Friday, August 18, 2017

A Tale of Two Elections: Democracy & Counter-Democracy in Venezuela By Alison (GUEST BLOGGER)





ORIGINAL POST

On July 30, 2017 the people of Venezuela went to the polls to elect a National Constituent Assembly (ANC). The vote was Constitutional, verifiable, secret, direct and universal, and over 8 million people participated. Despite this reality, the government United States and their allies, along with mainstream capitalist media have all decried the elections as “illegitimate,” “unpopular” and a “sham.”

On July 17, there was another “vote” in Venezuela. In sharp contrast to their reaction to the Constituent Assembly, imperialist governments and their capitalist media had nothing but praise for this illegal “plebiscite.” Basically, Venezuela’s right-wing opposition organized a non-binding referendum without the authority of either Venezuela’s National Electoral Council or the Constitution of Venezuela. The opposition claims that over 7 million people participated in this referendum, however, the results are not verifiable as the ballots were destroyed.

It has been 19 years since election of Hugo Chavez in 1998 and the beginning of the Bolivarian Revolutionary process. Since then, poor, working and oppressed people in Venezuela have made tremendous gains in their standards of living; in healthcare, education, housing, access to food and clean water, among other basic indicators of quality of life.

Today, Venezuela has a revolutionary government led by the democratically elected President, Nicolas Maduro, but the economy of Venezuela is still run by Venezuela’s rich class. This rich class is represented in government by the opposition coalition MUD (the Democratic Round Table).

Over the past four months the people of Venezuela have been facing an increasingly violent campaign by Venezuela’s right-wing opposition and their violent mercenaries, whose ultimate goal is to overthrow the legitimate government of Nicolas Maduro and reverse the gains of the Bolivarian revolution. Over 100 people have been killed and over 1000 injured in the terrorist attacks that have included murders, assassinations, road barricades, fires and attacks on government buildings, among other crimes.

The National Constituent Assembly is the revolutionary government of Venezuela’s response to this escalated violence. The right-wing so-called plebiscite was the opposition’s response to the ANC. Thus there is, with these two votes, a “Tale of Two Elections,” an important illustration of the revolution and counter-revolution in Venezuela.

What is the National Constituent Assembly?

“Today, on May 1, I announce that I am going to use my constitutional powers as the head of state to convoke the Original Constituent Power, which, according to Article 347, allows for the working class and the people convoke the National Constituent Assembly…I convoke a citizens' Constituent Assembly, not a Constituent Assembly of parties or elites…a citizen's, workers', communal, campesinos' Constituent Assembly. A feminist, youth, students' Constituent Assembly. An Indigenous Constituent Assembly." (teleSUR)

As President Maduro explained, the ANC would be elected by the people of Venezuela through a popular, direct and secret vote. The ANC would then be charged with proposing changes to improve and broaden Venezuela’s Constitution in order to strengthen the Bolivarian revolutionary process and “make peace triumph over violence.” After the ANC had completed its work, any proposed changes to the Constitution of Venezuela would then be approved by the people of Venezuela in a referendum.

In the three months following the May announcement, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), together with the various social institutions of the Bolivarian revolution, mobilized the mass majority of people in Venezuela towards the ANC election. By election day, July 30, there were 6,120 candidates running for the 545 seats in the Constituent Assembly.

Not a single candidate in the election was from the right-wing opposition. This, however, was not because they were not allowed from running. The right-wing opposition parties decided to boycott the National Constituent Assembly. While at the same time, they increased their campaign of violence and fear meant to discourage the people of Venezuela from participating in the vote.

It is also important to note that, as with previous elections, the Constituent Assembly elections were overseen by the National Election Council (CNE). The CNE is actually one of the five branches of government in Venezuela.

July 30, 2017 – Election Day

The Constituent Assembly elections were a great success for the revolutionary government of Venezuela and the Bolivarian revolutionary process. According to the CNE, on Sunday, July 30, 8,089,320 Venezuelans went to the polls for the Constituent Assembly vote. This represents 41.5% of the registered voters in Venezuela (people living abroad were not able to vote). In comparison, in 2013 President Maduro won the election with 7,587,579 votes and Chavez won his 2012 re-election with 8,191,132 votes.

537 representatives, out of the 545 total members, were elected on that day. The majority of these seats were voted on using the method that most people in North America are familiar with, by region. Much like elections in the US or Canada, 364 representatives were chosen on the basis of where people lived, with one representative for every 83,000 people, and at least one representative for every municipality. A further 173 of the representatives were chosen based on sector. This means that they were nominated and voted upon by specific sectors of society such as workers, farmers, people with disabilities, students, pensioners, the business sector and communes and communal councils. This way, groups within Venezuelan society, with specific needs, could be sure to have their interests represented in the Constituent Assembly.

