Dave Schechter remembered

first_imgDave Schechter and his daughter.Dave Schechter had two great loves in his life. One was his class: the workers and oppressed. This led him to join Workers World Party. He was a member for 45 years.Dave was born in 1942 in Yonkers, N.Y. His parents were communists. His father, William, drove a taxi; his mother, Ruth, was an office worker.Dave attended Rensselaer College and worked as a math teacher in the New York City school system. Like many young people his age, he was swept up in the great mass movements of the 1960s: the fight against racism and the Vietnam war. In 1968, he joined Youth Against War and Fascism, the youth group of Workers World Party.The year 1968 was an intense year in the global class war. For instance, in January the Vietnamese people launched the mighty Tet offensive against the U.S. imperialist invaders. In April, the racist U.S. state apparatus assassinated Dr. Martin Luther King, and the entire country exploded in outrage.For those of us in YAWF, the 1960s were street-fighting years. We were always marching with our bright orange banners, defying the cops who attacked us with clubs, horses and gas. We got arrested so much it seemed like we lived in the Criminal Court building at 100 Centre Street.Whether it was protesting the Vietnam war or defending the Black Panthers, Dave was always on the front line. He helped disrupt fascist presidential candidate, George Wallace, when Wallace spoke at Madison Square Garden, and Richard Nixon’s first inaugural parade in Washington, D.C. He was arrested in 1968 protesting the pro-war movie, The Green Berets, and in 1969, when we marched into the middle of a City Hall ceremony welcoming the murderous Israeli prime minister, Golda Meir.Dave was a member of the United Federation of Teachers, but he marched in support of the Black community when the UFT’s racist leadership called a strike against community control. Two years later, however, Dave did go on strike.On May 5, 1970, the day after the Kent State massacre, Dave worked with his students at Julia Richman High School to organize a strike against war and repression. They specifically demanded the freedom of Bobby Seale, Ericka Huggins and other imprisoned members of the Black Panther Party. By the end of the week, the entire city school system was shut down. On May 14, Dave was fired for “conduct unbecoming a teacher.”YAWF was the first anti-war group to organize marches and teach-ins in solidarity with the people of Palestine. Dave, whose family background was Jewish, was passionate about that cause. Our Palestine events were routinely attacked by anti-Arab hate groups armed with lead pipes and gas bombs, and Dave always served on security.A steadfast revolutionaryMany activists of the 1960s dropped out of political life in the less turbulent 1970s. Dave did not. He remained a steadfast revolutionary and WWP member. He focused on getting Workers World newspaper and our literature, our ideas and program into the hands and minds of our class.He staffed literature tables and worked on national distribution, taking the paper shipments every week to Greyhound. He sold Workers World newspaper on the trains and took part in our massive postering campaigns. And he prepared the labels every week for the WW paper mailing.After being fired by the Board of Education, Dave worked 10 years for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and was vice president of the DEP chapter of Local 375 ­Civil Service Technical Guild. He left that job to become a computer programmer.Dave was a worker. He was battered by this vile capitalist system. He was laid off several times and had to travel to find work. He had no medical coverage in 2006, when he suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed.For the past seven years, Dave lived in nursing homes. But he was able to come to activities with the help of a wheelchair and the support of his daughter, his health aides and his comrades in Workers World Party. He was a member of the Party’s People with Disabilities Caucus. He loved movies and going to Central Park when the weather was nice.Dave is survived and will always be lovingly remembered by his family and by the Party he helped build.A public memorial was held Feb. 22 in New York City for Dave Schechter, who died on Jan. 13.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

