Tuesday, February 19, 2019

UK Labor Party: Seven Right Wing MP's Leave


The Right Takes Off.
We share this editorial on the recent defection of seven MP's from the British Labor Party from LeftHorizonsUK

SDP Mark II is born 
2-19-19

So after months of huffing and puffing, a small band of right-wing, ‘Labour’ MPs have left the party to form an independent group in the House of Commons. No doubt the big majority of Labour Party members will be citing the old proverb about the mountain that laboured and brought forth a mouse.  We have argued on this website since our foundation that there is no “if” about the right-wing splitting away from the Party, but only a “when”. The only question now is how many other right-wing MPs will follow these seven. We expect the likes of Margaret Hodge, John Mann and Stephen Kinnock to follow in their own good time.

It is no surprise at all that the “seven dwarves” as they have been dubbed, have had praised heaped upon their heads by all the most strident anti-Labour newspapers. These are “decent” MPs, in the eyes of the Daily Mail. Their resignations have been endorsed by Katie Hopkins, one of the most vile, anti-immigrant and right-wing commentators, so much beloved by the likes of Fox and Sky-News. These endorsements alone would give most Labour members cause for concern. It has also been reported that this little band of malcontents has set up a private company to hide their sources of funds. There is not the slightest doubt that secretive right-wing foundations and anti-Labour business people will be throwing a few million pounds at this breakaway.

Secret sources of funding
As we have argued, this split has nothing to do with Brexit or the allegations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. The idea that Labour is a party of “institutionalised racism” would be laughable, were it not for the serious insult it represents to hundreds of thousands of Party members. When the right wing call for Corbyn to “do something about anti-Semitism”, what they really  mean is that they want a new Inquisition in the Party, to dish out hundreds of suspensions and expulsions, to all those members who are critical of Israel or who criticise the political philosophy of Zionism as embodied by that state. It is an admission of the impossibility of their aim that they have left the Party. It is likewise an admission that there will be no turning back of the Labour Party towards the milk-and-water policies of Tony Blair and New Labour, which, in effect, meant  years of ‘Tory-lite’ policies.

These MPs cannot reconcile themselves to the fact that the Party now has a mass, radical membership. They can no longer be guaranteed life-long, cosy careers, protected by a small and deferential constituency party membership. Their political outlook is such that they are out of touch, not only with Labour Party members, but with the big majority of working class people, who have suffered from years of austerity, cuts and slashing services, while Tory MPs and right-wing Labour MPs lead comfortable lives. The not-so-magnificent seven had nothing to say in their resignation statements about poverty, homelessness, low pay, or the insecurity and uncertainly facing working class people. Because they have nothing to say on these issues.

History repeats, first as a tragedy, then as a farce
In January 1981, four right-wing Labour MPs split away for much the same reasons – the Party, as they saw it, was moving too far to the left. Within years, these four were joined by nearly thirty more, forming the SDP, the Social Democratic Party. Just as dozens more MPs jumped ship after 1981, we fully expect more right-wing MPs to follow these seven who have resigned. The SDP, unfortunately, drew many voters away from the Labour Party in the two general elections following their split, gaining over 20 per cent of the votes each time.

Had it not been for the support of the mainstream media and the confusion created in the minds of many natural Labour supporters by this split, Margaret Thatcher’s government would have only lasted four years. The fact is that the founders of the SDP – exactly like the new splitters from the Party – would rather see a Tory government in office than support a Labour government committed to radical policies. No doubt other right-wingers will now split away over the coming months and years, perhaps a few at a time, to inflict the maximum damage on the Party.

But this is a case of history repeating itself, first as a tragedy and then as a farce. The seven MPs much beloved of the Daily Mail and Katie Hopkins will cut no ice with the big majority of Party members. Even with the addition a few dozen (or more) right-wing renegades, this new ‘centre-ground’ formation will not succeed as the SDP did to some degree in the past. There is no room in politics today for the so-called ‘centre’. One opinion poll after another has shown that Labour’s radical policies, so much abhorred by the right-wing, are extremely popular within the electorate as a whole. Ten years of austerity have ground away at the political ‘centre’, until there is little of it remaining. For Labour’s right wing, therefore, it is a case of ‘rule or ruin’. If they can no longer run ‘their’ party – and they can’t – then they will set out to ruin it, if they can.

