Monday, January 28, 2008

Why Does the Egyptian Ruling Class Fear the Crisis in Gaza?

By David Markovitch
Monday, 28 January 2008

The Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip has been dealt a major blow: Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, had to allow the starving Palestinian masses to cross the border into his country to get food, medications, clothes and other basic necessities.

Some 350,000 Palestinians poured out of Gaza and into Egypt early on Wednesday and more than half the total population of the strip managed to cross the border during the first days after the breach, the United Nations said. The Israeli daily Haaretz reported that the Gazans rushed to purchase food, fuel, and other supplies made scarce by Israel's blockade of the Strip, after militants detonated 17 bombs in the early morning hours, destroying some two-thirds of the metal wall separating the Gaza Strip from Egypt.

Hamas did not claim responsibility for knocking the border wall down, but Hamas militants quickly took control of the frontier, as Egyptian border guards took no action. Israel said in response to the chaos that it expects Egypt to solve the crisis, but it's evident that Egypt is in a difficult position where whatever choices are made will cause more instability.

Haaretz reports that "the destruction of the border continued late on Wednesday morning. Palestinians driving a Caterpillar bulldozer arrived at a point where the frontier is marked by a low concrete wall topped with barbed wire, tearing down the wall and opening a gap to allow easier access for cars. Hamas police channelled the crowds through two sections of the border, and inspected some bags, confiscating seven pistols carried by one man returning to Gaza.

"Others walked unhindered over the toppled metal plates that once made up the border wall, carrying goats, chickens and crates of Coke. Some brought back televisions and car tires, and one man bought a motorcycle. Vendors sold soft drinks and baked goods to the crowds".

On Monday, some 60 people were injured at a demonstration at the Rafah crossing as the crowd tried to break through the border gate, and Egyptian border guards used water cannons against them. This fact and the subsequent attempts to seal the border by Egypt, indicate that Mubarak was forced to allow people to break in because the Egyptian army was overwhelmed by the pressure of the crowd. Any attempt to resort to bloody repression would have opened an even more dangerous scenario for the stability of the regime.

Israel imposed a full closure on the Gaza Strip on January 17th in response to massive barrages of Qassam rocket fire on southern Israel. Defense Minister Ehud Barak allowed limited transfers of fuel Tuesday for the power plant in the Strip and medical supplies for hospitals.

Security sources told Haaretz on Tuesday that Israel intends to keep the crossings into the Gaza Strip permanently closed except when it is necessary to provide for emergency humanitarian needs. This new policy would have allowed, according to the Israeli government, the transfer of sufficient aid and materials to the Palestinians to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and minimize international criticism. What really happened was that the burden over the lives of the mass of the population was so heavy that the whole situation exploded.

Hamas politburo chairman, Khaled Meshal, declared that the attacks would continue until Israel "ended the occupation and the aggression, the resistance, including rocket attacks, would not cease." At least 20 rockets were fired against Israel on Tuesday, in addition to a handful of mortars. The Israeli ruling class on the other side welcomes these sort of indiscriminate attacks because they do not harm the power of Israeli state at all. On the contrary, they secretly welcome each and every rocket fired from Gaza because they leave ordinary Israeli people with little choice than to support the Zionist state.

What motivates Mubarak?

Mubarak has no special sympathy toward the Palestinians. When Yasser Arafat was hesitating signing on the second Oslo Accords with the late Prime Minister Rabin, Mubarak muttered angrily and whispered, "Sign, you son of a dog!" In fact, Mubarak has been striving for decades to do whatever he could in order to maintain his regime with minimum tension, attempting to present the Palestinian question as a problem that has no unique or close relation to Egypt. His country did absolutely nothing in order to help the Palestinian refugees, wallowing in terrible misery and tragic poverty in the camps.

Like the Jordanian Hashemite Kingdom and its leader Hussein, Mubarak was always seeking to play a role of disinterested conciliator between Israel and the Palestinians, enjoying the enormous financial support delivered to them by Uncle Sam.

The interesting question is, however, why did Mubarak decide to open the border and let the Palestinians cross? Did he find hidden humanity in his heart? Did he lurch to help the famished Palestinian people?

The main reason why Mubarak did not order the Egyptian army to carry out a bloody repression against the Palestinians is that he feared the army would not hold the line.

Furthermore, he feared that repression would have detonated an even more furious response from the Palestinian masses and eventually fail, opening up an even more terrifying scenario for the regime.

The third reason is related to the rising social unrest that is heating up in Egypt (see previous articles here and here). The conditions of Egyptian masses have been worsening in recent years, in spite of high rates of growth. The inflation rate is well above 10 per cent and price hikes between 30 and 50 per cent in all basic commodities like meat, fresh vegetables, wheat flour, bread, fuel, energy, etc., hit the poorer sections of the population harder than the rich. In the last two years a wave of strikes and workers' militancy has been rising. The regime had no alternative than concede to workers' demands, in the attempt to prevent struggles to generalize.

The Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm reported on January 14 that about 300 workers of Menotex factory demonstrated in the city of Menoufia over the failure to pay their salaries for two months, while about 200 others at the Aalaf Kafr Saad factory in Damietta threatened to go on strike in protest against the sale of the plant. On January 9, a member of the Coordinating Committee of Workers' Unions Rights and Freedoms, Khaled Ali, told al-Masry al-Youm that "it is unacceptable for the minimum monthly wage in Egypt to be 35 pounds when the price of a kilogram of meat is 40 pounds, and when the minimum for social security is 104 pounds".

Every strike collides with the official union's bureaucracy, which is a part of the state and through their own experience sections of the most militant workers are reaching the conclusions that independent unions have to be formed.

The blog 3Arabawy, written by an Egyptian journalist reported that The Center for Socialist Studies issued a statement on the victory of the two months long Real Estate Tax Collectors' Strike, asserting this will open new doors for the struggle of professional people and civil servants in other government sectors. He translated part of it: "Another fight is also looming... Once again it's over the unions... The strike all throughout was run by the Higher Committee for the Real Estate Tax Collectors' Strike, headed by the dynamic Kamal Abu Eita and in theory included one representative from each of the country's 26 provinces.

"Where were the state-sponsored Union Committee members? They were not involved. And as a humiliating proof of their illegitimacy and lack of credibility they were not even invited to the final negotiations between the Finance Minister and members of the Higher Committee for the Real Estate Tax Collectors' Strike, the true representatives of the civil servants..."

