Sunday, October 16, 2011

Rayon McIntosh Goes Down Swinging

The "Daily What" reports:
Fast-Food Fracas of the Day: A McDonald’s cashier with a history of violence was charged with two counts of felony assault after bashing in the head of a customer with a metal rod.

The entire disturbing incident was caught on camera, and posted to YouTube.

31-year-old Rayon McIntosh was arguing with two female customers over the authenticity of a $50 bill they paid with, when one of women slapped him. She then proceeded to walk behind the register while the other customer jumped over the counter.
Obviously all of these people are ultimately responsible for their own actions, nevertheless I have a few observations: 1) why do people have to counterfeit money to buy McDonalds food? Why is a 31 yr old man working at McDonalds? Why is disrespect and aggressive, rude behavior a social norm? It is hard for white, non-destitute individuals to imagine the grinding pain and hopelessness of these people's situation; it's even harder to imagine a way to change society so fundamentally that we stop producing them.

As Che Guevara wrote in "Socialism and The New Man" (p205,258):
to build the new man.… It is not a matter of how many kilograms of meat one has to eat, nor of how many times a year someone can go to the beach, nor how many pretty things from abroad you might be able to buy with present-day wages. It is a matter of making the individual feel more complete…
So the point being: YES! Lock up violent criminals today... But at the same time, build the society of tomorrow which eliminates the production of violent criminals in the first place. That society shall not one based on greed and disparity, but on love, equality and social justice.

Art: Salvador Dali: Geopoliticus Child Watching the Birth of the New Man (1943)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Five Minutes to Dawn

Below is an excerpt from a pamphlet handed out by Kasama members at the Occupy Wall Street march.
It is no longer five minutes to midnight. After Arab Spring leaps to Spain, and Greece, and on to New York’s Wall Street, it suddenly feels like five minutes to dawn.

For so long, all of the things that leave people crying at night: the numbing global poverty itself, the painful loneliness of atomized non-community, the discarding of the old and the young, endless war for dominance, global structures of empire, the ravaging of nature, the manufacture of ignorance, intolerance and bigotry, the rape and casual daily brutality toward women — all of these things have seemed untouchable and permanent.

Now suddenly…a different day is approaching — where we can increasingly see and act in in startling ways, with rippling new impact. Ears perk up. Sights are raised. The pulse quickens. Suddenly we recognize the faces of others — once unknown to us — animated and awake with a common spirit. The powerful look discredited and vulnerable.

Morning is coming…. Go and wake the sleeping ones.
Full PDF of pamphlet: Five Minutes to Dawn

Friday, September 09, 2011

Bourgeois pundits ponder Marx

Repost from Louis Proyect:
Over the past few months there has been a bumper crop of articles in elite publications such as the Financial Times making the case that Karl Marx was right—or mostly right. This is understandable given the perilous times we are living through. The kind of Panglossian message found in Fukuyama’s End of History is ill-suited to a world edged on the precipice of economic ruin, largely beyond the capability of the world bourgeoisie to resolve.

Full post

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

London Riots

From Indymedia London:
Parts of London are still burning after an enormous third night of riots, during which the flames have spread to Birmingham, Nottingham, Bristol and Liverpool. There is huge controversy over the conflagration, and the media establishment is doing its best to condemn, rather than try to understand. As a communist, this is not enough for me. These riots are the sudden bursting to the surface of social tensions that have been building up for many years - tensions that are rooted in the crisis of capitalism.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

I'm a Cadre

From "The Real Split in the International" Thesis 36, by Debord and Sanguinetti:
"Today, the cadres are the metamorphosis of the urban petty bourgeoisie of independent producers that has become salaried. These cadres are themselves very diversified as well, but the real stratum of upper cadres, which constitutes the model and the illusory goal for the others, is in fact held to the bourgeoisie by a thousand links, and integrates itself into that class more often than not. The vast majority of cadres are made up of middle and small cadres, whose real interests are even less separate from those of the proletariat than were the real interests of the petit bourgeoisie - for the cadre never possesses his [sic] instrument of work. But their social conceptions and promotional reveries are firmly attached to the values and perspectives of the modern bourgeoisie. Their economic function is essentially bound up with the tertiary sector, with the service sector, and particularly with the properly spectacular branch of sales, the maintenance and praise of commodities, counting among these commodity labor itself. The image of the lifestyle and the tastes that society expressly fabricates for them, its model sons, greatly influences the sectors of poor white-collar workers or petit bourgeois who aspire toward their reconversion as cadres, and is not without effect on a part of the current middle bourgeoisie... The cadre, always uncertain and always deceived, is at the center of modern false consciousness and social alienation. Contrary to the bourgeois, the worker, the serf and the feudal lord, the cadre always feels out of place. He always aspires to more than he is and can be. He pretends and, at the same time, he doubts. He is the man of malaise, never sure of himself, but hiding it. He is the absolutely dependent man, who believes that he must demand freedom itself, idealized in its semi-abundant consumption. He is ambitious and constantly turned towards his future - a miserable future, in any case - while he even doubts that he is occupying his current position as well...."

A last, a valid description of my job and role in capitalist society! Now to figure out what to do about it!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Jimmy Carter calls for end to Blockade of Cuba

Jimmy Carter seems to be the last president who genuinely believed in peace and reconciliation. His continuing work demonstrates more of the same:
MIAMI - Former President Jimmy Carter, during a three-day visit to Cuba this week, called for a release of the Cuban Five and an end to the long-standing U.S. blockade against the island nation.

