Thursday, August 1, 2019

`Free Julian Assange' protest folk song lyrics



A public domain protest folk song from July 2019 that calls for both the release of and dropping of all charges against Wikileaks journalist Julian Assange.

(chorus) 
Democracy requires 
That State secrecy be banned 
"Free Julian Assange!" 
People of the world demand. 

(verses) 
It's no crime to leak documents to reporters 
So what was hidden the press can tell 
Yet the journalist who started Wikileaks 
Is locked up now in a prison cell. (chorus) 

He shared information on the internet 
That politicians did not want exposed 
So they forced him to flee to an embassy 
And monitored all his emails and phones. (chorus) 

They charged him with all kinds of crimes 
And scapegoated him for election defeat 
They accuse him of being a "spy" 
And working for a fake "enemy". (chorus) 

He shared news of war crimes in Iraq 
And news that exposed corporate greed 
And the cables and emails he posted 
Showed diplomats deceive. (chorus)

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Australian Anti-War Activist Joan Coxsedge's July 28, 2019 Letter


The following letter from Australian anti-war and Latin American solidarity activist Joan Coxsedge--who is also a former member of the Victoria state parliament--originally appeared in an Australian-Cuban solidarity group's newsletter.

"July 28, 2019

"Dear Comrades, 

"Hope you’re all OK and surviving the chilly weather. It’s hard to believe that we’ve passed the half-year mark. I reckon someone ‘up there’ is fiddling around with our time machine, or maybe it’s just that the older you get the quicker its gets and when you look around at our shitty little world, perhaps that’s a good thing. Especially when you look at what passes for leaders.

“In our worst nightmare we couldn’t invent Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, an unhinged crook and a weird Tory toff. At least Ukraine had the good sense to elect a professional comedian, not just a couple of dangerous clowns.

“Regardless of who inhabits the White House, Pine Gap and North West Cape will always implicate us directly in America’s war machine. A nasty thought, when only last week at a press conference with Pakistan PM Imram Khan, Trump spoke ‘casually’ of reviewing plans to ‘wipe Afghanistan off the face of the earth’, a blasé reference to hypothetical mass murder. But it wasn’t offhand. Such a policy of total destruction could only apply to Iran with the potential for nuclear weapons being used far from hypothetical.

“Reporters who dismiss his endless stream of hyperbole forget that this man is the commander in chief of the greatest military force in all time. Take a look at its history. Since the United States was founded in 1776, it has been at war for 214 out of its 235 years of existence. In other words, there were only 21 years when it wasn’t waging war.

“To put it into perspective, since 1776 there is a 91% chance that America was involved in some conflict, with not one US leader qualifying as a peacetime president. The US has never gone for a decade without fighting a war. The only time it had a five-year lull was during its isolationist period of the Great Depression. So we shouldn’t be surprised at the current outbreak of belligerence. It’s what passes for ‘normal’ in today’s crackpot society.

“In the latter half of the 20th century, two visionary books cast shadows over our future. One was George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, with its horrifying vision of a brutal, mind-controlling totalitarian state that gave us Big Brother and thought crime and newspeak, along with the memory hole, torture palace called the Ministry of Love and the unpleasant spectacle of a boot grinding into our faces. The other was Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, published in 1932, that offered a different and softer form of totalitarianism, one of conformity achieved through engineered and hypnotic persuasion, of endless consumption that keeps the wheels of production turning, and of officially enforced promiscuity that eliminates sexual frustration. A pre-ordained caste system ranged from a highly intelligent managerial class to a sub-group of dim-witted serfs programmed to love menial work and soma, a drug conferring instant bliss.

"During the Cold War (one) Nineteen Eighty-Four had the edge, but when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, shopping took off and there were already soma-type drugs circulating throughout our society. Promiscuity took a whack from AIDS, but on balance we seemed to be destined for a trivial, drug-enhanced spend-o-rama with Brave New World out in front. And then we had the attack on New York’s twin towers in 2001 and thought crime and the grinding boot could not be eliminated so easily, along with the Ministry of Love.

“But Brave New World hasn’t gone away. Shopping malls stretch as far as the eye can see and there are ‘believers’ prattling on about the gene-rich and gene-poor - Huxley’s alphas and epsilons - busily engaged in a world of genetically modified babies, boundless consumption, casual sex and drugs. I think we’re edging towards a combination of the two.

“Whatever your definition, we live in a political jungle, in an out-of-control, corrupt, brutal system that is run by and for powerful corporates, turning what most still think of as a democracy into a charade. Our votes conceal the reality that our so-called leaders are not there to represent us, but to promote the interests of large crooked global elites.

“Take a gander at the election of Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn who is ‘clean’ but whose treatment is shameful. A handful of MPs nominated him to give the impression that the ballot was fair and open, not expecting him to win after the odious Tony Blair and his gang had done everything they could to remake Labor by eradicating any vestige of socialism, and who were furious when he won. Since Corbyn’s victory, the attacks have become even more virulent in an attempt to stop him from ever becoming prime minister. Like America’s attacks on Cuba.

“For almost 60 years, Cuba has successfully defended its revolution against a steady onslaught of US aggression, but Trump has upped the ante by blacklisting Cuba for ‘using its international medical program for human trafficking’, accusing it of ‘not doing enough’ to stop it.

“Trump should be frog-marched out of the White House and put into a padded cell. Political and economic events are telling us that justice is losing and greed is winning. Humanity has been asleep at the wheel or, more accurately, in an induced coma, for far too long. Is it too late for change? I hope not.

“WikiLeaks pushed everything forward, but we need to do a great deal more. Do we have enough journalists willing to stick their necks out and tell the hidden stories to a wide enough audience? The lawyers willing to suss out the evidence and build a case? I’m not holding my breath.

“The British Foreign Office has just banned two Russian outlets, Russia Today and Sputnik, from attending a Global Conference on Media Freedom to be held in London. It takes a special brand of hypocrisy and gall for a government that tortures journalists, bans inconvenient voices and slanders alternative media to advocate for freedom of the press.

“Viva Cuba!

“Joan Coxsedge”



Sunday, July 21, 2019

Revisiting Democratic Obama-Biden-Clinton Administration's 2011 War for Regime Change in Libya: Conclusion

Nelson Mandela with Libyan government leader against whom Hawk Democrats launched 2011 war. 
The Democratic Obama-Biden-Clinton administration ended its Operation Odyssey Dawn overt military attack on Libya on March 31, 2011. But, along with other NATO government administrations, it continued to wage its overt war for regime change in Libya under the code name “Operation Unified Protector,” after Apr. 1, 2011.

So Libyan government leader Qaddafi then sent a letter on Apr. 6, 2011 to Democratic President Obama requesting that the Democratic Party leader put an end to NATO intervention in Libya.

But instead of agreeing to end U.S. military intervention in Libya, on Apr. 7, 2011 the Obama-Biden-Clinton administration again demanded that Qaddafi abdicate power and live in exile; and it continued to wage its war for regime change in Libya until Qaddafi was finally murdered on Oct. 20, 2011, in violation of international law.

