A fitting message to the white settler nation.
Category Archives: Imperialism
Chris Rock – Crackers (Outkast’s Hey Ya Spoof )
Filed under Africa, Agitation Statements, Anti-Racism, Black Nation, Culture and Art, Imperialism, Videos, White Amerika
The Amerikkkan electorate: militarist and chauvinist
The Amerikkkan electorate: militarist and chauvinist
U$ imperialists, of both parties, appeal to the chauvinism and militarism of the Amerikans this election cycle. Then again, our readers will be asking by now, “What’s new?” For the past couple years, talking heads and ideologues from both of the main partisan wings of the US system have been rallying their respective “bases” in preparation for the contentious midterm elections. In just the past few weeks, the imperialist media had been inundated with political ads and substanceless, vitriolic rhetoric.
On the Republican side, their Amerikan grassroots “Tea Party” movement has whipped up a white chauvinist frenzy right in time to derail the “Obama phenomenon.” In the midst of this racist uprising by the recently dispossessed Amerikan settler white nation, the favorite target has been migrant labor from Mexico. The most egregious example of the consequences of this radical reaction is the “Papers, please” legislation in Arizona, on Mexican land stolen by Amerika no less! (1) Fast forward over 160 years later, and over 70% of Amerikan are in favor of some similar draconian and fascist legislation. (2) Another side-effect was the recent inflammation of Amerikan chauvinism against Islam in general, which had exceeded levels beyond anything seen during the Bush era. (3)
On the Democratic side, the Obama-lovers are attempting to paint the Republicans as “shipping Amerikan jobs overseas.” (4) This thinly-veiled “pro-labor” racism serves to merely shift the chauvinism of Amerikans towards Latinos, to chauvinism directed towards Asians. To pile onto this chauvinism, the White House itself is attempting to paint their GOP opponents with the “Chinese money” campaign corruption card. (5) As if US imperialism hasn’t attempted to influence political processes by whatever means, monetarily or militarily, worldwide.
The two political parties of US imperialism aren’t just battling over who Amerikans should be more chauvinist against. They are also battling for Amerikan public opinion over which Muslim-majority country to invade and occupy. The Republicans’ latest superstars have been some the most fervent Zionists, with a warmonger’s eye towards toppling the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Democrats’ “common-sense” militarism has its eyes toward continuing the existing occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan in a “non-direct, supervisory form,” as well as continuing the incursions into Pakistan. Long gone are the anti-war voices from the political spectrum, from either “libertarian” Republicans or “progressive” Democrats. One Tea Party-backed congressional candidate in North Carolina includes a US pig soldier suspected of killing two unarmed civilians in Iraq. (6) On the other side, Democrats in Washington State appeal to the votes of “workers” from Boeing, a major imperialist arms manufacturer. One such political ad, from a Democrat no less, makes a simultaneously chauvinist and militarist appeal to Boeing workers. The ad says, in essence, that Amerikans should continue to be paid handsomely for building and maintaining the imperialist war machine. (7)
What else is new with politics in the US empire? Certainly not the brain dead response of the First World so-called “left” to Amerikan elections. The constant meme coming from them states that the top two imperialist parties don’t really represent the “will of the [Amerikan] people.” The supposition here is that the Amerikan so-called “masses” are inherently progressive (if not “revolutionary”) in their majority. (8) Nothing could be further from the truth. One question for our First Worldists: If Amerikans are so inherently “progressive,” why do the two top imperialist parties pour billions of dollars into filling their airwaves with this chauvinism and militarism? (9)
A “democracy” that does not represent the will of the world’s oppressed and exploited majority is not democratic in any real sense. Bourgeois democracy in the First World seeks to affirm the unity of the imperialist populations against the global majority. RAIM struggles for a world where the needs and will of the global popular majority, who make less than $2.50 a day, are placed first per the democratic principle of “majority rules.” (10) To create a truly democratic society, the world must be turned upside down.
RAIM Digest Volume 2, Issue 6
Filed under Imperialism, Organizing
US Activists’ Homes Raided, Support for Third World “Terrorists” Alleged
On the early morning of September 24th, SWAT teams in Minneapolis and Chicago kicked in the doors of private residences, seizing computers and documents and serving grand jury subpoenas to at least thirteen US activists. The activists, many associated with First Worldist organizations, are, according to an FBI representative, part of an investigation “concerning the material support for terrorism.” (1)
Ted Dooley, a lawyer for one of the activists, said the raids regard “contact with FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) and Hezbollah, all of which are FTOs (Foreign Terrorist Organizations).” Some of the subpoened activists had recently traveled to Columbia and Palestine to do solidarity work with those resisting US-sponsored militarism and admit to meeting with members of these groups, yet deny providing any material support to any organizations labeled ‘terrorist’ by the US. (2)
The raids against Amerikan activists come during the ‘progressive’ administration of Barack Obama. Despite this reputation, Obama has stepped up the war in Afghanistan (3); increased drone attacks in Pakistan and elsewhere(4); amplified support for Israel (5); and maintains close relations with the comprador dictatorship in Columbia. (6) Now, as White supremacists openly organize militias and street gangs, such attacks come upon members of the self-described ‘peace’ movement. (7)
The First Worldist so-called ‘left’ has made a lot out of the FBI raids. For the most part, the First Worldist ‘left’ is ignored in the US, both by the imperialist state and the petty-imperialist asses. Such raids are therefore a relatively big deal for First Worldists, and small protests were held in dozens of US cities. (8)
Many on the so-called left have described the raids as part of an intimidation campaign meant to silence opposition prior to escalated imperialist militarism in the Middle East and Latin America. Others have described it as a ‘fishing expedition,’ an attempt to acquire as much information on the nominal ‘left’ as possible. (9) While both are likely true to a small extent, it misses the obvious.
