Sunday, January 19, 2014

Send The Following Message (Or Write Your Own) To The President In Support Of A Pardon For Private Manning

To: President Barack Obama
White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500

The draconian 35 years sentence handed down by a military judge, Colonel Lind, on August 21, 2013 to Private Manning (Chelsea formerly known as Bradley) has outraged many citizens including me.

Under Article II, Section II of the U.S. Constitution the President of the United States had the authority to grant pardons to those who fall under federal jurisdiction.
Some of the reasons for my request include: 

*that Private Manning  was held for nearly a year in abusive solitary confinement at the Marine base at Quantico, Virginia, which the UN rapporteur in his findings has called “cruel, inhuman, and degrading”

*that the media had been continually blocked from transcripts and documents related to the trial and that it has only been through the efforts of Private Manning’s supporters that any transcripts exist.

*that under the UCMJ a soldier has the right to a speedy trial and that it was unconscionable and unconstitutional to wait 3 years before starting the court martial.

*that absolutely no one was harmed by the release of documents that exposed war crimes, unnecessary secrecy and disturbing foreign policy.

*that Private Manning is a hero who did the right thing when she revealed truth about wars that had been based on lies.

I urge you to use your authority under the Constitution to right the wrongs done to Private Manning – Enough is enough!

Signature ___________________________________________________________

Print Name __________________________________________________________


City / Town/State/Zip Code_________________________________________

Note that this image is PVT Manning's preferred photo.

Note that this image is PVT Manning’s preferred photo.

Free Chelsea Manning Now!

Update 1/14/13: Public pressure works! Sign these petitions today

SIgn two important petitions calling for Chelsea's immediate release! Public pressure works!
SIgn two important petitions calling for Chelsea’s immediate release! Public pressure works!
Public pressure works. We know that more than 500,000 signatures calling on the government to stop abusing Chelsea Manning in prison had an effect. With the petition, and following demonstrations outside Quantico, she was transferred to new facilities where her treatment improved considerably from the “cruel, inhuman and degrading” treatment she received at the hands of Quantico commanders.
And just this week another petition successfully resulted in the end of abusive prison treatment for the founder of Pirate Bay. RT reports:
One of the founders of the Pirate Bay, the most popular file sharing website in the world, has seen his prison conditions modestly improve after more than 100,000 people signed a petition asking authorities to allow books and other basic conveniences.
Read the full article here, then add your support to two very important petitions urging the government and military to release Chelsea Manning.
Amnesty International is calling for the immediate release of Chelsea Manning. Their petition will be included in the official packet for clemency that will be delivered to Maj. Gen. Buchanan by Chelsea’s attorney David Coombs. This is an urgent action, as the clemency application will be delivered in early 2014. Sign it!
Then sign the Support Network’s petition urging President Obama to pardon Chelsea. This petition is equally important in that for every signature received letters are mailed to important decision makers in the trial. Sign it!

Based on NYT criteria, Snowden and Manning deserve clemency

The reasons given by the NYT to grant Snowden clemency all apply equally to Manning!
By the Private Manning Support Network. January 10, 2014.
Last week, the New York Times editorial board thrilled government transparency advocates worldwide when they released an article calling on President Obama to grant clemency to Edward Snowden. They declare him a whistleblower loud and clear in the article’s title, and detail the NSA’s legal and ethical violations which Mr. Snowden uncovered.
Firedoglake’s Kevin Gosztola, who reported on PVT Manning’s trial last summer, praised the NYT for its support of Snowden while challenging them on another point “If Snowden is a whistleblower, what is Chelsea Manning?” This summer the NYT’s editorial board called Manning’s 35 year-sentence “excessive”, but they stopped short of calling her a whistleblower.
There are close parallels in the stories of Snowden and Manning as detailed on Gosztola’s blog:
Just as the Times makes clear that Snowden could not have gone through ‘proper channels,’ it would have been impossible for Manning as well… Had she sent specific documents in the sets to get the attention of members of Congress or had she gone to superiors within the military and said this should not be secret, she most certainly would have lost her security clearance…
Six bullet points on violations Snowden revealed and legal actions he provoked are offered by the Times editors to further advance the argument that he is a whistleblower. Certainly, the same could be done for Manning:
  • Manning revealed a video of a 2007 Apache helicopter attack, which shows two Reuters journalists being gunned down in Baghdad. The video, which featured soldiers begging superior officers for orders to fire on individuals, was withheld from Reuters, even though the media organization filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
  • Frago 242, which the US and the UK appeared to have adopted as a way of excusing them from having to take responsibility for torture or ill-treatment of Iraqis by Iraqi military or security forces, was revealed in the Iraq War Logs.
  • Yemen president Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed to secretly allow US cruise missile or drone attacks that he would say were launched by his government
  • Both the administrations of President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama pressured Spain and Germany not to investigate torture authorized by Bush administration officials
  • US government was well aware of rampant corruption in the Tunisian ruling family of President Ben Ali and the FBI trained torturers in Egypt’s state security service. The information released by Manning was one of the “small things“ that helped to inspire the Arab Spring
  • Al Jazeera journalist Sami al-Hajj was sent to Guantanamo Bay prison “to provide information” on the “al Jazeera news network’s training program, telecommunications equipment and newsgathering operations in Chechnya, Kosovo and Afghanistan, including the network’s acquisition of a video of [Osama bin Laden] and a subsequent interview” of bin Laden, a clear attack on press freedom
  • Partly basing its ruling on diplomatic cables Manning released, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), the court condemned the CIA for its extraordinary rendition program and found Macedonia had been responsible for the torture and violation of German car salesman Khaled el-Masri’s rights when he was abducted. Macedonia was ordered to pay $78,500 in damages to Masri.
If you’re wondering why government transparency advocates should present a unified front in fighting for whistleblower protections, you have only to look to the words and experiences of these whistleblowers themselves. While Snowden flees persecution by the same administration and same set of laws that were used to imprison Chelsea, he has clearly stated that ”Manning was a classic whistleblower.” She “was inspired by the public good.”
Do you support both Manning and Snowden? Tell us why on our facebook page. Leave a comment, a graphic, or a picture of you holding a sign with your message. We will share some of our favorite messages and images with our 105,000+ facebook followers in the coming weeks.

