As the Democrats Press for War, the Left Must Demand Peace and Social Transformation

Source:  Black agenda Report
January 11 2017
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

“The Left’s job is to oppose the warmongers, not band with them.”

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The Democrats are whipping up war hysteria and “cynically seeking to harness people’s well-founded fears of Trump’s domestic policies in order to sabotage the possibility of a relaxation of international tensions.” Some folks have taken the bait. “Leftists that think they can exploit the split between the Trump troglodytes (fascists) and the Obama/Clinton/Old Line GOP War Party (fascists) will ultimately wind up caught in a pincer between the two.”

 

The most imminent threats to human survival

As is ordained by law, at the end of the week much of President Obama’s legacy will become Donald Trump’s powers, including the power to detain Americans indefinitely (forever) without trial or charge, an authority the First Black President secured from Congress in 2011. Obama’s wars become Trump’s wars, which, if Trump follows Obama’s example — and if he succumbs to the furious pressures of leading Democrats, old line Republicans and an openly aggressive and “politicized” national security establishment — will be expanded and multiplied. The most imminent threats to human survival under a Trump presidency flow, not from the billionaire’s own belligerent instincts and unpredictability, but from the momentum of Obama’s policies of ever-escalating confrontation with Russia and China — his deliberate “pivots” towards brinksmanship on all the geopolitical fronts of Empire.

“U.S. policy is to militarily intimidate the world into submission — a gangster’s game.”

It is the Democrats that have whipped up war hysteria and a new McCarthyism, attacking Trump from the Right to force him to keep Obama’s imperial “surge” moving forward. With western economic power fading fast, U.S. policy is to militarily intimidate the world into submission — a gangster’s game. For the Lords of Capital and their national security servants, Obama’s greatest achievement was to put the U.S. back on the offensive after George Bush’s defeat and humiliation in Iraq. From their perspective, Obama has already “Made America Great Again” with his “humanitarian” military intervention doctrine, trampling every principle of international law, including the sovereignty of nations, in Libya and Syria. Trump’s talk of “deal-making” with Russia and China threatens to slow the imperial offensive.

The ruling class realignment that congealed in the Clinton campaign’s Big Tent sees any relaxation of U.S. military pressures against Beijing and Moscow as a prelude to imperial collapse. For them, de-escalation is an existential threat. They don’t give a damn about the damage Donald Trump intends to inflict on what remains of the U.S. social safety net — and neither did Obama, who came into office scheming to forge a Grand Austerity Bargain with the Republicans. And, if his preventive detention bill were not enough, Obama’s support for creation of a “Ministry of Truth” — officially, a joint governmental commission to police the media for “foreign disinformation and manipulation” — screams out to high heaven that protection of civil liberties is not part of their agenda, either. Internet publications like Black Agenda Report, cited by the Washington Post as “fake news” and “minions” of Russia, will be punished for deviance from imperial “exceptionalism” and aggressive war policies.

“Trump’s talk of ‘deal-making’ with Russia and China threatens to slow the imperial offensive.”

This is all about war. The Democrats, massed corporate media and the fully mobilized legions of spooks and disinformation specialists are cynically seeking to harness people’s well-founded fears of Trump’s domestic policies in order to sabotage the possibility of a relaxation of international tensions. Leftists that think they can exploit the split between the Trump troglodytes (fascists) and the Obama/Clinton/Old Line GOP War Party (fascists) will ultimately wind up caught in a pincer between the two.

The ruling class is, indeed, in an acute political crisis, to match its larger, systemic crisis. The duopoly system that has served the rich so well for most of the history of the Republic has come undone, split at the seams, endangering the corporate-imposed national “consensus” on empire and war. The War Party, deploying every disinformation trick in the book, foments anti-Russian hysteria to create a mass base for its imperial agenda. They point fingers at phantom “minions” of Moscow in order to make leftists into political foot soldiers of the Pentagon, Langley and the military industrial complex. MoveOn.org moves to their beat, as does the entire Congressional Black Caucus, including Barbara Lee (D-CA), the nation’s most left-leaning congressperson. Fine; they are duty-bound to go down with the Bad Ship Hillary. But the social movement activists that allow themselves to be swept up in the Democrats’ offensive-from-the-Right against Trump are the biggest dupes of all.