The final eight representatives were chosen from within Venezuela’s Indigenous peoples on Tuesday August 1. In keeping with the Bolivarian Constitution of 1999, for Indigenous people the “their ancestral methods of choice and participation” were recognized as part of the election process.

The ANC will be inaugurated on Friday, August 4.

Venezuela’s Violent Right-Wing Opposition Attacks Democracy

The great success of the Constituent Assembly elections came despite an intensified campaign by the violent right-wing opposition to sabotage the vote. In the months leading up to July 30, leading members of the opposition publically stated that they would not let the Constituent Assembly happen. Following their marching orders, violent mercenaries and counter-revolutionary thugs then got to work, bringing violence and terror to the streets of Venezuela. This included the assassination of a Constituent Assembly candidate, Felix Pineda Marcano, the night before the election.

The violence in the streets of Venezuela continued on election day. The Minister of Defense, Vladimir Padrino Lopez, reported that 200 voting stations were surrounded by violent opposition members. Because of this, alternate voting stations had to be set-up. Attacks were also carried out against government security forces deployed to protect the voting stations; the Interior Ministry has reported that 21 state security personnel were wounded with gunshots, in addition to the murder of National Guard Second Sergeant Ronald Ramirez in Tachira State. At least nine other people were killed that day. There was also a bombing attack directed against a police motorcycle envoy. The bombs went off as the police drove through a pro-opposition neighborhood in Caracas, injuring eight officers.

The right-wing campaign to stop the Constituent Assembly elections also extended beyond the borders of Venezuela. In the days leading up to the elections, both the government of the United States and the government of Canada demanded that Venezuela cancel the elections. The US even threatened to impose further sanctions, a direct violation of the people of Venezuela’s sovereignty and self-determination.

Within the Organization of American States (OAS), United States government, Canada, Mexico and their allies attempted to get the regional body to issue a formal condemnation of the Constituent Assembly. However, their efforts failed, just like so many other attempts by the imperialists to use the OAS to promote intervention in the internal affairs of Venezuela.

What About Allegations of Fraud by Venezuela’s Opposition and Their Foreign Allies?

    This was the 21st time that elections were held as part of the Bolivarian revolutionary process that began with the election of Hugo Chavez in 1998. Out of these 21 elections, two were considered a loss for the Bolivarian revolution, the most recent being the 2015 parliamentary elections in which Venezuela’s opposition won a majority of the seats.

    The two times that elections in Venezuela were in favour of the opposition, imperialist governments and their capitalist media machine were silent about the results. For the other 18 elections that brought about advancement in the Bolivarian revolutionary process, these same governments and the mainstream media were quick with their allegations of fraud, irregularities and rigging. This was no different for the Constituent Assembly elections on July 30. In fact, immediately following the elections, the US government took their threats one step further, and President Trump imposed sanctions directly on President Maduro.

    The imperialist and right-wing allegations against the July 30 elections are, however not based in fact. Instead of relying on data from the electronic voting machines used in the elections (which by the way use finger-prints to identify voters), mainstream media sources like the New York Times are instead quoting so-called “independent” election observers (like the investment bank Tornio Capital) and the observations of unnamed reporters in the country.

    An audit of the Constituent Assembly election is also set to be carried out to further verify the results, but imperialist governments are not waiting in on this before continuing their attacks against President Maduro and the Bolivarian revolution. This is another sign that the allegations of fraud and rigging are baseless. They speak of “democracy” in Venezuela, but what they really mean is “democracy” for Venezuela’s violent opposition and capitalist class. The reaction of the US representative to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, says it all “Maduro’s sham election is another step toward dictatorship. We won't accept an illegitimate govt. The Venezuelan people and democracy will prevail."

    Right-wing Plebiscite in Venezuela – Exactly What the US Government and Their Allies Were Looking For

    On Sunday, July 17, Venezuela’s opposition organized another vote, what they referred to as a “plebiscite.” This “plebiscite” was essentially a non-binding referendum called by the right-wing opposition, with no recognition by Venezuela’s democratically elected government or the National Electoral Council, and no Constitutional recognition. Despite this, the opposition went ahead with the voting with the full support of the government of the United States and their allies, and received wide-spread recognition as the “voice of the people of Venezuela” in mainstream capitalist media.

So, What Was This Opposition “Plebiscite” All about?

As reported by Al Jazeera, the three questions on the ballet (which were supposed to be answered with a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’) were:

1. Do you reject and ignore the realization of a Constituent Assembly proposed by Nicolas Maduro without the prior approval of the Venezuelan people?

2. Do you demand that the National Armed Forces and all public officials obey and defend the Constitution of 1999 and support the decisions of the National Assembly?

3. Do you approve the renewal of public powers in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, and the holding of free and transparent elections, as well as the formation of a government of national unity to restore constitutional order?

