Sunday, November 29, 2015

"Gun violence"

....working people are not safer with a monopoly of firearms in the hands of cops and other armed bodies whose job is to protect property and prerogatives of the capitalist exploiters. Defending all workers' rights against stepped-up encroachments by the bosses and their government become more, not less important today, as the employing class mounts assaults on our wages and working conditions.

The Second Amendment is among the constitutional protections that working people wielded as part of the mass proletarian fight for Black rights in the 1960s. Groups like the Deacons for Defense and Justice and Robert Williams' NAACP chapter in Monroe, N.C., maintained their right to bear arms and used them to stay the hand of racist thugs and cops, protect social protest actions and Black communities and prevent bloodshed.

At the same time, the working-class movement has nothing in common with the gun-rights politics of rightist militia outfits or with vigilante "justice" and so-called Stand Your Ground laws that promote them. But the working-class political battle against such reactionary movements and laws cannot be advanced by calls for government restrictions on any rights of working people.

Anti-social violence and senseless murder do not come from video games or legal rights to own guns. They are not a product of too many constitutional rights or too few armed cops at every corner. They are first and foremost a by-product of social relations under capitalism—buttressed by cop brutality, deaths and maimings on the job, and bloody wars of conquest abroad.

And violent crimes within the working class can be exacerbated by the myriad social pressures that mount under the grinding effects of the capitalist crisis.

At the same time, the rise of mass working-class struggles to come will replace capitalism's dog-eat-dog values with social solidarity, just as they always have in the past. It's this solidarity and the transformation of working people and their view of themselves that develops in the course of struggle against capitalist exploitation that is the most powerful weapon against anti-social behavior of all kinds.


........While radical rightists harangue about what they are against, working-class revolutionists are guided by what we are for. Communists are not primarily against the government or capitalists, but for the fight by working people to create a socialist society and to begin to transform themselves in the process.

Communists share no common ground with the rightists' hatred of the FBI, taxes, government wiretapping, gun control, or repressive legislation. The revolutionary movement doesn't form a bloc with fascists, as Meredith seems to advocate, in order to "focus our main fire on the government for now" until the moment when "the fascists openly attack the workers' organizations."

Instead, class-conscious workers and working farmers are distinguished completely from such right-wing groups and individuals by their everyday political activity. They are publicly known as proponents of equal rights for immigrants, affirmative action quotas, women's rights, and gay rights. They are identified as partisans of the Cuban revolution. They are known for their opposition to the death penalty, America First propaganda, and all kinds of prejudice. In other words, they are known as people whose views are incompatible with any right-wing formation. The communist movement can only be built in uncompromising opposition to the politics of right-wing groups like the one in which Meredith is active.

December 4

Friday, November 27, 2015

“Zionist” has become a code word for Jewish

Jew-hatred, attacks on free 
speech threat to working class



Left and liberal groups on campuses and elsewhere have carried out a series of thuggish actions aimed at crushing free speech and debate, combined with-not-so subtle anti-Semitism, justified in the name of support for the Palestinian struggle. This is a deadly threat to the interests of the working class, the struggle for Palestinian national rights and the fight against Jew-hatred.

On Nov. 3 two dozen protesters at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis shouted down guest lecturer Moshe Halbertal, a law professor from Israel, delaying the program by more than half an hour. The disruption was organized by Students for a Democratic Society, Students for Justice in Palestine and the Anti-War Committee. They claimed that Halbertal is a "war criminal" because he helped write the Israeli army code of ethics.

Halbertal has often criticized Hamas, the reactionary Islamist group that rules Gaza, for using civilians as human shields when attacking Israel. He has also criticized the Israeli government for military attacks he considers "immoral and illegal instruments of deterrence."

"Professional combatants should err on the side of protecting noncombatants from casualties," even if that means increasing "risks to themselves or to their cause," Halbertal told the crowd after the lecture finally began.

Refusal to debate

"We use disruption for the same reason that Palestinian children use rocks — it's our only option," two of the protest organizers wrote to justify their refusal to debate the issues, unlike other supporters of Palestinian rights who spoke in the discussion period.