The same blog announced that the Egyptian Workers and Trade Unions Watch has issued a new report, citing 35 industrial actions during the first two weeks of November: 8,000 workers took part in strikes, sit-ins, or hunger-strikes, while 33,000 others threatened to go on strike or stage sit-ins.

The situation in Egypt is clear: the workers' movement is becoming a major force in the society, while the labor movement - apart from the trade union bureaucracy - is led by militant unionists. It is playing a crucial role in carrying forward the class struggle and laying the foundations for a mass political organization of the Egyptian working class.

The Egyptian toilers feel understandable sympathy toward their poor and oppressed brothers and sisters in Gaza. They watch the pictures at the Television, read the reports in the newspapers, get updates through the internet, and they become angry and furious. They are not directing their angry toward the Israeli ruling elite, which has always been regarded in great suspicion and hostility by the Egyptian masses. They expect nothing from the decaying Israeli liberal bourgeoisie and the Brown Shirts of the rising racist Israeli Right. They demand that the government takes action, while understanding its treacherous role, abhorring its policies as representing the interests of the US imperialism, and loathing it as the enemy of the workers and youth.

Mubarak fears the labor movement and it is no coincidence that after so many strikes and pressure from below to end his austerity policies, the Egyptian Bonapartist fears the reaction of the masses and allows the Palestinian impoverished masses to enter his country. Mubarak knows quite well that his rule is unstable, that after his retirement (he is almost 80 years old) the country might fall into chaos as the leadership the National Democratic Party has been losing the support of the masses. His son, Gamal, is not regarded as an authoritative figure within Egyptian politics.

At a certain stage this wave of anger towards the ruling NDP can be transformed into pre-revolutionary situation. Egypt has been leaning for years on the West. Since 1979, the country has been receiving $2.2 billion per year from the imperialist US ruling class. In return, Egyptian rulers have been enslaving the masses to the world bourgeoisie. Thus, in its annual report, the IMF has rated Egypt as one of the top countries in the world in undertaking economic reforms. A serious intensification of the class struggle can threaten the rule of the NDP and create an open conflict with masses. US and the EU imperialism would expect Mubarak to respond by oppressing the labor movement. Mubarak, who knows how fragile his rule is, doesn't wish to enter a situation in which his eroded regime could be undermined by his own people.

Egypt's road to Revolution

The Egyptian republic has travelled a long way during the last 50 years. The July 23 Revolution in 1952, by a group of young army officers who called themselves The Free Officers Movement, was a decisive step forward in which a monarchy became a republic through a bourgeois-national revolution. The reasons for the revolution resembles today's situation: The Egyptian ruling elite was corrupt and pro-British, with an ostentatious lifestyle, provocative and boastful; the masses lived in terrible misery. The masses considered the establishment as corrupt and had no trust in its institutions or in the political parties. The defeat suffered by Egypt in the 1948 war caused a national crisis in which the king was considered as a defeatist who lacked any program that could advance Egyptian society. As a result, Gamal Abdel Nasser was nominated as president.

A change in the course of Egyptian politics was occurring after the regime had been asking for loans from the World Bank in order to finance the construction of the Aswan High Dam. After the US and Britain withdrew from their agreement to finance the project, the Egyptian president pressed forward in the revolutionary process and announced the nationalization of the Suez Canal Company. Nasser promised that revenues of the SCC would finance the construction of the High Dam. Nasserism was a radical bourgeois nationalist who spoke about "socialism" (in some respects resembling Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in Pakistan). This created sharp tensions between Egypt and Britain and France. The British and French imperialisms decided to freeze Egyptian assets and put their armies on alert.

The Stalinist bureaucracy considered Egypt as an important country in consolidating the pro-Soviet camp in the Middle East, while Israel allied with US imperialism. The Soviet Union offered to fund the High Dam project. The Israeli ruling elite saw its opportunity in the rift between Egypt and the European imperialists and initiated a Tripartite Anglo-French-Israeli aggression against Egypt in 1956. Egypt responded to the war by nationalizing all British and French banks and companies. Later, other foreign and Egyptian firms were nationalized by Nasser.

The revolutionary process went deeper in 1962, as the Nasserite regime supported the deformed workers' state of Abdullah Al-Sallal in Yemen. The Yemenite Revolution overthrew Imam Badr and carried forward a revolutionary process that was aiming at building a "socialist republic" - that is to say, a deformed workers' state in the image of Moscow. As a result, Egypt entered a political conflict with Saudi Arabia, the committed supporter of the Yemeni royalists.

Egyptian industry progressed very much during Nasser's rule as capital Investment in industry and mining increased considerably. Nasser carried forward a major Agrarian Reform. By 1962, these policies had led to a minimum 51% government ownership of the economy. Egypt was moving in the direction of a deformed workers' state, that is, a state in which the means of production would be nationalized, but without proletarian democracy.

However, after the defeat in the 1967 war with Israel against Egypt in June 1967, Nasser decided to resign. Millions of workers and youth poured onto the streets in mass demonstrations in Egypt and across the Middle East. This was the moment in which Nasser could have finished the job of expropriating the capitalists, but the Moscow Stalinist bureaucracy, which had no interest in advancing the revolution in the Middle East, restrained him.

When Nasser died of heart attack on September 1970, more than five millions were present in his funeral. With all his faults, the masses admired Nasser for his anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist policies, and for reforms such as making education freely available to the poor, building Egyptian industry, removing the monarchist boot from the masses' neck. He also supported the arts, such as the theatre, the film and music industries, as well as Egyptian literature.

However, after the death of Nasser. Egypt swung in the opposite direction. It suffered another blow when it was defeated in the 1973 war, initiated by Nasser's successor, Anwar Sadat. Its economy went through a period of serious stagnation. Sadat's turn to the right culminated in the Camp David accords with Israel, under the patronage of former US President Carter, which caused frustration among the masses. He even refused to insist that Israel should withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories and stop the settlements movement. The peace pact with Israel was regarded as terrible betrayal by the masses and led to his assassination.

