February 23, 2010

GENERATIONAL CHANGE

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I don't know what it all means or if it is important politically or socially but it sure is interesting. As someone who grew up as a leftist in the middle of the Cold War the images are almost unbelievable. I would have loved to have that CCCP jacket Johnny always wears but the idea of a member of the U.S. Ice Skating Team brazenly wearing the jacket that was worn by the Soviet athletes of the past kind of takes you back. Yes, Johnny Weir wears this jacket a lot and likes to have his picture taken wearing it. He is known as saying he loves everything Russian. He has a language degree and speaks fluent Russian. He speaks Russian to his coaches and he writes in Russian on his skates for good luck. He has lived and trained in Russia. Sure Johnny is a rebel but it is not rebellion for rebellion's sake. It is part of his ethic of authenticity. (He has had problems with PETA for his affinity for Russian fur hats).

Part of that authenticity is how he was brought up. His mother taught him to always be himself regardless of what anyone says. Of course his outspoken affinity for Russia is not his only non conformity. When I was in college we always knew that when the Ice Capades were in town the Gay Bar (there was only one) would be packed. The number of Gay men who are Ice Skaters is no secret. But no one was ever as flamboyant as Johnny Weir. No one would admit to designing and making his own costume. At the same time he is a classically trained skater. He nails his jumps. Last week he successfully made the same jumps as the Gold Medal winner. He came in 6th behind skaters who landed on their butts. But Johnny has grace. He quieted the crowd who booed in shock at the low scores he received. Johnny was not shocked. He does not publicly attack the judges. He crosses himself, talks to the camera in Russian and performs his best.

He will compete at the World Championships next month and then will probably retire from skating. I'll miss him.

February 21, 2010

Thinking PIGS

Yup, PIGS, which equals Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain.

It was last week, February 10, and Greek public sector workers were out in force. The message was pretty straightforward. Greek workers and their unions were not going to accept the deep "austerity" cuts being selected for them by European Union and their attendant banks.

As one marching worker put it, "we are not Ireland", meaning that Greek workers aren't going to roll over and accept a capitalist screwing. And of course, further actions are planned with a number of 24 hour strikes by private and public sector workers in the offing.

Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy (and Ireland) are the Euro zone's trouble spots. With large national debts, the European Union in Brussels is demanding that these southern European nations cut their budgets and slash public spending.

Key to all of this is the EU demand that these nations drastically cut their social wages by reducing and delaying pensions, implementing wage cuts, etc.

There is a catch, however.

Greece, Spain, Portugal, and even Italy - in spite of Burlesconi - have strong and militant working class traditions and organizations. While the UE would like to dictate this or that, the reality is that these nations' working classes won't take such cuts without a fight.

After Greece's 24 hour strike, harsh words and threats were received from Brussels. A standoff was in the process between the European Union and the Greek working class, with a squeezed Greek social democratic government squeezed in the middle.

Then, a few days later, things went quiet. Brussels' rhetoric toned down. Demands were replaced by statements of hope with loose expectations that Greece would pony up some more cuts. Greece's social democrats went back to the board to see if indeed the previous rightist government had cooked the books when Greece entered the Euro zone.

Why the change in rhetoric? The EU was scared... Scared of the Greek working class, scared that Portuguese and Spanish workers might follow a Greek lead and refuse to pay up. Scared because these southern zone workers could possibly tumble a government or two. Scared a rebellion from the South could unravel the whole jury-rigged structure of modern European capitalism.

Then I noticed some other little facts out there. For instance, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, no friend of the working class anywhere, has gone out of her way not to antagonize the German unions.

Thus, German workers have not experienced mass layoffs and wage cuts common in the Anglo-Saxon world. Likewise, for over a year now, French workers and unions have been conducting boss-nappings and put thousands and millions of workers on the streets in protest. They even forced right-center President Nicholas Sarcozy to openly criticize European capitalist behavior.

Socialist Spanish Prime Minister Zapetaro has meanwhile attempted to deal with a ballooned Spanish deficit by by implementing "painless" cuts in the Spanish budget; by "painless" he means no cuts in the social wage and benefits. The EU is not happy with Spain either.

So, what else could it be? Why else would a capitalist EU back down, especially with European capitalism in deep structural trouble?

I don't know what will happen in Europe; although I suspect the next five to six months will be very interesting. This, however, I do know.

Europe, unlike the USA, has a strong working class tradition which includes labor unions capable of militant action and political parties founded on the class struggle. Thus, from Madrid to Athens, Paris to Berlin the watchwords are, "We aren't going to pay for this."

This warms the cockles of my heart!

Note: Yesterday the pro-EU Dutch centrist coalition government collapsed when the Dutch Labor Party withdrew from the ruling coalition. The final straw was continued Dutch support for Afghanistan which the Labor Party could no longer support.

This was the tip of the iceberg with a great deal of contention in The Netherlands over support for the EU and its extreme capitalist policies. Holland's third largest party is The Socialist Party which is currently in opposition. This Party (which is not afraid to put its anti-capitalist platform out there) will be one to watch in the upcoming election.

For me, the European working class can be a breath of fresh air. How different from the US working class which has so far demonstrated almost no resistance at all to capitalism's onslaught!

For months now I've had this comic in my head; but I can't draw.

Anyway, here's an American worker, noose around the neck and on the scaffold. The US worker turns to the hangman and says, "Hey, don't sweat and strain, I'll pull the lever myself"...

Anybody want to draw it?

February 18, 2010

Four Union Victories In Oregon

Following labor's win on Ballot Masures 66 and 67 we have more to celebrate.

Workers at Laurelhurst Nursing Home in Portland won union recognition in December, through a majority sign-up process, after a long and difficult campaign. However, due to a bizarre ruling by the NLRB under former President Bush, after a card-count, a decertification election can be triggered immediately if thirty percent of the members of the bargaining unit sign a petition. That happened at Laurelhurst, and the election was held on Wednesday.

The workers won overwhelmingly, with a vote of 76 yes to 23 no. That means that they go into bargaining this week with the needed momentum, a mandate, a heightened commitment to win a good contract and, we hope, a raised political consciousness. The determination of this group of workers to overcome every hurdle in their path in order to gain a real voice at work is awe-inspiring.

Having the Employee Free Choice Act in place in its present form would have prevented the unsuccessful management power grab in the first place.

Portland teachers reached a tentative agreement with the school district on Saturday. No details about the agreement are being released until after both sides ratify it, but the Portland Association of Teachers leaders feel good about the settlement. A rally scheduled for the 22nd has been cancelled.

