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One Israeli Killed As Almost Two Hundred Palestinians Are Slaughtered

A dozen rockets were fired across the Gaza-Israel border yesterday, while an Israeli was killed. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used the death as a lame excuse to relaunch Operation Protective Edge and continue the relentless assault on the Gaza Strip.

He asserts that he has no choice but to retaliate. In his mind the rocket attacks carried out by Hamas mean a scuttling of the shaky cease-fire, a cease-fire which Hamas has only just now learned about.

Contrast that single Israeli causality, however tragic, with the overall death toll from Israel’s brutal military campaign against the Palestinian people: over 194 people, many of them innocent men, women, and children unaffiliated with Hamas finding themselves caught in the crossfire. [1]

Since Operation Protective Edge began on July 8th, the Israel Defense Force has managed to massacre almost two hundred people in the space of a few weeks.

Meanwhile, Hamas’s rockets continue to rain down onto Israel by the hundreds. Still, Hamas’s actions have only managed to kill one Israeli, and within the same time span as Operation Protective Edge for that matter. Most of the rockets are handily intercepted by the Iron Dome, with the ones that do hit solid ground usually causing some minor property damage and a few frayed nerves, nothing more. Though, it wasn’t even an ineffectual rocket that killed the Israeli; it was a stray motor shell.

The scant numbers of those harmed by Hamas militants, past and present, cannot be compared to the numbers of those harmed as a result of Operation Protective Edge or any other previous acts of aggression by the Israeli apartheid state.

What’s going on is sick. People are being killed, murdered, in the name of fighting terrorism. It is hugely ironic that Israel, in carrying out missions against so-called terrorists, is obliged to commit egregious human rights abuses and heinous acts of violence which are nothing but acts of terrorism against a defenseless people.

When will this madness end?

Sources:

[1]: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-28320901

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Kshama Sawant – Speech On Adoption Of $15/hr Legislation By Seattle City Council

Seattle has, as of June 2nd, become the first major city to adopt a $15/hr wage increase, the City Council approving the adoption of the reform.

The University of Washington, in a report compiled in March of this year and, summed up by the Select Committee on Minimum Wage and Income Inequality, asserted that the state of Washington as a whole had a minimum wage standing at just $9.32/hr. In a city the size of Seattle, with a population numbering at or around 634,534 people as of 2012, the historic legislation is due to take effect upon being signed into law by Mayor Ed Murray much to the empowerment of many in Washington and across the country striving for a living wage.

Socialist Alternative Council member Kshama Sawant put crucial emphasis on the future-if not immediate-ramifications of the legislation’s passing:

“This is a victory for our movement – it shows the power of working people when we organize and fight for our rights. It will inspire millions of people all over the nation to build on this historic step forward. Fifteen in Seattle is just the beginning.” [1]

Believing firmly indeed that “15 in Seattle is just a beginning,” she promises that “We have an entire world to win” [2] – openly and daringly borrowing from Marx’s closing words in the Communist Manifesto, which are all the more timely today given late capitalism’s sordid track record in this young and brave new 21st-century.

Sources:

[1]: http://www.seattle.gov/council/issues/minimumwage/default.html
[2]: http://www.socialistalternative.org/2014/06/03/speech-by-socialist-seattle-city-councilmember-kshama-sawant/

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Mending Freedom Dearly Bought – A Poem

Here’s a brief poem I wrote a while back. I don’t usually write poetry, but I liked this particular one enough to post it here.

Heavy rain falls down
Washing the city streets clean of sin
Covering up that awful sound
Of martyred kin
Long ago vanquished in the war for freedom
That great ideal, reduced to a mere phrase
Serving only to numb
Dissipating in the haze
With immense strength and might
Those kin not yet wasted away fight to champion what is most dear to them
To hold onto what is theirs by right
In a vain effort to mend
That last vestige of freedom frozen in ice
Left behind and ready to freely, cheaply lend

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Half of U.S. Congressional Politicians are Millionaires and the Fight for an Alternative

According to the BBC, at ‘least 268 of the 534 politicians in the Senate and House of Representatives had a net worth of $1m or more in 2012.’ Interestingly enough, Democrats are ‘slightly wealthier than Republicans’ as reported by the Center for Responsive Politics. The net median worth for Washington politicians as a whole peaks at one million dollars, with the Democrats worth more than their Republican counterparts in government. [1]

This shows how morally bankrupt, how depraved, politics and by extension bourgeois democracy has become in the modern United States. This at a time when poverty in the U.S. has only grown since the 1960′s and 1970′s, decades bearing witness to a significant movement of the oppressed in the form of the Black Panther Party and the early Revolutionary Communist Party of America (RCPUSA).

