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During This Economic Crisis, Capitalism’s Three Point Political Program: 1. Austerity, 2. Scapegoating Blacks, Minorities, and ‘Illegal Immigrants’ for Unemployment, and 3. The Iron Heel.
Democracy?: As the Capitalist Robber Barons Steal from the 99% — Only the 1% Voted For Austerity — The 99% Should Decide On Austerity — Not Just The Who Profit From Austerity! Under Austerity, All of the World Will Eventually Be Pauperized, Humbled, and Desecrated Like Greece and Puerto Rico
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Why I no longer watch sports on Television:
Both Alabama (12-1) and Georgia (13-1) are strong teams from the Southeastern Conference (SEC), and each team lost only one game this season to the same SEC opponent, Auburn. On Nov. 11, Auburn beat Georgia 40-17. On Nov. 25, Auburn beat Alabama 26-14, when Alabama was ranked No. 1. On Dec. 2, Georgia avenged its loss to Auburn with a 28-7 win in the SEC Championship Game. On Jan. 1, Auburn lost to the University of Central Florida 34-27 in the Peach Bowl. Later in the day, in the College Football Playoff semifinal games, Georgia outlasted Oklahoma 54-48 in double overtime at the Rose Bowl, and Alabama beat Clemson 24-6 at the Sugar Bowl to reach the title game. Oklahoma and Clemson finished their seasons at 12-2. Auburn finished at 10-4. . . . The University of Central Florida (UCF) finished its season with a 13-0 record, the only undefeated team in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), the highest division in college football. But the Knights have no chance of being recognized as the best team in the country. That’s because UCF was not invited to the four-team College Football Playoff by the selection committee, comprised of current and former college coaches and administrators. The Knights play in the American Athletic Conference, not one of the Power 5 leagues (the Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC), so UCF was not considered an elite team and was ranked 12th entering Monday, behind some two- and three-loss teams. To put UCF’s undefeated achievement in perspective, in 2015 its football team did not win a game, going 0-12 with 10 double-digit losses. UCF head coach Scott Frost stayed silent about the CFP’s lack of respect toward his team throughout most of the season, but he thinks UCF’s exclusion from the playoff discussion was deliberate and called out the NCAA after his team’s final win. . . Former college football player and current analyst Danny Kannell may have summed it up best. “This is so bad for college football,” Kannell said on Twitter. “Fans are really gonna see thru the farce we call ‘playoffs’ and realize it’s a rigged system designed to benefit the elites.” Inequality in college football is not a new problem. The haves always have an advantage over the have-nots. But the gap has never been as evident as it is today because the only undefeated team in the country finished its season by beating an all-powerful SEC team that beat the two all-powerful SEC teams playing for the national championship. Of course, the NCAA and SEC fans (the 1 percenters) defend the current system. “The selection committee respected UCF,” College Football Playoff executive committee director Bill Hancock told ESPN. “After all, they’re the group that put the Knights in the Peach Bowl. To qualify for the playoff, teams need to play tough schedules against good teams—that is the way for all teams to stand out and be ranked high by the committee. UCF is an excellent team, but you still have to take into account who each team played and defeated during the regular season.” This season, UCF played one opponent ranked by the committee, No. 20 Memphis, which the Knights beat 62-55 in double overtime in the AAC title game and 40-13 earlier in the season. UCF played one Power 5 opponent, Maryland (4-8), and won 38-10 on the road. The Knights also had quality wins over three other winning teams: South Florida (10-2), SMU (7-6) and Navy (7-6). UCF beat everyone it played. — America’s Class War Hits College Football Playoffs
ACLU Attorneys Name Cops Accused of Violating Civil Rights on Inauguration Day The ACLU is seeking damages against individual officers who violated the civil rights of protesters during J20. Scott Michelman, senior staff attorney at the ACLU of D.C., discusses the importance of holding police accountable
Trump is still involved in his business ventures all over the world. Is that constitutional? Now, about that emoluments clause: Autocratic governments around the globe are pouring money into Trump’s pocket Over the holidays, a little Daily Beast story by Betsy Woodruff passed under the radar. She reported that Donald Trump is still personally involved in running his businesses. The media didn’t pay much attention, but perhaps that’s not surprising, considering that nobody in a million years actually believed Trump was going to leave his company solely in the hands of his two scions, Donald Jr. and Eric. After all, he’s spent a third of his first term making personal promotional appearances at Trump properties. He’s not exactly keeping it on the down-low that he’s still got his hand in the business. By Heather Digby Parton
Scientists find surprising evidence of rapid changes in the arctic Scientists have found surprising evidence of rapid climate change in the Arctic: In the middle of the Arctic Ocean near the North Pole, they discovered that the levels of radium-228 have almost doubled over the last decade. The finding indicates that large-scale changes are happening along the coast—because the source of the radium is the land and shallow continental shelves surrounding the ocean. These coastal changes, in turn, could also be delivering more nutrients, carbon, and other chemicals into the Arctic Ocean and lead to dramatic impacts on Arctic food webs and animal populations.
