In a poll i conducted on Sketchy Thoughts last year, 53 people answered felt that the statements "Most people in the world have never been ruled by "their own" ruling class." was true, and 23 people felt it was false.
For a 69%, 31% breakdown...
i meant to post that and change the poll a while back, but it's been a busy year.
next poll: there's two of them, wondering what the defeat of the Soviet Union meant to revolutionaries in the imperialist countries, and in the Third World.
Monday, March 24, 2008
In a poll i conducted on Sketchy Thoughts last year, 53 people answered felt that the statements "Most people in the world have never been ruled by "their own" ruling class." was true, and 23 people felt it was false.
Friday, March 21, 2008
i am happy to be able to pass on this brief interview with Hisila Yami, nom de guerre Comrade Parvati, of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). While i am wary of some features of the revolutionary movement in Nepal (see here or here for instance), i am also inspired by aspects of the struggle there, and especially by the theoretical contributions Parvati has made in her essays Women's Leadership and the Revolution in Nepal and her Interview with People's March (both published along with a commentary by Butch Lee in the Kersplebedeb pamphlet People's War Women's War).
i am reposting this from the blog Fire on the Mountain.
Interview with Hisila Yami
Conducted by Jorun Gulbrandsen and Johan Petter Andresen
Hisila Yami is a central committee member of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). Yami was a minister in the interim government until the Maoists withdrew in August 2007. She has written many articles about women’s liberation. The most important are collected in the book “People’s War and Women’s Liberation in Nepal”, ISBN 81-904039-0-7. Published by Purvaia Prakashan, India.
Red!: Is it possible for the working women in the third world to achieve liberation without people’s war?
Hisila: Never before in the history of Asia has the number of women joining the people’s war been so huge. At the same time, we must keep in mind that there is a strong left movement in Nepal. The background for this is that the position of women is very bad. More than 80% live in the countryside. Because of lack of income, the men go to find cash jobs in urban areas or in foreign countries. The women stay behind and take care of the farm and the children. The feudal system does not give the woman the right to own land. There are no openings for her. Her life is between the house and the water source. She is married away to the in-law family at an early age. Normally, she cannot visit her own family more than once a year. By the time she is 35 she is a grandmother and her life is finished. If she tries to go to the city she ends up sexually exploited. So the people’s war gave openings for women.
Politically we made this a point. During the war against the colonisers in 1816 the women fought bravely. The party used this as an example that women can fight. In 1944 there was a united woman’s effort to fight against the Rana system. The party was formed in 1948 and all the fronts were formed. Through these examples from history we showed that women have played, and must play, a central role.
Already in 1995, one year before we started the people’s war, we made a rule that there must be minimum two women in each unit. A unit had between 5 and 11 members.
In the period of the first people’s uprising in 1990 it was normal among communists that the husband worked as a full time party worker while the wife worked as a teacher and took care of the family. But we broke that rule in 1993-4.
There are many concrete reasons for the women to join the PLA. The were oppressed by the police, or the families sent the women to avoid them from getting raped by the enemy. Many women also saw PLA as a possibility for another type of life, a better life.
You should know that also before the people’s war, the left was strong in Nepal. The 8th of March has always been celebrated. There was of course a gender ground for that. The left started working with women’s liberation at an early stage. It was the women’s mass organisation that first made an independent program for women’s liberation.
The women’s fronts were very active in 1996. The attacked the men who wasted time playing cards and drinking liquor. They also attacked men that bashed women. Another example is the protests against beauty contests in the urban areas.
Right now the front is organising a wide women’s front for a federal republic. We always look for a united front in our political work.
Red!: What do you think are the main achievements during the people’s war in Nepal pertaining to women’s liberation?
Hisila: Because of our intervention the government was forced to amend many feudal laws. Many NGO’s were also forced to do work directed at women. And the state started employing women.
In the liberated areas the women are now given the right to property. Even now, in other areas, the women have to return their parent’s property when they get married.
We have introduced the right for women to get married again when the husband is martyred, and we have introduced the right to divorce and remarry.
The women in the liberated areas are getting justice through the people’s courts. The formal state organs are expensive and take a lot of time.
We have also politicised women. We have taught them that they have to fight against the state, the police and the military. When you fight, you learn about state oppression in practice. When the enemy rapes women, it teaches them about the gender character of the state.
The party was generous to promote women's leadership fast. In connection with the reorganisation of the party in August, the central committee was downsized to 35 members, and there are now only two women in the central committee. But the reorganisation upgraded women’s representation and positions in the lower levels of the party.
Our demand is that 40 % of those employed by the state must be women.
Red!: What did you find were the main methods that you applied to achieve your goals?
Hisila: In the autonomous regions we made sure that many members are from the local areas. We needed to develop their social skills. They were often more interested in PLA, and the possibility of a lot of mobility. And their uniform gave them a good feeling. PLA was more technical work and made it easier for them to partake. Another positive factor was the collectivity in the PLA. Collectivity is a very important part of their culture.
We also used the method of positive discrimination of dalits and women. In running of the autonomous regions we had the rule of minimum 20 % dalits and 40 % women in leading organs.
Red!: How do you combat males oppressing females in the party and the PLA?
Hisila: The women are more vocal now at every level. One of the reasons for the promotions is exactly that the women are more vocal. But still it is a problem at every level for women to get heard.
We have also had deviations because of our cultural heritage. One example is when a politbureau member had an extramarital relation with a central committee member. The man was given more punishment than the woman.
