Coming January 25th (January's fourth Monday)

Confronting the current deep Environmental crisis
David Schwartzman will map out a path to a just green recovery, to a Global Green New Deal and an eco-socialist transition leaving fossil capitalism in prehistory where it richly deserves to be. 
David W. Schwartzman, Professor Emeritus, Howard University

(Washington DC, USA), holds a PhD in Geochemistry from Brown University, USA. In 1999 (updated paperback, 2002) he published, Life, Temperature and the Earth (Columbia University) and has several recent papers in Capitalism Nature Socialism (CNS). David serves on the Editorial Board of Science & Society and the Advisory Boards of  CNS Advisory Board and the Institute for Policy Research & Development. He is an active member of the DC Statehood Green Party/Green Party of the United States, CCDS, DSA as well as several other community organizations, especially since his retirement from Howard University in 2012. His book, co-authored with his son Peter, recently was published The Earth is Not for Sale: A Path Out of Fossil Capitalism to the Other World That is Still Possible. World Scientific: Singapore. 

Latest book is The Global Solar Commons, the Future That is Still Possible: A Guide for 21st Century (Free download at:; More readable for activists than our deeply documented more technical The Earth is Not for Sale; Donations of any amount welcome suggested to the Green Eco-Socialist Network,; Review:
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Coming February 22nd in honor of Black History Month
Fran Shor will speak on his book "Weaponized Whitness"
Toast to 2021
By Seymour Joseph
We’re near the end of an awful year,
A year of worldwide harm.
But Trump is out, the vaccine’s in —
They’re both a shot in the arm.
So here’s to Twenty-Twenty-One,
A toast to you in verse,
With hope you’ll be a better year —
You can’t be any worse.

