Thursday, November 09, 2006







Well, the results are in from these misbegotten midterm elections and not surprisingly the Democrats have rode the whirlwind of voter disgust with the Bush Administration’s policy in Iraq, the effects of ‘real’ economy on their lives and disgust with overall political ugliness to boot these bastards out. NO leftist will cry over these election results even though we cannot share in the illusions that the Democrats in power will be qualitatively better.

Despite the fact that I enjoyed kicking these guys when they were riding high- and will give a little extra kick now when they are down- enough is enough. We can all breathe a little easier, at least for the moment, now that we will probably not have to live in constant fear of the knock at the door or have to look twice over our shoulders before we make a move. Nevertheless proceed with caution- as the 'red scare' of the 1950's and the Democratic Lyndon Johnson presidency during the Vietnam War era testify to the Democrats are just as capable as the Republicans of throwing off the niceities of democratic form when it is their interests. And leftists are among the first to pay.

But now on to mundane matters. Yes, I will confess that I lost my share of money on my various bets on the outcome of the elections. I misjudged the extend of the furor over Bush, reflected in the House races, after having seen his Administration run roughshot unopposed by man or beast, except for the thousands who took to the streets over Iraq, for six years. I was, obviously, clearly off base in my appreciation of the Senate races. In my last blog on the subject I took note that I believed that the Democrats must have been smoking “something” to make any projections of victory in those races. Obviously, I must have been having my own “problems” in that "something" direction. This crushing personal defeat only goes to show, once again, that this militant writer is so detached from run of the mill bourgeois electoral politics that he should leave making predictions about bourgeois politics alone-until next time. In any case I call on my muse Doctor Hunter S. Thompson- help, please send money- I have an irate liberal raving over how much I owe her. Notwithstanding my “errors” I feel compelled to make a few comments on what this whole election cycle means, at least in the short haul.

The first and foremost item that strikes me is how little the results will effect the war in Iraq despite the fact that many people used that as their reason for switching horses in mid-stream. Why? First and foremost, exhibit #1 is one George W. Bush and his dwindling coterie of hack supporters. He has made no bones about the fact that he intents to keep troops in Iraq under his watch and retain Secretary of War Donald Rumsfeld (but see headline above, the draft of this blog was written before the 'sad' news of Mr. Rumsfeld's demise occurred). He may have to throw Donald to the wolves but make no mistake, he will keep those troops in Iraq until freezes over or his administration ends- and the rudderless Democrats will acquiesce.

That leaves the question of who these new Democrats are. We already know the old lame ones who allowed the Republicans to run roughshot over the political process with timid, if any, opposition for the past six years. The flap over Senator Kerry’s remarks about Iraq and the consequences of not 'studying' hard enough on the personal fate of the young (see October 2006 archives) and the dive even his fellow Democrats took over the issue should serve as a shocking reminder of how gutless these yahoos are. I have mentioned elsewhere that this election is no watershed of bourgeois politics like 1932 or 1960. And a look at who was elected on what program tends to confirm this view. A virtually unending string of victorious anti-abortion, anti-same-sex marriage, lukewarm Iraqi oppositionists Democrats do not make one think that we are in the opening stages of a third bourgeois revolution in America. I do believe that the Republican right has reached its highwater mark and that a slight drift left is in the making-small relief after forty years of a Republican right-wing onslaught.

What this writer sees as a result of these elections is confirmation of Republican-lite. Conservative policies with a velvet glove. That is what confronts those, mainly power-starved liberals, who thought that the “times they are a changing”. But in the flush of your victory, hear me out. I will provide a litmus test for all those who do not like my Cassandra-type warnings. On Iraq, the central question of the elections and of our times- Will you honorable Congressman or woman or esteemed Senator next year in the next Congressional session vote against the war budget? ON THE RECORD. Ah, now there is the rub. And the answer will not be pretty.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Click on the title to link to the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee.





Well the dust has finally settled on the broken down electoral campaign of 2006 and now we can get down to commenting on the endless campaign for president in 2008. And it ain’t going to be pretty. Let us face it any political system that can do no better than provide the perfecta of Bush-Clinton, their families, their near and distant relatives, their pets, etc. every four years deserves all the problems it gets. Talk about the modern day parliamentary equivalent of the War of the Roses- this nonsense has got to stop. And this writer is just the one , as always, to provide a 'constructive' alternative to the nastiness of bourgeois choices and politics. Here goes.