The years 2011 and 2012 saw the societal explosion that was the Occupy Wall Street Movement. As short lived as the protests proved to be, they forced the nation’s mainstream news media outlets to focus on the previously-ignored manifold issues brought up by the protesters; chiefly, and to a large extent, poverty and the growing powerlessness of the vast majority of Americans which tends to go hand-in-hand with the increase in poverty.

Free-market capitalism, the American Dream, representative democracy, etc. are just meaningless concepts in today’s America. According to a recent Reuters report, roughly fifty million U.S. citizens are poor. The U.S. Census Bureau has furthermore stated that as of 2012, approximately fifteen percent of the population was considered poor, which corresponds to the report. [2] In the absence of such basic government aid as food stamps, which the Republicans want to slash, there would be even more people wallowing in dire poverty. [3] So much for government for the people, by the people.

The system that we live under is sick, sick with greed and apathy. Although I’m not a fan of the current RCPUSA, leaning as I do closer to the Kasama Project, its clear that the two organizations and the people in them share common goals. Primarily, how to get to socialism through revolution. Because, aye, there’s the rub: how do we finally put the means of production in the hands of those who create, how do we at once eliminate poverty while creating new forms of popular power answerable to the people? These crucial questions were faced by the Bolsheviks nearly a century ago, when soviet power seemed to offer up a solution in the form of rule from below by workers’, peasants’, and soldiers’ councils. The Russian revolutionaries also struggled, amidst a series of grave political, economic, and social crises, to realize workers’ control over industry. Our movement, here in the belly of the imperialist beast, has the potential to solve these problems and do much more.

Sources:

[1]: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-25691066
[2]: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/06/us-usa-economy-poverty-idUSBRE9A513820131106
[3]: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/doctors-lobby-congress-against-cutting-food-stamps/

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The CPN (M) – Striving for a Nepalese People’s Democracy

A month after the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) and its 33-party alliance boycotted the Constituent Assembly (CA) elections, the breakaway Maoist faction has called for the CA’s dissolution in preparation for the country’s liberation from the ‘semi-feudal and neocolonial situation’ while seeking to broaden their alliance with all ‘patriotic, people’s democratic, and leftist forces’ in Nepal.

The CPN-M has opted for a people’s democracy and the drafting of a people’s constitution, urging the formation of a ‘powerful high level all-party political body’ [1] which would at once set itself the task of achieving national independence and sovereignty for the country. Nepal’s revolutionary Maoists have condemned the CA, boldly asserting that it won’t be able to draft a ‘people’s friendly constitution’ let alone acknowledge the gains made during the Nepalese people’s war. For those familiar with Mao Zedong’s writings during the formation of the Anti-Japanese National United Front, the CPN-M’s calls for a ’roundtable political assembly’ representing all political parties bears a striking resemblance to the policies put forth by the Chinese Communist Party that focused on resisting Japan through the formation of a diverse, multiparty political front.

Naming the dissolution of the original CA, the formation of a technocratic government, and the deployment of the Nepali Army during the CA elections as contributing factors towards their decision to challenge the authority of the new CA, the CPN-M has stated rather bluntly that they won’t be reunifying with the reformist Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M) in doing so. [2] The party has also decided to identify genuine party cadres at the grassroots level, a three month process involving the formation of local committees designed to strengthen the appeal of the CPN-M nationwide while drawing cadre away from the UCPN-M. [3]

Communists here in the United States should keep watch over developments in Nepal, which are of historical significance and will have repercussions around the world. The oppressed Nepalese peasantry and urban proletariat aren’t dawdling, rather, they are marching lockstep side-by-side along the path to their liberation. Socialism, a dirty word denigrated by Republicans and Tea Party members in the U.S., has the potential to become a cherished concept for the vast majority of Nepal’s poor and exploited populace. The Nepalese people, with the CPN-M acting as their vanguard, have the decisive opportunity to recreate socialism for the 21st-century while going above and beyond the Latin American Bolivarian movement. All eyes are on Nepal, looking towards the east with great anticipation.

As the Kasama Project’s letter to the CPN-M has powerfully stated, ‘The [Nepalese] revolution here has brought hope to millions the world over who feared it may have become impossible to imagine revolution in today’s world.’ [4] in starting over from scratch, both the Nepalese communist movement and our own Marxist movement here in the U.S. have the potential to be great, far-reaching, and liberating experiences for those struggling for freedom and ultimately a socialist mode of production.