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The working class needs a compass to fight imperialism

first_imgInternationalism is a weapon because it builds unity and class consciousness. The working class today is more international in its composition and in communication than at any time in history and more open to understanding the need for solidarity. Millions of workers feel the struggle in their countries of origin and come with rich experiences of class struggle. U.S. imperialism is in a desperate situation because none of their wars have succeeded. They have overturned governments and left smoking ruin for the populations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya but have not succeeded in stabilizing U.S. domination.Let’s be determined to focus our party and the whole movement on opposing at every step U.S. imperialism: the enemy of all humanity. That is our compass.We need the same absolute determination here in the class struggle that the Palestinian struggle conveys when they say and the whole world now responds: “Palestine will win!” The same confidence that the Cuban people exude when they declare: “¡Venceremos! The workers united will never be defeated!”FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare this Excerpts from a speech by Sara Flounders at the 2015 Workers World Party national conference; Flounders is a WWP Secretariat member and co-director of the International Action Center.  Sara FloundersThe world situation appears very dangerous this week. There are two crises barreling at us from two different directions.One crisis is military brinkmanship. The Pentagon is rushing F-16C Dogfighter jets to Syria. Why is that a big deal? There are already a lot of aircraft bombing Syria.There were 13 countries bombing Syria before Russia came into the war, not just U.S. bombers. You have Saudi Arabia, France, Belgium, Canada, Jordan and Turkey, among others — none were invited by Syria. The U.S. military is coordinating the whole operation.  All these countries claim to be hitting ISIS but not having any impact except that they are totally destroying Syria; half the population is displaced.But the F-16C Dogfighter jets that the U.S. Air Force just sent to Syria are armed with air-to-air missiles. They are capable only of fighting other aircraft. ISIS does not have an air force.  Russia does. This is a dangerous escalation.At the same time, President Obama made the first public announcement of ground troops, Special Ops forces, to Syria, along with a big reinforcement of U.S. “advisors” to Iraq. A very dangerous provocation is looming. We need be prepared for it. We don’t know what incident might touch off a far wider war. Will it be a plane crash in the Sinai Desert? Or a Russian jet shot down in Syria?  Or a NATO missile in Ukraine? Or a ship in the South Pacific, where the U.S. is in almost a standoff with China? Or U.S. nuclear “war games” off the coast of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea?To understand what is going on behind all these crises, we need to view them as one world war on many fronts.Capitalist glutWhat is driving these nonstop crises?Capitalism is facing a giant glut. The world commodity markets are crashing. Machine parts, heavy equipment, tubing and pipes, along with oil, gas, steel, coal, copper, zinc, corn, soy and wheat are all valued at less than half of the price of just one year ago.There are increasing predictions in the business media of a new, disastrous capitalist crash. They can feel the ground shaking. A new earthquake is rumbling. Yet the workers have not been rehired from the 2007-08 capitalist crash. We face today a larger gap between rich and poor than at any previous time in human history. There are 80 multibillionaires worth more than the combined assets of one-half the population of the world. This is how extreme and distorted the whole capitalist system is. It has superproductive capacity, far beyond what it can ever hope to sell at a profit. Capitalism has an unsolvable problem.  How can this brutal global empire hold this bloated, decaying system all together? It is increasingly difficult. It needs endless war. It needs racism. It needs division. It needs repression.Great, unanticipated crises have been the undoing of many a movement and many political parties.  But with crisis also comes opportunities to intervene. Are we ready for the great crises that the capitalist system unleashes on the working class? No, we are not. That is my honest appraisal. But even a handful of communists — if they have revolutionary determination and are not knocked over or caught off guard — have the ability to give leadership in times of crisis. This is something that Workers World Party has been able to do again and again in past crises. Give leadership, far beyond our size, because we aren’t bowled over. We face a crisis a minute. There are two to three racist police murders every day, each more outrageous than the last; tens of thousands of police attacks and the largest prison population in the world; U.S. war crimes around the world in ever greater numbers, every day and every hour. How to orient the Party and a movement fighting for change?  This is where [Vladimir] Lenin is still our anchor.This period of crisis needs a revolutionary socialist movement where every cadre’s instincts and reflexes are to stand against racism, stand with the oppressed and always oppose its own ruling class — that is Leninism.Capitalism is not working. There is growing interest today in socialism.We have to contend with political leaders who claim to be socialists or democratic socialists and yet support U.S. wars.Bernie Sanders promises a political revolution and a living wage, racial justice, a humane immigration policy ending income inequality. But Sanders also promises that he will defend “America’s vital interests. Force must always be an option.” Sanders has voted funds for every U.S. war. He supports free trade and Israel’s “right to defend itself.” In essence, he stands for defending the whole rotten racist system.There are also lots of campus socialists who say no against U.S. wars, but always explain why you should hate whomever the U.S. government is targeting in Syria, Ukraine, Libya, China, Venezuela or Cuba.A compass for the movementWe need to look at every issue in the same way that a compass always points north.A compass does not point all over the dial. It is the same with us.  Our compass points toward opposing U.S. imperialism, always focusing on imperialism’s crimes. If we keep our focus, we won’t get diverted or confused.A compass is not a crystal ball. But it is a very useful tool. It has been used for hundreds of years. It is most useful in a storm, in new terrain or in charting a new path.We need to constantly point the movement back towards opposing U.S. imperialism. Acting as a compass for the working-class movement in the U.S. will build socialist unity.In every crisis the media are full of “blame Russia,” “blame China” and denounce them as imperialists; or the message is “blame Syria,” “blame Iran” and demonize them as monsters. This churns up so much blame that U.S. imperialism is let off the hook.This is A-B-C. The class struggle is one war and we take sides. Workers World Party is a combat organization.The basis of Leninism is to recognize the responsibility of workers’ movements in imperialist countries to always oppose their own ruling class. Otherwise, we will be lost. We will drown in media hype, in the layers of propaganda, chauvinism and racism that saturate the air we breathe. This poison can seep into the party itself and immobilize us. It is more difficult in the center of imperialism to maintain this revolutionary edge.Facing a refugee and migrant crisisTens of millions of migrants are fleeing economic disaster in home countries created by free trade zones and globalized capitalism.  There are millions of war refugees of U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Sudan and Yemen. U.S. wars have totally destabilized Africa and West Asia.Every war has a precursor of a big media blitz of desperate people or weapons that supposedly put the world at risk and a call that “We must do something.”We need to be on guard that the huge publicity and media focus on the flow of refugees desperate to reach Europe is being orchestrated to break down the resistance in Europe to NATO strikes to set up no-fly zones in Syria.Declaring a no-fly zone is the pretext the U.S. used in Libya, in a seven- month bombing campaign that left an entire country in smoking ruin and a population destitute.Build international solidarityThe one weapon the working class has is international solidarity. This means always standing with the oppressed, especially when they are under attack. It means never accepting any excuse for a U.S. war. Any war where U.S. imperialism succeeds, the workers here and around the globe suffer a huge setback.last_img read more

