March 31, 2012

What is the dictatorship of the proletariat?

What is the dictatorship of the proletariat?

Marx said in 1848 that the world is more and more being divided into two opposing classes: the bourgeoisie (capitalists) and the proletariat, exploiters and the exploited. The proletariat is defined as those without ownership over the means of production, and who therefore have to sell their labor power to capitalists in order to live.

The proletariat is often interchangeably referred to as the “working class,” though having a job does not necessarily make someone a proletarian, and not every proletarian has access to a job. Marx said, “The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains, they have a world to win,” meaning that the proletariat includes all those with little to no stake in the system as it is — the dispossessed, those who are thoroughly exploited, and/or neglected by the bourgeois institutions of power. These two classes exist in contradiction; the benefit of one is a loss for the other, and vice versa. Besides these two main classes existing under capitalism today, there is also the petty-bourgeoisie, or in other words, the middle classes, which are made up of educated labor such as lawyers, academics, administrators, managers and others who may not directly own the means of production but who have more security in the system than the proletariat, and in certain cases directly oversee their exploited labor activity for the capitalists.

The main pillar of capitalism is the ability of the bourgeoisie to exploit and profit from the labor of proletarian peoples. This is done through their monopoly over the means of production (land, factories, mines, retail outlets) as well as their monopoly over governmental affairs (state power). Even though we are constantly taught that we live in a democracy, it is quite apparent that millionaires and billionaires have much more say in what governments do than any average voter. Democracy under capitalism is rule of the dollar in which the wealthy “democratically” decide among themselves what governments do or don’t do. “Democracy” under capitalism is therefore known by Marxists as bourgeois democracy, or the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. Under the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, the proletariat is relegated to periodically voting for which party will oppress them next, and are wholly excluded from actual governance.

Read more here.

Is Obama a Socialist?

Written by Comrade Trip

Without the ability to pull the economy out of the current capitalist crisis, Democratic and Republican politicians have been mud-slinging even more than usual in an attempt to disown the recession (depression?) and place full blame on the other. It wasn’t scary enough to call Obama a “liberal” or a “progressive,” so they began calling him a socialist, as far back as his campaign in 2008.
Read more...

An open letter to Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO

Common Dreams, March 30, 2012

Dear Mr. Trumka,

You have come to your leadership position of our country’s labor federation of unions with 13 million members the hard way. Starting by working in the coal mines, then becoming a lawyer, heading the United Mine Workers, then becoming the Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO before assuming your present position in 2009, who can pull rank on you in the formal labor movement?

Yet, the AFL-CIO’s public leadership in three major areas has been far less effective than one would expect. I am referring to your less than assertive response to President Obama: 1) turning his back on raising the federal minimum wage; 2) failing to advance his card check promise to you in 2008; and 3) dropping the ball on backing long-overdue safety and health responsibilities of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

I say this with the awareness of your group’s public stands in favor of these three crucial matters to working families. But as you well know, there is a very marked difference between being on-the-record, as the AFL-CIO is, and being on-the-daily ramparts pushing these issues, as your organization is not.

Even just making a statement, however, took a back seat in your March 13, 2012 endorsement of Barack Obama for a second term as president. In what ways has Mr. Obama “moved aggressively,” as you declared, “to protect workers rights, pay, health and safety on the job?”
He has neither championed nor pressed Congress, when the Democrats were in control in 2009-2010, to give you card check which you have long-said was needed to reverse the serious decline and expand the ranks of organized labor by millions of workers (you told me this in 2004).

Second, Mr. Obama appointed an excellent head of OSHA and then betrayed OSHA – an agency that has estimated 58,000 workplace-related American deaths a year from disease and trauma! That is over 1000 people a week, every week, on the average.

Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor and the head of OSHA, cannot get White House approval for issuing long-overdue standards or strengthening weak and outdated standards such as the woefully inadequate silica rule, to save American lives not threatened by terrorists, but by corporate negligence or worse. Why have you not exposed this reality in public? Has Mr. Obama, whom you have socialized with at White House viewings of the Super Bowl, ever invited you to come across Lafayette Square to discuss this serious ongoing, preventable tragedy?

Had he taken worker concerns seriously, he might have asked you why the AFL-CIO for many years, has retained at its large national headquarters so few full-time advocates on occupational health and safety? And you in turn might have asked him why his politicos are blocking Dr. Michaels and why he is content in having only $550 million for OSHA’s annual budget while the U.S. spent $675 million in 2011 paying corporate contractors to guard the overbuilt U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. Are these the Obama “values” you extolled in your endorsement statement?

More dismaying is your touting Mr. Obama for aggressively protecting workers’ pay. By pushing for more NAFTA type “pull-down” trade agreements through Congress, and not moving to revise NAFTA as he promised in his 2008 presidential campaigns, he is undermining both workers’ pay and jobs. By totally abandoning his pledge made to over 30 million workers in 2008 that he would press for a $9.50/hour federal minimum wage by 2011, he left them defenseless with more debt and fewer necessities of life.

The AFL-CIO wants at the least to catch up to 1968 with an inflation-adjusted $10/hour minimum wage law. Where is the visible muscular campaign for such legislation? Keeping up with inflation for the federal minimum wage is historically supported by 70 percent of the people. That includes many Republicans and even Rick Santorum and, until his latest flip-flop, Mitt Romney. A $10 minimum wage, after years of windfall price increases and executive compensation windfalls at labor’s expense, would annually pump tens of billions of dollars into greater consumer demand by low-income families in this recessionary economy.

What is the AFL-CIO waiting for? Hundreds of non-profit organizations will follow your lead. Talk is not enough. Resources and muscular lobbying are required along with far more relevant and tough public advertisements than your members are seeing and paying for on TV these days. Enough, already, of the general feel-good mood spots on TV.

The AFL-CIO is in a deep, defensive rut when in these tough times it should be in an aroused, innovative state of high alert and aggressive action. Workers in the 1930s’ Depression were in worse shape than workers today, yet organized labor was more militant.

As someone who in earlier days had been a dig-in-your-heels labor negotiator in fights with management, what did you receive for millions of American workers in your early, blanket endorsement of Mr. Obama? No wonder he can get away with giving the trade union movement and unorganized workers the back of his hand. You have unnecessarily allowed him to believe that you have nowhere to go. This is another way of saying that the Republicans, by being worse than the bad Democrats, are holding the American labor movement hostage to the corporatist Democratic Party.

The AFL-CIO is in a deep, defensive rut when in these tough times it should be in an aroused, innovative state of high alert and aggressive action. Workers in the 1930s’ Depression were in worse shape than workers today, yet organized labor was more militant.

