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.

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From: DynamicFigment

 

As Leftists with much to say, sometimes we can get ahead of ourselves when explaining concepts to those who spend time frolicking outside as opposed to wading through Capital. Recently I had an experience where I realized that some concepts need to be minutely taught in language accessible to the everyday person. That without understanding this facet of linguistics, your attempt to talk about materialism will come off as metaphysics, or worse, religion.

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On September 6, 2014, at the Center for Marxist Education in Boston, communist historian Doug Enaa Greene lectured on the history and perspectives of the Israeli Socialist Organization (Matzpen). Matzpen was a revolutionary socialist and anti-Zionist organization founded in 1962. Matzpen viewed Zionism as a colonization project, was considered a security threat by the Israeli state, opposed Israel's wars, and worked closely with Palestinian Marxists. Greene is the author of the upcoming book Specters of Communism, on French Communist Louis-Auguste Blanqui.


 

 

Moderator note:

Recently through the revelations of Eric Snowden's leaks of NSA documents a particular tactic involving "the application of 'social science' to disrupting and steering online activist discussions, luring targets into compromising sexual situations, deploying malicious software, and posting lies about targets in order to discredit them" has been exposed. In Kasama we are uncovering tactics being used on our site that resemble this type of campaign. We want to make our readers aware of what we know so far. 

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Young hunger strikers go up against regimes in Morocco and Egypt

1 September 2014. A World to Win News Service.

 

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Lately Kasama Project has had a lot of Toll messages—most likely from right-wingers. So I decided to do an article on such trolling. First, they may be annoying and detracting from what we are doing, but they may also be a sign that we leftist are being watched by the political right in this country.

It’s hard to say whether we should like this or not. Most of the time the right-wing in this country tries to pretend we don’t exist. That seems to work quite well for stopping the average person from finding out who we are. I know our local newspaper—The Wichita Eagle—routinely avoids mention of right-wing or left-wing groups. They seem determined to avoid using our names. A good example of this is Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church- the right-wing anti-gay organization. Even when they cover something the group does they refused to use their name. It seems they don’t want to give them any free publicity.

So maybe the attention we get from trolls is a sign they feel we have enough of a following that they can’t just ignore us.

As Mao (毛泽东) said:

I hold that it is bad as far as we are concerned if a person, a political party, an army or a school is not attacked by the enemy, for in that case it would definitely mean that we have sunk to the level of the enemy. It is good if we are attacked by the enemy, since it proves that we have drawn a clear line of demarcation between the enemy and ourselves. It is still better if the enemy attacks us wildly and paints us as utterly black and without a single virtue; it demonstrates that we have not only drawn a clear line of demarcation between the enemy and ourselves but achieved a great deal in our work.[1]

I don’t get as many troll messages on my blog; Otto’s War Room. I have received these two messages; the first was a response to an article about the Communist Party of India (Maoist):

Anonymous said...

Naxals sucks and so are those fucking Chinese who baking up them in India. They are motherfucking cowards stoping the growth of India, raping their own women comrades.

And then a comment against abortion:

Lester E. Rees said...

Scott Roeder was a hero! Regardless of the lies you lie-beral communist traitors spew out, Scott Roeder will spend the rest of eternity in Heaven after he dies!!! Praise be to God for compelling Scott Roeder to kill the monster "Doctor" George Tiller!

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[Moderator note: the following piece represents the views of a guest posting in the Open Threads section of the Kasama site, not of Kasama itself. This essay does not represent the views of Kasama.] 

Please let it be known that the following article is an attempt to engage members of the PCR-RCP in a productive dialogue. It is not meant as an attack on their organization but rather as a call to begin serious engagement with the difficult task of theorizing revolutionary theory for the 1st world.

I

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I just received a letter from Public Citizen (actually a few days ago) asking me to help and support their efforts to push for an amendment to the Constitution to overturn Citizens United and other Supreme Court rulings that have granted $ billionaires and Big Business unprecedented power over our "democracy."

To be exact, they do not want the constitution to treat a business or corporation as a person. This ruling has allowed unlimited campaign contributions from such $ billionaires as the Koch brothers. I’m glad to see this effort and I will do what I can. But this amendment falls short of what we really need to do—GET ALL MONEY OUT OF POLITICS.

I realize by trying to fix this country a lot of revolutionary people will condemn me for calling for anything short of a revolution. But in reality, taking all the money out of our elections would lead to a revolution. That is because the core of this system requires capitalism to be intertwined with elections and campaign contributions do that.

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By Gary Leupp, originally published at Dissident Voice.

About a week into the Ferguson crisis, cable TV anchors like Chris Cuomo and Anderson Cooper began to decry the presence of “outside agitators” in the community. This was after SWAT teams with MRAP trucks and M-16 assault rifles came from outside in response to crimes against property (window-smashing and looting) prompted by outrage at the police killing of an unarmed black 18-year-old boy.

There are 53 members of the Ferguson police force, 50 of them white in a town that is almost 70% black. One in four people lives below the federal poverty line in Ferguson, and most black residents say they’ve been pulled over by police or have friends or family members who have been harassed by the police. It’s a place that was ready to explode.

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The US is beating the war drums over the loss of Iraqi territory to the Islamic State soldiers known as ISIS.

While the real loss is in land, prestige and control of Middle-east holdings by the US Empire, that is not what supporters of a new war are saying.

According to CNS News, Rep. Mike Rogers (R.-Mich.), the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said ISIS is “one plane ticket away from U.S. shores.” As usual the Republicans are using scare tactics to get the US people ready for a war they are promoting. It may be imperialist real estate and “interests” they want back but they are using fear to promote deeper involvement in the ISIS war.

ISIS "present the greatest threat we've seen since 9/11," said Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, according to CNS News.

