Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Mexico Awakens: Dual Power?

One of the most important events in the world today is the upsurge of political activity that has been occuring in Mexico, since the recent election. I'm not sure why it's not covered more online. The possible ramifications are enormous. Please read this analysis The Revolutionary Reawakening of Mexico, written by Alan Woods of the Worker's International League.

Events went into overdrive, almost by accident. The spark was the national elections. It was time to get rid of Vincente Fox and PAN, the lackey of the US. Fox's party was represented by Felipe Calderon, a former energy minister and free market czar. They rallied to the PRD and its leader Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Obrador's popularity is not in a Marxist program. He is not challenging capitalism. His stands are reformist. What matters is how he is perceived. It is like the Evo Morales factor. It's not about Obrador, as the direction his following goes. To the peasant in Mexico, Obrador is "for the poor people".

The election victory of Caulderon as declared by Washington and the European Union is denied by Obrador's supporters. They believe the breath of the voter fraud is gigantic, even by Mexican standards. In July an election protest encamoment in Mexico City was seven miles long.

Obrador has called for an alternative government. He will convene a new congress soon. The contradiction between two governments, means eventually one must go.

At the same time in a state called Oaxaca (pronounced wa-ha-ka) in Mexico, the teachers went on strike. The corrupt governor Ulizes Ruiz Ortiz used armed thugs and teargas against the protesters. Ortiz has a history of accusations against him, involving murder, kidnapping and torture. The teachers received widespread support. They created an assembly, which provides services and security in Oaxaca, similar to a Soviet. That is only one state.

While Washington is following events, the situation intensifies. If Washington openly intervened, imagine how it would effect US big cities?

Please read the article by Alan Woods for more detail.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Endgame in Darfur

Molara Wood is one of my favorite bloggers and one of my first blogging friends. She is a Nigerian writer and arts journalist, based in London. Her blog is unselfishly used to promote other Nigerian artists primarily. Molara doesn't often write about politics, I think after reading this, we wish that she will more often. I think her post is a good starting point to discuss the Darfur Crisis. Molara's blog is WORDSBODY.

“Never Again” is the mantra we hear over and over again, when people talk of the horror of the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda. Then, the World (and in this sense, the World is the International community and the ones who hold the balance of power, led by the US. The World of course is also the United Nations, which to its eternal shame, was able to do absolutely nothing in Rwanda). Yet the World acted in Yugoslavia. More people were killed in Rwanda in 100 days, than in over 9 years of the Yugoslavia Campaign. As Romeo Dallaire once said: "The World is Racist".

We all know what happened in Rwanda in 1994. I will never forget the television news footage of bloated human bodies floating like mutant mushrooms upon Lake Victoria. So many. So many were they, that one couldn’t even see an inch of water in some places. How can I ever think of Lake Victoria again without re-imagining that nightmarish footage?

Now it is Darfur. The World again is being its (or is it her?) old useless self. The World is being racist again. Not only are the people being killed in Darfur as black as night, they are Africans - a terrible thing to be if you want the World to care about you.

What is more, the Dead, Dying and Displaced of Darfur are Muslims. I don’t know which is the worse thing to be in the current World order - African or Muslim. The people of Darfur have a terrible Double Whammy of an albatross round their necks.

In the last few days, the anxiety over Darfur is choking. Sense of asphyxiation worsened by helplessness and the horror of what we know: that time is running out. And why this anxiety? After all, Darfur has been with us for some time. An estimated 200,000 people have been killed in Darfur since 2003. The World has been busy twiddling its thumbs.

And so the new anxiety. And how inadequate a word is ‘Anxiety’. But what word should we grasp and attempt to speak, to express the unthinkable?

And is the new ‘anxiety’ because Hollywood liberal George Clooney spent 5 days with his father in Darfur in April, and in the last few days urged the US government to do something about “the first Genocide of the 21st century”?

