Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Charlottesville and Trump's racism and lies.

Fascists scream their hatred in Charlottesville.
Sean O'Torain.

The Predator in Chief Trump carries on. Tramping on all the institutions and myths that US capitalism has put in place to allow it to rule through their so called democratic system. He drags out the truth that Washington and co, the fathers of the nation were slave owners. (according to US capitalist myth there were no mothers involved in the founding of the nation). The US capitalist class want to try and forget that the founders were slave owners. But Trump to cover his own a.. drags it out. This weakens the authority of the capitalist class.

Trump also vilifies the courts which keep capitalism safe. He vilifies the capitalist media which censors events and history to keep people supporting capitalism. He is well on the way to wrecking the Republican Party one of the two major parties of capitalism. The US ruling class has a real problem on their hands. As the authors of this Blog have said for the past years, US capitalism is in an economic, a military and political crisis. A new economic collapse lies ahead. As does the breaking of the US military as it is unable to win its wars in the Middle East.

The political crisis has come much faster and is much deeper than we thought due to Trump being elected President. And we have not seen the half of it yet. Wait till his illegal financial and other dealings with the Russian capitalist regime and other former Soviet regimes are exposed. US capitalism is in a severe political crisis.

The little man in North Korea is laughing at the US as its ruling elite fight amongst themselves. The authors of this Blog thought that a war with North Korea was very very unlikely. We think this is even more the case now given the weakening of Trump and the fragmentation of the capitalist political parties and organizations in Washington. But true to form, US capitalism is not using North Korea's step back, what the Wall Street Journal refers to as a climbdown, from it's threat to attack the US colony and military base of Guam to open the door to better relations. American forces are expected to begin joint military exercises with South Korea next week which is sure to return the situation to normalcy for US imperialism as this is one of the main issues for North Korea. The North has repeatedly raised these exercises as intimidation and threats and they are a major obstacle to a more stable relationship.

It is hardly worth talking about the Democratic Party. Paralyzed by its absolute commitment to capitalism and its institutions it is unable to bring Trump down. Like the capitalist media and increasingly sections of the Republican Party, it tries to criticize Trump by appealing to the sanitized version of history that US capitalism serves up. Trump will not be defeated this way. In the last analysis he is not that much different from the rest of the capitalist class - addicted to profit and power, racist, sexist, and seeks to rule the world.

US allies internationally are condemning Trump for his statements on Charlottesville. US authority around the world is collapsing by the hour. Like the dominant sections of the US capitalist class itself, we find it very hard to see how US capitalism is going to get out of this mess. The resignation of CEO's from the American Manufacturing Council shows a move away from Trump by some of the big capitalists. But they are putting forward no alternative. Just jumping ship. When what is necessary from the capitalist class's point of view is somebody else to take the wheel of the ship.

We have not heard yet from the slimy cowardly McConnell, the leader of the Republicans in the Senate. His spouse is in the Trump cabinet. She is an Asian American. She stood by Trump's side as he said the anti fascist forces were as bad as the fascist forces in Charlottesville. There would be no place for her in the fascists' America. Yet she stands there with a grin pasted to her face. Two others of the Trump regime stood by Trump as he equated the fascists with those who were opposing them. They were from a Jewish background. There would be no place for them either in the fascists' America. It is staggering to see how low these people will stoop to keep their positions and their snouts in the trough. Trump's daughter's husband is Jewish and she herself has converted to the Jewish religion. Amongst the chants of the fascists at Charlottesville was one where they said they wanted a man who would not give his daughter to a Jew. Trump does not hate Jewish people enough for them. Then there is the gender issue. According to them, Trump 'gives' his daughter to her husband. What an utterly backward bunch.

Trump's Effort To Make It An Issue Of Violence.

Trump is trying to make the events in Charlottesville an issue of violence or not violence. Trying to confuse people in this way. I was in a coffee shop yesterday and saw a lady I had spoken with a few times. She is very opposed to Trump. But she was a little confused. She asked me what did I think about what Trump said that there was violence on both sides. Was there not she said. She said she was against violence. I responded.

My friend you have spoken to me many times about your little grand daughter. And that if anybody hurt or abused her you would kill them with your bare hands. So you are not against violence. She then agreed. I pointed out that it was not violence that was the issue. It was to what end the violence was used. The fascists, the Nazis, why do people persist in calling them neo-Nazis, they are Nazis, they use violence to try and put in place a regime which would slaughter and/or drive into second place all but white Christian males. The anti-fascist forces use violence to stop such a development and instead to build a society where all people whatever race, religion, gender are treated equally. It is not a question of violence it is a question of to what end the violence is used.

Trump's performance yesterday gave a huge boost to white racists and fascists. This was shown by the thanks he got in statements from Spencer the fascist and Duke of the KKK. And it was no accident that when Trump was not sticking to the script written for him by his handlers as he had done in his previous statement on Charlottesville, he did not condemn the KKK. Yesterday Trump was being Trump. When he was being himself Trump did not condemn the KKK. He did not do so for two reasons. One is if he had done so he would have been condemning his father who was in the KKK. Daddy Trump was arrested in 1927 in New York city as part of a KKK mob fighting the cops. It would not do to criticize daddy. The other reason he did not condemn the KKK was that he does not actually condemn the KKK. Like the KKK Trump is a racist through and through. He does not need the racist Bannon to make him one.

There are 14 million members in the trade unions. They have to act.

I see that Trumka president of the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Unions (AFL-CIO) has resigned from Trump's American Manufacturing Council. As has his deputy chief of Staff. Of course, true to form he waited for some Chief Executive Officer's of major companies to resign first, waited for these bosses to give him cover. He and the AFL-CIO should never have been on this council in the first place. It was just a continuation of the so-called Team Concept where the union leaders advise the bosses how to better compete with other companies and of course central to this, agree to cut the wages and benefits of their own members. In his statement of resignation Trump never mentioned that the racism and the ideas of the Fascists, the Nazis, the KKK were ideas that divided the working class and weakened the working class. It was the statement of a liberal. Not the statement of a workers' leader.

Instead of being on this council of Trump, Trumka and the leaders of the 14 million strong trade union movement should have taken the following action: called meetings of all the union leaderships, from this call meetings of all the union movement, that is union conferences, regional conferences. labor councils, locals and meetings on the shop floor of every organized workplace. Explain the danger of fascism and racism and sexism to the working class, how these divide and weaken the working class. And from these organize to mobilize the union membership on to the streets to stop the fascists and the KKK and the likes. It is a disgrace, a betrayal, that the youth and anti fascist forces are let to fight alone. It is a disgrace that the young woman Heather was murdered when this could have been prevented if the trade union leadership had mobilized its forces. Along with this any member of an Fascist organization who is also a member of a union should be expelled from that union. Should be given a choice. Either the union or the fascist organization.

