Thursday, September 22, 2016

Kaepernick and the Blood Splattered Banner by Cindy Sheehan


About three months after my son Casey Sheehan was killed while being used as a “bullet sponge” by the US Army in the immoral and destructive US war against the people of Iraq, my then husband and I were invited to go to a minor league baseball game in Sacramento. The next day was my birthday, so we accepted thinking it may be a good outing to take our minds off of our immense grief and spend time with loved ones at a pastime that used to give us a lot of pleasure.

Patrick and I were to meet our friends at the game and we arrived a little late. As soon as we walked up to the gate the traditional playing of the Star Spangled Banner (SSB) commenced. I remember grasping some wrought iron fence posts as if I were going to fall into a black abyss, putting my head down and sobbing.

Of course, I have always thought the SSB is a horrible song sung to a horrible melody, but I had always dutifully arisen (no hand over my heart, though) to wait out the seemingly interminable (and often bad) singing of it to cheer “Play Ball” very loudly when it was over. However, on 9 July of 2004, as I sobbed, I knew I would never, ever show that song, or the flag it represented any more of my formerly misplaced respect. After all, one was folded and handed to me with all the formal pomp and somberness at the graveside of my oldest child. Since then, not only have all the patriotic trappings of this violent empire disgusted me, they remind me of the worst day of my life.

Even though I have been a lifelong baseball fan I have never really connected with football. Again, in the last 12 years since Casey’s death and my deepening anti-war and anti-Imperial work, I recognize football as a miniature war game that can cause it’s players real and lifelong damage due to traumatic brain injury and other traumas. However, since I live in Northern California in “49er Country,” I had heard of their talented yet disappointing quarterback, Colin Kaepernick. Imagine my surprise when “Kap” caused such a stir by not standing during the National Anthem and putting out this statement about it:

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

In the milieu of the NFL and its supporters, I believe that Kap’s stand was courageous, but long, long past due.

The SSB, written by Francis Scott Key during the Battle of Ft, McHenry in Baltimore during the war of 1812 has deep roots in racism and “Frank Key” was a very close friend and in the Kitchen Cabinet of Indian Killer Andrew Jackson. Key was very much against abolitionists and their philosophy and believed that “negroes” were “mentally inferior” and therefore should be treated with more Christian kindness.

During the War of 1812 Frank Key was a Lieutenant in the US forces and was bested by a group of “Colonial Marines” who were a group of slaves who were promised freedom by the British forces for running away and fighting for the British. The third verse of the SSB reflects Key’s bitter distaste of the group:

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.


The Colonial Marines were an affront to Key’s views about slaves being morally inferior and he was offended by the bravery of some to have the temerity to fight for their freedom.

The terror of police violence against Afro-American communities and other people of color is real and I am sure Kap was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement to sit down in his belated protest against oppression, but when has the US ever NOT murdered and oppressed these “demographics?”

The Blood Splattered Banner “waves” over the occupied lands of almost 200 countries where the US military maintains a military presence, whether large, or small; active bombing, or a more quiet, but unyielding and potentially violent force.

The Blood Splattered Banner rode in the front of the invading forces from US cavalries that exterminated native populations— never distinguishing between warrior, or woman; young or old. The bloody flag waved over Wounded Knee and Sand Creek where the human gore was knee deep and the feeling of “moral superiority” of the genocidal troops over the people they slaughtered precisely echoed Scott’s views about slaves and the same justification the Empire uses against Islam now and communism earlier.

One of the great ironies about the brouhaha over this is that it has been proven that the Pentagon pays tens of millions of dollars to the NFL every year for “patriotic” military recruitment product placement, AND the NFL is income tax exempt. Maybe if any of us were benefitting so handsomely by pretending to be patriotic, we would also push the anthem and fake umbrage against principled protests.

So many centuries of imperial violence and many millions of ruined lives later, one football player sits down and the commentary is around “disrespect” of the other players, fans, and veterans (who don’t ever fight for freedom, but for profit and psychopathic dominance) and not around the profound reasons to never stand during the bigoted song, or to salute the bloody flag of empire.

This article first appeared in the Revolutionary Organization of Labor Newsletter #98.







Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Treason is Deplorable, too by Anthony Freda

Our soon-to-be fearless leader is Not Sick.