Or is it because earlier today, faith leaders in Britain (remarkable, in light of Pope Benedict’s grossly unwise remarks about the Prophet Mohammed; Pope John Paul II, how irreplaceable you were!) - Anglican (Church of England), Islam, Jewish - led by Cormac Murphy O'Connor (leader of the Catholic faith in Britain) prayed at the door of 10 Downing Street. A prayer/letter was also read on behalf of Archbishop Desmond Tutu - you can’t have more moral integrity than that… [I don’t know whether the last few sentences comply with the rules of composition, but what is composition in the face of genocide?]… All these faith leaders came to express their anxiety at the front door of power in London earlier today. They were met at the door of Downing Street by Baroness Amos (don’t know why Blair himself couldn’t do it). We are told that Blair has written to fellow European powers urging action in Darfur. I don’t know that Blair’s gesture is not just another case of twiddling thumbs.

And the anxiety… African Union Peacekeepers have to leave Darfur by September 30. The Government of Sudan (in effect, an Arab government in the North) has refused to agree to a UN peacekeeping force in the region. They are adamant in this stance.

And the fear now, is that the government and its Janjaweed are planning The Final Solution to the Darfur 'Problem'. Genocide! And the World twiddles its useless thumbs. When it’s all over and done with, the World will again chorus: Never Again.

The World is Racist.
Molara Wood

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Third Camp is about Real Lives

Interview with Hamid Taqvaee
Third Camp TV

Maryam Namazie: You wrote the Manifesto of the Third Camp against US Militarism and Islamic Terrorism, which many people are now supporting. Why did you feel the need to write it?

Hamid Taqvaee: If you have a look at the political situation of our era, it seems that there are mainly two forces that actually determine everything in the political arena in the Middle East, the west and even the world. These two forces are the USA and its allies on the one hand and Islamic terrorism on the other. But the fact is that it is not only these two. What we are saying is that neither of these two forces actually represents people. Even people living in Islamist societies, and I can say especially those people, are not represented by political Islam, or by Islamic governments such as the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Third Camp addresses that force which represents the majority of people of the world – a majority which has no interest in the war between these two poles of Islamic and US-led terrorism. They reap no benefits from their war.

In the conflict between the two in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, it is people who are actually sacrificed. People have no reason to take part in this. But the question is what do they do? Must they stay home, witness the carnage that is unfolding before their eyes and do nothing? Of course not. The Third Camp enables people to make a stand against both poles of terrorism in our era. Since people are losing everything in this confrontation, we must establish and organise a third movement. The third camp is a movement not an organization; it is a movement against political Islam and US militarism.

Maryam Namazie: It’s not yet well known but one gets the sense that it is crucial…

Hamid Taqvaee: Yes, it is not well known and that is why one of our main aims is to introduce the movement to as many people as we can. I believe public opinion on the whole is with us. If they come to know about what we are saying, if they were able to find out our goals and purpose, I think they would join us. In Iran, and countries like it, I can say with confidence that more than 90 percent of the people are with us and that we are representing them. They are with us against Islamic terrorism; they are against US militarism. I think we can say that about today’s Iraq and other Middle Eastern societies that have been at the frontlines of the conflict. In Europe, too, people know what is going on after September 11, Madrid, London, Bali. Even in western countries, where people are faced with massive media propaganda, I believe that most people if they knew about us, if they heard what we say and represent, they would join us. They would join the third camp movement. As I said, I think the third camp represents a majority of people in any given country. They just need to know that such a force and movement exists, and that it is active. They would join as soon as we were able to reach them.

Maryam Namazie: I think that is one of the things that we are witnessing. When you talk to activists who are reaching out to people, they say that a lot of them feel a sense of relief that there is this human alternative and they don’t have to choose between bad and worse.

Hamid Taqvaee: Exactly.

Maryam Namazie: There has been an immense amount of support for the Third Camp, but also some criticism. It would be good if you could address some of them here. Some are saying that it is wrong to gather opposition to both US militarism and political Islam since one can’t deal with both at the same time and also because they say, both are not equally important. Groups like the Stop the War Coalition believe that the main issue is Empire or US imperialism.

