Archive for the 'Revolution' Category

Happy May Day?

Today is May Day, the original Labour Day throughout the world (including Canada and the U.S.).  And, despite the conscious policy decision to divorce Labour Day in Canada and the U.S. from May 1st, the day should still hold meaning for us to reflect on the democratic victories that our struggles have won but also on the work that needs to be done.

So, in the spirit of the importance of recognizing how much work we have yet to do, how’s this for a ‘happy May Day’?

From The Guardian:

“Italy’s new parliament met for the first time yesterday with applause for Rome’s mayor-elect, Gianni Alemanno, a day after followers celebrated his triumph with straight-arm salutes and fascist-era chants.

Alemanno, a former neo-fascist youth leader, took 54% of the vote in a run-off on Sunday and Monday, crushing his rival, Francesco Rutelli, a deputy prime minister in the last, centre-left government.

[…]

On Monday night, the area around Rome’s city hall rang to chants of “Duce! Duce!”, the term adopted by Italy’s dictator, Benito Mussolini, equivalent to the German “Führer”. Supporters of the new mayor gave the fascist Roman straight-arm salutes.”

But, despite this little tidbit of news that I came across today, May Day wasn’t all bad news this year.  Earlier today on the internets, in my travels amongst its many tubes, I found a fantastic list of Marxist webcasts by university professor named Ron Strickland.

So, if any of you comrades need to wash the unpleasant taste caused by seeing modern-day Italians give fascist salutes, I recommend one of two things:  Booze; or Marxist webcasts.

I for one have decided to partake in both.

You can access Strickland’s Marxist webcasts here.

Happy May Day comrades!

Video: The War on Democracy [by John Pilger]

I recently came across this inspiring and fantastically-directed video is by the progressive Australian filmmaker John Pilger.  This documentary about Chavez and Venezuela features both impressive cinematography and depth of analysis which truly exceeded my expectations.

Enjoy.


Video curtosy of the good comrades at Venezuela Analysis.

Reactions?

Tariq Ali on Chavez, Venezuela and the struggle against neoliberalism (audio)

socialist-podcast.pngEpisode #5 of the Paulitics Podcast has now been released. This episode features a talk by noted radical intellectual, Trotskyist and salient figure with the New Left Review publication, Tariq Ali.

Ali’s talk is loosely on the topic of his 2006 book entitled “Pirates Of The Caribbean: Axis Of Hope” and features a fantastic discussion of Hugo Chavez’s Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela including both the challenges to the revolution  and the successes of the revolution.

venezuelan-flag.pngchavez-and-supporters.pngAlso in the episode, I take some time to despell some more myths regarding the constitutional reform package.  I despell the myth that the reform package was hugely centralizing or authoritarian by pointing out that several of the reforms were actually decentralizing and libertarian in nature.  In fact, some of the proposals, including the proposal to decrease of the central government’s share of taxation revenues so as to increase the share of the revenues for the various states, and the reform of the central bank are all things that the Ron Paul fanatics have been clamoring for in the United States.

To listen to Ali’s talk or to download the episode, click here.

To find out how to subscribe to the podcast and have episodes brought to you automatically, click here.

To view past episodes of the Paulitics Podcast, click here.

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America: Just an awkward stage?

This is quite possibly the best one-liner comment on the social networking site reddit.com that I have ever read.

Short.  Precise.  Deliciously revolutionary.

“America is at that awkward stage. It’s too late to change the system from within, yet too early to shoot the bastards.”

That pretty much sums up my thinking on the subject, with the sole possible caveat that I’m not entirely convinced that it’s really too early to shoot the bastards.

Propaganda in Action: An unfair referendum in Venezuela?

Whenever anything dramatic happens, one this is for certain, you can first expect a massive flurry of propaganda from the corporate media.

I’ve already been reporting on some of the ongoing propagandistic coverage of tonight’s Venezuela referendum here and here.