People inside and outside the AFL-CIO know the problems. They are: complacent bureaucratic rigidity, fractious relations between member unions over how supine they need to be to Obama and the Democrats (with their costly wars), the lack of union democracy and competitive elections both within member unions and at the AFL-CIO plus, except for a few unions like the California Nurses Association, a distinct lack of sustained fervor and money for organizing drives.

You know all this only too well. Yet, as a 14th Century Chinese philosopher once said, “to know and not to do is not to know.” Unless you shake the AFL-CIO up and reorder its priorities against the corporate state, expect another four years of an Obamabush Administration.

Sincerely,
Ralph Nader

Cuba's Economic Reforms: Strengthening the Cuban Revolution



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Written by Bill Preston and Carl Gentile   
The writers are Cuba solidarity activists in the U.S. Peace Council and U.S. Labor for Friendship with Cuba.

Almost 80 people packed a classroom at Pace University's downtown New York campus on a relatively warm, mostly sunny Saturday afternoon, on March 17, 2012, to learn about new developments in Cuba directly from diplomats of the Republic of Cuba.

The panel's purpose was to explain the economic reforms and new period of socialist construction launched in Cuba in 2011.  Marxism-Leninism Today (www.mltoday.com) sponsored the panel, a first for the electronic journal, at this year's Left Forum.  The Left Forum, which takes place once a year in New York City, gathers activists and intellectuals across a wide range of political tendencies from anarchist and social-democratic to Communist.
Its venue, on a college campus across the street from City Hall, is a short walk to Wall Street and an even shorter walk to the park that continues to be a site of Occupy Wall Street, where dozens marking the movement's six-month anniversary were beaten and arrested by the New York Police Department the same day of this panel on Cuba on the nearby campus.

Walter Tillow, a member of the editorial board of Marxism-Leninism Today and of the Louisville, Committee to Free the Cuban Five, first explained that the two invited speakers from Cuba were unable to make it because of the U.S. blockade.  Juan Lamigueiro, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, DC, and Patricia Pego Guerra, First Secretary at the Interests Section, were denied the right to travel from the nation's capital to New York City by the U.S. State Department.

The Cuban diplomats were not given the courtesy of a reply to their request to travel within the country, but rather received a "no answer" type of denial.  The prohibition on their travel outside of Washington, DC made it impossible for the Cuban diplomats to participate in this, the largest annual gathering of Left academics in a country whose rulers boast of its freedom of speech.  Tillow  also said that professor Nelson Valdes, also slated to be on the panel, was unable to attend because of illness.

Read more here.

Who Profits from the Israeli Occupation

with Dalit Baum

Thursday, April 12, 7 pm

Portland State University  
Smith Memorial Student Union, Room 296 
1825 SW Broadway, Portland

Dalit Baum, Ph.D., is a co-founder of Who Profits from the Occupation, an activist research initiative of the Coalition of Women for Peace in Israel. Dalit is a feminist scholar and teacher in Israel, who has been teaching about militarism and about the global economy from a feminist perspective in Israeli universities. Read more about Dalit here. Sponsored by: Students United for Equal Rights (SUPER), Co-Sponsored by: Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights (AUPHR), Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP)-PDX Chapter.

Justice for Trayvon Martin: End White Supremacy!

Written by Freedom Road
Marchers at NYC's Million Hoodie March for Trayvon Martin. Photo by David Shankbone.

A Cold-Blooded Murder

“Until the killing of black men, black mothers’ sons, becomes as important to the rest of the country as the killing of a white mother’s son. We who believe in freedom cannot rest until this happens.” — Ella Baker, 1964
When Trayvon Martin left his home on February 26 to buy candy at a neighborhood store in Sanford, Florida, it seemed to be a day like any other. But because Trayvon was born Black in a racist society, even that simple errand carried a fatal risk.

As he walked home, 17-year-old Trayvon was followed by George Zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain who constantly followed and harassed Black people he thought were “suspicious.” Zimmerman -- several inches taller and a hundred pounds heavier than Trayvon -- began to chase him and eventually cornered him. A fight broke out and while Trayvon called out for help, Zimmerman drew his handgun and shot Trayvon dead.

George Zimmerman may have had good reason to think that he could get away with this cold-blooded murder. Local police did everything they could to help Zimmerman and to damage any investigation into his actions. They accepted Zimmerman’s story that he acted in self-defense and did not test him for drugs or alcohol as was normal procedure in a murder investigation. They coached witnesses to agree with Zimmerman’s story and gave statements to the press defending Zimmerman. All of this is consistent with the police department’s documented and systematic hostility to the local Black community. Zimmerman is also likely to be protected by the “stand your ground” law in Florida, which was drafted by right-wing national think tank ALEC and signed into law by then-governor Jeb Bush.

More fundamentally, Zimmerman is protected by the deep-seated traditions of white supremacy in this country. The lives of Black people and other oppressed nationalities have always been considered more or less expendable in this country. More than any state law or racist culture in a local police department, it is the saturation of white supremacy through the fabric of the United States which protects George Zimmerman. This is the thread that connects Trayvon Martin’s murder with the police murders of Ramarley Graham, Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, Rubén Salazar, and many others; and with murders like those of Emmett Till, James Byrd, Vincent Chin, Brisenia Flores and many more.

Read more...

March 30, 2012

Palestinian Land Day, 2012

A MECA project for children in Silwan, East Jerusalem, was demolished by Israeli forces.
      From MECA (Middle East Childrens Alliance).  To donate, click here:

Today, Palestinians and their supporters everywhere are staging mass demonstrations to mark Land Day, an important day in the history of the Palestinian people’s struggle for their homeland.

It is a day to commemorate the six Palestinians who were killed by Israeli forces thirty-six years ago while protesting the theft of their land. Generation after generation, Palestinians continue to demand an end to the brutal occupation and to return to their lands that were illegally confiscated.

Unfortunately, Israel’s apartheid policies, including land confiscation, home demolitions, and settlement expansion have only intensified. Moreover, its ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Jerusalem has triggered a massive outcry and demonstrations worldwide.

The Middle East Children’s Alliance stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people and encourages you to join the Global March to Jerusalem in your cities and demand access to Jerusalem for all people. Because of Israel’s policies, children growing up in surrounding areas of Jerusalem have never been allowed entry, while a record number of families within East Jerusalem have been evicted and displaced from their homes.

