Open Threads

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ISH

ISH

"The dawn is no longer beyond our reach." — Tomás Borge

Terror & lies: Israel unleashes brutal pogrom against Gaza

“Free Free Palestine! Down Down Israel!”

by ISH

Wednesday's direct Israeli hit on four young children playing football on a Gaza beach tells a story.

It epitomizes the entire disgusting episode in occupied Palestine that has unfolded since the collapse of so-called peace talks earlier this year. Western journalists witnessed the precision targeting of the four children by the Israeli naval forces who blockade the Gaza coastline. Pictures of the tiny torn bodies being carried away from the scene filled the internet.

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Posted by on in Immigrants

Something significant is happening at the US-Mexico border. Thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America and Mexico are being detained at border camps under unspeakable conditions. US politicians from liberal to conservative have all urged that these children be thrown back "from where they came from." Reactionary politicians are talking about the threat from "diseased children." White fascist mobs have blockaded busloads of immigrants in California.

So-called immigration reform appears stalled in US congress, as the politicians cannot agree whether it's better to use immigrants to whip up xenophobia or more advantageous to create a category of second-class citizenship. Meanwhile President Obama, who claims compassion for the so-called immigrant "dreamers" (undocumented immigrants brought to this country while still children), has earned the title "Deporter-in-Chief" by deporting over two million people.

This crisis calls out for a response from the revolutionary left. We should be protecting our brothers and sisters — with or without papers — from the racist mobs, and working to protect the rights and livelihoods of immigrants being targeted for expulsion or persecution. Below are two reports from journalist James North on the roots of the child immigrant crisis. If you have information to share with Kasama readers on organizing efforts or mobilizations in support of the children refugees or other immigrants, please post links in the comments section.

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By ISH

The religious beliefs of business owners are more important than the health of women workers. That was the gist of a ruling out of the US Supreme Court on Monday, on the last day of the court's annual session. The court pretty much told women they should put up with whatever their bosses think is best for them, because the bosses have "sincerely held" beliefs about what is best for the health of their female employees.

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The following article was written by the staff of Ang Bayan, organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines, the Maoist party leading a military insurgency in the Philippines since the 1960s. The CPP has welcomed queer people into its ranks, and indeed has proudly performed "gay marriage" ceremonies for its cadre, for over a decade. It's really exciting that this communist movement has so strongly embraced the liberation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people, and called for them to share their experiences for the theoretical benefit of the whole movement.  —ISH

 

 

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By ISH

Imperialism's chickens are coming home to roost in Iraq, and once again it is the people of the region who will pay the price.

In a week of events that is in some ways shocking and in other ways not even slightly surprising, a radical Islamic fundamentalist group called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, sometimes translated as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or referred to by the Arabic name Da'ish) seized Iraq's second largest city of Mosul, and capturing more cities along the way, has advanced as far as Baquba, just 50 kilometers from Baghdad, the Iraqi capital.

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Posted by on in Repression

The following Gizmodo article tells how the vicious NY Police Department mined social media for data leading to a mass raid against a housing project in Harlem. It should serve as a reminder that social media and technology can be a dangerously double-edged sword. —ISH

 

The NYPD’s Biggest Gang Raid Was Enabled By a Million Facebook Posts

 

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Posted by on in News & Analysis

As a general rule, U.S. wars are based on lies. Some of these are soon exposed; the lies about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction and al-Qaeda links used to justify the invasion and occupation of Iraq were exposed (to anyone paying attention) within a few months, or at least by the end of 2003. The lie that Spaniards mined the USS Maine in Havana Harbor in 1898, used to justify U.S. war and the colonization of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, Hawaii and the Philippines, was exposed much later. The lies about the Gulf of Tonkin Incident of 1964, used to justify the escalation of the Vietnam War, were only exposed in the 80s and 90s. The Big Lie surrounding the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan has not yet been adequately exposed and discussed.

 

The Bergdahl Swap and Beyond:

The Fundamental Lie of the Afghan War


By GARY LEUPP • Originally posted on Counterpunch, 11 June 2014

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Posted by on in News & Analysis

It is truly remarkable to hear Western politicians and their parrot media talk about "democracy" in this weekend's elections in Ukraine. It's extraordinary to hear them whine about alleged suppression of the vote in the secessionist eastern Ukrainian provinces when they literally just denounced and attempted to suppress the independence plebiscites in those would-be breakaway republics. And it's truly mind-boggling to witness all of this after they just organized/supported a coup which undid the previous Ukrainian national elections.