For working class unity. Against racism, fascism, nazism, sexism, all of which divide and weaken the working class.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Bannon speaks through Trump. Points to Opponents Hypocrisy.

The above is a short clip of Trump’s press conference today. In it he returns to his previous position in the aftermath of the Charlottesville events that both sides are to blame. If we watch this closely, it is obvious that behind these comments is Steve Bannon his advisor and leading fascist theoretician in the White House.

With Trump as his mouthpiece, Bannon is appealing to the Nazi’s, fascists, KKK and other racist and white supremacist groups. Trump points mockingly to the hypocritical stance of his detractors among the US capitalist class who are attacking him on the basis of “American Values”.

He points a finger at them, what about George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, these were both slaveowners, should their statues come down? On cue from Bannon he attacks the corporate executives who have resigned from a manufacturing panel he convened as “grandstanders who are easily replaced. After some CEO’s resigned, Richard Trumka head of the AFL-CIO who shouldn’t be on the panel anyway announces to the media,“We cannot sit on a council for a President who tolerates bigotry and domestic terrorism,” Well they pretty much all support that. What a toady Trumka is, begging the heads of US manufacturing, the steel and auto industries and the Predator in Chief for some crumbs from the 1%’s table, arguing for protectionist measures that weaken US workers and the working class internationally.

No matter what Trump says he is a completely degenerate individual and no friend of working people and we condemn him unconditionally. Trump’s father was arrested for his connections to the KKK and as a slumlord there is a long record of him discriminating against workers, the poor and people of color. He was endorsed by the KKK and the Nazi’s during his campaign and never disavowed them. In this battle between the ruling class in this country workers have no side. Trump’s criticism of the established bourgeois puts them in a bind. Trump, but particularly his mentor Bannon know that his detractors are on shaky ground.

In his criticism Trump calls them out for their hypocrisy and portrays himself as the true champion of American Values supporting workers and jobs at home. But what are these so-called “American Values” that the politicians and corporate heads throw out when it suits them?

The first one that comes to mind is the savagery and genocidal war against the Native population. Then there is African slavery and a system of apartheid that existed in the Southern states that is being revived by Trump and his allies today-----the millions of Europeans in textile mills, mines and factories, whose children worked alongside them. Genocide, slavery, indentured servitude and in the imperialist era nuclear attacks on civilian urban centers.

The turning of North Korea in to a wasteland, whose cities were wiped out by 24 hour bombing, Vietnam, three million dead and chemical warfare, and a generation of young American workers lost. Cambodia 600,000 dead, Laos. This devastation is the result of American capitalists and their values.

Poor social services, poor health care, homelessness, inequality, declining living standards and mass poverty these are American (capitalist) values. Workers have no allies in this battle. Elizabeth Warren and the liberal wing of the US capitalist class are hypocrites. We counterpose their American values with the values of the working class and all oppressed peoples; cooperation, solidarity, productive labor and a respect of nature.

For and end to capitalism and a democratic socialist world.

The Divisive, Reactionary Nature of Identity Politics

“….before Jim Crow, before the invention of the Negro or the white man or the words and concepts that describe them, the Colonial population consisted largely of a great mass of white and black bondsmen, who occupied roughly the same economic category and were treated with equal contempt by the lords of the plantation and legislatures. Curiously unconcerned about their color, these people worked together and relaxed together.  They had essentially the same interests, the same aspirations and the same grievances. They conspired together, and waged a common struggle against their common enemy-------the big planter apparatus and a social system that legalized terror against black and white bondsmen………….the available evidence, slight though it is, suggests that there were widening bonds of solidarity between the first generation of blacks and whites.  And the same evidence indicates that it proved very difficult indeed to teach white people to worship their skin.”  Lerone Bennet, The shaping of Black America

Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

I want to add a few comments to the video above. It’s not that I always forget them but I struggle to keep the videos fairly short.

I have been at events actually organized by socialists and with speakers who claim to be socialists and have heard them proclaim that this country, meaning the modern nation state of the US, was built on the backs of Native Americans and people of color, or Native Americans and black people.

It leaves out the white working class (and the Asian) and this is a serious error but it is inevitable in the world of identity politics.  It was built on the backs of the white working class also. Not only that, it makes no distinction between the classes within the communities of color at this present stage in the country’s history.

As far as the Native Americans, they had to be swept away in the genocidal war to occupy their lands. The US ruling class did not use the tactic of starvation first in Vietnam pouring chemicals on their food, it was a conscious strategy in US capitalism’s history to starve Native Americans to death through killing their main food supply was it not? I mean the Buffalo. They were herded in to camps and enclaves much like the Palestinians are today with the support of US weapons and money.

No class conscious white worker would deny history or that they have had an advantage based on skin color if it is presented to them correctly and if we discuss this in the context of building working class unity.  But to lump them all together, to talk of “white supremacy” devoid of class content is harmful to the struggle against racism sexism and ultimately capitalism. Even the Ford Foundation is supporting conferences on White Supremacy. Most of the Italians that came here were impoverished peasants as were the Irish and others, most Europeans, were poverty stricken. To talk of “whites” as if they all occupy the same role in history, without a mention of class, makes it much harder to build working class unity without which capitalism, therefore racism, cannot be ended.

Working class Italian or Irish descendants of these people would know of the horrors and poverty of their existence handed down to them from their families. The lives in the factories, coal mines and textile mills of industrial US. In Louisiana the plantation bourgeois would import the "free" Irish labor to work on the levees which was dangerous work with a high death rate. Slaves were a commodity and too valuable. Not much skin tone solidarity there.

In the first English settlement, Jamestown, the ruling class was composed of English investors and capitalists under the authority of the King through a joint stock company formed for the purpose of expansion in to the colonies in the early stages of capitalism’s development. The whites that labored were different. A big problem for the ruling class was labor power, finding enough workers. As more whites and blacks were imported they formed bonds as people do. This had to be undermined and the idea of "white" as a racial definition was introduced. (Prof Jeffrey Perry has some excellent information and videos on this on his website. Check the "Developing Conjuncture" on the left of the site for information and dates of events.)