Similar efforts to shout down those they disagree with have been taken by supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, which seeks to make a pariah of Israel. The campaign has gained support on college campuses from left and liberal students and professors, who label Israel an "apartheid state." They advocate boycotting Israeli goods and shutting down artistic, musical and academic exchanges with Israel.

At the City University of New York's Hunter College Nov. 12, Students for Justice in Palestine, the Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee and Students Without Borders organized a rally that was billed as part of the national Million Student March for tuition-free universities, cancellation of student debts and a $15 minimum wage for campus workers. But they turned it into an anti-Semitic rally.

A leaflet by Students for Justice in Palestine publicizing the event attacked the university's "Zionist administration" which, it said, "invests in Israeli companies, hosts birthright programs and study abroad programs in occupied Palestine, and reproduces settler-colonial ideology throughout CUNY through Zionist content of education."

During the rally speakers led chants including, "What do we want? Zionists out!" directed at the university administration and at several Jewish students holding signs that said "We support lower tuition, not terrorism against Israel" and "Pro-Israel, pro-affordable tuition."

Palestinians, Jews will live together

"I don't agree with all the government's policies. But Jews are going to continue to live in Israel. Palestinians are going to live in Israel. We are going to live together," one of the Jewish students can be heard saying in a video of the confrontation posted on the Internet.

Seeking to cut off debate, some at the rally chanted, "From the river to the sea, Palestine must be free," which was also chanted at the University of Minnesota disruption. The slogan is taken from a speech by Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal.

"Palestine is ours, from the river to the sea and from the south to the north. There will be no concession on an inch of land," he said in December 2012 in Gaza City. "There is no legitimacy for Israel."

"With their money, they took control of the world media," Hamas' 1988 covenant states, slandering and scapegoating the Jewish people. "They were behind World War I, when they were able to destroy the Islamic Caliphate [the Ottoman Empire], making financial gains and controlling resources."

"Zionist" has become a code word for Jewish, used by those who put an equal sign between the current brutal and oppressive Israeli capitalist rulers and the Jewish population. They paint Israel as the most reactionary country on earth.

Zionism is the name of the movement that was formed over a century ago to fight for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Israel was established following the Nazi Holocaust and the annihilation of some 6 million Jews during World War II. The country has existed for 67 years. Despite the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Arabs, more than 20 percent of Israel's population is Arab. There is no Zionist movement today.

In a world of deepening capitalist economic and social crisis the boss class will more and more seek to give the green light to those who blame the crisis on Jews. Growing attacks on Jews in Europe have led to a significant rise in emigration to Israel.

The European Union moved Nov. 11 to further demonize Israel and Jews there by requiring special labeling identifying goods from Jewish-owned businesses and farms in the West Bank, Golan Heights and East Jerusalem. The Obama administration backed the move.

The Socialist Workers Party presents a strategy that can put an end to the cycle of violence between the Israeli state and reactionary forces like Hamas. A revolutionary Palestinian leadership would denounce Jew-hatred, recognize the existence of Israel and support the right of Jews anywhere in the world to live there, while fighting for a contiguous Palestinian state, for dismantling Israeli settlements in the West Bank and for combating discrimination and the second-class status of Arab citizens of Israel. Doing so it would win allies inside Israel.

This can open the road to building a mass movement of Jewish, Palestinian, Druze, Christian, Muslim and immigrant workers capable of taking power out of the hands of their common enemy, the Israeli capitalist ruling class, and the ruling rich in the West Bank and Gaza.

Shouting down political opponents and physically preventing people from speaking are a deadly threat to building such a movement. Workers and defenders of Palestinian rights require political space and wide room for discussion and debate.

Lea Sherman contributed to this article.

"All Romania is revealed in the country’s Jewish Question"

1913: Jew-hatred key to Romanian rulers' grip on power

The excerpt below is from Leon Trotsky'sThe Balkan Wars (1912-13), one of Pathfinder's Books of the Month in November. Trotsky, living in exile in Vienna, covered the war as a correspondent for a Kiev socialist newspaper. The chapter "The Jewish Question" details the place of Jew-hatred in feudal Romania, strikingly similar to scapegoating and attacks on Jews today as the crisis of capitalism deepens.

