But I bow of course to Harry Ring:
Saturday, January 21, 2017
My photos from the Women's March on Cleveland can be found here.
Attendees were predominantly Caucasian and middle class. All were united by contempt for the fact that Trump is now president.
Several signs said "Trump Nyet," playing to a Democratic Party conpiracy theory that Putin helped get Trump elected.
There were many Pro-Choice signs. But I counted only two Black Lives Matter signs. No signs in solidarity with other struggles. No labor contingents.
Many women carried "I'm with her" banners or wore Clinton stickers and t-shirts.
There was not a hint of independent working class political action.
And nothing to contradict this pertinent article:
‘Women’s March’ aims to promote Democratic Party
BY NAOMI CRAINE
Every advance the working class makes is in the streets. Every blow to racism, every gain toward women’s emancipation, every strengthening of the unions has been won through the independent mobilization of working people and our allies in their millions.
The national rally scheduled for Jan. 21 under the name Women’s March on Washington points in the opposite direction. Its aim is to begin now to campaign to reinstall the Democratic Party in Congress and the White House.
That course — looking to the Democrats and electing “pro-choice” capitalist politicians — is what’s paved the road for more than four decades of erosion of the right to choose abortion, which is today at the cutting edge of attacks on the social and economic gains of women.
The Women’s March on Washington was called immediately after Republican Donald Trump won the presidential election and was set for the day after he takes office. The initial call for the rally said it would “demonstrate our disapproval of the new president and his values.”
Election day “was a lot of hope, then an incredible amount of sadness,” Mrinalini Chakraborty, a graduate student in Chicago and the Illinois state coordinator for the march, told the Chicago Tribune. The action was called amid hysteria about Trump in liberal and left circles, and widespread debate about how to “fix” the broken Democratic Party. Defending women’s right to choose abortion is not even mentioned, although a major annual anti-abortion rally will take place in Washington just six days later.
These misleaders who claim to speak for women’s rights have a long record of retreat and refusal to mobilize to defend women’s right to choose abortion in the streets. “Don’t rock the boat,” is their line. Work to “elect friends of women,” and they’ll protect us.
How Roe v. Wade put cap on gains
Ever since the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision to decriminalize abortion, the pro-Democratic Party leadership of the National Organization for Women and other feminist groups have sought to channel the fight out of the streets and into the ballot box. They were aided by the character and content of Roe v. Wade, which was based not on a woman’s right to “equal protection of the laws” guaranteed by the 14th Amendment, but on medical criteria and decisions made by pregnant women’s doctors, not by women themselves.
“Opponents of women’s rights have taken advantage of the Supreme Court’s ‘medical’ criteria from the outset,” Socialist Workers Party National Secretary Jack Barnes writes in The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record: Why Washington Fears Working People. “And they’ve made the most of the fact that the 1973 court decision was handed down while a raging debate had not yet been fought out and won by those who insisted that a woman’s decision on this medical procedure falls under the protection of our hard-won constitutional rights.”
This was acknowledged by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a longtime proponent of abortion rights and a member of the Supreme Court. She wrote in 1985 that Roe v. Wade “ventured too far in the change it ordered,” at a time when “abortion law was in a state of change across the nation.”
That trend was not the result of an epiphany by capitalist legislatures and courts. It was the result of a growing movement for women’s equality that was given impetus by the victories won in the streets in the 1950s and ’60s by millions in the working-class-led fight for Black rights. The demand for repeal of anti-abortion laws came to the fore because the ability to control when and if to have children is fundamental to every aspect of a woman’s life.
By cutting short the state-by-state mobilization in the streets needed to conquer abortion as a woman’s right, Roe v. Wade in fact put a ceiling on these gains. Almost from day one access to the procedure came under attack, subject to growing restrictions that especially come down on working-class women and those living outside major cities.
The Jan. 21 march is even more an action to boost the Democratic Party and point to the ballot box as the road forward than the occasional one-off large rallies for women’s rights called by NOW and other groups.
Then-Sen. Hillary Clinton underscored this message when she spoke at a 2004 March for Women’s Lives, called to oppose the re-election of George W. Bush. “We didn’t have to march for 12 long years because we had a government that respected the rights of women,” she said, referring to the 1993-2001 presidency of Bill Clinton.