Help us continue to cover 100%
of Pvt. Manning’s legal fees! Donate today.

Birthday and holiday thanks from Chelsea Manning

Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg wishing Chelsea Manning a happy birthday! View more supporter Happy Birthday photos here.
Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg wishing Chelsea Manning a happy birthday! View more supporter Happy Birthday photos here.
By the Private Manning Support Network. January 10, 2014.
In a recent letter, Chelsea Manning thanks supporters for all the birthday and holiday best wishes she has received, and she apologies for not being able to respond to them all directly:
I just wanted to share my gratitude for all of those who have been so generous to me by sending your well wishes for my birthday and the holidays. I really wish I had the resources and the time to respond to each and every one of you. Sadly, the best I can possibly offer at this time is to offer you my warm appreciation through this statement…. It’s very encouraging to get all of this support from so many people. 
With gratitude, Chelsea E. Manning.
The complete letter is attached below, and it includes a request to make sure letters written to her are addressed properly to avoid causing issues at the prison:

Chelsea’s birthday was on December 17. She turned 26. It was her fourth birthday in prison. Big thanks to all the supporters who wrote her then, and over the holidays! 
From The Marxist Archives -The Revolutionary History Journal-Liborio Justo and Argentinian Trotskyism

Click below to link to the Revolutionary History Journal index.

Peter Paul Markin comment on this series:

This is an excellent documentary source for today’s leftist militants to “discover” the work of our forebears, particularly the bewildering myriad of tendencies which have historically flown under the flag of the great Russian revolutionary, Leon Trotsky and his Fourth International, whether one agrees with their programs or not. But also other laborite, semi-anarchist, ant-Stalinist and just plain garden-variety old school social democrat groupings and individual pro-socialist proponents.

Some, maybe most of the material presented here, cast as weak-kneed programs for struggle in many cases tend to be anti-Leninist as screened through the Stalinist monstrosities and/or support groups and individuals who have no intention of making a revolution. Or in the case of examining past revolutionary efforts either declare that no revolutionary possibilities existed (most notably Germany in 1923) or alibi, there is no other word for it, those who failed to make a revolution when it was possible.


The Spanish Civil War can serve as something of litmus test for this latter proposition, most infamously around attitudes toward the Party Of Marxist Unification's (POUM) role in not keeping step with revolutionary developments there, especially the Barcelona days in 1937 and by acting as political lawyers for every non-revolutionary impulse of those forebears. While we all honor the memory of the POUM militants, according to even Trotsky the most honest band of militants in Spain then, and decry the murder of their leader, Andreas Nin, by the bloody Stalinists they were rudderless in the storm of revolution. But those present political disagreements do not negate the value of researching the POUM’s (and others) work, work moreover done under the pressure of revolutionary times. Hopefully we will do better when our time comes.

Finally, I place some material in this space which may be of interest to the radical public that I do not necessarily agree with or support. Off hand, as I have mentioned before, I think it would be easier, infinitely easier, to fight for the socialist revolution straight up than some of the “remedies” provided by the commentators in these entries from the Revolutionary History journal in which they have post hoc attempted to rehabilitate some pretty hoary politics and politicians, most notably August Thalheimer and Paul Levy of the early post Liebknecht-Luxemburg German Communist Party. But part of that struggle for the socialist revolution is to sort out the “real” stuff from the fluff as we struggle for that more just world that animates our efforts. So read, learn, and try to figure out the
wheat from the chaff. 


Liborio Justo and Argentinian Trotskyism

From Revolutionary History, Vol.2, No.2, Summer 1989. Used with permission.
A look at Justo’s major works: Estrategia Revolucionaria: Lucha por la unidad y por la liberacion nacional y social de la America latina (1957) and Leon Trotsky y el fracaso mundial del Trotskismo (1959).

Argentine Trotskyism arose in a political culture very different to that of either Europe or of the much less developed countries to its north. While working class immigrants brought the organisational forms of Syndicalism and Social Democracy with them from Spain, Italy and Russia, the workers’ movement, which emerged at the end of the nineteenth century, had to operate in a vastly different social context to that of their countries of origin. Although Argentina had won independence from Spain in the 1830s the state was not really consolidated until the 1880s.
Until 1916 the country was ruled by an oligarchy of landowners who operated a parliament on a restricted suffrage. The economic boom which followed the development of refrigerated shipping in the 1880s and 1890s made Argentina a magnet for immigrant workers comparable to the United States or Australia, but it did not produce an industrial bourgeoisie, using wage labour to accumulate capital by the export of manufactured goods on the European model. Yet the country was clearly capitalist, as were the great landowners. The oligarchy had a very harmonious relationship with the imperial powers, particularly Britain, but was not so concerned to aid native manufacturers to develop an industrial base by excluding goods from the countries to which its meat was exported. Later, nationalists were to argue that Argentina was a semi-colony and that other concerns must be subordinated to the struggle for national independence.