Instead of being organized by the government and Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE), it was organized by a coalition of Venezuela’s right-wing opposition. In contrast to the Constituent Assembly vote which took three months to prepare, this vote was organized is just two weeks, after being announced on July 3.

Anyone over the age of 18 could vote in the plebiscite, including people living outside of Venezuela.

What Were the Results?

The opposition reported that 7 million people voted in the referendum. There are however, a number of significant irregularities that have been reported about this number.

For example, the opposition has reported that 693,000 votes were cast abroad, while only about 101,000 voters live outside of Venezuela. There are also basic problems exposed by mathematical analysis that make 7 million votes impossible. As reported by Ryan Mallett-Outtrim of venezuelaanalysis.com “According to the pro-opposition newspaper El Nacional, on Sunday the opposition organized roughly 2000 voting centers nationwide, with a total of 14,800 individual booths. That means that on election day, each booth must have received an average of 485 votes. Yet the voting centers were only open for nine hours, from 7am to 4pm. That means each booth had to receive 54 ballots per hour: that’s around one every minute.”

    Unlike the Constituent Assembly election, the opposition has also made an audit of the results impossible as the ballots have already been burned from some states.

    Some of the irregularities in the number of votes might be explained by repeat voting. A teleSUR investigative report conducted during the unconstitutional referendum revealed that one person was able to vote three times.

This is What Democracy Looks Like”?

On the eve of the Constituent Assembly election in Venezuela, US Vice-President Mike Pence made a phone call to Leopaldo Lopez, a leader in Venezuela’s violent, counter-revolutionary opposition. Mr. Lopez had recently been let out of prison, and was under house arrest, for his role in inciting street riots in 2013 that killed 43 people.

In his phone call to this convicted criminal, Vice President Pence gave Leopaldo Lopez words of support and encouragement, reminding him that the US government had demanded that the government of Venezuela cancel the Constituent Assembly elections and hold a US-supported, opposition led version of “free and fair elections” in Venezuela.

However, Mr. Pence, you forgot that those “free and fair” elections were just about to happen. Left with a choice between an election that was constitutionally recognized and verifiable, and a referendum that was neither of these things, the US government and their allies have chosen the latter.

Once again, imperialist lies, manipulations and intervention in Venezuela are exposed. The US government and their allies do not care about “democracy” or “legitimate” elections in Venezuela, as much as they do not care about the hundreds of people that have been killed in Venezuela by the violent opposition that they support. Together with Venezuela’s violent right-wing opposition, their only interest is in overthrowing the government of Venezuela and reversing the gains of the Bolivarian revolutionary process.

Increasing US and imperialist intervention and sanctions are preparation for further, and more aggressive attacks. As the people of Venezuela continue to build the Bolivarian revolutionary process, and defend their rights to sovereignty and self-determination, international solidarity is needed now more than ever before.

Follow Alison Bodine on Twitter: @Alisoncolette

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Top 10 Misconceptions About Charlottesville by David Swanson (reposted)

Top 10 Misconceptions About Charlottesville
By David Swanson



ORIGINAL POST:
http://davidswanson.org/top-10-misconceptions-about-charlottesville


 
1. Let’s start with the obvious. Charlottesville, Virginia, and Charlotte, North Carolina, are actually two completely different places in the world. The flood of concern and good wishes for those of us here in Charlottesville is wonderful and much appreciated. That people can watch TV news about Charlottesville, remember that I live in Charlottesville, and send me their kind greetings addressed to the people of Charlotte is an indication of how common the confusion is. It’s not badly taken; I have nothing against Charlotte. It’s just a different place, seventeen times the size. Charlottesville is a small town with the University of Virginia, a pedestrian downtown street, and very few monuments. The three located right downtown are for Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and the Confederacy. Neither Lee nor Jackson had anything to do with Charlottesville, and their statues were put up in whites-only parks in the 1920s.

2. The racists who have begun coming to Charlottesville to campaign for governor, garner attention, threaten violence, engage in violence, and commit murder are almost all from outside Charlottesville, and extremely unwelcome here. Charlottesville is a slightly left-of-center, Democratic Party area. Most people don’t rally for good causes or against bad ones. Most people don’t want the Lee statue taken down. (Or at least they didn’t until it became a gathering point for neo-Confederates.) Most people want other memorials added to public space to diversify. And most people don’t want white supremacists coming to town with their hatred and their violence.

3. Armed attacks are not covered by the First Amendment. I can and have argued at length for the strategic — never mind legal — need to respect odious free speech, and — more importantly — to respect and build bridges of understanding to the troubled people preaching hatred. But the human right to free speech is not found in a gun or a torch or a can of pepper spray any more than in corporate advertising. When we hold peace rallies in U.S. cities we are sometimes forbidden to bring posters on wooden poles. We have to use hollow cardboard tubes to hold up our signs, because — you know — advocates of nonviolence can be so violent. Yet racist, nationalist, white supremacist agitators are allowed to bring an arsenal with which to attack the general public and counter-demonstrators! Whatever that is, it is not free speech. I’d be willing to say it’s closer to enabling terrorism. All media habits of “balance” and “even handedness” become lies when respect for rights, and blame for deaths and injuries, are based on the notion that premeditated violence and threats of violence and the carrying of weapons are not worth noticing.

