Voices from Russia

Sunday, 20 January 2019

20 January 2019. Back After Three Months of Hell…

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It’s been three months since my last post in October. Nicky’s health continued to deteriorate and I was getting about two to four hours of sleep a night, combined with six-day work-weeks. Finally, in November, he had to go to hospital. He’s now in rehab. This has given me the chance to recover from that period of too much work and not enough rest. I’m still working hellish hours, as that’s the only way that I can earn enough to pay the bills. I’m also going to be 65 and I’m unable to retire because of Republican cuts to Social Security (the new age of full retirement benefits is now 70, thanks to Republican greedsters allied with Establishment Dem Corporate Ass-kissers).

The system of oppression put in place by Reagan and refined by Clinton, Bush II, and Obama put most working people under the boot of worthless sorts such as hedge-fund managers, subcontractors, real-estate developers, and stock-market drones. The “conservatives” and “liberals” are the same… it’s like the last scene of Orwell’s Animal Farm… there’s no difference between Establishment Republicans and Democrats… both favour the fatcats over the common man. The worst came this January… I got a raise… from 11.00/hour to 11.10/hour, that is, I now get 4.00 USD more a week. That’s because the minimum wage in New York State went up to 11.10/hour. In effect, my employer said to me by doing that:

If we could pay you less, we would, but the law won’t let us. Now, take this extra dime and be grateful for it. We won’t give you any more. We deserve it far more than you do.

This is common throughout the USA. For the first time in its history, the USA is full of quietly desperate people. You see, since the Affluent Effluent are doing well, that’s the only thing that matters. It doesn’t matter that hedge-fund shysters ruined Sears and Toys r’ Us deliberately to earn short-term profits… the affluent managers got off relatively scot-free. The workers got fucked with no vaseline? That’s just the “invisible hand of the market”… the management class says:

We’re not to blame. We didn’t make the system. This is the world is, the way it’s always been, and the way it’s always going to be!

That’s not so. Bernie scares the shit out of them. The new class of US Representatives includes people who truly rile he Corporate Class. Trump and Clinton were of the same social background… they were “strivers”, people who wanted to be in the upper reaches, but who were kept out by the Rockefellers, Whitneys, Mellons, Scaifes, and Gardners. Obama, as a Harvard-educated corporate lawyer, was actually of higher social standing than those two are. These two are the poisoned fruit of the noxious era brought forth by Reagan, refined by the Clintons, continued by Bush II, and brought to its logical culmination by Obama. Remember, in 2008 Obama had plenty of aid for fatcats impacted by the Great Recession, but next to nil for ordinary folks. 

However, do note that the NYT, WaPo, and CNN all ignore the Yellow Vests in Europe… the media is trying to bury it. Yet, reality has a way of asserting itself. The most popular Dem candidate for 2020 is Bernie… not Warren… not Biden… not Gabbard… but will the DNC pull its head out of its ass and go back to FDR? Remember, the first president to attack the New Deal was Harry Truman… not a Republican. He was a corrupt Pendergast Machine pol who made deals with Republicans… he allowed Taft-Hartley and he instigated the Cold War. McCarthy ran rampant because Truman let him (Ike stopped McCarthy… never forget that). However, the existence of the USSR meant that the American Corporate class didn’t want to let the working people get influenced by socialism. They used two things… one, they allowed the workers to have relative prosperity, and two, they used relentless propaganda to demonise socialism. When the USSR fell and the USA congratulated itself on winning the Cold War (wrongly, but that’s what happened), the Managerial Class felt that they could do as they pleased. The Clintons did more to harm working people than Reagan ever did. 

Yet, we’re at the end of an era, not the beginning of one. Trump is a result, not a cause. Hillary Clinton is a result, not a cause. Remove both, and the infection is still there. However, we can bring back the New Deal, and take it further. Socialism is the most-favoured political stance of the young… it’s simple… the greed of the Corporate moloch has ground them down with massive student debts. Shall we see a change? Yes… the only question is how violent the transition will be. I hope that it would avoid that. God willing, I’d hope that would be so.

