Jesus. Reading a 1956 feature article in an American newspaper written by a military officer who served in the U.S. Occupation administration in Japan following the war. The paternalistic racism is literally out of control. Talk about “white man’s burden!”
The article starts with a subheading which promises to unravel “one of the great mysteries of the East: that unfathomable Japanese personality.” He proceeds to inform the reader that the “Japanese are not accustomed to analysis,” “they take their feelings for granted,” and they all have a “stoic Oriental acceptance of misfortune.”
He concludes, “This was the one gift we could say we had brought them [the Japanese]. All their lives for centuries past, they had accepted their misfortunes. They had endured poverty, illness, malnutrition, famine, earthquake, typhoons and wars. They had resigned themselves; the misery of their lives was beyond remedy. Now they had a new hope. It was something that came to them from the New World.”
Strange “hope” this, which came to Japan from the “New World” along with the deaths of at least 750,000 Japanese citizens, slaughtered — en masse — by what remains today the most destructive series of bombing raids in human history. 153,000 tons of bombs dropped on civilian targets; 60 major Japanese cities completely burned to the ground by nonstop fire-bombings; Hiroshima and Nagasaki obliterated instantaneously by nuclear bombs; millions more left homeless, permanently injured, suffering from radiation poisoning; and all followed by a totalitarian occupation in which US officials had absolute control over the lives of all Japanese citizens, including suspension of the right to travel inside and outside of Japan, having all of the press subject to unilateral US censorship, the summary prohibition of independent political parties and trade unions, famine-producing rationing of food and medicines, and the widespread proliferation of sex-trafficking and rape at the hand of US forces.
As Martin Luther King, Jr., said of the Vietnamese people during the U.S. war on that nation, “They must see Americans as strange liberators.”
Jesus. Reading a 1956 feature article in an American newspaper written by a military officer who served in the U.S. Occupation administration in Japan following the war. The paternalistic racism is literally out of control. Talk about “white man’s burden!”
The strongest argument that can be made as to why all radical activists should study the life and works of Lucy Parsons is that the FBI wants you to know nothing about her.
Lucy Eldine Gonzalez Parsons died in 1942, at the age of 89, in a house-fire in Chicago — the city in which she lived most of her life. The ashes had hardly cooled before the Chicago police raided the remains of her home, confiscated all 3,000 volumes of literature and writings on “sex, socialism, and anarchy,” which constituted her personal library, and turned it over to the FBI. Tragically, and despite her comrades’ repeated inquiries, this treasure trove of revolutionary material was never again to see the light of day.
Indeed, the Chicago police had ample reason to want to bury Parsons’ legacy as quickly as possible. In their own words, she was “more dangerous than a thousand rioters.” For virtually the entirety of the last 40 years of her life, the Chicago police tried to bar her from making any public speeches, and routinely arrested her for the ‘crime’ of handing out revolutionary pamphlets on the street. Famed labor historian Studs Terkel even noted how rare of a privilege it was to hear Parsons address a large audience in her later years, owing to the constant police harassment.
Overlooked by History
Partially because so much of her own writings were ‘disappeared’ by the government, and partially because she was a revolutionary woman of color speaking out against the injustices of a capitalist society run by white men, Lucy Parsons is one of the least known of the major figures in the history of revolutionary socialism in the U.S. Much like her long-time comrades and friends, Eugene Debs, William “Big Bill” Haywood, and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Lucy Parsons made a tremendous contribution to the birth of America’s turn-of-the-century, revolutionary working-class movement; a movement which continues to this day to shape the character of class struggle and revolutionary politics in this country.
Historian Robin Kelley argues that Lucy Parsons was not only “the most prominent black woman radical of the late nineteenth century,” but was also “one of the brightest lights in the history of revolutionary socialism.” Historian John McClendon writes that she is notable for being the “first black activist to associate with the revolutionary left in America.”
More often than not, however, if Lucy Parsons is mentioned as an historical figure, she is noted merely as the “wife of Albert Parsons,” a man who had gained international notoriety after he was executed in 1887 by the state of Illinois for his revolutionary activities.
Unfortunately, this slight extends beyond solely ‘mainstream’ historians, including supposedly left-wing intellectuals as well. For instance, in the 1960s, the feminist editors of Radcliffe College’s three-volume work, Notable American Women, decided to leave Parsons out of their study on the grounds that she was “largely propelled by her husband’s fate” and was a “pathetic figure, living in the past and crying injustice” after her husband’s execution.
