In Memory of Jim Campbell
Deep Canvassing” Weakens Threat
From the Right, Republicans, and Racists

By Paul Krehbiel

Democracy is under assault by the corporate class, right-wing organizations, and Trump’s Republican Party. These attacks are being waged on many fronts, but one key target is the electoral arena. Thirty Republican controlled states are passing draconian laws to suppress Black and Democratic voters, and eliminate majority rule by hand-picking Republicans to cast state Electoral College votes even if Republicans lose the popular vote there. This highlights the pressing need to increase voter pressure on legislators to pass voting rights bills, currently being held up in the Senate by conservatives. But other struggles on the ground are equally important.

New approaches to organizing are making inroads into a portion of that huge swath of Trump supporters. Two of those are sometimes called “street outreach” and “deep canvassing,” practiced by activists in the Poor People’s Campaign, and Showing Up for Racial Justice and other organizations. In short, it means being better connected with people on the ground.
Two advocates of this approach were featured presenters at a webinar sponsored by the CCDS-initiated Online University of the Left, and the People’s World newspaper. Rev. Sarah Monroe of the Poor People’s Campaign in rural northwest Washington State, and Ash Overton, recently with Showing Up for Racial Justice, spoke at the “Struggles on the Ground Against White Supremacy” webinar on June 30, 2021, and explained how these strategies can be a game changer.

Peeling away Trump supporters

The idea for this webinar came, in part, from seeing the broad support for Trump and his reactionary ideas among such large sectors of the population. Even though Joe Biden beat Trump with 81 million votes to Trump’s 74 million, we were concerned that 74 million people voted for Trump, even after five years of his racist, misogynist, and fascist campaigning and presidency from 2016 through 2020. The broad left and progressive movement needs to develop a strategy to reach some of those voters, help them reconsider their thinking, and leave Trumpism and backward ideas behind. This webinar made an important contribution toward that goal. We see it as one strategy among many.
Erica Carter, National Coordinating Committee member of CCDS, opened the webinar by framing the problem. She said our democracy is being threatened by “an elite minority of society to exert its will over the majority,” including “extremist evangelists on the right, obstructionist members in Congress, conspiracy theorists” and forces trying to stop the environmental movement, the right to organize, and more. “They are trying to keep us isolated from each other and powerless. How can we bridge the divide and create a united force?”
Janet Tucker, co-chair of CCDS, introduced Reverend Sarah Monroe, founder of Chaplains on the Harbor in and around rural Aberdeen in western Washington, and an activist with the Poor People’s Campaign. She began by recounting the area’s history. “This was an area that once had thriving logging and fishing industries. There was radical union organizing here.” People’s lives improved. “But these industries declined and are nearly gone,” Rev. Monroe continued. “Now, this is a very poor area.” There is high unemployment, or under-employment, at very low wages. “In Aberdeen, with a population of 16,000, one in 16 people are homeless,” Rev. Moore explained.

No jobs, no future = despair

“The population is 70% white, with Native people the largest minority group. The people who once worked in logging and fishing, their children grow up without jobs. Many survive in the illegal economy, like selling drugs. Many people feel that neither party cares about them, so many don’t vote. There’s a lot of drug abuse, high incarceration, police violence. Some youth flirt with white power groups and are recruited in prison.” Many are desperate and searching for solutions. “Our county voted for Republicans for the first time in 100 years.”
Rev. Moore said that she often hears that the “the white working class” gets blamed for Trump’s 2016 election. She said the working class is multi-racial, much more diverse politically, and that Trump’s primary base is primarily independent conservative business owners, some of whom stoke the flames of racism and reaction.
She said it was important to go out into the community, move her ministry into the streets, listen to the needs of the people, and try to help. “We don’t proselytize. We give out food and organize other survival projects. We’ve had good conversations with people about trying to survive. We talked with them about the larger issues and put out a newsletter. We were threatened by armed white supremacists. Some were people who I had pastored to. I’m in the community so much that I have lots of conversations with people. That’s key. They feel ignored, caste aside. They need to be connected with. That’s the first step.”
Ash Overton, formerly with Showing up for Racial
Ash Overton, formerly with Showing up for Racial Justice and currently with New Conversation Initiative, helped develop methods of conversation to connect with people and help them see the world differently. From rural Minnesota, Ash moved to Los Angeles to do organizing and got involved with fighting for political rights for the LBGTQ community, specifically to defeat California Proposition 8 that would ban same sex marriages.

