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Workers and oppressed peoples of the world unite!
‘Stop police terror in poor communities’
By Betsey Piette Baltimore One by one, or in pairs for support, victims of brutality and terror at the hands of Baltimore police came forward to tell their stories. The setting was the People’s Assembly hearings on police abuse, racism and misconduct held on June 30 at the historic Sharp Memorial United Methodist Church at Dolphin and Ettings streets. Organized by the Justice4Trayvon coalition, the assembly provided space for people to speak out against the attacks on their families and communities and also to gain strength from a shared consensus that the time was now to say “No more!” More people showed up to speak than time allowed, so their statements were videoed after the event. The mood was set by the co-chair, the Rev. C. D. Witherspoon, head of the Baltimore Southern Christian Leadership Conference, who told the gathering of more than 150 people: “When we come together, we can make a difference. Today we are here to lift each other up. We didn’t just come to let off steam. We are here today to lay out a plan to bring about justice.” Witherspoon noted that if we remain silent about these injustices, our children and generations to come will only inherit the problem. Demand community control over police Sharon Black of the All People’s Congress introduced 26 members of a People’s Advisory Council for community control over the police. The advisory council included a cross section of people from almost every community in Baltimore, including the homeless, Occupy Baltimore, unions and community activists. Black noted that Baltimore Mayor Stephanie RawlinsBlake was holding a meeting at the same time that day with corporate CEOs to discuss the appointment of the next police commissioner — without any representation from oppressed communities. Several speakers called on the mayor to resign. When Black asked people in the audience to stand up if they had ever experienced police brutality or abuse, or had a family member targeted by police, more than twothirds of the audience responded. She called for a united march at the end of July of everyone impacted by police brutality and related issues, such as lack of jobs, closing of recreation centers and fire stations, and billions of dollars spent on war instead of community needs. Workers beaten, arrested for demanding jobs Ritchie Armstrong of Community Churches United described police attacks on unemployed construction workers who were demonstrating to demand inclusion of Baltimore residents in construction projects springing up around the city. Armstrong noted, “There is a lot of work, but only 2.5 percent of the construction sites employ Baltimore residents.” Thomas Threatt, a construction worker who came to the podium with Armstrong, was beaten, maced and pepper-sprayed by police who attacked the peaceful rally of workers demanding jobs. Armstrong, Threatt and other workers were arrested and then charged with resisting arrest. Armstrong pointed to a banner in the hall with the slogan “We Need Jobs and Justice NOW!” noting that if we don’t act now, our grandchildren will be sitting in rooms like this still trying to deal with the system. Mark and Greta Willis described the police murder of their son, Kevin, in August 2006 when he was 14 years old. Greta Willis had called police to break up a domestic violence incident, but an officer overreacted and killed her son. Unable to get justice through criminal courts, the family filed a civil suit against the officer. The city offered the family $10,000 to settle out of court, but they pursued the case, refusing to let the police sweep it under the rug. Greta Willis noted that the city spent more than $250,000 for attorneys to try the case when “all we wanted was an apology.” Continued on page 4
July 12, 2012
Vol. 54, No. 27
Baltimore People’s Assembly demands justice
WW PHOTOS: HEATHER COTTIN
Above, Greta Willis tells People’s Assembly how Baltimore police killed her 14-year-old son. Below, crowd welcomes call for community control of police.
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Hunger strike in D.C. Occupation in S.F.
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NORTH C AROLINA HISTORY Forced sterilization, no reparations
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CHINA & AFRICA Dispelling the myths 7 NO WAR ON SYRIA Protests coast to coast
July 12, 2012
How they kept Barron out of Congress
By Stephen Millies New York The billionaire class couldn’t tolerate Charles Barron going to Congress. That’s the real story about the June 26 primary election in New York’s redrawn 8th Congressional District in Brooklyn and Queens. While trying to overthrow Syria’s government and survive the European banking crisis, the super-rich were also determined to defeat Barron. They can’t stand a single anti-imperialist voice in the 435-member House of Representatives. After being outspent by 10 to 1, and having the entire Democratic Party establishment and capitalist media mobilized against him, Charles Barron lost. “You know you’re good when you made the governor do a robocall for a primary,” Barron told his supporters at Sistas’ Place in Bedford-Stuyvesant. (Amsterdam News, June 28) “Bar Barron from Congress” was the title of a Daily News editorial that appeared two days before the election. The New York Post and New York Times also attacked Barron. These press lords condemned Barron for demanding reparations for descendants of African Americans who endured centuries of slavery. Brooklyn Assembly member Hakeem Jeffries got 25,000 votes to Charles Barron’s 10,000. But these figures don’t tell the whole story. Walking on Nostrand Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant — the main street in that historic Black neighborhood — this writer saw signs for Barron on almost every store. Barron actually got between 3,000 and 4,000 more votes there in 2006 when he ran against incumbent Congressperson Ed Towns. Towns endorsed Barron in 2012. However, thousands of Black voters were thrown out of that congressional district when it was redrawn in 2012. Added to it were overwhelmingly white areas like Howard Beach, where Michael Griffith, an African American, was lynched on Dec. 20, 1986. Jeffries got 98 percent of the votes in almost all-white Brighton Beach. (Daily News, June 28) But some whites voted for Barron, who campaigned in white areas, condemning foreclosures and demanding jobs. Interestingly, Jeffries got three times as many votes as did Queens Congressmember Gregory Meeks in another district. In the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, Barack Obama supposedly got almost no votes in several Harlem precincts. The Board of Elections may have “helped” Jeffries win. People’s voice vs. charter school advocate Both Jeffries and Barron are African-American elected officials. Charles Barron represents Brooklyn’s East New York district — one of New York City’s poorest neighborhoods — in the City Council. He’s really a people’s warrior, speaking in defense of oppressed people everywhere. Barron was attacked for welcoming Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe to City Hall. Mugabe is a liberator who has distributed land to thousands of Black farmers. That should have been done here following the U.S. Civil War. Charles Barron was also attacked for denouncing NATO’s colonial war against Libya. Barron defended African leader Moammar Gadhafi, who was tortured to
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death by U.S.-NATO mercenaries. Barron was a Black Panther Party member — or, as he put it, “always a Panther.” Whenever the police kill another innocent person, Barron comes forward to comfort family members and demand justice. For several years, Barron has been the only one of 51 City Council members to vote against billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s cutback budgets. That’s how the 12th richest person in the U.S., according to Forbes magazine, cracks his whip over the city’s elected representatives. Hakeem Jeffries is Brooklyn’s version of Newark Mayor Cory Booker. Both are for charter schools. Their campaigns are lavishly supported by the financial elite who seek to privatize education. Jeffries even attacked an NAACP lawsuit against unfair subsidies for private charter schools. That’s a reason why American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees District Council 37, with over 100,000 members, endorsed Barron. So did the Amsterdam News and Black Star News. The December 12th Movement played a key role in Barron’s campaign. Workers World Party is proud to have supported Charles Barron. Anti-imperialist, not anti-Jewish The Big Lie used to mobilize the white racist vote against Barron is that he’s “anti-Jewish” for defending the oppressed Palestinian people. Along with former Congressperson Cynthia McKinney, Barron led the “Viva Palestina” convoy from the U.S. to occupied Gaza in 2009. Among the convoy’s Jewish members who delivered aid was Sharon Eolis, one of the earliest members of Workers World Party. The capitalist media never reported that progressive Jewish people were supporting Barron’s candidacy. Instead they publicized a news conference of racist politicians who gathered at the Museum of Jewish Heritage to denounce Barron. Among them was former New York Mayor Ed Koch, who attacked Barron as a “snake” and a “viper.” (Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 12) Isn’t that how Nazi propaganda described Jewish people? Koch was elected mayor in 1977 on the racist plank of restoring the death penalty. Koch’s 12-year reign in City Hall was marked by his cops killing more than “a hundred people. Among them was the Black grandmother Eleanor Bumpurs, who was killed by two shotgun blasts fired by police officer Stephen Sullivan on Oct. 29, 1984. Bumpurs’ “crime” was owing $417.10 in back rent. Also attacking Barron at that conference was Assemblymember Dov Hikind, a former member of the racist Jewish Defense League and a follower of convicted terrorist Meir Kahane. This smear campaign culminated in a phony “endorsement” of Barron by the neo-Nazi David Duke. As the June 25 Black Star News suggested, this was a ploy to discredit Barron. “Isn’t it more credible that Duke got a call from someone who told him: ‘I will make it worth your while if you endorse Charles Barron?’ ” In 1991, 60 percent of white voters in Louisiana voted to make David Duke their governor. Only the mobilization of the Black community prevented this neo-Nazi from being elected.