In two line struggle: there is a tendency to pit women against women. But there is also a tendency to treat women differently than men, something I have experienced personally. When my husband Baburam Bhattarai was taken action against in 2005, this was given a political motivation, but when I was taken action against, the reasons given were my negative influence on him.
Red!: How do the women organise within the party and in the party leadership?
Hisila: When the women are in the women’s front they all work together. But in the party the women do not get together.
Red!: What are your immediate goals in the struggle for women’s struggle in today’s context?
Hisila: We should do away with the feudal system. The feudal system gives nourishment to the mini-kings in the households, and it reinforces the idea of the son as more worth in the family.
To attain this goal we are developing a united republic front of women’s organisations.
We are working for the implementation of the positive steps that were made with the interim constitution.
We are also working for the government to put priority on employment, education and health. This is especially important for women as they have a higher percentage of illiterates and are more exposed to illness, for example reproductive diseases.
We are also working for proportional elections instead of first past the post in connection with the elections to the constituent assembly. In this connection our demand is that 50% of the representatives shall be women, and that dalits, ethnic and national minorities also shall be proportionally represented. [Since this interview the Maoists have made a compromise with Nepali Congress where the elections to the constituent assembly shall be 60 % proportional and 40 % first past the post. The constituent assembly will decide the form of the state and the election procedures for the federal republic.--Red!]
Women communists can be a good rallying point to develop unity. When you see sectarian violence, you see that the women get be attacked because they bear the babies. The women can be invoked to be a uniting force in developing the new federal system.
We are encouraging a new generation of leaders, and here we must have continuous leadership development of new women leaders.
Red!: What do you think are the main achievements for women after the peace agreement in November 2006?
Hisila: The question of citizenship right. Before there was male linearship. Now the child gets citizenship if the mother has no husband. Another positive step is that when women and dalits buy land they don’t have to pay normal taxes.
Red!: What role do the various family structures among the different ethnic groups play in oppressing women in Nepal?
Hisila: In the Hindu family the concept of purity is very important. The parents want their children to get married very early to avoid her having sexual relations before she is married.
Red!: Nepal is entering the first phase of a national democratic revolution. What are the main aims for women in this phase?
Hisila: Women should be brought into the productive force. Today they are still the ones that stay behind. The right to parental property is also a central question. And they should have access to health services. Today a lot of time is spent doing household work. A lot of infrastructural work needs to be done to reduce the time used on household work. A lot of energy is waisted because of the lack of infrastructure. There must be put much more effort into education. There are less than 10 % girl pupils in the schools.
Now, in the autumn of 2007 the peace process is getting stretched out. This has led to some negative tendencies that have been detrimental to women. There is a tendency to reverse the achievements from the people’s war. There is a tendency that men dare to oppress women more openly. That’s one reason why we want to achieve elections to the constituent assembly as soon as possible.
Another example of the tendency to reversal is that some places they are reintroducing dowry again. And lastly I could mention that reactionaries that fled during the people’s war are returning and that we have witnessed an increase in wife bashing.
During the people’s war the PLA were active all over the rural areas. Now the situation is more evolutionary. Now there is a certain disillusionment. The PLA is now stationed in the cantonments. People are missing the collective life where the PLA played a central role. People are returning home and the situation is not as positive in the field. Some are a bit disappointed.
This is also a reason why we want to go forward as fast as possible--so that we get more results to show. It’s a very painful process right now.
Red!: How large is the women’s front that supports you?
Hisila: All Nepalese Women’s Association (Revolutionary) has approximately 10 000 paying members.
Red!: Which texts do you use for developing the general theory of women’s liberation in Nepal?
Hisila: We use among others F. Engels book on The Family, The State and Private Property, Women and Socialism written by Bebel, a collection of writings by Marx, Engels and Mao. We also use collections of articles written by our own comrades.
Red!: How will you avoid the valiant female liberation soldiers sacrificing their lives as cannon fodder for a male dominated party leadership and a male dominated state that ends up oppressing women as in Russia, China, a.s.o?
Hisila: It’s very much connected with political deviation. Political deviation will also affect the situation for dalits and women. The main line is the central issue, and this is the only way to avoid counter revolution.
Red!: What is your view on the relationship between class struggle and women’s liberation?
Hisila: They are very close. Women were the first to be oppressed, and will be the last to be liberated when class oppression ceases. So the test of whether class oppression still exists is if women’s oppression still exists or not.
Red!: Can the working class get liberated without the women in the working class taking the lead in the liberation of the working class as a whole? What would this mean concretely in Nepal?
Hisila: The litmus paper is whether the women get the leadership or not. In Nepal we say that the mass organisations should have 50% women in the leadership. But the party is an ideological organisation and this rule should not apply.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
La Presse and the Montreal Gazette each carried articles today about the three low-level actions carried out in Montreal's working class Hochelaga Maisonneuve neighbourhood over the past week.
Remember everyone: Play safe. Don't talk to the cops. Don't guess who is doing what. Don't ask questions none of us need to know the answers to.
And please, don't send me any communiques, i'm fine finding them online myself.
To read the communiques from the past weeks action:
- night of March 13/March 14: Six police cars torched by Collectif Ton Pere (Your Father collective)
- night of March 15/March 16: National Bank ATMs torched by Collectif Ton Oncle (Your Uncle Collective)
- night of March 17/March 18: two Bell Canada vans have their tire slashed, as do cars at a Mazda dealership, by Your Dog
Here is the La Presse article, translated by yours truly. Below one can find the Gazette article.