Deep Canvassing

Ash said that polling showed that they were winning by 60% to 40% but on election day they lost big. “We were trying to figure it out. How did it happen? So, we decided to go out and talk to people to find out.” They had 12,000 conversations with voters at their door over four years. Ash also had conversations with voters about other issues. They developed what they called “deep canvassing.” They filmed many of their conversations, and one conversation was shown at the webinar. It was to engage people in discussion about whether to build more jails in LA County or alternatives to incarceration. Here is a shortened text of how that conversation developed.

Ash: Hi. My name is Ash. We’re talking to people today about whether to spend more money on jails in LA County or on alternatives. Given the information you have now, are you in favor of or against building more jails or on alternatives?
Woman: I believe they should serve their full term and go to jail.
Ash: Okay.
Woman: As far as building more jails, if crime went down, we wouldn’t have to build more jails.
Ash: So, on a scale of zero -10, with zero for more jails, and 10 not, where would you be?
Woman. I’m at 6.
Ash: Okay. Why is that right for you?
Woman: I have family members who are in the Sheriff’s Department.
Ash: Okay. Do you know anyone who has been to jail?
Woman: No.
Ash: So, no one on the other side?
Woman: No. Well, I know of someone who went to jail for drug abuse. He came out worse that than when he went in.
Ash: Did you know him well?
Woman: Yes. He’s my daughter’s boyfriend.
Ash: So, you watched that process?
Woman: Yes.
Ash: What was it like? I’m sure you had strong feelings finding out your daughter’s partner was in jail.
Woman: She’s still with him. She was living here, but now has moved out. But one good thing is that her kids are still here. They didn’t want anything to do with that.
Ash: Yeah, my cousin went to jail when I was younger. I thought he was great. He was driving drunk and hit someone and went to jail and prison. My family’s not talking to him. I sometimes wonder what it means to help people who are struggling…it’s tough. I took a lot of drugs too. It could have led to jail. Everyone struggles. I know when I’m hurting I don’t treat people right. But, then I think, what did that accomplish?
Woman: I’m raising these kids the opposite as to how I was raised. I was raised with a belt. These kids haven’t seen that. If I did that I’d be in jail.
Ash: So, you think what you’re doing is better?
Woman: I think so.
Ash: There’s a lot of ways we can help people. Like finding out the reasons why they get into trouble in the first place. People helped me get through my problems to be here, but that’s not happening to people in jail.
Woman: But if you let them out how can you be sure they’re going to be rehabilitated?
Ash: We have to imagine something different, like you did with your kids and grandkids. I know its super scary. People can be dangerous. But, what are we doing for people when they come out? Are we making ourselves safer? When you think about your daughter’s boyfriend, will she be safer when he comes out? Right now, 90% of people released go back to jail or prison. But when we invest in programs, mental health, substance abuse, education, jobs, and other support, 85% don’t go back. Because they have support systems.
Woman: Yeah.
Ash: So, we have to put our money in these programs. So, on a scale of zero to 10, with zero being more jails, and 10 being more support services, how would you vote?
Woman: I’d give it an 8.

Studies have shown that “deep canvassing” like this has a positive impact on changing the way people think.

People can use the lessons learned from deep canvassing on any topic, from dealing with racism, to poverty, election campaigns, unions and worker’s rights, international relations, and more.