According to the 2015 RAND Project Air Force Precision and Purpose study, during the Operation Unified Protector phase that began in early April 2011, “U.S. forces flew more than 7,100 total sorties…which represented nearly 27 percent of the total sorties during the” NATO “operation.” But, according to the Sowing Chaos: Libya In The Wake of Humanitarian Intervention book, “more than 2,000 residents” of the Libyan “city of Sirte,” were “killed in NATO air strikes;” and, by waging its war for regime change in Libya in 2011, “NATO handed over part of Libya’s territory to Al Qaida.”



In his 2016 Sowing Chaos: Libya In The Wake of Humanitarian Intervention book, Paolo Sensini noted that “the jury is still out as to whether the war on Libya was fought” by the Democratic Obama-Biden-Clinton administration “on behalf of fossil fuel interests or on behalf of banking interests.” But Sensini also observed that “by means of Obama’s Executive Order 13566,” Libyan financial assets  belonging to “the Central Bank of Libya (CBS), the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), the Libya Foreign Bank, and the Libyan National Oil Company (LNOC)” were “frozen,” prior to the start of its Operation Odyssey Dawn military attack; and “in August 2011, President Obama confiscated $30 billion from Libya’s Central Bank, which Qaddafi had earmarked for the establishment of the African IMF and African Central Bank.”

What has been determined, though, is that the Libyan “rebels” who, with the military support of Democratic Party leaders (like Obama, Biden and Hillary Clinton), were finally able to overthrow the Qaddafi-led government by the fall of 2011, were apparently illegally armed and trained by government of Qatar. As the 2015 RAND Project Air Force Precision and Purpose study revealed:

“…The U.N…raised concerns about…Qatar making arms transfers in violation of the arms embargo…The U.N….was `clearly informed that several countries, including Qatar, were supporting the [Libyan] opposition through the deliveries of arms and ammunition.’…Between the beginning of the [Libyan] uprising and July 2011, `approximately 20 flights had delivered military material from Qatar to…[the opposition] in Libya, including French anti-tank weapon launchers (MILANs)…

“…Qatar had personnel on the ground in Benghazi training the opposition. Rebel forces openly remarked…how Qatar had been with them from the beginning.

“Operating in the range of 50 to 150 personnel on the ground at any one time, Qatar’s Special Forces (SF) were used to train the opposition in a variety of small arms and tactics…The SF provided…the means for rebel forces to successfully engage pro-Qaddafi forces. On the ground direct assistance…was conducted with the main rebel brigades. These advisory teams…provided the main link between rebel ground units and NATO’s air power…This was used to supplement NATO targeting…

“The first official admission of Qatar’s involvement in training the opposition forces came in late October [2011]…Qatari Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Major-General Hamad bin Ali Al-Attiya remarked, `We were among them [the Libyan opposition forces] and the number of Qataris on the ground were hundreds in every region.’ He also noted that Qataris had been `running the training and communication operations’ and that `Qatar had supervised the rebels’ plans…`We acted as the link between the rebel and NATO forces.’…A team of 60 Qataris assisted the opposition in setting up command centers in Benghazi, Zintan, and Tripoli…Opposition forces were also flown back to Qatar for training…”

The pretext for launching the Democratic Obama-Biden-Clinton administration/NATO and Qatari governments’ 2011 “humanitarian military intervention” in Libya, despite the African Union’s March 11, 2011 call for no external foreign intervention in Libya, was that this war for regime change in Libya was needed to save the lives of Libyan civilians. Yet, as Seumas Milne observed in an op-ed column, titled “If The Libyan War Was About Saving Lives It Was A Catastrophic Failure,” that appeared in the Oct. 26, 2011 issue of the London Guardian, prior to the launching of the U.S./NATO’s “Operation Odyssey Dawn” on March 19, 2011 and “operation Unified Protector” after Apr. 1, 2011, “the death toll in Libya” was “perhaps around 1,000-2,000 (judging by U.N. estimates).” But, according to the same column, during the 8 months that followed the Democratic Obama-Biden-Clinton administration/NATO’s overt “humanitarian” military intervention in Libya, “as NATO leaders vetoed ceasefires and negotiations,” estimates of the numbers of new dead “range from 10,000 up to 50,000;” and “of these, uncounted thousands will be civilians, including those killed by NATO bombings and NATO-backed forces on the ground.”

In addition, in his Oct. 26, 2011 London Guardian column, Seumas Milne also, for example, noted:

“On Tuesday, Human Rights Watch reported the discovery of 53 bodies, military and civilian, in Qaddafi’s last stronghold of Sirte, apparently executed—with their hands tied—by former rebel militia.

“Its investigator in Libya, Peter Bouckaert, told me yesterday that more bodies are continuing to be discovered in Sirte, where evidence suggests about 500 people, civilians and fighters have been killed in the last 10 days alone by shooting, shelling and NATO bombing…

“That has followed a 2-month-long siege and indiscriminate bombing of a city of 100,000 which has been reduced to a Grozny-like state of destruction by newly triumphant rebel troops with NATO air and Special Forces support…

“…African migrants and black Libyans have been subject to a relentless racist campaign of mass detention, lynchings and atrocities on the usually unfounded basis that they have been loyalist mercenaries. Such attacks continue, says Bouckaert, who witnessed militias from Misrata this week burning homes in Tawerga so that the town’s predominately black population—accused of backing Qaddafi—will be unable to return…”

Nearly 5 years after Democratic Party leaders like Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton launched their war for regime change in Libya, Chris Stephens noted in a Feb. 16, 2016 London Guardian article, titled “Five Years After Qaddafi, Libya’s Torn By Civil War And Battles With ISIS,” that “civil war” in Libya “has raged since the summer of 2014;” and “it is a war that has left 5,000 dead, the economy in ruins” and “half a million homeless.” So, not surprisingly, a Libyan medical student then told the London Guardian reporter that in Libya “some people say they want to go back to the time of Qaddafi.”

And as recently as July 9, 2019, even Al Jazeera now reported that “the battle between rival groups for the Libyan capital has killed more than 1,000 people since” April 2019, “the United Nations said;” and “the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a brief statement on Tuesday that 1,048 people, including 106 civilians, have been killed” in Libya since April 2019 and an additional 5,558 have been “wounded, including 289 civilians.” The same July 9, 2019 Al Jazeera article also noted that:

“Fighting has emptied entire neighborhoods of civilians. Thousands of African migrants captured by Libyan forces funded and trained by the European Union are trapped in detention centers near the front lines. An air raid on one facility last week killed more than 50 people mainly migrants held in a hangar that collapsed on top of them. Libya slid into chaos after the 2011 NATO-backed uprisings…”


2020 Democratic Party presidential primary candidate Sanders and 2016 Democratic Party presidential Nominee Clinton at 2016 Democratic National Convention
(end of article)

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Revisiting Democratic Obama-Biden-Clinton Administration's 2011 War for Regime Change in Libya: Part 2


In his 2016 book, Sowing Chaos: Libya In The Wake of Humanitarian Intervention, Paolo Sensini noted that as early as Feb. 28 [2011], “Hillary Clinton made her first reference to the prospect of exile for Qaddafi.” The same book also indicated how the media was apparently used by the Democratic Obama-Biden-Clinton administration to apparently fabricate a “humanitarian” justification for its late March 2011 Operation Odyssey Dawn military attack in support of regime change in Libya:

“On Feb. 23 [2011]…the [anti-regime Libyan] rebels killed a number of loyalist civilians and military personnel. The video images of the bodies were falsely presented by the Western media as evidence of the massacre of 10,000 unarmed civilians, carried out by Qaddafi’s black mercenaries. More lies would soon be disseminated. Another video showed `mass graves’ on Tripoli’s beach. These alleged shocking images, it was discovered, recorded a routine task—the shifting of remains at the Sidi Hamed cemetery. These two stories were clearly propaganda stunts. This didn’t prevent Obama from thundering against intolerable levels of violence on Qaddafi’s part…

“…The satellite TV station, Al Arabiya, spread the news of 10,000 dead and at least 50,000 wounded or maimed in Libya…Reports appeared about Libyan airstrikes against Tripoli and Benghazi. There was talk also of `mass graves.’…Have we seen any photographs or video footage of the February [2011] massacre of thousands of people in Tripoli? None. Images of the Libyan air force bombing three districts of Tripoli? Not one witness was produced…The Russian armed forces monitoring the skies of Libya reported that they had no evidence of any Libyan airstrikes against civilians…

“What about the seaside mass graves story? What we saw was a cemetery, Sidi Hamed, with individual (!) graves. The contents of the graves had been moved well before the crisis erupted. It was a routine operation…The remains are shifted to make room for new graves. Such operations take place every one or two decades…What of the massacres that Qaddafi is said to have ordered in eastern Libya in February [2011]? No evidence of these either. Not one image of these alleged massacres (not even a shaky, blurred shot) has been produced…When the revolt broke out, the police resisted the attack on their buildings…Some of the `rebel’ groups…used heavy arms to attack police stations…

“We owe the military action to a media campaign on a grand scale…The lies had to be repeated incessantly…Ghassan Bin Jiddo—director of Al Jazeera’s office in Beirut--…was disgusted at the conduct of his colleagues. He submitted his resignation on Apr. 23, 2011, accusing Al Jazeera of conducting a massive campaign of falsification of the facts…Bin Jiddo’s complaints above all addressed the manner in which the reports coming out of Libya were distorted and manipulated…Following Bin Jiddo’s lead, other colleagues quit their jobs…The Western press failed to relay this story…

“…The story of the 10,000 protesters slaughtered by Qaddafi went mainstream globally. The impression for most people was that the story was true, despite the absence of video footage, photographs or other tangible proof.

“Despite the lack of convincing evidence…the European Union and the United States immediately…called for military intervention to halt the slaughter.

“They had not even a second’s worth of footage to back them up. The reports were pure propaganda…”

Yet on March 3, 2011, the Christian Science Monitor reported that Democratic President Obama issued a statement which asserted that “Colonel Qaddafi needs to step down from power and leave.”

But even after the Democratic Obama-Biden-Clinton administration ended the “Operation Odyssey Dawn” phase of its 2011 war for regime change in Libya on March 31, 2011, the Libyan “rebels” that it was illegally supporting were still unable to overthrow the Libyan government that Qaddafi still led.So, not surprisingly, according to Paolo Sensini’s Sowing Chaos: Libya In The Wake of Humanitarian Intervention book, “American government officials told the Washington Post (March 30, 2011) on condition of anonymity that, `President Obama has issued a secret finding that would authorize the CIA to carry out a clandestine effort to provide arms and other support to Libyan opposition groups.'”

Yet the same book also observed that “a FOIA document reveals” then-U.S. Secretary of State and later 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary “Clinton was aware in March 2011 that, on a routine basis, the rebel militias in Libya summarily executed captured fighters as pro-government mercenaries,” in violation of international law.
Nelson Mandela and Libyan leader whose regime Democratic Party leaders helped overthrow 
(end of part 2)

Friday, July 19, 2019

Revisiting Democratic Obama-Biden-Clinton Administration's 2011 War for Regime Change in Libya: Part 1

Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton and Samantha Power: Pushed For War For Regime Change in Libya in 2011
As Paolo Sensini recalled in his 2016 Book, Sowing Chaos: Libya In The Wake of Humanitarian Intervention, “on March 11 [2011], the African Union, meeting in Addis Ababa, rejected all external intervention in regard to the Libyan crisis” and “in just a few days” Libyan troops loyal to the Qaddafi regime in Libya “had retaken control of most of the country.” And the same book also observed that in the middle of March 2011 “pro-Qaddafi demonstrations were to be seen in many” Libyan “cities” and “to all appearances, Qaddafi’s victory was at hand.”

Yet despite the African Union’s March 11, 2011 rejection of external foreign overt military intervention in regard to the Libyan civil war, after Libyan troops loyal to the Qaddafi regime regained control of Brega on March 13, 2011 and regained control of Ajdabiya on March 16, 2011, the Democratic Obama-Biden-Clinton administration and its NATO allies began to overtly intervene militarily in Libya; and to overtly launch a 2011 war for regime change in Libya in the following way, according to the Sowing Chaos book:

“The UN Security Council passed Resolution 1973 on March 17 [2011], imposing a no fly zone upon Libya…Soon after, the American Odyssey Dawn operation commenced. Naval units in the Mediterranean launched hundreds of Tomahawk missiles…”

As the 2015 RAND Project Air Force study, titled Precision and Purpose (which Johns Hopkins University Adjunct Professor and RAND Arroyo Center Strategy, Doctrine and Resources Program Director Karl P. Mueller edited), also noted:

“By March 14 [2011], Qaddafi’s troops were bearing down on the rebel stronghold of Benghazi…On March 19 [2011]…the United States fired over 100 Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles (TLAMs) at central nodes of Qaddafi’s air defense system along the Libyan coast…With Libya’s air defenses crippled, the coalition proceeded to fly multiple air strikes…including some B-2 bomber sorties launched from bases in the continental United States…The United States flew the vast majority of strike sorties…By midweek, the United States, added A-10 `Warhogs’ and AC-130 Spectre gunships to further enhance coalition capabilities against regime forces on the ground…

“…Operation Odyssey Dawn…was the code name for U.S. operations…Although the Defense Department named the U.S. intervention Operation Odyssey Dawn, Congress never endorsed the intervention…During Odyssey Dawn, the 603/617 Air Operation Center enabled more than 2,000 sorties and identified more than 1,400 targets…


“…The heaviest concentration of Tomahawk strikes took place near Tripoli and Misrata…U.S. Navy FA-18 G Growlers providing electronic warfare support, took place some 10 miles south of Benghazi…In the early hours of March 20 [2011], three B-2 Spirit bombers flying from Whiteman AFB targeted…near Sirte…The next day, Air Force F-15E strike Eagles…conducted strikes against fixed targets near Sirte…

“As many as 3,123 USAF personnel and 153 aircraft deployed to support Operation Odyssey Dawn; those aircraft flew…2,132 sorties. U.S. aircraft had employed 764 weapons and fired an additional 2,169 rounds of ammunition…On March 31 [2011], Odyssey Dawn drew to a close, and military operations in Libya continued under Operation Unified Protector…Of the 199 sea-launched cruise missiles fired in the first 10 days, 192 were American…”
Air Force Major General Who Planned 2011 Operation Odyssey Dawn Aerial Attack ON Libya
Secret planning of the Democratic Obama-Biden-Clinton administration’s initial Operation Odyssey Dawn aerial attack on Libya to overthrow the Qaddafi regime (in apparent violation of both international law and the U.N. Charter, and without the authorization of the U.S. Congress) was apparently begun in mid-February 2011, around the time that the first street protests by Libyan opponents of then-existing Libyan government were held in Benghazi on Feb. 15, 2011. According to the 2015 Rand Project Air Force’s Precision and Purpose study, “in mid-February [2011],” the U.S. Major General who was the Operation Odyssey Dawn Air Component Commander, a woman named Margaret Woodward, “directed [AFAFRICA Director of Space Forces] Colonel [Vincent] Jefferson and her Air Operations Staff to begin planning for possible operations in Libya…”

