Month: May, 2011
On Monday 23/5 the GS of the CC of the KKE, Aleka Papariga, visited the Skaramangas shipyard.
worker | May 28, 2011 | 9:51 pm | Action | Comments closed

The labour movement must raise its head!

On Saturday 21/5 the Prime Minister invited the leaders of the political parties to a meeting, with the aim of ensuring support for the so-called medium-term programme and in order to create a general atmosphere of consent concerning the anti-people measures. The GS of the CC of the KKE did not accept the invitation because the KKE rejects both the so-called medium term programme which the government and its allies have formed as well as its general political line. The KKE is not going to contribute in any way to the political line that massacres working class and popular rights.

On Monday 23/5 the GS of the CC of the KKE, Aleka Papariga, visited the Skaramangas shipyard, where she met with the administrative committee of the union and spoke to a rally of the workers. The recent termination of the contract for the construction of T-214 submarines by the German company HDW is a warning that production in the shipyards will be further reduced. It prepares the ground for cuts in personnel. So, the 1200 and more workers in the shipyards are hostages to the various plans and are the only losers in the massive dealings which go hand in hand with the surrender of strategic sectors of the economy to the transnationals. Immediately after the meeting with the union the GS of the CC of the KKE spoke to the workers and stressed amongst other things that:

“ Greece has an advantage in the shipbuilding and ship-repair sector. It has an advantage. This significant advantage is not only its experience, but the fact that it is one of the countries which is a marine power-2nd or 3rd in the world-and consequently there is the basis for much work, more work than it had in the past, and of course more work than it has today. I should tell you that as a party we are interested not only in your situation now, that you not lose your jobs – which of course is of concern to us- but particularly that the shipyards not close. Exactly because we are fighting for a Greece of working class and people’s power. And this Greece, in order to provide prosperity to its people, must utilise its entire productive base which exists particularly in the industry we are discussing.

The labour movement must raise its head, and it will raise its head when every workplace does. It must be made clear: You must draw a line in the sand, either you are in favour of this political line which has been followed for years, this development path or you are against it. You must have a target: The overthrow, I’ll say it very clearly, of the power of the monopolies.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. speech on Vietnam (1967)
worker | May 27, 2011 | 9:51 pm | Action | Comments closed

Here is the link to the great MLK, Jr. speech on Vietnam (1967)

“From My Altitude”
worker | May 26, 2011 | 10:04 pm | Action | Comments closed

a touring exhibit by

Antonio Guerrero

June 4 – 15, 2011

Open reception & Cuba solidarity night

Saturday June 4th, 7 – 10 p.m.

Houston Institute for Culture/East End Studio Gallery
708 Suite C Telephone Rd.
Houston, TX 77023

Antonio Guerrero is one of five Cubans unjustly imprioned by the U.S. government for protecting their homeland from attacks by Miami-based terrorists. He is in Florence federal prison in Colorado. Antonio has become an accomplised artist since his imprisonment. His exhibit is an opportunity to gain insight to a beautiful and talented man, maintaining dignity in the face of injustice.

Sponsored by the Houston Peace Council

Houston Cuba Solidarity Committee, International Action Center.

For more information: (832)390-7661

For more information about Antonio and the case of the Cuban Five see

The clash of egos
worker | May 24, 2011 | 9:59 pm | Action | Comments closed

By Zoltan Zigedy

What the voters wanted was unquestionably significant change. What they were promised was change. Whether change will come from the Obama administration is – at best – questionable….

And every indication is that the Obama administration will continue down the path of advancing imperial interests and privileging corporate America.” ZZ’s Blog, 11-06-08

“Has Obama betrayed his progressive promise? Obama never made a progressive promise. The idea of Obama as a water-bearer for liberal or progressive reform came not from Obama’s mouth, but from the sheer wishes and dreams of the left…”

In fairness, Obama has betrayed no one. His vast centrist following and the Democratic Party old-guard have shown no fear of Obama’s perceived “progressive” agenda, an agenda that appears to be more and more in the minds of a self-deluding left. ZZ’s Blog, 12-09-08

Liberals and the celebrity left are in a catfight over their relationship to the Obama Administration and it’s not a pretty thing. Chris Hedges stirred the pot recently with an interview of Cornel West on Truthdig, augmented with his own angry voice, denouncing Obama: The Obama Deception: Why Cornel West Went Ballistic. The interview circulated widely on the internet, generating discussion and controversy like few other internet commentaries.

Hedges postures the Obama “deception” as a Shakespearean tragedy and West depicts it as a personal affront. While many of my left brothers and sisters have hailed this personal mea culpa and attack on Obama as welcome, joining those sending the interview far and wide, they have only added to the tiresome finger pointing that advances our struggles very little.

West earns no thanks for placing the character flaws of the current President, as he reveals them, at the center of the political universe. It is especially embarrassing that he cites the personal slights – the absence of inaugural tickets, missing handshakes, unreturned phone calls, official jabs – as the fulcrum of his argument.