The FBI raids concern those who facilitated connections between US activists and those resisting imperialist designs in their respective countries. The raids targeted activists who support, at least at face value, the active struggle of Third World masses.
Any criminal charges will likely be based around ‘material support’ for US-designated ‘terrorist’ organizations. There are only 46 such ‘terrorist’ organizations, a number which does not reflect the far greater magnitude of peoples’ resistance. ‘Material support’ is extremely broad and can be interpreted any number of ways. While we certainly support the activists as defendants for the ‘crime’ of reaching out to those resisting imperialist terror, we question the very nature of First Worldist ‘aid’ to Third World peoples’ struggles.
First Worldism, the thought that the First World masses are exploited and part of a global proletariat, is not a minor error or slight miscalculation. When espoused to Third World peoples, it is an outright lie that misrepresents the true scope of the anti-imperialist struggle. Such a lie is so fundamental, its spread can only set back the anti-imperialist struggles being waged in Latin America, the Middle East and around the Third World. First Worldism, which denies First Worlders are affluent due to the exploitation of Third World peoples, must be opposed on an international level.
True First World anti-imperialist solidarity comes from working to create support for Third World liberation struggles, not globe-trotting while spreading the lie of First Worldism. True anti-imperialist solidarity comes by honestly assessing the social landscape and building public opinion in favor of Third World peoples’ revolution, not opportunistically pimping-off pre-existing resistance movements in an attempt to stand-out amidst an array of similar, First-Worldist grouplets.
The imperialist state vamped on several Amerikan activists for what they did right: work to build support for Third World liberation struggles. However, these attacks are light compared to what imperialism doles out to Third World peoples.
Imperialism will be defeated by the exclusive struggles of the world’s exploited majority and their allies. As the contradiction between the people of the exploited Third World and imperialist First heats up, we can only expect increasing legal attacks against those in the US and First World who foster support for such struggles. The correct route to take is not one of eclecticism, opportunism and appealing to the broad First World so-called ‘masses.’ The correct rout is one of clarity, determined strategy, and honesty guided by the sprit of revolutionary anti-imperialism. Real support is telling the truth and still working to advance the revolutionary struggle of the world’s exploited masses.
Filed under Barack Obama, Imperialism, News and Analysis, Organizing
Drones kill 28 people, then hit the funeral
Drones kill 28 people, then hit the funeral
A recent string of bombings, killing dozens in Pakistan, has the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, or “drone,” making headlines once again. So-called “Predator Drones” have become one of imperialism’s favorite tools of oppression. Bombing attacks by these vehicles are being carried out consistently and more frequently than ever. (1).
Predator Drones are center stage as the US ups its assault on Pakistan’s northwest border region. At least 28 people were killed as a result of drone strikes in South Waziristan during the week of September 19 (2). The week’s two bloodiest attacks, responsible for more than a dozen deaths, took place on September 22. The initial strike launched two missiles at a targeted vehicle, killing seven. A funeral was arranged for the victims in the following hours; subsequently, this funeral was also targeted by a drone strike, resulting in more deaths yet. This absurd sequence mirrors an incident that took place last summer. On the morning of Tuesday 23 June 2009, unmanned drones killed more than 45 people in a series of bombings including a strike on a funeral procession for victims of the earlier assault (3).
Violence caused by drone missiles has sparked outrage in Pakistan, where drones have killed at least 1,700 people(4). The mutilation caused by the bombings makes compiling a solid count of the deaths all but impossible. Even so, it is clear that hundreds of those killed have been civilians (5). Drones have been a fixture in Pakistan for over five years; however, US officials do not officially comment on any drone activities. The attacks fall under the veil of CIA secrecy. It is clear, nonetheless, that using drones has become particularly attractive to decision-makers in the past two years. Estimated death tolls clearly show drone attacks being responsible for more deaths in 2009 alone than in the four years between 2004-2008 combined (6).
With mounting numbers of casualties, drone attacks have become known for their haphazard destruction. Missiles fired from the unpiloted vehicles are often grossly off-target. This, and general belligerence have contributed to the high civilian deaths which have, embarrassingly for the US, included Amerikan citizens (7).
