Detrás de la masacre de Colorado 12
Workers and oppressed peoples of the world unite!
August 9, 2012
Vol. 54, No. 31
COPS KILL, COPS LIE
Anaheim rebels By John Parker Los Angeles
The city of Anaheim is about a 40- to 50-minute drive south of Los Angeles and is the home of Disneyland. Yet the terror of police repression — so familiar in the Black, Latino/a and immigrant communities of Los Angeles — was unleashed in Anaheim twice, on July 21 and 22. Manuel Angel Diaz was a 25-year-old Latino known in the community. He was shot in the back and in the head by Anaheim police while in a front yard on July 21. Joel Acevedo, 21, was shot by Anaheim police the following day. Why was Diaz shot and killed? The police have simply said that he was talking to someone in a car, then ran from them and that they felt threatened by something at his waist. Yet, even this unjustified excuse for executing a person is false, according to most witnesses. One told the Orange County Register that Diaz had just been eating at her produce truck on Anna Drive, said he needed to use a hose to wash up, and walked across the street to the yard of an apartment complex. She said that three minutes later he was dead. That witness also said that the police were forcefully trying to get her to change her story. Others in the neighborhood reported being threatened by police with deportation if they came forward as witnesses. That fear of eyewitness reports was expressed by a reporter from KCAL News at the scene of the shooting later that day. He was reporting on the brutal attack against residents who immediately protested the killing. The reporter mentioned on the air that a few people, who took videos of the police attack with their cell phones, told him they were approached by police offering to buy their phones. The fascist-like repression faced by this community was met by immediate protest and outrage over the shooting. However, police lies could not cover it up since it was captured on video. Police are seen shooting rubber bullets at close range at men, women and women with babies, some in strollers. A police attack dog was let go toward a woman carrying a baby. Fortunately for the baby, an adult person was able to draw the dog’s terrible bite towards himself. It is not surprising that the Anaheim Police Department is desperately trying to spin the events in their favor. To try and justify the racist killing of Diaz, he
Heat wave in Detroit
WALL ST. SOUTH
Why DNC march targets banks
Confront Big Pharma, pols
POVERTY RISES Outside Anaheim police station, July 29.
is being painted by the police as a gang member and danger to the community.
Police lies can’t cover up truth It’s nothing new that police lie, but the events surrounding this killing are filled with an avalanche of police lies, even about the almost daily protests since the killing. On July 24, many were arrested in large demonstrations of more than 1,000 people at City Hall. Police said that most of the protesters were Continued on page 6
SYRIA: a glimpse of truth CHINA & Olympics
Protests hit poverty wages
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National rallies, like this one in Philadelphia, demanded raising the minimum wage. See article, page 2.
ZIMBABWE Black farmers thrive 9
HAITI History of resistance 11
August 9, 2012
ON THE PICKET LINE
In the U.S.
Caterpillar plays hard ball with striking workers
The nearly 800 members of Machinists Local 851 in Joliet, Ill., have been on strike for more than three months at Caterpillar. With record $4.9 billion profits last year and $1.6 billion in the first quarter of this year, Caterpillar insists that it needs a six-year wage freeze, doubled costs for worker-paid health care, and cuts in key pension and seniority rights for “future competitiveness.” Noting that in the past Caterpillar “has been a leader in devising new ways to cut labor costs,” a front-page article in the July 23 New York Times called the strike “a test case in American labor relations,” with Caterpillar “trying to pioneer new territory, seeking steep concessions from its workers even when business is booming.” The article noted that Detroit automakers followed Caterpillar’s lead when they instituted a two-tier wage system and lengthy contracts in 2009. The workers, who make the highly technical hydraulic parts and systems essential to the company’s earthmoving machinery, are well aware that they create the company’s profit at the rate of $39,000 from each worker. “We are the people who busted our butts to help them make record profits,” Rose Bain, a second-tier worker making $15 an hour, told the Times. “We shouldn’t be treated like this.” But the capitalist giant is as ruthless as 19th-century robber barons in its pursuit of profits. That’s why Local 851 strikers need the organized labor movement and all progressive people to link arms with them to stop this capitalist assault that could ultimately affect all working people in the U.S.
Low-wage women workers demand paid sick days
On July 18, about 300 women activists and men supporters took to the steps of New York’s City Hall to demand paid sick days for low-wage workers. Why women? Because they’re the ones who most often make the lowest wages and must care for sick children. Gloria Steinem wrote a letter to Speaker Christine Quinn, signed by 200 other women in politics, labor and public health, urging her to put the paid sick day bill to a vote. “I’ve seen women lose their jobs, lose their apartments, and spend two years getting their kids back from foster care — all start-
ing with a sick child,” wrote Steinem. (New York Times, July 26) The proposed bill would require businesses with 20 or more workers to provide nine paid sick days a year, while businesses with five to 19 workers would provide five days. San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C., have similar laws, and Connecticut passed one last year. But Quinn, the only woman candidate for mayor in 2013, issued a statement putting business before the needs of women workers: “With the current state of the economy and so many businesses struggling to stay alive, I do not believe it would be wise to implement this policy, in this way, at this time.” La lucha continúa.
FedEx pays $3M to settle hiring bias suit Nearly 22,000 applicants for entry-level jobs at FedEx will split $3 million in the largest settlement since 2004, initiated by the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program. FedEx was found guilty of discriminatory hiring practices based on gender, race and national origin at 23 of its 33 sites from 2004 through 2011. FedEx agreed to offer 1,703 of the workers jobs when positions open up and to correct discriminatory practices, implement equal employment opportunity training, and launch self-monitoring measures after a review by an outside consultant. Clearly FedEx must “revamp its hiring practices across the entire company,” OFCCP’s director told the Journal of Commerce. (March 23)
AFL-CIO calls for ‘Second Bill of Rights’ The AFL-CIO is kicking off its “Workers Stand for America Campaign” in Philadelphia on Aug. 10 when, at a gathering of thousands of workers, national labor leaders will sign the “Second Bill of Rights.” Inspired by President Franklin Roosevelt’s proposed 1944 economic bill of rights, it has five planks: the right to full employment and a living wage; the right to full participation in the electoral process; the right to a voice at work; the right to a quality education; and the right to a secure, healthy future. On Aug. 11, union activists and allies will rally in support of 45,000 Verizon workers who are fighting for a fair contract. (cwa-union, org, July 12)
Low-wage workers hold day of action As part of a national day of action against poverty wages, over a hundred low-wage workers and their supporters took to the streets of Philadelphia on July 24 to demand an increase in the minimum wage, currently $7.25 per hour and last increased in 2009. The federal minimum wage for workers who receive tips has been even lower — a disastrous $2.13 an hour — for more than 20 years. A new report from the National Employment Law Project shows that, in terms of actual purchasing power, the current minimum wage is 30 percent lower than it was in 1968. The spirited protest, organized by Fight for Philly and the Restaurant Opportunity Center of Philadelphia, included a rally near Independence Hall and a militant
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march along Market Street to the Gallery Mall, home to several large retail stores and fast food chains. Speakers challenged several big corporations that pay poverty wages to the workers who make them profitable. Once demonstrators reached the mall entrance, they wasted no time opening the doors and taking their message inside, where dozens of store workers and customers alike gave signs of encouragement. The protest ended outside the Burlington Coat Factory, owned by Bain Capital — now infamous for outsourcing jobs and driving down wages. Similar demonstrations took place across the country on July 24, largely spearheaded by the Service Employees union and Jobs with Justice. — Report by Betsey Piette
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Anaheim rebels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 On the picket line . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Low-wage workers hold day of action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Sizzling summer in Detroit. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Youth support striking pizza workers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 March on Wall Street South . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Pro-choice advocates defend clinics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Hunger strikes rattle abusive prison system . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Activists confront drug firms, politicians . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Statement against FBI and grand jury repression . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Panther commemorated in Houston. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Marchers show solidarity with Anaheim residents. . . . . . . . . . 6 Poverty rising . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Rallies denounce voter ID law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Hundreds view reenactment of Georgia lynching . . . . . . . . . . 7 We don’t need superheroes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Around the world LIBOR: How big banks conspired to cheat the people . . . . . . 8 Conditions for African farmers improve after land reform. . . 9 Haiti: A century of occupation, oppression and resistance . 11 Editorials Imperialism’s crimes against Syria. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 China and the Olympics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Noticias En Español Detrás de la masacre de Colorado . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
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Vol. 54, No. 31 • Aug. 9, 2012 Closing date: July 31, 2012 Editor: Deirdre Griswold Technical Editor: Lal Roohk Managing Editors: John Catalinotto, LeiLani Dowell, Leslie Feinberg, Kris Hamel, Monica Moorehead, Gary Wilson West Coast Editor: John Parker Contributing Editors: Abayomi Azikiwe, Greg Butterfield, Jaimeson Champion, G. Dunkel, Fred Goldstein, Teresa Gutierrez, Larry Hales, Berta Joubert-Ceci, Cheryl LaBash, Milt Neidenberg, Bryan G. Pfeifer, Betsey Piette, Minnie Bruce Pratt, Gloria Rubac Technical Staff: Sue Davis, Shelley Ettinger, Bob McCubbin, Maggie Vascassenno Mundo Obrero: Carl Glenn, Teresa Gutierrez, Berta Joubert-Ceci, Donna Lazarus, Michael Martínez, Carlos Vargas Supporter Program: Sue Davis, coordinator Copyright © 2011 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of articles is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved. Workers World (ISSN-1070-4205) is published weekly except the first week of January by WW Publishers, 55 W. 17 St., N.Y., N.Y. 10011. Phone: 212.627.2994. Subscriptions: One year: $30; institutions: $35. Letters to the editor may be condensed and edited. Articles can be freely reprinted, with credit to Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., New York, NY 10011. Back issues and individual articles are available on microfilm and/or photocopy from University Microfilms International, 300 Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, Mich. 48106. A searchable archive is available on the Web at www.workers.org. A headline digest is available via e-mail subscription. Subscription information is at workers.org/email.php. Periodicals postage paid at New York, N.Y. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to
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August 9, 2012
Sizzling summer in Detroit