Labour Party members must trigger selection ballots
What Labour Party members must do now is to hold their MPs to account. We do not want “unity” with ‘Labour’ MPs who do not support Labour’s leadership or policies. In many Constituencies sitting Labour MPs have expressed their support for the Labour leadership and its policies, so there is no problem. But where there are ‘Labour’ MPs who are in any way equivocal about supporting the Labour leadership – elected twice, let us recall, by an overwhelming majority of members – then members should put into effect trigger ballots and move towards reselection.

Although we would have preferred the Party conference last year to have agreed a rule change to bring in ‘open selection’, the rule change that was agreed was still an improvement on the previous rule. Labour Party rules now make it explicit that “If either one third or more of Party branches, or one third or more of affiliated branches, indicate that they wish a selection to take place, a selection shall proceed.” That rule should be put into action in all those areas where MPs are sitting on the fence.
Working class people need a Labour government. The policies of the Labour Party manifesto – For the Many, not the Few – articulates the minimum needed to resolve the problems faced by workers. Capitalism has failed and is failing. We need policies that do away with the whole rotten system: to use the wealth, resources and know-how of the British economy in the interests of the big majority of the population and not just the millionaire class at the top.

Labour Party members must demand that we have MPs and candidates who support a Labour government and the implementation of socialist policies. We should not be distracted or in any way disheartened by the defection of a handful of right-wing careerists. We should be even more determined than ever to build a mass Labour Party.


Monday, February 18, 2019

Antiquated Penal Laws Weigh Heavily on the Poor

by Richard Mellor

When I came to the US 46 years ago I met some people I have stayed friends with and still know although we don’t see each other much these days living 3000 miles apart. I was the best man at their wedding as they came out west to get married.

James is a black man and I’m pretty certain he came from the South. Why I raise this is he told me he spent a few years in prison in his youth and it was for possessing a small amount of marijuana for personal use. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pointed out the number of persons of color that languish in California’s prisons for marijuana possession, some of them for years and some for life under three strikes law I’m sure. Of course, people of color are disproportionately represented here but all poor people will be affected. Now pot has been legalized these people should be freed or have their time reduced, whatever is appropriate.

The letter below to a NY State Senator is from Bill Galvin, a friend who was also an AFSCME member like me but now has his own law practice. What is interesting about it for me and I think, our readers, is that it raises issues that so many of us might never consider.  It is also a reflection of how movements and at times mass movements can and will affect consciousness in all sectors of society. Like AOC’s comments about the pot laws, a change that is proposed in this letter would have a significant affect on the lives of huge numbers of people. For some, it might mean freedom from incarceration. Hopefully this letter will encourage others in the legal profession to think about this issue and take measures to correct it in your area.

I’ll let the letter speak for itself.

Dear Senator Salazar:

Congratulations upon your election.  I'm an attorney who has practiced in criminal defense for quite a few years and, upon that experience, I would like to propose to you some amendments in New York's Penal Law to make things a bit fairer.  You're not my particular senator, but I think mine wouldn't be at all receptive to my ideas; I'm in Senate District 43, and my senator is a Republican.  I've never written a missive like this before but, like you, I'm a socialist, and I feel that you represent me more than does
Senator Daphne Jordan.

Please consider our Penal Law.  One way a person can commit the felony of grand larceny is by stealing $1,000 or more or by stealing something worth $1,000 or more.  If a person steals something less than that, it's just a misdemeanor.  That $1,000 threshold has been there since Jesus was a boy.  Indeed, calling $1,000 "a grand" has made it into slang.

For a person to have stolen something worth $1,000 back in, say, 1930, that person would have had to steal something of enormous value, because $1,000 then, due to inflation, had far more purchasing power than $1,000 today.  I find it hard to believe that those who were our legislators back in the days when grand larceny was first passed considered how little $1,000 would become; these days we talk of trillions of dollars the way our grandparents used to speak of millions.  Today, though, defendants are charged with felony larcenies for valuations that in number are the same, but in true worth are much less.  I call this "felony creep."

I ask you to consider proposing a bill to amend the grand larceny statutes substantially to raise the threshold for grand larcenies and, at some periodic point like every year or two, to raise the threshold value of grand larcenies with inflation.  Given the effect of second-felony-offender and persistent-felony-offender statutes, I'm sure that there are plenty of people serving time in state penitentiaries for grand larcenies that, if you buy my argument, should be guilty only of misdemeanors.  Of course, the bill should ask for retroactive effect, and quite a few people should get their right to vote, as well as other rights and benefits, back.