Sources:

[1]: http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=66309
[2]: http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=66964
[3]: http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=66659
[4]: http://kasamaproject.org/south-asia-revolution/4371-kasama-to-cpn-m-new-beginnings-on-the-communist-road

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Asserting What We Stand For: The Building Blocks of Our Movement

Link to discussion: http://kasamaproject.org/threads/entry/if-we-don-t-stand-for-something

In a recent Kasama Project discussion, a short satirical comic strip was presented which ends with the one character saying to the Kasama Project member ‘Jesus Christ. Are you a party, can you answer that?’ The Kasama member’s character responds for the third time with an indefinite ‘well’ before being cut off by the other character who exclaims ‘oh forget it!’

To a large degree, this comic strip hits home for those who are on the Marxist left in the U.S. It can be said that others look at us as if we have no definite program, no overall plan for making revolution in the belly of the imperialist beast. In a direct reference to Marx’s famous Communist Manifesto we can ask rather bluntly: where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as communistic by its opponents in power? (repeating what Marx said verbatim)

In an excellent biography on Ho Chi Minh entitled Ho Chi Minh: A Life by William J. Duiker, in a passage which I’m recalling from memory (so bear withe me here), the author states that for Vietnamese communists such as Ho Chi Minh the formation of the Communist Party of Vietnam was a watershed event in the national liberation movement. those Vietnamese patriots who’d long been opposed to French colonialism’s injustices at long last had a political party which possessed the means to popularize the Vietnamese independence struggle amongst the peasant commoner and the radical-minded intellectual.

In the modern United States, we have the bare skeleton, the scaffolding, of a communist movement which is seeking to reinvent the ideology while distancing itself from the moribund New Left of the 1960’s and 1970’s. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t learn from our mistakes. No, rather, being as we are trying to regroup as a movement we should look critically at past attempts at building a viable communist movement in the U.S, personified by the Black Panther Party and the early Revolutionary Communist Party of America

It is my strong belief that we should create the conditions for a future communist party, if we haven’t already done so. In revolutionary China in the early 1920’s a loose scattering of so-called ‘communist groups’ were formed to study Marxism and unite China’s small collection of Marxists nationwide. These informal study circles became the basis for the nascent Communist Party of China, a disciplined and revolutionary organization basing itself on Bolshevism which would sink deep roots amongst China’s urban proletariat in the cities.

The Kasama Project and its numerous collectives have the potential to lead to the formation of a communist party. As study groups, as organizations centered around critical debate, the collectives could become the basis for a political party of a new type. Such a party IMHO should take up the Kasama slogan ‘re-conceive as we regroup’, which is exactly what is so provocative, sharp, defined, articulated, and real about our movement.

Nat adds to the debate:

Let’s begin, with all our ability to radiate these ideas and to popularize them in a way that is clear and enticing for those coming into contact with them. Let’s collectively look at this as an opportunity and seize the moment.

The potential is there, we just have to reach out and grab it.

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The Huffington Post on Nepal’s Bourgeois Elections

Although this is an older post of mine written during Nepal’s Constituent Assembly elections, it still has relevance after the fact. Nepal’s elections were bourgeois, spearheaded by reactionary parties opposed to radical change. That being said, its clear that the election boycott held by the 33-party alliance and led by the nascent Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist was a struggle against the capitalist road in favor of socialism. Therein lies the significance of the boycott, which represented a resolute rejection of bourgeois democracy’s electoral trappings for a revolutionary transformation of Nepal.

Recently, the Huffington Post has taken to discussing Nepal’s upcoming elections scheduled for November 19th. It describes the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) as “a small faction of the Maoist party” which is “hell-bent on creating chaos and disrupting the elections.” [1]

The CPN-M is far from being a “small faction,” nor is it “hell-bent on creating chaos.” Rather, it is a legitimate revolutionary force leading a coalition of over 33 opposition parties in an alliance against the bogus elections taking place in Nepal.

The Nepalese people have a right to strike out against this unjust election charade, with the CPN-M as their vanguard in the movement to create an independent and free socialist Nepal.

The people of Nepal are speaking up – the Nepalese communists are duty bound to boycott their country’s thoroughly bourgeois elections. Nepal is at a crossroads: it can either take the capitalist road or the socialist road. One leads to continuing misery and exploitation of the Nepalese people by the first world (and, it can be said, India), while the other will lead to new forms of popular representation and a renewed movement to finally rid Nepal of its rampant corruption and inequality under capitalism.

Hands off the CPN-M and its boycott of the present Nepalese elections! For an independent and free socialist Nepal!

Sources:

[1]: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/subhash-ghimire/rise-of-a-new-force-nepal_b_4171659.html

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