RAY O’ LIGHT NEWSLETTER
March-April 2016 Number 95
Publication of the Revolutionary Organization of Labor, USA
2016 U.S. Presidential Primary Campaigns Update—
From Obama’s State of the Union Address and Governor Haley’s Response,
to the Anti-Trump Declarations of McCain, Romney and Ryan –
WALL STREET EXERCISES ITS “REPUBLICRAT” POLITICAL MUSCLE
by RAY LIGHT
Two months ago, even before the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire Primary formally ushered in the Primary season, we had already observed: “Under the banner of ‘universal suffrage,’ the TV debates, polls, rallies, and constant media coverage have revealed that there is remarkably little support for the ‘Republicrat’ ‘2016 heavy favorites’ (mainstream Democratic and Republican candidates, Hillary Clinton and especially Jeb Bush). Instead, the strong showing of right wing, fascistic Tea Party candidates such as Trump, Carson, Fiorina, Cruz, Rubio et al. on the Republican side and the social-democrat Sanders on the Democratic side reflects some level of popular mass rejection of ‘Republicrat Rule’ and the Wall Street imperialist ruling class they represent.” (“A Revolutionary Approach to the Sanders Presidential Campaign,” Ray O’ Light Newsletter #94)
Since that time, the Wall Street rulers and their “Republicrat” political flunkeys have made many deceptive moves on the U.S. population; yet they still have been unable to overcome significant “popular mass rejection” of the “Republicrats” as reflected in the number of primary contests and caucuses in which Wall Street’s favorite candidates have failed to win.
In the Democratic contests, the social democrat Sanders has defeated Wall Street’s candidate, Hillary Clinton, in more than a third of the states thus far. This has occurred despite Clinton’s having almost all the Democratic Party politicians and officials’ support, despite the widespread confusion promoted in the monopoly capitalist-controlled mass media of the many rich and well-connected Super Delegate commitments to Clinton with the actual delegate votes won by Clinton and Sanders in
the primaries thus making it appear that Clinton has an overwhelming lead over Sanders, and despite the fraudulent support for Clinton and attack on Sanders by Congressman John Lewis and the Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee, especially in South Carolina’s important early primary. (See the February 14, 2016 Statement of the Revolutionary Organization of Labor USA entitled, “Wall Street Seeks Bailout by South Carolina Afro-Americans!” elsewhere in this issue.)
The Repudiation of Wall Street’s “Republicrat” candidates in the Republican Party has been even more stunning. Billionaire businessman Donald Trump, who has never held a government office, has won most of the Republican contests with his Hitlerian irrational public performances, full of white and great nation chauvinist promises of a return of the U.S. Empire to its former power and glory. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas won his home state primary and has been the only real challenger to Trump, with his “Trump light” vitriolic, anti-Establishment rhetoric. Jeb Bush, the heavy Republican favorite coming into the election season, like Clinton on the Democratic side, flush with the campaign cash from Wall Street and Corporate America, has already had to bow out of the race! The only moderate Republican left in the race is Ohio’s John Kasich who has not come close to winning anywhere and badly trails the other three candidates. The other remaining Republican candidate, Florida Senator Marco Rubio has no significant track record or experience and his individual personal ambition is clearly his main attribute. He has now altered his Tea Party, anti-Establishment posturing that got him elected to the Senate so that he could become the “Republicrat” challenger to Trump, backed by Wall Street. However, as Rubio has moved away from his Tea Party origins, his campaign has fallen flat with the angry Republican primary voters and he, like Kasich, is bottoming out.
In the pages of our Newsletter, especially during the Obama years, we have repeatedly exposed the fact that the leading Republican and Democratic Party politicians, function cooperatively as “Republicrats.” They provide the political representation for the U.S. finance capitalists of Wall Street, the one-tenth of one percent who constitute the U.S. ruling class. There are no basic differences between the mainstream Republicans and Democrats. These days, the real differences involving the two U.S. monopoly capitalist and imperialist political parties occur between the Tea Party forces in the Republican Party on the one hand and the mainstream Republicans and Democrats on the other.*
*Certainly, the “political suicide” committed at the behest of the Wall Street ruling class by former Republican Speaker John Boehner, stepping down as speaker and resigning his House seat, too, as the price for getting enough Tea Party Congresspeople to vote for passage of the Federal Government’s budget at the end of last year, represented just how serious is the schism between the mainstream Republicans and the Tea Party Republicans.
It is this important fact that explains the strangely harmonious relationship between Democratic President Obama’s State of the Union address on January 12th and South Carolina Governor Haley’s official Republican response that same evening. It also explains the seemingly damaging extreme anti-Republican Party statements issued by Mitt Romney and John McCain, the Republican Presidential candidates in the 2012 and 2008 elections respectively, with their vehement denunciations of Donald Trump, the clear front-runner in the primary campaign to be the 2016 Republican candidate for President!
Obama’s 2016 State of the Union Address: What was it all about?