Hamid Taqvaee: This is not new. As far as I remember, since the start of my political life, I have heard this sort of position from anti-imperialist activists. They ask “What is the main problem?” but never ask for whom and in what context. They imply that there is one main problem for every single person in our era. And they always say that the main problem is imperialism. During the Cold War, there were two different groups. One of them would say that the main enemy or the main problem was the Soviet empire; the other would say it was the US and western empire and they had ongoing discussions with each other. Now that the US is the only superpower, everything has become even more simplified for them. Now we have only one empire to address!

But let’s think of this from the point of view of women in the world, for example. In Islamist societies, or for women who are considered Muslim, what is the main problem? The empire or political Islam? For women in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Algeria, and even Muslim women in Scandinavia, Europe, and the US, what is their main problem? Their problem is that political Islam forces them to wear the hijab, prevents girls from playing with boys, and even allows 9 year old to ‘marry’, which is nothing more than legalising child sexual abuse. Political Islam is a massive movement and from their point of view, from the point of view of millions and millions of women, the main problem is not the empire or US imperialism.

Maryam Namazie: But in countries like Iraq, for example, it is US imperialism that has wreaked havoc….

Hamid Taqvaee: OK, but what about Iran? For 27 years, not only women, but a majority of the population have had no rights. In any sense of the word, the Islamic Republic of Iran is an every-day terrorism ruling Iran. In Iraq, too, Islamic sects are fighting each other and slaughtering children. Sunnis killing Shiites and vice versa. In Iraq, both the US and its allied forces as well as Islamic groups are killing left, right and centre in the name of democracy or resistance! It doesn’t matter what they call it! They are killing people everyday.

People, civilians, who have no interest and no participation in the resistance, get slaughtered. We don’t have resistance as such in Iraq. We have different Islamic and nationalist factions and the occupying forces of the US and Britain fighting each other. That is the situation in Iraq.

Maryam Namazie: Darren Cogavin has written a piece in the Blanket criticising Anthony McIntyre’s article in the same publication in defence of the Third Camp. He says that one of the most basic tenets of consistent democracy is solidarity with mass-based rebellions against occupation, national oppression and colonial rule when they actually occur.

Hamid Taqvaee: Again with the mass-based something! Mass-based what? Hitler relied on the masses. Initially in Iran, Khomeini had the masses with him. So what? Masses can go wrong and most of the time - when there is no left or progressive force present - they do. It happens all the time, everywhere. Masses go and vote for Bush in America and regret it after a few months. It happens everywhere. So don’t talk about ‘the masses,’ ‘what the masses say’ and ‘what the masses don’t say’. That is one point. The other point, even in this context, is that there are no masses behind Islamic forces in Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan. That is a big lie. Like the mass media, it categorises all people living in the Middle East as automatically supporting political Islam because of where they were born. This is a big lie. It’s as if to say you are with Tony Blair because you were born in Britain since he is your prime minister! This is the same nonsense they spew about the Iranian people. There are no ‘masses’ behind political Islam, even in Iraq, in my opinion. The masses in Iraq want peace; they want a normal life; they want to get rid of all of the forces - Islamist and western - that are making life intolerable. They want to get rid of all of them so they can get on with their day-to-day life, go to school, have hospitals, have electricity, running water… That’s their main problem not resistance against the empire or the democracy that the empire wants to give them. They are defending life. So we have to have a force representing life in Iraq and in fact the masses are with that force. If there is not such a force there, we have to go and create it and organise it - a force defending life against both those poles and fighting against both of them. Going back to old terminology and Cold War logic won’t get us anywhere. Speaking of what the masses want doesn’t help. You don’t determine politics by what people say but by what they really need. What they really want. Even if they don’t know it. Even if nobody represents them. You have to find out what it actually is – it’s not subjective but objective. And you have to go out and be the voice of the people. And represent what they want and need and organise them around that and create a political force against the so-called “resistance” and forces for “democracy”. None of the two poles represent people in Iran, in Iraq, or elsewhere in the world. They merely represent different camps of the ruling classes.