Ash headed up a campaign in Georgia with SURJ to talk to voters in largely rural areas about the 2020 presidential election to support Biden and Harris. “Rural and poor people get blamed for electing Trump, when many didn’t even vote,” Ash said. He said they targeted the lowest propensity voters in Georgia, majority white poor and working-class voters, to help them see that voting for Biden was important for them. They talked to 36,000 voters at their door, and got 20% to agree to vote who weren’t planning to. That campaign, along with others, helped Biden and Harris take Georgia.

Paul Krehbiel is national co-chair of Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. He worked on the committee that organized this webinar.
To watch the entire webinar go to here.
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Elizabeth ‘Betita’ Martínez, Presente!

Photo: Elizabeth “Betita” Martínez pets her dog, Xochi, in her San Francisco home in 2002.(Janis Lewin)

The prolific author and pioneering Chicana organizer, has died at age 95.

Los Angeles Times 

JUNE 29, 2021 - At 21, Elizabeth “Betita” Martínez worked as a clerk, translator and researcher for the newly formed United Nations. As part of her duties, the recent college graduate read reports published by colonial powers, describing how they controlled territories.

It didn’t take Martínez long to realize the link between colonialism and racism. The reports painted a grim reality of neglect and exploitation. In one instance, she learned Belgium provided one doctor for 100,000 people in the territory of Rwanda-Urundi.

Martínez and her boss couldn’t stand the injustice, so they leaked these documents to Third World delegates. Only then could they publicize and embarrass the colonial powers. The Philippines took the bait and announced the damning information during a Trusteeship Council meeting in Geneva.

The United States delegation heard about their scheme and reported her. Martínez’s Yugoslav boss fired her immediately but it was worth it. “That’s the most we could do from sitting inside the U.N., but that was a lot of fun,” Martínez said in 2006.

It was classic Martínez: perpetually overlooked and underestimated as a woman and Latina, but always getting the final word. Her boss rehired her the next day but the moment marked the beginning of a lifelong career in global activism. Weaving in and out of different social justice causes to elevate marginalized people, she focused on racial unity and intersectionality decades before it became essential to do so.

Active until the end, Martínez died early Tuesday at Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco, said Tony Platt, a close friend. She was 95.

“She was an example of what it means to not just speak your truth but to live your truth and to be prepared to commit your life to that truth,” said Elena Featherston, an educator and writer who worked alongside Martínez. “She’ll be remembered in a multitude of ways and it’ll be different for people.”

“She was an innovative type of organizer,” Chicana political activist Olga Talamante said. “In all projects, she had a posse of young people working with her. She loved being around young people and they loved being around her.”

Covering the issues, politics, culture and lifestyle of the Latino community in L.A., California and beyond.

Martínez grew up in a segregated suburb of Washington, D.C., the daughter of a Mexican father, a Spanish literature professor at Georgetown University, and American mother, an advanced Spanish high school teacher. She was neither Black or white, and yet she was scolded by her father when she tried to eat with a Black maid in her home. She didn’t know the word for it at the time, but she felt racism all around her.

After college, she strategically dropped her father’s last name for her mother’s middle name, “Sutherland,” to break into New York’s industry. She went on to work at reputable institutions such as Simon & Schuster and made a name for herself that could’ve guaranteed a modest life with a steady income for her and her daughter, Tessa Koning-Martínez.

Instead, Martínez traveled the globe in the name of social justice beginning in the 1960s. She went to Cuba, where she mingled with revolutionaries and was flagged by the FBI. In Mississippi, she used her publishing skills to promote the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the main student civil rights group in the U.S., at the time. And she joined the New York Radical Women, a predominantly white, middle class collective, and contributed to its feminist journal.

The work was taxing and it took a toll on her financial and mental health. The sexism and racism within so-called progressive groups repulsed her but she kept it to herself. Eventually, Martínez felt lonely. “It’s time for me to search for my identity,” she wrote to herself in a memo. “It’s time to go home to my Mexican-Americans.” So she left the East Coast and headed to New Mexico in 1968.