Part of the cause of the vehicle’s reckless imprecision is being revealed in an ongoing lawsuit. Accusations and evidence depict the as CIA consciously utilizing faulty targeting software in the unmanned vehicles. IISI, a small, Massachusetts-based software company alleges that IT firm “Netezza” facilitated the CIA with a pirated, and knowingly-unreliable, version of their software to the CIA for use in US drone vehicles. The location-analysis software in turn may have produced locations up to 13 meters off target (8). IISI was pressured to meet a quick deadline to provide the software, when the company voiced reservations, Netezza allegedly went ahead and reverse-engineered the program themselves. The IISI Chief Technology Officer summarized his earliest feelings on the situation, stating, “they want to kill people with my software that doesn’t work” (9). The lawsuit aims to halt use of the pirated software by Netezza and its clients, including the CIA. IISI has expressed concern that the buggy software may lead to loss of innocent life. Unfortunately, the host of civilian deaths cannot be declared a mere “software issue.” Such recklessness is hardwired into the logic of imperialism.
Predator Drones are becoming a standard instrument in the oppression of Third World peoples by . As RAIM has noted (xhttps://raimd.wordpress.com/2010/07/02/imperialism-drones-on/), US drones are now deployed everywhere from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and recently on the militarized US/Mexico border. Israel used US-provided drones in attacks on Gaza in December 2008. The First World is looking to a high technology, impersonal approach of fighting their battles. These machines cause much destruction, but high-tech gadgetry will not defeat Third Wold resistance. As comrade Lin Biao wrote in “Long Live the Victory of People’s War!”
However highly developed modern weapons and technical equipment may be and however complicated the methods of modern warfare, in the final analysis the outcome of a war will be decided by the sustained fighting of the ground forces, by the fighting at close quarters on battlefields, by the political consciousness of the men, by their courage and spirit of sacrifice. Here the weak points of U.S. imperialism will be completely laid bare, while the superiority of the revolutionary people will be brought into full play. The reactionary troops of U.S. imperialism cannot possibly be endowed with the courage and the spirit of sacrifice possessed by the revolutionary people. The spiritual atom bomb which the revolutionary people possess is a far more powerful and useful weapon than the physical atom bomb. (10)
The Third World majority, collectively terrorized by imperialism, must collectively defeat imperialism. The enemy’s extravagant technology cannot hold up against People’s War.
1. Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann’s drones database at the New America Foundation
3. Ibid. Protest
Filed under Afghanistan, Barack Obama, Black-ops, Fuck The Troops, Imperialism, News and Analysis
Anti-Kolumbus Day Protest Flyers
The Anti-Kolumbus Day Manifesto
The Anti-Kolumbus Day Manifesto
Every year in October, in cities throughout the US and occupied America, celebrations and parades are held on Kolumbus Day, in honor of Khristopher Kolumbus. And every year, though in fewer cities, these celebrations are met with resistance by those concerned with indigenous sovereignty and colonialism. This year, the protests continue.
We oppose Kolumbus Day because it is a de facto celebration of conquest, including the genocide and land theft waged against First Nations. Upon arriving in modern-day Haiti/Dominican Republic and viewing the native Tainos, Kolumbus remarked, “with fifty men, we could subjugate them all.” Thirty years after his arrival, the island’s Native population had declined by 90%. This pattern would be recreated across the Americas, particularly in the United States, where a campaign of genocide was waged against First Nation peoples by White settlers. Kolumbus would also pioneer slavery in the Americas, a phenomenon that would officially last nearly 400 years yet remains in the form of exploitation of the masses south of the militarily-imposed US-Mexico border and throughout the Third World.
We oppose Kolumbus Day because it is a de facto celebration of imperialism, the exploitation of subjugation of many peoples by a handful. Kolumbus’s original voyage was a landmark of Spanish imperialism, yet Kolumbus Day transcends this original meaning. Today, the United States stands above the rest of the world, dominating various peoples, in part by operating over 700 military bases around the globe. Today, over a billion people are faced with undernourishment, yet virtually every Amerikan is part of the world’s richest 15%. Kolumbus Day is a celebration of this ongoing imperial legacy.
We oppose Kolumbus Day because it is a celebration of parasitism and imperialist decadence. The ritualistic Kolumbus Day parade, usually consisting of closing roads for slow-moving processions of large vehicles filled with flags-waving crackers, is one made possible only through the exploitation of various countries, including their oil resources, for benefit of a decadent First World population. We protest Kolumbus Day in solidarity with those who suffer for the luxuries Amerikans receive 365 days a year, not just on this or that imperialist holiday.
Though a good start, ending Kolumbus Day alone doesn’t cut deep enough into the problem. Therefore, The Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement presents the following program:
1) The end of all US territorial claims; national liberation for oppressed nations. Return of land to First Nations throughout the US and Klanada. National liberation for Mexicanos on both sides of the militarily-imposed border and reunification. National liberation and sovereignty for Puerto Rico and for the Kanaka Maoli of Hawai’i. National liberation and self-determination for the Black nation. The surrender of all US-controlled land throughout the world.