Our legislature has voted to extend the Employment-Related Cay Care program. This is a victory for the workers in the program--as many as 1500 might have lost their jobs had the program not been extended--but it is also a victory for working classs people who depend on the program for day care and help. Credit for this win goes to SEIU Local 503 and the Democrats in the legislature who stood for social services and built on the recent Ballot Measures 66 and 67 win.

The Senate also gave approval this week to legislation that would eliminate or restrict job-related credit checks. SB 1045 will limit employers’ access to a job applicant’s credit report with certain exceptions. The bill will preserve employers’ legal rights to check criminal records and all other job-related reference checks. It preserves the by-now-standard employer rights to our personal and work-history information but continues the trend in Oregon to limit the use of credit checks and credit scores and threatens some basic industry standards. SB 1045 now moves to the House for consideration. The Senate vote for the measure fell almost entirely along party lines: no REpublicans voted for the measure and only one Democrat voted against.

February 16, 2010

Basic Marxism: The Class War: Where Things Stand

Marx and Engels brought the concept of exploitation to the fore as both a rich and robust moral concept and as an objective, measurable centerpiece of working class political economy. Exploitation, in its most intuitive and simplified sense, is the appropriation of the product of labor by those not engaged directly in producing those products. Stealing, of course, is a kind of appropriation as well, and a kindred notion to exploitation, but exploitation differs by existing in a socio-economic system that permits and even encourages its practice. A clear and transparent example of exploitation is the extraction of coal from a tract of land. The workers produce the end product, but the owner of the land, by virtue of the institution of private ownership, appropriates that product in its entirety, paying the workers the least amount adequate to coax them to take the risk and supply the effort. In such a pure example, it is apparent that the compensation of the workers is largely independent of their necessity and sole role in creating a useful product. It is equally clear that the owner may very well add no effort to the product’s creation though commanding its disposition – possessing the product – solely by virtue of a contingent social relationship: ownership of land. The amount paid to workers is determined independently of their role in production; the less the owner pays for the production of a given quantity of commodities, the greater the rate of exploitation.

Read more here and join us for one of our reading group meetings in Salem!

Tualatin says, "Put some roots down with Tualatin Riverkeepers."

Tualatin says, "Put some roots down with Tualatin Riverkeepers."

Event: Restoration Tree Planting with Tualatin Riverkeepers
What: Rally
Start Time: Saturday, February 27 at 9:00am
End Time: Saturday, February 27 at 12:00pm
Where: Munger Lane, Washington County

Becker, Pearce, Southers And Change

Late last week we heard some good news. President Obama got some traction on the confirmation of 27 nominees to federal agencies, the economic numbers and indicators for the US looked slightly better and people in the center were confident enough of their position to roll out some new too-optimistic charts and numbers.

This week we're hearing about the first nuclear power plant being built in the US in about 30 years. The capture of a leading Taliban commander has apparently pushed news of last week's civilian casualties out of the press. The American media is saying that the Greek crisis is essentially over because the Euro is showing signs of resurgence while the dollar is slipping. We're apparently desperate for good news.

Craig Becker and Mark Pearce, Obama's nominees to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), were not part of the deal on the 27 nominees. Becker and Pearce are lawyers who have previously worked for unions. They are the kind of easy targets that makes the ultra-right see red, although Becker has received majority backing in the Senate and both he and Pearce have won committee support. What's troubling to me is that so few liberals seem to get what's wrong with the picture of an Obama administration without Becker and Pearce and without forward movement on more of labor's progressive agendas.

Granting that Obama may name Becker and Pearce to the NLRB during the congressional recess, we are left asking if he has the will to do that and if labor has the will to fight for additional nominees and put on a press for a full labor political agenda. The problems here are at least two-fold. A series of needed recess appointments are likely to further inflame the right and throw any deals made on the fire. They can also backfire and have the unfortunate effect of driving a wedge between union leaders and members. When the Republicans used recess apppointments we quite rightly objected; support now for appointments from the center or left would require organizing and a class-struggle approach which the center does not have the political will to move.

And therein lies much of our problem, I think. Workers' interests are being sidelined, Obama is really unlikely to make the necessary apppointments and labor is either being taken for granted or discounted entirely. This hurts the chances for the needed electoral advances in 2010 and works to isolate Obama in 2012. The fiction that labor demands, higher wages and better benefits put recovery from the economic crisis at risk is being enshrined as truth. In the case of the Erroll Southers TSA nomination, the charge that Southers might have given in to demands by unions for recognition and contract talks, and that that would put US airport security at risk, sunk the nomination with barely a fight. Accept the logic of blocking Becker, Pearce and Southers and its implications and nothing on labor's progressive agenda can pass. We're left instead with nuclear power, a new version of trickle-down economics, papered-over war news and demands for jobs being substituted for a broader labor program.

The bunglers of progress are, or seem to be, in the dead-center of the Obama administration while the actual enemies of progress are Republicans in the Solid South with political positions such as those held by Sen. Jim DeMint. This gives the entire struggle special dimensions and a historic context.

Obama gets called out here by labor for cause. During the presidential campaign he pledged support for collective bargaining rights for the TSA screeners. Southers remained on program and point while Obama backed down. A bad message about the rest of labor's program is being sent here, intentionally or not. The Republicans demonized labor and got away with it again.

AFL-CIO President Trumka is calling on union members to demand that President Obama fight Republican obstructionism and use his executive power to appoint Becker and Pearce to the NLRB. The White House Switchboard can be reached at 202-456-1111 or 202-456-1414.

Portland Haitian Solidarity Event

Haiti: An Unnatural Disaster ***With an eyewitness account from Jesse Hagopian***
Thursday, February 18th at 7pm
Portland State University, Smith Memorial Student Union Room 236

Instead of rushing food, water and rescue teams to help the victims of Haiti's earthquake, the Obama administration has sent thousands of troops. A ring of U.S. warships now patrol Haiti's coast to stop desperate people from trying to flee to the U.S. With U.S. forces obstructing aid and beefing up "security" while Haitians die, it's hard to believe that the U.S. is motivated by humanitarianism. Meanwhile, the mainstream media have represented Haitians as, at best, incapable of helping themselves, and at worst, responsible for their plight. The coverage of the earthquake has brought back hard memories of the racist atmosphere whipped up after the Katrina disaster in New Orleans and has left out any mention of an older disaster--the long and bloody record of U.S. intervention. Come join the International Socialist Organization and Jesse Hagopian, an eyewitness and earthquake survivor to hear his story, voice your frustrations and discuss how to help the people of Haiti.

Read an interview with Jesse here: http://socialistworker.org/2010/01/18/witness-to-a-nightmare.