I am proposing an all-women presidential ticket based on a pro- working class program for 2008. No surprise there. Nor does it matter which one runs for president and which one for vice president, they can decide that between themselves. Some much for the dreaded succession crisis that worries so many capitalist commentators, right? The point is that it is certainly time for a woman to be President of the United States and it makes sense. Just not the lame capitalist politician Hillary "Hawk" Clinton. I propose instead Assata Shakur and Lynne Stewart. And I challenge any feminists, progressives, left liberals or anyone else to say that this pair, individually or together, would not more truly represent the interests of the vast majority of working people than Ms. Clinton.

For those unfamiliar with Lynne Stewart or her case the following is a note from the Partisan Defense Committee which supports the efforts to get her conviction overturned:

“On June 19, Lynne Stewart's counsel filed court papers seeking to discover if any warrantless or illegal electronic surveillance was conducted on her or anyone involved in her case. Then on July 5, Lynne's attorneys filed a Sentencing Memorandum on her behalf asking for a non-custodial sentence, i.e., one involving no jail time. As you are aware, Lynne Stewart was falsely convicted of material support for terrorism for her work representing an imprisoned client, Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, a direct attack on the right to an attorney and First Amendment rights for all. She is also recovering from surgery for breast cancer and subsequent radiation and hormone therapy. Currently she awaits sentencing on September 25 to be preceded by a rally at Riverside Church in New York on September 24. We say again her conviction and those of her co-defendants were an outrage. Hands Off Lynne Stewart, Mohamed Yousry and Ahmed Abdel Sattar!”

Since the above information was published in an earlier blog Ms. Stewart has received a 28 month sentence. Her co-defendant Mohamed Yoursy has received a sentence of 20 months. Her other co-defendant Ahmed Sattar has received an outrageous sentence of 24 years. For further information contact the PDC, P.O. Box 99, Canal Street Station, New York, NY 10013-0099, The Lynne Stewart Defense Fund or see my blog, dated June 13, 2006.

Assata Shakur, Tupac’s “Auntie”, is a revolutionary black fighter for justice who was convicted of murder in the 1970’s, later escaped and eventually found her way to Cuba where she now resides in political asylum. Over the past year the United States Justice Department has increased its bounty on her arrest and capture up to one million dollars. To this writer’s mind that makes her prime presidential material. It would certainly improve American relations with Cuba.

Let me motivate these candidacies a little further and address some possible objections. I will simply freshen up some of the material I used in earlier blogs to motivate a write-in vote for Lynne Stewart in the United States Senate race in New York against Hillary Clinton. Thus, as I noted there, some will say Ms. Stewart and Ms. Shaker have been convicted of serious felonies. Grow up! If we counted all the indicted felons, unindicted co-conspirators, and those waiting for or in fear of indictment hanging around Washington the Congressional pages would be the only ones left to run the government. Hell, maybe, they are? Besides, think about this- imagine the respect Ms. Stewart and Ms. Shakur would get from those federal district court and appeals court judges looking for career advancement if they had the power over their nominations. And let us not forget the presidential pardoning process, which would immediately come in handy upon their election.

Hillary “Hawk”, Assata Shakur and Lynne Stewart are all women. Moreover, Ms. Shakur is a black woman. I did not want to incur the wrath of my feminist friends by daring to propose a man for president. After all we need women to break down the doors to the historic men’s club atmosphere of the United States presidency. That is sensible enough, but as I have pointed out before in regard to Senator Clinton, she, and in this she is not alone, stands for the proposition that for all the virtues of the fight for the equality of women over the past decades women can have politics just as ugly as men. Some victory.