4. Charlottesville’s mayor voted against taking down the Lee statue, even if he now sounds on NBC News as if it had been his idea. Seen from a certain angle, that’s progress. I want people to get on board with the idea of taking down all racist monuments and all war monuments, and this one is both. But it is a misconception to imagine that the decision to take down General Lee came from the top or that it came without extensive public input. It’s true that City Council member Kristin Szakos publicly proposed the dominance of our public space by Confederate statues as a problem, and that City Council member Wes Bellamy pushed for that. But it was the national movement of Black Lives Matter, and local activism, that created the demand in the first place, as well as making Bellamy a member of City Council. The City held very lengthy and public and extensive hearings and gathering of facts and views. A Blue Ribbon Commission produced a report. And when the City Council voted to take down Lee (but leave up Jackson) it did so because City Council Member Bob Fenwick joined Szakos and Bellamy in a 3-2 vote, in which Mayor Mike Signer was on the losing and cowardly side. Because that is typical of him, we should be wary of fale perceptions of him as a leader, until he really becomes one. It’s possible that had he shown the leadership of the Mayor of New Orleans in taking down statues and explaining why, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

5. The military and militarized police are not here to protect you. An armed force on the streets and in the air of Charlottesville crashed a helicopter, tragically killing two people. But what else did it accomplish? It heightened tensions. It reduced turnout by those opposed to violence and racism. Its aggression toward anti-racists following the KKK rally in July contributed to fears of what it would do this time. The Charlottesville police do not need the mine-resistant vehicle they keep in their garage, because we do not have land mines. We do not need our skies filled — including on the Friday before the rally — with military helicopters. We do not need tanks on our streets for godsake. We need to disarm those seeking to exercise their First Amendment Rights, not arm someone else. The helicopter never should have crashed because it never should have flown. And every individual who assaulted and threatened people with pepper spray, torches, sticks, fists, or an automobile, should have been welcomed to nonviolently, without guns or other weaponry, speak their mind — and to meet and converse with those opposing their views.

6. The events in Charlottesville, like foreign and domestic emoluments, additional forms of financial corruption, Muslim bans, illegal wars, threats to North Korea, voter intimidation, environmental destruction, and sexual assault, make up yet another article of impeachment for Donald Trump awaiting only the awakening of a House of Representatives. Incitement of acts of violence is a crime, and it is certainly a high-crime-and-misdemeanor, the Constitutional phrase refering to an abuse of power that may or may not be criminal. Donald Trump went out of his way to persuade racists that they were free to engage in their racism openly. Numerous racists, including some of those who have been active in Charlottesville, have openly communicated their understanding of that presidential permission. Those sitting silently by in this moment are condoning racism. So are those not advocating for impeachment and removal. Yes I am aware of the general horror of Mike Pence, but a country that impeached and removed presidents would be a very different country in which the next president would have to behave or face impeachment in turn. Fear of the next person will look ever weaker as grounds for allowing the current person to destroy things as he proceeds with his destruction. I’m further aware that the D.C. Democratic leadership makes Mayor Signer’s cynicism look like child’s play, and that Nancy Pelosi wants Trump around more than the Republicans do, so that the Democrats can “oppose” him. But I’m not asking you to believe he’s going to be impeached without your doing anything. I’m asking you to compel his impeachment.

7. The answer to racist violence is not anti-racist violence or passivism, and the idea that those are the only two choices is ridiculous. Charlottesville’s and the United States’ resistance to racism would be far stronger with disciplined nonviolence. The behavior of a few anti-racists in July allowed the corporate media to depict the KKK as victims. There is nothing the alt-right crowd longs for more in this moment than some act of violence against them that would permit pundits to start trumpeting the need for liberals to be more tolerant of racists, and to proclaim that the real problem is those reckless radicals who want to tear down statues. We need nonviolent activism, and we need a thousand times more of it. We need to initiate the next rally in Charlottesville ourselves.

8. Tearing down statues is not opposing history. Charlottesville has three Confederate war statues, two (pro) genocide of the Native Americans statues, one World War I statue, one Vietnam War memorial, one statue of Thomas Jefferson (whose words and deeds, I’m sorry to say, agreed almost entirely with the latest racists), and one statue of Homer (poet of war). And that’s it. We have no memorials, whether monumental statuary or otherwise, to a single educator, artist, musician, athlete, author, or activst, nothing for Native American history, slavery, civil rights, women’s rights, or ANYTHING ELSE. Almost all of our history is missing. Putting up a giant statue for racism and war is not a step for history. Taking it down is not a blow to history. It could be a step forward, in fact. Even the renaming of Lee Park as Emancipation Park is educational. Creating a memorial to emancipation, and one to civil rights, and one to school integration, and one to peace would be more so.

