Era of US Domination of Latin America Coming to an End

Source:  Popular Resistance
August 9 2020
By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, Popular Resistance.

us dominatiuon in la over 2

Above photo: Marcha en Venezuela contra las sanciones de Trump – Reuters.

Despite its failings at home, the United States intervenes in countries across multiple continents seeking to control their governments and resources.

This week, we look at the US’ latest efforts in Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Bolivia to undermine their independence and force them to serve the interests of the US government and transnational corporations.

In all three countries, the US has displayed a lack of understanding of the people and their support for their revolutionary processes, and as a result, is failing. As US empire fades, so might the Monroe Doctrine come to an end.

Sandanista- FSLN rally in Nicaragua.

Nicaragua: USAID Multi-Year Destabilization Plan Exposed

A US Agency for International Development (USAID) document revealed by reporter William Grigsby describes covert plans to overthrow the democratically-elected Nicaraguan government in the next two years. USAID seeks to hire mercenaries “to take charge of the plan . . . to disrupt public order and carry out other [violent] actions before, during, and/or after the 2021 elections.”

USAID is creating Responsive Assistance In Nicaragua (RAIN), allotting $540,000 in grants to remove the Sandinista government in what it calls “Nicaragua’s transition to democracy.” Daniel Ortega won the 2016 election with 72 percent of the vote in what election observers from the Organization of American States (OAS), a US tool, described as taking “place in a calm, smooth and pacific manner, with no large incidents.”

Brian Willson, who has opposed US efforts to dominate Nicaragua since the 1980s Contra war, concludes the US realizes Ortega will win the 2021 election. In fact, this week, a poll showed support for Ortega’s party, FSLN, at 50% and for the opposition at 10%. One of USAID plans, as they tried in Venezuela in 2018, is for the opposition to boycott the election since they know they will lose, then call it illegitimate and create a political and economic crisis.

The real goal is not a democracy but domination so US transnational corporations can profit from the second poorest country in the hemisphere by putting in place a neoliberal economy to privatize public services, cut social services, and purge all traces of the Sandinistas. USAID also plans to “reestablish” the police and military to enforce their rule. Another goal is to stop Nicaragua from being the “threat of a good example” for its economic growth, reduction of inequality, poverty, illiteracy and crime.

Ben Norton points out in the Grayzone that “the 14-page USAID document employed the word ‘transition’ 102 times” making clear the intent is regime change.  A “sudden transition without elections,” a euphemism for a coup, is one of three possible regime change scenarios.

John Perry writes about “US interference in Nicaragua, going back at least as far as William Walker’s assault on its capital and usurpation of the presidency in 1856.” Since the 1979 Sandinista Revolution, the US has sought to take back control of Nicaragua.

USAID and its National Endowment for Democracy (NED) have been funding the opposition. NED financed 54 projects from 2014-17 to lay the groundwork for a 2018 coup attempt, which  also involved USAIDWiston Lopez writes the US has provided “more than 31 million dollars between the end of 2017 and May 1, 2020.” When the attempted coup in 2018 failed, the US also put in place illegal unilateral coercive measures, known as economic sanctions, supported by both Democrats and Republicans, to try to weaken the country.

The USAID’s RAIN program outlines the usual regime change steps, e.g. remake the police and military as enforcers of the new neoliberal order, move “quickly to dismantle parallel institutions,”  i.e. the Sandinista Front, the Sandinista Youth, and other grassroots institutions, and implement “transitional justice measures,” i.e., the prosecution of current government officials and movement leaders.

A new area of attack is a disinformation campaign against Nicaragua’s handling of COVID-19. The opposition misrepresents the government’s response and puts forward false death statistics in an attempt to create chaos. As Wiston López points out, “Since March the US-directed opposition has focused 95% of their actions on attempting to discredit Nicaragua’s prevention, contention, and Covid treatment. However, this only had some success in the international media and is now backfiring since Nicaragua is the country with one of the lowest mortality rates in the continent.”

The US media fails to report on the success of Nicaragua in combating the virus using a community-based health system. Nicaragua has been building its health system for the last 12 years and took rapid action to prepare for the virus. Nicaragua did not impose a lock down because it is a poor country where 80 percent of people are in the informal economy and 40 percent live in rural areas. People must work in order to eat.

Stephen Sefton puts the failure of the United States so far in context. At its root, the US does not understand the people of Nicaragua, their history of fighting US domination, and their ability to overcome right-wing puppets. It also misunderstands what the Sandinista government is doing to better the lives of the people in every sector of the economy. Sefton concludes, “The US government has failed notoriously to meet the needs of its own people during the current pandemic but can still find money to try and destroy a small country whose success makes US social, economic and environmental policy look arbitrary, negligent and criminal.”

Nicolas Maduro kicks out Donald Trump. Photo by Ben Norton.

Venezuela: Bipartisan Failed Regime Change

Ever since the 1998 election of Hugo Chavez, successive US administrations have tried and failed to dominate Venezuela. The bipartisan nature of this policy was on display on August 4, when Elliot Abrams, the notorious coup-monger for multiple presidents, testified in Congress. Not a single Senator criticized the attempt to illegally overthrow a democratically-elected government.

Abrams was criticized by both Democrats and Republicans for his inability to remove President Maduro from power. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) was most open about the coup attempt describing it as “a case study in diplomatic malpractice” and claiming Trump botched a winning play in a comedy of errors that strengthened Maduro. After the hearing, Murphy posted a series of Tweets admitting the coup and how it could have been done better.

clip from Murphy’s embarrassing comments was shared widely including by the Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodríguez and Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza. When Vijay Prashad asked Arreaza his reaction, he described the US openly admitting crimes and said the “confessions” of Murphy, Gen. John Kelly, John Bolton, and Elliot Abrams “are priceless evidence for the complaint we raised at the International Criminal Court.”

