Open Threads

Open Threads is an open blogging platform, for debate and exploration of ideas among communists and radicals. Content presented here is contributed by Kasama site users.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form

 

Boycott the sham parliament & assembly elections!

Make the New Democratic Revolution successful!

...

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

...

It is with sad news that Kasama has heard that the Brecht Forum will be closing its doors. The Brecht Forum was a Marxist School in New York City that has existed for 39 years and was a real fixture in the radical community. Many people young and old came to the Brecht Forum to take classes on radical thinkers and history, to learn about radical art movements and music, or to attend events on a broad range of subjects concerning the liberation of society.

It is always sad when a radical space is lost. Such spaces are real points of contact, where people young, old, and in between connect with others who are sick of the drudgery and alienation of our contemporary society and are thinking about how this world can be changed for the better.

...

I was watching paleo-conservative Pat Buchanan enthuse over Putin last night. He just vibes with this nationalist strongman defending his ethnicity and imposing his sphere of influence. (Iron and blood -- the Bismark motto). 

It struck me: Putin is a litmus test for authoritarianism. 

There are those (on both  left and right) who just "like Putin" -- and secretly wish they could BE him. It says a lot about their underlying WORLD VIEW, and how reactionary it is. 

Admiring Putin is a confession of secret leanings. It is white ethno-fascist in Buchanan's case. And it is "red-brown" on the nominal left. ["Red brown" is a fusion of  communist lingo with fascist-imperialist politics inside Russia.) 

Whose secret heart has a soft spot for bully hardness?

Speak up!

This news came across on an email listerv and will be updated with a source/link when available.

Second Wave of Hunger Strikes Begin at Northwest Detention Center

...

Inspite of a great resurgence of peasant movement in Punjab the level of student and youth movement is considerably low. Punjab has a strong tradition of student movement and youth movement but the forces of globalisation and Imperialism have greatly diffused the political consciousness of the youth.

 

Today in Punjab there is severe unemployment..There is low industrial development to facilitate jobs for youth and very marginal employment facilities in rural areas. The Naujwan Bharat Sabha demands employment for all,and alternative industries with a fixed amount of job opportunities.It blames the weakening of the public sector which has p[promoted private practice amongst doctors,private transport business and privatization of education.It demands the creating of new hospital;schools run by the public sector and abolishing of the contract system. The NBS also calls for basic facilities in schools and demands adequate number of teachers who are employed on a regular basis.It demands more grants for colleges as well.It opposed the world bank water works scheme and   demanded that  the public sector should control  the water supply organizations.The NBS also demanded basic facilities for colleges like a  library,toilets,water,electricity which are not always available.It also demanded adequate apparatus in civil hospitals,new doctors,new electricity line.Another agitation was against the exploitation of youth who wished to go abroad  by private agents .NBS also fought for regularizing fee rises. It.It exposed the new economic policies.

...

In Punjab in the last month the landless and landed  peasantry in Punjab literally created a tornado in Punjab.For 7 days from February 12t to 19th the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union and the Bharatiya Kisan Union(Ugrahan) besieged the DC'collector's office in Punjab like a swarm of bees.They displayed remarkable courage in thwarting repression from the police launching protracted resistance with a series of demonstrations.It was reminiscent of a spark turning into a Priarie fire.It will be written forever in the annals of the revolutionary democratic movement in Punjab and arguably nowhere in India have we witnessed such a mass upsurge of the peasantry.What was remarkable was that inspite of facing an official ban their protracted relentlessness forced the administration to allow their protest for demands.It speaks volumes of the leadership and cadre of these organizations who put painstaking work in redressing the basic issues of the broad peasantry.Since the dharna finished in Bhatinda  on February 19th the struggle has continued in pockets of Punjab,district-wise.The struggle received support from huge sections of the people.The activists made their own kitchen and even prepared food for the entire team on the streets , without the assistance of women.This struggle proved the importance of mass revolutionary combat and struggle in a people's movement .On February 20 th government conceded the demand for plots for the landless peasantry but has yet not implemented the demand.This shows the socio-economic system prevalent in Punjab.

The author feels this struggle requires support of people world over .He just returned from Bhatinda attending a rally on March 20th. The police clamped down on activists in the Mansa region and blocked the activists from going further in Lambi village of Muktsar district.

Below I am posting some news reports.I wish the struggle was given greater coverage all over India and the world.

...

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:

...

Posted by on in News & Analysis

For the last several years, we have been deluged with revelations of the inner workings of the US government and its anti-terror programs. NSA is using electronic surveillance to help with assassination and drone programs to track down suspected “terrorists.” The revelations have done more than a decade of leafleting and marches to expose the inner working of the US empire. Far from running from the revelations of the drone program, Obama takes full responsibility for it. Read carefully what the enemy is doing.