Understanding that class antagonism is the dominant feature in society does not, or should not in any way obscure the brutal, violent and racist history of capitalist development in the US. It does not mean we deny that for Native people, black folk or people of color in general it is a different history, not totally different but different as color or what we call race here, has been the dominant divide and rule method. It would not have been possible without the cooperation of the white workers either directly or passively.

But British capitalism didn’t descend on the African continent because they didn’t like the skin color of the majority of the population. British capitalism occupied Ireland, stole all the land, starved the people before they went in to Africa, and the Irish are white.

This does not mean I don’t understand why some people might have the view that the white working class is a lost cause, is inherently racist, is reactionary to the core. But there are those that take this position to advance their own class interests, the white bourgeois at all times and sections of the black petite bourgeois who, in competition with their white class colleagues, appeal to the black working class to help them in that war.  This section of capitalist society is weak in relation to their white class colleagues as they are smaller, less powerful and lack the connections to the white racist ruling class that the white middle class has. I do not believe the white working class is a lost cause, and in the workplace that becomes clearer especially when there is a strong, militant rank and file union presence there.

On coming to the US I learned that saying that when the whites sneeze the black folks catch pneumonia or something along those lines. It is known to anyone with a brain that when economic conditions are bad for white folks, blacks as a group are in a state of severe depression, in some ways, permanently.

But to ignore white workers and the changes over the 44 years I have been here is not useful. Malcolm X came to understand this in his later years, Martin Luther King led a mass movement and came to understand that socialism might be the only way the suffering of black folks could be eradicated. Malcolm X was far ahead of any of them today.

We should keep one statistic in mind when considering this: the life expectancy of whites is declining. This is a staggering statistic in this country in the post war era; some privilege that. Imagine what is happening on the ground that has led to this?   What it means with regard to health care, housing, education putting food on the table. Most importantly, what it means in the consciousness of the masses.

US capitalism is in an economic, political and looming social crisis. In times like these the possibility for class unity is greater as workers are forced in to struggle. It’s my view that history shows that as workers move in to struggle we tend to seek class unity, we tend to move to overcome those imposed social barriers that are an obstacle to driving back the capitalist offensive.  But this won’t always last if the movement, or the leadership of the movement does not take it forward.  At some point without collective progress, the movement can disintegrate in to an “Every man or woman for themselves” approach.

As Aristotle pointed out: “Nature hates a vacuum”.  If the movement, the left, does not overcome the poison of identity politics and excludes significant sectors of the working class, reaction will gain traction.

“And it can be said by inverting this language, that the laws were also passed to leave a mark on whites, who were instructed under pain of punishment, how to act in relation to blacks. Under these laws, whites of all classes were penalized for expressing human impulses. It therefor became very expensive for a white person to like black people or to love them. This was not, it should be emphasized, a matter of hints and vague threats. The laws were quite explicit. Symptomatic of this were the laws passed to punish whites who befriended blacks or ran away with them.” Lerone Bennet. The Shaping of Black America

Sunday, August 13, 2017

DSA Statement on Charlottesville Nazi Rally

We live in ever more perilous times. Please see the DSA statement below on the Nazi violence in Charlottesville

Statement of the DSA National Political Committee Interim Steering Committee, August 13, 201
Yesterday's events in Charlottesville, Virginia are a stark reminder that we must fight for socialism or succumb to the barbarism of white supremacy.

We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the white supremacist, racist, anti-Semitic terrorist attack on our comrades in the DSA, the ISO, IWW, Antifa and all others who joined forces in the streets of Charlottesville, VA yesterday.
The final number remains unknown. However, latest reports suggest that at least one person has lost their life and at least 19 injured. Two DSA members were hospitalized and have since been discharged. There are reports that an ISO comrade was also injured. A comrade reportedly from the Industrial Workers of the World lost their life on the front line of the battle against fascism.

In the face of growing racist, anti-Semitic, white supremacist violence, comrades from across the left came together in an incredible display of left unity. They came from many different organizations but spoke with one voice, chanting “Black Lives Matter” and other pro-solidarity slogans. Undaunted, they held the line and showed the fascists that they shall not pass. The day ended with the streets of Charlottesville free of Nazi scum.

We call on the left to build a strong united front against this emboldened right wing. We need to be clear and recognize that white supremacist terrorism will not simply go away if it's ignored. This violent and dangerous movement should never be allowed to have a platform. It should always be fought against by the strength of our united front.

It is important to acknowledge the differing responses of the police to white supremacist marches and terrorism and their reactions to Black Lives Matter protests and marches. Black Lives Matter protests are always met with the worst police brutality and suppression while white supremacist marches are allowed to freely attack counter-protesters on many occasions.
In this way, we plainly see whose side the police are on. From the days of the creation of the modern day police in the 1800s, they were used as a violent force for the physical suppression of a resistant working class, of Black slaves, and indigenous people. Today, their role of social control and oppression remains largely the same.
Trump delivered a meandering and at times incoherent statement earlier this afternoon. During the statement, where at one point he even talked about totally unrelated "record employment", he predictably blamed "all sides" for the violence, as if the left has a centuries-long history of state, systemic, and societal violence against oppressed groups. This is a tired line that the right wing uses to justify its terror. Trump also spoke of the need for "law and order", but we know that this is a signal for more police and vigilante terrorism against Black and Brown communities and the left.
We believe that the terror unleashed on our comrades can be defeated. We also believe that the wider system of racist oppression can be defeated, but only with the ending of the capitalist system which birthed it.
We encourage you to donate to help with the medical costs of comrades injured in the attack. As we mourn for the dead, we must also fight like hell for the living. DSA members across the country are turning out for solidarity actions in their communities. Get in touch with your local chapter to find ways to participate.
Together, we will fight fascism and build the better world we know is possible. Solidarity forever.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Nazi Murder in Charlottesville *

By Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

The new Constitution has put to rest forever all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution-----African slavery as it exists among us-----the proper status of the Negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and the present revolution. Jefferson, in his forecast, had anticipated this, as “The rock upon which the Old Union would split.”……The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were, that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically…. These ideas however, were fundamentally wrong.   They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error….

Our new government is founded on exactly the opposite ideas; it’s foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests upon, the great truth that the Negro is not equal to the white man; that Slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition. (Applause.) This, our new Government, is the first in the history of the world, based upon this great physical philosophical and moral truth.
Alexander Stephens, VP of Confederacy. March1861 The Emancipation Proclamation, George Novack, America’s Revolutionary Heritage, p. 264.

