Month: October, 2013
Support striking Maximus coffee workers!
worker | October 31, 2013 | 9:23 pm | Action | Comments closed

Please sign the petition  to boycott Maximus coffee and the companies that distribute their products. Maximus coffee workers have been on strike since October 10th because company bosses have proposed to cut wages, increase the cost of company health insurance and stop company contributions to retirement plans. Put pressure on Maximus management to bargain fairly with these workers so that they can return to work as quickly as possible.DSC01633

The REAL “Lone Ranger” Was An African American Lawman Who Lived With Native American Indians
worker | October 30, 2013 | 9:50 pm | Action | Comments closed

The REAL “Lone Ranger” Was An African American Lawman Who Lived With Native American Indians

Posted by PBSpot Admin 25 October 2013

The real “Lone Ranger,” it turns out, was an African American man
named Bass Reeves, who the legend was based upon. Perhaps not
surprisingly, many aspects of his life were written out of the story,

including his ethnicity. The basics remained the same: a lawman
hunting bad guys, accompanied by a Native American, riding on a white
horse, and with a silver trademark.

Historians of the American West have also, until recently, ignored the
fact that this man was African American, a free black man who headed
West to find himself less subject to the racist structure of the
established Eastern and Southern states.
While historians have largely overlooked Reeves, there have been a few
notable works on him. Vaunda Michaux Nelson’s book, Bad News for
Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal, won
the 2010 Coretta Scott King Award for best author. Arthur Burton
released an overview of the man’s life a few years ago. Black Gun,
Silver Star: The Life and Legend of Frontier Marshal Bass Reeves
recounts that Reeves was born into a life of slavery in 1838. His
slave-keeper brought him along as another personal servant when he
went off to fight with the Confederate Army, during the Civil War.

Reeves took the chaos that ensued during the war to escape for
freedom, after beating his “master” within an inch of his life, or
according to some sources, to death. Perhaps the most intriguing thing
about this escape was that Reeves only beat his enslaver after the
latter lost sorely at a game of cards with Reeves and attacked him.

After successfully defending himself from this attack, he knew that
there was no way he would be allowed to live if he stuck around.

Reeves fled to the then Indian Territory of today’s Oklahoma and lived
harmoniously among the Seminole and Creek Nations of Native American

After the Civil War finally concluded, he married and eventually
fathered ten children, making his living as a Deputy U.S. Marshall in
Arkansas and the Indian Territory. If this surprises you, it should,
as Reeves was the first African American to ever hold such a position.

Burton explains that it was at this point that the Lone Ranger story
comes in to play. Reeves was described as a master of disguises. He
used these disguises to track down wanted criminals, even adopting
similar ways of dressing and mannerisms to meet and fit in with the
fugitives, in order to identify them.

Reeves kept and gave out silver coins as a personal trademark of
sorts, just like the Lone Ranger’s silver bullets. Of course, the
recent Disney adaptation of the Lone Ranger devised a clever and
meaningful explanation for the silver bullets in the classic tales.
For the new Lone Ranger, the purposes was to not wantonly expend
ammunition and in so doing devalue human life. But in the original
series, there was never an explanation given, as this was simply
something originally adapted from Reeves’ personal life and
trademarking of himself. For Reeves, it had a very different meaning,
he would give out the valuable coins to ingratiate himself to the
people wherever he found himself working, collecting bounties. In this
way, a visit from the real “Lone Ranger” meant only good fortune for
the town: a criminal off the street and perhaps a lucky silver coin.

Like the Lone Ranger, Reeves was also expert crack shot with a gun.
According to legend, shooting competitions had an informal ban on
allowing him to enter. Like the Lone Ranger, Reeves rode a white horse
almost throughout almost all of his career, at one point riding a
light grey one as well.

Like the famed Lone Ranger legend Reeves had his own close friend like
Tonto. Reeves’ companion was a Native American posse man and tracker
who he often rode with, when he was out capturing bad guys. In all,
there were close to 3000 of such criminals they apprehended, making
them a legendary duo in many regions.

The final proof that this legend of Bass Reeves directly inspired into
the story of the Lone Ranger can be found in the fact that a large
number of those criminals were sent to federal prison in Detroit. The
Lone Ranger radio show originated and was broadcast to the public in
1933 on WXYZ in Detroit where the legend of Reeves was famous only two
years earlier.

Of course, WXYZ and the later TV and movie adaptions weren’t about to
make the Lone Ranger an African American who began his career by
beating a slave-keeper to death. But now you know. Spread the word and
let people know the real legend of the Lone Ranger.