“They point fingers at phantom ‘minions’ of Moscow in order to make leftists into political foot soldiers of the Pentagon, Langley and the military industrial complex.”

The Democrats are incapable of agitating for anything more than defense of Barack Obama’s “legacy” — chiefly, his doomed Affordable Care Act, which was already disintegrating from its own contradictions and whose final demise will create an acute crisis that cries out for single payer health insurance, the outcome Obamacare was designed to forestall. The Left should be making that demand right now, rather than helping Democrats join with Republicans to patch together an even worse private-based system, down the road.

The precariat economy that is emerging from Obama’s post-Meltdown restructuring, in which 94 percent of the new “jobs” are so contingent, inadequate and insecure they can hardly be called jobs at all, demands a National Minimum Income – a potentially transformative leap that the Left should be loudly championing, right now.

Five years after Occupy Wall Street, the Left should finally call for the nationalization — not fragmentation — of the big banks, and creation of a public development bank to rebuild the national infrastructure without going into debt to private capital. Anybody that doubts masses of people will join in this demand doesn’t know their fellow Americans and their deep hatred for Wall Street banks.

“The social movement activists that allow themselves to be swept up in the Democrats’ offensive-from-the-Right against Trump are the biggest dupes of all.”

Ferguson set the new Black movement on a course of confrontation with the Mass Black Incarceration State, in all its manifestations. Obama’s legacy — and that of the Black misleadership class that has collaborated with mass Black incarceration for two generations – is to intensify intelligence gathering in Black communities, while dispersing Black population concentrations through gentrification. Trump or no Trump, there is no avoiding the logic of the movement’s central grassroots demand: Black community control of the police. Non-Blacks on the Left must support that demand.

There is no such thing as a genuine Left that supports imperialism, but there are plenty of fakers that do, including phony socialists. How sad — and maddening, at the same time — that a Donald Trump can speak of “cutting down” on “regime change,” while purported leftists rally to Obama’s “humanitarian” military interventionism, the lip-stick on the imperial pig. The Democrats want war so badly, they are fouling their bourgeois institutional nest and bearing down hard from the Right to prevent any let-up in tensions with Russia and China. The Left’s job is to oppose the warmongers, not to band with them.

There is no mystery to what the moment demands. What’s needed is Left movements for social transformation, not a farcical, Democrat-led anti-Trump pseudo-movement, whose real agenda is war.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Reflects On Movement’s First Three Years

Source:  Popular Resistance
July 8 2016

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Above Photo: Alicia Garza, flanked by Patrise Cullors, left, and Opall Tometi. (Video still from “Rising Up With Sonali”)

In July 2013, Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi and Alicia Garza, three prominent activists in their communities, joined together and coined the simple yet powerful refrain “Black Lives Matter” in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. A year later, an uprising in Ferguson, Mo., over the police killing of Michael Brown catapulted the phrase and the activists it empowered into a movement.

Inspired a new generation of activists

The three African-American women, considered the co-founders of Black Lives Matter (BLM), have received awards and accolades and have been widely interviewed in major media outlets and invited to give speeches. Through it all, they have stuck to their principles and inspired a new generation of activists. They have challenged us to think beyond quick fixes and knee-jerk reactions, warning against an over-reliance on electoral politics and demanding nothing less than societal transformation.

Achieving a “cultural shift that is moving through this country”

I recently interviewed BLM co-founder Garza about what has changed on this third anniversary of the birth of the nation’s most important contemporary social and political movement. Garza is a special-projects director in the Oakland, Calif., office of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and serves on the board of directors for the Oakland-based School of Unity and Liberation (SOUL). Like her fellow activists, Cullors and Tometi, she has been politically engaged and organizing for years, and the wisdom born of her experience was tangible throughout our conversation. According to Garza, “Race, policing and the multiple ways in which state-sanctioned violence impacts our communities has become an issue that is front and center,” and BLM’s main success has been in achieving a “cultural shift that is moving through this country,” one that is “necessary for real policy change to happen.”