Profit motive creates heat misery By Martha Grevatt Detroit The recent heat waves have had a devastating effect in Michigan, which already suffers from high rates of unemployment, poverty and foreclosures. A study by the Union of Concerned Scientists showed that the number of days with record high temperatures has doubled in Detroit since the 1950s. (Detroit News, July 26) On July 4, after blazing temperatures drove electricity usage up close to capacity, a freak storm knocked out power for hundreds of thousands of metro Detroit residents. Two days later, most workers, including this writer, were still without service, suffering in the heat and throwing out food that many could ill afford to lose. It took a week before DTE Energy had everyone’s power back on. Lower than average rainfall, combined with record high temperatures, has had a serious impact on agriculture in Michigan. Almost all this year’s tart cherry crop — Michigan supplies the majority of pie cherries in the U.S. — was lost. Every fruit or vegetable crop, with the lone exception of blueberries, had been substantially reduced. With their source of income nearly wiped out, how many farmers will now face foreclosure? What about the farm workers, already low paid and super exploited, who will not have work? If they do find work, it will be the same backbreaking labor, but in temperatures that have topped 100 degrees. While power outages and agricultural losses have made headlines, another aspect of the heat crisis has been ignored by the capitalist-owned media. That is how workers in the auto plants are suffering on the job. None of the Detroit Three’s assembly and parts plants in the area is air conditioned. When it is hot outside, it is hotter and stuffier inside, due to poor air circulation and the added heat generated by the machinery. Fans are frequently inadequate. Workers in some plants are offered free bottled water and sports drinks to alleviate heat stress, but that is as far as management is willing to go. There are no extra or longer breaks. Instead, workers have to insist on getting the relief time allowed by contract. Under the 2009 contract modifications, incorporated into the current 2011-2015 agreements, relief time was cut by about 40 hours per year. Workers risk discipline and even discharge if they take too many days off. Many are on “alternative work schedules” and working 10-hour days. Workers have passed out in some plants, but the fear factor has kept them on the job. Several years ago, workers who led a heat walkout were fired from Chrysler’s Warren Truck Assembly Plant. They were eventually reinstated, but the company achieved its goal of scaring workers. There have been no more walkouts at WTAP. Workers in UAW Local 892 did picket
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their plant in Saline, Mich., in the second week of July, in 102-degree heat, to protest the lack of ice and a rule against having drinks on the line. On June 1 Ford had sold the plant to parts supplier Faurecia. Union president Mark Caruso, who organized the protest, was then transferred to a Ford plant three weeks ahead of his scheduled departure. “This sends a chilling effect to us regular workers,” an unnamed worker told the Saline Patch. Picketers have reportedly been disciplined. Climate change = pain for workers On July 5, while Detroiters were working in hot factories and coming home to houses without power to run their fans and air conditioners, the Detroit News published an Associated Press article on the weather crisis which stated “it’s far too early to say” that “global warming is the reason 3,215 daily high temperature records were set in the month of June.” Nevertheless, this year’s wildfires, droughts, heat waves, flooding and “a powerful freak wind storm called a derecho” are “the kind of extremes experts have predicted will come with climate change.” In March, the Nobel prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicted “unprecedented extreme weather and climate events.” In
an unusually hot June, there were heat advisories affecting 113 million people. University of Arizona professor Jonathan Overpeck stated, “This is what global warming looks like at the regional or personal level.” Of course, none of these assessments ties the general crisis of climate change or its current manifestation in Michigan — or anywhere — to the profit system. But the worst offenders in perpetuating dependency on fossil fuels are the same utility companies that took their time restoring power and the auto companies that allow workers to suffer in the heat. It’s estimated that 75 percent of all carbon emissions that create the “greenhouse effect” behind steadily rising global temperatures come from power plants. Yet utility companies have steadfastly resisted conversion to renewable energy sources. DTE, rather than spend money hiring more workers to restore power faster when crises occur, is funding a campaign to defeat a ballot initiative that would require 25 percent of all power in Michigan to come from renewable sources by 2025. The auto companies continue to oppose mandatory fuel economy standards. Ford, General Motors and Chrysler, while adding more fuel-efficient and electric vehicles to their model lineup, depend
on gas-guzzling trucks and sport utility vehicles to maximize their profit margin. These same companies have contributed to the crisis of unemployment by closing 75 Michigan plants since 1979 — more than half of them since 2004. Many Detroit activist groups are calling for these plants to be converted to manufacture “green” products. The profit motive has not generated even one conversion; instead, more than half of those plants have been demolished, often to lower taxes. The United Auto Workers union, to its credit, has supported raising the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards to 54 miles per gallon. Of course, the leadership would have more credibility with the rank and file if it would fight harder for workers on the shop floor. Unions in other countries, including the Canadian Auto Workers and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, have held major conferences on jobs and climate change. The theme of NUMSA’s conference was “Renewables: too important to be left in private hands.” The struggle against the capitalist mode of production draws together the fight for full employment, a safe and comfortable home and work environment, and the planet’s very survival. Martha Grevatt has been a UAW Chrysler worker for 25 years.
Youth support striking pizza workers
Protest at Costco’s, which sells Palermo’s products. WW PHOTO: BRYAN G. PFEIFER
By Bryan G. Pfeifer The strike of workers at Palermo’s Pizza is entering its third month. On July 29, students from Youth Empowered in the Struggle and the United States Student Association, with support from labor, community and faith-based organizations, led a leaflet distribution and rally
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at Costco’s in Middleton, Wis., to support the striking Palermo workers. The targeting of Costco is part of a growing national boycott campaign on behalf of the mostly Latino/a workers at Palermo’s, on strike since June 1. The delegation to Middleton demanded that Costco, Palermo’s largest retailer, respect the dispute and pull Palermo products from its shelves until Palermo recognizes the Palermo Workers Union and its demands. Costco currently buys about 60 percent of Palermo products and sells Palermo’s frozen pizza under the name Kirkland. Costco management backed off from an earlier promise to meet with the delegation. The delegation vowed their boycott campaign would continue. The Palermo Workers Union is demanding union recognition, the rein-
statement of workers fired or replaced for participating in the strike, an end to threats against immigrant workers, safe working conditions and negotiations for a labor contract. Since the strike began, thousands of supporters have been joining the picket line, thousands of dollars have been raised to help support the striking workers, and thousands of pounds of food and beverages have been donated to the strikers and their families. There is picketing on weekdays in Milwaukee from 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Palermo’s headquarters, 3301 W. Canal St. Supporters are also distributing boycott literature to area businesses. They meet weekdays at 5:30 p.m. at Voces de la Frontera, 1027 S. 5th St., and leaflet until 8 p.m. For more information see sliceofjustice.com and vdlf.org.
August 9, 2012
March on Wall Street South
Why big banks will be targeted By Bryan G. Pfeifer Charlotte, N.C. Mobilizing has begun around the country for the March on Wall Street South: protest actions between Sept. 1 and 6 around the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. Activities will include a Sept. 1 Festivaliberación!, focused on youth, students and immigrants; a Sept. 2 March on Wall Street South; and a Sept. 3 Southern Workers Assembly. A New York/New Jersey delegation joined a MWSS press conference on July 18 in front of the Charlotte-Meckenberg police station in downtown Charlotte. (See Aug. 2 Workers World issue for earlier coverage.) Among those who spoke were Larry Hales, an organizer with the Bail Out the People Movement, who mobilized for protests during the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, and Teresa Gutierrez of the May 1st Coalition for Worker and Immigrant Rights. This article covers the high points of their talks. “Dr. Martin Luther King said injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” said Hales. “We see that a great amount of injustice still exists in this world, in this country and this city, which many people witnessed by the recent killing of 28-yearold Black man Michael Lainey by the Char-
lotte-Mecklenberg police department. “Much of the suffering and injustice emanates from a system that is based on exploiting working people for their labor. Wars; police brutality; closing our schools, social centers, neighborhood pools; firing teachers — cutting back the entire social safety net that we won through years of struggle – are dictated by the wealthy and powerful, the banks, financial institutions and the corporations. That is why we are marching on Wall Street South.” Hales stressed, “Banks, financial institutions and corporations have been given at least $20 trillion of bailouts in federal money. It’s our tax money that is put into their pockets while we face constant cutbacks and suffering. This is a great crime and a great injustice. The workers create all wealth in society, not the bosses, corporations and banks. If every worker took the day off tomorrow, billions of dollars would be lost. It’s the workers who drive the buses and trains, open the stores, manufacture the goods and pick the fruit. Yet, the bankers and bosses got the largest welfare check ever issued in this country. It is time that we fight back. “We will be here in September to tell the bankers that we are not afraid of you. We’ll be here every day until then. Occupy
Wall Street was just the opening salvo. We will be in the communities — Black, Latino/a, Indigenous, where there are workers, where there are people suffering and facing injustice — to say that we stand for you. Let’s fight for jobs and health care for all. Let’s occupy our schools to keep them open. Let’s occupy our neighbors’ homes and stop the foreclosures and evictions. Let’s stand up for our rights. March with us in September and continue every day after that. All power to the people!” ‘Immigrant rights are workers’ rights’ Gutierrez explained that “Immigrant rights groups, like other progressive or-
Pro-choice advocates defend clinics During the week of July 21-28, pro-choice advocates successfully defended three reproductive health clinics in Charlotte, N.C., against an extremist anti-choice group. “Operation Save America” had called for a national protest at Charlotte-area clinics that week. A diverse group of members from the Feminist Majority Foundation, the National Organization for Women, Planned Parenthood, the March on Wall Street South and others joined together to physically defend the clinics against harassing, intimidating and racist anti-choice zealots who frequently engage in terrorist activity, including clinic bombings and the stalking of health care providers and their families. – Report and photo by Bryan G. Pfeifer
ganizations, are mobilizing all over the country to come to Charlotte in September. We consider this a very important event. We consider it crucial to send a message to everyone gathering here that what is needed is not millions of dollars for repression but money for jobs, housing and all the real problems that the people of this country face. “We want to tell you about the fight for immigrant rights. The press talks about the ‘good immigrant’ and the ‘bad immigrant.’ We are for the rights of all the undocumented to stay in this country and to fight for legalization. What could be more criminal than the economic and foreign policies that have forced our brothers and sisters to come here? What forces people to get in a boat in Haiti or to cross that brutal border into Arizona, risking their lives, if it isn’t desperate conditions? Who are the real criminals? Those who force people to come here because of legislation like NAFTA, which destabilized their homelands. That’s the real crime. “We want to send a message in September that we need unity for all people of color. We want violent acts such as the killing of Trayvon Martin to stop. It took an upsurge of his family and their supporters and many communities to get any attempt at justice for him.” Gutierrez emphasized, “We want jobs for all. If we win the right of legalization for immigrants, this benefits everyone. Our sign says ‘Immigrant Rights Are Workers’ Rights.’ The fight for immigrant rights is a fight for unions and for all of us. If we win the struggle for immigrants, we win the struggle for all workers. “That’s our message for September when we will march with the Coalition to March on Wall Street South. We sent a message to Wall Street in New York City last September that the 99% will continue to fight against the 1%. We’re sending that message again in Charlotte.” Community outreach is going on daily. MWSS mobilizing meetings take place at the Charlotte Solidarity Center every Monday at 7 p.m. For more information and to help with organizing, contact 704-266-0362, Twitter@WallStSouth or email@example.com; view website wallstsouth.org; or visit the Charlotte Solidarity Center at 516 E. 15th St., which is open weekdays from noon to 5 p.m.