At least four other women apparently also played significant historical roles in urging that U.S. Major General Margaret Woodward’s Operation Odyssey Dawn aerial attack on Libya plan be implemented in late March 2011. As the same 2015 RAND Project Air Force study, for example, recalled:

“In the weeks following the outbreak of fighting in Benghazi…Samantha Power, an aide on the national Security Council, and Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, were early and outspoken advocates of intervention within the U.S. government. Michele Flournoy, the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, worked more quietly behind the scenes…They gained traction with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the second week of March [2011]…President Obama agreed to authorize action…On March 17 [2011], the President authorized intervention…The willingness of the President…to assist with the overthrow of Qaddafi was clear well before his March 18 [2011] speech…On March 28 [2011], Obama raised Qaddafi’s downfall to the level of public policy…Three senior Obama administration officials (National Security Council staff member Samantha Power, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, and Secretary of State Clinton) played important roles in convincing the President to go beyond the…approach…advocated by those reluctant to see America engaged in another war…”


Michelle Flournoy: Pushed For War For Regime Change In Libya In 2011


(end of part 1)

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Confronting Ivy League Racism 101: A Review of Stefan Bradley's `Upending The Ivory Tower: Civil Rights, Black Power, and the Ivy League'


After providing readers of his 1935 book, Black Reconstruction in America, with "a sketch," in chapters 10 to 13, "of the part which Negroes took in the reconstruction of various Southern states, together with some indication of their action along the border" states following the 1861-1865 U.S. Civil War, 20th-century historian W.E.B. Du Bois observed that "it is only the Blindspot" in U.S. academic "historians that can overlook and misread so clear and encouraging a chapter of human struggle and human uplift." And in his book's final chapter, titled "The Propaganda Of History," Du Bois recalled the role that some professors employed at Ivy League elite universities apparently played in presenting a false and racially biased account of how the Southern states were actually governed during Reconstruction in that region:

"The Columbia school of historians and social investigators have issued between 1895 and the present time sixteen studies of Reconstruction in the Southern States, all based on the same thesis and all done according to the same method: first, endless sympathy with the white South; second, ridicule, contempt or silence for the Negro...We shall never have a science of history until we have in our college men who regard the truth as more important than the defense of the white race, and who will not deliberately encourage students to gather thesis material in order to support a prejudice or buttress a lie..."

In his second intellectually ground-breaking book, Upending The Ivory Tower: Civil Rights, Black Power, and the Ivy League, Loyola Marymount University Professor and Chair of American American Studies Stefan Bradley (who previously authored the 2009 book, Harlem vs. Columbia University: Black Student Power in the Late 1960s) also shows readers that until the black students who attended Ivy League institutions became "willing to join in collective agitation on particular issues affecting black people" and protest against injustice on campus in the 1960s, "institutional white racism" still "lived within the policies and culture of those elite institutions." And, as Professor Bradley observes in his book, "the isolation, embarrassment, mistreatment, benign neglect, and outright segregation that black students experienced at some of these schools was as bad as that experienced in many southern institutions," during the first half of the 20th-century (and even subsequently).

Ivy League universities like Harvard, for example, "propagated and accommodated segregation in housing and social activities;" and a black Harvard student, Roscoe Conkling Brule Jr., "was denied housing at Harvard in 1922"despite "the fact that his grandfather" was "the first black person to serve a full term as a U.S. Senator."

Before providing his readers with a sketch of "how young black people became a conduit of Black Power in white spaces" on each of the Ivy League university campuses (in a much more detailed way than most other previously-written academic book and mass media historical accounts of 1960s student protests on U.S. campuses) in Upending The Ivory Tower 's later chapters, Professor Bradley first explores the lives of Black students in the Ivy League from the early 20th century through World War II in his initial chapter, in an interesting, ground-breaking way.

Although, after 1828, a few individual black students had attended and graduated from Ivy institutions during the 19th-century, as late as 1939, only "35 black students" had "graduated from Columbia, 28 from Penn, 25 from Cornell, 25 from Harvard and 10 from Yale;" and during the first half of the 20th-century "informal quotas for black students" still "existed at...Harvard and Yale." In addition, prior to World War II "the entire curriculum at Harvard and throughout the Ivy League glorified white civilization and supremacy and perpetuated racial dominance and racist ideology;" while "at mid-century, there were still few black students at Brown."

In chapter 2 of Upending The Ivory Tower, Professor Bradley presents a history of institutional and interpersonal racism at Princeton University that most readers (and even some 21st-century Princeton students, perhaps) might not have been aware of prior to reading his book; since, as Professor Bradley notes, "surprisingly little has been written about Princeton and its historic relationship with black people," although, despite Princeton being located in the northern state of New Jersey, "African American students could not attend Princeton...until the middle of the 20th century." And as well as no black applicants being accepted by Princeton in 1953, 1954 and 1959, "of the 1,202 applicants who were accepted" by Princeton "for the 1963-1964 academic year," still "only 10 were black."

But later in this same chapter, Professor Bradley describes how, after establishing an Association of Black Collegians on Princeton's campus in 1967, black students at Princeton "took it upon themselves to ensure that Princeton became an option for other black students;" and also demonstrated in opposition to the Princeton administration's initial failure to divest the university's $127 million investment in "companies associated with apartheid-sanctioning governments of South Africa and Mozambique," during the late 1960s--although "as it is, Princeton University is still an elite and exclusive primarily white institution" in the 21st-century.

Moving on from his examination of late 1960s Black student activism and protests on Princeton's campus, Professor Bradley then shows, in subsequent chapters, how what Black student activists "did on campus in the name of black freedom" at Brown, Dartmouth, University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, Yale, Cornell and Columbia in the late 1960s "was just as significant as what advocates for black liberation did off campus." One historical result of this late 1960s wave of Black student campus protest and activism on these campuses, for example, as Professor Bradley noted in his introduction to Upending The Ivory Tower, was that "by 1975, each of the Ivies had revised its admission policies to better accommodate black candidates" and "all but one of the eight Ivies had Black Studies programs, departments, or Centers by then as well" (despite their continued lack of tenured black faculty members in 2019).

Given the continued failure of most Ivy League university administrations at places like Columbia to hire more tenured black professors, to admit more black students from black working-class families who graduated from New York City's non-elite public high schools and to stop expanding their Ivy League campuses in ways that push black working-class tenants out of the surrounding neighborhoods they gentrify in the 21st-century, some Movement readers might tend to feel Upending The Ivory Tower overestimates the degree to which institutional and interpersonal racism has been upended on Ivy League campuses.

