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Friday, November 23, 2018

ROL, USA NEWSLETTER #111 (NOV/DEC 2018) SYNOPSIS

Revolutionary Organization of Labor, USA


#111
November/December 2018

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The Longer Monopoly Capitalism Survives,
the more Humanity’s Survival is in Jeopardy!

A Commentary on the New Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
by RAY LIGHT


First appeared in ROL, USA Newsletter #111
 
The scientists tasked with assessing global climate change are hearing urgent warnings for all humanity from Mother Nature!

https://rayolightnewsletter.blogspot.com/2018/11/the-longer-monopoly-capitalism-survives.html


******
Cuba Por Vida
Cindy Sheehan
An Exclusive Report on her recent inspiring trip to Cuba
 

First appeared in ROL, USA Newsletter #111

At Gates of Gitmo Torture Camp: 2007
2007 was the first time I went to Cuba—the timing was around the anniversary of the U.S. (under the Bush regime) opening the prison/torture camp at Guantanamo Bay. My traveling companions included an Arab woman whose son was currently detained at Guantanamo; a man who had been detained there; and a mother whose son was killed in the World Trade Center on 11 September 2001. We were quite the group of people whose lives had been fundamentally changed by the actions of the demented U.S. Empire. Despite promises to the contrary by the Obama regime, Guantanamo Prison Camp is still open for torture business all these years later. 
https://rayolightnewsletter.blogspot.com/2018/11/viva-cuba-by-cindy-sheehan.html
*****
Trump's USA: No Country for Women
Ray Light
 The Significance of Kavanaugh’s Elevation to the Supreme Court

 First appeared in ROL, USA Newsletter #111

On Saturday, October 6, 2018, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh was confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court by one of the slimmest margins in U.S. history. Somber-looking Senators voted 50 to 48 to “elevate” Kavanaugh. A chorus of women in the Senate’s public galleries quite appropriately and repeatedly interrupted the proceedings with cries of  “Shame!” A few days later, in a private ceremony, Kavanaugh was quickly sworn in as the one hundred and fourteenth justice of the Supreme Court.
https://rayolightnewsletter.blogspot.com/2018/11/trumps-usa-no-country-for-women-by-ray.html
 

Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution from ROL, USA


Series of articles on the intense struggle
culminating in the victory of the
Great October Socialist Revolution
and on the world historic achievements that it produced
under Bolshevik leadership!
Bound Pamphlet, 102 pages.
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Strike Three! by PAT KELLY

Yankees and Dodgers “Cross the Line” and Become Two Time Losers
        Strike Three!
 by PAT KELLY

First appeared in ROL, USA Newsletter #111

On October 3rd over 1,500 union hotel workers, from Doormen to Housekeepers, walked off the job at seven Marriot-owned hotels in Boston. The strikers, members of UNITE HERE Local 26, took to the streets following more than six months of fruitless negotiations. According to The Nation magazine, “The Boston hotel workers, at least 60 percent of them women and 85 percent of them Black, Latino, and Asian Employees including many immigrants, earn modest salaries. Housekeepers—by far the largest segment of the unionized hotel workforce—earn an average of $21.45 an hour, the equivalent of about $44,000 for those who work 40 hours a week year Round. But the union is calling on the hotel owners to provide steadier hours so that workers will have health insurance, a reasonable pay increase, and pension protections for workers approaching retirement.” (The Nation, 10-10-18,  “Yankees Players Cross the Picket Line in Boston” by Peter Dreier and Kelly Candaele ).

After five years of record profits, Marriott International, the largest hotel chain in the world, can no doubt afford to meet the union’s demands. UNITE HERE hotel workers have also gone on strike in San Francisco, Detroit, Oakland and other cities.

The slogan of the strike, “One Job Should Be Enough”, shows that many workers are forced to work two, sometimes three jobs to make ends meet. It also reflects the workers’ desire for justice and to be treated with dignity and respect.

Two days after the Boston hotel workers began their strike, the New York Yankees arrived in Boston to begin the baseball playoffs against the rival Red Sox in the American League Divisional Series. The Yankee players, lacking any sense of justice, respect or even human decency, even though they’re all union members themselves, chose to be scabs and strike breakers by crossing the picket line in front of the Ritz-Carlton hotel, even though the strikers asked the Yankees players not to cross the picket line by calling out “don’t check in - check out.”

Striking union members and leaders alike were rightfully outraged at the Yankees union-busting actions. Brian Lang, president of UNITE-HERE Local 26 said, “They didn’t go in some back door-they went right through the front door, through the picket line, and blew by the people who are fighting for their lives … They acted just like an elite businessperson as they walked through the picket line.” Lang added: “It’s them spitting in the face of – not just the workers – but working people in Boston.”

