Saturday, November 25, 2017

The 100th Anniversary Year Of The October Bolshevik Revolution In Russia-Lessons Of The Resistance Then

The 100th Anniversary Year Of The October Bolshevik Revolution In Russia-Lessons Of The Resistance Then 

Workers Vanguard No. 1103
13 January 2017
Lenin and the Bolshevik Revolution
(Quote of the Week)
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Russian October Revolution, which swept away the capitalist exploiters and landlords and established the working class in power. Key to the success of the Revolution was the Bolshevik Party and its leader V.I. Lenin. January is also the month in which communists honor the “Three Ls”: Lenin, who died on 21 January 1924, and German Communist leaders Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, who were assassinated on 15 January 1919 at the behest of the German Social Democratic government as part of its suppression of a mass working-class uprising.
What were the advantages of Bolshevism? A clear and thoroughly thought-out revolutionary conception at the beginning of the revolution was held only by Lenin. The Russian cadres of the party were scattered and to a considerable degree bewildered. But the party had authority among the advanced workers. Lenin had great authority with the party cadres. Lenin’s political conception corresponded to the actual development of the revolution and was reinforced by each new event. These advantages worked wonders in a revolutionary situation, that is, in conditions of bitter class struggle. The party quickly aligned its policy to correspond with Lenin’s conception; to correspond, that is, with the actual course of the revolution. Thanks to this, it met with firm support among tens of thousands of advanced workers. Within a few months, by basing itself upon the development of the revolution, the party was able to convince the majority of the workers of the correctness of its slogans. This majority, organized into soviets, was able in its turn to attract the soldiers and peasants.
How can this dynamic, dialectical process be exhausted by a formula of the maturity or immaturity of the proletariat? A colossal factor in the maturity of the Russian proletariat in February or March 1917 was Lenin. He did not fall from the skies. He personified the revolutionary tradition of the working class. For Lenin’s slogans to find their way to the masses, cadres had to exist, even though numerically small at the beginning; the cadres had to have confidence in the leadership, a confidence based on the entire experience of the past. To cancel these elements from one’s calculations is simply to ignore the living revolution, to substitute for it an abstraction, the “relationship of forces”; because the development of the revolution precisely consists of the incessant and rapid change in the relationship of forces under the impact of the changes in the consciousness of the proletariat, the attraction of the backward layers to the advanced, the growing assurance of the class in its own strength. The vital mainspring in this process is the party, just as the vital mainspring in the mechanism of the party is its leadership. The role and the responsibility of the leadership in a revolutionary epoch is colossal.
—Leon Trotsky, “The Class, the Party, and the Leadership,” August 1940, reprinted in The Spanish Revolution (1931-39) (Pathfinder, 1973)

As Trial Begins, Trump Protest Attendees Face 60 Years in Prison

As Trial Begins, Trump Protest Attendees Face 60 Years in Prison

Wednesday, November 15, 2017By Chris Steele, Truthout | News Analysis
Protesters block an access point to the general public entry of the parade route and the National Mall in Washington, DC, ahead of the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States, on January 20, 2017. (Photo: Bastiaan Slabbers / NurPhoto via Getty Images)Protesters block an access point to the general public entry of the parade route and the National Mall in Washington, DC, ahead of the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States, on January 20, 2017. (Photo: Bastiaan Slabbers / NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Content Warning: This article contains descriptions of graphic sexual assault.
A combined total of 12,000 years in prison is what close to 200 protestors, journalists and legal observers are facing from attending a protest at the January 20 inauguration of President Donald Trump. After a superseding indictment, the US prosecution is seeking to charge each person with 60 years for allegedly urging a riot, breaking less than 10 windows and conspiracy charges. The US Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia claims that the property damage totals to more than $100,000DC police spent $300,000 on weapons and equipment for the inauguration and just added $150,000 to the DC budget to review police conduct during the inauguration. While many lawyers are calling the blanket felonies and excessive charges unprecedented, civil liberty advocates are worried about the precedent these extensive charges and grandiose metadata subpoenas will have on chilling free speech and stifling dissent.
Social activist and community organizer, Carlo Piantini, who is a J20 defendant explained in an interview with Truthout that, "Charges like these are intended to silence communities when the time comes for people to resist, whether that be the activist community, the anarchist community, or any other." Piantini continued, "How are people expected to be brave enough to resist when the consequences could be a lifetime of incarceration? Never mind the beatings from the police. When taking the streets and demonstrating could mean facing concussion grenades, jail cells infested with roaches, and the promise of eight felony charges, who is going to stand up and fight back? These charges are intended to keep people afraid, indoors and obedient. And this case itself is intended to set the precedent for all of this."