After years of identifying as “Sutherland,” she turned into Betita Martínez in the Land of Enchantment. “A voice inside of me said, ‘you can be Betita Martinez here,’" she wrote.

She became the founding editor of El Grito del Norte, a pioneering community newspaper that documented the struggles of Hispanos and Mexicans reclaiming land grants from the U.S. government. She taught women how to write stories, encouraged travel to educational conferences and instilled unity among them. Their work gained national recognition from luminaries such as Talamante.

“It’s an incredible thing when you think about a 30-year-old woman really being able to organize teenagers and get them really radicalized and working with them to develop coalitions that produce ‘500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures’ and El Grito del Norte and comic books,” said Sofía Martínez, coordinator of Los Jardines Institute in Albuquerque.

“She had a lot of experience and history but she was always looking up to the next generation,” said Martínez’s daughter, Koning-Martínez. Her mother, she added, thrived on youths’ energy and insight.

It was in New Mexico where she wrote “500 Años del Pueblo Chicano/500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures,” a bilingual photo book with copious captions that illustrated the history of Chicanos in the Southwest. Published in 1976 by the Southwest Organization Project, it quickly became a staple of Chicano Studies classes but also was banned by Tucson Unified School District during Arizona’s war against ethnic studies. She followed that in 2007 with “500 Years of Chicana Women’s History/500 Años de la Mujer Chicana.”

By the final phase of her political life, she moved to the Mission District in San Francisco in 1974 and maintained her jampacked schedule of activities until she no longer could. She joined the women-led Democratic Workers Party, served as editor for the party’s newspaper and even ran for governor on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket in 1982. She fostered alliances among people of color by helping found the Institute for MultiRacial Justice. She also took time for self-reflection as a mother and on the movement, heeding caution on the dangers of hierarchical leadership.

“She was someone that could survive on less sleep than anyone I know. She didn’t make a lot of time for meals,” Platt said.

She also was notorious for calling friends near midnight on any given day. Despite being fluent in Spanish, English and French, oftentimes she required her colleague’s assurance that her Spanish-to-English translations captured the writer’s meaning. “It’s not like we’re working in a company and she’s the supervisor — it was more like, ‘This is Betita,’” Talamante said.

In 2000, the National Assn. for Chicana and Chicano Studies recognized her as scholar of the year. She also received an honorary doctorate from her alma mater, Swarthmore College.

Outside the political arena, she was always the life of the party. She loved her white go-go boots and rocked mini skirts even after her daughter abandoned that style. She enjoyed drinking gin martinis and wine with friends in her backyard, listening and singing to boleros and the Beatles and doting on her dogs.

Martínez is survived by her daughter.

The leadership of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS) mourns the death of Elizabeth “Betita” Martinez, one of our founders and member of our Advisory Committee. Betita was an activist in support of the rights of workers, people of color, women and was a leader of the Chicana movement in the Southwest. As the New York Times reported Martinez “helped define an emergent Chicana movement, seeking rights and pride for people, especially women, who were often exploited in the labor market…”
In 1964 under the name Elizabeth Sutherland, Betita assembled a compendium of memos and letters from white civil rights volunteers in the Mississippi Summer Project… called “Letters from Mississippi.” Four years later, she co-founded a bilingual newspaper, El Grito del Norte in New Mexico. It was one of the first newspapers of the Chicano movement. It advocated for Chicano land rights in New Mexico and expanded to oppose the Vietnam war, promote solidarity with Cuba, and articulate solidarity with the resurgence of feminism around the world.
She was the author of several books including 500 Years of Chicano History in Photographs. In 1997 she co-authored a seminal article that clearly explained the core elements of “neoliberalism,” What is Neoliberalism? A Brief Definition for Activists,
Her work continues.
Hotel execs firing up to 39 percent of housekeepers even after full reopening – People's World

Reprinted from Peoples World
July 9, 2021 12:50 PM CDT  BY MARK GRUENBERG

LAS VEGAS—U.S. hotel industry executives, using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse, plan to cut up to 39% of their housekeepers, depending on the chain involved, even after fully reopening once the plague retreats, Unite Here reports.

