October 2022
Report on the results of the 20th Congress
of the Communist Party of China

Presentation by Duncan McFarland,
cochair of the CCDS Socialist Education Project

sponsored by Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism

The Communist Party of China is holding its 20th Congress in Beijing starting on October 16, the first since 2017. The party leadership will be selected, including the Political Bureau and general secretary. Basic policy for the next five years will be determined, including China's long-term development plans and foreign policy, including US-China relations.

Studying the Congress' documents and results is invaluable to understanding the basic policies of the CCP especially at this sensitive time. The presentation will draw on diverse sources, including the official Chinese version which is available at:   http://20th.cpcnews.cn/english/index.html

9pm-10:30pm ET, 8pm-9:30opm CT, 7pm-8:30pm MT, 6pm-7:30pm PT

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwsd-igrzotHtJQznGLUjkOLtkVAG_QEm-p

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
The next one hour meeting of the Medicare for All Update Group will be Wednesday, November 16th via Zoom at 5pm Pacific, 7pm Central and 8pm Eastern Time. Everyone is welcome to attend and to invite others. A Zoom link will be sent out in November. 

Topics for this meeting will include a group discussion analyzing the November 8th midterm elections and their impact on health care justice movements, reports from states working on Medicare for All/single payer, and opening a multi-meeting discussion called The Long Struggle for Medicine and Against the Drug Industry. 

To RSVP for this meeting email m4aupdategroup@gmail.com
SAVE THE DATE!
"What's War Got to Do With It? Fund Human Need Not Pentagon Greed"
is the tentative title of a Zoom webinar of a presentation of on Monday, November 28, 2022, 7:00 pm by the CCDS Peace & Solidarity Move the Money Task Force. Presentation speakers are Sandy Eaton of CCDS and the Massachusetts Care Single-Payer Network and Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director for the Coalition of Funding Human Needs. More details will be forthcoming, including registration information. STAY TUNED
Time for the Big October Push to Beat the Right

By Eddie Wong
Reprinted from  Convergence
Early voting in the midterm elections is kicking off in several states, but it’s not too late to get involved in key races. Readers have already heard a lot about how critical these elections are for the future of US democracy, but the reasons bear repeating: The midterms will decide whether President Biden and the Democrats will be able to pass reform legislation in 2023 and 2024. Key races for governor, secretaries of state, attorneys general, and control of state legislatures will decide if there will be fair elections in 2024. 

Major advances by MAGA forces will set the stage for their capturing Congress and the White House in 2024 (either through elections held under anti-democratic election rules, or through some form of coup). A second MAGA presidency would be worse than the first, with few restraints.

The broad democratic coalition (socialists, progressives, independents, moderates, and traditional Democrats) that defeated Trump in 2020 must once again meet the challenge of the highly organized and well-financed extremists who now control the Republican Party. 
If our aligned forces can push back the Right in these midterms, we will be in a better position in 2024. If we can prevail in 2024, we can consolidate a multiracial working-class voting bloc, and the Left will be better positioned to advance major chunks of a more social democratic agenda for the long-term.

Battleground states overview

The races to follow include state legislative fights, battles for Secretary of State and governors’ seats, House of Representatives races, and a few potentially game-changing Senate contests.

Increasing the number of votes for Democrats in battleground states helps lay the groundwork for more sweeping victories later. The outcomes of governors’ races may determine whether Republican-controlled state legislatures can further rig the electoral rules. The same is true with secretaries of state and attorneys general. Regarding the House of Representatives, Democrats have an uphill battle if they are to retain control. Nonetheless in competitive races, a strong showing by Democrats makes it more likely they can prevail in 2024.

In the US Senate, Democrats have a chance to enlarge their majority and make it “Manchin- and Sinema-proof” which will be absolutely necessary, especially if Republicans re-take the House. In the most competitive races, Republican candidates are weak ­­–– think Herschel Walker. And Senate races enable Democrats to mobilize urban and suburban voters. But we must take nothing for granted––again, think Herschel Walker; as weak as he is, polls show him being within striking distance, especially if turn-out among Black, Latinx and Asian American voters is lower than it was in 2020.

Arizona

What’s at Stake. The mid-term election in Arizona is hotly contested on many levels. The re-election of Sen. Mark Kelly is a must-win for Democrats. His opponent Republican Blake Masters, a staunch Trump election denier, recently scrubbed his campaign website of language accusing Democrats of trying to “import a new electorate,” an open endorsement of racist, xenophobic, and white supremacist ideology. State races and propositions are also highly charged, with Trumpers Kari Lake running for governor and Mark Finchem running for secretary of state.

The state legislature is narrowly controlled by Republicans, and they have used their majority to pass voter suppression laws and anti-abortion legislation. Flipping a few seats to the Democrats would blunt the right’s power and provide a safeguard against a Republican invalidation of the popular vote for president should a Democrat carry Arizona in 2024. Lastly, restrictions on voting will be on the ballot via Prop. 309 which would require voters to provide either a state-issued identification number or the last four digits of their Social Security numbers when they apply for an early ballot. Getting a state identification card adds a burden on people who for various reasons are unable to go through the application process.

The Mobilization. Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA)  has been a driving force that uses elections to build grassroots power, primarily for Latinx communities, for over a decade. The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials estimates a record turnout of 644,000 Latinx voters for the mid-term election––a four-fold increase in two decades. LUCHA also is part of an electoral coalition that brings together leaders from Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities.

Native American voter turnout also was higher than usual in 2020 and hopefully, with the help of groups like Northeast Arizona Native Democrats, it will be again in 2022.
Arizona’s Asian American vote tends to favor Democrats, and groups like Arizona Asian Americans Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders for Equity Advocates are poised to replicate their voter turnout successes of 2020.