In the U.S. Baltimore People’s Assembly demands justice . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 How they kept Barron out of Congress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Postal bigwig nearly arrested at hunger-strike rally. . . . . . . . . 3 Crowd occupies P.O. slated for closing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 On the picket line . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Survivors of racist sterilization dissed by N.C. Senate . . . . . . . 4 Arizona activists condemn immigration decision. . . . . . . . . . . 4 Anti-war protests held in many cities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 ‘Syria war part of U.S. colonial plan’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 ‘ Resist coups in Latin America!’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Cuban asks court to be allowed to go home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Around the world Turkey puts progressives on trial. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Africans applaud China’s role in development . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Editorials Free Lynne Stewart! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 That health care plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Noticias En Español Latinoamérica contra el golpe en Paraguay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Workers World 55 West 17 Street New York, N.Y. 10011 Phone: 212.627.2994 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.workers.org Vol. 54, No. 27 • July 12, 2012 Closing date: July 2, 2012 Editor: Deirdre Griswold Technical Editor: Lal Roohk Managing Editors: John Catalinotto, LeiLani Dowell, Leslie Feinberg, Kris Hamel, Monica Moorehead, Gary Wilson West Coast Editor: John Parker Contributing Editors: Abayomi Azikiwe, Greg Butterfield, Jaimeson Champion, G. Dunkel, Fred Goldstein, Teresa Gutierrez, Larry Hales, Berta Joubert-Ceci, Cheryl LaBash, Milt Neidenberg, Bryan G. Pfeifer, Betsey Piette, Minnie Bruce Pratt, Gloria Rubac Technical Staff: Sue Davis, Shelley Ettinger, Bob McCubbin, Maggie Vascassenno Mundo Obrero: Carl Glenn, Teresa Gutierrez, Berta Joubert-Ceci, Donna Lazarus, Michael Martínez, Carlos Vargas Supporter Program: Sue Davis, coordinator Copyright © 2011 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of articles is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved. Workers World (ISSN-1070-4205) is published weekly except the first week of January by WW Publishers, 55 W. 17 St., N.Y., N.Y. 10011. Phone: 212.627.2994. Subscriptions: One year: $30; institutions: $35. Letters to the editor may be condensed and edited. Articles can be freely reprinted, with credit to Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., New York, NY 10011. Back issues and individual articles are available on microfilm and/or photocopy from University Microfilms International, 300 Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, Mich. 48106. A searchable archive is available on the Web at www.workers.org. A headline digest is available via e-mail subscription. Subscription information is at workers.org/email.php. Periodicals postage paid at New York, N.Y. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to
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July 12, 2012
On the Picket Line
By Sue Davis
NYC nurses demand safe sta ng ratios
On June 20, the New York State Nurses Association stepped up its battle with New York City for a new contract covering 8,800 nurses at 11 public hospitals. After filing grievances related to understaffing at all the Health and Hospitals Corp. institutions, nurses took to the streets to protest in front of the hospitals in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx. In a statement posted June 20 on nysna.org, the union stated: “We have to keep the pressure on management at HHC and the City to fix our staffing problems and to get mandatory staffing ratios enacted into law. Short staffing hurts patient care and results in intolerable working conditions that only make the problem worse.” On June 22, the union launched a new TV, radio and print campaign that accuses billionaire mayor, Michael Bloomberg, of failing to invest in adequate staffing. The nurses have been without a contract for more than two years and have not had a raise since July 2008.
Postal bigwig nearly arrested at hunger-strike rally
By Joe Piette Washington, D.C. It took two dozen cops lined up in front of United States Postal Service headquarters to stop postal worker retiree John Dennie’s gallant attempt to make a citizen’s arrest of Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. Dennie’s hands were pulled behind his back and cuffed. Cops led him away as 140 union and community supporters chanted, “Arrest Donahoe.” Ten minutes later, the released Dennie reported to the crowd that the postal police had said he “would not be arrested here at Postal Headquarters. If he wanted to be arrested, he should go downtown where the Metro Police would do it.” Dennie is a New York member of Community Labor United for Postal Jobs and Services. While Donahoe — wanted for violating “delay of mail” postal regulations — avoided arrest this time, the four-dayslong Hunger Strike Back to Save Our Post Office was a success. No, it didn’t arrest Donahoe, nor did it stop the privatization campaign being pushed by the 1%. But it did get out the message to the rest of the labor movement and to many other workers around the country that low-cost mail delivery — and over 500,000 jobs — are under attack. More than a dozen postal workers and their supporters went without food from 8 a.m. on June 25 to 6 p.m. on June 28. “Not the Internet. Not private competition. Not the recession. It’s the prefunded mandate that’s starving the Postal Service,” explained hunger striker and retired letter carrier Jamie Partridge from Portland, Ore. (Insight News.com) The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA) mandates that the USPS prefund its retirement benefits 75 years into the future in a 10-year window, at a cost of $5.5 billion a year. No other corporation or government agency has such a burden. Despite huge productivity gains over the last decade, the USPS has been unable Hundreds of APWU, NALC and other local union officials as well as community organizations endorsed this campaign. Protests took place in Seattle; Chicago; South Bend, Ind.; Richmond, Va.; and other cities across the country during the hunger strike. In San Francisco, 200 postal workers, union members and community activists marched into a post office, where they rallied. In Portland, Ore., a similar occupation led to 10 arrests. On the East Coast, a caravan organized by the Community Labor United for Postal Jobs and Services began in Newburgh, N.Y., at 4 a.m. on June 28. It picked up participants in New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore before joining a rally at Postal Headquarters in Washington. APWU Mid-Hudson president and hunger striker, Debbie Szeredy, spoke at a 6:30 a.m. rally at Manhattan’s main post office. Four hours later, she spoke alongside Philadelphia APWU president, Gwen Ivey, in front of a post office located on property once owned by the first postmaster general, Benjamin Franklin. The B. Free Franklin Post Office has been threatened with closure. At the caravan’s next stop, Szeredy, Baltimore APWU president Thomasine Derricks and other community activists stood side by side as they criticized antiworker and anti-community policies by postal management and Congress. In Washington, a rally on L’Enfant Plaza led by NALC Local 3825 president, Ken Lerch, featured speeches by labor officials, community leaders and several hunger strikers, including Nannette Corley, president of the Montgomery County, Md., area APWU Local 3630 and Tom Dodge, APWU Local 781 member and a CPWU leader. The assembly was re-energized when about 40 Occupy Washington supporters marched into the crowd, just minutes before Dennie began his attempt to arrest the top official in the postal hierarchy for crimes against the people’s post office. Donahoe remains at large.
WW PHOTO: BETSEY PIETTE
Postal worker John Dennie, who tried to make citizen’s arrest of Postmaster General Donahue.