Do not trust your lying eyes.

She did not collapse in some sort of seizure, probably a result of her brain tumor.

She is not wearing anti-seizure sunglasses.

She does not have prolonged coughing fits.

Sarah Silverman says only "assholes" think she is sick, and she is right.

Hillary says she has pneumonia, I guess that mean she is an asshole? 

I thought I saw her highness collapse in a seizure but the mainstream media has been telling me only crazy people think she is sick.

Her first impulse is not to lie and obfuscate, and the mainstream media does not shamefully go along with every deception.

Sickness is health, war is peace and slavery is freedumb.

Or maybe, by knowingly running for president of The United States with a life-threatening illness, Hillary has not only proven she is untrustworthy and mendacious, but that she is willing to put her own blond ambition above the continuity and stability of the republic.

Instead of demanding an independent medical evaluation of the Democratic nominee, the mainstream press makes excuses for her illnesses and regurgitates her deceptive talking points!

The mainstream corporate/state run media has failed humanity. There is a good reason their propaganda is believed by a mere 6% of the population.

Hillary is the most corrupt female politician in American history, and the sycophantic media has made every effort to convert her crimes into humanitarian acts.

A good case could be made that the media are complicit in her treason.

They helped her promote the lies that took us to Iraq, and they continue to fail forward by disgracefully cheerleading her towards what they hope will be her inevitable coronation.

Anthony Freda
 
 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Cindy Sheehan to Stand With Standing Rock!


Cindy Sheehan will be heading to the Standing Rock Sioux
reservation this weekend (9/10/16) to stand with the brothers and sisters who are opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL)
being constructed through their land.

Thousands of people have made the pilgrimage to the Camps
to help and to be in solidarity with the community there.

Cindy is going in her capacity as an activist, but also a journalist who will report back on a regular basis on the courageous actions.

As Cindy wrote in her announcement:

"I am feeling a strong urge to go to Standing Rock and stand with the community there against the pipeline and against the brutality of the company who is constructing it.

In 2005, thousands came to Camp Casey to support me in my stand against the wars and Empire (including many people from indigenous communities) and I have worked for 11 years to pay that solidarity back.

Recently, I have been pretty much home bound with my sister Dede Miller who is suffering from Stage 4 breast cancer and she is in a good place right now where I feel I can take a week, or so, to help my comrades protect the land and water.

I am planning on leaving on Saturday, September 10th and if I raise more money than the 1k, I need for expenses, I will donate the rest to the cause at Standing Rock.

I need money to rent a small car, for gas, lodging and food. For a long time, I have wanted to leave the smallest footprint and use my resources wisely and promise that I will send many reports and updates for Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox.

Peace, love, and solidarity,

Cindy Sheehan" 

We are pleased to report that in less than 20 hours, Cindy raised enough money on GoFundMe to pay for her expenses, and now, any money raised will come from The Soapbox Community as a gift to those in Standing Rock who are faced with huge expenses for the extended proTECT.
Please donate HERE to send your gift with Cindy to Standing Rock

OR

 send a check or money order to:

Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox, LLC
PO BOX 6264
Vacaville, Ca 95696

OR 
Donate directly to 

CINDY CAN BE CONTACTED AT:

CINDYSHEEHANSSOAPBOX@GMAIL.COM  

 



AFTER SATURDAY, 9/10, KEEP CHECKING BACK AT CINDY SHEEHAN'S SOAPBOX FOR DAILY UPDATES.

Monday, September 5, 2016

This Labor Day We Must Renew the Struggle for a Worker's Movement by Cindy Sheehan






Whether we are employed, under-employed, unemployed, or working as unpaid childcare givers or other domestic/social work, most of us are workers, and that's why I think we need a workers' political movement.

Big labor (except for the courageous example of the American Postal Workers' Union--APWU--which endorsed Sanders for president--a move not revolutionary but certainly outside of mainstream labor politics) is in the back pocket, front pocket, breast pocket, and all pockets of the Democratic Party. During election seasons, the treacherous Democrats give lip-service to being "pro-labor" but, in reality, do very little for labor while labor uses its forces and dollars to support the party.