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White Coats for Black lives

first_imgOn Dec. 10, University of Rochester medical students, joined by some faculty and staff, protested against racism at the university and in the health care system as a whole.With the words “Actions speak louder than words” taped over their mouths, 100 demonstrators crowded into the Flaum Atrium of the UR School of Medicine and Dentistry.The protest was called by students in the local chapter of White Coats for Black Lives, an organization inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. “We, as future physicians, could not stay silent because we know that medicine is not immune to the racism that is rooted in our education, housing, employment and criminal justice system,” said Guyida Richard, a second year UR medical student and one of the protest organizers. Richard went on to say that the racial climate has “gotten worse.” (Democrat and Chronicle, Dec. 11)The protesters want better training of medical students so they are able to better address the needs of people of color. They also want increased diversity in the medical school faculty and recruitment of more students of color. For this school year, 41 of the 435 students at the medical school are Black, 26 are Latino/a and 11 are of two or more ethnic backgrounds.Another demand calls for discussions about structural racism in medicine. Students related “implicitly racist” stereotypes of people of color that can stand in the way of proper treatment.The University of Rochester, with its associated teaching hospitals, is the largest employer in the city. With a student enrollment of 4,500, its endowment of nearly $3 billion makes it one of the richest per capita schools in the country. ­(Endowment.com)The Board of Trustees looks like a who’s who of the Rochester business elite, except for those who hail from Wall Street.As is the case for universities in many cities, the UR is located right next to a large oppressed community. It pays no property taxes, not even payments in lieu of taxes. Nevertheless, the university recently pressured the chronically broke city to float a $20 million loan for its new College Town, a gentrification project that has driven many residents and small businesses from the community.The White Coats for Black Lives organization is a welcome movement toward solidarity among the youth of Rochester and around the country of different nationalities and ethnic groups. It’s an inspiring example of how the Black Lives Matter movement is at the forefront of struggle.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

