Friday, April 29, 2016

"The Sanders Campaign and the Next Stage of Socialist Agitation" Remarks

The Sanders campaign and the next stage of socialist agitation

Click on the above for an interesting article from Liberation News. Below are some remarks about this article:

What's right and what's wrong with this analysis? I think it is certainly correct about the class nature of the forces backing HRC (she represents the interests of the 1% more faithfully than either Trump or Cruz could do) but she is also subject to mass forces from the working class and can be pressured to support progressive reforms and allow more space for left wing political action. It is true that Trump is not leading a fascist movement and the capitalist class is rejecting him because they fear he will arouse more popular resistance than is warranted from their point of view. But the article overlooks the fact that with an unpredictable economy, and another depression lurking around the corner, fascist tactics may be needed to forstall the growth of a serious anti-Wall Street mass fight back. The author discounts the new left forces that have manifested themselves within the Democrati Party due to the Sanders movement and thinks the DP is unreformable. He ignores the possibility that a quantitative change in the base of the DP could lead to a qualitative change in its leadership and positions (this is what has happened in the Republican Party driving it far to the right and out of control of its traditional establishment leaders) or that the left of the DP could breakaway and join with millions of progressive independents and form a third viable political party or fuse with the Green Party making it a truly mass party. His call to break with the DP completely and support a microscopically small Marxist grouping in the coming election is politically unrealistic as there are many Congressional and local races that progressive Democats should be supported in so that truly reactionary Republican politicians can be turned out of office; and while HRC is no friend of the working class she is less reactionary domestically than any Republican running against her and advancing the goals of the working class will easier under a DP administration than a RP one. The duty of Marxists is to give critical support (where warrented) pointing out why she is the best of a bad lot and at the same time independently agitate to organize a progressive class conscious opposition within the DP against the neoliberal consensus of the current party leadership. If we do that we can make leftist lingo mean something even the White House (if not the Oval Office).
Thomas Riggins

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Obama, Putin and the U.S. Election

Thomas Riggins

Why is  Obama deliberately stirring up old Cold War tensions with Russia by ordering saber rattling by the Pentagon and our puppet military alliance Nato? Professor Steven Cohen, writing in The Nation (2-29-16) says Obama is escalating the tensions with Russia in an unprecedented manner not seen since the days of Nazi Germany. These hostile actions are being basically ignored by the mass media and none of the presidential candidates in either party have addressed them in the debates except indirectly (Sanders and Clinton supporting NATO, Trump mentioning he wants to make a "deal" with Putin).

The issue is Obama's decision to increase by 400% military expenditures and deployments on or near the Russian border by the U.S. and NATO. Such a huge concentration of Western military power on the Russian border has not been seen in modern times -- not even at the height of the Cold War. Cohen says Russia will have to respond by its own build up including the positioning of advanced missiles. Thus the whole of Eastern Europe will become a tinderbox increasing the probability of a regional war or  worse if some minor incident flares up.

This is, I might add, wholly unnecessary and reckless behavior on the part of Obama and his generals (the type of behavior a future President Cruz or Rubio are characterized of being capable of initiating). Why is this coming at the very time Russia is trying to de-escalate tensions with the U.S.?

The Russians have cooperated with the U.S. on the Iran deal and in trying to bring about a truce in Syria (their intervention was provoked by CIA "covert" weapons deals with jihadists against their ally Assad the legally UN recognized government), and in calming down the situation in Ukraine by a cease fire (another intervention initiated by the U.S.- E.U. role in overthrowing the legally elected government in that country and the installation of an ultraright wing antiRussian

Cohen says the mass media in the U.S. attributes all these international problems to Russian aggression and to Putin's megalomania ["Putin's Russia"]. So while we play around with farcical political debates and a news media that misinforms rather than informs Obama stealthily builds up the aggressive capabilities of U.S. imperialism and, consciously or unconsciously, further endangers the peace of the world and the future of humanity.

The Left is falling down on the job of warning the working class of the dangers it faces in the coming election. HRC has wrapped herself in the Obama legacy and will no doubt continue the march towards more wars and military adventures that the U.S. has embarked upon ever since Korea. The Republican candidates are no different in this respect. Whoever wins in November the big losers will be the working class and the minorities who will continue to be abused and exploited by the U.S. ruling Establishment. 

The Left has, however, done its duty in one respect. There is a slight possibility the dire consequences enumerated above could be avoided or alleviated and that would be the election of Bernie Sanders as president. This event would open up progressive political action outside of the control of the Establishment and could lead to a democratic renaissance in the U.S. The Left - Progressive movement has solidly backed Sanders (aside from some fringe elements).  Unfortunately, the Left cannot agree on a Plan B. HRC's election would be a victory for the Establishment and there is no Third Party that the Left is willing to unite behind. 

This military build up is part of the profit generating foreign policy of the Military Industrial Complex. It justfies the transfer of billions of dollars in "defense" spending to the private coffers of the 1%.  What are the chances that HRC will adopt a pro peace agenda and come out against the U.S.- NATO build up in Europe? Sanders is also weak on this issue but he can be more easily pressured to change as cutting the military budget frees up money for the progressive changes to reduce income inequality that he favors and he is not beholden to the Establishment. What is to be done?

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Hillary Clinton on Cutting Drug Costs (Kick the Poor off Medicare)

Thomas Riggins

Forbes magazine ("the capitalist tool") doesn't  always paint a rosy picture  of capitalism, except (as does The Wall Street Journal) in its editorial and opinion fluff. But capitalists want the actual lowdown on how the system is working and where it's going and Forbes' job is give them the info they need to place their bets.