Maryam Namazie: Let’s leave the masses out of it for now; the same writer says that the biggest obstacle to US domination in Iraq and the Middle East is the armed resistance without which US imperialism might well be preparing for a full scale invasion of Iran. So basically he says the manifesto contradicts itself because it is actually this very political Islamic resistance that has stopped the US from entering Iran.

Hamid Taqvaee: With this logic, one could say, ‘if there was no US forces in Iraq, Islamic forces would make the country much worse than what we have in Iran today. Women in Iraq would be in a much worse situation if they had a regime like Iran’s.’ The problem with this writer is that he doesn’t see both poles in the conflict. Automatically, he thinks that whoever resists the US is good. Is pro-people. That’s wrong. This sort of logic has never worked throughout history and it doesn’t work here either. It is not the case that because the US is against the people, therefore, whoever resists the US is with the people. The same logic would be the reverse in Iran. The Islamic Republic is against the people based on what it has done for the past 27 years ruling Iran, and the US is against the Islamic Republic of Iran so the US is with the people of Iran. That’s wrong! That sort of logic won’t get us anywhere. It depends what point of view you are looking at it from. If you look at it from the point of view of only opposing the Islamic Republic in Iran then you will conclude that the US is pro the people. And if you think of it in terms of only opposing the forces that are occupying Iraq, you will come to the conclusion that Moqtada al-Sadr or Islamists in Iraq are with the people. Either way, this is incorrect.

The point is that you don’t have to choose between these two poles. We have to go and create a third camp against both. That’s the whole point.

Maryam Namazie: He goes on to say that the third camp is social chauvinist and “has chosen to position themselves against the growing movement challenging US imperialism arms in hand at a time when revolutionary Marxism is most urgently needed.”

Hamid Taqvaee: Revolutionary Marxism defends itself and defends the people. If there is a force that we can refer to as “revolutionary Marxism”, why doesn’t this force go and create and organise its own movement? Why do we as Marxists have to support somebody else all the time? In the Cold War, why did we have to support the Soviet Union vis-à-vis the USA? And why now, do we have to support Islamists against the USA. And every time, we have a big enemy – the empire or whatever they call it - and we have to support those who are seen to be against it. Why shouldn’t others support us? Why are we not creating our own movement with our own political aims and goals and calling on everybody to come and support us!

There are Islamists against the USA. Fair enough. I accept that. We are against the USA as well. Why shouldn’t Islamists have a discussion among themselves about supporting Marxists? And actually when Marxism was more fashionable in the 60’s, we did have this sort of thing. There were so many religious groups that called themselves ‘Marxist’. Now it is the opposite. Now some Marxists call themselves ‘Muslim’ and that is the main problem of the anti-US movement. The upper hand in this movement is with the Islamists, unfortunately. And Marxists like the one you are quoting, always think Marxists have to go join a big front and support somebody else against the US. If today, it is Sheikh Nasrullah or Hizbullah, then we must all go and support them. At the time of Khomeini, they supported Khomeini. But then you think of it from the point of view of ordinary people. People in the streets. Public opinion all over the world. They don’t buy this sort of logic because it has nothing to do with their real lives. They don’t go by terminology and abstract concepts of ‘who is the main empire of this era?’ They don’t think that way. They simply think about what benefits them; what’s for them and what’s against them. And the people of Iran who have been living under the yoke of Islamic rule know what Islam is. It doesn’t matter whether you tell them that Islam is against the US. It it not their criteria. What is important, and really matters is not the Islamic Republic-US relationship, but the relationship of both of these poles with the people. That’s the way we Marxists should judge and criticise different political movements, parties, and governments. So again referring even to Marxists as a political group or party or movement and then demanding that we as Marxists go and support political Islam or Islamic forces is just ridiculous.

Maryam Namazie: The author goes on to say that the manifesto ‘recycles the odious garbage of Samuel Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations, directing liberals outside the ranks of the ‘Irrelevant Left’ to enlist in the crusade for western secular and enlightenment values against savage, fanatical Islam.’