Verizon workers hold 400+ actions
In more than 400 actions across the country, Verizon employees, represented by the Communication Workers and the Electrical Workers (IBEW), took their year-long campaign for a fair contract to members of Verizon’s board of directors. Joined by other unionists and community activists on June 22, protesters passed out leaflets outside restaurants owned by Clarence Otis (Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse and The Capital Grille), at Banco Popular branches owned by Richard Carrion and at Verizon Wireless stores. The week of June 25, CWA members began a postcard campaign directed at board member Mark Neubauer. “Members of Verizon’s board are paid $230,000 per year to direct Verizon’s business,” said CWA Chief of Staff Ron Collins. “It’s time for them to step up and make Verizon management recognize the contributions of front-line workers who have helped the company become so successful.” Meanwhile, the 45,000 CWA and IBEW members have coined a new name for Verizon: “Verigreedy” says it all. (cwa-union.org, June 28)
to overcome the financial hurdle. Postmaster General Donahoe has announced that overnight, single-piece, first-class mail will be phased out beginning July 1, that half of the 475 mailsorting plants in the country will be closed, and that service hours in 50 percent of all the post offices will be drastically reduced. He also wants to reduce mail delivery to five days a week. “The Postmaster General is sending the service into a death spiral,” says Matt McAuliffe, a mailhandler and hunger striker from Denver. “By slowing the mail one to two days, the postal service will drive away customers. Those most dependent on the mail, the elderly, the poor and rural communities, will be hit the hardest.” (dclabor.org) Nationwide actions Called by Communities and Postal Workers United, letter carriers, mail handlers, mail processing workers and community supporters in cities around the country organized the Hunger Strike Back to demand that the PAEA be replaced by fair legislation that saves, not buries, the 250-year-old postal service.
Landmark contract a rms LGBTQ rights
In May, 2,000 employees at Bloomingdale’s flagship store in Manhattan, who are members of Department Store union Local 3, ratified a five-year collective bargaining agreement that includes a new paternity benefit for gay men in marriages and domestic partnerships. The union believes this benefit is the first of its kind in a retail contract. The agreement also strengthened protections against discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression. The Advocate news magazine called this a breakthrough in an industry that attracts lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people in disproportionately high numbers. Discrimination is rampant in retail, according to a report by the Retail Action Project, a New York City-based membership organization for retail workers, many of whom identify as LGBTQ and who are immigrants and people of color. The report, “Discounted Jobs: How Retailers are Selling Workers Short,” also shows that the overwhelming majority of workers in retail are not in unions and consequently lack health insurance, are paid low wages and must contend with “just-in-time” scheduling. The Advocate article expressed the hope that the Bloomingdale’s contract will influence the industry to make improvements. (advocate.org, June 21)
In solidarity with hunger strike
Crowd occupies P.O. slated for closing
By Dave Welsh San Francisco A large crowd took over the lobby of the Civic Center Post Office here on June 27. It is one of five in this city that’s on the Postmaster General’s hit list to be closed. The station is a lifeline for the many people without homes or those living in city-supported “single room occupancy” hotels for the very poor, who get their mail in P.O. boxes or at the General Delivery window. For half an hour the post office halls rang out with irreverent songs, “open mic” commentaries and loud chants like “No closures, no cuts! No ifs, ands or buts” and “The 1 percenters are full of greed, don’t let them take away what the people need.” Someone unfurled a large “Occupy the Post Office” banner. Some 200 people took part in the action, organized by the San Francisco Community/Labor Coalition to Save the People’s Post Office. The coalition is part of the national network, Communities & Postal Workers United, which organized the June 25-28 postal hunger strike in Washington, D.C., demanding that Con- lobby, occupiers sang lustily the gress “stop starving the Postal Service.” following words to the tune of — The July 27 action began with a rally “Mister Sandman”: at the Federal Building and a march “The 1 percenters, dollar signs in their eyes, through the Tenderloin District. At the They want the post o ce privatized. rally, the Postal Service cuts were attacked by rank-and-file members of or- Their friends in Congress really make me nervous; ganizations in the coalition: letter carrier They’re out to sabotage the Postal Service. Angela Bibb-Merritt, postal clerk Alice “Mr. Postman, together we can save her, Lindstrom-Davis, Jazzie Collins from Se- The postal workers and our friendly neighbors. nior Action Network, Gary Hall from the “We need every post o ce in this town. Union of Unemployed Workers, Robbie Keep it open: Don’t close it! Keep it open: Donohoe from Occupy Oakland, Bruce Don’t close it! Allison from Living Wage Coalition, Michael Lyon from the Gray Panthers and Keep it open: Don’t close it! Don’t shut it down!” Anne Jayne from Church PHOTO: PATRICIA JACKSON Women United. Signs read: “Poor and rural neighborhoods depend on the Post Office,” “Our communities need living-wage postal jobs,” “Keep the 1%’s greedy hands off our public Post Office! No to privatization!” The media were out in force. In the echoing postal
July 12, 2012
Survivors of racist sterilization dissed by N.C. Senate
By Eva Panjwani Carrboro, N.C. State legislators in North Carolina in June passed over a proposal that sought to compensate the living survivors of the state’s long-lasting forced sterilization and eugenics program, citing budgetary concerns. The program was shaped by a eugenics law that the state passed in 1929 that allowed sterilization for three reasons: epilepsy, sickness and “feeblemindedness.” In practice, the state eugenics board freely passed judgment on working-class people, mainly poor Black women. In a state where white men had once owned Black women’s bodies, white men were now condemning them to sterility, charging them with suspected promiscuity and premarital sex. Gays and lesbians were also targeted for sterilization. Recent records indicate that more than 7,600 people were sterilized between 1929 and 1974 in one of the country’s most aggressive and largest eugenics programs. By the 1960s, 99 percent of those sterilized in North Carolina were female, and more than 60 percent were Black. The eugenics movement in the U.S. was fueled by faulty bourgeois research claiming that human behavior was influenced solely by genes. More than 30 states had eugenic sterilization programs. People who were involuntarily sterilized had little or no idea what was happening to them. These programs were bankrolled by the rich, partly motivated by concerns of how much the mentally ill and “welfare mothers” were costing taxpayers and the state. “Six out of every 10 Negro women were taken to the Sunflower City Hospital [in Mississippi] to be sterilized for no reason at all,” said Mississippi’s Fannie Lou Hamer in a 1965 speech at the Capitol in Washington. Hamer herself had been sterilized four years earlier without her knowledge or consent. A prominent civil rights activist, Hamer was one of the first Black women to publicly acknowledge the then-hidden abuse: forcible sterilization of people of
This is the second in a series of historical articles leading up to the Sept. 2 March on Wall Street South – in Charlotte – during the Democratic National Convention.
targeted; the consent color. “Often the process and parental women were not approval were questold that they had tionably applied. been sterilized until Democratic govthey were released ernor, Bev Perdue, from the hospital,” had proposed to set she said. Most states aban- Fannie Lou Hamer, who herself was unknow- aside up to $10 mildoned their efforts ingly sterilized, became a great Civil Rights lion in the upcoming leader. Pictured here, she is challenging the budget in order to at sterilization after all-white Mississippi delegation to the 1964 give $50,000 to each World War II, when Democratic Convention. remaining survivor. the practice became associated with Nazi Germany’s geno- With the backing of Republican speaker, cidal programs for “racial purity.” North Thom Tillis, the proposal did pass the Carolina stood out because it actively in- House. Shortly afterward, however, it creased funding and resources for its pro- was rejected by the State Senate. Legislagram after the war and went on operating tors expressed concern that passing the quietly, with decades of little to no public proposal would open the door for reparations for the descendants of those who debate. In some North Carolina counties where had been enslaved until 1865. The sterilization program finally ended racism was especially rampant, doctors would perform operations without prior in 1974, but it left a legacy that is still alive approval and the eugenics board would in North Carolina. The survivors are livbackdate permission to cover up the il- ing reminders of an era that openly tramlegal procedures. An estimated 2,000 pled on the human rights of the poor and women 18 years old and younger were the powerless.