On January 12, 2016 President Barack Obama presented his eighth and final “report on the State of the Union.” As he admitted up front, “tonight I want to go easy on the traditional list of proposals for the year ahead.” “I want to focus on the next five years, the next 10 years, and beyond. I want to focus on our future.” With that line, Obama gave himself and Congress a “free pass” to do nothing, to fight for nothing in the interests of the 99% of us, during his final year in the White House.
What then was President Obama trying to prepare us to do this time? A glimpse could be seen in the jokes that made up the first paragraph of his speech. They were all directed at the Presidential candidates in the room “antsy to get back to Iowa.” So, it was about the 2016 Presidential election campaign.
And, in the second paragraph, Democrat Obama praised Republican Speaker of the House Ryan, who had run as Mitt Romney’s running mate against Obama-Biden in the last presidential election, for the “constructive approach taken at the end of last year to pass a budget …” Later in the speech, Obama observed that, “Speaker Ryan has talked about his interest in tackling poverty … I’d welcome a serious discussion about strategies we can all support …” No Republican other than Ryan was mentioned by name in Obama’s State of the Union Address and Ryan was presented in a positive light! So Obama’s speech was, in effect, a bipartisan Democratic-Republican (or “Republicrat”) stand on the 2016 U.S. Presidential election campaign, masquerading as a State of the Union Address!
Obama’s main message is: “Our public life withers when only the most extreme voices get all the attention. And most of all, democracy breaks down when the average person feels their voice doesn’t matter; that the system is rigged in favor of the rich or the powerful or some special interest.” Sanders is the main candidate in either party focusing on the fact that “the system is rigged in favor of the rich.” And, according to Obama, Sanders can be lumped with Trump and the Tea Party as an extremist contributing to “the withering of our public life.”
He states: “… as frustration grows, there will be voices urging us to fall back into our respective tribes, to scapegoat fellow citizens who don’t look like us or pray like us, or vote like we do, or share the same background. We can’t afford to go down that path.” Obama is here not just talking about Trump and Cruz and the Tea Party forces. He is also attacking the Sanders campaign for its focused attack on Wall Street, for its open “Class Warfare.”
Many of our readers are still enthralled by the high drama of the “never-ending battle,” the shadow boxing, between the Democrats and the Republicans that they think “proves” that we in the USA have “democratic choices.” Please consider that the “official Republican response to President Obama’s final State of the Union address” delivered by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley immediately following Obama’s address was not the stern rebuttal we have come to expect from the opposition party but was more of an echo of Obama’s main points!
-Obama’s State of the Union Address and Haley’s Echo-
Just as Obama had kind words for House Speaker Ryan, the one Republican leader he mentioned, Governor Haley had kind words for the one Democratic leader she mentioned, President Obama! Besides acknowledging that seven years earlier, Obama’s election as president “broke historic barriers and inspired millions of Americans,” she added, “As he did when he first ran for office, tonight, President Obama spoke eloquently about grand things.” Governor Haley, too, was presenting a bipartisan “Republicrat” front on behalf of Wall Street.
In the name of speaking “on our future,” Obama had given himself and the Republican-led House and Senate a pass on doing any good for the 99% over his last year in office. Governor Haley gave Obama’s State of the Union Address a pass! She said, “Soon the Obama presidency will end, and America will have a chance to turn in a new direction. That direction is what I want to talk about tonight.”
Both Haley and Obama gently raised gay rights. Obama claimed that “we secured the freedom in every state to marry the person we love.” Haley was more restrained but stated that, if Republicans gain the presidency, “we would respect differences in modern families,” while also insisting on “respect for religious liberty…” Remarkably, on one of the most divisive issues between the two parties over the Bush and Obama years, Haley and Obama used the same words to say that we have to “fix our broken immigration system.”
Obama mentioned “protecting kids from gun violence.” Haley spoke at length about the violent murder of nine Black bible study participants by the young white man they had invited to pray with them at the historic Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Governor Haley praised the passive reaction of many Black people in Charleston to the tragedy. “We didn’t have violence, we had vigils. We didn’t have riots, we had hugs. We didn’t turn against each other’s race or religion, we turned toward God…” The Revolutionary Organization of Labor, USA has described this as a reflexive return to a slave culture reaction under stark terror, where grief-stricken family members of some victims forgave the unrepentant murderous white supremacist who had shown no remorse for his cold-blooded murder of nine peaceful Black citizens and indeed had not asked for forgiveness. Haley was praising the slave mentality response that Obama had come to Charleston to promote among the victims’ families and community in mourning!
In a speech supposedly in rebuttal to Obama and the Democrats, Governor Haley states: “We need to be honest with each other and with ourselves. While Democrats in Washington bear much responsibility for the problems facing America today, they do not bear it alone. There is more than enough blame to go around. We as Republicans need to own that truth. We need to recognize our contributions to the erosion of the public trust in America’s leadership. We need to accept the fact that we’ve played a role in how and why our government is broken. And then we need to fix it.” (My emphasis, ROL)
Obama cleverly raises his “honest moment” too. “Some areas where we just have to be honest — it has been difficult to find agreement over the last seven years. And a lot … fall under the category of what role the government should play in making sure the system’s not rigged in favor of the wealthiest and biggest corporations. And it’s an honest disagreement, and the American people have a choice to make.” (My emphasis, ROL) On the surface, Obama sounds like Bernie Sanders here. A closer reading reveals the opposite: Sanders tells the people that the system is rigged in favor of Wall Street, that this is the source of the gross inequality in the USA today and that a “political revolution” is needed to change the system. Obama says there is an “honest disagreement” [between Republicans and Democrats?] about this fact!
