Saturday, November 01, 2014

The Latest From The Justice For Lynne Stewart Website

 Click below to link to the Justice For Lynne Stewart website

Although Lynne Stewart has been released by “Uncle” on medical grounds since last winter (2014) after an international campaign to get her adequate medical attention her case should still be looked at as an especially vindictive ploy on the part of the American government in post-9/11 America to tamp down on attorneys (and others) who  have been zealously defending their unpopular clients. A very chilling effect on the legal profession and elsewhere as I have witnessed on too many occasions when legal assistance is desperately needed. As a person who is committed to doing political prisoner defense work I have noted how few such “people’s lawyers” there around to defend the voiceless, the framed and “the forgotten ones.” There are not enough, there are never enough such lawyers around and her disbarment by the New York bar is an added travesty of justice surrounding the case. 

Back in the 1960s and early 1970s there were, relatively speaking, many Lynne Stewarts. Some of this reflecting the radicalization of some old-time lawyers who hated what was going in America with its prison camp mentality and it’s seeking out of every radical, black or white but as usual especially black revolutionaries, it could get its hands on.  Hell, who hated that in many cases their sons and daughters were being sent to the bastinado. But mostly it was younger lawyers, lawyers like Lynne Stewart, who took on the Panther cases, the Chicago cases, the Washington cases, the military cases (which is where I came to respect such “people’s lawyers” as I was working with anti-war GIs at the time and we needed, desperately needed legal help to work our way in the military “justice” system) who learned about the class-based nature of the justice system. And then like a puff those hearty lawyers headed for careers and such and it was left for the few Lynne Stewarts to shoulder on. Probably the clearest case of that shift was with the Ohio Seven (two, Jann Laamann and Tom Manning, who are still imprisoned) in the 1980s, working-class radicals who would have been left out to dry without Lynne Stewart. Guys and gals who a few years before would have been heralded as front-line anti-imperialist fighters like thousands of others were then left out to dry. Damn.      
The following paragraph is a short description of the Lynne Stewart case from the 2013 Holiday Appeal  when she was a recipient of a stipend by the class-war prisoners’ defense organization, the Partisan Defense Committee, as part of their solicitation for funds to continue their work of seeing those of our people behind bars are not forgotten.

“Lynne Stewart is a lawyer imprisoned in 2009 for defending her client, a blind Egyptian cleric convicted for an alleged plot to blow up New York City landmarks in the early 1990s. Stewart is a well-known advocate who defended Black Panthers, radical leftists and others reviled by the capitalist state. She was originally sentenced to 28 months; a resentencing pursued by the Obama administration more than quadrupled her prison time to ten years. As she is 74 years old and suffers from Stage IV breast cancer that has spread to her lungs and back, this may well be a death sentence. Stewart qualifies for immediate compassionate release, but Obama’s Justice Department refuses to make such a motion before the resentencing judge, who has all but stated that he would grant her release!”
Lynne Stewart’s pressing continuing medical needs and the need for funds to get that attention is also of continuing concern so click on to the link on the site where you can help defray her medical expenses.

As The 100th Anniversary Of The First Year Of World War I (Remember The War To End All Wars) Continues ... Some Remembrances-Poets’ Corner  

In say 1912, 1913, hell, even the beginning of 1914 before the war clouds got a full head of steam in the summer they all profusely professed, artists who saw the disjointedness of modern industrial society and put the pieces to paint, sculptors who put twisted pieces of metal juxtaposed to each other, writers of serious history books proving that, according to their Whiggish theory of progress,  humankind had moved beyond war as an instrument of policy, writers of not so serious novels drenched in platitudes and hidden gabezo love affairs put paid to that notion in their sweet nothing words that man and woman had too much to do to denigrate themselves by crying the warrior’s cry and the maidens strewing flowers on the bloodlust streets, musicians whose muse spoke of delicate tempos and sweet muted violin concertos, and poets, ah, those constricted poets who bleed the moon of its amber swearing, swearing on a stack of seven sealed bibles, that they would go to the hells before touching the hair of another man, that come the war drums they would resist the siren call, would stick to their Whiggish, Futurist, Constructionist, Cubist, world and blast the war-makers to hell in quotes, words, chords, clanged metal, and pretty pastels.

And then the war drums intensified and they, they made of ordinary human clay as it turned out, poets, artists, sculptors, writers, serious and not, musicians went to the trenches to die deathless deaths in their thousands for….            