Hamid Taqvaee: Why must the achievements of humanity, secularism, defending human beings, humanity, civil society and so on belong to the west or to the east or... They belong to the human race. They are the results of thousands of years of human history. They are latest achievements in politics, sociology, and science. The same way that everybody uses the latest achievements of technology, for example, everybody uses a TV, cars, and planes. In the same way we have social and political achievements that belong to human beings. One of them is secularism; another is civil society; another universal values. They are defended in any country all over the world. So they don’t belong to any one culture at all. Saying they do has to do with relativism. People like the author think that culture is a relative thing. So to them we have Islamic culture, western culture, eastern culture, and when we are defending the achievements of human beings, the achievements of science, technology, sociology they just put us in one of those categories. They say: ‘you are defending western culture’. In reality, east or west is irrelevant. Human beings, humanity, the human race has the same values everywhere in the world. We believe that secularism, having a civil society is a good value and it is good for everybody. Everybody benefits from it; it doesn’t matter whether you were born in Iran or in France. Civil society is one of the latest achievements of human history. It doesn’t belong to any culture and we don’t divide cultures in this way. We believe and support the culture that defends humanity and human beings and oppose the culture which is against them. If you think about it, you will see that a culture which is against human beings belongs to a class which rules across the world. They have different versions: the Islamic culture defends the ruling class in Iran, the Islamic Republic of Iran belongs to that eastern culture and the culture of Mr. Rumsfeld and Bush belongs to the ruling class in the USA and it is in the category of western culture.

The above is an edited transcript of Maryam Namazie’s interview with Hamid Taqvaee on Third Camp TV on August 29, 2006. The programme can be viewed on Third Camp

See also: Maryam's Post at Renegade Eye about The Third Camp Manifesto.
Maryam Namazie

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Interview with a Survivor of the 1948 Exodus (My Mother)

The following was an interview I used for a paper, and after it passed, I decided to publish it on my own blogspot. Due to the heated discussions, I witnessed earlier, I decided that this interview should be published (with the kind permission of Comrade Renegade) over here. I hope it stimulates not only debates, but incourages people to dwell on the history of Palestine... MFL


In his book, Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, the Israeli scholar Benny Morris divided the famous brutal Palestinian Exodus into 4 major waves. Even though the exodus started as early as 1923, the 1948 was divided into four stages. The Ramli town was supposed to suffer the most horrific exodus of all the four waves. By the time of the third wave in 1948, the Hagganah became known as the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and launched an offensive on the Lydda (currently known as Lyd) since it contained an airport. Afterwards, the IDF halted and allowed the terrorist militia Irgun to run an offensive on Ramli, which is not far away from Lydda. The Palestinians there were villagers with minimum military infrastructure. The militants were poor peasants with barely any weaponry and any military experience, but successfully blocked two Irgun offensives till the IDF itself decided to invade the Ramli town and crush all resistance. After Ramli fell to Israeli occupation, the IDF forced 50,000 of its people to go walking from Ramli to Ramallah. Plenty died on the road from Ramli to Ramallah. The map can be found here.
The Interview

Interview with a Survivor of the Ramli Exodus(Benny Morris’s Third Wave)The following interview is with a daughter of a pharmacist and a municipality in Ramleh. His wife, who was in 1953 Vice President of the Women’s Arab Palestinian League, which was active on varieties of activities. These people are survivors of the Exodus. The daughter will answer some questions concerning the exodus, and sheds light as a case study from the eyes of a survivor.

What do you remember of the Exodus, since you lived it in 1948?

“It was in March 1948, when we left the Lydda Airport, and we arrived to Beirut. My father left us in Beirut, after renting a house, and returned to Ramli because he did not want to leave his homeland. He kept visiting us from time to time. When Ramli fell in 1948, and its people were forced to walk from Ramli to Ramallah, my father was in Beirut visiting us. He knew that Ramli fell to Israeli hands, and I remember it very well, because it was like a funeral to us. My father and mother kept crying, and one of my older sisters: “Are we poor? How can we survive?”.

Did you hear of the enforced exodus on Ramli?