Some thoughts after the failed coup

by Ted Pearson 
Fri, Jan 8, 4:16 PM (21 hours ago) via  caarpr

In 1868 President Andrew Johnson was impeached. The heart of the charges against Johnson was that he had illegally attempted to prevent the Army from enforcing the 13th and 14th Amendments to the U. S, Constitution in the former slaveholding Confederacy. The Confederacy had been, perhaps, the first real fascist state in the world. Black slaves and poor white farmers there lived under a reign of terror. Conscription into the white supremacist army was universal and resistance was punishable by death. Dissent was criminal. Lynching of dissenters was commonplace. The repression was brutal. (See “Home Grown Yankees” by Isabella Black.) The Civil War they launched in the name of white supremacy cost the lives of 620,000 Americans in battle.
The essence of the charges against Johnson was that he had granted an effective amnesty to the traitors who had sought to destroy the United States of America. He allowed them to re-establish themselves in the South as the ruling class. The Senate failed to convict Johnson by one vote, a blot on that body that will remain forever.
In 1868 Johnson was driven out of office and Ulysses S. Grant was elected president. All three Reconstruction Amendments, including the 15th which guaranteed male freed slaves the right to vote were enforced in the South by the U. S. Army. Some of the most progressive legislation in the history of the country was enacted in the South during that time. But the traitors were not arrested, were not tried, were not convicted, and were not imprisoned or executed, as traitors would have been under then existing law had it been enforced.
The price for the failure to prosecute the progenitors of this crime against the nation and against humanity quickly came due: in the 1876 election the leaderships of the Republican and Democratic Parties made a back-room deal to throw the election to Republican Rutherford B. Hayes in exchange for a commitment to withdraw federal troops from the South, thereby unleashing a new reign of terror by the Ku Klux Klan against Black people and the whole working class. By the turn of the century Black people in the South were disenfranchised. Local multi-racial governments were overthrown and cities burned. Black politicians were murdered. Slavery was re-established in another form - the convict lease system, and Black people (and poor whites) were reduced to peonage by returning the land to the former slaveholders. The status quo ante was re-established. The only difference was legally holding Black people as chattel.
The United States still pays for its failure to extirpate the evil mythology of white supremacy and its evangelizers: political, academic, and religious. We pay for it through all the crimes associated with it: police murders, torture, and wrongful arrests and convictions of Black, Latinx and working class white people, which keep communities under the thumb of exploitation, malnutrition, lack of adequate health care, collapsing housing, and failing schools. We pay for it in the continuing genocide of aboriginal Native American people, the rape of the natural resources of the land, and the destruction of the environment and climate of the Earth by the global capitalist system.
Contrast this with Reconstruction in Germany and Japan after the defeat of the racist Axis war machine that was responsible for the death of some 75 to 80 million people world-wide. The Nazi and Japanese war criminals were arrested, tried, and executed or imprisoned. Nazi and white supremacist parties were outlawed. Nazi and Imperial war propaganda was illegal. Germany and Japan today are still capitalist and still have many problems – including a revival of a far right – but generally they have a higher standard of living, better health, and more democracy than the United States. Instead of statues of Nazi leaders in Germany the Nazi death camps have been made into museums for anti-racist education of young people. In Japan weapons of mass destruction are outlawed and only actual domestic defense forces are allowed.
Here in the U. S. following the failed coup d’état by Donald Trump there have been calls to “heal the nation” and “bring us together”. No doubt, most of the mainly white people who fell for Trump’s racist dog whistles and calls to violence against all who opposed him were conned. Like the victims of most cons, they were victims of their own greed and irrational fears that their God-given entitlement to a position of privilege was under threat from immigrants, Black people, Muslims, and Jews.
The United States is at cross-roads. The failed Trump coup forces the nation to decide. Will we let the traitors go, free to plot again? All those who organized and inspired this siege of the Capitol that resulted in five deaths are guilty of murder by accountability, starting with the leader, Donald Trump. Will they be prosecuted? This is not a political-tactical question of whether it will exacerbate the divisions in our society. It’s a fundamental strategic question of whether we will begin to excise the cancer of white supremacy from the body politic of the United States and begin to restore and assert the true soul of the nation that lies in the hearts of all those who are exploited and oppressed.
Steve Jonas for BuzzFlash: Trump's White Supremacy Was The Match That Lit Wednesday's American Reichstag Fire
January 8, 2021
The infamous January 6, 2021, rally at which Trump incited an insurrectionist attack on the US Capitol, along with Rudy “Trial by Combat” Giuliani and Donald “We’re Coming for You” Trump Jr. (Glibert Mercier)
“If this country does not kill racism, racism will kill this country” — S. Jonas, Aug., 2018
The seditious assault on the US Capitol on Wednesday was something that I predicted in my commentary for BuzzFlash that was posted on Monday: “Will Trump Ignite His Reichstag Fire on January 6? Yes.”

In his first comment on Wednesday’s Trump Insurrection and invasion of the incoming US Senate Majority Leader, “Chuck” Schumer, noted that on December 8, 1941, in asking the Congress for a Declaration of War on the Empire of Japan (yes, that’s how going to war by the United States was done way back then), President Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously referred to December 7, 1941, the date of the Japanese surprise attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, as “a day that shall live in infamy.” Senator Schumer said that January 6, the date of Wednesday’s Trump Insurrection and invasion of the Capitol of the United States, would join December 7 and September 11 as the third of such dates in the history of the United States.

As of this writing it is not known what if anything will happen to Trump during his last days in office. It is also not known what other outrages Trump may try to pull during this period. With the formal certification of the Biden victory in the Electoral College there is no legal path for Trump to remain in the Presidency. (After the bulk of this column was written, finally, under enormous pressure one can be sure, he finally did admit Biden won the electoral count and disingenuously pledged a peaceful transfer of power. Nevertheless, on the morning of January 8, the Democrats were giving serious consideration to initiating a necessarily rapid impeachment process.) But this is an angry, desperate man. He obviously wanted to remain in the presidency, likely both to try to fulfill his desire to become Dictator of the United States, and to try to avoid the massive load of federal, state, and local criminal charges as well as who knows how many civil suits arising from, if nothing else, his business practices.