(Article by Micah Naziri)

Democracy Now on the Cuban 5
worker | October 24, 2013 | 9:17 pm | Action | Comments closed

Check out the Democracy Now! program on the Cuban 5 at  . It features an exclusive interview with Rene Gonzalez and Ricardo Alarcon.

Art by Antonio Guerrero, one of the Cuban 5

Art by Antonio Guerrero, one of the Cuban 5

Portrait of Fidel Castro by Antonio Guerrero, one of the Cuban 5

Portrait of Fidel Castro by Antonio Guerrero, one of the Cuban 5

Che painted by Antonio Guerrero, one of the Cuban 5zzz-cuban5cuban-5-posters

New Mexico is the 44th State AFL-CIO Federation to Endorse HR 676
worker | October 24, 2013 | 8:40 pm | Action | Comments closed

On October 17, 2013, the Executive Council of the New Mexico Federation of
Labor, AFL-CIO, endorsed HR 676, national single payer health care
legislation sponsored by Congressman John Conyers (D MI), reports Jon
Hendry, President.

New Mexico is the 44rd state AFL-CIO federation to take such action.

President Hendry stated, “We are huge believers in single payer here.
There is absolutely no dissent from this unanimous support.” He said he
was surprised to learn that formal action to support HR 676 had not been
taken earlier. “We are not late,” he said, because “we have been big
proponents of single payer for a long time.” He noted that his union,
IATSE, is a leader in single payer efforts nationally and that commitment
was reaffirmed at their recent national convention.

The New Mexico Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, is the state federation of
labor representing over 170,000 members counting the families, retirees,
and community affiliates throughout New Mexico, said Hendry.

Prior to the endorsement, James Besante, a third-year student at the
University of New Mexico School of Medicine, spoke to the council about HR
676 and single payer health care. In 2012 Besante received the Nicholas
Skala Student Activist Award from Physicians for a National Health Program
(PNHP), the 18,000-member organization of doctors that leads in research
and advocacy for single payer.

In most states PNHP is able to provide speakers to union organizations
that are interested in learning how single payer works.
(312) 782-6006.

HR 676 would institute a single payer health care system by expanding a
greatly improved Medicare to everyone residing in the U. S.

HR 676 would cover every person for all necessary medical care including
prescription drugs, hospital, surgical, outpatient services, primary and
preventive care, emergency services, dental (including oral surgery,
periodontics, endodontics), mental health, home health, physical therapy,
rehabilitation (including for substance abuse), vision care and
correction, hearing services including hearing aids, chiropractic, durable
medical equipment, palliative care, podiatric care, and long term care.

HR 676 ends deductibles and co-payments. HR 676 would save hundreds of
billions annually by eliminating the high overhead and profits of the
private health insurance industry and HMOs.

In the current Congress, HR 676 has 51 co-sponsors in addition to Conyers.

HR 676 has been endorsed by 609 union organizations including 146 Central
Labor Councils/Area Labor Federations and 44 state AFL-CIO’s (KY, PA, CT,
MA, RI, NH, ID & NM).

For further information, a list of union endorsers, or a sample
endorsement resolution, contact:

Kay Tillow
All Unions Committee for Single Payer Health Care–HR 676
c/o Nurses Professional Organization (NPO)
1169 Eastern Parkway, Suite 2218
Louisville, KY 40217
(502) 636 1551



Michael Parenti lecture (1986)
worker | October 23, 2013 | 10:11 pm | Action, Analysis, International, National | Comments closed

Michael Parenti speaks at the University of Colorado, Boulder: “US Interventionism, the 3rd world, and the USSR” on April 15, 1986. Photo by James Thompson

Outstanding scholar and teacher, Michael Parenti, delivers an electrifying lecture on the world situation in 1986 during the Reagan era (some might say regime). There are surprising parallels with the situation in the world today. Listen to his prophetic words which will help you understand why we are in the state we are in currently.

Let us know what you think. Worker and Collective Farm Woman

Green Party: “60% of Americans want an alternative party? Let’s talk.”
worker | October 23, 2013 | 7:46 pm | Action | Comments closed


For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
This release is online at

Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-904-7614,
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805,

Green Party: “60% of Americans want an alternative party? Let’s talk.”

• Green Party Speakers Bureau: Green leaders available to speak on democracy and electoral reform:

WASHINGTON, DC — Green Party candidates and leaders said that a recent Gallup poll shows that the recent shutdown left millions of Americans feeling betrayed by both Democrats and Republicans in Washington and open to a major new political party.