Haley warns: “During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices. We must resist that temptation.” After describing the situation in South Carolina following the mass murder at Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston (e.g.,“We didn’t have violence we had vigils.”), Haley draws what she calls “an important lesson.” She states: “In many parts of society today, whether in popular culture, academia, the media, or politics, there’s a tendency to falsely equate noise with results. Some people think you have to be the loudest voice in the room to make a difference. That’s just not true. Often, the best thing we can do is turn down the volume.” Haley directs her opposition here to Trump and the Tea Party forces as well as the Sanders Campaign.
The main reasons for the harmonious, unified Republicrat voice with which Obama and Haley spoke on behalf of the Wall Street ruling class were: 1) to block Donald Trump and the Tea Party forces in the Republican Party from seizing the Republican presidential nomination away from Jeb Bush or some other Republicrat Republican; and 2) to try to equate Sanders with the irrational and fascistic Trump, to smear Bernie Sanders with the same “extremist” label, in his competition with Republicrat Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for President. This is what the Wall Street ruling class wanted and this is what Obama and Haley gave them.
The Obama-Haley team’s State of the Union night’s message was immediately adopted by the Wall Street-controlled mass media outlets on radio, TV, in Newspapers, and Magazines. Along with the attacks on Sanders and Trump, there was renewed support for Clinton and Bush. But the primary and caucus results that have followed make it clear that the voters are angry enough that they have maintained, at least for now, their antipathy for if not outright rejection of Republicrat Rule and of the Wall Street rich that the Republicrat politicians represent.
-Haley’s Endorsement of Marco Rubio — a failed initiative-
On February 17th, three days before the South Carolina Republican Primary, the state’s Governor, who had been strategically placed to give the Republican Party’s response to the President’s State of the Union Address the previous month gave her coveted endorsement to Senator Marco Rubio. Considered two of the very few young rising stars of the Republican Party, both are forty-four years old and both are the children of immigrants. Haley had opted to give Rubio her endorsement despite the personal entreaties of senior Republican senator Lindsay Graham and Jeb Bush himself, both seeking her endorsement of Bush.
But even with Haley’s endorsement, Rubio’s make-over as Wall Street’s “new Republicrat hope” against Trump failed to move South Carolina’s voters. And Rubio finally garnered his very first state primary victory on Super Tuesday.
-Romney, McCain and Ryan—Oh My!-
With the Trump Campaign still rolling along toward the Republican Presidential nomination following Super Tuesday, Wall Street panic at the prospect of at least one of the two major party candidates not being owned and controlled by U.S. finance capital led the ruling class to resort to some desperate new measures.
First of all, Mitt Romney was hauled out to denounce Donald Trump. Romney is none other than the Republican Party’s previous presidential candidate (in 2012), the very position that Trump is seeking in 2016! As one of the senior leaders of the Republican Party, Romney exposed Trump in no uncertain terms as a liar and a con man. Said Romney, “Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University.” “Dishonesty is Donald Trump’s hallmark.” “Think of Donald Trump’s personal qualities. The bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third-grade theatrics.” This level of attack on the front-runner of one’s political party is unprecedented in my memory. But there is more.
John McCain, the 2008 Republican candidate, backed up Romney’s concerns about Trump the very same day, indicating, as some pundits observed, that Romney and McCain coordinated their anti-Trump statements ahead of time. McCain added: “I would also echo the many concerns about Mr. Trump’s uninformed and indeed dangerous statements on national security issues that have been raised by 65 Republican defense and foreign policy leaders.”
Finally, Paul Ryan, the current Speaker of the House, who was Romney’s Republican running mate in the 2012 election, had just before Super Tuesday, criticized Trump for his failure to immediately reject the endorsement by long-time white supremacist and Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. Trump responded by threatening retaliation against Speaker Ryan. On the same day as Romney issued his statement, Ryan made clear his support for Romney in his effort to get voters to run away from Trump. Ryan said, “Mitt Romney is one of our party leaders, and he cares deeply about the future of the Republican party and the country.” And Ryan added: “Mitt and I are very close friends.” (Remember that Ryan was also the one Republican mentioned by fellow Republicrat President Obama in his State of the Union Address and mentioned favorably at that.)