“We knew directly when we saw our parents crying, and during this time, two of my uncles, who were refugees, came from there, and lived with us. We were about 30 people in an average house. We furnished bed sheets everywhere, in the kitchen, and in the living room. I was seven years old, but we were too young to think about our fate, but I knew that my father left his degree from the Syrian Protestant Collage (Currently American University of Beirut), and everything there. I remember very well the shock of them talking that there is no longer a home to return to. Afterwards, so many of our relatives arrived, from those who survived the terrible march to Ramallah. They told us that the Israeli Army placed a large sheet on the ground, and forced the women to throw their jewelry and accessories in it before leaving, which left them with nothing that may have a value to sell in the future. They robbed everyone before starting the great march.”

What did you hear from the survivors of the great march from Ramli to Ramallah?

“Many children and sick people died with no proper burial. The Israeli soldiers never allowed them to perform a proper funeral, the marching refugees used to cover the deceased’s face with a handkerchief or a small sheet. The ones who underwent the Exodus were actually the women, children, and the elders in a most brutal manner. The young were detained in Ramli, and one of them was my second cousin. They took away there weapons, and then imprisoned them. They were tortured later, and then afterwards they were used as exchange prisoners."

Your Second Cousin (a Palestinian Christian) was detained, and why is that for?

"My cousin "hidden name" was his name. He was in the military informal command for the defense of Ramli against the Jews. He was wounded in the battle for Ramli, and I remember they operated on him (the Red Cross), without pain relievers. Being blond with blue eyes, one of his Jewish friends, after six months smuggled him to Ramallah, by hiding him in the Red Cross vans.

Do you remember anything on the encounters of your cousin against the Israelis?

“We avoided talking to him about the topic because it brought bitter memories of a lost home, fortunes, relatives, and friends. All he mentioned was that the King Abdullah of Jordan said that they should resist and the next day they will receive re-enforcements. In the same evening, Ramli fell.”It is funny because history mentions that Ramli, twice blocked an Irgun invasion, and the King never arrived, didn’t your cousin suspect Arab treason?“All we remember that our surviving relatives kept saying that Palestinian tragedy was an Arab treason within plenty of other Arab treasons.”

What about those who arrived to Lebanon, how did they manage to live?

“The ones who were educated, they started working with the same rights the Lebanese, while the poor ones lived in camps relying on Arab aid, and they kept hoping that they will return back. Actually till now, a lot still have the keys to their houses over there in the hope that they will return back home.”

What about the camps and your mother working with them, anything happened over there?

“Many groups and delegates used to visit people from Europe in the camps. One day, members of the British Parliament were visiting the Sabra camp, and my mother was one of the escorts/guide through out the camp. She was explaining to them the bad situation in the camps, when she told them: ‘if you do not find a solution to these poor people, in few years to come, you will find the Red Flag rising over all the refugee camps.’ The British MP looked her with a smile, and replied: “They will never become Communists, they are all Muslims. Their religion will not allow them”. He was rather confident about it, and I think currently it is their imperial view during the mandate over our homes before 1948. I remember in a funny way my mother coming back to the house in Beirut and swearing at him, and bad mouthing his entire family. I was proud of her that she tried to help the refugees who had fathers being sick, children with tuberculosis, and so on to assist them, and he with his sarcastic smile as if answering her: ‘Those? Communists? That is a joke.’”

Any last words you want to say concerning the topic of Palestine or the Exodus?

“Currently, it is a lost case, we had some hopes when Abdul Nasser came, but now, it is a lost case.”


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The World Can't Wait???