A  broad framework for Americans to debate and discuss

She’s right. We are able to talk about race and racism more freely today than before, and combined with our unprecedented peer-to-peer communications technology, Black Lives Matter has provided a broad framework for Americans to debate and discuss the myriad ways in which society has failed black Americans—more so, perhaps, than any other community.

Take the brilliant speech by “Grey’s Anatomy” actor Jesse Williams at the BET awards, where he skewered white supremacy and privilege so eloquently that he left both his admirers and detractors speechless:

“[W]e’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil—black gold, ghettoizing and demeaning our creations, then stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit.”

Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar

I imagine that the phrase “Black Lives Matter” has empowered and re-energized so many of us that Williams felt able to publicly speak out about such a controversial issue with deep clarity and courage. Garza lauded Williams, alongside other celebrities such as Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar, whose actions, “send a particular wave of shock not only through their industry but also through the communities that love them.” Because of the cultural shift over the past three years, “There’s tons of folks now who are taking a stand and making sure that everybody knows that we are grappling with this fundamental question of dignity and humanity,” Garza said.

On a practical level, however, there has been little change. Police continue to kill African-Americans and other people of color with impunity, as the killings this week of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philander Castile in Minnesota demonstrate. And, among the very few officers who are ever indicted or charged, there are still almost no convictions. If even a few police were convicted of murder or manslaughter and sentenced to a decade in prison, it might send ripples through law enforcement agencies with the clear message that open season on black lives is over.

Systemic change does not come simply from convicting police who kill

But Garza was adamant that systemic change does not come simply from convicting police who kill. “When we think about what change looks like, prosecuting or convicting a few police officers doesn’t actually transform the system itself and those officers are products of those systems.”

Transformation is what Garza, Cullors and Tometi are demanding of American society, for this country has never cared for black lives. To expect a system of policing (and all the institutions of power that police protect) to undergo a few tweaks in order to accommodate full equality for African-Americans is asking too much. “It’s really important that we understand transformation, one, [that it happens] on a much longer trajectory,” said Garza, “two, in terms of the interrelationship between cultural change and policy change; and three, as a reimagining of alternatives that get put into place for systems that we are trying to dismantle.”

Real transformation

In other words, the cultural shift that is reflected by black celebrities and others is just the first step. Convictions of police officers who killed unarmed people “are a step, but they are not the step to reforming, and transforming how policing is operating in our communities,” Garza insists. She says real transformation can only happen when police departments get the “clear message that it is unacceptable to be killing people in the course of ‘keeping people safe.’ ”

BLM’s focus is not restricted to problems of policing. Police violence is the most dramatic representation of state violence against black communities, but there are myriad other connected issues. Oakland, where Garza is based, is a historically black city and has a rich and storied background of militant black activism, especially as the birthplace of the Black Panther Party. But in recent years Silicon Valley’s tech industry workers have left expensive San Francisco looking for cheaper rents and turned Oakland into the site of a war over gentrification. Garza sees the problems of policing, gentrification, poverty and unemployment as intimately linked. “You can’t separate police violence from gentrification because police violence and policing is often used to bolster those processes,” said Garza, who has worked in the San Francisco Bay Area on this issue for more than a decade.

A dissonance” between stated values and actual actions

Ironically, many tech workers see themselves as liberal or libertarian and even embrace the ideals of BLM in a theoretical sense. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg famously scolded his employees publicly for crossing out the phrase “Black Lives Matter” on company walls and replacing it with “All Lives Matter.” But Garza is concerned that “there is a dissonance” between stated values and actual actions within the Bay Area-based tech industry.