February 15, 2010

CARTOON ON SEXUAL DIVERSITY RELEASED IN CUBA

JUVENTUD REBELDE
Cartoon on Sexual Diversity Released in Cuba
The short film is aimed at making society reflect on issues such as sexual
diversity, gender roles and discrimination

By: Nayara Tardo

Email: digital@...
2010-02-09 | 14:23:33 EST

"The Little Train," the first 3D cartoon of the trilogy Towards Diversity will
have its premier on Cuban television on Wednesday.

The short film is aimed at making society reflect on issues such as sexual
diversity, gender roles and discrimination, though a combination of music,
geometric figures and visual effects which makes it easily accessible for
children and adults alike.

With Head of the National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX) Mariela Castro
Espin, and Elsa Carrasco from the Cuban Institute of Radio and Televisión as
advisors, the project was sponsored by the Swiss Agency for Development and
Cooperation (COSUDE).

The cartoon was officially released in January, during the fifth Cuban Congress
on Sex Education, Counselling and Therapy. The second part, titled Blue and
Pink, will be premiered on March 3.

February 13, 2010

Grange Forms Salem's First Common Security Club

The Macleay Grange is hosting and leading a new project. This project is the forming of Salem's first Common Security Club. The first club meeting was held this past Thursday, February 11. Club meetings will continue for the next four Thursdays at the Macleay Grange (8312 Macleay Rd, Salem). Meetings begin at 6:30pm with a potluck meal included on the agenda.

"OK, so what's a Common Security Club", you might ask?

First and foremost, Common Security Clubs are a way to bring people together who are otherwise lost, isolated and alone as they attempt to weather the current economic depression. Within a context of shared conversation, members can begin to share their experiences and thoughts, and out of this sharing, begin mutual support efforts finally engage in wider actions aimed at social, economic and political change.

Unlike many of the current liberal "change" organizations, Security Clubs are meant to develop our own sense of what's going on, and out of this, develop our own positions and actions, whatever these might be. This is unlike organizations such as Move On or Healthcare for All, which relay on electronic media to mobilize recipients behind an already "canned" agenda. The Common Security Clubs thus involves a novel set of assumptions. These assumptions are:

1. The lower down the food chain you are, the more you are paying the price for the economic depression. As is usually the case, the rich aren't suffering at all. The working middle class (managerial/professional) is hurting but surviving, the working class is getting blasted and if you are African-American or Latino you're distress is doubled. Along these lines, see the attached column by Bob Herbert of the The New York Times (Feb 8, 2010).

2. The economic and political "experts" have it all wrong. All of these experts are tied to frames of reference that have little to do with what most people are facing in this economic collapse. These "experts" are lost in an institutional "autism" where the causes and remedies to the economic collapse are framed in terms of big money and political legislative agendas that have little to do with what real people are experiencing. This is why the human cost of this collapse is ignored and the roots of this collapse systematically avoided; a dirty little secret to be avoided.

3. That Club members, in face to face dialogue can come up with a far more truthful analysis than the "experts" as to what is going on. That out of this analysis can come a capacity for mutual support (as to mutual support, a very successful example would be the Unemployed Councils of the 1930's), and shared political action.

So, I missed the first meeting, but I'll make the next four. I'm hoping that others will come along as well. If you'd like to join the experiment, please do. No guarantees, but big picture? There's a world to gain.

For info: Please contact me at this blog site...

February 12, 2010

Health Insurers' Profits Grow by Leaps and Bounds

According to a study by a pro-health reform group published Thursday, the nation's largest five health insurance companies posted a 56 percent gain in 2009 profits over 2008.

This situation clearly illustrates the plight of working people versus the privileged status of corporations.

To my mind, certain services are simply NOT opportunities to make money. These include education, transportation, day care, elder care - and of course health care. These are so fundamental to the human condition and everybody's basic rights that they are worthy of subsidy as needed.

Still capitalism seeks new frontiers to plunder in every nook and cranny of American life....


OBAMA ANGERS UNION LEADERS - AGAIN!

The treatment of Craig Becker, Obama's own appointee to the National Labor Relations Board is again becoming a lightening rod in the deteriorating relationship between the President and top labor officials.

After the Republicans "allowed" a few of his non controversial appointees to be approved the President said he would not make any appointments during the upcoming recess (a common practice). This was just days after Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO had urged him to use the recess appointment process to fill the NLRB seat. An unnamed Union Official called the the concession to the Republican leadership "Insane". The next Senate recess after the current one will be March 29th.

The question remains whether the President is planning on pulling his nominee, waiting for the Senate to reject him or just waiting. Opponents to Becker say they are against him because he would be an advocate for workers. Perhaps the AFL-CIO needs to reach back to the history of the CIO part of its name for a strategy to involve its rank and file members to take action.

February 11, 2010

Palestinian Solidarity Events In Eugene, Portland & Corvallis

Thursday, February 25, 2010, 7:00pm
EUGENE: One year after Gaza. What happened? What's next? What can we do now?

One year after Gaza. What happened? What's next?
What can we do now?

In Eugene Thursday, Portland Friday, and Corvallis Saturday.

Monadel Herzollah from the U.S. Palestine Community Network and founder/president of the Arab American Union Members Council
Rebecca Tumposky, U.S. chapter organizer for the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
The presentation will demonstrate how Palestinian and Jewish activists can appropriately work together for human rights without giving an appearance of normalcy or parity of suffering.

Eugene, Thursday, Feb. 25, 7-9 P.M.

The Knight Browsing Room in the University of Oregon's Knight Library, 1501 Kincaid Eugene, OR 97403-1299.

Portland, Friday, Feb. 26, 7-9 P.M.

Smith Memorial Student Union, Room 298
Portland State University
1825 SW Broadway
Portland OR 97201

Corvallis, Saturday Feb 27 7-9 P.M.

Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship,
2945 NW Circle Blvd., Corvallis OR 97330

Free, donations gratefully accepted.

Sponsored by
Al-Nakba Awareness Project
Advocating Freedom, Justice & Equality in the Holy Land

Co-sponsors so far
Arab Student Union, UO
Al-Awda Oregon
Peace Action Council Corvallis Unitarian
June Kenagy
Corvallis Veterans For Peace
Friends of Middle East Peace Group
Bob Stebbins
Milton Takei
Peter Chabarek
Dave Evans

February 10, 2010

καταραμένος αν κάνετε, κολασμένων αν δεν το κάνουν.

The title of this article is my translation of "Damned if you do, damned if you don't" into Greek. I won't vouch for my Greek or for how well the expression translates.