So, as of January 6, at any rate, Trump was hoping, very unrealistically, that the assault on US bourgeois parliamentary democracy by his “sterling” legal team of Rudy Giuliani, et al from outside the Congress, and the Trump-wannabees Cruz and Hawley inside it, might work. At the same time, at some level he likely recognized that playing it by the rules would not work, especially after Puppet Pence decided to abandon that role and follow the law and the Constitution. And so, Trump turned to something that did work for him back in his business days, the use of force (although he never had tried anything on this scale). His Trump mob had been prepared since well before the election to believe that it would be “stolen” from him.
But there is an ideology that brings such a mob from all over the country and from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds to engage in such a violent assault on a prime symbol of U.S. bourgeois parliamentary democracy, that goes well beyond a fantasy “stolen election.” (Members of the mob came from all over the country, some by air, spent money on hotels and etc. Those are not working-class folk, but rather from the petit bourgeois and professional classes.) That common ideological denominator is of course racism. As I have pointed out on numerous occasions in this space and others (and this is hardly an original thought) racism is the bedrock of “Trumpism.” When he made his first trial run for the Republican nomination back to 2011-12, he made that very clear. Then it was obviously out-in-front in his 2016 campaign. Once becoming President he has made it very, very clear, with bugles rather than dog-whistles, that he is the Racist-in-Chief.

And so, when it comes down to attacking the results of the 2020 election to what does he turn? Why, as many observers have noted, race again. In the charges of “fraud,” which even according to his former personal lawyer (I mean the former Attorney General, Bill Barr) and Chris Krebs, the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency [CISA], fired by Trump for speaking the truth) did not exist, Trump and his crack attorneys Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and Jenna Ellis, always focused on the Intensively Black voting sectors in the “battleground” states, and only those sectors.

There was massive fraud in them, Trump and his “legal team” insisted. Over-and-over again. And somehow, they never identified any other voting districts where the alleged fraud occurred. This was picked up too by the Trump-wanna-be successors, Cruz and Hawley. Race is indeed the common denominator. And so, what was the common denominator of the Trump mob that assaulted the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021? Golly gee. Just look at the pictures. Just look at their whiteness and the exquisite expression of “white privilege” that they somehow knew they would be granted from the Capitol police who hardly stood in their way going in and in certain instances actually gently assisted on their way out. (As many have noted [see “The Reid Out” broadcast on MSNBC that evening] just imagine what would have happened had this been a Black Lives Matter demonstration.) Just look at the Confederate battle flags that numbers of them were flying or had reproductions of pasted on their clothing. And then look at racism’s evil twin, anti-Semitism that popped up in particularly vile ways --- that is in admiring references to Auschwitz.

Are there other elements that the mob-members have in common besides racism and a cult-like devotion to Der Fuerher? Of course, there are. Many of these folks are from the mass of white-left-behinds by the US industrial/commercial behemoth that in many of its sectors is globalized. And of course, Trump promised them much in the way of economic benefits in his 2016 campaign, none of which he has delivered on: e.g., coal production has actually gone down in West Virginia, due to market forces. So, Trump doesn’t talk about “bringing back coal” anymore. Something has gone up there, that is drug abuse. But somehow Trump doesn’t talk about that either. And so on and so forth. So, Trump makes sure, over-and-over again, with total disregard for the facts (but when did that little problem ever bother Trump and his ruling class supporters), that “the election was stolen” and wouldn’t ya know, it was the Blacks, with their white “liberal” and “Fake News” enablers, that did it.

Racism has worked for Trump since he first entered serious politics in 2011. It got him the Republican nomination and it got him elected President. Only because of his total mis-management of the Trumpidemic2020© it did not work to get him a second term. He seems to have played out his hand, this time. But he has activated his mob. And it is based on his old-reliable, racism. As is well-known, racism is the Original Sin of this country and its earlier formations. As I now say at the introduction to all my columns: “If this country does not kill racism, racism will kill this country.”