Repression, Harsh Sentencing and Sexual Assault

The ACLU cited infringements of First Amendment rights in regards to the police "indiscriminately 'kettling' protesters, including journalists and legal observers," for using pepper spray, concussion grenades and stingers extensively, including on people already detained, and for holding people outdoors "for excessive periods of time" without access to food, water or bathrooms. The ACLU filed a lawsuit in June accusing police of using sexual abuse as a form of punishment with four people arrested during the protests. At a press conference held in June, photojournalist Shay Horse who was detained explained that he was taken to a "training facility," told to drop his pants and had his testicles "yanked on" and then the officer "stuck his finger up each of our anuses and wiggled it around." Horse continued, "I felt like they were using molestation and rape as punishment. They used those tactics to inflict pain and misery on people who are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty."
Kristian Williams, author and scholar on policing and state violence stated in an interview with Truthout that, "one of the most distressing facts about the criminal legal system is just how common sexual assault is at every stage from police contact to arrest to incarceration. Sometimes in political contexts it's deliberately used as a weapon of terror, but more commonly the practices are informally tolerated and just fester in the culture of impunity." Regarding the excessive charges Williams explained, "Prosecutors reach for the highest conceivable charges, especially those with mandatory minimums attached, and scare defendants into accepting lesser charges, giving evidence against their co-defendants." Williams added that this process funnels people into prison and cuts cost on holding trials, stating, "If every case went to trial, the courts would grind to a halt and never recover from their backlog."
In an interview with Truthout, Jude Ortiz, who is chair of the Mass Defense Committee of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), explained that, "The novel part of this case is about charging everyone who was scooped up in the kettle with the conspiracy and all the blanket felonies in a very indiscriminate manner. That also coincides with the things that the prosecution has been doing against individuals who are named as defendants." Ortiz noted that 95 percent of criminal cases end in plea agreements explaining that the odds are often stacked against defendants, which coerces them to take plea agreements instead of gambling against a biased system. Ortiz further explained that the government is "Claiming that anybody who was indiscriminately scooped up that day in the streets is inherently guilty of that conspiracy and therefore culpable for all of the charges. That has a lot of scare potential and scare value because now people are facing 60 years because of the prosecutor's theory of the case." Ortiz pointed out that the irony of the conspiracy charges is that most of the defendants are only connected to each other because of the prosecution and the mass arrest.

Guilty by Association in the Age of Trump

If the NSA [National Security Agency] wasn't enough to have George Orwell and Aldous Huxley shouting "I told you so" from the grave, cellphones of the 230 arrested were seized and searched for their data, and DreamHost was subpoenaed by the government in August for hosting the site According to the ACLU, the warrant sought digital records to the site, had the possibility of implicating more than 1 million users, and would include the "IP addresses of over 1.3 million visitors to the site." Last month, Chief Judge Robert E. Morin, of the District of Columbia Superior Court, subdued the DOJ's warrant stating:
"while the government has the right to execute its Warrant, it does not have the right to rummage through information contained on DreamHost's website and discover the identify of, or access communications by, individuals not participating in alleged criminal activity, particularly those persons who were engaging in protected First Amendment activities."
In a statement to Ars Technica, Paul Alan Levy, a lawyer for Public Citizen cited the judge's shortcomings in the ruling, "The judge has decided to allow a search of emails from anonymous users (without their identifying information) even though the government never showed that it had a good reason to look at those emails." Levy further explained that "the judge is denying Public Citizen and DreamHost the opportunity to explain why the government's arguments for a search protocol or access to a particular record should be rejected."
In an e-mail correspondence with Truthout, Noam Chomsky stated that the J20 charges were "Utterly outrageous," and explained that although Woodrow Wilson's Red Scare and COINTELPRO were worse, he added, "Harsh repression of dissent is all too common in US history."

