Friday, November 24, 2006

The return of the Sandinistas

Kevin Simpson, CWI London, reports:
As Daniel Ortega, leader of the Sandinistas, scraped home as president, thousands took to the streets of the capital, Managua, hooting car horns, sounding football klaxons and setting off fireworks to celebrate the victory.

The Bush administration was horrified. But is this the same Ortega who led the Sandinistas to power in 1979? Does this represent another shift to the left in Latin America?

The ‘thumping’ that Bush and the Republicans received in the US mid-term elections overshadowed another symbolic defeat for US imperialism just 24 hours later. This time it was south of the Rio Grande in Nicaragua where legislative and presidential elections took place. It was not a good week for the reactionary right-wing cabal heading the US superpower.

Continued: 21-Nov-2006, The return of the Sandinistas, CWI

Monday, November 20, 2006

CIA finds no evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program

Just in case you were wondering:

A classified CIA analysis finds no evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. It is based on intelligence collected by satellites, radioactivity measurements of water samples and plumes from industrial plants, and data gathered by high-tech radioactivity-detection devices placed by American and Israeli agents near suspected sites in Iran.

read more | digg story

Sunday, November 19, 2006

“V” Makes A Mark In DC - Vendetta Protest Continues!

En masse activist resistance takes a cue from the movie, “V for Vendetta.”

At 11:00 A.M. on Tuesday, November 14, 2006, nearly 100 men and women in “V” masks and clothing could be seen walking along different streets in downtown Washington, DC, all heading to Lafayette Park across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House.

They protested against an unaccountable US government using tax dollars for an illegal war.

read more | digg story

Bombay Sapphire Martini

Bombay SapphireIn the comments section, this humble bloggers favorite bourgeois apologist, David Duff had this to say:
If that isn't the damnest thing! Until 5 days ago I had never heard of a "Bombay Sapphire martini" until you mentioned it and now, this very evening, reading yet another 'Crash-Bang-Wallop' (my knickname for American crime fiction to which I am addicted and which I buy by weight rather than book by book!), in this case "Black River" by G. M. Ford, and there in chapter 5 it mentions exactly that drink.

God, or historicial inevitability (I know which you prefer), is telling me something here, 'RinR', so please, tell me how this drink is made.
Historical inevitability for certain sir.

Quite simple really. The Reverend Horton Heat once said "I live my life on a layer of ice" and indeed, in my estimation, this is the key to a good martini of any sort, but most especially the Bombay Sapphire.

The key ingredient is unsurprisingly Bombay Sapphire Gin (or to the politically correct, MumbiaSapphire Gin, hehe). Also, it is well worth noting that a fine martini glass is required for maximum enjoyment. A very thin rim is preferred.

First off, fill your cocktail shaker with crushed ice.

Second, place two jiggers of Bombay sapphire Gin into the shaker.

Third, shake vigorously, until frost forms on the shaker. This breaks up the ice creating a somewhat slushy mixture which is your first key, and also fully releases the botanicals, which is your second key.

Fourth, put a pony of Martini & Rossi Extra Dry Vermouth into the gin glass. Gently swirl the martini glass to coat the entire inside of the glass with vermouth (much like you would with wine to see its "legs").

Fifth, give the gin a few more good shakes, then using the filter, pour it into the martini glass, it should come to about 1-2mm below the rim. A pleasant release of botanicals, smelling somewhat like fresh pine needles, should fill your senses. After a few seconds a layer of ice should form on the surface of the martini.

Sixth, if so inclined, drop a couple of Spanish Queen Olives into the martini.

For Christmas time, dropping two or three Peppermint Starlight Mints is a very enjoyable holiday alternative to the olives.

Voila! Enjoy!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Oaxaca Teachers Strike

Oaxaca Teacher Strike Police Repression
Some have asked me why I am socialist. I will continue to use this blog to present not only why I am a socialist but why it is in the best interest of humanity that we ALL become socialist.

Case in point, the teachers strike of Oaxaca.

Socialist press (Presa Latina) coverage:
Oaxaca Teachers Keep up Fight

The teachers in Oaxaca voiced support for local popular resistance to keep barricades up and refuse to talk with the government after the occupation.

Enrique Rueda Pacheco, Teachers Union secretary, said 80 percent of the state s schools were open amid tense calm, except Oaxaca and the periphery.

The Teachers from the union s Section 22 will get Friday their wage of two weeks plus another two for the first time in five months, following government fulfillment of agreements to restore normalcy.
Over in cartoonland, the capitalist press coverage (New York Times):
Oaxaca Youth Attack McDonald's

OAXACA, Mexico, Nov. 12 (AP) — Four youths wearing masks tossed gasoline bombs at a McDonald’s restaurant in the conflict-torn city of Oaxaca on Sunday, the police said.

