bumpy ride.

In the meantime contact us and take part in Facts for Working people's Think deliberations.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Climate Change: It is real and it can end life as we know it.

The greatest catastrophe humanity faces is climate change. We have been a short time on this floating orb. There is no guarantee that humans will not go the way of the dinosaurs. There is no heaven, no hell, just what we have. We are not "sinners. There are no "battles" between good and evil. No struggles between gods and Satan, there is just organic life. 

Human society has gone through phases, different ways of organizing our means of extracting from nature our necessities of life. We have talked of conquering nature, but we can't and why would we want to? We are but a small part of it and we have reached a level of development where we have a choice. We can function in harmony with nature and without hostility to it. Just like keeping a clean house. We have in the past, when society was organized differently and we were closer to the land. There are still remnants of this social organization left today. If anything, these cultures are in the forefront of the struggle against the social suicide the human race is presently heading toward if the production of the necessities of life does not return to a collective social function, in cooperation with each other and with respect for our environment.  Capitalism is poisoning Mother Earth and human life with it. It cannot advance humanity, only destroy it. Nature will always be here.

You can read more about this event here

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Interfering In Elections: Staggering Hypocrisy Of US Capitalism.

Sean O'Torain.

Putin: Shrewd Russian Imperialist. Trump: Stupid, ignorant, arrogant US President.
The hypocrisy of the US ruling class is staggering. The non Trump wing, which includes the US spy networks, the US dirty tricks departments, the tops of the US military, the US state and legal system and most of the more sane sections of the capitalist class itself, are screaming blue murder about Putin's intervention in the US elections in general and intervening to help Trump in particular. Of course Putin intervened in the US elections, either directly in communication with Trump, Flynn or others or by some other means of communication. And of course he did it to help Trump. And of course also the US working class should expose and oppose this intervention. But let us go back a little and in doing so look at the bigger picture.

Who is Putin and why should the US working class oppose his intervention in the US elections and in fact in any elections. After the Russian revolution in 1917, because that revolution was isolated, because it had taken place in an economically and culturally backward country and with a weak working class, that working class was not able to take hold and control society after the revolution. It was not able to build a democratic socialist society which would be run by the working class. Instead it lost control of the post revolutionary society to a dictatorial caste under the leadership of the brutal dictator Stalin.

However, the economy which had been taken out of the hands of the capitalist class and landlord class by the 1917 revolution remained nationalized, but the society as a whole fell under the control of this Stalinist caste, this Stalinist dictatorship. Amongst other things this meant that the resources, natural, territorial, economic, including the labor power of these societies, remained out of the ownership and control of the capitalist class in the West. This was the fundamental basis for the decades long conflict known as the Cold War. Capitalism wanted to get its hands on the wealth and resources including the labor power and markets of the Stalinist countries. It also wanted to make sure that no other countries moved in the direction of a nationalized non capitalist society and economy and it wanted if at all possible to bring down the Stalinist regimes that existed and rule the world unchallenged once again.

At the end of the 1980's the Stalinist regimes began to crack under their own weight. The bureaucratic castes were unable to take them forward. Nationalized economies, collectively owned economies, could only last and prosper for any length of time if they existed on an international scale and if they had the democratic input and were under the democratic control of the working class, that is if they were run by the democratic collective brain of the international working class. This was not the case in the Stalinist regimes. The fall of these regimes was also assisted by the rise of new technology and communications which made it much more difficult for all dictatorships to maintain power.

There were two possibilities for the former Soviet Union after its collapse. It could have gone forward to democratic socialist societies. Or it could have gone back to the restoration of capitalism. The latter road was taken. And it was taken with the help of US capitalism and all the other capitalist and imperialist countries and their allies such as the Catholic church. Talk about intervening in elections. It would be fair to say that there was never a greater interference in elections in history than that by imperialism, led by US imperialism in the elections that took place in the countries of the former Soviet Union after the collapse of that society. Put that in your pipe and smoke it US imperialism.