But Professor Bradley's meticulously researched, well-written, passionate and inspiring Upending The Ivory Tower, which is written from a Black Liberation Movement intellectual political perspective (and also contains an interesting autobiographical foreword by the great 20th-century and early 21st-century historian Gerald Horne) synthesizes insightful historical analysis with a unique and fascinating historical narrative. So it's quite understandable why this great book has been praised by most reviewers. And for U.S. high school students who are considering whether or not to apply for admission to an Ivy League university, current Ivy League students and 21st-century Movement organizers and activists, especially, Upending The Ivory Tower should probably be required reading.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Did Hollywood Movie Producers Collaborate With Franco's Fascist Regime In Spain Historically?


In the 1950's and 1960's, some Hollywood movie producers apparently collaborated with the fascist regime in Spain of then-Spanish dictator Franco. As Neal M. Rosendorf recalled, for example, in his 2014 book, Franco Sells Spain To America: Hollywood, Tourism and Public Relations as Postwar Spanish Soft Power:

"...United Artists [UA]...had been...cultivating friendly relations with the Franco regime through its distribution operation in Spain. The company's representative in the country was George Ornstein, the son-in-law of UA co-founder and majority shareholder Mary Pickford...In the 1960s, he would be awarded both the Order of Civil Merit and Spain's highest civilian honor, the Order of Isabelle the Catholic, for his work in promoting U.S. film production in Spain...."

According to the same book:

"The first of the massive UA...productions was Robert Rossen's Alexander the Great...Robert Rossen flew to Spain in the winter of 1955, and UA trumpeted the start of filming in a full-page Variety advertisement that stressed the Spanish location shooting..."

Besides Robert Rossen, another Hollywood movie producer who apparently collaborated with Spain's fascist Franco regime in the 1950's was Stanley Kramer. As the Franco Sells Spain To America book also observed:

"The Pride and the Passion, produced and directed by Stanley Kramer, was of importance to the Franco regime...

"Stanley Kramer was one of Hollywood's most noted liberals--Kramer's modus operandi provided a template for the long-term Spanish-based production efforts of Samuel Bronston that commenced a couple of years later.

"From the time that Kramer first proposed his project to the Franco regime in September 1955 the Spanish authorities were supportive...In October 1955, Kramer met with Minister of Information and Tourism Gabriel Arias Salgado, to whom he laid out his plan...Kramer went on to meet with Francisco Franco himself, in which he `explained in detail the project and the effort needed to realize this grand production'...The Spanish government quickly granted filming permission to The Pride and the Passion enterprise...The dictatorship kept close tabs on the developing script...In response to the Franco regime's demands, producer-director Kramer would order the necessary script changes..."

According to the same book, "the most important figure in the development of `Hollywood in Madrid' and the political and economic benefits that accrued to the Franco dictatorship, was film producer Samuel Bronston, who established a full-blown American studio in Spain." As the Franco Sells Spain To America recalled:

"From the late 1950's through the early 1970's, Bronston forged and maintained a uniquely intimate relationship with the Franco regime. Indeed, the Bronston-Franco partnership marks the closes ongoing political collaboration to date between a Hollywood film production operation and a foreign government...

"Bronston...established his studio with the close collaboration of the Franco regime. The Spanish government facilitated the producer's efforts at every turn with monetary aaid, materiel, logistics and special legal arrangements and concessions. The regime's estimation of Bronston's singular value was marked by its presentation to him of the Order of Isabelle the Catholic...High-ranking regime figures moonlighted as fixers, consultants and scriptwriters in the Bronston organization, including at least one serving Spanish ambassador to the U.S. And when international creditors...came after Bronston..., the Spanish government would for almost a decade provide him with cover and a safe haven...

"...Bronston, backed by the fortune of Pierre du Pont III, produced among other films...El Cid (1961)..., as well as King of Kings, The Fall of the Roman Empire, and several other epics...Bronston also made, gratis, a series of propaganda films for the Spanish government that were screened  both domestically in Spain and internationally, including in the U.S.."

The same book also observed:

.Spain had a dictatorship that was very open to collaborating with American producers, provided they toed the line set down by the government...In early 1966 MGM, fresh from filming most of Doctor Zhivago in Spain, was quietly but firmly warned that the MIT [Ministry of Information and Tourism] was offended by a planned epic about Francisco Pizarro and the conquest of the Incas, The Royal Hunt of the Sun...MGM took the hint and halted production..."


Monday, June 24, 2019

How Corporate Democratic Obama-Biden Administration Failed to Create Jobs For U.S. Workers


In 2019 some Democratic Party politicians have been claiming that their Billionaire-donor-funded political party serves the economic class interests of U.S. workers when a Corporate Democratic President occupies the White House oval office. Yet according to Jack Rasmus's 2012 Pluto Press book, Obama's Recovery: Recovery For The Few, during the first term of the 2009-2017 Corporate Democratic Obama-Biden Administration in Washington, D.C.:

"...More than a million additional jobs were...lost between December 2008 and June 2010 after Obama's $787 billion stimulus was introduced. Construction jobs declined from 6.83 million in December [2008] to 5.78 million by June 2010, a loss of 1.05 million jobs. Similarly, manufacturing jobs over the same 18-month period fell from 12.98 million to 11.60 million, a decline of 1.38 million...There was essentially no actual jobs creation program in Obama's initial economic recovery proposals of January 2009, or in the final version that was eventually passed by Congress in February 2009...For the entire year [of 2009], the first of Obama's term in office, total foreclosed properties were a record, 3,240,867, almost a million more than in 2008..."

The same book also indicated how the Corporate Democratic Obama-Biden Administration apparently served the special economic interests of Wall Street investment banks when a Corporate Democratic President occupied the White House oval office between 2009 and 2017:

"At the top of Obama's economic recovery priority list was the bank bailout--not job creation, not housing...It was no accident that the banking and finance industry was the single largest campaign contributor to Obama's 2008 election.

"...In 2008...the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP...was $700 billion in funds provided by Congress to the U.S. Treasury to buy banks' bad assets...

"The TARP approach to bank bailouts proved ineffective and politically risky...The $700 billion...raised taxpayer ire. TARP was too visible and thus was dangerous politically for administration and Congress alike. Using the Federal Reserve to bail out the banks was far less visible and preferable politically.

"...It wasn't until July 2010 that...it became public the Fed had spent $9 trillion on the bank bailouts up to that date...The Fed was insulated from electoral--and therefore Congressional--pressure to a large extent...The Federal Reserve could simply print money in the worst situation, if necessary, to bail out the financial sector...The U.S. government undertook...bank stress tests...in March [2009]...to...artificially boost bank stock prices...

"With more capital on hand from the stock appreciation and offerings, the banks loaned out the additional funds...to speculators like hedge funds, private equity firms and the like. The latter were busy speculating in Chinese property, foreign currencies, derivatives, swaps and similar investments. The banks that loaned them the funds in turn made nice profits, which further boosted their stock prices. Banks thus turned once again to the speculative investing that got them into trouble in the first place. The government turned a blind eye to the practice...The Fed charged the banks a mere 0.25 percent for banks to borrow funds from it. The banks then lent the money to speculators globally and received returns of 6 to 10 percent on average. Free money from the Fed for above-average market returns...

"So the method by which the banks and other financial institutions were effectively `rescued' or bailed out was...via...the Fed, through means of near zero cost loans, with interest paid to the banks on those loans, and via measures that artificially boasted bank stocks...such as phony stress tests and suspension of reasonable accounting rules..."