The restaurant is near the university where leftist protesters set up their headquarters last month after the police drove them out of the city’s main plaza. They had occupied the plaza for five months in an effort to force the resignation of the Oaxaca governor.
Reminds me of the Phil Ochs song "Love Me I'm a Liberal" - a lesson in safe logic - the Times is a tool of capital and should never be confused as being anything but.

Although many mainstream media are saying the strike is over, the reports from alternative media say that the rank and file have rejected the truce.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Socialist Holidays

I would like to assemble a list of socialist holidays and this is a start. Please contribute or let me know if there are complete lists out there. Note these are not necessarily exclusively socialist in nature. So please, contribute anything you may have!
  • March 8th, International Women's Day - The United Nations declares this day to celebrate women and the accomplishments they have made to society. Many marches and rallies, including the "Bread and Roses" marches, have been historically held on in rememberance of this day. In the former Soviet Union, it is traditional on this holiday to present women with gifts and flowers to express appreciation for their work, love and devotion. It can be regarded as the equivalent of Mother's Day combined with some aspects of Valentine's Day.
  • May 1st, May Day - Remembering the Haymarket martyrs, May Day, or International Workers Day, is a celebration of the social and economic achievements of the international labor movement. May Day commonly sees organized street demonstrations by hundreds of thousands of working people and their labor unions throughout the world.
  • November 7th, Day of the Great Socialist October Revoution - Remembers the day in 1917 when the October Revolution toppled the Russian government and established the first socialist country in the world, changing history forever.

Holiday in the Sun

James Connolly on holidays (an excerpt from Socialism Made Easy). For some reason, reading this always makes me start humming Holiday in the Sun by the Sex Pistols.

Sure: Say, where were you for the holidays?

Were you tempted to go abroad? Did you visit Europe? Did you riot, in all the abandonment of a wage slave let loose, among the pleasure haunts of the world?

Perhaps you went to the Riviera; perhaps you luxuriated in ecstatic worship of that glorious bit of Nature's handiwork where the blue waters of the Mediterranean roll in all their entrancing splendor against the shores of classic Italy.

Perhaps you rambled among the vine clad hills of sunny France, and visited the spots hallowed by the hand of that country's glorious history.

Perhaps you sailed up the castellated Rhine, toasted the eyes of bewitching German frauleins in frothy German beer, explored the recesses of the legend haunted Hartz mountains, and established a nodding acquaintance with the Spirit of the Brocken.

Perhaps you traversed the lakes and fjords of Norway, sat down in awe before the neglected magnificence of the Alhambra, had a cup of coffee with Menelik of Abyssinia, smelt afar off the odors of the streets of Morocco, climbed the Pyramids of Egypt, shared the hospitable tent of the Bedouin, visited Cyprus, looked in at Constantinople, ogled the dark- eyed beauties of Circassia, rubbed up against the Cossack in his Ural mountains, or

Perhaps you lay in bed all day in order to save a meal, and listened to your wife wondering how she could make ends meet with a day's pay short in the weekly wages.

And whilst you thus squandered your substance in riotous living, did you ever stop to think of your master - your poor, dear, overworked, tired master?

Did you ever stop to reflect upon the pitiable condition of that individual who so kindly provides you with employment, and does no useful work himself in order that you may get plenty of it?

When you consider how hard a task it was for you to decide in what manner you should spend your Holiday; where you should go for that ONE DAY, then you must perceive how hard it is for your masters to find a way in which to spend the practically perpetual holiday which you force upon them by your love for work.

Ah, yes, that large section of our masters who have realized that ideal of complete idleness after which all our masters strive, those men who do not work, never did work, and with the help of God - and the ignorance of the people - never intend to work, how terrible must be their lot in life!

We, who toil from early morn till late at night, from January till December, from childhood to old age, have no care or trouble or mental anxiety to cross our mind - except the landlord, the fear of loss of employment, the danger of sickness, the lack of common necessities, to say nothing of luxuries, for our children, the insolence of our superiors, the unhealthy condition of our homes, the exhausting nature of our toil, the lack of all opportunities of mental cultivation, and the ever present question whether we shall shuffle off this mortal coil in a miserable garret, be killed by hard work, or die in the Poorhouse.

With these trifling exceptions we have nothing to bother us; but the boss, ah, the poor, poor boss!