Of course, Republican candidates never pretended to be for the working-class, so they aren't treacherous, yet still the enemy of the working-class; however, there are many workers in that party who constantly vote against their own economic and social interests.

Many workers don't belong to either major political party and they aren't Green or Socialist, either, but there is this one thing that unites us all: the need for a decent job with a LIVING wage and benefits that allow us to be free from the ravages of capitalism. The capitalists don't give any shits if you are a Republican or Democrat, or Green, or Socialist: they present a united front against We the Workers, so, We the Workers MUST present a united front against them.

What would a worker's movement look like? 

I believe that it would be free from the capitalist parties of War and Wall Street and be oriented around working-peoples' issues--not just workers in the US, but workers around this planet that is mostly under the boot heel of US imperialism. The Wobblies say, "an injury to one is an injury to all," but in the realm of "Big Labor" I see very little solidarity with the people in the Arab world that are being murdered and displaced at a very alarming rate. Instead, I see complete solidarity with the Imperialists.

I think most of us in the 99% can rally around workers' issues that would not only improve our lives, but create a world free from imperialism and savage capitalism if they are explained in ways that are constructive and not destructive.

Like the IWW (International Workers of the World), I believe a workers' movement should consist of industrial unions combining with other workers in a general and larger workers' movement for real change and should be organized about workers' rights, not what the bosses, ownership class, or Democratic politicians want.

When workers unite there is literally no limit to what we can achieve.

Happy Labor Day and happy struggles! 



 

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Revolution and Counter Revolution in Vz. (SOAPBOX PODCAST 9/4/16)

September 4, 2016





Guest: Alison Bodine
Topic: Real Talk about Venezuela 



This week, Cindy chats with Venezuela Solidarity Activist
Alison Bodine about the corporate media lies concerning
Venezuela and the Bolivarian Movement and what is
actually occurring.



Please read Alison's latest article:

Revolution & Counter Revolution in Venezuela The Economic War & Mass Media Lies & Deceptions (Guest Blog by Alison Bodine)

  

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Revolution & Counter Revolution in Venezuela The Economic War & Mass Media Lies & Deceptions (Guest Blog by Alison Bodine)

Revolution & Counter Revolution in Venezuela
The Economic War & Mass Media Lies & Deceptions 
Alison Bodine



For 17 years Western mainstream capitalist media has carried out a campaign of lies and deceptions against the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela. This constant campaign of manipulation began at the start of the Bolivarian Revolution, with the election of Comandante Hugo Chavez in December of 1998. It has not only continued, but grown in the depths of its lies and open hostility to the Bolvarian Revolution with each gain made by poor and oppressed people in Venezuela for their sovereignty, self-determination and a more just and equal society.

Especially over the past six months, major media sources like the New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN have all published articles, editorials and reports greatly exaggerating the economic crisis and painting Venezuela as a state on the verge of complete collapse. A Washington Post Editorial on April 12, 2016 even went as far as to declare that “Venezuela is in desperate need of a political intervention.”

Perfectly in line with this campaign, on July 26, 2016 the National Post printed a Washington Post article on Venezuela by Latin America Correspondent Nick Miroff with the headline “’I’ve never been hungry like this,’” taking a quote from the article by a woman returning home to Venezuela after purchasing goods in the Colombian border town of Cucuta. Following this sensationalized headline, the article went on to explain how “Cucuta, long known as a city of contraband goods, has suddenly became a lifeline for desperate shoppers in neighboring Venezuela, and one of the starkest illustrations yet of its panicky, gnawing hunger” and how “Tens of thousands of Venezuelans…have streamed across the border for basic goods in recent weeks as their country’s economy collapses under the weight of the world’s highest inflation rate and chronic mismanagement, which has produced shortages of everything from diapers to milk.”

Within this deceptive article, Mr. Miroff has repeated all of the buzzwords media uses to describe Venezuela today: hunger, shortages, desperation, chaos, all without bothering to explain how the economic crisis in Venezuela has developed.

Beyond the vague claim of carefully crafted words like “chronic mismanagement,” the clearest analysis that the author presents as the cause of the economic crisis in Venezuela comes from a quote by a, a retired geology professor who is quoted as saying, simply “This government has looted our country… And they’re still doing it.” This quote is then followed by further commentary and anecdotes suggesting that government subsidies that have given poor and working people in Venezuela access to food and basic goods at a price they can afford are in fact the cause of the shortages. In this backward world illustrated by Mr. Miroff, buying at a low subsidized price and then selling at enormous profit has become an unavoidable and completely natural human trait.

