Category: Social Security
Fidel Castro and the apologists of capitalism

Friday, May 5, 2017

Fidel Castro and the apologists of capitalism
By Nikos Mottas:
Translated abstract of a speech given in honor of Comandante Fidel Castro Ruz; Greece, 28.4.2017*.
The death of Fidel Castro last November unfolded, both in Greece as well as internationally, an orchestrated attack against the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution and socialist Cuba. A patchwork of anticommunism, from the far-right to the edge of social democracy, didn’t lose the opportunity to slander the cuban revolutionary, either by attributing to him various characterizations (e.g dictator, controversial personality, etc) or by reproducing proven lies about his supposed fabulous wealth and personal life.
They tried to vilify Fidel with numerous slanders…. That he was a dictator who installed a repressing establishment, that socialism was proved- as some claimed- a ‘chimera’ which gave birth to authoritarianism, lack of democracy and freedom.
Of course, the slanderers of Fidel got their response from the people of Cuba who, by hundreds of thousands filled the squares and the streets throughout the country, from Havana to Santiago, with tears in their eyes in order to pay their respects to the revolutionary and communist leader.
However, a question arises: What was the reason behind this attack against Castro and why did they consume so much ink in order to vilify Cuba?
The answer is simple. What disturbs the slanderers of Fidel Castro- and thats why they attack so fiercely- is what the Cuban Revolution herself symbolizes: This is the capability of the people, of the working class, to fight for a society free from the capitalist shackles and man’s exploitation by man.
Behind any slander against “dictator Castro” hides the agonizing effort of the bourgeoisie and her praetorians to obscure and distort the achievements of Socialism in Cuba, so that no conclusions can be drawn from the struggle of the Cuban people.
The example of the Cuban Revolution shows that the people who will walk towards Socialism, even beginning from a very low level of productive forces development, can achieve great things regarding the working people-popular needs.
It is evident that the great achievements of the Cuban Revolution in a series of social life’s sectors annoy the apologists of capitalist barbarity. It annoys them, for example, the fact that Fidel’s revolutionary government took over a country- colony of the USA- with a very low level of productive forces and steadily transformed her, with the invaluable and crucial economic contribution of the Soviet Union, in a state with very high quality, accessible to all people, public services of Healthcare, Social Welfare, Education, Culture, Sports.
They (apologists of capitalism) are annoyed by the fact that the socialist construction in this small island of the Caribbean, managed in a very short time to almost completely eradicate illiteracy which was dominant in pre-revolutionary Cuba. They are annoyed, of course, because the small Cuba of 11 million inhabitants became a protagonist in internationalist aid and solidarity towards people who were fighting and fight against imperialist barbarity- from south America to Angola.
Exactly because the example of Cuba disturbs them, they decided to turn white into black, to vilify Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution.
However, they silence the truth.
They deliberately silence the fact that in Cuba the right to Social Security is for all the people, for the entire population, while on the same time, in the neighboring superpower- the capitalist “paradise” of the USA- dozens of millions of people have no Social Security coverage.
They deliberately silence the fact that in Cuba there is not even one homeless man or woman, while on the same time the large cities of the European Union and the United States have been transformed into “camps” of homeless people.
They deliberately silence the fact that the Cuban National Health System- free and accessible for the entire population- has been characterized by UNESCO as an “example” for the whole world. You see, contrary to the capitalist world where Healthcare has become a commodity and issue to speculation, in small Cuba it remains public good.
They deliberately silence the fact that Fidel’s Cuba managed to decrease child mortality from 42% to 4%, while it is the only Latin American country without child malnutrition.
They deliberately silence that Cuba has one of the lowest illiteracy rates in the world, with the 13% of the annual state budget allocated for the improvement of the public Education System; a number which is double and triple from the respective of the governments in the USA and the EU.
While they silence all the above, Fidel’s slanderers and the anticommunists of every nature have the audacity to speak about “lack of democracy in Cuba”. Of course, we know very well about the kind of “democracy” and “freedom” the apologists of capitalism care.
It is the “freedom” in exploitation, the “freedom” of a minority to exploit the work of the majority, the “freedom” in the frantic race of capitalist profit and competitiveness that flattens lives, rights and needs for the majority of the people. It is the “freedom” that limits in capitalist ownership in the means of production which is the regarded as “sacred” and the bourgeois states protect in every possible way. The same “freedom” which leads the struggle for the share of markets and territories that creates military conflicts and imperialist interventions. It is the “freedom” and “democracy” which stop before the entrance of industries and corporations.
Indeed, this kind of “freedom” was trampled by Fidel’s socialist Cuba- like in the other socialist countries of the 20th century- because that consists a prerequisite for the working people, for those who produce the wealth, to take the power in their hands and to free themselves from the shackes of exploitation.
One thing is therefore evident: The fact that just a few kilometres south of the shores of the imperialist superpower, with a genocidal, criminal blockade that lasts for 55 years, the small island of socialist Cuba has managed not only to stand upright but to progress and achieve great conquests for the workers-people’s needs. These are conquests which in capitalism are unthinkable.
The apologists of capitalism will never forgive Comandante Fidel Castro and Cuba the fact that they didn’t bend, they didn’t make a step backwards, even when the counterrevolutionary overthrows in the beginning of the 1990s in the USSR and the socialist countries of eastern Europe were dramatically changing the correlation of forces worldwide.
In spite of the various apologists of the capitalist system, Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolutionaries have been vindicated by History. 
Comandante Fidel’s historic legacy, the capability of the people to assert their liberation from the shackles of the exploitative system haunts – and will haunt forever- the praetorians of bourgeois ideology. 
Indeed, being a Revolutionary in practice and not in words, Fidel, alongside his comrades, along with the Cuban people, proved that the only superpower are the people who resist, who fight against capitalist barbarity, who pave the way to socialist perspective, for a society without exploitation of man by man. 
* Political event in honor of Fidel Castro Ruz in Thessaloniki, Greece, organised by the Greek-Cuban Association of Friendship and Solidarity and the Greek Committee for International Détente and Peace.
US Presidential Election 2016: Winners and Losers

