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Socialist Party (USA)

Turning the tide of oil in US and world politics

By Dan La Botz

October 22, 2010 -- The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico represents the latest in a series of atrocities committed by petroleum companies against the environment and against humanity. Yet, terrible and tragic as the BP spill is, it is merely a marginal event in the long and sordid history of the oil companies in US and world history. The petroleum companies have been at the centre of US politics for a hundred years, determining its domestic agenda, its environmental policy and its foreign policy. To be a US politician was to be baptised in oil. To be an admiral or a general was to be a warrior around the globe for the petroleum industry.

Foreign policy

By the 1920s, with the rise of the internal combustion engine and the automobile, and the conversion of the US Navy from coal to oil, petroleum became the most sought after commodity in the world. Oil became a strategic commodity, a necessity of modern life and modern warfare. From that time on, the oil corporations moved to the centre of US politics. President Warren G. Harding’s cabinet was known as the “oil gang”, and the cabinet-level corruption involved in the attempt of private parties and corporations to get at the navy oil reserves led to the Teapot Dome scandal, for which Harding’s administration is best remembered.

¡Viva la Revolución!: The 1910 Mexican Revolution (part 2)

A 1938 painting depicts Lázaro Cárdenas giving land to the peasants.

[The first part of this article can be found HERE.This article first appeared in Against the Current, the publication of Solidarity, a revolutionary socialist, feminist magazine in the United States. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission. Dan La Botz is the Socialist Party (USA)'s Ohio candidate for the US Senate. He also is the editor of Mexican Labor News and Analysis.]

By Dan La Botz

September 2010 -- While the most violent stage of the Mexican Revolution was over by 1920, the country faced a series of new crises in the 1930s. The era opened in 1928 with the assassination of former president Álvaro Obregón, killed by a Catholic militant opposed to the secularising revolution in the formerly officially Catholic country.

Socialism and the right to daydream

By Billy Wharton

August 31, 2010 -- A recent study featured in the Los Angeles Times suggests that daydreaming or other such unstructured mental activities might play a key role in mental well being. Unknowingly, this study promotes a prime potential of a democratic socialist society – the right to free time. While capitalism, especially in its current neoliberal incarnation, stresses never-ending productivity, a human-centred socialist system would allow for more free time.

Studies have apparently demonstrated that unstructured thought allows the human brain to develop its default mode network. Daydreaming, for instance, is not an escape from brain activity, but a productive working out of society’s complex social rules that allows the brain to function more efficiently in normal mode. Conversely, tasks that require strict attention tend to use one part of the brain at the expense of the default mode.

James P. Cannon: An introduction

[This the introduction to Building the Revolutionary Party: An Introduction to James P. Cannon (Resistance Books: Chippendale, 1997). Dave Holmes is now a leader of the Socialist Alliance in Melbourne. This and other writings are also available at Dave Holmes' blog, Arguing for Socialism.]

By Dave Holmes

James P. Cannon was a pioneer of the Communist Party of the United States and one of its central leaders in the 1920s. Breaking with the Stalinised CP in 1928 he founded the US Trotskyist movement and played the decisive role in building it for over three decades.

¡Viva la Revolución!: The 1910 Mexican Revolution (part 1)

Emiliano Zapata.

[This article first appeared in Against the Current, the publication of Solidarity, a revolutionary socialist, feminist magazine in the United States. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission. Dan La Botz is the Socialist Party (USA)'s Ohio candidate for the US Senate. He also is the editor of Mexican Labor News and Analysis. The second part appears HERE.]

By Dan La Botz

2010 marks 100 years since the beginning of the Mexican Revolution. The revolution, which began in 1910 and ended in 1940, transformed Mexico. During the course of those 30 years, tens of thousands of men and women fought in battles in many regions of the country to end the Porfirian Díaz dictatorship and to determine the course and goals of the revolution that had overthrown it. In a nation of 15 million, a shocking 1 million were killed while 2 million migrated to the United States to escape the violence (many of them subsequently returning), a movement which established the paths of future migrations.(1)

False food choices under capitalism

Below is the editorial of the Socialist WebZine, online magazine of the Socialist Party of the United States. Following that is an article by Dan La Botz, SPUSA's Ohio candidate forthe US Senate. Both appear in Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.

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July 17, 2010 -- Socialist WebZine -- How can we change the world? This is the question that socialists face in the 21st century. It certainly offers more possibilities than the one presented in the mid-1990s that asked whether we had reached the end of history. However, capitalism is also attempting to provide an answer to this question by offering individualised ways to change the world. Food is an important arena for this project – corporations insist that eating the right food or drinking the right coffee can really make a difference in the world.