Arizona activists condemn Supreme Court decision on immigration
By Paul Teitelbaum Tucson, Ariz. The June 25 ruling by the Supreme Court upholding the “Show me your papers” provision of Arizona’s anti-immigrant SB1070 law was immediately met with outrage and protest in Phoenix and Tucson. In Phoenix, protesters descended on both the downtown office of racist Sheriff Joe Arpaio and on the state Capitol. In Tucson protesters gathered on a street corner at the intersection of the state building and the federal court building where mass deportations of “Operation Streamline” take place. Arizona is on the front line of the antiimmigrant attack. From its beginnings as a territory stolen from Mexico, Arizona’s history is rife with racism. The destruction of historic barrios -- Latino/a neighborhoods -- paved the way for the expansion of both the Phoenix and Tucson metropolitan areas. Arizona was one of the last states to enact a holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. That was only after a massive public outcry, including a boycott of the state and moving the 1993 Super Bowl from Phoenix, forced the legislature to act. To this day, the Tucson Unified School District is under a court-ordered desegregation plan. The desegregation order was first imposed in 1978, 24 years after segregation was outlawed, as a result of a lawsuit exposing the racist treatment and inferior education Latinos/as received in the district. In response to the Supreme Court’s ruling, the International Action Center of Tucson issued the following statement: “The Supreme Court’s announcement upholding the ‘Show me your papers’ provision of SB1070 continues the assault against Arizona’s Latino and migrant communities. This ruling is not just the legalization of racial profiling, but is a green light for racism and will result in the increase of police and border patrol terror against communities of color. “All people who are struggling to survive under the weight of the capitalist economic crisis should take note of this decision. The legalization of racial profiling by the Supreme Court will not solve any of the urgent social problems that demand attention. It will not provide jobs, health care or education for anyone. It will not fix schools, roads or other crumbling infrastructure. It will instead waste the money that could be spent on these vital social services criminalizing and jailing people who are doing nothing other than trying to survive. “Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and notoriously racist Sheriff Joe Arpaio have been salivating over this, waiting for the opportunity to fill the for-profit prisons of their corporate friends. Arpaio has made no secret of his intent to launch checkpoints and ‘crime sweeps’ as soon as the ruling was announced, and the governor sent a training video to every law enforcement agency in the state, preparing them to enforce the provisions as soon as the court ruled on them. “We cannot sit by and allow the state to isolate and terrorize portions of our community. We must unite with those under attack and push back the assault that is aimed at ALL people. The tactic of dividing people by skin color, religion, sexual identity or whether they possess specific documents or not is just an attempt to divert attention away from the real problem and the real criminals: the banks, the corporations and the war machine that steal more and more of the world’s wealth while they continually pit worker against worker, group against group. “We must unite and fight back against everything that attempts to divide us. Racism, sexism, anti-gay bigotry – it all has to go. We must continue to broaden had been tortured. Toro, who has been acthe fightback against war, racism and imtive with the May 1st Coalition for Worker perialism and for jobs, legalization, health and Immigrant Rights, linked the struggles care and education for all. As we watch of the oppressed communities, unions, events unfold in Paraguay, where another immigrants and the Occupy Wall Street anti-people coup has taken place, it is immovement, all of whom are being attacked perative that our fight go global as well. in the streets and demonized by the capi“Now is a good time to remember this: talist corporate press, day and night. History shows that what matters is what Toro condemned the Obama adminishappens in the streets -- not in the courts tration’s National Defense Authorization or in the White House. That is what will Act, signed on Dec. 31, 2011, that labels ultimately decide the fate of the people. activists as terrorists while police terror“Si se puede. The struggle continues.” ize communities of color and more than 1 million immigrants have been deported. “Together we are the majority — Latino, African American, Asian, Arab and Native,” Toro noted. “We can unite and deCOVER GRAPHIC: feat these corporations.” SAHU BARRON
People’s assembly denounces Baltimore police terror
Continued from page 1 Youth harassed under stop-and-frisk Other speakers addressed the city’s flagrant stop-and-frisk policies that specifically target youth of color — increasingly including young women. Dr. Marvin L. Cheatham Sr. of the National Action Network noted that more than 100,000 people were arrested illegally under this program. “Even when charges are dropped, [youth] walk away with criminal records, unable to get jobs. We need to wake up and get angry,” he concluded. Several residents of the Poplar Grove neighborhood described almost daily harassment by police and numerous stop-andfrisk incidents targeting Black youth. In one instance a disabled man, David Yimm, was shot by officer Fred Murray, who, observers said, fired recklessly four times out of the passenger window of his cop car. The threatened closing of four neighborhood recreation centers was addressed by teenager Catrell Goodman, who noted that his center “is all the kids have. If they take it away, we’ll be in the streets.” Brian Easley noted that police agencies are required to report all cases of stopand-frisk, yet they claimed 11 incidents in all of last year. “With six-to-one odds that you’ll be pulled over if you are African American, we know this is a lie,” said Easley. He added that Baltimore has paid more than $1.5 million to settle lawsuits involving misconduct of police officers engaged in stop-and-frisk. Occupy Baltimore transgender activist Donna Plamondon described the widespread police stalking and harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer youth, noting that “If you file charges against someone who assaults you, you’re the one who ends up being charged with assault.” Plamondon ended her statement by reading the passage in which the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand.” A highlight of the hearing was an address by immigrant rights activist Victor Toro, who has sought asylum in the U.S. since 1984 after fleeing Chile, where he
& the Black Freedom Struggle
An anthology of writings from Workers World newspaper. Edited by Monica Moorehead. www.workers.org/reparations Available at Amazon.com & bookstores around the country
July 12, 2012
‘HANDS ‘HANDS OFF SYRIA & IRAN’
By Kris Hamel Demonstrations against U.S./ NATO military intervention in Syria were held in at least 29 cities coast-to-coast in the United States during the week ending July 1. The United National Antiwar Coalition had called the protests and demanded: Hands off Syria and Iran! End the drone wars! and Money for jobs, education and health care, not endless war! Following are brief descriptions of some of these actions. Protesters in BOSTON demonstrated June 26 in front of President Barack Obama’s fundraiser in Symphony Hall. Participants included activists from the International Action Center, Veterans for Peace, Act-Up Boston and Occupy Boston. The demonstrators’ signs and banners were visible to Obama from his motorcade as he arrived for the $2,000-per-plate event. At the Federal Building in LOS ANGELES, people from the anti-war, solidarity and social justice movements, with a large attendance from the Syrian and other Arab-American communities, protested the latest war threats and provocations against Syria on June 30. Among the key organizers of the event was a member of Arab Americans for Syria, an organization which also participated in planning actions around the U.S. Socialist and anti-imperialist organizations and activists spoke at the rally, including a member of the Peace and Freedom Party, BAYAN-USA, the International League of Peoples Struggles, the Southern California Immigration Coalition, the Union of Progressive Iranians, Unión del Barrio, Workers World Party, Latinos Against War and the Coalition
Anti-war protests held in many cities
WW PHOTO: SCOTT SCHEFFER
PHOTO MARIE KULLMAN
to Stop FBI Repression. Workers World newspapers with the headline “Hands off Syria” were passed out and well received. A spirited rush-hour rally was held in downtown OAKLAND, CALIF., to demand U.S./NATO hands off Syria. Speakers representing Courage to Resist, UNAC, the Bradley Manning Defense Network, Workers World Party, the Peace and Freedom Party and others made strong statements against U.S. intervention in Syria and Iran. Activists with the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice demonstrated June 27 in downtown DETROIT. They were joined by local peace activists who have held weekly anti-war vigils at the busy intersection of Nine Mile Road and Woodward Avenue for close to 10 years. Three young cyclists stopped and joined the demonstration, leading the group in chanting, “No more war!” Numerous honks from passing motorists sounded support for the action. Protesters turned out at the downtown Federal Building in BUFFALO, N.Y., in
solidarity with the peoples of Syria and Iran and against the growing threats. The press conference and rally were organized by the local chapters of Citizen Action, the International Action Center, MoveOn. org, Peace Action NY, Veterans for Peace, Occupy Buffalo, Burning Books and the Western NY Peace Center. Activists demonstrated outside the Federal Building in PHILADELPHIA on June 27 to engage rush-hour crowds. Participants included the Philadelphia International Action Center, the Brandywine Peace Community, Socialist Action and members of Occupy Philadelphia. An informational flyer was well received by passersby. Protesters In SALT LAKE CITY also gathered outside the local Federal Building. “In 2011, the federal government spent 52 percent of the federal budget on the military. This money could be spent on education, free health care or other programs that are beneficial to the people,” said organizer Travis Gray. In CHICAGO, the crowd chanted, “Not
another Libya! Hands off Syria!” during a June 26 picket outside the Obama reelection campaign headquarters. When a small group tried to disrupt the protest, calling for the overthrow of the Syrian government, Joe Iosbaker of UNAC explained to the crowd: “If anyone here believes that intervention by the U.S. will aid the people of Syria, they’re wrong. The U.S. isn’t threatening war with Syria because they care for the Arab people. The U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq has cost the lives of 1 million, mainly Arabs. Go tell the Iraqi people that the U.S. government cares for Arab lives!” In MINNEAPOLIS, people joined an emergency protest at the Federal Building. The action was initiated by the Minnesota Peace Action Coalition and endorsed by other groups, including the Freedom Road Socialist Organization. Speaking at the end of the protest, Meredith Aby of MPAC and the Anti-War Committee urged participation in upcoming protests at the Democratic and Republican national conventions. Information for this article came from Ellie Dorritie, Judy Greenspan, Martha Grevatt, Frank Neisser, John Parker, Betsey Piette and fightbacknews.org.