He has everything to bother him. Whilst we are amusing ourselves in the hold of a ship shoveling coal, swinging a hammer in front of a forge, toiling up a ladder with bricks, stitching until our eyes grow dim at the board, gaily riding up and down for twelve hours per day, seven days per week, on a trolley car, riding around the city in all weather with teams or swinging by the skin of our teeth on the iron framework of a skyscraper, standing at our ease OUTSIDE the printing office door listening to the musical click of the linotype as it performs the work we used to do INSIDE, telling each other comforting stories about the new machinery which takes our places as carpenters, harness-makers, tinplate-workers, laborers, etc., in short whilst we are enjoying our- selves, free from all mental worry.

Our unselfish tired-out bosses are sitting at home, with their feet on the table, softly patting the bottom button of their vests.

Working with their brains.

Poor bosses! Mighty brains!

Without our toil they would never get the education necessary to develop their brains; if we were not defrauded by their class of the fruits of our toil we could provide for education enough to develop the mental powers of all, and so deprive the ruling class of the last vestige of an excuse for clinging to mastership, viz., their assumed intellectual superiority.

I say 'assumed', because the greater part of the brain- work of industry today is performed by men taken from the ranks of the workers, and paid high salaries in proportion as they develop expertness as slave-drivers.

As education spreads among the people the workers will want to enjoy life more; they will assert their right to the full fruits of their labor, and by that act of self-assertion lay the foundation of that Socialist Republic in which the labor will be so easy, and the reward so great, that life will seem a perpetual holiday.

Socialism In One Village

From, a wonderful story of a village in Armenia where Communism is a way of life:

"Long Live Communism!," "Long Live Socialism!," "Long Live the Great October Revolution!" In the Armenian village of Lernamerdz, about 40 kilometers from Yerevan, communism and its triumphant proclamations are not a dim recollection. They are a way of life.

In Soviet times, there were reportedly only seven communists in Lernamerdz, a hamlet of over 500 residents. But the situation changed after Armenia gained independence in 1991, and began to dismantle monuments to communist leaders, villagers say.

Amidst the economic hardships and political uncertainties of independence, Lernamerdz Communist Party Secretary Samvel Mirzoyan says, the village began to see socialism as their sole support.
"They say the country has become independent, but from what?" commented villager Azat Barseghyan. "Once we were dependent on Russia, and lived well… [T]oday we depend on the whole world and are struggling to survive."

"The example of Lernamerdz is a good illustration of what great results people’s unity and rallying around a common idea can bring," said Armenian Communist Party First Secretary Ruben Tovmasyan. "The powerful ideology of socialism cannot die. It can retreat for a while, but it is certain to come back and triumph." Communist Party membership in Armenia currently stands at about 18,000 members; the party has no seats in parliament.

The lack of political muscle does little to dissuade these villagers, though. Nearly 15 years after the fall of the Soviet Union, the first toast at birthday and wedding parties here is in honor of Vladimir Lenin. Unlike elsewhere in Armenia, schoolchildren are familiar with communist holidays, and can recite by heart poetry dedicated to the now much-maligned leader of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.

And as in Soviet times, November 7, the anniversary of that revolution, remains cause for official celebration, with Communist Party representatives from nearby towns and the party’s national leadership on hand to congratulate villagers.

"Our leader is with us, hurrah!" ring out the cries of villagers applauding a silvery two-ton statue of Lenin that stands in the center of the village. The monument, adorned with a red banner that proclaims "Proletarians of All Countries, Unite!," arrived only in 1997. It is repaired every year to maintain its appearance.

The central government’s enthusiasm for the festivities runs thin, however. Villagers told EurasiaNet that the government had changed the principal of the Lernamerdz school and forbidden children to come to school in red scarves, or to take part in the November 7 celebration. But some still attended.

"The spirit of communism is in this village," commented Sofik Manukyan, second secretary of the Echmiadzin city branch of the Armenian Communist Party.

Even so, that "spirit" has so far done little to improve living conditions for village inhabitants. Unemployment still looms large. Some 150 people have left Lernamerdz in the past few years, said villager Barseghyan. Twenty-three houses have had their doors locked for years, he added.

Nonetheless, optimism for a better life persists. It is all just a matter of time, villagers say.

"When communism returns to Armenia, people will lead a happy life," concluded 41-year-old Rostam Avdalyan. "Everyone will be happy then and the sun will shine brightly."

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Carnival of Socialism 10

The Carnival of Socialism #10 was posted on Oct 22. Sorry for the delay - I'm not quite as blogtastic as I used to be.
Carnival Number 10!
This is the tenth Carnival of Socialism and the first subject-specific one. I have had a lot of fun running the Carnival for its first ten issues but feel now that it needs a change of style and pace - so anyone who wants to take over from me should either comment or email