Then, according to the 10-15-18 Boston Globe, the workers began carrying signs that read “Yankees=SCABS”. Mario Cilento, president of the New York State AFL-CIO, stated, “as a lifelong Yankee fan and proud New Yorker, I am disgusted the management of a team representing the strongest union town in America would choose a hotel where workers are on strike.”  (The Nation, ibid). The Yankees not only lost the series, they also lost my respect and that of any decent working person.

When the Los Angeles Dodgers came to Boston for the World Series against the Red Sox they also scabbed by crossing the same picket line the Yankees crossed!

A little history: Major league baseball players have gone on strike or been locked out by owners eight times since 1972. During the 232-day strike by ballplayers in 1994 the Teamsters union refused to deliver goods to the stadiums in support of the striking players. In return, Yankee and Dodger players have stabbed their striking union brothers and sisters in the back!  “Marvin Miller … the first executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), freed players from indentured servitude. Because of the players union the Yankees and their counterparts on 29 other teams are among the highest paid athletes in the world … this year the minimum salary is $545,000 and the average salary is $4.5 million … most players make far above the minimum … . Before Miller took the reins, players were tethered to their teams through the “reserve clause.” Their contracts “reserved” the teams right to “retain” the player for the next season. Each year, the team owners told players: Take it or leave it. Even superstars went hat-in-hand to owners at the end of the season, begging for a raise.”  (The Nation, 10-10-18, ibid)

Clearly, major league ballplayers were once exploited and beaten down by team owners like the striking hotel workers are in Boston. Corrupted by the influence of mega-buck contracts, lucrative product endorsement deals and a cult-like celebrity status in society, many major league ballplayers no longer see themselves as a part of the labor movement. Having a youthful and confident team with superior skills, the Boston Red Sox, World Series Champs, defeated the Yankees and Dodgers. Both the Yankees and Dodgers were losers on the field and both teams were losers for crossing the picket line.

If You're Not Outraged, You're Not Paying Attention from ROL, USA NEWSLETTER #111



Get Angry, Get Active, Rise Up – Fight for Workers Power!
First appeared in ROL, USA Newsletter #111

*A good bumper sticker reads, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” If you are paying attention, please send me the items that are enraging you. Thanks to comrade Carl Pappos for submitting the items in this issue.~~~the Editor

Flannery, who was fired after just 14 months on the job for poor performance, will get $4,250,000, that is 4.25 Million Dollars on the way out the door!  He also gets to keep equity awards that could be worth several million more dollars.  In addition he gets another $4 million plus in stock options. Flannery will receive 23.6 million in pension benefits while future GE workers will have no pension.  This very enrichment of the bosses commonly comes off the back of working people in the form of poor social services, failing schools, substandard wages, inadequate medical benefits, disappearing pensions and poor housing.

***
“Boeing withheld Data on Potential Hazards”.  According to this article in the November 13th issue of the The Wall Street Journal Boeing withheld information on their new flight control feature which is very possibly the cause of the Lion Air jet crash which killed all 189 people on board.  Boeing’s explanation, “One high-ranking Boeing official said the company had decided against disclosing more details to cockpit crews due to concerns about inundating average pilots with too much information … .”  It is further revealed that “Boeing marketed the MAX 8 (aircraft) partly by telling customers it wouldn’t need pilots to undergo additional simulator training … .”  Again it is profit before people.  Will the responsible Boeing executives go to jail for this murderously criminal act?!!

TRUMP’S USA: NO COUNTRY FOR WOMEN by RAY LIGHT

The Significance of Kavanaugh’s Elevation to the Supreme Court

TRUMP’S USA: NO COUNTRY FOR WOMEN

by RAY LIGHT
 First appeared in ROL, USA Newsletter #111

On Saturday, October 6, 2018, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh was confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court by one of the slimmest margins in U.S. history. Somber-looking Senators voted 50 to 48 to “elevate” Kavanaugh. A chorus of women in the Senate’s public galleries quite appropriately and repeatedly interrupted the proceedings with cries of  “Shame!” A few days later, in a private ceremony, Kavanaugh was quickly sworn in as the one hundred and fourteenth justice of the Supreme Court.

In the aftermath of this event, it is clear that there were three main issues at stake: 1. the status of women in the USA today; 2. the midterm elections across the country - then less than a month away; and 3. placement on the Supreme Court of a partisan Republican operative who will unashamedly defend President Trump’s right to the “divine right of kings.” This last is of special significance in light of the ongoing investigation of the Trump Regime and its connection to the Trump Corporate Empire.

The Status of Women in the USA Today – From the moment Trump nominated Judge Kavanaugh in July, Democratic Senators were intent on keeping him off the Supreme Court. They raised questions about his partisan past—he was part of the investigation leading to President Clinton’s impeachment and later carried out vital and secretive missions inside the George W. Bush White House. All this raised warning flags about his “expansive” view of executive power. For Kavanaugh was the outstanding candidate on Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees who had shown a capacity to wage and even lead a struggle on the Court to grant President Trump virtually unlimited power to rule over the USA with impunity. For Trump, Kavanaugh’s elevation represented a permanent “stay out of jail card.”