That slaying of racism cannot be accomplished overnight, of course. But if a genuine start is not made on it, by the Biden Administration, then the Trumpublican© Party, led by the likes of Cruz and Hawley, is going to pick up that (new Confederate) flag and lead us right to the Second Civil War. If it is not finally attacked, with a broad frontal assault, the Trump assault on the Capitol will not be seen as the beginning of the end, but rather as the end of the beginning.

Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at StonyBrookMedicine (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 35 books. He is an occasional contributor to BuzzFlash (reborn) (after having been along-time contributor to the Original). In addition, he is a “Trusted Author” for Op-Ed News. a contributor to Reader Supported News/Writing for Godot; a contributor to From The G-Man; a Contributor for American Politics to The Planetary Movement; and a Deputy Editor, Politics, and a “Witness to History,” and an occasional contributor for The Greanville Post; He is also a triathlete (36 seasons, 256 multi-sport races).
Healthcare Solidarity and a Trip to a Picketline
December 13, 2020

By Tina Shannon | PDA PA Steel Valley Chapter President
As you drive north into Farrell, PA, you pass a bunch of steel processing plants, but the buildings are only medium sized, not the giant buildings a lot of people associate with the words steel mill. The buildings are not old monolithic-looking, weathered, and soot-stained tributes to our past. These buildings look like they belong in small industrial parks. These are buildings where people work today.

I had forgotten how much steel processing and metal stamping and finishing work happens here, about an hour from my home in Beaver County. My County used to supply the steel that the people here finish. Now that steel comes from other countries.

I was on my way to the Union Hall of Steelworkers’ Local 1016 on Martin Luther King Blvd. in Farrell, PA.

After I drove past the places where my neighbors up here work, the road narrowed. The industrial park vibe lasted only a minute on my drive into town. Farrell quickly asserted itself as a familiar small working-class town.

We were delivering donations, carrying them in a Solidarity Caravan to striking workers in a pandemic. We had seven cars. Our windows were painted with washable marker, with messages of our support for both Unions, the Steelworkers’ current struggle and also Medicare for All. One car was piled high with mostly household goods but a few cans of food as well. We knew it’s what the strikers needed. Bob and Bernie Williams, who I am working with, had asked them.

I had a check for $1279 for their Holiday Fund collected through a nation-wide fund-raising appeal from our national Progressive Democrats of America.

The idea of a fund-raiser to complement the collection we were doing in Beaver County, to reach further than our local contacts, had developed for two reasons.
First of all, it’s hard to collect donations during a pandemic. I knew it would be easier to collect funds. And funds are always needed.

Secondly, my own personal fund-raising reach has grown past my immediate local connections. It seemed to make sense to move to an online fund-raise, it being a concrete way I could help from home.

That’s when the idea really took off. As I talked about it, we realized it would be a great opportunity for PDA and Medicare for All activists to demonstrate their solidarity with the striking workers, since their strike was an effort to defend their healthcare benefits.

Their company, NLMK Steel is paying high tariffs for the steel it’s importing for the Farrell workers to process. As this affects profits, NLMK had made changes. The company is now trying to force all the employees to accept a high deductible healthcare plan. The employees want to keep their current plans. All involved are tired of trying to navigate the extremely complicated US healthcare payment system.

Medicare for All is extremely relevant to the labor struggle now. Just about every strike or contract conflict has healthcare at its root as insurance companies hike premiums. This is an important part of the way forward for the single-payer healthcare movement. This is how we build more solidarity in the fight for Medicare for All. Any fight to preserve access to healthcare is our fight too, until we win healthcare for all.

We pulled into the parking space of USW Local 1016 Union Hall. I had already decided I wasn’t going inside. I had told people I wasn’t going inside. But as I had driven through town, and as I pulled into the parking lot of this building I had never seen before yet was so familiar, I knew I had to go in. It was clear to me that this building was the heart of the workers here, my neighbors, the heart of their struggle to preserve their ability to be able to afford to go the doctor.
So, I put on my N95, covered it with a cloth mask and went inside as my friends and fellow activists from Beaver County carried all the household goods inside. The entrance was narrow, a perfect place to put a sign-in table for events along with someone sitting at the table to sell the obligatory W PA 50/50 tickets, so perfect I could picture it. The Christmas tree was bright. A guy was puttering around in the kitchen/serving area at the far back of the large room. All the items we had carried with us quickly filled the office at the side.