Its eight-page study, Playing Dirty, released at the end of June, calculates up to 180,917 housekeepers, 89% of whom are women and 73% of whom are Black and brown, would lose their jobs.

The report’s conclusions are based on interviews with housekeepers and hotel honchos’ public statements and spending and earnings forecasts to Wall Street investors. They’re also based on history, the union notes.

Hotel CEOs cut housekeepers after each of the last two industry recessions, one due to 9/11 and the other from the 2008 financier-created crash, Unite Here said. The hotels also urge guests to decline demanding daily housekeeping services, resulting in less work each day—and a lot more work, per remaining housekeeper, at the end of each guest’s stay.
That’s when all the sheets must be cleaned and changed, sinks, toilets, and tubs scrubbed, linens washed, and mattresses turned. If a room isn’t cleaned until it must be, the tasks become infinitely harder. longer and more injurious, Playing Dirty notes.

The same pattern is repeating itself as hostelries reopen following the apparent retreat of the coronavirus pandemic, which at one point had cost 98% of all Unite Here members—including virtually its hotel workers—their jobs.

“Almost since this crisis began, hotel executives seized on the pandemic as a chance to end the practice of daily room cleaning, long a target of efforts to reduce labor costs in housekeeping.”

The report quotes two top hotel CEOs, by name, as planning hotel housekeeping cuts, saving the industry at least $4.8 billion in total pay and benefits while leaving the women and their families out of pocket and out in the cold.

“The work we’re doing right now…is about [making hotels] higher-margin businesses and creating more labor efficiencies, particularly in the areas of housekeeping… When we get out of the crisis, [hotels will] require less labor than they did pre-Covid,’ Hilton CEO Chris Nassetta recently told investors,” the report says.

And it quotes Host-Marriott CEO Jim Risoleo as saying: “We view…this crisis truly as an opportunity to redefine the hotel operating model. We won’t have the incremental cost associated with housekeeping.”

“Epidemiologists, industrial hygienists, and other health experts, including former President Obama’s OSHA director, said daily room cleaning yields similar public health benefits to cleaning other parts of a hotel and is safe when workers have appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) and the hotel is well-ventilated,” Playing Dirty adds.

But the hotel honchos are focused on increasing their bottom line, and their attractiveness to Wall Street, not on cleanliness, paying workers, or satisfying guests, few of whom—10%—want their rooms’ cleaning skipped, the report adds.

Unite Here has managed to avoid that fate for its members in selected big hotel/convention cities, including New York, Las Vegas, and San Francisco. That doesn’t solve the problem, union President D. Taylor says.

“The hotel industry is trying to get back to full occupancy without ever bringing back its full workforce,” he said in introducing the study. “That’s bad for workers and guests because hotel executives are using Covid-19 as an opportunity to eviscerate housekeeping jobs and cut cleaning services.

“And when you think about a hotel without daily housekeeping, that’s almost like a college dorm experience. Housekeeping jobs are the backbone of the service economy, and taking these jobs away means that many working families and especially communities of color might never recover.”

Rally in Beaver County, PA
July 10th, 2021
Congressman Conor Lamb spoke at the rally. Carl Davidson spoke with him:
"I asked our Congressman, Conor Lamb, if his fight on the House floor with the GOP on Jan. 6 had caused a shit in his views. Hr laughed and replied, 'Let's say it certainly clarified things a great deal.' He agreed the GOP needs to be soundly defeated to defend democracy. He also favored a project for bringing advanced manufacturing that could help a Green New Deal for our region.
SUNDAY, JULY 11, 2021

Harry Targ

Nancy MacLean in her groundbreaking 2017 book, “Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America,” addresses one of the central problems facing the American people, indeed majorities of people around the world; the contradiction between democracy and capitalism. As we look to the 2022 elections, the seemingly successful efforts of state governments, with support from the court system, to suppress voting, gerrymander districts, and in other ways to squelch the voices of the people, threatens majority rule. In addition, media consolidation, the creation of “news deserts,” restricting what is to be taught in the education system from grade one through the university, all are part of the concerted threat to fully inform publics. This too is a threat to democratic participation and majority rule. Consequently, it is useful to revisit MacLean’s main arguments.