Comparing Charlottesville to J20: A Case Study in Hypocrisy

At the August 12, 2017, white supremacist "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where firearms were discharged by white supremacists, there were no initial arrests. Nor were they kettled and charged with blanket felonies and conspiracies to riot even though DeAndre Harris, a Black man, was brutally beaten by white supremacists (and later arrested). And although multiple people were injured and Heather Heyer was killed after a white supremacist allegedly drove a car through a crowd of counter protesters, few white supremacists have been arrested. The question is, why were protesters in DC targeted and excessively charged, while the violence by white supremacists in Charlottesville was downplayed by the infamous violence on "many sides" comment by President Trump? Kris Hermes, author of Crashing the Party: Legacies and Lessons from the RNC 2000 said, "There's no question that the Trump administration has a double-standard for how it treats opponents like anti-fascist activists versus how it treats white nationalists."
Regarding the disparity in treatment, Carlo Piantini stated that, "The resistance that took place on J20 was not beneficial to the state; the white-supremacist violence that took place in Charlottesville was. This country has always been a colonial, white-supremacist project, and the Trump regime rode its way into power by renormalizing explicit white-nationalism." Piantini explained, that white supremacist groups "share a politic of personal and systemic violence against a wide spectrum of marginalized identities, and they actively practice this at events like 'Unite the Right' or at Richard Spencer's recent failure at the University of Florida. That violence is beneficial to the state, it helps maintain a fundamental social order. So, time and again, we see the police acting in open cooperation with these formations, whether it's in Portland, Charlottesville, Gainesville or DC."

Solidarity, a Different Type of Precedent

Changing the narrative on precedents, Ortiz said, "People have come together in really incredible ways that actually are precedent setting for our movement and figuring out how to work together remotely, how to find common political solidarity and a reason to work together despite the tremendous consequences that they're facing. Despite all of the hardships that the government has imposed on them, that's a really strong testament to the resiliency of our movement." Along with the NLG, Dead City Legal Posse -- a collective that formed after the J20 arrests -- is helping and supporting defendants through the legal process.
Speaking about the struggles that he and the co-defendants face, Piantini said, "The most impressive organizing has been centered around material and emotional support for co-defendants." He added that the trauma of criminalization is stressful but has "created some truly beautiful relationships out of a group of strangers."
Kris Hermes noted that an independent investigation into police misconduct on Inauguration Day began in October and won't conclude until after the J20 trials begin. "It's outrageous enough that nearly 200 people are facing decades in prison for demonstrating on the streets of DC during Trump's inauguration," Hermes stated, "but to try people before it can be determined whether their arrests were lawful or whether the police violence helped to escalate tensions that day is unjust and incomprehensible." November 15, 2017, is the opening day of court for the first round of defendants, the second round is expected to begin December 11, 2017.
Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permis

VFP eNews:Armistice Day Recap!

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Veterans For Peace has been celebrating Armistice Day almost since the organization's inception, with a few chapters doing yearly events.  However, in 2008 the effort became a national effort with the passage of an official Veterans For Peace resolution.  Since then, chapters across the country have been "Reclaiming Armistice Day" pushing the celebration of peace into the national conversation on Veterans Day.

This year on Armistice Day, Veterans For Peace chapters across the country mobilized around the country to lift up peace!  Some used the opportunity to call for peace with Korea, by releasing a People's Peace Treaty with Korea and chapters across the country mobilized in an effort to stop more war.   Veterans also lead a Veteran march at the border calling for an end to all U.S. militarization on the border and throughout Latin America.  Check out the Armistice Recap, including some media coverage!

Upload your Armistice Day photos to the VFP Google Folder 2017! Simply add photos by clicking the "add to album" icon in the top right corner.
If you have a report you'd like added, email Colleen!

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Join the 1 pm stand out at Park Street this Sat. 11/25 to call for an end to the Saudi blockade that is starving Yemen.

Join the 1 pm stand out at Park Street this Sat. 11/25 to call for an end to the Saudi blockade that is starving Yemen.

Millions of Yemenis are starving, more than a million have cholera, a child dies every 10 minutes, while the U.S. provides intelligence information, military aid and mid-air refueling assistance to the Saudis who have relentlessly attacked Yemen for more than 2 years with bombs and a blockade preventing essential food and fuel aid from reaching the people.

(This standout has taken place weekly since 1998 - originally to call for an end to sanctions on Iraq that killed half a million people.)

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From The Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archive Website- The Alba Blog

From The Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archive Website- The Alba Blog

Click below to link to the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archive blog page for all kinds of interesting information about that important historic grouping in the International Brigades that fought for our side, the side of the people in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-39.

Frank Jackman comment:

This blog had gotten my attention for two reasons: those rank and filers who fought to defend democracy, fight the fascists and fight for socialism in Spain for the most part, political opponents or not, were kindred spirits; and, those with first-hand knowledge of those times over seventy years ago are dwindling down to a precious few and so we had better listen to their stories while they are around to tell it. Viva La Quince Brigada!  



