Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Bertolt Brecht: In Praise of Communism

This has been making the rounds on Facebook, worth reposting here. It's by German leftist writer Bertolt Brecht, and apparently appears in his 1932 work, "The Mother." It cuts away nicely at all the crap flung against the idea of communism by a system that is actually in mortal fear of communism.

It's sensible,
anyone can understand it.
It's easy.
You're not an exploiter,
so you can grasp it.
It's a good thing for you,
find out more about it.
The stupid call it stupid
and the squalid call it squalid.
It is against squalor and
against stupidity.
the exploiters call it a crime
But we know:
It is the end of crime.
It is not madness, but
The end of madness.
It is not the riddle
But the solution.
It is the simple thing
So hard to achieve.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Free Bradley Manning!

Today Bradley Manning was found guilty of all but the single most serious charge against him, in a ruling by a lone federal judge. This after a nearly two-year ordeal of imprisonment including torture by the U.S. government. Manning is now facing sentencing of up to 130 years in prison.

Not being punished for their part in the Iraq war, in which a sovereign nation was invaded and destroyed, and thousands and thousands of innocent people killed:

Former President George Bush, and all of his cronies and advisors including Condoleeza Rice, DIck Cheney, Colin Powell, Paul Wolfowitz, and all the others. The blood is on your hands.

Former Senator Hillary Clinton and all of the other members of congress who voted to have all those innocent Iraqis killed. The blood is on your hands.

The murdering pigs inside the imperialist war machine, trained to kill people like they were playing video games. The blood is on your hands.

President Obama, whose relentless pursuit of whistleblowers like Manning and Snowden, whose steadfast protection of war criminals, and whose own expansion of the drone war against innocent civilians will not be forgotten. The blood is on your hands.

Below is the Wikileaks video containing footage, apparently leaked by Manning, from a so-called Apache helicopter showing an attack by the American military on a group of civilians and journalists on a Baghdad street. The video is very hard to watch, but clearly details how helicopter gunships targeted and assassinated these people, and then when a car, bearing children, comes by to carry off the wounded to a hospital, the gunships open up again. You'll hear the despicable pigs behind the microphone laugh and brag at their carnage. When they realize they have machine gunned children, one of them is heard to say sullenly "Well it's their fault for bringing their kids into a battle."

Weep, rage, fight. Free Bradley Manning! Hands off Edward Snowden!


Friday, July 26, 2013

Anti-Americana: Anti-Imperialist BFFs?

Back in the early 1960s the People's Republic of China seemed firmly committed to the anti-imperialist camp. In 1963 it issued a series of stamps "in solidarity with revolutionary socialist Cuba." This value of the series is entitled, "Support Cuban People's Patriotic and Just Struggle Against U.S Imperialism." It shows a solidarity with Cuba rally being held in Beijing. Other values in the series showed a rally in Habana, Cuban leader Fidel Castro and some stellar cartoonish images of Cuban revolutionaries.

As the Sino-Soviet split worsened, Cuba and China grew apart. By the late 1970s, Cuba and China wound up on different sides of a number of proxy conflicts. In Angola, for instance, Cuban troops backing the MPLA government fought an extended civil war with the forces of the rival UNITA faction, armed by China, Apartheid South Africa and the American CIA. The moral of that story? Realpolitik is never good for revolutions.

Anyway, remembering this stamp is a good way to mark today's date, July 26, the date of the failed 1953 revolutionary attack on the Moncada Barracks in Cuba, and the namesake of the revolutionary movement that would go on to kick out the Batista dictatorship and its U.S. sponsors in 1959. The Movimiento 26 de Julio had a beautiful black and red banner that served as an inspiration for later revolutionaries in Chile (the MIR) and Nicaragua (the FSLN).

While we're at it, here's an LP from China in the 1960s having something to do with a celebration of the Cuban July 26th Movement. I don't read enough Chinese to get more than that, but that's pretty clearly an illustration meant to evoke Fidel. They don't make record covers like that anymore!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Dear Royals, Thinking of You On This Special Occasion!