This principle of "felony creep" applies equally to other offenses with value thresholds.  For example, if one damages another's property to the tune of $250 or more, that's a felony criminal mischief.  But that $250 limit has been around forever, and it has never been adjusted for inflation.  Though I like the term for it's use of "creep," feel free to use it just as if you had made it up yourself.

The law adjusts for inflation all the time.  Fines and surcharges rise, verdict awards rise, filing fees rise, rents rise, and businesses are always protecting their interests by making sure that inflation is taken into account in their dealings and in the laws and regulations that effect them.  And, of course, inflation is the point in the struggle for a living wage.  Not to have felony valuations subject to inflation, to my mind, is just irrational and bespeaks the lack of voice defendants and offenders have in our system.

I think this would be a winning, high-profile issue for you to take up; it would be a "feather in your cap," and it would show that socialists have a keen analytical edge.  I hope you see it that way, too. 

Very truly yours,
William John Galvin, Esquire

Global Economy: It’s all down to the FAANGS

by Michael Roberts

The world economy continues to show significant signs of a slowdown.  Back in April 2018, I reckoned that the mini-boom of 2016-17 had peaked and the world economy would now descend into another Kitchin cycle downswing.  Moreover, this showed that nearly ten years from the end of the Great Recession in mid-2009, the world economy was still stuck in a Long Depression, or ‘secular stagnation’ (in Keynesian language).

Last month, data showed that the German economy, the powerhouse of Europe, had only narrowly avoided a ‘technical recession’ in the second half of 2018
.   This was partly caused by the global slowdown in the auto sector due a sharp drop in demand along with restrictions on diesel car emissions.   Now in February, the EU Commission slashed its real GDP growth forecasts. The Commission cut its Eurozone growth forecast for this year to 1.3% from 1.9% in its earlier forecast last autumn, citing “large uncertainty” from Brexit negotiations, slowing growth in China and weakening global trade.  At the same time, the Bank of England cut its forecast for the country’s economic outlook in the wake of greater uncertainty over Brexit and a slowdown in global growth. The downgrade for 2019 growth expectations to 1.2% is the weakest level in a decade.  The Eurozone growth rate for the last quarter of 2018 is already there.


The last week, we got the figures for UK real GDP growth at the end of 2018.  Real GDP growth was just 0.2% in Q4 2018 over the previous quarter. Indeed, the industry and construction sectors actually contracted. Manufacturing output has been shrinking for six months.  Real GDP growth year over year (ie from Q42017 to Q4 2018) has slowed to just 1.2% (meeting the BoE forecast for 2019 already).  This was the slowest annual rate since 2012.  UK business investment in new technology, plant and equipment has also slumped badly – down for four consecutive quarters and down nearly 4% yoy. As a percentage of GDP, business investment has been falling for over three years. British business is on an investment strike.  The risk of an outright recession in the UK this year has risen sharply.

What’s happening in the UK economy is not all due to uncertainty over what happens with Brexit. It is also due to the global slowdown, particularly in Europe and China.  Japan is teetering on a recession, with growth in the last quarter of 2018 at zero.

China’s growth rate continues to slow – if still far higher than anything in the advanced capitalist economies.

And, as I pointed out in a previous post, among the so-called ‘emerging economies’, emergence is being replaced by submergence.  Real GDP in Latin America as a whole is contracting on annualised basis, according to investment bank JP Morgan.

But the key to whether this slowdown becomes an outright recession (mainstream economics defines that as two consecutive quarterly declines in real GDP) is what happens in the largest and most important capitalist economy, the US.  Up to now, the US has been the leader of the pack, at least among the top G7 economies, with a real GDP growth rate of 3% at the end of 2018.

But as many have argued, this growth rate is ‘fake news’ as President Trump might put it.  It has been driven by huge tax cuts for US corporations that have boosted profits by up to 30% in the last year.  The impact of these will soon wear off in 2019.  And it is already happening.  According to the forecast of the Atlanta Federal Reserve, real GDP growth in the US will slow to just 1.5% in this current first quarter of 2019.