The first challenge to oligarchic rule came from the misleadingly named Radical Party, originally a fraction of the landlords excluded from the spoils of office, who organised the middle class, particularly in Buenos Aires, to claim a share of the wealth, power and patronage. Hipolito Yrigoyen, who led the Radicals from the 1890s till 1930, had a policy of demanding genuine elections and promoting insurrections to encourage the oligarchy to grant them. The party developed a municipal machine similar to the Democratic Party in the United States, which distributed patronage. The Radicals finally were elected to office in 1916 on a programme with little social or economic content. Though they did not have the oligarchy’s family and business links with the foreign interests which dominated economic life, they had no plans to challenge their role or to restructure Argentina’s economy.
The Socialist Party, founded by Juan B. Justo in 1896, was hardly more of a challenge to Argentina’s rulers. Formally modelled on European Social Democracy, it was in fact an extremely moderate body, which resembled Australia’s Socialists in being more a cross-class alliance than a working class party. It had less influence on the trade unions than the Anarchists or Syndicalists, and it merely demanded a fairer distribution of wealth rather than a transformation of the economy. It was strongly committed to free trade, and the Radicals saw it as an ally of the oligarchy. The inability of any political force to offer a way forward was reflected in the University Reform movement of 1919, which was to have an influence outside the universities, both in the Argentine and elsewhere in Latin America.
The Bolshevik revolution had its effect on the Argentina. The Anarchists, some Syndicalists and Left Socialists were inspired by it and a Communist Party was formed in 1921. However, the revolution had an even stronger effect on the right. Upper class circles imagined that the country was overrun by Bolshevik agitators. A strike early in 1919 was followed by bloody police repression and the formation of an ultra-right nationalist organisation, the Liga Patriotica, which launched pogroms against Russian Jews, whom they alleged were plotting a revolution. Radical Party activists joined in the pogroms and the Radical Party panicked and gave support to what was, effectively, a proto-Fascist movement. The Radical Party survived the events, which became known as the ‘Semana Tragica’, and even retained a base in the working class. As the later recession weakened the unions, the Radicals, using tactics later adopted by Peron, were able to form groups aimed at getting worker support based on dispensing charity.
The Stock Exchange Crash of 1929 and the subsequent depression was more catastrophic for the Argentine than for most other countries. Its narrowly based economy was terribly vulnerable to protectionist measures, particularly by Britain. The military, led by generals Uriburu and Augustin P. Justo, removed Yrigoyen in September 1930 and implemented a policy of spending cuts which hurt the workers and the middle classes, while securing the position of the landed oligarchy by preferential trade deals with Britain. These deals in turn hurt local industry. The Radicals were never to recover from their failure in office, the oligarchy had lost the ability to manipulate a parliamentary system, and the weak and divided working class movement was unable to offer significant resistance. Justo, who was installed as President from 1932 to 1938 as the result of rigged elections, was far from sharing the taste for Fascist ceremony of later dictators. His mission was to defend the position of the oligarchy. If a civilian government could have done that he would have left it in place. His attachment to Britain and the USA, and his desire that Argentina should enter the Second World War on the side of the Allies, was demonstrated in August 1942, when Vargas the Brazilian dictator joined the war: Justo flew to Rio to volunteer as a soldier in the Brazilian army.


Anarchists and Syndicalists were unable to fashion a political strategy adequate for the Argentine. The Communist Party was very weak to start with and was soon destroyed as a revolutionary force by its subservience to Stalinism. As elsewhere, Trotskyism arose as a reaction, by a handful of Communist Party members, to the lunacies imposed on the party by the Communist International. After a number of years with constant splits and very few members or influence, they were joined by Liborio Justo, a most colourful figure, and the most prominent Trotskyist in the Argentine for a number of years. During an eight-month stay in the United States in 1934, he was in contact with the American Trotskyists, but appears to have been a sympathiser of Oehler’s ultra-left organisation. Surprisingly, on his return, he joined the Argentine Communist Party, which he left in 1937, opposing its Popular Front policies. Within Argentine Trotskyism he was in a minority in arguing that the first task of revolutionaries was to achieve national liberation, rather than to proceed to a Socialist revolution. He argued that those, then the majority of Argentine Trotskyists, who said otherwise, were not merely mistaken, but agents of Wall Street. Justo’s style of argument relied heavily on personal abuse and his advocacy of the Stalinists’ theory of stages seems a curious basis for joining the Trotskyists. However, Argentine’s Communist Party had an impossible task at this time in trying to construct a Popular Front in support of Stalin’s alliance with Britain and the USA. The people who were likely to support such a front, and its concrete expression, which was Roosevelt’s ‘good neighbour’ policy, were conservatives such as Justo senior and the very pro-British Argentinian upper classes. Middle class radicals were more likely to be attracted to Fascism.
Justo, correctly, points out that his ideas of a two stage revolution were eventually adopted by his factional opponents. Ramos became a Peronist theoretician, while Moreno accepted most of the Peronist ideology while maintaining a certain organisational independence. Curiously, Justo himself never did accept Peron. Justo’s importance in the development of Argentine Trotskyism can hardly be denied, yet European Marxists might find it difficult to come to grips with this exasperating figure. Sherry Mangan, the delegate of the Fourth International, thought Justo was insane, a view that must have been common. His adherence to his version of Trotskyism was fairly brief (1937-43), yet almost all the Trotskyist tendencies which had originally opposed his political line later adopted it.
The problems facing Marxists in Latin America differed in important respects from those in Europe, Asia or Africa. It would be fascinating to read an examination of the specific problems which confront Marxists in a continent where state and society developed in a very different way from those in the areas described by Marx, Engels and Lenin. Those interested in the nature of Argentine capitalism, or the relationship between the bourgeoisie and the state, will find little of interest in Justo’s ideas, as expounded in Estrategia Revolucionoria, published in 1957, but largely composed of articles and factional documents written in the early 1940s. Justo thought that, as the bourgeoisie had failed to win genuine independence, the working class was the force which would carry out national liberation. He made no analysis of the specific conditions of Argentina, nor of how it differed from a country like India, with a mainly peasant population and precapitalist social relationships. Justo never deals with the relationship between democratic rights, land reform, etc, which form the background to most discussions on the question of national independence.