I have been interested, as a pro-Republican partisan, in the Spanish Civil War since I was a teenager. What initially perked my interest, and remains of interest, is the passionate struggle of the Spanish working class to create its own political organization of society, its leadership of the struggle against Spanish fascism and the romance surrounding the entry of the International Brigades, particularly the American Abraham Lincoln Battalion of the 15th Brigade, into the struggle.

Underlying my interests has always been a nagging question of how that struggle could have been won by the working class. The Spanish proletariat certainly was capable of both heroic action and the ability to create organizations that reflected its own class interests i.e. the worker militias and factory committees. Of all modern working class revolutions after the Russian revolution Spain showed the most promise of success. Bolshevik leader Leon Trotsky noted that the political class consciousness of the Spanish proletariat at that time was higher than that of the Russian proletariat in 1917. Yet it failed in Spain. Trotsky's writings on this period represent a provocative and thoughtful approach to an understanding of the causes of that failure. Moreover, with all proper historical proportions considered, his analysis has continuing value as the international working class struggles against the seemingly one-sided class war being waged by the international bourgeoisie today.

The Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939 has been the subject of innumerable works from every possible political and military perspective possible. A fair number of such treatises, especially from those responsible for the military and political policies on the Republican side, are merely alibis for the disastrous policies that led to defeat. Trotsky's complication of articles, letters, pamphlets, etc. which make up the volume reviewed here is an exception. Trotsky was actively trying to intervene in the unfolding events in order to present a program of socialist revolution that most of the active forces on the Republican side were fighting, or believed they were fighting for. Thus, Trotsky's analysis brings a breath of fresh air to the historical debate. That in the end Trotsky could not organize the necessary cadres to carry out his program or meaningfully impact the unfolding events in Spain is one of the ultimate tragedies of that revolution. Nevertheless, Trotsky had a damn good idea of what forces were acting as a roadblock to revolution. He also had a strategic conception of the road to victory. And that most definitely was not through the Popular Front.

The central question Trotsky addresses throughout the whole period under review here was the crisis of revolutionary leadership of the proletarian forces. That premise entailed, in short, a view that the objective conditions for the success of a socialist program for society had ripened. Nevertheless, until that time, despite several revolutionary upheavals elsewhere, the international working class had not been successful anywhere except in backward Russia. Trotsky thus argued that it was necessary to focus on the question of forging the missing element of revolutionary leadership that would assure victory or at least put up a fight to the finish.

This underlying premise was the continuation of an analysis that Trotsky developed in earnest in his struggle to fight the Stalinist degeneration of the Russian Revolution in the mid-1920's. The need to learn the lessons of the Russian Revolution and to extend that revolution internationally was thus not a merely a theoretical question for Trotsky. Spain, moreover, represented a struggle where the best of the various leftist forces were in confusion about how to move forward. Those forces could have profitably heeded Trotsky's advice. I further note that the question of the crisis of revolutionary leadership still remains to be resolved by the international working class.

Trotsky's polemics in this volume are highlighted by the article ‘The Lessons of Spain-Last Warning’, his definitive assessment of the Spanish situation in the wake of the defeat of the Barcelona uprising in May 1937. Those polemics center on the failure of the Party of Marxist Unification (hereafter, POUM) to provide revolutionary leadership. That party, partially created by cadre formerly associated with Trotsky in the Spanish Left Opposition, failed on virtually every count. Those conscious mistakes included, but were not limited to, the creation of an unprincipled bloc between the former Left Oppositionists and the former Right Oppositionists (Bukharinites) of Maurin to form the POUM in 1935; political support to the Popular Front including entry into the government coalition by its leader; creation of its own small trade union federation instead of entry in the anarchist led-CNT; creation of its own militia units reflecting a hands-off attitude toward political struggle with other parties; and, fatally, an at best equivocal role in the Barcelona uprising of 1937.

Trotsky had no illusions about the roadblock to revolution of the policies carried out by the old-time Anarchist, Socialist and Communist Parties. Unfortunately the POUM did. Moreover, despite being the most honest revolutionary party in Spain it failed to keep up an intransigent struggle to push the revolution forward. The Trotsky - Andreas Nin (key leader of the POUM and former Left Oppositionist) correspondence in the Appendix makes that problem painfully clear.