Here’s the latest morsel of propaganda, this time from the good folks at AFP:

“Unlike in past elections, there were no European Union or Organization of American States election monitors” (source)

Now, to be fair, the AFP article does point out that despite the lack of EU or OAS observers, ‘international observers invited by the government’ have overseen the referendum, but this is stated as if it is a consolation prize.

From this article, one would get the impression that there was only hand-picked, minimal election oversight from the international community.

In fact, the truth of the matter is radically different.

100 observers from Antigua and Barbuda, Germany, Argentina, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Spain, The United States, The Philippines, Finland, France, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Holland, Honduras, England, Italy, Mali, Namibia, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Senegal, Switzerland, Surinam and Uruguay were present to oversee the election results. (sources here and here).

Canada should implement many of the reforms proposed by Chavez

venezuelan-flag.pngIf, like me, you live in the Western, capitalist world, you likely haven’t heard anything about the revolutionary referendum that just occurred in Venezuela except the lie that it’s going to make Chavez “President for Life” (see: Fox News, Daily Telegraph) or that the referendum was likely going to be won by the “no” side

In actuality, the amendment to Article 230 merely removes the two-term limit on the Venezuelan president and allows him/her to continue serving so long as the public continues voting for him or her in regularly scheduled (7 years apart) elections. So, by this logic, it’s anti-democratic to let people democratically vote for whomever they wish. Also, by this logic, Canada isn’t a democracy because our former Prime Minister Mackenzie King was first elected in 1921 and served (with only shortchavez-and-supporters.png interruptions) until 1948.

So, since I imagine few people have taken the time to cut past the corporate media and find out what was actually proposed and adopted by the people of Venezuela (new exit polls now put the victory of the referendum in question. Stay tuned for more developments), here is a list of some of what I consider to be the best of the 69 constitutional reforms proposed. Canada should seriously take a look at this and consider implementing some of these reforms here.

The bolded items, I believe, are the best of the best and thus should be a first priority for Canada to catch up to Venezuela.

Block A

Art. 18 – Provides a new right, the right to the city, which says that all citizens have the right to equal access to the city’s services or benefits. Also names Caracas, the capital as the “Cradle of Simon Bolivar, the Liberator, and Queen of the Warairarepano” [an indigenous name for the mountain range surrounding Caracas].

Art. 64 – Lowers the minimum voting age from 18 to 16 years.

Art. 67 – Requires candidates for elected office to be set up in accordance with gender parity, reverses the prohibition against state financing of campaigns and parties, and prohibits foreign funding of political activity.

Art. 70 – Establishes that councils of popular power (of communities, workers, students, farmers, fishers, youth, women, etc.) are one of the main means for citizen participation in the government.

Art. 87 – Creates a social security fund for the self-employed, in order to guarantee them a pension, vacation pay, sick pay, etc.

Art. 90 – Reduction of the workweek from 44 hours to 36.

Art. 98 – Guarantees freedom for cultural creations, but without guaranteeing intellectual property.

Art. 100 – Recognition of Venezuelans of African descent, as part of Venezuelan culture to protect and promote (in addition to indigenous and European culture).

Art. 103 – Right to a free education expanded from high school to university.

Art. 112 – The state will promote a diversified and independent economic model, in which the interests of the community prevail over individual interests and that guarantee the social and material needs of the people. The state is no longer obliged to promote private enterprise.

Art. 113 – Monopolies are prohibited instead of merely being “not allowed.” The state has the right to “reserve” the exploitation of natural resources or provision of services that are considered by the constitution or by a separate law to be strategic to the nation. Concessions granted to private parties must provide adequate benefits to the public.

Art. 115 – Introduces new forms of property, in addition to private property. The new forms are (1) public property, belonging to state bodies, (2) direct and indirect social property, belonging to the society in general, where indirect social property is administered by the state and direct is administered by particular communities, (3) collective property, which belongs to particular groups, (4) mixed property, which can be a combination of ownership of any of the previous five forms.