Among other troubling concerns about Kavanaugh was his level of truthfulness about his actual role in several partisan episodes in his political-judicial career and the belief that he would be committed to an anti-woman position overturning Roe v. Wade, the decades-old Supreme Court decision that established a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion. Nevertheless, it appeared that Kavanaugh was on his way to confirmation until Dr. Christine Blasey Ford surfaced with her account of Kavanaugh’s savage attempt to rape her at a party when they were in high school.

Dr. Ford’s allegation questioning his character threw Kavanaugh’s nomination into serious doubt and thrust the woman question into the place of political primacy, pushing all other concerns about Kavanaugh into oblivion. What followed was riveting testimony by Dr. Ford followed by Kavanaugh’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The hearing itself appeared well-staged by the Republican Senate majority. Not even one Republican Senator (eleven white men) spoke a word during Dr. Ford’s testimony.*

*It is likely that, like the President who nominated Kavanaugh, at least several Republican senators are themselves sexual predators who didn’t want to get too much exposure opposing Dr. Ford.

Instead they used a “hired gun,” Rachel Mitchell, the veteran female prosecutor from Maricopa County, Arizona (where Trump’s pal Joe Arpaio had been sheriff and was later pardoned by Trump!) to attempt to discredit Dr. Ford’s testimony. Mitchell tried with no success to show that Dr. Ford had been put up to come forward with her testimony by the Democratic Party machine. Despite getting nowhere, Mitchell persisted with that single line of questioning, hoping that repetition would make it seem that she had been on to something.

Dr. Ford’s testimony was extremely credible. When Democratic

Senator Leahy and other “friendly” Democrats attempted to get Dr. Ford to go beyond her actual experience in her condemnation of  Kavanaugh, she refused to do so. Furthermore, there were gaps in her memory, that any victim of such an attack might well have, that she did not cover up. Dr. Ford’s testimony was devastating to Kavanaugh.


Judge Kavanaugh, on the other hand, demonstrated great anger, disgust and haughtiness at even being questioned by the U.S. Senators in a Senate hearing on his fitness for the Supreme Court. When one female Senator had the “audacity” to question Kavanaugh about his “love of beer drinking,” he did not hesitate to arrogantly and inappropriately throw the question back in her face. Beyond the many folks who believed Kavanaugh was lying about the serious incident from decades earlier, most other folks listening to Kavanaugh’s testimony at a minimum believed that Kavanaugh’s conduct in the hearing demonstrated his inability to be a Supreme Court Justice who could dispense justice in his deliberations.

Despite how rigged the hearing had been and how determined the Senate Republican majority was to ram the nomination through, Dr. Ford’s brilliant and compelling testimony following her published charges, especially at the height of #MeToo consciousness, had unearthed similar charges against Kavanaugh from other credible women and now compelled a last-minute F.B.I. “inquiry” into at least some of the new allegations surfacing against Kavanaugh.

But this F.B.I. “investigation” was so clearly just “going through the motions” for a couple of days (!) that it was an insult to every woman and to every human being who cares about bringing an end to the oppression of women. Before the Saturday vote, the only other accuser whom the F.B.I. bothered to question, issued a statement deploring what was about to happen. Deborah Ramirez stated: “Thirty-five years ago, the other students in the room chose to laugh and look the other way as sexual violence was perpetrated on me by Brett Kavanaugh. As I watch many of the senators speak and vote on the floor of the Senate, I feel like I’m right back at Yale where half the room is laughing and looking the other way. Only this time, instead of drunk college kids, it is U.S. senators who are deliberately ignoring his behavior. This is how victims are isolated and silenced.” (Quoted in “Kavanaugh Is Sworn In After Close Confirmation Vote in Senate,” New York Times, 10-6-18, Sheryl Gay Stolberg)

Once they had their man safely on the Supreme Court, Trump and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell went on the offensive. Trump derided the sizable protests at the Supreme Court and the Capitol as “phony stuff” and claimed (against all evidence) that “women were outraged at what happened to Brett Kavanaugh. Outraged.” McConnell asserted that, “the virtual mob that has assaulted all of us in this process has turned our base on fire.”

Indeed, this bitter nomination fight, in the midst of the #MeToo movement, energized survivors of sexual assault, as well as the Republican/Trump base, to political action. During the 2018 Kavanaugh Senate hearings there was widespread exposure of the fact that Anita Hill had been treated despicably by the U.S. Senate twenty-seven years earlier, including by the Democrats (led by Joe Biden) as well as the Republicans, in the confirmation hearings for (successful) Supreme Court nominee, Clarence Thomas. The fact that there was a similar repudiation of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford in 2018 demonstrated that the status of women, at least in the U.S. corridors of power, had not significantly advanced and that now there are at least two sexual predators on the U.S. Supreme Court.