This latest forecast was a huge drop from the already slower 2% than Atlanta previously forecast.  That was because of really bad retail sales figures announced last week.  These may have been distorted by the US government shutdown in January and seasonal factors, but even so it is clear that the US economy is beginning to join Europe, Asia and Latin America in a significant downturn.
Actual nominal GDP has continued to weaken in the US, and even more so in Europe and Japan.  The Long Depression continues.


In my view, there are two key factors that drive a capitalist economy: 1) investment in the capitalist sector and 2) the profitability of that investment.  The latter decides the former, after a lag (according to empirical studies, usually a lag of about one year).

It seems that global investment is now stalling.  JPMorgan investment bank economists are signalling a significant slowdown in global investment spending in the first quarter of 2019.  “In sum, we have worried for some time that the sustained slide in global business confidence would translate into a meaningful deceleration in capex. This appears to be happening now, especially following the tightening in financial conditions in 4Q18. Indeed, the data we have in hand might not reveal the full extent of this pullback.”

The JPM economists cite “business confidence” and “tightening financial conditions”, by which they mean that companies are worried about future profitability and sales alongside rising interest costs on debt.  Will the budding trade war between the US and China explode?  Will the Fed and other central banks continue to raise their policy interest rates and thus ‘tighten’ financial conditions?

But rather than consider the psychology of capitalists, it is more rewarding to consider the objective conditions, because the latter informs the former.  Globally, business investment has been in decline (as a share of GDP) since the end of the Great Recession.  This relative decline has been led by the US and Europe.


It is often argued that investment to GDP is now lower because modern corporations don’t need to invest so much in tangible assets like equipment, offices and factories, because investment is now increasingly in ‘intangibles’, like patents, ‘intellectual property rights’ and software (even ‘goodwill’).  But the evidence for this conclusion remains highly dubious.  See Olivier Blanchard’s note on this here.

Then there is the argument that companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon etc have merely hoarded their profits as cash or switched it into buying back their own shares to improve the financial value of their companies and boost the top executives bonuses.  But this latter explanation, in my view, merely confirms that the real reason for lower business investment to GDP is that profitability of productive capital globally remains near post-war lows and for most economies is still below the level reached in 2006 or the late 1990s.

Here is the level of profitability of capital globally as calculated by Esteban Maito in our recent book, World in Crisis, Chapter 4.


And here is the secular decline in real GDP growth in the advanced capitalist economies that accompanies the secular fall in profitability (as calculated by Alan Freeman in a new paper.
The_sixty-year_downward_trend_of_economi)

And here is what has happened to the profitability of capital from the beginning of the credit crunch in 2007 and the ensuing global financial crash and Great Recession, followed by the weak recovery and the Long Depression.


Over the whole period, Eurozone and US profitability is still below the 2007 level, while UK profitability is virtually flat.  Only Japan shows a rise.  In the ‘recovery’ period of 2010-18, profitability in the US and the Eurozone failed to recover.  But in the recent mini-boom, there was some positive rise.

Actually, the big American tech companies (FAANGS) are the exception that proves the rule.  There are whole swathes of smaller capitalist enterprises that are struggling to deliver enough revenues and profits to service their debts even though interest rates have remained way lower than before the global financial crash.  I have covered this issue of zombie companies in previous posts, but the subject takes on an increasing relevance if ‘financial conditions’, as JPM calls it, continue to tighten globally. Indeed, according to another investment bank, Goldman Sachs, corporate sales growth is now at its lowest rate (on a 10-year rolling basis) since 1945!


If sales growth is weak and interest costs rise, then profits will be squeezed.  Goldman’s economists note that since 2010, profit growth outside the US has stalled.  The only place where corporate earnings have expanded is in the US.  And this, according to Goldman’s is entirely down to those super-tech companies.  Global profits ex technology are only moderately higher than they were prior to the financial crisis, while technology profits have moved sharply upwards (mainly reflecting the impact of large US technology companies), driven by a combination of strong sales growth and sharply rising margins.


Global growth is set to slow sharply in 2019.  This is because business investment growth, already weak in the Long Depression, is going to drop off further.  In turn, that investment slowdown is driven by low profitability in most economies and in most sectors.  Only the huge tech companies in the US have bucked this trend, helped by a recent profits bonanza from the Trump tax ‘reforms’.  But as the effect of those handouts wear off this year, tech profits may also head downwards – even if the US and China reach a trade deal.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

On Ilhan Omar's Questioning of Eliot Abrams



There is something very moving about this women's presentation here. I comment on it in the video below. It's only 12 minutes long and I hope readers of facts For Working People will hear me out. At least the beginning where I explain why I am moved by her performance.