Even contemporaries of Lucy Parsons, such as the popular anarchist-feminist Emma Goldman (with whom Lucy Parsons became a life-long political opponent), accused Parsons of being an otherwise unimportant opportunist who simply rode upon the cape of her husband’s martyrdom, describing her as nothing more than one of those wives of “anarchists who marry women who are millions of miles removed from their ideas.”
None of this, however, is to diminish the historical importance of Albert Parsons and the events leading up to his execution; and while it is true that Lucy Parsons spent much of her life addressing the crime that was her husband’s murder at the hands of the capitalist state, nonetheless, her political activity and impact on history extend far beyond the scope of that single tragedy. In fact, the work that she lent her energies to in the years following Albert’s execution are of equal (if not greater) importance than anything he had been able to add to the fight for workers’ emancipation in the course of a life that was sadly cut short.
In the late summer of 1989—with the fall of the Berlin Wall weeks away, signaling the collapse of the former USSR’s empire in Eastern Europe—the upheaval that would ultimately overturn the Stalinist system was felt within the USSR itself. A wave of mass strikes by miners gathered momentum, with the most important center of militancy being the Donbass region of Ukraine—then still a part of the USSR. The mass miners’ strikes were a sign that the unraveling of the ex-USSR was already well underway. In Socialist Worker's September 1989 edition, we featured a special report on the miners' revolt—and an analysis of what it meant for the government of then-President Mikhail Gorbachev.
THE “WORST ordeal to befall our country in all the four years of restructuring.” That was how USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev described the wave of miners’ strikes in Siberia and Ukraine that ended last month. The strikes were in fact a massive, spontaneous display of working-class strength and creativity.
The movement followed the pattern described by Polish revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg in her classic study, The Mass Strike. It began as a local strike over limited demands and spread to involve hundreds of thousands of workers in four coalfields, thousands of miles apart. As it spread, the strike wave raised more than economic questions.
Posted: Mar 05, 2014 2:33 PM EST
A shouting match erupted in a South Florida neighborhood after two homeowners decided to display icons of hate on their property.
The men behind the flags associated with the Ku Klux Klan have said they are simply exercising their First Amendment rights, but so are some neighbors who screamed in anger about the flags. “You are a racist pig!” shouted Susan Wantz. “That flag represents that you are a racist pig!”
"I don’t care about other people’s opinion," said Kelsey Hayes.
Hayes owns one of two homes in a West Boca Raton neighborhood that has flags associated with the Ku Klux Klan in their front yards.
2014, yall. Florida. American racism. Lynch law. White supremacy.
Legislation under consideration in Massachusetts that would extend workplace rights to domestic workers is desperately needed, writes Kate Zen.
… Only 8 percent of the 67,000 domestic workers in the state of Massachusetts currently have written contracts with their employers. The vast majority work informally under verbal agreements.
As a result, domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. About one-fifth of housekeepers, and one-third of nannies and caregivers make less than the minimum wage. Fifty percent of workers who live with their employers say that they are not allowed to have any breaks, and 25 percent say that they can’t even have uninterrupted sleep. About 20 percent have experienced verbal abuse and threats by their employers, but there is no formal way to report or file for these abuses under state labor laws.
The Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights would give housekeepers, nannies and caregivers the right to file complaints of abuse or harassment; protection from camera surveillance in their private living spaces; and protection from illegal charges for food or lodging, or threats of eviction without notice. It would also give these workers 24 hours off per seven-day calendar week, the right to meal and rest breaks, parental leave, sick time and notification of termination or severance pay.
What you can do
Sign an online petition to support the work of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and push for Massachusetts to pass the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights. For information, contact the National Domestic Workers Alliance.
THEY FUCKING WENT THERE.
This is like ice cold water in your face.
I love it when even white folks have to speak the truth
Even though they gotta do it in a fucking cartoon.
"Very recently I had a conversation with Cornel West in my house. I shared with him that people kept asking me when Obama first ran did I think it would make a difference in lives of Black males. I said yes, symbolically. On issues of illiteracy, poverty, the sense of meaning of Black males, no. I saw Obama having great ties to the wealthy and the sustaining of the wealthy. His militarism alone puts him at odds with Black males or any of us sustaining our lives. I think a lot of the things Obama did were evident of who he was before he took office. If anything we have learned from both the civil rights and feminist movements is that we have people in power who look like us but do not represent us. Too often we focus on image over the action.