MacLean begins by analyzing central premises of the so-called Austrian school of economics. Nineteenth and twentieth century luminaries from this tradition, particularly Van Mises and Hayek, articulated the view that the main priority of any society, but particularly democracies, is the extent to which markets are allowed to flourish, unencumbered by governments.

According to this view in a truly free society markets remain supreme. In fact, “liberty” exists in a society to the extent economic actors are unrestrained in the marketplace. Virtually all limitations on economic liberty so defined constitute a threat to “real” democracy. Governments exist only to maintain domestic order (the police power) and to defend the nation from external aggression (defense of national security). Governments provide police protection and armies. And that should be all. In sum, as President Ronald Reagan expressed the market vision: “Government is not the solution. Government is the problem.”

To further illustrate, MacLean describes the brutal dictatorship that overthrew the democratically elected president of Chile, Salvador Allende. Allende, a socialist, was elected by a plurality in the 1970 presidential election in that country and in the spring, 1973 in municipal elections held across the country, Allende’s coalition of parties drew even more votes for their candidates than did Allende in 1970. The United States, based on directives from President Nixon, had already moved to make the Chilean economy “scream” and had initiated contacts with Chilean generals who would be prepared to carry out a military coup against the popular government.  The military coup, ousting Allende from power, was launched, ironically on September 11, 1973.

As MacLean points out, in the aftermath of the coup, General Augusto Pinochet rounded up and killed thousands of Allende supporters, destroyed the long tradition of electoral politics, abolished trade unions, and began the process of ending government involvement in the economy and public institutions. Social security and education were privatized. Policies of nationalization of key industries were reversed. The shifts to what the Austrian school called economic liberty were imposed on the Chilean people with the advice of University of Chicago economists, such as Milton Friedman, and later, George Mason University economist, James Buchanan, who was instrumental in recommending “reforms” to the Chilean constitution making return to democracy more difficult. Subsequently only a few other dictatorships in Latin America showed any sympathy for the Pinochet regime with most of the world
condemning its domestic brutality. But as MacLean reports, Milton Friedman and his colleagues never condemned the Chilean regime and Buchanan regarded it as a paradigmatic case of economic liberty, a model which the world should emulate. (And today, the Chilean people are rising up to rewrite the Pinochet era constitution that suppressed democracy).

Although the Chilean case represents an extreme example of dictatorship and free market capitalism, she uses it to illustrate a central point. In most societies, and the United States is no exception, majorities of people endorse government policies that can and often do serve the people. Ordinarily, citizens support public transportation, schools, highways, libraries, retirement guarantees, some publicly provided health care, and regulations to protect the environment, as well as police and military protection. The problem for Buchanan and his colleagues is that each one of these government programs. except for the police and military, constrains the “liberty” of entrepreneurs to pursue profit.

To put it simply, if citizens of the United States were asked if they support public programs, majorities would say “yes.” Although there have been extraordinary constraints on majority rule, even enshrined in the US constitution, the history of the United States can be seen as a history of struggles to improve and achieve majoritarian democracy. Demands for voting rights for women, African/Americans, non-propertied and low-income workers, released prisoners, and others have been basic to the American experience. The great anti-colonial struggles of the twentieth century all across the globe were premised on the vision of individual and collective sovereignty of the people. If economic liberty is conceptualized as inversely related to majoritarian democracy, then capitalism and democracy are incompatible.