Wednesday, June 5, 2019

`Share Your Love' folk song lyrics


A folk love song about spreading your love around and avoiding coupleism and exclusionary love relationships.

(chorus) 
If you share your love 
With more than one 
It might be wisdom 
If you share your love. 

(verses) 
Some people just care for one person 
Some people just care for their children 
So many hearts closed to the world 
So much love but just for a few. (chorus) 

People become possessions, couples versus the world 
Like nations on different islands, with separate flags unfurled 
They go through life coming close to one or two 
And how much love they lost nobody seems to know. (chorus) 

Bombs fall far away, many do not care 
They say they're in "love," but they do not share 
Is it really "love"? or mutual flattery? 
Can you talk of love when there's monopoly? (chorus) 

When I discover love, I'll pass it on to you 
When you discover love, I hope you'll share it too 
Some find love easily, some cry in misery 
Some give love for a fee, few share love equally. (chorus)

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Australian Anti-War Activist Joan Coxsedge's April 28, 2019 Letter


The following letter from Australian anti-war and Latin American solidarity activist Joan Coxsedge--who is also a former member of the Victoria state parliament--originally appeared in an Australian-Cuban solidarity group's newsletter.

“April 28, 2019

“Dear Comrades,

“Only a few weeks to go before we cast our votes for bad or much worse, and I’ll let you nut that one out for yourselves. Either way, the rorts and inequalities will continue with the rich getting richer and the rest of us getting slugged for the basics like gas, electricity, transport and water that were once in public hands.

“We don’t nurture our land, but allow the road lobby to do what it likes, cutting a swathe through precious Aboriginal sites and ancient trees and places of natural beauty. Climate change? Not interested. Homeless people? Ditto. Money talks and big money talks even louder.

“The world as a whole isn’t looking too flash. Fresh catastrophes just keep coming, some ‘natural’ and some not, mostly committed by screwed-up young men. Headlined for a day, before another nightmare comes along to take its place. The only thing that’s made me laugh out loud recently was the Ukrainian election which was won by a comedian, a fair dinkum comedian. Why not? When you cast your eyes around the world’s leaders, they certainly qualify as clowns, not funny ones though, just cynical caricatures who dish out crap and like to act tough. To impress the lying war-hungry clown who inhabits the White House?

“Even when Trump goes, he will be replaced with another war-hungry clown because they’re the ones who get the big gigs. Like corporate toady Joe Biden, who’s put his hand up to ‘rescue the Democrats from Bernie Sanders’.

“You’re probably sick of hearing about Julian Assange, but you shouldn’t be, because that’s what the powers-that-be want, so a few more facts about his incarceration in Britain’s maximum security Belmarsh Prison - its ‘Guantanamo Bay’ - wouldn’t hurt. And the knowledge that the slimy English magistrate who put him there is the same one who stopped a private prosecution of Tony Blair for war crimes. Assange is not allowed any visitors, including from his doctors and lawyers, despite needing urgent medical care. He’s being held in appalling conditions for exposing US war crimes. For being a journalist.

“A few weeks ago, the American Civil Liberties Union noted that ‘criminally prosecuting a publisher for the publication of truthful information would be a first in American history and unconstitutional…and would open the door to criminal investigations of other news organizations’. The manufactured FBI indictment contains no evidence, no documents and no genuine testimony but was concocted by the Pentagon’s shadowy Cyber Counter-Intelligence Assessments Branch.

“On 2 May Julian Assange will appear in custody at Westminster Magistrates’ Court for a preliminary extradition hearing and the US must request his extradition from the UK by 12 June. But he could be in UK gaols for years if the extradition is contested in court. While the Ecuadoran, British and US governments are flagrantly violating its own laws in persecuting Julian, individuals and civil society organizations are mobilizing to defend him. The Australian Government? Labor Opposition? Not a peep. 

“Trump and his cabal despise civil rights and are doing everything possible to wind back former treaties and alliances enshrining progressive international law. A free press? You’re kidding. The aim of these thugs in suits is to dissuade investigative journalists from ‘investigating’. Beat them up and lock them up as an example to others who might still want to write the truth about American barbarism. And journalists and governments are watching and taking note.

“The Deep State has gone ballistic, especially after WikiLeaks published the Vault 7 files, detailing the CIA’s gigantic hacking/cyber espionage repertoire, including the activities of the ultrasecret Centre for Cyber Intelligence, its NSA counterpart. There is every reason to believe that Assange will be hit with far more serious charges once he lands on US soil. They’re not going to all this bother to put him away for five years, but are clearly intent on setting a legal precedent to enable a US government to imprison any journalist who steps out of line.

“Never before in my long life have I seen such a belligerent United States. Jimmy Carter agrees. ’The most warlike nation in the history of the world’, he said. Vice-President Mike Pence told the UN Security Council that the White House intends removing Venezuelan President Maduro from power with ‘all options on the table’, adding that: ‘Russia and other friends of Maduro need to leave now or face the consequences’.

“The crisis in Venezuela could become global as Russia gears up for war. Like Iran, after Washington declared that part of the Iranian military was a ‘foreign terrorist organization’ and therefore subject to attack.

“As an antidote, I came across an article by George Burchett, son of the famous Wilfred, who recently attended the 70th anniversary of the founding of Ho Chi Minh’s School of Writing and Journalism, some 80 kms north of Hanoi. In 1949, resistance against the French colonialists, backed by US Imperialists, was almost impossible. In that year, 49 young students were trained as lecturers, including the famous General Giap, in revolutionary journalism so they could contribute to their country’s struggle for independence and liberty.

“Uncle Ho’s principles? Know why you write and who you write for. Be succinct. Get your facts straight. Don’t use complicated language. Believe in what you write. Revolutionary journalism is only possible when truth is on your side. Then the pen is indeed mightier than the sword. When words serve a just cause, no army can defeat them. Viva!

“Joan Coxsedge” 

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Joan Coxsedge's `Some Facts About Libya'--Part 3

Pharma 150 chemical plant in Rabta, Libya
 In  Part 3 of her 2018 book, Some Facts About Libya: How the West destroyed this once prosperous nation, long-time Australian antiwar and Latin American solidarity activist Joan Coxsedge--who is also a former member of the Victoria state parliament--recalls her 1989 visit to Libya in the following way:

Visiting Libya ten years later in 1989.

I returned to Libya in 1989 when it looked as if World War Three was about to break out. Washington had accused Libya of building a chemical weapons plant and was threatening to militarily destroy the country unless Qaddafi closed the plant down and allowed a US team to inspect the site. Based solely on US intelligence sources, Washington claimed with mounting hysteria that a satellite had pinpointed a construction site at Rabta, about 85 kilometers from Tripoli. We were assailed with a load of PR bull about Libya ‘threatening world peace’, which echoed around the world for most of January. Qaddafi continued to deny the charge.

Pressure from Washington was heating up and people became very nervous about the consequences for global stability. No one doubted the capacity of the US to carry out its threat. In 1986 US planes had bombed Tripoli and killed a number of people, including Qaddafi’s infant daughter. There was also deepening concern that President Reagan – already well away with Alzheimer’s disease – was about to vacate the White House with a literal bang. There was an added sense of urgency when two American F-14 Tomcat fighter pilots chanting ‘good kill, good kill’, shot down two Libyan MIG-23s over the Mediterranean, claiming self-defense. The Libyan pilots died.
  