Elliot Abrams testified that he would continue to work very hard to remove Maduro hopefully by the end of the year.  This echoed a statement by President Trump at SouthCom headquarters in Florida. Sen. Murphy’s comments are consistent with those made by Joe Biden who says he would be more effective at removing Maduro than Trump. Biden described Trump as soft on Maduro because he considered talking to him.

Elliot Abrams announced the US will be starting a media war against Venezuela. The reality is the US has been conducting a media war against Venezuela for more than 20 years.

Venezuela is moving ahead with elections for the National Assembly on December 6, 2020. Unlike 2018, more parties are agreeing to participate including the larger Democratic Action and Justice First parties, as well as a new Communist Party alliance and the hard-right Popular Will party, which was US puppet Juan Guaidó’s former party. There will be 105 political parties contesting for 277 National Assembly seats, 110 more than the current term. Venezuela uses a combination of majority winners and proportional representation. Venezuela also requires half the candidates to be female, and they use electronic voting confirmed by paper ballots with a public citizen audit on Election Day.

Juan Guaidó and others allied with the United States said they would boycott the election. Guaidó cannot risk running because he is likely to be defeated. The US is encouraging a boycott and then will claim the election was not legitimate as it did in the last presidential election. After December, Guaidó will not hold any elected office making his fraudulent claim to the presidency even weaker.

These events come after two major embarrassments for the US in Venezuela. Operation Gideonan attempt by mercenaries to invade Venezuela was foiled on May 4, leading to their arrests and the arrests of their co-conspirators. The State Department abandoned the mercenaries, and this week two former Green Berets were sentenced to 20 years in prison after admitting their guilt. It was evident that Guaidó was heavily involved in this failure adding to his failed presidential takeover and tainting him beyond repair.

The second defeat was Iran and Venezuela working together to deliver oil and equipment for Venezuelan refineries. Five Iranian oil tankers passed by the largest US armada in the Caribbean since the invasion of Panama. Southcom has been repeatedly sending warships into Venezuelan waters. The solidarity of Iran and Venezuela overcame the naval blockade, undermined US sanctions, and sent a shudder through the US by showing other nations they can defy the United States.

Venezuela has a strong history of struggle against imperialism but the US’ economic war is costing their economy hundreds of billions of dollars and leading to the premature death of Venezuelans. In addition, the United Kingdom is refusing to release more than a billion dollars of Venezuelan gold held in the Bank of England that was to be used for food and medicine. The UK court ruled against Venezuela but they are appealing the decision.

Bolivians protest the postponement of the election.

Bolivia: US Dictator Fears Democratic Vote

On November 12 2019, a US-backed coup in Bolivia removed President Evo Morales who had just won re-election. The self-proclaimed President Jeanine Añez, a right-wing Christian, leads a de facto government involved in massacres, persecution and imprisonment of political leaders. It is destroying the social and economic model and achievements of the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS Party) led by Morales.

The OAS played a crucial role in the coup with their false analysis of Morales’ re-election. The western media reported the false OAS analysis without criticism. Now, studies by MIT and the Center for Economic and Policy Analysis have shown that Morales clearly won the election and should have remained in power. For months the Washington Post claimed Morales’ re-election was a fraud, but finally, in March, it acknowledged the election was legitimate. Similarly, the New York Times admitted in July that Morales won the election.

Many have called this a lithium coup because the element is plentiful in Bolivia and critical for batteries. This was made evident when Elon Musk, the head of Tesla, said on Twitter “We will coup whoever we want! Deal with it.” Tesla would benefit from cheap and plentiful lithium for electric car batteries.

The people of Bolivia are struggling to restore democracy. The fraudulent report by the OAS led to a three-week conflict between right-wing Bolivians protesting alleged fraud and pro-government, mostly indigenous, demonstrators defending Morales. The military and police sided with the right-wing coup. The coup government threatened legislators and their families while repressing the people. There were racist attacks against the majority Indigenous population and the Wiphala, the indigenous flag, was burned in the streets. When she took power, Áñez, surrounded by right-wing legislators, held up a large leather bible and declared, “The Bible has returned to the palace.”

The US recognized the coup government, similar to its recognition of the failed coup leader, Juan Guaidó in Venezuela. Añez claimed she’d be transitory until the next election, but at the direction of the US, she is putting in place deep roots and has delayed elections.

The repression has galvanized the MAS party, as well as peasant unions and grassroots organizations who continue their struggle to restore Bolivian democracy. The pressure led to elections being scheduled. Initially, Áñez said she would not run but reversed herself and is now a candidate while she is trying to outlaw the MAS party and its candidates.

Elections were scheduled for May 3, but have been postponed twice allegedly due to the pandemic, but really because this is an ongoing coup.

It is true that the COVID-19 pandemic is hitting Bolivia hard with horror stories about people unable to get medical treatment. Immediately after the coup, the Añez government expelled the Cuban doctors. The coup-government is unable to manage the health system. Corruption is rampant in the purchase of medical equipment. The health ministry has had three ministers during the crisis. The situation is dire with overcrowded hospitals, lack of basic supplies, and corpses in the streets and in their homes with nowhere to be buried.

The coup-government is using the virus to try to delay elections because polls show the MAS candidate, Luis Arce, is far ahead and likely to win in the first round of elections with Áñez coming in a distant third. Áñez has sought to prosecute Arce to keep him from running, so far unsuccessfully.  On July 6, the Attorney General of Bolivia charged Evo Morales with terrorism and financing of terrorism from exile and is seeking preventive detention.

Since mid-July, thousands of Bolivians have been protesting the postponement of elections. They are holding sustained protests throughout the country and blocking many roads. Indigenous and peasant groups, agricultural groups, along with women and unions are joining together calling for elections.  Morales, Arce, and the MAS Party have denounced the delay.