Key Dates. The deadline to request a ballot by mail is October 28. Early voting begins October 12.

Georgia
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What’s at Stake. The Peach State is the focus of national attention given the high-profile campaigns of Stacey Abrams for governor and US Sen. Raphael Warnock, who is seeking re-election. Progressive State Rep. Bee Nguyen’s race for secretary of state is also exciting Asian Americans across the country as well as Georgia Democrats.
Hyper-awareness of the election has led to 1.6 million people registering in the past few months; 20% of Georgia’s voters have registered since the 2018 election, which is important given purges of the voter rolls in 2019.

The Mobilization. One notable effort is Georgia Poor People’s Campaign, which has a strong base among African American churches. They are inviting local organizations to host watch parties for the Oct. 17 National Revival services led by Rev. William Barber and Rev. Liz Theoharis. The Georgia Poor People’s campaign is also hosting simultaneous marches in Atlanta, Columbus, Valdosta, Savannah, and Macon on Oct. 15. The New Georgia Project Action Fund is opening 13 field offices across the state, aiming to knock on 700,000 doors, and turn out 150,000 new voters. Black Voters Matter, the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, and Showing Up for Racial Justice also are engaged in voter outreach and mobilization, hoping to build upon 2020’s successes.

Key Dates. Early voting begins on Oct. 17 with Saturday voting on Oct. 22 and Oct. 29. Sunday voting occurs in select counties on Oct 23.

Nevada

What’s at Stake. Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto has seen her lead over challenger Adam Laxalt narrow in recent weeks. Adam Laxalt was the chair of Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign in Nevada, and campaigns on the Big Lie that the election was stolen. A strong increase in voter registration among women could boost Cortez-Masto’s chances, as Laxalt staunchly favors the reversal of Roe v Wade. Latinx voters make up 20% of the electorate and strongly favor Masto.

The races for governor and secretary of state are also generating excitement and anxiety in Nevada. Democrat Gov. Brian Sisolak is running for re-election against Trump-endorsed Joe Lombardo, the sheriff in Clark County (Las Vegas). Pundits consider this race to be dead even. In the secretary of state race, former state assembly member Jim Marchant claims the 2020 election was stolen by Biden. He is opposed by Democrat Cisco Aguilar, a lawyer and member of the state athletic commission. A poll released Oct. 2 showed Marchant leading by eight points.

The mobilization. Latinx voters make up 20% of the electorate and turnout is expected to rise by 5.8% over the 2018 midterm election. Somos Votantes, a Latinx voter mobilization group, has a canvassing operation in place, and its affiliated Somos PAC has purchased $4 million in ads to support Masto. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are the fastest growing ethnic group in Nevada and their votes for the Democrats provided a critical margin in Biden’s close victory in 2020. One APIA Nevada conducts year-round voter registration work among APIAs who are 10% of the state’s electorate. Culinary Workers Union Local 226, an affiliate of UNITE HERE, is on track to knock one million doors in the state, with 250 members on a political leave of absence.

Key Dates. Early voting in Nevada begins on Oct. 22 and runs through Nov. 4.

North Carolina

What’s at Stake. The Tar Heel state features one of the most competitive U.S. Senate races as Democrat Cheri Beasley, former chief justice of the state Supreme Court, faces three-term Rep. Ted Budd, a Trumper who backs Sen. Lindsay Graham’s proposed federal law to ban all abortions after 15 weeks. Voter registration has gone up 2% since December 2021, netting 20,000 new voters, many of them women.

The state legislative races are a huge priority for the Republicans, who need to gain two seats in the State Senate and three seats in the State Assembly to attain a supermajority that can override Democratic Governor Roy Cooper’s veto. Republicans have wanted to ban all abortions in North Carolina. Two seats on the State Supreme Court are up in this election.
The Mobilization. Several voter mobilization projects are underway to get Democratic and independent voters to support Beasley and other progressive candidates.  The New North Carolina Project targets improving turnout among Black voters and Latinx voters. They model their work on that organized by Stacey Abrams in Georgia, which emphasizes year-round training of voting rights activists and development of new candidates. They hope to bring a majority of the one million eligible voters of color who did not vote in 2020 to the polls in 2022. Similarly, the New Rural Project, which operates in seven of the poorest rural counties in the state, is conducting deep conversation surveys to persuade young people and people of color to register and vote.

Key Dates. Early voting in North Carolina begins on Oct. 20 and ends on Nov. 5. A handful of sites are listed for each county.\

Pennsylvania

What’s at Stake. In the race for the open U.S. Senate seat, Democratic Lt. Governor John Fetterman faces off against Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz, who only moved to the state in 2020. Oz, who was endorsed by Trump, has fallen behind Fetterman, who appeals to a growing multiracial working-class base. Democrats need to win this seat if they want to preserve, and possibly enlarge, their US Senate majority.

The governor’s race is also generating national coverage. Retired Army colonel and Republican State Senator Doug Mastriano, a Trumper who participated in the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, faces state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who currently is favored to win. Since the governor appoints the Secretary of State to oversee elections, there is grave concern that a popular vote for a Democratic candidate for President would be invalidated if Mastriano became governor. Since the Republican-controlled state legislature has vowed to enact more restrictions on reproductive rights, Pennsylvanians need a Democratic Governor who would veto those bills
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Democrats need to flip four seats in the State Senate and 12 seats in the House to win a majority in the General Assembly. That’s a tall order for Democrats in 2022, but certainly not impossible to achieve in a few more election cycles.

The Mobilization. Pennsylvania Stands Up is a membership-based organization with several chapters throughout the state. In 2020, their members held conversations with 400,000 people as part of a voter mobilization effort. Along with a diverse coalition of African American, Asian American, Latinx, and other groups, they are conducting voter contact campaigns utilizing door knocking, phone banks and text banks, and digital ads. Additionally, national groups such as the Working Families Party, Seed the Vote, the AFL-CIO and other organizations are active in Pennsylvania.
Key Dates: Early voting has already started and ends on Nov. 1 at county election offices.