As Duchess Kate begins to give birth, it's appropriate to consider the role of parasitic royalty in humanity's future.

Happily, some of the first people to overthrow royal home rule came up with a nifty gadget preparing for that future. Here's a matched set perfect for today's blessed event.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


Racism is not a "diversion" it is the central challenge facing revolutionaries in the United States. Capitalism = White Supremacy. #hoodiesup! #StandUpForTrayvon! #JusticeforTrayvon!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

It's not the heat it's the white supremacy

The George Zimmerman trial, aka the trial of Trayvon Martin for his own murder, has gone to the jury. The jury of 5 white and 1 Hispanic women. In the racist state of Florida.

Organizers are preparing for a verdict:

"A verdict is coming in the trial of George Zimmerman, for the cold-blooded murder of Trayvon Martin. We don’t know what the mostly white jury will decide, but this much we do know: there will be NO justice for Trayvon or the thousands of others like him....

We ask you to stand up on your block, in your community, in your city and join us in the streets at 6pm on the day of the verdict, regardless of what it is. Come to express your sorrow, your rage, and your continuing demand for justice for Trayvon and beyond.

The legal system won’t save us, as the California Hunger Strikers remind us.

The clergy won’t save us, and some are already teaming up with the police to prevent the righteous anger of the people from being expressed.

The politicians damn sure won’t save us.
Only we can save us."
Trayvon Martin Organizing Committee

Graphic from organizers in New York City.

"This system will give its verdict. Then we will give ours.... 

No one has a right to hunt a young man (like an animal) just because he fears and loathes black people. And then force a confrontation, and then shoot that young man.... The right and wrong here are not complicated all. This was murder. Racist murder. 

There is no crime in this country more intolerable, more embedded, more prettified than racist murder. Time's up. It's been up. Let's end it, together. Power to the people." — Mike Ely on Kasama

Friday, July 12, 2013

Palestine Postage Stamp Conflict Escalates

Commemorative block just issued by Palestine Authority reads "State of Palestine."

I've written before about the postage stamps of Palestine. The competing Palestinian governments in the West Bank and Gaza have both now been issuing stamps for years based on the Oslo Accords, which created the Palestinian Authority and provided for certain advances in Palestinian civil government despite overall Israeli occupation. 

The stamps issued in Gaza by the Hamas-controlled wing of the PA have been overwhelmingly "militant" in theme and completely untolerated by Israeli authorities. The stamps issued by the Fatah-controlled West Bank wing, however, have generally followed a condition dictated by Israel to be on "peaceful" subjects, and to not explicitly challenge Israeli authority or be overly suggestive of an independent Palestinian entity. Thus, Israeli authorities have confiscated, delayed, suppressed, or complained about certain stamp issues, or ultimately refused to transmit mail bearing stamps it deems offensive or improper. Palestine Authority stamps are generally used on mail from the West Bank to the rest of the world with no problem, since the Fatah government generally pursues a policy of nonconfrontation.

While several sets of stamps have been issued by the West Bank Palestinian Authority this year with the usual pacific subject matter (animals of Palestine, and firefighters, for example) and the standard "Palestinian Authority" inscription, Palestinian postal authorities have surprised the world with an unannounced commemorative block just issued, inscribed "State of Palestine." A revision of a similar, football ("soccer") themed block issued last year, the block marks the recognition by the world Football authority, FIFA, of "the Palestinian national home ground." While this FIFA decision was back in 2008, the willingness of the PA to use "State of Palestine" on the stamp comes in recognition of the "State of Palestine" by a vote at the United Nations last year. Several world bodies and various countries have now recognized the State of Palestine. 

The block, shown above, shows a waving Palestinian flag, a cheering crowd and a soccer ball.

It's not yet known how Israel will react to this postal challenge to Israeli control. According to my sources, some Palestine Authority mail is now routed from the West Bank through Jordan, so Israel may be impotent to do more than verbally challenge the "State of Palestine" inscription. Interestingly, the currency of this issue is switched from "fils" to "mils," switching in effect from Jordanian currency to a virtual Palestinian one.