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Palestinian political prisoners shake the walls for hunger striker Bilal Kayed

first_imgNine Palestinian political prisoners launched hunger strikes in solidarity with “administrative detainee” Bilal Kayed on Aug. 7, joining over 100 others on strike since July 31.Strikers include Ahmad Sa’adat, the imprisoned general secretary of Kayed’s party, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. After starting his fast on July 31, Sa’adat was immediately punished by Israeli jailors with a transfer to solitary confinement.Hundreds more prisoners announced plans to join a one-day strike inside Nafha, Ramon, Ktziot and Hadarim prisons on Aug. 9.In France’s Lannemezan Prison, imprisoned Lebanese fighter Georges Abdallah and six other Arab and Basque prisoners held a three-day fast starting Aug. 3.On Aug. 8, supporters launched solidarity hunger strikes in a protest tent outside the International Committee of the Red Cross office in Gaza.Kayed, detained under Israel’s “administrative detention” law, will reach the 70th day of his own hunger strike on Aug. 23. He has been imprisoned by Israel for 14 ½ years for participating in resistance activities during the second Intifada. On June 13, the date of his scheduled release, Israel refused to free him, instead slapping him with an “administrative detention” order.This arbitrary decree, issued by an Israeli military commander, sentences him to six more months’ imprisonment without charge or trial. Since commanders can renew these orders an unlimited number of times, Kayed has effectively been interned indefinitely. In response, he launched a hunger strike on June 15 to demand his freedom.Many Palestinians fear Israel will use Kayed’s precedent to hold more Palestinian political prisoners with expiring sentences. Israel currently incarcerates 750 “administrative detainees” among 7,000 Palestinian political prisoners overall.On Aug.11, Israel’s supreme court ruled that a legal appeal for Kayed’s release would not even be heard until Oct. 5, nearly four months after he began his strike. The PFLP called the court’s decision “a death sentence.” (english.palinfo.com)Palestinian attorney Sahar Francis, director of the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, was able to visit Kayed the same day. The organization, which serves as Kayed’s legal counsel, reported its client faces intimidation from his jailors: “For example, he was surrounded by 25 armed police officers even though he is shackled with his right hand and left foot to his bed.” (addameer.org, Aug. 11)Kayed refuses treatmentEarlier, Addameer reported Kayed “is still shackled to his bed with his right hand and left foot. He is suffering from pain in his chest, kidney, jaw, eyes, ears and legs, as well as severe headache. He also suffers from blurred vision, numbness throughout the body and hair loss, as well as yellowness and peeling of the skin.” Kayed said the director of Israel’s Barzilai Hospital, where he is detained, warned that he would be “forcibly treated” if he loses consciousness. (addameer.org, Aug. 8)Kayed refuses to accept any treatment, including examinations, and requests transfer from the medical center, where he was sent on July 17.“I am demanding my immediate return to prison despite my deteriorating health conditions, to stand in one front and on one line in the prison cells of the occupation, side by side with all of the revolting prisoners, raising our loud voice: Your decision will not pass easily!” he wrote in a letter to his supporters on Aug. 1.“What I have received from you through your struggles, your sit-ins, your demonstrations, gives me more determination to continue forward until victory,” he continued. “Either freedom or martyrdom.” (samidoun.net)Samidoun: Palestinian Political Prisoner Solidarity Network has asked supporters to call the White House at 1-202-456-1111 to demand that President Barack Obama, as the representative of Israel’s biggest international funder, intercede for Kayed’s immediate release.The group has held six protests for Kayed in New York, including a march through Grand Central Terminal and the lobbies of two buildings holding offices of the British-Danish security company G4S on Aug. 12, and other demonstrations in Beirut, Brussels, The Hague and Montreal.Kayed and other prisoners affiliated with the PFLP have called on supporters to target G4S, a key contractor for Israel’s prisons, asking on Aug. 7 that they “take up the campaign to defend the prisoners through the international boycott of the occupation and its institutions, and boycott of its complicit corporations, led by the G4S security corporation.” (pflp.ps)The next of Samidoun’s weekly protests in Manhattan will start at 4 p.m. on Aug. 19 outside the G4S office at 19 West 44th St.Announcements and reports of events elsewhere, as well as news on Kayed and other Palestinian political prisoners, are posted online at samidoun.net.Catron is a member of Al-Awda New York: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition and an organizer with Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