Production and Distribution in Venezuela

The main factor that both this article and Western mainstream media has left out is the role of Venezuela’s capitalist class and their allies in the U.S. government in perpetuating the economic crisis and instability in Venezuela. There counter-revolutionary and violent campaign of economic sabotage, hoarding, price gouging and more is what the government of Preisdent Nicolas Maduro refers to as an economic war.

When President Hugo Chavez won the 1998 election in Venezuela it marked the beginning of the Bolivarian Revolution that continues on through today. The Venezuelan government became a government representing the interests of the vast majority of people in Venezuela, instead of the select few. Tremendous gains were made for poor, working and oppressed people, beginning with the adoption of a new constitution ratified by popular vote that enshrines the basic human rights such as the rights to food, water, housing, healthcare and education. The Venezuelan economy, however, continued to be run by the capitalist class of Venezuela. Although in the last 17 years of the Bolivarian Revolution, the government has nationalized certain industries, such as the petroleum industry, the production of food and basic goods in Venezuela, as well as much of their distribution remains in the hands of a handful of rich Venezuelans and their international partners. Major multinational corporations including Kimberly Clark, Bridgestone, General Mills, and Procter & Gable, McDonalds and many more all continue to have factories and major stakes in Venezuela. With the power of production in their hands, these companies, as well as Venezuelan private industry are doing their best to sabotage the Venezuelan economy, with absolutely no regard to the well-being of the vast majority of the people of Venezuela.

One case of this sabotage occurred at the beginning of July, 2016 when a Kimberly Clark in Aragua, Venezuela, shut-down production and fired over 900 employees, claiming that they did not have the raw materials to make their goods. The Venezuelan government investigated and found the opposite of what the company claimed - the warehouses for this factory were well-stocked. In response, the government of Venezuela turned the factory over to the workers to re-open and continue production. As reported by TeleSUR “The factory can produce, every month, 25 million diapers, 18 million sanitary napkins and 33 million rolls of toilet paper”, or about 20% of the national demand for such products in Venezuela.

The Kimberly Clark factory demonstrates the impact that one private company can have on the availability of goods in Venezuela, and the same scenario can be repeated across the food and pharmaceutical industry. As researched by Pasqualina Curcio, a Venezuelan economist and professor at Simón Bolívar University, “Both the production and distribution of the 10 most difficult foods to purchase, for which there are long queues (corn flour, rice, pasta, milk, oil, margarine, coffee, chicken, beef and chicken eggs) are concentrated in no more than 10 large private companies.” (www.foodfirst.org)

There are many other examples of slowed or stopped production of processed foods and basic goods, as well as instances of hoarding or price gouging reported all over the country. For example, nearly 42,000 medicines and 11 tons of food were seized by government operations in the state of Miranda over a period of about two weeks. These basic goods were confiscated from “bachaqueros” (criminals in Venezuela that sell subsidized goods at incredible profit), or from stores and pharmacies found to be hoarding or breaking price-control laws. (www.Panorama.com.ve)

Another factor that mainstream media articles never mentions is the ongoing U.S. economic sanctions against Venezuela. In March of 2016, U.S. President Barack Obama renewed an Executive Order declaring Venezuela “an extraordinary threat to U.S. national security,” and paving the way for the U.S. to continue imposing criminal sanctions on the country. These sanctions not only have an immediate effect on the person or business they are targeting, they are also an important consideration for foreign banks and Venezuela’s debt-holders. As one consequence of this, on July 11, 2016 Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced that Citibank, the bank that Venezuela uses for foreign currency transactions, had given notice that they would close all the accounts of the Venezuelan Central Bank and the Bank of Venezuela. The capitalist class in Venezuela works closely with the U.S. government and their imperialist allies for the same end-goal – to overthrow the government of Nicolas Maduro and with it the Bolivarian Revolution and with it the great gains made for poor, working and oppressed people in Venezuela.

President Nicolas Maduro and the Bolivarian Revolution Fight Back!