March 29, 2012

SIERRA CLUB SELL OUT: ANTI-FRACKING ACTIVIST RESPONDS

Sierra Club has always been corrupt and pandered to big business and now this article exposes the corruption.  This is what happens when big environmental groups don't challenge capitalism.  Sandra Steingraber is a noted anti-fracking activist.  In February Time Magazine broke the news that the Sierra Club had, for three years accepted $25 million from Chesapeake Energy, one of the largest gas drillers in the world.  The story prompted Steingraber to write an open letter to the Sierra Club.  This article is from Orion Magazine.


Dear Sierra Club,
I’m through with you. 
For years we had a great relationship based on mutual admiration. You gave a glowing review of my first book, Living Downstream—a review that appeared in the pages of Sierra magazine and hailed me as “the new Rachel Carson.” Since 1999 that phrase has linked us together in all the press materials that my publicist sends out. Your name appears with mine on the flaps of my book jackets, in the biography that introduces me at the speaker’s podium, and in the press release that announced, last fall, that I was one of the lucky recipients of a $100,000 Heinz Award for my research and writing on the environment.
I was proud to be affiliated with you. I hoped to live up to the moniker you bestowed upon me.
But more than a month has past since your executive director, Michael Brune, admitted in Time magazine that the Sierra Club had, between 2007 and 2010, clandestinely accepted $25 million from the fracking industry, with most of the donations coming from Chesapeake Energy. Corporate Crime Reporter was hot on the trail of the story when it broke in Time.
From the start, Brune’s declaration seemed less an acknowledgement of wrongdoing than an attempt to minister to a looming public relations problem. Would someone truly interested in atonement seek credit for choosing not to take additional millions of gas industry dollars (“Why the Sierra Club Turned Down $26 Million in Contributions from Natural Gas Interests”)?
Here, on top of the Marcellus Shale, along the border between Pennsylvania and New York—where we are surrounded by land leased to the gas industry; where we live in fear that our water will be ruined, our mortgages called in, our teenage children killed in fiery wrecks with 18-wheelers hauling toxic fracking waste on our rural, icy back roads; where we cash out our vacation days to board predawn buses to rallies and public hearings; where we fundraise, donate, testify, phone bank, lobby, submit public comments, sign up for trainings in nonviolent civil disobedience; where our children ask if we will be arrested, if we will have to move, if we will die, and what will happen to the bats, the honeybees, the black bears, the grapevines, the apple orchards, the cows’ milk; where we have learned all about casing failures, blow-outs, gas flares, clear-cuts, legal exemptions, the benzene content of production fluid, the radioactive content of drill cuttings; where people suddenly start sobbing in church and no one needs to ask why—here in the crosshairs of Chesapeake Energy, Michael Brune’s announcement was met with a kind of stunned confusion.
The Sierra Club had taken money, gobs of it, from an industry that we in the grassroots have been in the fight of our lives to oppose. The largest, most venerable environmental organization in the United States secretly aligned with the very company that seeks to occupy our land, turn it inside out, blow it apart, fill it with poison. All for the goal of extracting a powerful heat-trapping gas, methane, that plays a significant role in climate change.
Climate change: identified by The Lancet as the number-one global health problem of the 21st century. Children, according to the World Health Organization, are among its primary victims.
It was as if, on the eve of D-day, the anti-Fascist partisans had discovered that Churchill was actually in cahoots with the Axis forces.
So, I’ve had many weeks now to ponder the whole betrayal and watch for signs of redemption from Sierra Club’s national leadership. Would it be “coming clean” (to quote the title of the executive director’s recent book)?
Freed from the silence that money bought, would it now lend its voice in support of environmental groups in New York State that seek a statewide prohibition on fracking? Would it come to the aid of those in Pennsylvania calling for a halt to the devastation there?
Would it, at the very least, endorse the modest proposal of Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy, who recommend a national moratorium on fracking until human health impacts are researched?
And would Michael Brune humbly ask forgiveness from antifracking activist Lisa Wright, formerly on the executive committee of the Sierra Club’s Finger Lakes chapter? As recently as last May, in response to a direct query from Wright, who had become suspicious, Brune wrote, “I do want to be clear about one thing: we do not receive any money from Aubrey McClendon, nor his company Chesapeake. For that matter, we do not receive any contributions from the natural gas industry. Hopefully this will alleviate some concerns.”
The answer to all of the above questions: No.
So, Sierra Club, call some other writer your new Rachel Carson. I’ll be erasing your endorsement from my website.
And take back these words, penned by your own fierce and uncorruptible founder, John Muir, that have hung for years by my writing desk:
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The wind will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.
There is no peace in the mountains and hills over the Marcellus Shale. No glad tidings. The forests of Pennsylvania are filled with chainsaws, flares, drill pads, pipelines, condensers, generators, and the 24/7 roar of compressor stations. The wind that blows east from the gas fields carries toluene, benzene, and diesel exhaust. Sunshine turns it all into poisonous ozone. Storms send silt into trout streams from denuded hillsides and cause good people to lie awake at night, worried about overflowing impoundment pits full of neurotoxic chemicals and overturned frack trucks full of carcinogens.
Even now, plans are being laid to transport 88.2 million gallons of liquid propane and butane to caverns that lie beneath the idyllic New York lakeshore where my ten-year-old son was born. (“This transaction is yet another example of the successful execution on our plan to build an integrated natural gas storage and transportation hub in the Northeast,” says the company called Inergy.) When you tramp through the fields and forests where I live—40 percent of the land in my county is leased to the gas industry—cares don’t drop off like autumn leaves. They accumulate like convoys of flowback fluid laced with arsenic, radium, and barium with no place, no place to go.
And, yes, they are fracking in Rachel Carson’s beloved Allegheny County, too.
The hard truth: National Sierra Club served as the political cover for the gas industry and for the politicians who take their money and do their bidding. It had a hand in setting in motion the wheels of environmental destruction and human suffering. It was complicit in bringing extreme fossil fuel extraction onshore, into our communities, farmlands, and forests, and in blowing up the bedrock of our nation. And I can’t get over it.
So, here are some parting words from the former new Rachel Carson.
The path to salvation lies in reparations—not in accepting praise for overcoming the urge to commit the same crime twice. So shutter your doors. Cash out your assets. Don a backpack and hike through the gaslands of America. Along the way, bear witness. Apologize. Offer compensation to the people who have no drinkable water and can’t sell their homes. Whose farm ponds bubble with methane. Whose kids have nosebleeds and mysterious rashes. Write big checks to the people who are putting their bodies on the line in the fight to ban fracking, and to the grassroots groups that are organizing them.
Finally, go to Washington and say what the Sierra Club should have said in 2007: Fracking is not a bridge to the future. It is a plank on which we walk blindfolded at the point of a sword. There is no right way to do it. And the pirates are not our friends.
Sincerely,
Sandra Steingraber
Sandra Steingraber, PhD, is the author of Living Downstream, published in second edition by Da Capo Press to coincide with the release of the documentary film adaptation.