Nancy MacLean, based on this fundamental contradiction, develops a narrative of efforts by celebrants of economic liberty, the Koch brothers and their allies, to build campaigns in virtually every state and locale to disenfranchise people. ALEC affiliates in state legislatures over the last decade have promoted legislation to suppress the right to vote, eliminate the rights of workers to unionize, disempower city councils, eliminate the right of local governments to make fiscal decisions, and to enshrine in curricula in K to 12 education systems and the universities ideologies about the virtues of economic freedom. There are powerful political pressures to privatize every existing public institution. And these pressures have increased and today come from almost the entirety of the Republican Party and some of the Democratic Party as well (including efforts to defeat progressives within their ranks). Again, the best government is no government (except for the maintenance of police force to squelch demands for change and military power to protect the nation at home and abroad).

Nancy MacLean is warning us that there is a powerful drive, based on wealth and power, in the United States to destroy democracy. This democracy, while flawed, has been fought for since the founding of the United States. Its continuation, leaving aside its need for improvement, is under fundamental threat.
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“How would it be if the United States were viewed by the rest of the world as interfering with the elections directly of other countries and everybody knew it? What would it be like if we engaged in activities that they engaged in? It diminishes the standing of a country.” President Biden, June 2021

Thirty-five years ago, on June 27, 1986, the International Court of Justice in the Hague ruled that the United States had violated international law by supporting the contras and mining Nicaragua’s harbors- in breach of our country’s international obligations “to not use force against another state, not to intervene in its affairs and not to violate its sovereignty”. The decision included the need to pay reparations, calculated at over $US 17 billion. The US refused to comply. Over 30,000 Nicaraguans died as a result of the war and their economy was totally destroyed by the time the war ended.  

The US went on to interfere in the 1990 election, pouring in millions of dollars to create a candidate of choice and to threaten the people of Nicaragua with more war if they did not vote according to US dictates. 

Following the Sandinistas’ return to power via elections in 2007, the US resumed efforts to undermine the Sandinista government, openly channeling over $200 million dollars through Nicaraguan non-profits and dozens of newly-created media outlets for regime change efforts. This culminated in a failed coup attempt that killed over 200 people in 2018.  

In July 2020, a USAID document leaked from the US Embassy in Managua outlined an orchestrated plan, RAIN or Responsive Assistance in Nicaragua, financed by the United States to launch a government transition in Nicaragua over the next two years. 

Right now, the Renacer Act is moving quickly through the US Congress with the explicit intent to interfere in Nicaragua elections, as stated in the title: Reinforcing Nicaragua’s Adherence to Conditions for Electoral Reform Act of 2021. The Renacer Act ramps up economic sanctions. It threatens Nicaraguan voters to vote for an opposition candidate if they do not want to suffer serious privation over coming years. 

Our friends, family members, organizational partners, and communities in Nicaragua want the US to stop interfering. They tell us that the government cares about the poor, citing good governance from which they benefit directly: safety, food security, agroecology, access to health care and education, commitment to gender equity, disaster prevention and mitigation, energy diversification, best infrastructure and roads in the region, and programs to expand access to housing, water and electricity. Poverty and extreme poverty have been reduced by almost 50% from 2007 to 2017. Nicaraguans ARE NOT fleeing to the US border by the thousands, unlike their neighbors of the “northern triangle”. 

US regime change operations in Latin America have a long, sordid history and continue to do enormous harm in the many places where they are active today. US sanctions in support of regime change are devastating to the most vulnerable people, and they are illegal.  

As elections approach in Nicaragua, the US is directly interfering and, everybody knows it. We call on the US to stop interfering; it diminishes the standing of our country, and the US globally. 

Harry Targ

Neoconservatives, celebrants of war, have had a long and growing presence in the machinery of United States foreign policy. James Forrestal, the first Secretary of Defense in the Truman Administration, was a leading advocate for developing a militaristic response to the Soviet Union in the years after World War II. As historian Andrew Bacevich pointed out, Forrestal was one of the Truman administrators who sought to create a “permanent war economy.” He was, in Bacevich’s terms, a founding member of the post-World War II “semi-warriors.”