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Washington’s solution to conflict in Syria: Threaten world with bigger war

first_imgOct. 10 — With the last few weeks of intense escalation of its genocidal war against Syria’s sovereignty, the U.S. military has crossed the Rubicon. This transition began Sept. 17 as U.S.-led coalition airstrikes massacred 106 Syrian soldiers who had seized a hill in the eastern province of Deir ez-Zur, held by the so-called Islamic State group (IS) for well over a year.It was reported that within minutes a ground offensive by IS against the position retook the territory. Thus the U.S. bombing aided IS.The Sept. 17 air raid came five days into a ceasefire brokered by the U.S. and Russia. Less than 48 hours after this provocation, the ceasefire was set to enter a new phase of cooperation between the U.S. and Russia in fighting the reactionary terrorist group. Then on Sept. 27-28, the U.S.-led coalition bombed two bridges spanning the Euphrates River in Deir ez-Zur.The Sept. 17 raid made two things abundantly clear to the world: The Pentagon directly supports IS in a bid to destabilize Syria, and Washington has no interest in any diplomatic solution.Though this attack marked the true end of the ceasefire, a humanitarian aid convoy was bombed two days later. Washington hastily blamed that on Russia and accused Moscow of sabotaging the ceasefire. Russian officials denied these allegations and publicly stated that the U.S. is directly supporting terrorism in Syria.The United States claimed the strikes against Syrian soldiers were unintentional, but simultaneously renewed its call for the destruction of the Syrian state.Syrian offensiveFollowing the collapse of the ceasefire, the Syrian army and its allies have embarked on offensives across the nation with help from Russian airstrikes. The focal point of this push has been Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, which has been torn between the government and reactionary terrorist groups for four years.Aleppo is a stronghold of the al-Nusra Front, the al-Qaida branch in Syria. Washington condemns the Syrian army’s attacks against the al-Nusra Front, claiming that the “moderate” opposition fighters need time to separate from al-Nusra. U.S. spokespeople stipulate this precondition for an agreement, without specifying who “moderate” rebels are and despite the U.S. having taken responsibility for their separation from al-Nusra Front terrorists as part of the sabotaged ceasefire deal.Aleppo has also become the crux of the U.S. media propaganda campaign against the Syrian state. Every day in the corporate media someone sheds crocodile tears for Aleppo and falsely portrays the situation as Syrian jets bombing “civilians” and “freedom fighters” starving for democracy. Meanwhile, Washington can’t name a single such group on the ground except for the phantom “Free Syrian Army.”U.S.-Russia confrontation?Russia has doubled down on its public commitment to Syrian sovereignty. Moscow deployed S-300 air defense systems in Syria following the end of the ceasefire and said Russia will not hesitate to use them against any aircraft threatening Syrian or Russian soldiers. On Oct. 7 the Russian State Duma unanimously approved an agreement between the Syrian Arab Republic and the Russian Federation allowing the indefinite deployment of Russia’s air force in Syria.The U.S. State Department’s open threats against the Syrian state have led to a new level of brinkmanship with Russia.Many analysts ask if recent Syrian offensives with Russia’s help aim at capturing key territories before the next U.S. president takes office. Even if this isn’t the case, the Syrians are clearly trying to beat the clock of Pentagon war preparations.Turkey’s roleUnder the radar of most corporate media, on Oct. 1 the parliament of NATO member Turkey, Syria’s northern neighbor, extended its mandate allowing the Turkish army to send ground troops into Syria and Iraq for the third year in a row. Turkey has played a key role in the destabilization of Syria by facilitating training, border crossing, oil trade and many other services to the reactionary terrorists, with IS as the key beneficiary.In spite of this role, the Turkish regime claims to be in Syria to fight IS. But the Turkish army has mainly targeted the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which carries on an armed struggle in defense of the Kurdish people and which has been among the strongest fighters against IS.Turkey’s contradictory role in Syria has led to blowback within Turkish society, causing instability and threatening civil war. Turkey has been plagued by terrorist attacks, apparently by IS, within its borders. And the Turkish army has targeted ethnically Kurdish areas in the southeast of the Turkish state with brutal destruction.Complicating this further, a failed coup in Turkey in July was followed by massive purges of public institutions, with tens of thousands of soldiers and government workers arrested. Further steps to partition the war-torn Syrian nation have the potential to bring both states toppling down — and perhaps others.Role of anti-war movementAbove all else right now, it is imperative that anti-war activists around the world defend Syria’s sovereignty in the face of this heightened aggression from the United States. The world can expect new escalations of U.S.-backed forces on the ground in Syria, along with sophisticated propaganda campaigns in corporate and social media.While the Syrian state faces this unprecedented colonial onslaught from Western powers, their allies and proxies, it is the duty of anti-war activists in the United States to expose U.S. imperialism’s role and stand firmly in solidarity with Syria’s self-determination.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