By James Thompson


The handwriting is on the wall. Both the Democratic and Republican party conventions have concluded. The working class has a lot of information to digest and from which to draw conclusions. It is definitely not too early to project the winners and losers in the upcoming election.


After a chaotic electoral struggle with a great deal of bombastic buffoonery on both sides, the two| bourgeois political parties have made their nominations for POTUS. The Democratic Party has nominated Big Sister. The Republican Party has nominated Big Brother. Who are these people and who do they represent?


The answer is easy. Both candidates represent the most reactionary sector of the bourgeois class. Both candidates will uphold the interests of the bourgeoisie “by any means necessary.” Both are authoritarian and the US public can be assured that a major assault on the civil rights of citizens in the US will occur in the near future.


So who are the winners and losers? Again, the answer is clear.


The winners will be the bourgeoisie and their hangers on. The winners will be the 1%. The winners will be the owners of the means of production. The winners will be the hyper militaristic Hawks. The winners will be the military-industrial complex and all of its parasites. The winners will be reactionaries and fascists. The winners will be the advocates of nuclear war. The winners will be racists, xenophobes, misogynists, anti-communists and pro-war lunatics. The winners will be people who want less democracy.


The losers will be the working class, first and foremost. The losers will be trade unionists, progressives, and peace lovers. The losers will be the 99%. The losers will be children who need to be educated. The losers will be people who need healthcare. The losers will be elders who need Social Security benefits and a stable social network. The losers will be veterans who need healthcare benefits. The losers will be people who need mental health care. The losers will be people seeking to get a college education. The losers will be people who need jobs. The losers will be people who want more democracy. The losers will be people who want to fight racism, xenophobia, and misogyny as well as anti-communism.


There is only one way that working people can avoid a catastrophe for the working class. That is to unite now to oppose the draconian policies to come. That is to unite to oppose nuclear war. That is to unite to oppose war with Russia and China. That is to unite to oppose imperialism. That is to unite to demand the expansion of Social Security. That is to unite to demand free education and healthcare for all. That is to unite to demand a roll back of the vast amounts of money spent on the military. That is to unite to demand fair treatment of veterans. That is to unite to fight racism, sexism, xenophobia and boundless authoritarianism. That is to unite to fight for the rights of working people and their children.