After a period of enormous turmoil and with the blatant interference of US imperialism and the rest of the world's capitalist classes and the Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches, new extremely brutal capitalist classes emerged in the former Soviet Union countries. They privatized and looted the wealth of these countries and became players in the world capitalist economy. This new capitalist class had a time of it consolidating itself. In Russia after bumbling buffoons like Yeltsin and co, Putin the ex KGB man came to the top. He has begun to give some cohesion to this new brutal ruling class. This is where the answer to the question of who is this Putin can be found. Putin is the new brutal representative of the new brutal Russian capitalist class, that is, of Russian imperialism. He sees his task as two fold. One is too keep the Russian working class down. And two, increase the power and influence of the new Russian capitalist class on a world scale, that is strengthen and expand Russian imperialism. This is who he is. This is what he is up to. He is no friend of any working class, either in Russia or any part of the world.

Putin intervened in the US elections to further the interests of the new Russian capitalist class, that is Russian imperialism. This has to be exposed and opposed by all workers and anti capitalist forces. The idiot Trump of course influenced by the possibility that he and his cronies could make a lot of money, have been making a lot of money out of the Russian economy and looking forward to possibly making even more out of new deals on oil and gas if sanctions are lifted, have been cozying up to Putin, and in the process have been led by the nose by Putin. The more sane wing of the US capitalist class are increasingly seeing this and going after Trump. The spy networks are hitting him with what are now called "weaponized leaks", the mass media are after him, Mattis his own so called Secretary of Defense is contradicting him on NATO and Putin and Russia.

The people he wants to replace Flynn the now disgraced former so called National Security Advisor are backing away as they see what the Trump regime is up to and see that if he continues as he is he will be a wrecking ball for US imperialism. Even the Wall Street Journal has the odd criticism. Trump and co are making a mistake, both from their own point of view and the point of view of of US imperialism. They are weakening themselves as a regime. And while doing so they are strengthening Putin and Russian imperialism. This is not in the interest of US imperialism. If Trump does allow himself to be instructed and tamed, does not get himself in order then it is very very possible that one way or another he will be removed.  

As Trump tries to defend himself and his relationship and shenanigans with Putin, he gets himself into deeper and deeper water.  In a TV interview he admits that Putin is a killer but so he says is the US. In this of course he is correct. But this horrifies the tops of the US military and spy networks who have conned themselves or been conned into thinking they are in some way more moral that Stalinism and now the new Russian capitalist class. It also horrifies the more conscious sections of the US capitalist class who understand that while they are no better (Hiroshima - Nagasaki) than Stalinism,  they need to be able to pose as kind hearted well meaning democrats if they are to continue in their world wide role with their hundreds of military bases internationally which are in reality there to allow US imperialism to look after its interests.

Just consider the following points for a moment and think about them in the context of the hysterical campaign in the media of the US capitalist class about Putin intervening in the US elections. Just think about these points and what they show about the staggering hypocrisy of US imperialism.

The American historian William Blum recently published an updated summary of US foreign policy from 1945 to the present. He showed that since that year the US tried "to overthrow more than 50 governments, many of them democratically elected; grossly interfered in elections in 30 countries; bombed the civilian populations of 30 countries; used biological and chemical weapons; and attempted to assassinate foreign leaders." Talk about interfering in other countries elections. In terms of interfering in other countries the US is number 1. And these interferences are not confined to using computers and high tech communications and tapping communications. Again and again they are through armed coups, invasions and occupations (Afghanistan and Iraq!) and killings.

Just think about Chile and Kissinger. Just think about Iran and Mossadeq. Just think about Kissinger the longest serving National Security Advisor ( national security advisor? More like the Dominate the rest of the world advisor). To this day Kissinger cannot travel to many countries of the world because he would be arrested and tried as a war criminal. His war crimes were interfering in the internal affairs of other countries on behalf of US imperialism and presiding over the slaughter of people soldiers and civilians, Americans and non Americans, especially in South East Asia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, etc. And he is fawned over by the US capitalist class: the crowd that are now  screaming about Putin interfering in the US elections!!  