Wisconsin

What’s at Stake. The battle for the U.S. Senate pits Democrat Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes against incumbent Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, who supported Trump’s false election fraud claims. Barnes’ polling numbers have been going down lately; as of October 5, he is one point behind Johnson. Still, Johnson may be losing moderates and independents. Democratic Governor Tony Evers is locked in a tough re-election battle against Trump-endorsed businessman Tim Michels. Whoever wins this race can veto or sustain election laws passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature.

By Aug. 1, 3,468,390 people had already registered to vote, approaching the highest number in state history. Voter registration among young people has increased from 266,869 in 2014 to 275,649 as of Aug. 1. African American Mandela Barnes is a young, dynamic leader and Democrats hope his candidacy can not only reverse declines in the Black voter turnout in Milwaukee and other cities, but also ignite the participation of younger voters.

The Mobilization. As in other states, a wide assortment of groups is participating in voter mobilization efforts. One particularly strong organization is the Wisconsin Working Families Party, which has been involved in voter education, campaigning for local candidates, and participating in federal campaigns since 2015. Other groups involved in voter mobilization include Citizen Action of WisconsinVoces de la Frontera Action, Inc., and Freedom Action Now, Inc. Seed the Vote is coordinating with these groups on door-knocking and phone-banking.

Key Dates. Voters can vote early in Wisconsin using their mail-in ballot, but the dates and hours of this service vary from county to county. Wisconsin also has same-day voter registration on election day.

Ohio

What’s at stake. In an unexpected development, Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan has pulled ahead of Trump-endorsed Republican J.D. Vance for the open U.S. Senate seat. Ohio voted solidly for Trump in 2016 and 2020, and Republicans dominate state politics. Ryan, a moderate Democrat who voted with Trump on America First trade policies, is appealing to independent and some Republican voters as a proven lawmaker versus the neophyte Vance, whose claim to fame is authoring Hillbilly Elegy. Ryan has rankled Asian American voters with a campaign ad saying, “It’s us vs China.” Blaming China for the loss of U.S. jobs lets American corporations which have outsourced jobs to Asia, Mexico and other countries off the hook, and encourages anti-Asian hate. Ryan has refused to back down on his ads. Nonetheless, Republicans call him a liberal Democrat. Ryan is backed by organized labor and women’s organizations because of his support for reproductive rights. A Ryan victory greatly improves the Democrats’ chance to retain a narrow U.S. Senate majority.

Key dates. Early voting begins on Oct. 12 and ends on Nov. 7.

New Hampshire

What’s at stake. Incumbent Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan faces conservative retired Army General Don Bolduc. Hassan is a liberal Democrat, while Trumper Bolduc favors a national ban on abortion. Bolduc, who vociferously claimed over the past year that Biden fraudulently won the 2020 election, reversed his position days after he narrowly won the Republican primary. Then, on October 5, he again questioned whether Biden won in 2020.

Hassan won her 2016 U.S. Senate race with a margin of 1,017 votes so she must go all out in this purple state. Organized labor, women’s groups and environmentalists are active on the ground to support Hassan.

Key dates. There are no opportunities for early voting in New Hampshire, but any eligible voter can register and vote on Election Day.

Michigan

What’s at Stake. The key race is between incumbent Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Republican businesswoman Tudor Dixon, who has been endorsed by Trump and conservative billionaire Betsy DeVos. Since the state legislature is dominated by the Republicans, Gov. Whitmer has been the safeguard for democracy, vetoing GOP voter restriction laws and bills that promote the lie that the 2020 election was stolen.

Securing a fair election is the focus of the secretary of state race that pits Republican Karen Karamo, who claims Trump lost 2020 due to fraudulent votes for Biden, against Democrat incumbent Jocelyn Benson. Trumper Matt DePerno, another “stolen election” advocate, will face Democrat incumbent Dana Nessel for state attorney general.

Two ballot measures should also bolster progressive turnout. Proposal 2 would amend the state constitution with provisions protecting elections and expanding ballot access. Another constitutional amendment, Proposal 3, would protect people’s right to abortions. Backers of Proposal 3 gathered more than enough signatures to qualify the measure, only to see the state election board block it from the ballot due to a typographical error. A court decision restored it to the ballot. Current polling shows 67% of Michigan voters support affirming the abortion rights and the reproductive health measure.

The Mobilization. There are many groups active on the ground in Michigan, including We the People Michigan and Detroit Action. Check out Movement Voter Project – Michigan for a list of groups that need your support.

Key Dates. Michigan allows online voter registration right up to Election Day. Voters can bring their absentee ballot to an election clerk’s office two weeks before Nov. 8 to vote early.