MAY DAY 2012: The Light of Hope March & Rally

Tuesday, May 1 at 6:00pm
Oregon State Capitol, Salem, Ore.

Marcha de los Farolitos del Primero de Mayo: La Luz de la Esperanza
May First Paper Lanterns March and Rally: The Light of Hope
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
6:00 p.m. Rally
7:00 p.m. March
Place: Oregon State Capitol, Salem
Martes Primero de Mayo del 2012
Capitolio del Estado de Oregon en Salem

A Celebration of Working Families, regardless of immigration status
• Jobs with living wages for ALL Oregon residents
• Educational opportunities from pre-k to college for ALL Oregon residents
• Access to health care services for ALL Oregon residents
• Access to driver licenses for ALL Oregon residents
• A path towards legalization for all immigrants

More details will follow.... For more information e-mail at francisco@causaoregon.org

LABOR RADIO-

Fighting Corporate Impunity: How Can Corporations Be Held Legally Accountable in the U.S. for Abuses of Labor and Human Rights in Other Countries
KBOO 90.7 FM, streaming at KBOO.fm
Monday April 2, 6 – 6:30pm.

Labor Radio talks with Daniel Kovalik of the United Steelworkers, who has been counsel to Plaintiffs in prominent international law cases against, among others, The Coca-Cola Company, Drummond and Occidental Petroleum for alleged human rights abuses, including torture and murder, in Colombia - the most dangerous country in the world to be a unionist. Dan was described recently by the Christian Science Monitor as "one of the most prominent defenders of Colombian workers in the United States." He is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and Counterpunch, focusing on critiques of U.S. foreign policy.

The Roads Leading to Disaster--Written by Fidel Castro Ruz

This Reflection could be written today, tomorrow or any other day without the risk of being mistaken. Our species faces new problems.

When 20 years ago I stated at the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro that a species was in danger of extinction, I had fewer reasons than today for warning about a danger that I was seeing perhaps 100 years away. At that time, a handful of leaders of the most powerful countries were in charge of the world. They applauded my words as a matter of mere courtesy and placidly continued to dig for the burial of our species.

It seemed that on our planet, common sense and order reigned. For a while economic development, backed by technology and science appeared to be the Alpha and Omega of human society.

Today, everything is much clearer. Profound truths have been surfacing. Almost 200 States, supposedly independent, constitute the political organization which in theory has the job of governing the destiny of the world.

Approximately 25,000 nuclear weapons in the hands of allied or enemy forces ready to defend the changing order, by interest or necessity, virtually reduce to zero the rights of billions of people.

I shall not commit the naïveté of assigning the blame to Russia or China for the development of that kind of weaponry, after the monstrous massacre at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ordered by Truman after Roosevelt’s death.

Nor shall I fall prey to the error of denying the Holocaust that signified the deaths of millions of children and adults, men or women, mainly Jews, gypsies, Russians or other nationalities, who were victims of Nazism. For that reason the odious policy of those who deny the Palestinian people their right to exist is repugnant.

Does anyone by chance think that the United States will be capable of acting with the independence that will keep it from the inevitable disaster awaiting it?

Read more here.

Video from Palestine: Israeli army attacks solidarity rally

The Israeli occupation army hits WFTU solidarity rally in Palestine in the village Nabi Saleh on March 23, 2012.

March 28, 2012

BLACK AGENDA REPORT: UNAC A REAL ANTIWAR MOVEMENT IN THE BELLY OF THE BEAST


UNAC: A Real Anti-War Movement in the Belly of the Beast
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
There is now a place for genuine anti-imperialists to gather and plot for peace.”
With passage of a short and elegant plank in its Action Plan for 2012, the United National Anti-War Coalition is building a peace movement that is finally prepared to confront President Obama’s global military offensive, cloaked in “humanitarian” interventionist rhetoric. The language states: “End all threats of war and intervention against Iran and Syria! No to sanctions, blockades and embargoes!”
It is a simple expression of the singular mission of anti-warriors in the belly of the beast. That mission is to disarm the beast – not to quibble with the war machine about where best to deploy its overwhelming firepower, or to advise corporate warmongers on the most efficient killing-mix of live troops and automated drones, or to pick and choose from a Democratic administration’s menu of regimes that might be changed to make the world more amenable to Wall Street. Our task as Americans – our overarching responsibility, for which we are uniquely positioned and, therefore, solemnly obligated – is to dismantle from within the monstrous apparatus of imperial aggression. Period.
Our mission is to disarm the beast, not to pick and choose from a Democratic administration’s menu of regimes that might be changed to make the world more amenable to Wall Street.”
I was privileged to present the coordinating committee’s draft of theAction Plan to UNAC’s national conference in Stamford, Connecticut, this past weekend. “This action plan does not just target some U.S. wars,” said the committee’s statement. “It does not target the currently unpopular wars. It does not shy away from condemning wars that remain acceptable to half the population because the real reasons for them are obscured in the rhetoric of humanitarian intervention. It does not advocate that we avoid putting U.S. boots on the ground by mounting embargoes that bring economic devastation on the peoples of Iran. It does not condone war by other, more sanitized, means. It does not cheer on wars that minimize U.S. combat deaths by the use of robotic unmanned planes or the highly trained murder squads of the Joint Special Operations Command. It does not see war by mercenary as somehow less threatening to the peoples of the world and the U.S. than war by economic draft. It does not give credit to Washington for removing brigades from one country in order to deploy them in the next.”
The document demands an end to “all wars, interventions, targeted assassinations and occupations” and U.S. withdrawal from “NATO and all other interventionist military alliances.”
UNAC’s reasoning is rooted in the principle that all the world’s peoples have the inherent right to self-determination, to pursue their own destinies – the foundation of relations among peoples, enshrined in international law but daily violated by the United States.
UNAC’s reasoning is rooted in the principle that all the world’s peoples have the inherent right to self-determination.”
American exceptionalism – the belief that rules of international conduct, or even the rules of history and human development, do not apply to the United States – is deeply entrenched in the popular American psyche and has long been the bane of the U.S. anti-war movement. It encourages Americans to think they have a privileged perspective on the world and a consequent right to preach, lecture and ultimately intervene in other people’s affairs – just as their government does. In anti-war movements, this national arrogance (deeply entwined with racism) allows self-styled peaceniks to behave like little imperialists, imposing conditions and caveats on their willingness to confront their own government’s aggressions. They reserve the right to pick and choose which U.S. violations of international law to oppose. Unmoored by principle and crippled by national chauvinism, such “peace” movements inevitably disband at the earliest opportunistic juncture.
UNAC emerged with the disintegration of United for Peace and Justice, which showed itself to be more of an anti-Republican formation than an anti-war movement. UFPJ disintegrated at the first whiff of the new Democratic administration, clearing the way domestically for a new imperial strategy: “humanitarian” intervention. At its founding conference, in July of 2010, UNAC tackled the first taboo of American foreign policy with a plank to “End all U.S. aid to Israel, military, economic and diplomatic!” – a direct confrontation with Israeli “exceptionalism.” Last week, UNAC broke decisively with Obama’s humanitarian “exception” to the rules of international behavior. There now exists a place for genuine anti-imperialists to gather and plot for peace – and that is a beginning. No repeats of Libya, no more equivocations in the face of U.S. carnage.
A luta continua – the struggle continues, in the belly of the beast.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted atGlen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