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Head bigot caves to pressure

first_imgAfter 35 long days without pay, 800,000 federal workers received word late on Jan. 25 that the government shutdown was over — at least temporarily. Without an agreement to fund a racist, anti-migrant border wall, the president reopened the closed departments of the federal government. Furloughed federal workers were called back to work; those working without pay will be getting paychecks, with a promise that back wages will be paid soon. Not so for contract workers. The American Federation of Government Employees, the largest of several federal worker unions, rightly called the mass furloughs and payless paydays a lockout. Normally when union members cannot strike by contract, there is also an agreement they cannot be locked out by the boss. Federal workers are legally barred from striking — the basis for Ronald Reagan’s firing air traffic controllers in 1981. In addition to not getting paid, some locked-out federal workers could not apply for unemployment compensation. To collect, they had to be available for work — but to be available for work they needed government permission to look for another job. The people authorized to grant permission were not working!Many federal workers demonstrated against this lockout, some just a few hours before the shutdown ended. Three days earlier, hundreds had protested inside two Senate office buildings in Washington, D.C., when twelve union activists were arrested for sitting outside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office. As the news of the reopening became known, protests turned into celebrations. Millions of workers and their families have been harmed by this, the longest U.S. government shutdown in history. Workers at private companies with government contracts were affected. Small businesses were hurting.Had the shutdown continued, the lost purchasing power of unpaid workers  — an estimated $6 billion — and of tax revenue would eventually have cost more jobs. Funding for survival programs such as food stamps, the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Food and Nutrition Service, Indian Health Service, school lunches and Medicaid would have run dry. The bigot-in-chief created a public safety emergency, affecting everything from air travel to food inspection to air and water quality. Nature also was threatened: from trash piling up in national parks to distressed marine mammals not being rescued. Scientific research was drastically curtailed.Members and allies of the American Federation of Government Employees rallied outside the federal building in downtown Detroit Jan. 25. Braving temperatures in the lower teens, the group chanted, “End the shutdown” and “No paycheck, no peace.” There was tremendous solidarity with these workers in their time of hardship, with Metro Detroit AFL-CIO organizing food drives and many Detroit restaurants offering federal workers free meals.Why did Trump back down?Most people do not believe that Trump acted out of compassion for workers, who were struggling to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. Nor do they believe that there is a “national emergency” at the Mexican border mandating construction of an enormous wall. On the contrary, a majority in an AP News poll blame the president for the shutdown. As of Jan. 25, his falling popularity ratings — at 37 percent — are the lowest of any U.S. president in 80 years. (tinyurl.com/ydejdvpe)Resistance to the shutdown grew. Unpaid workers at the Transportation Security Administration and other “essential” agencies phoned in sick in large numbers. Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, called for a countrywide general strike to stop the shutdown — remarkable solidarity from a union whose members were working and not locked out. The fightback was not on the scale of resistance elsewhere in the world — like the Yellow Vest movement in France or the All-India General Strike — or even the education worker upsurge in the U.S.But the growing potential for worker organizing was there. The ruling class knew and feared this.In addition to fueling worker resistance, the shutdown had a negative effect on the capitalist economy. A $6 billion loss in a month is no small change. But that was just the tip of the iceberg. Flights were cancelled at New York’s LaGuardia airport, one of the country’s busiest. For corporate executives who conduct business worldwide, being able to fly safely is essential. Companies seeking exemptions under Trump’s import tariff regime were hamstrung because the people who could authorize those were furloughed. Farmers, small businesses and potential home buyers could not access government financing. This preventable economic slowdown occurred as leading bourgeois economic analysts are warning of a new recession, i.e., a crisis of capitalist overproduction that they are powerless to prevent. Some of them are worried about “social unrest.” But federal cops and military personnel at the FBI, the Coast Guard and, ironically, the Border Patrol were not getting paid. The shutdown was undermining the repressive capability and the basic functioning of the capitalist state as an instrument of class rule. The president — darling of the ultra-right, trumpeting a racist, xenophobic “build the wall” mindset to his electoral base — faced pressure to end the shutdown from both the masses below and the one-percenters on top. Pelosi the hero?Mainstream media were awarding credit to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for ending the shutdown while refusing Trump’s demand to fund the border wall. Daily Kos, an online news source promoting mainstream Democratic Party politics, even posted a petition for people to sign thanking Pelosi: “[She] deserves enormous credit for holding her Democratic caucus in line, and refusing an inch. Her move to cancel the State of the Union Address was brilliant, and achieved the intended result of making Trump agree to end the shutdown (for now).”This view minimizes the many factors that created pressure on Trump: especially the role of workers who risked being disciplined or fired if they were found to have acted in concert by staging sick-outs or other work resistance. The praise for Pelosi raises no objection to the Democratic backing of “alternatives” to a physical wall, which will also result in repression of migrants through fencing and increased “border security.”Threat of a new shutdown after Feb. 15 remains, though there may be too much pressure on the White House for that to happen. If the masses of people harmed by this recent outrage want to prevent another, heaping accolades on Pelosi won’t achieve that goal. The best bet is to follow the lead of AFA President Nelson — and shut down the whole capitalist economy with a general strike.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