As always some will argue- but Hillary is a progressive and we do not want to divide the progressive forces, etc., etc. Get over it! Yes, Hillary was a “progressive”, or what passed for such at Wellesley when she got uppity in her valedictorian speech. (Does this, in any case, really count as a radical expression?) But hell, that was a long, long time ago. Since that time she has adhered to classic Clintonian Democratic Party centrism. Translation- she stays as close to the Republicans as possible without wearing an elephant on her lapel. Unfortunately for her the Republican Party these days is to the right of Genghis Khan (although that may be a slander on Mr. Khan for, as recently reported on the occasion of the 800th anniversary of his birth, the Mongolian nationalists are currently touting his progressive nature- for the times). But let’s get to the bottom line- Hillary is operating in the coin of the realm of bourgeois politics- looking, tongue out, for her main chance. Lynne and Assata has spent their lives and careers on behalf of the voiceless and unrepresented- looking to give people a fighting chance. More, much more on this issue and these candidates as the presidential campaign develops.


*A Snapshot View Of The Leaders Of The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution-Adolph Joffe

Click on title to link to Wikipedia's entry for the 1917 Bolshevik revolutionary leader and early Soviet diplomat Adoph Joffe. He, later, was a central figure in the Russian Left Opposition led by Leon Trotsky that tried to save the gains of the Bolshevik revolution. His suicide was a political act and a spur to Trotsky's later greater opposition to Stalin's rule. His suicide note, the political parts, is must reading and posted below.

Adolph Joffe, suicide letter sent to Leon Trotsky (16th November, 1927)

I have never doubted the rightness of the road you pointed out, and as you know, I have gone with you for more than twenty years, since the days of 'permanent revolution'. But I have always believed that you lacked Lenin unbending will, his unwillingness to yield, his readiness even to remain alone on the path that he thought right in the anticipation of a future majority, of a future recognition by everyone of the rightness of his path.

Politically, you were always right, beginning with 1905, and I told you repeatedly that with my own ears I had heard Lenin admit that even in 1905, you, and not he, were right. One does not lie before his death, and now I repeat this again to you. But you have often abandoned your rightness for the sake of an overvalued agreement or compromise. This is a mistake. I repeat: politically you have always been right, and now more right than ever. Some day the party will realize it, and history will not fail to accord recognition. Then don't lose your courage if someone leaves you know, or if not as many come to you, and not as soon, as we all would like.

You are right, but the guarantee of the victory of your rightness lies in nothing but the extreme unwillingness to yield, the strictest straightforwardness, the absolute rejection of all compromise; in this very thing lay the secret of Lenin's victories. Many a time I have wanted to tell you this, but only now have I brought myself to do so, as a last farewell.

*A Snapshot View Of The Leaders Of The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution-Yevgeni Preobrazhensky

Click on title to link to Wikipedia's entry for the 1917 Bolshevik secondary revolutionary leader Yevgeni Preobrazhensky. No revolution can succeed without men and women of Preobrazhensky's caliber. As Trotsky noted, on more than one occasion, the West, for lots of reason, in his day had not produced such cadre. I believe that observation, for the most part, still holds today.

*A Snapshot View Of The Leaders Of The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution-Soviet Culture Commissar Anatol Lunacharsky

Click on title to link to "Wikipedia"'s entry for the 1917 Bolshevik revolutionary leader and agitator and later early Soviet Culture and Education commissar, Anatol Lunacharsky. No added comment is needed in this space for the work, life and deeds of this man as his "Revolutionary Silhouette" posted here today speak for that work.

*A Snapshot View Of The Leaders Of The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution-Georgy Pyatakov

Click on title to link to “Wikipedia”'s entry for the 1917 Bolshevik secondary revolutionary leader Georgy Pyatakov. No revolution can succeed without men and women of Pyatakov's caliber. As Trotsky noted, on more than one occasion, the West, for lots of reason, in his day had not produced such cadre. I believe that observation, for the most part, still holds today.

*A Snapshot View Of The Leaders Of The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution-Alexandra Kollontai

Click on title to link to the Alexandra Kollontai Internet Archives for the works of 1917 Bolshevik secondary revolutionary leader Alexandra Kollantai. No revolution can succeed without men and women of Kollontai's caliber. As Trotsky noted, on more than one occasion, the West, for lots of reason, in his day had not produced such cadre. I believe that observation, for the most part, still holds today.