Hunger strikes rattle abusive prison system By Dante Strobino Durham, N.C.
On July 29, as the hunger strike continued by many inside the prison, a rally organized mainly by the Chapel Hill PrisOver 100 prisoners started a hun- on Books Collective and the Greensboro ger strike on July 16 at three facilities in Legal Defense Fund attracted nearly 100 North Carolina: Bertie CI in Windsor, supporters outside Central Prison. ChantScotland CI in Laurinburg and Central ing “Hunger strikers, not alone, Free the Prison in Raleigh. Prisoners are refusing Strong 8, not alone, No more I-con, not to eat to underscore their demands for an alone,” protesters then marched past the immediate end to solitary confinement, main entrance to a walkway alongside the torture, physical and emotional abuse, prison. After many rounds of drumbeats and for more nutritional food, medical and chanting, during a moment of silence, care and other basic human rights. they could hear prisoners in an open-air This action follows a massive and simi- outside yard shouting back in support. lar strike across Georgia prisons, a hunger Striking prisoners, some calling themstrike in the supermax Red Onion State selves the “Freedom Riders Movement,” Prison in Richmond, Va., this May, as well have requested that supporters boycott as a sit-down labor action in the kitchens several of the corporations that profit at Central Prison last December. off the prison system’s lack of adequate
nutrition and hygiene. The list includes Heinz Co., Sony, New Balance, Coca-Cola, Keefe Supply Co., American Amenities, JM Murray Center and others. The struggle for justice inside North Carolina prisons has a long history. Prisoners organized the first-ever prisoners’ union, the North Carolina Prisoners’ Labor Union, in 1972. In 1975, 150 striking women prisoners forced the Department of Corrections to close down the prison laundry system after a 15-hour stand-off. Among the prisoners locked in indefinite solitary confinement are Randolph “Paul” Kilfoil and other members of the North Carolina Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation, who are preemptively segregated by prison authorities for no other reason than their identity. Many
supporters came together last November to demonstrate against the tortures of solitary confinement imposed on ALKQN members at Central Prison. To support their demands, striking prisoners are asking people to call Director of Prisons Robert C. Lewis at 919-838-4000 and Central Prison Warden Ken Lassiter at 919-733-0800.
THE CLASSROOM & THE CELL: Conversations on Black Life in America Mumia Abu-Jamal & Marc Lamont Hill Order at: www.freemumia.com/?p=684
August 9, 2012
During AIDS conference
Activists confront drug firms, politicians By Gerry Scoppettuolo Washington, D.C. Thousands of HIV-positive people and activists from all over the globe came to the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July to confront big drug companies and wealthy capitalist nations and to demand cheaper drugs and desperately needed prevention and treatment programs. They came from as far away as South Africa and Hattiesburg, Miss. They came to fight for the survival of millions of people living with the virus in the U.S. and in the global South. Activists had successfully fought to lift a travel ban preventing HIVpositive people from entering the U.S. For six days, activists carried out marches, occupations, “die-ins,” rallies and other direct action. They were joined by many researchers, scientists and advocates from among the 25,000 who attended the conference from about 200 countries. From the opening ceremonies to the very end of the conference, activist voices rang out loud and often. On July 22, protestors ran to the stage to confront U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and her support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The TPP is a free trade agreement being negotiated between Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei Darussalam, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Peru and the U.S. that could limit the manufacture of generic HIV medication in countries that need them. In Asia and the Pacific region, only 39 percent of people with HIV receive the anti-retroviral treatment they need. (Plus News, July 12) On July 24, 10,000 marched behind the banners of the We Can End AIDS Coalition, pouring through downtown Washington, D.C., and chanting, “Pills costs pennies, profits cost lives!” A Bank of America branch along the march route decided to stay closed for the day, rather than contend with angry protesters. Activists are calling for a “Robin Hood tax,” a tax on Wall Street financial transactions. A large contingent from National Nurses United spearheaded the July 24 mobilization, joined by members of the Food and Commercial Workers union and the Service Employees union. The march proceeded to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and conducted a “die-in” to protest the TPP. The largest of the five wings of the massive protest stopped at the national headquarters of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.The action culminated in a rally at Lafayette Park and
the arrest of 15 people who were placing red ribbons on the fence surrounding the White House. Mounted riot police were used to keep the protesting crowd back. After his arrest, Michael Tikili, from Health GAP (Global Access Project), told WW: “When someone gets arrested for a cause, it means something. HIV is connected to so many inequalities; for instance, [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] and the detention of immigrants. The HIV movement needs to do things like uniting with the Occupy Wall Street and other struggles.” Protests were held every day during the conference. People with HIV and activists from many groups took part, including Health GAP; Housing Works; the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) NY, ACT UP Philadelphia, ACT UP Boston and ACT UP Paris; the Student Global AIDS Campaign; the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition; the AIDS Healthcare Foundation; and many others. Spontaneous marches were held throughout the conference, the largest being organized by Housing Works from New York City. On the fourth day of the conference, July 25, an international contingent of 75 protesters raised banners and took to the main stage to demand that the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria resume its recently canceled funding round on an as-needs basis, without the imposition of arbitrary caps. Although many poor countries depend on the Global Fund, rich country donors have not kept up with their financial commitments to it, using the pretext of aus-
terity while at the same time finding hundreds of billions to fund NATO-led, so called “rebel” movements, first in Libya and now in Syria. The International AIDS Society, the conference organizers, had banned attendance of delegates who were sex workers or convicted drug users. Nevertheless, many organized groups representing sex workers and the harm reduction movement attended. That same day, activists from the Global Network of Sex Work Projects protested at a conference panel on “The U.S. Congress and the Global AIDS Epidemic,” which was chaired by archconservative former Senate majority leader and Hospital Corporation of America multimillionaire, Bill Frist. At the end of the panel, a Gambian HIV activist confronted Frist directly from
the convention floor, telling him that “millions of lives would have been saved if you had listened to us before.” International activists from poor countries in the global South are wary about HIV prevention breakthroughs ballyhooed by rich countries. An example is Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis or PrEP, an expensive preventative pill that uninfected people may take to prevent infection from positive partners. As explained to WW by Morris Edwards from the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV and AIDS, “PrEP is a rich person’s remedy for a global problem.” Activists will continue to demand what people with HIV need until greed and profits are replaced by a system that truly serves the needs of the people. Imani Keith Henry contributed to this article.
Twenty thousand people from 200 different countries attended the XIX International AIDS Conference 2012 in Washington, DC., July 2227. In the U.S., a ban preventing people who
are HIV positive from entering the country was lifted in 2010. Demonstrations broke out throughout the conference, including the first day, when 10,000 took to the streets chant-
ing: “Pharma’s greed kills! AIDS drugs for all!” New approaches to preventing and treating HIV exist only on paper if the services are not affordable and available.
WW PHOTO: GERRY SCOPPETTUOLO
‘Die-in’ protest at headquarters of pharmaceutical industry.
– Photo and caption by Rachel Duell
Statement against FBI and grand jury repression WW joins other progressive organi zations in urging people to sign on to the following statement on FBI raids and grand jury repression in Portland, Ore., and Olympia and Seattle, Wash. To add your group’s name to the soli darity statement, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. On Wednesday, July 25, the FBI conducted a series of coordinated raids against activists in Portland, Olympia and Seattle. They subpoenaed several people to a special federal grand jury and seized computers, black clothing and anarchist literature. This comes after similar raids in Seattle in July and earlier raids of squats in Portland.
Though the FBI has said that the raids are part of a violent crime investigation, the truth is that the federal authorities are conducting a political witch-hunt against anarchists and others working toward a more just, free and equal society. The warrants served specifically listed anarchist literature as evidence to be seized, pointing to the fact that the FBI and police are targeting this group of people because of their political ideas. Pure and simple, these raids and the grand jury hearings are being used to intimidate people whose politics oppose the state’s agenda. During a time of growing economic and ecological crises that are broadly affecting people across
the world, it is an attempt to push back any movement towards creating a world that is humane, one that meets every person’s needs rather than serving only the interests of the rich. This attack does not occur in a vacuum. Around the country and around the world, people have been rising up and resisting an economic system that puts the endless pursuit of profit ahead of the basic needs of humanity and the Earth. From the Arab Spring to the Occupy movement to now Anaheim, people are taking to the streets. In each of these cases, the state has responded with brutal political repression. This is not a coincidence. It is a long-term strategy by
state agencies to stop legitimate political challenges to a status quo that exploits most of the world’s people. We, the undersigned, condemn this and all other political repression. While we may have differences in ideology or choose to use different tactics, we understand that we are in a shared struggle to create a just, free and liberated world, and that we can only do this if we stand together. We will not let scare tactics or smear campaigns divide us, intimidate us, or stop us from organizing and working for a better world. No more witch-hunts! An injury to one is an injury to all. –Committee Against Political Repression
August 9, 2012
Panther commemorated in Houston By Gloria Rubac Houston Former Black Panthers, activists, family and friends gathered at the gravesite of Carl Hampton on July 26 to honor him and commemorate the 42nd anniversary of his assassination by Houston police. Hampton was only 21 years old when he was shot down in the street on a hot July night in 1970 by Houston cops stationed on top of St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church, just a block from the headquarters of Peoples Party 2. A year earlier Hampton had gone to Oakland to learn about the Black Panther Party so he could start a Panther chapter in Houston. He did study and learn, but was told they had temporarily halted opening new chapters. So when he returned to Houston, acknowledging that the Black Panther Party was the number one party for the people, he began Peoples Party 2. It functioned like a Panther chapter, selling the Panther paper, holding revolutionary education classes, and initiating free breakfast programs, food give-aways and a free health clinic.
After Hampton’s death, the national Panther Party did authorize the Houston group to become a Panther chapter; James Aaron became the new chair. Hampton was a revolutionary leader, grounded in Marxism and Leninism, and a student and follower of Mao Zedong. Mao’s “Little Red Book” was always in his back pocket. Hampton’s analytical and oratory skills captivated activists of all nationalities in Houston. He founded Houston’s Rainbow Coalition, composed of Panthers, the Mexican American Youth Organization and the John Brown Revolutionary League. Hampton’s small son, Massai, was carried in his mother’s arms to the funeral in 1970. Today, 42 years later, he is becoming an activist in his own right. Massai Hampton recently addressed a rally in Bastrop, Texas, supporting Rodney Reed, who is on death row in Texas despite much evidence supporting his claim of innocence. This year the Carl Hampton Memorial Committee unveiled a six-foot ledger that was placed on Hampton’s grave on July 25. The memorial was organized by former Panthers Sensei Benton and Ayanna Ade.