Well, I’m back. Maybe, not every day, but I’m feeling well enough to take my place on the firing line. Keep it focused and keep it prudent. You win nothing by pointless bravado or pseudo-intellectual vapouring. Take my hand… the way won’t be easy, but we can make it if we stand united…

BMD

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Saturday, 30 June 2018

America’s Problem Isn’t Immigration… America’s Problem Is White Supremacy

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The USA appears to be destined by Providence to plague [the continent of] America with misery in the name of liberty.

Simón Bolívar

These words of the great 19th-century Latin American emancipator accurately describe the relationship between the USA and Latin America to this day. It’s why the punitive treatment by the Trump Administration of migrants attempting to cross the border from Mexico into the USA constitutes a double injustice.

The first injustice is the role that Washington plays and played in destabilising and impoverishing the economies of Latin American states over generations, while subverting and helping to bring down those governments south of the border that dares attempt to unshackle their countries from the chains of US imperialism, in process of which rampant crime, corruption, and violence prosper. The second injustice is the dehumanisation and demonisation meted out to the victims of the ensuing instability and social and economic dislocation wrought when in a state of extremis they flee their homes for sanctuary across the border with their families. Under no moral code can you justify or defend the forced separation of children, including infants, from their parents… none whatsoever. We saw this in the justifiable outcry unleashed in response, which eventually forced Trump to rescind the policy. However, this being said, the nauseating hypocrisy of liberals excoriating the president over the policy of separating children at the border with Mexico has been near impossible to bear. The likes of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, people who when they weren’t responsible for the mass slaughter of children in the Middle East with their régime-change wars, have, in the case of Clinton, supported mass incarceration in the USA itself, involving the forced separation of families, such people have absolutely no right to take any moral high ground on this issue.

Focusing on the whys and wherefores of mass migration, it’s incumbent on those who are serious about grasping the issue at its roots to identify its causes, rather than continue to deal with its symptoms, and thereby only succeed in creating more causes. In so doing we come to the role of US imperialism in sowing uneven and combined development throughout the Americas. Putting it another way, the development and wealth of the USA were contingent on the underdevelopment and poverty of Latin America… the former impossible without the latter. As Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano pointed up in his classic work Open Veins of Latin America:

Underdevelopment isn’t a stage of development, but its consequence. Latin America’s underdevelopment arises from external [European and US] development and continues to feed it. The strength of the imperialist system as a whole rests on the inequality of its parts.

No leader of a Latin or Central American country defied and resisted the juggernaut of US imperialism more than Fidel Castro did. Of the countless speeches he gave during his time at the helm of Cuban politics and society, The Second Declaration of Havana (1962), is among the most powerful:

Since the end of World War II, the countries of Latin America have become more and more impoverished. Their exports have less and less value, their imports cost more. The per capita income falls, the frightful rate of infant mortality doesn’t decrease. The number of illiterates is higher; the people lack jobs, land, adequate housing, schools, hospitals, means of communication, and means of life. Latin America is the provider of cheap raw materials and the buyer of expensive finished articles.

Lest anyone believe that Castro’s views of the relationship between North and South America in the early 1960s bear no relation to the same relationship today, consider, if you will, the plight of Honduras. According to Human Rights Watch, the Central American country in 2018 has violent crime, corruption, and political repression. Meanwhile, according to the World Bank, over 6o percent of its people live in poverty. What we shouldn’t forget is that in 2009 the army toppled the country’s democratically elected leftist President, Manuel Zelaya, in a coup sanctioned by the Honduran Supreme Court and supported by the Obama Administration. As Stephen Zunes reminded us in a 2016 article:

During his [Zelaya’s] tenure, he raised the minimum wage and provided free school lunches, milk for young children, pensions for the elderly, and additional scholarships for students. He built new schools, subsidised public transportation, and even distributed energy-saving light bulbs. None of these was particularly radical, but it was nevertheless disturbing to the country’s wealthy economic and military élites. More frightening was that Zelaya sought to organise an assembly to replace the 1982 constitution written during the waning days of the US-backed military dictator Policarpo Paz García.