The most compelling example of this failure - As a result of the failure of the Communist Party of Germany to oppose the rise of Hitler in 1933 and the subsequent decapitation and the defeat of the Austrian working class in 1934 the European workers, especially the younger workers, of the traditional Socialist Parties started to move left. Trotsky observed this situation and told his supporters to intersect that development by an entry, called the ‘French turn’, into those parties. Nin and the Spanish Left Opposition, and later the POUM failed to do that. As a result the Socialist Party youth were recruited to the Communist Party en masse. This accretion formed the basic for its expansion as a party and the key cadre of its notorious security apparatus that would, after the Barcelona uprising, suppress the more left ward organizations. For more such examples of the results of the crisis of leadership in the Spanish Revolution read this book.

Revised-June 19, 2006

"Viva La Quince Brigada"- The Abraham Lincoln Battalion In The Spanish Civil War (2006)


THE ODYSSEY OF THE ABRAHAM LINCOLN BRIGADE: AMERICANS IN THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR, Peter N. Carroll, Stanford University Press, Stanford, California, 1994.


I have been interested, as a pro-Republican partisan, in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39 since I was a teenager. My first term paper was on this subject. What initially perked my interest, and remains of interest, is the passionate struggle of the Spanish working class to create its own political organization of society, its leadership of the struggle against Spanish fascism and the romance surrounding the entry of the International Brigades, particularly the American Abraham Lincoln Battalion of the 15th Brigade, into the struggle.

Underlying my interests has always been a nagging question of how that struggle could have been won by the working class. The Spanish proletariat certainly was capable of both heroic action and the ability to create organizations that reflected its own class interests i.e. the worker militias and factory committees. Of all modern working class uprisings after the Russian revolution Spain showed the most promise of success. Russian Bolshevik leader Leon Trotsky noted in one of his writings on Spain that the Spanish proletariat at the start of its revolutionary period had a higher political consciousness than the Russian proletariat in 1917. That calls into question the strategies put forth by the parties of the Popular Front, including the Spanish Communist Party- defeat Franco first, and then make the social transformation of society. Mr. Carroll’s book while not directly addressing that issue nevertheless demonstrates through the story of the Abraham Lincoln Battalion how the foreign policy of the Soviet Union and through it the policy of the Communist International in calling for international brigades to fight in Spain aided in the defeat of that promising revolution.

Mr. Carroll chronicles anecdotally how individual militants were recruited, transported, fought and died as ‘premature anti-fascists’ in that struggle. No militant today, or ever, can deny the heroic qualities of the volunteers and their commitment to defeat fascism- the number one issue for militants of that generation-despite the fatal policy of the the various party leaderships. Such individuals were desperately needed then, as now, if revolutionary struggle is to succeed. However, to truly honor their sacrifice we must learn the lessons of that defeat through mistaken strategy as we fight today. Interestingly, as chronicled here, and elsewhere in the memoirs of some veterans, many of the surviving militants of that struggle continued to believe that it was necessary to defeat Franco first, and then fight for socialism. This was most dramatically evoked by the Lincolns' negative response to the Barcelona uprising of 1937-the last time a flat out fight for leadership of the revolution could have galvanized the demoralized workers and peasants for a desperate struggle against Franco.

Probably the most important part of Mr. Carroll’s book is tracing the trials and tribulations of the volunteers after their withdrawal from Spain in late 1938. Their organization-the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade- was constantly harassed and monitored by the United States government for many years as a Communist 'front' group. Individuals also faced prosecution and discrimination for their past association with the Brigades. He also traces the aging and death of that cadre. In short, this book is a labor of love for the subjects of his treatment. Whatever else this writer certainly does not disagree with that purpose. If you want to read about what a heroic part of the vanguard of the international working class looked like in the 1930’s, look here. Viva la Quince Brigada!!

The Ongoing Agony of the Obama-Trump War on the People of Yemen! by Ajamu Baraka / November 21st, 2017

The Ongoing Agony of the Obama-Trump War on the People of Yemen!