I stepped outside to stay safe as they cleaned up the laundry detergent that hadn’t survived the car ride and had spilled all over the floor.

Someone stuck their head out and said to come on back in because they were ready for the check to be presented.

First though, we had to all stand together to take pictures in front of the Christmas tree. We stood as far apart as possible to be safe but still get in the picture. We joked about how big the Christmas parties were going to be next year when we could all get together safely.

Then I handed the check to Terry Day. I read this letter:
USW Local 1016-03
107 Broadway Ave.
Wheatland, PA 16161
Attn: James Wells, Jr., President
Dear President Wells,
Enclosed please find a check in the amount of $1,279.00 made payable to NWPA ALF Christmas Project which we are hand delivering to you today with this letter.
The check represents contributions made and collected by the national Progressive Democrats of America and their Pennsylvania Steel Valley Chapter.
PDA supports the efforts of labor unions to maintain and expand hard fought for healthcare benefits until the time when the passage of Medicare for All legislation eliminates the need for union negotiators to bargain with employers for such benefits.

We hope that our donation to the Christmas Project will not only help your striking members and their families, but also serve as a thank you to the NWPA ALF for screening “Off the Table: The Case for H.R. 676 Expanded and Improved Medicare for All” at its 2019 annual meeting.

We will forward a copy of this letter to other organizations that support Medicare for All legislation and encourage them to contact you to learn how they can support your local’s efforts to settle a fair contract. We also stand ready to help to the best of our ability whenever requested.

In Solidarity,
Alan Minsky,
PDA National Director
Tina Shannon,
PDA PA Steel Valley Chapter President
(724) 683-1925
P.O. Box 150064, Grand Rapids, MI 49515 @pdamerica
Everyone in the room could feel the solidarity. Rosanne Barker from NW PA Area Labor Federation had come to meet us and take the check to deposit in the holiday fund. Terry Day is the local union president. Local 1016 is an amalgamated local, meaning that workers from several plants are members and thus have sub-locals.

The Union representatives were moved that we came to show solidarity in the middle of a pandemic. We were moved to be able to play a small part in helping them in their struggle to win healthcare from the big corporation which is their employer. Everyone in the room carried with them an awareness of the human cost of this struggle. We all know what’s at stake and it showed in our eyes and in our actions.

We said good-bye and got in our cars and drove four blocks or so to the picket line.
Dr. William Barber, President of NAACP NC, speaks at the Moral Monday rally in Raleigh, NathaniaJohnson is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Everything you hear tonight resonates with the call of our deepest moral values to establish justice and promote the general welfare, and our deepest religious values to love our neighbors and to lift from the bottom. And everything here, we are willing to fight and push for, because it is not about compromise. It is about deciding the future of this nation will be compromised if we don’t do at least the things that are here in this people’s agenda.”
The agenda emphasizes “big strides forward to getting more people to the health care they need and making structural changes that will help us reduce the power of the for-profit health care industry.”
With those words on December 21, the Reverend William Barber II, the nation’s most prominent progressive preacher, lent his moral authority to a sweeping agenda for governance as the Congressional Progressive Caucus unveiled its priorities for the first six months of the new year.

In a ninety-minute program livestreamed on Facebook, the caucus and the Poor People’s Campaign teamed up to deliver a message that mixed Social Gospel sermonizing and rally-the-faithful appeals to the prospect of shifting the focus in Washington, D.C., during the first six months of Joe Biden’s presidency.

The Progressive Caucus agenda is the product of more than three dozen participating activist groups, including the Poor People’s Campaign, said caucus chair U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal, (Democrat of Washington). Jayapal called it an agenda “that puts people first, centering poor and working people of all races, who have been left out and left behind.”
This agenda, the speakers noted, was necessary even before the advent of COVID-19, but it has been made still more so by the social and economic fault lines that the pandemic has exposed.