The Greeks have tried everything and still find their nation at the epicenter of the latest crisis to hit the European Union. We predicted awhile back that the Greek government would twist in the wind when it tried to enforce austerity measures. It was an easy prediction, of course, but we also noted that the social democrats now governing Greece took power in the last elections at the expense of an ultra-right and that some kind of united front is needed in Greece to hold the line against the right and austerity measures. That has yet to develop to the extent that we hoped it would, although unity between Greek workers across union and party lines is strong and seems to be deepening.

Greece isn't the only weak link in the European Union, and we get the sense that as the world capitalist crisis either deepens or bottoms out without increased employment and social spending the EU will continue to falter and perhaps eventually trip under its own weight. Portugal, Spain, Italy and Ireland are essentially in the same boat as Greece is. Ireland is a special case and demonstrates how precarious capitalist market relations can be. It was not so long ago that we heard much about the "Gaelic Tiger."

The annual Greek budget deficit is equal to something like 12.5 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). Public debt in the country stands at something like 130 percent of GDP. Under conventional EU and dominant capitalist economics this means that Greece is crossing the line into bankruptcy. It certainly pushes the rules of the EU and helps throw the logic of the EU into serious disarray. This, in turn, creates a political crisis which echoes through Europe. The EU itself starts looking like something of a Ponzi scheme. Since the governing social democrats and the reactionary forces who lost the last Greek elections are both complicit in creating something of the basis and means of Greece's crisis, almost everyone in power or waiting in the wings for power is compromised. Greek workers and Greek youth are showing a predictable and remarkable capacity to struggle in defense of past gains and to protect what they can of the so-called "welfare state." Their struggles have also become part of the European-wide social crisis.

Italy and Greece are notoriously corrupt and, from a working class point of view, it is this corruption (and not workers' living standards) which inhibits economic growth, social spending and the foundations of lasting democratic political cultures. Monopoly capital in both countries is able to take advantage of anarchic tax structures and continually raise or maintain their rates of profit at the expense of society. Meanwhile, workers in both countries really are paying an unfair share of taxes and social funds and it is hard or impossible to believe that they can continue to do so for much longer and still derive much benefit from their respective governments. The current economic crisis aggravates what was becoming an untenable situation before the downward slide. Dependence on the EU is, of course, out of the question.

The EU is demanding some basic cuts in Greek living standards and the Greek social democratic government is so far showing an uncomfortable level of compliance or cooperation with these proposed cuts. In fact, Greece cannot stay within the EU rules, cut the budget deficit from 12.5 percent of GDP to 3 percent and maintain social benefits and civil society as we have known it. Temporary workers, retirees, the unemployed, government workers, farmers and rural residents and the youth are the most vulnerable under these new conditions. The government is left to squeezing the people and borrowing, perhaps only thankful that they are beating other countries to the bank windows. Politicized resistance to the EU proposals and to the probable disastrous effects of the borrowing has been immediate and dramatic even as the Greek left experiences some serious internal difficulties.

And who wants to loan money to Greece, Italy, Portugal, Ireland or Spain anyway? With the possible exceptions of Italy and Ireland, these countries have restive and relatively united working classes and leading left political parties which can lead resistance even when they cannot fully articulate alternatives. On the other hand, multinational monopoly capital can move from country to country and push standards ever lower, causing ever-additional economic and debt pressures which no amount of loans can hope to make up. The dominant thinking so far has been to grant bailouts to corporations, but at some point there will be no money and no will for further bailouts and the social democratic parties, however weak-kneed they may now be, may form the first lines of resistance. This will be followed logically by the Communist and workers' parties. Investors are squeezing their money until it screams right now and it is not yet screaming in Greek, Italian, Gaelic, Portuguese or Spanish. What is more, national pride and nationalism will chafe at borrowing from the Deutsche Bank. Investors, capitalists and EU officials are playing with a smouldering fire. What will happen if Greek unemployment hits 15 percent while taxes increase and this becomes the new normal?

Todays Salem Rally For Jobs

Several of us attended the jobs rally called by the Oregon AFL-CIO on the steps of the State Capitol today. Rally organizers estimated that 300 people attended, but it seemed to me that the numbers were closer to a spirited 500. The crowd came overwhelmingly from the trades, the docks, the Teamsters and the Steelworkers.

The rally was held as part of a wider lobbying effort for jobs and to give pro-labor politicians and labor leaders a forum to address the union members and their family members who come to rallies and actively participate in their unions. The rain and a lack of cooperation from the media no doubt conspired to keep many people away who might otherwise have attended. Noticeably absent were the public employee unions and many of the pro-labor community organizations, and especially the immigrant rights groups, who have become necessary to building successful labor mobilizations in the Valley.

Remember that this is part of a national effort that will gain ground in some areas and be less successful elsewhere. A meeting today in Washington between four civil rights leaders and President Obama on jobs ended on an upbeat note, with Benjamin Jealous of the NAACP saying in a press conference that he believes that the President gets it.

It was good to see a multigenerational and multiethnic working class crowd mobilized by the unions. The basic stated demand of the rally insured that many people would attend who might not otherwise cooperate with one another. Some of our progressive politicians got a good hearing from the crowd and obviously have mass working class support. It was good to hear a few liberal politicians feeling obligated to reach for labor credentials and support; the crowd and the unions they represent can still move politicians. The rally organizers did a great job on turn-out and basic unity and holding politicians accountable. It's difficult to get labor people on the same page and to break down the trades' resistance to working with other groups, but the rally organizers clearly did a good job here.

People at the rally were moved by stories of homelessness and joblessness. These are real fears now, and especially so for tradespeople who depend upon an expanding construction economy for work and dockworkers and teamsters who depend upon Pacific Rim trade.

On the downside, the rally featured a slogan which amounted to something like "Don't vote for job-killing taxes or politicians" and some in the crowd repeatedly chanted, "No jobs, no taxes!". These are the slogans of the right and they were used by anti-government forces in their unsuccessful efforts to defeat Measures 66 and 67. Had the rally been held before the vote, it would have been a debacle. These slogans imply that taxes and politicians are at the root of unemployment and that companies want to hire but are being prevented from doing so. The fact is that public policy is very much up for debate and redesign and that companies don't want to, or can't, hire now. Anti-government forces have their own self-serving reasons for ending regulations and cutting taxes and tax rates and none of these benefit workers. Massive public works and public services programs, ideally paid for by taxes on the wealthy and on corporations, can bail us out of the crisis, if only temporarily. Reducing these complex issues to one of taxes or politicians gets us nowhere and becomes an attack on public workers in the hands of the far right every time.