For Egyptian workers' revolution

Nasserism had its own problems. First and foremost, its concept of socialism was nationalistic; there was no workers' democracy and Nasser took the degenerated Soviet state as his model of "socialism". This doomed the Egyptian Revolution, which did not even establish a deformed workers' state like the one in Yemen. Nasser had no idea of the permanent revolution, though he did have a very strong anti-imperialist stance. His policies fluctuated between revolution and nationalism, more accurately, Pan-Arabism - a tendency aiming at unifying the Arab masses of the region along anti-imperialist lines. In this "socialism-from-above" the masses didn't play any real role in politics, while a layer of bureaucracy, careerists, right centrists and opportunists was formed in the image of Moscow.

The defeat in the June 1967 War did not destroy the masses' trust in Nasser but it did encourage the bureaucracy to step backward and reverse the tendency towards greater statization of the economy. The formation of National Democratic Party in 1978 further deepened the retreat. Nasser was a petty bourgeois Bonapartist, who balanced between the working class and the bourgeoisie, and also between imperialism and the USSR.

Mubarak is a bourgeois Bonapartist who has abandoned all Nasser's "socialist" demagogy and openly allied himself to imperialism and the bourgeoisie. The Nasserite experiment thus came to a bitter end with years of stagnation, brutal dictatorship, open alliance with the US imperialism and, in recent years, privatization, anti-working class measures, the oppression of civil rights and the strengthening of an authoritarian regime.

The awakening Egyptian workers' movement has no trust in the bourgeois NDP. It has even less trust in the bureaucracy of the unions. It wishes to use the trade unions and the workers' power in order to change the course of the country. The compromising attitude of the ruling NDP reflects a recognition in its weakness. This weakness is now expressed in the decision of Mubarak to let the Palestinians enter Egypt and thus break the Israeli siege. The Egyptian ruler fears the masses.

But the most dangerous lesson (from the point of view of the regime) that emerges from the crisis in Gaza is that when the mass of the people are mobilized, they become such a powerful force that normal means to enforce authority become useless. Every attempt to seal the border after the break up has failed so far and it is clear that nobody can ensure that things go back to "normal" unless the mass mobilization steps back. We are sure that this lesson will not be ignored by the masses in Egypt and throughout the Middle East.

However, the labor movement in Egypt should not use the crisis in the country just to overthrow Mubarak. The reactionary Muslim Brotherhood movement, smashed by Nasser, has been long waiting to seize power. The Islamists are dying to take revenge, to crush bourgeois national secularism and build Islamic republic. This will be a disaster to the working class. The workers in Egypt should build their class organizations and strive for political independence. The most advanced workers and youth will defend the socialist programme and fight for a real workers' republic in Egypt and throughout the region. They will fight for a class programme, based on secular and democratic policies and develop solidarity with all the toilers of the region, building fraternal links not only with the Palestinian but also with the Israeli working class, advancing an internationalist agenda.

Through action, the Egyptian workers will sooner or later come to understand the need to establish their own Labor party. In a situation like that of Egypt, militant trade union activity will necessarily end with the workers drawing political conclusions. In the end there is no other way forward for the workers of Egypt except taking power into their own hands.

The most advanced sections of the Egyptians and youth will be interested in the ideas of Marxism. They will study the problems and achievements of the past, and they will draw the conclusions from the failure of Nasserism and turn to authentic socialism - to Marxism as it was elaborated by Lenin and Trotsky. Only in this way can a genuine revolutionary leadership be forged, as a truly socialist wing within the Egyptian workers' movement. Socialism is the only way forward to the Egyptian exploited and poor masses.RENEGADE EYE

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Downloading: Punishable by death?

Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan Appeal
January 17, 2008

Galileos are still being interrogated in the disastrous courts of ignorance
Young Galileos are crying
Oh You! Darkness lovers:
We will not be frightened of burns and fires
We are the everlasting flames of history
Sirus Tabristani, an Iranian Poet

The criminals who are in power in Afghanistan have imprisoned Parwiz Kambakhsh, a young journalist, since October 2007 in Balkh province - Northern Afghanistan. He is threatened to be hanged by the dark-minded and ignorant judges in the medieval courts of Afghanistan. The accusations are so ridiculous and injudicious that they make any freedom-loving person want to stand and say enough is enough. Mr. Kambakhsh is accused of printing/distributing an article from the Internet, which points out controversial verses of the Quran regarding women’s rights. The book “Religion in the History of Civilization” (by Will Durant) taken from his living room has been kept as an evidence against him in the court!

In a country where for the last six years there are many claims regarding “democracy”, “human rights”, and “freedom of press”, the religious fascists have their grip on justice and try every possible way to mute anyone who criticizes or comments about the Northern Alliance criminals.

Imprisonment of Parwiz Kambakhsh is not only for his enlightening articles in a local newspaper, Jahan-e-Now (The New World), but also because of his brother Yaqub Ibrahimi, who is a well-known, brave and realistic reporter and exposed many criminal faces from Jehadi mafia in Northern Afghanistan to the world public.

The Jehadi criminals, who could not silence Ibrahimi, now try to pursue a traitorous agenda by unlawfully imprisoning his brother in order to hush him.

The Religious Scholars Council of Balkh province who have never condemned the criminal acts of the fundamentalist warlords in the north, now disgracefully issued a verdict for the execution of Parwiz Kambakhsh.

Above everything, the shocking detention of Mr. Kambakhsh is a great disgrace for Mr. Karzai and his Western patrons who decorated the notorious criminals in pants and ties and brought them in power under the guise of “democrats”. Now Mr. Karzai says he is not as powerful to control them.

Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) kindly asks all freedom-loving individuals and organizations who believe in human rights and democracy to stand up against the unjust imprisonment of Parwiz Kambakhsh, and ask for his immediate release. Only your strong support for justice and freedom can stop the mediaeval acts of the Afghan government and its allies, which are in the style of the brutal Iranian regime.

Please email your protest letters to:

Presidential Office:

United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)

The Supreme Court of Afghanistan

You may also send protest letters to Afghan embassy in your country.Maryam Namazie

Monday, January 21, 2008

50 Years of West Side Story

I never wanted to be a performer, as much as I live for the arts. There is one exception to that statement. To me the ultimate cool thing, is to dance in West Side Story, It doesn't matter if I'm a Shark or Jet.

National Public Radio presented a special about the making of West Side Story, and it being the 50 year anniversary of its Broadway Opening. That radio show had me mesmorized, This Youtube video shows a cast reunion of the 1957 Broadway show.