The impact on the U.S. Midterm Elections of the Kavanaugh nomination process – Had Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court been blocked, as it clearly would have been by a “fair-minded” U.S. Senate, it would have contributed significantly to a major electoral defeat of the Republican Party in the midterm elections, held a month later.

In truth, Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, turned out to be correct. The Trump-Kavanaugh Supreme Court victory did turn their reactionary “base on fire,” aided by the aggressive campaign of the admittedly misogynistic, shameless President. It is clear from the election results that this campaign successfully pushed back the rising #MeToo movement. In particular, the Republican Party, largely on the basis of its shameless behavior in the Kavanaugh affair, was able to retain its majority in the U.S. Senate.




As regards gubernatorial races, the Democratic Party picked up seven. In the U.S. House of Representatives, Democrats gained more than thirty House seats and once again are the “majority party” in the House. While this latter point can be significant in ongoing and upcoming investigations of the Trump Regime, neither the gains in State Houses nor the House gains in Congress represents a mass repudiation of the Trump Regime. This is a reflection of the fact that the Democratic Party candidates, while including a number of new, more militant and dynamic candidates, especially women, also included a large number of the same old corporate Democrats amplified by a number of younger U.S. military veterans who are just as pro-U.S. Imperialism as the Democratic Party Clinton-Pelosi “old guard.”

The elevation to the Supreme Court of an openly partisan Republican operative who will unashamedly defend President Trump’s right to the “divine right of kings.” – The immediate impact of Kavanaugh’s promotion to the U.S. Supreme Court has been felt most strongly in relation to the push back against the advances in the status of women, including neutralizing the rising #MeToo movement, and in the ability of the Trump-led Republican Party to retain a majority in the U.S. Senate in the mid-term elections.

Nevertheless, over the long run, Kavanaugh’s ascendancy to the U.S. Supreme Court and his willingness to pardon any corrupt, illegal and unconstitutional conduct on the part of President Trump and his coterie of Trump Dynasty officials may well turn out to be the most important and tragic impact on the body politic of the USA. This significantly increases, for example, the prospects for the rise of fascism to power in the USA. And, because the declining U.S. Empire remains arguably the most powerful destructive force in the world, Kavanaugh’s presence on the U.S. Supreme Court, dispensing his blessings of “constitutional” legitimacy upon the glaringly illegitimate, may well have its most important and tragic impact on all the peoples of the world.

Already, on November 7, the day after the midterm elections, Trump made two daring and decisive moves to fortify himself against the inevitable congressional investigations that will accompany the emergence of a Democratic majority in the U.S. House and to lay the basis for the elimination of the Mueller Investigation. On that very morning, Trump forced Attorney General (AG) Jeff Sessions to resign. Had Trump not been successful in his placement of Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, no doubt he would have felt compelled to continue Sessions at the Justice Department. But with the Kavanaugh-led Supreme Court covering his back, Trump immediately appointed Matthew Whitaker, Sessions chief of staff and a critic of the Mueller investigation, as the acting AG. Trump leapfrogged Whitaker over  Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Trump has been trying to fire Rosenstein since he took on the task (in place of the recused AG Sessions) of overseeing the Mueller Special Investigation of Trump, his connection to the 2016 election results and his private business deals while president.

Unfortunately for Trump, Rosenstein has been vetted by the U.S. Senate, making him eligible to become a cabinet member such as the AG who oversees the entire Justice Department. Whitaker has had no such vetting and is therefore constitutionally ineligible to be promoted into the AG position. Still Trump persists in violation of the U.S. Constitution.




The second daring Trump move on that day involved his attempt to drive a critical journalist out of the White House Press Corp.  CNN’s Jim Acosta was trying to get Trump to answer his question. Trump attempted to silence him and when Acosta persisted, Trump ordered a female intern to grab the microphone away. Using fabricated video footage, the Trump White House revoked Acosta’s press pass, in so doing sending a chilling message to the rest of the White House press corps. The Trump forces claimed they were barring Acosta from the White House for improperly touching the woman. CNN filed a lawsuit and the Trump-fabricated “proof” was exposed. As we go to press, Acosta’s press pass has been reinstated by a judge.



Thus far, since the midterm elections, the Trump Regime’s daring moves have given him no peace.

Indeed, the lawless, out-of-control Trump Dynasty, when faced with imminent defeat, may well opt for a major world war (with or without nuclear weapons) or blatant violations of global agreements on global warming which could have a similarly catastrophic effect on our Mother Earth.


*****

CONCLUSION

Trump’s USA is no country for women. So will Trump drive out the women of the USA or will the women of the USA lead in driving out Trump?

In an earlier article, “Trump’s USA: No Country for Children” (Ray O’ Light Newsletter #109, July-August 2018) I concluded the following: “For our children to have a decent future in the USA, Trump, the Tyrant, must be exposed, isolated and defeated. The workers and the oppressed within the USA who are the victims of the Trump Regime discussed above will have to achieve genuine unity in the course of our battles for justice. Such unity and solidarity will be vital to our success. Just as vital will be the international solidarity of the workers and the oppressed peoples in the rest of the world with those of us “in the belly of the beast.” Only by uniting with them in their defense against the U.S. Empire will we earn their solidarity.