Subsequent to the initiation of the imperial response to the “Soviet threat” — the Marshall Plan, NATO, wars in Korea and Vietnam, the arms race — other semi-warriors continued the crusade. These included the Dulles brothers (John and Alan), Air Force General Curtis LeMay, and prominent Kennedy advisors including McGeorge Bundy and Walter Rostow, architect of the “noncommunist path to development,” in Vietnam.

Key semi-warriors of our own day, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Elliott Abrams, Robert Kagan, and others who formed the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) in the 1990s, gained their first experience in the administrations of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. The PNAC view of how the United States should participate in world affairs is to use military superiority to achieve foreign policy goals. The key failure of Clinton foreign policy, they claimed, was his refusal to use force to transform the world. For starters, he should have overthrown Saddam Hussein in Iraq.
The neoconservative policy recommendations prevailed during the eight years of the George Walker Bush administration. International organizations were belittled, allies were ignored, arms control agreements with Russia were rescinded and discourse on the future prioritized planning for the next war. And concretely the United States launched long, bloody, immoral wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
From the CCDS Socialist Education Project...
A China Reader

Edited by Duncan McFarland

A project of the CCDS Socialist Education Project and Online University of the Left

244 pages, $20 (discounts available for quantity), order at :

The book is a selection of essays offering keen insight into the nature of China and its social system, its internal debates, and its history. It includes several articles on the US and China and the growing efforts of friendship between the Chinese and American peoples.

Click here for the Table of Contents

Taking Down White Supremacy 

A Reader on Multiracial and Multinational Unity 

Edited by the CCDS
Socialist Education Project

166 pages, $12.50 (discounts available for quantity), order at :

This collection of 20 essays brings together a variety of articles-theoretical, historical, and experiential-that address multi-racial, multi-national unity. The book provides examples theoretically and historically, of efforts to build multi-racial unity in the twentieth century.

      Click here for the Table of contents


The Saving Lives Campaign and Global Health Partners are building a broad-based, urgent drive to supply these vital medical tools to Cuba. The country has a shortage of 20 million syringes vital to the goal of vaccinating the entire Cuban population against Covid. We are committed to raising $100,000 this month to start rushing syringes to Cuba. 
Please show your solidarity now with a country that has done so much for the health of its own people, and for struggling communities around the world.

Over the past year alone, Cuba has sent 3,700 health workers, in 52 international medical brigades, to 39 countries overwhelmed by the pandemic. Cuba’s international medical brigades have treated patients and saved lives for the past 15 years in 53 countries confronting natural disasters and serious epidemics, such as the Ebola crisis in West Africa.

Cuba has developed five internationally recognized candidate COVID-19 vaccines, with two in Phase III clinical trials as of April 2021. Cuba has 11.3 million people, but plans to produce 100 million doses of vaccine, to meet its commitment to sharing its low-cost vaccines with poor countries in the developing world.

Help put life saving vaccines into Cuban arms with your generous, tax-deductible donation to our syringe campaign. Your gift today will save lives and show your solidarity with Cuba’s commitment to helping other poor countries fight Covid.

Please send your gift to Global Health Partners, which has a U.S. Commerce Department license to send medical supplies to Cuba. You can make an immediate donation online on this page.

You can also send checks payable to Global Health Partners, with the memo Syringe Campaign, at 39 Broadway, Suite 1540, New York, NY 10006.
In Solidarity,
Organizing Committee, International Conference for the Normalization of US-Cuba Relations
Saving Lives Campaign US-CANADA-CUBA Cooperation
New York-New Jersey Cuba Sí Coalition
National Network On Cuba
Canadian Network on Cuba
Table de concertation et de solidarité Québec - Cuba

End All Economic and Travel Sanctions Against Cuba!
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