Domination Will Not Reverse Decline

Evo Morales said in a recent interview “The United States is trying to make Latin America its backyard forever. We know about the hard resistance of the peoples of Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua. The struggle of our peoples is very important. The United States wants to divide us in order to plunder our natural resources. The peoples no longer accept domination and plunder. The United States is in decline, and yet it lashes out.”

The US is weakening as a global power and its failures in Latin America are both a symptom of this and are causing further decline. The US’ violations of international law are obvious and are being challenged. But the US is an empire and it will not give up the Monroe Doctrine easily.

As citizens of Empire, we have a particular responsibility to demand the US stop its sanctions and illegal interference in Latin America and elsewhere around the world. In this time of multiple global crises, we must demand the US become a cooperative member of the world community and work peacefully to address the pandemic, recession and climate crisis.

Structures to do this exist to help with this such as the global ceasefire and the Paris Climate agreement. And on the anniversary of the US bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, we must add the Nuclear Ban Treaty as another effort the US must join.

Evo Morales Denounces Latest Coup Plot, Warns of an Immanent Massacre

Source: Internationalist 360°
August 7 2020

Ramiro Garcia

https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.commondreams.org%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2Fheadline%2Fthumbs%2Fevo_morales_2.jpg&f=1&nofb=1Evo Morales denounces the coup d’état the government and military is preparing.

Lauca Eñe-RKC-7-08-20.- Former Bolivian president Evo Morales Ayma, speaking to Radio Kawsachun Coca on the occasion of the 195th anniversary of the Armed Forces, denounced that according to his information, the government and the military are preparing a coup d’état to prevent the holding of general elections.

“Last minute information, I denounce that General Ivan Ortiz Bravo, head of the third department of the Armed Forces Command, on the instruction of the commander in chief of the Armed Forces, General (Sergio Carlos Orellana), has a coup d’état plan, for some two months, the military patriots informed me that they want to form a civil and military government, now, and they have that plan” he said.

He added that two US planes arrived a few days ago, bringing military equipment, “we don’t know if it’s a donation or a purchase, the army’s immediate response team has been mobilized” he added.

Related: Bolivia: MAS Demands Guaranteed Election Date Through Dialogue

He also reiterated the accusation he made last week that snipers from the Challapata and Sanandita regiments were deployed, which he said were in the tropics and in the city of El Alto.

The former president warned that the government decided to remove the blockade; “yesterday the de facto government again prepared a supreme decree for the armed forces and police to intervene in blockades, especially in the tropics of Cochabamba and Yapacani, using 22 and 25 calibre weapons, and then to say that the demonstrators killed each other,” he said, alerting the organizations mobilized in the country.

“I have this information because there are soldiers who are not with the coup d’état, they are new generations, sons and daughters of the people, I call on them to be with their people, with their fathers, don’t risk the lives of the soldiers, and officers, They have so many people infected with the coronavirus, COSMIL has totally collapsed, and to obey a de facto government with the repression against the people, once again they have a decree ready, I don’t know if they have signed it, until last night it was ready, just like they prepared a decree for the massacre in Sacaba and Senkata.

Related:  Bolivia: Social Movements Maintain Blockades Despite Threats

Morales said that according to the report he has, they are preparing to take over the installations of Radio Kawsachun Coca. “They want to take over the media that reports the truth and that gives us coverage,” he said in time to ask the bases to organize themselves into defense committees or vigils, to defend the community radio stations in particular.

US Whipping Up War Hysteria Against China

Source:  Black Agenda Report
August 3 2000

https://blackagendareport.com/us-whipping-war-hysteria-against-china

In the recent globally broadcast web event “No to a New Cold War,” BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley cautioned Americans not to fall for the Trump regime’s anti-China war propaganda. Trump blames China for the Covid-19 epidemic, but Beijing has virtually vanquished the contagion while the US leads the world in fatalities. “Our interests are not those of the rulers, and we must never forget that,” said Kimberley.

Related:  The Coming War on China

The Theft of Bolivia’s Lithium

Source: Youtube.com

July 27 2020

 

Transcript

We covered the military coup that took place in Bolivia back in November 2019 when Evo Morales was ousted, was removed by the military and through support of the United States with their uh cold war organization known as the OAS, the Organization of American States. So essentially, just to give you a very quick brief background of what happened, Morales had been running the country for about 13 years if I’m not mistaken, and there was a referendum on whether presidents should have term limits or not.  Okay, the the people voted that yes you should have term limits.  However, Morales appealed this at the supreme court and the Bolivian supreme court said that, nope, there are no term limits, you can run, so he did and he won.

Related:  Two Million Bolivians out of extreme povety thanks to policies of Evo Morales

And you had people in this um right-wing opposition in Bolivia and the OAS, the organization of American States which is a cold war era institution based in Washington DC, receives most of its funding from Washington DC, they made these false allegations that the election results were rigged.   Okay, because Morales needed a 10% overhead to avoid a runoff and they essentially accused him of fraud and then all of a sudden you had government buildings being burnt down, you had even his sister’s house being burnt down.  He refused to,, to resign because he had won the election legitimately.  In the end, he was forced to flee.

He fled to Mexico and I think now he’s in Argentina and what’s really interesting.  is in December, so this is after the coup, he sat down with Glenn Gruenwald and even back then at the time, he told him straight up, he told him straight up, that the real reason behind this coup was about Bolivia’s resources.  Okay, so Bolivia has extraordinary amounts and reserves of lithium, now let me just show you this this clip very quickly from that interview.

We know we know that there was no election fraud this this report that was issued by the OAS saying that there were inconsistencies with the results and that Morales had rigged the election.  It’s all complete bs, yet at the time as as expected all of the mainstream media news outlets, in the wes,t framed it as oh look the Bolivian people are standing up for their liberation against the corrupt Morales regime and he falsified the results of the election, they’re illegitimate the OAS verified this.  And, oopsie, a few months later, the New York times admits that oh they got it wrong, it turns out that the election wasn’t rigged and you know they made some miscalculations when they crunched the numbers, something I also covered a few months ago, right.