Art. 136 – Creates the popular power, in addition to the municipal, state, and national powers. “The people are the depositories of sovereignty and exercise it directly via the popular power. This is not born of suffrage nor any election, but out of the condition of the human groups that are organized as the base of the population.” The popular power is organized via communal councils, workers’ councils, student councils, farmer councils, crafts councils, fisher councils, sports councils, youth councils, elderly councils, women’s councils, disables persons’ councils, and others indicated by law.

Art. 152 – Venezuela’s foreign policy is directed towards creating a pluri-polar world, free of hegemonies of any imperialist, colonial, or neo-colonial power.

Art. 153 – Strengthening of the mandate to unify Latin America, so as to achieve what Simon Bolivar called, “A Nation of Republics.”

Art. 167 – States’ incomes are increased from 20% to 25% of the national budget, where 5% is to be dedicated to the financing of each state’s communal councils.

Art. 230 – Presidential term is extended from six to seven years. The two consecutive term limit on presidential reelection is removed.

Art. 272 – Removal of the requirement for the state to create an autonomous penitentiary system and places the entire system under the administration of a ministry instead of states and municipalities. Also, removes the option of privatizing the country’s penitentiary system.

Art. 299 – The socio-economic regimen of the country is based on socialist (among other) principles. Instead of stipulating that the state promotes development with the help of private initiative, it is to do so with community, social, and personal initiative.

Art. 303 – Removal of the permission to privatize subsidiaries of the country’s state oil industry that operate within the country.

Art. 307 – Strengthening of the prohibition against latifundios (large and idle landed estates) and creation of a tax on productive agricultural land that is idle. Landowners who engage in the ecological destruction of their land may be expropriated.

Art. 318 – Removal of the Central Bank’s autonomy and foreign reserves to be administrated by the Central Bank together with the President.

Art. 328 – Armed forces of Venezuela renamed to “Bolivarian Armed Force.” Specification that the military is “patriotic, popular, and anti-imperialist” at the service of the Venezuelan people and never at the service of an oligarchy or of a foreign imperial power, whose professionals are not activists in any political party (modified from the prohibition against all political activity by members of the military).

Block B

Art. 21 – Inclusion of prohibition against discrimination based on sexual orientation and on health.

Art. 82 – Protection of primary home from confiscation due to bankruptcy or other legal proceedings.

Art. 109 – Equal voting rights for professors, students, and employees in the election of university authorities.

(source here, or here)

May our Venezuelan comrade’s fidelity to the blood-stained banner of social justice continue to be an inspiration to us all in victory and defeat.

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Correction: Since posting this, new exit polls have come in which put the victory of the referendum in question.

See Also:

Propaganda in Action: So, who’s going to win the election in Venezuela?

How to distort economic data 101

The difference between the NDP and the Communist Party…

Our entire existence summed up in one cartoon

Che Guevara: Cuban revolutionary or puppy-eating serial murderer?

Why capitalism can’t continue forever and why socialism will prevail

Peace is overrated

Propaganda in Action: So, who’s going to win the election in Venezuela?

If one were to get one’s information from the media one would think that today’s referendum to reform the constitution in Venezuela wasn’t even a close competition.

Here are all polls on the Venezeuala referendum that were released.

Polling Company:

Date:

Yes side

No side

Source:

IVAD

Sept. 12

40.6

22.5

here

Hinterlaces

Oct. 5

31

41

here

IVAD

Nov. 16

38.8

42.7

here

Data

Nov. 21

30

41

here

Keller & Associates

Nov. 23

31

45

here

Datanálisis

Nov. 24

30.8

44.6

here

Hinterlaces

Nov. 26

38

51

here

Mercanálisis

Nov. 27

37

58

here

Consultants 30.11

Nov. 28

56

40

here

Hinterlaces

Nov. 29

37

58

here

Wow, doesn’t even look close does it?

Let’s take another look at those last two polls again, shall we.

Consultants 30.11

Nov. 28

56

40

here

Hinterlaces

Nov. 29

37

58

here

Those two polls were conducted during the same time period and yet showed almost the exact opposite results.