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Big Brazilian Corn Crop Sets Stage for Competition

first_imgHome Indiana Agriculture News Big Brazilian Corn Crop Sets Stage for Competition Facebook Twitter Source: NAFB News Service SHARE Previous articleHot, Dry May Brings Drought To Parts Of IndianaNext articleGary Wilhelmi 5/31/2012 PM Comment Gary Truitt The U.S. Grains Council says the stage is set for intense global competition for international corn markets. According to the Council – the U.S. and Brazil are both positioning themselves for a record setting corn harvest. A Grains Council representative based in Brazil says the summer crop harvest there has matched the anticipated volume of 36-million metric tons – 1.4-billion bushels. It’s estimated a record 7.1-million hectares – 17.5-million acres – will be devoted to second season corn – yielding another record setting 29-million tons – 1.1-billion bushels. If these projections are met and the favorable weather continues – Brazil’s total corn harvest for the 2011-12 marketing year is expected to exceed 67-million tons – 2.6-billion bushels. That’s a 13.5-percent increase over last year. The nation typically exports between 15 and 20-percent of their crop.Another factor weighing on the market – according to the Grains Council – is lower than anticipated domestic usage and exports – which have inundated Brazil with ample stocks. As the U.S. competes to build and defend market share – USGC Chairman Dr. Wendell Shauman says the marketing programming offered by the Council becomes increasingly more important.center_img Facebook Twitter SHARE Big Brazilian Corn Crop Sets Stage for Competition By Gary Truitt – May 31, 2012 last_img read more