Working people and progressives can bet the capitalists are not betting on Bernie Sanders, the money bag crowds are betting on Clinton (with few exceptions) all the way. Some of Clinton's ideas are even too pro-capitalist for Forbes!

The magazine recently held a "healthcare summit" as big capital is aware the cost of drugs is getting out of hand and is ultimately unsustainable. They certainly don't want some social democratic president mucking around with their system so they want to control the proposals that will have to be made to make the system work for more people and still allow them to reap ill gotten gains.

Hillary Clinton has two proposals on the table which Forbes doesn't particularly like because while they make modest changes in the health care system they end up giving poor people the short end of the stick and benefit the rich. But that is the very problem that has to be solved! Creating a system that doesn't let people die because they are poor. As usual Clinton's supporters don't really understand whose side she is on, they are the same as Trump supporters in this respect; even some of those on the authentic Left -- Communists and Socialists -- don't understand she represents the interests of monopoly capitalism better than any Republican could.

Well what are her proposals to better the system (she totally rejects the Medicare for all ideas of Sanders)?. Her position is not "Medicare for All" but "Medicaid for More." Medicaid is cheaper and doesn't have all the benefits of Medicare so health care won't cost so much if poor senior citizens who are on Medicare due to their ages are switched over to Medicaid leaving only the wealthier seniors on Medicare. That's right folks, the first would be female U.S. President is a grinch!

Here is how Forbes puts it: "How do we fix pharmaceutical pricing? Hillary Clinton's idea of making drug firms pay a tax if they don't spend enough on R&D probably wouldn't lower prices. And her other idea of making seniors who are eligible for both Medicare (health care for seniors) and Medicaid (the program for the poor) take Medicaid would result in savings, but it could also mean giving rich people better health insurance than poor people." Forbes is being nice in using "could" for "would."

So there it is: Clinton the "progressive," the "realist," proposing the same old same old; let's "solve" our drug pricing problems by tossing the poor under the bus and not bothering the rich. Wake up dupes! We have one chance this year to actually make a change in the system and that's to vote for someone 90% of the political class and the corporate media oppose, the ONLY candidate that actually represents the vast majority of the American people and is not a cat's paw for then wealthy 1%. It's time for all unions and people's movements to turn their backs on their faux progressive leaderships who have sided with Clinton and the 1% and support Bernie Sanders -- your grandchildren will be grateful for having a future. 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Sanders: The Peace Candidate (Maybe)

"The U.S. Senator from Vermont has opposed NATO expansion into Eastern Europe" - See more at:…/bernie-sanders-2016-peace-candidate…-- Unless I misheard him in the Thursday night debate with HRC he favored the NATO expansion to counter Putin's "aggression.'' In fact there is contradiction between his progressive domestic policies and his reactionary views on international affairs which reflect ideas generally in line with U.S. imperial interests. He is not the dangerous hawk that HRC is but he calls Iran a center of terrorism which it spreads around the world when it is actually Saudi Arabia that is playing that role financed by the U.S.; he says we must oppose the totalitarian communists in China and other such rubbish. He appears to be supportive of the general neoliberal bi-partisan consensus that Russia is now a major threat to the peace of Europe. The Democratic Party, of which he may end up being the presidential nominee (unless the DP leadership has a plan to deadlock the convention and then draft Biden as the compromise nominee) is not friendly to the kind of progressive anti-imperialist foreign policies that socialists favor (and that make any support of HRC problematic) and it would be disastrous to insist that Sanders adopt such views at this time (first things first) since getting Sanders into office is requisite for any possible progressive change (HRC is as much a representative of the reactionary patriarchal Establishment as the ultra-right -- only less open about it as there is no contradiction between rights for women, gays, and minorities, as can be seen by former progressive leaders of the women's rights and civil rights movement now aligning themselves with the pro-imperialist HRC, and the continuance of a vicious capitalist economic system). Agitating for and supporting Sanders is the first duty now of socialists both as an opportunity to educate the masses in a progressive direction and to prepare the way for the eventual elimination of the ultra right in all its manifestations.

In its statement endorsing Bernie Sanders, Peace Action praised his opposition to both Iraq wars, support of legislation to reduce spending on nuclear weapons, strong backing of the Iran agreement, votes to curb military spending, and championing of…

Monday, February 08, 2016


If a culture with a male preference has devastating effects on girls imagine living in one where parents sexually mutilate them and/or kill them if they get sexually abused! We have a long way to go before the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights is taken seriously by all (any?) of the governments of the world. Seriously, any government in violation of Human Rights should lose its vote in the General Assembly until it corrects or really takes meaningful steps to correct the violation. How about a female General Secretary?
While most studies of parental sex discrimination explore the devastating social and demographic effects of a cultural preference for boys, a new study examines its…

Sunday, February 07, 2016

North Korea Launches Satellite U.S. Freaks Out

"Although North Korea can learn much about the technology to build ballistic missiles from satellite launches, putting a satellite into orbit does not guarantee an ability to deliver a nuclear warhead on an intercontinental ballistic missile. North Korea has never tested a ballistic-missile version of its Unha-series rockets. " Buried away in the article is the most important information. All the clamor over the DPKR space progra...
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Saturday, February 06, 2016

Texas Republicans Continue the War Against Women in Their State

"It's a public health issue that Texas women struggle to achieve their reproductive goals." Mildly and diplomatically put since this is a study by a Texas state university. The real conclusion of the study is that the women of Texas have no rights to control their own bodies with regard to their reproductive functions except those granted to them by Republican men who run the state government -- and where the Federal government has protected these rights the Texas government will try and abort them. The women of Texas should rise up and cast these men into the toilet bowl of history and flush them away in the next election. Feel the bern.--tr
The public defunding of Planned Parenthood in Texas may have led to a decrease in highly effective forms…