Things that have happened, the killings of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis. We have seen the incredible rise of fascism in America with President Obama in office. These kinds of lynchings of Black people, says we are a group not capable of keeping ourselves alive, that we are at risk. Being here in Florida right now a lot of Black people feel at risk, especially Black men and Black boys. It is not just Florida. Such a repetition of state-supported violence all over America. Look at the movie Fruitvale Station about the police murder of Oscar Grant in California.
We have to go back to Dr. King’s “Where Do We Go From Here?” A lot of people, he said, would rather see an end to democracy than have racial equality. We are living that reality, a state-supported White supremacy. It is about stopping Black people, because Black people have advanced a great deal. You stop that with drug addiction, with health issues, with racial attacks. If you are a Black woman with money the illnesses that kill a poor Black woman also kill you. The common factor in both is stress.”
Have you ever been caught tapping a friend’s phone calls? Called out for the exploitive maltreatment your employees? Are you a multi-billionaire prone to going through the pockets of black youth in the hopes of finding marijuana?
Consider talking about your concern for the environment, particularly the effects of climate change. Leading governments, corporations, and political figures under fire for civil and human rights violations are giving it a whirl.
… But why are those who have insisted on making our habitat so difficult to live in now the ones harping on the legacy we leave our children?
This question comes to mind with the recent appointment by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg to serve as the UN’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change.
Author Danny Katch outlines Bloomberg’s political ideology:
First, that the philosophy of enriching the already rich so their wealth will “trickle down” is the only realistic path for cities if they want to avoid becoming the next Detroit; and second, that a business model of urban government not only benefits the wealthy but also produces better performance in city services—especially schools and policing.
Financial and real-estate interests have dominated New York since the decline of the city’s dockside industries in seventies. Bloomberg served as their mayor and he was rewarded handsomely for it. Already a billionaire upon taking office through the sale of financial terminals, he used the mayor’s seat to keep taxes low for Wall Street, which in turn, helped his own business, Bloomberg LP, double in profits. His personal wealth grew more than fivefold, from $4.8 billion to $27 billion over the course of his three terms.
With the stated objective of turning New York into a “luxury product,” Bloomberg shuttered 162 public schools and replaced them with charter schools often funded by Wall Street. Twelve hospitals were shut down. St Vincent’s in Manhattan’s West Village will be replaced by a high-end condo development. Rents soared and number of people without a roof to rely on rose 73 percent.
Hundreds of peaceful protesters being arrested in a nation’s capital. This might be big news if it happened in Venezuela or Ukraine; unfortunately, these arrests occurred in Washington, D.C.
Isn’t it ironic how the architects and supporters of the illegal US invasion of Iraq are screaming the loudest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine?
One of the most laughable denunciations came from David Frum, the neoconservative Bush speechwriter who coined the phrase “Axis of Evil” and till this day remains confident in the rightness of the Iraq war.
But the hypocrisy isn’t limited to neocons.
Lecturing Russia about its invasion of Crimea on Sunday’s Meet the Press, US Secretary of State John Kerry said, “[Y]ou just don’t invade another country on phony pretext in order to assert your interests.”
I agree. But where was this sentiment when Kerry, as a Senator in 2002, voted to authorize use of force against Iraq based on a “phony pretext”? Before you start pointing to his many criticisms of the Bush administration’s “shock and awe”, keep in mind that Kerry later admitted that in hindsight he would still vote yes.
So really, the only thing praiseworthy about Kerry’s condemnation of Russia is his ability to say it with a straight face.
In case we needed anymore proof that David Gregory, host of Meet the Press, is a hack rather than a journalist, it’s worth noting that he responded to Kerry’s brazen hypocrisy by demanding to know if the US was prepared to hit back at Russia with a “military option.”
It’s an embarrassment that no one in the mainstream media, which unquestioningly cheerled the Iraq war, has challenged Kerry on this.
At a news conference during his visit to Ukraine yesterday, Kerry proclaimed: “It is not appropriate to invade a country and at the end of a barrel of a gun dictate what you are trying to achieve. That is not 21st-century, G-8, major-nation behavior.”
Again, what about Iraq? Unless I’m mistaken, the US invaded Iraq in the 21st century to do exactly that. Still, the New York Times said nothing about this blatant contradiction in its reporting.