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Tagged in: iraq

Whatever one's opinions on the RCP and their effectiveness in Ferguson, the recent attacks on them by liberals are nothing but good old fashioned red-baiting portraying them as "outside agitators."  The term "outside agitators" goes back to the Jim Crow South when white supremacists referred to civil rights activists, such Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as "outside agitators" who had come to "rile up" the otherwise content peaceful black populace. To the white supremacists, black people were seen as too dumb to protest without "Red influence." We should reject these stereotypes and stand in principled solidarity and defend the RCP from these anticommunist attacks.

 

-Enaa


By Douglas Williams, originally published at Jacobin.

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It is significant that Cornel West, one of the most significant black intellectuals, who supported Obama in 2008 has now come out against him. West, like millions of others, believed Obama to be a progressive and interested genuine social change. West has seen, and is articulating, the disillusionment felt by millions of people, that Obama was not "hope and change" but just a new enforcer of Empire.

-Enaa

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by Nat Winn

 

OK. I know it has been  a while since its release but I finally saw Dawn of the Planet of the Apes last night. I'm always a sucker for a good sci-fi, “end of the world” type flick. I love to think about the futuristic contexts and they are used to tell deep stories about the current human condition that may be less exciting if the settings were made contemporary.

The story of the film, the beginning of a war between a declining human race and the emerging highly intelligent apes is very timely as our contemporary world finds itself in the midst of a plethora of ethnic conflicts from the Ukraine to the Middle East to Ferguson, Missouri.

However the philosophy and values of the film seem both insufficient and pessimistic.

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By ISH, Photos by Jed Brandt

Wednesday evening during rush hour, pro-Palestine activists dropped a stunning, huge banner off the side of the Manhattan bridge. Reading, "Gaza In Our Hearts" and "Boycott Divest Sanction Israel," the massive multi-storey banner was soon taken down by the NYPD. The banner drop was the highlight of a Palestine solidarity march across the neighboring Brooklyn bridge. 1,700 people carrying signs and Palestinian flags filled the walkway of the bridge for two hours after a short rally in downtown Brooklyn. The action was called by an ad hoc group of activists who have been organizing various actions to call out Israel's assault on Gaza, an assault that has now taken well over 2,000 Palestinian lives.

b2ap3_thumbnail_nyc2gaza.jb-4.jpgThe march included Occupy Wall Street veterans, NYC left groups, Palestine-focused groups like Jewish Voice for Peace and Al-Awda the Palestinian Right to Return Coalition, and included significant representation from New York's Palestinian community. It was a really beautiful and inspiring event, and the banner drop got a fair amount of publicity on local media, though one local TV station cluelessly headlined the banner's "Cryptic Message."

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The events in Ferguson make commemorating Nat Turner even more poignant and timely than usual. Long live the spirit of Nat Turner! Let's fight for the final liberation of African-descended people on this continent!

August 13, 1831: The Slave Rebellion of General Nat Turner

by Mike Ely

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Pigs.

It's what a lot of people — righteously angry people — call the police. It's not a word that "polite society" approves of, but sometimes, especially when we're talking about racist killer cops in places like Ferguson, Missouri, it's the only word that fits.

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Kasama received the following from the Trayvon Martin Organizing Committee.

Hands up, turn up for Mike Brown: August 20th nation-wide

Another Black man dead. This would be just another day like every other day in America, if it weren’t for one simple fact: Ferguson turned out, stood up, and has refused to get back on its knees.
Stand up around the country on August 20th for a national day of action:

New York City
Wednesday, 9pm, Tompkins Sq Park *Wear black in remembrance of #MikeBrown*
https://www.facebook.com/events/1441103616178894/

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We all watched last week as Obama gave a press conference shaming both the people of Ferguson and the local cops alike. It is a familiar narrative. Who could forget the days of Hurricane Katrina, where after the National Guard was sent in with shoot to kill orders of so-called looters, we were suddenly told about the evil local Mayor, Ray Nagin. And how supposedly this crisis, managed from the highest levels of power from FEMA to George Bush himself, was all his fault. And they sacrificed Nagin and washed their hands of the whole situation.

But that wasn't just George Bush's rap: Barack Obama himself told us to "respect the verdict" when Trayvon Martin was lynched. There was a thousand ways he could have intervened to bring justice to George Zimmerman. Federal charges could have been filed. But instead Barack Obama called on people to oppose Stand Your Ground laws, the local laws of Florida. Suddenly, his hands were washed of the situation, while the fault was placed on local administrators in the state of Florida.

And what is happening today is no different. So many of us last night watched John Oliver's skit on the lynching of Michael Brown, hoping to watch John Oliver shred them, but instead we got populism of the Elizabeth Warren left-liberal type (watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUdHIatS36A). This skit is sadly more of the same: a local dumbass mayor is roasted for his idiotic comments on race. We're treated to a skit of rednecks driving a swat tank in Georgia to the music "Die, Mother fucker die." We're shown footage of local cops in full military outfits, while the National Guard who are now occupying Ferguson are not even mentioned. We're told over and over by John Oliver about what it means to be Black *in Ferguson*. What about what it means to be Black in America?

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By Nat Winn

After an entire week of rebellion in Ferguson, Missouri, the government and hypocritical forces claiming to represent the interests of Black people have begun to play a two sided game aimed at pacifying the righteous anger of the people of Ferguson and the people around the world who support them.

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The family's autopsy seems to say that Big Mike was not hit from the back before he turned around. His friend says he was hit - he saw him jerk like he was hit from the back. That does not invalidate his account at all.

It is normal to jump or react to the sound of a gunshot! I can tell you that. Have heard them too many times where I used to live. You get that 'oh shit' feeling really fucking quick.

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