2) The imposition of a globalized democracy of the world’s oppressed and exploited masses upon the United States and First World. The creation of zones throughout the current US and elsewhere to be used as the global proletariat sees fit.
3) The massive payment of reparations from Amerikans to the Third World, to be accomplished through the redistribution of land, capital and through labor.
4) Relocation of many Whites, including to the Third World, and reeducation for all Amerikans, resulting in the liquidation of much of the White nation and eradication of their parasite culture.
These are the demands of a world that suffers from deep problems and requires truly revolutionary solutions. Until these demands are met, resistance will continue.
The Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement-Denver
The Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement-Seattle
October 1st, 2010
Movie Review: Machete and The Baader Meinhof Complex
Movie Review: Machete and The Baader Meinhof Complex
Machete (2010, Ethan Maniquin and Robert Rodriguez) and The Baader Meinhof Complex (2008, Uli Edel) are two recent movies set in imperialist countries, both depicting armed struggle against reactionaries.
Machete garnered criticism prior to its release, including campaigns by White supremacists to have the film pulled from Amerikan theaters, ostensibly for fear its depiction of Mexicans engaging in mass-violence against Whites would spark a real-life ‘race’ revolt. (1) The Baader Meinhof Complex is ‘foreign film’ dramatizing the real-life Red Army Faction, a clandestine group which beginning in 1970 waged armed struggle against the Federal Republic of Germany in the name of communism and anti-imperialism.
While the movies follow dissimilar plots, both deal with the topic of revolutionary armed struggle and reaction. It’s worth noting that we at RAIM-Denver are fairly familiar with the situation involving the national oppression of Mexicans on both sides of the militarily-imposed US/Mexico border, yet are largely ignorant regarding the factual details surrounding the RAF. Thus, our treatment of The Baader Meinhof Complex will be solely as a cultural product, and not as historical analysis of the real-life RAF.
In Machete, we meet the protagonist of the same name (Danny Trejo) as a federal agent of the Mexican state. Fleeing a powerful drug cartel, Machete ends up in Texas where, while searching for work as a manual laborer, he’s forced-hired into assassinating an anti-migrant state senator, played by Robert De Niro. It’s a set-up, however. The botched assassination attempt is pinned on Machete in hopes of building public opinion for even more anti-Mexican legislation, including an electrified fence along the border.
The Baader Meinhof Complex opens in 1967, showing a student protest against the despotic Shah of Iran. The students are beat by goons of the CIA-supported monarchy and by German police as they stand defenseless, backed against a wall. Soon into the film, Ulrike Meinhoff (Martina Gedeck), a sharp-worded, progressive journalist, Andreas Baader (Moritz Bleibteu), depicted as arrogant, extreme and prone towards violent action, and Gundrin Esslin (Johanna Wokalek), a young blonde depicted as rebellious and verbally aggressive towards her parents, decide that words alone will not stop “Amerikan imperialists” or the fact that over “half the people in the world do not have enough to eat,” deciding instead to take up arms against the West German state and organs of Western capital. After going underground and running from the law, the group is apprehended and placed in isolation together as their trial begins. Subsequent ‘generations’ of the RAF arise, continuing the armed struggle but with the goal of freeing the original members. After several years and armed actions by various RAF unit, the imprisoned lead members, save Meinhof who previously died in what was called a suicide, lose hope and kill themselves as well.
People who like Machete for its thematic violence of the oppressed against the oppressor will also find The Baader Meinhof Complex interesting, though the latter is fairly longer and has slower moments towards the end. While Machete depicts plenty of over the top, high-action, fight scenes and climaxes with a ‘battle royale’ between the forces led by Machete and White supremacist militias, The Baader Meinhof Complex depicts a number of gun fights, bombings, bank robberies and even an ill-fated plane hijacking. The Baader Meinhof Complex is also explicitly more political. Cries of ‘Ho Ho Ho Chi Mihn’ are chanted at one gathering; students have Mao posters on their dormitory walls; references are made to ‘May ’68’ in Paris and the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.; RAF members meet with members of the Palestinian Liberation Organization in Tunis and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Jordan; and there is a steady denunciation of the West Germany’s support for US imperialism and “fascism.”
Both movies have strong female lead characters. In The Baader Meinhoff Complex, Ulrike Menhoff is the the eldest founder of the RAF and in charge of propaganda. Esslin Gundrun, the youngest lead character and girlfriend of Baader, is nonetheless shown as passionate and as someone who was pivotal in getting things done within the group. Further into the movie, under the pressure of capture and confinement together, both begin to break down emotionally and increasingly argue with one another, reinforcing the view that women are emotional and weak while discounting the psychological pressure brought to bare on them by the reactionary state.