9. The Lee statue is still there, not because racists rally around it, but because legislators glorify war. While neither side has any interest in opposing or even particularly in promoting war, and while the national and local media have gone through endless contortions to avoid mentioning it, the court case holding up the removal of Robert E. Lee and the horse he never rode in on is about war glorification. A state law that may or may not apply to this statue forbids taking down war memorials in Virginia. For fair and balanced free-speech advocates I should note that no similar law forbids taking down peace monuments. Also there really aren’t any to take down if you wanted to. This is a symptom of a culture that has come to accept endless war and the militarization of local police, and to report on rallies of “white nationalists” without ever considering that there may be a problem with both of those words.

10. As I’ve written in recent months, many sympathizers with the racist cause are understandable. This is a quite different thing from being acceptable or praise worthy. To say that someone is understandable is to say that you can understand them. They’re not monsters acting on inexplicable subhuman impulses any more than do the people they hate or the people against whom the United States wages wars typically behave that way. These racists live in one of the most unequal societies ever known, and they don’t live at the top of it. They hear about endless efforts to alleviate injustice toward all sorts of wronged groups that don’t include them. They notice the cultural acceptability in comedy shows and elsewhere of mocking white people. They seek a group identity. They seek others to blame. They seek others to place beneath themselves. And they hear hardly a peep out of Washington D.C. about creating universal rights and supports for everyone, as in Scandinavia. Instead they hear that hatred and violence and racism come with the Presidential seal of approval.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Young Radicals vs The Empire (Soapbox Podcast: 8/13/17)

August 12, 2017






GUESTS: DAKOTAH LILLY
CALEB MAUPIN

TOPICS: TRUTH ABOUT VENEZUELA AND NORTH KOREA

This week, Cindy chats with two young activists about the (US caused) troubling situations in Venezuela and
the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea (DPRK).

Dakotah Lilly is a student and blogger for Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox and
Caleb Maupin is a journalist for RT.

Dakotah

Caleb

***********************************************
Americans fear North Korea, but have no idea where it is.



Caleb, man on the street!

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http://cindysheehanssoapbox.blogspot.com/p/tax-deductible-donation.html



https://www.facebook.com/Cindy-Sheehans-Soapbox-Radio-Show-188031143274/
 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

$12 for 12 Years of Dedicated Struggle!

August 6, 2017

Today marks the 12th Anniversary of
Cindy Sheehan's historic march down
Prairie Chapel road and more than
12 years of Cindy's dedicated and tireless
activism against the US Empire.

If you are able, please donate $12 to
Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox
 to help her stay 

http://cindysheehanssoapbox.blogspot.com/p/tax-deductible-donation.html

  or send check/money order to:

Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox, LLC
PO Box 6264
Vacaville, CA 95696 

Rebuilding the Antiwar Movement in the USA: Remarks by Cindy Sheehan to Fightback Conferece in Toronto

by
Cindy Sheehan

On August 6th, 2005, I and about six-dozen other activists marched down Prairie Chapel Road in Crawford, TX to confront then president George Bush about why my son, and so many others, had to die in Iraq. A few days earlier, I had heard him say that my son and the other US troops who had died in Iraq and Afghanistan died for a "Noble Cause." I was determined to confront Bush and force him to define what was that "noble cause?"

 "What Noble Cause?" became the rallying call of the antiwar movement that summer and the month long peace vigil we held in Crawford at Camp Casey (named for my son) sparked a renewed interest in antiwar activism not just in the US, but around the world.

 I was an activist neophyte in those days and unbeknownst to me, forces loyal to the Democrat party (in fact, a few Dem elected officials) came out to Camp Casey that summer to redirect the righteous anger against Bush and his wars into just another Get Out The Vote for Democrats and, in fact, in 2006, Nancy Pelosi and her branch of the War Party soared to victory on the backs of the antiwar movement, then promptly stabbed us in those same backs. Even Pelosi promised me in '05 and '06 that if I, and the power of the movement, helped get Democrats back in the majority in the 2006 midterm elections, they would help up "end the wars."

 The 2006 midterm elections in the US seriously damaged the antiwar movement because the same forces that came to Camp Casey in the summer of 2005, now forbade non-partisan forces in the antiwar movement to hold large marches in Washington DC because we would "embarrass the Democrats."