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Coalition Urges Passage of New Farm Bill Before 2012 Closes

first_imgHome Indiana Agriculture News Coalition Urges Passage of New Farm Bill Before 2012 Closes Facebook Twitter By Gary Truitt – Nov 13, 2012 Source: NAFB News service Facebook Twitter A coalition of 235 agriculture organizations has sent a letter to Congressional leadership to urge passage of a new five-year farm bill to be signed into law by the end of the legislative session. The letter – addressed to House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer – notes the paramount importance of the legislation. According to the letter – failure to pass a new five-year farm bill before the end of the year will create significant budget uncertainty for the entire ag sector – including the rural businesses and lenders whose livelihoods are dependent on the economic viability of farmers and livestock producers. The letter also addresses the possibility of a temporary extension of current farm legislation – calling it a short-sighted, inadequate solution that would leave those in agriculture crippled by uncertainty.The coalition undersigning the letter comprised of organizations representing the farming, livestock, specialty crop, feed, rural development, nutrition, health, conservation, woodland owners, municipalities, trade, agricultural research, crop insurance and renewable energy communities.center_img SHARE Previous articleUS Oil Production Predictions, MisleadingNext articleNCBA Looks to Congress for Permanent Estate Tax Relief Gary Truitt SHARE Coalition Urges Passage of New Farm Bill Before 2012 Closeslast_img read more

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Port Strike Averted for Now

first_img Farmers and the nation won a temporary reprieve as East Coast and Gulf Coast longshoremen extended their contract for 30 days, averting a possible crippling ports strike. The extension Friday came after a breakthrough between the union and port operators and shipping lines on container royalties paid to dockworkers. A major strike would have idled more than 14-thousand workers at ports from Boston and New York to New Orleans and Houston. Some estimates say it could have cost the U.S. $1 billion a day in lost commerce.“Even short strikes have an impact. Things start to backup if grain is prevented from moving out. It’s really not anything different than an export embargo that’s sort of imposed on ourselves.”That’s Washington Farm Trade Lobbyist and former USDA Trade Adviser Paul Drazek who says other options are unrealistic.“To get it to a different port you’re talking about moving it to the west coast and the cost involved has to be exorbitant.”Cost is also what makes air shipment of goods like corn and soybeans prohibitive. Drazek says the last thing agriculture needs is an interruption of port services.“Exports are so important to so much of American agriculture that when you have something like this the compound effect of a potential strike, the difficulty in moving product on the rivers because of low water levels, it’s just crazy. It’s tragic what could happen.”Drazek points out that so much of what farmers produce is exported and prices farmers receive depend so much on exports.[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2013/01/Longshoremen-reprieve.mp3|titles=Longshoremen reprieve] Facebook Twitter By Andy Eubank – Jan 1, 2013 SHARE Facebook Twitter Home Indiana Agriculture News Port Strike Averted for Now Port Strike Averted for Now SHARE Previous articleCBO Scores Farm Bill ExtensionNext articleGrowing Concern for Mississippi River Andy Eubanklast_img read more

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Peterson Takes New Approach to Spur Farm Bill Action

first_imgHome Indiana Agriculture News Peterson Takes New Approach to Spur Farm Bill Action House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson reportedly has a new strategy for getting a farm bill through Congress this year. The Hill reports Peterson called Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack this week to suggest the department should begin the process of implementing the 1949-era dairy policies that would take effect October 1 if Congress fails to act on the farm bill before the current extension expires at the end of the month. Actually – Peterson suggested they start putting the framework together to implement the permanent law on dairy January 1. Peterson’s hope is that affected industry groups will put the pressure on House Speaker John Boehner and other GOP leaders to enact a bill that will prevent milk prices from skyrocketing. He believes this strategy – which he says has the backing of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi – can compel a deal on the farm bill. The Hill reports House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas has also said that Vilsack should start to prepare for the milk spike. However – even if Cantor can’t get the votes needed to cut billions from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Lucas said a farm bill conference committee would proceed. According to Lucas – a vote on that bill – up or down – enables them to move forward with the conference committee process.Source: NAFB News Service By Andy Eubank – Sep 12, 2013 Facebook Twitter Facebook Twitter Previous articleFarmers Should Avoid Overgrazing, Check Forage Inventories NowNext articleSoybean Market Likes USDA Report Andy Eubank Peterson Takes New Approach to Spur Farm Bill Action SHARE SHARElast_img read more

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