Intro by Enaa

...
Tagged in: drones nsa surveillance

Posted by on in News & Analysis

Something is happening out there, still.

Mass protests have been sweeping the world for four years now, country to country, region to region. In most of these places the protests aren't simple or easy to explain: there are complex forces on all sides. In Ukraine, fierce protests resulting in pitched battles with police turn out to be riddled with neo-nazis; in Thailand, middle-class urban protesters have been challenging the rule of a millionaire family elected to power by an impoverished majority. In Egypt, the biggest protests ever swept harsh military rule back into power. But from Europe to Asia to Latin America, new mass protests keep cropping up. There's a tangible sense of uncertainty about the future.

But one thing should be clear: this is a world of people deeply unsatisfied with the status quo. Systems are broken, social contracts failing.

...

Posted by on in News & Analysis

Despite the recent homilies in the press at the death of Nelson Mandela for his efforts at reconciliation and understanding in a transition to a post-Apartheid South Africa, the transition was in many respects incomplete. Although formal democratic freedoms have been established, poverty, inequality, and repression remain entrenched in South Africa. As this interview with Patrick Bond makes clear, fissures are emerging in South Africa. Striking workers are met with brutal police force, the difference now is that the cops are ordered in by the African National Congress. Recently, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa has openly called for ending its allegiance to the ANC and for a movement toward socialism. Those who celebrate the new South Africa should take note of the gathering storm clouds. -Intro by Enaa

This article originally appeared on http://therealnews.com/

 

...

The Sochi Olympics are about to begin, and the eyes of the world are on Vladimir Putin's Russia. Sochi is located in southern Russia in the foothills of the Caucasus mountains: a region seething with national conflict. Even over twenty years after the fall of the Soviet Union, nationally oppressed people like the Chechens are still struggling against Russian authority, causing many to fear acts of terrorism or, perhaps more likely, heavy-handed repressive countermeasures.

But Russia is also the scene of a rising tide of anti-gay violence and government repression. As the article from Human Rights Watch below notes, a 2013 law now criminalizes certain types of LGBT organizing by putting limits on what can be openly said or publicized. Social media may be abuzz with a story about Sochi authorities planning to kill all the stray dogs in town before the Olympics get underway, but the real story is how Sochi mayor Anatoly Pakhomov told the BBC that there are "no gays living in Sochi." One has to wonder whether the gay population of Sochi views that statement as a threat.

A number of European and American LGBT groups have urged a boycott of the Sochi Olympics, or of its corporate sponsors, in the face of all this repression. It remains to be seen how openly gay foreign athletes or visitors will be treated during the games. But when the games are over, it's very clear that Russian gays and lesbians are facing a very serious existential threat. —ISH

...

The BDS (Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions) movement seeks to isolate the apartheid state of Israel by raising consciousness and cutting off international funds. It has steadily been gaining significant support, and chalking up a number of divestment victories. Like a similar movement against apartheid South Africa in the 1980s, the movement seeks to identify products tied to the Israeli state as targets for boycott, and urges institutions — especially nonprofits like universities — to break their financial and cultural ties to Israel. Since a huge number of U.S. institutions have deep connections to the Israeli establishment, this is a significant challenge.

In one of these recent victories, the American Studies Association voted in December to uphold an academic boycott of the state of Israel. But now, as Al-Jazeera reports below, the state senate of New York has passed a bill seeking to penalize any state-funded group that signs on to the boycott of apartheid Israel. Not surprisingly, the legislation was opposed by only four state senators, all Democrats. According to Alex Kane in Mondoweiss, "The measure prohibits colleges and universities from spending taxpayer funds on academic groups that support boycotting Israel. While the measure applies to any academic organization that boycotts countries where the New York Board of Regents has chartered a school, the focus is on Israel."

The bipartisan vote in New York state once again reveals the deadly connection that unites both liberal and conservative capitalist politicians in the U.S. with the racist Israeli state. This development occurs right on top of the revelation that newly-installed and self-avowedly progressive New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio met secretly with AIPAC, an agent of the Israeli state in U.S. politics, to assure lobbyists for Israel that defending Israel is part of his job description: "There is a philosophical grounding to my belief in Israel and it is my belief, it is our obligation, to defend Israel...City Hall will always be open to AIPAC. When you need me to stand by you in Washington or anywhere, I will answer the call and I’ll answer it happily ’cause that’s my job."

...