UNAC: 500+ ANTIWAR ACTIVISTS GATHER TO CHALLENGE THE 1% WAR, POVERTY AND REPRESSION AGENDA

Antiwar, social/economic justice, environmental and civil rights activists attended the United National Antiwar Coalition's (UNAC) 2nd annual conference March 23-25 in Stamford CT.  I have been to many antiwar conferences in the past decades and this was by far the most diverse conference I have ever experienced.  There was a very large contingent of Muslim and South Asian activists, many of them young people attending their first antiwar conference.


The theme of the conference's numerous workshops, panels and keynote speeches was how to understand and combat the 1%'s imperialist agenda of war, poverty and repression manifested in wars abroad and at home against the Black, Latino and Muslim communities.  An ambitious Action Program passed at the conference which included building the mass march and rally against the NATO/G8 in Chicago on May 20th and a rally being called by the Muslim Peace Group and DRUM (Desis Rising Up And Moving) in June to protest the widespread NYPD campaign of spying, targeting and profiling.


There was a small but powerful presence of the northwest at this northeast conference which was personified by Mike Fuqua ILWU Local 20 (Longview, WA).  He addressed the conference Saturday night and powerfully put the struggle at the Port Of Longview in the context of the UNAC Conference.  He spoke directly about the importance of solidarity and the power of unions to pushback global capital's attack on labor.  At an earlier workshop, "Labor Against Austerity And War" the struggle at Longview took center stage.  I spoke about the importance of making sure that paper solidarity statements are followed up by rank and file acts of solidarity.  Members of SEIU 503 signed up and were ready to go to Longview when we got the word from Local 20. We believe that was more important than any paper statement - Mike clearly agreed.

March 27, 2012

Palestine: speech by WFTU General Secretary, George Mavrikos
























This is a speech by World Federation of Trade Unions General Secretary, George Mavrikos on March 22, 2012, in Ramallah, Palestine; International Conference in Solidarity with Palestine

Dear comrades,
Dear brother Ibrahim Haidar,
Dear brothers and sisters, Palestinians,

“Palestine” is a long lasting crime of Imperialism. Since 1916 when the English and the French “in the Sykes-Picot Agreement” defined their spheres of influence using a ruler, and today the plots for the New Middle East, with the imperialist attacks and interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Iran, the collar around Palestine narrows even more dangerously.

The Palestinians suffer under the barbarity of the Israeli Occupation, the occupation of the territories after the six-day war, the separation wall built by Israel, the organized attacks against the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Half of the Palestinians live under the poverty line.

Unemployment is dramatic and it gets more difficult for the Palestinians to work having to pass through the check-points which humiliate them daily. More than 5.5 million Palestinians are refugees while more than 10.000 Palestinians are imprisoned in more than 30 detention locations. Torturing and degradation is a daily routine for the Israeli army. More than 120 settlements have been built illegally in the occupied territories. The access to clean water and supplies is extremely limited. New numbers for more dead Palestinians are announced daily.
Those numbers may be showing the reality but they are not enough to describe the brutality experienced by the Palestinian People. Nor are they enough to describe the heroism and the self-sacrifice of the Palestinians who do not compromise, who continue to struggle against the imperialist barbarity against the murderous policy of Israel and the USA, for decades.

“Palestine” has also brought to light the dynamics and the power of the internationalist solidarity. The workers the ordinary people around the world are on the side of the Palestinians. They have chosen sides. The World Federation of Trade Unions with a consistent and stable action is standing on the side of the Palestinian People on struggle. It supports morally and practically this struggle. It organized campaigns to inform and to mobilize the working class worldwide to express the international solidarity.

We organized a three-day strike on the ports of the world in June 2010. We organized complaints in the ILO. We organized a solidarity campaign for the recognition of the Palestinian State in September 2011 where dozens of messages reached the International Organizations.
We state ones more that we will not seize to support the struggle of our brothers in Palestine until the goal for an independent, viable and democratic Palestine in the borders of 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital is succeeded.

We will continue with action and initiatives to demand:

The end of the settlements and the withdrawal of all settlers who have settled across the borders of 1967.

The demolition of the separation wall in Jerusalem.

All the Palestinian refugees to be granted the right to return to their homes, based on the relevant decisions of the UN

The elimination of any exclusion against the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza strip.

The immediate release of imprisoned Palestinians and other political prisoners kept in the Israeli prisons.

The withdrawal of the Israeli army from all the occupied territories of the 1967, including the Golan Heights and the Sheba area of Southern Lebanon.

Because history and its lessons teach us, brothers,

That the force of overthrow are the class-oriented, internationalist struggles. No positive development for the people has come out of the imperialist mechanisms. They cannot and the will not implement the vindication of the Palestinian People, they cannot and they will not impose peace in the Middle East. 

The imperialist interventions and the intra-imperialist rivalries in the countries of the North Africa, Middle East, in Afghanistan, in Iraq etc. prove that the UN today is utilized to legitimize the attacks and the occupation and to equalize the perpetrator and the victim. While the decisions of the UN against Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan are implemented rapidly, the dozens of decisions for a just solution for Palestine are still in papers, unapplied.

The real solution will come only through the continues heroic struggle of the Palestinian People with the support of the progressive popular and workers movement.
We have a duty, comrades, to do more.

We have a duty to edify the working class of our countries that the struggle for the wages, for the labour and social rights is in separately connected with the struggle, against imperialism, the struggle against the bourgeois-class which is squeezing the working class and our people, the struggle against the monopolies, the struggle for a society without exploitation.
The Palestinian People must be vindicated. This is our duty we are held accountable for every day.