The seven-point platform is both a fundamental and ambitious list, ranging from specific policies to broad, aspirational goals:
  • COVID-19 relief that “meets the scale of the crisis” and directly addresses the pandemic’s disproportionate harm to Black, Indigenous, people of color and “other vulnerable communities”; 
  • Programs to put people back to work, with a focus on moving the economy to clean, renewable energy—but also restoring and expanding worker rights, including union rights;
  • Ensuring health care for all;
  • Defending and expanding voting rights—including proposals to end gerrymandering and rein in corporate money in electoral campaigns;
  • Attacking institutional racism and white supremacy;
  • Turning away from militarism and “endless wars” in favor of a commitment to peaceful diplomacy;
  • Rejecting corporate greed and ending corporate monopoly.

Throughout the program, Jayapal acted as a sort of emcee while a mix of activists and Progressive Caucus members took turns endorsing the agenda and bolstering the underlying demands.

“The Progressive Caucus policies for COVID-19 will make sure that we have money in our pockets to stay at home, clear student debt payments, address medical debt,” said Zillah Wesley of the Poor People’s Campaign in Washington, D.C. “They will protect our essential workers, our frontline workers who are low wage. They will make sure that we care for each other for now and for our future and expand our health care system, we need this.”
“Thanks to the demands of this inside-outside movement, President-elect Biden ran on the most progressive policy platform of any President in recent history. Now it’s time to deliver.”
Eshawney Gaston, a North Carolina home health care worker and Fight for $15 activist, spoke of provisions relating to worker and union rights. “Pass the $15 minimum wage in the first 100 days,” she said. “Make it easier for home health care workers, fast food workers, and all workers to form a union, because we need a voice on the job. Pass legislation that will protect the health and safety of frontline workers. And these are the top priorities for working people like me.”

On health care, Kansas farmer, retired nurse, and Poor People’s Campaign participant Mary Jane Shanklin spoke of her uninsured mother-in-law’s death in 2012, after a broken leg required her to get treatment at a hospital in Wichita, a two hour drive from her home.
“When she came out of that hospital, she had three new diagnoses: hypertension, diabetes, and leukemia, and she died three months later. This is what poverty looks like here—this is the lack of the ability to pay for insurance or medical bills,” said Shanklin, adding later that change is imperative “because the for-profit health care system we have now is inhumane, immoral, and it’s failing us.”

While reaching high, the agenda also suggests a spirit of working step-by-step toward more ambitious long-term goals. On health care, for example, the caucus doesn’t shy from backing Medicare for All—but it also doesn’t treat that as an all-or-nothing objective. Instead, the health care plank, said Shanklin, vows “to ensure health care for everyone by taking important steps to expand health care and make equitable investments into public health infrastructures, as we work toward Medicare for All.”

Disability rights and health care activist Ady Barkan bluntly acknowledged political limitations, while seeking to inspire those listening with a vision of how partial measures could advance the ultimate goal.

“Of course, we wish we had the power to pass Medicare for all this year,” Barkan said. “But we know that we are not there yet.”

For that reason, he continued, the agenda emphasizes “big strides forward to getting more people to the health care they need and making structural changes that will help us reduce the power of the for-profit health care industry.”

The agenda is “ambitious, it’s bold, and it’s achievable,” said Barkan, who listed some of its goals: expanding Medicare by lowering the eligibility age to fifty and covering all children up to age twenty-five; allowing government health insurance programs to negotiate with drug companies directly over pricing; expanding public health funding—especially for providers that serve urban and rural communities as well as Indian health providers; and protecting access for health care—including reproductive health care for women, trans people, and others.
“By combining the energy of our movement activists with the savvy and the growing power of our champions inside of Congress, we can actually enact some of these proposals into law in the coming year,” Barkan declared.

The Progressive Caucus message also sought to lay down a marker early, both with the broader Democratic leadership and with the Biden-Harris team. Progressives should rightfully take credit for helping rid the White House of Donald Trump and maintaining Democratic control of the House of Representatives, Jayapal said.