It really is not about Cornel West.

At one point, Hedges senses that the interview has gotten too personal. He writes: “But there was also the betrayal on the political and ideological level.” Yet a few lines later, he returns to the personal: “Obama and West’s last personal contact took place a year ago at a gathering of the Urban League when, he says, Obama ‘cussed me out.’”

In its essence, the interview is an indulgence in Cornel West’s personal pique — a People magazine-style profile breathlessly hanging on the words of one of our “stars.” If Obama had proved to be everything that the “hopey-changey” left had forecast, West’s complaints would now be viewed as they are: an irrelevant exercise in self-indulgence. This interview is unbecoming of Chris Hedges, who has shown a deep understanding of the issues and has put his own body on the line to stop the war and fight corporate power.

Predictably, The Nation magazine – the most prominent periodical on the left and an early champion of the Obama-as-savior perspective – unleashed its star TV-commentator upon the Hedges/West interview (Cornel West v. Barack Obama, The Nation blog). Melissa Harris-Perry grasped the opportunity afforded by West’s “ballistic” personal tirade and lunched on West’s celebration of self-worth. She wrote: “I can tell the difference between a substantive criticism and a personal attack. It is clear to me that West’s ego, not the health of American democracy, is the wounded creature in this story.”

While establishing her own modest, tepid criticisms of the Obama administration, she further charges West with an unholy alliance with TV personality Tavis Smiley, a counter-charge of the same irrelevance as West’s outburst.

What do we ask of those who promoted the mistaken view that Barack Obama was the second-coming of FDR? Do we want a public tirade denouncing Obama? Do we expect a period of self-flagellation or contrition? Should those who eagerly signed onto “Progressives for Obama” be taken to the woodshed?

None of these options shows even a measure of political maturity. The battle then, and the battle now, is a battle of ideas and not personalities. Revealingly, the exchange between Hedges/West and Harris-Perry says little about the way forward. Absorbed in a clash of celebrity egos, they are more intent on settling scores than mapping a way to mount a counter-offensive to the relentless advances of monopoly capital.

A left constructed on wishful thinking and opportunistic campaign promises is little better than a right based upon fantasy and eighteenth-century dogma. But it is not helpful to promote the cult of personality that has become so prevalent in our culture.

In today’s climate, charges of “betrayal” or “deception” are hollow. They reflect a misreading of the history and social role of monopoly capital and its bankrupt two-party system; they obscure the deep mechanisms that sustain the capitalist system. We desperately need acts of resistance and not web battles between our luminaries.

For those who want to go beyond the trivial, beyond the wars on the web, the road is clear: look at what our brothers and sisters are at this moment doing in Greece, Portugal and Spain. Faced with the austerity that will soon visit the US, they are in the streets, anchored by militant labor movements that understand the stakes and confront the enemy: capital. It’s time for our own labor movement to go beyond electoral maneuvers and bring the fight to the streets in the US. We should help them figure out how to get there.

Zoltan Zigedy

The rage in Spain falls mainly on the pain
worker | May 22, 2011 | 8:56 pm | Action | Comments closed

Check out these videos of massive protests and demonstrations in Spain on the eve of their elections.

Note the large sign at the end of the first video!

David Harvey on the current crisis of capitalism
worker | May 21, 2011 | 9:05 pm | Action | Comments closed

Check out this brief video by David Harvey on the crisis of capitalism:

The old and the new
worker | May 12, 2011 | 10:42 pm | Action | Comments closed

By James Thompson

Here are two quotes from two leaders of our movement, Gus Hall and Joseph Stalin, which, although dated, may provide some insight into the current status of the class struggle. Of course, as a reminder, the class struggle refers to the struggle of the interests of the working class against the interests of capital. Marx teaches us that the interests of the working class and capital are irreconcilable. Let’s start with a quote from Joseph Stalin which appears in Volume 12 of his Collected Works starting on page 17 of The right deviation in the CPSU(B):

“It would be ridiculous to think that the stabilization of capitalism has remained unchanged. Still more ridiculous would it be to assert that the stabilization is gaining in strength, that it is becoming secure. As a matter of fact, capitalist stabilization is being undermined and shaken month by month and day by day. The intensification of the struggle for foreign markets and raw materials, the growth of armaments, the growing antagonism between America and Britain, the gross of socialism in the USSR, the swing to the Left of the working class in the capitalist countries, the wave of strikes and class conflicts in the European countries, the growing revolutionary movement in the colonies, including India, the growth of communism in all countries of the world-all these are facts which indicate beyond a doubt that the elements of a new revolutionary upsurge are accumulating in the capitalist countries.

Hence the task of intensifying the fight against Social-Democracy, and, above all, against its “Left” wing, as being the social buttress of capitalism.

Hence the task of intensifying the fight in the Communist Parties against the Right elements, as being the agents of Social-Democratic influence.