*A Snapshot View Of The Leaders Of The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution-Inessa Armand

Click on title to link to Wikipedia's entry for the 1917 Bolshevik secondary revolutionary leader Inessa Armand.

Markin comment:

No revolution can succeed without men and women of Armand's caliber. As Trotsky noted, on more than one occasion, the West, for lots of reason, in his day had not produced such cadre. I believe that observation, for the most part, still holds today.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

*Political Journalist's Corner- Louise Bryant's' Bird's Eye View Of The 1917 Russian Revolution-"Six Red Months In Russia"

Click on title to link to Louise Bryant's political journalistic analysis of the events of the early stages of the Russian revolution, including portraits of Lenin and Trotsky. For those not familiar with Ms. Bryant she was the companion of John Reed, author of the famous "Ten Day That Shook The World" and early American Communist Party leader.

Monday, November 06, 2006

*Where Have All The Protests Against The Iraq War Gone?




Below are some thoughts concerning the lack of major street protests against the war in Iraq despite the rise in opinion polls of opposition to the war which will apparently filter through the upcoming midterm election results. These thoughts are a response to an article in the IDEAS section of November 5, 2006 Sunday Boston Globe entitled-“Where Have the Protests Gone?” The theme of the article is the rather apparent contradiction between the rise of opposition to the war and the lack of response on the streets in comparison to various stages of the Vietnam War.

Some of those interviewed commented that the lack of a draft and therefore a general immediacy of the effects of the war on vast sections of the population as a reason. Others argued that the movement was alive and well but that the parliamentary route was the way to go. Others that the rise of high technology has changed the nature of opposition. Yes, okay but we still have the damn hard fact of political life that the war continues unabated, will continue unabated and that unless we take action outside the parliamentary framework and off the Internet that will continue to be the case. In any case, here are a couple of points to consider.

The writer came of political age during the Vietnam War. Here are a few thoughts from someone who came to protesting from a leftist political perspective the Vietnam War rather late (1968) and the Iraq War very early (early summer of 2002) who also wonders where the heck the protests have gone.

I am as enamored of the potential political uses of today high speed technologies as the next person but let us face it this is a very passive medium. One cannot create social change or create “community” in the privacy of one’s office or recreation room. In fact a very good argument can be made that current technological uses are making us more individualized, or as someone recently put it hyper-individualized, beyond the trends noted in the book Bowling Alone. There is no substitute for face to face organizing. One of the most interesting parts of organizing against the Vietnam War was when local PTA-type groups would ask me, a known radical at the time, to come and talk about the war. While these suburban matrons did not come away as devotees of Ho Chi Minh they did take what I had to say seriously. To finish the thought up in one sentence- if the revolution will not be televised neither will it be broadcast over the Internet.

A thought on the effectiveness of street protests. Most people I know believe that the huge anti-war rallies were decisive in ending the Vietnam War. Wrong. In the final analysis it was the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam and the North Vietnamese Army that sent the United States packing. Please remember (or find a photo of) those evacuations from the roof top of the United States Embassy in 1975. I have, as others have as well, noted the many differences between Vietnam and Iraq but every week Baghdad politically looks more and more like Saigon 1975. That said, it is still necessary for the good of our political souls as well as an act of elementary political hygiene to hit the streets to protest this war- against the policies of both Republicans and Democrats.

While the initial strong opposition to the Iraq War was welcome, if surprising, I believe that it was (and is) more shallow that the opposition to the Vietnam War. Vietnam occurred in the, perhaps, unique context of the 1960’s. No only were there many movements going on or created like the black liberation struggle, women’s liberation and assorted anti-imperialist struggles but fights to create alternate cultural traditions in music, the arts and social life in general were everywhere. That most of these failed or still have not achieved their goals does not negate the effect that it had on the times. When there was, for example, a vibrant Student for a Democratic Society (SDS, one of the main villains for most conservatives at that time) in places like South Dakota you knew something was giving way at the base of society.

In contrast, today’s protesters have virtually no connection with past social and political struggles which could help to drive the movement forward. And to some extent, from my experiences, they willfully do not want to know these lessons. Taking to the streets en masse again in 2008 after the Democrats fail to get the troops out of Iraq is way too late. Additionally, almost forty years of relentless right-wing attacks that would have made Genghis Klan blush have made many fearful of challenging this government. But that is another story for another time.