Start with book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Soundheim, directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins and produced by Harold Prince. That is an artistic dream team. Add a story based on Romeo and Juliet.

The cast had to all dance, act and sing on a high level. Carol Lawrence was an unknown actress. She was auditioned 13 times for the Maria part. Due to that the unions created the "Carol Lawrence Law". It is against the law to have more than three auditions on Broadway for free. Chita Rivera who went on to become Broadway's greatest dancer, was an 11 year on stage overnight sensation, She married one of the lead male dancers. Tony was played by Larry Kert who died of AIDS in 1991.

The cast was divided by gang. No socialization between gangs was allowed. The different groups had different audition times. Their rest places were covered with articles about gand warfare. During the Jets and Sharks dance, they were never on stage together, until actual performance. The Jets authentically were startled by their entrance.

What is little known, is Arthur Laurents was planning this since 1949 with Jerome Robbins. The original idea was for it to be "East Side Story," centered around a Jew and Catholic. With Puerto Ricans arriving to New York in a wave of immigrations, the changes were made; it moved to the West side, and became about Italians and Puerto Ricans.

What is important about West Side Story, is that the project was about artistic integrity; not about celebrity or profit. It didn't even make money until the movie came out.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Open Letter to President Chavez From Iranian Labour and Student Activists

By Iranian Workers’ Solidarity Network
Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Mr Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias,
President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Dear Mr President:

We hear the news of the release of two of the FARC's hostages with renewed hope for the future of Colombia. The release of Clara Rojas and Consuela Gonzalez is not only a joyous event for their families but a development with great potentials for Colombian society.

Even the most right-wing news agencies in the world acknowledge Your Excellency's crucial role in negotiating the release of these two captives. The negotiation process that you have gone through has been a difficult one - requiring uncommon patience on Your Excellency's part. We sincerely hope that many more people will be reunited with their families and friends through your positive intervention in bridging the communication gap between the FARC and the Uribe government.

Your Excellency, we believe that your negotiation and persuasion skills can be put to further use in the release of captives in other parts of the globe. In particular, as you have developed very close relations with successive Iranian presidents, we hope that you can use your influence to help free the genuine trade unionists, democrats and socialists locked up in Iran.

Today there are many workers, students, women and journalists in Iran's prisons. In December 2007 around 40 students were arrested for demanding freedom, liberty and singing the Internationale. Over thirty of them are still in prison - with rumours that Saeed Habibi may have committed suicide. Iran's jails are also full of labour activists who have tried to set up trade unions and organise workers in their struggles to improve their pay and conditions. Mahmood Salehi and Mansour Osanloo are two such organisers. Salehi, who has just one kidney, is in a critical state. He was arrested in 2004 because he tried to organise a May Day rally. Osanloo is the leader of the Vahed Bus Company trade union. He tried to re-launch the trade union and raise the workers' low wages. He was beaten up by vigilantes connected to the regime and imprisoned.

Your Excellency, we believe that your close relations with the Islamic Republic's leaders, together with your undoubted persuasion skills, can help free these prisoners. These are not criminals: they are people who merely protested for better rights for workers, students, women, journalists and other sections of society. We are sure that your intervention in this regard, with a government that is much friendlier to Venezuela than Uribe's Colombia, can bring about a positive outcome.

Yours respectfully,
Iranian Workers' Solidarity Network
Workers' Action Committee (Iran)
Militaant, journal of revolutionary socialist youth in Iran
January 13, 2008

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Obama’s Economic Advisers

Louis Proyect's analysis of Obama's economic team, gives us a glimpse of where he actually stands politically. I doubt if CNN will question him much about social security, healthcare etc.

Austan Goolsbee: U. of Chicago neoclassicist and “Sicko” critic

David Cutler: Harvard economist who believes
that high health costs are good for the economy

Jeffrey Liebman: another Harvard economist and
former Clinton adviser who favors privatizing social security

Last night I was on my stationary exercise bike watching early MSNBC news coverage of the New Hampshire primaries prior to vote totals being reported. The pundits were falling all over each other in praise of Barack Obama’s campaigning skills. I was especially struck by Tom Brokaw’s describing the Black candidate as “A thoroughbred who has broken away from the pack,” a perfect encapsulation of the idiotic horse race character of these elections.

Despite the intense rivalry between Obama and Hillary Clinton, they both are cut from the same mold, namely the Bill Clinton presidency. In his 2004 speech to the Democratic Party convention titled “The Audacity of Hope”, Obama adopted the bipartisan, centrist pose perfected by Hillary’s husband during his regime:

The pundits, the pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an “awesome God” in the Blue States, and we don’t like federal agents poking around in our libraries in the Red States.

Since Obama’s speeches are rather thin on substance, you have to extrapolate their meaning from sentences such as the following, which occurred in the same 2004 address:

Now, don’t get me wrong. The people I meet — in small towns and big cities, in diners and office parks — they don’t expect government to solve all their problems. They know they have to work hard to get ahead, and they want to. Go into the collar counties around Chicago, and people will tell you they don’t want their tax money wasted, by a welfare agency or by the Pentagon.

Since welfare was gutted long ago, we can only presume that this reference was meant to establish Obama’s belt-tightening fiscal outlook. Although it is not widely understood, Obama is pretty much committed to the neoclassical economics outlook of his home-town University of Chicago. Since becoming Senator, he has relied on the advice of a professor named Austan Goolsbee, who calls himself “a centrist, market economist” (Washington Times, July 16, 2007).

Goolsbee has been a columnist for and the NY Times, as well as a standup comedian. His economics are not meant as a joke, as I understand it. His columns are written very much in the same vein as fellow U. of Chicago neoclassical economist Steven Levitt’s “Freakonomics,” examining everyday problems such as “Why you get stuck for hours at O’Hare.” Most are fairly uncontroversial except for the swipe he took at Michael Moore’s “Sicko”, whose single-payer recommendations violate his free market principles.

Another adviser with a particular interest in health care is David Cutler, a Harvard economist who was also an adviser to Bill Clinton–surprise, surprise. Cutler wrote an article for the New England Journal of Medicine in 2006 asserting that “The rising cost … of health care has been the source of a lot of saber rattling in the media and the public square, without anyone seriously analyzing the benefits gained.”

Anxious to show the good side of rising costs, Cutler and a group of other economists defend the idea that a powerful and profitable medical industry can serve as an engine of economic growth in the USA as the wretched Gina Kolata reported in the August 22, 2006 NY Times.