Ways to Get Involved

The most impactful ways to get involved are phone-banking and door-knocking. There is no substitute for this kind of face-to-face interaction. And the best way to get involved is through organizations that have relationships with base-building groups.
Seed the Vote works with statewide organizations in the battleground states: Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. They help volunteers partner with a group to do phone-banking and/or door-knocking in those states, with training on deep canvassing.
The Working Families Party is a membership-based organization with chapters in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, New Jersey New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. They do year-round organizing on community issues as well as endorsing candidates for local office. WFP is currently operating phone and text banks for candidates in several states.
Working America, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, has three million members. WA has been organizing in communities across the nation since 2003. They have worked on campaigns to raise the minimum wage, expand Medicaid, and secure educational equity. In 2022, WA is active in several states; for example, it is canvassing voters in California’s Central Valley.
The Democratic Party runs coordinated campaigns that knit together individual candidate races and federal campaigns in many states. In some counties, the Democratic Party may be the only organized body that is actively getting out the vote. Because its work is transitory, lasting just for the length of the electoral cycle, it must start anew with each election. There is very little infrastructure left behind to build upon the voter contact work. Contact the local Democratic Party if that is the only vehicle to available to you.
If you want to provide financial support to grassroots GOTV efforts, and help sustain their year-round organizing as well as their electoral work, consider a contribution to the Movement Voter Project.
Sandra Hinson of the Convergence written content team contributed to this story.
An earlier version of this article appeared on Unity News.
Eddie Wong is a longtime political activist and cultural worker (photography, film and writing) in the Asian American Movement. He edits and publishes East Wind ezine and helps coordinate UnityNews2022
Featured image: Coalition Canvass in Milwaukee, WI on Sept. 9, with participants from Wisconsin Working Families PartySEIU Healthcare WisconsinPower to the Polls WIVoces de la Frontera Action and other grassroots organizations. From Wisconsin Working Families Party.
RIP Mahsa Amini

In the wake of Mahsa Amini’s death at the hands of “morality police,” artists and filmmakers across the world are voicing their support for protesters in Iran.

by ElaineVelie
On September 16, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died after three days in the custody of Iran’s so-called “morality police.” Iranian authorities reportedly beat Amini to death after arresting her for improperly wearing the hijab.

Protests in Iran erupted while Amini was in still the hospital and have now spread across the country and the globe. In many of the demonstrations, Iranian women cut their hair, demanding an end to gender-based injustice and state-sanctioned violence. In response, the Iranian government has shut down the internet and deployed unlawful force. According to Amnesty International, Iranian authorities have beaten people with batons, fired live ammunition at protesters from close range, and wrongfully employed tear gas and water cannons. At least 76 protestors have been killed and hundreds more arrested.

In a September 25 video, Oscar-winning Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi called for the support and participation of the creative community: “I invite all artists, filmmakers, intellectuals, civil rights activists from all over the world and all countries, and everyone who believes in human dignity and freedom to stand in solidarity with the powerful and brave women and men of Iran by making videos, in writing or any other way,” Farhadi wrote.
Across the world, artists are using their platforms to voice their solidarity and denounce Amini’s death.

Filmmakers and visual artists requested “direct and public support” for Iranians in an open letter signed by Kaveh Farnam, Abdolreza Kahani, and Shirin Neshat, among others.
“The world should know Iranian brave people are fighting for freedom, fighting for human rights, fighting against a monster which came out from the deepest and darkest cave of religious fanaticism,” Farnam told Hyperallergic. In an email, Neshat said she was proud to be an Iranian woman and “beyond moved by the courage shown in the past days as Iranians risk their lives so they can bring change, hope and unity to a country that has been so badly bruised and divided by this dictatorship.”
Another open letter, penned by academics worldwide, garnered hundreds of signatures, including those of activist and scholar Angela Davis and philosopher Judith Butler.

“We call for an end to the systemic state violence against women in Iran and support their struggles for equality, justice and freedom,” reads the letter. “We are committed to the struggle of the people in Iran for justice and freedom.”
Young Internationalist Women showed their solidarity with the women‘s struggle in Rojhilat, Balochistan, Iran and the whole world with a mashup recorded in memory of Jina Amini and Nagihan Akarsel. 

The song is in Sorani, Persian and Kurmanji. The video contains a message of solidarity, ending with: "We are the song of life and life is what we create. Kurdistan, Iran, Balochistan - this is only the beginning."
CCDS National Coordinating Committee
Met October 16th

Time of day: The Crises We Face Now


State of CCDS: Janet Tucker commented on the national and international crisis we face. We have very few action items few agenda items for NEC meetings. We should have a convention coming up next year. Harry suggested in extending this fkr a year and have a 30th anniversary celebration. Before the meeting this document was circulated with some suggestions.

Marilyn would like to get a report at a meeting (soon) on the CCDS Education Fund, on the Carl Bloice Institute, and any other funds associated with CCDS. Anne Mitchell has been overseeing all those funds.

Carl spoke to where are the young people? Some are in LeftRoots; some in Party of Socialism and Liberation, maybe some in the CPUSA. We need to focus on radical political education. Our most successful projects are educational. We can invite Anne Mitchell to give us a report, because it would help us and them to do some planning.

Harry proposes we set up an organizational committee, to meet at least once! Assess why previous ideas were not implemented.

Volunteers were taken at the meeting. Harry Targ will chair the committee. Anyone interested in joining can contact Harry Targ or Janet Tucker.

Meta moves we write a letter to Anne Mitchell for a report on the funds. Erica is on the Ed Fund. She is willing to make an informal request for a report.

Harry proposes we set up an organizational committee, to meet at least once! Assess why previous ideas were not implemented.

Volunteers were taken at the meeting. Harry Targ will chair the committee. Anyone interested in joining can contact Harry Targ or Janet Tucker.

The Fascist Threat and the 2022 Elections presentations-Jay Jurie and Meta VanSickle.

Jay opened referred the recent D&I article for more discussion of the fascist threat. What does the threat of fascism mean for the socialist project in the United States? Capitalism is inherently unstable, there needs to be a way to control this. Recently we have seen neo-liberalism expand. Anti-communism used as a tool, again. History repeats itself, first time as tragedy, second time as farce. So now we have Marco Rubio denouncing Democrats as radicals, and Trump seeing “Antifa” everywhere. Jay described the growth of rightwing efforts and what will happen if the neofascist right prevails in the 2022 elections. And the effects, regardless of the election outcome (but quite likely affecting that outcome) of court packing, particularly by Trump. We should talk about class war, in terms of workplace control, union democracy, manufacturing renaissance, etc. Culture wars: we need to focus on groups being scapegoated: gay/lesbian, trans, immigrants. A favorite tool of fascists is violence. Jay recommends if we haven’t, we take a look at The Turner Diaries – Timothy McVeigh used it as his blueprint and “bible.” The right is focusing on “identifiable public enemies.”