With this sorry fate of the country in mind, is it any accident that the number of illegal Honduran migrants into the USA across the Mexican border spiked in recent years? At this juncture, I feel obliged to make a confession. Back in the early to mid-1990s, I was an illegal immigrant living in the USA. However, unlike those crossing the border from Mexico, I wasn’t fleeing natural disaster, grinding poverty, political repression, or a society plagued by crime and violence. I instead had travelled to the USA compelled to do so by nothing more than personal ambition, succumbing to the myth of the American Dream, which as the saying goes is a dream because you have to be asleep to believe it. Anyway, I spent five years in LA as part of the British expat community in Santa Monica, replete with its British pubs, shops, and all the rest, rubbing shoulders and working alongside many other Brits who lived there illegally, many of them having done so for a long time. I worked, paid tax, and was able to exist as if completely legal.

Of course, the difference boils down to the fact that I, and we, happened to be white Europeans, and thus accorded the unwritten but nonetheless obvious privileges white skin affords you in the land of the free. This, ultimately, brings us to the heart of the matter. America’s problem isn’t immigration, its white supremacy. Whether conscious or unconscious, it matters not. The result is brutal treatment meted out to people of colour, migrant and non-migrant alike.

25 June 2018

John Wight

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201806251065767940-us-problem-not-immigration/

Sunday, 10 June 2018

10 June 2018. Brother Ajamu Speaks

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We must bring in the UN to play a role in a sustainable peace process in Syria since it’s clear that the USA, Russia, and Israel are playing a cynical game in Syria that won’t result in peace and national reconciliation.

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The Tamimi family continues to suffer from Israeli brutality. This is why the focus has to be on US imperialism because this criminality couldn’t occur without US support for the Zionist apartheid project. https://goo.gl/ZZHYiK

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Did people read the incredible comments from Obama about being too early because the dumb masses just weren’t ready for his version of enlightened politics? The only difference between Trumps’ megalomania and Obama’s is that Obama is supposed to be the nice one.

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The USA brings a threat of war, suffering, and insecurity to every region of the world, yet activists in the USA continue to give political cover for US aggression. Opposing war and militarism isn’t an add-on… it’s a position fundamental to being a human being.

Ajamu Baraka

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Saturday, 26 May 2018

26 May 2018. Brother Ajamu Speaks On This and On That

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If they get Assange, don’t let this incident get transformed into a Trump initiative. The rightwing Obama Administration used the Espionage Act to clamp down on unauthorised information getting to the public… that initiated the attack on Assange.

Memo to the US ruling class… no one is afraid of you, even with your awesome capacity to destroy and cause the suffering of millions. Those of us from the working class pledge that we won’t turn our sons and daughters over to you to use as cannon fodder. Take a knee for peace.

As I said on a number of occasions, the psychopathology of white supremacy makes it very difficult for most to understand why the North Koreans reacted the way they did to the comments from Bolton and Pence and to the framing by the liberal press that suggested threats and intimidation forced the “natives” to the negotiating table.

The NFL plantation owners passed a policy to make patriotism mandatory for their property. Either pay deference to the symbol of white nationalism, which is what the anthem is, or pay a price. This is the answer to the “win” in Georgia and the message couldn’t be clearer.

Where are the opponents to guns on the issue of war? Is it only lives in the USA that we’re supposed to be concerned with? Is official state violence in the form of war acceptable, is that the implication of their silence on war?

It should be a joke, as information on corruption and abuse of state power during the last presidential election emerges, that the USA would claim that the election in Venezuela was a sham. Message to the USA… build a democracy first before you criticise others.

Folks, don’t let the fact that Trump is raising the possibility of illegal activity on part of the Obama Administration to dismiss what’s appearing to be an incredible abuse of state power for partisan politics. The corruption of both of these parties and their system is incredible.

21-25 May 2018

Ajamu Baraka

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