Beyond this flexing of Republican Party Establishment authority by McCain, Romney and Ryan, Romney took things a step further. He outlined a strategy that might have a chance to be successful in derailing the Trump express train to the nomination. Romney stated: “Given the current delegate selection process, this means that I would vote for Marco Rubio in Florida, for John Kasich in Ohio and for Ted Cruz or whichever one of the other two contenders has the best chance of beating Mr. Trump in a given state.” Encouraging all three of the remaining candidates to remain in the race for the Republican nomination, Romney and now many others thereby hope to deprive Trump of sufficient delegates through the primary season so that the nominee will be crowned at a contested convention.
Two AP reporters said, “Romney confidant Ron Kaufman, a senior member of the Republican National Committee, openly embraced the possibility of a contested convention: ‘If that’s the only way to stop Trump, it makes sense,’ he told The Associated Press.” (“Romney, McCain: Trump a danger for American’s future,” by S. Peoples and B. McCombs)
1. The unprecedented harmony between Democratic President Obama’s State of the Union Address and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley’s official Republican response reflects the fact that the “fights” between the mainstream Democrats and mainstream Republicans are nothing but shadow boxing by the two branches of the imperialist war party, the Republicrats. Looking back to the 2012 Presidential race, it is clear that the selection of Mitt Romney as the Republican candidate running against the incumbent President was not an accident. The fact is that Romney was the only Republican candidate who could not afford to condemn Obama for the Affordable Care Act, the Republican’s number one grievance against Obama, since that act was essentially Massachusetts “Romneycare” before it became federal “Obamacare.” Wall Street certainly was not serious about defeating Obama who in his first term had provided U.S. finance capital with everything they could possibly hope for, including a massive bailout of those “too big to fail” and no jail time for their criminal acts in creating the economic crisis of 2008.
Looking back to the 2000 Presidential Election: Sitting Vice President Democrat Al Gore presided in the Joint Session of Congress over the official tabulation of the electoral college vote that handed Republican George W. Bush the presidency over Gore himself — despite the fact that Gore had garnered at least a half million more votes than Bush. Moreover, the Florida vote had been swamped by controversies of all kinds, including hanging chad ballots and strange polling results as well as wholesale deprivation of the right to vote for targeted sectors of the population, including Afro-Americans. The result had been that the Supreme Court voted five to four giving Bush the election. But Gore’s active role in suppressing the Congressional Black Caucus’ protest of the Florida electoral vote exposed the fact that some things were more important to Gore than winning the Presidency! Wall Street wanted stability returned to the Executive Branch of the U.S. government which had been in paralysis for weeks. So Gore dutifully fought in the Joint Session of Congress to have himself declared the loser and George W. Bush, the winner. Talk about Republicrat cooperation!
2. The unprecedented acrimony displayed by the three most authoritative Republican establishment figures (Romney, McCain and Ryan) toward the current Republican Party front-runner for the Presidential nomination, Donald Trump, is a reflection of the fact that there are much more important considerations for the Republican wing of the Republicrats than their political party. They are, first and foremost, servants of the U.S. ruling class, Wall Street finance capital. And their job is to make sure that an out of control Tea Party fascist like Donald Trump does not disrupt the monopoly capitalist paradise for Wall Street (and hell for most of the rest of us.) The core of the U.S. ruling class does not yet need to resort to the open fascist rule of a Hitler/Trump though it is no doubt studying the impact that Trump’s demagogy is having on the angry and frustrated U.S. populace for a time when open fascism is needed. Meanwhile, the mounting fascist measures of the Republicrats have been fueled by six decades of U.S. imperialist hegemony and the growth and now decline of the U.S. Empire. Certainly, when China Inc. or Japan Inc. comes to collect the trillion dollars owed to each of them by the USA, the fascist mobilization of the U.S. population may allow the U.S. ruling class to wage war instead of paying its debts.
3. The threat of the Bernie Sanders campaign to the U.S. ruling class is much more direct and immediate. For this campaign is mobilizing among the workers and the 99% on the basis of our real needs at least domestically.* On this basis, the Revolutionary Organization of Labor, USA is taking a position of critical support for the Sanders Campaign among the people. This Campaign includes practical education through struggle among the workers and oppressed masses that we are entitled to a decent life and that Wall Street is standing in our way.
*Internationally, Sanders, like all the other Republicrat and Tea Party candidates, sides with the U.S. Empire against the international working class and the oppressed peoples, attempting to deprive us of the strength of our international solidarity in the struggle against U.S.-led international capitalism.
If the proletarian revolutionaries are successful in breaking this mobilizing force away from the Democratic wing of the Republicrats, then a political revolution way beyond Sanders’ conception could lead to substantial increase in the power of the workers and oppressed peoples on the road to proletarian power. The cost of universal single payer health care to Wall Street, and specifically the destruction of the private insurance industry, would itself be an immense gain. The loss of student loan income to the legal loan sharks due to free public college, the loss of corporate superprofits due to substantial wage increases, and some greater accountability of the police, curbing their criminal conduct toward Afro-Americans, immigrants and other vulnerable sectors of the population, giving these sectors greater access to a decent life, any or all of these things will be achieved only at the expense of Wall Street.
Thus, the Republicrat condemnation of the fascistic Trump, in particular, has the added benefit for Wall Street of tarnishing Sanders with the same “extremist” brush enhancing the chances that Republicrat Hillary Clinton will prevail as the Democratic Party nominee.