Much of the book consists, not of analysis, but of abuse of the comrades who disagreed with him. Factional opponents are routinely described as crooks, idiots, pinheads, monkeys and agents of Wall Street or the FBI (Estrategia Revolucionoria, pp.82, 86, 138). It is not clear whether he believes that those who disagree with him are actually being paid by the FBI or Wall Street, and he would probably have regarded such a distinction between police agents and political opponents as unnecessary hairsplitting. Sherry Mangan is described as a fat fool, ‘Oliver Hardy’, and of being a direct agent of imperialism (pp.105, 138, 187). Marc Loris (Jean van Heijenoort), the Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Fourth International, is ‘a professor of vulgar Marxism’ (p.154) and is pictured as writing from a centrally heated office, heedless of the dangers endured by revolutionaries in the Argentine (p 153). Justo’s abusive tone is particularly obnoxious when polemicising with Marc Loris, where this spoilt son of the Argentine dictator is clearly fighting above his weight. The American Socialist Workers Party is described as ‘...a rachitic, routinist, centrist organisation, essentially petty bourgeois, led by a fossilised bureaucracy, discredited among the proletariat, having social democratic political positions, lacking Bolshevik organisation, without roots in the American population (according to Clarke 40 per cent of its members are Jews) whose existence is confined to two or three districts of New York and Minneapolis’ (p.216).
In Leon Trotsky, written in 1959 and republished by Peruvian Maoists in 1974, Justo had moved towards a more consistent theory of Trotskyism as an imperialist plot, and Trotsky as an agent of Wall Street. The substance of his argument is composed of the allegations common to Stalinists and accepted by most of the left intelligentsia up to the time of Khrushchev’s speech denouncing Stalin. Trotsky wrote for the bourgeois press, offered to give evidence before the Dies Committee of the American Congress and set up a commission, which included people such as the American philosopher Dewey, to investigate Stalin’s allegations that he, and the other old Bolsheviks, were agents of imperialism: therefore he was an imperialist agent. Justo’s allegations are familiar, but there are two variations which differentiate his case from the orthodox Stalinist one. The most surprising is his use of arguments drawn from the ultra-left groups, with which he had been involved prior to his adherence to the Communist Party. Such groupings were, of course, more vehemently opposed to the concepts of national liberation than were the Trotskyists. Justo’s second variation on the Stalinist theme was because LDT was supposed to serve Wall Street exclusively, Trotsky thus remained free to attack rival imperialisms and this at least lightened for him the crushing labour of simultaneously serving British, French, German and Japanese imperialisms which the orthodox Stalinists maintained.
Therefore Trotsky’s stay in Mexico was probably arranged by US imperialism as a strategy to derail the Mexican revolution (p.125). An unnamed Mexican bourgeois told Justo that the country’s rulers had brought Trotsky there to help them combat Communism. He had become ‘the guard dog of Yankee imperialism’ (p.177). The case for this is based on his support for Mexico’s nationalisation of its oil fields. The nationalised concerns had belonged to British companies, so Trotsky could hardly fail to support a measure which would benefit US interests by weakening one of its competitors. Those Fourth Internationalists in Mexico who thought Trotsky too conciliatory to Cardenas, the Mexican President, pointed out that Mexico remained capitalist and that Cardenas attacked the workers’ movement, did not adopt Justo’s theory: their criticism of Trotsky on the question of ‘national liberation’ was precisely the opposite of his.
Curiously, Justo says little about Peronism, which was, after all, the specific form which Argentinian anti-imperialism took, except to note that several of his factional opponents ended up as supporters of Peron. He complains justifiably that such people stole his ideas without acknowledgement. However, his reaction to attempts to make amends was typically ungenerous. In 1955, when a former opponent, Nahuel Moreno, and Miliciades Pena, a pair of ‘political petty thieves’, asked him to join an editorial board, Justo refused; Moreno and Pena did not, he believed, have the talent to make the careers to which they aspired by serving the bourgeoisie (Estrategia, pp.137-8).