Of course the US working class must oppose Putin's and Russian imperialism's interference in the US elections. Putin is the enemy of the working class whether in the US or Russia or internationally. But in doing so it must recognize the hypocrisy of US imperialism. It must also recognize that US capitalism, US imperialism interferes in all US elections, dominates all US elections with its ownership and control of the capitalist mass media and its domination of the electoral system through its monopoly of the political system by its two capitalist parties the Republicans and the Democrats, and the undemocratic corrupt electoral college and the legalized bribing (lobbying by corporations) of politicians. US capitalism, US imperialism, the US capitalist class interferes in all US elections to dominate the consciousness of the US working class and convince them that there is no alternative to capitalism. There is a lot of interfering going around. The US working class must build its own mass party and "interfere" in elections in its own class interests.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Undocumented Workers Are Not The Enemy Of Labor

Immigrant labor, the backbone of California's agriculture economy
Before I retired there was much to do about undocumented workers getting drivers licenses in California.  One of my own co-workers was going around with a petition that supported denying "illegals" the right to a license.  We had a bit of a disagreement about it, especially as he was a well paid, very fortunate worker who had pretty much had one very good public sector job all his life.  So I made a bit of an issue of why we should refuse to sign his nasty anti-worker petition and distributed these comments to get it out of my system.I wrote this piece and distributed it.

With the vicious attacks the Predator in Chief has waged on immigrants I thought I'd share this again. One thing that I want to mention in another commentary on this subject is why this immigration occurs and history behind it, this is never discussed in the mainstream. The other issue is the failure of the labor leadership to raise this correctly and to build real, lasting and powerful links between US and Mexican/Central American workers.

I would make some minor additions if I were to write it today but this issue doesn't go away so I am republishing it in response to the increasing efforts to blame immigrant for the crisis of capitalism. I am being a little lazy here but many of the points made in it are still relevant. Richard Mellor

Undocumented Workers Are Not The Enemy Of Labor

It’s hard for me not to feel anger at the eagerness with which some working people join multi millionaires like Arnold Schwarzenegger and corporate politicians like Gray Davis in denying undocumented workers driving licenses.

These brothers and sisters are among the most abused and brutalized sections of the working class in this country. They are the butt of racist jokes and humor and are terrorized by contractors who hire them to exploit their precarious position and rich people who want cheap servants. After working excessive hours at low pay doing jobs most Americans avoid, they are set upon by the landlords who rarely fail to look a gift horse in the mouth.

I hate to admit that some working people join this bandwagon out of sheer meanness, the opportunity to step on someone when they’re down, someone weaker and less fortunate than themselves. But underlying most opposition among workers is the question of economics, of the job market. Due to their situation, undocumented workers work for lower wages, are less able to organize and are seen as a real threat to good paying jobs. The employers, despite their phony patriotism and hysterical xenophobia spread through the airwaves by their mouthpieces like Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage, profit handsomely from the undocumented among us.

While allowing an undocumented worker a drivers’ license does me no harm whatsoever, denying them one serves to increase the misery and terror that many of these brothers and sisters face daily. It is almost impossible to have a job in California and no vehicle to take you to work. The undocumented will be forced to drive whether they have legal licenses or not. A legal license would merely remove some pressure on these people. Supporting this move would be an act of solidarity between those of us that are so-called legal and those of us that aren’t. What would be important to them would come at no cost to us and would strengthen our (Labor’s) ties with them.

So when we are confronted with this issue it is important for us to look at it two ways as far as I am concerned. Firstly, the employers will always use one section of the working class against the other in their efforts to maximize profits and keep wages low and unions out. This is a given regardless of their public statements about aliens and immigrants ruining America. It is in our interests to support unions organizing the undocumented and strengthening their rights so that when the employers try to use them against us we will have built a solid base of support among them and them us.

Secondly we do have to deal with the issue of “illegal” immigration. Obviously a huge influx of workers whether skilled or unskilled does tend to depress wages and, like any other commodity, Labor plays by the law of supply and demand, increased labor without corresponding job increases favors the buyer of Labor not the seller of it. So I think while we support immigrant rights domestically it is important to address the issue of increased immigration through our southern borders. But let’s look at some of the contributing factors to South/North migration.

Let's look at El Salvador for instance. In 1932, shortly after seizing power, Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez slaughtered some 30,000 Pipil Indians who had revolted against the giant landowners. With U.S. support he banned all Unions and ruled in the interests of the ruling elite until 1944. The coffee magnates that he and subsequent regimes supported with U.S. help took over so many small farms that the number of landless peasants in El Salvador quadrupled between 1961 and 1975. Hundreds of thousands left the country looking for work. Where do you think many of them went?