*Note: The original title of this posting was incorrect so it have been changed.  Since posting this I have not found evidence that two other protesters were killed or that they were IWW and DSA members. One person died and there were some 19 injuries according to the later news.  There were two police that died in a helicopter crash. RM

Fascists, Nazi’s and white nationalists murdered three Americans today and from what this writer can gather, one was a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and the two others victims were member of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). A fascist drove a car in to a group of protestors opposing the gathering of right wing forces that oppose the removal of symbols and statues of its confederate past.

Most workers will not know much about today’s IWW as they are a very small grouping but most of them are working people and many of them are also in AFL-CIO unions. They are genuine, dedicated people committed to the workers’ cause in the main.  The DSA has been around for a while and has mainly been active in the Democratic Party although the group has grown and broadened its base since the last election and the rise of Bernie Sanders. The DSA has grown from some 7000 to about 25,000 since the election according to most reports.

In response to the events, the US Predator in Chief, Donald Trump, issued the following statement:
"We are closely following the terrible events unfolding in Charlottesville, Virginia. We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides. It has been going on for a long time in our country -- not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. It has been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America."

The man who spent his entire campaign for US president fanning the flames of racism, misogyny and bigotry “condemns” these very same traits that were present at this rally but condemns both sides. He condemns those espousing racism and bigotry and those fighting racism and bigotry. It’s that old, “A curse on both your houses” approach.

Trump’s cover for the racist’s assault and murder of protestors was backed up by the White House that issued a statement saying, “The president was condemning hatred, bigotry and violence from all sources and all sides. There was violence between protesters and counter-protesters today.” They will use these Nazi’s against workers in strikes and protests in the future. They will be their shock troops and are present in many of the nations police forces.

Let’s remind ourselves, one group of protestors were Nazi’s the other weren’t.

What’s even more repugnant about Trump is that he points out that this type of bigotry has been going on for a long time in the US, that’s true. And he has not only participated in it and benefited form it but fought to continue it Trump, the serial sexual predator wants us to “love each other” now apparently. We can see from this image put out by a Sante Fe police chief how ingrained, how racist and anti-worker the state’s security force are.

I have said many times to friends of mine that the US is not as conservative as the mass media want us to believe. Yes there is confusion, prejudice and blatant racism that is the product of a few centuries of brainwashing. But in the aftermath of this incident, I see that both parties are condemning Trump for not “condemning” the fascists. Marco Rubio, himself no liberal ideologue, called for a “condemnation” of the racists and right wing groups that participated.

While there is a certain amount of self interest related to this in that Trump is a liability for the serious and most astute section of the US bourgeois and that there can be no doubt that they are in discussions trying to figure out how they can get rid of him, it is the mood in US society as a whole that forces them say anything critical at all.

We have seen many struggles here around housing, racism, working conditions, police brutality and the civil war in North Dakota as the Native American people and their allies fought a months long battle to protect their (and all of our) precious natural habitat and water rights. We’ve had the women’s marches, the spontaneous airport protests against anti-immigrant legislation, the science marches. There are too many to go in to but we are not silent here. The Working class in the main has not stepped in to the fray with the organized sector being held back by its pro-corporate leadership but this will not last. The main issue is that all the various movements in opposition to the capitalist offensive have not been brought together in to a national, direct action movement against capital.

Listening to the Virginia governor
Terry McAuliffe McAuliffe was as bad as Trump. He told the fascists to “go home”. In the aftermath of the events he thanked the cops, the National Guard, the clergy and threw in a pitch for the military that are true “patriots” defending us from the evil people abroad who want to destroy our way of life.

But is it OK then for Nazi’s to just “go home”. And do they not do their Naziing in their own communities? Do they suddenly become ordinary folk? It’s OK for them to be Nazi’s in their neighborhood is that it. Can you imagine if this had been a march of black folks. Not necessarily radicals or black nationalists but just regular folk even church people. And heavens forbid they would be Muslims.

I was in a discussion on Facebook today (FB is still denying our blog boosting rights on its FB page) and one young guy was making the argument that we should not protest these anti-social elements but ignore them, protesting empowers them he said. He made the argument that flags aren’t really powerful symbols, flags didn’t give the third Reich power manipulation of people’s emotions did.  I responded:

Flags are part of the manipulation of people's emotions. Do you think the priest waves that incense-laden chalice around at a Benediction because it doesn't influence people's emotions? I am opposed to the capitalist state banning them. They will simply use that law to ban workers, strikes, protests, socialists. But workers of all backgrounds must turn up to confront these scum with a massive show of force. Make them fearful of showing their heads. Those that might be redeemable we can maybe help, the rest, especially their mouthpieces can fill the empty jail cells that are occupied by workers, disproportionately workers of color. Remember, these people want to use the first amendment to build a mass movement to deny the rest of us the right to the free speech.
You may well have good intentions, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions as they say.

Workers must not ignore these fascists, it is the death of us if we do as fascists are anti-union and anti-worker. Some of those that organized the march today want to return to the old South. White workers were mostly poor under that regime. They had what we call white skin privilege that was significant in the sense that they were a notch about the black folks but they mostly lived a wretched life. They could kill black folks, rape black women with impunity as no people of color could testify against them in a court of law. This was the gift to them from the white plantation bourgeois for keeping their mouths shut.

But white wages and living standards in the South are lower than the North and this is due to racism and racial segregation.

No ,brother, sisters, comrades, we don’t ignore these forces we turn out in our tens of thousands to deny them a voice. They must fear us. The reason the governor tells them to “go home” and Trump blames all sides and the Democrats and Republicans sound like radicals attacking Trump because he hasn’t condemned these right wing forces strongly enough, is because they are afraid of the working class. They are afraid of social unrest and a mass movement against them. Otherwise they wouldn’t give a damn. They keep us apart because class unity is a very strong instinct among workers. They invented whiteness as a race in order to undermine class solidarity, these very same politicians and bourgeois calling for us to love each other spend every minute of their day figuring out ways they can divide us. The resistance of the additionally oppressed ethnic and other groups in society what they often call today, “marginalized” groups has put a halt to the more blatant racism and cruelty that this society was built on. And the changing  attitude of the white working class is part of that.

They are afraid of us sisters and brothers.

No, we need to be out there more not less. The cowardly heads of the 14 million strong trade union movement have so far said nothing. They are a disgrace as the power of the fascists, emboldened and given legitimacy by Trump, has brought them out in to the open. We can thank Trump for that, he has given them a false sense of security and they can be seen more clearly but they will not prevail.

And I have to end with this. That very slick and classy bourgeois politician Barack Obama had this to say:
"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love. For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."

