Socialism Art Nature

Just as the capitalist system itself cyclically experiences booms and busts, and the class struggle waxes and wanes, so too do the ruling classes of the world chronically pronounce that “Marx is dead” and then, inevitably, a few years later, that “Marx is back.” And this has been going for roughly the past 100-plus years since Marx first shed his mortal coil.

Even Jesus Christ only died and then “came back” once. I wonder if any other human in history has risen from the grave as much as Karl Marx?

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Any laboring man who does not join a union is an enemy of the working class. Any laboring man who scabs in a strike is a traitor. Any laboring man who does not support the socialization of industry is failing in his patriotic duty.
Helen Keller, 1916

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Rose Harriet Pastor Stokes (1879–1933)

So little has been written about the seminal American socialist Rose Pastor Stokes that I am seriously tempted to head to NYC and begin research on a piece which would include all of her unpublished works currently stored in the Tamiment library! (http://dlib.nyu.edu/findingaids/html/tamwag/tam_053/bioghist.html)

She was a leading member of the Socialist Party; sentenced to prison along with Eugene Debs for antiwar activities during WWI; a founding member of the American Communist Party and
served for a number of years as an elected member of its executive committee; went to Moscow in 1922 along with John Reed as an American delegate to the Fourth Congress of the Comintern; and participated in the Comintern’s special Negro Commission.

Oh yeah, and she also wrote proletarian plays and poetry. “In 1916, she wrote ‘The Women Who Wouldn’t’ which was a play about the rise of a woman labor leader. Rose also contributed numerous poems and articles to such publications as The Masses, Independent, and Century.”

Also see her posthumously-published unfinished autobiography titled, “I Belong to the Working Class,” which begins: “I slipped into the world while my mother was on her knees scrubbing the floor.” (http://www.amazon.com/dp/0820313831/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_kwP1sb0X7FGTGKJJ)

And, http://www.marxists.org/subject/women/authors/stokes/


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German revolutionary socialist leader Rosa Luxemburg was executed on this day in 1919. She had been captured by the anti-communist paramilitary units who had been ordered into Berlin to suppress an uprising.

The modern proletarian class doesn’t carry out its struggle according to a plan set out in some book or theory; the modern workers’ struggle is a part of history … in the middle of the fight, we learn how we must fight… the great masses of the working people first forge from their own consciousness, from their own belief, and even from their own understanding the weapons of their own liberation.

German revolutionary socialist leader Rosa Luxemburg was executed on this day in 1919. She had been captured by the anti-communist paramilitary units who had been ordered into Berlin to suppress an uprising.

The modern proletarian class doesn’t carry out its struggle according to a plan set out in some book or theory; the modern workers’ struggle is a part of history … in the middle of the fight, we learn how we must fight… the great masses of the working people first forge from their own consciousness, from their own belief, and even from their own understanding the weapons of their own liberation.


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Residents of big cities everywhere face the effects of gentrification, as long-time residents are pushed out of neighborhoods they called home by rising rents and housing costs and other changes. In this article based on a speech at a recent ISO forum in Brooklyn, Ronnie Flores looks at the roots of gentrification—and how we should respond.

… In the past few decades, however, as the suburbs developed, there was less room to invest small and gain big. Thus, capital made its return to urban life. After decades of consigning them to poverty and despair, capital re-enters starved urban communities only when it has become most profitable to do so.

When there’s a wide enough gap between the current rent in an area and the potential rent that can be made if it were to undergo reinvestment, a project for gentrification is born. This “rent gap” is the mechanism underlying gentrification.

IT’S UNDENIABLE that gentrification brings with it some improvements in neighborhoods. Indeed, it must do so—in order to attract the consumers it targets and make a good return for investors. It must be asked, however, who benefits from the improvements?

As Karl Marx wrote in Capital almost 150 years ago:

‘Improvements’ of towns, accompanying the increase of wealth, by the demolition of badly built quarters, the erection of palaces for banks, warehouses, etc., the widening of streets for business traffic, for the carriages of luxury, and for the introduction of tramways, etc., drive away the poor into even worse and more crowded hiding places.

