Tuesday, June 21, 2005

We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident...

"...that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness..."

The Civil Rights Movement is perhaps one of the proudest moments not just of the United States, but also of the entire industrialised world. A country created with a declaration that enshrined the rights of man, and a constitution that protected slavery, America has always been a paradox: a land of the free where nothing, not even the most basic goods or services, are free; the richest country on earth where millions live in abject poverty to sustain a privileged few; the vanguard of "democracy" where one man rules supreme. The Civil Rights Movement is memorable, then, because it symbolized the oppressed and the downtrodden, having decided enough was enough, rising up against a corrupt, rotten system which allowed no opposition to its racist foundations.

Nowadays, media moguls and politicians try and write off the significance of the black struggle against the United States, its repression and discrimination. Not once in any history book is the true nature of the Civil Rights Movement related to the global wave of national liberation movements that swept the world and brought imperialism and racism to its knees, for to do so would be to highlight just how far the reactionary political elite is willing to go to maintain its privileges and its authority. Instead, the struggle is simplified, and no attempt is made to relate the issue of American racism to the more general economic and political discrimination of the capitalist system, which to this day continues to exploit the vulnerable.

I have heard people sincerely argue that there is no longer any issue of racism in America, that the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act solved everything. This is pure fantasy. While much has been achieved, racist attitudes remain. More important, however, is that the economic and class divisions within the United States have not changed. In a society ruled by the dollar, politicians are not likely to reform the "free market", or even to substantially redistribute wealth, because this undermines their political authority, which is based upon their material wealth. This aspect of the Civil Rights Movement, the abolition of the socio-economic causes of oppression, has been forgotten, replaced by a fairy-tale where everyone goes home happy

The simplification of the Civil Rights battle has gone so far as to portray the non-violent groups, Martin Luther King and so on, as benevolent prophets of change, and those unwilling to turn their head in the face of repression, Malcolm X and the other so-called militants, as thugs and intolerant black terrorists. King, good, Malcolm, bad - this is how the bosses want the Civil Rights Movement to be remembered, how they want children to grow up and learn it. They want, no they need people to never consider even the most basic type of direct action or self-defence - they want people to march, holding hands and making speeches, in hope that the bosses will compromise with the masses. They never want to see another Black Panther Party!

Ah, the Black Panthers. Even Martin Luther King was attacked for condemning the capitalist exploitation of the developing world majority , and yet the Black Panthers never flinched and never stood down from their total opposition to the American government and, eventually, American capitalism. Following in the footsteps of Malcolm X, they recognised that remaining passive and "respectable" wasn't going to get them anywhere, and that they had to stand up for themselves. Understanding that true equality, true freedom, comes not from laws and governments but from the streets, they stood up and took direct control of their own communities, hoping to finally achieve their goal of "All Power to the People".

Established at first to defend black and minority communities from the racist politicians and their lackeys, the police, the Black Panthers built a grassroots revolutionary movement, aiming for international working-class unity and popular emancipation from capitalism, racism and all other inherently discriminatory systems. Working with white revolutionary Parties, the Panthers established themselves as the vanguard of a true revolutionary movement, unafraid of taking on the roles of a government that was dedicated solely to suppressing all opposition. Their empowering, "Do It Yourself" attitude towards self-organisation and black and working-class liberation should today serve as a model for downtrodden workers of all countries.

Just as we must remember the revolutionary arm of the Civil Rights Movement, which managed to convince the street gangs to turn their efforts to productive ends, fed thousands and thousands of black children a free breakfast every day, and operated a great many other similar programmes, just as we remember it, so we must remember why it was necessary. With the approval and direction of the federal government, the FBI destroyed the Black Panther Party through the illegal assassination of its leaders, ruthless police brutality, and the corruption of its members through the use of narcotics and deceit. The Panther leaders, serving as the political consciousness of the movement, were hunted down and liquidated, leaving those black Americans who sympathised with the Panthers with the same sense of alienation and social disillusion as before, but none of the political guidance. African-Americans may have won the vote, their "civil rights", but they - and workers of all colours, creeds and sexes - have still not managed to secure their inalienable human rights.
They came down on us because we had a grass-roots, real people's revolution, complete with the programs, complete with the unity, complete with the working coalitions, we were crossing racial lines. That synergetic statement of "All power to all the people," "Down with the racist pig power structure" -- we were not talking about the average white person: we were talking about the corporate money rich and the racist jive politicians and the lackeys, as we used to call them, for the government who perpetuates all this exploitation and racism."
~ Bobby Seale, co-founder and Chairman of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defence, interviewed in 1996

Friday, June 10, 2005

Sanders Steps Up

Bernie Sanders is an inspiration to us all.

In These Times has a wonderful interview with the only Socialist in the American Congress, Rep Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Sanders states:
What we really have got to do is bring about a fundamental political change in this country. We need to change political consciousness and focus on the reality that many working people are voting against their own economic interests because political leaders are not speaking to the interests of working people. My goal is to form a new relationship between grassroots America and Washington, to coordinate activities, and to create what the vast majority of people in this country want--economic justice and not a government run by the very, very wealthy. It's going to take a lot of work. It's not going to happen overnight. But that's my goal.
I couldn't agree more. Sanders is currently running for the US Senate and it looks like he is a shoe-in to win. Check out the full article here.