The political challenge for the few revolutionary forces in the USA is to participate inside and outside the Sanders Campaign in the mass movement demanding concrete concessions from the Wall Street ruling class and its U.S. Empire state apparatus, and mobilizing mass opposition to the fascistic Tea Party motion. We must continue to concentrate the main struggle against the Republicrats and their Wall Street ruling class masters who are so brutally wielding the actual power today.
Stop Obama’s Mass Deportations of Women and Children!
by ROSE BROWN
Two days before Christmas, 2015, the Washington Post reported that the Obama Administration’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had begun preparing for the detention and deportation of hundreds of children and families who had fled across the U.S. border fleeing from violence in Central America (especially Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala). Reportedly over 100,000 families with both children and adults had taken this harrowing journey since the beginning of 2014 with the hope of finding sanctuary in the USA. This was in addition to an unprecedented 68,000 unaccompanied Central American minors who crossed the border in the summer of 2014 under the cruel illusion that the Obama Administration was welcoming immigrant youth.
Right after New Year’s Day 2016, the raids by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) began!! “Deporter-in-chief” President Obama whose administration has deported over two million undocumented immigrants, more than any other administration in U.S. history, has now reached a new low – focusing deportation efforts on women and children who are seeking refuge and asylum! These raids proceeded in spite of protests from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Democratic Representative Luis Gutierrez of Illinois led a rally outside the White House urging Obama to grant temporary protected status to immigrants who had already been ordered to be deported.
The raids have spread fear and division in Latino immigrant communities. Democratic Representative Linda Sanchez, chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, reported that “Parents are keeping kids home from school; many are not going to work or are afraid to even leave the house to buy groceries. They’re literally tearing apart families.”(“Deportations revive rift between Obama and fellow Democrats,” LA Times, 1/9/16)
Just to make it clear that these arrests and deportations would not stop, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson issued a statement saying, “This should come as no surprise. I have said publicly for months that individuals, who constitute enforcement priorities, including families and unaccompanied children, will be removed.” (Ibid.)
The U.S. multi-national working class needs unity against our monopoly capitalist Wall Street imperialist oppressors! We need to build a mass movement to stop deportations! This movement needs to be directed against Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump who has made the call for mass deportations of undocumented immigrants a centerpiece of his fascistic Presidential campaign. It even more urgently needs to be directed against the incumbent Democratic Obama Administration which is carrying out these fascistic raids right now!
* * * * * * * *
Where Has the U.S. Anti-War Movement Gone?
by ROSE BROWN
March 20, 2016 marks the 13th anniversary of the U.S. imperialist-led invasion of Iraq. Democratic President Barack Obama, who campaigned for President saying that he voted against going to war in Iraq and that if elected he would withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq (to send them to Afghanistan instead – a campaign pledge the anti-war movement chose to ignore) has now deployed U.S. troops back into Iraq, as well as into Afghanistan, Syria, Honduras, the Philippines (with his “pivot to Asia”), and elsewhere. It’s almost fifteen years since U.S. imperialist chieftain George W. Bush declared war on the world and launched the imperialist invasion of Afghanistan.
Veterans for Peace, Smedley Butler Brigade, in Massachusetts distribute the following information:
“The Cost of War in Iraq & Afghanistan
• More than 5,000 US military have been killed.
• It is estimated that more than 150,000 US troops have been seriously injured & more than 300,000 suffer PTSD.
• More than 1,800,000 Iraqi & Afghan civilians have been killed or seriously wounded.
• 4.7 million Iraqis have fled their homes; millions more are psychologically traumatized.
• The US has spent more than $860 billion.”
Thirteen years ago, millions of people around the world, including 500,000 in New York City alone were on the streets protesting the U.S. government’s plan to lead an invasion of Iraq.
Unfortunately, once the U.S. government had “troops on the ground” in Iraq, the anti-war section of the U.S. labor movement and most of the anti-war masses, in the name of “rallying behind the troops,” stopped their protests! In addition, as anti-war heroine Cindy Sheehan has repeatedly pointed out, once Democrat Barack Obama was elected President, the anti-war movement with its many unhealthy ties to the Democratic Party, proved to be merely an anti “Republican war” movement. We distributed “An Open Letter to February 15th Protesters Around the World” at the massive demonstration in New York City and elsewhere on February 15, 2003. This Ray O. Light statement entitled “The Enemy is not ‘War’ but Imperialism!!” pointed out that imperialism is the principal source of war in our era and that Social-Democrats around the world had rallied to oppose “war” but not the imperialist system which breeds war!