WW PHOTO: GLORIA RUBAC
Massai Hampton at his father’s grave.
WW PHOTO: BILL BOWERS
Marchers show solidarity with Anaheim residents Hundreds rallied at Oscar Grant Plaza and then marched to the Oakland police station on July 27 to show that Oakland stands with the outraged community of Anaheim, Calif., where large crowds, although faced with even more police brutality, have been
protesting the police killings of two young Latino men. The Oakland protest, called by the Oscar Grant Committee Against Police Brutality and State Repression, began with a speakout against police killings and shootings in the Bay Area. Family members and
supporters of the growing number of young Black men who have been killed by Oakland and other Bay Area police spoke, including “Uncle Bobby,” the uncle of Oscar Grant, who was killed on a Bay Area Rapid Transit platform on Jan. 1, 2009, by BART police. Fol-
lowing the rally, the militant crowd took to the streets, chanting “Anaheim – – Oakland stands with you!” as they marched to the Oakland police station to demand an end to police brutality and murder.
– Judy Greenspan & Bill Bowers
Cops kill, cops lie – Anaheim rebels there were demonstrations followed by a “street mass” led by clergy. Many more “outside agitators,” that very few were actions are planned and demonstrations residents of Anaheim. However, the over- are set to occur every Sunday. whelming majority of those arrested were Besides character assassination, anAnaheim residents, with just two coming other tactic used by police is to vilify the from out of the area. solidarity movement growing in support Actions are continuing. On July 29, of the community. One example is their Continued from page 1
Confronting the cops in Anaheim July 25.
attempt to pit anarchists and also the local Occupy movement — which has been helping to organize some of the protests — against Anaheim residents. One group that has been mobilizing support and whose members have been participating in the demonstrations is the Southern California Immigration Coalition. One of the leading organizations of that coalition, Unión del Barrio, issued a statement regarding the police killing. An excerpt reads: “What we are seeing … by the response by the police, is the desperation of a system that is trying to protect its oppressive, unequal, unjust system at all costs. What this should teach many of us is that the undocumented of our community, those without ‘legal papers,’ are not the only ones the system is targeting. All Raza, especially our youth, are under attack because the system knows that in [California] and most places in the ‘Southwest’ we are a growing majority working class.
All of us, especially those who oppose this wretched economic system, are targets for this type of state-sanctioned mayhem.” Carlos Montes, recently targeted by the FBI and a steering committee member of SCIC, wrote in FightBack News: “Many in the community are visibly traumatized, but they have united to demand justice and to stop future police brutality. This Chicano community is near Disneyland and many feel the city, along with developers, want to suppress and keep the Chicano community down. The corporations want to promote the area as a major tourist attraction and resort.” Character assassinations, promoting division against those trying to build solidarity and lies are the primary tools the cops are using here. The building of solidarity and the courage to speak truth to power, like that exhibited by the heroic witnesses who are sticking to their story in spite of police threats, will trump those tools every time.
August 9, 2012
New figures show capitalism can’t meet people’s needs By Abayomi Azikiwe Editor, Pan-African News Wire An Associated Press investigation has revealed that poverty is increasing at a significant rate inside the United States. This conclusion was drawn from a survey of economists, research centers and academics. Census data show that the poverty rate, which was 15.1 percent in 2010, rose to 15.7 percent in 2011 — the same level as in 1965. As the capitalist crisis continues and deepens, the number of people affected by unemployment, underemployment, the lowering of salaries and cuts in work benefits, industrial restructuring, and the foreclosure and eviction epidemic is accelerating. Economic growth overall is miniscule. The increase in poverty is most severe among nationally oppressed communities. African Americans have the highest rate of poverty at 27.5 percent. Latinos/as are not far behind at 26.7 percent. Estimates are that 47 million people are living in poverty in the U.S. This represents one out of six people. The federal government says that in 2010 a family of four needed an income of more than $22,314 to rise above the poverty level. An individual would have had to earn more than $11,139. However, these income figures are quite low. Most families who earn more than these figures say they are still living in poverty. The intensifying attacks on public education and public sector jobs, incomes and benefits also contribute to the impoverishment of the working class and oppressed. High foreclosure rates will further exacerbate the decline in municipal employment because of the subsequent drain of tax revenue and consumer spending.
Poverty is predicted to remain above the pre-recession level for many years to come and will increase in the suburbs, too, where it is now 11.8 percent. Parttime workers and people over 65 will get poorer, while the poverty rate among children will climb above the 2010 level of 22 percent. Presidential election politics & poverty In this election year, it is not surprising that this survey on U.S. poverty has not gained widespread media exposure or become a focus of debate between the Republican and Democratic contenders. In fact, there has been virtually no discussion on the deepening economic crisis and the way forward regarding job creation and poverty elimination. In 1959, the first year that poverty rates were measured by the federal government, the rate stood above 22 percent. The lowest level was 11.1 percent in 1973. The decline in poverty between the late 1950s and the early 1970s can be attributed to the upsurge in the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, which then reached unprecedented heights. The Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon administrations were forced to address the mass demonstrations, rebellions and labor actions among the African-American population and other oppressed and progressive forces. The federal government implemented reforms that created Medicaid, Medicare and other social welfare programs. Affirmative action programs were enacted to give meaning to the civil rights, voting rights and fair housing bills of 1964-68. Peter Edelman, the director of the Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality and Public Policy, says, “The issues aren’t just with public benefits. We have some deep problems in the economy.
… The problem is that the tidal wave of low-wage jobs is dragging us down and the wage problem is not going to go away anytime soon.” Even Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke stated that the current unemployment rate of 8.2 percent would not improve much over the next several years. The stagnation of the U.S. capitalist economy and the worsening conditions for the masses of working and oppressed people will not be eased by providing more tax cuts to the rich. Neither can progress be made by job creation initiatives that largely involve tax credits and other incentives to businesses to hire workers, including youth. Both political parties allied with the capitalist class have no plans or programs to eliminate joblessness and poverty. Consequently, the solutions to these problems must come from those most seriously affected — the working class and the oppressed. Demands must be issued for programs that will mandate the creation of tens of
millions of jobs. A livable annual income must be guaranteed for everyone, as well as health care coverage, housing and quality education. Socialism: The only way out The economic crisis is not limited to the U.S., but is worldwide. The rates of joblessness in Spain, France, Germany and Italy are very high. The national debt is skyrocketing in European countries. Municipal debt is increasing exponentially in U.S. cities. Many cities are facing bankruptcy and other emergency financial measures imposed by courts and state governments under the aegis of the banks and corporations. Since the capitalist crisis shows no sign of abating, it is necessary for those who are committed to the liberation of the workers and the oppressed to raise the necessity of a new economic system in the U.S. and throughout the imperialist world. This economic system is socialism, where the wealth of society as a whole is Continued on page 8
Rallies denounce voter ID law PENNSYLVANIA
Hundreds view reenactment of Georgia lynching By Adriane Harden Monroe, Ga. On July 28, more than 500 people watched the dramatic reenactment of a gruesome lynching that happened near here over 65 years ago. The event dramatized the July 25, 1946, murders of Black sharecroppers George and Mae Murray Dorsey and Roger and Dorothy Malcolm. The four were killed by a group of Ku Klux Klan members at Moore’s Ford Bridge at the Walton-Oconee county line. Their bodies were riddled with more than 100 bullets. The crime remains unsolved. The Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials, along with national and local community leaders and activists, have held the reenactment each year since 2005. According to the narration of the reenactment, the couples were ambushed after Roger Malcolm was bonded out of jail by his spouse and friends. He’d been held there for stabbing Barney Hester, a prominent local white farmer. Malcolm, a World War II veteran, had confronted Hester about his mistreatment of his spouse while he was away in the service.
The reenactment began with a rally at the First African Baptist Church. Speakers included State Rep. Tyrone Brooks, who has led the effort to bring attention to the case, and Dr. C. T. Vivian, interim president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. A caravan of cars then visited several locations, from the farmhouse where the altercation between the farmer and Roger Malcolm took place, to the old jailhouse where Malcolm had been held. Last stop was the lynching site at Moore’s Ford Bridge. A lifelong Walton County resident, John Patterson, says he was two years old when the murders happened. He said no one ever wanted to talk about it, and even 65 years later, people are still hesitant to speak of what happened, since the killers are thought to be from still powerful families. In the crowd were Cherie Fairfax and her fiancé, William Brown, who traveled from Douglasville, Ga., to witness the reenactment. They both found the information thought provoking and educational and plan to attend every year until justice is done.
WW PHOTO: JOE PIETTE
By Betsey Piette Philadelphia Hundreds of opponents of a new Pennsylvania voter ID law gathered in Harrisburg, the state capital, on July 24, in a rally organized by the Pennsylvania chapter of the NAACP. These activists charge that the state is attempting to implement a new “poll tax” on voters by forcing them to pay for documentation in order to secure the required photo ID card. Hardest hit would be the elderly, disabled, people of color and the poor generally. An estimated 1.28 million people out of a statewide population of 8.2 million could be impacted. The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit on behalf of 10 state residents who lack driver’s licenses and contend the photo-ID requirement deprives them of the right to vote. One plaintiff, 93-year-old Viviette Applewhite, joined the protest in Harrisburg. Applewhite marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Georgia. Years ago, she lost her photo ID and, despite mul-
tiple efforts, has been unable to obtain a new one. Applewhite has voted in nearly every election for more than 50 years. On July 24, the U.S. Department of Justice also launched a formal investigation into the Pennsylvania law, giving state officials 30 days to back up their claim that it does not discriminate. Backers of the voter ID law have already signed a stipulation agreement, in connection with the legal challenges, acknowledging that there have been no prosecutions of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania. The ACLU lawsuit had its first hearing on July 25. A second rally took place here in Philadelphia the same day. Over 100 people marched from near City Hall to the local offices of Gov. Tom Corbett. Among the speakers was Benjamin Mitchell with the Vote for Homes Coalition, a homeless advocacy group, who denounced the “people in boardrooms who are making decisions that impact people like us” and urged rally participants: “Don’t give up. We just can’t quit.”