Ongoing Big Energy Crisis:
Civil Rights/ Black Liberation:
Negro leaders suffer from this interplay of solidarity and divisiveness, being either exalted excessively or grossly abused. Some of these leaders suffer from an aloofness and absence of faith in their people. The white establishment is skilled in flattering and cultivating emerging leaders. It presses its own image on them and finally, from imitation of manners, dress and style of living, a deeper strain of corruption develops. This kind of Negro leader acquires the white man’s contempt for the ordinary Negro. He is often more at home with the middle-class white than he is among his own people. His language changes, his location changes, his income changes, and ultimately he changes from the representative of the Negro to the white man into the white man’s representative of the Negro. The tragedy is that too often he does not recognize what has happened to him. — Martin Luther King Jr. 1967, The Black Power Defined
Black people are both oppressed for being Black and exploited as workers in the United States. In the argument, by Glen Ford, The Validity and Usefulness of the Term “Black Misleadership Class, I agree with Bruce Dixon. I believe that the black misleadership is more actuarly termed as petty bourgesoise. That it is, as the representatives for the capitalist class, inside the Black movement. From Class structure of capitalism: “In Marxist theory, the capitalist stage of production consists of two main classes: the bourgeoisie, the capitalists who own the means of production, and the much larger proletariat (or ‘working class’) who must sell their own labour power (See also: wage labour).” Every movement for social and economic change also has such a leadership that protects the interests of the 1% and they a fifth column for the capitalist class in the Working Class and the Black Movement. (R.S.)
The Validity and Usefulness of the Term “Black Misleadership Class” “It is both an actual and aspirational class, which ultimately sees its interests as tied to those of U.S. imperialism and its ruling circles.” In what he called “an afterthought” to his December 21 article on “The Black Political Class and Network Neutrality,” BAR managing editor Bruce Dixon dropped an unexpected bomb. He now has “deep reservations” about use of the term “Black misleadership class,” because “it implies that there is or ought to be a class of good and righteous black leaders.” The term is “sloppy and imprecise,” Dixon writes, adding (I hope) sarcastically: “Maybe the good ones are supposed to be the ‘real’ blacks and the bad ones unreal. Maybe the difference [is] having or lacking character, table manners, home training or ‘real’ blackness, or even some kind of black magic.”
Help Save BAR from Google, Trump, the Democrats and Their Spies “The whole of the ruling class is united in the campaign to squeeze the Left out of the web.” Sixteen months ago, the Washington Post issued the equivalent of “wanted” posters targeting more than a dozen of the most effective leftwing sites on the internet — including Black Agenda Report, the only Black-managed operation singled out for suppression. Since then, the radical sites slimed as “Russian propaganda outlets and sympathizers” by Prop-or-Not, the Post’s shadowy “source,” report having lost on average nearly half their Google search-generated audiences. BAR editors have also noted a drastic drop in the number of our own articles that come up in routine Google searches, compared to pre-November, 2016. BAR’s internet profile has been methodically shrunken. By Glen Ford, BAR executive editor
Iceland Requires Companies to Prove Equal Pay for Women A new law in Iceland is requiring all companies to prove that their wage practices don’t discriminate against women, in what is thought to be a global first in the effort to reduce gender pay gaps. The law, which was passed with a large majority by parliament in June, took effect at the New Year. It seeks to erase a current pay gap between men and women of about 5.7 percent that can’t be explained by differing work hours, experience or education levels, as measured by Statistics Iceland.
Health, Science, Education, and Welfare:
Russia: How the Bureaucracy Seized Power ‒ Part two: isolation and degeneration of the workers’ state We republish the second part of George Collins’ pamphlet (first part available here) on the rise of Stalinism in Russia. Here, he describes how the effect of the Civil War and failure of international revolution demoralised the Russian working-class, isolated the forces of genuine Marxism, and elevated the Soviet bureaucracy. By George Collins
In 1918, Lenin saw the dangers of the Soviet Buraucracy inhis Book, The Soviets At Work.
The Character of Soviet Organization
The Socialist character of the Soviet democracy—that is, of proletarian democracy in its concrete particular application—consists first in this: that the electorate comprises the toiling and exploited masses—that the bourgeoisie is excluded. Second in this: that all bureaucratic formalities and limitations of elections are done away with—that the masses themselves determine the order and the time of elections and with complete freedom of recall of elected officials. Third, that the best possible mass organization of the vanguard of the toilers—of the industrial proletariat—is formed, enabling them to direct the exploited masses, to attract them to active participation in political life, to train them politically through their own experience, that in this way a beginning has been made for the first time actually to get the whole population to learn how to manage and to begin managing.