“Poverty, unemployment, racial injustice, homelessness—these are all policy choices, driven by structures that both Democrats and Republicans have refused to tackle,” Jayapal said.
She explained Trump’s victory in 2016 was “because people in both parties lost faith in the government to stand up for regular folks, instead of the biggest corporations and thousands of lobbyists that line our door every day in Congress, even before COVID-19 hit.”

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Karl Marx's ideas are a common touchstone for many people working for change. His historical materialism, his many contributions to political economy and class analysis, all continue to serve his core values--the self-emancipation of the working class and a vision of a classless society. There are naturally many trends in Marxism that have developed over the years, and new ones are on the rise today. All of them and others who want to see this project succeed are welcome here.

Prisoners should get vaccine quickly
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Chicago Sun-Times, December7, 2020

I agree that hospital and other health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities should get priority for receiving the new COVID-19 vaccine. But let us not forget the 40,000 people crammed into Illinois prisons and the prison staff, plus the thousands more in county jails all over the state.

Illinois has abolished the death penalty, but these men and women are facing death from this pandemic; it is raging through facilities where social distancing is not a choice they can make, and where testing, masking, and cleaning supplies are not readily available.

This is not only a moral and human rights crisis. It’s a public health crisis. Prison staff go home every day carrying whatever they have contracted inside. Prisoners are released at the end of their sentences every day and are cast out into a world that is hostile to them, often with little or no available health care or social services. Employment, housing and medical care are not assured, and some become homeless.

From both a public health and a humanitarian perspective, prisons and prisoners should be near the top of the list of those to receive the new vaccines.

Ted Pearson, co-chairperson, emeritus Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression
DEEP STRUCTURES, HATE, AND VIOLENCE: The Long Road to Societal Decay (and Renovation)

Harry Targ

Step by Step
Step by step the longest march
Can be won can be won
Many stones can form an arch
And by union what we will
Can be accomplished still
Drops of water turn a mill
(Music by Pete Seeger)

I repost this as Raphael Warnock is declared the winner of one Georgia Senatorial race and Jon Ossoff is leading his opponent for the second Senate seat. The possible outcome might be the re-control of the Senate by the Democrats (50 Democrats and 50 Republican Senators with Vice President Elect Kamala Harris casting deciding votes when ties exist).

Along with the extraordinary organizing talents of Stacey Abrams and a variety of grassroots groups, it is useful to reflect on a December 15, 2020 statement by Senator-elect Warnock: “As I think about it  I think of Schwerner, Chaney, and Goodman, two Jews and an African-American who died fighting for voting rights. I think about Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Joshua Heschel. Heschel said when I marched with Dr. King, I felt like my legs were praying” (Jewish Telegraphic Agency).

While progressives need to support the solidarity of all oppressed peoples (including the just cause of the Palestinian people), the solidarity of Georgia’s African-American and Jewish communities and Blacks and Whites uniting to defeat racism and reaction is a small but critical “step by step” in a long historical process to radically transform the institutions described below (January 6, 2021, 10:30 am EST).

Yesterday was a day of contradiction: the victories of the two Senatorial candidates and the terrorist insurrection against the United States Congress in Washington DC. This is the contradiction of the US economic and political system today; thus the title "societal decay and renovation." The role of progressives is to stand for and work to achieve the changes embedded in the meaning of Georgia. Another world is still possible. (January 7, 2021, 9:07 am EST).
A Repost from October 29, 2018
We are mourning again. Violent deaths continue: African-Americans, Latinos, Muslims, Gays and Lesbians, Women, Youth, Jews, and the list goes on. And the media pontificate about root causes: guns, a divided society, hate speech, the internet, and politicians. Analysts usually lock onto one explanation and deduce one or two cures. But there are other analysts, for example “realists” and religious fundamentalists, who say there will always be violence. There are no solutions.