Keep in mind that the Iraq war—which killed upwards of a million Iraqis, leaving in its wake 5 million orphans, 2 million widows and 4.5 million refugees—isn’t over, at least not for Iraqis.
As I write this, the US-installed Iraqi government is slaughtering civilians in Fallujah, a crime that has been largely ignored in the establishment press. But who cares about US-backed atrocities in Iraq when there is an anti-US superpower to vilify, right?
Meanwhile, President Obama—a man who extra judicially executes people abroad (including American citizens) based on secret evidence—has accused Russia of violating international law.
“When it comes to preserving the principle that no country has the right to send in troops to another country unprovoked, we should be able to come up with a unified position,” said Obama on Monday.
If only he would preserve that principle in his own foreign policy, which just this morning resulted in a US drone strike that killed three “suspected militants” as they rode in a car in Yemen. (Media outlets should be required to add a disclaimer next to that phrase to make it clear to their readers that Obama labels all military-age males in a strike zone “suspected militants”)
Drone strike supporters on twitter have been quick to criticize my comparison between Obama’s drone policy and Russia in Ukraine. But war crimes are war crimes, whether they take the form of an on-the-ground or sky invasion.
More importantly, the glaring contrast between the media’s obsession with Ukraine versus its collective apathy toward nations that have their sovereignty routinely violated by the US war machine (Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, etc.) reveals a colossal double standard.
On Monday, even the local evening news in my area was talking about Ukraine. But not a word was said about the US drone strike that killed three Yemenis, including a man sleeping near his car, that very morning.
That’s because outrage over Russia has nothing to do with genuine concern about violations of international law and everything to do with maintaining US hegemony.
We are writing this piece as six students who identify as Palestinian. We were born into different religions: Christianity, Islam, Judaism and atheism, although none of this should matter. What matters is that all of us identify as Palestinian because our parents and/or our grandparents (and generations of our families before them) were born in Palestine. We cannot include our names because we fear being denied entry to the West Bank or Israel if we were ever to try to visit the lands where some members of our families still live.
Today we are asking you, our fellow Tufts students, to kindly read this with an open mind. Some of you may feel uncomfortable or angered by our actions during Israel Apartheid Week, and some of you may simply not care about a conflict so distant, but some of you may want to know: What were we thinking when we posed tough questions at the Birthright General Interest Meeting? Why do we wear kuffiyehs around our necks? Why did we join Students for Justice in Palestine? Why can’t we be “neutral” or “moderate”? We are writing to you, the curious, compassionate and questioning Tufts student. We hope that our words resonate with you and form a deeper understanding of what it means to be Palestinian on this campus.
None of us carry a Palestinian identification card. Because we do not have this ID card, we do not have the legal right to live in Palestine as Palestinians, just as our parents and grandparents did before the creation of the ID card and the state of Israel. Some of us are refugees because our families were expelled from the land in 1948 and never received an ID. Some of our families fled the wrath of what Noam Chomsky called, “the largest open-air prison in the world,” Gaza, and live as Palestinian-Americans in the diaspora. Meanwhile, some of us have lived in Palestine for our whole lives but still enter the territory as tourists with temporary visitor visas because some of those in our families had their identification cards taken when they were child prisoners.
However, if we did have Palestinian IDs, the chances of us attending Tufts would be slim. If you carry a Palestinian ID, you are not allowed to go into Israel without a permit, which means you don’t have access to the only airport in Israel and Palestine. There are ways around this, of course, but to be a Palestinian means that you have to get the Israeli government’s permission to leave your nations’s territory in order to travel to other countries.
So why mention this?
Well, imagine what it is like to walk by a Birthright poster on this campus, knowing that you have never, and perhaps will never see the very house your grandparents were expelled from in 1948. Yet, over one fourth of the Tufts population can see that house and they, simply by being Jewish, can eventually own that house, while their Palestinian fellow students cannot.
To us, Birthright is the erasure of our right to our homeland, and it promises our homeland to one in four students at this university. Birthright is marketed as apolitical. Participants are led to believe that it is an innocent trip of camel rides, hiking, clubbing and swimming in the Dead Sea. It offers tourists a chance to “reconnect” with a country to which they have never been, and often times, to which they have no immediate familial ties.