We come back continually to the hard truth that it is capitalism, with its boom-and- bust cycles and its over-production and gradual impoverishment of the workers, which causes unemployment. If jobs return, they are more likely to do so when inventories drop, wages drop and the wealthy force workers to shoulder more of the costs of doing business.

A state worker who attended the rally got it right when he said, "This just goes to show you how easy it is to divide workers over the promise of jobs."

February 9, 2010

Looking Back and Going Forward by Zoltan Zigedy

One year ago, President Obama took office. His assumption of the highest executive office was met with relief by most (nearly 80% of citizens polled in October 2008 thought the country was heading in the wrong direction) and high expectations by many.

Quite naturally, those who opine on the big national media stage used the occasion of the anniversary to record an assessment of the first year. Judgment was heightened by the result of the special election for the Senate seat in Massachusetts of the deceased incumbent, Edward Kennedy, a result that, by all accounts, was an ominous and severe setback for the Democratic Party.

Read more here.

Immigrant Rights Activists Hit The Streets In Portland

Monday Feb 15 7AM, TBA PICKET LINE.
Who: VOZ Workers' Rights Education Project
Background:
Starting on November 2, 2009, "Ivan" Favian Villalobos, a contractor, presented himself on the corner of the 6th and Ankeny to hire workers for a project. In total, he hired 11 workers and promised to pay them different wages based on their responsibilities, ranging from $9 to $13 an hour. He has failed to pay them and broken numerous promises of payment. Now, almost 3 months later, these 11 workers still have not been paid for roughly 1,584 hours, totaling nearly $15,846 in wages for work ranging from November 2, 2009 to December 14, 2009. Several attempts have been made contact Ivan about paying the workers. He has systemically given excuses resulting in continual denial of pay. He was given several opportunities to pay including a meeting at VOZ in which he agreed to come to and then failed to show up to. VOZ Workers Rights Education Project will be pressuring this contractor and his business on February 15 at 7am at this home in Happy Valley, Oregon to ensure that these 11 workers receive the wages that nearly 3 months late that they deserve. They want to insure that this individual and others like him stop abusing the rights of the working immigrant to wages and the earning of their daily bread. This public declaration will continue until all workers have their voice heard and their due dignity recognized by the contractors and employers who abuse the day laborer and immigrant workers. Please join VOZ in taking action - contact Romeo Sosa at 503-381-0848 or email him at romeo@portlandvoz.org

Thursday, Feb 18, 4:30pm Delivery of Postcards to Wyden's Office 911NE 11th Ave. Suite 630. Fair trade proponents will meet for an event outside Sen. Wyden's office to deliver the "NO WTO/YES TRADE ACT" cards that have been signed by hundreds of Oregonians to remind the senator that the "free" trade model has cost Oregonians thousands of jobs.

Friday, Feb 26th, 6pm Paul Cinefuegos Lecture and Reception First Unitarian Church, Eliot Chapel. 12th and SW Salmon. "Is a truly sustainable society achievable as long as corporate rights trump the rights of people?" Americans already want better environmental protection, and they are willing to pay for it according to polls. But our elected officials continue to allow the rapid degradation of our environment. Americans are strongly in favor of bold legislative responses to the climate crisis, but our elected officials hem and haw. Why? Because we, the people are no longer the primary constituents of the people we elect...corporations are! Why? Because corporate constitutional "rights" trump the rights of people. And how do we tend to respond to this travesty? By continuing to struggle against one corporate harm at a time, one corporation at a time, mostly via the regulatory agencies. We cannot possibly win in these arenas. We MUST change our tactics and start boldly challenging the constitutional RIGHTS of corporations to participate in American democratic processes. Only then can we achieve a truly sustainable society.

For questions, contact Hindi@cityrepair.org or call 503-267-2973

Tell Senator Wyden Oregon Needs Jobs!

From the Oregon Fair Trade Campaign:

Join the Oregon Fair Trade Campaign at one of these three events urging Senator Wyden to support the TRADE Act - and add your voice to those of labor leaders, displaced workers and others demanding changes to trade policy in order to prevent further job loss in Oregon.


Rally Outside the Senator's Portland Office - featuring Anne Fenney

Thursday, Feb. 18 * 4:30 pm

911 NE 11th Ave * Portland, OR

RSVP to portland@oregonfairtrade.org



Press Event Outside the Senator's Eugene Office

Thursday, Feb. 18 * 12:00 pm

405 E 8th Ave * Eugene, OR

RSVP to eugene@oregonfairtrade.org


Delegation to the Senator's Medford Office

Thursday, Feb. 18 * Time TBA

310 W 6th St * Medford, OR

RSVP to medford@oregonfairtrade.org


Take Additional Online Action Now:

You can also ask Senator Wyden to change his ways on trade via the online webform at:

http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1034/t/7393/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=28152


Over the span of his career, Senator Ron Wyden has supported failed trade policies and institutions like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), making it far easier for large corporations to shift jobs from the United States to countries with weaker labor and environmental standards. Oregon has lost an estimated 75,000 jobs under these policies. With Oregon's official unemployment rate over 11%, we simply cannot afford to lose any more.


As Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on International Trade, Senator Wyden plays an important role in shaping the future of American trade policy. ORFTC has collected 750 hand-written letters and signatures asking Senator Wyden to change his ways on trade -- each one representing 100 Oregon families put out of work as a result of bad trade policies. The letters urge the Senator to oppose expansion of business-as-usual trade agreements and to support comprehensive trade reform legislation like the TRADE Act.


The TRADE Act (HR.3012/S.2821) would save jobs by replacing existing trade policies with ones that ensure local employers no longer have to compete with imports from overseas producers that violate labor, environmental and consumer safety standards. It also contains provisions that can improve working conditions in developing countries, potentially creating long-term new markets for American-made goods and services.


The TRADE Act is already cosponsored by a majority of Democrats in the House, and additional members of the Senate -- including Oregon Congressmen David Wu and Peter DeFazio and freshman Senator Jeff Merkley. We're asking Senator Wyden to add his support to this important bill.

Please join us at any of the events listed above to show your support for a new direction in trade policy. For more info, contact us at (503) 736-9777 or info@oregonfairtrade.org.

Why Aren't There More Radicals at Work? from Dollars & Sense

From Dollars & Sense:

Works sucks and it's been getting worse in the U.S. for decades.

So why aren't there more radicals at work?

For the first part in a series about radicals and labor today, we asked a dozen radical workplace organizers—teachers, Teamsters, telephone technicians, union organizers, and more—that question. Read what they had to say.