I also welcome constructive criticism either here or on the blogs Facebook or on the You Tube . channel. I don't take any notes or anything so it's just a 12 minute commentary on how I feel and see the situation. Where I say that all left and progressive forces should support her in this courageous calling out of a war criminal and her criticism of AIPAC for which she should not have apologized I also meant although neglected to say all socialist organizations. Richard Mellor

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Must Not Play Amazon's Game.



Firstly, his boss is worth $133 billion according to Forbes and made 11.2  billion in profits in 2018 almost double its $5.6 billion for 2017.  Amazon is not expected to pay any federal taxes this year according to reports.

Now the media says that that Amazon has "thrown down the gauntlet" as indicated by the tweet above from Dave Clark, Amazons senior vice president of worldwide operations. He has invited Ocasio-Cortez to visit the plant.

Rep Ocasio-Cortez should refuse this as it is a trick. she should meet Amazon workers not selected by the company and the company should have no knowledge who they are and they should meet secretly and talk with her, community organizations, the unions trying to organize them. The boss doesn't pick which employees they talk to.

Bezos and parasites like Dave Clark here along with other investors that don't work but live off of the (cheap) labor of others have a right to a job, security, housing and a decent life, not the right to accumulate huge amounts of wealth off of human beings labor power. $15 an hour is anything but "decent pay" especially in NYC and it certainly isn't here in California where a closet is $1200 a month.

If the city had $3 billion to give to Amazon in tax breaks it can use that money to create public sector union jobs in NYC. These corporation blackmail cities and communities pitting one against the other for who can give these vultures the most breaks.

Bezos, and others own capital, that's why they are called capitalists. But they do not create this capital, this surplus value created through the labor process where workers are paid less in wages than the value we produce.  Workers, organized as a direct action force and as an independent political force must take that capital from them just like they take our homes or our jobs when it suits them.

In that way we can collectively decide on how we allocate society's wealth in a democratic and rational way. There's no other way.

Rep Ocasio-Cortez must emphatically refuse to meet with them and instead start by using the $3 billion they were going to give to Amazon for job creation and don't stop there.

Oakland School Board Budget: Hide Money, Pump it to Contractors

Oakland Students Walk Out in Support of Teachers
by Jack Gerson
Retired  Oakland Teacher
Former member OEA Executive Board and Bargaining Team
 
Here are a few points on OUSD finances that I think need to be understood and publicized:

First, OUSD did not end the last school year (2017 – 18) in the red. They carried about $29 million in revenue over to this school year.

Second, OUSD is not in the red for this school year. In fact, by my calculations, as things stand today they can meet OEA’s demands for 2018 – 19 without running a deficit. Which gives them adequate time to moderately reduce outsourcing for 2019-20 and thus meet OEA’s demands for 2019-20 without running a deficit. And still more time to in the same way fund OEA’s demands for 2020-21 without going into deficit.

Third, But the less than transparent – OK, the opaque – OUSD board and administration are instead increasing their already huge budget for outsourcing. This reduces the amount available for increasing teacher salaries, reducing caseloads and class sizes, and providing more to classrooms and to classified staff.

To support the above points, consider:

As some of you already know, OUSD is manipulating the bottom line by grossly increasing the amount that it’s budgeting for Books and Supplies. 
According to OUSD’s Unaudited Actuals, OUSD spent about $14 million on books and supplies in 2017-18. 
OUSD’s initial budget for 2018-9 (6/27/18) allocated $19 million for B & S; 
OUSD’s 1st interim revised budget (10/15/18) allocated a whopping $49 million for B & S
OUSD’s 2nd interim revised budget (10/31/18) allocated $47 million for B & S;
OUSD’s 3rd interim revised budget (1/31/19) allocated $44 million for B & S;

At the same time:
OUSD’s initial budget for 2018-19 allocated $78 million for Contracts and Services
OUSD’s 1st interim revised budget allocated $86 million for Contracts and Services
OUSD’s 2nd interim revised budget allocated $90 million for Contracts and Services
OUSD’s 3rd interim revised budget allocated $93 million for Contracts and Services