"The World Can't Wait"! Drive Out The Bush Regime! This movement is the brain child of the Revolutionary Communist Party and its leader Bob Avakian. The Revolutionary Communist Party is a Maoist formation, allied with groups as Peru's Louminous Path, India's Naxalite Movement and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). The World Can't Wait Movement is organized around impeaching George Bush, and will culminate with mass actions on October 05th, 2006. It has compiled an impressive list of endorsers as James Abourezk, Aris Anagnos, Anti-Flag, Edward Asner, Russell Banks, Ed Begley Jr., Harry Belafonte, St. Clair Bourne, Gabriel Byrne, Margaret Cho, Ward Churchill, Kate Clinton, US Rep. John Conyers Jr., John Densmore, Jesse Diaz Jr., Ariel Dorfman, Tom Duane, Michael Eric Dyson, Steve Earle, Niles Eldredge, Daniel Ellsberg, Barbara Ehrenreich, Eve Ensler, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Jane Fonda, Michael Franti, reg e. gaines, Martin Garbus, Wavy Gravy, André Gregory, Paul Haggis, Sam Hamill, Suheir Hammad, Kathleen Hanna, Stephen Hays, Merle Hoffman, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Bill T. Jones, Rickie Lee Jones, Sarah Jones, Brig. Gen. (ret) Janis Karpinski, Casey Kasem, Ron Kovic, Jonathan Kozol, Jessica Lange, Mark Leno, Rabbi Michael Lerner, George Lois, Ray McGovern, US Rep. Cynthia McKinney, Mark Crispin Miller, Tom Morello, Viggo Mortensen, Craig Murray, US Rep. Major Owens, Ozomatli, Grace Paley, Harvey Pekar, Sean Penn, Jeremy Pikser, Harold Pinter, Frances Fox Piven, Michael Ratner, Boots Riley, Scott Ritter, Steven Rohde, Mark Ruffalo, US Rep. Bobby Rush, Susan Sarandon, James Schamus, Richard Serra, Rev. Al Sharpton, Cindy Sheehan, Martin Sheen, Gary Soto, Nancy Spero, Gloria Steinem, Lynne Stewart, Serj Tankian, Jonathan Tasini, Sunsara Taylor, Studs Terkel, Gore Vidal, Kurt Vonnegut, Alice Walker, Naomi Wallace, Lt. Ehren Watada, US Rep. Maxine Waters, Cornel West, Saul Williams, Tim Wise, Krzysztof Wodiczko, Ann Wright, Howard Zinn, and thousands more.

The rightist critics will use words as "communist front", to put down the Revolutionary Communist Party. I give them credit for putting together such a group. I'm against red baiting. They are being low profile in the coalition. They are defending themselves defensively, by saying the coalition also includes Democrats, Greens, Catholics, Gays etc.

In the Philippines the Maoists are trying to impeach Arroyo, even involving rightist generals in their movement. I'm sure Avakian is inspired by his comrades. In the Philippines, Arroyo is actually one of the cleaner leaders. If you impeach a capitalist leader, you only end up with another. As much as their rhetoric is heated, the Maoists only work for reform; in Manilla, Katmandu or Washington D.C.

After impeaching Bush, what is the alternative? To most of the endorsers of their statement, electing a liberal Democrat would do. More should be expected from a so called vanguard communist party. With all the different views represented in the group, how do you keep the group together with vague demands?

I will attend a World Can't Wait event to network. I can wait for real change. See: The World Can't Wait

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Man at the Crossroads (1934): Diego Rivera and Nelson Rockefeller

By 1930 muralist and communist Diego Rivera was achieving international recognition, for his murals, known for their passion and folkloric roots, in Mexican culture and communist principles. One of his new patrons was Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, wife of Nelson Rockefeller. She convinced her husband Nelson, to allow him to paint a mural in the newly built Rockefeller Center, in New York City.

Rivera proposed a 63 foot mural "Man at the Crossroads. It was a portrayal of a worker in a crossroad with capitalism, socialism, science and industry. In view of Diego's friendship with the Rockefeller family, they wouldn't object to Vladimir Lenin's portrait be included. The anti-capitalist theme, provoked controversy. The building managers despised the mural, and had final say about the content. The artist was paid in full and banned from the site. As a compromise Rivera proposed adding Abraham Lincoln to the mural, and keeping Lenin's picture. Despite demonstrations by Rivera's supporters, and the possibility of transferring the mural to the Museum of Modern Art. The painting was destroyed by attendants carrying axes. With Rivera paid in full, he had no say to stop the desecration.

The painting was redone at the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City, with a picture added of Nelson Rockefeller in a nightclub.