In Machete, the two female lead characters are initially foes. Lulz (Michelle Rodriguez), shown as righteous and socially concerned, organizes an underground “network” to provide services for oppressed migrants while Sartana (Jessica Alba), a naive, sycophantic ICE agent, harasses her and makes threats of criminal charges. The women come together as part of Machete’s quest for revenge. In the process, Lulz gets shot in the eye and comes back fighting even harder: if nothing else an allegory for revolutionary determinism. Sartana recants her previous position in support of imperialist legalism and declares to a crowd of migrants, “We didn’t cross the border. The border crossed us!”
Unfortunately, Machete does drop the ball regarding gender in a number of ways. In one notable scene of question (of many), Machete gives tequila to the wife and daughter of the man who set him up, sleeps with them and films it for his foe to watch later. While there is no doubt an element of humor simply for the outrage this must generate on the part of actual White supremacists, this scene is symptomatic of the film’s larger depiction of women, i.e. they are not treated as independent agents (with perhaps the exception Luz), but instead act as objects, things to be acted upon in one way or another by Machete or the male viewer.
In both movies nudity is prevalent. In The Baader Meinhof Complex, such is not so one-sided. In an opening scene, children and adults are shown nude at a beach. In this regard, that nudity serves not sexual purposes solely, The Baader Meinhof Complex is less reactionary. In another scene however, while the original RAF are training with Muslims in Tunis, they sunbathe nude in plain view. When told by the camp commander to cover themselves, they respond, “fucking and shooting are the same.” In the scene, Baader and Esslin are rightly depicted as crass, almost as if they are Amerikan vacationers. If fact, this is not an example of anti-imperialist fraternity nor spreading sexual liberation, but imposing the culture of a dominating society under the guise of such.
While there is much to say about the minutia of the films, the main theme of both is violence in name of the oppressed against the oppressor within imperialist countries.
In Machete, a work of fiction, the violence is over-the-top and gratuitous. In one early scene, the protagonist swings his machete in a circle and decapitates three people who were closing in on him. In another set in a hospital, he uses a ‘bone-scraper’ and several surgical knives tied to a belt to cut up several gun-toting men before using one’s small intestine to jump out the window and swing into the floor below. Likewise, the social setting in Machete is narrow, there being only politicians, main characters, hired guns, a few pigs, border militiamen, migrants and some cholo-type Chicanos. Missing from the picture are Whites- particularly the reactionary White masses, including so-called “workers,” or the imperialist state in full force. This, along with the movie’s revenge-based plot, allows Machete to be a movie with a happy ending, where Machete himself defeats the bad guys and ‘gets the girl.’ By the end though, despite the protagonist’s personal achievements, nothing has really changed. In an ironic twist, the right-wing politician played by Robert De Niro is shot to death near the border by White vigilantes who thinks he’s Mexican. Perhaps Machete will return in a sequel and broaden the scope of the struggle? We won’t hold our breath.
In The Baader Meinhof Complex, supposedly based on true events, the ending isn’t as happy. The members of the RAF, mostly student-aged and young adults, are driven by causes such as anti-imperialism and communism and are sympathetic to the plight and resistance of Third World peoples. They are outraged and disenchanted with the response of everyday West Germans to these phenomena, yet never come out and say as much, nor do they ever make the demarcation and write off West Germans entirely. When they launch their clandestine armed struggle, they envision it as being part of a world-wide revolutionary movement yet make efforts to not harm your average West German, seeing this as pivotal to winning public sympathy. After the founding members of the RAF are apprehended, others from similar backgrounds arise, carrying on the struggle and including “the release of political prisoners” as part of their campaign against German reactionaries and imperialism. This too is ill-fated, as these newer members are all apprehended or killed, leading to the climax that is the apparent suicide of the remaining lead characters.
While certainly not the ‘happy ending’ of Machete, the down conclusion to The Baader Meinhof Complex does leave us asking, “what went wrong?,” a serious question for revolutionaries in imperialist countries. Many would say RAF were ultra-leftist and their militant armed struggle freaked out the west German ‘masses.’ In truth, this is not the case. Rather, the RAF was ultra-“left.” Though their action appeared militant and extreme, it was always predicated on a perceived political alliance and unity with a portion of the west German population, all of which were part of a global petty-bourgeoisie and thus an unreliable ally (at best) to their struggle. The founders of the RAF would have done better to develop their writing capabilities under the direction of Ulrike Meinhof, coordinate real ties to foreign fighters, fall under their discipline when appropriate and develop alternative means of contributing to the global revolutionary struggle, not launch an hasty armed struggle in west Germany with the assumption that west Germans would support them.
More interesting than any possible Machete sequel or the First Worldist focoism of the RAF would be a film featuring She and the Network. In Machete, it’s stated that Lulz has been busy organizing migrants, helping them cross the border, securing housing and jobs and “making sure they play their part” once they’re settled. The operation is called the Network, and it includes a mythology about a militant female leader known only as “She.” When Machete makes his hulkish last stand, his success is aided b y the connections Lulz has already made.