This is just liberal claptrap. He knows damn well that capitalism does not teach, does not have an ideological base that encourages love and human unity.  Obama was the first black head of the Harvard Law Review and then president of the United States. One does not get in to those positions without being completely trusted by the unelected people who run this country.

And while I think that he is a decent enough person it’s pretty sickening to watch Harvard professor Cornel West holding hands and praying with people singing,
"This Little Light of Mine." This does not work comrades.

Thanks to all the anti-fascists, Wobblies, socialists, workers and others who were there today to stand up to the fascists. And shame on you Richard Trumka.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Seattle Wealth Tax: Capitalists head to the Courts to Stop It

Seattle Times
By Richard Mellor
Afscme, local 444, retired

A story that has not warranted quite the same coverage as the impeding nuclear attack and invasion of the USA by the North Koreans, is the heightened class war around a wealth tax that Seattle City Council recently passed.

The tax would impose a 2.5% tax on individuals earning over $250,000 a year or $500,000 for couples. According to a small column in the WSJ yesterday morning the tax is expected to affect about 9000 people or 2% of Seattle’s taxpayers.  I commented on this in a previous posting (video)  I pointed out that the city’s wealthy threatened violence against the voting population if they were to pass it which they did. The particular type of violence the venture capitalists, hedge fund managers, tech billionaires and other major capitalists threatened was to move jobs to more lucrative areas for profit taking, free of regulation, unions, environmental protections and other such profit killing obstacles. Moving capital, or going on a strike of capital is a common strategy against workers’ efforts to increase our share of the wealth pie labor creates.

Imposing this wealth tax of course is seen as class war. The 1% use this term whenever workers fight back against policies that undermine our material conditions or the welfare of the members of society in general.  We are in a perpetual and never-ending class war of course but the propaganda says otherwise.

It is harder for them to deny that classes or class war exists in general (other than when we fight back) when it actually breaks out in to the open, becomes more polarized, even in the form of this mild wealth tax on people whose collective wealth would equal the GDP of some countries.

The first salvo has arrived in the form of lawsuits against the tax. The first was filed on behalf of an individual Michael Kunath on July 14th. Kunath is a money manager, investor and a "wealth manager" so he's simply doing his job protecting his side of the class divide. The Freedom Foundation, an anti-union billionaire club has filed a suit claiming the tax is illegal. It’s not the tax that bothers them you see----- it’s the “rule of law”. They are very law abiding people these folks.  The mission of the Freedom Foundation is, “… to advance individual liberty, free enterprise, and limited, accountable government.” It is one of the 1%’s many think-tanks where their strategists spend their time figuring out how they can get richer at our expense. It is naturally anti-union. Now readers of this blog know this authors view of the present day trade union leadership. But they are not “the” union, millions of members are and the millions outside the unions benefit from these organizations also. They were built by working class people through great sacrifice and heroism.  Go to the Freedom Foundation’s website and read its section on labor reform. These billionaire organizations oppose government interference except when it helps them and it always does, it is not only “their” government, they have the two dominant parties in society and workers have not one.

We must always remember that freedom means different things to different people. With classes of people that have different and antagonistic economic and political interests, one group’s freedom is another group’s oppression. One thing workers do have in common with the capitalists is that they are free to buy our labor power and we are free to sell it. And as Marx pointed out, with two forces possessing these rights, the outcome is determined by force. Having the state, the courts, the media, the police and military under their control does give the capitalists a bit of an edge initially.  Depending on the leadership unity and consciousness of us as workers things are very much in our favor, we have the numbers. If we don’t work society stops, and our children are the ones with the guns in the military.

A third suit has been filed The Freedom Foundation has been joined by another 1% club, (they have many of them) called the Opportunity for All Coalition. Isn’t that nice, opportunity for all. Now they’re trying to convince us that we can all be Bill Gates, all be millionaires if we take the bull by the horns and make the right decisions.  One argument being passed around is that the tax is illegal because it has not been passed by the legislature. Another that it is not uniform but directed at a specific group.  Working people know that taxes are not in any way uniform, Some corporations pay none and the rich have all sorts of ways of hiding money.

So the Opportunity for All Coalition has arisen as the defender of “all” of us from government tyranny. “Don't believe the hype…” the coalition’s website warns, “…this will be a tax on everyone and you're next!”   The Coalition goes on to warn us that this income tax will hurt the economy, that it will shut out opportunity. This is a subtler threat than was made previously when one of the local billionaires threatened publicly that business would move production (which means jobs) out of the city.

They care so much about jobs at times like these. But they can’t say that they will go on a strike of capital or move capital in order to maintain profits. They appeal directly to our self-interest, we need jobs to live. They make the same argument when we fight for higher wages. They argue that we if we fight for higher wages it will lead to a loss of jobs or higher prices. They don’t say if we win higher wages it will mean less profits for them, and they will respond my shifting capital, it makes them sound greedy, sound more like capitalists.

If capitalists can raise prices they will no matter what the wage rate. Prices and wages are not organically linked. And there is truth to the argument that if we tax them they’ll move production elsewhere; they will certainly try. They threatened to do so during the Boeing contract talks. They will move to the South or abroad; they don’t care. But this exposes even more the class nature of society. How can we stop them moving?

So in that sense, taxing them as this mild measure does is not the solution in the last analysis as they will exercise their right as the owners of capital to do with it what they will.

But supporting such a mild measure that clearly benefits society more fairly, is important as it forces the class struggle that they deny exists in to the open somewhat; it unmasks the reality that the 1% want to obscure in all sorts of ways.  We learn that we have no choice but to fight and that is important. Through struggle we learn.

The question of having our own party will inevitably come up. The idea that we should take over the factory, workplace, industry, will arise. Necessity is the mother of invention as someone once said.  This education process could be a much smoother and quicker one if there was a leadership of the working class that had this perspective and a strategy for implementing it. This is what we lack. But that too will arise in the courses of the future battles between capital and labor.

The next recession/slump is edging closer. This will change the landscape believe me.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

North Korea: Trump One Up's Kim

"It was on this hauntingly beautiful island that the postwar world first witnessed American culpability for unrestrained violence against indigenous peoples fighting for self-determination and social justice."

Note: It is Bruce Cumings not Cummins as I spell it at the end of this video. My apologies to Mr. Cumings

Walker Wants Taxpayers to Bring Foxconn Slave factory to Wisconsin

Life for an I Phone worker. Steve Jobs' source of wealth is these sisters and brothers. Read about this here.