By 2030, predicts Robert W. Fogel, a Nobel laureate at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, about 25 percent of the G.D.P. will be spent on health care, making it ”the driving force in the economy,” just as railroads drove the economy at the start of the 20th century…

Other economists agree.

”We have to spend our money on something,” says Robert E. Hall, a Stanford University economist.

In a paper published in The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Dr. Hall and Charles I. Jones of the University of California, Berkeley, write: ”As we get older and richer, which is more valuable: a third car, yet another television, more clothing — or an extra year of life?”

David Cutler, an economist at Harvard, calculated the value of extra spending on medicine. ”Take a typical person aged 45,” he said. ”They will spend $30,000 more over their lifetime caring for cardiovascular disease than they would have spent in 1950. And they will live maybe three more years because of it.”

I guess this is why they call economics the dismal science. It should be noted in passing that the aforementioned Robert W. Fogel was the co-author with Stanley Engerman of “Time on the Cross”, a book that argued that slaves actually had it pretty good under the plantation system. His latest book is titled “The Escape from Hunger and Premature Death, 1700–2100: Europe, America, and the Third World” that posits a “technophysio evolution” that is filled with Panglossian enthusiasm about capitalism’s ability to bring prosperity to the developing world.

Another Harvard University to Obama is Jeffrey Liebman, a Harvard economist who co-authored a paper on the feasibility of privatizing social security when he was an adviser to Bill Clinton. Apparently, the momentum toward adopting such a proposal was halted after the Monica Lewinsky affair put the president on the defensive. Liebman has co-authored a book on social security “reform” with Martin Feldstein, another Harvard economist who was–appropriately enough–the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors under Ronald Reagan. In an article titled “The Rich, the Poor, and the Economists” that appeared in the January 2002 Monthly Review, Michael Yates notes the following:

Before he became Reagan’s chief economist, he [Feldstein] was an expert on the economics of social security. In published papers, he claimed to have empirically demonstrated that the social security system in the United States inhibited savings. Since savings are the source of capital investment, the implication of his research was that the social security system also reduced investment and thereby reduced the growth rate of the economy, since investment is the engine of economic growth.

Feldstein’s work fit nicely into the growing conservative movement which arose after the post World War Two boom came to an end in the early 1970s. The Keynesian economics that was gospel during my college years was giving way to a return to the pre-Keynesian theory that “freely” operating markets (free from the poison of government control and regulation) were the only solution to all economic problems. Led by the famous “Chicago Boys,” especially Milton Friedman, the anti-Keynesians carried the day in the economics profession and still do. No wonder, then, that when Ronald Reagan became president, he tapped Feldstein to chair the Council. For years, Reagan had been railing against social security from his General Electric radio pulpit. Now here was an economist who could lend professional credence to Reagan’s reactionary views. Social Security would be a tough nut to crack. It was an extremely popular program, run with great efficiency and effective in sharply reducing poverty among the elderly.

There was just one problem. Feldstein’s research was fatally flawed. Two staff economists at the Social Security Administration asked Feldstein for his supporting data. After three years of repeated requests, he sent the data to them. When they tried to use Feldstein’s numbers to replicate his results, however, they could not. They uncovered an error in the computer program Feldstein had used, and when they corrected the error, the results were exactly the opposite of Feldstein’s. That is to say, the social security system actually encouraged savings and, according to Feldstein’s cherished “free market” theory, facilitated capital formation and economic growth. (For more on this, see “‘Superstar’ Feldstein and His Little Mistake” in Dollars & Sense, Dec. 1980, pp. 1-2 and the citations therein.)

One imagines that the average primary voter in Iowa or New Hampshire has not even the slightest clue that Obama is carrying around such baggage. For most of them, the mantras of “change” and “hope” are supposed to be sufficient to earn their vote, at least that was what was expected in New Hampshire. In utter defiance of the media coronation of Obama, Hillary Clinton was the choice of the people in this miserable, economically stagnant New England state. The World Socialist Website, whose political insights are sometimes undermined by their boilerplate calls for building revolutionary parties (i.e., their own) has a rather astute explanation for Clinton’s victory:

The outcome of the Democratic primary suggests that Clinton benefited from a growing concern among working class voters over the state of the US economy. Clinton was the only candidate to raise the growing danger of recession in Saturday’s televised debate, and exit polls showed that the economy was the number one issue of those who turned out to vote, whether they cast a Democratic or a Republican ballot. A staggering 98 percent of those who voted in the Democratic primary said they were “very” or “somewhat” worried about the economy.

Clinton ran ahead of Obama in the working class industrial city of Manchester, New Hampshire’s largest, and there were significant class and economic distinctions between their voters. Clinton led Obama by sizeable margins among those with family incomes less than $100,000 a year, among union members, among those without college degrees, among those who felt that the state of the US economy is poor, and among those with children in the home. Her largest margin was among single working women.

Perhaps the most striking distinction between Clinton and Obama voters concerned feelings about their family’s economic futures. Those who said their families were “getting ahead” backed Obama by 48 to 31 percent. Those who said their families were “falling behind”—a much larger group—voted for Clinton by 43 to 33 percent.

Of course, they will eventually be disappointed in a Clinton presidency because her economic program and his are virtually identical. In considering the “differences” between the two, I am reminded of what Fred Halstead used to say when he was running for president on the Socialist Workers Party ticket exactly 40 years ago: “Whoever wins the election, the American people will end up the losers.”

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Maryam Namazie and Mina Ahadi: Women of the Year

Maryam Namazie and Mina Ahadi, have been selected as two of the top 45 women of the year by Elle Quebec, for their work in the Councils of Ex-Muslims.


Sunday, January 06, 2008

Bollywood: The Dark Side

By Sajawal Khan
Sunday, 14 September 2003

The Indian film industry is the second largest in the world producing about 300 movies a year. Not more than 5 or six movies hit the box office. One wonders why people keep on investing in an apparently money losing business. The reason is quite simple. The real function of "bollywood" is not to produce movies. It, in fact, is one of the largest money laundering operations in the world. According to CNN all the businesses in India have to give 25 per cent of their profits to the underworld to stay in business and "bollywood" is no exception. That money needs to be laundered.