According to the poll, “Amid the government shutdown, 60% of Americans say the Democratic and Republicans parties do such a poor job of representing the American people that a third major party is needed.” (“In U.S., Perceived Need for Third Party Reaches New High” Oct. 11, See also “Many students would welcome third major political party” (USA Today, Oct. 19,

Greens called the shutdown, which might reoccur soon as Congress and the White House continue budget negotiations, an opportunity for Americans to discuss the future of U.S. democracy and ending domination by two parties.

• Joe DeMare, Green candidate for Bowling Green City Council in Ohio ( “Americans are realizing that the shutdown is a symptom of two-party politics. The shutdown revealed Republicans as the party of irresponsible extremists, but Democrats have also moved far to the right. The solution to shutdowns, sequestration, and the politics of war and Wall Street isn’t compromise or the phony center between the Ds and the Rs. The solution is multiparty democracy and the end of two-party rule. The shutdown proved that America needs a party that refuses corporate contributions and that represents working people — including federal and state employees. That’s why we call the Green Party an imperative for the 21st century.”

• Alfred Molison, Texas Green and a federal employee: “Social Security and Medicare are in danger from both parties. Much of the Obama Administration’s agenda and accomplishments, including the Affordable Care Act and plans to slash Social Security, would have been recognized as Republican ten years ago. The individual mandate was introduced by the Heritage Foundations and promoted by Republicans until Democrats made it the basis of the ACA. The bipartisan debate over the ACA is between two factions that want to keep our health care under the control of for-profit insurance company gatekeepers. The Green Party continues to demand Medicare For All — single-payer national health care, in which patients and physicians, not corporate bureaucrats, make decisions about medical care.”

• Lynne Serpe, Green candidate for New York City Council, District 22 in Queens ( “The movement for an alternative party will grow as more Americans vote independently. But we also need election reforms, like Instant Runoff Voting, Proportional Representation, caps on political contributions, public funding for campaigns and repeal of election laws in many states that privilege Democratic and Republican politicians and obstruct other candidates and parties. Greens have advocated these changes since the party was founded and we’re helping to lead the struggle to make the U.S. a real democracy.”

• Marian Douglas-Ungaro, activist for statehood and equal rights in the District of Columbia and member of the DC Statehood Green Party: “Women are among those hardest hit by sequestration, austerity measures, and the recent shutdown. Women stand the most to lose from deals between the White House and Congress to shred the safety net and scale back earned benefits. Greens have different priorities: Cheri Honkala, the Green Party’s 2012 vice-presidential nominee, helped host a meeting in Philadelphia this past weekend of the World Court of Women that focused on poverty ( Women of all backgrounds deserve a political party that we can build from the bottom up. Democrats and Republicans measure the health of the U.S. economy according to Dow Jones, the GDP, and corporate profit reports. Greens judge the economy according to how many people are lifted out of poverty.”

• Laura Wells, Green candidate for California Controller in the 2014 election ( “Richmond, California is the best example of government for the people, not corporations. It is the largest city in the U.S. with a Green Party mayor. Gayle McLaughlin is a champion of solutions for people, and stands up to the biggest corporation in the state, Chevron. Now she’s taking on Wall Street banks, intending to use eminent domain if necessary to keep people in their homes. Why did she move on that idea and other mayors did not? Because she’s a Green and takes no corporate money. My favorite election ever was in Richmond in 2010 when Chevron put $1 million into three races and lost, lost, and lost. The candidates who took no corporate money won. And the people won.”

See also:

“Green Party: After the shutdown, American people still need Medicare For All, Social Security without reductions, deep cuts in bloated military spending”
Green Party press release, October 10, 2013

“The coming debt-ceiling settlement: The well-orchestrated dance 2.0”
Jack Rasmus, Federal Reserve Chair in the Green Shadow Cabinet, October 15, 2013

“Eminent Domain and More: Green Party Mayor and Nonprofits Create Prototype”
By Rick Cohen, Nonprofit Quarterly, October 22, 2013

“Editorial: Current discontent with two party system opens door for third party politics”
The Mirror, University of Northern Colorado, October 21, 2013


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The birth of the ‘de-Americanized’ world
worker | October 23, 2013 | 12:49 pm | Action | Comments closed

By Pepe Escobar

This is it. China has had enough. The (diplomatic) gloves are off. It’s time to build a “de-Americanized” world. It’s time for a “new international reserve currency” to replace the US dollar.