Trotsky, one of the leaders of the 1917 Russian Revolution, fought to defend and advance the revolutionary course of V.I. Lenin and the Bolshevik Party against the political counterrevolution led by Joseph Stalin. Until his assassination in 1940, he fought to build an international movement capable of leading the working class and its allies to power. Copyright © 1980 by Pathfinder Press. Reprinted by permission. 


In nothing is Romania revealed so completely and authentically as in her Jewish Question. King Carol is proud that he has never departed from the "strictly constitutional" path. The Romanian press enjoys great freedom, and from time to time employs quite incredible "expressions" when writing about the king, without suffering any consequences. In this country ministers are not addressed as "Excellency." Political émigrés are not handed over. But beneath this gilded surface of political freedoms is hidden the real, the true Romania — and while this is most profoundly revealed in the situation of the peasantry, it is seen most vividly in the Jewish Question.

Three hundred thousand Romanian Jews are not considered Romanian citizens. They, their fathers, and their grandfathers, were born in Romania. They were not and are not under the protection of any other state. And yet, nevertheless, they are treated as foreigners in Romania. The Romanian Jew enjoys no protection from the constitution. Any Jew can at any moment be expelled from the country like a wandering vagabond. Families that have grown up with Romania over several generations never cease to be aware that they are only lodgers. But that is not the whole of it.

While excluding the Jews from the roll of citizens, the state nevertheless burdens them with all the responsibilities of citizenship. Not only do the Jews have to pay all taxes, they are also liable for military service. Though declared to be aliens, they serve in the Romanian army. The state, which denies to the Jewish worker, craftsman, or merchant the title of Romanian citizen — the elementary right possessed by every pickpocket of Romanian stock — this same state called to the colors 30,000 rightless Jews during the recent mobilization.

All Romania is revealed in the country's Jewish Question. The servile bondage of the peasantry, the parasitism on state funds, the rule of the boyar-ciocoi cliques — all this finds its crown in the qualified rightlessness of Romanian Jewry.

Romania is ruled by Purishkevich. He is the master of Romania's soil, he thrusts his arm up to the elbow into the state's cashbox, the social and political atmosphere here is filled with his mental and moral exhalations. Purishkevich "hates" the Jews. But this is a special sort of hatred. Without Jews Purishkevich couldn't get by. And he knows this very well. He needs Jews. But of what sort? Jews without rights, deprived of individuality by their lack of rights. This sort of Jew has to serve as intermediary between Purishkevich as landlord and the peasantry, between Purishkevich as politician and his clientele — to serve in the capacity of leaseholder, usurer, middleman, or venal journalist. He has to fulfill the dirtiest commissions for Purishkevich — and Purishkevich has no other kind — and to keep at it.

But that's not all. While serving as a tool of feudal exploitation, the rightless Jew has at the same time to serve as lightning-conductor for the wrath of the exploited. After fleecing the peasant and pillaging the state's till, replenished by that same peasant, Romania's Purishkevich then fulfills his highest destiny when, from the orator's tribune, or in the columns of his press, he angrily denounces the Jewish leaseholder, the Jewish usurer. … This is the basis in serfdom of Romanian anti-Semitism. But that does not exhaust the matter. In a stagnant society in which economic development, entangled in obstacles, makes only slow progress, a multitude of unsatisfied demands urge various groups of people along the line of least resistance — the line of anti-Semitism. The ciocoi, the new landowners, who have bought or leased boyars' lands, naturally seek to concentrate rural usury in their own national, Christian, true Romanian hands.

Driven from the countryside, the Jews make up nearly a third of the population in Romania's towns. The craftsman, the shopkeeper, the restaurant-keeper, and with them the doctor and the journalist, are embittered by the competition from Jews. The lawyer, the official, the officer are all afraid that if the Jews obtained equal rights they will take away their clients or step into their jobs. The teacher and the priest, agents in the countryside of the national state idea bound up with serfdom, assure the peasant that his poverty and servitude are caused by the Jews. The newspaper, in so far as it reaches the peasant, tells him the same thing. Anti-Semitism has become the state religion, the last psychological cement holding together a feudal society that is rotten through and through, and covered over with the gilt tinsel of a constitution essentially based on privilege. …