‘Syria war part of U.S. colonial plan’
By Kris Hamel Detroit A diverse crowd of various nationalities and ages gathered here on June 30 for a Workers World Party public forum on the imperialist war threats against Syria. The featured speaker was Sara Flounders, a WWP Secretariat member, co-director of the International Action Center and a leader of the United National Antiwar Coalition. Flounders began by updating the audience on the “new deal” brokered by United Nations special envoy Kofi Annan for a transitional government in Syria. An in-
‘Resist coups in Latin America!’
A New York City march on June 28 to celebrate the third year of resistance to the U.S.-sponsored coup in Honduras turned into a protest of the recent parliamentary coup in Paraguay as well. The International Action Center’s Committee in Solidarity with the Caribbean and Latin America, joined by activists from Honduras, Puerto Rico, Argentina and Ecuador, rallied near Times Square and then marched to the United Nations, stopping and chanting at the Honduran and Paraguayan consulates on the way. María Fernanda Heyaca of Argentina told the crowd: “My earliest political memory was hearing of the fascist murder of 30,000 people in Argentina. The U.S.supported junta participated in the destruction of a whole generation of youth. I remember the fear my mother had that the fascists would steal her babies. No more U.S. imperialist coups in Latin America!” Wellington Echegaray added: “This is an important demonstration. What happened in Honduras has many parallels with the coup in Paraguay. The imperialists want to take advantage of the natural resources and the labor of the people of Latin America. We compare the actions of the imperialists in Honduras and Paraguay with other Latin American countries that stand up for their own sovereignty and the rights of their people. I am from Ecuador, where the U.S. was not successful in completing a coup in 2010 because the people were able to prevent it.” -- Heather Cottin
DETROIT WWP FORUM ternational conference in Geneva earlier that day agreed to the plan, although at Russia’s insistence the plan left open the possibility of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad being allowed to remain as part of an interim government. Syrian opposition groups — instigated and supported by PHOTO: LEONA MCELEVENE the United States and other imperialist powers and their Some of the crowd at June 30 meeting. Sara Flounders, in puppets — rejected the U.N. front, second from left, with sign. agreement. Flounders said U.S. Secretary the audacity to state that ‘those with blood of State Hillary Clinton “remained ada- on their hands’ cannot stay in power.” mant that Assad has to go, and even had Flounders reviewed the background of the Syrian conflict, referring the audience to a fact sheet published in Workers World newspaper which gave a timeline of U.S. and Western interference in Syria. (See “The U.S. & Syria: Facts you should know” at workers.org.) She discussed the shooting down by Syria of a Turkish F4 fighter jet. “Will that be the pretext for U.S./NATO intervention? So far, not yet. But this or any other incident could be used as a pretext at any time to justify the imperialist military onslaught.” She also discussed the role of sanctions as a de facto act of war. Flounders called the war moves by the U.S., NATO and Turkey against Syria — and Iran — “part of the U.S. plan to reconquer and recolonize the globe, to take hold of a very strategic region that has oil and a skilled working class.” She described imperialist war as “massively destructive and massively profitable,” with trillions of dollars in government-subsidized profits for the arms makers at the expense of human needs and social programs. “The ruling class of capitalists makes a
WW PHOTO: G. DUNKEL
Continued on page 7
July 12, 2012
t is never admitted by U.S. government spokespeople — who love to shout out about “human rights violations” if the target is China or Iran — that the United States has political prisoners. Plenty of them. Many of them have been imprisoned since the Black, Native and Latino/a liberation struggles of the 1960s and 1970s. But two political prisoners, whose fate is linked, did make it into the media as June ended. One was Egyptian-born Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, who was convicted in 1995 on trumped-up seditious conspiracy charges connected with the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Sheik Rahman, who is blind and ill, has been imprisoned since his 1993 arrest. The new president of Egypt, Mohammed Morsi, publicly promised Egyptians on June 29 that his government would try to get Sheik Rahman released on humanitarian grounds. A day earlier, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit confirmed the 2010 decision of Federal District Court Judge John Koeltl to increase an already
Solidarity delegation to observe as
Free Lynne Stewart! Turkey puts progressives
outrageous 28-month jail sentence for Sheik Rahman’s attorney, Lynne Stewart, to 10 years. What Stewart was “guilty” of was energetically and diligently fighting an appeal for her client. Stewart is a human rights activist. As an attorney, she was always a staunch defender of the most oppressed. Most of her clients were poor people from the Black community, some of them Muslims. It was a great loss to the progressive movement and to the most oppressed defendants that the repressive state apparatus in this country deprived her of the ability to defend these clients. That it sentenced her to the original 28 months was itself a travesty of justice. And that Judge Koeltl would respond to obvious political pressure from the right to increase this sentence to 10 years — for someone who was already 70 years old — gives a new meaning to “cruel and unusual punishment.” (For more details on the decision, see lynnestewart.org.) For the political prisoners the U.S. holds — and denies it has — we need to keep up the political defense. Free Lynne Stewart!
By John Catalinotto Ayşe Berktay coordinated worldwide mobilizations in 2002 and 2003 trying to stop the U.S.-British war of aggression against Iraq. This writer met her at the European Social Forum in Paris in November 2003. She was representing the Turkish peace movement; I was representing the International Action Center as part of the U.S. anti-war movement. We had been unable to stop the imperialists from launching the war and occupying Iraq. We would at least make sure their media weren’t the only ones writing the war’s history. The movement organized a series of people’s tribunals pointing to the governments and generals of the U.S., Britain and their allies as the top war criminals of the 21st century. Berktay came across during the Social Forum as someone who would defend her ideas, but would also be aware that a united front of organizations would be needed to carry out the actions. And she would make sure to hold it together. One imagined she might play that role also in Turkey, where the last of the tribunals found George W. Bush, Tony Blair and the others guilty of war crimes. Thus, it was with anger and dismay that we learned that Berktay was one of many political activists that the Turkish authorities arrested in October 2011. That the Turkish government is repressive is no surprise; there must be thousands unjustly arrested and imprisoned in that NATO country. Remember, the Turkish regime is right now threatening its neighbor, Syria, in collaboration with its imperialist senior partners in Western Europe and North America. Below are excerpts from a statement issued by those who participated in the 2004-2005 tribunals. We fully support their effort to send a delegation to Turkey to observe the trial of Berktay and others and to show their solidarity with the political prisoners: “During the past three years, the Turkish state has imprisoned some 8,000 citizens under the guise of fighting terrorism. In a wave of detentions known as the ‘KCK operations,’ it has targeted activists, academics, journalists, lawyers, students, elected officials, translators and publishers on account of their democratic activities in support of the rights demanded by Kurdish citizens in Turkey. “In particular, numerous members and supporters of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) — which has 36 elected representatives in the Turkish Parliament — have been criminalized and imprisoned on the pretext that they are alleged members of the Union of Communities in Kurdistan (KCK), a group which the Turkish state claims to be the urban branch of an armed organization known
That health care plan
have already said they will not expand Medicaid. Some liberals say passage of this plan gets a foot in the door for single-payer. Others counter that it provides a precedent for states to defy progressive federal regulation on issues like workers’ rights, the environment, women’s and lesbian/ gay/bisexual/transgender/queer rights, and other issues. We have no special expertise on how this will shake out. But this we know: What the court had to say is not the deciding factor. What is decisive is the relative strength of the two main classes in society. Britain started its national health plan after World War II when the British ruling class was weak, and the workers were strong and militant. It was a concession to the workers meant to deflect their demands for real socialism, that is, for expropriating the capitalists’ property and setting up a workers’ state. The same thing was true in France, another capitalist country where a national health system was put in place even earlier. Just because the ever-so-slightly more liberal (on social issues) Democrats are in the White House is no reason to sit back and think things will get better. This is a time of cruel assaults on workers’ rights, growing poverty, especially in communities of color, and vicious cutbacks in all public spending except for the military and the prisons. It is a monumental crime that in the richest country (for the rich), people spend more for health care and get worse results than in other developed countries. It’s another reason to fight for not only a real health-care-for-all plan, but a complete overturn of the anachronistic system of capitalism, which milks us dry from the cradle to the grave.