It’s clear that one of those two polling firms is going to look very very stupid once all the votes are cast in the election. So, with the polling stations now closed and exit polls rolling in, which polling company got shown up to be making results up?

Answer: the anti-Chavez Hinterlaces.

Exit polls have begun rolling in and it looks as though Chavez is headed to a victory in the neighbourhood of 56-58%.

The latest exit polls now show that the Chavez is headed for a narrow defeat in the referendum.

Al-Jazeera English is now giving reports of conflicting exit polls and is listing the election as too close to call.

But, it is still worth asking how the media been spinning this? Well, by re-writing history of course.

Reuters reported that

Most pre-vote opinion surveys predicted a close vote on the package of constitutional changes that the opposition and even some former longtime allies say is authoritarian.” (source)

Really? Show me the poll up there that pointed to a close vote? I see two groups of polls: Those that were right on the money, and then the bourgeois polls which I think have now more or less been revealed to be complete works of propaganda.

The Daily Telegraph in the UK wrote a short wherein they wrote that

“last-minute opinion polls looked to narrowly favour the No vote.” (source)

So when the capitalist media’s own considerable propaganda proves inaccurate, they can always re-wright history to avoid any embarrassments.

“Day by day, almost minute by minute, the past was brought up to date.”
-George Orwell, 1984

~ Viva La Revolución ~

See Also:

The Propaganda in Action Series

One of these things is not like the others…

More pro-conservative opinion manipulation at Angus-Reid

Che Guevara: Cuban revolutionary or puppy-eating serial murderer?

Okay, here’s a fun little intellectual exercise to try out:

Let’s see if we can spot the irrational, blinded-by-ideology individual amongst these two writers using only a writing sample from each on a similar topic.

Keep in mind, that some characteristics of irrational people are that they tend to:

1) Be incapable of using even-headed arguments without resorting to ad hominem attacks.

2) Unable to give an account of their opponent’s behaviour without using over-simplification or straw-men.

3) View those they disagree with as inherently evil, often attributing sadistic and/or even satanistic motivations to their opponent’s actions.

4) Ignore evidence which suggests that the subject of their attack is not the embodiment of pure evil seeking to destroy all of humanity and/or enslave all of humanity.

5) Believe their account to be the only valid account.  This last characteristic is often associated with a belief that every one either already agrees with their account or that every one would agree with their account if they could simply realize just how popular this account really is.

So keep these items in mind and look for which one of these two writing samples portrays their subject as a caricature — this will work even if you actually know nothing whatsoever about Che Guevara. Continue reading ‘Che Guevara: Cuban revolutionary or puppy-eating serial murderer?’

Why capitalism can’t continue forever and why socialism will prevail

From Bolivian President Evo Morales’ recent speech to the United Nations (the text of which has never been seen in the mainstream media).

It is important that we learn lessons from some sectors, from some regions. Let me avail myself of this opportunity: I come from a culture based on peace, from a lifestyle based on equality, of living not only in solidarity with all people, but also living in harmony with Mother Earth. For the indigenous movement, land cannot be a commodity; it is a mother that gives us life, so how could we convert it into a commodity as the western model does?

This is a profound lesson which we must learn in order to resolve the problems of humanity that are being discussed here, climate change and pollution. Where does this pollution come from? It comes from, and is generated by, the unsustainable development of a system which destroys the planet: in other words, capitalism.

I want to use this opportunity to call on sectors, groups and nations to abandon luxury, to abandon over-consumption, to think not only about money but about life, to not only think about accumulating capital but to think in wider terms about humanity. Only then can we begin to solve the root causes of these problems facing humanity. “

Hat tip to our good comrade Ian Angus who runs the fantastic ecosocialist blog “Climate and Capitalism“. He published the full text of Morales’ speech.

~

See also:

All that glitters is not golden

An apology is owed…

Support for capitalist parties in Canada

Is socialism violent or is liberalism hypocritical?: Dispelling the myths of socialism – PART I

Is Capitalism Justified?: Dispelling the myths of socialism – PART II


Resources:

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