Supported by El Salvadore's Catholic Church a movement toward democracy developed in the late 60's and 70's that gave El Salvadorians some hope for a better future. But the more this movement developed the more repressive the oligarchy and its military dictatorship became. A civil war erupted in 1979 after an army coup aborted the results of a democratic election. During the next two years right wing death squads supported by the U.S. hunted down any dissidents; more than 8,000 trade unionists were murdered or abducted during this period.

Siding with the El Salvadorian oligarchy, the U.S. government provided them with $3.7bn in aid from 1981-89, 70% of this money was for weapons and war assistance. Such was the terror in El Salvador that thousands of people fled north to the U.S. to escape death or torture. Incidentally, up until 1999, every Taleban official was on the payroll of the U.S. government as well; another U.S. foreign policy measure the majority if not all of the heads of organized Labor supported.

Guatemala is similar. In 1954 a CIA sponsored coup overthrew the democratically elected government of Jacobo Arbenz on behalf of the United Fruit Co. and other big landowners. Arbenz had introduced land reforms that threatened the domination of the United Fruit Company over Guatemalan society. Only 2% of landowners owned 72% of the arable land, much of it unused. United fruit alone held 600,000 acres of mostly unused land. The Guatemalan colonel that the CIA selected to replace Arbenz immediately outlawed hundreds of trade unions and returned more than 1.5 million acres to United fruit Co.

Instrumental in planning the coup were the Dulles brothers, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and his brother, Allen Dulles who was director of the CIA. These two also helped orchestrate the CIA coup that overthrew the secular democratic government of Mossadegh in Iran in 1953 and replaced him with the murderous Shah. They were former partners of United Fruit’s main law firm in Washington. By 1985 some 75,000 people were dead or had disappeared at the hands of the Guatemalan dictatorship; a huge amount in this tiny country. Some 150,000 Indians fled to Mexico and beyond. Many of the brothers and sisters we see on the streets as day laborers are from this area.

Similar situations occurred throughout Central and South America as rebellions against the domination of U.S. corporations over society were suppressed by the U.S. government and its stooges. It is important for us to understand this aspect of the migration north of working class people, particularly the indigenous population that was viciously persecuted by U.S. sponsored regimes. Tragically, the U.S. Labor movement through the AFL-CIO and its departments blindly supported these policies and coups.

Economic policy has also contributed to the uprooting of workers forcing them north in search of a living. NAFTA has had negative effects north and south of the border. Many good union jobs have been lost in the U.S. and in Mexico 1.3 million farm jobs have been lost since 1993, due to subsidized U.S. food imports. It is no wonder that during that period Mexicans working illegally in the U.S. more than doubled; people have to eat. NAFTA is not good for U.S. or Mexican workers.

So the Labor movement must develop its own response to these issues rather than allowing big business, through the two political parties that it controls, set the ground rules. We must support immigrant rights domestically and not fall in to the skapegoating trap while at the same time assisting the growth and development of Labor organizations in other counties where poverty is rife. Most people emigrate because they can’t feed their families.

But even if these workers and peasants don't come here to the US, staying in their home countries will have basically the same effect. It will increase the supply of Labor, further driving down wages (Labor’s price) and increasing the rate at which capital invests since there would be even greater profits to be made there. Obviously this would mean further job losses here in the U.S. Thus, we cannot escape the affects of the conditions of those workers and peasants, no matter if they come here or stay in their home countries. The only real difference is that if they come here, the effects of this forced competition are more visible to us. We can bury our heads in the sand and ignore the conditions in such countries as El Salvador, Mexico, etc., but that in no way means that those conditions don't affect us just as much. Therefore, our only choice is to join with them, wherever they are, in a united struggle to improve wages and conditions, as well as democratic rights, whether they be here or there.

Of course, this means opposing U.S. foreign policy, which has actively suppressed democracy and trade union rights in these countries in the interests of the giant multi-nationals. It also means a struggle within the AFL-CIO whose leadership has blindly supported U.S. foreign policy that has installed and/or supported one ruthless dictator after another in these countries.

Richard Mellor
South Area Service Center
January 04

Sources: Harvest or Empire: Juan Gonzalez
Business Week: Is NAFTA Worth It? (12-22-03)