This same approach applies to women following  Trump’s successful seating of Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court and its aftermath. Already in the midterm elections many positive women candidates and election activists made a strong initial showing (though too many are still tethered to the Democratic Party). And our comrade, Cindy Sheehan, on the eve of the midterms, led a small but determined Women’s March on the Pentagon rightly focused on the main source of violence in our world today, the imperialist violence of the U.S. Empire in decline. Whether directed at woman, children, oppressed nationalities or workers anywhere in the world, comrade Sheehan’s courageous and persistent leadership on the question of stopping U.S.-led imperialist war needs to become a central demand of a genuine women’s movement with the capacity to help drive Trump out of the USA.

Finally, in the struggle to defeat the fascistic Trump Regime, the valuable guidance of George Dimitrov and the Communist International, and the heroic example of the Soviet youth, the Soviet people, the Soviet Red Army, and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, led by comrade Stalin that led the global victory over world fascism in World War II, will help us on our path to a brighter future.

Viva, Cuba by Cindy Sheehan

An Exclusive Report on her recent inspiring trip to Cuba
 

Cuba Por Vida by CINDY SHEEHAN
First appeared in ROL, USA Newsletter #111


At Gates of Gitmo Torture Camp: 2007
2007 was the first time I went to Cuba—the timing was around the anniversary of the U.S. (under the Bush regime) opening the prison/torture camp at Guantanamo Bay. My traveling companions included an Arab woman whose son was currently detained at Guantanamo; a man who had been detained there; and a mother whose son was killed in the World Trade Center on 11 September 2001. We were quite the group of people whose lives had been fundamentally changed by the actions of the demented U.S. Empire. Despite promises to the contrary by the Obama regime, Guantanamo Prison Camp is still open for torture business all these years later.

For my first trip, I recall having to “sneak” into Cuba via Cancun on a very rickety plane of Cubana Airlines. During our visit there, we stayed at hostels and guest houses and we ate very simply of beans and rice and vegetables most of the time. We traveled to Guantanamo from Santiago de Cuba in a very old school bus with springs that had seen better days during the Nixon regime. It was a heavenly trip and I fell in love with the people, culture, and revolution!

After that trip, I have been to Cuba several times more—always “illegally,” but always with varying degrees of what we would call “Western comfort.” Toilet seats, door handles, food choices, and building supplies are at a premium because of the U.S. blockade, but what’s always in abundant supply in Cuba is the friendliness of the people and the revolutionary spirit.

Recently in June of this year, I had another opportunity to travel to Cuba and, for the first time, I took a regularly scheduled U.S. flight from Ft. Lauderdale, FL to Havana! Incredibly, I flew Southwest Airlines and even earned miles for future trips! It was very easy to obtain a visa at a special counter and, even though it was much more simple to get to Cuba, part of the delicious feeling of disobeying the U.S. regime was missing. Although there are still restrictions for U.S. citizens going to Cuba, we are now allowed to bring back Cuban cigars and Cuban rum and souvenirs (up to a certain dollar amount). With this new situation, I would encourage everyone to travel to Cuba and see for themselves about how we have been lied to and lied to our entire lives about the “oppressive” society.

I was watching a mainstream show recently and the host was in Cuba to find “buried treasure,” and he said that despite living under “authoritarian rule,” the people of Cuba were always singing and dancing and have huge smiles on their faces! Perhaps, this is because there is not an over abundance of oppression, but a not-so-buried treasure of human kindness in Cuba? How could a people feel oppressed when their basic needs are recognized and fulfilled by the Cuban government? The people of Cuba and the non-authoritarian authorities that I have been in contact with along the path of my journey, recognize that their enemy is U.S. imperialism and the rotten, decades long U.S. blockade of Cuba, not their own government or leaders.

Even though the inhuman blockade has done its job of blocking, or severely limiting essential goods, food, medicine, and other products, the people of Cuba have made do for all these years because of their will. We asked a woman who was the president of a farming co-op in Villa Clara province how the blockade affected her and her community and her answer was simply, “the U.S. does what the U.S. does, but our job is feeding our community and we will do that despite the U.S.”

Our tour group encountered that kind of spirit all over Cuba.

Again, in Villa Clara we met with some English students at a gathering at La Universidad Marta Abreu. I spoke at an exchange with the students. They were appalled and a little skeptical of what I shared with them about higher education in the U.S.: basically, as we all know, it’s prohibitively expensive and USAian youth either go into life-long debt, join the military, or are born into families that profit off of war, so they don’t have to worry about the cost.