Meta went over various forms of verbal violence, including scapegoating. Once the Right has identified enemies, they can start to use actual physical violence. Capitalist markets rely on 3 things for growth: more population, more markets, new products that people can be convinced they need. This increases risk from climate crisis. There are people who are saying that not only is abortion wrong but also birth control. If you think what is happening to women in Iran is horrifying, keep in mind that we don’t have it here … yet. How do we change from “me-conomics” to “we-conomics”. We need to talk about things that benefit us all as a society.

US imperialism, militarism and war

Harry Targ sent us two documents before the meeting. The first one is a Fact Sheet on a National Security Council document outlining the Biden national security strategy, and the second one is an article by Harry specifically on US policy on (“against”) China. Peace movement should say no to war, identify with the global South, oppose the military-industrial complex. There are two superpowers: one represented by the US, and the other the masses of people who are rising in opposition. If we don’t resist the Biden Strategy, we will fall into the same structure as when the Cold War started with increased possibility of nuclear war, as well as exacerbation of the climate crisis. Further, our modest and fragile democratic institutions will be further weakened.

An article Harry had read asked why the international issues weren’t part of the discussions around the elections. Meta added that militarism and police behavior are some of the most damaging forms of violence, yet we are coming to accept more and more. More discussion ensued. Ira Grupper asked, “How did that happen?” He wants to know if anyone has an analysis. And he is concerned about the failure of the socialist left to lead (that is, in the US).

Committee Reports

Membership Report given by Steve Willett
Our membership is declining, more slowly than previously, but still a steady decline. Also, we had a spike in membership after the last convention, but now no more than 1 or 2 new members a month.

Tom G. reports that in NY they have been focusing on dues paying members who don’t attend meetings, and have brought at least one back into attendance.

Finance Report by Meta Van Sickle
$6,219 in our bank account. We lost two major sustainers – to death – this month. She is going to be watching our balance sheet to see how this affects us. Steve called attention to the sustainer program and urged us, if we are not on it, consider getting on it, and if we are on it, consider increasing our contribution. Recurring expenses have basically equaled income for the last two months. We’ve now lost $50/month in sustainers.

Tom proposed we contribute $150 to Global Health Partners for Cuba. 9 yes. 1 no. Motion passes.

Meta moves we write a letter to Anne Mitchell for a report on the funds. Who will write it? There appears to be a question (raised by Karl) whether we have a right to ask for a report on these funds. It sounds like a demand. Erica agrees with Karl. She is willing to make an informal request for a report.

Dialog and Initiative-2023? We have had a 2022 edition, need to plan 2023. Paul proposes that we ask the existing editorial board if they would continue. Carl is willing to continue as layout and design. Paul, Harry, Meta willing to continue. And Karl Kramer volunteered. Paul notes that this is something other people can join. The editors meet and dole out the work which people can do on their own.

Socialist Education Project— Harry Targ announced the upcoming “5th Monday” reviewing the Chinese Communist Party Congress, please register for it. Back to 4th Mondays for November.
Peace and Solidarity/Move the Money: Tom Gogan read the proposal from the P&S committee for national CCDS support for the Move the Money campa. Paul Krebhiel would vote for the proposal as it stands but recommends adding a “cultural” element to the work proposed. Jay promises that the task force will consider what Paul brought up; that is okay with Paul. NO OBJECTIONS. PASSES BY ACCLAMATION.

Medicare for All Update Group Marilyn Albert reported that the next meeting is November 16. 5pm Pacific, 8pm Eastern. Open to all, not just CCDS members. If you want to attend and have not signed up previously, write to m4aupdategroup@gmail.com and ask to be included in the next zoom. Their concerns: Covid vaccine apartheid, deteriorating and unequal access to health care, takeover by private equity capital of the entire health care system.

Facebook page: Jay Jurie reported reported that something or someone has been posting pornographic images on our FB page. So it has been switched to moderated, there are 5 people who are administrators. But that inhibits conversation. We need more.

Scheduling Next NCC Meeting—Sunday, January, 22 10-1 Pacific, 1-4 Eastern.   
The Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS) Move the Money (MTM) Task Force mission statement. Move the Money task force engaged with a campaign to move resources from war-related production that would instead redirect public resources to fulfill human needs in such basic areas as housing, healthcare, education, environmental protection and much more. To accomplish this mission, MTM is involved with research, education, outreach, organizing, and action, oriented toward:
--researching military and military-related spending in conjunction with the ways in which a variety of needs have gone unmet,
--educating and publicizing as broadly as possible the fashion in which priorities are skewed and revenues squandered by such spending,
--partnering with peace and social justice organizations in constructing a viable and effective national movement to redeploy tax dollars from military and related purposes to human needs,
--influencing the US Congress to shift taxpayer dollars from war-related purposes to human needs, this includes urging local governments and others to draft calls for Congress to reallocate military and military-related spending for unmet local needs.

SATURDAY, APRIL 23, 2022

THE CUBA/UNITED STATES STORY: 1959-1962

 Harry Targ

The Biden administration, however, is ignoring the most important lesson of the missile crisis: all lines of communication—political, military and diplomatic—must be kept open at all times, particularly in the nuclear age. The missile crisis ended without a formal agreement, but less than a year later the two sides signed a formal agreement to ensure safe and quick communications between Washington and Moscow. (Melvin Goodman, "Lessons From the Cuban Missile Crisis" Counterpunch, October 7, 2022.)