I have noted the following point previously, but as we close in on the 89th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution on November 7th, it bears repeating. That revolution was truly the only time that I know of that an anti-war movement actually ended a war. Without going into all the details here or all the many causes for it the Bolshevik seizure of power from those in the Russian Provisional Government who were committed to continuing Russian participation in World War I on the Allied side graphically points out our dilemma. The Russian soldiers, aided by Bolshevik propaganda, voted with their feet to leave the trenches. The American troops should do the same. Who will help them?


Click on the title to link to a Wikipedia entry (use with caution) on the Israeli "Peace" wall.




Over the last generation much has been made of the positive effects of the latter day ‘globalization’ of the international capitalist markets. By this, I assume, commentators mean that kids in Kansas and kids in Katmandu have access to those same pairs of Nike sneakers advertised world wide. Although the outlines of the development of globalization have been known for at least a century, called by less kindly souls like myself- imperialism- apparently the latest devotees of the trend just got the news. Russian revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin analyzed this tendency of international capitalism in 1916 in a little book called Imperialism-the Highest Stage of Capitalism. While Lenin’s analysis could benefit from a little updating, particularly on the effects of the shift of the industrial labor market away from the high cost metropolitan areas to the former colonial areas in the search for lower wage bills and higher profit margins, the basis premises are still sound.

While much of the positive ‘globalization’ rhetoric has been overblown- especially concerning its effects on the demise of the nation-state and its replacement by free-floating multi-national corporations and a multicultural ethic- the chickens are now starting to come home to roost on the down side of the world political situation. Everyone, and their brother and sister, multi-national corporation or local “mom and pop” shoestring operation, is scurrying back to the allegedly safe confines of the nation-state. With their guns drawn outward and cement at the ready.

Cases in point. Over the last several years the Israeli nation-state has been furiously building huge concrete walls to separate itself from the dreaded Palestinians who are fighting over and claiming the same territory and looking for their own nation-state. Additionally, last week, the week of September 10, 2006, saw the democratically elected United States House of Representatives pass an immigration bill that would create a wall, concrete or not I do not know, along several hundred miles of the 2000 mile United States southern border with Mexico. This slap at the dreaded Mexican laborers searching for work is also, like the Palestinian fight, a fight over disputed territory as any Mexican could easily make the argument that he or she was merely going home by crossing the border. But that is a point for another day. (Do not forget the Anglo-Texas and California land grabs or the infamous Gadsden Purchase that expanded the United States southwestward if you are bewildered by the last sentence). Now comes news that the democratically elected government of Iraq, ever so gently assisted by its American sponsor,is planning to fortify, with cement and other materials, the whole city of Baghdad. All of the above are allegedly done in the name of somebody’s or some nation’s security. Since this blog was originally written in September China has been busily building a wall against the threat of refugees from its neighbor North Korea, after the fallout over its nuclear weapons testing. Others are the planning stages of their own wall motifs What gives?

What gives is this. The international capitalist system which after the fall of communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in the early 1990’s lived in a self-imposed fool’s paradise that the contradictions of the system would flatten out on their own and that everyone had reached the best of all possible worlds. There was even some sentiment for one-world government, from quarters not normally known for such flights of fancy. The events of the last several years have graphically disabused the more cutthroat capitalist elements of this notion.

This retrogression to the defenses of nation-states by physical fortifications reminiscent of the so-called “Dark Ages” apparently is only the vanguard of what promises to be a much more restrictive world. Unless we do something about it, and soon, it will not be pretty. The only walls that make sense in this world are the walls in front of the oceans to protect from their wrath in places like New Orleans. The ruling classes, however, seem unable to put serious efforts in those types of endeavors. Which takes us back to Lenin. He not only wrote that little book on the tendencies of international capitalism as a piece of analysis but he did it for a reason. And that reason was to demonstrate to the militant leftists of his day that the hitherto for progressive nature of capitalist development had run out of steam and the socialist revolution was on the historic agenda. Today, the critics of globalization are much stronger on the effects of the process but weak, very weak, on the way out of the impasse. Lenin knew what to do. Do we?