The activists we talked to blamed the American Dream, persistent racism, and a feeling that struggle and collective won't do any good. They also laid some of the blame on radicals themselves, for failing to connect with working people.

It hasn't always been this way. Before World War II, radicals in the United States had much deeper roots in the working class. Employers, the government, and even union officials purged those Reds after the war.

Read more here.

February 8, 2010

DEMOCRAT THREATENS TO FILIBUSTER OBAMA'S NLRB APPOINTMENT

We have been waiting and waiting and waiting for the appointment to fill the vacancy on the National Labor Relations Board. This is very important for all workers and particularly for those involved in Union organizing campaigns.

Democratic Senator Ben Nelson issued a statement today stating that he will filibuster Craig Becker's appointment. At the same time as the Democratic National Committee has been shoveling hundreds of thousands of dollars into television ads to support Nelson he is now kicking working people in the teeth.

If the Democratic Party wants to continue to pretend to represent the interests of workers then the President needs to kick back. Obama's history has been that whenever it looks like there is opposition to one of his appointees he withdraws the nomination. But this time needs to be different.

After making it clear that the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) will not see the light of day and after caving on the Public Option those Unions may be ready to say "Three Strikes..."

Stolen Sweets Play Salem

"In the world today all culture, all literature and art belong to definite classes and are geared to definite political lines. There is in fact no such thing as art for art's sake, art that stands above classes or art that is detached from or independent of politics...Now love may serve as a point of departure, but there is a more basic one. Love as an idea is a product of objective practice. Fundamentally, we do not start from ideas but from objective practice. Our writers and artists who come from the ranks of the intellectuals love the proletariat because society has made them feel that they and the proletariat have a common fate."---Mao Tse-tung, 1942

Two of us caught the Stolen Sweets show in Salem last Friday night. This Portland-based band is quickly making a name for themselves by touring and doing 1920s and 1930s swing, especially covering numbers done by the Boswell Sisters and some original compositions which show their great talent and their sense of humor. They narrowly avoid nostalgia by giving the music a certain edge and by mixing swing and rockabilly with modern or contemporary influences. They played in Salem on Saturday night with two other swing bands and they are currently on a tour of Oregon's historic theatres.

What does it mean to uncritically lift American popular music from the 1920s and 1930s as Stolen Sweets does? I thought about this as I listened to the band playing. These were difficult years in the US, and especially so for African-Americans and blue-collar workers. The relative prosperity which brought so many into the factories and then dashed workers' hopes in violence, a Depression and working class militancy was better explained by the blues, jazz, folk music and polkas. The times of southern rural impoverishment, segregation and lynch mobs were not yet over and so sentimental songs about the south from this period leave us with a distorted view of the place and the times. The poverty of the band's selections and lyrics clashed with their formidable skills as musicians, vocalists and composers. What does it mean to recreate the music of the 1920s and 1930s today and how do we understand it and put it in context?

Something more is at stake than one especially talented band and a few songs. Portland is a cultural capital and leads in what's hip and popular and Americans have a fascination with nostalgia and sentimentality. If Stolen Sweets does not exactly traffic in nostalgia for the bad old days, other bands do and will. Any time will do for many Americans but the present and any reality will do but ours.

Stolen Sweets is giving us beautiful music and Depression-era pop songs and approaching escapism as a real Depressions hovers outside. Moreover, there is almost nothing in their music which can be adapted to meet the requirements of the present moment, beautiful as their music is.

We can go deeper still. The band loves the music they do and they have raised it to new levels of complexity and art. What they do not love is the working class and the people of color who birthed much of their music. The songs carry many sexual and drug references and situate Chinatown and African-American neighborhoods as places of intrigue and vice, but they say nothing about the heroic efforts people make to overcome poverty and oppression, or even to cope with their effects. There were, of course, heroic songs written in the 1920s and 1930s which Stolen Sweets could adapt without sacrificing their art or their collective stage persona. Modern swing could also be written and performed and new kinds of vocal groups could be put together.

The selections and choices made by the band are one problem. Quite separate from that is the larger problem we have of class consciousness not finding its own cultural measure in the US and nostalgia substituting itself for our experiences instead. Would workers turn out for an evening of swing music and buy CDs which speak however artistically or creatively about class and class struggle? Can class struggle become hip in the way that Stolen Sweets and its competitors are hip? The trappings of working class culture are there, but what are missing are the workers ourselves and the needed class content. Can this change?

Afghanistan: Is it all about terrorism? by Sam Webb

No region of the world has more strategic value to powerful U.S. transnational corporations and the military industrial complex than the arc of countries stretching from the Middle East to Central and South Asia. If wars are going to be fought in the 21st century, the probability of them occurring in this region is high.

And the reasons are simple. If you are thinking terrorist actions (which are as much an effect as a cause of the instability in this part of the globe) are the explanation, you just failed the quiz. If on the other hand, your answer is oil and China, you aced it. Together they give this far-flung territory its strategic importance.

Read more here.

Antonio Guerrero Art Exhibit In Eugene

"From My Altitude" (Desde mi Altura), the inspiring and insightful art exposition of 28 paintings created by Cuban Five hero, Antonio Guerrero, will tour the month of March at the Fenorio Gallery in Eugene, Oregon.

In Eugene, Oregon, Antonio's exhibit will open with a reception at 7:00 pm, Friday, March 5, at the prestigious Fenorio Gallery, 881 Willamette St., and will be on exhibit throughout the month of March. In many cities, art galleries have a tradition called "First Friday" in which the public is invited to view the exhibit openings. In Eugene, Antonio's exhibit will be part of the "Art Walk." Dennis
Gilbert, coordinator of the Eugene Free the Cuban Five Committee, says, "We have been able to talk with many people who wouldn't otherwise have known of the Cuban Five. We expect a very good turnout for Antonio's art, and our display will include information on the freedom campaign of the Cuban Five, and their anti-terrorist
mission." Leonard Weinglass, appeals attorney for Antonio Guerrero, will speak at the gallery in early March (date to be confirmed soon.)

Go here for moree information on the Cuban Five and their case.

Please contact Willamette Reds if you're interested in bringing this show to Salem.

ALBANIA MOVES INTO THE 21ST CENTURY!!!

Of course, there was pressure from the Council Of Europe Commissioner For Human Rights and the requirements of the European Union. As well as pressure from the LGBT Community.

The law provides strong protections for all people against discrimination based on: gender, race, colour, ethnicity, language, gender identity, sexual orientation, political, religious or philosophical beliefs, economic, education or social status, pregnancy, parentage, parental responsibility, age, family or marital condition, civil status, residence, health status, genetic predispositions, disability, affiliation with a particular group or for any other reason.