US Tech industry and retail giants complicit in worker abuse and suicides in Asian factories.
Chinese workers are our allies.

by Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

Perhaps Trump can step in and help Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in his efforts to “Make America Great Again”

In the long time tradition of welfare capitalism, Walker’s plan to entice Taiwanese electronics corporation Foxconn to Wisconsin doesn’t seem so attractive after all. Foxconn is the company that was forced to build nets around worker dorms in its China plant due to a spate of suicides at the factory.  The conditions that workers have to endure at these factories can become unbearable and with no independent unions, workers have taken to all sorts of measures to improve conditions. They are humiliated and belittled in a form of psychological assault not unlike that used by the Nazi's. This is not socialism. Apple, Microsoft and other tech giants whose founders are revered innovative geniuses whose wealth was made through hard work and the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality have contracts with Foxconn.Tian Yu, a 17-year old girl who was severely injured after surviving a suicide attempt told her story of life in a Foxconn factory.*

According to a nonpartisan analysis of Walkers plan to bring Foxconn to Wisconsin it would be 25 years or more for the taxpayers of the state to break even with the incentives the company has been offered. 

Walker offered Foxconn state and local tax exemption for all construction materials the plant would require as well as offering the company $2.85 billion in tax credits linked to the number of jobs created. Beyond that, Walker, or more accurately, the Wisconsin taxpayer would exempt Foxconn from numerous environmental regulations and borrow $252 million to rebuild Interstate 94 which runs near the proposed site.

According to the analysis, Walkers generous offer of tax credits on behalf of the taxpayers of Wisconsin  would, “exceed potential increased tax revenues by $1.04 billion at the end of fiscal year 2032-33” Beyond that increased tax revenue would be about $115 annually and the “break even” point for the Wisconsin taxpayer would arrive around 2042.

This is standard practice for US capitalism and investors in ventures abroad or here at home, state aid. In Africa for example,  corporation builds a factory hires local labor at the cheapest possible price and builds a nice new road so that the material for production can be brought in without serious effort and the finished product containing the surplus value shipped out. The factory in Ethiopia comes to mind where Chinese investors built a road out to Djibouti in order for the factory owners to have access to a port.

There is some growth in the urban middle class and a few select individuals become rich. Workers and the poor in the urban centers continue to lose ground as prices for food and shelter rise due to this growing middle layer and the economy posts a positive growth rate for the year; until there’s a crash.

God bless free enterprise.

Imagine if headlines in the news from day in day out, pointed to this massive scam where big business is subsidized to the tune of billions of dollars at our expense.  In manufacturing, finance, health care, pharmaceuticals’, in all aspects of capital expenditure and accumulation, public/taxpayer funds are the basis for growth. Sports stadiums are a good example where the costs are social and profits private, the same with the drug industry.

Instead it is North Korea, Iran, immigrants, and a myriad of other issues that dominate the mass media.

Do we honestly think that Walker, who has a major global capitalist party with all its resources behind him isn’t aware of Foxconn’s brutal treatment of workers? Of course he is. WalMart, Apple, all the tech giants make their profits this way.  That’s capitalism.

The only way this can be rectified is for the major corporations to be taken under public ownership and management, run by workers in the industry and consumers. In this way a rational and socially efficient plan of production can be developed. An crucial part of the process is the building of an independent political party of the working class. Neither Democrats not Republicans will take this road.

Is it possible the mass media is biased?

*Please share this post and/or the link to the young Chinese worker's story about her experience in the Foxconn factory. It is important for US workers to read it.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Great Recession: Ten Years On

Ten years on

by Michael Roberts

It’s ten years on to the day since the global financial crash began with the news that the French bank, BNP had suspended its sub-prime mortgage funds because of “an evaporation of liquidity”.

Within six months, credit tightened and inter-bank interest rates rocketed (see graph above).  Banks across the globe began to experience huge losses on the derivative funds that they had set up to profit from the housing boom that had taken off in the US, but had started to falter.  And the US and the world entered what was later called The Great Recession, the worst slump in world production and trade since the 1930s.

Ten years later, it is worth reminding ourselves of some of the lessons and implications of that economic earthquake.

First, the official institutions and mainstream economists never saw it coming.  In 2002, the head of the Federal Reserve Bank, Alan Greenspan, then dubbed as the great maestro for apparently engineering a substantial economic boom, announced that ‘financial innovations’ i.e. derivatives of mortgage funds etc, had ‘diversified risk’ so that “shocks to overall economic will be better absorbed and less likely to create cascading failures that could threaten financial stability”.  Ben Bernanke, who eventually presided at the Fed over the global financial crash, remarked in 2004 that “the past two decades had seen a marked reduction in economic volatility” that he dubbed as the Great Moderation. And as late as October 2007, the IMF concluded that “in advanced economies, economic recessions had virtually disappeared in the post-war period”.

Once the depth of the crisis was revealed in 2008, Greenspan told the US Congress, “I am in a state of shocked disbelief”.  He was questioned “in other words, you found that your view of the world , your ideology, was not right, it was not working” (House Oversight Committee Chair, Henry Waxman). “Absolutely, precisely, you know that’s precisely the reason I was shocked, because I have been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well”.

The great mainstream economists were no better.  When asked what caused the Great Recession if it was not a credit bubble that burst, Nobel Prize winner and top Chicago neoclassical economist Eugene Fama responded: “We don’t know what causes recessions. I’m not a macroeconomist, so I don’t feel bad about that. We’ve never known. Debates go on to this day about what caused the Great Depression. Economics is not very good at explaining swings in economic activity… If I could have predicted the crisis, I would have. I don’t see it.  I’d love to know more what causes business cycles.”

Soon to be IMF chief economist, Olivier Blanchard, commented in hindsight that “The financial crisis raises a potentially existential crisis for macroeconomics.” … some fundamental [neoclassical] assumptions are being challenged, for example the clean separation between cycles and trends” or “econometric tools, based on a vision of the world as being stationary around a trend, are being challenged.”

But then most of the so-called heterodox economists, including Marxists, did not see the crash and the ensuing Great Recession coming either.  There were a few exceptions:  Steve Keen, the Australian economist forecast a credit crash based on his theory that “the essential element giving rise to Depression is the accumulation of private debt” and that had never been higher in 2007 in the major economies.  In 2003, Anwar Shaikh reckoned the downturn in the profitability of capital and the downwave in investment was leading to a new depression. And yours truly in 2005  said: “There has not been such a coincidence of cycles since 1991. And this time (unlike 1991), it will be accompanied by the downwave in profitability within the downwave in Kondratiev prices cycle. It is all at the bottom of the hill in 2009-2010! That suggests we can expect a very severe economic slump of a degree not seen since 1980-2 or more”  (The Great Recession).