August 9, 2012
LIBOR: How big banks conspired to cheat the people By Gene Clancy Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney went to London to attend the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games. But that wasn’t his real reason for the visit. That same July 26 evening, he picked up as much as $1.1 million in campaign contributions from high-level officers of Barclays, a huge British bank. Because foreign contributions to U.S. campaigns are illegal, the Barclays donors to Romney all listed addresses in the United States, where Barclays Capital has expanded its presence since the recent credit crisis, when it acquired most of Lehman Brothers’ U.S. assets. To balance the risk, at least one Barclays banker also contributed the maximum allowed to Barack Obama. (AP, July 26) Of course, most people know that the big banks buy elections and politicians. What makes donations from Barclays stand out is that it is the first bank to also admit it was involved in manipulating the largest market index in the world: the London interbank offered rate, or Libor. Libor is supposed to be an index of the interest rates that the biggest banks in the world use to lend to each other. In reality, it is nothing of the sort. The index, determined by the British Banking Association, is composed of a daily survey of selected banks. The question asked is not what interest rates the bank is actually paying, but what it thinks other banks would charge if it were to borrow money from them. This index has been used as the basis for more than $10 trillion in loans and $350 trillion (yes, trillion) in socalled derivatives. In reality, it is nothing more than an opinion survey done by and for the big banks — and open to the worst sort of lying and manipulation. Among the 18 member banks are Bank of America, Barclays, Citibank, Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, HSBC and JPMorgan Chase. A 2010 study made by two economists at UCLA and the University of Minnesota found that the Libor was not a true measure of actual borrowing costs; in other words, despite Libor’s gigantic position of power, it is at its very foundation a vir-
tual fraud. (Connan Snider and Thomas Youle, “Does the Libor reflect banks’ borrowing costs?” April 2, 2010) Rates on about $10 trillion in corporate loans, mortgages and student loans worldwide are pegged to Libor, usually with a markup of several percentage points, according to University of Edinburgh professor, Donald MacKenzie. The total amount of financial contracts tied to Libor, particularly interest-rate swaps — a type of financial derivative — exceeds $300 trillion, or $45,000 for every person in the world. (USA Today, Sept. 28, 2008) Libor’s influence should not be underrated. For example, 14 percent of all student loans in the U.S., which make up 43 percent of private or “alternative” loans, are tied to the Libor. (Bankrate.com) Every year, thousands of students leave school facing few job opportunities and a lifetime of crushing debt. This debt is often subject to a rising interest rate set by a manipulative cabal of the biggest banks in the world. Masked as “student aid,” these loans are hawked by such entities as Bank of America and Sallie Mae. Libor also sets the interest rates for millions of mortgages around the world. Many of those losing their homes to bankruptcy or foreclosure can trace their misery straight back to the interest rates set by Libor, which resulted in their monthly payments doubling or tripling. But the robbery does not stop with student loans and mortgages. Tens of thousands of local governments all over the world have found themselves victimized by Libor and the machinations of the big banks. The irony is that many of these banks were recently bailed out with taxpayer money. Hooking a waterpipe to a cesspool In September 2003, James Barker, the superintendent of the Erie City School District in Pennsylvania, claimed he saw no way out. The 81-year-old Roosevelt Middle School was on the verge of being condemned. The district was running out of money to buy new textbooks. And local big business hawks had ruled out any tax increase. Then, JPMorgan Chase, the secondlargest bank in the U.S. and a member bank of the Libor, made Barker an offer
New figures show capitalism can’t meet people’s needs
that seemed too good to be true. David DiCarlo, an Erie-based JPMorgan Chase banker, told Barker and the school board on Sept. 4, 2003, that all they had to do was sign some loan papers. He said it would benefit them, in case interest rates increased in the future. He also said the bank would give the district $750,000. “You have severe building needs; you have serious academic needs,” Barker, 58, says. “It’s very hard to ignore the fact that the bank says it will give you cash.” So Barker and the board members agreed to the deal. (Bloomberg.com, Feb. 1, 2008) What the New York-based JPMorgan Chase official didn’t tell them was that the bank would get more in fees than the school district would get in cash: $1 million more. Three years later, as interest rate benchmarks, including Libor, went the wrong way for the school district, the Erie board paid $2.9 million to JPMorgan to get out of the deal. “That was like a sucker punch,” said Barker. “It’s not about the district and the superintendent. It’s about resources being sucked out of the classroom. If it’s happening here, it’s happening in other places.” (Bloomberg.com, 2008) It is difficult to have much sympathy for James Barker and his ilk, who are subservient to big business even as they are snookered by them. But the damage done to the Erie community is real. This so-called rust belt city of 100,000, facing increasing poverty and debt, has been told it must lay off public workers and slash money for education and other public services, just so the big banks can reap obscene profits. In the case of JPMorgan and the Erie school district, the profits are about 300 percent. It should be remembered that those interest rates on which Erie gambled and lost were manipulated. Widespread fraud As news of the Libor scandal has spread, more and more evidence of the banks’ gambling with public funds has come to light. According to James Rickards, a hedge fund manager and author in New York City, the Libor fraud “may be the mother of all bank scandals.” (U.S. News & World Report, July 23) Barclays was fined $453 million — just
n SAVE THE DATE
a pittance compared to the billions in profits gained from its misdeeds. Other big banks are fearful that not only will they be investigated, too, but that exposure of the whole seamy mess may cause a collapse. Some of those affected are of course the thousands of smaller banks and businesses that use the Libor. But tens of thousands even more affected are states, municipalities and local governments that have succumbed to the wiles of the giant banks. The city of Baltimore is suing more than a dozen major banks, claiming the institutions conspired to manipulate the Libor. However, as with the case of Erie, the Baltimore officials are not entirely blameless. They are rightly attacking the manipulation of the Libor rate but are not talking about why they invested public funds in financial derivatives tied to the Libor, a practice similar to gambling. As of this writing, the attorneys general of five states are investigating the Libor manipulation. New York and Connecticut are investigating “with the goal of providing restitution to state agencies, municipalities, school districts and notfor-profit entities nationwide that may have been harmed by any illegal conduct.” (Bloomberg.com, July 17) An unasked question is why many of these same states passed legislation allowing municipalities and school districts to use public money for financial derivatives in the first place. What is staggering is that these practices have become commonplace around the world, including in Europe and parts of Asia. Because both the banks and the municipalities involved are very secretive, the exact number of local governments involved is unknown. But it runs into the tens of thousands. Despite calls for the “reform” of Libor by both Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke and U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, no one should expect anything to change anytime soon — unless, of course, there is another financial crash. Both Geithner and Bernanke have admitted that they knew what was going on at Libor and did very little about it. The world capitalist/imperialist system is guilty of innumerable crimes, but for the Libor scandal alone, it richly deserves to be overthrown.
SEPT 14 n 7 PM RIVERSIDE CHURCH
On the day following the 41st anniversary of the Attica massacre of courageous prisoners rising up against intolerable oppression, we call for a major event at Riverside Church, precisely where a powerful and moving commemoration took place last year.
Continued from page 7 used for the benefit of the majority. Socialism could bring full employment for workers and oppressed people. Workers would produce goods and services that people need. Wealth, property and land would be collectively owned and would be used for the benefit of the masses to increase incomes and provide the necessary conditions for the elimination of exploitation and class stratification. Discrimination, inequality and bigotry, which are experienced by so many groupings under capitalism, would be addressed in a socialist society. Nationally oppressed groups — African Americans, Latinos/as, Asians, Indigenous peoples
and Arabs — would be able to realize selfdetermination and full equality. For this to take place there must be a revolutionary party that can organize and provide the ideological basis for the transformation of society. The utter bankruptcy of the two-party system in the U.S. is reflected in the lack of real debate and discussion around fundamental issues of concern to the majority of people. Today’s organizers must raise the need for a programmatic struggle to address the concerns of the workers and oppressed. This can only be done through a movement that is independent of both capitalist parties.
Attica brothers uprising 1971 frEE MuMIa & All Our cloSE down aTTI ca Political End MaSS IncarcEraTIon Prisoners no SolITary confInEMEnT!
Organizing Committee: International Concerned Family & Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal The Riverside Church Mission and Social Justice The Riverside Church Prison Ministry Correctional Association of New York New York State Prisoner Justice Network The Campaign to End the New Jim Crow Professor Marc Lamont Hill
To endorse endorseorthis event contact: Sept14th2012@gmail.com reserve a table contact: Sept14th2012@gmail.com
Buy tickets: FreeMumia.com
August 9, 2012
Zimbabwe moves forward despite sanctions
Conditions for African farmers improve after land reform By Abayomi Azikiwe Editor, Pan-African News Wire Black Zimbabweans lost their land during the colonial era, beginning in the late 19th century. In 1998 it became clear that the Republic of Zimbabwe in southern Africa would take action regarding long-delayed promises to distribute land to African farmers. Consequently, over the last 14 years, the Zimbabwe government has come under vicious attack by the imperialist states. The country gained national independence in 1980 after more than a decade of armed struggle led by the Zimbabwe African National Union and the Zimbabwe African People’s Union. Both liberation movements joined together during the late 1970s and formed the Patriotic Front to coordinate armed actions and to receive adequate assistance from the Organization of African Unity Liberation Committee and other internationalist forces. Zimbabwe, known under colonialism as Rhodesia, was one of the most prosperous of British colonies. The rich agricultural soil and its vast deposits of diamonds made the country a source of tremendous wealth for mine owners and commercial European-settler farmers. In 2000, a movement of veterans of the revolutionary war, backed up by legislation, seized land controlled by several thousand descendants of British colonialists. These land holdings were broken up into smaller farms, allowing millions of Africans to gain access to agricultural production as stakeholders and not as subservient low-wage workers. The land redistribution program of 2000 aroused tremendous imperialist pressure against the ZANU-PF government (which had subsumed ZAPU in late 1987). Britain, the United States, the European Union and Australia leveled economic sanctions against Zimbabwe. For many years the Western corporate media attacked the land redistribution program, blaming it for the economic crisis in Zimbabwe. Government opponents formed a party, the Movement for Democratic Change, which the displaced white settlers and their allies in the imperialist countries bankrolled. The imperialists and their local allies undertook numerous efforts to plot regime-change strategies against Zimbabwe. The corporate media played an instrumental role in these destabilization programs — to the extent of printing outright falsehoods and provocative appeals for the removal of the sovereign government. Over the last two years, however, eco-
nomic conditions in Zimbabwe have improved. Zimbabweans discovered new sources of diamonds and defeated a Western effort to prevent these resources from being marketed internationally, thus bringing additional revenues to the state. Economic and political assistance from the Republic of South Africa and the People’s Republic of China helped avoid a total economic collapse. The ZANUPF ruling party created the “Look East” policy that emphasized trade and other economic agreements with African and Asian states. In 2008, national elections resulted in a political crisis that the West exploited. At the time, the ZANU-PF government, with mediation from then President Thabo Mbeki of the Republic of South Africa, agreed to a Global Political Agreement. This agreement led to the formation of a coalition government with the MDC, which by then had broken into two factions. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was appointed prime minister, while President Robert Mugabe of ZANU-PF maintained his post. Since 2008, the country and the government have moved toward stability. At present those involved in the process of drafting a new constitution are finalizing their work, which will lead to another round of national elections. Corporate media’s new view of land program This July the media published two articles with a more positive view of Zimbabwe’s land redistribution program. Lydia Polgreen reported in the July 20 New York Times, “The success of these smallscale farmers has led some experts to reassess the legacy of Zimbabwe’s forced land redistribution, even as they condemn its violence and destruction.” The Times article still regurgitated the false claims that widespread corruption within the agrarian program favored members of the ZANU-PF ruling party. Nevertheless, it had to admit upon direct observation that “tens of thousands of people got small farm plots under the land reform, and in recent years many of these new farmers overcame early struggles to fare pretty well. … The result has been a broad, if painful, shift of wealth in agriculture from white commercial growers on huge farms to black farmers on much smaller plots of land.” A July 29 Zimbabwe Standard article reported on a slump in the tobacco industry: “Tobacco production had dipped following the chaotic land reform program to 48 million kg in 2008 from the peak of 236 million kg in 2000.” But it goes on to point out that incomes
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have since risen in that industry: “The rebound in tobacco production started in 2009. Although some tobacco farmers complained about the relatively low prices, most of them were happy with the price and the organized manner in which the crop was sold, unlike in previous years.” Prior to the land redistribution program the tobacco industry was dominated by less than 2,000 white farmers. Today 60,000 farmers, most of whom are African, have raised production levels more than 300 percent in a four-year period. The New York Times article quoted Stuart Mhavei, a farmer who supports the ZANU-PF party of President Mugabe, as saying that his small plot of land has earned him $10,000 this season. He emphasizes his support for the party, asking the question, “Why should one white man have all this?” pointing at the vast land surrounding him. “This is Zimbabwe. Black people must come first.” Implications of Zimbabwe reforms The land redistribution program in Zimbabwe is being followed by other efforts aimed at creating greater incomes and wealth among the indigenous population. Indigenization programs are aiming to create independent diamond miners and owners of that lucrative industry.