Ray Jasper is about to be unjustly executed under Texas’s racist Law of Parties. Take the time to read his brilliant, insightful, heart-breaking letter. It may be his last living statement. As Michelle Alexander wrote on her FB page, “If he is not worthy of life, none of us are.”
4 March 2014 | Ray Jasper was convicted of participating in the 1998 robbery and murder of recording studio owner David Alejandro. A teenager at the time of the crime, Jasper was sentenced to death. He wrote to us once before, as part of our Letters from Death Row series. That letter was remarkable for its calmness, clarity, and insight into life as a prisoner who will never see freedom. We wrote back and invited him to share any other thoughts he might have. Today, we received the letter below. Everyone should read it.
The latest revelations about the Big Brother spy state prove that state repression against left-wing political activism is far from a thing of the past.
… Knowing that government agencies like the NSA, not to mention the police, have programs directed at the left, we have every reason—and, in fact, a responsibility—to be suspicious about obvious signs of such operations: the unlikely activist who starts attending meetings right before a big demonstration, the out-of-the-ordinary questions about what we think about violence as a tactic, destructive rumor-mongering from anonymous sources on the Internet.
One counter-argument is that since the NSA’s tentacles reach into every form of communications these days, security consciousness is a waste of time. But we certainly don’t need to make it easier for the state to abuse our side, or intimidate us into complacency or inaction. And the left has other enemies—most obviously, right-wing opponents in various forms—who don’t have the same kind of access.
Ultimately, the left’s best weapon against state repression is for our side to get bigger—to convince more people of the need to build the struggle against oppression and injustice. History shows that the agents of the state will always attempt to obstruct struggles to change the status quo—but it also shows that they don’t always succeed.
Democratic mass struggles—like the anti-Vietnam War movement, for example, which grew strong enough at its height to discredit a presidency when Richard Nixon’s corruption and dirty tricks were revealed—are the best means of combatting the security state.
The revolutionary Victor Serge wrote in 1926: “Repression can only really live off fear. But is fear enough to remove need, thirsts for justice, intelligence, reason, idealism—all those revolutionary forces that express the formidable, profound impulse of the economic factors of a revolution?”
— Feminist Bully (@bullhorngirl)March 2, 2014
March 2, 2014 | Youth activists held a rally on Sunday outside of the White House demanding President Obama stop construction of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would carry tar sands south across the country from Alberta, Canada to Texas.
About 1,000 were expect to turn out for the protest, many of them university students. An estimated 300 people locked themselves to the White House fence before being arrested by security. The protest comes just days after a report from the State Department’s Inspector General found that there was no conflict of interest in the fact that the contractor hired to write a Environmental Impact Statement on the pipeline also worked for major oil companies involved in its construction.
The threat of a war in Ukraine remains high following Russia’s military takeover of the Crimean Peninsula, carried out last weekend in the wake of a new pro-Western government, led by center-right and far-right parties, coming to power in Ukraine following to downfall of ex-President Victor Yanukovych.
Ukraine has become the battleground for a superpower conflict over a territory in Eastern Europe with both economic and geopolitical importance. In the U.S., Barack Obama led the way among politicians of both major parties in denouncing Russia for “violating international law”—without the slightest hesitation at the U.S. record, past and present, of going to war; occupying other countries in part or in whole; and otherwise trampling on national sovereignty and self-determination. In Russia, Vladimir Putin claimed Russian forces were on a “humanitarian mission” in a Ukraine where “terror, extremists and nationalists” reign—likewise setting aside the atrocities he has ordered, inside and outside Russia.
In reality, Russia’s intervention, even if it doesn’t expand past Crimea, is designed to win back some measure of power over a country that has been dominated by Moscow for most of the past three centuries. Yanukovych came to prominence among the former Communist Party bosses who scrambled to the top when Ukraine became independent—they were able to hold political power by serving the interests of the super-rich oligarchs in both Ukraine and Russia. Yanukovych’s corrupt and repressive reign was ended by the massive protest movement that has occupied the Maidan (Independence Square) in Kiev since November.
But the conservative and nationalist parties that claimed to lead the Maidan movement and that have taken control in Kiev are also servants of the oligarchs. The far right has a prominent role in the new government, as it did in the mass mobilization previously—its anti-democratic, nationalist agenda is widely feared, especially in the south and east of the country, with its closer economic ties to Russia and more multiethnic population.
On March 1, as Russian forces were completing their takeover in Crimea, the issued this statement saying no to war in Ukraine.