She didn’t mention, of course, that abortion rights had suffered ongoing restrictions while women “didn’t have to march” during the Clinton years. And she said nothing about the signature accomplishment of her husband’s administration — eliminating Aid to Families with Dependent Children, with devastating effects for millions of working-class women. Like Roe v. Wade, it put a ceiling on key gains won by the working class in struggle, which have been further whittled away by the capitalist rulers over the last two decades.
Attacks on women can be countered
There’s an important example of a different course that workers and young people looking to defend women’s rights today can learn from.
Emboldened by the bipartisan attacks on the right to choose abortion, Operation Rescue launched a national campaign in the early 1990s to physically shut down abortion clinics. They mobilized thousands of rightist cadres to lay siege to the three clinics in Wichita, Kansas, in the summer of 1991. Leaders of the main women’s rights organization argued against a countermobilization, saying the cops and courts should be allowed to “do their job.” The result was that the rightists succeeded in shutting the clinics for weeks.
Many defenders of women’s rights drew the lessons from this defeat. In April 1992, when Operation Rescue tried to pull off a siege of clinics in Buffalo, New York, they were met by some 1,500 defenders who turned out daily at 5 a.m. to keep the clinics open. By the end of the second week, most of Operation Rescue’s troops had left town, demoralized. Defenders of abortion rights went on to confront Operation Rescue in Houston and other cities and successfully beat them back.
This is the direction we need to look today — not the same dead-end of relying on the same capitalist parties who’ve overseen the assault on workers’ rights and living standards for decades.
Supporters of the SWP will attend the Jan. 21 action, not to build it, but to meet and debate with those there an alternative, independent working-class road forward.
The "Black Bloc" so-called anarchists broke windows in Wasington yesterday to express outrage at the Republican presidential inauguration.
There is no better way to keep workers away from marches than by creating this kind of intimidation. None of my coworkers would join me in 2010 at our local Occupy Wall Street for fear of being put in the line of fire by these infantile petty bourgeois liberals.
What a boon for cop budgets to not have to pay for provocateurs!
When the march was well underway, a small group of anarchists, calling themselves the “Black Bloc,” started smashing windows of stores and police vehicles. This gave the authorities the pretext for carrying out widespread physical attacks and arrests.
The Militant - July 12, 2010 -- Ottawa launches assaults on rights as G-20 event begins
Thursday, January 19, 2017
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
….years of Stalinist betrayals in Iraq helped pave the way for the Baathist regime to come to power, destroying the 1958 democratic revolution and dealing crushing blows to the working class. That was the counter-revolution. That’s one of the main obstacles working people in Iraq have faced….
And that’s why Washington has found a host of groups openly backing or going along with the imperialist assault and occupation—from most of the Kurdish parties, to Shiite organizations that are part of the U.S.-run Iraqi Governing Council, to the Iraqi Communist Party.
Monday, January 16, 2017
Bolshevik Revolution and U.S. Black struggle
The following is the ninth in a series of excerpts the Militant is running from Pathfinder Press’s latest book, Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power, by Jack Barnes, national secretary of the Socialist Workers Party. We encourage our readers to study and discuss the book. This excerpt is the last part of a chapter titled, “Everything New and Progressive Came from the Revolution of 1917,” a piece by James P. Cannon, a founding leader of the communist movement in the United States.” Subheadings are by the Militant.
BY JAMES P. CANNON
Everything new and progressive on the Negro question came from Moscow, after the revolution of 1917, and as a result of the revolution—not only for the American communists who responded directly, but for all others concerned with the question.
By themselves, the American communists never thought of anything new or different from the traditional position of American radicalism on the Negro question… . The simplistic formula that the Negro problem was merely economic, a part of the capital-labor problem, never struck fire among the Negroes—who knew better even if they didn’t say so; they had to live with brutal discrimination every day and every hour.
There was nothing subtle or concealed about this discrimination. Everybody knew that the Negro was getting the worst of it at every turn, but hardly anybody cared about it or wanted to do anything to try to moderate or change it. The 90 percent white majority of American society, including its working-class sector, North as well as South, was saturated with prejudice against the Negro; and the socialist movement reflected this prejudice to a considerable extent—even though, in deference to the ideal of human brotherhood, the socialist attitude was muted and took the form of evasion. The old theory of American radicalism turned out in practice to be a formula for inaction on the Negro front, and—incidentally—a convenient shield for the dormant racial prejudices of the white radicals themselves.