On March 10th ,2014 Arvind memorial Trust will be holding a historic seminar on Socialism and Transition phase.It will invite a broad stream of revolutionaries to present their views.I wish Kasama could co-operate and wish readers and members could give a presentation of their viewpoints on the topic presented below.It is one of the best forums and occasions to present a huge spectrum of views on why Socialist Societies collapsed,concept of dictatorship of the proletariat,errors of Lenin and Mao ,evaluation of new Synthesis of Bob Avakian,etc.It would foster the very spirit Kasama inculcates of open debate.Coincidentally this year on 10th March we commemorate Com.Arvind's 50th birth anniversary.I would like readers to read about the contribution of Com Arvind who was a founding member of the Rahul Foundation in 1993 who just commemorated their 20th anniversary last year.It has made an invaluable contribution in printing the classics of Marx,Lenin,Stalin and Mao Tse Tung.and of revolutionary writers supporting Maoism.Redaers should without fail read the mini-bio of Com Arvind on the url given.I request readers to read this invitation and make a worthy contribution to the seminar.Long live the memory of Com.Arvind! Please also refer to blog at http://english.arvindtrust.org/

 

 

...

 

According to the BBC, at ‘least 268 of the 534 politicians in the Senate and House of Representatives had a net worth of $1m or more in 2012.’ Interestingly enough, Democrats are ‘slightly wealthier than Republicans’ as reported by the Center for Responsive Politics. The net median worth for Washington politicians as a whole peaks at one million dollars, with the Democrats worth more than their Republican counterparts in government. [1]

This shows how morally bankrupt, how depraved, politics and by extension bourgeois democracy has become in the modern United States. This at a time when poverty in the U.S. has only grown since the 1960′s and 1970′s, decades which saw a significant movement of the oppressed in the form of the Black Panther Party and the early Revolutionary Communist Party of America (RCPUSA).

...

I pay my red salutes to this great comrade Shalini who breathed the ideology of Marx,Lenin and Mao till her last breadth.I request readers to go to http://shaliniatjanchetna-en.blogspot.in/

 

She rendered an invaluable service in the publication of revolutionary literature.No publication house has rendered such a service in the printing and re-publication  Maoist literature and books as the Rahul foundation.Her death was an irreparable loss to everyone being a great example to women serving the revolutionary cause as opposed to those selling themselves.One can never forget the courage with which she battled cancer.The tenacity she exhibited in fighting for ideology is a lesson for all.

...

 

1.Gadar Party - Background-The following text appears in the Stockton, California Gurdwara Library. Its tone reflects the passionate feelings of Gadar Party members of the time which had led up to Indian independence. Many Gadar members visited, and some even lived at, the Stockton Gurdwara prior to 1930.

...

I am posting this in memory of revered late Comrade Dipankar Chakraborty,editor of Bengali revolutionary journal.’Aneek’ who died of a heart attack in January, this year. Although not joining any group or party he played the role of an outstanding sympathizer both as a writer and an activist. He staunchly defended Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse Tung thought and was critical of all types of deviations. He founded  the Bengali 'Aneek' journal in 1964 which defended revolutionary politics in all spheres of life and topics be it in culture,environment polemics.mass struggles etc.It It encouraged positive debates on Socialism, Maoist trends ,mode of productionetc.and allowed varying trends in the Communist revolutionary camp contribute in a debate on Maoism in India.Ironically he died in the year Aneek journal was to commemorate it's 50th anniversary.I met him first in a seminar on democratic rights movement in Lucknow in 2011 in July where he shared his views with me.He encouraged many youngsters to contribute to 'Aneek '.and was very appreciative of any work on the 'massline'.in the Communist movement.Above all he was a staunch defender of the Communist revolutionary camp.In his commemoration meeting which I attended in Kolkata there was a huge audience which comprised of a huge range of trends within the Communist revolutionary camp.Even the C.P.I.(Maoist) paid homage to him.Although critical of some Maoist armed squad action s and method of work in Lalgarh he always upheld their positive contribution.In many of his essays in Aneek he defended the legacy of Comrade Mao Tse Tung,particularly in the Cultural Revolution.He was also the founding member of the Association for democratic rights in West Bengal.

 

 Mahasveta Devi, Sankhaya Ghosh and others condoled the death of Dipankar Chakroborty, the editor of Left journal ‘ANEEK’.

Dipankar Chakroborty (71), the founder-editor of the independent Left journal, ANEEK, passed away on Sunday night. A cardiac patient, he had suffered respiratory problem last evening and died on the way to hospital. He is survived by his wife, son and daughter and grandchildren.

He was born in Dhaka in 1941 and grew up in Murshidabad after the partition. Educated in Baharampur and Kolkata, Chakroborty taught economics at Krishnanath college at Baharampur. he later settled in Kolkata.

A veteran of the Left movement since the sixties, he began publishing and editing ANEEK since 1964 when ruptures in the CPI on ideo-political issues led to first split and birth of the CPI(M).

In the wake of the Naxalbari uprising three years later that had triggered the second split and birth of the CPI(ML), Chakroborty did not join the new party. But he made ANEEK an independent forum for debates on contemporary communist movement, both national and international.