For those too young to remember or who unfortunately have forgotten the incident here is a capsule summary of what occurred on that day bloody day:


On November 3, 1979 in Greensboro, North Carolina, five anti-racist activists and union organizers, supporters of the Communist Workers Party (CWP), were fatally gunned down by Ku Klux Klan and Nazi fascists. Nine carloads of Klansmen and Nazis drove up to a black housing project-the gathering place for an anti-Klan march organized by the CWP. In broad daylight, the fascists pulled out their weapons and unleashed an 88-second fusillade that was captured on television cameras. They then drove off, leaving the dead and dying in pools of blood. From the outset, the Klan/Nazi killers were aided and abetted by the government, from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent who helped train the killers and plot the assassination to the "former" FBI informer who rode shotgun in the motorcade of death and the Greensboro cop who brought up the rear. The five militants listed above died as a result.  The Greensboro Klan/Nazis literally got away with murder, acquitted twice by all-white juries.


This writer has recently been raked over the coals by some leftists who were appalled that he called for no free speech platform for Nazis and fascists (see September 2007 archives under NO FREE SPEECH FOR NAZIS/KLANSMEN). Rather, the writer argued that labor should mobilize its forces and run these vermin off the streets whenever they raise their heads. Despite recent efforts to blur the lines of the heinous nature and political motivation of these murders in Greensboro in some kind of truth and reconciliation process militant leftist should etch in their brains the reality of the Klan/Nazis. There is nothing to debate. The niceties of parliamentary democracy have no place in a strategy to defeat these bastards. Below is an updated and revised edition of the above-mentioned blog which I stand by.   



ELECTION DAY, November 4:

And One Million Massachusetts Workers Need the Right to Earned Sick Time!


Raise Up Massachusetts, which is leading the campaign, writes:

This weekend will mark 30 days from Election Day and we have a lot of work to do. We’re planning canvasses across the state and we need you to join us. So far, our canvasses have been great successes: volunteers have been able to talk to dozens of voters a shift and have meaningful conversations that have spread the message of our campaign.  But as we get closer to Election Day (again, we’re only 30 days out!), we need to start talking to even more voters every weekend. You can either sign up for an event near you, or if you there’s nothing close, sign up here to set up canvassing in your neighborhood.


Our friends at Massachusetts Peace Action are pitching in:

You can join Massachusetts Peace Action's work on this effort in several ways. 1) Volunteer for shifts at regional call centers in many towns around the state using the state of the art HubDialer system, which guarantees many contacts with voters.  2) Use your own phone and a computer at home to do a shift using HubDialer (after simple web based training in using the system).  3) Call from an old fashioned paper list. 4) Join door to door canvasses to reach likely supporters.  5) Reach out to family, friends, co-workers and in your community to those and ask them to sign a pledge a vote for Yes on 4.

And DORCHESTER PEOPLE FOR PEACE is committed to turning out at the polls for Question 4 on Election Day – and also for our local ballot QUESTION 5 to say “we want to get big money out of our politics!”


Sharon Bilodeau ( / 617-504-1645) writes:

We need your help on Election Day, November 4. Can you cover a morning or evening shift (or both)? Can you work the same shift you worked in September? Would you like a new time and place? Were you busy on Primary Day but can work Election Day?  Please email at or call me at 617-504-1645
Here are the ballot questions:

1. Earned Sick Time. Our ally, New England United for Justice, has been working for the right to earned sick time for all Massachusetts workers for seven years. In November it will be a binding question on the ballot. Many people haven't heard about it but will support it if we let them know.

Getting Big Money Out of Politics. Recent Supreme Court decisions have allowed billionaires and corporations to spend unlimited amounts in elections, treating corporations as ‘Persons’ with free speech rights. To show that our elected officials that voters do not agree, Sydney and Hayat led a drive that put a non-binding question on the ballot in Dan Cullinane’s district. The ballot question calls for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to saying that corporations are not people and money is not a form of speech – it must be regulated in political campaigns.

The shifts are:  7-9 am, 5-8 pm (or 5-7 if you can't stay the whole time)

Please sign up now so we can cover all these polling places. And thanks!  

***Songs To While Away The Class Struggle By-The Doors

Peter Paul Markin comment December 2013:

A while back, maybe a few years ago, I started a series presented under the headline Songs To While Away The Class Struggle By where I posted some songs that I thought would get us through the “dog days” of the struggle for our socialist future. Posted at a time, 2009, when it was touch and go whether there would be some kind of uprising against the economic royalists (chastised under the popular sobriquet “the one-percent”) who had just dealt the world a blow to the head through their economic machinations. Subsequently, while there were momentary uprisings, the response from the American and world working classes has if anything entrenched those interests. So as the dog days continue I have resumed the series. I do not vouch for the political thrust of the songs selected; for the most part they are done by pacifists, social democrats, hell, even just plain old ordinary democrats. And, occasionally, a communist, although hard communist musicians have historically been scarce on the ground. Thus, here we have a regular "popular front" on the music scene. While this kind of formation would mean political death for any serious revolutionary upheaval and would not be acceptable for our political prospects, it will suffice for our purposes here. Markin.



From The Pen Of Joshua Lawrence Breslin

My old friend from the summer of love 1967 days, Peter Paul Markin, always used to make a point of answering, or rather arguing with anybody who tried to tell him back in the day that “music was the revolution.”  Meaning, of course that contrary to the proponents (including many mutual friends who acted out on that idea and got burned by the flame) that eight or ten Give Peace A Chance, Kumbaya, Woodstock songs would not do the trick, would not change this nasty, brutish, old short-life world into the garden, into some pre-lapsian Eden. Meaning that the gathering of youth nation unto itself out in places like Woodstock, Golden Gate Park, Monterrey, hell, the Boston Common, or even once word trickled down, Olde Saco Park, would not feed on itself and grow to such a critical mass that the enemies of good, kindness, and leave us alone would sulk off somewhere, defeated or at least defanged.

Many a night, many a dope-blistered night before some seawall ocean front Pacific Coast campfire I would listen to Markin blast forth against that stuff, against that silliness. As for me, I was too into the moment, too into finding weed, hemp, mary jane and some fetching women to share it with to get caught up in some nebulous ideological struggle. It was only later, after the music died, after rock and roll turned in on itself, turned into some exotic fad of the exiles on Main Street that I began to think through the implications of what Markin, and the guys on the other side, were arguing about.

Now it makes perfect sense that music or any mere cultural expression would be unable to carry enough weight to turn us back to the garden. Although I guess that I would err on the side of the angels and at least wish they could have carried the day against the monsters of the American imperium we confronted back in the day.                 

Thinking about what a big deal was made of such arguments recently (arguments carried deep into the night, deep in smoke dream nights, and sometimes as the blue–pink dawn came rising to smite our dreams) I thought back to my own musical appreciations. In my jaded youth I developed an ear for roots music, whether I was conscious of that fact or not. Perhaps it initially started as a reaction to my parents’ music, the music that got them through the Great Depression of the 1930s and later waiting for other shoe to drop (either in Normandy or at home waiting in Olde Saco), and that became a habit, a wafting through the radio of my childhood home habit. You know who I mean Frank (Sinatra for the heathens), Harry James, the Andrews Sisters, Peggy Lee, Doris Day and the like. Or, maybe, and this is something that I have come closer to believing was the catalyst, my father’s very real roots in the Saturday night mountain barn dance, fiddles blazing, music of his growing up poor down in Appalachia.   

The origin of my emergence into roots music first centered on the blues, country and city with the likes of Son House , Skip James, Mississippi John Hurt, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Elmore James, then early rock and roll, you know the rockabillies and R&B crowd, Elvis, Jerry Lee, Chuck, Roy, Big Joe and Ike, and later, with the folk revival of the early 1960’s, folk music, especially the protest to high heaven sort, Bob Dylan, Dave Von Ronk, Joan Baez, etc. As I said I have often wondered about the source of this interest.

I am, and have always been a city boy, and an Eastern city boy at that. Meaning rootless or not meaningfully or consciously rooted in any of the niches mentioned above. Nevertheless, over time I have come to appreciate many more forms of roots music than in my youth. Cajun, Tex-Mex, old time dust bowl ballads a la Woody Guthrie, cowboy stuff with the likes of Bob Wills and Milton Brown, Carter Family-etched mountain music (paying final conscious tribute to the mountain DNA in my bone) and so on.

And all those genres are easily classified as roots music but I recall one time driving Markin crazy, driving him to closet me with the “music is the revolution” heads when I mentioned in passing that The Doors, then in their high holy mantra shamanic phase epitomized roots music. That hurt, a momentary hurt then, but thinking about it more recently Markin was totally off base in his remarks.

The Doors are roots music? Well, yes, in the sense that one of the branches of rock and roll derived from early rhythm and blues and in the special case of Jim Morrison, leader of The Doors, the attempt to musically explore the shamanic elements in the Western American Native- American culture that drove the beat of many of his trance-like songs like The End. More than one rock critic, professional rock critic, has argued that on their good nights when the dope and booze were flowing, Morrison was in high trance, and they were fired up The Doors were the best rock and roll band ever created. Those critics will get no argument here, and it is not a far stretch to classify their efforts as in the great American roots tradition.  I argued then and will argue here almost fifty years later when that original statement of mine was more prophetic the Doors put together all the stuff rock critics in one hundred years will be dusting off when they want to examine what it was like when men (and women, think Bonnie Raitt, Wanda Jackson, et. al) played rock and roll for keeps.

So where does Jim Morrison fit in an icon of the 1960s if he was not some new age latter day cultural Lenin/Trotsky. Jim was part of the trinity – Morrison, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix who lived fast, lived way too fast, and died young. The slogan of the day (or hour) - Drugs, sex, and rock and roll. And we liked that idea however you wanted to mix it up. Then.

Their deaths were part of the price we felt we had to pay if we were going to be free. And be creative. Even the most political among us, including Markin in his higher moments, felt those cultural winds blowing across the continent and counted those who espoused this alternative vision as part of the chosen. The righteous headed to the “promise land.” Unfortunately those who believed that we could have a far-reaching positive cultural change via music or “dropping out” without a huge societal political change proved to be wrong long ago. But, these were still our people.

Know this as well if you are keeping score. Whatever excesses were committed by the generation of ’68, and there were many, were mainly made out of ignorance and foolishness. Our opponents, exemplified by one Richard Milhous Nixon, President of the United States and common criminal, spent every day of their lives as a matter of conscious, deliberate policy raining hell down on the peoples of the world, the minorities in this country, and anyone else who got in their way. Forty plus years of “cultural wars” in revenge by his protégés, hangers-on and their descendants has been a heavy price to pay for our youthful errors. And Markin would surely endorse this sentiment. Enough.

Tue, Oct 28, 2014 02:44 PM

November 4th is not the end of 15 Now in Boston or New England. We are continuing to fight for working people to receive a real living wage of $15 with new, exciting campaigns in the new year! Get in touch to get involved.


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Tuesday, November 4th
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The 10th Suffolk State Rep District has the ability to make history next Tuesday, November 4th. By voting 'Yes' on Ballot Question 5 - for a $15 an hour minimum wage, the 10th Suffolk will be standing up for all working people in Boston, the state of Massachusetts and the US in saying that we want a real living wage for all workers.

Ballot Question 5 is an advisory question that can serve as a referendum on not just the minimum wage but on the need for substantial changes in living standards for working people. A strong showing for a 'Yes' vote can serve as a building block for future movements in the city and state that emphasize the needs of working people over corporate profits

To make the strongest campaign for $15/hr, we need your help in the ballot box but also at the polls. Please contact us if you are able to help build the movement by standing out at polling stations throughout the district next Tuesday.

We've got an opportunity to make a historic impact for the Fight for 15 movement. Let's do it!
Songs To While Away The Class Struggle By-In Honor Of The Frontline Fighters Of The International Working Class Today-The International Working Class Anthem The Internationale

A YouTube film clip of a performance of the classic international working class song of struggle, The Internationale.

Markin comment:

In this series, presented under the headline Songs To While Away The Class Struggle By, I will post some songs that I think will help us get through the “dog days” of the struggle for our socialist future. I do not vouch for the political thrust of the songs; for the most part they are done by pacifists, social democrats, hell, even just plain old ordinary democrats. And, occasionally, a communist, although hard communist musicians have historically been scarce on the ground. Thus, here we have a regular "popular front" on the music scene. While this would not be acceptable for our political prospects, it will suffice for our purposes here.

The Struggle For The Labor Party In The United States-Workers' Action- Winter 1969-1970

 I am not familiar with the Riazanov Library as a source, although the choice of the name of a famous Russian Bolshevik intellectual, archivist, and early head of the Marx-Engels Institute there, as well as being a friend and , at various points a political confederate of the great Bolshevik leader, Leon Trotsky, sits well with me.
Thanks to the Riazanov Library for their efforts in digitizing Workers Action. The works provided by the Riazanov Library are © copyrighted by the Riazanov Library in 2010 for the document formatting and editing as they appear here in their PDF format, on the ETOL. The actual content itself remains in the public domain pursuant to US and International copyright conventions.
Markin comment on this series:

Obviously, for a Marxist, the question of working class political power is central to the possibilities for the main thrust of his or her politics- the quest for that socialist revolution that initiates the socialist reconstruction of society. But working class politics, no less than any other kinds of political expressions has to take an organization form, a disciplined organizational form in the end, but organization nevertheless. In that sense every Marxist worth his or her salt, from individual labor militants to leagues, tendencies, and whatever other formations are out there these days on the left, struggles to built a revolutionary labor party, a Bolshevik-style party.

Glaringly, in the United States there is no such party, nor even a politically independent reformist labor party, as exists in Great Britain. And no, the Democratic Party, imperialist commander-in-chief Obama's Democratic Party is not a labor party. Although plenty of people believe it is an adequate substitute, including some avowed socialists. But they are just flat-out wrong. This series is thus predicated on providing information about, analysis of, and acting as a spur to a close look at the history of the labor party question in America by those who have actually attempted to create one, or at to propagandize for one.

As usual, I will start this series with the work of the International Communist League/Spartacist League/U.S. as I have been mining their archival materials of late. I am most familiar with the history of their work on this question, although on this question the Socialist Workers Party's efforts runs a close second, especially in their revolutionary period. Lastly, and most importantly, I am comfortable starting with the ICL/SL efforts on the labor party question since after having reviewed in this space in previous series their G.I. work and youth work (Campus Spartacist and the Revolutionary Marxist Caucus Newsletter inside SDS) I noted that throughout their history they have consistently called for the creation of such a party in the various social arenas in which they have worked. Other organizational and independent efforts, most notably by the Socialist Workers Party and the American Communist Party will follow.
Markin comment on this issue:
Obviously a propagandistic left-wing, pro-labor newspaper from 1969, driven by current events, is going to contain a lot of material now of just historic interest like the struggle around the effects of containerization of shipping on the West Coast docks, a question that we now know costs many union jobs by the failure of longshoremen’ union to tie in technological improvement with unionized labor employment. And, of course, the union bureaucracy’s penchant for making “sweetheart” deals rather than a class struggle fight over the issue.

This issue does pose the question of questions centered on the labor movement and war that is currently very much with us with the Iraq, Afghan and whatever other hellish wars the American imperialist are raising around the world. For the anti-war movement, after trying everything but labor action in the previous period, 1969 represented a turning point where even the working class was getting fed up with the Vietnam War. No only by providing the mass base of “cannon fodder” but taking a beating on the economic front as well. The call for labor strikes against the war would later, in 1970, take on a more than propagandistic possibility when important sections of the working class began to take strike action over economic issues. While today, and maybe just today, the slogan has purely propaganda value it is always part of the arsenal of left-wing anti-war work.

The other section that still bears reading for today’s audience is the last article on, well, union caucus organizing. The point about standing on a left-wing militant program is the most important and dovetails with the struggle for the labor party to take state power when the time comes. Once again this says to me that we had better be getting a move on about the business of creating that revolutionary labor party-enough is enough. Break with the Democrats! Build a workers party that fights for our communist future.
The Class Struggle Continues...In Boston 

The Class Struggle Continues...In Boston 

Songs To While Away The Class Struggle By-In Honor Of The Frontline Defenders Of The Working Class!-Bob Marley’s “Get Up, Stand Up!”

An Injury To One Is An Injury To All!-Defend The International Working Class Everywhere!

Fight-Don’t Starve-We Created The Wealth, Let's Take It Back! Labor And The Oppressed Must Rule!

A Five-Point Program As Talking Points

*Jobs For All Now!-“30 For 40”- A historic demand of the labor movement going back to the 1930s Great Depression the last time that unemployment, under-employment, and those who have just plain quit looking for work was this high in the American labor force, although it is admittedly down from the Great Recession highs. Thirty hours work for forty hours pay is a formula to spread the available work around. This is no mere propaganda point but shows the way forward toward a more equitable distribution of available work.