Anarchist Groups: a web host's computers are seizedCaroline Touzin
Montreal police raided a web host in Montreal on Tuesday night to identify who was behind the recent crimes claimed by anarchist groups in the Hochelaga-Maisoneeuve neighbourhoud, Le Presse has learned.
Four police officers arrived, with a search warrant, at Koumbit, a non-profit organization which offers computer services to forty or so Quebec community associations and organizations. Koumbit hosts the Centre des médias alternatifs du Québec (CMAQ). This group distributed messages from the Your father, Your Uncle and YOUr Dog collectives, which claims reponsibility for (respectively) the setting on fire of six police cars, of automatic tellers as well as vandalism at a car sales lot.
The warrant authorized police to seize all computers on the premises and also stipulated that the organization hand over its "logs" to investigators, as well as as much information as possible about the four articles published on CMAQ. "Koumbit believes that such a warrant is problematic. The normal course of justice should not cause undue damage to businesses and organizations which are heavily dependent on the means of communication that we offer them, nor should it silence online media such as blogs or public forums," emphasized the organization in a press release it issued last night. Koumbit also provided three lines of its "logs", which are records of events which document visits to websites. A log normally contains the visitors address, the time they visited, the page visited as well as the kind of browser used.
The police, for its part, refused to comment on this information. "Those who commit crimes do not need added publicity. We refuse to discuss our investigation strategy," said sergeant Ian Lafrenière, of the Montreal police.
A member of the CMAQ collective, Martin Deshaies, feels that the police are "exaggerating." The CMAQ defines itself as a response to the mainstream media inspired by the international independent media network Indymedia. The site agreed to publish the communiqués as it has a principle of free publication, specified Mr Deshaies. "In the 1970s, the Front de libération du Québec send its communiqués to the mass media. The media reprinted them without necessarily agreeing with their message. It is the same thing with us today," explained Mr Deshaies.
A Worrisome Sentence
The CMAQ has an editorial policy that a message's contents cannot be defamatory. For this reason the CMAQ had removed a sentence from the Your Father Collective about the burnt police cars. "One sentence went too far," explained another member of CMAQ, Michaël Lessard. This censored sentence was inviting people to burn "the hotels and houses of capitalists." Mr Lessard also warned people not to be too hasty in assuming who was behind these messafes. "Watch out before you conclude that they are anarchists. These kinds of arguments can also be made by many far left groups or by young people who are angry about injustice." In the past CMAQ has received other requests from the police and even a court order to remove certain claims about the police from its site. Requests that the CMAQ did not answer.
The Montreal Gazette similarly had an article today about the police investigation:
Anarchists suspected in vandal attacksMAX HARROLD, The Gazette
Montreal police are blaming local anarchists for three recent acts of vandalism, but some familiar with the multi-faceted movement say: "Not so fast."
The incidents - all in the east end - include the slashing of 43 tires on cars at a Mazda dealership Tuesday, fires in three National Bank ATMs on Ontario St. on Sunday and the firebombing of six patrol cars at police Station 23 last Friday.
Total damage is estimated to be about $50,000, police said.
The Collectif Ton Oncle, Collectif Ton Père and someone called Ton Chien posted claims of responsibility on an alternative media website, Montreal police Sgt. Ian Lafrenière said yesterday.
"They're not just attacking the police," Lafrenière said. "They're attacking our way of life here in Montreal."
Francis Dupuis-Déry, a political science professor at the Université du Québec à Montréal, said it might be hasty for the police to blame anyone simply based on the Internet postings.
"One person could have committed these acts," Dupuis-Déry said, and anyone could have posted the claims online.
And anarchists, despite the disorganization that is implied, actually do a lot together, he said.
One of the postings said those targeted at the car dealership were "not citizens. They're not living with recurring debt (and) with rents increasing because of real estate developments and gentrification. They're not living under constant threat of eviction, or with having to make the choice of feeding their children or paying their bills."
Stefan Christoff, 25, a community organizer and anarchist, said: "I have no clue who did those (acts of vandalism). What's more important is social injustice and poverty. That's violence."
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
The latest communique from Montreal's East End - the original in english and french can be read on Infoshop here. Once again, if i see these on the net i'll post them here, if they're in french i'll translate them, but please nobody send me one of these - i'm ok at finding stuff myself.
This communique from the "Your Dog" ("ton chien") comes within days of ATMs being torched by a "Your Uncle Collective" ("collectif ton oncle") and six police cars being torched by a "Your Father Collective" ("collectif ton pere").
Remember: Don't talk to the cops. Don't guess who is doing what. Don't ask questions none of us need to know the answers to.
i see no need to comment on this all any more, you can all read for yourselves:
Mazda dealership and Bell Canada vans attackedNight of march 17-18 2008
Around 23 cars at a Mazda dealership in Prefontaine had their tires slashed, along with 2 Bell Canada vans sitting in the neighborhood.
We act in solidarity with the inspiring actions taken a few days earlier against police cars and a bank.
The police are scared, the capitalists are scared, but no one else seems to mind the fires breaking out in their neighborhoods.
The media tell us that the police are worried for their "citizens," but the ones who are targeted are not citizens.
They do not live with re-occurring debt, with an escalating rent caused by condo development and gentrification, they do not live under the constant threat of eviction or with the choice of either feeding their kids or paying the bills...
They are the ones bringing us the eviction notices, they are the ones arriving in uniform to force us from our homes, they are the ones who harass us when we can't pay the bills or the debt or the grocery bill...
As our comrades stated before, WE ARE THIS CITY and these capitalist and power driven pieces of shit are not welcome here!
Tomorrow 23 less cars will have a chance to drive around the super-highways that expand capital onto native territory and into undeveloped space: serving nothing but this system that threatens our lives every day.
We hope that the two Bell vans we disabled might keep your cable offline long enough to get the media, mouth-piece of this social order, out of your lives for a day.
In solidarity with every prisoner, native and rebel alike.
The real criminals have yet to taste our collective rage!
the following is an essay by J. Sakai regarding Barack Obama and the 2008 primaries; it is also up on the Kersplebedeb website.
PRIMARY LOATHING: Is It Real Or Is It Memorex?
by J. Sakai
You got to hand it to patriarchal capitalism. Just when we thought that the Bushites were on the run, and maybe ku klux klan civilization's day is over, they come up with some stunning new maneuver. Like this man of theirs, Barak Obama. A biologically white woman versus a biologically African-American man wrestling live on television for the... white man's big toilet seat of power? This is a mutant, science-fiction moment. So what is it with the Obama Show, anyhow?
There's a split screen with Obama, the interesting story and the boring story.
We all keep hearing the interesting story, best version probably the distorted one white people tell each other at the bar. Like: His real name is Osama, as in bin Laden, and his exotic early childhood was being dumped by his hippy white mom at an islamic madrassa in Asia that was teaching him jihad against America. Then his white grandparents rescued him, raising him in Hawaii at a snooty prep school where he learned race-mixing and dope smoking. The rest is history. Now he's the latest Black smooth-speaking, ultra-liberal hope to "change" America, to go beyond Jesse and Al in getting even more welfare for them. That's like a funhouse mirror, crazily distorted, but strangely it doesn't matter since Obama's whole exciting ride is always someone's fictional script anyway.
Like, yesterday on the #57 Peterson Ave bus i overheard one white woman college student saying to another: "I read on the internet that his middle name is Hussein. 'Cause he's named after Saddam Hussein! They say he's a terrorist. Wouldn't it be what they really want, to plant one of theirs in our government? But that couldn't be true, could it?" This is a thriller. i mean, capitalist elections are phony anyway, so why not make their scripts as entertaining as the soap operas?
The boring story is his actual life and career, which is about waiting on white capitalism and the corporate right. Not about Black people at all (they're just the stage props, the collateral damage in his work as an agent of white change).
He was here in Chicago for years impersonating a community organizer. The only people he excited were himself and the bosses downtown. Mental note: the phrase "community organizer" calls up images of someone going door to door in a poor community, getting folks to get together to march on city hall and fight the establishment that's oppressing them. That wasn't our guy Obora. Instead of organizing poor people to fight the system, his work with nonprofit projects doing a kind of social work, mostly focused on getting individuals to support the system by registering and becoming Democratic Party voters for candidates like himself. Nope, not "community organizer" but political hustler. Boring.
He was just another sleezebag politician on the make. When he tried to get into Congress by unseating incumbent Rep. Bobby Rush (once the suspect head of the Illinois Black Panther Party), he was crushed like a used paper cup. Next to no one voted for him or cared, either.
Obora had only gotten into our boozy state legislature of clowns and the terminally corrupt, because he ran unopposed. Publicly anointed as her successor by the veteran Black state senator Alice Palmer, he used his legal smarts to suddenly go into court and to get her and the three other Black candidates disqualified off the primary ballot in a last-minute surprise, leaving him as the only choice for Black voters--ah, "democracy", it's so great! No wonder Bush and Cheney want to export it involuntarily it to the world.
Mr. Obora spent seven years in the Illinois state legislature as a loyal underling in the Democratic Party's Daley Machine. Earning his "bones" as a normal capitalist politician. Even his wife, Michelle, had to work as an aide to Mayor Daley. Been there, seen that. It should go without saying that Obama is corrupt up to his fishy gills, and never led any fight against the Daley Machine's ku klux klan in blue or anything else that the business establishment wanted. They whistled, he fetched. There was no "Obama movement" because most Black Chicagoans couldn't care whether he lived or died. Boring.
Newspapers going back over his legislative record can't find anything that stood out except his reluctance to take stands that might significantly cost him future white rightwing support, like abortion rights (where he just refused to vote one way or the other on contested abortion rights bills). There was no "Obama for President" talk, because he was just another unimportant liberal politician going along with the big bosses. Although he always says how his childhood experiences in the muslim world make him better able to handle the u.s. empire's international affairs, Obama has hushed up about how when he decided to run for president, his faithful Black staffers who were muslims were fired the next day. See, in capitalism there are no loyalties, only interests. Boring.
But who woulda thought that out of all this, a mutant presidential election would come? Shows, when you get past the endless sea of white men in suits, they can always come up with a better tv script. Again, what's most interesting is what white men's dirty tantrum culture is hitting at with their Obama doll.
Start with a simple fact. Obora has always been a mostly white phenomena. He achieved fame as the first ever Black president of the 104 year-old student Harvard Law Review, which is the most prestigious position that any law student in the u.s. can have. This led directly to his being offered a book contract for what became the best-selling, Dreams From My Father. Interesting enough, Obama wasn't the main liberal candidate for that fiercely contested Harvard Law post. He became the secret candidate of the rightwing Republicans, who didn't have enough votes to win for themselves, but believed Obama's offer that if they supported him and he won, he would always give them a chance to influence decisions. To this day many of his most outspoken supporters are white Republicans, often from the party's rightwing.
To more sophisticated white racists, Obama is like the second coming of Jesus. They love him because he's the long-awaited coming that will seal their triumph over American culture...the liberal Clarence Thomas!
After Obama's Iowa upset, conservative columnist George Will said on ABC's "Nightline": "The two big losers tonight are probably Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton." In other words, it was Black people who were the big losers in Obama's victory. Former conservative u.s. education secretary Bill Bennett also said that night on CNN, Obama "has taught the black community you don't have to act like Jesse Jackson; you don't have to act like Al Sharpton. You can talk about the issues. Great dignity. And this is a breakthrough."
Hey, this is an easy one to figure. Jesse and Al are great talkers (far better than Obora), but mostly are just "doing for self". Al is one of the only old protest leaders left who can still talk that talk and sass the establishment, but neither are anything like militant, much less revolutionary. But these two guys are too Black for most whites. Because their base, their "home", is in the Black community that they rep. Unlike Obama. Who, according to Obama's campaign supporters on the white right like Bill Bennett, has made a "breakthrough" for Black people, by having "great dignity" and discussing "issues" that no Black people by implication could do before him. Exposes what they really think of Black people.
It's hard to remember that only a few months ago, last year, Black voters here polled for Hillary overwhelmingly after a year of Obama's campaigning for president in his own state. Black women voters in his backyard polled for Hillary three-to-one. Refuting the easy assumption that race automatically threw the Black Nation into Obama's operation.
There has been a media and political juggernaut that sprang seemingly out of nowhere. And from that came a big bandwagon. But it isn't any mystery when day after day Obama gets heavily slanted positive coverage in Republican newspapers and television networks. Endorsed by the conservative Republican Party hometown newspaper, the Chicago Tribune, which loves Obama while simultaneously conducting a public campaign in its pages to criminalize and eventually imprison most of the other Democratic Party leadership in Chicago. Major white businessmen and politicians jostled in line to praise and declare for Obama before most of the Black community did. This is an establishment story.
Lots of media coverage about his "silver tongue", his gifts as a speaker, but little media coverage to the fact that the Democratic foreign policy establishment overwhelmingly moved directly into the Obama campaign in 2006, right at the beginning. They never were for Hillary.
Like Anthony Lake, who was assistant secretary of state for Africa and then national security advisor. Lake is one of imperialism's most dangerous minds, as the bureaucratic manager who led the u.s. switchover from a Cold War agenda to a global neo-colonial agenda. When Britain and most of NATO still viewed the liberation war in Zimbabwe as an anti-communist anti-terrorist security priority, Lake understood that the u.s. empire had to switch sides and just bribe the Afrikan opposition. Abandoning the white Rhodesian regime, Lake led the Carter administration right into supporting into power and buying out Robert Mugabe, the dictatorial chief of the Z.A.N.U. Afrikan guerrillas who were supposedly Maoist revolutionaries. Lake arranged for Mugabe to tour Harlem and embrace president Carter for the press cameras ( Mugabe even told reporters that if only Carter would move to Zimbabwe, they would make him their president). Lake also supervised the u.s. military invasion of Haiti, to remove an elected populist government and reinstall the death squads, drug gangs and secret police of the Little Papa Doc era. In the name of "democracy", of course. He and Obama are practically brothers ideologically.
The Obama team also includes establishment player "Zbig" Brzezinski, also a former national security advisor, who helped launch the multi-billion dollar u.s. effort to create a rightwing international islamist guerrilla movement to topple the Russian takeover in Afghanistan. Then there is Harvard's Sarah Sewall, a former defense department official who specializes in covering up human rights issues for the West. Sewell wrote the introduction to u.s. general Petraeus' army/marine corps counterinsurgency handbook that is the new guide for all u.s. soldiers worldwide. (Obama fits right in there). And many more insiders in the corridors of power in Washington...
The illuminati of u.s. foreign policy on the liberal side helped build the Obama campaign and give it weight, while only the somewhat battered ("I didn't know that I was Jewish.") Madeline Albright stands by Hillary. The foreign policy establishment hates Hillary because she really has no foreign policy, only opportunistic permanent campaign tactics. While the illuminati want an activist u.s. policy to aggressively intervene & reshape the world to fit American interests. Obama, who famously declared his willingness to attack Pakistan--but who refused to march with Black youth against white racism in Jena--is their Frankenstein-style project.
After Senator Ted Kennedy started campaigning for Obama, the media began repeating some fool's enthusiastic brainstorm about how Obama was "the Black Kennedy". Which is like more science-fiction. Then, 1960s-era white politicians started telling the media how Obama is the "only" statesman they've seen since John F. Kennedy who was so charismatic and inspiring to hope for change. All this is obviously mostly ruling class propaganda (like the by now enshrined Chris Rock and Toni Morrison bullshit that Bill Clinton was "the first Black President"--you mean, "the first white-racist-Black-President"?). But what can we learn from "the Black Kennedy" thing, anyway?
What no one is saying is that there are practical reasons why JFK's career became like a wildfire in the Black community. And any real comparison with Obora isn't too complimentary to the latter.
While he was running for president, Kennedy made his support for the civil rights movement clear. That was like "the world turned upside down" back then. Remember, no u.s. president had even so much as publicly opposed lynching for close to seventy-five years, until Franklin D. Roosevelt did so in 1938 (after six years in office, and after he was politically invincible). Civil rights is so tamed & taken for granted now, that people don't know how revolutionary it was in its early days when it was free to fight.
When the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested and taken into a Southern jail during the campaign, real fears for his safety were widespread in the Black community. Senator Kennedy phoned the local white authorities, warning them that Dr. King's physical safety had to be protected while the Senator's staff arranged for Dr. King's release. He then called Rev. King Senior and Coretta King, knowing that they would be up in the middle of the night worrying and waiting for news about their son, to tell them that he had moved to protect and free the younger King. No major white politician had ever done anything like that before for any Black family. That was a lightning bolt politically.
And after he was elected, John F. Kennedy had the civil rights division of the u.s. justice department set up an unpublicized, special 24-7 hotline for Southern civil rights workers. Young women and men who were in immediate physical danger could phone collect at any time, and the white Kennedy staffers in Washington would try and get state police to escort them out of the situation (this actually worked more often than not). This was a level of involvement in Black rights that no big white politician had ever done before. To think that Black voters supported the Kennedys then because of his "personal charisma", is really insulting to their intelligence, and way underestimates how big the real changes were that they were forcing on the white politicians and all their empire. Compared to this real life drama, in which JFK was a major risktaker, a bold and ruthless player of change, Obama and his supposed charisma are a pretty tiny thing.
It isn't that folks in the struggle back then thought Kennedy was on our side. We were young and naive, not schizophrenic. Just that for a few years, there were three sides at play. It was the Black Nation banging against the violent Southern segregationists and their Northern counterparts (such as the Daley Machine in Chicago). In the middle was the Kennedy Administration, maneuvering to gain from the violent domestic war while ultimately wanting control over it. Kennedy tried to co-opt the civil rights movement while pushing for modernized white supremacy by gradual desegregation.
As we know, the Kennedys used their influence and money to pressure the "Big Six" civil rights leaders to secretly meet with them and agree to stop upsetting America with militant actions. In return, the Kennedys would set up a slush fund for them to expand their budgets and concentrate on winning voting rights, which would add more Democratic Party voters. Local groups that didn't go along would be arrested and violently repressed, while Kennedy acted like he didn't know anything about it.
The once outlaw civil rights movement, a political movement literally outside and against the law, had become neo-colonized. Kennedy also joined the u.s. empire's foreign policy managers in trying to invade Cuba, really invading Vietnam, and ratcheting up the Cold War "missile race" with Russia. So JFK was into "change", all right. His "changes" were the oppression that millions had to rise up against. That's Obama's role model, but he's probably too weak to even try to live up to that.
Some activists are saying that Obama "sold out", which makes as little sense as saying that Bill Clinton "sold out". Some guys are exercising their right of humor by calling him "50percent". And when Jesse blurted out earlier that Obora thinks he's white, we all understood Jesse's wave. But that wasn't really accurate, either. Obama truly, genuinely is African-and-American biologically if anybody on earth is. And since, as Jesse said a while back, the Black community is a community of inclusion not exclusion, Obama may not be typically Black but he has membership. What Barak Obama is not part of is the historic Black Nation, that was forged in the furnace of centuries of slavery and rebellion, with shared working class communal values, that over centuries developed its own culture of resistance fighting towards liberation.
That's why white people--in surveys, the richer you are, the higher your class, the more you love Barak O.--want him as a public signpost to the future. President Clinton's old main political advisor, Dick Morris, wrote with evil hope that after Obama's triumphal debut, "race is no longer a factor in American politics." Obora projects no grievances against the white power, no angers, no edge, no loyalty to his people, no feeling of any debt owed by the past sufferings of the oppressed, no wild and subversive creativity, nothing that made the color Black so feared by patriarchal capitalism. He's "clean", as one u.s. senator infamously blurted out. He's part of 21st century capitalism's new useful hybrids, who are synthetic people.
So to the corporate and government and political establishment, there are only upsides to pushing Obama the synthetic person. He's an "all-purpose cleanser."
Doubtless, some conservative white men were crossing over and voting for Obama in the primaries and caucuses to piss in the well, to create a possibly weaker Democratic presidential campaign. Some of these Republicans might be hoping for a big white racist backlash against a strange African-American seizing the white man's house. Other conservatives were only too happy to push Obama forward if that meant trampling on a woman's face. No lack of woman-hating in this campaign. Even the tv networks felt free to let their woman-hating rip, well covered up as it was by sugary praise for Obama. According to the CBS/New York Times poll, from January 23, 2008 to the end of February 2008, Obora's support among white men skyrocketed from 23% to 61%. Explaining much about his primary surge. While Hillary's support among white men only fell from 38% to 33%. In other words, roughly half of white men polled wanted a white male prezy --Edwards, whoever--but switched to the only other male left standing rather than have Hillary pollute the men's room. And that's the liberal men's primary.
Some of the establishment see a President Obama as the perfect public image, as America Inc. thinks of repairing all the damage done to its interests in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America during the crazy Bush regency.
But for the capitalist establishment, most of all there must be New Orleans, standing like a bombed city on the plain, wrapped in towering clouds of shock and destruction, spilling refugees in all directions, visible as a wound from across the world. A year ago, New Orleans was the biggest story about the Black Nation. A story of ethnic cleansing by the u.s. empire, with no right of return by its internal refugees. Like lost Palestine. Today, after the establishment's Operation Obama has seized the headlines and the world's imagination in scripted living color, the u.s. looks so fresh and exciting. It's really diverting. And who can remember about New Orleans, anyhow?
Monday, March 17, 2008
It would seem that there was a second anti-capitalist bonfire in Montreal carried out over the weekend by a second collective - the Collectif Ton Oncle (Your Uncle Collective). This comes just after the torching fo six police cars last Friday morning.
The communique is posted on the Anarkhia site, i have translated it here.
i would suggest that everyone repost these communiques.
Gotta say i like the smiley face at the end...
Attack Against the National Bank in Montreal
corner of Ontario and Valois, the night of March 15-16 2008
The three automatic tellers of this branch were smashed before being set on fire.
This action was not mentioned in the big media and the National Bank attempted to hide the damage as quickly as possible. We suspect the authorities are trying to cover up the facts so as not to create panic amongst the citizens.
We acted following the torching of the parking lot of neighbourhood station 23. Like the Collectif Ton Pere [translators note: Your Father Collective], we are acting against the State, Capital and private property, which perpetuate oppression, destruction and alienation. We are also in solidarity with Native struggles, specifically in the context of the 2010 Olympics.
Even if the National Bank is not an official partner (as is the case with the Royal Bank), a bank is still a bank!
Let's not forget that the police and the banks support each other.
Collectif Ton Oncle ;-)
Good one Anarkhia Collective - that's where the complete communique for last Friday night's police bonfire has been posted.
Here is my complete translation:
Setting Fire to the Hochelaga Police Station Parking Lot
The night of March 13-14, 2008
Six Police Cars caught fire at Station 23, on the corner of Hochelaga and Aird.
These are actions against the greater and greater levels of oppression in the neighbourhood and everywhere where exploitation exists and reproduces itself.
We are acting in solidarity with Native political prisoners in America who are still struggling for their freedom and their autonomy.
We are calling on all populations to take back their time, space, the street, the city, and to torch everything that represents authority.
The city is us, it is not a prison belonging to capitalism.
We are not slaves, and yet we build their houses, their banks. their roads, we look after their children and serve them their coffee every morning, we pick the fruit and vegetables that they eat...
The least we can do is to set fire to their cars, SUVs, police cars, their new real estate developments, their big houses, their hotels, expose them publicly for who they are...
The least we can do is to abolish them!!
In the same way, we would like to specify that we support all armed struggle for autonomy and we invite all people to act and to examine their own past and their own role in order to become more connected to the communities which are struggling to get by, and to struggle against all forms of oppression.
Torch the capitalist system, that creator of corpses!
Collectif Ton père
P.S.: The communique is appearing in the events section as the collective is attempting to break through the censorship being applied by CMAQ regarding the true demands behind this actions, which have still not been mentioned in the corporate media.
La Presse in an article just posted does in fact mention this all in the corporate media, quoting pig spokesperson Olivier Lapointe to the effect that this communique "Is being taken very seriously by our investigators. Information regarding that specific group will be particularly studied and verified."
We have no doubt.
Remember everyone: don't talk to cops, don't guess at who might be doing what, don't ask questions which none of us need to know the answers to. Sometimes some folks play for real.
What follows is a news item from CMAQ, the Quebec Indymedia, with quotes from a communique claiming responsibility for an attack on empty police cars belonging to the SPVM, the Montreal Police Department, on the morning of March 14th. The news item was translated by yours truly, the original can be read in French here.
Ruling class media news reports on the torching of the cop cars can be seen at:
- Police cars set on fire in east end
The Gazette, Friday, March 14.
- Des autos-patrouille du SPVM détruites par le feu
Le Soleil, vendredi 14 mars 2008.
CMAQ did not publish the communique claiming responsibility for this in its entirety, clearly fearing police repression, though perhaps also feeling liberal squeamishness. Their claim that they are not publishing the call to torch police cars and the homes of the rich for "legal and ethical" reasons is confusing, to say the least. If their only fear is repression, that is acceptable and respectable, but they should say so straight out. If they have moral qualms about reprinting such a communique one must wonder what they're doing running an Indymedia node.
(Note: To be clear, if anyone ever has such a thing to post, don't send it to me. Find some place safe and untraceable where it will be posted in its entirety and send it there, and once we find out about it many of us on the net will be happy to repost it.)
The Mercier/Hochelaga Maisonneuve neighbourhood is a predominantly working class Quebecois neighbourhood. To see such an act in such a neighbourhood should not be surprising, but it sure does warm the heart.
The CMAQ news piece is reprinted as follows:
On Friday March 14, at 5:50am, a "group" sent a message to Indymedia-Quebec (http://www.cmaq.net) claiming responsibility for setting six SPVM (Montreal Police Department) police cars on fire. The message was signed "Collectif Ton père" (Your Father Collective) and explains that this was an "Action against the greater and greater levels of oppression in the neighbourhood and everywhere where exploitation exists and reproduces itself."
This act, if you recall, was carried out in the rear parking lot of neighbourhood police station number 23 on Hochelaga street, in the Mercier/Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighbourhod, around 3am according to the SPVM. The six police cars were totally destroyed.
The aforementioned communique declares:
We are acting in solidarity with Native political prisoners in America who are still struggling for their freedom and their autonomy.The communique ends by calling on people to burn not only police cars, but also the capitalists' houses and hotels. For both legal and ethical reasons, the volunteer Indymedia-Quebec collective cannot directly publish the original communique.
We are calling on all populations to take back their time, space, the street, the city, and to torch every representative of authority.
The city is us, it is not a prison belonging to capitalism.
We are not slaves, and yet we build their houses, their banks. their roads, we look after their children and serve them their coffee every morning, we pick the fruit and vegetables that they eat........*
The Centre des médias alternatifs du Québec (CMAQ) has never heard of the "Your Father collective". The message was sent via an online form, and was anonymous, with no email address, and the connection came via France, Germany and the United States.
- collectif Centre des médias alternatifs du Québec (CMAQ)
info [at] cmaq.net
Note: The Centre des médias alternatifs du Québec (CMAQ), a volunteer collective responsible for Indymedia-Quebec, is sharing this information as a journalistic article which could interest the public, and obviously does not support acts which could put people's lives in danger.
* Editors note: the text as reproduced here was neither corrected not altered. It is only missing two or three sentences, which we have summarized at the end of our article.
Friday, March 07, 2008
FRIDAY MARCH 7, 2008 :
PUNK SHOW AGAINST POLICE BRUTALITY
8PM at Katacombes (1222 St-Laurent) donation 5-10$
with : Joyfull Bullets, Tempete, Brasse Camarades, CFC + Videos (March 15, and Resistance at CEGEP du Vieux-Montreal)
SATURDAY MARCH 8, 2008 :
PROTEST FOR THE INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY
Noon at the corner of Queen-Mary and Decelles (CDN metro)
Against deportations and detentions, gender violence, police brutality, criminalization, poverty, precarious status, racial profiling, sexist and racist immigration policies and war.
TUESDAY MARCH 11, 2008 :
WORSHOPS ON OUR RIGHTS AND RECOURSES AGAINST POLICE ABUSE
7PM at 1710 Beaudry (Beaudry metro)
What are our rights, who to contest a ticket, how and why file a complaint in police ethics.
WEDNESDAY MARCH 12, 2008 :
WORKSHOP ON RESISTANCE AGAINST SOCIAL CLEANSING
7PM at 1710 Beaudry (Beaudry metro)
State of the situation, criminalization of homeless people as a tool of social control, resistance by and for the marginals.
WEDNESDAY MARCH 13, 2008 :
WORKSHOP ON COPWATCH
7PM at 1710 Beaudry (Beaudry metro)
Examples of patrols of surveillance of the cops around the world, positive and negative impacts of copwatch.
SATURDAY MARCH 15, 2008 :
DEMO FOR THE 12th INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST POLICE BRUTALITY!
3PM at Berri Square (Berri metro)
Against police killings, impunity, social cleansing, racial profiling, colonialism and political repression!
Read the callout for March 15, 2008 : http://www.cmaq.net/en/node/29249
For more information:
The Collective Opposed to Police Brutality (COBP)
firstname.lastname@example.org 514-395-9691 http://cobp-mtl.ath.cx/
-- A series of anti-racist workshops, discussions and events.
-- Part of the national week of action against racism.
(((( FIRST WORKSHOP OF THE SERIES ))))
Monday March 10th, 6PM
UQAM, V Pavillion, Room 1430; 209, Ste-Catherine East
:::::::::::::::::::::: SPEAKERS :::::::::::::::::::::::
*Gada Mahrouse: is an Assistant Professor at Concordia University where she teaches courses on feminisms, race, and postcolonialisms. Currently, she is examining the "reasonable accommodation" debates in Quebec through a lens that explores discourses of assimilation and tolerance through a feminist, anti-racist analytical framework.
*Robyn Maynard : is a Montreal based organizer, member of No One Is Illegal Montreal and Project X, based in NDG.
*Alia Al-Saji: Alia Al-Saji is a Professor of Philosophy at McGill University in Montreal. She specializes in twentieth-century European philosophy, French philosophy and French feminism.
*Nesrine Bessaih : is an organizer for social justice. She is a co-founder of UTIL (Unité théâtrale d'interventions loufoques) -- a collective that uses street theater to raise awareness on social and political issues. She is also a member of the À bâbord! collective, a social and political publication put out by Quebec organizers and academics.
-- Bilingual presentations. English and French whisper translation.
-- Free childcare available.
-- Wheelchair accessible.
Organized by : the "Accommodate this!" campaign.
For more info, contact: (514) 398-3323 or email:
During the month of March 2008, we are organizing a series of actions to denounce the racism and sexism at the roots of the "Reasonable Accommodation" debate and the Bouchard Taylor commission, and to focus on the real issues faced by racialized and migrant communities in montreal: unjust immigration laws, deportations, detentions, surveillance and harassment, exploitation at work, poverty, criminalization, sexism, police brutality, racial profiling, precarity etc.
a series of workshops on the lived realities of racialized and migrant communities, to encourage discussions within different marginalized communities about issues linked to the struggles they are engaged in, for justice, for dignity and for self-determination.
(((( The FIRST Workshop of the series ))))
>> Intersections: Anti-Racism and Feminism
Monday March 10th, 6PM
UQAM, V Pavillion,209, Ste-Catherine East, Room 1430.
(((( UPCOMING WORKSHOPS ))))
>> Gender, Race and Religious Identity
Saturday March 15th, 1PM
Centre des Femmes d'Ici et d'Ailleurs; 8043 St-Hubert (Metro: Jarry)
* Note: this workshop is open to women identifying people only.
Racialized and migrant women are encouraged to attend.
>> Fighting State and Interpersonal Gender Violence
Sunday March 16th, 2PM
Parc Extension Community Center; 419 St Roch St., 2nd floor, Room 9.
For more info, contact us at: (514) 398-3323 or email: email@example.com