Most of the movies are shot either in Europe or America so that money can be transferred abroad. Even the actors and actresses have to keep on bribing the underworld dons to stay in business, and also to stay alive. Rakesh Roshan, one of the noted producers and father of the famous "bollywood" idol, Hrithic Roshan was shot and injured because of his dispute with the underworld.

It is no coincidences that during this phase of Capitalism’s decay and degeneration, even cultural activities have been mired by greed and vulgarity. Culture basically is an expression of the aesthetic self of a certain community. It has been totally vulgarized under commercialism. It also lays bare the total degeneration and bankruptcy of the ruling class, as we all know that the ruling ideas, even in culture, are those of the ruling class.

Even an artist has become a tool used to produce and enhance the profits of those who own the means of production in this system. That is why art has lost all its beauty and depth in the face of ever growing commercialisation. As greed knows no bounds, culture and art is sinking into the bottomless pit of profitability. The present ruling class is even worse than the previous ones who at least had a better cultural level owing to historical reasons. The singers or artists in all fields compete with each other to win the advertising contracts of multinational companies. Commercial success has become the ultimate criterion and that is why now so-called "artists" bribe the journalists to keep themselves in the limelight. There is a constant vulgar and a petty race among the artists to be number one. They exchange cheap remarks about each other in the media. The actresses use the media to become the most expensive prostitutes, and so on.

Culture, like all other aspects of human life, cannot flourish under the yoke of finance capital. A genuine cultural renaissance can only be had through a socialist revolution by overthrowing this ruling class that has monopolized and enslaved culture and reduced art to a saleable commodity.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


This is an abridged edition of a great post at Canadian anarchist blog La Revue Gauche. For some this post will be nostalga, and for others an introduction to another world. Thank you Eugene for putting this together.

Forty Years Ago
Happy New Year

2008 is the Fortieth Anniversary of the 1968 Revolution.

And once again the Amerikan Empire is in the throes of a foreign war and a Presidential Election. While a new activist movement has arisen in opposition to Imperialism, Globalization and Capitalism. What goes around comes around....Of course some folks dread that.


The Tet Offensive (Tet Mau Than) or Tong Cong Kich/Tong Khoi Nghia (General Offensive, General Uprising) was a three-phase military campaign launched between 30 January and 23 September 1968, by the combined forces of the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (NLF, or derogatively, Viet Cong) and the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) during the Vietnam War (1955-1975). The purpose of the operations, which were unprecedented in their magnitude and ferocity, was to strike military and civilian command and control centers throughout the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) and to spark a general uprising among the population that would then topple the Saigon government, thus ending the war in a single blow.


Constraints imposed on pleasure incite the pleasure of living without constraints.

The more I make love, the more I want to make revolution.
The more I make revolution, the more I want to make love.



Considering that the Sud-Aviation factory at Nantes has been occupied for two days by the workers and students of that city,

and that today the movement is spreading to several factories (Nouvelles Messageries de la Presse Parisienne in Paris, Renault in Cléon, etc.),


the immediate occupation of all the factories in France and the formation of Workers Councils.

Comrades, spread and reproduce this appeal as quickly as possible.

Sorbonne, 16 May 1968, 3:30 pm


A view from the Chicago Democratic Convention riots by Richard Goldstein
"You afraid?" I asked a kid from California. He zipped his army jacket up to his neck, and filled his palm with a wad of Vaseline. "I dunno," he answered. "My toes feel cold, but my ears are burning."

We were standing together in Lincoln Park, not long after curfew on Tuesday night, watching an unbroken line of police. Around us were 1000 insurgents: hippies, Marxists, tourists, reporters, Panthers, Angels, and a phalanx of concerned ministers, gathered around a 12-foot cross. Occasionally a cluster of kids would break away from the rally to watch the formation in the distance. They spoke quietly, rubbing cream on their faces, and knotting dampened undershirts around their mouths. Not all their accoutrements were defensive. I saw saps and smoke bombs, steel-tipped boots and fistfuls of tacks. My friend pulled out a small canister from his pocket. "Liquid pepper," he explained.

Watching these kids gather sticks and stones, I realized how far we have come from that mythical summer when everyone dropped acid, sat under a tree, and communed. If there were any flower children left in America, they had heeded the underground press, and stayed home. Those who came fully anticipated confrontation. There were few virgins to violence in the crowd tonight. Most had seen—if not shed—blood, and that baptism had given them a determination of sorts. The spirit of Lincoln Park was to make revolution the way you make love—ambivalently, perhaps but for real.

The cops advanced at 12:40 a.m., behind two massive floodlight-trucks. They also had the fear; you could see it in their eyes (wide and wet) and their mouths. All week, you watched them cruise the city—never alone and never unarmed. At night, you heard their sirens in the streets, and all day, their helicopters in the sky. On duty, the average Chicago cop was a walking arsenal—with a shotgun in one hand, a riot baton (long and heavy with steel tips) in the other, and an assortment of pistols, nightsticks, and ominous canisters in his belt. At first, all that equipment seemed flattering. But then you saw under the helmets, and the phallic weaponry, and you felt the fear again. Immigrant to stranger, cop to civilian, old man to kid. The fear that brought the people of Chicago out into the streets during Martin Luther King's open housing march, now reflected in the fists of these cops. The fear that made the people of Gage Park spit at priests, and throw stones at nuns, now authorized to kill. And you realized that the cops weren't putting on that display for you; no—a cop's gun is his security blanket, just as Vaseline was yours.

Then the lights shone brilliant orange and the tear gas guns exploded putt-putt-puttutt, and the ministers dipped their cross into a halo of smothering fog. The gas hit like a great wall of pepper and you ran coughing into the streets, where you knew there would be rocks to throw and windows to smash and something to feel besides fear.

The soldiers stood on all the bridges, sealing off Grant Park from the city streets. The kids couldn't be gassed anymore, because the wind was blowing fumes across the guarded bridges and into every open pore of the Conrad Hilton, and the hotel was filled with good people who had tears in their eyes. So the soldiers just stood with their empty guns poised against the tide. And they were frowning at the kids who shouted "put down your guns; join us." A few hid flowers in their uniforms, and some smiled, but mostly, they stood posing for their own death masks.

"Wouldn't you rather hold a girl than a gun?" asked one kid with his arm around two willing chicks.

"You don't understand," the soldier stammered, moving his tongue across his lips. "It's orders. We have to be here."