In these past few decades, while urban neighborhoods were struggling for survival, capital was circling the sky above, like a vulture, watching and waiting for the right time to strike.

Long-standing residents, who came to these decaying neighborhoods when they were cheap enough to get by on a low wage, become an obstacle for the capitalist gentrifiers. Their displacement becomes a precondition for the total transformation of the neighborhood.


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Aamer Rahman (Fear of a Brown Planet) - Reverse Racism

nailed it.


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Millennials turn up heat against low wages
By Emily Jane Fox | January 6, 2014: 7:10 AM ET
Millennials are starting to get restless for change.

Stuck in low-wage or part-time jobs with mountains of student loans to pay off, the generation that came of age in the new millennium finds itself in a hopeless situation. Despite being better educated than previous generations, many young people are shut out of the middle class with no road map of how to get there.







So many of them are joining protests, showing up at rallies, or forming unions to improve their situation.

In the past year, millennials turned up the heat against low wages at Victoria’s Secret, Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500), McDonald’s (MCD, Fortune 500), Wendy’s (WEN), KFC (YUM, Fortune 500) and others like Kaplan (GHC), which runs tutoring centers.

Millennials turn up heat against low wages

| January 6, 2014: 7:10 AM ET

Millennials are starting to get restless for change.

Stuck in low-wage or part-time jobs with mountains of student loans to pay off, the generation that came of age in the new millennium finds itself in a hopeless situation. Despite being better educated than previous generations, many young people are shut out of the middle class with no road map of how to get there.

So many of them are joining protests, showing up at rallies, or forming unions to improve their situation.

In the past year, millennials turned up the heat against low wages at Victoria’s Secret, Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500), McDonald’s (MCD, Fortune 500), Wendy’s (WEN), KFC (YUM, Fortune 500) and others like Kaplan (GHC), which runs tutoring centers.


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Keith Rosenthal pays tribute to a longtime disability rights activist and author.

Marta Russell (Keith Rosenthal | SW)

IT IS with a heavy heart that I write this in memory of a good friend and influential author, Marta Russell, who passed away in December 2013.

For those who are unfamiliar with Russell or her work, she was a longtime disability rights activist and leaves behind a tremendously significant body of work on disability, oppression and capitalism.

Truly, she blazed a trail in recent years in unflinchingly exposing the way that our society disables individuals with impaired bodies and/or minds. In the age of budget cuts, austerity and neoliberalism, she repeatedly and astutely indicted the simple, calculating callousness that rests at the heart of this system; that all those whose bodies are deemed to be non-profitable or “burdensome” are crushed under the weight of the capitalist imperatives of greed, competition, inequality and oppression.

As her colleague and co-author Ravi Malhotra wrote in an obituary for the New Socialist webzine:

…Marta was like a breath of fresh air, combining passionate advocacy with an understanding of political economy and how disabled people are systematically oppressed by capitalism. Marta was particularly unique in focusing on an anti-capitalist critique of disablement policy in the United States where postmodern analysis of the disabled body has predominated.

With Jean Stewart, she wrote a remarkably biting piece about prisons and disablement for Monthly Review. She was also not shy about criticizing misguided strategies by disability rights movements that she felt were too moderate or co-opted.

Now more than ever is the time to revisit her articles and books on this subject and spread their message, which remains all-too relevant. Here are just some of her powerful writings:

"Capitalism and Disability," Socialist Register
"Disablement, Oppression and the Political Economy," Journal of Disability Policy Studies
"Disablement, Prison and Historical Segregation," Monthly Review
Beyond Ramps: Disability at the End of the Social Contract, published by Common Courage Press, 2002

I also would like to share the following message that I posted to her Facebook wall, which has turned into a memorial space for friends and relatives:

Dear Marta, you will be missed dearly. Your writings and thoughts were, and continue to be, profoundly insightful and empowering. It was only a few months ago that you gave me incredibly helpful and supportive feedback on an article I wrote on disability activism in the 1930s. The brief correspondence that we were able to share recently about this and an array of other topics was very important to me.