A bitter election accusations of fraud and now second thoughts.  See, same thing, same thing that they did with Iraq ,they kept pushing this propaganda that Iraq had WMDs over and over and over again you know, even Condoleezza Rice writing a piece in there making the case for war, and then, uh, after they’ve already invaded Iraq and destroyed it, the New York times are like, oh oops, yeah you know maybe we should have been a bit more vigilant or something you know and done our jobs.

So it’s very important for you to understand what’s at play here.  These lithium reserves are no joke.  One week, just one week before this coup, turns out Evo Morales had cancelled an agreement that Bolivia had made with a German company.  All right now, this German company is called ACI Systems Alemanya.   Morales, on November 4th, cancelled the December 2018 agreement with Germany’s ACISA after weeks of protests from residents of the Potosi area.  The region has fifty percent to seventy percent of the world’s lithium reserves in the SALADI salt flats and surprise surprise among other clients ACI provides batteries to, Tesla.

 

Bolivia sets high hopes on its lithium industry - MINING.COM

Tesla’s stock rose Monday after the weekend and it didn’t just rise in the immediate aftermath of the coup, oh no, it’s been rising ever since. It’s actually risen 600 percent.  Tesla stock was valued somewhere around 250 dollars a share just before the coup, now it’s around 1 500. and that’s no coincidence, that’s the global markets reacting to the wonderful imperial news that Elan Musk can now plunder Bolivia’s resources.   Now this is a promotional video from Bolivia’s state lithium company one year before the coup.   [Music]  [Music]

I mean this thing is enormous. Okay, you can you can see it from space these, these salt flats are absolutely enormous we’re talking about tremendous wealth and Morales’ plan, which has been his policy throughout his tenure, is to redistribute the wealth to the people. So this is from Common Dreams, “the nationalization policy of the Morales government and the geographical complexity of salarioni chased away several transnational mining firms from France and FMC from the US and Pasco from south Korea could not make deals with Bolivia so now they operate in Argentina.  Morales made it clear that any development of the lithium had to be done with Bolivia’s Comibol, its national mining company, and YLB its national lithium company as equal partners”, meaning you’re not just going to come in here with your multinational transnational companies and screw over Bolivia and the Bolivian people.  Morales’ plan from the beginning has been very clear, transnational multinational companies are not allowed to come into Bolivia rip off Bolivia’s resources, screw over the Bolivian people, and then keep plundering unconditionally.

When corporations realize that they were not going to be able to screw over the country they went to Argentina, they went to Chile; not only did these right-wing oligarchs work with the OAS and the United States to get rid of Morales, but on top of it, the interim president Janine Anies openly has invited Elon Musk to come to Bolivia and essentially help plunder their resources.  The de facto administration of Janine Anies has already announced its plan to invite numerous multinationals into the vast salt flats in Potosi which holds the precious soft metal.  Meanwhile a letter from the coup regime’s foreign minister to Elon Musk dated March 31st says quote, “any cooporation that you or your company can provide to our country will be gratefully welcomed” unquote.

So, this new interim government, this right-wing regime which organized a military coup against Morales, is openly, brazenly inviting these disgusting imperialist multinationals to come into Bolivia and plunder their resources.  You call that liberation, you call that democracy, wow. This entire coup, this fascist right-wing coup, has absolutely zero, nothing to do with quote-unquote democracy, or doing anything positive for the Bolivian people. And one of the people standing to profit from this is none other than Elon Musk who owns Tesla who make electric cars and need a large supply of lithium for their batteries.

I want to show you just something that he posted on twitter.  So he says another government stimulus package is not in the best interests of the people in my opinion.   Which is funny coming from him after he received tons of money from the government in the form of corporate handouts, but okay, and then Armani tells him, you know what wasn’t in the best interest of the people, the US government organizing a coup against Evo Morales in Bolivia so you could obtain the lithium there, and look what it says.  We will coup whoever we want, deal with it.

I mean, if you needed any more proof that this guy is an imperialist, capitalist son of a bitch look no further.  Not only, not only does his family’s wealth come from apartheid, come from these emerald mines in South Africa, but on top of it, he refused to shut down his Tesla factory during the pandemic risking his workers lives, and then he’s openly admitting now that the coup in Bolivia was so that he could get his hands on the lithium needed for batteries and Tesla cars, zero shame, zero shame.

Are we surprised, are we surprised?  This has become part of the norm now, they don’t even bother hiding it, you know Trump also brazenly openly says, look we’re in Syria for the oil, yeah we’re in Syria for the oil.  He just openly admits it and this clown over here, this imperialist pig openly admitting that Morales was removed so they could get their hands on the lithium, not even trying to hide it.  Man absolutely disgusting and it’s not, it’s not the only thing, what do you think is going on in the Congo as well?  You ever heard of koltan?  They use children to mine that stuff.  He has no shame, this guy has absolutely no shame.

What is absolutely staggering is the willful ignorance, the denial by a large swath of people that this is real, like to them this is some kind of joke, like as if the United States has never intervened and illegally bombed other countries and occupied them with their military in order to steal and plunder their resources.  Like the United Fruit Company of Guatemala or going into Iraq for the oil which is now controlled by US multinationals.  I mean this is nothing new, what a shameless piece of shit!

So I want to, I want to show you the response from Evo Morales himself.  Okay, so what he says and this is, this is a loosely translated, so you’ll forgive me, but he says that Elon Musk, the owner of the largest electric car factory says, regarding the coup in Bolivia, that we will coup whoever we want, which is even more proof that the coup was for Bolivia’s lithium and two massacres for payment, we will always defend our resources

I mean, the treatment, what they did to this dude is absolutely unbelievable.  US imperialism knows no bounds, it is absolutely completely shameless and once again it’s not new, right, not just the United Fruit Company or the the oil in Iraq, I mean even uh a Patrice in Congo was assassinated.  Eisenhower ordered him assassinated because he wanted to bring in Soviet troops and, at the time during the arms race during the cold war, getting your hands on uranium getting your hands on the necessary ingredients to make nuclear bombs, you would have had Russia and Congo monopolizing that essentially.