Where are the anti-war protests in the USA today? In early March, 2016, CODE PINK and United for Peace and Justice (UPJ), among others, sponsored a meeting in Washington, DC focusing on the terrible crimes of Saudi Arabia. The International Action Center, the Workers World Party and the ANSWER Coalition and the Party for Socialism and Liberation, among others, have called for a mass mobilization to Washington, DC for a “National March to Support Palestine” on March 20 timed to coincide with the opening of the AIPAC (American Israeli Public Affairs Committee) focused on opposition to the Israeli state. Objectively, these opportunist forces are letting U.S. imperialism off the hook. Bestial U.S. imperialism massively supports both the Saudi Arabian government and the state of Israel and has more troops deployed overseas and more military bases around the world and more weapons of mass destruction than any other government in the world!?! What about our proletarian internationalist responsibility to focus on “our own” U.S. imperialist government?!
In addition, there is U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW) which from its birth in 2003 worked to water down and undermine the outstanding labor anti-war work begun by New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW) against the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. USLAW has called for a “National Labor Assembly” April 15-17 in Silver Spring, Maryland around the theme “Reimagining National Security for a Safer Planet.” What does that mean? An anti-war activist commented that it sounds like the CIA has chosen the USLAW Assembly theme. It seems that “national security” for the core state apparatus of the U.S. Empire is what USLAW is concerned about!
The great revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin wrote a pamphlet entitled “Socialism and War” in 1915 before the Great October Revolution in Russia and while World War I was raging. He pointed out that “Socialists have always condemned wars between peoples as barbarous and bestial,” that “whoever justifies participation in this war [World War I] perpetuates imperialist oppression of nations. [But] whoever seeks to use the present difficulties of the governments in order to fight for a social revolution is fighting for the real freedom of all nations, a freedom that can be realized only under socialism.” He projected the slogan: “Turn the Imperialist War into a Civil War.”
The only way to stop U.S. imperialist-led war today is to focus on our main enemy, imperialism, headed by U.S. imperialism and for the workers and oppressed of the world to fight for power – to take the power away from the imperialists of the world and, in the first place, U.S. imperialism.
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WALL STREET SEEKS BAILOUT BY SOUTH CAROLINA AFRO-AMERICANS!
Statement* by Revolutionary Organization of Labor, USA – February 14, 2016
The Bush II and Obama Administrations each in turn gave Wall Street an almost one trillion dollar bailout within the first year after these same Wall Street criminals created the 2008 economic crisis. As Senator Bernie Sanders has pointed out, Wall Street has paid $200 billion in fines yet not one of these criminals has gone to jail. In fact, we can calculate that the bailout gifts from these two “Republicrat” administrations (from our tax money) left Wall Street at least one and one-half trillion dollars ahead! Meanwhile, the crisis still plagues most of the rest of the 99% of us in the USA till this very day, almost eight years later.
The “generosity” of the rest of us toward the super rich U.S. ruling class evidently does have some limits though: In the 2016 presidential election season thus far the candidates of the mainstream Republican and Democratic parties, the “Republicrat” candidates of Wall Street such as Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton, have been unable to mount effective campaigns — even with their campaign coffers flush with largely untraceable corporate cash thanks to the Citizens United decision of the U.S. Supreme Court.
While the fascistic Tea Party candidates — Trump, Cruz, Carson and Rubio — are attracting the Republican primary voters, they are even scarier than the Republicrats. It is in the Democratic Party primaries that the Sanders campaign provides some limited ability of the U.S. working class and masses to express our political needs and aspirations. It is in this campaign that thousands of us are gathering around the elementary truth that Wall Street has much too much and Main Street is entitled to much more than we have. It is here that we are taking the first political baby steps toward seizing political power from Wall Street finance capital backed by “Republicrat” political rule and the U.S. military/police forces at home and around the world.
Tragically, Sanders, like all the other “Republicrat” and Tea Party candidates, is a defender of the U.S. Empire. Thus, on foreign policy issues, as usual, the Democratic/Republican political duopoly in the 2016 Campaign effectively suppresses the ability of the U.S. population to express solidarity with the rest of the international working class and the oppressed peoples against the unceasing U.S.imperialist-led War of Terror from North Africa and the Middle East to Asia and Latin America. This is why Sanders could say from the outset that he will support the Democratic Party candidate and that he “likes” the brutal war criminal Hillary Clinton with her hands stained with the blood of the peoples from Honduras to Syria and Libya.
Nonetheless, the Bernie Sanders campaign is mobilizing among the 99% of us to make economic, political and social demands on the U.S. monopoly capitalist ruling class. And the campaign is gathering momentum far beyond anything even Sanders had imagined. After a virtual tie in Iowa, Sanders decisively defeated Clinton 60% to 40% in New Hampshire, even winning among woman voters.
In fact, the Clinton campaign, with the hopes and prayers as well as the financial blessings of the Wall Street ruling class, is counting upon the Black masses of South Carolina to deliver Clinton and Wall Street from the serious and simple demands for single payer health care (that would wipe out the health insurance industry), free public college tuition (that would stop the loan sharks feeding on struggling students), $15/hour minimum wage (almost a living wage). Yet, there is almost no other sector of the U.S. population that would benefit more than South Carolina’s Afro-American population from taking from the Wall Street rich and funding these programs for the rest of us!