(Updated June 4) Condemn Israel's attack on the Gaza aid flotilla, break ties with murderous Israel!


June 1, 2010 -- Emergency rally in Sydney to protest Israeli commando assault on Gaza aid flotilla, attended by 4000 people. Photos by Darrian Perry for Green Left Weekly.

Statements by International Solidarity Movement (Palestine), Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Fatah (Palestine), Socialist Alliance (Australia), Labour Party Pakistan, Socialist Party of Malaysia, People's Democratic Party (Indonesia), Partido Lakas ng Masa (Philippines), Working People's Association (PRP) (Indonesia), Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation, Coalition for a Free Palestine (South Africa), Congress of South African Trade Unions, South African Communist Party, Socialist Party USA, Fourth International, Sinn Fein (Ireland) (check back for more).

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May Day 2010: For workers' rights and the environment, oppose racism, defend revolutions


Havana, May 1, 2010.

May 1, 2010 -- May Day -- saw millions of people mobilising around globe to oppose attacks on workers' rights, reverse the degradation of the environment, defend the rights of oppressed peoples and migrants and -- as in Nepal, Venezuela, Cuba and Bolivia -- to make, extend or defend unfolding revolutions.

In Nepal, Jed Brandt reports that between 500,000 and 1 million people flooded the streets on Kathmandu to demand the resignation of the government. The massive mobilisation -- called by the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and the Young Communist League -- is the prelude to a general strike that begins May 2.

Statement Bersama untuk Hari Buruh Internasional

Di seluruh dunia kelas buruh mengorganisasikan dirinya. Kami berorganisasi untuk menuntut upah yang layak untuk hidup. Untuk kesehatan dan keselamatan di tempat kerja. Untuk kompensasi dan rehabilitasi. Untuk hak buruh migran dan pengungsi, Untuk hak kewarganegaraan bagi buruh migran dan keluarganya. Untuk hak bekerja berdasarkan prinsip kesetaraan. Kelas buruh berorganisasi melawan deportasi, menentang rasisme, menolak diskriminasi. Kelas buruh berorganisasi menentang perang yang membawa bencana bagi jutaan kelas buruh.

May Day 2010: `Workers will win!'

Graphic by Ashley Cecil.
 

Statements from left organisations around the world to mark international workers' day.

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Joint May Day 2010 statement from Asia

Click here to endorse the joint May Day statement 

All over the world workers are organising ...

We are organising to demand a living wage. For health and safety at work. For compensation and  rehabilitation. For the  rights of migrant workers and refugees, for citizenship rights for migrant workers and their families. For the right to employment on equal terms. Workers are organising against deportations, against racism, against discrimination. Workers are organising against wars that are a disaster to millions of workers.

United States: `Clunker' healthcare bill protects private insurers, damages democracy

By Billy Wharton

March 24, 2010 -- Americans desperately need healthcare. The need is so desperate that many are buying into a “something is better than nothing” philosophy to support a healthcare bill that actively works against their own interests. The bill that US President Barack Obama plans to sign into law is being dubbed a “reform”, but actually amounts to a corporate restructuring that will solidify the reliance on the same private insurance companies that have caused the crisis in the nation’s healthcare system.

As single-payer heathcare activist Dr. Margaret Flowers stated, “The Democratic Party has now moved so far to the right that they have just passed a Republican health bill.” This is no surprise, private insurers and pharmaceutical companies have flooded the electoral system with money in order to guarantee their continued ability to accumulate profits.

[In the United States, "single-payer healthcare" refers to universal public health insurance schemes similar to Canada's scheme and Australia's Medicare.]

Remember Rachel Corrie

By Billy Wharton, co-chair Socialist Party USA

March 16, 2010 -- Today marks the anniversary of the tragic death of International Solidarity Movement (ISM) activist Rachel Corrie. On March 16, 2003, Corrie was killed by an Israeli Defence Force (IDF) bulldozer while non-violently resisting the destruction of a Palestinian home. Her death came to symbolise the daily violence faced by Palestinians in the occupied territories as well as the spirit of international solidarity that democratic socialists throughout the world draw political strength from.

Looking to new international structures in a new era of socialist feminist activism

``... By including the worldwide celebration of the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day among its recommendations, the international conference in Caracas discussing the proposal [this past November by Hugo Chavez for the formation of a Fifth International] gave socialist feminists extra momentum for sharing ideas for coordinating our IWD 2010 actions and events.''