The repository of diamonds in Zimbabwe is estimated to be one of the largest in the world. The harnessing of these resources and their equitable distribution could raise living standards tremendously in the country. In the southern Africa region, there is enormous interest in developments related to agrarian reform. In South Africa and Namibia, African populations have not been given back the land stolen by European settlers under colonialism. There are indications that many long for a transformation similar to that taking place in Zimbabwe. The imperialist states are very concerned about the success of the land redistribution program in Zimbabwe. If the same initiative is undertaken in mining and finance, it would threaten even further the grip of international capital on the resources and wealth of the people of southern Africa and the continent as a whole. Progressive forces in the U.S. and other capitalist states should follow developments in Zimbabwe and defend the right of the people to self-determination and sovereignty. Progressive and revolutionary initiatives aimed at the reallocation of wealth should be supported and sanctions against such efforts, as in Zimbabwe, should be opposed and condemned.
August 9, 2012
China and the Olympics
Imperialism’s crimes against Syria
ashington and the other NATO powers claim they want a peaceful resolution to the civil war in Syria. Nothing could be further from the truth. The imperialists have been giving diplomatic aid, funding and arms to the most reactionary forces, including not only pro-imperialist political leaders of the so-called “Free Syrian Army,” but also al-Qaeda-type elements the imperialists publicly called their main enemies when they wanted to invade Afghanistan nearly 11 years ago. The imperialists’ goal — and this goal is shared by their Israeli junior partner in the region — is to destroy any semblance of independence by Syria. They are doing this even though it means fomenting a religious war that tears Syrian society apart and leaves millions of Syrian casualties. Washington and London adopted this same strategy in Iraq when it became apparent by 2005 that the U.S.-British occupation force could not win a direct battle against the Iraqi people and their resistance fighters. The U.S. then fomented a religious civil war, even though this meant opening the door to the al-Qaeda grouping there, which had no base in the country during the secular government of Saddam Hussein. Resistance from Russia and China has prevented the NATO powers from obtaining a United Nations Security Council mandate for military intervention against Syria, as they got against Libya last year. Thus, up to this point imperialist intervention against the Bashir Assad government has been mainly though their client states in the region, specifically NATO-member Turkey and the reactionary Saudi Arabian and Qatari monarchies. The overwhelming majority of reports in the Western corporate media, as well as in Qatari-based al-Jazeera, have falsely presented the battle for Syria as between pro-democracy forces and the Assad regime, which they characterize as totalitarian. Reports in the Russian, Chinese and some progressive and communist media have refuted this position. And now a few reports have slipped into the corporate media that give a more accurate view of what is happening in this strategically located country of 20 million people, which
hina’s Olympic triumphs prove once again the transforming nature of revolutions. The People’s Republic of China sent its first delegation of athletes to the 1952 Olympic summer games in Helsinki, Finland. Arriving late, they were able to participate in only one sporting event. Due to the imperialists refusing to recognize the Chinese communist government in Beijing, and instead declaring Taiwan the representative of China in the Olympics, the PRC boycotted the summer games for the next 32 years. It wasn’t until the 1984 games in Los Angeles that the PRC sent its first full delegation of athletes. And 24 years later in 2008, China hosted the XXIX summer games in Beijing, where it won 100 medals — more than any other country, including the U.S. That was an astonishing achievement for a country that had only recently begun to emerge from semifeudal underdevelopment after a heroic socialist revolution achieved people’s power in 1949. Today China, with 1.3 billion people, has the second-largest economy in the world. China showed at the 2008 games that it was a world sports power to be reckoned with. It shattered the myth that only teams from rich capitalist countries like the U.S. were invincible. The U.S. could not hide its displeasure with China’s achievements. Most notably, when the Chinese won the gold medal in women’s team gymnastics, beating the reigning world champions from the U.S., the latter accused the Chinese team of being underage because of their small stature. Women gymnasts are required to turn 16 in the same year as the games. The U.S. was hoping that the Chinese women would be disqualified, but it never happened. Chinese coach Lu Shanzhen stated, “It’s unfair that people keep saying the Chinese are too young to compete. If they think they can tell someone’s age just by looking at them, well, if you look at the foreign athletes, they have so much more muscles than the Chinese. They are so strong. Do you then say that they are doping?” (New York Times, Aug. 13, 2008) History is repeating itself four years later, at the 2012 XXX Olympic Games
had given refuge to more than a million Iraqis fleeing the occupation and sectarian fighting in Iraq. Two Western journalists, Dutch photographer Jeroen Oerlemans and John Cantlie of Britain, entered Syria from Turkey in mid-July and were immediately kidnapped by an armed group and held for a week. After being freed, Oerlemans told Business News Radio of the Netherlands on July 27 that the group which kidnapped him was made up of foreign fighters, not Syrian: “They all claimed they came from countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh and Chechnya, and they said there was some vague ‘emir’ at the head of the group.” On July 30, the New York Times ran a lengthy article claiming concern about the role of al-Qaeda-type groups in Syria. “Syrians involved in the armed struggle say it is becoming more radicalized: homegrown Muslim jihadists, as well as small groups of fighters from Al Qaeda, are taking a more prominent role and demanding a say in running the resistance,” the article read. Whatever the actual ties between the imperialist secret services — like the CIA — and these groups, it is apparent that the U.S.-NATO countries have encouraged Saudi Arabia and Qatar to arm and pay mercenaries. These armed groups are a direct threat to the lives of Syrians, including many civilians who want no part of a civil war. The most open statement of foreign intervention was made in a Reuters report of July 27: “Turkey has set up a secret base with allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar to direct vital military and communications aid to Syria’s rebels from a city near the border, Gulf sources have told Reuters.” With the situation heading toward open imperialist intervention, this much is obvious: The imperialists aim to destroy the Assad government and wreck Syria. They are indifferent to the human suffering this would cause. As in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and much of the rest of the world, the imperialists will carry out the most criminal adventures in an attempt to reconquer formerly colonized countries. Any progressive, any working-class fighter, must stand for the defense of Syria against this imperialist crime.
in London, where China sent the fifthlargest delegation of athletes. Only Great Britain, the U.S., Australia and Germany sent more. As of day three of the games, China is tied with the U.S. for the most medals won overall, and it has more gold medals than any other country. The Chinese male gymnasts won their second consecutive team gold medal, with Japan winning the silver and Great Britain the bronze. The U.S. team came in fifth. Both Japan and Great Britain had brutally ruled China with an iron fist in the last century. Before China’s Olympic victories, the biased U.S. gymnastic commentators on NBC stated that the Chinese men were in danger of not winning any kind of medal, due to their “mediocre” qualifying scores (which are required to reach the finals). The U.S. is once again expressing its anti-China bias by accusing a great Chinese swimmer, Ye Shiwen, of using banned substances. Ye won a gold medal July 30 in the 400-meter individual medley, setting a world record. U.S. coach John Leonard made the accusation in a Guardian interview, saying Ye’s performance was “unbelievable,” “outrageous,” “disturbing” and that she looked like a “superwoman.” Ye replied, “The Chinese team keep very firmly to the anti-doping policies, so there is absolutely no problem.” (July 30) When it was reported that Ye swam faster over a 50-meter span than U.S. gold medal winner Ryan Lochte, Leonard commented that “a woman does not out-swim the fastest man in the world in the back quarter of a 400m individual medley that is otherwise quite ordinary. It just doesn’t happen.” However, the British Olympic Committee officially stated that Ye was clean. These accusations hark back to the anticommunist, sexist statements made during the 1980s about women athletes from the former German Democratic Republic. What has infuriated the U.S. and other Western powers most of all is that in just three generations China, as a result of a massive revolutionary upheaval that lasted for decades, has come from being one of the poorest countries in the world, where only the most privileged got any kind of education or training, to a world power in so many areas, including sports.
A revolutionary youth’s perspective
We don’t need superheroes By Caleb T. Maupin The type of fictional character known as a “superhero” originated in U.S. comics during the years of the Great Depression in the 1930s. The first was Superman, with Batman, Spiderman and others not far behind. These superheroes conceal their identity with some kind of outlandish costume or mask and go around “fighting crime.” It cannot be dismissed as a mere coincidence that the theme of masked vigilantism by white men has caught on so much with the U.S. psyche, especially in this era of multiple U.S. wars, capitalism at a dead end and the growth of the oppressive state.