 This is essentially the problem with any movement in the US, but especially an antiwar/anti-Empire movement: most people who are "woke" here in the US, are only "woke" as far as they think that their wing of the War Bird, either Democrat or Republican, is better and that if only we could get Candidate A elected, or get one of the wings of the War Bird back in power in Congress, then things would be better. Of course, I understand that sentiment because that's where I was a decade ago.

 So, with that brief history of why we are essentially screwed in the movement and why billions of people on this planet are in danger of losing their homes, limbs, and even lives by the viciousness of the US Empire, the answer to rebuilding an antiwar/anti-Empire movement in the US is to dump the Democrats: #DemExit. It's not about being part of the imperialist Bernie Sanders' "Our Revolution" movement, which is not my revolution, your revolution, or the revolution of oppressed peoples around the world, but a "revolution" only as far as another failed and wrong tactic to GOTV for Democrats. In fact, I hear from very reliable sources who went to the recent badly and dishonestly named, "People's Summit" in Chicago that there was not one mention of the wars and how if any positive social changes are to be made, the Empire must not just be overcome, but crushed to dust.

Why just the Dump the Democrats? Well, the one thing I was hopeful about when Trump was selected by the capitalists and imperialists who are really in charge of the US, was that maybe now, people would protest the continuing US wars. Of course, Republicans mostly don't even pretend to be against Empire or capitalism, but most Democrats do fake oppose wars.

 However, even though there have been some large protests since Trump was selected, there have been no significant antiwar protests.

That's why I was so pleased to be invited to this event---for me, to be legitimate revolutionaries, we must, obviously be opposed to the US Empire, police state violence, other repressions, and capitalism. Democrats do so-called wedge issues very well. Both wings of the War Bird know how to whip up hysteria and inflame fear over social divides, but they are similarly also very good about using the bourgeois media to distract us from the core issue: the United States of America murders, in cold blood, people every day and the imperial wars are not only illegal, immoral, and unnecessary, but they are racist and very profitable for the imperialists.

 So, comrades, I am very interested in continuing this conversation.

 Bottom-line, workers of the US are murdering workers of the rest of the world at the behest of the so-called ruling class. It has been so since the beginning of time. A true revolution also strives to build international working-class consciousness and solidarity and we must refuse to be hired thugs for the capitalists.

 Empires always collapse under the weight of their own decadence and unsupportable extension of murder and mayhem. As revolutionaries, we must do everything we can on a daily basis to hasten the day when the US empire joins the rest in that cesspool of history.

I am profoundly sorry that I could not join you this weekend and I send my greetings and hope that you all have a productive conference, and like I said before, that we continue this very urgent conversation.

 Cindy Sheehan

Vacaville, CA

August 4, 2017





 

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http://cindysheehanssoapbox.blogspot.com/p/tax-deductible-donation.html



https://www.facebook.com/Cindy-Sheehans-Soapbox-Radio-Show-188031143274/

REVOLUTIONARY ORGANIZATION OF LABOR, USA #103 JULY-AUGUST 2017

NEWSLETTER # 103

ARTICLES:

Wall Street’s Dilemma

The Trump Family Empire versus
the United States Empire

by RAY LIGHT
 ***

POSTSCRIPT:

STALIN AS THE ANTI-AUTOCRAT,
THE ANTI-TRUMP —
Beautifully expressed in Pablo Neruda’s wondrous poem
 ***

The California Independence Movement Steps Forward

by CINDY SHEEHAN
 

***
Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution:
The October Revolution and the National Question

by RAY LIGHT
***

The California Independence Movement Steps Forward by CINDY SHEEHAN (FROM ROL, USA NEWSLETTER #103)

The California Independence Movement Steps Forward

by CINDY SHEEHAN




Since my son Casey was killed in Iraq on 04/04/04, I have consistently taken steps to remove myself from the government of the USA: I stopped paying income taxes (how can I fund more murder after I essentially funded the murder of my own son?); I sold my car; dumped my house; and vocally oppose just about everything America does. Unfortunately, I still have a US passport and I feel like, not only do I want to live in California, my surviving children (5th generation Californians) and my five grandchildren (6th generation Californians) live here, so I feel I need to live here.

Also, why should I be forced to “love it (the US) or leave it?” Mostly, almost all the people who can afford to be so mobile and move around the world are the people who create untenable living conditions for the rest of us.

Having written the above, you can imagine that I was extremely excited when I saw that there was a renewed interest in California Independence! I quickly contacted leadership of the movement and became involved myself and am now on the board of the California Freedom Coalition.

On May 19, 2017 about two-dozen of us joyfully, yet with a sense of gravitas, filed paperwork in Sacramento at the office of the Attorney General to put California Independence in front of Californians in the form of a ballot initiative. Currently, we are awaiting approval from the AG of California to begin collecting signatures.