The World Federation of Trade Unions with is members and friends who struggle in 120 countries of all the continents will continue to stand actively in the side of the Palestinian People.
This is a commitment we undertake here, in your presence. Until the final victory.

Viva the Palestinian People!            
Viva the Palestinian Struggle!

March 26, 2012

Occupy and JWJ Portland Spring 2012 events

Greetings!

This will be a busy Spring! 
Saturday, March 24 at 9am. In Peninsula Park (north of the  Rose Garden) A Vigil & Rally forJustice for Trayvon Martin and his family.  Trayvon was murdered a month ago and his killer is still on the streets. We will sing, mourn, and the legendary Marilyn Keller has agreed to come and help unify us in song. The piece will be "Lift Every Voice."  We we will rejoice and sing together in calling for accountability, justice, and healing.    

Nowruz: Iranian New Years Party, Tiffany Center, 1410 SW Morrison St, 7 pm, Join the PSU Arab Persian Student Organization and the Iranian Student Association of Portland for Iranian food and music. Traditional Persian music & a dance party. $10.00 but free for PSU students. more info:  http://www.facebook.com/events/360288840670567/?notif_t=event_invite
     * Sun., March 25 * BBQ & Office Work Party at The Alliance Office, 5926 N. Albina Ave. Please come by for FOOD and to help with filing, data entry, mailing, fliers, promotion, repair, sorting, hanging art, creating storefront display, etc. We light the grill at 1pm!
     * Sun., March 25 at 8:00pm til' March 26 at 12pm Slumber party at Portland City Hall: Dinner & creative action.  Bring tarps, hammocks, sleeping bags, etc. To help with food donations or anything else http://endtheban.blogspot.com/
     * Tues., March 27, 6:30pm, JWJ Outreach Committee, UNITE-HERE office, SE 12th and Madison
     * Tuesday March 27th 7-9pm Political Prisoner Letter Writing at Red & Black Cafe  400 SE 12th Avenue Portland, OR 97214
    * Tuesday March 27, The Portland Alliance Board Meeting at June Key Delta Community Center at 5940 N. Albina Ave. 6:30-8:30pm
 * Wed., March 28, 12pm, JWJ Faith-Labor Comm. 6025 E. Burnside       
    * Wed., March 28, 6pm, JWJ Global Justice Committee 6025 E. Burnside
     * Wed., March 28 - 5th Annual Vine Deloria Jr. Lecture Series, "Making the Invisible Visible: The Native American Community in Multnomah County: An Unsettling Profile", 4:30 PM, Reed College, Eliot Hall Chapel.  Cosponsored by the Multicultural Resource Center and the Office for Institutional Diversity at Reed.
     * Wed.. March 28 - History of Social Justice: The Free Speech Movement at Berkeley, Multnomah County Central Library 801 SW 10th Avenue, 6 - 7:30 pm, FREE.  The spark that ignited the social and political activism of young people in the decade known as "the 60s" A program of Occupy History and Our School.  historyofsocialjustice.wordpress.com
     * Fri., March 30 - National Occupation of Washington, DC begins! More info at www.nowdc.org  Gather for an American Spring in DC.
      * Fri., March 30, Occupation Nation: B Media's 5th Variety Show Premier 8-11pm at St. Francis Dining Hall:   330 SE 11th Ave, Portland, OR 97214-1317
       * Fri., March 30, Occupy Labor Solidarity (OLS)  Labor Notes Conference Fundraiser Party! 7-11pm  Musicians Union Hall, 325 NE 20th http://labornotes.org/ conference Fundraiser details:  Good Time, Labor & Great music Bands:  General Strike, with Al Bradbury, Miriams Well, Patchwork Family, and more! Food for sale, plus beer & wine   $5-15 sliding scale for more info, call 503-752-5112 
     * Sat., March 31 - Town Hall for Scott Fernandez, Candidate for Mayor of Portland, 10am to noon, St. John's Community Center, 8427 N. Central, St. Johns. Scott is the clean money candidate who has been advocating for years to keep our pure Bull Run water safe from corporate control. More info at http://scottfernandezformayor.com/* Sun., April 1, Benefit for Right to Dream 7-10pm Aurora Roarers, Felecia and the Dinosaur Garden City Refugee $5- $10 sliding scale Red and Black Cafe 400 SE 12th Ave
     * Mon., April 2, 5:30pm, Monthly Jobs with Justice Steering Committee Meeting at 6025 E. Burnside
     * Tues., April 3, 7-9pm, The Portland Alliance Editorial Meeting at Laughing Horse, 12 NE 10th St. Submit Writing, Help Plan Spring issue       
     * Thurs., April 5 Oregon WFP's Annual Fundraiser. Help the Oregon Working Families Party  Join Us at "A Major Party for the Minor Party" 6pm to late at Holocene 1001 SE Morrison St.
     * Friday, April 6th The Center for Intercultural Organizing (CIO) mayoral forum, 6-8pm at 700 N Killingsworth St, Portland, OR  RSVP to alton@interculturalorganizing.org or by calling (503) 287-4117, ext. 106.
     * April 6 at 5:00pm until April 8 at 6:00pm STUDENTS FOR UNITY PRESENTS The 3rd Annual Law & Disorder Conference at Portland State University/Smith Memorial Student Union: 1825 Southwest Broadway, Portland, OR 97201 Free, open to the public and disability affirmative
https:// lawandisorder.wordpress.com /author/lawandisorder/
lawandisorder@gmail.com
     * Fri., April 6 Gender and the Prison Industrial Complex: Towards a Queer, Trans and Feminist Abolition Politic
7:30-9:30pm PSU Smith Center - Room 333 Sponsored by Committee to Connect the Dots: weebly.razethewalls.com questions? connectthedots.connectthedots@gmail.com
     * Sat., April 7, Community Assembly to Create a People's Budget
1:00pm until 5:00pm at First Unitarian Church:     1211 SW Main Street
     * Thurs., April 12- 7to9pm / Political Prisoner Letter Writing at Reflections Coffee & Books / 446 Northeast Killingsworth Street
Portland, OR 97211
     * Sat., April 14-7pm, Inner City Blues Fest, A Benefit for the Oregon Single Payer Campaign:  Melody Ballroom, 615 SE Alder (JwJ) http://www.singlepayeroregon.org/
     * Tues., April 17-Tax Day Action Details TBA Contact www.jwjpdx.org
      * Sat., April 21, 7-11pm / party with progressives and support the MRG Foundation: with Afro-Cuban drummer and vocalist Virginia López & Spoken word artist/vocalist Toni Hill  - contact sheryl@mrgfoundation.org 1333 ne mlk jr blvd., Portland, OR 97232
     * Tues., April 24- 7to9pm / Political Prisoner Letter Writing at Red & Black Cafe / 400 SE 12th Avenue / Portland, OR 97214
     * Wed., April 25, 9am-6pm.Occunomics Global Teach In: Equity & Social Justice / First Unitarian Church, 1211 SW Main
     * Sat., April 28, National Protest Against the War on Women: 10am-1pm
State Capitols in all 50 States and DC
     * Tues. May 1st, MAY DAY, lots being planned, details TBA March will begin and end in South Park Blocks and will begin at 4:30pm.
     * Sat. May 5, 1pm-5pm Community Assembly for a People's Budget (Portland), First Unitarian Church, SW 12th @ Yamhill (Labor Solidarity Comm. of Occupy Portland)
     * Tues,. May 8- 7to9pm / Political Prisoner Letter Writing at Lucky Labrador: 1700 North Killingsworth Street / Portland, OR 97217