In Cuba, education is compulsory to the 9th grade. After that, students can choose to go three ways: into university prep, an apprenticeship, or to vocational school depending on their test scores and desires. The university students we met at Marta Abreu (from Santa Clara, a heroic figure in Cuban history; a supporter of Cuban independence from Spain and “benefactor” to the early efforts) told us that once they are accepted to university, the requirements are strict, but there is no cost for school, supplies, lodging, or food. We all know about the famous medical school Cuba maintains for free for students all over the world, and I have been there. However, to be in the provinces to see how “oppressed” (read healthy and happy) university students really are increased my resolve to expose the lies of the U.S. empire about Cuba. I wish my son Casey didn’t feel he had to join the military to get a university education, or even that my daughter Carly didn’t owe around 50k for her degrees. Poor (monetarily) Cuba, unlike the wealthy U.S., recognizes that education is a human right, not a privilege for the few.

Another aspect of Cuban society that is so contrary from what we experience in the U.S. is the way that labor relations are handled.

Our tour group visited a factory in Cuba that made plastic bags. While most of us were not in favor of the product, that was not the point of the visit. What we were to get out of this exchange was that there is no tension between worker and management. There are no “sides” in the traditionally adversarial relationship because even managers are workers in Cuba and everyone in the factory is working towards the same thing: the most efficient and safe way to mass produce their product. I have observed that here in the U.S., (with notable and rare exceptions) even some union executives seem to work against the workers for the bosses and mostly the Democrat party.

One thing about Cuba that is so impressive to me is that while it is a very poor country, most of the resources go to the people and not to funding a huge military and cancerous empire all over the world. Fidel is almost universally loved in Cuba because the people there know that he devoted his life to them and despite hundreds of assassination attempts by the CIA, he stood firm in his revolutionary ideals and never wavered in his service to not only the people of Cuba, but by sending doctors and teachers all over the world (where they would be welcomed), he shared the true wealth of Cuba.

Finally, our week of traveling to have our faith in the people of Cuba (after the death of Fidel and retirement of Raul) confirmed, was “crowned” by a ceremony that was hosted by the living mothers of the Cuban Five.

In 2013, I traveled to Holguin Cuba to participate in a colloquia around the international efforts to Free the Cuban Five … I think readers of this newsletter are familiar with the case, but the Cuban 5 were five anti-terrorist agents who came to the USA and infiltrated counter-revolutionary organization against Cuba to prevent further acts of terrorism against their country. In an effort to be transparent with the U.S., Cuba passed some sensitive information to the U.S. government, and the five were promptly arrested and after trumped up charges and a truly kangaroo court, the five were convicted of spurious charges and sent to various U.S. prisons for various lengths of term.

That year in Holguin, as a pledge to do everything I could to help secure the Freedom of the Five, I presented the mothers: Mirta Rodríguez (mother of Antonio ), Magali Llort (mother of Fernando) and Irma Sehwerert (mother of René) my most precious treasure, a necklace that Casey gave me when he was in the Army and obviously before he was killed in Iraq. I also promised to return to Cuba to retrieve my necklace when their sons were home.


Cindy with Mothers in Holguin

Well, lo and behold, on December 17, 2014, we awakened on the West Coast to the news that in a “prisoner exchange” the remaining members of the Cuban Five were back in Cuba!

To make a long story short, I was able to finally receive my necklace back in a very emotional ceremony that was attended by four of the five Cuban campaigners and their three living mothers! In true Cuban style though, there was much dancing, singing, eating, and laughter along with the free-flowing tears!

Cuba is a paradise, but it is not a perfect paradise. In my humble opinion, the return of limited “free enterprise” there is not a positive development. This is the first visit where I witnessed many examples of a growing income inequality (mostly in Havana). However, I cannot imagine that the people of Cuba would be very interested in returning to the days before their beloved Che and Fidel helped to liberate them from U.S. imperialism, the cancer of capitalism, and the Batista dictatorship.



Cindy receives her necklace back from Cuban 5 and their mothers

****

As a child of the Cold War, my experience with Cuba and its lovely people, has done more than almost anything, except Casey’s murder, to highlight the treachery and viciousness of the U.S. Empire that killed Casey and has oppressed, or killed millions more over the years.

Always question, never surrender!

Viva, Cuba, y hasta la victoria, siempre!

The Longer Monopoly Capitalism Survives, the more Humanity’s Survival is in Jeopardy! by Ray Light

The Longer Monopoly Capitalism Survives,
the more Humanity’s Survival is in Jeopardy!

A Commentary on the New Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
by RAY LIGHT


First appeared in ROL, USA Newsletter #111
 
The scientists tasked with assessing global climate change are hearing urgent warnings for all humanity from Mother Nature!

On Saturday, October 6, 2018, in Incheon, Republic of Korea, “The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius” was approved by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  The IPCC, a UN creation, is the leading world body for assessing the science related to climate change, its impacts and potential future risks, and possible response options.  Ninety-one scientists from 40 countries prepared the IPCC report in response to an invitation from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), projected for 2018, when it adopted the 2015 Paris Agreement.