THE BAY OF PIGS TO THE MISSILE CRISIS: Part 1

The 60 year anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis is approaching. In an introduction to the presentation of new documents on the crisis the National Security Archives warned  that “the combination of nuclear weapons and human fallibility will eventually result in nuclear destruction if these weapons are not abolished” (www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/). The historical record shows that the decisions leading to the crisis which almost brought nuclear war have been repeated over and over again since the early 1960s. Many fear that the brutal Russian war on Ukraine and the US/NATO response could escalate to the point of nuclear war.
Particularly, the Kennedy Administration pursued numerous policies to forestall revolutionary ferment in the Western Hemisphere. These included covert military action, economic assistance, and nuclear confrontation with the Soviet Union. The following blog essays address these policies. They are adapted from my book on United States foreign policy during the Cold War (Strategy of an Empire in Decline: Cold War II. 1986 available as a pdf at https://heartlandradical.blogspot.com/2022/03/strategy-of-empire-in-decline.html

The United States Invades Cuba

Before Fidel Castro’s 26th of July Movement seized power in Cuba in January, 1959, the United States had long controlled the island nation ninety miles from its shores. The country was ruled by dictator, Fulgencio Batista, a close ally of the United States, who, through repression and corruption, generated large-scale opposition in the countryside and the cities. In 1958 the State Department urged Batista to turn control over to a caretaker government, to forestall the victory of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and Camillo Cienfuegos, and their growing guerrilla armies, who were on the verge of overthrowing the dictator. Batista rejected the pressure to flee. His U.S. backed armies and police were defeated. The revolutionaries were victorious.
Before the revolution, United States investors controlled 80 percent of Cuba’s utilities, 90 percent of its mines, 90 percent of its cattle ranches, its three oil refineries, half its railroads, and 40 percent of its sugar. In a land rich with human and natural resources and a modern infrastructure and a tourist sector second to none in the Hemisphere, 600,000 Cubans were unemployed, more than half the population lived in slums, and one-half the population had no access to electricity. Forty percent of the Cuban population was illiterate, most Cubans spent much of their income on rent, and among wealthy Cubans, 1.5 percent of landowners owned 46 percent of the land.

When the Castro-led revolutionaries assumed office, they began to develop a series of policies to alleviate the worst features of Cuban poverty. The revolutionary government invested in housing, schools, and public works. Salaries were raised, electrical rates were cut, rents were reduced by half. On a visit to the United States in April, 1959, Castro, who had proposed a large-scale assistance program for the Western Hemisphere to the Eisenhower Administration, was ignored by the President.

Returning from a hostile visit to Washington, Castro announced a redistributive program of agrarian reform that generated opposition from conservative Cuban and American landowners. These policies involved transfers of land to the Cuban people from the huge estates owned by the wealthy. The Eisenhower administration responded by reducing the quantity of United States purchases of Cuban sugar. Cuba then nationalized the industry.

In February, 1960 Cuba signed trade agreements with the Soviet Union. The Soviets agreed to exchange their oil for sugar no longer purchased by the U.S.  When the U.S. owned oil refineries refused to refine the Soviet oil, the Cuban government nationalized them.
In July, 1960, the U.S. cut all sugar purchases. Over the next several months the Cuban government nationalized U.S. owned corporations and banks on the island. Therefore, between the spring of 1960 and January 1961 U.S. and Cuban economic ties came to a halt and the island nation had established formal diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union. Shortly before Eisenhower left office, the break was made symbolically complete with the U.S. termination of formal diplomatic relations with Cuba.

As U.S./Cuban economic and diplomatic tensions were escalating, President Eisenhower made a decision that in the future would lead the world to the brink of nuclear war. In March, 1960, he ordered the Central Intelligence Agency to create a Cuban exile force that would invade the island and depose Fidel Castro. Even the State Department knew at that time that Castro was enormously popular.

In April, 1961, the newly elected President Kennedy was presented with an invasion plan by the CIA. The agency claimed that the right-wing Cubans would be greeted as heroes when they landed at the Bay of Pigs. After the Castro regime was overthrown, all private assets would be returned, and a Batista-like government would be reestablished.

The Bay of Pigs invasion, April 17-19, 1961, was launched by fifteen hundred Cuban exiles. It was an immediate failure: 500 invaders were killed and the rest captured. No uprising against the revolutionary government occurred. Kennedy was criticized in the United States for not providing sufficient air support to protect the invading army. The critics ignored the fact that the revolutionary government had the support of workers and peasants who would fight to defend it
 By Harry Targ
Revised from an April 16, 2003 essay

The Peace Movement Said “No” to the Iraq War in 2003

In the aftermath of the February 15, 2003, massive worldwide mobilization against US war in Iraq, activists aptly borrowed the metaphor of the “two superpowers” from New York Times reporter Patrick Tyler. One superpower was United States imperialism and the other, the power of the people. While the two-superpower thesis remains appropriate today, the peace movement needs to develop its content and ground the contesting powers in their material realities today. First, it needs to clarify the connections between US capitalism, global conquest, militarism, and visions of empire. Second, it needs to discern whether individual imperial superpowers are homogeneous or riddled with factional disagreements that can be used for its purposes. For example, in the US case, analyses should discover where multinational corporations and international financiers stand, whether the oil and/or military industries are driving the doctrine of preemption, and which, if any, sectors of the ruling class regard unilateralism, globalism, and militarism as a threat to global trade, production, investment and speculation. Third, the peace movement must analyze the role and presence of multiple super-powers in collaboration with each other (or unilaterally in the Russia case today) who together or singly seek to dominate other nations and peoples.