Gotham City: A fascist fantasy land The recent Batman film, “The Dark Knight Rises,” embraces all the negative aspects of the superhero type. Bruce Wayne, Batman’s secret identity, is himself a billionaire, yet the film portrays him as an oppressed victim of the inconsiderate and ungrateful poor. The villain is an agitator who preaches class struggle, riling up impoverished people against somehow-misunderstood rich people. The police are portrayed as useless and restrained by civil liberties. So, in their place, like a caped George Zimmerman, Batman goes out to protect “law and order” when oppressed people are duped into rising up. It is only in the fictional city of Gotham
that the rich are oppressed. In reality, a wealthy one-tenth of 1% runs the U.S. and has control of the banks, factories, oil wells and all the commanding heights of the economy. They control the two major political parties, bestowing unlimited money on their favored candidates. They own the media and craft public opinion to their liking. They launch wars of aggression to keep their profits flowing. The police in the real world are anything but restrained. They frequently get away with killing innocent people in places like New York City and Anaheim, Calif. There is no “softness on crime.” The prison system has 2.5 million people behind the walls, the highest number of any country in the world. The majority inside
are Black and Brown people, with little chance of finding decent employment. The death penalty is used frequently in the United States, with many innocent people like Troy Davis its victims. This violent and punitive society has given rise to killers like James Holmes and George Zimmerman, as well as fascists like the Tea Party and the Minutemen. These violent racists seem to think they are heroes for “taking the law into their own hands” when they attack defenseless immigrant workers or come to public meetings about health care reform with loaded firearms. Take history into our own hands The false portrait of society painted
August 9, 2012
A century of occupation, oppression and resistance By G. Dunkel The situation for Haitian workers and peasants has gone from grim to dire. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reports that thousands of Haitians are fleeing their homeland in unseaworthy, rickety boats. Spokesperson Melissa Fleming says: “Although no firm statistics exist, it is estimated that hundreds of deaths occur yearly as a result.” (U.N. News Centre, July 13) Haitian refugees are reported to be drowning in waters off the Bahamas and Florida. The U.S. Coast Guard says it has intercepted 652 fleeing Haitians and sent them back. Poor Haitians are again talking of “Clorox hunger” because of the burning sensation in their stomachs caused by lack of food. More than 400,000 Haitians still live under tents and tarps because their homes were destroyed in the world’s most devastating earthquake in January 2010. The pressure on these tent dwellers has been great. Wealthy people with political connections are trying to charge them rent on very spurious grounds. Money is demanded for the use of property the rich claim is theirs, while services like sanitation, water and electricity are being withdrawn. This has led many tent dwellers to return to their destroyed or damaged homes. Others move in with family outside the quake zone. A few have been able to build something more permanent. Some nongovernmental organizations have put up temporary plywood shelters. Numerous demonstrations and protests have opposed attacks on the camps and demanded essential services ever since the camps were set up. In Pétionville, an affluent suburb of the capital, Port-au-Prince, there is a poor neighborhood called Jalousie. It was built up on the side of a ravine in the late 1930s. Some of its houses have fallen down, endangering the nearby homes of wealthy Haitians. So the government of President Michael Martelly has decided to bulldoze homes in Jalousie “to protect the environment” for the rich. On July 12, some 2,000 people
in “The Dark Knight Rises” is clearly de designed to incite these elements, as well as to demonize rising progressive movements for change. The answer for poor and working people is not some savior. The answer is coming together and fighting against the capitalist class. Together we could seize society from the 1% and begin constructing a socialist world without racism, sexism and homophobia and with jobs, education and healthcare for all. Actual history contains very few “superheroes.” The labor movement, the civil rights struggle, the uprisings of Occupy Wall Street and the working-class revolutions of the 20th century have all been the work of millions of self-sacrificing, heroic individuals. Like them, we must take history into our own hands. Together we can bring down the capitalist 1% and their system and begin constructing a better world. We cannot wait for someone to save us.
marched from Jalousie through the city, waving the green-leafed tree branches associated with popular opposition and chanting: “Martelly hasn’t built any houses! He doesn’t have the right to tear them down!” They ended their march in front of the National Palace, which is still in ruins from the earthquake. Holding demonstrations and protests has grown riskier in the past few months. Oxygène David and Charles Dukens, leaders of the Movement of Liberty and Equality for the Fraternity of Haitians, a very active and militant movement that participated in the Jalousie march, were arrested and imprisoned on June 19. Now political prisoners, they are being held without charges. The police are threatening that other activists might face similar treatment if they bother the government. U.S. occupations met by resistance July 28 is the 97th anniversary of the first U.S. military occupation of Haiti, which lasted until 1934. There have been three others — in 1994, 2004 and 2010. During World War I, Washington claimed its first invasion was to protect U.S. interests in the Caribbean, such as the Panama Canal, Puerto Rico and Cuba. Haiti was going through political upheavals at the time. The agricultural potential of Haiti was also a major enticement for U.S. imperialism. The occupation forces made sure that whatever economic development took place in Haiti, it primarily benefited the U.S. economy, A largely peasant guerrilla army called the “cacos” resisted the occupiers. It was under the leadership of Charlemagne Péralte, who was betrayed and then assassinated by U.S. Marines in 1919. Intense popular pressure in Haiti and the arrival of the Great Depression pushed the U.S. to withdraw its troops in 1934, but they left behind an army and an economy firmly tied to Wall Street’s interests. The state structure — the army, courts and police — left by the U.S. occupation allowed François Duvalier and then his son, Jean-Claude, to rule for 29 years, from 1957 to 1986. During this period, the U.S. tightened its control of Haiti’s economy to the detriment of the Haitian people. The brutal Duvalier regimes were met with a stubborn, tenacious and increasingly effective resistance that pushed JeanClaude Duvalier to flee on a U.S. Air Force jet to France in 1986. In the four years after the “dechoukaj” [uprooting] that rid Haiti of the Duvaliers — but not Duvalierism – there were many coups by various factions
and continuing, growing protests. An overwhelming majority of the people elected the progressive priest, JeanBertrand Aristide, president in 1990. A military coup overthrew Aristide in 1991, eight months after he took office. After thousands of deaths and much brutality, the U.S. Army escorted him back to Haiti in 1994. Shortly before Aristide left office in February 1996, he dissolved the Haitian army. Aristide began a second term in 2001. Former Haitian soldiers, with U.S. financial and organizational support, soon started to carry out guerrilla attacks along the Dominican border and in Port-auPrince. Even after a full-scale insurgency began in Gonaïves in February 2004, Aristide hung on to power. U.S. Special Forces then staged a coup-kidnapping, putting Aristide and his family on a U.S. Air Force jet and delivering them to the Central African Republic. The next month, a joint U.S., French and Canadian force invaded Haiti to “stabilize” the situation and set up an interim government. Hundreds of Aristide supporters were massacred. A few months later, a military force — Minustah, the U.N. Mission for the Stabilization of Haiti — took over from the U.S. and its allies and still remains. This occupying force had to be propped up when its headquarters was destroyed and many of its leaders were killed in the earthquake. Minustah acted like the occupation forces it replaced. The U.N.’s poor sanitation systems spread cholera, which some of its soldiers brought to Haiti. The country hadn’t previously had a case in more than a century. Within two years, cholera killed more than 8,000 Haitians and sickened hundreds of thousands. Because there is no army, it has been harder for the U.S. to organize a military coup. One of Martelly’s main election planks was to restore the army. Exmilitary officers seized old barracks, but there was so much popular resistance that Haiti’s national police had to evict them. Minustah is backed up by the U.S., whose imperialist motives for maintaining such a tight grip on Haiti are fairly clear. The underlying economic rationale is becoming more and more apparent. At the end of May, Newmont Mining, a U.S. company with worldwide operations in gold mining, announced it had signed contracts with Haiti to exploit at least $20 billion of gold deposits lying under onethird of the country’s northern region. On May 30, Haiti Grassroots Watch clari-
fied that the vast bulk of the profits will flow north and all the skilled jobs will go to non-Haitians. In a related matter, rumors of significant oil deposits are floating around the French press. Moreover, cheap labor hasn’t been forgotten. With substantial financing from the U.S. Agency for International Development, and using donations that had been intended to supply and repair housing in the earthquake zone, 3,000 new, small, tract houses have been built in Caracol, where an industrial park is underway. This is far from the earthquake zone in northeast Haiti. Sae-A Trading, a South Korean firm that produces clothing for Walmart, Target, the Gap and other big retailers, will operate large garment factories there. This corporation has a history of repressing labor unions. Sae-A will be allowed to pay Haitian workers $3.75 a day — even though the minimum daily wage in Haiti is $5 — because it is producing garments for export. The company knows that Haitians will take the jobs because they must work to survive. This new industrial park was the site of the Chabert Post sisal plantation during the first U.S. occupation of Haiti. Run by U.S. Marines, a Haitian newspaper referred to the operation as “organized slavery.” Laurent Dubois, author of “Haiti: The Aftershocks of History,” says that the Marines’ prison camp there was infamous for its brutal treatment of captured rebels. The U.S. troops also buried Haitian liberation fighter, Péralte, wrapped in a Haitian flag, in concrete in an unmarked grave there. The Haitian masses will continue to protest imperialist exploitation and occupation. They will carry on their proud history of resistance to intervention by the U.S. and its allies, in keeping with the legacy of their hero, Charlemagne Péralte.
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Lo que hay detrás de la masacre de Colorado Continua de página 12 para eludir la cárcel, quienes padecen una enfermedad mental por lo general reciben en prisión un trato mucho peor, y es probable que sobre ellos recaigan condenas más largas que sobre otras personas”. Solo una sociedad enferma niega a las personas la ayuda y los servicios que necesitan. El argumento de que incidentes como éste se producen debido a la proliferación de armas resulta problemático. Es evidente que con demasiada frecuencia la derecha defiende el derecho a tener armas, y
los ricos y los más atrasados políticamente disponen de acceso a grandes reservas. Pero revolucionarios y progresistas como los Diáconos para la Defensa y el Partido de los Panteras Negras pudieron ofrecer resistencia al Ku Klux Klan y a la policía racista gracias a la posibilidad de adquirir armas. Mientras los negros sean objeto de agresiones por parte de la policía y se les niegue el derecho a la autodefensa no podemos ceder el monopolio de la fuerza a la policía y a los militares, que mantienen el statu quo de una sociedad basada en la explotación.
Las víctimas y sus familiares merecen justicia sin duda, pero en último término, esta justicia se garantizará cuando se aborden las causas que dan lugar a crímenes como éste y desaparezca el sustrato social que sostiene el enaltecimiento y la justificación de la violencia. Hales ha vivido en Aurora y en Denver (Colorado). Ha servido en la 82ª División Aerotransportada del Ejército Estado unidense. Traducido por Ana Atienza, miembro de Tlaxcala, la red internacional de tra ductores por la diversidad lingüística.