In the face of this economic war, waged by the counter-revolutionary opposition, the people of Venezuela, led by President Nicolas Maduro have launched a number of initiatives in order to fight against the shortages.

This includes various forms of community projects such as the newly announced “micro-missions.” These projects are focused in six areas, seed production, animal protein, balanced food, cleaning and personal hygiene products, as well as the regionalizing of school meal menus and the supply of essential medicines.

There have also been changes introduced by the government of Venezuela in order to stop smuggling of goods into neighboring countries, hoarding and price-gouging. The most recent of these measures is called the Great Mission of Sovereign Supply. This new mission is run by General Vladimir Padrino, Venezuela’s Minister of Defence, and will be able to control the production and distribution of food, medicine and basic household goods.

If Western media and foreign governments were really concerned about the humanitarian situation in Venezuela, wouldn’t they applaud measures by the government of President Nicolas Maduro to cut-down on smuggling or diversify production? Wouldn’t they celebrate the fact that Venezuela continues to fund and support community-based farmers markets and gardens as a way to combat shortages? Instead, they only offer more and more criticism and more and more so-called evidence about how the political system that the people of Venezuela have chosen with the Bolivarian Revolution will never work.

What right does the government of Canada or the United States have to criticize the methods a foreign government is using to build a more just and equal society? One only has to look around Vancouver to see examples of how this political and economic system is failing the people in Canada. In British Columbia, one in five children live in poverty, a statistic that hasn’t changed since 2012. A recent report called Household Food Insecurity in Canada, 2014 by the University of Toronto research team PROOF found that in 2014, 24 per cent of households in the Northwest Territories and 47% of households in Nunavut experienced a form of food insecurity.

Major Media is a Mouthpiece for Foreign Intervention in Venezuela

There is a video of Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton taken during the December 2015 Parliamentary elections in Venezuela. Upon discovering that the counter-revolutionary opposition in Venezuela going to win a majority of the seats in the Parliament she proudly declares “We’re winning! We’re winning!” to a crowd of supporters.

With these two words, the political support from the U.S. government for the violent counter-revolutionary opposition in Venezuela is laid-bare. Recent leaks of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails from her time as U.S. Secretary of State, have even gone further, revealing covert U.S. operations in Venezuela and Latin America meant to sew unrest and instability in the country. The imperialist interests of the government of the U.S. in Venezuela are the same as the interests of Venezuela’s capitalist class – to overthrow the Bolivarian Revolution.

Politicians like Hillary Clinton leave it up to the military officers and diplomats to explain more clearly the strategy for achieving their goal. On October 10, 2015 the former head of US Southern Command General Jon Kelly, explained to CCN Spanish that that the U.S. would consider intervening in Venezuela to avert a “humanitarian crisis” involving lack of food and water.

In this way, mainstream media has been the perfect mouthpiece for this strategy. With each editorial, article and opinion piece they describe time and time again the “humanitarian crisis” in Venezuela and the lack of any government solutions. Having media like this has also enabled the U.S. government to take a back-seat in an outright campaign against Venezuela. Secretary of State John Kerry can support dialogue in Venezuela out of one side of his mouth while on the other he continues to pressure U.S. allied governments in Latin America to attempt to isolate Venezuela.

Viva Venezuela!

Every day the people of Venezuela are mobilized on the streets in defense of the Bolivarian Revolution. Together with President Nicolas Maduro, the Bolivarian Revolution continues to advance, in the face of a very real economic crisis, a vicious economic war and threats of foreign intervention.

As peace-loving people we must take this moment to intensify our campaign in defense of the people of Venezuela, not only to work to counter the lies and manipulations of capitalist media, but to actively and consistently mobilize in opposition to U.S. and foreign intervention in Venezuela. When the people of Venezuela win a victory against imperialist domination, and maintain their right to sovereignty and self-determination it is a victory for poor and oppressed people around the world.

Let the dogs of the empire bark, that’s their job; ours is to battle to achieve the true liberation of our people. – Hugo Chavez

U.S. Hands Off Venezuela!
No to U.S. Sanctions on Venezuela!
Obama: Revoke the Decree!
Viva Venezuela!

Follow Alison Bodine on Twitter:@Alisoncolette