As to the anti-imperial superpower, the peace movement should understand it to consist of smaller and poorer nations, masses of workers all across the face of the globe, and representatives of a large range of religious, labor, women's, environmental and other groups from civil society. Most nations are part of the bloc because of the momentous mass mobilizations of their citizens to say no to war. It was extraordinary to see poor and vulnerable countries such as Cameroons or Angola, and traditional subordinates of the United States, Chile and Mexico, reject US pressure to support the war on Iraq in the United Nations Security Council in 2003.

Most importantly, the second superpower was represented by what in 2003 was perhaps the largest global protest in human history. With the launching of the Iraq war in March 2003 the steadfast opposition grew in size and militancy.

In the United States in 2003 protests occurred in hundreds of cities and towns; city councils in over 160 cities passed resolutions against war; and every church denomination but the Southern Baptists said "no" to war. It is true that when war started the "rally round the flag" phenomena kicked in: 70 percent of the people supported President Bush's action. However, just before the war started about half of the US people supported giving the weapons inspectors more time to do their job. Furthermore, support for the war was more likely among those who believed that there was a connection between Iraq and the 9/11 terrorist attacks on US targets. Party differences were stark in reference to war: Republicans supported the Bush war on Iraq about 20 to 30 percent more than Democrats.

Finally, people were scared. They were scared of terrorism, of job loss, of economic depression, of devalued pensions. Some worried about being arrested for conduct defined as criminal by the Patriot Act. In fact, then (as now) we lived in a culture that promoted fear.

What was done to nourish and expand the movement for peace and justice during the Iraq War (and what can be done today)? A consensus emerged in the peace movement in 2003 that over several months, perhaps years, grassroots organizing-networking across neighborhoods, churches, union locals, and civic groups-was central. In the US one-third to 40 percent of the population probably supported war in 2003 and the Bush foreign policy agenda. Perhaps one-third were inalterably opposed. This left another third undecided, confused, or marginally supportive of the war on Iraq.
The target of grassroots work was bringing the undecided people into the peace and justice camp. Perhaps, it was thought, what would drive them into the antiwar camp would be fiscal crises at state and local levels, economic stagnation and job loss, the dismantling of the meager health care system, the continued marginalization of public schools, and crumbling infrastructure all around nation. People were reminded of the fact that while economic crisis grows by the days and weeks, the administration increased defense spending to a record $400 billion in 2004 (and over $800 billion today) while state and federal taxes on the rich were cut.

On September 15, 2022, Peace Activists Hit the Streets from DC to San Francisco Urging Ceasefire in Ukraine
 
On February 24, 2022, Russia launched a massive invasion of Ukraine. The Ukrainians responded and their response was fueled by billions of dollars of US and European military equipment and private armies. Thousands of Russian and Ukrainian soldiers have died, and millions of Ukrainians have fled the war. The leaders of Russia, the United States, and even Ukraine talk of the possible use of nuclear weapons. Negotiations between competing parties have broken down.

Sectors of the peace movement in the United States have demanded that all sides participate in negotiations not war. Pacifists in Ukraine, presumably a small minority, have urged an end to the fighting and larger numbers of Russians have protested their country’s invasion of
Ukraine.

Protestors on September 15 in the US rallied for all sides to stop sending more arms and fighting and begin serious negotiations to end the violence. For example, in Milwaukee
“antiwar activists, including a county supervisor, took their peace flags and "Diplomacy, Not War" signs to the campus of conservative Marquette University, where they passed out hundreds of flyers with QR codes for students to email their Congress members for a ceasefire. Organizer Jim Carpenter, co-chair (with this author) of the foreign policy team of Progressive Democrats of America, told skeptics who want a fight to the last Ukrainian, ‘Are you more concerned about saving lives or saving territory’?" (Marcy Winograd, “Peace Activists Hit the Streets From DC to San Francisco Urging Ceasefire in Ukraine,” Common Dreams, September 20, 2022. https://www.commondreams.org/views/2022/09/20/peace-activists-hit-streets-dc-san-francisco-urging-ceasefire-ukraine)

In the face of increased probabilities of nuclear war, the peace movement needs to build a worldwide movement of historic proportions, comparable or greater than in 2003. The task would be to stop the escalation of war in the Ukraine and its spread to Asia, Africa, and Latin America. This will take grassroots organizing, building global solidarity, and mobilizing for peoples' power in the United Nations. This may be our last chance to build a peaceful and just world.

Particularly, mass mobilization could be animated by the vision of vibrant international institutions that could represent the "peoples’” interests. The United Nations, usually a reflection of the distribution of power in the world, can be made to represent the people of the world. Particularly, the UN General Assembly, where all nations have only one vote, can be made viable as it was in the 1960s and 1970s when the U.S. and the Soviet Union were competing for the "hearts and minds" of the newly independent nations.

Also the peace movement should direct its solidarity to the Group of 77, the movement of non-aligned nations that seeks social and economic development in a world at peace. During various periods in its history, the Group of 77 has stood up against the forces of global capitalism. The peace movement should stand with the Group of 77 today.

In the end, the metaphor of the two superpowers, economic ruling classes, bureaucratic elites, and generals in powerful countries versus their opponents, the people, still make sense. The only hope for humankind is the mobilization of peace movements, the second superpower, to demand an end to war. And for the most part, while displaying solidarity with peace movements everywhere, peace movements in individual countries must target the complicity of their own nations in the making of war. 

Below is the prologue to “Watch Me Rise”, a book of poems by Charles Hill, a prisoner in Stateville Correctional Center. He would love to hear from Alliance members and friends, and would welcome comments.
 