The Portland Alliance newspaper





The Alliance is a place to stand up for Peace, Justice, and Freedom:
http://www.ThePortlandAlliance.org/donate


And The Portland Alliance needs your help.

Dedicated organizers, writers, activists, and artists have been struggling for the past three years to fund and publish The Alliance. Now, more than ever, everyday people need a voice.    We have an online paper we are releasing tomorrow afternoon. And we have a Spring print edition in production. We need and want to print this spring, but this will require community support.  http://www.ThePortlandAlliance.org/donate

The Portland Alliance newspaper has been providing essential coverage in a radical underground paper for more than thirty years. The mainstream media misrepresents, downplays, or ignores real news. The Alliance published five print issues and two online issues in 2011. We maintain a comprehensive calendar and want to put a quality paper on the streets.

Call us at 503-327-8377, Fax to 503-327-8949, or donate by clicking below!
http://www.ThePortlandAlliance.org/donate

If you want this alternative resource to continue, we need volunteers, participation, and funding. We maintain a computer network with six workstations, two scanners, a fax, a copier, three printers, three phone lines, and networked radio & TV.  Our production office at 5926 N. Albina also includes a library, a reading room, and a small garden.  Stop on by! Visit your paper!  http://www.ThePortlandAlliance.org/donate

We are two blocks north of the PCC Cascade Campus.  You can send funds by visiting our home page at http://www.theportlandalliance.org

Just click on the donate button and enter any amount you can afford! (one dollar, five, ten, or hopefully more)  Each month we need 700+ dollars to pay the overhead (rent, utilities, storage, phones, & net) and another 1500 to create, research, edit, publish, print, and distribute the paper. None of our staff are currently paid. Lately we are lucky to cover the rent!


The Bottom Line
Right now, the corporate elite own congress, the courts, and the media. Everyday people have been wiretapped, rendered, tortured, raped, and murdered, while corporate leaders claim a right to pursue anyone, anytime, anywhere, for any reason...or for no reason at all. We could surrender in fear. But vital, active, radical, writing and creative art can give us a seat at the table. If you believe in peace, justice, and freedom: Visit our donations page and help keep the Alliance around for another 30 years.
http://www.ThePortlandAlliance.org/donate


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Song for Trayvon

March 24, 2012

To the Oklahoma Lawmakers: a poem

Lauren Zuniga performs a poem for the Oklahoma legislators that continually propose anti-choice legislation. The bill referred to here would require women to receive an ultrasound and listen to the baby's heartbeat before an abortion. It is still being challenged in court. Since 2010, various other bills including, "No Fetus in Food" and "Personhood" have been introduced as a way to circumvent Roe V. Wade and shame women. View more poems at http://laurenzuniga.com


"Prenez le pouvoir": Citizens' Insurrection by the People of the Left at the Bastille

ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Insurrection citoyenne du peuple de gauche à la Bastille

Citizens' Insurrection by the People of the Left at the Bastille

By Mina Kaci and Marie-Jose Sirach, l'Humanite (France)
March 20, 2012

http://www.humaniteinenglish.com/spip.php?article1996
120,000 persons launched an assault on the Place de la Bastille in Paris, this Sunday 18    March, at the call of the Front de gauche.  Never before seen in a presidential campaign. A bet won by Jean-Luc Melenchon.

The people of the Left is in the streets. This is perhaps the first political lesson to be drawn from
this day, a turning point in the presidential campaign. Live from the Place de la Bastille, the first
participative demonstration to pound the paving stones of Paris, the first popular meeting in open air. Workers, teachers, employees, managers, researchers, railway workers, students, people with marginal employment, unemployed, retired ... they have come, and they are all here. From Paris and the suburbs, from the Var (in the south-east) or from the depths of the
Ariege (in the south-west), from the Vendee (in the west) or from the North, en passant par la Lorraine [1] (in the east). On scooters, bicycles, by car, by train, car-sharing, some wearing Phrygian hats, others with women's revolutionary white hats, waving red flags or the French tri-color flags.

"Even in pouring rain, we'd have come all the same", Jacqueline, from Orleans, says. The number of demonstrators keeps growing by the hour. At 2:32 pm the first demonstrators enter the Faubourg Saint-Antoine. Joy is in the air, with young people, old-timers, and kids. "Let's reinvent happiness", one woman has scribbled on a piece of cardboard. At 4 pm, "We are
already more than 100,000", a voice cries from the
podium, where musicians and comedians follow one
another in a quick succession of acts, leading to the
speech by Jean-Luc Melenchon. It is a long human chain
preparing "a citizens' revolution".

History never repeats itself. But this Sunday has an air of Spring, reminiscent of the Popular Front, of the Commune de Paris, of the French Revolution. "Who would have bet as much as a kopek six months ago on the success of such a meeting", an old Communist on the Faubourg Saint-Antoine whispers to us.

Is Jean-Luc Melenchon in the process of meeting the challenge he set for himself, namely, "to set the whole of society on fire", staking his all on the political re-awakening of the blue collar class, to whom he addressed his early meetings? The extent to which he has succeeded can be measured by the presence of contingents of workers from many companies sacrificed to their owners' greed: Fralib, Thales, Sodimedical, ArcelorMittal, Still-Saxby, Petroplus, M'Real, Arkema, ... [2]. These workers have come to "set fires", as Fabien says gayly, one of the guys from ArcelorMittal in his blue overalls, walking beside his buddies.