First Day Cover recently issued in Gaza

Definitely not meeting with Israeli approval, is the most recent stamp issue of the Gaza government. Released in June, a set of stamps and a block mark the "Battle of Shale Stones," or the Israeli assault on Gaza last year. The elaborate block shows the face of Ahmed Jabari, the Hamas military commander assassinated by Israel at the start of their attack. The block is an elaborate montage of explosions, fighters, a waving Palestinian flag, a map of Palestine and a missile bearing Palestinian colors launching out of Gaza. Also featured at the top of the block are the flags of Qatar and Turkey, two regional powers that have been supporters of the Hamas government.

Click on the images to see them in their full colorful glory.

More information on the stamps of Palestine can be found at the comprehensive Zobbel site, "An Introduction to the Philately of Palestine." Thanks to Palestinian stamp dealer Arabian Stamps for images (See Arabian Stamps at Ebay or Delcampe). Another good source of info on recent Palestinian stamps is an English philatelist, Magan Stamps.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

30,000 Prisoners On Strike in California!

According to new reports, some thirty thousand California inmates have refused meals this week; and a smaller number of refused to report for their prison work assignments. Even the New York Times is reporting the action: "Once the state tallies the official number of participants, the hunger strike could become the largest in state history. A similar hunger strike over several weeks in 2011 had about 6,000 participants at its official peak, corrections officials said, and a strike that fall had about 4,200"

The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. The United States also has the largest absolute number of imprisoned people, well above the repressive Russian Federation and even the most populous nation in the world, China.

There's a great series of profiles of some of the strike leaders at Solitary Watch. For updates on the strike, check out or

Monday, July 08, 2013

Strike the Prisons!

"There is a spirit of rebellion in the world, and from Guantanamo to Istanbul to Brazil — people are fighting for their right to live — not as robots, not as slaves, not as chattel. It is not just about the prisoners. The overpopulation of California’s prison system not only exerts a lifelong effect on prisoners, but also tears apart whole communities who bear the burden of mass incarceration.

And in fighting for themselves and their families the prisoners are tran- scending the prison. It’s a struggle for democracy in its most basic meaning.

We support them. We embrace them. Power to the people."
Strike The Prisons

This week prisoners up and down the West Coast have set aside political differences, racial divisions, and longstanding beefs to unite for a massive hunger strike and system-wide work stoppage. Working in solidarity with organizers on the inside, revolutionaries and activists on the outside have begun a support campaign for the striking prisoners. Part of this campaign is a broadsheet bulletin entitled "Strike the Prisons," thatis being distributed in Washington State, Oregon and California starting this week. I was honored to be asked to help produce the bulletin, and working with amazing comrades on both coasts, the broadsheet was set to be printed today. Expect a massive news blackout from mainstream media.

The full content of the broadsheet can be read at Kasama, via a downloadable PDF here. Strike the Prisons content will also be up at its own website here shortly, and updates on solidarity work and the unfolding strike can be found at Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity and at the Prisoner Hunger & Work Strike blog.

The conditions for long-term prisoners in California, especially those in various forms of isolation, are worse than those for most zoo animals. In this era of mass incarceration, when prisons are used as a form of social control, these prisoners need our support.

Victory to the prison strikes!

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Just Do It.

US Imperialism Is A Paper Tiger
Excerpts from a speech by Mao Zedong, 1956

The United States is flaunting the anti-communist banner everywhere in order to perpetrate aggression against other countries.

The United States owes debts everywhere. It owes debts not only to the countries of Latin America, Asia and Africa, but also to the countries of Europe and Oceania. The whole world, Britain included dislikes the United States. The masses of the people dislike it. Japan dislikes the United States because it oppresses her. None of the countries in the East is free from U.S. aggression. The United States has invaded our Taiwan Province. Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam and Pakistan all suffer from U.S. aggression, although some of them are allies of the United States. The people are dissatisfied and in some countries so are the authorities.

All oppressed nations want independence.

Everything is subject to change. The big decadent forces will give way to the small new-born forces. The small forces will change into big forces because the majority of the people demand this change. The U.S. imperialist forces will change from big to small because the American people, too, are dissatisfied with their government.