As for the causes of the global financial crash and the ensuing Great Recession, they have been analysed ad nauseam since.  Mainstream economics did not see the crash coming and were totally perplexed to explain it afterwards. The crash was clearly financial in form: with collapse of banks and other financial institutions and the weapons of mass financial destruction, to use the now famous phrase of Warren Buffett, the world’s most successful stock market investor.  But many fell back on the theory of chance, an event that was one in a billion; ‘a black swan’ as Nassim Taleb claimed.

Alternatively, capitalism was inherently unstable and occasional slumps were unavoidable.  Greenspan took this view: “I know of no form of economic organisation based on the division of labour (he refers to the Smithian view of a capitalist economy), from unfettered laisser-faire to oppressive central planning that has succeeded in achieving both maximum sustainable economic growth and permanent stability.  Central planning certainly failed and I strongly doubt that stability is achievable in capitalist economies, given the always turbulent competitive markets continuously being drawn toward but never quite achieving equilibrium”.  He went on, “unless there is a societal choice to abandon dynamic markets and leverage for some form of central planning, I fear that preventing bubbles will in the end turn out to be infeasible.  Assuaging the aftermath is all we can hope for.”

Most official economic leaders like Blanchard and Bernanke saw only the surface phenomena of the financial crash and concluded that the Great Recession was the result of financial recklessness by unregulated banks or a ‘financial panic’.  This coincided with some heterodox views based on the theories of Hyman Minsky, radical Keynesian economist of the 1980s, that the finance sector was inherently unstable because “the financial system necessary for capitalist vitality and vigour, which translates entrepreneurial animal spirits into effective demand investment, contains the potential for runaway expansion, powered by an investment boom.  Steve Keen, a follower of Minsky put it thus: “capitalism is inherently flawed, being prone to booms, crises and depressions.  This instability, in my view, is due to characteristics that the financial system must possess if it is to be consistent with full-blown capitalism.”   Most Marxists accepted something similar to the Minskyite view, seeing the

Great Recession as a result of ‘financialisation’ creating a new form of fragility in capitalism.
Of the mainstream Keynesians, Paul Krugman railed against the neoclassical school’s failings but offered no explanation himself except that it was a ‘technical malfunction’ that needed and could be corrected by restoring ‘effective demand’.  

Very few Marxist economists looked to the original view of Marx on the causes of commercial and financial crashes and ensuing slumps in production.  One such was G Carchedi, who summed that view up in his excellent, but often ignored Behind the Crisis with: ““The basic point is that financial crises are caused by the shrinking productive base of the economy. A point is thus reached at which there has to be a sudden and massive deflation in the financial and speculative sectors. Even though it looks as though the crisis has been generated in these sectors, the ultimate cause resides in the productive sphere and the attendant falling rate of profit in this sphere.”  Agreeing with that explanation, the best book on the crash remains that by Paul Mattick Jnr, Business as usual. 

And indeed, profitability in the productive sectors of the capitalist major economies was low historically in 2007, as several studies have shown.  In the US, profitability peaked in 1997 and the rise in profitability in the credit boom of 2002-6 was overwhelmingly in the financial and property sectors.  This encouraged a huge rise in fictitious capital (stocks and debt) that could not be justifies by sufficient improvement in profits from productive investment.

The mass of profit began to fall in the US in 2006, more than a year before the credit crunch struck in August 2007. 
Falling profits meant over-accumulation of capital and thus a sharp cutback in investment.  A slump in production, employment and incomes followed i.e. The Great Recession.

Since the end of that recession in mid-2009, most capitalist economies have experienced a very weak recovery, much weaker than after previous post-war recessions and in some ways even weaker than in the 1930s.  A recent Roosevelt Institute report by JW Mason found that “there is no precedent for the weakness of investment in the current cycle. Nearly ten years later, real investment spending remains less than 10 percent above its 2007 peak. This is slow even relative to the anemic pace of GDP growth, and extremely low by historical standards.”

So the Great Recession became the Long Depression, as I described it, a term also adopted by many others, including Keynesian economists like Paul Krugman and Simon Wren-Lewis.  Why did the Great Recession not lead to a ‘normal’ economic recovery to previous investment and production rates?  The mainstream economists of the monetarist school argue that governments and central banks were slow in cutting interest rates and adopting ‘unconventional’ monetary tools like quantitative easing.  But when they did, such policies appeared to have failed in reviving the economy and merely fuelled a new stock market and debt boom.

The neoclassical school reckons that debt should be cut back as it weighs on the ability of companies to invest while governments ‘crowd out’ credit because of their high levels of borrowing.  This ignored the reason for high government debt, namely the huge cost of bailing out banks globally and the slump in tax revenues from the recession.  In opposition, the Keynesians say the Long Depression was all due to ‘austerity’ ie governments trying to reduce government spending and balance budgets.  But the evidence for that conclusion is not compelling.

What the neoclassical, Keynesian and heterodox views have in common is a denial for any role for profit and profitability in booms and slumps in capitalism!  As a result, none look for an explanation for low investment in low profitability.  And yet the correlation between profit and investment is high and continually confirmed and profitability in most capitalist economies is still lower than in 2007. 

After ten years and a decidedly long, if very weak, economic recovery phase in the ‘business cycle’, are we due for another slump soon?  History would suggest so.  It won’t be triggered by another property slump, in my view.  Real estate prices in most countries have still not recovered to 2007 levels and even though interest rates are low, housing transaction levels are modest.

The new trigger is likely to be in the corporate sector itself.  Corporate debt has continued to rise globally, especially in the so-called emerging economies.  Despite low interest rates, a significant section of weaker companies are barely able to service their debts.  S&P Capital IQ noted that a record stash of $1.84trn in cash held by US non-financial companies masked a $6.6trn debt burden. The concentration of cash of the top 25 holders, representing 1% of companies, now accounts for over half the overall cash pile. That is up from 38% five years ago.  The big talk about the hegemoths like Apple, Microsoft, Amazon having mega cash reserves hides the real picture for most companies. 

Profit margins overall are slipping and in the US non-financial corporate profits have been falling.

And now central banks, starting with the US Federal Reserve, have started to reverse ‘quantitative easing’ and hike policy interest rates.  The cost of borrowing and existing debt servicing will rise, just at a time when profitability is flagging.

That’s a recipe for a new slump – ten years after the last one in 2008?