I will always remember you as an incredibly thoughtful, kind, open, individual. You tolerated even my most rambling and convoluted of questions with patience and humor.

You had a keen mind and a wonderful heart. In your writings you courageously laid bare the injustices of this too-often wretched society in the hopes that a better, more caring, more inclusive, more just society could be wrought.

I will continue to carry a piece of you in everything that I do.


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Friends, I have just received the tragic news that a good friend and fellow activist, Marta Russell, has recently passed away. For those who don’t know, Marta Russell was a longtime disability rights activist and leaves behind a tremendously significant body of work on disability, oppression, and capitalism.  Truly, she blazed a trail in recent years in unflinchingly exposing the way that our society disables individuals with impaired bodies and/or minds. In the age of budget cuts, austerity, and neoliberalism, she courageously cut to the heart of the simple, calculating callousness that rests at the heart of this system; that all those whose bodies are deemed to be non-profitable or “burdensome” are crushed under the weight of the capitalist imperatives of greed, competition, inequality, and oppression. Now more than ever is the time to revisit her articles and books on this subject and spread their message, which remains all-too relevant. Here are just some of her powerful writings: http://socialistregister.com/index.php/srv/article/view/5784#.UrJKueLnNu5http://dps.sagepub.com/content/12/2/87.short http://monthlyreview.org/2001/07/01/disablement-prison-and-historical-segregationhttp://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Ramps-Disability-Social-Contract/dp/1567511066 I also would like to share the following message which I have just posted to her facebook wall, which has turned into a sort of memorial space for friends and relatives:

marta, you will be missed dearly. your writings and thoughts were, and continue to be, profoundly insightful and empowering. it was only a few months ago that you gave me incredibly helpful and supportive feedback on an article i wrote on disability activism in the 1930s. the brief correspondence that we were able to share recently about this and an array of other topics was very important to me. i will always remember you as an incredibly thoughtful, kind, open, individual. you tolerated even my most rambling and convoluted of questions with patience and humor. you had a keen mind and a wonderful heart. in your writings you courageously laid bare the injustices of this too-often wretched society in the hopes that a better, more caring, more inclusive, more just society could be wrought.  i will continue to carry a piece of you in everything that i do. with all my love.

Friends,

I have just received the tragic news that a good friend and fellow activist, Marta Russell, has recently passed away.

For those who don’t know, Marta Russell was a longtime disability rights activist and leaves behind a tremendously significant body of work on disability, oppression, and capitalism.

Truly, she blazed a trail in recent years in unflinchingly exposing the way that our society disables individuals with impaired bodies and/or minds. In the age of budget cuts, austerity, and neoliberalism, she courageously cut to the heart of the simple, calculating callousness that rests at the heart of this system; that all those whose bodies are deemed to be non-profitable or “burdensome” are crushed under the weight of the capitalist imperatives of greed, competition, inequality, and oppression.

Now more than ever is the time to revisit her articles and books on this subject and spread their message, which remains all-too relevant. Here are just some of her powerful writings:

http://socialistregister.com/index.php/srv/article/view/5784#.UrJKueLnNu5
http://dps.sagepub.com/content/12/2/87.short
http://monthlyreview.org/2001/07/01/disablement-prison-and-historical-segregation
http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Ramps-Disability-Social-Contract/dp/1567511066

I also would like to share the following message which I have just posted to her facebook wall, which has turned into a sort of memorial space for friends and relatives:

marta, you will be missed dearly. your writings and thoughts were, and continue to be, profoundly insightful and empowering. it was only a few months ago that you gave me incredibly helpful and supportive feedback on an article i wrote on disability activism in the 1930s. the brief correspondence that we were able to share recently about this and an array of other topics was very important to me.

i will always remember you as an incredibly thoughtful, kind, open, individual. you tolerated even my most rambling and convoluted of questions with patience and humor.

you had a keen mind and a wonderful heart. in your writings you courageously laid bare the injustices of this too-often wretched society in the hopes that a better, more caring, more inclusive, more just society could be wrought.

i will continue to carry a piece of you in everything that i do.

with all my love.