So it’s always about resources, make no mistake, and the same thing when the Egyptian president Abdel Nasser tried to nationalize the Suez Canal.  He was attacked by the UK, by Israel, by France like how dare you control your own resources and distribute the wealth among your own people!  No no no no, we the western powers we gotta come in and take over everything.  Make no mistake, when Israel occupies the Golan heights illegally it’s not just a military strategic point, it’s also to get their hands on the oil, it’s to get their hands on the water even has snow up there, yeah they go skiing they have nice little ski resorts on Syrian land.

It’s always about the resources, but then they want to come and tell you that it’s about democracy and then they want to come and tell you it’s about human rights and then they want to come and tell you it’s about election integrity; it’s got zero to do with that and they’re just not even hiding it anymore it’s right there in plain sight, right there in plain sight man.  That is totally okay for the United States to back right wing armed opposition groups to conduct military coups, overthrow democratically elected presidents and plunder the resources of other countries in the global south because white man said so.  Absolutely shameless, this is why you always got to pay attention. This is why you can’t trust these opposition groups that spring out of nowhere whether we’re talking about Guido or we’re talking about Anies or we’re talking about in Syria.   The end result is US military bases and US corporations coming in, being given cache blanche a blank check to do whatever they like exert a military sphere of influence over the region, plunder the country’s resources and maintain a military occupation.   Sounds a lot like colonization doesn’t it?  And what’s his crime?  Morales’ crime is being the first indigenous president and trying to redistribute the wealth among the people, their wealth; disgusting absolutely disgusting.

Hundreds of thousands join the New Poor People’s Campaign virtual March

Hundreds of thousands join the New Poor People’s Campaign virtual March

Demonstrators march outside the U.S. Capitol during the Poor People’s Campaign rally at the National Mall in Washington on Saturday, June 23, 2018. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Poor People’s Campaign events for June 21-22, 2020, were held online, part of a nationwide “Virtual March on Washington.” | Jose Luis Magana / AP

WASHINGTON—From eradication of poverty, an end to U.S. racism, to dismantling the war machine and creating a Green New Deal with thousands of well-paying jobs—especially union jobs—hundreds of thousands of people demanded a complete reversal and creation of a better society in three virtual mass marches on D.C. the weekend of June 20-21.

The point of those New Poor People’s Campaign events was to reiterate an interlocking list of demands for specific measures to end poverty and racism in the U.S. And to set the stage for the next part of the mass movement: Registration and voting.

Co-chair Rev. Liz Theoharis speaks during the virtual march on Washington. | Poor People’s Campaign (@UniteThePoor) via Twitter

“This isn’t about conservative versus liberal. That’s too puny,” said the Rev. William Barber II, the NPPC co-chair, with the Rev. Liz Theoharis. “It isn’t about right versus left. It’s about life versus death.”

To further their cause, the NPPC released a new and more comprehensive Moral Justice Jubilee Policy Platform available on its website.

Poverty alone may be approaching half the population, Barber said, due to the current depression, which has thrown at least 40 million people out of work, on top of the 140 million who were poor even before the crash hit.

The Moral Justice Jubilee Policy is a 14-page set of specific demands of ways to root out entrenched racism, dismantle the U.S. war machine and redirect military money, which totals $718 billion this year, towards education, health and social welfare, demilitarize the police and bring them under control and create a new and just economy that includes strong workers’ rights and millions of new well-paying jobs, especially union jobs, via the Green New Deal.

They demanded massive pro-green change to the economy, including an end to fracking and refinery and pipeline construction. One video speaker, former Vice President Al Gore, pushed that point, adding all problems they’re fighting against—poverty, exploitation, and climate destruction—are interwoven.

Related:  Poor People’s Campaign

 

“For far too long, the poor, the immigrants, the people of color have been blamed for society’s problems,” Theoharis said before quoting Biblical prophets Micah and Jeremiah and the gospel of Matthew, on social justice. “We’ve been fed the lies of scarcity in a society of abundance…We want to break through the lie that only small changes are possible, or the lie that the rich and powerful can save us.”

Political change, particularly curbing corporate interests and their power over the rest of us, was a strong theme, too. “Fearsome and illegitimate power and money are combining to destroy what remains of our democracy,” Barber declared. “Ignoring the poor and protecting the rich is evil,” Theoharis added.

Barber pointed out, however, that the NPPC does not endorse candidates, but mobilizes voters—notably poor voters whom politicians of both parties have ignored, and who are discouraged as a result.

But economist Julianne Malveaux took aim at GOP President Donald Trump, too, though not by name. Citing his “Make America great again” slogan, she scornfully asked: “Great for who?”

“Black Americans and poor Americans have always been in crisis. The way capitalism works is the poor at the bottom are being exploited so the others can make some money. It’s the function of a predatory capitalist economy.”

At least one rank-and-file speaker, a woman from Dallas, was even more pointed. “We are being attacked by the corporate KKK,” she said. “White supremacy used to be wrapped in a sheet. Now it’s in a corporate business suit.”

Barber and the NPPC platform didn’t spare right-wing preachers either. One plank in their platform demands combat against “the distorted narrative of religious nationalism.”

The hundreds of NPPC co-sponsors, including 12 unions, ranged from Advocates for Youth to the Zeta Phi Beta sorority. Many teamed up to broadcast the rallies on social media, accounting for the huge turnout: At least 150,000 attended the first 3-1/2-hour session that began at 10 a.m. June 20, and thousands more tuned into rebroadcasts that night and the following evening.