–Why the Wall Street Rich Believe the Afro-American people of South Carolina
Will be Their Deliverance–
Eight years ago, Obama won his first primary victory in South Carolina. We reported then, “In South Carolina, in a record turnout, more than half of the votes in the Democratic Primary were Afro-American. Eighty percent of the Afro-American voters supported Obama. It was on the basis of this Black solidarity or Black electoral power that Obama won an overwhelming victory in the South Carolina primary – 55% to Hillary Clinton’s 27% and Edwards’ 15%. Yet Obama did nothing to encourage the hard-pressed Afro-American people of South Carolina.
“Exultant in this decisive victory, Obama and his campaigners chanted, ‘Race doesn’t matter!’ in the face of the obvious fact that ‘race’ had mattered there ... instead of expressing appreciation to the Black masses for the victory and dedicating himself to representing their interests, Obama and his ‘campaigners’ insulted the Black masses, deprecating their effort. As if ashamed of their support, Obama distanced himself from the very people who had provided his victory.” (“The 2008 Presidential Election, the Barack Obama Campaign, and the Need for Afro-American National Liberation,”Ray O’ Light Newsletter #47, February-March 2008)
Through the eight years since, the Afro-American people of South Carolina have continued to show remarkable loyalty to Obama, in spite of the fact that his seven years in the U.S. Presidency have seen their fortunes grow ever more desperate economically and politically and socially. From the execution of Troy Davis to the immediate and unjust firing of Shirley Sherrod, the first Afro-American head of the Georgia Department of Agriculture, to the Obama-led War on Libya and the African Continent and his elimination of the Department of Homeland Security monitors of White Supremacist terrorist groups which paved the way for Dylann Roof to massacre the bible study group at Charleston’s most historic Afro-American church, Emanuel AME Church, just days after a white North Charleston cop fatally shot a Black man eight times in the back. Obama and U.S. imperialism praised those among the bereaved church families who had reverted to a slave culture. They forgave the cold-blooded Roof who had not shown any remorse or asked to be forgiven.
Now, days before the 2016 South Carolina presidential primary, a huge fraud is being perpetrated upon the Black masses of South Carolina. On February 11th, the Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee, announced its endorsement of Hillary Clinton against Bernie Sanders. There had been no vote by the Congressional Black Caucus itself! There are 46 members of the Congressional Black Caucus. The CBC PAC voters had included eleven lobbyists, 2 PAC officials and seven elected officials. These are the people responsible for bringing the money into the CBC. And they dutifully followed the money. And the money is with Clinton. And most of the CBC members kept their mouths shut.
To try to seal the deal, Congressman John Lewis, a true icon of the 1960’s civil right movement, grabbed center stage at the CBC PAC Press Conference and disgraced himself with a fraudulent statement no doubt addressed directly to the Black masses of South Carolina.
Congressman Lewis, at other times a modest person, trashed Bernie Sanders’ role in the civil rights movement. Lewis who, with other civil rights heroes, functioned in the Black Belt South in the early 1960’s, dismissed Sanders by stating that he had never met Sanders in that period. Lewis immediately added that he had met Hillary and President Clinton. Hillary Clinton had actually been an active supporter of Senator Barry Goldwater’s Republican Presidential run in 1964. And Goldwater had voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964! In fact, Hillary Clinton had remained a Young Republican until 1968. Sanders had been an active member and leader in Chicago of CORE, a major civil rights organization.
The only member of the Congressional Black Caucus who has endorsed Sanders, and the only Muslim in Congress, Keith Ellison, exposed the absurdity of Lewis’ “testimony” about not knowing Sanders in a period when there were thousands in the movement all over the country and when Sanders and Lewis were working in different parts of the country. Others have come forward with documentation including photos of Sanders in action back then. This was very positive. In addition, Ben Jealous, the former head of the national NAACP has also endorsed Sanders. If the word from Congressman Ellison and President Jealous gets to the Afro-American voters in South Carolina, they will have the opportunity to think for themselves about who to vote for and against.
A final thought: Hillary Clinton has been wrapping herself around Obama and is now touting the fact that Barack Obama got more money from Wall Street than anyone else in the 2008 Campaign. She then tries to say Obama wasn’t bought and she praises Obama’s alleged “fight” against Wall Street, challenging Sanders to spill the beans about Obama and lose the vote in South Carolina. Because Sanders is tied to the Democratic Party and the U.S. Empire, it is unlikely he will tell the people the truth about Obama and Wall Street. Nevertheless, Sanders has stated that the people of this country understand that if the sharks on Wall Street are “investing” in political candidates they expect to get a big pay-off. So, on this fundamental question of Big Money in politics, the Sanders Campaign is helping to educate the people. It is all to the good.
Meanwhile, the fact that Ben Jealous, Keith Ellison and other Black leaders are supporting Sanders against the Wall Street candidate and against the tired old leadership of a corrupt Congressional Black Caucus is the beginning of a new way forward for an Afro-American liberation movement that has been unwilling to participate in constructive and principled criticism for decades since the martyrdom of Martin Luther King, Jr. placed him and black leadership “above criticism.”