The Russian intervention changed all that, and changed it drastically, and for the better. Even before the First World War and the Russian Revolution, Lenin and the Bolsheviks were distinguished from all other tendencies in the international socialist and labor movement by their concern with the problems of oppressed nations and national minorities, and affirmative support of their struggles for freedom, independence, and the right of self-determination. The Bolsheviks gave this support to all “people without equal rights” sincerely and earnestly, but there was nothing “philanthropic” about it. They also recognized the great revolutionary potential in the situation of oppressed peoples and nations, and saw them as important allies of the international working class in the revolutionary struggle against capitalism.
After November 1917 this new doctrine—with special emphasis on the Negroes—began to be transmitted to the American communist movement with the authority of the Russian Revolution behind it. The Russians in the Comintern started on the American communists with the harsh, insistent demand that they shake off their own unspoken prejudices, pay attention to the special problems and grievances of the American Negroes, go to work among them, and champion their cause, including among whites.
It took time for the Americans, raised in a different tradition, to assimilate the new Leninist doctrine. But the Russians followed up year after year, piling up the arguments and increasing the pressure on the American communists until they finally learned and changed, and went to work in earnest. And the change in the attitude of the American communists, gradually effected in the twenties, was to exert a profound influence in far wider circles in the later years.
The Communist Party’s break with the traditional position of American radicalism on the Negro question coincided with profound changes which had been taking place among the Negroes themselves. The large-scale migration from the agricultural regions of the South to the industrial centers of the North was greatly accelerated during the First World War, and continued in the succeeding years.1 This brought some improvement in their conditions of life over what they had known in the Deep South, but not enough to compensate for the disappointment of being herded into ghettos and still subjected to discrimination on every side.
The Negro movement, such as it was at the time, patriotically supported the First World War “to make the world safe for democracy”; and 400,000 Negroes served in the armed forces. They came home looking for a little democratic payoff for themselves, but couldn’t find much anywhere. Their new spirit of self-assertion was answered by a mounting score of lynchings and a string of “race riots” across the country, North as well as South.2
All this taken together—the hopes and the disappointments, the new spirit of self-assertion and the savage reprisals—contributed to the emergence of a new Negro movement in the making. Breaking sharply with the Booker T. Washington tradition of accommodation3 to a position of inferiority in a white man’s world, a new generation of Negroes began to press their demand for equality… .
1. Ninety percent of U.S. Blacks lived in the South in 1910. By 1930, 79 percent of Blacks lived in the South, the big majority of them still in rural areas and small towns. As of 2002, some 55 percent of Blacks lived in the South, with less than 13 percent of them located in rural areas.
2. In 1919, with millions of demobilized soldiers vying for hard-to-come-by jobs, there were racist riots against African Americans in Chicago and some twenty-four other U.S. cities, from Omaha, Nebraska, to Knoxville, Tennessee, from Washington, D.C., to Bogalusa, Louisiana. There was a sharp rise in lynchings throughout the South. Two years later, from May 31 to June 1, 1921, racist mobs in Tulsa, Oklahoma, rioted against African Americans, demolishing the thirty-five-square block Black community, destroying more than 1,200 houses, and killing an estimated one hundred to three hundred people. Heavily outnumbered, Blacks—many of them World War I veterans—organized to defend themselves as best they could.
3. Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) opposed any mass struggle for Black rights, counterposing to it the perspective of accommodation with Jim Crow while working for vocational training and self-improvement.
My late, unlamented blog troll John B. launched one of his parting darts at me last week by declaring that The Militant and the US Socialist Workers Party no longer call for an end of Israeli settlement construction.
Let's go to the archives, shall we?
December 7, 2015
....The Socialist Workers Party presents a strategy that can put an end to the cycle of violence between the Israeli state and reactionary forces like Hamas. A revolutionary Palestinian leadership would denounce Jew-hatred, recognize the existence of Israel and support the right of Jews anywhere in the world to live there, while fighting for a contiguous Palestinian state, for dismantling Israeli settlements in the West Bank and for combating discrimination and the second-class status of Arab citizens of Israel. Doing so it would win allies inside Israel.