Union sponsors included the United Electrical Workers, the Auto Workers, the Communications Workers, the Association of Flight Attendants, the Government Employees, both big teachers unions, the Steelworkers, the Postal Workers, Fight For $15 And A Union, the Service Employees, the Painters and Unite Here.

The NPPC’s first session alone far outdrew right-wing President Trump’s campaign rally at an arena in Tulsa, Okla. Trump defied health warnings about large crowds spreading the coronavirus. As of 7:30 p.m. June 20, that pandemic has sickened 2.251 million people in the U.S., and killed 119,654 nationwide.

The high NPPC turnout was also driven by current events, including the economic depression, the pandemic, police murders of unarmed African Americans—with no justice in those cases—and subsequent daily mass marches nationwide demanding fundamental change to root out entrenched racism in police and society as a whole.

Other deep causes exist, Barber, Theoharis and other speakers said.

They include a government beholden to corporate interests, systemic poverty used as a method of repression, consistent high joblessness—ranging up to 75% at one Native American reservation—for people of color, and divide-and-conquer tactics of the elite used against people of color, poor whites, women and union workers.

“Less than 50% of Black adults have a job,” due to the depression, Unite Here Vice President Nia Winston noted. She was one of four union leaders to speak, along with Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten, AFA-CWA President Sara Nelson, and AFSCME President Lee Saunders.

The problems also include deep-seated police attitudes towards people of color, plus police militarization. “No police should be walking around with military equipment, with tear gas, with tanks,” said Claudia De La Cruz of the South Bronx. “It’s crazy.” One platform plank calls for an end to the Defense Department turnover of heavy military equipment to local police forces.

All this should lead to systemic societal change via systemic governmental change, Barber said—change achieved peacefully through the ballot box, he emphasized.

Co-chair Rev. William Barber speaks during the virtual march on Washington. | Poor People’s Campaign (@UniteThePoor) via Twitter

Quoting from the Declaration of Independence, Barber explained: “It is the right of the people to alter or abolish any form of government that becomes destructive of these ends (human rights) and to institute a new form of government.

“It is time to change this long train of abuses,” he added. Government “can be altered and a new and better government can be instituted.”

Other speakers took up other causes in the NPPC agenda.

“My co-workers and I started organizing a union,” at their Starbucks in Orlando, Fla., barista Olivia Williams said. “We were frustrated by management’s refusal to provide personal protective equipment” against the coronavirus. “We’re not afraid to fight.”

“Where we try to fight, our ability to do so is taken from us by right-to-work” laws, said one coal miner from Southwest Virginia. “As long as we’re divided, they”—the corporate elite—“can conquer.”

“Black and brown students whose schools were denied half a trillion dollars are now being told by the Republicans in the Senate they should return to schools in the fall—schools with even less funding” than before the pandemic, added Weingarten.

The NPPC originally planned a mass physical march on Washington, but the coronavirus pandemic and the fear of infection in large crowds shelved that. The virtual march far outpaced the campaign’s first march on Washington, almost exactly two years ago, which drew 25,000 people, Barber said.

“America must hear herself and see herself,” he declared. “It’s time for transformation, reconstruction and a moral revival….Now is the time for eloquent rage.

“We came…to build a movement to rise up together and shift up the moral narrative. Somebody’s been beating our people and we won’t be silent anymore”—a common theme from speakers during the virtual event.

BLACK PRINCE FOR GEORGE FLOYD

NANCY MOREJÓN / BLACK PRINCE FOR GEORGE FLOYD

 

Though he really wanted to hurl you into the Mississippi,

that cannibal in deceptive uniform

quietly burnt his knee

on your inert throat.

The smoke rising from your flesh climbs to the tearful sky.

Skipping between the flowers, the air you exhale

pursues the cannibal’s ghost until it bites

his bloody fang.

And, indomitable, you give hope, on the wet asphalt,

under the quiet shade of an apple tree

in Minneapolis,

where we will place, for you,

this diamond, this clean

black prince of ours,

in your memory.

 

Cerro, Havana, June 4, 2020

Translated by . Keith Ellis

 

PRÍNCIPE NEGRO PARA GEORGE FLOYD

Aunque su sueño era lanzarte al Mississippi,

aquel caníbal de uniforme opaco

ha quemado en silencio su rodilla

sobre tu cuello inerte.

El humo de tu carne va subiendo hasta el cielo mojado.

Saltando entre las flores, el aire de tus bronquios

persigue su fantasma hasta morder

el colmillo sangriento del caníbal.

Y tú alientas, indómito, sobre el asfalto húmedo,

bajo la sombra quieta de un manzano

en Minneapolis,

donde colocaremos, para ti,

este brillante, este limpio

príncipe negro nuestro,

a tu memoria.

 

Cerro, 4 de junio, 2020

Community Control of the Police – and a Whole Lot More

Community Control of the Police – and a Whole Lot More
Community Control of the Police – and a Whole Lot More

Abolition of the police begins with community control, in which community representatives not only hire, fire and oversee the cops, but decide the nature of the policing that is necessary and acceptable.

“Movements are about amassing power to the people, not collecting promises from corporate flunkies.”

The wave of people’s protests across the nation, backed by solidarity actions in cities around the world, has caused the corporate oligarchy and its servants to make promises they can’t keep and give lip service to programs they have always resisted. The Congressional Black Caucus, the vast bulk of whose members backed militarization of local police and elevation of cops to the status of “protected” class, now claims to favor limits on police arsenals, less legal immunities for cops and a grab-bag of other reforms they previously dismissed out of hand. Mayors that know damn well they will have to cut spending across the board due to catastrophic loss of tax revenues during the current, Covid-induced Great Depression, now profess that they plan to withhold funds from cops in deference to the “defund the police” movement. They’re a bunch of Kente-clothed liars, of course, but movements are about amassing power to the people, not collecting promises from corporate flunkies. That means demanding community control of the police, and of those funds that local governments are supposedly diverting from the police to social programs.