As with the first American Revolution in 1776 (an effort which few colonists supported, at first, so the “Patriots” also had to wage a battle to win the “fence-sitters” over), it has become “self-evident” to some of us here in California that the US government (USG), way across the country in Washington, DC does not represent us, or our values, in anywhere near a competent, or even, humane way. We feel like we are treated as vassals to unrestrained capitalism and war.

Even California’s federal contingent that are sent to DC by the people of the state are a club of millionaires who have lost touch with California and the average Californian. How else are reps like Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) and Nancy Pelosi (D) able to constantly vote for wars, war funding, and work diligently to protect the out of control US regime and corporate interests?

While California is one of the leading economies in the world, there is still an appalling unemployment and homeless problem. Following the trajectory of the US, California’s good, manufacturing jobs have fled for greener pastures and what’s left for us: service jobs or the military. Californians send billions to the USG to support US military adventurism, and while we mostly don’t support the wars, our young people and families pay the highest and irredeemable prices in war deaths, injuries, and the deepest cut: suicide.

If left in the Republic of California, what we here in the state could do with our human, natural, and financial resources, is almost limitless.

I grew up in a California that took education and enrichment of its young people seriously! Compared to when my own children started public school in California and everything extra was fee-based, the teaching of the “three r’s” was exemplary, and the subjects that make a student well-rounded like music, theater, art, summer school, field trips, and driver’s ed were free and accessible to everyone.

Also, quite extra-ordinarily, state colleges and universities were tuition-free up until the Ronnie Raygun era. Our energy is extremely left-wing and, regarding education, we only want what we had before: fully-funded and quality public school education.

Similarly, the potential of a free California to lead the world in peace, education (the wealthy state of California consistently rates in the bottom 10% in education in the US), meaningful and full-employment with good wages and benefits, sustainable energy production, clean agriculture, clean water, clean air, etc.


We, the patriots and matriots of Californian Independence not only want a healthier country to live in, we also feel that if California does become independent from the bloody US Empire, it would ultimately deal a death blow to that Empire. Without California, the US will have to scale back its sick habit of regime change/carnage around the world, or perish. I would rather have the US voluntarily follow California on a much more peaceful and sensible path for humanity, but if it perishes, that is fine, too. Anything to stop the Empire’s reign of terror around the world.

This is in no way a rightwing “Free State of Jefferson” movement (CalSplit vs. CalExit) that seeks to add another state to a nation that has, beyond a shadow of any doubt, demonstrated its psychopathic tendencies. We don’t advocate for an independent California to further separate the rich and the poor, but to retain the beautiful diverse nature of our state; and to elevate everyone in equality and prosperity (some people will have to de-elevate, but, that’s only a matter of time, too).

We in the movement also recognize that under a complete Democratic majority since Jerry Brown was re-elected as Governor in 2010, that few things have improved for we the people. Brown and the other Democrats seem to be in the back pockets of big oil, big pharma, private prisons, charter schools, and war profiteers. The Democrat majority in Sacramento (every state office and majorities in both the Senate and legislature) allows the US Empire to maintain at least 50 military installations in California and California leads the nation in the export of death and destruction in the form of aerospace and defense industries. A free California could lead the world in re-tooling industries to (for example) create and maintain sustainable, clean forms of energy production and other healthy endeavors.

Consequently, this is also not a “liberal” initiative that only wants to skedaddle because Trump is the current CEO of Murder, Inc; only to return to again beg for scraps from our “master’s” table when a Democrat once again assumes that position. This is a bi-partisan effort that strives to leave the divisions of the US behind and join together as Californians of all demographics to put the power and future of California where it rightfully belongs: in our hands and in our communities.

To succeed, this effort must be diverse, wide-reaching, inclusive and we must be able to unite all workers against two common enemies: capitalism and it’s decaying, end-state, Imperialism, which are embodied in the United States of America.

I was honored to be asked to sign the “California Declaration of Independence,” and the significance of this was not lost on any of us.

We are working hard for success and we all know that it will happen and it will be good for everyone (except the 1%, at first), but we wondered how did the signers of the Declaration of Independence feel on the sweltering day (it was also hot in Sacramento on 19 May) of 4 July, 1776? I am sure, like we, they were optimistic, excited, and a little fearful of what terror would be unleashed by the major Empire of that day.

Nothing can be achieved without people willing to take the risks of ridicule, demonization, marginalization, or worse. We won’t become free until we demand freedom. As the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass stated in 1857, “power concedes nothing without a demand.”

As we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia, we must emulate the courage of the leaders and workers of that righteous struggle. Some things are worth fighting for and the very future of sustainable life on this planet is the very thing we believe this initiative will foster. 
________________________________________________________________________________
FROM ROL, USA NEWSLETTER #103

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Saturday, August 5, 2017

Seymour Hersh Says Russia was NOT Source of DNC Hack by Anthony Freda

The mainstream media is completely blacklisting any mention of the bombshell revelations by investigative reporter Seymour Hersh about murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich, in which Hersh explained how Rich was Wikileaks’ source for the DNC leak and how the “Russian hacking” story was completely concocted by former CIA director John Brennan.