“Global Warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius” is the first in a series of Special Reports to be produced in the IPCC’s current Assessment Cycle to guide world leaders. Stunningly, the IPCC Report projects an even more catastrophic environmental impact of global warming on humanity thus far than previously envisioned by them and the governments that had mutually committed to a set of environmentally-conscious goals at the Paris Accords.

The Paris Agreement adopted by 195 nations in December 2015 aimed to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by “holding the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.” (ROL emphasis.)

As Coral Davenport explained in her New York Times piece on the IPCC Report, “The authors found that if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, the atmosphere will warm up by as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) above preindustrial levels by 2040, inundating coastlines and intensifying droughts and poverty. Previous work had focused on estimating the damage if average temperatures were to rise by a larger number, 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius), because that was the threshold scientists previously considered for the most severe effects of climate change. The new report, however, shows that many of those effects will come much sooner, at the 2.7 degree mark.” (New York Times, October 7, 2018, ROL emphasis)

Now it turns out that far greater environmental catastrophe will be visited sooner upon the human species and Mother Earth — unless there is a doubling of the actual decrease of global warming’s projected increase accomplished by these countries over the goals they had set in Paris in 2015!!!
The basic flaw that makes the scientists’ projections in the IPCC a lullaby instead of a wake-up call is that petty bourgeois science, in service to monopoly capital, takes a metaphysical approach rather than a dialectical approach to the problem of climate change.  It is criminally silent about and fails to take into account the driving economic force for the monopoly-capitalist dominated political-economic world. This is the incentive for private corporations and banks and financial institutions to carry out their individual selfish corporate goals for profit maximization — and humanity be damned!

Today’s political world, including the current United Nations Organization, is dominated by monopoly capitalism and imperialism. Petty bourgeois science is in service to the dominant political-economic power. Thus, even the IPCC presents the question of humanity’s ability to alter this tragic global trajectory as if it were somehow separate from the capitalist political-economic system that generated and continues to generate this impending catastrophe. No wonder climatologists have consistently underestimated the gravity of the situation.

“Limiting warming to 1.5 degrees C is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics but doing so would require unprecedented changes,” said Jim Skea, Co-Chair of one of the three IPCC Working Groups. It would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities.  Recognizing implicitly that its 2018 assessment report represents “too little, too late,” under capitalism, the IPCC hedges its bets by placing tremendous emphasis on techniques that remove carbon dioxide from the air to return global temperature to below 1.5 degrees Celsius, if [when] the global warming “overshoots” 1.5 degrees C. 


 

The desperation of the IPCC is reflected in the fact that its Report admits, “The effectiveness of such techniques  [carbon dioxide removal] are unproven at large scale and some may carry significant risks for sustainable development.” Taking all this into account, it is crucial to note the following: The IPCC Report concludes that the greenhouse gas reduction pledges put forth under the Paris agreement will not be enough to avoid the higher, more catastrophic level of 2 degrees C. or 3.6 degrees (F) of warming.
 

-Can Rogue States Be Punished by the World Community?-
 

The Times’ Coral Davenport exposes the opposition of President Trump, the billionaire Koch brothers (through their Americans for Prosperity) and the World Coal Association to the thrust of the IPCC Report, including campaigning against politicians who support a carbon tax. Even Senator Elizabeth Warren, the current leading “progressive” Democratic presidential candidate for 2020, remains an unabashed supporter of capitalism. So, on this question of life and death for humanity, as on so many other issues, Warren and the Democrats provide no real political alternative to Trump.

And Trump’s USA is not alone in resisting steps to reduce emissions enough to prevent the worst effects of climate change. The other day, Brazil, the world’s seventh-largest emitter of greenhouse gas, elected President Jair Bolsonaro, who declared his intention, in line with Trump, to withdraw Brazil from the accord.

Nevertheless, the U.S. delegation had joined with more than 180 countries in accepting the report’s summary for policymakers, “while walking a thin diplomatic line,” given Trump’s intention to lead the USA in withdrawal from the Paris Agreement as soon as possible.

This temporary tactical U.S. “retreat” in the face of the IPCC Report reflects the fact that the overwhelming majority of the world’s governments including major powers such as China, the European Union, Russia and India that remain affiliated with the Paris Accord, have tremendous justification/leverage to unite to punish rogue governments such as Trump’s USA and Bolsonaro’s Brazil economically, politically and ultimately militarily, if necessary. For, as the rogue governments accelerate and exacerbate Mother Nature’s wrath coming down on all of global humanity,  for the Paris Accord countries, punishing the rogue governments, will constitute self-defense at the most macro level.

Unfortunately, global finance capital corrupts all these governments and institutions, including the United Nations. It represents a crippling influence on those forces concerned or even dedicated to the defense of Mother Earth as a habitat for humanity. These forces certainly include many scientists and technocrats dealing with global climate change, they include some government leaders in oppressed and dependent countries whose peoples will  be among the first to be drastically impacted. And they likely include even some capitalist managers and strategists and even a few financial magnates who see clearly and are moved by the grave situation to which capital has brought humanity. Yet none of these class and national forces has the independence from international capital to lead a successful defense of Mother Earth as a habitat for humanity.