nly one thing is really clear about the Obama health care plan, which was just upheld by a majority on the Supreme Court that included conservative Chief Justice John Roberts: If it is going to be any better than what we already have, we’ll have to continue to fight for at least a single-payer system that covers everyone in this sick society. And single-payer, while popular with progressives, still falls far short of socialized medicine in socialist countries like Cuba, where major government resources are committed to promoting the health of the population and no one has to worry about how to pay for care. Criticism and support of the Obama plan come from both left and right. What was just upheld by the court was the mandate that everyone get health insurance or pay a penalty tax. This made the insurance companies and other health-related industries happy, of course, because it means they’ll be sure to make more money. Left critics of the plan say that many among the tens of millions of uninsured don’t have coverage because they just can’t afford it. They will wind up having to pay the fine, which they surely can’t afford either in these days of high unemployment and low wages. Supporters of the plan say this provision was essential — that without it the whole plan would have died, allowing insurance companies to continue rejecting people for “pre-existing conditions.” They also say that people who can’t afford the premiums will get assistance. However, this ruling allows states to “opt out” of expanding Medicaid to more poor people, which the original law had mandated, even though the federal government would pay for most of it. Right-wing governors in Florida and South Carolina
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as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Professor Busra Ersanli is the best known of those who were thus imprisoned in 2011, together with the publisher Ragip Zarakolu, who has since been released. “We now wish to focus public attention on Ayşe Berktay (Hacimirzaoglu), a respected translator, researcher and global peace and justice activist. Since her arrest in October 2011 during the ‘KCK operations,’ she has been held in pre-trial detention in Bakirkoy Women’s Prison in Istanbul. Nine months after her initial incarceration, Ayşe Berktay’s trial, along with others, is scheduled to run from July 2 to July 13 in Silivri, near Istanbul. “As participants in the former World Tribunal on Iraq (WTI) network, we have now formed an international delegation to observe the trial of Ayşe Berktay. She helped found the World Tribunal on Iraq in 2003, and was a principal organizer of its culminating session in Istanbul. We know Ayşe Berktay to be a person of great integrity and honesty. She is not a terrorist, but an idealist who is committed to peace and democracy. “We will return to Istanbul to register our solidarity with Ayşe Berktay and others who have been targeted as alleged terrorists for democratically challenging the Turkish state’s violent handling of the ‘Kurdish issue’ in Turkey. We recognize that the ‘KCK operations’ are used to spread fear among activists, silence public dissent, and normalize the arbitrary arrest of citizens. “We urge the Turkish government to stop suppressing democratic efforts in support of rights demanded by Kurdish citizens in Turkey. We urge the Turkish government to stop criminalizing activism under the guise of counter-terrorism. We demand the immediate release of Ayşe Berktay and all political prisoners in Turkey! “The delegation includes Italian attorney Fabio Marcelli, International Association of Democratic Lawyers; Spanish attorney Maria Louisa Martin Abia, IADL member; Lieven De Cauter, professor at Leuven University, Belgium, president of the BRussells Tribunal, co-founder of the WTI; Tony Simpson, director of the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation; Paloma Valverde, coordinator of the Spanish antiwar organization CEOSI; Pedro Rojo, coordinator of CEOSI; Ayça Çubukçu, assistant professor in Human Rights at the London School of Economics and Political Science; and Patrick Deboosere, co-founder of the BRussells Tribunal and the WTI.” See the petition at ipetitions.com/ petition/detentionsinturkey. See Ayse Berktay’s letter from prison at tinyurl. com/72r5lq6.
July 12, 2012
Cuban asks court to be allowed FREE THE CUBAN FIVE to go home
By Cheryl LaBash Attorneys for René González on June 22 renewed legal action to allow him to return to his home and family in Cuba. The brief asks for modification of his threeyear supervised release so he can serve the remainder after repatriation — a common procedure, according to the brief. González and four comrades — Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando González — had been arrested in Miami on Sept. 12, 1998. The five were in the United States on a mission to stop terror against Cuba. They were monitoring Florida-based paramilitary gangs that had been responsible for bombing Cuban hotels during the 1990s. These terrorists were continuing to plan violent acts against Cuba in order to discourage tourism — an essential part of the Caribbean island’s economy, especially during the Special Period after the collapse of its trading partners in the Soviet and East European socialist bloc. The Cuban 5 were convicted by an intimidated Miami jury, amid sensationalized media reports written by journalists later found to be on the U.S. government payroll. The five were then sentenced to disproportionately harsh prison terms. In
Rene González Sehwerert, released from prison on Oct. 7, is still being forced to remain in the U.S. against his will.
essence, their offense was to be unregistered foreign agents, a relatively minor charge which is often resolved by sending the offenders back to their homeland. Not in the case of the Cuban 5, though. Gerardo Hernández, for example, is sentenced to two life terms plus 15 years. But a persistent and growing global movement is demanding that all the Cuban 5 be released and returned to Cuba. Now, even after his release from prison last Oct. 7, González remains in a form of isolation — one his attorney says is contrary to the reintegration purpose of supervised release. First and foremost, he is isolated from the community he intends to reintegrate into — his home in Cuba. Cuba is where his spouse Olga, his daughters Irma and Yvette, and his parents live. González did get the court’s permission to briefly visit Cuba in April to say goodbye
Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, Ramón Labañino Salazar, Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez and Fernando González Llort.
to his dying brother, Roberto. He then returned to the U.S. González was born in the United States and holds both Cuban and U.S. citizenship. Nonetheless, he is isolated in the U.S., where he remains undocumented. To get a valid driver’s license in Florida, González would be required to make the address of his residence a matter of public record. Because of the violent anti-Cuba groups there, this would be a risk to his safety. The brief points out an obvious fact that should be apparent to the court. “As a convicted agent of the Cuban government, Defendant is reviled by a significant number of people who harbor anti-Cuba and anti-Castro views, some of whom have advocated violence. Therefore, Defendant has found it necessary to take strong measures to ensure that his identity and location remain a secret from those who would do him harm.” A trained pilot, González also can’t renew his pilot’s license without making his address known. He cannot get credit or enroll in school or participate in anything that requires him to divulge his identity and residence. González has offered to renounce his U.S. citizenship when he is allowed to return to Cuba, so as to “provide to the Court and to the Government the concrete assurance that he does not intend to return for any suspect purpose whatsoever.” It is ironic that the U.S. government, which has expeditiously removed more than 280,000 immigrants from the U.S. thus far in 2012 and returned them to their country of origin against their will, has forced a Cuban who is a hero to his people to remain in Florida against his wishes.
