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!
Charleston was in ruins. The peninsula was nearly deserted, the fine houses empty, the streets littered with the debris of fighting and the ash of fires that had burned out weeks before. The Southern gentility was long gone, their cause lost. In the weeks after the Civil War ended, it was, some said, “a city of the dead.” On a Monday morning that spring, nearly 10,000 former slaves marched onto the grounds of the old Washington Race Course, where wealthy Charleston planters and socialites had gathered in old times. During the final year of the war, the track had been turned into a prison camp. Hundreds of Union soldiers died there. For two weeks in April, former slaves had worked to bury the soldiers. Now they would give them a proper funeral. The procession began at 9 a.m. as 2,800 black school children marched by their graves, softly singing “John Brown’s Body.” Soon, their voices would give way to the sermons of preachers, then prayer and — later — picnics. It was May 1, 1865, but they called it Decoration Day. On that day, former Charleston slaves started a tradition that would come to be known as Memorial Day.
For years, the ceremony was largely forgotten. It had been mentioned in some history books, including Robert Rosen’s “Confederate Charleston,” but the story gained national attention when David W. Blight, a professor of American history at Yale, took interest. He discovered a mention of the first Decoration Day in the uncataloged writings of a Union soldier at a Harvard University library. He contacted the Avery Research Center in Charleston, which helped him find the first newspaper account of the event. An article about the “Martyrs of the Race Course” had appeared in the Charleston Daily Courier the day after the ceremony. Blight was intrigued and did more research. He published an account of the day in his book, “Race and Reunion.” Soon he gave lectures on the event around the country. “What’s interesting to me is how the memory of this got lost,” Blight said. “It is, in effect, the first Memorial Day and it was primarily led by former slaves in Charleston.” Read More
Make no mistake: Donald Trump has fueled violence against journalists How did we get to this point? When did our public standards fall so low that charges of physical assault were met with the sound of crickets across the Republican side of Congress? The assault charge now standing against Montana’s congressional candidate Greg Gianforte is itself a disqualifying moment for anyone attempting to enter elected office. You can hear for yourself what happened to Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs when he asked Gianforte a simple question about the impact of the Republican repeal of Obamacare. Make up your own mind about Gianforte’s behavior. But there’s something even more poisonous that threatens our politics today, and it has spread far beyond Montana. You can trace back the decline in our politics to a single campaign and a single candidate, who riled up his crowds to turn on the press and hurl abuse in their direction. That’s the same candidate who longed for the days when he could punch protesters in the face. Sure enough, his supporters ended up punching people in the face. By Richard Wolffe
The Dirty Secret of the Korean War The Korean War has been called “America’s forgotten war”. The heavily weaponized US Army was fought to a draw by Soviet-equipped North Korean and Chinese armies. For the very first time in its storied legacy of military campaigns dating back to American Independence, the US Army did not prevail in war. In its next colonial war against communism in Asia the following decade, the US was soundly defeated by North Vietnam. However, these military setbacks are not the sole reason to forget the Korean War. There is a much darker denial at work in forgetting the specifics of history, and this unwillingness to honestly examine the Korean War is at the root of our ongoing conflict with North Korea. by Thomas Powell
Black Liberation/Civil Rights:
Leaked Documents Reveal Counterterrorism Tactics Used at Standing Rock to “Defeat Pipeline Insurgencies”A shadowy international mercenary and security firm known as TigerSwan targeted the movement opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline with military-style counterterrorism measures, collaborating closely with police in at least five states, according to internal documents obtained by The Intercept. The documents provide the first detailed picture of how TigerSwan, which originated as a U.S. military and State Department contractor helping to execute the global war on terror, worked at the behest of its client Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the Dakota Access Pipeline, to respond to the indigenous-led movement that sought to stop the project. By Alleen Brown, Will Parrish, Alice Speri
Capitalism’s defenders have long praised it for its freedom. it is, a system of free markets. free enterprise, and free labor — a system that extends maximal “freedom to choose” (in Milton Friedman’s famous phrase) to all members of society, from the towering corporate raider to the humblest worker.’ Nobody, after all, forces workers to work, or employers to hire, or consumers to buy. Rather, under capitalism people freely chose to do these things. So whatever else one’ might say about it, surely it must be admitted that capitalism scores very well in terms of freedom: it promises to replace the coercion and domination characteristic of alternative modes of production (e.g., feudalism, bureaucratic socialism) with voluntary, muttrallv beneficial, exchange.Socialists typically reply that this paean to capitalist freedom obscures more than it illuminates, especially the bit “bout “free labor.” True, under capitalism workers arc self-owners, and therefore cannot be forced to work for any capitalist in particular (or indeed, for any capitalist at all). They have, that is, the formal freedom to refuse employment. but – the socialist will insist — workers’ propertylessness renders this formal freedom empty. Lacking access to the means of production, workers have little choice but to work for some capitalist or others merely to survive. As Marx puts this point, workers” belong not to this or that capitalist but to the capitalist class.” But what is it to belong to another — even if that other is a group rather than an individual — if not slavery? Capitalism, socialists concede, represents an advance on feudalism and chattel slavery by eradicating personel dependence. But because it places workers at the mercy of the capitalist class. —Capitalism, Class Conflict, and Domination By Samuel Arnold
The fourth memorandum and the class struggle in Greece Last Wednesday, Greece was shaken by a general strike. On Thursday, there were protests in all major cities against a new round of austerity measures. Unlike previous general strikes, which are regularly called as a formality and fail to mobilise significant sectors of the working class, this time important services were affected and various ports, hospitals, and airports were paralysed. By Arturo Rodríguez
Health, Science, Education, and Welfare:
Cuba calls for universal health coverage at WHO World Assembly “Cuba supports the strengthening of systems geared toward achieving universal health coverage, recognizing that health is a fundamental human right and at the center of public policies for sustainable development,” stated Dr. Roberto Morales Ojeda, Cuban minister of Public Health, during the World Health Organization’s 70th World Assembly plenary session, aking place at the body’s headquarters in Geneva through May 31.
(Chapter 2 of SICK and SICKER: Essays on Class, Health and Health Care) With the headline, “Inequalities are Killing People on a Grand Scale,” the World Health Organization released its 2008 report, Closing the Gap in a Generation: Health Equity through Action on the Social Determinants of Health.The WHO Report confirmed health inequities between nations as well as “health gradients” within them. It confirmed that the poor are worse off than those less deprived, the less deprived are worse off than those with average incomes, and so on up the social hierarchy. It confirmed that this health gradient exists in all nations, including the richest. It also confirmed that health equality cannot be achieved by medical systems alone.Water-borne diseases are not caused by a lack of antibiotics but by dirty water, and by the political, social, and economic forces that fail to make clean water available to all; heart disease is caused not by a lack of coronary care units but by the lives people lead, which are shaped by the environments in which they live; obesity is not caused by moral failure on the part of individuals but by the excess availability of high-fat and high-sugar foods. Not one of these findings is new. Studies of health inequity date back to the 19th century, when the rise of industrial capitalism spurred the development of the public health movement. The founder of Social Medicine is generally considered to be Rudolf Virchow (1821 – 1902), a liberal physician and public health activist. However, that title properly belongs to Frederick Engels (1820 – 1895), Karl Marx’s comrade and collaborator. (Between September 1844 and March 1845, Engels documented the human impact of the industrial revolution in England. He published his findings in The Condition of The Working Class in England: From Personal Observation and Authentic Sources.)