Today, the situation involving Mexicans migrants is dynamic. Historically, there has been a trend towards assimilation. However, as the numbers of Mexicans and Chicanos rise, particularly in the Amerikan ‘southwest’ (occupied Mexico), a situation may arise where the social basis for national liberation struggles becomes more readily apparent. Ultimately, it will be the type of work typified by Lulz, politicized ‘serve the people’ programs organized outside pre-existing power structures, which will advance and aid this struggle.
Again on Violence
One final note. We imagine many First World viewers will find the presentation of violence in both Machete and The Baader Meinhof Complex to be off-putting in one way or another.
In Machete, the violence is unnatural, over-the-top, intense, frequent, etc. However, the same could be said with the Expendables or any number of Amerikan-inspired action movies. In Machete, the difference is that the violence is dished out by forces representing the oppressed against oppressors. Simply put: that is why it stands out, why it is good.
Many so-called “leftists” would reject the violence of the RAF on rotten grounds, whether pacifism, charges of being too extreme and “left,” or other liberal reasons. However, the violence of the RAF should be looked at critically and put in the correct perspective.
Nothing is more violent than imperialism. Every 2.43 seconds, someone dies from starvation- a form of structural violence. The violence in Machete by contrast is mild and restrained. Though ultimately misguided at a fundamental level, the same could be said about the RAF. The question is not whether in either movie violence was depicted in a gratuitous way, this answer being obvious. Ultimately, it matters against whom the violence is being expressed upon, and towards what end. And for this, we see no reason to broadly criticize either movie.
Protest KKKolumbus Day in Denver
Protest KKKolumbus Day:
Saturday, October 9th 9am
Gather at the west steps of the Capitol for a rally followed by a protest of the Kolumbus Day parade
Meet for lunch
Gather at 38th and Shoshone to protest their after party
No Kolumbus Day! No Celebrations of Genocide!
Filed under Actions and Events, First Nations, Imperialism, KKKolumbus Day
Long Live Mexico: In Commemoration of the 100th Year Anniversary of the Mexican Revolution
Long Live Mexico: In Commemoration of the 100th Year Anniversary of the Mexican Revolution
By Nick Brown
(Author’s note: This was written in the early part of 2010, my hopes being that it could have been published earlier.
In the various feedback I’ve received, two main things stood out. First, there is not a consensus amongst those queried for comments about the various topics, and in some cases contradictory responses about single issues were given. Second, for this essay to be anything close to definitive it would need to be a series of books.
Without additional time to lengthen and restructure the entire essay and draw in the entirety of historiography and current thoughts, I’ve attempted to reconcile the problems as much as possible in the notes.
Accordingly, this document does not reflect the sole, comprehensive line of The Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism Movement(RAIM) on the matters discussed (see, ‘Fuck the Border, Support Mexican National Liberation‘ for our general program in support of Mexican national liberation). Rather it is being published as a resource and timely effort at education in service of revolution. My hope is that this essay can help contribute to a basic narrative surrounding the Mexican Revolution and the events since, as part of a wider anti-imperialist historical narrative. Certainly, this essay following is hardly all there is to be said about such topics.)
This year, 2010, marks the centennial of the start of the Mexican Revolution, or La Revolucion.  It was one of the first major attempts at social revolution in the 20th century and one in many of only partially-successful or failed revolutions throughout the still-developing Third World.
Its age, the fact that it didn’t survive as a social revolution, etc, does not diminish its significance. Rather, the Mexican Revolution is part of the real cultural heritage of many millions of people, both in Mexico and the US. Additionally, the revolutionary project, the idea of achieving the more radical goals of the Mexican Revolution, is one of continued relevance and necessity today.
Background and Outcome of the Mexican Revolution
The Mexican Revolution erupted in 1910 with Francisco Madero’s Plan de San Luis Potsi and rebellion against the quarter-century-old regime of Porfirio Diaz. Diaz’s rule, lauded by many around the world, proved to be a paper tiger and collapsed after only a few short months of simultaneous revolts under a variety of leaderships. 
Like all revolutions throughout the 20th century, the Mexican Revolution contained agrarian and anti-imperialism aims. It was seen by many as a revolution of the common masses against the big landlords, the corrupt Mexican state and the foreigners (particularly Amerikans) gaining ever more influence in Mexican society. However, by the end of the decade, the radical aims would be cut sort as splits within the rebelling forces and US intervention led to a series of moderate, inevitably comprador leaders.