So now when OUSD presents its initial and revised budgets, we see something interesting. 
OUSD’s initial (6/27/18) budget – as currently presented to us – estimates $566 million in revenues and projects not a deficit to the fund balance but a net increase of $22 million (my memory must be fading – didn’t OUSD’s budget when presented last June show a $30 million deficit?)
OUSD’s 1st interim budget revision increased its estimate of revenues to $582 million – yet somehow changes its funds balance projection to a net decrease (deficit) of  $23 million
OUSD’s 2nd interim budget revision estimates $586 million in revenue but a net decrease (deficit) of $23 million 
OUSD’s 3rd interim budget revision estimates $586 million in revenue but a net decrease (deficit) of $21 million.
 

Let’s draw some conclusions:

OUSD’s initial budget estimates for 2018-9 projected a $22 million increase (the opposite of deficit) in the fund balance.
OUSD’s 1st interim revised budget estimates $16 million more in revenues than the initial budget, yet somehow projects a $23 million deficit. To do that, they have to be estimating increased spending of about $60 million – to account for the additional $16 million in revenue, the $22 million they’d estimated as a net increase, and the $23 million they’re now estimating as a net decrease (deficit)!
Most of this $60 million increase in spending comes from three areas:
o Books and Supplies budget increased by $30 million (to $49 million)
o Contracts and Services budget increased by $8 million (to $86 million)
o Other Outgoing budget increased by $10 million (to $17 million)
The 2nd and 3rd interim budget revisions differ from the 1st interim budget revision mainly by decreasing the Books and Supplies budget slightly each time, and correspondingly increasing the Contracts and Services budget. So now, as of the 3rd interim budget revision:
o Contracts and Services is a whopping (and outrageous) $93 million;
o Books and Supplies, at $44 million, is still $30 million more than was spent on that category in 2017-18.

Conclusion: 
There’s still a $30 million excess in books and supplies over what was spent in 2017 – 18. That’s money that could be used to fund increased salaries, smaller class sizes, reduced case loads, etc. But as described above, that money is slowly being pumped over to private contractors, financing the increased projections for Contracts and Services. I think that, unless this is called out and fought, OUSD will continue to take money that they’ve sequestered in the Books and Supplies excess – money that could and should be used to increase teacher and classified salaries and reduce class and case loads – and shovel it out to private contractors. 
 
Note that every year at about this time, a parade of contractors march into board meetings saying that they need an extension of their contracts -- meaning more bucks -- to finish the work that they originally contracted to do. And the board invariably says "OK",  thus increasing their outsourcing budget. Then they turn around and say that they’re going to run a deficit and can’t afford to budget for what public education and educators really need.
 
SHINE A LIGHT ON THIS AND DEMAND IT STOP. And we can do that by demanding that Books and Supplies money be used to meet OEA's contract demands. (And note: there’s money elsewere in the budget that can be made available. I’d start by looking at “Other Outgoing”).

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Ilhan Omar: Listen to Gideon Levy Not Nancy Pelosi




Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

Rep. Ilhan Omar has been lambasted after suggesting that some of her political adversaries, supporters of Israel, are influenced by lobbyists, in this case, lobbyists for the state of Israel through the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).  She tweeted that their support for Israel is “all about the Benjamins”. Benjamin Franklin’s image is on the US $100 bill.

Nancy Pelosi and other House Democratic leaders issued a public statement calling for Rep Omar to apologize for her “hurtful comments” and she has done so. The statement form Pelosi and others is another gift, an even better one that warrants a major offensive from the so-called progressives. It says:

“We are and will always be strong supporters of Israel in Congress because we understand that our support is based on shared values and strategic interests,"

But Pelosi and those that issued the above statement should be condemned themselves for admitting that they "share values" with an apartheid regime that is in essence a democracy for Jews only.  What values is Pelosi talking about? The shooting of unarmed children protesting the occupation of their lands?  Is it the imprisonment, torture and interrogation of 13 and 14-year old children without their parents or a lawyer present the values Pelosi is talking about? Perhaps the Jews only buses or the Jews only roads, or the wall? Maybe it's the anti-miscegenation laws.