We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation.
— Martin Luther King, “Beyond Vietnam”
Yemen, the poorest Arab nation on Earth, is the victim of a savage, illegal war waged by the Saudi Arabian monarchy.  Armed to the teeth with the most sophisticated weapons in the world manufactured and supplied by the merchants of death in the United States, the Saudis are providing another grotesque example of what happens when a powerful nation with modern weapons is unrestrained by law and basic human decency.
Flying hundreds of sorties and targeting the civilian infrastructure—water and sanitation plants, the electrical grid, agricultural fields, food storage facilities, hospitals, roads, schools the result is over 20 million people, or 70 percent of the population,  are now dependent on food imports; 7 million of them are facing famine-like conditions and rely completely on food aid to survive. Conservative reports put the number of dead from the Saudis’ barbaric air war since March 2015 at over 11,000, with the vast majority being innocent civilians. Meanwhile, untold millions have been displaced.
All of the above acts against the Yemenis are war crimes.
But the trauma and devastation of the people doesn’t end here.
For the last two weeks, the gangster family running the Saudi state has imposed a murderous air, sea and land blockade preventing vital aid to those millions now dependent on it for their basic survival.
However, the Saudis are not the only ones implicated in this unfolding international crime. Like most of the egregious, international human-rights crimes of the late 20th and 21st centuries, the U.S. state is once again complicit.
The fact is the Obama administration gave the green light to the Saudi war on Yemen. This is a war that could not then or today have been launched and executed without direct support from the U.S. military. The United States provided critical support in the form of intelligence sharing and targeting, air-to-air refueling, logistics support, participation in the naval blockade, and billions of dollars in weapons sales.
That support continues under the Trump administration, including the finalization of the multi-billion-dollar arms deal with the Saudis that was initiated under the Obama administration.
Starvation is rampant, and the innocents are dying but who cares when there is money to be made and geopolitical interests to protect. As the indispensable nation, the nation above all nations, it is of no real concern that starvation is a war crime. Rogue states, especially if they believe in their “exceptionality” don’t restrict themselves to the rules that apply to others. So like other elements of international law that the United States ignores, starvation according to the Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Defense considers starvation a legitimate weapon. Therefore, its use is strategic, and morality or its legality is of no concern to the masters of the universe.
Mass starvation is not the only tragedy the people are facing. Yemen is also experiencing one of the worst outbreaks of cholera in the world since the epidemic in Haiti that began in 2010. The Red Cross reports that there are over 750,000 cases of infection with the number expected to rise to over 900,000 by the end of the year. So far there have been over 3,000 deaths.
In this period when the corporate capitalist press and social media companies coordinate with the U.S. state to determine the range of acceptable information and selected facts presented to the U.S. public, it is not surprising Yemen has received scant coverage. Yet, in those few instances when the Obama administration felt compelled to comment on the situation—usually when the foreign press asked—it downplayed its role. When pressed, the Obama administration provided a ludicrous explanation: Apparently, Saudi Arabia was justified in intervening for its own security and to restore democracy in Yemen!
Today, the Trump administration doesn’t even need to bother to provide an explanation for continued U.S. support to the barbarism in Yemen. More focused on domestic political intrigue, his critics are not concerned about the crimes against humanity and war crimes being committed by the U.S. administration in Yemen. Recent legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in the form of a resolution to compel the administration to comply with the War Powers Act on Yemen or withdraw U.S. forces has stalled after generating miniscule interest. Since the people who are dying are “over there,” to borrow from Senator Lindsey Graham, who cares, and who cares if U.S. involvement is constitutional or not!
Once again, the hypocritical morality of the U.S. and the West is exposed. With all of its moralistic pontificating about human rights, humanitarianism, the responsibility to protect, the global public is reminded that U.S. and Western geo-political interests will always “trump” their supposed commitments to the rule of law, human rights, and all of the other high-sounding principles that they have consistently violated through practice.
Dr. King suggested 50 years ago that the United States was approaching spiritual death, that the deep malady in the “American” spirit was producing a sick people and making the United States a danger to the world. With mass shootings, the epidemic of suicides, pervasive drug addiction, intensifying anti-Semitism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, misogyny, white supremacy, generalized narcissism, and the normalization of war, the conclusion should be obvious today, the United States is a much sicker nation and an even more dangerous threat to the world.
The people of Yemen are suffering. They cry out for help, for an end to their misery, respect, and protection of their human right to live. But their voices are unheard, drowned out by the noise of Russia-gate, arguments about the meaning of Trump’s latest tweet, and the latest episode of the TV show “Scandal”.
While many activists in the U.S. who are aligned with the democratic party would reject it, the people in the global South, the racialized “others” whose lives have never mattered, understand clearly that Trump is not an aberration, he is the reflection of the “American” spirit.
Ajamu Baraka is a board member with Cooperation Jackson, the national organizer of the Black Alliance for Peace and was the 2016 candidate for vice president on the Green Party ticket. He is an editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report and contributing columnist for Counterpunch. He can be reached at Read other articles by Ajamu, or visit Ajamu's website.