That was Wednesday—nomination day—and the city was braced for escalation. At the afternoon rally, an American flag was hauled down, and the police responded by wading into the center of the crowd, with clubs flying. The kids built barricades of vacated benches, pelted the police with branches, and tossed plastic bags of cow's blood over their heads. . . .

With every semblance of press identification I owned pinned to my shirt, I set out across the mall. But most of the crowd had the same idea. Across on Michigan Avenue, I could hear the shouts of demonstrators who were re-grouping at the Hilton. I stopped to wet my undershirt in a fountain and ran down the street. My hands were shaking with anticipation and I could no longer close my eyes without seeing helmets and hearing chants. So my body was committed, but my head remained aloof.


The Soviet Invasion
of Czechoslovakia: August 1968

In the morning hours of August 21, 1968, the Soviet army invaded Czechoslovakia along with troops from four other Warsaw Pact countries. The occupation was the beginning of the end for the Czechoslovak reform movement known as the Prague Spring.
This web site contains material from the days immediately following the invasion, and they reflect the atmosphere in Czechoslovakia at the time: tense, chaotic, uncertain, full of pathos, fear, and expectation...


First-phase SDSers hadn’t talked much about values. But as anti-war activity heated up during the second phase, SDSers were looking for new worldviews, indulging in new tastes and lifestyles. Pardun, for whom LSD was practically religion, took the hippie lifestyle as a facet of the movement.

But neither critique nor lifestyle, without political gains, were enough by late 1967, when second-phase leaders began to worry about the realism of their project. Pardun puts its succinctly: "Protesting the war," he writes, "assumed that it was a mistake and that if we could convince the war makers of that then the war would end."

Escalations in ground forces and bombing–his book recounts them, brigade by brigade, ton by ton–told SDS that the war wasn’t simply a "mistake" and that hawks would not be persuaded–until and unless doves could take power away from them.

Several prairie leaders, notably Carl Oglesby, Greg Calvert, and Carl Davidson, began to concoct theories to deal with the task. Three elements were common to their formulations: the notion of a "New Working Class," of "resistance," and of youth as a powerful and independent force. The "New Working Class" was a highly technical, white-collar proletariat, whose members, proponents of the theory insisted, were going to replace the blue-collar industrial workforce. "Resistance" was a vaguer idea, which took practical form in a campaign to sabotage and derail the military draft. Youth were "revolutionary" because they weren’t sworn to doctrines about racial supremacy and My Country, Right or Wrong. They also smoked pot.


The Youth International Party (whose adherents were known as Yippies, a variant on "Hippies") was a highly theatrical political party established in the United States in 1967. An offshoot of the free speech and anti-war movements of the 1960s, the Yippies presented a more radically youth-oriented and countercultural alternative to those movements. They employed theatrical gestures—such as advancing a pig ("Pigasus the Immortal") as a candidate for President in 1968—to mock the social status quo.They have been described as a highly theatrical youth movement of “symbolic politics.”

It was during the conventions in 1968 that the Yippies really made a national splash.

At the turbulent Democratic gathering in Chicago, Yippie founders Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin presented their candidate for president – "Pigasus the Immortal," a real pig.

But the scene at the convention turned ugly as Chicago police, and then the National Guard, clashed with antiwar protesters. In the aftermath, Hoffman and Rubin were among seven protesters arrested and charged with conspiring to incite violence.

During the trial of the so-called "Chicago Seven," Hoffman and Rubin continued to play to the media, one day showing up for court in judicial robes. Ultimately, the charges against the defendants were dismissed.

Paul Krassner, who was among the founding members of the Yippies with Hoffman and Rubin, said the party came about because "the whole antiwar effort seemed dreary. .. We wanted to add some color and fun to the demonstrations."


Yippie Workshop Speech by Abbie Hoffman (1968)

Cops are like Yippies-you can never find the leaders... You just let 'em know that you're stronger psychically than they are. And you are, because you came here for nothin' and they're holdin' on to their fuckin' pig jobs 'cause of that little fuckin' paycheck and workin' themselves up, you know. Up to what? To a fuckin' ulcer. Sergeant. We got them by the balls. The whole thing about guerrilla theatre is gettin' them to believe it. Right.
Theatre, guerrilla theatre, can be used as defense and as an offensive weapon. I mean, I think like people could survive naked, see. I think you could take all your fuckin' clothes off, a cop won't hit ya. You jump in Lake Michigan, he won't go after you, but people are too chickenshit to do that. It can be used as an offensive and defensive weapon, like blood. We had a demonstration in New York. We had seven gallons of blood in little plastic bags. You know, if you convince 'em you're crazy enough, they won't hurt ya. With the blood thing, cop goes to hit you, right, you have a bag of blood in your hand. He lifts h is stick up, you take your bag of blood and go whack over your own head. All this blood pours out, see. Fuckin' cop standin'. Now that says a whole lot more than a picket sign that says end the war in wherever the fuck it is you know. I mean in that demonstration, there was a fuckin' war there. People came down and looked and said holy shit I don't know what it is, blood all over the fuckin' place, smokebombs goin' off, flares, you know, tape recorders with the sounds of machine guns, cops on horses tramplin' Christmas shoppers. It was a fuckin' war. And they say, right, I know what the fuck you're talkin' about. You're talkin' about war. What the fuck has a picket line got to do with war? But people that are into a very literal bag, like that heavy word scene, you know, don't understand the use of communication in this country and the use of media. I mean, if they give a ten-page speech against imperialism, everybody listens and understands and says yeah. But you throw fuckin' money out on the Stock Exchange, and people get that right away. And they say, right, I understand what that's about. And if they don't know what you're doin', fuck 'em. Who cares? Take this, see, you use blank space as information. You carry a sign that says END THE. You don't need the next word, you just carry a sign that says END, you know. That's enough. I mean the Yippie symbol is Y. So you say, why, man, why, why? Join the Y, bring your sneakers, bring your helmet, right, bring your thing, whatever you got. Y, you say to the Democrats, baby, Y that's not a V it's a Y. You can do a whole lotta shit. Steal it, steal the V, it's a Y. It's up the revolution like that. Keeping your cool and having good wits is your strongest defense.