But the Bastille rally far outnumbers its blue collar core. One demonstrator whom we happen to meet between Nation and the Bastille, called Patrick, a teacher from the Haute-Savoie, is convinced that "A citizens' insurrection is absolutely necessary. In my profession, people suffer from a loss of meaning of their work. We labor under a kind of collective schizophrenia. That's
why the citizens' insurrection is what is needed." Caroline, a 20-year old architect, says to us: "People of my own generation find it hard to find their place in society, no matter where you look. We just can't wait years for change." And yet this young woman has joined the march out of curiosity, not being sure for whom she will vote, but "to see for myself this much talked-of movement". The same is true of Andre Manoukian, a musician who has come with his family. "It
is a fine day to march, I intended to cast a 'useful vote' [3], but ... I wanted to see with my own eyes."

In our own hands the political future lies

Farther on a demonstrator named Luc, who took the 5:20 am train from Toulon, declares, "We are the French early-risers [4], gathered here to take part in a citizens' insurrection". A   seventy-five year-old woman, Jacqueline, has also left home in the mountain peaks of
the Savoie to take part in the storming of the Bastille. Guillaume Kervern, a film maker and citizen of Groland [5], is also in the march: "I like Melenchon a lot. I have fallen under the charm of his oratory, of  his humor, of his ideas. In Groland we are divided between Hollande and  Melenchon, and I'm for Melenchon."

How has this happened? Jean-Philippe and Annie-Pierre left by automobile at 3 am from the Lot-et-Garonne (in the south-west). In 2007 they believed what Sarkozy was saying, and even campaigned for him. Today, they define themselves as "the disappointed lot of Sarkozism.
Sarkozy has left people to die of hunger." So when Melenchon calls upon the people to wake up, they are in 100% agreement: "It is in our hands that the political future lies. The insurrection, for us, is to take political power. We are not afraid." As if echoed by the sentiments of Pierre Laurent, national secretary of the French Communist Party [6], some minutes later:
"This march is not a demonstration of force. It is above all a call to those who have not yet joined us, to say to them: Look at what has been set in motion. It is the people. Citizens who, for the most part, have come to play an active role in the campaign. And we don't say 'support us' to these citizens , but 'prenez le pouvoir' [7].

How has this happened? The people who won the "Non"  vote on the European Constitution in 2005 have been reawakened. 'Groggy' for a while, they seem to find new hope and have a steel-like conviction as to their power  to weigh in the balance of forces. "The movement is
deep because it is not simply there to bear witness. It is a battle that will have its effects in the middle and long term", an analysis by Christian Piquet.  Spokesman for the Gauche unitaire, he explains: "We are building a force indispensable for the defeat of the right, and also for the redistribution of the cards on the Left."

Melenchon cites Louise Michel, Jules Valles, and the  poet Antonio Machado

A movement all the more credible since the polls credit the candidate of the Front de gauche with 11% of intended votes, twice what was polled last autumn. The Front de gauche has become the undeniable force on the  new political chessboard, because it has succeeded in giving confidence to the people of the Left, who, this afternoon, raise their heads and rediscover their pride.

It is 5 pm when Jean-Luc Melenchon takes the podium.  The Place de la Bastille cannot contain the assembled crowd, which squeezes into the nearby streets. "We are the cry of the people," he launches, "the people forgotten, despised, abandoned ... the cry of those who
wish to bring their intelligence to the common cause, who refuse the moral positions of egoism. I call on you to begin the springtime of the people!" Melenchon cites Louise Michel, Jules Valles and the poet Antonio  Machado: "The road is made by walking" [8] calling on the people to occupy all the public squares in all the towns and villages of France. The Front de gauche gives
rendez-vous for the 5th of April at the Place du  Capitole in Toulouse, and the 14th of April in the
square of the Prado in Marseille. Spread the word!!

Translator's note: We will make an effort to provide an English translation of Jean-Luc Melenchon's address at  the Bastille, and will place the link here when and if it is available. In the meanwhile, you can view the event and listen to the French text at

http://www.placeaupeuple2012.fr/discours-de-jean-luc-melenchon-a-la-bastille/

Photos are simple screen captures from the web site of the Front de gauche, from a video of the event made by DailyMotion.

Related articles (in English):

- An introduction to the event, "Storming the Bastille" by Maurice Ulrich.

http://truth-out.org/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=7288:storming-the-bastille

- An interview of Jean-Luc Melenchon by nine student journalists working to produce one issue of the daily newspaper l'Humanite.

http://www.humaniteinenglish.com/spip.php?article1993

[1] This taken from a traditional song.

[2] Companies that have recently announced plant closings and delocalizations for economic reasons, often in the presence of profitable operations. For example, Fralib, in Aubagne, near Marseille, is the sole factory of the group Unilever that produces Lipton teas and Elephant infusions. The plant closing was announced in September 2010. The layoffs were judged to be unjustified, after a hearing by the appeals court of Aix-en-Provence.

[3] Translator's note: The vote utile, the "useful vote", suggesting that to vote otherwise is  "useless", is the idea that it is not safe to vote for a third party because that might permit the extreme right wing candidate to slip into second place, leaving a run-off second tour  guaranteeing the election of the right wing (incumbent) candidate, as happened in France in 2002. This concept is the foundation stone of "bipartism" and  "alternation", which has led, in many countries, such as Germany, Italy, Spain, and the US, to the formation of two increasingly similar parties with much the same politics, a soft, merely nominal, alternative, and to  increasing scores for voter abstention. The Socialist Party candidate started using this argument as his main campaign theme, but has now backed off, asserting that "Every vote is useful". The Front de gauche has pointed  out that this year it is virtually impossible not to have a candidate of the Left present in the run-off, be it Hollande (PS) or Melenchon (Fdg).

[4] "La France qui de leve tot", early risers, is an allusion to Sarkozy's slogan in the 2007 campaign: he boasted of being the candidate of all those whom he called hard-working people, those who get up early in the morning to go to work. So Luc can be counted among the deçus de Sarkozy, those disillusioned by these last five years of Sarkozy's anti-labor politics.

[5] Groland is an imaginary country, subject of a nightly comedy routine for terse political ridicule and commentary on the television channel Canal Plus.

[6] The PCF, a leading element of the Front de gauche

[7] 'Take power'

[8] From the Wikipedia article "Antonio Machado":

- "Wanderer, your footsteps are
- the road, and nothing more;
- wanderer, there is no road,
- the road is made by walking.
- By walking one makes the road,
- and upon glancing behind
- one sees the path
- that never will be trod again.
- Wanderer, there is no road-
- Only wakes upon the sea."

from "Proverbios y cantares" in Campos de Castilla. 1912

Translated Tuesday 20 March 2012, by Henry Crapo and reviewed by Isabelle Métral

Progressive Caucus Announces Budget for All