The whole world heard Obama's assistant secretary of state for European affairs, Victoria Nuland, explain on tape exactly what kind of government that imperialism wanted for Ukraine right before fascist militias were enlisted to overthrow the existing Ukrainian government.

The situation in Ukraine is certainly complex. To what extent the breakaway Ukrainian provinces like the Donetsk People's Republic are actually manifestations of revolutionary people's will or pawns of Putin's capitalist Russia is not yet clear to me. There are fascists and ultra-nationalists of many different stripes on both sides of the conflict between Ukraine and its ethnic-Russian minority. But the designs of US and European imperialism — and their ensuing blatant hypocrisy — are brilliantly evident, and must be clearly and strongly opposed.

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The reactionary Islamic fundamentalist paramilitary group Boko Haram has kidnapped over 200 Nigerian schoolgirls and threatened to sell them into effective slavery. According to reports of some escaped girls, the captured children have already been subjected to mass rape. Unlike the Nigerian government, which seems virtually powerless in the face of Boko Haram's continuing assault on Nigerian civil society, the whole world has been outraged by the kidnapping. Even President Obama's wife Michelle has been participating in the #BringBackOurGirls social media protest storm.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Child_Murderer2.jpgWhile the seizure of the schoolgirls is indeed an outrage, before people go clapping their hands about how awesome Michelle Obama is, we should remember the agenda of US imperialism in Africa. Her husband is a man who orders the murder of children. Which illustrates a key problem with this campaign: As Jumoke points out in her article below, U.S. imperialism has long had deadly designs on the African continent. As I wrote about similar western outrage over anti-gay abuses in Africa, what starts out as a "humanitarian mission" is likely to end badly. How many "collateral" deaths inflicted by an ongoing imperialist "mission" in Nigeria would be too many?

In the U.S. people are constantly offered symbolic and empty ways to '"feel like we did something" about the horror of the world. And like the creepy Kony2012 campaign, much "#BringBackOurGirls" sentiment flirts dangerously with old white man's burden tropes about the allegedly civilized west needing to intervene in allegedly barbaric Africa. For their own good of course. The sad truth is that much of this horror is the fruit of imperialism itself. And what exactly is happening to women's rights inside the US? The domestic assault on reproductive rights, for example, has been strengthened by liberal concessions to the right wing.

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The following is from A World to Win News Service. (The photo above shows a donkey dressed up as Egyptian General Sisi as a protest by an Egyptian farmer.)—ISH

 

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Posted by on in Culture

May First, the communist holiday, is above all about the people telling their own story by going out into the streets, in turn providing inspiring visuals for revolutionaries. Here is a selection of photographs by revolutionary photojournalists capturing and documenting the excitement and power of the May Day.

We'd love to see what your May Day looks like. Share your pictures of this year's May Day actions or your favorite past May Day photos in the comments. Click on these photos below to see them larger.

—ISH

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Posted by on in Revolutionary Strategy

 

By ISH

It's May Day, the international workers' holiday, the communist holiday. (And you can read about the origins of the holiday here.)

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Posted by on in Theory

The Marxist Internet Archive is truly precious. It is an amazing development after more than a century in which many people (many millions, literally) had to search and scramble to get communist works. The idea that some firm claims copyright on humanity's important communist legacy (or technically on the only existing English translation of some Marx works) is an outrage. Below is the text of a Change.org petition drive to preserve this crucial resource. —Mike Ely

 

Petitioning Lawrence & Wishart

No Copyright for Marx Engels Collected Works

Change.org Petition by Ammar Aziz, Lahore, Pakistan

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Posted by on in Repression

by ISH

It started out as a PR effort for the New York Police Department. “Do you have a photo w/a member of the NYPD? Tweet us & tag it #myNYPD. It may be featured on our Facebook.” So went the tweet released by the NYPD Tuesday afternoon.