Rather than waiting for something to happen, small groups from around the world traveled to Libya during that critical period to act as human shields to encourage some thoughtful talk. But once our media heard that a group of Australians were joining them they went feral, deciding for us in advance that our mission was solely concerned with passing judgement on Libya, to find it ‘guilty as charged’. We were also attacked for going to a country that was supposedly developing chemical and nuclear weapons, neglecting to mention that the nations they ardently supported – the US and Israel – had both in abundance.

We had many meetings with a variety of Libyans, the standout being our audience with their leader, Muammar Qaddafi. It took place in a large red, green and yellow Bedouin tent in the center of the Aziziya Barracks in Tripoli. Draped in a striking camel-colored mohair cloak, he talked of peace and that a genuine peace was not based on terrorism but based on love (tell that to the Yankees, I thought), and expressed surprise that the smear campaign against him had reached Australia. He believed that Australia should remain aloof from the imperialists – so did we – and expressed disappointment that bilateral agreements between us were sacrificed too readily considering that major programs of cooperation could be expanded.

In the General People’s Congress, we met Libya’s Deputy Prime Minister, Ibrahim Abukhazan, who also mentioned his desire to re-establish links with Australia. Libya had been forced into confrontation with the United States after its revolution, he said, and any genuine revolution would get the same reaction. Prior to 1969 all of Libya’s resources went to overseas capitalists, who used the country as a military base, with their political institutions getting their instructions from the British and American embassies. He believed Libya should be allowed to build new relationships, but the shock of its revolution was so profound that Western reaction remained one of undiluted hatred, despite its style of democracy being a consecration of what was aspired to in the West by Voltaire and the Rights of Man, but never realized because our governments got their orders from Washington.

We were eventually driven to Rabta, but only on the outskirts where a huge tent city had sprung up, not close enough to pass judgement on its function one way or another. We joined thousands of anxious people keeping vigil, singing and holding hands and praying for peace. The furor over Libya lasted for most of January, but collapsed with the end of Reagan’s presidency. A story buried on page 17 in the New York Times on 2 March 1990 – ignored by our own media – stated that White House officials had admitted that the Pharma 150 plant at Rabta was not going to manufacture chemical weapons after all, but was being ‘converted’ into a pharmaceutical plant. Which was precisely what the Libyans had been saying all along. 

Monday, April 15, 2019

`When They Jailed Elizabeth Gurley Flynn' lyrics



A biographical folk song about 20th-century U.S. labor movement organizer Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and the response of middle-class liberals and the ACLU to her imprisonment by U.S. government at Alderson federal prison in 1950s.

(lyrics)
(verse 1)
When she was sixteen she spoke on a street by Broadway
And urged workers to fight for their freedom
Female equality in the early 20th-century
Could be won, she said, with socialism.
(verse 2)
She joined the Wobblies and fought to speak freely
And for "bread and roses" in Lawrence
Her Irish rebel spirit and words charismatic
Inspired Paterson strikers to risk arrests.

(chorus)
And where were the middle class women'
When they jailed Elizabeth Gurley Flynn?
They joined with anti-communist liberals
To lock her up in Alderson.

(verse 3)
Out West she visited Joe Hill's cell
And her inner and outer beauty sparked a song
And after Joe Hill's death she organized Workers Defense
Of thousands whose imprisonment was wrong.

(verse 4)
In her 40's and 50's she continued to speak out
Against capitalism, fascism and Cold War
And her newspaper column demanded working women rights
And that Jim Crow in the South not be ignored. (chorus)

(verse 5)
Yes, in her 60's she was jailed for "conspiracy"
And deprived of her civil liberties
Yet the ACLU she helped start as a youth
Failed to demand that she be freed. (chorus)

Friday, April 5, 2019

Joan Coxsedge's `Some Facts About Libya'--Part 2


Jamahiriya Museum in Libya
In  Part 2 of her 2018 book, Some Facts About Libya: How the West destroyed this once prosperous nation, long-time Australian antiwar and Latin American solidarity activist Joan Coxsedge--who is also a former member of the Victoria state parliament--recalls her 1979 visit to Libya in the following way:

Visiting Libya in 1979.

In 1979 I was invited to Libya to take part in a conference on Palestine with the moniker ‘The Conference of Tripoli on Imperialist, Zionist and Reactionary Scenes against the Arab Nation, the Danger of these Schemes to the Vital Interest of All Nations and to the Problems of Peace and Liberation all over the World’. Not the most popular subject in Australia, but of interest to me because I believed the Palestinians got a spectacularly rotten deal when the world salved its conscience by giving away their land after WW2. It took place six years after the Yom Kippur War, a year after the ‘Camp David Agreement’ and a year before the Israeli Knesset (parliament) passed a new law proclaiming Jerusalem the ‘eternal capital of Israel’. 

The conference was well organised and extraordinarily interesting. Security was tight, for good reason. Palestinian leaders with a price on their heads using aliases flew in from around the world. Many of their colleagues had been assassinated by Israeli hit squads.

Apart from Muammar Qaddafi who opened the conference, I met George Habash, head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and Vanessa Redgrave, the tall, strikingly handsome British actress. And we all rose to our feet to give a standing ovation of welcome to a delegation from the newly elected Sandinista government in Nicaragua, their debut on the international stage.

At the start of proceedings we were each given a copy of Qaddafi’s The Green Book, Libya’s answer to Mao’s Little Red Book, except the Libyan version was much longer. In it Qaddafi called parliamentary democracy a sham where voters ‘stand in long queues to cast their votes in ballot boxes in the same way as they throw other papers into the dustbin’. Quite a few would agree with that. He preferred direct popular participation in people’s congresses – a notion not too far removed from the slogan of Russia’s 1917 October Revolution, which called for ‘all power to the Soviets’ (local committees) – even though that slogan later bit the dust. On the second day, I gave a paper titled ‘The Impact of US Imperialism on Australia’.



 Thanks to a hostile media, I doubt if many would associate Libya with art and architecture, despite it being an archaeologist’s heaven back then. In the centuries before Christ, when Greek supremacy went down the drain after the sacking of Carthage and Corinth, Rome ruled the region for more than eight centuries before it lost control to the Arabs in the seventh century AD. Despite another thirteen hundred turbulent years, many of the ancient monuments survived. Western Libya in particular was richly endowed as I discovered during my tour of Sabratha and Leptis Magna, birthplace of Emperor Septimus Severus. 

I walked down streets where ruts from ancient chariot wheels were still visible and past the remains of houses where people had lived and worked until the end of the 4th or 5th century. I fingered grooves on a stone counter made by ancient butchers and fishmongers when they sharpened their massive knives and roamed in and out of small shops and stalls that had once sold spices and wines and goods made from leather.

But the building that took the cake was the ‘Hunting Baths’ whose domes and vaults had been buried under sand for fifteen centuries. Inside, a series of warm and hot rooms were lined with hollow tiles where hot air from the furnaces passed through, and most astonishing of all was the discovery that the 2000-year-old bathhouse still worked!