… when the Afro-American masses of South Carolina grasp this truth, they will reject [every] Wall Street bailout.
No to Wall Street Bailout in South Carolina!
Afro-American National Liberation!
* * * * * * * *
“If You’re Not Outraged, You’re Not Paying Attention”*
Get Angry, Get Active, Rise Up – Fight for Workers Power!
*A good bumper sticker reads, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” If you are paying attention, please send me the items that are enraging you. Thanks to comrades Carl Pappos, Lea Charles and Rose Brown for submitting the items in this issue..
- the Editor
102,000 people, 9000 of them children, have been poisoned by the public water system in Flint, Michigan, a majority Black city. The children have been permanently compromised as lead poisoning in children immediately affects brain development and is irreversible. In addition, at least 10 people have died from Legionnaires Disease with a tenfold increase in cases. In the five years before the consumption of the Flint River water there were no deaths from Legionnaires Disease. This abominable attack on the people of Flint was not a simple mistake but a conscious, greedy barbarian effort to increase the profits of the rich.
In 2014 under fiscal constraints because of large tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations, Governor Snyder of Michigan decided among other cost saving measures to switch Flint’s water supply from clean glacial Lake Huron to the polluted Flint River. In spite of complaints about filthy water, the residents were told continually for over a year that it was OK to use. But, within a few months after the switch to Flint River water, GM complained that the water was corroding car parts being washed on the assembly line. Governor Snyder spent $440,000 to hook GM back up to Lake Huron water but continued to poison the entire Flint population, refusing to spend a mere $9000 to seal the pipes to stop the corrosive water from leaching lead into it. We must fight for and build socialism and destroy capitalism before it destroys us.
The truth behind the 2008 financial crisis is all exposed in “The Big Short.” This movie shows that the big banks knew what they were doing. Some pretty savvy investors proved it. And the US government, including the President and the Congress, went ahead and paid off the criminal banks anyway to the tune of over $1.5 trillion of our hard earned taxes. “The Big Short,” movie and book, clearly lays out how the big banks put together risky unsustainable financial packages and sold them to investors. Both the big banks and the investors then made billions of dollars. When the whole house of cards collapsed, the 99% lost jobs, homes, pensions, and social services while the “too big to fail” banks and insurance companies were bailed out with our tax money! The 99% need to be running the government not the 1%!
Serious debate is taking place in the U.S. today about whether or not young women aged 18 to 25 should be required to register for Selective Service just like young U.S. men are so required. Now that the Department of Defense has lifted its ban on women in combat, top military commanders have recommended that women be required to register for Selective Service. Former U.S. Army helicopter pilot Amber Smith was quoted as supporting this recommendation, saying “That’s what equality looks like.” (TheFederalist.com)
But if we want real equality in the USA and the world today, we should oppose the recruitment of young men and young women into the “voluntary” military or registered to be subjected to a military draft to fight imperialist wars. This U.S. military machine is fighting against equality, against the interests of workers and oppressed within the USA and around the world.
The United States now has the highest rate of infant mortality in the advanced capitalist countries, higher than any of the other 27 “developed countries,” according to a 2014 report of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). By contrast, in spite of suffering under a brutal U.S. imperialist-led economic boycott for more than half a century, tiny Cuba with its focus on free universal education and health care has a lower infant mortality rate than the USA. In addition, the U.S. is one of only eight countries in the world, including war-torn Afghanistan, where maternal mortality related to childbirth is on the rise!
A climate disaster has been unfolding in Aliso Canyon near Los Angeles, since October, 2015. A monstrous methane leak from a SoCal Gas Co facility, has spilled more than 84 metric tons of methane into our atmosphere. That’s like burning 800 million gallons of gasoline. It is the largest methane leak in U.S. history.
Methane is more than 80 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide over two decades. More than 2,500 residents of the adjacent Porter Ranch community have been forced from their homes, and two schools have shut down. Children and other residents exposed to high levels of benzene, have suffered headaches, nausea, and nosebleeds. California Governor Brown declared a state of emergency in October. In mid February, the company said that they have intercepted the leak to send it to another relief well preventing more gas from flowing out. Would you take the word of a company that said they couldn’t get it fixed until the spring of 2016, maybe?
We the people need to mobilize and demand that Congress and the EPA implement strong laws. Moreover, as working people we need to band together within the USA and worldwide, to fight for this planet. This is the only home we have. Say it Loud and Say it Proud: I’m Not Going to take it anymore!
Revolutionary Organization of Labor (ROL), USA is a revolutionary working class organization that fights for working class power and the elimination of all human exploitation. Ray O’ Light Newsletter is the regular publication of ROL, USA. We believe, with comrade Lenin, that the working class “… needs the truth and there is nothing so harmful to its cause as plausible, respectable petty bourgeois lies.” In the spirit of Karl Marx who taught that “our theory is not a dogma but a guide to action,” we welcome your comments.
Comradely the Newsletter Staff,
Ray Light, Editor Rose Brown, Assistant Editor Carl Pappos, Production Coordinator
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