The most radical proposals put forward during the Mexican Revolution were done so in part by Emiliano Zapata of Morelos. The Plan de Ayala of 1911, which launched Zapata’s revolt against Madero, called for the return of communal and small-holding lands to those it was stolen from, breaking up monopolies to the benefit of common Mexicans and waging a form of total justice against those power holders who might resist. Sociologist and researcher into revolutions, John Foran, argues “the social revolution reached its apogee in late 1914 with the arrival of [Pancho] Villa and Zapata in Mexico City, and that it was militarily defeated in 1915-16 by [Álvaro] Obregon and [Venustiano] Carranza, who then laid the groundwork for the carrying out of a less thorough-going social transformation in the 1920s and beyond.” (Taking Power 34)
However, it wasn’t Carranza or Obregon who in the main reversed the growing wave of mobilization for social transformation. The United States had a hand in the outcome of the Mexican Revolution. Ramon Ruiz notes:
“The Yankee next door, Mexicans learned immediately, would not easily relinquish his stake in Mexico. To the contrary, investors and their government in Washington watched warily the course of the rebellion, and from the start, worked feverishly to keep it within the bounds of what they believed permissible. They distrusted social revolution and only belatedly tolerated halfway reform.[…] [H]istory amply documents sundry Ameri[k]an efforts to impede and stifle change in Mexico.” (The Great Rebellion 383)
At every turn of La Revolucion, the US attempted to direct the outcome in one manner or another. In 1910-11, the US did little to prevent Francisco Madero from launching his initial rebellion and undermined the Diaz regime by stationing troops at Mexico’s northern border. (Ibid 389) Two years later, the US ambassador to Mexico, Henry Lane Wilson, directly colluded with Victoriano Huerta to overthrown Madero as part of the Ten Tragic Days. (Ibid 391) Later, the US turned on Huerta, compelling his ouster, and by 1915-16 was backing Carranza against the more radical and nationalist factions led in part by Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa. (Ibid 394)
Carranza, in turn, would preside over the writing of Mexico’s constitution in 1917. Rather than resolve the contradictions within Mexico, the Constitution of 1917 blunted them as the comprador-bourgeoisie regained an upper hand within the power structure of Mexican society. With the ascendancy of Carranza and marginalization of more radical forces, the vast majority of Mexicans lost an equal voice in deciding Mexico’s future. In the words of Ramon Ruiz, it was “a cataclysmic rebellion but not a social ‘Revolution’,” i.e, it accomplished minimal social transformation through great upheaval.  (ix)
One of the most immediate results of the Mexican Revolution was an influx of refugees into the United States. Already prior to the Revolution, Mexicans were migrating to the US in high numbers (Acuna 150). Combined with US labor demands during World War I, the Mexican Revolution culminated in the first great wave of northbound Mexican migration since the US’s invasion and occupation of Mexico in 1846 and greatly contributed to continuity between previously-existing and future Chicano communities in the ‘Southwest’ and throughout the US. It’s estimated that by 1929 there were nearly a million Mexicans living in the United States. (Taylor)
Unlike the waves of refugees which followed abortive revolutions in central and eastern Europe or the successful one in Cuba, the US played host to Mexicans of a diverse political blend. Nonetheless, the mass arrival of Mexican migrants also coincided with a “brown scare,” mob-violence and lynchings directed at the Spanish-speaking communities at a greater rate than faced by Blacks in the post-Reconstruction South. (Carrigan)
The Mexican Revolution and Today’s Context
Today, the world is not much different than 100 years ago. We can say that the main difference is one of degree. Whereas in the 18th, 19th and early-20th century, patterns of imperialism and dependent development emerged and solidified, in the late-20th and early-21st centuries, even greater interconnectedness and polarization have arisen as well as a host of other problems (largely relating to climate change and resources availability). According to the United Nations, for example, the gap between to richest and poorest countries grew from 3 to 1 in 1820 and 11 to 1 in 1913, to 72 to 1 by 1992. (Human Development Report, 1999: Globalization with a Human Face, 38) Another report suggests the gap between the average incomes of the world’s richest and poorest 5% jumped from 78 to 1 in 1988, to 114 to 1 in 1993, and that, “an American [sic] having the average income of the bottom US docile is better-off that 2/3 of [the] world population.” (Milanovic, 88, 89)
This phenomenon and its social implications were described by a number of thinkers contemporary to the Mexican Revolution. The controversial Black intellectual, William E.B. DuBois, explained with great prescience:
“[T]he white workingman has been asked to share the spoils of exploiting ‘chinks and niggers.’ It is no longer simply the merchant prince, or the aristocratic monopoly, or even the employing class, that is exploiting the world: it is the nation; a new democratic nation composed of united capital and labor. The laborers are not yet getting, to be sure, as large a share as they want or will get…[b]ut the laborer’s equity is recognized, and his just share is a matter of time, intelligence and skillful negotiation.” (The African Origins of War, 1915) 
Today, up to a fifth of the world’s population act as effective parasites upon the remaining eighty percent: a bourgeoisified First World minority existing through direct exploitation of labor, unequal exchange and modern-day plunder backed by military might. Contrary to the proclamations of bourgeois intellectuals and their followers, the necessity of revolution has not gone away. Instead, the modern equivalent of the archetypal proletariat is embodied by those exploited and dispossessed by imperialism in the Third World and, to a much lesser extent, those who suffer related national oppression.