February 5, 2010

African Americans and the Jobs Crisis by Arthur Perlo

The economic crisis has brought suffering to every part of the country and every section of the working class. As in past recessions, this crisis has fallen most heavily on communities already suffering, and particularly on people of color and immigrants. This is true of every aspect of the crisis, including foreclosures and evictions and state and local government layoffs and cuts in services.

There are many attempts to divert attention by pitting sections of the working class against one another: white workers against racially and nationally oppressed, African Americans against immigrants and Latinos, young against old, men against women. Whatever the motives, these themes play into the hands of the Wall Street bankers and other corporate interests who are the primary cause of the crisis and obstacles to solutions that must come at their expense. This article, however, will focus primarily on the jobs crisis in the African American community as a critical part of the overall picture.

Even before the crisis, African Americans faced difficult, and in many ways worsening employment opportunities. This crisis has hit all workers hard, including white workers, with employment levels the lowest since the 1930s. But during the best boom years of 1988-90 and 1998-99, the percentage of African Americans employed in each age group just about reached the levels that white workers have fallen to today. Put another way, white workers today are just beginning to face conditions that African Americans faced in the best of times.

Read more here.

February 4, 2010

BIBLE STUDY..WOW!!!

That was a shocker. I was at a Bible Study today. Women's Bible Study in a mainline Protestant church that is not generally considered a "liberal" church. As we were breaking up (our one Fox News watcher had left). The discussion turned to politics. Obama had just spoken at the "National Prayer Breakfast" and he had taken on the "Birthers" (sort of). And people were saying "Finally". But mostly they are mad, pissed off. At the Republicans/Tea Partyers, sure. But really mad at the Democrats. "No Backbone". "Why won't they stand up?" "They have no principles. They have a majority, why don't they use it?". Then it got serious. One person said she doesn't give money to the Democrats any more (I doubt if she ever heard of the Gay Community's "Don't Ask, Don't Give" campaign). And then shocker..One person talked about that maybe we need a third party that will stand up for the needs of "regular" people.

Sometimes we on the left may fear we are only talking to each other. And we think the people out there that share our views are only a small percentage of the country. We may think the right wing is larger than it is. We think we see fascism raising its head because a small percentage is loud and some have wacky signs. I don't know widespread or indicative this particular group is..but it sounded just like a discussion you would hear from any group of frustrated leftists. But it made me think that we are not that isolated and our compatriots may not be where we would expect to find them. It was encouraging.
I think I will take those "Free The Cuban Five" postcards to the Peace and Justice Committee meeting tonight.

February 3, 2010

Rocky Rivera Has A New Album Out--Support A People's Artist!

From Rocky Rivera, one of the greatest rappers around, who has a new album out:

My album has been nearly two years in the making, and yesterday I was finally able to see it materialized. I've been poring over every detail of it sonically, aesthetically, financially, and emotionally and I hope that you feel it when you buy the cd. There's something different about downloading it off the internet and holding an actual copy in your hand - you can learn all about the people who were involved, get a sense of who I am and feel closer to me as an artist (aww warm squishy feeling).

And I'm saying this because it's the same feeling when I write an article in print, walk to the newstand, pick up a copy and flip to the page: there it is, my hard work for all to see.

I'm also saying this because it's important that people go out and support artists, especially the independent ones. I can tell you right now that every penny goes straight to my bank account and feeds my family. Of course, I can't say that I've never bootlegged an album, but what I can say is that I know plenty of independent artists, including my man and I, who don't take it as a pet project and who supplement their income while at the same time, adhering to principles of integrity that keep us from getting that mainstream $.


Read more here and buy the CD here.

February 2, 2010

Kaia Sand On Feb. 7: Poems & Essays Of Portland's Political History

From Kaia Sand and Michael Munk:

My ongoing Remember to Wave poetry walk is now out as a book from the good people at Tinfish Press. This poetry/essay/mixed media collection is locally based (investigating the political history of Portland Expo Center--internment of Japanese Americans in 1942, the Vanport flood in 1948--as well as present day goings-on such as trade shows, Rose City Roller Derby action, and commerce near the Expo Center).

I am grateful that many people in Portland are supporting the work in various ways:

* This week, Street Roots newspaper features Remember to Wave. Carmel Bentley wrote beautifully about the book and the Vanport flood and the internment of Japanese Americans at the Expo Center. Issues can be purchased from vendors around town (who all earn money by selling the paper--75 cents on every dollar--a wonderful micro economy), and, as always, there are many reasons to read Street Roots (including an interview with Street Roots vendor George Mayes about his participation in the San Francisco march for federal affordable housing funding and rights of the homeless).

I will be participating in some events around town to celebrate the release of the book, and I'd be happy for your company:

* Feb. 7 (Sunday) 4 p.m. I'll read from the book at Powell's on Hawthorne (3723 SE Hawthorne Ave, Portland)

* Feb 19 (Friday) 7 p.m. I'll read at St. John's Booksellers (8622 N. Lombard St., Portland) in the neighborhood near the book's focus. I'll be reading with Allison Cobb, who's kicking off her new book, Green-Wood. Our books both investigate political history of particular places (the Green-Wood cemetery in Brooklyn NY for Allison), and both mix essay and poetry. This reading is especially significant to me because Allison and I launched our first books together six years ago (with Carol Mirakove in New York), so I think two times qualifies as a tradition!

* March 29 (Monday) 7:30 p.m. Allison Cobb and I will read at Pacific University in Forest Grove.

* April 10, noon, I'll lead a poetry walk starting at the Portland Expo Center MAX stop. This walk is hosted by Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) and its new Submit Literary Magazine.

Links to more info for all this and other events that will come up are at http://www.pen.org/members/sand/ and more info about the book itself is below.

Many of you supported this work, and continue to do so. Thank you. My poetry work is never completed in isolation.

All best,

Kaia

Visit Michael Munk's website at www.michaelmunk.com.

"A Sea Change" Documentary To Show In Salem

A Sea Change-Documentary

DATE: Feb 11

ORGANIZATION: Salem Progressive Film Series

MORE INFO: www.salemprogressivefilms.net

DESCRIPTION: Salem Progressive Film Series-Second Thursday documentary- A Sea Change

A Sea Change documents how the pH balance of the oceans has changed dramatically since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution: a 30% increase in acidification. The film presents in a generally understandable way the process of ocean acidification, some of its potential implications for this and future generations, and several examples of concrete steps that we can take to reduce this and other problems associated with increasing carbon dioxide emissions. The film raises public awareness and facilitates open discussion of this important issue.