This can open the road to building a mass movement of Jewish, Palestinian, Druze, Christian, Muslim and immigrant workers capable of taking power out of the hands of their common enemy, the Israeli capitalist ruling class, and the ruling rich in the West Bank and Gaza....
November 10, 2014:
Israel expands settlements in Palestinian West Bank
BY SETH GALINSKY
Since the end of Tel Aviv’s latest war on Gaza in August, the Israeli government has accelerated the expansion of settlements in the Palestinian territory of the West Bank, undermining the Palestinians’ struggle for a sovereign and contiguous state of their own.
Tel Aviv seized the West Bank in 1967 from Jordan and since 1977 has increasingly encouraged the construction of Jewish settlements there.
As part of the 1995 Oslo II Israeli-Palestinian “peace” agreement, the West Bank was gerrymandered into three areas of control: Area “A” under control of the Palestinian Authority, roughly 18 percent of the West Bank, comprising most of the Palestinian population; Area “B,” including mostly rural areas under Palestinian civil control and Israeli police authority encompassing about 22 percent of the land; and Area “C,” the remaining 60 percent the territory, under Israeli control.
In 2003 Tel Aviv began building what it calls a “security fence” — opponents call it the “separation wall” — running roughly parallel to the West Bank’s 1967 border with Israel. The wall snakes around Palestinian villages, cutting them off from the rest of the region.
Today there are some 350,000 Israeli settlers scattered throughout the West Bank up to the border with Jordan.
“The building of settlements like Ariel east of Jerusalem make it very difficult to have unity of Palestinian land,” Roy Yellin, a spokesperson for B’tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, said in a phone interview Oct. 20. “It makes it difficult to travel from the northern part of the West Bank to the south.”
There are nearly 100 permanent or semipermanent Israeli checkpoints throughout the West Bank and hundreds of surprise ones set up during the course of a month. Palestinians are prohibited from using some roads that are reserved for the use of Jewish settlers. Thousands of farmers are only able to plant or harvest their fields when Israeli authorities open gates in the wall, sometimes for just a few hours a day.
The Jerusalem city government gave final approval Oct. 1 for the construction of 2,500 homes in Givat Hamatos, a Jewish enclave in majority-Palestinian East Jerusalem. Over the past decade Jewish developments have been built in a ring around the city’s Arab neighborhoods.
In September, the Israeli government announced it was nationalizing 1,000 acres of Palestinian land near Bethlehem to allow for the expansion of a bloc of nine nearby settlements. The plan is seen by many as collective punishment for the June kidnapping and murder of three Jewish teenagers in the area by Hamas operatives. The killings preceded Tel Aviv’s most recent assault on Gaza.
Israel’s Civil Administration has also been stepping up demolition of Bedouin homes in Area C. According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, in the first eight months of 2014, 346 buildings were razed, leaving 668 Palestinians homeless, more than in any other period in the last five years.
In mid-September Tel Aviv said it was getting ready to evict 12,500 Bedouin who live near East Jerusalem, Ramallah and Jericho and relocate them to Ramata Nu-eimeh, a town near Jericho built by Israeli authorities.
“We’re mainly shepherds,” Jamil Hamadin, the spokesperson for one of the Bedouin families facing eviction, told the Militant Oct. 7. “We came to live here after we were expelled from the Negev Desert by Israel during the 1948 war.”
“Each family has its own sheep, some have 70 or 80, some have 200,” Hamadin said. “We live in an area of 500 square kilometers [124,000 acres], where we have land for pasture. But all our houses are under orders to be demolished and the courts upheld it. They want to squeeze us all into a little area where we will have just half a dunam of land [one tenth of an acre] per family. This is unacceptable.”
“If you take a look at the maps you can see how the settlements have expanded over the last five to 10 years,” Suhad Bishara, a staff member of Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, said during a recent visit to New York. “The Palestinians in the West Bank have been put in cantons, divided geographically by the Israeli settlements. Palestinians have been cut off from each other and from their farms and workplaces.
“It’s 100 percent legitimate to demand that they take apart all of these settlements and withdraw to the 1967 borders,” she said. “I don’t see any other way. Otherwise a Palestinian state cannot be established.”