Justo’s ideas anticipated Maoism in his stress on an undefined ‘national liberation’ and on his hostility to what he regarded as the capitulation to imperialism of the traditional labour movement, particularly the Socialist Party. It is difficult to draw general conclusions from a writer who concentrated on personal abuse of those who rejected a position, which, perhaps because he regarded it as self-evident, he did not expound coherently. It would be interesting to read how a programme derived from Justo’s ideas would differ from that of the Left Peronists, and how it would avoid the dangers of subordinating working class interests to those of native capitalists. What did ‘anti-imperialism’ mean in the absence of a peasantry? If the authoritarian labour relations prevailing on large ranches made the Argentine pre-capitalist, would not that also be true for areas of North America? If the coup by Uriburu and Justo had put the clock back to the situation prevailing before 1916, when the oligarchy monopolised political power, then, in that case, an alliance with a broad spectrum of society to overthrow a stratum, might have had some potential. In reality the Argentine had entered the area of mass politics where middle class nationalist aspirations were expressed by factions of the army, and where upper class politicians were abandoning cosmopolitanism in favour of portraying immigrants as the scum of Europe, infecting the Argentine with the poison of Socialism. The most likely partners in an anti-imperialist alliance were consistently hostile to Socialism, and eventually went to Peron. Justo’s position would have made more sense in Peru or Paraguay. His dilemma was the opposite of those who seek forces other than the working class to carry out the Socialist revolution. Justo needed a force to wry out ‘national liberation’. The working class would have to stand in for the peasantry.
J. Posadas’ (Homero Cristalli) place as Argentina’s most colourful leftist is so firmly established that he will never be displaced, but Justo must surely have a good claim as a runner up. The curious mixture of ultra-leftism, Stalinism and nationalism left him with no followers in the Argentine by 1943, but 20 years later when that mixture produced Maoism, the latter had a considerable following in some parts of Latin America, though not in Argentina, cursed by the absence of a peasantry and thoroughly saturated with an urban working class culture.
John Sullivan

***From Out In The 1960s Folk Minute Night- Live At Caffe Lena 


From The Pen Of Frank Jackman

DVD Review

Live at Caffe Lena: Music From America’s Legendary Coffeehouse, 1967-2013, various artists, three CD set plus booklet, Tompkins Square Records, 2013

Everybody, or almost everybody, from the Generation of ’68, the generation that grew up in the Cold War red scare 1950s and came of age in the turbulent 1960s has heard of the folk music minute that exploded onto the youth scene in the very early 1960s in places like Harvard Square in Cambridge, North Beach out in Frisco town and down in the Village in New York City. Maybe even other outposts in college towns like Ann Arbor, Old Town Chicago and Seattle. Less well known at least to the general youth public although very well- known to folk aficionados then and now is the out- of- the-way Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs in winter-driven upstate New York. That spot, a haven for many of the artists featured on this three CD set, was run by the legendary and eccentric Lena Spencer for many years before her death.  The club still is running touted as the oldest continuing coffeehouse in America.       

In its heyday on any given night, the likes of the young (all those named here will be young and hungry looking for some venue to show their stuff) Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Tom Paxton, Rosalie Sorrels, Utah Phillips (Jesus, was he ever young), Ramblin’ Jack Eliott, and Dave Von Ronk could be seen gracing the stage of that small establishment. In those days between the struggle to keep the place afloat, the smallness of the room, the state of recording technology and just plain hubris not many thought to record the shows for posterior, at least not systematically. Therefore it took many years of effort and pluck to gather in the 47 tracks presented here which represent a historic treasure trove of folk music from that era to now.

Caffe Lena outlasted, survived the folk minute and Lena later opened her doors to many young talents that also grace this set; Patty Griffin, Woody’s son,  Arlo Guthrie, subsequently Arlo’s  daughter, Sarah, David Bromberg all the way up to those today who represent the folk tradition like Greg Brown, Rory Block, Chris Smither and Tom Chapin. For those who want a thumbnail sketch of what the folk lineage has been for the past half century or so and who have a sense of  the importance of archival musical history this is for you. Included is an informative booklet about the doings in this set and a plethora of rare photographs of Lena Spencer and her café from period covered by the set. Enough said.             


Join the Committee for Peace and Human Rights at our Saturday January 18th peace vigil from 1-2pm tomorrow outside Park St. station, Boston-
we will observe the
MLK holiday by playing some of his powerful speeches
over our sound system and talk about his legacy and
how we definitely need his voice today.
Bring signs, banners, yourself.


From : Geoff Carens <>
Sender :
To :
Cc : Boston GMB list <>, workersSolidarityList <>, OB Everyone <>,,, misu-solidarity <>, slamplanning <>, slamplanning <>,, Common Struggle - Boston List <>, bostonsolidarity <>,
Sat, Jan 18, 2014 11:26 AM
Attachment1 attachment
Occupy Boston Announcement

Dear All,

Please join members of the Industrial Workers of the World at a Benefit Concert for Bangladeshi workers and their families. The show will take place on Sunday, January 19, starting at 8 pm, at O'Brien's Pub in Allston, at 3 Harvard Ave. A flyer is attached. The concert will feature original folk and punk music performed by IWW members. All proceeds will benefit the education fund for children of workers killed in the Tazreen fire and Rana Plaza factory collapse (the fund is a project of the Bangladesh Workers' Solidarity Network).