If anything has been learned from the past half century of Black reliance on Democratic Party politicians, it is that no lasting victories can be achieved without the transfer of control of public resources directly to the people. That was the meaning of “All Power to the People” when the phrase was coined, and must remain the goal of the movement, today.

“No lasting victories can be achieved without the transfer of control of public resources directly to the people.”

Although there is no intrinsic contradiction between the three most-voiced demands of the current movement — community control of police, defunding the police, and abolition of policing as we know it – only proposals for community control of the police directly confront the issue of power in the here and now, and also address demands for direct democracy and Black self-determination. Community control of the police was essential to the formation of the Black Panther Party, and has been an active demand of Chicago organizers since 2012.  Support for a Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC) has grown from only one of the 50-member city council (board of aldermen) to 19 co-sponsors  of the enabling legislation. Last fall, more than a thousand activists from across the country met in Chicago to endorse the concept of community control of police, and pledged to fight for its enactment in 22 cities – a list that has grown with the wave of George Floyd protests.

Although community control of the police is within reach of becoming law in Chicago, a majority Black and brown city with the second largest concentration of Blacks in the nation, the demand has gotten less traction in nationwide demonstrations than the call for defunding the cops, or eventual abolition. That’s undoubtedly because Black Lives Matter demands have been pervasive in the current demonstrations, and BLM supports defunding of police. However, Black Lives Matter is more a quilt than a monolith, and many Black Lives Matter chapters and individuals also support community control of the police, while CPAC activists also back defunding and abolition of the cops as a logical outcome of community control. The elements of Black Lives Matter that are resistant to community control of police are those under the influence of hashtag founder Alicia Garza, who is now a Democratic Party political player and go-to person for corporate philanthropy.

“Black Lives Matter is more a quilt than a monolith.”

A serious, methodical program of defunding the police requires a community control approach. Ninety percent of actual police duties do not involve making felony arrests, and there is a consensus that cops should not deal with domestic disputes, mentally disturbed people, or a host of social contradictions – and maybe not even traffic control, which long ago devolved into pretexts for criminal charges. Therefore, defunding of police leads directly to the funding of specific public services, some of them currently badly performed by cops and all of which should be overseen by the publics most directly affected. Absent community control, defunding of police will only result in a shrinkage of the domestic army of occupation, not a change in the lethally oppressive relationship, and any social services that receive new funding will be answerable only to the legislators that had previously starved the community of services.

Abolition of the police begins with community control, in which community representatives not only hire, fire and oversee the cops, but decide the nature of the policing that is necessary and acceptable. Community control is a prerequisite to communities policing themselves to the greatest degree possible.

Indeed, communities should control, not just the police, but much of the rest of their neighborhoods’ vital services and resources. The right to self-determination is not confined to the criminal justice system. Therefore, community control of police advocates would be in principled agreement with the Los Angeles Movement 4 Black Lives position : “The most impacted in our communities need to control the laws, institutions, and policies that are meant to serve us – from our schools to our local budgets, economies, and police department.”

Abolition of the police begins with community control.”

Community control is how we build socialism within the framework of people’s right to self-determination – the principles by which, along with solidarity, we de-colonize and dis-imperialize our world. ”Power to the People” means disempowering the capitalist and white supremacist. Everything else is a diversion, conjured up by the Kente cloth-soiling Black Misleadership Class in service to their bosses, the oligarchs. They have betrayed us repeatedly and laughed at our willingness to trust them yet again. In George Floyd’s name, let this be the end of it.

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

The End of Sanders, and Maybe the Beginning of a Mass Independent Left

Source:  Black Agenda Report

April 19 2020

by Glen Ford

As BAR has maintained for the last two presidential seasons, the best outcome of the primaries would be a mass exit from the Democratic Party, the fraudulent left section of the oligarch-ruled duopoly


The End of Sanders, and Maybe the Beginning of a Mass Independent Left

Sander’s early Return of the Prodigal Son to the bosom of the Party allows him to escape the deep critique of capitalist medicine and political-economy that would be required of a “leftish” presidential candidate as this never-in-our-lifetimes crisis unfolds.

A core of Sanders supporters will experience a eureka moment and exit the Democrats, in body and mind.”

The COVID-19 epidemic has exposed the privatized US healthcare structure’s woeful incapacity to cope with a general health emergency, as well as the failings of Europe’s austerity-shrunken public health care systems. Although Donald Trump’s actions, inactions and idiotic blatherings have added immeasurably to the death toll, a major medical and economic catastrophe was inevitable once the virus was loosed on a defenseless U.S. public. Trump didn’t create the conditions that made the United States so vulnerable to a killer virus. That’s one of the many crimes of capitalism, which at its late stage is methodically starving what’s left of the public sphere and privatizing every conceivable human enterprise for the ultimate benefit of the Lords of Capital – the ruling oligarchy.

Bernie Sanders claimed to be running against the oligarchy in his quest for the Democratic presidential nomination, but meekly surrendered to Joe Biden, the personification of the glad-handing corporate shill and champion of the status quo, once the momentum of the primaries had turned. Sanders said he would resume his duties as a full-time senator doing “the work that needs to be done to protect people in this most desperate hour.”

A major medical and economic catastrophe was inevitable once the virus was loosed on a defenseless U.S. public.”

But the raw truth is, Sanders surrendered unconditionally to a Democratic Party that is, in the Age of Trump, the electoral representative of the bulk of a fractured U.S. ruling class – the oligarchy. Without warning, Sanders demobilized his legions, even while claiming to continue to lead “a grass-roots, multiracial, multigenerational movement which has always believed that real change never comes from the top on down, but always from the bottom on up.” Sanders thanked  his generous followers, nearly two million of whom donated at least $167 million  to his campaign. Unknown millions remain unspent, and much more could be raised from even a greatly diminished cohort of Sanders true-believers if the self-described socialist was sincere about leading a well-funded “movement” outside the corporate duopoly. But Sanders is going out as a fraud who will refuse to turn over either unspent campaign monies or precious voter lists to his “grassroots” supporters or anybody outside the Democratic Party.