During my drive to Sabratha I stopped at the Jamahiriya Museum to look at its collection of priceless mosaics and worry whether these magical places and ancient artefacts have managed to survive the savagery and barbarism of the 21st century.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Excerpt From Engels' 1892 Preface To His 1844 `Condition of Working Class' Book Revisited


"...The cause of the miserable condition of the working-class is to be sought...in the capitalistic system itself. The wage-worker sells to the capitalist his labor-force for a certain daily sum. After a few hours' work he has reproduced the value of that sum; but...he has to work another series of hours to complete his working-day; and the value he produces during these additional hours of surplus labor is surplus value; which costs the capitalist nothing, but yet goes into his pocket. That is the basis of the system which tends more and more to split up civilized society into a few Rothschilds and Vanderbilts, the owners of all the means of production and subsistence, on the one hand, and an immense number of wage-workers, the owners of nothing but their labor-force, on the other...

"...So long as the wealthy classes not only do not feel the want of any emancipation, but strenuously oppose the self-emancipation of the working-class, so long the social revolution will have to be prepared and fought out by the working-class alone...And today, the very people who..preach to the workers a Socialism...tending to reconcile...the interests of both the contending classes--these people are either neophytes, who have still to learn a great deal, or they are the worst enemies of the workers--wolves in sheep's clothing...

"...Today there is indeed...Socialism of all shades: Socialism conscious and unconscious and of the middle-class, for, verily, that abomination of abominations, Socialism, has not only become respectable, but has actually donned evening dress and lounges lazily on drawing-room love-seats...What I consider far more important than this momentary fashion among bourgeois circles of affecting a mild dilution of Socialism...is the revival of the East End of London...It has...become the home of...the organization of the great mass of `unskilled' workers..."

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Engels' 1844 Description of Results of Industrialization In English-Speaking Capitalist Countries


As long ago as 1844, Fred Engels indicated what the results of industrialization were under the capitalist economic system in predominantly English-speaking countries, in the following way:

"...Murder has...been committed if society places hundreds of workers in such a position that they inevitably come to premature and unnatural ends. Their death is as violent as if they had been stabbed or shot. Murder has been committed if thousands of workers have been deprived of the necessities of life or if they have been forced into a situation in which it is impossible for them to survive. Murder has been committed if the workers have been forced by the strong arm of the law to go on living under such conditions until death inevitably releases them. Murder has been committed if society knows perfectly well that thousands of workers cannot avoid being sacrificed so long as these conditions are allowed to continue. Murder of this sort is just as culpable as the murder committed by an individual...If a worker dies no one places the responsibility for his death on society, though some would realize that society has failed to take steps to prevent the victim from dying. But it is murder all the same...


"...The workers are...condemned to a lifetime of unremitting toil...Man knows no more degrading or unbearable misery than forced labor. No worse fate can befall a man than to have to work every day from morning to night against his will at a job that he abhors...He works because he must...Because his hours of labor are so long and so dismally monotonous, the worker must surely detest his job after the first few weeks...In most branches of industry the task of the worker is limited to insignificant and purely repetitive tasks which continue minute by minute for every day of the year...There are only two courses open to the worker. He may submit to his fate and become a `good worker'...or he can resist and fight for his rights as far as humanly possible..."

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Engels' 1844 Take on English-Speaking Workers Competing With Each Other Under Capitalism Revisited


As long ago as 1844, Fred Engels indicated how the majority of English-speaking workers, living under a capitalist economic system in predominantly English-speaking countries, don't benefit from competing with each other, in the following way:

"Competition is the most extreme expression of that war of all which dominates...society. This struggle for existence--which in extreme cases is a life and death struggle--is waged not only between different classes of society but also between individuals within these social groups. Everybody competes in some way against everyone else and consequently each individual tries to push aside anyone whose existence is a barrier to his own advancement. The workers compete among themselves...Those who are unemployed or poorly paid try to undercut and so destroy the livelihood of those who have work and are earning better wages. This competition of workers among themselves is the worst aspect of the present situation as far as the proletariat is concerned. This is the sharpest weapon...against the working classes. This explains the rise of trade unions, which represent an attempt to eliminate such fratricidal conflict between the workers themselves...

"The worker is helpless; left to himself he cannot survive a single day...In law and in fact the worker is the slave...The worker has no choice but to accept the terms offered...or go hungry and naked like the wild beasts...The bourgeoisie alone...decide the terms of the bargain...

"...The...difference between the old-fashioned slavery and the new is that while the former was openly acknowledged the latter is disguised. The worker appears to be free, because he is not bought and sold outright. He is sold piecemeal by the day, the week, or the year. Moreover he is not sold by one owner to another, but he is forced to sell himself in this fashion. He is not the slave of a single individual, but of the whole capitalist class. As far as the worker is concerned...there can be no doubt as to his servile status...His real masters, the...capitalists, can discard him at any moment and leave him to starve, if they have no further use for his services and no further interest in his survival...They can now get rid of their workers whenever it pleases them without losing any of their capital...

"...Wages fall owing to competition between the unemployed...The workers suffer great distress. The small savings of the individual workers are soon spent and charitable organizations are overwhelmed with appeals for help...The number of those who are starving increases...The `superfluous' workers may or may not survive...

"...English industry must always have a reserve of unemployed workers, except during the short period when the boom is at its height. The existence of such a reserve is essential in order that labor may be available to produce the great quantities of goods which are needed during the few months when the business boom reaches its climax...The size of this reserve varies with the state of trade....During a slump the reserve of unemployed swells to formidable dimensions. Even when trade is moderately active--in between the extremes of boom and depression--there are still many workers who are unemployed. This pool of unemployed is the `surplus population.'...When they are out of work, these people eke out a miserable existence...If these people can find no work and are not prepared to rebel against society, what else can they do but beg? No wonder that there exists a great army of beggars, mostly able-bodied men..."

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Engels' 1844 Summary Of Condition Of English-Speaking Workers Under Capitalism Revisited



As long ago as 1844, Fred Engels summarized how the majority of English-speaking workers were forced to live under a capitalist economic system in predominantly English-speaking countries, in the following way:

"The vast majority of the inhabitants of the great towns are workers...The workers...nearly all live from hand to mouth on their wages. Society having degenerated into a collection of selfish individuals, no one bothers about the workers and their families. The workers are not given the means whereby they can make satisfactory and permanent provision for their families. Even the most highly-skilled worker is therefore continually threatened with the loss of...livelihood and that means death by starvation. And many do indeed die in this way. The working-class quarters of the towns are always badly laid out. Their houses are...kept in a bad state of repair. They are badly ventilated, damp and unhealthy. The workers are herded into the smallest possible space...The clothing of the workers is also normally inadequate. The workers' diet is generally poor...From time to time many workers' families actually go short of food and in exceptional cases they actually die of hunger.

"The working classes of the great cities exhibit a variety of standards of living. In favorable circumstances some of them enjoy, at least temporarily, a modest prosperity. Sometimes high wages can be earned...In bad times, however, the unlucky worker may sink into the deepest poverty, actually culminating in homelessness and death from starvation. On the average the condition of the worker approximates much more closely to the worst we have described than to the best...While it is true that particular groups of workers have an advantage over their fellows and are relatively well off, nevertheless the condition of all workers is liable to fluctuate so violently that every single workers is faced with the possibility of passing through the stages that lead from relative comfort to extreme poverty and even death from starvation..."