In San Francisco she found that “there was lots of talk around social justice and fairness but yet there was almost a separate and unequal way of engaging with the community that tech was really pushing.” For example, to get around San Francisco’s failing public transportation system, tech companies simply started private bus systems, using public infrastructure, for their employees. This blindness to the plight of vulnerable populations is a microcosm of the American white supremacist culture that BLM has been battling.

The need to move beyond cultural shift into real transformation

Today, thanks to the resonance of Black Lives Matter, Garza, Cullors and Tometi enjoy much greater spheres of influence than before. I asked Garza whether the glare of the public spotlight has helped or hurt her activism. As she had done throughout our conversation, she gave a nuanced and deeply insightful answer: “It helps us get our message out to more people than already agree with us.” But, she added, “I think people can confuse visibility with power. The reality is the conditions in our community are not that different [from before].”

BLM has blossomed into a serious political movement through the activism of the black community, some of whose members are new to organizing. Now, it is up to the rest of us to expand on the work of the past three years—to move beyond cultural shift into real transformation, so that with visibility comes power to make black lives really matter.

Frequently asked Questions about the World Festival of Youth and Students

wfdy banner  2013Youth unite against imperialism, for a world of peace, solidarity and social transformation

Source: The Pan-Canadian Preparatory Committee of the 18th World Festival of Youth and Students!

1. What is the WFYS?
2. How is the festival structured?
3. How often does the festival take place?
4. Who organizes the festival?
5. What is the WFDY?
6. What about student organizations?
7. Are Latin American students participating?
8. Why is this festival important?
9. Why Ecuador?
10. What does the All-Canada Committee do?
11. What does the Interational Committee do?
12. What does the Ecuadorian Committee do?
13. Costs? Lodging Travel?
14. How do I get involved?

1. What is the World Festival of Youth and Students?

The World Festival of Youth and Students is the largest gathering of anti-imperialist youth in the world. The festival is an amazing event you will remember for the rest of your life. More that 15,000 youth are expected at this year’s festival.

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250 Namibians to attend the 18th World Festival of Youth and Students

jerry ekandjo 3

Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture, Jerry Ekandjo, is expected to lead the delegation of 250 youths from across Namibia to Ecuador for the conference that will take place from December 07 to 13. The youths will include those with disabilities and from marginalised communities. (Photo:  Jerry Ekandjo)

“Such platforms of political education and expression of the Namibian youth are few and far between,” said Edward Kafita who is the national chairperson of the World Festival of Youth and Students.

Kafita noted that the participation in the festival is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Namibian delegates.  He highlighted the fact that the Festival will allow “the youth to consolidate and strengthen their ideological beliefs through interacting with youths of similar persuasion from around the world”..

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Vietnam to attend 18th World Festival of Youth and Students

vietnam to attend WFYS 2013

Nhan Dan – A delegation of 85 young Vietnamese is set to attend the 18th World Festival of Youth and Students in Quito, Ecuador from December 7-13.

The festival is held every four years by the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY), and is one of the most important international youth conferences.

This Festival’s event, under the theme ‘ Youth unite against imperialism, for a world of peace, solidarity and social transformation‘, consists of an opening ceremony, Africa Day, America Day, Asia-Pacific Day, Europe Day, Middle East Day, Ecuador Day and a closing ceremony.

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Latin America and the Caribbean: A shining light in a troubled world

Source:  Global Research
By
Eva Golinger
December 08, 2011

A Union is Born: The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC)

latin_america and the caribbean 2While much of the world is in crisis and protests are erupting throughout Europe and the United States, Latin American and Caribbean nations are building consensus, advancing social justice and increasing positive cooperation in the region. Social, political and economic transformations have been taking place through democratic processes in countries such as Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil throughout the past decade, leading to a massive reduction in poverty and income disparity in the region, and a substantial increase in social services, quality of life and direct participation in political process.

Integration, cooperation and solidarity amongst neighboring nations

One of the major initiatives of progressive Latin American governments this century has Continue reading