It is widely believed in Sanders’ circles that his greatest fear is to become like Ralph Nader, the former Green Party presidential candidate who is still vilified for supposedly throwing the 2000 election to George Bush. But Nader was the least of Democrat Al Gore’s problems and has nothing to be ashamed of. From publication of his corporate-pummeling 1965 book Unsafe at Any Speed : The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile, and the phenomenal growth of Nader-inspired Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGS) two decades later, Nader has been a potent critic of oligarchy who, at 86, still rages at the machine from the outside. But Sanders, who has always caucused with Democrats, cannot imagine life outside the corporate duopoly. Despite his austerity-busting agenda, Sanders remains an “inside man” – in the same sense as criminals of that description. This month he ended the charade and was welcomed back into the “family” – one of the two parties the Lords of Capital can rightly call “our thing” (la cosa nostra).

“Sanders cannot imagine life outside the corporate duopoly.

Sanders punked out early this time around, with language as contradictory and dishonest on-its-face as Trump-speak. “I will stay on the ballot in all remaining states and continue to gather delegates,” said Sanders in his surrender statement . “While Vice President Biden will be the nominee, we must continue working to assemble as many delegates as possible at the Democratic convention.” But of course, you cannot keep piling up significant votes and delegates while simultaneously conceding victory to a corporate flunky – thus making Sanders’s “suspended” campaign unfit for even “protest” votes.

For the second time in two presidential cycles, Sanders has lived up to Bruce Dixon’s depiction of him as a “sheepdog” for the Democrats. “Sheepdogs are herders,” wrote Dixon, the BAR co-founder who died last June, “and the sheepdog candidate is charged with herding activists and voters back into the Democratic fold who might otherwise drift leftward and outside of the Democratic Party, either staying home or trying to build something outside the two party box.” That’s Sanders to a T.

Sanders bowed out of the race the minute his momentum stalled, at the very same time that the greatest combined health and economic calamity in U.S. history was gripping the nation by the throat – a teaching moment if one ever existed, if health care and economic inequality were really Sanders’ top priority. He did acknowledge the ballooning crisis: “In terms of health care, this current, horrific crisis that we are now in has exposed for all to see how absurd our current employer-based health insurance system is. The current economic downturn we are experiencing has not only led to a massive loss of jobs but has also resulted in millions of Americans losing their health insurance.”

“For the second time in two presidential cycles, Sanders has lived up to Bruce Dixon’s depiction of him as a “sheepdog” for the Democrats.”

And then he quit the race, relinquishing the presidential primary bully-pulpit in favor of senatorial duties that could easily have been accomplished as a candidate, given that in-person campaign rallies and such aren’t allowed during the emergency. Bernie’s early Return of the Prodigal Son to the bosom of the Party allows him to escape the deep critique of capitalist medicine and political-economy that would be required of a “leftish” presidential candidate as this never-in-our-lifetimes crisis unfolds. In the presence of catastrophe, the logic of Sanders’ own rhetoric would have forced him to go beyond the limits of capitalist discourse – the only language Democrats allow – both in his analysis and campaign planks. Sanders chose to cut the process short, while he could still go home to the Party.

The bulk of older Democrats will wallow in the oblivion of Democratic Party politics, pretending that Trump brought on the crisis, and is indeed responsible for all the ills of capitalism, even though the Democratic National Committee insisted on sending the party faithful into primary voting spots  that were infested with viral death . Older Blacks will betray their own leftish world views – as they do every primary election — and stick with Biden as the only candidate that can beat Trump, although it was Sanders who actually fit that description. But crises do alter and crystalize people’s worldviews. A core of Sanders supporters, numbering possibly several millions, plus many others that did not consider themselves radicals until they saw how “the system” left them naked to COVID-19 and the accompanying economic immiseration, will experience a eureka moment and exit the Democrats, in body and mind. The only question is: will there be alternative, independent political vehicles for their anger and energies that are equipped to handle an influx not seen since the Sixties?

As BAR has maintained for the last two presidential seasons, the best outcome of the primaries would be a mass exit from the Democratic Party, the fraudulent left section of the oligarch-ruled duopoly. (The vast bulk of Republicans have chosen the right home for their racist ilk: The White Man’s Party.) Younger Blacks have not abandoned the historical Black consensus on social justice and peace, and some took part in renewed stirrings of “movement” politics during the “Black Lives Matter” struggles. They will have a lot to think about in the enforced relative isolation of CoronaTime – and may become the 21st century’s Black Left Generation.

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

Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration Blasts US Moves

Source:  TeleSUR
April 4 2020

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaks during an interview with Xinhua at the Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Aug. 27, 2019Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaks during an interview with
Xinhua at the Miraflores Palace in Caracas, Venezuela,
Aug. 27, 2019 | Photo: Xinhua

In a statement by its General Secretary David Denny, the organization blasted the continuous and escalating aggressions by the Trump administration towards Venezuela. 

The statement reads in full:

The Government of the USA has military ships in the Caribbean that have threatened the Government and People of Venezuela. This aggression is very serious and threatens our region with a war. War in our region will threaten the lives of all Caribbean People.

The Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration wants to know tonight what is the position of the Caribbean Governments and CARICOM in relation to the USA Military Ships in the Caribbean.

The Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration called on all Caribbean People to protest against the USA Military Ships in the Caribbean at this time.

Tomorrow Caribbean Anti-imperialists will hold a meeting to plan solidarity action with the  Government and People of Venezuela and Cuba and against this USA military aggression.

David Denny
General Secretary
Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration