Friday, April 29, 2016

Private industry's waste cleaned up by the taxpayer.

by Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

One aspect that’s left out when it comes to the so-called vibrancy and efficiency of capitalist mode of production is the cost of cleaning up the mess created by private industry.  Apart from the human health conditions directly associated with the workplace, the cost of cleaning up the environment after one capitalist venture or another lives and then dies as capital accumulation wanes, is staggering. This cost is born by the workers and the middle class as a public expense.  The entire capitalist system is propped up by public assistance in one way or another.

According to the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) * between 1986 and 2008, the Department of Defense (DOD), in other words, the taxpayer, spent $30 billion ”…. across all environmental cleanup and restoration activities at its installations.”.  We all know that private defense contractors like Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman do very well from their government contracts.  Who owns them, who actually pockets the billions in profits accumulated over the years is another matter not so easy to determine.
The DOD In its fiscal year 2014 Agency Financial Report DOD reported “$58.6
billion in total environmental liabilities”, It appears the costly job of spreading peace around the world has some serious environmental costs as well.

This report went on to say:
“For example, officials at USDA’s Forest Service estimated that there were from 27,000 to 39,000 abandoned mines on its land approximately 20 percent of which may pose some level of risk to human health or the environment. GAO also reported that Interior had an inventory of 4,722 sites with confirmed or likely contamination. However, Interior’s Bureau of Land Management had identified over 30,000 abandoned mines that were not yet assessed for contamination, and this inventory was not complete. DOD reported to Congress in June 2014 that it had 38,804 sites in its inventory of sites with contamination. DOE reported that it has 16 sites in 11 states with contamination.”

One such site, one of many in the area, is in St Louis County Missouri where the US Army Corps of Engineers is removing “weapons related waste” from many sites where factories worked on atomic weapons. One site where contamination levels are “…hundreds of times above federal safety guidelines.”  is not being cleaned up because the federal government has deemed the site “….inaccessible and not a threat” according to the Wall Street Journal. The ACOE is saying that the waste is safely contained.

But a private group of environmentalists and researchers is challenging the federal government’s position. They say that what is referred to as a “radioactive hot spot” is not secure and “anchored in place” as an Army Corps of Engineers spokesperson claims but that it is leaking, entering a nearby creek and from there flowing downstream in to residents’ yards.

There is no doubt in my opinion, that the incredible level of cancers and other diseases we are battling are connected to the environment. Even the stress of living in a social system that treats everything, including the human body as a commodity is a major cause of illness.  For those in the third world, or developing countries as they are called although they never develop, it is a given that lack of food, medical care, social infrastructure and a lack of public health in general is why diseases we cured long ago kill by the thousands. They die as victims of capitalism.

Leaving aside the health costs to consumers and communities due to the pollution and environmental damage caused by private industry, even those under contract to the state, the costs historically of cleaning up capitalism’s mess must run in to the trillions. One can only imagine the environmental damage that has ensued after years of US bombing in the Middle East and Afghanistan. We are somewhat familiar with the results of US chemical warfare in Vietnam where the Pentagon poured dioxin on the Vietnamese people and their food as well as US troops. There are no holds barred when the issue of creating a market for their commodities is concerned. Vietnamese children are still being born with deformities from US chemical warfare and US veterans are still dying from cancers from it; two of them I knew personally.

When they boast about the efficiency of the market and announce profit gains in their media, they don’t include the cost of cleaning up their so-called free market’s residue as that cost is socialized.  The costs of rehabilitating hundreds of thousands of veterans, both mentally and physically, will not be borne by the war profiteers at Lockheed Martin or the Carlyle group.

How many rich kids were sent to private schools by profiteers who owned these industries? How many vacations in the Alps luxury yachts, and estates were purchased by these private investors as the excrement from their investments pour in to the atmosphere, the soil and the gardens of working class people?

We cannot imagine the hundreds of billions, perhaps trillions in profits that have been made in ventures that have spanned decades or centuries. Land to the capitalist, like everything else, is a commodity. The closer one lives to the land, produces a significant portion of their means of subsistence from the land, the more one respects and cherishes it.

We live in a Democracy we are told but we have no real say in such details like foreign wars, what we produce, when and how much------these decisions belong to the market and the vast majority of us earn our livelihoods from wage labor, not off of the profit of capital.  We will not have community discussions over how to clean up 39,000 abandoned mines or whether they should have been mined in the first place. Even if we did, working class people have no political party through which we can impose our will on society, and we work too long hours. Meanwhile, every four years we elect a representative of these very same profiteers and wonder why things never change for the better. 

Despite the failings of the government agencies, the alternative, leaving such decisions directly in the hands of the private sector, less regulation no matter how weak would be a disaster.  The shifting of federal lands to the states where neo-con right wing politicians can enact their pro-market and anti-social laws aka North Carolina etc. would be a disaster both socially and environmentally.  As I pointed out in a previous post, the state regulators in charge of writing the deep water drilling rules handed the job over to the industry. Yes, the oil industry wrote its own guidelines that led to the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The alternative is not the market or more bureaucracy aimed at protecting business as opposed to  labor/community interests, but control from below. Representatives of the community directly affected by and involved in any issue in conjunction with workers in the community, rank and file members of the unions and other grass root social groups must take these matters up. We have seen so many of these catastrophe’s, Flint, West Texas, Porter Ranch, the BP, Exxon Valdez spills etc. Local single-issue struggles must be linked directly to other struggles nationally. And in the wake of these disasters let’s not forget that the poisoning of Native American communities, including from uranium mining, has been ongoing and has not received the attention it warrants.  These indigenous communities have been the worst hit and are a crucial ally and resource in any efforts to save the land and our natural resources.

Building a direct action national (and international) movement to throw back the offensive of capitalism that threatens not only our immediate welfare but life as we know it, is one way that a genuine independent political party of working people can arise as each struggle can throw up representatives rooted in these campaigns. The success of this movement cannot be assured if it does not recognize that the capitalist mode of production and the social and political structure that arises from it is not sent packing and replaced with an economy that produces for social need, not for profit or private gain.

The wealth of society is collectively produced. It makes sense then that how this wealth is allocated, how it is invested back in to the economy and society for the common good of all should be a collective process.   Capitalism has passed its due date.  The monstrosity of Stalinism that did more to tarnish the name of socialism and its greatest theoreticians has died a long awaited death.

The time for a democratic socialist economy, a federation of democratic socialist states within a global community is ahead of us. But this is not guaranteed, time is not on our side, and capitalism, in its decaying state, is a dangerous animal ridden toward to the edge of the abyss by madmen.

Society cries out for new managers.

* Report of Testimony Before the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy,
Committee on Energy and Commerce, House of Representatives

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Shakespeare's Timeless Tragedies.

by Roger Silverman

Everyone wants to claim Shakespeare as their own: as a champion of the divine right of kings and of democratic human rights; as a secret Catholic subversive and as a sycophant of the Protestant ascendancy; as a conservative advocate of royal privilege and as a forerunner of the coming parliamentarian uprising; as an upstart plebeian entrepreneur and as a secret aristocratic courtier masquerading under his pseudonym.

I for one would not wish to cannibalise his memory. How much could the son of the Mayor of a provincial English town in the sixteenth century have in common with Marxism? He was not a pamphleteer but an artist with a unique and uncanny ability to penetrate deep into the soul of whatever character crossed his stage. Who else could start with the caricatured racial stereotype of a miserly vengeful Jewish moneylender or a hot-blooded black man manipulated into murdering his wife, and yet enter so utterly and completely into their psyche?

Can Shakespeare really speak to us four hundred years later as he did to his contemporaries? In his comedies, not in my opinion. Humour tends to cater to the secret prejudices peculiar to each generation; and for all their brilliance, these elaborate operettas of cross-dressing, mistaken identity, excruciating puns and multiple marriages seem to me very dated period pieces. Tragedy, however, strikes a chord in every generation, and the relentless cycle of war, death and bereavement in Shakespeare's tragedies has the same timeless devastating impact today as then.

Shakespeare was an actor and the manager of a theatre company. He deployed his talents to fit the material needs of his time. His very quality of empathy left him impervious to the demands of partisan allegiances. He wrote to entertain the crowds, yes, but also to pander to the commands of the royal patrons who sponsored his productions. Macbeth, for instance, thrilled its audiences no less than any Stephen King horror movie, but also shamelessly flattered the new Scottish King James, who was soon to instigate a very real country-wide witch-hunting hysteria. To this end he cast as a virtuous man Macbeth's actual accomplice in regicide, James' ancestor Banquo, and helped to stoke up the mass frenzy of revenge against the bin Laden of his day Guy Fawkes, and his sponsors the Jesuits with their advocacy of equivocation as a tactic under police interrogation.

Wherever they appear in his plays, the common masses are depicted as raucous, fickle and malleable. In Julius Caesar they are swayed within minutes from one extreme to the other by the oratory of Brutus and the manipulative rhetoric of Mark Antony. And yet that same Shakespeare was equally capable of literally stripping King Lear naked and sending him raving into a storm-soaked wilderness, accompanied only by a clown and a blind madman.

School teachers drone on pedantically about these plays as if they were mere regurgitations from the ancient Greeks. The idea that they are all about great heroes brought to ruin with inexorable inevitability by their own fatal flaws completely misses the mark. The agonising dilemmas faced by Lear, Brutus, Hamlet, Henry V, Romeo and Juliet and many more are those arising from the irreconcilable clash between the growing aspirations of the individual and the rigid demands of the existing state.

These plays could not have been written either a century earlier or later; they could only have grown out of the soil of a society only one generation away from civil war. And they encompass all the poetry, passion and intensity of a society on the brink of revolution.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

This blog's first sex video.

 Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

I thought I would share his rather delightful scene in my back yard.  I was about to water a couple of tomato plants back there when I noticed these goings on so I stopped pulling out the hose in order not to disturb these two.  Not that it would have disturbed them as they were very in to what they were doing, it would have killed them.

When I was young I lived in the countryside for some years. The farmer would give us runts, young piglets or lambs that were unable to compete for teats and would gradually get smaller and eventually die. So me and my mum bottle fed them until they grew in to healthy domestic pets. Annabelle, our pig got so big we had to put her outside the house, Easter and Friday (guess when we got them) our two lambs ate Cadbury's chocolate and would attack the sheepdog if he came near

Sometimes I would have go to a farm two miles away and get Jumbo the boar and walk back with him to service our sows as dad bought a few more pigs and some "hot" ones that. They, "fell off the back of a lorry" as we say in Britain. My dad was quite the guy for finding stuff that fell off the back of lorries. Annabelle would have nothing to do with Jumbo and bit him badly. She died a virgin. My dad unfortunately saw in pigs a few bucks, not pets like the rest of the family, and Annabelle ended her life at the abattoir.  We never forgave him and when the truck came to take her she screamed blue murder, she knew where this was not good. But dad was the boss.

I also used to go get the cows to take up the milking shed for the farmer. It's not a difficult task  because as soon as they saw me they would all walk over, then I'd take them up the road to the shed, about three quarters of a mile.

These experiences were great for me, taught me a lot. And when I moved to the city, especially London, I noticed that young people were not as connected to nature in the same way, it was a shame.

Most workers are not employed in agriculture ,and agriculture, like most industries, is big business. I think only about 2% of the US population work on the land. But for people that live in rural areas where the pace of life is a bit slower, the kids get to interact with nature a little more I think, and see things like sex between animals that often urban kids don't.  Capitalism, industrial production, is not nature friendly. It's hard to pay attention to your kids when you get home after the night shift at the chicken factory or the auto plant, so people often pay no attention to the natural world around them, too tired.

Here we have sex between dragonflies.  That's what's great about the trails, we see so much there. But even in our yards, in urban areas, there is all sorts of activity like this. We have to make the effort to find time to enjoy the natural world as we are products of it and especially make our children aware of it. We also, I  might add, have to find the time to change the system in which we live that will at some point poison the natural world to the extent that humans, like many of the species today, will no longer be able to live in it.

Human beings are not exempt from extinction.

Gaza: A hot potato

After Israel's massacre in Gaza
 Reprinted from Challenge Magazine

by Yacov Ben Efrat

This week retired major-general Amos Gilad, director of the political-security division at the Defense Ministry, released a stern warning against the danger of a new war flaring up between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. According to Gilad, "The political leadership [in Gaza] is supposed to call the shots, but Mohammed al-Deif (commander of Hamas' military wing) couldn't care less and does as he wishes." In other words, despite the illogicality of a war this summer, someone in Gaza could be crazy enough to start one.

A few days later, an "all-clear siren" was sounded by the head of the IDFs Southern Command. In a meeting with leaders of Israeli communities near the Gaza border, he said that the chance of conflagration was very low and that Hamas is still deterred as a result of last summer's Operation Protective Edge. Not two days later, a “Red Alert” made the headlines. This was after censorship was lifted on the discovery of a Gaza attack-tunnel that stretched 30 meters into Israeli territory. Hamas may have been deterred, said the alarmists, but it continues to re-arm. Its Nukhba ("elite") Brigade is poised to attack through the tunnels and take control of nearby Israeli communities.

In one week, the Gaza pendulum swung from calm to apprehension, from deterrence to war. Hamas' actions show the organization to be schizophrenic, vacillating between rapprochement and muscle-flexing. To understand Hamas' motives, one first must first try to understand the situation in Gaza, which can be described in one word – catastrophic.

First, formally speaking there is no government in Gaza. Two years ago, after Hamas's funding sources dried up, its political leader Ismail Haniyeh resigned as Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in order to make way for a national unity government between Hamas and Fatah. Over Israeli objections, a unity government was formed in Ramallah, and it was ready to assume responsibility for Gaza. This never happened, and Hamas remains the de facto power in Gaza. Officially, then, Gaza is an orphan. Hamas, which maintains control there by force of arms, is preoccupied mainly with its own survival.

Almost two million Palestinians live in Gaza, in what amounts to an open-air prison, and no one is willing to spread a protective wing over them. Three entities – Israel, Egypt, and the PA – are imposing a blockade on the Strip. The result is awful by any measure: electric outages are common; water is undrinkable; the destruction left in the wake of Protective Edge remains, with 20,000 families still homeless; unemployment has reached 40%; young people lack the resources needed to marry; and most important – Gaza remains sealed. To add insult to injury, heavy taxes are levied on Gazans to finance Hamas.

On the other hand, although the PA refuses to pay the salaries of 40,000 Hamas officials in Gaza, it does pay the wages of former PA civil servants there who were replaced by Hamas after the coup in 2007 and have sat idle ever since. One need not be an expert to understand that the Strip is on the verge of explosion. The growing number of suicides among its young attests to the gravity of the situation.

In this tragic scenario, there is more than one scoundrel. Obviously the main protagonist is Israel, but it is not alone. Helping are her allies – the PA in Ramallah, and the al-Sissi dictatorship in Egypt. In the rush to harm Gaza, these partners compete with the Netanyahu government and at times even exceed it. The enmity between Gaza and Ramallah is greater than that between Gaza and Jerusalem. The regime of General al-Sissi sees Hamas as a cruel adversary threatening its very existence, because of Hamas' close ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, declared a terrorist group by al-Sissi in 2013.

Hamas feels painted into a corner and is taking a range of steps to extricate itself, from digging attack-tunnels to attempting dialogue and reconciliation. In the latter, however, it has encountered a wall. Attempts at reconciliation with Egypt and the PA ended in deadlock. President Mahmoud Abbas remains committed to the PA's “sacred” security coordination with Israel. The PA pursues Hamas members to the bitter end (and, when possible, even hands them over to the Shin Bet, Israel's security agency). The situation with Egypt isn't much better. The Egyptian army has destroyed the smuggling tunnels, which were the lifeline connecting the Gaza Strip to Sinai, and it has evicted 10,000 Rafah residents in order to establish a buffer zone on Rafah's Egyptian side.

Prior to Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012, Hamas was riding high. President-elect Mohamed Morsi had become the first Egyptian president to represent the Muslim Brotherhood. His victory gave Hamas the green light to initiate war with Israel. Hamas felt that the conflict would end with a convenient arrangement that would open the Rafah crossing and grant Gazans access to the world. However, since the military coup of June 2013 in Egypt, Hamas has lost its benefactor and the blockade on Gaza has tightened.

In mid-March of this year, with encouragement from Saudi Arabia, Hamas approached the Egyptian leadership for the purpose of thawing relations. Although the Egyptians agreed to meet, the conferences were held on the level of security, not diplomacy. Moreover, the Egyptians placed humiliating conditions on Hamas before agreeing to muzzle their widespread incitement against it. The Hamas leadership agreed to divorce itself from its mother party, the Muslim Brotherhood, and to remove portraits of Turkish President Erdogan and the emir of Qatar from Gaza streets, for al-Sissi considers them enemies. Unfortunately, until now these gestures have not yielded fruit. The Rafah crossing has remained closed. Suddenly, when the Egyptians agreed to open it, they made the proviso that Hamas must turn over its control to the PA, something Hamas is loath to do.

Since the Egyptians do not want to help Hamas, the Gazan hot potato has landed, once again, in the lap of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. Israel's security establishment understands that the situation is intolerable and that creative solutions must be found. For example, it is considering a proposal to build a floating port off the Gaza coast to provide an outlet for the mounting pressure. The natural partner for this project would be Turkey but, since the Mavi Marmara affair (the boat MV Mavi Marmara attempted to break the Israeli siege on Gaza in 2010 and nine activists were killed), Turkey has repeatedly demanded the lifting of the Gaza blockade as a condition for renewing diplomatic relations with Israel. The port venture might have succeeded, nonetheless, were it not for the opposition of Egypt and the PA. Both shudder at the thought that Hamas could receive even informal recognition of its sovereignty over Gaza. In light of the diplomatic entanglements and conflicts between Turkey, Egypt, the PA, and Israel, Gaza remains without a port and continues to sink. An explosion is unavoidable.

The Israeli government is still deciding what it wants: Israel is not interested in toppling Hamas, for it fears a takeover in Gaza by the Islamic State (ISIS), which is currently operating next door in the Sinai Peninsula. Israel does not want a politically strengthened Hamas because that would severely harm the PA's already shaky hold on the West Bank. Israel does not want another war like last summer's because it understands that 100,000 refugees and another 20,000 destroyed houses will trigger a humanitarian disaster. Israel knows that if such a thing happens, the world will hold it responsible.

As for the verbal zigzag between Amos Gilad's declaration on the possibility of war and the words of reassurance coming from the head of the IDF's Southern Command, both are right. At this moment, Hamas does not feel ready for another bloody war with Israel. However, if the present situation leads to a popular uprising against its rule in Gaza, Hamas would not hesitate to shift the pressure over to Israel by means of tunnels and rockets. The Netanyahu government is sitting on a powder keg. Israel talks about deterrence, about war, about technological “surprises,” but it is not facing the truth. The truth is that there is no solution in sight, either military or political. But Israel will go on playing for time until Gaza explodes in its face.

Translated from the Hebrew by Robert Goldman

Roni Ben Efrat
Tel: 972-3-5373280/71
Mobile: 972-504-330-038
Skype: roni.ben.efrat

The historical lies of the religious right. Jesus would not be pleased.

An interesting article from a year ago. Reprinted from Religiousrightwatch

Alabama Chief Justice: The First Amendment Protects Only Christians

Tbdfjr72rlevhvz3a8s0“Buddha didn’t create us, Mohammed didn’t create us, it was the God of the Holy Scriptures. They didn’t bring the Koran over on the pilgrim ship,” he continued. “Let’s get real, let’s go back and learn our history. Let’s stop playing games.”
The chief justice was speaking at a Pastor for Life Luncheon, an event in Jackson Miss., sponsored by Pro-Life Mississippi, according to Raw Story.

This guy's comments are imbecilic. The Pilgrims didn't write the Constitution, their worldview was written out of the Constitution deliberately, excluded as a matter of principle. Our godless Constitution was tantamount to a stated objection to the Pilgrims' theocratic Calvinism.

The spirit of the age of the Constitution is revealed here in there words of Thomas Jefferson from his Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom:

Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting "Jesus Christ," so that it would read "A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination."

Such examples abound and not just from Jefferson's quill but from others among the Founding Fathers. Chief Justice Moore's ignorance is menacing and worthy of official censure. The reason the world sat up and took note regarding our Constitution was that it was founded on reason, not divine right. It begins "We the people," not "In the Name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit." It was at the time the single most secular document ever created relating to a nation's governance.

Oh, any by the way, Mr. Moore, the Koran doesn't attest that Mohammed created humankind, Buddhists don't believe that Buddha created humankind, and the only scientific explanation that exists for the existence of humankind is the theory of evolution by natural selection.

Moore claims that Americans don't know their history. Bollocks. It's Moore who doesn't. He does what many members of the religious right do when they expound in a sophomoric manner on early American history: conflate the Pilgrims' adventure with the founding of the United States.

The Pilgrims arrived in 1620. The Constitution went into effect 169 years later in 1789. That's nearly seven generations, what 1845 is relative to 2014.

In 1845, James K. Polk was President, slavery flourished, women couldn't vote, state legislatures elected U.S. Senators, the western-most state was Missouri, most people thought the Earth was about 10,000 years old, Neptune had yet to be discovered, kerosene was unknown, and perhaps most importantly, Adolphe Sax was still a year away from patenting the saxophone. In 2014, are things a bit different in terms of not only technology but political principles and ideals, policy and worldview? Yes. One-hundred-sixty-nine years makes a difference. The Pilgrims came ashore in 1620, but by 1789 there was a republic on these shores that did not obviate or subsume but replaced religion-based colonial entities.

It's Moore who needs the history lesson. It's a nation by, of, and for not "the Christians" but "the People."

Monday, April 25, 2016

Big Landords own politicians, take the battle directly to them with direct action

Note: Since this was published, a tenant from the complex and myself have both received confirmation from different persons at Supervisor Wilma Chan's office that she is indeed the representative for their area.  What a runaround.

There are some corrections regarding  yesterdays posting about the tenants struggle in Hayward.

Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

This is just local news but for people outside of California and abroad who are involved in social activism, union struggles or other issues of that nature, it is an example of how government doesn't work when it comes to working class and poor people and I am sure all are familiar with it.

I had posted a blog last night about a group of tenants whose landlords, a Sammy Chan and Francis Leung, who also have an accounting business, are raising the rent for the tenants at 21631 and 21663 Garden Avenue Hayward by 50%. This means anywhere from $600 to $900 for these people.  Read that account here.

From what I can gather, this apartment complex is in an unincorporated part of Hayward CA.* The tenants were also told this by some representative at Hayward City Council from what I was understand.  The tenants, who have formed the Hayward Gardens Tenants Association, decided yesterday at a meeting I attended, to have a "call in" today to the offices of the county supervisor whose area they thought it was, a Scott Haggerty.  Alameda County, where Hayward is situated, has five supervisors one for each district.

I called Scott Haggerty's office this morning and was told that it is not his jurisdiction, that it was Richard Valle's in district 2 and was forwarded to his office. I left a message.

I received a call back from an employee at Valle's office who was very friendly and helpful but told me that Valle was not the representative for the area in which the apartments are located, but Wilma Chan is. She is the county supervisor for district 3.

I just got off the phone with Wilma Chan's office and was told that Ms Chan is not the representative for the apartments located at 21631 and 21663 Garden Avenue Hayward, in fact, there is no supervisorial representation for this address.

I am not familiar with this type of political set up so I ask a simple question:

"Who  is the political representative for these tenants?"

All I can say at this point is that I was told by Chan's office that the residences at this address were in the 13th Congressional District in 2011 but are now in the 15th Congressional district

I was also told they were in the 18th Assembly District in 2011 but are now in the 20th Assembly district.

The congressional representative for the 15th district that includes 21631 and 21663 Garden Avenue Hayward is Eric Swalwell a Democrat.

It is no wonder that people avoid mainstream politics like the plague. Not only does the average person hate it, they hate politicians and they have drawn the conclusion that the political, system is corrupt. But the real issue is that political parties are not devoid of class content, they represent classes, groups of people with economic interests. The Democratic and Republican parties represent the rich, they are Wall Street parties. Working people as yet have no party.

How can the average working class person spare the time to deal with this bureaucratic nonsense? It is not accidental, it is supposed to work like this for ordinary folk. It is impossible when you have to work, have children and then have to fend off predatory attacks by landlords like those in the case we are dealing with here. I am not faulting the workers who answered the phones and helped me as best they could. It is not their fault. The system is set up to ensure working people have no real voice and our interests are not represented.  While the Democrats claim to be the friends of working people and the poor, nothing significant changes.

This has been frustrating for me and I can only imagine what it's like for those that don't have the time. The rich have lawyers and an ear of the politicians, but we have numbers.

I reiterate what I said yesterday that the best way to fend off attacks from big landlords and all moneyed interests is to confront them directly. I gave some examples.  Direct action, leafleting their neighborhoods, mobilizing people to picket their other businesses etc. It is when their pocket books are hurt that they act.

I suggest that actions like these will be the best way the tenants group will make headway with this landlord. It also makes us feel less like helpless victims.

I also called the landlords accounting firm at 415-546-7718 and left a message for Sammy Chan and that I was displeased with his actions.  His extension is 111 and Francis Leung's is 108. Their firm is:
Sammy Chan Francis Leung
9 Kearny Street LLC
50 Victoria Ave, Ste 210
Millbrae, Ca 94030

*For readers abroad, this means it is in a city but not politically part of that city and instead falls under the jurisdiction of the country the city is in.

Dublin 1916. Connolly, Mellows and the theory of the Permanent or Uninterrupted revolution.

The Irish Citizens Army was the workers' militia that was formed by the Dublin workers in 1913 when they were locked out of their jobs and starved back to work by the Irish employers for demanding to join a trade union. The Irish Citizens Army led by Connolly played a major role in the Dublin 1916 Uprising.

An excerpt from my coming book which deals with the background, especially the class forces involved in to the 1916 uprising. I participated in the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland in the 1968 1970 period. I took part in the Bogside uprising of 1969 and was a member of the Bogside Defense Association. Out of these experiences and the readings of revolutionary socialist literature I have drawn the following conclusions. I wrote this in the last months of 2015.

Sean O'Torain.

Ireland and the Theory of the Permanent or Uninterrupted  Revolution.

 I was speaking at a meeting in London one evening when I was approached by a young man.  He said: “I was interested in what you had to say. I am wondering what is your position on Ireland and Trotsky’s theory of the permanent or un-interrupted revolution.” I was struck dumb. This was the first time I had thought of Trotsky’s theory of the permanent or uninterrupted revolution in relation to Ireland. It was like the time the young man in Canada had asked me about Joyce. I was humiliated and enraged at my ignorance. Out of my readings and discussions that flowed from this humiliation I learnt about Ireland and the Permanent or uninterrupted revolution. I owe that young man a debt.

I had learnt that society developed on a materialist basis, and that in the present period capitalism was struggling to maintain its hold over society and keep the working class down, while the working class were striving unconsciously, and on occasion consciously, to rise up and take power. I had also learnt that there were different levels of development in different societies. The capitalist classes in the advanced countries had emerged first and carried out their tasks, that is ended feudalism, unified their national territories, distributed the land to the peasantry, built modern home markets and a world market, established powerful military machines and went out and dominated the rest of the world. The result was that the capitalist class and the capitalist system in the less developed countries such as Ireland were restricted in their development. Trotsky described this as the law of combined and uneven development. A world existed in which its component parts were combined but unevenly developed within this combination. 

The capital and power of the advanced capitalist countries penetrated the less developed countries keeping the local capitalist classes weak. At the same time this penetration strengthened the working class in these countries through the industries it developed there. This working class along with the working class who worked in infrastructure and other sectors in these countries frightened and intimidated the local weak capitalist class, further undermining its confidence and role.  

So in the countries where capitalism came late on the scene of history, such as Ireland, the capitalist class was not able to carry out its historic tasks. Weak and dominated by British imperialism and threatened by its own working class the Irish capitalist class was not able to carry out the tasks of its own capitalist or bourgeois revolution. These tasks of the Irish capitalist class were as elsewhere: to overthrow and drive out imperialism, unify the national territory, end feudalism and distribute the land to the peasantry, build a modern economy and a modern home market.

Trotsky in his theory of the permanent revolution concluded that in societies such as Ireland that came late on to the scene of history and where the capitalist class could not carry out its tasks then these tasks had to be taken on by the working class.  The working class had to take power, and carry out the capitalist tasks. But Trotsky also explained that the working class could not stop there, it had to move on directly to carry out its own socialist tasks and at the same time spread the socialist revolution internationally. It was a brilliant flash of genius by Trotsky. With it Trotsky was able to avoid being imprisoned by the mechanical method of thought which saw the stages of development which had been the experiences of the advanced capitalist countries being looked to as examples to be followed mechanically by all countries.  It was also an example of how Trotsky used the dialectical method, change takes place, but not always in a straight line, not one plodding foot mechanically plodding after the other.  

As I grasped Trotsky’s ideas I realized that I had instinctively been working along the lines of the permanent revolution in Ireland but did not know it. As I thought more about this I realized that while I had an understanding of the dialectical method there was also the question of how conscious I was of using this method and my skill in using this method. I need to improve in both these areas.

 In spite of what Trotsky said about the inability of the capitalist class in  countries such as Ireland which were dominated by the powerful imperialist countries, to carry out their tasks, in some countries, one such was Ireland, some of these tasks had actually been carried out or partially carried out. How was this so? I was back to the dialectic again, back to processes developing dialectically not mechanically, back to combined and uneven development, back to processes developing in a contradictory fashion, not in a straight line. Again the point was driven home, if I was to understand further I would have to think in a more consciously dialectical fashion.

In the latter half of the 1800’s the British capitalist class were fighting on three fronts, warding off its rivals internationally who were trying to end its domination of the seas and its number one place in the world, keeping down its own working class which was trying to rise to its feet through organizations such as the Chartists and the new trade unions and at the same time fighting against the Land League, that is the peasantry in Ireland. Fighting on all three fronts was not feasible. So British imperialism retreated from one of them. It bought out the Anglo Irish  landlord class in Ireland and ended feudalism there. The Irish capitalist class were not able to carry out its task of ending feudalism so another class, in this case British imperialism, stepped in and did it. Again I was confronted with the twist of the dialectic.

Ending imperialist rule, unifying the national territory under its own control, that is the national question, and building a modern home market and economy, these were the remaining tasks of the Irish capitalist class, part of the Irish capitalist or bourgeois revolution. Between 1916 and 1922 the uprising and war of independence was faced with achieving these tasks. But in these struggles the weak Irish capitalist class was either missing or even at times supporting imperialism. These battles were fought on a nationalist basis by a section of the working class, the poor peasantry and some intellectuals. This war ended with a civil war, and a partial and limited independence for the 26 Southern counties while the Northern 6 counties remained directly controlled by British imperialism. Irish capitalism had been unable to end feudalism and was now showing itself also unable to defeat imperialism, unify the national territory or develop a modern economy and home market. But this did not mean that nothing changed. Feudalism was ended by British imperialism when it bought out the Anglo Irish landlord class and it lost direct political and military control of twenty six of the thirty two counties of Ireland in the war of independence.  

While it could not unify the national territory or drive British imperialism from the Northern six counties the stunted weak Irish capitalist class, tried to develop a modern economy and home market in the twenty six counties it did control. It tried to do this by keeping out British and foreign capital. The result was a disaster. The Irish economy stagnated and in the years of this experiment 1 of every 2 Irish workers had to emigrate to find work. As well as unify and make independent its territory Irish capitalism was unable to carry out this other of its tasks, that is develop a vibrant healthy economy and home market.

In the 1960’s Irish capitalism admitted defeat, took down its capital controls and groveled at the feet of foreign capital. The result was some economic development but with a mountain of debt and eventually a collapsed economy. Even with the help of foreign capital and the money from the European Union it would prove itself unable to preside over a modern home market and economy. The Celtic tiger was to give the illusion of success but this was to collapse in a catastrophe of debt, deep recession, new roads, and big houses which their owners could not afford. EU money and borrowing from abroad and the foreign capital from US pharmaceuticals and high tech took the bad look of it for a while but the fundamental failure of Irish capitalism remained. 

As a result when the troubles broke out in the North in the late nineteen sixties weak Irish capitalism was faced with remnants of the capitalist or bourgeois revolution still to be resolved. These were an underdeveloped economy dominated by imperialism and a divided country with a section of it under direct control of British imperialism. The tasks of unifying the national territory and driving out imperialism and developing a modern home market and economy were and would remain beyond it. The weak economy in Southern Ireland was no attraction to the Protestant working class in the North and cut across any effort to unite the country. Irish capitalism with its weak economy and its inability to provide for its own working class was terrified to try and unite the country and instead left British imperialism with its political and military might to control things in the North. The theory of the permanent or uninterrupted revolution applied dialectically was a great help to me.

It explained how right I was in my conclusion that the only progressive class in Ireland was the working class. That this working class had to be united in struggle and take power into its own hands and overthrow capitalism and establish a socialist society and go on to spread the socialist revolution internationally, only this would solve the country’s problems. As I understood this I realized that I was I standing in the traditions of Trotsky.

However the more I understood Trotsky’s theory the more I realized that there was one area to which I, and also The Militant, with whom I had been  discussing had not been giving enough emphasis. This was its international aspect. Trotsky had explained that the working class in the less developed countries had to take power and carry out the capitalist tasks and move on immediately to the socialist tasks if the problems of those societies were to be resolved. But he also explained that the revolutions in those societies had to be spread internationally. At the time of the Russian revolution he and Lenin both said that unless the revolution was spread to the advanced capitalist countries such as Germany it would not survive. In fact both of them said they would sacrifice the Russian revolution if this would mean a successful revolution in the more advanced capitalist economy and society of Germany. It took longer than these revolutionaries thought but what they feared was exactly what happened. The Russian revolution was isolated in a backward country, cut off from the revolutionary upheavals and working class in the advanced capitalist countries and as a result capitalism was restored to the former Soviet Union. Again the dialectic, steps forward and steps back.

While I had always raised the need to link with the working class in England, Scotland and Wales and internationally in my work, neither I nor The Militant, gave enough emphasis to this aspect of our ideas or raised it in the proper way. We both tended to speak of it more in terms of solidarity and workers unity not in terms of the process of revolution in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland and internationally. The issue was not just seeking solidarity between the working classes in all these other countries it was the struggle to bring about the socialist revolution in all these other countries.

I was later to change my position in relation to the socialist revolution and Britain and Ireland and borders. I maintained my position of the need to have the socialist revolution in all these countries. I also maintained my position on the objective of a socialist federation of Britain and Ireland. However I reviewed the issue of the borders within such a federation. I came to believe that if the socialist revolution developed first and was successful in England, the economically and politically and militarily most powerful  country, and swept over the borders into Scotland, Wales and Ireland it could be possible to go directly to a Socialist United Ireland.

However if this was not the case and if the socialist revolution did not take place in England and spread internationally other possibilities would have to be considered. Capitalism would try and put down the revolution through divide and rule. Specifically it would as shown historically try and turn the Protestant worker against the Catholic worker. In this situation to call in advance for a Socialist United Ireland could be to assist capitalism to deepen  this division and put down the revolution in sectarian conflict and civil war. So I changed my position to say that we would have to see how things would develop and on this basis decide what we would demand.

It could be possible that in order to undermine capitalism’s sectarian divide and rule strategy it would be best to raise the demand for a socialist Federation of Britain and Ireland within which the borders would be determined by events and democratic discussion and debate. One of the possibilities would be a socialist federation of Ireland and within the Northern part of the federation guarantees of the rights for the Catholic minority and within the Southern part of the federation guarantees of the rights of the non Catholic population, Protestant, Muslim, atheists, etc. Atheists were now a significant section of the Southern population and their rights had to be guaranteed also. And of course within the Northern part of the federation the rights of Protestants would have to also be guaranteed.

 In such a federation, especially within a Northern Ireland socialist state the possibility of the establishment of cantons based on the different religious groupings in the North would have to be a considered. A form of cantons already existed in the North as was shown with the different villages and neighborhoods with their different flags and painted side walks. Cantons existed in Switzerland with different linguistic and ethnic and national groups having their own areas within the overall country. This might be the best way of standing against capitalism’s efforts to derail the socialist revolution by using the Orange card, by whipping up religious sectarianism, by divide and rule, by cultivating the siege mentality of the Protestant population. 

One result of my inadequate emphasis and slant, by the Militant’s inadequate emphasis and slant on the international aspect of the struggle was I and the Militant tended to be always on the defensive, always explaining that we were neither unionist or nationalist when we should have been making the case much more strongly that we were internationalist and for the revolution in Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales and internationally and the order in which it would develop was immaterial to us. In fact we  should have been saying that if it was a choice between the socialist revolution in Ireland and the socialist revolution in England then we would chose the socialist revolution in England, the much more economically developed and powerful country with the much stronger working class.

As I read and discussed more I realized that two leaders of the movement in the nineteen sixteen nineteen twenty one struggle for independence were groping towards aspects of Trotsky’s theory of the permanent revolution. One of these was James Connolly. He explained as he put it that the “cause of Ireland is the cause of Labor and the cause of Labor is the cause of Ireland.”  And most importantly he pointed out the weak cowardliness of Irish capitalism when he wrote: ”Irish manufacture was weak, and consequently had not an energetic capitalist class with sufficient public spirit and influence to prevent union”. The “Union” he referred to was Ireland being ruled directly by the London parliament and British imperialism. He was saying here that Irish capitalism could not throw out British imperialism. This was in line with Trotsky’s theory of the permanent revolution.  

Unfortunately Connolly would yield somewhat on this position when he took part in the premature uprising of 1916. But in spite of this his ideas were so threatening to Irish capitalism and British imperialism that in spite of being wounded he was tied to a chair and shot. The leaders of the Irish capitalist class such as William Martin Murphy supported his murder. Rather than leading the Irish national revolution Murphy and his class, the Irish nationalist capitalist class, who had starved the Dublin workers back to work in the 1913 lockout, bayed along with British imperialism for his blood. That they did so was a further confirmation of Trotsky’s theory of the permanent revolution.

Another leader of the forces fighting for independence in that period was  Liam Mellowes. In a debate from his prison cell with the extreme right wing Catholic nationalist and supporter of capitalism De Valera he wrote the following: “ Under the Republic all industry will be controlled by the state for the workers and farmers benefit. All transport, railways, canals, etc., will be operated by the state - the republican State-for the benefit of workers and farmers. All banks will be operated by the State for the benefit of Industry and Agriculture, not for the purpose of profit making by loans, mortgages, etc. That the lands of the aristocracy, (who support the Free State and the British connection) will be seized and divided amongst those who can and will operate it for the Nation’s benefit.”

In this statement Mellowes leaves no doubt he was looking to move beyond capitalism. Like Connolly he wanted the struggle to go on to where it ended capitalism. Like Connolly, he too was groping in the direction of the permanent revolution. It is no surprise that he, like Connolly, was also taken out and shot. In his case by the other wing of the so-called independence forces, the Free Staters, who 
represented the weak Irish capitalist class.    

There was another important aspect of the developments at this time which was related to the weakness of the Irish capitalist class and which would go on to shape the Southern Irish state and also the Northern state that would develop in the decades ahead. Irish capitalism was very weak in the new Southern state.  It had played practically no role in bringing it about. It had little authority. It needed and sought allies. It looked to the hierarchy of the Catholic church for these allies. In return for this organization preaching and organizing for capitalism at every turn, helping put down any left movement wherever such appeared, a deal was done with the Catholic hierarchy giving it enormous power and influence in the new state.

It was given control over the schools, hospitals, social legislation, given women and children as slaves to work in their laundries and earn them money, given the right to imprison young people in industrial “schools” and so on. The Southern state in its constitution declared itself to be a Catholic state. It was the weakness of Irish capitalism that allowed, in fact promoted,   the Catholic church to become so powerful in the South. In fact it is no exaggeration to say the Catholic hierarchy became a central component of the ruling class in the South of Ireland. The weakness of Irish capitalism and its deal with the Catholic hierarchy were part of what led to the monstrous crimes of that organization that have recently been uncovered.

This deal between Irish capitalism and the Catholic hierarchy fueled the arguments of the Protestant organizations in the North that the South was a Catholic sectarian state and assisted the Northern elite and British imperialism to convince the Protestant working class that the North should be a Protestant state for a Protestant people. This stoked the fires of the sectarian conflicts that were to come and strengthened British imperialism in the North.  The weakness of the Irish capitalist class and its inability to carry out its tasks, and the deal it made with the Catholic hierarchy as a result, remain major factors in the troubles, economic, military and political of Ireland to this day.

My experiences over the 1968 period, my readings and discussions in London in 1970 made things more clear to me than ever. The problems and crises in Ireland and internationally could not be solved on a capitalist basis. Only the working class by carrying out a revolution and taking power and establishing a democratic socialist society and spreading this internationally could solve the problems. And this could only be done if a mass international revolutionary organization was built. This was the task. And towards achieving this task I dedicated my life. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Hayward landlords raise rents 50%. Tenants fight back

Tenants are not prepared to take this lying down.
By Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

I attended a meeting of some  Hayward tenants today whose landlords have raised rents 50% that amounts to increases of anywhere from $600 to $900.  The word “terrorism” is very popular these days though the mass media rarely uses it to describe domestic acts of terror and never when it comes to Landlords. But we should recognize that what is happening to these tenants in Hayward is an act of terror, economic terrorism. One person I spoke to is on disability retirement and also has a daughter. For him it will mean being on the street. There are people serving time for much less than this.

The tenants, residents of 21631 and 21663 Garden Avenue in Hayward CA, are fighting back and have formed the Hayward Gardens Tenants Association. Through a lawyer they have managed to slow the process down as the Landlords through their property management company violated numerous legal procedures. 

One important violation is that California state law requires a landlord to give tenants a 30-day notice of any rent increase. But this period rises to 60 days if the increases are above 10% as far as I understand it.   A rent increase of 10% is considered “seriously high” as one attorney put it.  An increase of 50% is savage. Imagine one’s mortgage increasing by 50% in a month. What sort of human being is this?

The landlords, like most of them with any significant rental income property, hire property managers as they do their best to keep as much distance as possible between themselves and their victims.  These particular Landlords, Sammy Chan and Francis Leung also have their own accounting firm, called 9 Kearny Street LLC.

One tenant said that they want to appeal to the landlords so they understand what this means to them but someone that can do this does not care. They see their tenants simply as income-----unit 12, unit 35 and do so on.  The other problem is that they can legally raise this rent 50%, they have simply not followed procedure. The courts and the politics of city and state governments are all dominated by landlord interests, everyone knows that.  And while any rent control is welcomed, the bigger fight is for affordable and decent social housing.

In this case, the complex is in what is called an unincorporated area so it does not fall under Hayward City Council’s jurisdiction but the Board of Supervisors of Alameda County, the county that Hayward is in.  There is no rent control at all in unincorporated Hayward.

Skyrocketing rents and gentrification is making it almost impossible for people that work in some urban centers from living in them. This is particularly the case in San Francisco across the bay and increasingly in Oakland a few miles north of Hayward. Municipal bodies do next to nothing to prevent these type of assaults on working or people and our need for affordable housing. And we cannot rely on the courts as money always wins in these forums, any success we have in them is very limited as the law is on the side of the landlord.

I was invited to the meeting of the tenants to share my experiences as I was involved in a renters’ rights group some years ago and we had some major successes.  I stressed that the bottom line is the that law is against them, that the landlords can legally do what they are doing.  The tenants’ strength lies in organizing and using more direct action methods, relying their own strength and not the politicians who will only act if forced to do so. What works is mobilizing people and not just those directly affected as if this landlord gets away with this others will be encouraged.

When a landlord(s) intervenes in our lives in such a way that our health and welfare and the welfare of our families and our children are affected, we can retaliate by intervening in theirs lives as well as the lives of politicians who do nothing or who pay lip service when complaints are brought to them.  “You have to follow protocol” is the common refrain which means us as victims taking the road that will ensure defeat and a sense of helplessness. They want to wear us down until we go away.

Landlords often have other business that organized tenants and their allies can picket. They go to church where we can turn up and leaflet the congregation explaining the harm they are doing to others through their business lives. We can find out where they live and leaflet their neighbors. All sorts of direct activity that hurts their pocket books or reveals their darker side can be used as long as there are no threats of violence and other counterproductive activity. The main point is that they are interfering negatively in our lives and we can do the same with theirs. It is when their economic interests are threatened that they listen and act regardless of any laws.

Even if this particular landlord is using the 50% figure as a bluff in order to lower it and show the tenants he has compassion, that itself is an act of terror. It is terrorizing people, threatening to make them homeless.

The 22 tenants at today’s meeting decided to organize a “call in” tomorrow (April 25th) to the Office of Scott Haggerty, the Alameda Board of Supervisors representative for their unincorporated area of Alameda County. It is a disgrace that this can occur at all.

They are asking any and all friends and allies to do the same. The tenant’s address is 21631 and 21663 Garden Avenue in Hayward CA and their group is called the Hayward Gardens Tenants Association.

Scott Haggerty is the representative for Alameda County District 1. His number is 510-272-6691. His official webpage is here.

The landlords, Sammy Chan and Francis Leung, business address is:

Sammy Chan Francis Leung
9 Kearny Street LLC
50 Victoria Ave, Ste 210
Millbrae, Ca 94030

Their phone number is: 415-546-7718 If you can call them as well that would help. Lets put some pressure on these people and let them know we know what they’re doing and we don’t like it.

Sanders' Blames the poor for not voting for Democrats.

Add caption
By Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

I have had numerous arguments with middle class liberals who love to blame workers and the poor for the extremely low voter turnout in the US, one of the lowest in the world. This “blame the victim” argument stems from an elitist view of the world and their place in it.  The poor non-voter doesn’t have a college degree, they earn below $50,000 a year, they are apathetic and don’t care about the world around them.

The liberals voted for Obama, for Clinton, for Dukakis, for Mondale, for Carter who began the deregulation craze that Reagan continued with gusto, no matter. They are now ecstatic over Bernie Sanders and have spent the last year explaining to the rest of us that he’s the best thing since sliced bread because he says he’s a “Democratic Socialist . This is not 1965, this term does not scare as many people especially the middle class youth and he is at best an FDR Democrat.

I understand why some working class people and youth look to Sanders, he is giving voice to much of what is on people’s minds in America, education, poverty housing etc. He is no fool and has tapped in to the anger beneath the surface of society. His mild comments with regard to the Palestinians (more accurately Israeli war crimes in Gaza) are in response to a growing support for the Palestinian cause including a rift between American Jews on the issue.

But for staunch supporters of the Democrats------one of the world’s most important and influential big business parties---- many workers and the poor drawing the conclusion that neither party will significantly change their economic conditions, if at all, doesn’t enter their it.  How can it? For them, they have a party if only everyone would vote for it and their financial situation is relatively secure by comparison, not to mention their social connections. They can hold their noses and vote for Bernie and the Democrats, or Hillary the warmonger which any of us with any sense knew was to be the end result. It’s called the “lesser of two evils” approach which guarantees no alternative will be built.

Bernie Sanders expressed this view of US politics yesterdayon NBC’s Meet the Press. Clinton was winning he said “ because poor people don't vote,” “I mean, that's just a fact” Sanders said, “That's a sad reality of American society.”

Sanders has been very clear that his “Political Revolution”, a slogan picked up and used by some socialist groups, means increasing voter turnout, for Democrats of course.  “If we can significantly increase voter turnout so that low-income people and working people and young people participated in the political process, if we got a voter turnout of 75 percent, this country would be radically transformed,”, he continued.

“Poverty is a death sentence,,” Sanders adds. Yes it is.  The crisis in the inner cities, the turning of West Virginia in to a failed (US) state, a basket case as some have called it, is proof of this. So is Flint, so is the homicide rate among black folks and the declining life expectancy and suicide rate among whites (due to drugs and alcoholism) due to poverty. Instead blacks are blamed for their predicament, whites for theirs, young people for theirs and so on. The suicide rate among veterans is a national catastrophe. But it can’t be the system can it?  Does not dirty water kill Goldfish? Can healthy plants grow in polluted soil?

We have had Democratic mayors in cities and governors of States; black ones, Latino ones, White/European ones, women.  The Democratic Party held both houses and the presidency under Carter and under Bill Clinton, and Hillary Clinton, like Margaret Thatcher, will teach us that these people defend their class interests first.

In the 2014 election, Sanders said, “80 percent of poor people did not vote.” But Sanders doesn’t blame this on the fact that both parties have savaged workers and the poor over decades. He can’t attack his party.  Like many liberals they attack poor people that do vote for conservative candidates or issues (and the working poor is a huge constituency) but when one feels they must vote and accept that they are going to be poor no matter which party is in power, moral issues and identity politics take center stage.

Both parties are hated and people have learned through experience that neither of them represents their economic wellbeing. Yet, like the trade union leaders who also blame their members for their lack of participation in the electoral process (as well as meetings) Sanders urges them to vote for Hillary and the very party that has participated in the not so gradual decline in living standards over the last 50 years. When they don’t, it’s their fault.

Jill Stein and the Green Party

Myself and others on this blog have explained in previous commentaries that we support voting for Jill Stein if she is chosen by her party as the party’s candidate for president. There are numerous posts about this issue under the “Sanders” or “US Elections” label or simply do a search. I should add that I do not believe simple electoral activity will halt the present capitalist offensive.

In brief, it is my opinion that the Green Party is not a capitalist party and is not a party based on the working class at this point. But for the millions who have been drawn in to the Sanders campaign for the right reasons and want to participate, it is an alternative to the two parties of Wall Street that people can join, campaign in and help to determine its policies and direction. Both the party platform and Jill Stein’s is better than Sanders or the Democrats. We explain our position here. 

One problem I have found with the Green Party is that it has in a sense been infiltrated by Democrats. A friend in the Mid-West told me that many Greens left the party to vote for Obama. That has been proven a waste of time yet the same process has occurred with Sanders. Around the country, Green Party members are involved in the Sanders campaign. Drawn in to the party by every left Democrat that they hope, (a false hope and in this sense the “poor” that Sanders attacks is ahead of them) can save the country from further disaster so they hop back and forth from the Greens to the Democrats and back again.

This is not taking the Green Party seriously (a party that has a much better environmental platform than the Democrats) and it cannot be built in this way. In small towns across the US, Green Party members are active in the Sanders movement.  Instead of campaigning for the Democrats these people should be building the Green Party, raising it’s banner as we have said on this blog, offering it as an alternative and getting involved in issues on the ground---direct action struggles as Greens around housing, police brutality, poverty etc.  The Green party on the other hand should have a constitution and the necessary by-laws to prevent such activity. A political party is not a social club, anyone should not be able to do whatever they want and support whichever party they want and still be in the Greens. This should be clear from the beginning and people join recognizing certain conditions have to be met. Another author on this blog commented on this here.

It is also a mistake for Jill Stein or the Greens to appeal to Sanders given his politics. The Greens do not need Sanders.

"It's possible" Hillary would make the better presdient
This blog has consistently explained that given the crisis in the Republican Party, taken over by right wing Christian Zionists, the big bourgeois, the dominant section of the ruling class in this country, may well support Hillary Clinton as she is their best option. She is ruthless, experienced, and will not hesitate to slaughter any resistance to US imperialism’s foreign ventures.  The misogynists among them will hold their noses and vote for her and it appears from the media today that the right wing Charles Koch is indicating that he could support her as well. Koch knows where his best interests lie. The 1% are class conscious, they knew Obama was their best bet and they will back Hillary Clinton if they have to.

Bernie and Charles Koch calling on the workers of the US to vote for Hillary Clinton. Not so strange bedfellows as they are both pro-market supporters, they just differ in the degree of control capital has over labor and Bernie believes in capitalism with a friendly face.