Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Eugene Debs On War

We are going into a critical election year. The working class of Chicago just flexed their muscles with a massive strike against their neoliberal Democratic mayor. And in Washington the impeachment hearings continue, prompting an aggressive backlash by the Republicans.
As civil war hashtags are trending on social media and Trump is backed into a corner, desperate to find a distraction, let’s remember the wise words of legendary American socialist Eugene Victor Debs at his Canton, Ohio speech against World War One. His birthday was November 5th. War, he said, is a racket, unless it’s the class war:
“That is war in a nutshell. The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and all to lose — especially their lives.
“They have always taught and trained you to believe it to be your patriotic duty to go to war and to have yourselves slaughtered at their command. But in all the history of the world you, the people, have never had a voice in declaring war, and strange as it certainly appears, no war by any nation in any age has ever been declared by the people.
“And here let me emphasize the fact — and it cannot be repeated too often — that the working class who fight all the battles, the working class who make the supreme sacrifices, the working class who freely shed their blood and furnish the corpses, have never yet had a voice in either declaring war or making peace. It is the ruling class that invariably does both. They alone declare war and they alone make peace.
Yours not to reason why;
Yours but to do and die.
That is their motto and we object on the part of the awakening workers of this nation.
“If war is right let it be declared by the people. You who have your lives to lose, you certainly above all others have the right to decide the momentous issue of war or peace.”

Friday, November 1, 2019

Barack Obama has a message about being politically woke

AOC on Endorsing Bernie



Last February I was working as a waitress in downtown Manhattan. I worked shoulder to shoulder with undocumented workers who often worked harder and hardest for the least amount of money.

I didn't have health care. I wasn't being paid a living wage. And I didn't think that I deserved any of those things because that is the script that we tell working people here and all over this country.

It wasn't until I heard of Bernie Sanders that I began to question and assert and recognize my inherent value as a human being that deserves healthcare, housing, education, and a living wage.

Now I am in Congress — and I'm proud to say that the only reason that I had any hope in launching a long shot campaign for Congress is because Bernie Sanders proved that you can run a grassroots campaign and win in an America where we almost thought it was impossible.

Last month, I stood with more than 25,000 people in Queens, New York City, where I endorsed Bernie Sanders for president. And now I am asking you to add your name to say you support Bernie too.

Please add your name to say that you also endorse Bernie Sanders to be our next president, and to build the working class movement that will make that happen.

When I was a baby, my family relied on Planned Parenthood for prenatal care, and back then Bernie Sanders spoke for me.

When I was growing up and education was being gutted for kids in the “wrong” zip code, Bernie Sanders spoke for us.

When I was a waitress and it was time for me to graduate college with student debt, Bernie Sanders was one of the only ones that said no person should be graduating with life-crushing debt at the start of their lives.

Bernie Sanders did not do these things because they were popular — and that’s what we need to remember. He did this, and he fought for these aims and these ends when they came at the highest political cost in America. No one wanted to question this system. And in 2016 he fundamentally changed politics in America.

What we need to do in this country is to organize a positive and welcoming mass movement that is centered on the working class, the poor, and the middle class. One that is actively anti-racist and that is rooted in principles of universality of cooperation.

We need a United States that really, truly and authentically is operated, owned and decided by working people in this country.

Our movement is multi-racial, multi-gendered, multi-generational and multi-geographic. We have to come together not by ignoring our differences, but by listening to them, prioritizing them, and understanding injustice.

The movement that we are building together is one that can not only elect Bernie Sanders, but that can truly transform our country to work for everybody. That is why I am asking you today:

Please add your name to mine and say that you support Bernie Sanders as our next president. Together we can build this movement to transform our country.

Thank you for all you do.

In solidarity, 
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez



Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Homelessness and Jails:


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Homelessness, and Jails: The Cult of Vengeance

© by Mark Dempsey

The first rule of the Cult of Vengeance is the same as for Fight Club: Don’t talk about Fight Club. Don’t talk about the Cult of Vengeance either, and certainly never admit you’re a member, perhaps not even to yourself.