The reality that undergirds the killing of masses of people on a regular basis is not easily discovered. That is, there are “deep structures” that have created a brutal and violent world. And movements to transform these deep structures, although complicated, can have some substantial success.

First, and I write this at the risk of being dismissed as an ideologue, the contemporary state of the capitalist economic system must be examined in rigorous detail. What might be called “late capitalism” is an economic system of growing inequality of wealth and poverty, joblessness, declining access to basic needs-food, health care, housing, education, transportation. The increasing accumulation of wealth determines the ever-expanding appropriation of political power. In the era of late capitalism, economic concentration resides in a handful of banks, hedge funds, medical conglomerates, real estate developers, technology and insurance companies, and media monopolies.

Second, late capitalism continues to marginalize workers of all kinds. Agricultural and manufacturing work, the staple of two hundred years of economic development, is disappearing. Highly skilled electronics workers and others with twenty-first century skills are employed as needed by corporations, with little or no job security. Once secure workers who have lost their jobs live in communities with declining access to food, growing environmental devastation, and limited connection to information and the ability to communicate with others. And, of course, conditions are worse for workers of color, women, the young, and the old.  A new working class has emerged, the “precariat,” with skilled but insecure jobs; the service sector, workers in health care, home care, fast food and other low paid and overworked occupations; and workers in the “informal sector,” desperate people who take short-term jobs or are forced to sell drugs, peddle products on the street, engage in prostitution, or engage in other activities so they and their families can survive. In addition, the most marginalized are homeless and hungry. Late capitalism has increased the marginalization of majorities of working people, in core capitalist states and the Global South.

Third, the history of capitalist development has paralleled the development of white supremacy and patriarchy. If capital accumulation requires the expropriation of the wealth produced by workers, what better way to increase profits can be found than marginalizing sectors of the working population and setting them into competition and conflict with each other by creating categories of difference. Racism, sexism, homophobia, the demonization of immigrants, Anti-Semitism and Anti-Muslim hysteria all serve, in the end, profit and the accumulation of wealth and power.

Fourth, systems of concentrated wealth and power require the development of political institutions, institutions that enhance the control of the behavior of workers. From monarchies, to constitutional democracies, to institutionalized systems of law and custom, such as segregation, voter suppression in our own day, the behavior of the citizenry is routinized and controlled. In most political systems electoral processes create some possibilities for modest, but necessary, policy changes. However, as Nancy MacLean points out in Democracy in Chains, economic and political elites use their resources to restrict and limit the influence of democratic majorities.

Fifth, this economic and political edifice requires an ideology, a consciousness, a way in which the citizenry can be taught to accept the system as it is. This ideology has many branches but one root, the maintenance and enhancement of the capitalist economic system. The elements of the dominant political ideology include: privileging individualism over community; conceptualizing society as a brutal state of nature controlled only by countervailing force; acceptance of the idea that humans are at base greedy; and, finally, the belief that the avariciousness of human nature requires police force and laws at home and armies overseas.
Sixth, a prevalent component of the political ideology is the idea that violence is ubiquitous, violence is justified, and violence is to be applauded. The trope of living in a violent world pervades our education system, our toys, our television and movies, our sporting activities, and our political discourse. Violence is tragic (we pray for the victims) but it is presented in popular culture as liberating and justifiable. And to survive in this world of evil and strife, everyone needs to be armed.

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Demanding a Nation That 'Cares for All' Not Just the Wealthy Few, Progressives Unveil People's Charter

A coalition of progressive lawmakers, union leaders, and social justice advocates on Thursday unveiled the "People's Charter," a political agenda intended to outline how, in the midst of overlapping public health, economic, policing, and climate crises that have devastated low-income communities of color most of all, working people can come together to transform the United States from a country that works for "the privileged and powerful few" to one that "cares for all of us."

Politico, which first reported on the proposal, characterized the People's Charter as part of a strategy to push Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to the left if he defeats President Donald Trump, calling it "the latest move from progressives as they prepare to wrangle with moderate Democrats over the scale of new government spending and programs if the party wins control of Washington."

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