In Solidarity,

To :
Cc : Boston GMB list <>,, OB Everyone <>,,,, BMDC Working Group <>,, misu-solidarity <>, slamplanning <>, slamplanning <>,, Common Struggle - Boston List <>,, bostonsolidarity <>,,
Occupy Boston Announcement

Dear All,

In August, employees of Cambridge's Insomnia Cookies struck, and joined the IWW. They were fed up with lousy pay and conditions. Their demands included $15/hr, health care, and a union, and they were swiftly terminated. Ever since, workers have stayed strong  and maintained their struggle, which has grown into an organizing drive at the boutique cookie business. Insomnia pays rock-bottom wages, charges $1.35 for cookies that cost the company .10 to make, and refuses to pay workers' compensation. Bike delivery workers report that if they get hurt in traffic, the boss' response is, "Why are you late?"  In response to a series of protests against the company's labor practices, Insomnia falsely reported picketers were blocking the sidewalk in front of the Cambridge store, giving Harvard and Cambridge cops an excuse to bring police violence, and phony charges of assaulting cops, down on a union member.
Undeterred, the workers and their allies are keeping up pressure on the company with continuing pickets of local stores. Students at Harvard, BU and elsewhere have called for a boycott of the company. The National Labor Relations Board issued a Complaint against Insomnia for illegally firing workers for union activity. Recently SEIU Local 509 donated $1,000 to the campaign, a magnificent act of solidarity.
You can help too! Please join Insomnia strikers and their supporters at the Strike & Organizing Campaign Fund-raiser, Wednesday January 22, starting at 7 pm, at the Center for Marxist Education, 550 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge (2nd floor), steps from the Central Square MBTA stop. If you can't come to the event, please consider making a donation to the Insomnia Cookies Workers' Organizing Fund, which is fueling the union drive. 

In Solidarity,


A Voice From The GI Anti-War Front-

I helped destroy Falluja in 2004. I won't be complicit again
The media accepts the overly simple narrative that al-Qaida took over. The reality is Maliki is crushing dissent with US-made arms

I am having flashbacks to my time as a marine during the second siege of Falluja in 2004. Again, claims are being published that al-Qaida has taken over the city and that a heavy-handed military response is needed to take the city back from the control of terrorists.
The first time around, this claim proved to be false. The vast majority of the men we fought against in Falluja were locals, unaffiliated with al-Qaida, who were trying to expel the foreign occupiers from their country. There was a presence of al-Qaida in the city, but they played a minimal and marginal role in the fighting. The stories about Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the alleged leader of al-Qaida in Iraq who was said to be recruiting an army in Falluja, were wildly exaggerated. There is no evidence that Zarqawi ever even set foot in Falluja.
This week, the Iraqi Ministry of Interior's assertion that al-Qaida's affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has taken over half of Falluja is being parroted in headlines by almost every major media network. But again, it appears that the role of al-Qaida in Falluja is being exaggerated and used as a justification for a military assault on the city.
The violence began just over a week ago, when Iraqi security forces disbursed a protest camp in Falluja and arrested a politician who had been friendly to the protestors' goals. This camp was part of a non-violent protest movement – which took place mostly in Sunni cities, but was also receiving some support from the Shia community – that began a year ago. Iraqi security forces have attacked protestors in Falluja and other Sunni cities on several occasions, the most egregious example taking place in Hawija, when over 50 protestors were killed.
One of the results of the US occupation was that Sunnis came out feeling like a targeted community, with Falluja being more marginalized than most Sunni cities because of its history as a center of resistance. These feelings have only been exacerbated over the past year of protests and government repression.
The Iraqi government's recent actions in Falluja turned the non-violent movement violent. When the protest camp in Falluja was cleared, many of the protestors picked up arms and began fighting to expel the state security forces from their city. It was local, tribal people – people not affiliated with transnational jihadist movements – who have taken the lead in this fight against the Iraqi government.
However, it is being reported that Falluja has "fallen", that it was "captured" by ISIS, who has now raised their flag over the city, declaring Falluja an Islamic emirate. The Iraqi Ministry of Interior's claim that half of Falluja is controlled by Isis (the Islamic State of Iraq in Syria) has been accepted as fact and has framed all discussion of these events.
Feurat Alani, a French-Iraqi journalist with family ties in Falluja, has reported that Isis is not playing a significant role in the fighting in Falluja. Much has been said and written about Isis raising their flag over a building in Falluja. This has been taken to be a sign of their power in the city. But Alani told me:
They took the flag down five minutes later when ordered to by tribal leaders. This shows that the tribes control Falluja.
Already over 100 civilians have been killed in this violence, violence that has been facilitated by US weapons. The Independent reported that Iraqi security forces are bombing Falluja with Hellfire missiles sold to them by the US. But the US has supplied the Iraqi state with far more than this single weapon system. Recently, Congress has shown some reluctance to continue arms trade with the Maliki government, for fear that it would use the weapons for internal repression, a fear that appears to have some justification.
It is being reported that Falluja has fallen, but the voices from inside Falluja insist that their city is standing up, once again. Undoubtedly, Fallujans are being harmed because of how the outside world perceives their struggle. Too much of the world has been satisfied with the overly simple narrative of al-Qaida capturing Falluja (twice), and of government forces battling for freedom and security.
As Falluja relives a nightmare, once inflicted by my own hand, I find myself in a very different position from before. Today, I hope I can say that I am somewhat wiser, more responsible, more morally engaged than I was when I helped destroy Falluja in 2004. This time around, I cannot sit back and do nothing as the unreliable and self-serving claims of the government are reported without question, and repeated until they become conventional wisdom. I cannot just watch as Fallujans are again forced to flee from their homes, and as their bodies are again shredded by weapons made in my homeland. I do not want to feel complicit in their suffering anymore.

UN Weapons’ Inspector: Syria Chemical Weapons Were Fired from Rebel Held Territory Washington's Blog
Global Research, January 17, 2014
Washington's Blog

 But U.S. Is Still Calling for Regime ChangeThe head of the UN weapons inspectors said that the American case for Syrian government firing chemical weapons was weak, because the rockets can only go 2 miles … but government-held territory is much further away.