Guests Speakers and discussion:
Burke Hales, Associate Professor in the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences at OSU
George Waldbusser, Assistant Professor in the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences at OSU

Film shown at The Grand Theatre- 191 High Street. NE Salem (corner of Court and High) Doors open at 6:15, film begins at 7 PM
For more information:503-588-8713

Oregon Women Lead Sponsors Two Workshops for Salem Area Pro-Choice Women to become Successful Political Candidates

*** Oregon Women Lead ***
Sponsors Two February Workshops for Salem Area Pro Choice Women to become Successful Political Candidates

How to Run for Office--for women who want to get elected & those who want to help

Two Saturdays
February 6, & 20, 2010
10 am- 2 pm
at Salem's New YWCA
Presenters:
Michelle Stranger Hunter, Executive Director,Pro-Choice Oregon; Laura Taylor, Deputy Director, Pro-Choice Oregon

Reservations Imperative
OregonWomenLead@gmail.com
503-399-9099, 503-588-8713
please fwd to friends

????????
Here are answers:
For women who want to get elected
For women who want to help.
Refreshments and 'lite lunch served
Salem's New 'YWCA is on Broadway at Market
Contributions to cover costs invited
Please fwd to friends

February 1, 2010

THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE SPENDS $460,000 ON SEN. BEN NELSON'S ANTI-PUBLIC OPTION AD

The DNC is walking a dangerous line of so angering the base of its party that it risks expanding the moratorium on DNC contributions started by Gay activists. That movement was started by LGBT leaders who saw the Democrats as a political party that has been happy to take money, energy and votes from us but once in office didn't hesitate to throw us under the bus.

Most recently the Moratorium has gained momentum with the lack of support to defeat Prop 8 in California and then the complete silence on Measure 1 in Maine. In the last couple of months high profile/large donors to the Democratic Party have been climbing aboard the "Don't Ask, Don't Give" movement. It grew even larger after the New York State Senate rejected equal marriage because 8 Democrats joined with the Republicans to defeat it. As one activist said, "Many of us just wanted to throw up. Democrats put out one hand to ask for money and with the other they stab you in the back".

And now the DNC has spent almost $500,000 on television ads for Sen. Ben Nelson in which he proclaims that he helped change the Health Care legislation to exclude the Public Option.
The question many should be asking is why they would pay for ads maligning the Public Option at the same time the party was rallying behind that very proposal. The Press Secretary for the DNC sent out a statement in response which basically said they had spent money to support Nelson and Lincoln and Dorgan and they will continue to do so.

They are supporting those who have been blocking passage of significant health care reform while the base wants them to be pressured to support it. Clearly these people are so isolated from the base of their party that they are going to lose it.

The new Potland Central American Solidarity Committee newsletter

Check out the new Potland Central American Solidarity Committee newsletter here.

Pcasc is a volunteer-driven organization. Please volunteer to help out if you can. Let them know what your skills and interests are by doing the volunteer survewy on their site.

They are looking for some design/artistic skills for a flyer for the late February anti-mining tour: The Race to the Bottom in Central America: Water Mining and CAFTA. If you would like to design a poster, email megan@pcasc.net.

Moral Relativism And The Left

We are accused by our opposition of engaging in moral relativism. It is a self-serving criticism that implies that we have no moral or ethical compass, that we lack any standards for behavior and that we are therefore inherently unfit to hold or use political power. That this criticism comes from a racist right-wing which has made its peace with militarism and imperialism the world over while enjoying the power and fruits of racism and imperialism at home can almost pass without comment. The left often seems to divide between those whose critiques of capitalism and war are in the first place founded on morality and those who apply a dialectical or historical materialist method in understanding capitalism and war. Whatever our divisions, both sides recognize morality and ethics as guiding forces. If some of us situate morality in a historical context it is because we see morality unfolding historically through human effort and have in mind the creation of a society which works on a basis which is at once both moral and scientific: from each according to her/his ability to each according to her/his needs. The following begins a critique of capitalist moral relativism and debunks the myth that we are moral relativists. It comes from Fundamentals of Marxism-Leninism.

Many apologists of the bourgeoisie choose another means of combating scientific socialism. Denying the laws of history, they reject the very conception of social development and progress and instead propose that we should speak of "social change."...This view, states...L. von Wiese, makes it possible "to refrain from any judgement as to better or worse, or even as to a casual connection between the past and the present, still less with the future, and to determine merely alteration or change." Thus for the sake of their class interests modern bourgeois sociologists throw overboard the important achievement of nineteenth-century science--the concept of progressive development, governed by objective laws.

According to theories that have gained wide currency in bourgeoisie ideology, progress...is possible only in science and technology but not in the sphere of social relations, politics and morals...These spheres of social life, say reactionary theoreticians, are determined by the eternal and immutable qualities of "human nature," which lead people to commit acts of violence, crime, aggression, etc. The development of science and technology, they say, merely gives these destructive instincts new and more dangerous weapons...

In their efforts to protect capitalism from criticism, the supporters of these views single out science and technology as the chief evil...

Certain works of fiction, such as those of Aldous Huxley or E. M. Forster, enable us to judge how dark and grim the ideologists of the bourgeoisie imagine the future of society will be.

In these novels there is not a trace of the bright hopes and faith in the future, of that life-asserting optimism that permeated most of the utopian works of the past. The best that the authors of contemporary bourgeois utopias can promise the world today is a society where a certain material well-being is achieved at the cost of complete rejection of democracy, culture and human dignity, a society inhabited by people who have nothing human in them, people who have become mere appendages of the machine, its slaves. Not infrequently they prophesy an even grimmer future for humanity---(a) return to barbarism...

A hopeless pessimism infects the whole ideology of the reactionary bourgeoisie of today, and also its culture, giving rise to decadent trends in art and amorality. These gloomy moods are not accidental. The era of the supremacy of capitalism is drawing to a close; capitalism now bars the path to human progress. And with the blindness characteristic of the ideologists of a dying class the modern bourgeois theoreticians and writers equate the fate of their class with the fate of humanity and represent the decline and inevitable ruin of that class as the decline and ruin of civilization as a whole.

"PUT OREGON BACK TO WORK RALLY" on Wednesday, February 10 at 12:00pm.

"PUT OREGON BACK TO WORK RALLY" on Wednesday, February 10 at 12:00pm.

Event: PUT OREGON BACK TO WORK RALLY--"TIRED OF BEING UNEMPLOYED?"
What: Rally
Start Time: Wednesday, February 10 at 12:00pm
End Time: Wednesday, February 10 at 1:00pm
Where: JOIN US AT THE CAPITOL, FRONT STEPS