The basic scheme, as was the case with the early days of the longshoremen’s and maritime unions, is that the work would be divided up through local representative workers’ councils that would act, in one of its capacities, as a giant hiring hall where the jobs would be parceled out. This would be a simpler task now than when it was when first proposed in the 1930s with the vast increase in modern technology that could fairly accurately, via computers, target jobs that need filling and equitably divide up current work.

Without the key capitalist necessity of keeping up the rate of profit the social surplus created by that work could be used to redistribute the available work at the same agreed upon rate rather than go into the capitalists’ pockets. The only catch, a big catch one must admit, is that no capitalist, and no capitalist system, is going to do any such thing as to implement “30 for 40” –with the no reduction in pay proviso, although many low –end employers are even now under the “cover” of the flawed Obamacare reducing hours WITH loss of pay-so that to establish this work system as a norm it will, in the end, be necessary to fight for and win a workers government to implement this demand.

Organize the unorganized is a demand that cries out for solution today now that the organized sectors of the labor movement, both public and private, in America are at historic lows, just over ten percent of the workforce. Part of the task is to reorganize some of the old industries like the automobile industry, now mainly unorganized as new plants come on line and others are abandoned, which used to provide a massive amount of decent jobs with decent benefits but which now have fallen to globalization and the “race to the bottom” bad times. The other sector that desperately need to be organized is to ratchet up the efforts to organize the service industries, hospitals, hotels, hi-tech, restaurants and the like, that have become a dominant aspect of the American economy. Support the recent militant efforts, including the old tactic of civil disobedience, by service unions and groups of fast-food workers to increase the minimum socially acceptable wage in their Fight For 15.

Organize the South-this low wage area, this consciously low-wage area, where many industries land before heading off-shore to even lower wage places cries out for organizing, especially among black and Hispanic workers who form the bulk of this industrial workforce. A corollary to organizing the South is obviously to organize internationally to keep the “race to the bottom” from continually occurring short of being resolved in favor of an international commonwealth of workers’ governments. Hey, nobody said it was going to be easy.

Organize Wal-Mart- millions of workers, thousands of company-owned trucks, hundreds of distribution centers. A victory here would be the springboard to a revitalized organized labor movement just as auto and steel lead the industrial union movements of the 1930s. The key here is to organize the truckers and distribution workers the place where the whole thing comes together. We have seen mostly unsuccessful organizing of retail stores. To give an idea of how hard this task might be though someone once argued that it would be easier to organize a workers’ revolution that organize this giant. Well, that’s a thought.

Defend the right of public and private workers to unionize. Simple-No more defeats like in Wisconsin in 2011, no more attacks on collective bargaining the hallmark of a union contract. No reliance on labor boards, arbitration, courts or bourgeois recall elections either. Unions must keep their independent from government interference. Period.

* Defend the independence of the working classes! No union dues for Democratic (or the stray Republican) candidates. In 2008 and 2012 labor, organized labor, spent over 450 million dollars respectively trying to elect Barack Obama and other Democrats (mainly). The “no show, no go” results speak for themselves as the gap between the rich and poor has risen even more in this period. For those bogus efforts the labor skates should have been sent packing long ago. The idea in those elections was that the Democrats (mainly) were “friends of labor.” The past period of cuts-backs, cut-in-the-back give backs should put paid to that notion. Although anyone who is politically savvy at all knows that is not true, not true for the labor skates at the top of the movement.

The hard reality is that the labor skates, not used to any form of class struggle or any kind of struggle, know no other way than class-collaboration, arbitration, courts, and every other way to avoid the appearance of strife, strife in defense of the bosses’ profits. The most egregious recent example that I can recall- the return of the Verizon workers to work after two weeks in the summer of 2011 when they had the company on the run and the subsequent announcement by the company of record profits. That sellout strategy may have worked for the bureaucrats, or rather their “fathers” for a time back in the 1950s “golden age” of labor, but now we are in a very hard and open class war. The rank and file must demand an end to using their precious dues payments for bourgeois candidates all of whom have turned out to be sworn enemies of labor from Obama on down.

This does not mean not using union dues for political purposes though. On the contrary we need to use them now more than ever in the class battles ahead. Spent the dough on organizing the unorganized, organizing the South, organizing Wal-Mart, and other pro-labor causes. Think, for example, of the dough spent on the successful November, 2011 anti-union recall referendum in Ohio. That type of activity is where labor’s money and other resources should go. And not on recall elections against individual reactionaries, like in Wisconsin, as substitutes for class struggle (and which was overwhelmingly unsuccessful to boot-while the number of unionized public workers has dwindled to a precious few).  

*End the endless wars!- As the so-called draw-down of American and Allied troops in Iraq reached its final stages back in 2011, the draw- down of non-mercenary forces anyway, I argued that we must recognize that we anti-warriors had failed, and failed rather spectacularly, to affect that withdrawal after a promising start to our opposition in late 2002 and early 2003 (and a little in 2006).As the endless American-led wars (even if behind the scenes, as in Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and other proxy wars) continue now with a new stage against ISIS (Islamic State) in Iraq we had better straighten out our anti-war, anti-imperialist front quickly if we are to have any effect on the U.S. troop escalation we know is coming before that fight is over. Not Another War In Iraq! No Intervention In Syria! Stop The Arms Shipments To The Middle East! Stop The Bombing Campaign! Defend The Palestinian People-End The Blockade of Gaza. And as always since 2001 Immediate, Unconditional Withdrawal Of All U.S./Allied Troops (And Mercenaries) From Afghanistan!  

U.S. Hands Off Iran! Hands Off Syria!- American (and world) imperialists have periodically ratcheted up their propaganda war (right now) and increased economic sanctions that are a prelude to war well before the dust has settled on the now unsettled situation in Iraq and well before they have even sniffed at an Afghan withdrawal of any import. We will hold our noses, as we did with the Saddam leadership in Iraq and on other occasions, and call for the defense of Iran against the American imperial monster. A victory for the Americans (and their junior partner on this issue, Israel) in Iran is not in the interests of the international working class. Especially here in the “belly of the beast” we are duty-bound to call not just for non-intervention but for defense of Iran. We will, believe me we will, deal with the mullahs, the Revolutionary Guards, and the Islamic fundamentalist in Iran in our own way in our own time.

U.S. Hands Off The World! And Keep Them Off!- With the number of “hot spots” that the American imperialists, or one or another of their junior allies, have their hands on in this wicked old world this generic slogan would seem to fill the bill.

Down With The War Budget! Not One Penny, Not One Person For The Wars! Honor World War I German Social-Democratic Party MP, Karl Liebknecht, who did just that in 1915 in the heat of war and paid the price unlike other party leaders who were pledged to stop the war budgets by going to prison. The only play for an honest representative of the working class under those conditions. The litmus test for every political candidate must be first opposition to the war budgets (let’s see, right now no new funding in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran preparations, China preparations, etc. you get my drift). Then that big leap. The whole damn imperialist military budget. Again, no one said it would be simple. Revolution may be easier that depriving the imperialists of their military money. Well….okay.

*Fight for a social agenda for working people! Free Quality Healthcare For All! This would be a no-brainer in any rationally based society. The health and welfare of any society’s citizenry is the simple glue that holds that society together. It is no accident that one of the prime concerns of workers states like Cuba, whatever their other political problems, has been to place health care and education front and center and to provide to the best of their capacity for free, quality healthcare and education for all. Even the hide-bound social-democratic-run capitalist governments of Europe have, until recently anyway, placed the “welfare state” protections central to their programs. Be clear Obamacare is not our program and has been shown to be totally inadequate and wasteful however we will defend that program against those who wish to dismantle it and leave millions once again uninsured and denied basic health benefits.  

Free, quality higher education for all! Nationalize the colleges and universities under student-teacher-campus worker control! One Hundred, Two Hundred, Many Harvards!

This would again be a no-brainer in any rationally based society. The struggle to increase the educational level of a society’s citizenry is another part of the simple glue that holds that society together. Today higher education is being placed out of reach for many working-class and minority families. Hell, it is getting tough for the middle-class as well.

Moreover the whole higher educational system is increasing skewed toward those who have better formal preparation and family lives leaving many deserving students from broken homes and minority homes in the wilderness. Take the resources of the private institutions and spread them around, throw in hundreds of billions from the government (take from the military budget and the bank bail-out money if you want to find the money quickly to do the job right), get rid of the top heavy and useless college administration apparatuses, mix it up, and let students, teachers, and campus workers run the thing through councils on a democratic basis.

Forgive student debt! The latest reports indicate that college student debt is something like a trillion dollars, give or take a few billion but who is counting. The price of tuition and expenses has gone up dramatically while low-cost aid has not kept pace. What has happened is that the future highly educated workforce that a modern society, and certainly a socialist society, desperately needs is going to be cast in some form of indentured servitude to the banks or other lending agencies for much of their young working lives. Let the banks take a “hit” for a change!