Hence the task of intensifying the fight against conciliation towards the Right deviation, as being the refuge of opportunism in the Communist Parties.

Hence the slogan of purging the Communist Parties of Social-Democratic traditions.

Hence the so-called new tactics of communism in trade unions.

Some comrades do not understand the significance and importance of these slogans. But a Marxist will always understand that, unless these slogans are put into effect, the preparation of the proletarian masses for new class battles is unthinkable, victory over Social-Democracy is unthinkable, and the selection of real leaders of the Communist movement, capable of leading the working class into the fight against capitalism, is impossible.
Such, comrades, are the class changes in our country and in the capitalist countries, on the basis of which the present slogans of our party both in its internal policy and in relation to the Comintern have arisen.

Our Party sees these class changes. It understands the significance of the new tasks and it mobilizes forces for their fulfillment. That is why it is facing events fully armed. That is why it does not fear the difficulties confronting it, for it is prepared to overcome them.

The misfortune of Bukharin’s group is that it does not see these class changes and does not understand the new tasks of the party. And it is precisely because it does not understand them that it is in a state of complete bewilderment, is ready to flee from difficulties, to retreat in the face of difficulties, to surrender the positions.

Have you ever seen fishermen when a storm is brewing on a big river-such as the Yenisei? I have seen them many a time. In the face of a storm one group of fishermen will muster all their forces, encourage their fellows and boldly guide the boat to meet the storm: “Cheer up, lads, keep a tight hold of the tiller, cut the waves, we’ll win through!”

But there is another type of fishermen-those who, on sensing a storm, lose heart, began to snivel and demoralize their own ranks: “It’s terrible, a storm is brewing: lie down, lads, in the bottom of the boat, shut your eyes, let’s hope she’ll make the shore somehow.” (General laughter.)

Does it still need proof that the line and conduct of Bukharin’s group exactly resembles the line and conduct of the second group of fishermen, who retreat in panic in the face of difficulties?

We say that in Europe the conditions are maturing for a new revolutionary upsurge, that this circumstance dictates to us new tasks along the line of intensifying the fight against the Right deviation in the Communist Parties and of driving the Right deviators out of the Party, of intensifying the fight against conciliation, which screens the Right deviation, of intensifying the fight against Social-Democratic traditions in the Communist Parties, etc., etc. But Bukharin answers us that all this is nonsense, that no such new tasks confront us, that the whole fact of the matter is that the majority in the Central Committee wants to “haul” him, i.e., Bukharin, “over the coals.”

We say that the class changes in our country dictate to us new tasks which call for a systematic reduction of costs of production and improvement of labor discipline and industry, that these tasks cannot be carried out without radical change in the practices of work of the trade unions. But Tomsky answers us that all this is nonsense, that no such new tasks confront us, that the whole fact of the matter is that the majority in the Central Committee wants to “haul” him, i.e., Tomsky, “over the coals.”

We say that the reconstruction of the national economy dictates to us new tasks along the line of intensifying the fight against bureaucracy in the Soviet and economic apparatus, of purging this apparatus of rotten and alien elements, wreckers, etc., etc. But Rykov answers us that all this is nonsense, that no such new tasks confront us, that the whole fact of the matter is that the majority in the Central Committee wants to “haul” him, i.e., Rykov, “over the coals.”

Now, is this not ridiculous, comrades? Is it not obvious that Bukharin, Rykov and Tomsky see nothing but their own navels?

The misfortune of Bukharin’s group is that it does not see the new class changes and does not understand the new tasks of the Party. And it is precisely because it does not understand them that it is compelled to drag in the wake of events and to yield to difficulties.

There you have the root of our disagreements.”

Next we have a selection from Working Class USA by Gus Hall (p. 166) “The Old and the New” (1985):

“When dealing with different sectors of the people we must always keep in mind that they are constantly in motion, in the process of change. They move with and create new political currents. They change in an ongoing ideological process.

As a result they respond differently to events today than they did a year or five years ago. Their priorities change. When we do not take these changes into consideration, we tend to tail movements and struggles and to misjudge the thinking and mood of the masses. We become tactically stagnant. We cease to give vanguard leadership. Therefore it is necessary constantly to update our assessments and refresh our tactics.

It is always important to be alert to what is new and growing. There are situations in which the new should still be dealt with in the framework of the old. But it is most important, from a tactical viewpoint, to be able to recognize when there is a qualitative change in the relationship between the new and the old, a point when it is necessary to see the new as the dominant factor. Then the new must be seen as the framework in which we must deal with the old.

One of the new and growing factors in this period is the overlapping of issues and struggles. The objective developments bringing this about are the three layers of economic crisis: the cyclical, structural and general crises of capitalism.

This is especially true of the effects of the structural crisis. When the plant shuts down it affects all workers, all families, all communities, all small business people.”

It is important to consider these words from the old and apply them to the conditions we face in the new.

Please feel free to comment on these selections, particularly with respect to how they apply to the current state of the international class struggle.