The new party line: Democratic platform unveiled
worker | July 1, 2016 | 7:36 pm | Analysis, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, political struggle, Social Security | Comments closed

© Shannon Stapleton
A newly revised version of the Democratic Party’s platform was released Friday, ahead of the July 4 three-day holiday weekend. It includes a plank calling for a $15 per hour minimum wage and criticism of global trade deals.

A word finder shows the name “Trump” appearing 35 times in the 35-page document. The names Clinton and Sanders do not appear at all, however.

Calling for an abolition to the death penalty and for a “public option” in healthcare, the platform is being hailed by both supporters and critics as the most progressive outlook on issues in recent history.

A word search turned up 46 mentions for the word “jobs,” while “education” appeared 34 times along with 25 entries for the phrase “health care.” Immigrants or immigration was mentioned 19 times, while “terrorism” and “Wall Street” each received nine references.

Big banks are another priority in the platform, which lays out a multi-pronged approach to “tackle dangerous risks” posed by them and the rest of the financial system. Democrats “need to prohibit Wall Street from picking and choosing which credit agency will rate their products” as well as prevent them “from imposing excessive fees on consumers.”

The platform adds that “no bank can be too big to fail and no executive too powerful to jail.”

Championing their own history as “the party that created Social Security,” the Democrats promised to keep the entitlement program afloat for future generations “by asking those at the top to pay more,” specifying that incomes over $250,000 would see an increase in taxes.

Under the party’s plans for improving the nation’s infrastructure, “a major federal jobs program that puts millions of Americans back to work” serves as the centerpiece for restoring manufacturing jobs, advancing to environmentally friendly energy sources, improving transportation and revitalizing a deteriorating middle class.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who has yet to officially bow out of the presidential race, won enough delegates to have substantial influence over the platform. “Millionaires and billionaires” are targeted in a call to implement a “multimillionaire surtax” and the phrase “starvation wage” appears in the party’s condemnation of the current minimum wage, saying it “must be increased to a living wage.”

The platform does not, however, oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Sanders lamented on Twitter. Additionally, there is no mention of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, another issue close to Sanders’ campaign and supporters.

Traitor vs. Patriot
worker | March 27, 2015 | 9:23 pm | Analysis, Bernie Sanders, Economy, Health Care, Immigrants' Rights, Labor, National, political struggle, Social Security | Comments closed

Traitor vs. patriot


By James Thompson


Much has been made in the right wing, bourgeois media, about who is a traitor and who is a patriot in the United States today. Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and other bourgeois cheerleaders connect the dots by declaring that communists/socialists are traitors and the right wing fringe of the GOP are patriots.


Before we examine this proposition, it is important to clarify the definition of the terms.


The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a traitor as:


“a person who is not loyal to his or her own country, friends, etc. : a person who betrays a country or group of people by helping or supporting an enemy”


The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a patriot as:


“a person who loves and strongly supports or fights for his or her country”


The bourgeois media sidesteps these definitions when identifying traitors or patriots. They also failed to clarify who constitutes a “country.”


When examining these concepts, it is important to keep in mind that a “country” is composed of its residents. In the United States, the populace is composed of very diverse groups who have different interests. There are many ethnic groups in the United States to include Anglos, African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans and many others. People also belong to various socio-economic strata to include bourgeois and proletarians, in other words owners of the means of production and workers. Another way to put it is wealthy and poor.


Some people have drawn attention to the fact that the 1% owns the vast majority of the wealth in the United States and the rest is divided among the 99%. Many people have pointed to the vast inequality in personal wealth in the United States.


When examining the concepts of traitor and patriot, it is important to keep in mind which socio-economic sector of the population to which the individual is loyal. It is also important to consider the policies advocated by the individual in question and how these policies apply to the interests of the various sectors of the population.