Under his stewardship, ANEEK has become one of the leading left periodical in Bengal and among the few ‘little magazines’ which have survived five decades against all odds. He himself was an accomplished political commentator and had several books to his credit. Chakroborty was jailed by the S.S Roy government during the Emergency.

A life-long defender of human rights, he was also one of the founders of Association for Protection of Democratic Rights and its vice-president.

He was always active in the campaigns of release of political prisoners irrespective of the creed of the ruling parties and governments since the seventies. He stood by peoples’ movements and joined protests in their support despite his failng health– from Maruti to Nonadanga.

He was also one of the founders of Peoples’ Books Society, a major publication house and a enthusiast of Little Magazine movement in Bengal.

Noted novelist and activist Mahasveta Devi who knew Chakroborty closely expressed her ‘profound shock’. ” I am deeply grieved. It’s an irreplaceable loss for the human rights movement as well as for me,” the octogenarian writer said. Poet Sankhaya Ghosh, also mourned Chakroborty’s death. ” I feel like losing a near and dear one,” he said.

Below I am posting Comrdae Chakraborty’s essay on the massline which displays great clarity and analysis from a Marxist viewpoint.
 q ONE

Eight decades have elapsed since the founding of the Communist Party of India. During this period great upheavals like haughty fascist onslaught, the devastating 2nd world-war, ferocious and aggressive evil designs of the U.S.imperialism to dominate this unipolar world through globalisation and sheer military might have drastically transformed the world. In the first half of the last century, revolutionary upsurges shook the world one after another, first in Russia, then in east Europe and Asia, thereby illuminating a bright road before the labouring people for achieving socialism, which is supposed to lead them to freedom from hunger and exploitation. But by the end of the nineties all those experiments have failed. And in our country India utter darkness still basically prevails, though the direct imperialist rule has been replaced by indirect dependence and virtual sub-ordination. And the communist movement here remains basically divided, social revolution a distant - almost remote - possibility, and the Indian people still hopelessly panting for liberation.

In India too, like many other countries, the thunder-clap of Russia’s October Revolution had brought the communist consciousness in the first quarter of the twentieth century. But still now, in spite of the incomparable dedication and heroic martyrdom of thousands of communist cadres and supporters, their sacrifices could not usher in a new society. Again and again the leadership has failed to recognize the soil below their feet, consequently swinging in a vicious whirlpool, in the labyrinth of rightist and ‘leftist’ deviations, and consequently, the Indian communists have not yet in its activities been able to build up a consistent and clear alternative line of action before the toiling people. That much-longed-for correct line for revolution –both strategical and tactical - has not yet emerged, and as a result revolution has become more and more distant.

...

Posted by on in News & Analysis

A month after the CPN-M and its 33-party alliance boycotted the Constituent Assembly elections, the breakaway Maoist faction has called for the CA's dissolution in preparation for the country's liberation from the 'semi-feudal and neocolonial situation' while seeking to broaden their alliance with all 'patriotic, people's democratic, and leftist forces'  in Nepal.

The CPN-M has opted for a people's democracy and the drafting of a people's constitution, urging the formation of a 'powerful high level all-party political body' [1] which would at once set itself the task of achieving national independence and sovereignty for the country. Nepal's revolutionary Maoists have condemned the CA, boldly asserting that it won't be able to draft a 'people's friendly constitution' let alone acknowledge the gains made during the Nepalese people's war. For those familiar with Mao Zedong's writings during the formation of the Anti-Japanese National United Front, the CPN-M's calls   for a 'roundtable political assembly' representing all political parties bears a striking resemblance to the policies put forth by the Chinese Communist Party that focused on resisting Japan through the formation of a broad, multiparty political front.

Naming the dissolution of the original CA, the formation of a technocratic government, and the deployment of the Nepali Army during the CA elections as contributing factors towards their decision to challenge the authority of the new CA, the CPN-M has stated rather bluntly that they won't be reunifying with the reformist Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M) [2] The party has also decided to identify genuine party cadres at the grassroots level, a three month process involving the formation of local committees designed to strengthen the appeal of the CPN-M nationwide while drawing cadre away from the UCPN-M. [3]

...

This post comes from comrades at Black Orchid Collective in Seattle, and represents a substantial and earnest take on Kshama Sawant's City Council victory as a member of Socialist Alternative.

It is significant that a Socialist has been elected in the US and is worth examining in context and discussing in depth. 

What does this election reflect and reveal? What openings could such a victory open up for a radical movement?  How should we respond and engage?   What does this new elected person expect to do with her time in the political spotlight? What are the other choices facing such a person? How will reactionary forces respond to her victory? How can such developments be used to serve a radical purpose (independent of what she does or intends)? 

...