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In July 1955, the Daily Worker — the newspaper of the U.S. Communist Party — put out a call for people to send birthday greetings of solidarity to Communist leader, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn.
Gurley Flynn, who would turn 65 on August 7, was then serving a three-year sentence in a federal prison after she was convicted of violating the Smith Act. The Smith Act, a vital piece of Cold War-era anticommunist witch-hunt legislation, made it illegal to be a member of the Communist Party or advocate the overthrow of the U.S. government.
Helen Keller, 75 years old and world-famous at the time, responded to the call and sent a public message of solidarity to her long-time friend and comrade, Gurley Flynn. The Daily Worker ran the story on the front page of its August 8th, 1955, issue.
Keller was involved and identified with socialist politics her entire life, and even in her old age and in times when it was downright dangerous to express even a modicum of sympathy for members of the Communist Party, Keller was not afraid to stand up publicly against political repression, bigotry, and for the cause of workers’ struggle against oppression and exploitation.

In July 1955, the Daily Worker — the newspaper of the U.S. Communist Party — put out a call for people to send birthday greetings of solidarity to Communist leader, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn.

Gurley Flynn, who would turn 65 on August 7, was then serving a three-year sentence in a federal prison after she was convicted of violating the Smith Act. The Smith Act, a vital piece of Cold War-era anticommunist witch-hunt legislation, made it illegal to be a member of the Communist Party or advocate the overthrow of the U.S. government.

Helen Keller, 75 years old and world-famous at the time, responded to the call and sent a public message of solidarity to her long-time friend and comrade, Gurley Flynn. The Daily Worker ran the story on the front page of its August 8th, 1955, issue.

Keller was involved and identified with socialist politics her entire life, and even in her old age and in times when it was downright dangerous to express even a modicum of sympathy for members of the Communist Party, Keller was not afraid to stand up publicly against political repression, bigotry, and for the cause of workers’ struggle against oppression and exploitation.


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Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings.
Nelson Mandela

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American capitalism is ruining the lives of European workers.

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When you go to other countries, the political divisions are so much more stark and wider. Here in America, the difference between Democrats and Republicans—we’re fighting inside the 40-yard lines…

People call me a socialist sometimes. But no, you’ve got to meet real socialists. (Laughter.) You’ll have a sense of what a socialist is. (Laughter.) I’m talking about lowering the corporate tax rate. My health care reform is based on the private marketplace. The stock market is looking pretty good last time I checked.

Barack Obama, 19 November 2013, speaking at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council

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You’ve got to meet the real socialists | Danny Katch »

Barack Obama’s advice to people who call him a socialist is that they should meet some real ones. Danny Katch, author of America’s Got Democracy! makes the introductions.

 … It was a touching ruling class moment. At a time of bitter partisan warfare in Congress and frequent mudslinging by business executives, a bunch of CEOs were able to sit down with their president and realize that they really aren’t so different after all. Together, they shared a good laugh at the idea held by many ordinary people in both parties—that Obama and Corporate America are somehow on different sides.

Note that Obama’s laugh line was the phrase “real socialist.” The suits laughed because the phrase reminded them that such a thing as genuinely radical politics—political ideas and politics that extend beyond the 40-yard lines—does exist, even though one rarely encounters it in this country….


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I wonder how much of this is simply an expression of mass opposition to the continued heavy-handedness of Russian imperial influence over Ukraine, versus actually a mass desire FOR becoming more integrated into the European Union through “free trade” agreements … ?

That is, a rejection of corrupt Russian-style capitalism, rather than an embrace of Western-style neoliberal capitalism?

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KIEV, Ukraine — In the biggest demonstration yet after weeks of growing momentum, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians filled the streets of Kiev on Sunday, tearing down and breaking up a monument to Lenin in the city center and intensifying their outcry over President Viktor F. Yanukovich’s turn away from Europe.

 … The giant rally reflected just how deeply roiled this nation of 46 million people has become in the weeks since Mr. Yanukovich said he would not complete political and free-trade agreements with the European Union that he had been promising to sign for more than a year.


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