For example, Sen. Ted Cruz, who just announced his candidacy for the position of President of the United States, has taken very strong positions from the starting line. He has made clear that he favors shutting down the US government, especially the IRS. He has also taken an uncompromising anti-immigrant stance, even though he, himself, is an immigrant. Ted Cruz was born in Canada.


Let us examine Sen. Cruz in terms of the traitor/patriot dialectic.


What would it mean to the people of the United States if the federal government was shut down? It would mean that all social programs to include Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Veterans Affairs, Federal Bureau of prisons, Federal Aviation Administration to include air traffic controllers, federal highway programs, public health service, the military, Bureau of Indian affairs, to nothing for the executive branch of the government, legislative branch and judiciary. Also, the border patrol would be shut down. This element of his policies is particularly contradictory. In other words, Sen. Cruz advocates chaos. It should be remembered that the IRS is the agency that provides the funding which makes it possible for this country to function as a sovereign nation.


Most working people with any understanding of the functioning of the United States easily understand that the eradication of the federal government would result in extraordinary hardship for workers and their families. Meanwhile, the people in the 1% would benefit tremendously from the eradication of the federal government. It would mean lower taxes and lower labor costs. For the working class, the eradication of the federal government would mean lower wages and lower social benefit programs. In other words, only the wealthy would be able to afford education for their children, only the wealthy would be able to afford healthcare, the criminal justice system would be reduced and travel would become very difficult or impossible if one was not extremely wealthy. Discrimination against immigrants also benefits the 1% because both immigrant and citizen workers can be manipulated to accept lower wages


So, Sen. Cruz’ positions would clearly define him as a patriot to the 1% and a traitor to the 99%.


Conversely, for example, Sen. Bernie Sanders who advocates an expansion of social programs and a reduction in the inequality of income could be considered a traitor to the 1% and a patriot to the 99%.


In the coming elections, it will be important for people to ask themselves the question “Which side are you on?” and vote accordingly.

Save Social Security
worker | March 15, 2015 | 7:19 pm | Bernie Sanders, political struggle, Social Security | Comments closed

Houston Socialist Movement: Rally against Republicans!

You can view the videos of the Rally against Republicans held on 2/28/2015 in Houston which was organized by the Houston Socialist Movement at the following links:

Rally against Republicans!
worker | February 9, 2015 | 9:00 pm | Action, Announcements, Economy, Immigrants' Rights, Labor, Local/State, National, political struggle, Social Security | Comments closed

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

You are invited to participate in the upcoming “Rally against Republicans, Who are Hurting Us!” on Saturday, February 28, at 2 pm, on the sidewalks at the intersection of Harrisburg and Macario Garcia (Hwy 90) in Houston.

The purpose of the Rally is to expose the Republicans and the Far Right for their increasingly dangerous attacks on workers, people of color, women, immigrants, LGBTQ communities, and the masses as a whole—and to help develop the kind of independent working class political action which will be required to stop these dangerous attacks. This event is being organized by the Houston Socialist Movement.

We are resolutely opposed to the Republicans and the Far Right harming the working class and the masses of people by

  • * further militarizing the border
  • * supporting racist militias on the border
  • * repealing in-state tuition for undocumented college students
  • * attempting to end DACA and executive relief for undocumented people,
  • * harassing Texas legislators who oppose “Open Carry”
  • * making openly racist attacks on people of color, Muslims, and other minorities
  • * refusing to expand Medicaid
  • * attempting to cut Security and Medicare
  • * refusing to adequately fund public schools
  • * refusing to adequately fund veterans care
  • * opposing improved services for the disabled
  • * opposing measures to reduce unemployment
  • * opposing a living wage for all workers
  • * constantly adding to the legal and economic privileges and rights of the very rich
  • * calling for new wars in Iraq, Syria, and Iran
  • * giving Latin American governments taxpayer money to repress their people under the  guise of fighting the drug trade

…and more!

We are committed to helping workers and democratic-minded people of all nationalities understand that these problems are rooted in the capitalist system and that socialism here in the United States and around the world is the answer to these problems.

We hope you will plan to join us for the Rally on Saturday, February 28. If you would like more information, please call (832) 692-2306.

In Solidarity,

Houston Socialist Movement