It’s all here, in a Xinhua editorial, straight from the dragon’s mouth. And the year is only 2013. Fasten your seat belts – and that applies especially to the Washington elites. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

Long gone are the Deng Xiaoping days of “keeping a low profile”. The Xinhua editorial summarizes the straw that broke the dragon’s back – the current US shutdown. After the Wall Street-provoked

financial crisis, after the war on Iraq, a “befuddled world”, and not only China, wants change.

This paragraph couldn’t be more graphic:
Instead of honoring its duties as a responsible leading power, a self-serving Washington has abused its superpower status and introduced even more chaos into the world by shifting financial risks overseas, instigating regional tensions amid territorial disputes, and fighting unwarranted wars under the cover of outright lies.
The solution, for Beijing, is to “de-Americanize” the current geopolitical equation – starting with more say in the International Monetary Fund and World Bank for emerging economies and the developing world, leading to a “new international reserve currency that is to be created to replace the dominant US dollar”.

Note that Beijing is not advocating completely smashing the Bretton Woods system – at least for now, but it is for having more deciding power. Sounds reasonable, considering that China holds slightly more weight inside the IMF than Italy. IMF “reform” – sort of – has been going on since 2010, but Washington, unsurprisingly, has vetoed anything substantial.

As for the move away from the US dollar, it’s also already on, in varying degrees of speed, especially concerning trade amongst the BRICS group of emerging powers (Brazil, Russia, Indonesia, China and South Africa), which is now overwhelmingly in their respective currencies. The US dollar is slowly but surely being replaced by a basket of currencies.

“De-Americanization” is also already on. Take last week’s Chinese trade charm offensive across Southeast Asia, which is incisively leaning towards even more action with their top commercial partner, China. Chinese President Xi Jinping clinched an array of deals with Indonesia, Malaysia and also Australia, only a few weeks after clinching another array of deals with the Central Asian “stans”.

Chinese commitment to improve the Iron Silk Road reached fever pitch, with shares of Chinese rail companies going through the roof amid the prospect of a high-speed rail link with and through Thailand actually materializing. In Vietnam, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang sealed an understanding that two country’s territorial quarrels in the South China Sea would not interfere with even more business. Take that, “pivoting” to Asia.

All aboard the petroyuan
Everyone knows Beijing holds Himalayas of US Treasury bonds – courtesy of those massive trade surpluses accumulated over the past three decades plus an official policy of keeping the yuan appreciating very slowly, yet surely.

At the same time, Beijing has been acting. The yuan is also slowly but surely becoming more convertible in international markets. (Just last week, the European Central Bank and the People?s Bank of China agreed to set up a US$45-$57 billion currency swap line that will add to the yuan’s international strength and improve access to trade finance in the euro area.)

The unofficial date for full yuan convertibility could fall anywhere between 2017 and 2020. The target is clear; move away from piling up US debt, which implies, in the long run, Beijing removing itself from this market – and thus making it way more costly for the US to borrow. The collective leadership in Beijing has already made up its mind about it, and is acting accordingly.

The move towards a full convertible yuan is as inexorable as the BRICS move towards a basket of currencies progressively replacing the US dollar as a reserve currency. Until, further on down the road, the real cataclysmic event materializes; the advent of the petroyuan – destined to surpass the petrodollar once the Gulf petro-monarchies see which way the historical winds are blowing. Then we will enter a completely different geopolitical ball game.

We may be a long way away, but what is certain is that Deng Xiaoping’s famous set of instructions is being progressively discarded; “Observe calmly; secure our position; cope with affairs calmly; hide our capacities and bide our time; be good at maintaining a low profile; and never claim leadership.”

A mix of caution and deception, grounded on China’s historical confidence and taking into consideration serious long-term ambition, this was classic Sun Tzu. So far, Beijing was laying low; letting the adversary commit fatal mistakes (and what a collection of multi-trillion-dollar mistakes… ); and accumulating “capital”.

The time to capitalize has now arrived. By 2009, after the Wall Street-provoked financial crisis, there were already Chinese rumblings about the “malfunctioning of the Western model” and ultimately the “malfunctioning of Western culture”.

Beijing has listened to Dylan (with Mandarin subtitles?) and concluded yes, the times they-are-a-changing. With no foreseeable social, economic and political progress – the shutdown is just another graphic illustration, if any was needed – the US slide is as inexorable as China, bit by bit, spreading its wings to master 21st century post-modernity.

Make no mistake; the Washington elites will fight it like the ultimate plague. Still, Antonio Gramsci’s intuition must now be upgraded; the old order has died, and the new one is one step closer to being born.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at

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