Stop housing foreclosures and aid underwater mortgages now! Although the worst of the crunch has abated there are still plenty of problems and so this demand is still timely if not desperately timely like in the recent past. Hey, everybody, everywhere in the world not just in America should have a safe, clean roof over their heads. Hell, even a single family home that is part of the “American dream,” if that is what they want. We didn’t make the housing crisis in America (or elsewhere, like in Ireland, where the bubble has also burst). The banks did. Their predatory lending practices and slip-shot application processes were out of control. Let them take the “hit” here as well.

*We created the wealth, let’s take it back. Karl Marx was right way back in the 19th century on his labor theory of value, the workers do produce the social surplus appropriated by the capitalists. Capitalism tends to beat down, beat down hard in all kinds of ways the mass of society for the benefit of the few. Most importantly capitalism, a system that at one time was historically progressive in the fight against feudalism and other ancient forms of production, has turned into its opposite and now is a fetter on production. The current multiple crises spawned by this system show there is no way forward, except that unless we push them out, push them out fast, they will muddle through, again.

Take the struggle for our daily bread off the historic agenda. Socialism is the only serious answer to the human crisis we face economically, socially, culturally and politically. This socialist system is the only one calculated to take one of the great tragedies of life, the struggle for daily survival in a world that we did not create, and replace it with more co-operative human endeavors.

Build a workers’ party that fights for a workers government to unite all the oppressed. None of the nice things mentioned above can be accomplished without as serious struggle for political power. We need to struggle for an independent working-class-centered political party that we can call our own and where our leaders act as “tribunes of the people” not hacks. The creation of that workers party, however, will get us nowhere unless it fights for a workers government to begin the transition to the next level of human progress on a world-wide scale.

As Isaac Deutscher said in his speech “On Socialist Man” (1966):

“We do not maintain that socialism is going to solve all predicaments of the human race. We are struggling in the first instance with the predicaments that are of man’s making and that man can resolve. May I remind you that Trotsky, for instance, speaks of three basic tragedies—hunger, sex and death—besetting man. Hunger is the enemy that Marxism and the modern labour movement have taken on.... Yes, socialist man will still be pursued by sex and death; but we are convinced that he will be better equipped than we are to cope even with these.” 

Emblazon on our red banner-Labor and the oppressed must rule!

********Bob Marley Get Up, Stand Up Lyrics
Get up, stand up: stand up for your rights!

Get up, stand up: stand up for your rights!
Get up, stand up: stand up for your rights!
Get up, stand up: don't give up the fight!

Preacher man, don't tell me,
Heaven is under the earth.
I know you don't know
What life is really worth.
It's not all that glitters is gold;
'Alf the story has never been told:
So now you see the light, eh!
Stand up for your rights. come on!

Get up, stand up: stand up for your rights!
Get up, stand up: don't give up the fight!
Get up, stand up: stand up for your rights!
Get up, stand up: don't give up the fight!

Most people think,

Great god will come from the skies,

Take away everything
And make everybody feel high.

But if you know what life is worth,

You will look for yours on earth:

And now you see the light,
You stand up for your rights. jah!

Get up, stand up! (jah, jah! )

Stand up for your rights! (oh-hoo! )

Get up, stand up! (get up, stand up! )

Don't give up the fight! (life is your right! )

Get up, stand up! (so we can't give up the fight! )

Stand up for your rights! (lord, lord! )

Get up, stand up! (keep on struggling on! )

Don't give up the fight! (yeah! )

We sick an' tired of-a your ism-skism game -

Dyin' 'n' goin' to heaven in-a Jesus' name, lord.

We know when we understand:

Almighty god is a living man.

You can fool some people sometimes,

But you can't fool all the people all the time.

So now we see the light (what you gonna do?),

We gonna stand up for our rights! (yeah, yeah, yeah! )

So you better:

Get up, stand up! (in the morning! git it up! )

Stand up for your rights! (stand up for our rights! )
Get up, stand up!
Don't give up the fight! (don't give it up, don't give it up! )
Get up, stand up! (get up, stand up! )
Stand up for your rights! (get up, stand up! )
Get up, stand up! (... )
Don't give up the fight! (get up, stand up! )