Jewish children are not accepted in the state primary schools. They are accepted in secondary educational institutions only if there are "vacant" places, which in practice means almost never. The Jews have set up their own schools, using their own resources. A wall is thus raised between Jewish and Romanian children; and yet at the same time the powers that be make it a condition for "granting" civil rights to the Jews that they become merged in Romanian society. Recent agitation has been started against the Jewish private schools, simply because they raise the cultural level of the Jewish masses, and it is quite obvious that, the higher their cultural level, the greater the danger that the Jews, suffering from lack of rights, will present for the rotten Romanian state. As for those Jewish workers who take part in the economic or political struggle of their class, the government whose turn it is chases them across the frontier by dozens and hundreds as "undesirable aliens." Even in the hospitals, Jews are treated as second-class patients. And so on, without end. …

"Muslims and Arabs are the biggest victims of IS terror, and of Washington’s brutal response"

Campaign against imperialist war! 
Protest attacks on Muslims, mosques!

The following statement was released Nov. 25 by Norton Sandler, chairman of the New York Socialist Workers Party.

The New York Socialist Workers Party protests the mounting witch hunt by both Democrats and Republicans and by the state and federal governments against Muslims in the U.S., and Washington's war drive. The party calls on workers, farmers and all defenders of political rights to join in opposing this campaign by the rulers, which has big stakes for the working class.

In the wake of the reactionary Islamic State terror attacks in Paris, politicians from both the Democratic and Republican parties are cranking up anti-Muslim and anti-Arab bigotry to bolster the propertied rulers' drive to war and escalate Washington's military intervention in Syria and the entire Middle East. Simultaneously they seek to create a pariah status for Muslims as they increase spying on Muslim organizations and infiltration of mosques. With this they are moving to restrict political rights of all at home and increase use of spies, frame-ups and cop disruption.

Examples include:

◆ Calls for the New York Police Department to step up spy programs initiated after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that sent undercover cops into Muslim neighborhoods to spy on conversations and compile detailed files on where people ate, prayed and shopped. Mosques are a special target in this effort. 
◆31 governors — Democrats and Republicans alike — say they will not accept refugees from Syria in their states.
◆ The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill which, if enacted into law, would delay acceptance of Syrian refugees until each individual is signed-off on by the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence. The rulers already have in place a vetting requirement that takes two years before a refugee can get in.
◆ Leading Republican presidential contender Donald Trump calls for registering all Muslims in a special government database, says that cops should infiltrate the mosques and forcibly shut down those they deem suspicious and favors reintroduction of waterboarding while interrogating suspected terrorists.
◆ The Democratic Party mayor of Roanoke, Virginia, backing measures to restrict the entrance of refugees, pointed to the example of the internment of U.S. citizens of Japanese origin during World War II.

In this atmosphere, threats and attacks on Muslims are spreading from San Diego to Brooklyn.

There are some 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. The U.S. rulers argue through their big business media that Islamic State and its supporters are growing like wildfire. But the reality is that the reactionary outfit is a tiny cult, hated by Muslims worldwide. Muslims have mounted protests against the IS attacks in Paris itself and from India to Belgium.

Muslims and Arabs are the biggest victims of IS terror, and of Washington's brutal response.

When a section of the population comes under attack as Muslims are today, the working-class vanguard must immediately come to their defense. We oppose the U.S. rulers' campaign to curb the constitutionally guaranteed space for political organization and activity and to step up the use of U.S. military intervention in the affairs of working people abroad.

The ultimate target of the rulers' assault on Muslims is the working class.

The New York Socialist Workers Party, and the Socialist Workers Party nationwide, is taking this fight against Washington's war drive and in opposition to their witch hunt against Muslims and mosques to working-class neighborhoods across New York City, to workers fighting for $15 and a union, participants in Black Friday protests at Walmart stores demanding higher pay and regular schedules, to those protesting assaults by the cops and ultra-rightists, and more.

Join us.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The poison of anti-Semitism today

DC socialist: ‘Workers need to fight Jew-hatred!’ 