By Susan Dorazio

March 8, 2010 -- One hundred years ago, German revolutionary socialist Clara Zetkin proposed, and the women of the Socialist International approved, a call for an International Women’s Day. This annual event would be an explicitly socialist response to the major issues facing women in the opening decades of the 20th century. These issues, in particular the rights of women workers and the right of women to vote, centred on conflicts in the workplace and community brought to the fore by rapid industrialisation in the US and Europe.

Left Party Sweden: Combating `Fortress Europe'

Kalle Larsson addresses the Socialist Party (USA) meeting. Photo by David McReynolds.

By Billy Wharton

February 16, 2010 -- To US immigrant rights activists faced with the harsh repression of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids or the outright racism of public officials such as Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Europe may seem like a kinder, gentler place. Yet, as Kalle Larsson, representative of the Left Party of Sweden, argued during a recent speech organised by the Socialist Party USA (NYC local), Europe is developing its own forms of exclusion and repression for migrants.

Larsson described the changes underway in the European Union (EU) in the treatment of asylum-seeking refugees and people without papers. As the EU moves to “harmonise” various policies employed by member nation-states, what once seemed like a minimum policy to insure a base level of rights has become a ceiling designed to prevent the implementation of more humane policies. This process, Larsson argued, is one part of the larger neoliberal approach being implemented in Brussels.

Obama’s State of the Union: Year one of a corporate presidency

By Billy Wharton

January 27, 2010 -- From the start, Barack Obama’s presidency has seemed like one big public relations campaign. Tonight’s State of the Union address did little to dissuade one from this view. Sagging under the weight of depressed dreams of hope and change, he desperately needed to appear as though he was doing something to address the growing needs of the US people. Emphasis was on “appearances”, since Obama’s speech delivered more of the same from his first year in office: high rhetoric with little substance.

The clear emphasis of the speech was the US economy. This was a double-edged sword. In the first part, Obama presented his bank bailout as an unpopular, but necessary measure – “We all hated the bank bailout… I hated it… promised I wouldn’t just do what was popular, I would do what is necessary.” Yet, brushing off the bailout as a necessary evil misses important points.

Martin Luther King Jr in the age of Obama: Why we can't wait

By Billy Wharton

January 17, 2010 -- Albert Boutwell's election as Birmingham, Alabama, mayor in 1963 might have signaled the end of the modern civil rights movement. As a moderate Democrat, Boutwell promised to temper the harsh repression unleashed by the city’s notorious chief of police and his mayoral opponent Eugene “Bull” Connor. Mainstream leaders of the black community were told to wait it out –- let the storm pass and incremental changes could begin. Dr Martin Luther King Jr. refused to wait. Instead, he launched Plan “C” (confrontation), a large-scale protest campaign that broke the back of Southern segregation.

United States: Healthcare bill -- a nightmare before Christmas

By Billy Wharton

December 25, 2009 -- Call it the nightmare before Christmas or Santa’s lump of healthcare coal. Either title captures the disastrous qualities of the healthcare reform bill passed by US Senate on December 24. After months of media coverage, a summer of wild town hall meetings and all the high-sounding rhetoric one could swallow, a 2000 page monster has been birthed.

Though US President Barack Obama hailed the bill’s passage by declaring, "This will be the most important piece of social legislation since Social Security passed in the 1930s", it carries few of the universal qualities or public control of the social security legislation. For all the political theatre associated with the bill, remarkably little in the bigger picture of healthcare in the United States has changed: private health insurers still run the system; Washington politicians are still gathering in the campaign contributions from the industry; and millions of people will still be left without health insurance.

Bad gets worse in the Senate

Obama delivers -- when it comes to war

By Billy Wharton

December 4, 2009 -- When US President Barack Obama announced his plan to escalate the war in Afghanistan by sending 30,000 more troops to the war-torn country, he delivered on two campaign promises. The first was a campaign trail pledge to re-focus US military power on the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan. This was mostly ignored by enthralled voters. The second was made more quietly to his many campaign donors in the defence industry. This promise was happily recognised by war hawks throughout Washington. The resulting troop surge into an already war-ravaged Afghanistan will lead to more of the same -- further Afghan civilian casualties, more dead US soldiers and the continuance of a military campaign in an unwinnable war. Good news for military contractors, bad news for the rest of us.

A hawk in dove’s clothing

United States: Where's the socialism? The good, the bad and the ugly of health-care reform

By Billy Wharton

November 9, 2009 -- Where is the socialism now? Frenetic right-wingers spent a good part of the US summer shouting about the “government takeover of health care” or the “stealth socialist health-care plan”. Now that the Affordable Healthcare for America Act has been passed by a slim margin in the US House of Representatives, on November 8, there are few traces of anything even resembling socialism. Instead, Americans will find the good, the bad and the ugly of health-care reform all contained within the 1990-page bill.

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