Prologue Quietness and Trust
Is My Strength
 
In the fetal position of the womb, like the life cycle of
a cocoon.
I'm waiting on my time.
First heart, core and mind; then
legs, arms and wings;
then dreams.
Iron makes a lot of noise when it's formed into
bars in a door that slams and locks me in.
I've served time and time is waiting on me.
In an apron painted in stains like an expensive
artistic masterpiece.
Time painted a masterpiece.
One stride at a time like steps ordered by the divine.
Time
moved my heart, spirit and mind;
And slowly my body follows.
Iron and concrete has its own way
of developing a man.
As if it's a female's body organ equipped to
carry a two hundred plus pound adonis, as I
metamorphosis into a beautiful being that can fly.
One day I'll fly.
Above every obstacle negativity sets
for me, to all the places and to do all
the things seen in my dreams.
Night or day.
One day I'll be the recipient of an answer
to the prayer I pray,
my mom prays with me too.
Whispers and trust will see me through.
Through a door that will no longer
be able to lock me in.
To a freedom that will expand my ability
to be made again and again.
As I rise.
TELLING THE STORY OF FEMALE ELECTRICIANS

A Review of a New Small Book That Tells Young Women They Can be Electricians Too 

Harry Targ
People work for a lot of reasons; reasons that are not necessarily in conflict. First, people work to earn a living. Only the super-rich, the ruling class, do not have to work as most people experience it. Second, people work to produce goods and services that serve their communities; from the food we eat, to the buildings we live in, to the education our children receive, to the medical care that keeps us healthy and alive. Third, people work because it fills time and hopefully, gives dignity and hope. People identify with their jobs and to a degree their self-concepts are shaped by their jobs.

However, for many work does not provide sufficient resources to live healthy lives. Workers often are forced to produce objects that do not serve communities but facilitate destroying them, such as manufacturing arms, or pursuing certain kinds of police work or surveillance. And for many workers, boring, routine, assembly line jobs do not give dignity and hope. They dehumanize people. And finally, work is foisted upon people against their will in a system of economic exploitation that for many constitutes modern slavery. And to do this capitalists, managers, and bosses exploit workers often reinforcing old cultural ideas about who can do what kind of work.

But with the rise of the feminist movement, progressive trade unions, and demands in society for cultural change, workers, particularly women workers are finding work that earns livable wages, channels their energies and talents to the community, and provides them self-satisfying and dignified labor.

WireWomenWhat It’s Like to be a Female Union Electrician (Hardball and Little Heroes Press, 2022) is a beautiful book, text and wonderful graphics, that describes and celebrates women electricians. It is written by seven women and one-man all apprentice electricians, and one journey woman and a professor of labor economics, It is illustrated by a “multi-disciplinary artist” interested in the intersections between art and social movements, The apprentices are members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 3 in New York. These IBEW apprentices take a five-year electricians course which includes training in the classroom and on-the-job. In addition, apprentices take college courses leading to an associate or bachelor’s degree in Labor Studies at Empire State College, SUNY.

The text exudes the pride and enthusiasm these apprentices have for the work they are being trained to do. “We pull wire with the strength of an elephant tugging out tree trunks, we climb ladders with the agility of a mountain lion scaling a peak, and we read blueprints with wisdom and inquisitiveness of an owl. We use our extraordinary powers to build and light up our city.”

The text describes the success these apprentices have achieved in their “search for daily meaning,” helping to build skyscrapers, installing revolving doors, adding electrical wires to tall buildings, wiring subway systems, wiring guidance systems for Air Traffic Controllers at airports, and even stringing the lights for the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center. And all of these tasks are beautifully presented in colorful, exciting illustrations adjacent to the text which highlight the vital role electricians play in society.


And WireWomen reminds readers, mostly girls and young women (but males as well) that the possibilities of careers as electricians are available to everyone. The book demands that young people forget the old stereotypes of who could do what work. It encourages young women particularly to pursue their evolving interests and dreams. If they are curious about electricity, have a fascination for using tools, want to know “how things work,” the book suggests, they can enroll in a union apprentice program, learn a skill, and secure lucrative employment doing self-actualizing work. “We like to make our work look good because we take pride in what we do and are committed to doing a good job….We use our brains, eyes, ears, and touch to make sure everything is just right.” As Studs Terkel once wrote: 
WireWomen come from all income levels, ethnicities, and races, and from different kinds of prior job experiences. And what brings them together is their passion and curiosity and a union that is committed to the dignity of work and workers. The union provides “the best training, excellent health care and pensions, safe working conditions, and good pay.” In New York state the average wage of electricians is $81,340. In the United States union women in all jobs earn a lot more than women in non-union jobs (about $195 per week more).

WireWomen also is an example of a potentially powerful new genre of literature that combines text and illustration in an engaging way. In ways analogous to graphic novels and documentaries, the reader is drawn into the text by the attractiveness and power of the visual images that accompany it. And in the case of WireWomen the authors want to attract and engage the readers with a message, challenging traditional stereotypes of what women can do. Also, the authors wish to recognize that progressive trade unions can facilitate growing opportunities of women in the workplace.

Educational institutions and union locals should order multiple copies of WireWomen to hand out to young women (and men) who evidence some curiosity about becoming an electricianIt could be an excellent recruiting tool.

(Hardball and Little Heroes Press publishes fiction and non-fiction books for adults and children that take a working-class perspective. The Lennie Moss series written by Tim Sheard and numerous other fictional books about workers and unions entertain and enlighten. The Little Heroes series provides education and entertainment for younger readers.)     https://www.hardballpress.com/index.html
In case you missed it!
Past months 4th Monday's programs.


The Left, Progressives and Social Media-- October 2021

November Fourth Monday: Assessment of COP 26, US-China cooperation and future prospects: https://www.facebook.com/OULeft.org/videos/1249206465561348.
Fourth Monday in September, watch here: IDEOLOGICAL HEGEMONY AND HIGHER EDUCATION
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
CHANGEMAKER PUBLICATIONS: Recent works on new paths to socialism and the solidarity economy

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