Having promised to cut back the NYPD's abuses, New York City's new liberal mayor Bill DeBlasio made the re-run appointment of William Bratton as police commissioner. While the number of random “stops and frisks” is down in New York City, it's become clear that the appointment of Bratton, a veteran of a previous era of cop violence in NYC, represents only a paper-thin cosmetic attempt to prettify a brutally violent and utterly racist armed gang that terrorizes city residents. To combat what is becoming obvious to everyone, the NYPD has been trying to re-brand its image in the most shallow of ways, and turning to social media like Twitter and Facebook seemed a natural vehicle for a propaganda blitz. And so the NYPD released its tweet, hoping for pictures of friendly officers helping old folks cross the street.

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Posted by on in News & Analysis

The following report on the recent anti-Semitic murders in Kansas City is reposted from Scission, a blog published by Redpoet, a self-identified autonomous Marxist and Communist.

Something is seething on the right wing in the United States. If the gunman behind these shootings represents a minority far-right fringe element that still openly identifies with expressly Nazi ideology and symbolism, it should be evident that actual far-right ideas have been gaining currency and acceptability across a broader swath of the population. There is a radicalization process happening on the right in the context of the right despairing over the electoral process, becoming embittered by the Republican establishment, convinced the country is slipping away permanently. As Republican politicians toy with populist appeals framing the Democrats as a ruling elite serving a population of entitled "takers" abusing the hard work of productive (white) citizens, it's certainly possible that the millions of right-wing Americans who are consuming those right-wing talking points could crystallize into a real far right militant movement.

As communists, I think we have to be extraordinarily careful not to fall into the trap of thinking that the Democrats or the malleable laws of capitalist civil society are any kind of first line of defense against this potential right-wing upsurge. The right wing is organizing and getting out its ideas; we need to be doing the same thing. And the ideas we should be getting out shouldn't be about defending a fragile, corrupt system with less interest and ability than ever in protecting or defending oppressed people; the ideas we should be talking about are how we can build a new revolutionary alternative.—ISH

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Posted by on in International

This statement was released by BAYAN-USA, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (New Patriotic Alliance), on March 25, 2014 in the aftermath of the arrest of the Filipino communist leadership. Solidarity demonstrations are being organized including one in New York City on March 28.

BS Aquino: Sabotaging Peace to Support Imperialist War

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Posted by on in International

 

The Kasama Project has received this Interview with Benny Wenda (pictured below), West Papua independence leader, Founder of Free West Papua Campaign, and Chairman of Demmak (The Koteka Tribal Assembly). It was conducted by Italian journalist Mattia Gallo.

West Papua is currently a part of Indonesia. Given decades of genocide and repression in Indonesia it is not surprising that this struggle of indigenous people is little-known outside the region.—ISH

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Posted by on in Culture

By ISH

When people start talking about radical or political music, I'm always surprised how the topic of conversation rarely moves outside the genres of hardcore head-banging punk or earnest sing-along folk. Sometimes talk moves on to the well-worn populism of mass-appeal pop-rock, the Springsteen/Mellencamp/Fleetwood Mac tunes so beloved by bourgeois politicians trying to put something over on voters, and there's the counterpoint of classic hip-hop with its righteous anger against cops and sometimes problematic derision of women and gays.

Without disparaging any of these rich genres of music, I want to recommend some really great and really radical tunes from genre-busting urban musicians who sometimes defy easy categorization but whose visionary art is something that revolutionaries can really embrace.

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Posted by on in Race & Liberation

Last year lifelong revolutionary Chokwe Lumumba was elected mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, a majority African-American city in the heart of the American south. His election was part of a long-term plan for "self-determination, participatory democracy and economic justice." Now in the aftermath of his sudden and tragic passing, organizers are discussing how to carry on his legacy, and how to continue the radical social efforts projected by the Jackson Plan. Below, Jaisal Noor of radical news outlet The Real News interviews Kali Akuno and Glen Ford about the upcoming Jackson Rising Conference that was scheduled before Lumumba's death. —ISH

 

After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What’s Next for Jackson, Mississippi?

Kali Akuno and Glen Ford discuss the significance of the upcoming 'Jackson Rising: The New Economies Conference'

KALI AKUNO and GLEN FORD, interviewed by JAISAL NOOR, THE REAL NEWS, March 18, 2014

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Posted by on in News & Analysis

“Going into the woods to fight Jewry and other filth...”

Ukraine: The Sovereignty Argument, and the Real Problem of Fascism

 

By GARY LEUPP, Originally appeared in Counterpunch, March 10, 2014

The two most important questions shaping the discussion of events in Ukraine should, in my opinion, be:

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