In my own lifetime I myself have witnessed such changes. Some of us present were born in the Ching Dynasty and others after the 1911 Revolution...

Now U.S. imperialism is quite powerful, but in reality it isn't. It is very weak politically because it is divorced from the masses of the people and is disliked by everybody and by the American people too. In appearance it is very powerful but in reality it is nothing to be afraid of, it is a paper tiger. Outwardly a tiger, it is made of paper, unable to withstand the wind and the rain. I believe the United States is nothing but a paper tiger.

History as a whole, the history of class society for thousands of years, has proved this point: the strong must give way to the weak. This holds true for the Americas as well.

Only when imperialism is eliminated can peace prevail. The day will come when the paper tigers will be wiped out. But they won't become extinct of their own accord, they need to be battered by the wind and the rain.

When we say U.S. imperialism is a paper tiger, we are speaking in terms of strategy. Regarding it as a whole, we must despise it. But regarding each part, we must take it seriously. It has claws and fangs. We have to destroy it piecemeal. For instance, if it has ten fangs, knock off one the first time, and there will be nine left, knock off another, and there will be eight left. When all the fangs are gone, it will still have claws. If we deal with it step by step and in earnest, we will certainly succeed in the end.

Strategically, we must utterly despise U.S. imperialism. Tactically, we must take it seriously. In struggling against it, we must take each battle, each encounter, seriously. At present, the United States is powerful, but when looked at in a broader perspective, as a whole and from a long-term viewpoint, it has no popular support, its policies are disliked by the people, because it oppresses and exploits them. For this reason, the tiger is doomed. Therefore, it is nothing to be afraid of and can be despised. But today the United States still has strength, turning out more than 100 million tons of steel a year and hitting out everywhere. That is why we must continue to wage struggles against it, fight it with all our might and wrest one position after another from it. And that takes time.

It seems that the countries of the Americas, Asia and Africa will have to go on quarrelling with the United States till the very end, till the paper tiger is destroyed by the wind and the rain.

To oppose U.S. imperialism, people of European origin in the Latin-American countries should unite with the indigenous Indians. Perhaps the white immigrants from Europe can be divided into two groups, one composed of rulers and the other of ruled. This should make it easier for the group of oppressed white people to get close to the local people, for their position is the same....

What use is imperialism? The Chinese people will have none of it, nor will the people in the rest of the world. There is no reason for the existence of imperialism.  


Also, gotta love The Onion. "US Flag Recalled After Causing 143 Million Deaths."

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Happy Fourth of July?

So many of the world's current spectacles remind us of the truth of the words spoken by the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass back in 1852.

"What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass-fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy-a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States at this very hour."

"The sunlight that brought life and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth [of] July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn."

Watching the racist media follow the George Zimmerman proceedings, wherein the late Trayvon Martin is virtually on trial for being murdered, or the massive government hypocrisy over NSA spying, or President Obama's cluesslessly unselfaware visit to Robben Island in South Africa, or the US act of aggression in forcing down Bolivian President Evo Morales' plane over Europe, it's clear that so much in the world is just not right, so much of the myths about the United States are just so much red-white-and-blue bullshit. Some small amount of observation reveals that the Civil War that was fought to right some of the great wrongs Douglass condemned failed to rectify some of the major flaws in this nation's founding.

From 1845:

“I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ: I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land.”

“Dark and terrible as is this picture, I hold it to be strictly true of the overwhelming mass of professed Christians in America. They strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Could any thing be more true of our churches?”

“They attend with Pharisaical strictness to the outward forms of religion, and at the same time neglect the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith.”

So much work to be done. This fourth of July, time to recommit to a new, real revolution in America.

(You can watch the actor Danny Glover read a portion of the 1852 speech here).
“I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ: I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land.”

“I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ: I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land.”
“Dark and terrible as is this picture, I hold it to be strictly true of the overwhelming mass of professed Christians in America. They strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Could any thing be more true of our churches?”
“They attend with Pharisaical strictness to the outward forms of religion, and at the same time neglect the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith.”