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Lo que hay detrás de la masacre de Colorado Por Larry Hales Los grandes medios de comunicación siguen sin formular la pregunta más importante que cabría plantearse tras la reciente masacre de Colorado: ¿Qué hay en las condiciones sociales de Estados Unidos que fomenta estas terribles tragedias? En la noche del 19 de julio, los espectadores que acudieron a una sala de cine en Aurora (Colorado, Estados Unidos) tomaron asiento para ver un acontecimiento cinematográfico de esos en los que el inicio de la sesión de medianoche está precedido por campañas publicitarias de saturación pagadas por estudios de Hollywood. El caballero oscuro: la leyenda renace es la película más reciente de la saga basada en los cómics de Batman. El protagonista es un justiciero multimillonario cuyo objetivo principal consiste en “limpiar” de malhechores las calles de una zona metropolitana, delincuentes que en su mayor parte cometen delitos oportunistas. De vez en cuando se mete con grandes criminales de extraño nombre y atuendo que actúan con oscuras intenciones. Según los supervivientes, a los veinte minutos de empezar la película, un hombre joven que llevaba un traje completo a prueba de balas (casco, máscara antigás, chaleco, pantalones ceñidos, protector para la garganta y coquilla) lanzó botes de humo y empezó a disparar a la multitud. La policía de Aurora ha declarado que huyó por una puerta trasera, pero que fue capturado rápidamente en el aparcamiento. Han identificado al supuesto tirador como James Holmes, de 24 años. En medio de la confusión inicial se pensó que Holmes formaba parte del espectáculo asociado a la proyección. Pero los gritos de los heridos pronto alertaron a los demás sobre lo que estaba sucediendo. Según parece, en total disparó a 70 personas, de las cuales murieron 12, y la víctima más pequeña era una niña de seis años. Una docena de heridos continúan en estado crítico. Holmes compareció por primera vez ante el juez el 23 de julio, y las acusaciones formales se presentarán el día 30. Los supervivientes han relatado grandes actos de heroísmo. Familiares, amigos y completos desconocidos se protegieron y acompañaron mutuamente para salir del cine, mientras Holmes disparaba a diestro y siniestro, primero con un fusil de asalto AR-15 (la versión corta de un M-16), y después con una escopeta del calibre 12 y con dos pistolas semiautomáticas Glock del calibre 40. Al parecer, las fue adquiriendo a lo largo de varios meses mientras preparaba la masacre. ¿Por qué a Holmes no le llaman terrorista? Holmes se crió en una zona de clase media alta de San Diego (California, Estados Unidos); su padre era científico informático y matemático, y su madre enfermera. Según la policía, había colocado bombas trampa en su apartamento de Aurora y dejó la puerta sin cerrar. Si se hubieran activado, las complejas trampas que instaló podrían haber matado a muchas personas del edificio y del Campus
Médico Anschutz de la Universidad de Colorado, situado en las proximidades. Los medios de comunicación han tenido cuidado de no utilizar la palabra “terrorista” porque “no existe suficiente información sobre sus motivos”. ¿Habrían sido tan reservados si el sospechoso fuera un musulmán de casi cualquier sitio? ¿Qué hubiera pasado si Holmes fuera negro? ¿No se le habrían colgado de inmediato los carteles de criminal, pandillero o terrorista, al margen de la información que tuviera la policía? Tras el huracán Katrina, a quienes peleaban por sobrevivir se les calificaba de delincuentes y saqueadores. Los medios de comunicación no paraban de mostrar falsos relatos de violaciones y asesinatos masivos, deseosos de creerse lo peor a la hora de describir a los negros. Si Holmes hubiera tenido un nombre musulmán, típico africano o del sudeste asiático, ¿habría podido comprar y almacenar cantidades ingentes de munición, cuatro armas —incluido un fusil de asalto— un equipo de camuflaje, acelerantes y fuegos artificiales de gran tamaño? Si tuviera alguna afiliación conocida a un grupo progresista o de izquierdas sometido a vigilancia o en el que se hubieran infiltrado las autoridades, ¿no habrían marcado y asaltado su apartamento? Los motivos personales que haya podido tener el tirador no son ahora mismo sino especulaciones. Sin embargo, masacrar a personas en un cine es un acto terrorista, y las pocas palabras que al parecer dijo cuando declaró ser el personaje del Joker de “Batman” demuestran que era muy consciente de ello. Holmes tal vez tenga delirios a causa de una enfermedad mental. Pero su proceso de planificación y compra de las armas, el equipo antibalas, miles de cartuchos de munición y productos químicos, así como otros elementos para fabricar bombas y los demás dispositivos encontrados en su piso revelan que hizo numerosos cálculos. Tener una enfermedad mental y capacidad para urdir un plan no son facetas mutuamente excluyentes. No obstante, cada vez que una persona “normal” o “corriente” que no proviene de un colectivo oprimido comete un crimen como esta masacre, las etiquetas habituales que se le aplican son los de enfermo mental o, en ocasiones, de genio, estudiante destacado, etc. Violencia y alienación capitalista Es necesario analizar este suceso en el contexto de la cultura de guerra y violencia generalizadas que han acompañado durante toda su historia a los Estados Unidos y que este país ha ejercido contra los más oprimidos y vulnerables. La violencia forma parte integrante de este sistema capitalista, basado en la explotación de los trabajadores y en la sobreexplotación de grupos étnicos oprimidos. La norma establecida, lo que generalmente aceptamos como cotidiano o mundano, proviene de cómo se consiguió y posteriormente se conservó la riqueza en esta sociedad. Desde siempre, la clase dominante de la sociedad estadounidense ha sido blanca. Así pues, Holmes
es “normal” a simple vista y carece de motivos políticos coherentes, de manera que no se le tilda de terrorista. Por el contrario, se le clasifica como un ser solitario, un inadaptado o un tipo raro, lo que indica que en modo alguno el conjunto de la sociedad perdona o fomenta esta clase de delitos violentos. Pero al mismo tiempo, estos términos obvian la exaltación de la violencia reinante en Estados Unidos y los efectos del complejo militar-industrial sobre la cultura. Karl Marx escribió que en el capitalismo los trabajadores tienen que vender su fuerza de trabajo a cambio de un salario dentro de un proceso productivo que se halla en poder de un jefe, lo que aliena al trabajador con respecto al producto. No existe satisfacción por el producto final, dado que el motivo principal por el cual trabajamos es para ganar un salario destinado a procurar nuestro sustento y el de las personas que están a nuestro cargo. Con el paso del tiempo, los trabajadores no sólo están alienados con respecto a lo que producen, sino que compiten entre sí por el empleo, ahora cada vez más escaso. Esto influye a menudo en las relaciones entre las personas y contribuye a la aparición de ciertas enfermedades mentales y estados de ansiedad. Cuanto más desarrollado está un país – especialmente si ha pasado a la fase imperialista— más decadente se vuelve la sociedad, con lo que aumenta la incidencia de enfermedades sociales. Fue a solo unos pocos kilómetros de Aurora donde se produjo un suceso similar en 1999, en el Instituto de secundaria de Columbine. Allí, dos adolescentes que albergaban creencias de ultraderecha y racistas celebraron específicamente el cumpleaños de Hitler disparando a sus compañeros de instituto. Una cultura de guerra y militarismo La mayor parte del territorio de Colorado le fue arrebatada a México en el transcurso de una guerra extremadamente violenta. Se trata de un estado militarizado donde las infames instalaciones gubernamentales de Rocky Flats fabricaron armamento químico y nuclear durante 40 años. Incluso en tiempos fueron sede del fabricante de napalm Dow Chemical. Colorado posee instalaciones de los contratistas de defensa Lockheed Martin y Northrop Grumman, del Mando Norteamericano de Defensa Aeroespacial (NORAD), de la Academia de las Fuerzas Aéreas y de una de las divisiones de infantería más grandes y avanzadas tecnológicamente, la 4ª División de Infantería, situada en Fort Carson. Antes de convertirse en estado tuvo lugar allí la masacre de Sand Creek en 1864, donde centenares de cheyenes y arapahoes fueron masacrados por la milicia del Territorio de Colorado, que aterrorizó a los pueblos indígenas para que abandonaran sus tierras. Fue también allí donde la Guardia Nacional, junto con matones a sueldo de la empresa Colorado Fuel & Iron Co., propiedad de Rockefeller, asesinaron a dos docenas de mineros en huelga y a sus
familiares en la denominada Masacre de Ludlow en 1914. San Diego (California), donde se crió Holmes, es una zona militar con una enorme base naval próxima a la frontera con México. No tener en cuenta el efecto que ejercen sobre la mente de las personas el complejo militar-industrial y la historia estadounidense de conquistas sería errar el análisis. Estados Unidos se fundó sobre la violencia y el genocidio. Los grandes países coloniales se repartieron territorios que no les pertenecían. Libraron una batalla que aún sigue abierta contra sus nativos, al igual que contra los negros y los latinos en general, y contra otros pueblos oprimidos que no pertenecen a la nacionalidad dominante. Para mantener el statu quo se ha recurrido a la violencia. Desde su creación, Estados Unidos ha estado en guerra permanente, y los principales medios de comunicación lo justifican a base de patrioterismo y ensalzando a la maquinaria militar estadounidense. El presupuesto militar estadounidense deja en mantillas al del resto del mundo en su conjunto. El constante enaltecimiento de la violencia en películas, anuncios y videojuegos, unido al hecho de que Estados Unidos lleva una década en estado de guerra abierta, acaba calando en la psique. Hace sólo unos meses, unos soldados estadounidenses asesinaron al menos a 16 aldeanos en Afganistán, la mayoría de ellos mujeres y niños. Estas masacres son moneda corriente durante una ocupación. Las bombas abrasan a familias enteras todos los días. Éste es el contexto en el que se ha producido el asesinato masivo de Colorado, donde, como en la mayor parte de Estados Unidos, resulta tan sencillo adquirir armas, equipos de combate, munición y otros materiales a través del Internet. Ninguna familia debería sufrir un horror así. La gente debería estar indignada, y las víctimas y sus familiares tienen derecho a que se haga justicia. Pero es un flaco favor para la justicia convertir esto en un incidente aislado y olvidar su marco histórico, cultural y social. Tal vez James Holmes sea un enfermo mental. Sin embargo, esto no debe afectar a aquellos enfermos mentales que jamás harían daño a nadie. Por otra parte, padecer una enfermedad mental tampoco debería ser excusa para eludir la cárcel. Las enfermedades mentales y una sociedad enferma Julie Fry, abogada de Legal Aid en Brooklyn (Nueva York), ha declarado a WW: “Las enfermedades mentales en general no se comprenden ni se tienen en cuenta lo más mínimo dentro del sistema de justicia penal. De hecho, las cárceles se han convertido básicamente en almacenes de enfermos mentales, mientras que los servicios sociales y las redes médicas diseñadas para el tratamiento de estas enfermedades han sido aniquilados sistemáticamente durante las últimas décadas a base de recortes presupuestarios. En lugar de utilizarla como excusa Continua a página 11
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