The Cult of Vengeance is a seldom-discussed part of our civic religion--the beliefs that bind our society together. It declares that people earn their circumstances. So the wealthy are, by the Cult’s lights, virtuous, while the poor and unfortunate have obviously offended some god, or force of nature and deserve their fate. Punishing them is really just giving them what they deserve. Meanwhile, those wealthy enough to be born on third base deserve to act like they hit a triple.


What can I say? It’s a cult, not science.


The Cult is particularly pernicious when public policy supports it. Sue Frost, my County Supervisor, says she agrees that the plight of the homeless is driven by public policies that include persecuting and evicting them from even the modest shelter they devise in our parks. Yet she recently wrote an editorial condemning the ninth circuit court of appeals for invalidating the County’s anti-camping ordinances. The court concluded the homeless qualify as part of the public entitled to use public spaces like parks.


Let’s grant that Ms. Frost has a tough job, providing public spaces for the entire public--even those whose feces and dirty needles are a health hazard. After conceding that public policy produced homelessness, she defended rousting the homeless out of parks, saying she's a good person despite that. She went on to cite her own charity, her belief in a god, and in the kind of merciful treatment that gives people second, third, and even fourth chances to redeem themselves.


But when it comes to public policy, the best she has to offer is criticism for that court decision. The County has never handled homelessness well, and has added 500 new beds for a homeless population that’s roughly 2,000 people larger this year.


Let’s ignore, for the moment, that Supervisor Sue can’t imagine providing porta-potties, or needle exchanges. Let’s even ignore that the Biblical injunction is not to forgive four times, it’s to forgive “seventy times seven” times, essentially treating people where they are, not where we would like them to be. Clearly she follows a different god.


Thursday, October 24, 2019

Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Talk Politics and 2020 with ...

China Town Rising - Oct 24

Film
Against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-1960s, a young San Francisco Chinatown resident armed with a 16mm camera and leftover film scraps from a local TV station, turned his lens onto his community. Totaling more than 20,000 feet of film (10 hours), Harry Chuck's exquisite unreleased footage has captured a divided community's struggles for self-determination. Chinatown Rising is a documentary film about the Asian-American Movement from the perspective of the young residents on the front lines of their historic neighborhood in transition. Through publicly challenging the conservative views of their elders, their demonstrations and protests of the 1960s-1980s rattled the once quiet streets during the community’s shift in power. Forty-five years later, in intimate interviews these activists recall their roles and experiences in response to the need for social change.


Tower Theater


Keeping Troops in Syria to Protect Oil Fields - Not lives

President Trump now claims that his “justification” for keeping U.S. troops at the al-Tanf base in southern Syria – where they will be protecting zero Kurdish civilians, who live in northern Syria – is to “protect oil.” This is unconstitutional, because Congress never authorized it. Under Article I of the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973, the President uses military force in another country after Congress specifically authorizes it.
 
In response to Trump’s announcement, Senator Bernie Sanders said:
 
President Trump announced he will keep troops in Syria to protect oil fields. Last I checked, Congress never authorized U.S. forces to be deployed to secure Syria’s economic resources. Putting U.S. forces in harm’s way for this purpose is illegal and unconstitutional.
 
The Congressional Progressive Caucus said:
 
Congress has never authorized deploying troops in Syria to protect their oil fields. This is dangerous and unconstitutional.
 
The International Crisis Group says the base at al-Tanf “has no obvious military purpose.” The Foreign Policy Research Institute says it’s a “dumb waste of resources.”
 
As we have seen with efforts to end unconstitutional U.S. participation in the Saudi war in Yemen, the first step to stopping Trump from endangering U.S. soldiers at al-Tanf for no reason is to get Members of Congress to say that it’s unconstitutional.  
 
Urge Members of Congress to say that keeping U.S. troops at al-Tanf is unconstitutional by signing our petition.

Thanks for all you do to help make U.S. foreign policy more just,

Erik Sperling and Sarah Burns
Just Foreign Policy