Similarly, McClatchy reported yesterday:
A team of security and arms experts, meeting this week in Washington to discuss the matter, has concluded that the range of the rocket that delivered sarin in the largest attack that night was too short for the device to have been fired from the Syrian government positions where the Obama administration insists they originated.
The authors of a report released Wednesday said that their study of the rocket’s design, its likely payload and its possible trajectories show that it would have been impossible for the rocket to have been fired from inside areas controlled by the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
 Map of Damascus

Modified Grad missile

In the report, titled “Possible Implications of Faulty U.S. Technical Intelligence,” Richard Lloyd, a former United Nations weapons inspector, and Theodore Postol, a professor of science, technology and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, argue that the question about the rocket’s range indicates a major weakness in the case for military action initially pressed by Obama administration officials.
To emphasize their point, the authors used a map produced by the White House that showed which areas were under government and rebel control on Aug. 21 and where the chemical weapons attack occurred. Drawing circles around Zamalka to show the range from which the rocket could have come, the authors conclude that all of the likely launching points were in rebel-held areas or areas that were in dispute. The area securely in government hands was miles from the possible launch zones.
In an interview, Postol said that a basic analysis of the weapon – some also have described as a looking like a push pop, a fat cylinder filled with sarin atop a thin stick that holds the engine – would have shown that it wasn’t capable of flying the 6 miles from the center of the Syrian government-controlled part of Damascus to the point of impact in the suburbs, or even the 3.6 miles from the edges of government-controlled ground.
He questioned whether U.S. intelligence officials had actually analyzed the improbability of a rocket with such a non-aerodynamic design traveling so far before Secretary of State John Kerry declared on Sept. 3 that “we are certain that none of the opposition has the weapons or capacity to effect a strike of this scale – particularly from the heart of regime territory.”
“I honestly have no idea what happened,” Postol said. “My view when I started this process was that it couldn’t be anything but the Syrian government behind the attack. But now I’m not sure of anything. The administration narrative was not even close to reality. Our intelligence cannot possibly be correct.”
Lloyd, who has spent the past half-year studying the weapons and capabilities in the Syrian conflict, disputed the assumption that the rebels are less capable of making rockets than the Syrian military.
“The Syrian rebels most definitely have the ability to make these weapons,” he said. “I think they might have more ability than the Syrian government.” [He's right.]
They said that Kerry’s insistence that U.S. satellite images had shown the impact points of the chemical weapons was unlikely to be true. The charges that detonate chemical weapons are generally so small, they said, that their detonations would not be visible in a satellite image.
The report also raised questions whether the Obama administration misused intelligence information in a way similar to the administration of President George W. Bush in the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.  [Correct, indeed.] Then, U.S. officials insisted that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had an active program to develop weapons of mass destruction. Subsequent inspections turned up no such program or weapons.
“What, exactly, are we spending all this money on intelligence for?” Postol asked.

 Even the New York Times – one of the main advocates for the claims that the rockets came from a Syrian government base – has quietly dropped the claim.

But the U.S. is still taking the position that the only acceptable outcome for the coming Syria negotiations is for Assad to be replaced by the US-backed transitional government.

As with Iraq, the “facts” are being fixed around the policy.

New Iran agreement includes secret side deal, Tehran official saysBY PAUL RICHTER

Tribune Washington BureauJanuary 13, 2014

WASHINGTON ­ Key elements of a new nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers are contained in an informal, 30-page text not yet publicly acknowledged by Western officials, Iran's chief negotiator said Monday.

Abbas Araqchi disclosed the existence of the document in a Persian-language interview with the semiofficial Iranian Students News Agency.

The new agreement, announced over the weekend, sets out a timetable for how Iran and the six nations, led by the United States, will implement a deal reached in November that is aimed at restraining Iran's nuclear ambitions.

When officials from Iran and the world powers announced that they had completed the implementing agreement, they didn't release the text of the deal, nor did they acknowledge the existence of an informal addendum.

In the interview, Araqchi referred to the side agreement using the English word "nonpaper," a diplomatic term used for an informal side agreement that doesn't have to be disclosed publicly.

The nonpaper deals with such important details as the operation of a joint commission to oversee how the deal is implemented and Iran's right to continue nuclear research and development during the next several months, he said.

Araqchi described the joint commission as an influential body that will have authority to decide disputes. U.S. officials have described it as a discussion forum rather than a venue for arbitrating major disputes.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday that the text of the implementing agreement would be released to lawmakers. He said the six parties were weighing how much of the text they could release publicly.

Asked late Monday about the existence of the informal nonpaper, White House officials referred the question to the State Department. A State Department comment wasn't immediately available.

Ray Takeyh, an Iran specialist at the Council on Foreign Relations, said Iran and the other six countries may have written the nonpaper to record understandings that they didn't want to release publicly. The governments may plan to release "just a short text, with broad principles and broad strokes," Takeyh said.

The Nov. 24 deal between Iran and the six powers - the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany - aims to freeze Iran's nuclear progress for six months. During that period, the two sides will try to negotiate a longer-term deal aimed at ensuring that Tehran's nuclear program remains peaceful. The agreement has come under fire in Iran and the United States from critics who contend it is harmful to their side.

In his interview, Araqchi touched on the sensitive issue of how much latitude Iran will have to continue its nuclear research and development.