Africans applaud China’s role in development
By Abayomi Azikiwe Editor, Pan-African News Wire An op-ed piece by Dambisa Moyo in the New York Times takes a firm position that the role of the People’s Republic of China in Africa is a positive one. Moyo’s statement comes at a time of growing U.S., British and French military interventions resulting in massive destruction in Libya, Somalia and Ivory Coast. Moyo states: “Despite all the scaremongering, China’s motives for investing in Africa are actually quite pure. To satisfy China’s population and prevent a crisis of legitimacy for their rule, leaders in Beijing need to keep economic growth rates high and continue to bring hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.” (New York Times, June 27) “China needs arable land, oil and minerals. Pursuing imperial or colonial ambitions with masses of impoverished people at home would be wholly irrational and out of sync with China’s current strategic thinking,” asserted Moyo. This is contrary to the aims of the Western imperialists toward Africa, which are carried out despite the U.S. and other NATO countries facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, with high unemployment and rising poverty for tens of millions. A year ago, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the southern African nation of Zambia and hypocritically stated that the U.S. was “concerned” that “China’s foreign assistance and investment practices in Africa have not always been consistent with generally accepted international norms of transparency and good governance, and that it has not always utilized the talents of the African people in pursuing its business interests.” (Reuters, June 10, 2011) Clinton’s statement was made when the U.S. and its NATO allies were bombing Libya on a daily basis. Prior to the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi, Libya was the most prosperous and stable country on the African continent. Chinese government aids development Zambian President Rupiah Banda refuted Clinton’s assertion, stating, “Our country has been in a close relationship with China since before independence [in 1964].” Banda said China had assisted numerous African states in dealing with the global financial crisis which originated in the United States. Clinton made a statement in neighboring Tanzania warning that “a new colonialism in Africa from foreign investors and governments interested only in extracting natural resources to enrich themselves” was underway. Although she did not mention China by name, the implications were obvious. (China Daily, June 17, 2011) Referring to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, as the site where China built its first railway for Tanzania and Zambia during the early 1970s under the leadership of Mao Zedong, China Daily said its government “invested in the project that has benefited the local people tremendously, and Chinese workers endured the extreme weather conditions and made huge sacrifices in completing this railway project in the most difficult terrain. That railway project sets China apart from Western nations that were involved in Africa earlier than China.” Other scientific transfers of technology from China have the potential to address the agricultural crisis caused by drought and the expansion of the deserts in Africa. The Desert Control Research Institute of Gansu has dispatched scientists to Niger and Nigeria to implement a water resource preservation program sponsored by the Chinese government and the United Nations. (Xinhua, July 2) The Chinese scientists are doing research and training local personnel. Zimbabwe has been negatively affected by sanctions imposed by the U.S., Britain, the European Union and Australia. The reason for this economic war is that the government initiated a comprehensive land reform program 12 years ago to take back 50 percent of the land stolen by Britain a century ago during the advent of colonialism. The Western imperialists have denied trade and investment to Zimbabwe and have supported opposition forces bent on undermining land reform and national sovereignty. China has built strong economic ties to Zimbabwe, whose liberation movement it supported during the 1960s and 1970s during the war for independence against British settlers. China has also defended Zimbabwe and Sudan when both countries were threatened with further sanctions by the U.N. Security Council. The imperialist states have continued their policies of opposing any genuine efforts on the part of African states to develop along the lines that serve the interests of the people within their societies.
‘Syria war part of U.S. colonial plan’
Continued from page 5 concerted, special effort to disorient the progressive movement and demoralize it. They use groups and media like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, National Public Radio, Democracy Now and others to build support for imperialist intervention,” Flounders said. “Our job as revolutionaries and internationalists is to side with those under the gun of imperialism, no ifs, ands or buts, and to educate our class as to who our real enemy is: the capitalist class, whose military interventions have never been to bring peace or humanitarian aid to anyone.” Abayomi Azikiwe of Pan-African News Wire and Workers World newspaper also spoke, reviewing the devastating effects on working class communities here caused by Pentagon intervention around the world over the last decade. “Since the advent of the Afghan war some 11 years ago,” said Azikiwe, “the conditions of workers and the oppressed have worsened to unprecedented levels. The economic crisis facing the world is the most severe since the Great Depression of the 1930s. “Socialism provides the only solution to the current crisis of capitalism,” he added, “and the sooner we dispose of the exploitative system the better off we all will be in the long term.”
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América Latina opone al golpe de estado en Paraguay
Por Berta Joubert-Ceci Otro golpe de estado derechista ha derrocado a un Presidente elegido democráticamente en Latinoamérica. Tres años después del golpe de estado en Honduras que depuso al presidente Manuel Zelaya en junio del 2009, las mismas fuerzas han derrocado al presidente Fernando Lugo en Paraguay. Estas fuerzas reaccionarias incluyen a la oligarquía en Paraguay, junto a las empresas transnacionales mayoritariamente las basadas en Estados Unidos y a la embajada de Estados Unidos, que existe para servir a estas corporaciones. En un increíblemente rápido ritmo de acontecimientos, la legislatura paraguaya, compuesta mayoritariamente de opositores derechistas de Lugo, votó el 21 de junio para realizar un juicio político contra Lugo en el Senado. El Presidente tuvo sólo dos horas para preparar su defensa. Al día siguiente el Senado destituyó a Lugo. Su vicepresidente, Federico Franco, del Partido Liberal Radical Auténtico, quien se había vuelto contra Lugo, fue juramentado como Presidente. ¿Que provocó que este rápido procedimiento? Las fuerzas opositoras a la Presidencia de Lugo han trabajado incesantemente para sacarlo desde que asumió el poder el 15 de agosto de 2008. Finalmente, encontraron un momento oportuno para proceder. Muchos analistas en Paraguay y de afuera afirman que los reaccionarios perpetraron un incidente con el fin de eliminarlo. El 15 de junio, once campesinos y seis policías fueron asesinados y muchos otros campesinos quedaron heridos cuando la policía intervino en su contra mientras ocupaban una finca administrada por el hombre más rico de Paraguay, Blas N. Riquelme. Los/as campesinos/as habían ocupado la tierra durante casi tres semanas, protestando por la falta de tierras cultivables para pequeños agricultores. Paraguay tiene una población de poco más de 6 millones de personas. El comercio de carnes y la agricultura son los motores de su economía. Según OXFAM.org, el 2,6 por ciento de la población es dueña del 85,5 por ciento de las tierras cultivables, mientras que más de 250.000 campesinos/as no tienen acceso a la tierra. Paraguay también es un paraíso para las corporaciones transnacionales y los ricos por sus leyes de bajos impuestos que les benefician. Riquelme es propietario de tierras que le fueron cedidas ilegalmente durante la violenta dictadura de Alfredo Stroessner, durante los años 1954-1989. Riquelme era parte del entonces gobernante Partido Colorado. Desde el 2010 el Instituto Nacional de Desarrollo Rural y Tierras ha reclamado esa misma tierra con el fin de incluirla en el Plan de Reforma Agraria. Es una práctica común de los terratenientes ricos en Latinoamérica el contratar mercenarios armados. Los campesinos dicen que Riquelme contrató a matones fuertemente armados para disparar contra ellos y disparar también a la policía. Curiosamente, uno de los policías muertos era el hermano del jefe de la seguridad de Lugo. La policía afirma que los campesinos estaban armados con fuertes armas y le tendió una emboscada a la policía. Esto