“The world’s sins against the Jews were visited upon the Palestinians. Taking revenge on the Poles or Germans had been too difficult. It was easy to make the Palestinians pay for 2000 years of persecution.” *

The Bedouins, like Arab Jews, have lived in this area for thousands of years before the European colonial settler state was formed in 1948 yet they are driven from their lands to make room for Jewish settlers from various countries.  Israel uses all sorts of methods to deny Arabs and Muslims the right to participate or vote in this so-called democracy read, Thousands of Palestinians have no access to vote in the upcoming elections. The Zionists are in the ethnic cleansing business and Gaza is nothing but the world’s largest outdoor concentration camp. In the US, Christian Zionists are a major force as there are more of them and the Evangelicals support Israel on religious grounds as they believe what is occurring there is Biblical prophecy.

The horror at Rep Omar’s tweet has nothing to do with anti-Semitism or the right of Jews to live in Israel, they have for millennia. It has everything to do with Zionism and money in US politics. As for “strategic interests” this is the crux of the matter.   Israel is US imperialism’s most reliable ally in the region helping secure its continuing plunder of the region’s resources. The revolutionary potential of the Arab working class means they cannot be relied upon to play this role and the Arab spring showed why. Numerous despotic regimes fell in the matter of months, a number of them US supported dictators.

Ilhan Omar’s apology is a mistake and it will increase aggression from the party heads. The swift condemnation and calls for her resignation are confirmation of how correct she is as millions of Americans are well aware of the corrupt nature of the US Congress and its millionaire and billionaire occupants. 

Instead of an apology which is supported by her colleagues like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez but also from a more treacherous source in the form of Chelsea Clinton, Rep, Omar and the “dissident” left wing of the party and in particular those who claim to be socialists or are members of the DSA, should go on the offensive against Pelosi and the party power for defending the corrupt lobbying practices in US politics and the policies of the Zionists. They should be publicly called out for supporting what is clearly an Apartheid regime in Israel that receives billions of dollars from the US taxpayer.

Instead of listening to Pelosi and others (criticism from Trump and Pence is not worth any time at all) we share above the powerful speech by Gideon Levy, a respected and courageous Israeli Jew who ferociously condemns the brutal racist policies of his country. The freshly elected “dissidents” in the Democratic Party are rapidly losing credibility under fire and should heed Levy’s concerns.

Many of these “Young Turks” were elected on the basis of change in the form of halting the capitalist offensive and fighting for social reforms and a more equal society. Facts For Working People does not support the Democratic Party but were positive after Ocasio-Cortez’ victory over the long term Democratic Party machine candidate as it had the potential to increase the division between the left and right wing and hopefully lead to a left split. But this will not occur and no significant changes will take place without a huge internal struggle.  If Rep Omar and her supporters back away from this fight, they will face a far more fierce assault if they actually wage a political struggle within the Democratic Party and Congress for and direct their energies toward the working class as the source that can make those changes happen. Appeasing bullies empowers them. Chelsea Clinton is heading in the wrong direction.

*Original Sins: Reflections on the History of Zionism and Israel Benjamin Beit Hallahmi p175

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Poem: In Solidarity With Ilhan Omar

#poem in solidarity with Ilhan Omar 'Let Me Tell You About Them'. It's written in voice of ChelseaClinton Kamala Harris or some other mouth operated by the Israeli lie machine.

Poem: Let Me Tell You About Them
by Kevin Higgins


The teenagers we shot yesterday
were shot responsibly through the eye
with plain-speaking dum-dum bullets,
manufactured in Fife, or taken down
with SR 25 sniper rifles flown
heroically in from Orange County.
Many of these so-called protestors
specifically arranged to be shot in the back,
just to make us look bad.

The gas canisters our people threw
were entirely rational, and legal,
like the Boer firestorm the kaffirs
brought down on themselves at Sharpeville,
or the best-of-British ambush
that rubbish walked into at Derry.

The one rogue canister which lost
its mind and finished up in a tent
beside an eight month old baby,
who, sadly, also expired, is currently under investigation
and expects to be cleared of all wrong doing,
unlike the baby who we’ve already found guilty.

There is no such thing as Palestinians.
Just some Arabs who used to live here
and think they still do.
The keys they wave in the air
no longer open any doors.
They are a rumour you foolishly believed,
now we’ve moved our eternal capital
to what used to be
their front room.

17-05-2018