"I believe that the detention of the Cuban Five makes no sense," Carter said in a March 30 press conference in Havana, as reported by Granma, the newspaper of the Cuban Communist Party. "There have been doubts expressed in U.S. courts and by human rights organizations around the world. They have now been in prison 12 years and I hope that in the near future they will be freed to return to their homes."


During Carter's presidency, he removed travel restrictions on Americans going to Cuba. As for now, Carter stated his conviction that "we should immediately lift the trade embargo the United States has imposed against the people of Cuba," because "it impedes rather than assists in seeing further reforms made."

Margolis, Dan. Carter calls for Cuban 5 release, end to blockade. People's World.

Venezuelan Workers March for Workplace Democracy

It is fascinating to see self-organized workers in Venezuela openly and peacefully making radical demands. This is a country where a little over a decade ago the working class and poor had no rights and were at the mercy of the police and military. Where as recently as 2002 (during the US backed coup attempt), reactionary police elements fired with impunity into crowds of demonstrators with automatic weapons and sniper rifles. Nevertheless, the working class is conscious of its rights and role in creating and defending a better future for itself.

In the United States the working class is beginning to awaken and fighting against take-backs, notably public sector workers in Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri and elsewhere. However, the great majority still sleeps, especially in the private sector, and is in constant fear of retribution through job elimination whether by downsizing or outsourcing. Coupled with a culture of consumption and crushing debt, they feel trapped and as if they have no choice but to go along with the system.

The elites in America continually reduce the relative wages that trickle-down to the working class while at the same time extending more and more consumer debt. The people are placated with more access to credit, perceiving it as a substitution for wage increases. Through this process the majority of the population becomes entwined in a class wide form of debt-bondage, passed down from generation to generation.

There is a better way and, at this juncture in history, it is the working people of Venezuela are showing it to us. Can we open our eyes long enough to understand?
Thousands of Venezuelan workers took to the streets of Caracas on Thursday to demand immediate improvements in workplace democracy and to insist on the final passage of a radical new labor law that has been held up in the National Assembly since 2003. According to organizers from Venezuela’s National Workers’ Union (UNETE), the march was intended to reiterate the national union’s “critical support” for the government of Hugo Chávez and to push for greater consolidation of Chávez’s proposed “21st century socialism” on job sites nationwide.

“We want to deepen real worker control, advance in the efficiency and efficacy of the [publicly-owned] companies, and we want and end to impunity. All of these demands are an obvious part of the revolutionary project,” said UNETE National Coordinator Marcela Máspero.


“The working class is who has been called upon to construct socialism,” said Rosa Grimau, spokesperson for the Promotion Committee of the Socialist Workers’ Council within the National Assembly. “That’s why we ourselves must consolidate a force that makes proposals in line with elevating the quality of working conditions throughout the country,” she said.

Socialist Workers’ Councils are one of over 10,000 proposals that have been made in ongoing discussions for a new Organic Labor Law, under discussion since 2002.


Mérida, March 31st 2011 (
Video of the march with interviews:

Monday, February 28, 2011

Police Refuse to Remove Protestors in Madison

Unionized police and firemen have refused to remove the strikers occupying the Wisconsin Capitol building. The capitalist media is characterizing this as a "failure of the authorities to remove the protesters" and making jokes about "Motel 6 Madison" and "Big Labor Slumber Party."

Perhaps the "journalists" employed by the media should check in with the actual police officers to see what they think. From the Madison Professional Police Officer's web page:
The Association of Madison Police Supervisors joins other labor organizations in opposing Governor Walker's proposed budget repair bill. This proposal will do little to help the State's budget problems, but will have a drastic impact on thousands of hardworking public servants. The public employees who would be impacted by this proposal provide vital services to citizens every day and are an essential part of Wisconsin's economy. Their work is critical to the quality of life in our communities.

While the bill exempts most public safety employees, the impact on fire and law enforcement supervisors – who are not fully covered by Wisconsin's Municipal Employee Relations Act – is less clear.

Wisconsin has a long history of collective bargaining with public employees. The current State budget problem can be addressed under existing law and without reversing decades of tradition. Pursuing such a drastic change to Wisconsin law with no time for reasonable debate, discussion or contemplation is a disservice to our citizens.[1]
The IWW is calling for a general strike in support of the protesting workers[2]. Meanwhile, Republican and Democratic governors across the US are taking aim at public sector workers in an attempt at massive union busting in the name of fiscal responsibility.

The reality is that these same people are unwilling to take on the root problem - namely that the top 10% wealthiest citizens, and corporations, are not paying their fair share of taxes. In addition, the state governments are spending huge portions of their budgets on interest payments for massive and generally meaningless projects simply designed to funnel money to specific business interests while not improving the welfare or economic vibrance of the communities footing the bill.

The media serves the interests of the ruling classes and at every turn makes a mockery of the efforts of working people to carve out a decent existence, and most especially when they decide not to take it anymore.

Without an independent, non-corporate media, democracy cannot exist, and working people suffer. The only alternative is for working people to create their own media, their own information networks, and fight back against injustice, lies and distortions on their own terms, based on what they know to be right, not what they are spoon-fed by right-wing demagogues.