queda descartado, especialmente porque sólo fueron encontrados en el sitio machetes y escopetas rústicas pertenecientes a los campesinos. Lugo, con el apoyo de la OEA, estaba preparando una investigación del terrible incidente. Despidió al ministro del Interior Carlos Filizzola y al jefe de la policía Paulino Rojas. Esto sin embargo, no fue suficiente para la oposición, quien acusó a Lugo de ser responsable de la masacre. Los otros tres cargos contra Lugo exponen el carácter político de la destitución: Lugo fue acusado de permitir un evento socialista con banderas con la imagen del Che Guevara en un cuartel militar; alentar ocupaciones de tierras contra los terratenientes y poner en peligro la seguridad de los/as ciudadanos/as por no luchar contra la guerrilla Ejército del Pueblo Paraguayo. Contradicciones de la administración de Lugo Lugo ganó con el 41 por ciento de los votos en el 2008 con una alianza de diferentes organizaciones y partidos que en general representan fuerzas de centroizquierda, en su mayoría socialdemócratas. Estaban agrupadas bajo la bandera de la Alianza Patriótica Para el Cambio. Incluso el partido del presidente Franco, el Partido Liberal Radical Auténtico inicialmente formaba parte de esta alianza. En un país con una fuerte oligarquía vinculada a los agronegocios transnacionales y con una historia de dictadura fascista, el movimiento progresista tenía enormes dificultades. Cientos de progresistas habían estado en el exilio durante muchos años debido a la represión política. Y las fuerzas que apoyaban a Lugo estaban divididas. Los defensores más fuertes de Lugo no están en Asunción la capital, sino en las zonas rurales. El Congreso está dominado por la oposición de derecha. La oligarquía era y sigue siendo, el poder real tanto en el poder judicial como en la mayoría de las otras instituciones del Gobierno, y por supuesto, controla la economía. El único poder real con el que Lugo podía contar era el pueblo, especialmente el campesinado. Sin embargo, en su empeño de apaciguar a la derecha, Lugo hizo demasiadas concesiones, lo que hizo disminuir su apoyo entre las masas y entre algunos partidos, incluyendo el Partido Comunista de Paraguay. El que Lugo hiciera estas concesiones fue un error fundamental que ha demostrado ser desastroso. Él incluso aprobó una ley antiterrorista promovida por Estados Unidos después de los acontecimientos del 11 de septiembre de 2001. Pero el ala derecha y el imperialismo nunca están satisfechos con meras concesiones. Como dijo el Che, “Al imperialismo, ni un tantito así”. A pesar de las concesiones, Lugo fue capaz de hacer algunas reformas positivas. Estas incluían la medicina gratuita para el pueblo, las subvenciones para 20.000 familias que viven en extrema pobreza y desayuno y almuerzo en el sistema escolar público. Según un informe de Wikileaks, la Embajada de Estados Unidos sabía de las posibilidades de un golpe de Estado contra Lugo ya en 2009. El informe muestra que el entonces vicepresidente Franco hablaba con el embajador de Estados Unidos sobre la posibilidad de un golpe de estado y de su desacuerdo con Lugo. (elintransigente.com, 25 de junio) En otra concesión a la derecha, Lugo nombró a Rubén Candia, del Partido Colorado para substituir a Filizzola como Ministro del Interior después de la masacre del 15 de junio. Candia fue ministro de justicia bajo el presidente derechista Nicanor Duarte (2003-2008). En el artículo “Monsanto golpea en Paraguay: Los muertos de Curuguaty y el juicio político a Lugo” publicado en rebelión.org, el periodista político paraguayo y autor del libro “Los Herederos de Stroessner” Idilio Méndez Grimaldi, escribió que “Candia es acusado de haber promovido la represión a dirigentes de organizaciones campesinas y de movimientos populares. Su nominación a Fiscal General del Estado en el 2005 fue aprobada por el entonces embajador de los Estados Unidos, John F. Keen. Candia fue responsable de un mayor control por parte de USAID del Ministerio Público y fue acusado en los inicios de su gobierno por Fernando Lugo de conspirar en su contra para quitarlo del gobierno”. La gigante transnacional Monsanto de EE.UU. está implicada en los acontecimientos de Paraguay. Monsanto quería introducir una semilla transgénica para uso comercial en el país. Pero bajo la administración de Lugo, el Servicio Nacional de Calidad y Sanidad Vegetal y de Semillas (SENAVE) se negó a aprobar su uso. Los oligarcas derechistas favorecen la diseminación de las semillas de Monsanto, mientras que el campesinado se ha manifestado en su contra. La Unión de Gremios de Producción, un grupo de terratenientes vinculado a Monsanto, estaba preparando una manifestación para el 25 de junio contra Lugo en beneficio del gigante transnacional y la “liberalización” de sus semillas transgénicas. Obviamente, no necesitan esa protesta ahora. Diplomacia internacional en ambos lados El Departamento de Estado de EE.UU. exhortó al pueblo paraguayo a mantener la calma. La Alemania imperialista y el Papa enviaron representantes para saludar a Franco en su primer día en la Presidencia. Pero países latinoamericanos como los regímenes pro-EE.UU. de Chile, México, Panamá y Colombia han expresado su preocupación sobre la ilegalidad de la rapidez del juicio contra Lugo. Los países de la ALBA (Alianza Bolivariana para las Américas) han lanzado fuertes condenas y no reconocen al nuevo gobierno. Venezuela, Brasil, Argentina, Ecuador y muchos otros países han retirado a sus embajadores. A partir del 25 de junio, Venezuela dijo que recortaría la exportación de petróleo a Paraguay. Los/as Cancilleres que asistían a la conferencia de Río + 20 en Brasil fueron a Paraguay en un esfuerzo por negociar con el Senado paraguayo durante la audiencia, pero no fueron bien recibidos. El secretario general de la OEA José Miguel Insulza, también fue a Paraguay, pero los golpistas descartaron sus esfuerzos de mediación. El Senado paraguayo ha sido la única oposición a la entrada de Venezuela al Mercosur desde que se propuso por primera vez. Y ahora el Mercosur ha prohibido que el nuevo gobierno paraguayo asista a su próxima reunión cumbre en Argentina. La UNASUR (Unión de Naciones Sudamericanas), una entidad regional de comercio y coordinación aún más amplia, cuya actual presidencia pro témpore la tenía Paraguay, no reconoce al nuevo gobierno. Esta asociación internacional transferirá la presidencia a Perú, donde se reunirán el 27 de junio. El 26 de junio, también se reunirán los Cancilleres de la OEA. Los países de la UNASUR y la CELAC (Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños), en una alianza que promueve la integración independientemente de sus diferentes corrientes políticas, han estado trabajando duramente para depender más en sus asociaciones y menos en los Estados Unidos. El impacto de su respuesta crea problemas para Franco. El comercio y las relaciones con sus vecinos son importantes para la economía y la salud de Paraguay. Resistencia del pueblo paraguayo A pesar del fracaso de la administración de Lugo en implementar programas cruciales, especialmente una fuerte reforma agraria, que le había costado apoyo entre las masas, el campesinado está defendiendo el proceso por el que votó en 2008. Éste es un signo de estos tiempos. Aunque un individuo pueda ser importante, no es la persona en la oficina presidencial la fuerza principal detrás de los cambios progresistas. Los movimientos populares, su resistencia y su decisión por cambiar su destino frente a la opresión imperialista es lo que marca este nuevo siglo en Latinoamérica. Las fuerzas paraguayas se están reagrupando y formando el Frente Nacional por la Defensa de la Democracia, el cual se reunió el 25 de junio para planificar un rumbo de acción. Celebró una conferencia de prensa con Lugo después de la reunión para anunciar sus acciones: iniciar movilizaciones el 26 de junio a nivel nacional con la intención de eventualmente converger en Asunción; distribuir volantes informativos; tener una presencia en las calles y plazas; organizar eventos, etc. También creó una página en el internet: www.paraguayresiste.com. Ya en varias partes de Paraguay se han levantado barricadas o han tomado otras acciones. Los/as trabajadores/as de la Televisión Pública Nacional, que fue invadida por las fuerzas del nuevo gobierno que cerró la producción, han creado un “Micrófono Abierto” en la calle donde el pueblo puede hablar sobre la situación del país. El sitio de internet www.desdeparaguay.com/tvpublica puede ser visto directamente, donde se dan testimonios conmovedores, incluyendo el de Lugo. Recuerda los primeros días del golpe de estado hondureño contra el presidente Zelaya. Hasta una de las consignas populares de Honduras se repite aquí: “Si éste no es el pueblo, ¿el pueblo dónde está?”. El pueblo de Paraguay tiene la inmensa solidaridad de movimientos progresistas del mundo. Las declaraciones de solidaridad se reciben constantemente a través del internet. ¡El pueblo vencerá!
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