Subscribe to In These Times while you are at it - its a great magazine and everyone's favorite lefty political philosopher, Slavoj Žižek happens to be a frequent contributor.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Downing Street Won't Go Away

The ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee has scheduled hearings on the 2002 minutes between senior British and American officials which asserted that intelligence was "being fixed" to support the case for war in Iraq.

Read the full story at Shakespeare's Sister.

There's Something About Europe

"What do you know about freedom? You think freedom means doing what you like. Well, you’re wrong. That isn’t true freedom. True freedom means doing what I tell you."
~ C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle

In the past week or so, even though the French stuck two fingers up to the establishment and the Dutch packed up their toys and ran home, various members of the European political elite have all been urging member-states to continue the process of ratifying the EU constitutional treaty. That the British government has decided it won't be holding a referendum, simply because it knows now it wouldn't get the answer it wanted, is neither here nor there - while Blighty may have put on hold the veritable circus that would ensue during a referendum, this latest display of apathy towards the people highlights the major defect of the Union. Quite frankly, whatever your political beliefs, unless you're absolutely deluded, you will have realised that the careerist bureaucrats and professional politicians of the EU are absolutely insane.


Not content with the unaccountable Rich Men's Club they've already managed to create against a background of political apathy and disillusionment amongst the European workers, they have now been exposed as having absolutely no respect for the people they supposedly represent. Their hope behind attempting to continue the ratification process is a simple one - go back to the French and the Dutch in a few years, and ask them to vote: but this time please tick the correct option. Some of these people even have the gall to utter that "Europe is not any one country", as though the European Union suddenlt stands for justice and defending the majority of honest, intelligent people (i.e. those who voted yes) from some uppity locals who are causing trouble.

Well guess what - they built the EU along national lines, now it's time to pay the price. Instead of a cooperative association of European peoples, these bastards modelled the European Union on the same undemocratic, authoritarian principles by which its members govern. Instead of promoting internationalism and solidarity, they promoted markets and an emerging super state. Of course France is Europe, or at least the European Union: when you base an organisation on the State, the biggest one wins. You can't suddenly decide that the EU is opposed to nationally orientated decisions, when the only reason your emerging technocracy exists is because you pander to national sentiments. Listen to Chirac - Europe wasn't good for the French workers, it was good for "France", that abstract collective of politicians, enforcers and profiteers.

Twenty-five different flavours,
none fit for human consumption.

I must admit, deep down I'm glad the referendum in Britain has been held off - because were it to be held next year, the opposition movement would be fought by reactionaries and xenophobes - a national solution to a supranational problem. It would set British people back even further in their view of the world - associating, say, the French or Germans with the un-elected bureaucrats who govern all of us, instead of realising they are similar victims of neo-liberalism and a "representative democracy" that is neither representative nor democratic. Even in France, the constitution was denounced as Anglo-Saxon. Europe will always suffer when nationalism, however diluted, is allowed to fester unnoticed and uncontested.

I am not against Europe, far from it. What I am against is nationalism and division, authority and unaccountability. Whether it's "Europe" or France, Germany or England - the establishment will throw abstractions at us when they need us to comply, to confuse and divide people. Internationalism is the only principle that can save Europe from collapsing into xenophobia or expanding into a monstrous bureaucratic parasite. That one noble ideal is what separates the Left from both the mainstream supporters and opponents of the constitution.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

French Say No To A Neo-Liberal Europe

This is a bit of late news, but as I predicted, the French have voted "No" to the EU Constitution. This is great news as the EU is currently a tool for spreading neo-liberalist capitalism down the throats of Europeans. Hopefully this will embolden the socialist and communists of Europe to fight for a unity that does not sacrifice socialist values.

More here: The Periscope

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


L'elicottero AB 412 sul quale viaggiavano i nostri soldati

È di poche ore fa l'annuccio della presunta caduta di un elicottero italiano in Iraq a causa di una tempesta di sabbia, dove quattro nostri soldati hanno perso la vita. È uno tra i tanti scontrini da pagare per l'elezione a premier di Silvio Berlusconi, che, nel suo stile oppurtunista e profittatore, ha seguito Bush in questa immonda campagna di guerra alla stregua del suo Fido collega Blair, premier inglese recentemente confermato al governo da un popolo tenuto all'oscuro della verità.

Perchè siamo entrati in guerra?
Per la Democrazia.
Quale Democrazia?
Quella degli altri.

Una parola ormai vuota,la democrazia.Giusto per gusto citazionistico, è da ricordare una nota marca italiana di cucine il cui slogan recita "La Democrazia in cucina."

Che senso ha?

Non ne ha alcuno. La Democrazia (fin quando sarò vivo Democrazia avrà la prima lettera scritta in maiuscolo, perchè rappresenta quello in cui noi lottiamo per davvero, il governo del popolo, del Demos.),in realtà, si è trasformata in un'oligarchia mantenuta da ex fascisti e da ex socialisti vendutisi al nemico.Una cosa però è da apprezzare:essi riescono ad essere uniti.Noi no.

Quale è il motivo?

Un proverbio italiano recita:"Quando troppi galli cantano non fa mai sole". Purtroppo per noi è proprio così, sarà forse per l'enorme capacità di idee che ci appartengono, forse per i diversi slanci sociali caratteristici di ogni fazione di sinistra, non riusciamo a coalizzarci.L'Unione stessa ha fallito il suo scopo, ancora prima di entrare in gioco.

Quando metteremo la testa a posto?