U.S. officials said Sunday that Iran would be allowed to continue existing research and development projects and with pencil-and-paper design work, but not to advance research with new projects. Araqchi, however, implied that the program would have wide latitude.

"No facility will be closed; enrichment will continue, and qualitative and nuclear research will be expanded," he said. "All research into a new generation of centrifuges will continue."

The research and development issue has been an important one for many U.S. lawmakers, who fear that Iran will try to forge ahead with its nuclear program while the negotiations are underway. At an administration briefing for senators Monday, members of both parties raised concerns about the centrifuge research issue, aides said.

President Barack Obama on Monday again hailed the implementing agreement and appealed to Congress not to impose new sanctions on Iran, for fear of driving the country from the bargaining table.

"My preference is for peace and diplomacy, and this is one of the reasons why I've sent the message to Congress that now is not the time for us to impose new sanctions; now is the time for us to allow the diplomats and technical experts to do their work," Obama said. "What we want to do is give diplomacy a chance and give peace a chance."

Read more here:

Washington Post
January 17, 2014
Iraq’s Maliki says he has asked for weapons from U.S., will also seek training for troopsLoveday Morris and Ernesto Londoño

b Iraq has asked the United States for new arms to beat back the dramatic resurgence of al-Qaeda-linked militants in a western province and would like U.S. troops to train its counter­terrorism forces, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said in an interview Thursday.

The Iraqi leader said he provided the wish list after a phone call with Vice President Biden on Tuesday. U.S. officials said it might be easy to deliver those weapons, which include assault rifles and artillery, to Baghdad soon.

“Some is on hand, and we can supply it quickly,” a senior American diplomat said Thursday, speaking on the condition of anonymity to be candid.

The request for stepped-up U.S. assistance is adding urgency to a debate over the types of weapons that Washington ought to provide to Maliki’s government and the leverage that aid could give the United States.

Despite the stunning revival of the Sunni insurgency, with militants carrying out an intense wave of attacks over the past year and seizing control of key cities in Anbar province, Maliki said he had no regrets that his administration did not reach a deal with Washington that would have kept some U.S. troops in Iraq after the 2011 pullout.

“Since the American withdrawal, we’ve had a friendly relationship, but this strong bilateral relationship doesn’t mean we need American forces here,” a weary-looking Maliki said in the interview, conducted in his office in Baghdad’s heavily barricaded Green Zone.

U.S. officials have watched Iraq’s soaring violence with alarm over the past year, as an insurgency that the American military took credit for decimating has reemerged as a powerful regional force. But they also have come to see the crisis as an opportunity to retain influence in Iraq, and they worry that if they’re unable to meet its urgent needs, Baghdad will increasingly turn to other countries for materiel.

“We’re at a point where there is an opportunity to reinvigorate the partnership,” said retired Lt. Gen. James M. Dubik, who led the command that trained and equipped Iraq’s security forces in 2008. “We ought to take that opportunity.”

The weapons Maliki has requested are a small piece of the massive list of defense items that Iraq is trying to buy from the United States. Baghdad is also seeking Apache helicopters, but the prospective sale has been snarled in Congress, where lawmakers have sought assurances that Iraqi security forces won’t use the aircraft to crush political opponents or crack down on dissent in Sunni communities.

Dubik said that such concerns are legitimate but that they also provide Washington with an opportunity to nudge Maliki to govern more inclusively, an objective that the Obama administration regards as vital in the run-up to parliamentary elections scheduled for spring. “I think we’re right in trying to get assurances that the equipment will be used properly,” he said. “Therein lies part of the opportunity.”

Since 2005, the Pentagon has processed military orders for the Iraqi government worth nearly $10.5 billion. Iraq has initiated other orders that, if approved, could raise that sum to nearly $25 billion, according to a recent report by the Congressional Research Service.

U.S. military officials say that keeping the Iraqi armed forces reliant on American weapons systems would give Washington leverage for decades and foster a relationship built during the Iraq war.

Because the U.S. defense export system is slow and sometimes stymied by politics, Iraq in recent years has begun to turn to Russia, South Korea and other countries that have more nimble military sales programs.

“Iraq has needs, and it also has resources,” a senior U.S. official told reporters in a recent briefing conducted on the condition of anonymity. “We don’t actually gain leverage over the Iraqis by withholding these systems. We tend to cede that leverage to our strategic competitors.”

Maliki said during the interview that he would support a new U.S. military training mission for Iraqi counterterrorism troops in Jordan, marking the first time he has expressed support for a plan that the Pentagon has been contemplating in recent months. U.S. military officials have not provided details on the scope or timing of such a training mission.

The Iraqi leader said he is “satisfied that we will achieve victory against al-Qaeda.” But he cautioned that the situation is complicated and intertwined with the sectarian conflict in next-door Syria.

“The whole region’s events are connected,” he said. “To solve the problem in Iraq, we cannot look at it in isolation from the other events in the region.”

Maliki deflected blame for the ongoing crisis in his country, saying the Sunni violence has been “exported” to Iraq by another Arab country,

***From The Archives Of The Generation Of '68-

...we were, those of us males who refused to be drafted, burned our draft cards, faced or actually went to prison, probably politically wrong to do so rather that take the draft notice when our numbers were called in order to spread the anti-war word to the GIs who were fighting the damn Vietnam War and really "bring them home" but a quick look at these fetching women and their plaintive plea should maybe give pause... 

A Plea From Guantanamo -President Obama Close The Damn Place Down!