The following is a statement released by Glova Scott, Socialist Workers Party candidate for City Council Ward 4 in Washington, D.C., Jan. 27, as she turned in 985 signatures to put her on the ballot, twice the requirement. Scott works at Walmart and is active in the fight for $15 an hour, full-time work and a union.

Recent murderous attacks on Jews in Argentina, in a kosher grocery store in France and on the street in Israel are a blow and a challenge to all working people.

The attack on Jewish hikers in Argentina came on the heels of the death of Alberto Nisman, a state prosecutor who was to testify the next day on charges that Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner conspired with Iranian authorities to cover up their involvement in a 1994 bombing at a Jewish community center that killed 85 people.

The Socialist Workers Party opposes Jew-hatred and joins in fighting it whenever it raises its head. We support the right of return for all Jews to move to Israel if they choose. And we demand Washington open its doors to all who seek refuge here.

The poison of anti-Semitism seeks to divide and weaken the working class, pointing away from the propertied rulers as the source of attacks on our wages, hours, working conditions and safety on the job. When Hamas hails the knife attack that wounded Israelis on a city bus Jan. 21 as a “bold, heroic act,” it is a blow to common struggle by working people in the Middle East.

Fighting all expressions of Jew-hatred is a precondition to advancing the struggles by the multinational working class in Israel and by the Palestinian people against national oppression.

Related articles:
Anti-Semitism spawns attacks in Argentina, Israel, France

From anti-Zionism to anti-Semitism: Workers World Party and the political degeneration of Caleb Maupin

My former Cleveland friend Caleb Maupin has taken another horrible step in his political devolution from Avakian to Marcy to Khomeini-Assad-Putin. He has released a book called Satan at the Fountainhead: The Israel Lobby The Financial Crisis.

According to the thumbnail Amazon description:

This book is an honest attempt to answer the questions of those who want to know what happened. In the view of the author, the catastrophic events of 2008 and the continued economic decay of the United States, are the culmination of a number of policies and trends. These trends and policies, carried out by both the government and the private sector, are not isolated from global events. US foreign policies, specifically those related to the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East region, are directly linked to continuous economic decline and the 2008 financial crash. The key players who are responsible for the crisis have not limited their malfeasance to US soil.

Maupin, until recently a member and leader of Workers World Party, has a website hereHis earlier blog is here

About the new book, a friend correctly noted today on Facebook:

" 'Left' meets antisemitic far right. Here's the new book by a person closely associated with the Workers World Party. A case study in the evolution towards national socialism. I think they may want to consider taking some distance from him."

This book is part of a more general trend in the middle class left in the last two decades: a convergence with anti-Semitism, usually disguised as a critique of "Zionism."

The Militant, newspaper of the U.S. Socialist Workers Party (which I support) has been writing about this phenomenon for the last 15 years. I excerpted some of the best early articles several years ago in this blog post.

It is one thing to read articles about such evolutions. It is something else entirely to witness it first hand.

I wrote on Facebook today:

Workers World Party, here is how you miseducate the youth!
Here are the bitter fruits of "anti-Zionism" and "we are all Hezbollah” and gloating gleefully in the pages of your newspaper when Jews are stabbed on the streets of Israel.
Your leaders approved Maupin becoming an RT guest, then a Press TV employee, and then an attendee at various Tehran conferences with this crowd of Jew-haters.
You approved him writing for the Putinist New Eastern Outlook.
Maupin made his own choices, but your opportunist "whateverism" prepared the way. Your leadership approved him working in this fetid milieu.
You facilitated and abetted this diabolical transformation.
This is your handiwork, Workers World Party.


Some of my pieces on Workers World Party and their anti-working class politics:

Former Workers World Party leader ranks Khomeni with Debs and Malcolm X

Workers world party endorses knife attacks against Jews in Israel as royal road to Palestinian liberation

Workers World Party silent on Sarcelles synagogue attack

Workers World Party blames "neoconservative element" influence for downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17

Workers World Party gets it wrong on anti-Semitism

Workers World Party supports Great Russian chauvinism against workers of Ukraine

Uighur nationality does not exist for Workers World Party leader

An article on the character of the 2014 New Horizons Conference in Tehran can be found here.