In an audio tape obtained by Big League Politics, Hersh says he saw an FBI report leaked to him by an insider which confirms that Rich had contacted Wikileaks with sample emails from the DNC leak and asked for payment for the full data dump.

“All I know is that he offered a sample, an extensive sample, I’m sure dozens of emails, and said ‘I want money.’ Later, WikiLeaks did get the password, he had a DropBox, a protected DropBox,” he said. They got access to the DropBox,” added Hersh.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author said Seth Rich first contacted Wikileaks in late Spring of last year and that the DNC later tried to cover up the truth by inventing the story that Russia had hacked their systems and that this was part of a disinformation operation overseen by former CIA director John Brennan.

Hersh acknowledges that the former DNC staffer was concerned for his safety.

“The word was passed, according to the NSA report, he also shared this DropBox with a couple of friends, so that ‘if anything happens to me it’s not going to solve your problems,’” said Hersh. “WikiLeaks got access before he was killed.”

Almost 24 hours after this bombshell story and not one single mainstream media outlet has covered the issue, despite a Wikileaks tweet of the Hersh audio receiving over 4,000 retweets.
Scott Ritter, the man who was crucified for exposing the establishment lies that proved the pretexts to the Iraq War has also expressed doubts about the veracity of the mainstream narrative claiming Russia hacked the DNC emails.

Friday, August 4, 2017

3 big lies about North Korea by the ANSWER COALITION

 3 big lies about North Korea by the ANSWER COALITION

 

Link to original post 

 

Lie #1: North Korea constantly threatens and provokes the United States

The truth: Every year, the United States carries out massive “Foal Eagle” and “Key Resolve” military exercises alongside South Korean forces that simulate the invasion of the North. Labelled “war games” by the corporate media, these drills are understood for what they are by North Korea (also known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea or DPRK): a menacing reminder that the United States could launch a war and destroy their country at any moment. This year, the U.S. military went even further and held a nuclear bombing drill, where a U.S. strategic bomber flew right up to the border between North and South Korea as practice for a possible nuclear attack on the North.
Unlike the United States, North Korea has never launched a war of aggression against any country. The United States claims that North Korea invaded South Korea in 1950, five years after the division of the country at the end of World War II. This was a civil war inside of Korea similar to the civil war that was waged between North Vietnam and South Vietnam, which was also divided by “great powers” at the end of World War II. The U.S. military is by far the largest and most powerful in human history, but the North Korean military’s budget is smaller than the New York Police Department’s. The notion that the DPRK is threatening the superpower United States is outrageous.

Lie #2: North Korea is a “rogue state” led by a madman who clings to nuclear weapons and refuses to negotiate

The truth: The DPRK suspended its nuclear weapons program in the 1990s as a direct consequence of a negotiated agreement with the United States. The United States failed to live up to its side of the agreement to provide substitute energy sources to replace North Korea’s nuclear power program. The United States expected that the North Korean government would collapse following the implosion of its socialist allies in the USSR and elsewhere. The DPRK ultimately decided to leave the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) only after George W. Bush in January 2002 declared North Korea, Iran and Iraq an “Axis of Evil” while the United States prepared to carry out an invasion of Iraq -- which it did in the next 15 months.
It was under those circumstances that the DPRK decided to resume its nuclear weapons program. The DPRK cites the example of what the United States and its allies did both in Iraq and in the bombing of Libya in 2011, and the overthrow of both governments as absolute proof that it is folly for a targeted government to disarm itself in the face of the Pentagon war machine.
The DPRK is acting rationally and in self-defense. Although you would never know it from the U.S. media, the DPRK has offered to suspend its nuclear weapons program and missile tests in exchange for a suspension or moratorium of U.S. war exercises that simulate an invasion and destruction of the country. The United States, under both Obama and Trump, has immediately refused this offer and continues the propaganda that the DPRK is the “provocateur.”

Lie #3: The Korean War has been over for more than 60 years

The truth: The United States is technically still at war against the DPRK. In 1953, the United States and the DPRK signed an armistice agreement -- not a peace treaty. This is essentially a long-term ceasefire that leaves the two sides technically still at war. A core demand shared by both anti-war activists the world over and North Korea is for a peace treaty, but the U.S. government stubbornly refuses. Instead, it maintains a standing force of about 30,000 soldiers in the South.
The last time the United States was invaded by a foreign power was the War of 1812, but for Koreans the memory of war is very fresh. During the Korean War, approximately 4 to 5 million Korean people lost their lives, and the North was entirely leveled. U.S. bomber pilots complained that there were simply no structures left to strike. The North had to be completely rebuilt from scratch after the end of the war.

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