If you don't want it on TV, write the work "FUCK" on your head, see, and that won't get on TV, right? But that's where theatre is at, it's TV. I mean our thing's for TV. We don't want to get on Meet the Press. What's that shit? We want Ed Sullivan, Johnny Carson show, we want the shit where people are lookin' at it and diggin' it. They're talking about reachin' the troops in Viet Nam so they write in The Guardian! [An independent radical newsweekly published in New York.] That's groovy. I've met a lot of soldiers who read The Guardian, you know. But we've had articles in Jaguar magazine, Cavalier, you know, National Enquirer interviews the Queen of the Yippies, someone nobody ever heard of and she runs a whole riff about the Yippies and Viet Nam or whatever her thing is and the soldiers get it and dig it and smoke a little grass and say yeah I can see where she's at. That's why the long hair. I mean shit, you know, long hair is just another prop. You go on TV and you can say anything you want but the people are lookin' at you and they're lookin' at the cat next to you like David Susskind or some guy like that and they're sayin' hey man there's a choice, I can see it loud and clear. But when they look at a guy from the Mobilization [against the War in Vietnam] and they look at David Susskind, they say well I don't know, they seem to be doing the same thing, can't understand what they're doin'. See, Madison Avenue people think like that. That's why a lot SDS's don't like what we're doin'. 'Cause they say we're like exploiting; we're usin' the tools of Madison Ave. But that's because Madison Ave. is effective in what it does. They know what the fuck they're doin'. Meet the Press, Face the Nation, Issues and Answers-all those bullshit shows, you know, where you get a Democrat and a Republican arguin' right back and forth, this and that, this and that, yeah yeah. But at the end of the show nobody changes their fuckin' mind, you see. But they're tryin' to push Brillo, you see, that's good, you ought to use Brillo, see, and 'bout every ten minutes on will come a three-minute thing of Brillo. Brillo is a revolution, man, Brillo is sex, Brillo is fun, Brillo is bl bl bl bl bl bl bl bl. At the end of the show people ain't fuckin' switchin' from Democrat to Republicans or Commies, you know, the right-wingers or any of that shit. They're buying Brillo! And the reason they have those boring shows is because they don't want to get out any information that'll interfere with Brillo. I mean, can you imagine if they had the Beatles goin' zing zing zing zing zing zing zing, all that jump and shout, you know, and all of a sudden they put on an ad where the guy comes on very straight: "You ought to buy Brillo because it's rationally the correct decision and it's part of the American political process and it's the right way to do things." You know, fuck, they'll buy the Beatles, they won't buy the Brillo.

We taped a thing for the David Susskind Show. As he said the word hippie, a live duck came out with "HIPPIE" painted on it. The duck flew up in the air and shat on the floor and ran all around the room. The only hippie in the room, there he is. And David went crazy. 'Cause David, see, he's New York Times head, he's not Daily News freak. And he said the duck is out and blew it. We said, we'll see you David, goodnight. He say, oh no no. We'll leave the duck in. And we watched the show later when it came on, and the fuckin' duck was all gone. He done never existed. And I called up Susskind and went quack quack quack, you motherfucker, that was the best piece of information: that was a hippie. And everything we did, see, non-verbally, he cut out. Like he said, "How do you eat?" and we fed all the people, you know. But he cut that out. He wants to deal with the words. You know, let's play word games, let's analyze it. Soon as you analyze it, it's dead, it's over. You read a book and say well now I understand it, and go back to sleep.

The media distorts. But it always works to our advantage. They say there's low numbers, right? 4000, 5000 people here. That's groovy. Think of it, 4000 people causin' all this trouble. If you asked me, red say there are four Yippies. I'd say we're bringin' another four on Wednesday. That's good, that freaks 'em out. They're lookin' around. Only four. I mean I saw that trip with the right wing and the Communist conspiracy. You know, you'd have 5000 people out there at the HUAC demonstrations eight years ago in San Francisco and they'd say there are five Communists in the crowd, you know. And they did it all. You say, man that's pretty cool. So you just play on their paranoia like that. Yeah, there're four guys out around there doin' a thing. So distortion's gonna backfire on them, 'cause all of a sudden Wednesday by magic there are gonna be 200,000 fuckin' people marchin' on that amphitheater. That's how many we're gonna have. And they'll say, "Wow. From 4000 up to 200,000. Those extra four Yippies did a hell of a good job." I dig that, see. I'm not interested in explainin' my way of life to straight people or people that aren't interested. They never gonna understand it anyway and I couldn't explain it anyway. All I know is, in terms of images and how words are used as images to shape your environment, the New York Times is death to us. That's the worst fuckin' paper as far as the Yippies are concerned. They say, "Members of the so-called Youth International Party held a demonstration today." That ain't nothin'. What fuckin' people read that? They fall asleep. 'Cause the New York Times has all the news that's fit to print, you know, so once they have all the news, what do the people have to do? They just read the New York Times and drink their coffee and go back to work, you know. But the Daily News, that's a TV set. Look at it, I mean look at the picture right up front and the way they blast those headlines. You know, "Yippies, sex-loving, dope-loving, commie, beatnik, hippie, freako, weirdos." That's groovy, man, that's a whole life style, that's a whole thing to be, man. I mean you want to get in on that.


Jerry C. Rubin was perhaps the most outlandish figure to ever defended American civil liberties. A revolutionary and anti-war activist, his voice and zany stunts were heard and seen throughout the world. Rubin was a master of media sensationalism, exposing American injustice through outrageous spectacles and whimsical press conferences. His outrageousness and free style made him a household name, and soon every politician's worst nightmare.

During the 70's Rubin reflected about his past deeds and thoughts. In essays he would admit his wrongs, explaining how sexism, homophobia, racism, and drug abuse shaped his beliefs. Once believing homosexuality was a sick behavior, he now understood it as a valid sexual expression. He also thanked women for the role they played in creating his public image: women were the ones who typed his manuscripts, handled his clerical work, and labored behind the scenes. He abandoned his "Kill You Parents" mantra and encouraged people to accept the "Love Your Parents" wisdom.

In the 80's Rubin slowly removed himself from the media spotlight, complaining, "To live inside a media image is like a prison. Living for your image means sacrificing your true self." He made a few guest appearances with Abbie Hoffman and appeared in the movies "Growing Up in America" (1987), "Rude Awakening" (1989), and "Panther" (released 1995).

Rubin died on November 28, 1994 when he was struck by a car while jay walking in Los Angeles. He was buried at Hillside Memorial Park in Culver City, California.