Such are the principal distinctive features of the democracy which is being tried in Russia and which is a higher type of democracy, which breaks away from bourgeois distortion, and which is a transition to socialist democracy and to conditions which will mean the beginning of the end of the state.
Of course, the chaotic petty bourgeois disorganization (which will inevitably manifest itself in one or another degree during every proletarian revolution, and which in our revolution, on account of the petty bourgeois character of the country, its backwardness, and the consequences of the reactionary war, manifests itself with special strength), cannot but leave its mark on the Soviets.
We must work unceasingly to develop the organization of the Soviets and Soviet rule. There is a petty bourgeois tendency to turn the members of the Soviets into “parliamentarians” or, on the other hand, into bureaucrats. This should be combated by attracting all members of the Soviet to practical participation in management. The departments of the Soviets are turning in many places into organs which gradually merge with the commissariats. Our aim is to attract every member of the poor classes to practical participation in the management, and the different steps leading toward this end (the more diverse the better), should be carefully registered, studied, systematized, verified on broader, experiences and legalized. It is our object to obtain the free performance of state obligations by every toiler after he is through with his eight hour session of productive work. The transition toward this end is especially difficult, but only this transition will secure the definite realization of Socialism. The novelty and the difficulty of the change naturally cause an abundance of steps which are made, so to speak, in the dark, an abundance of mistakes and hesitations. Without this, no sudden movement forward is possible. The originality of the present situation consists, from the standpoint of many who consider themselves Socialists, in this—that people have been used theoretically to contrast capitalism and Socialism, and between one and they profoundly put the word “leap” (some, recalling Engels, quote more profoundly this: “A leap from the kingdom of necessity to the kingdom of freedom.”) That the word “leap” was used by the Socialist teachers to denote the crisis of an historical transformation and that leaps of this kind comprise periods of ten or more years—this cannot be understood by most of the so-called Socialists who study Socialism from books, and who have never given serious thought to this matter. It is natural that the so-called “Intelligentzia” furnish during such times an infinite number of criers after the dead; one bewails the Constituent Assembly; another bourgeois discipline; a third, the capitalist order; a fourth, the cultured aristocrat; a fifth, imperialistic “greater Russia”; and so on and so forth.
The Socialists and the Passing Order
The real interest of an epoch of great leaps consists in this: that the abundance of fragments of the old order which sometimes accumulate more rapidly than the germs of the new order (which are not always immediately discernible), requires ability to distinguish the most essential in the line or chain of development. There are historical periods when it is most important for the success of the revolution to smash as many fragments as possible that is, to blow up as many old institutions as possible. But there are periods when enough has been blown up, and it becomes necessary to turn to the “prosaic” work of clearing the ground of the fragments, which work the bourgeoise revolutionists calls “tedious.” And there are periods when it is most important to tend carefully the germs of the new growth under the fragments, on the soil that is yet full of rubbish.
It is not enough to be a revolutionist and an adherent of Socialism or Communism in general. One must be able to find at any moment that particular link in the chain that must be grasped with full strength lest the chain slip away, and to prepare a sound passage to the next link. The order of the links, their form, their connections, their distinction, from one to another in the historical chain of events is not so simple as in an ordinary chain which is made by a blacksmith.
The outcome of struggle with the bureaucratic distortion of the Soviet organizations is assured by the firm bond between the Soviets and the people (in the sense of the exploited toilers), by the flexibility and elasticity of this bond. The bourgeois parliaments even in the most democratic capitalist republic are never looked upon by the poor as “their” institutions. But the Soviets are for the masses of the workers and peasants, “their own,” and not alien institutions. The modern “social-democrats” of the Scheidemann kind or, what is almost synonymous of the Martov kind, are just as averse to the Soviets, are just as much attracted to the well-behaved bourgeois parliament, or to the Constituent Assembly, as Turgenev attracted sixty years ago to a moderate monarchist and aristocratic constitution, as he was averse to the peasant democracy of Dobrolubov and Tchernyshevsky.
This proximity of the Soviets to the toiling people creates special forms of recall and other methods of control by the masses which should now be developed with special diligence. For instance, the councils of popular education deserve the fullest sympathy and support as periodical conferences of the Soviet electors and their delegates to discuss and to control the activity of the Soviet authorities of the particular region.
Nothing could be more foolish than turning the Soviets into something settled and self-sufficient. The more firmly we now have to advocate a merciless and firm rule and dictatorship of individuals for definite processes of work during certain periods of purely executive functions, the more diverse should be the forms and means of mass control in order to paralyze every possibility of distorting the Soviet role, in order repeatedly tirelessly to remove the wild grass of bureauratism. . . .