The one socio-economic class whose very strength is realized through its struggle against international capital is the international working class, the international proletariat. And it is under the leadership of the global proletariat that these other class and national forces can play an important role in saving our earthly habitat and ushering in a socialist world.

A CHALLENGE TO THE WORKERS OF THE USA AND THE WORLD

 
One bright note, surprisingly here in the USA, “the belly of the beast,” is the current stirring of the U.S. working class. At a time when there is greater U.S. demand for labor than supply, it is even being reflected, finally, in wage increases. As part of the general stirring of the U.S. workers, in the past month or so, unionized hotel housekeepers in Chicago and spreading to both coasts, distillery workers in Kentucky and crane operators in Seattle all walked off the job for better pay and benefits. And teachers in LA, as well as steelworkers at Arcelor Mittal SA and U.S. Steel Corp. voted union strike authorization.

In a (9-24-18) Wall Street Journal piece the title tells the story, “Tight Labor Market Fuels Strike Threat.” According to the Journal, “Through August 2018 [2/3rds of the year] labor disputes have caused workers (excluding teachers) to miss 633,000 days on the job this year, up from 440,000 in all of last year.” [That is, about doubled so far this year over last year!] With massive teachers strikes included, more than two million days were withheld, the most since 2006. The Journal points out: after labor disputes had reached a record low in 2009, for the first time in years, now, “the Economy shifted bargaining power toward labor.”
In line with this general stirring of the U.S. working class, there is a new boldness to workers’ demands extending far beyond the “normal” bread and butter issues to issues that have traditionally been the exclusive province of the capitalists.

Last Spring, when the Trump Regime instituted its brutal policy of separating immigrant children from their families as they crossed the Mexican border into the USA, flight attendants and other union airline workers, insisted to the airline company bosses that they would refuse to staff flights aiding the U.S. government’s kidnapping of these children. With leadership from Sara Nelson, International President of the Association of Flight Attendants - CWA, AFL-CIO these workers used their labor power to compel their corporate bosses to oppose Trump’s fascistic oppression of these hard-pressed immigrant families. Certainly this concerted action of union airline workers contributed to the surprisingly strong mass political opposition to this particular Trump policy which resulted in a rare backing away by the presidential bully.




Some of the most skilled and privileged U.S. tech workers are now taking to the streets to protest social injustice and even harmful uses of the products they are helping to build and sell. And they are using their power at the point of production to deny their corporate masters the opportunity to use the products they create to enslave the workers and oppressed peoples of the world! An Associated Press article at the beginning of November reported on a global walkout by male and female Google employees protesting the company’s treatment of women.

AP reports, “For much of the past two years, elite technology employees have been stirring and in some cases organizing—first in internet workplace meetings and messaging boards, then in signed protest letters and ultimately in company walkouts such as 

 Thursday’s street demonstrations [Google].” In the Google walkout – from New York to Tokyo to Europe to the San Francisco Bay Area – the workers expressed discontent about the report that Google executive Andy Rubin received a $90 million severance package in 2014 after Google concluded that sexual misconduct allegations against him were credible.

The AP article continues: “Worker unrest helped scuttle Google’s Maven project to help the U.S. military scan battlefields using drones and artificial intelligence. Workers have also protested Google’s plans to launch a censored search engine in China, and work by Amazon and Microsoft to assist police agencies and federal immigration agents with facial recognition and other tools.” 




These tech workers are making demands for more power over their workplaces and using their labor power to fight for a better society and a better world. These skilled workers, unlike petty bourgeois scientists no matter how valuable and advanced they are, have the power to have some real control over the product of their labor and over their society as a whole. They are a harbinger of a working class that, when it takes state power and begins to build socialism, can deal successfully with global climate change. The capitalist system cannot.

Only the international working class, seizing political power and exercising dictatorship over the international capitalist class and presiding over a just world economy is capable of meeting the goals projected by the IPCC scientists and (possibly) averting the catastrophic tipping point they describe. Indeed, the drastic weather they forecast is already becoming the norm. One dramatic example — wildfires in California set a new record for destruction last year and is setting a new record for destruction again as we write these lines. (See Mystery Quote elsewhere in this Newsletter.)




Tragically, the international working class, in the absence of a substantial international communist movement, is not militantly united internationally and organized sufficiently to seize power and successfully lead the challenge of the impending environmental catastrophe for humanity in a timely way. For the sake of protecting and defending the human habitat on Earth there is an urgent need for proletarians of the world and oppressed peoples to unite and vanquish monopoly capitalism and imperialism, headed by U.S. imperialism.
The Working Class in power can deal successfully with Global Climate Change. The Capitalist system cannot.
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