Why Palestinian Victory in Jerusalem is a Pivotal Moment

Power to the People: Why Palestinian Victory in Jerusalem is a Pivotal Moment

By Ramzy Baroud

Neither Fatah nor Hamas have been of much relevance to the mass protests staged around Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem. Neither have American pressure, half-hearted European ‘concern about the situation’ or cliché Arab declarations made one iota of difference. United Nations officials warned of the grim scenarios of escalation, but their statements were mere words.

The spontaneous mass movement in Jerusalem, which eventually defeated Israeli plans to change the status of Al-Aqsa was purely a people’s movement. Despite the hefty price of several dead and hundreds wounded, it challenged both the Israeli government and the quisling Palestinian leadership.
Israel shut down Al-Aqsa compound on July 14, following a shootout between three armed Palestinians and Israeli occupation officers. The compound was reopened a few days later, but Palestinian worshipers refused to enter, as massive security installation, gates, cameras and metal detectors were installed.

The people of Jerusalem immediately understood the implication of the Israeli action. In the name of added security measures, the Israeli government was exploiting the situation to change the status of Al-Aqsa, as part of its efforts to further isolate Palestinians and Judaize the illegally occupied city.
The Israeli army occupied Palestinian East Jerusalem in 1967, annexing it in 1981 in defiance of international law and despite strong UN objection.

For 50 years, Jerusalem has endured daily battles. The Israelis fought to expand their influence in the city, increase the number of illegal Jewish settlers and cut off Jerusalem from the rest of the Palestinian Territories; while Palestinians, Muslim and Christians alike, fought back.
Al-Aqsa compound – also known as Haram Al-Sharif or the Noble Sanctuary – is the most symbolic element in the fight. It is a microcosm of the fate of the occupied city, in fact the fate of the entire Palestinian land.

The compound has been administered by Islamic Waqf, through an Israeli-Jordanian understanding. Many Israeli politicians in the Likud Party and the Netanyahu-led rightwing government coalition have tried to change this.

Palestinians understand that the fate of their mosque and the future of their city are tightly linked. For them, if Al-Aqsa is lost, then Jerusalem is truly conquered.

This fight, between Palestinian worshipers and the Israeli army happens every single day, usually escalating on Friday. It is on this holy day for Muslims that tens of thousands of faithful flock to Al-Aqsa to pray, oftentimes to be met by new military gates and army regulations. Young Palestinians, in particular, have been blocked from reaching Al-Aqsa, also in the name of security.

But the struggle for Jerusalem can rarely be expressed in numbers, death toll and televised reports. It is the ordinary Palestinians’ constant fight for space, for identity and to preserve the sanctity of their holy land.

In the last two years, the fight escalated further as Israel began expanding its illegal settlements in East Jerusalem and rightwing parties issued a series of laws targeting Palestinians in the city. One such law is the call for prayer law, aimed at preventing mosques from making the call for prayers at dawn, as has been the practice for a millennium.

Palestinian youth, many born after the failed Oslo Accords, are fed up as the Israeli military controls every aspect of their lives and their corrupt leadership grows more irrelevant and self-serving.
This frustration has been expressed in numerous ways: in non-violent resistance, new political ideas, in art, music, on social media, but also through individual acts of violent resistance.

Since the most recent Al-Quds Intifada – Jerusalem uprising – started in October 2015, “some 285 Palestinians have died in alleged attacks, protests and (Israeli) army raids,” reported Farah Najjar and
Zena Tahhan. About 47 Israelis were killed in that same period.

But the Intifada was somehow contained and managed. Certainly, human rights groups protested many of the army killings of Palestinians as unnecessary or unprovoked, but little has changed on the ground. The Palestinian Authority has continued to operate almost entirely independent from the violent reality faced by its people on a daily basis.

The shootout of July 14 could have registered as yet another violent episode of many that have been reported in Jerusalem in recent months. Following such events, the Israeli official discourse ignores the military occupation entirely and focuses instead on Israel’s security problem caused by ‘Palestinian terror’. Politicians then, swoop in with new laws, proposals and radical ideas to exploit a tragic situation and remold the status quo.

Considering the numerous odds faced by Palestinians, every rational political analysis would have rightly concluded that Palestinians were losing this battle as well. With the United States fully backing Israeli measures and the international community growing distant and disinterested, the people of Jerusalem could not stand a chance.

But such understanding of conflict, however logical, often proves terribly wrong, since it casually overlooks the people.

In this latest confrontation, Palestinians of Jerusalem won, presenting an impressive model of mobilization and popular solidarity for all Palestinians. The Israeli army removed the barricades and the metal detectors, pushing Israel to the brink of a political crisis involving angry politicians, the army and internal intelligence, the Shin Bet.

The people’s victory was a massive embarrassment for Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. He tried to ‘piggyback off the protests’ but failed, reported the Atlantic.

Other factions, too, moved quickly to mobilize on the people’s victory, but their efforts have appeared staged and insincere.

“Today is a joyful day, full of celebration and sorrow at the same time – sorrow for the people who lost their lives and were injured,” a protester told Journalists, as thousands stormed the gates of Jerusalem armed with their prayer rugs, flags and voices hoarse from chanting for nearly two weeks.
“This is very much a grassroots movement – this isn’t led by Hamas or Fatah, the traditional political leaders of the Palestinians,” journalist Imran Khan reported from outside the compound.

This grassroot movement was made of thousands of women, men and children. They included Zeina Amro, who cooked daily for those who held steadfast outside the compound, was shot by a rubber bullet in the head, yet returned to urge the men to stand their ground the following day.
It also includes the child Yousef Sakafi, whose chores included splashing water over people as they sat endless hours under the unforgiving sun, refusing to move.

It also includes many Palestinian Christians who came to pray with their Muslim brethren.
Conveying the scene from Jerusalem, television news footage and newspaper photos showed massive crowds of people, standing, sitting, praying or running in disarray among bullets, sound bombs and gas canisters.

But the crowds are made up of individuals, the likes of Zeina, Yousef and many more, all driven by their insistence to face injustice with their bare chests in an inspiring display of human tenacity.
Of course, more violence will follow, as the Israeli occupation is enriched and relentless, but ordinary Palestinians will not quit the fight. They have held resolute for nearly 70 years.

Rational political analysis cannot possibly fathom how a nation undergoing numerous odds can still mobilize against an army, and win.

– Dr. Ramzy Baroud has been writing about the Middle East for over 20 years. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author of several books and the founder of His books include “Searching Jenin”, “The Second Palestinian Intifada” and his latest “My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story”. His website is