Regarding the Mexican Revolution, its continuing significance and the revolutionary project focused in North America, the subject is two-fold. First are Mexicans, often exploited under the dual weight of comprador-capitalism and imperialism; and second, Chicanos, a group born of ties to Mexico and oppression within the US.
Chicanos and Mexicans
It is difficult, if impossible, to talk about Mexicans without talking about Chicanos, and vice versa.  Their history, customs, and identity are related. For Mexicans, the US has been a refuge, a source of seasonal work and often permanent home. Thus, Chicanos, those of Mexican descent born in the U.S. with no direct ties to Mexico, are a group very much in flux, born from the historic and ongoing migration of Mexicans into a territory and social structure dominated by Whites. 
Jeanne Batalova of the Migration Policy Institute noted, “In 2006, more than 11.5 million Mexican immigrants[sic] resided in the United States, accounting for 30.7 percent of all US immigrants and one-tenth of the entire population born in Mexico.” According to the same report, over a quarter of this group arrived within the last decade. (“Mexican Immigrants in the United States”)
In 2007, ‘Hispanics’ (a demographic term including those of Spanish and Portuguese-speaking, American descent, but mostly comprising of those of Mexican descent) accounted for 45.5 million people inside the US, making them the largest ‘minority’ group and 15% of the total population. This group is most significant in the southwestern region of the US (land seized from Mexico in 1846-48, henceforth referred to as Occupied Mexico). For example, in New Mexico, California and Texas, ‘Hispanics’ make up between 44 and 36% of the total population. This group is also younger: the median age being 27.6 years of age compared to 36.6 in the population as a whole, and almost 34 percent of the ‘Hispanic’ population is younger than 18 years old compared with a country-wide average of 25 percent. (“US Hispanic Population Surpasses 45 Million, Now 15 Percent of Total”)
Inside the US, Chicanos live hardly equal to Whites. During the 2007-8 recession for example, the US Census Bureau reported that median household annual income dropped 2.6% to $55,530 for Whites and 5.6% to $37,913 for ‘Hispanics.’ (“Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the Unites States”) Additionally, Chicanos face a disproportionate amount of policing and imprisonment compared to Whites. The state of Colorado, for example, incarcerates ‘Hispanics’ at twice the rate of Whites (and Blacks at six and a half times). (Mauer, Washington 14) Similarly, Chicanos find themselves increasingly targeted as Mexican migrants are becoming even more criminalized inside the US.
Relatively speaking, Chicanos have it lucky. Their kin in Mexico often face the worst of imperialism: sweat-shops, sex trade, destroyed ecosystems, uprooted communities, disappearing traditional economies and an overall lack of opportunities.
While Mexico has long been held in a state of dependent development, this has only increased with the introduction of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994.
Subcommandante Marcos, a prominent representative of the Zapatista movement, called NAFTA a “death certificate for the Indian peoples of Mexico.” (qtd. in Campbell, “The NAFTA War”) Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution was formally amended to accommodate conditions of NAFTA’s enactment, thus rescinding what little legal protection indigenous people had over communal lands. Also under NAFTA, Mexico was flooded with cheap corn from subsidized Amerikan farmers, destroying the former’s rural economy. (Gutierrez) Thus in 2005, according to the US Department of Labor, the hourly compensation cost of Mexican production workers was $2.63 an hour, compared to $23.65 for their US counterparts. (Bureau of Labor Statistics) Mexico was the hardest hit Latin American country during the recent economic crisis; the number of people in Mexico living on less the two dollars a day jumping from 44.7 million (42% of the total population) to 53 million (46%) between 2006 and 2010. (Mexico Solidarity Network) Though the official unemployment rate is one of the lowest in Latin America, around 20% of Mexicans find a living in the informal sector. (Cevallos) Labor unrest in Mexico is increasingly heated. (Paterson)
Reclaiming History and the Future: Contemporary Movements
Neither Mexicans nor Chicanos have forgotten the Mexican Revolution and its radical potential.
Groups like the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional- EZLN) are well known for their struggle against the Mexican state. They emerged on January 1st, 1994 in the state of Chiapas to the shock and fanfare of many. Their initial ‘Declaration of War ‘ called for the “return of the land to those who work it” and quoted Article 39 of the Mexican Constitution in calling for the overthrow of the Mexican government. (First Declaration from the Lacandon Jungle)
Unlike many resistance groups, the Zapatistas have managed to capture significant world-wide attention. Thus, many interpretations exist of their movement. Early on, some analysts speculated on the EZLN’s ideological origins in Maoism, which seeks to build up base areas and create expanding liberated zones where reactionary forces are the weakest. (La Botz 38) The EZLN leadership has disavowed this interpretation, stating, “We don’t think like the Maoists. We don’t think that the campesino army from the mountains can fence in the cities.” (Marcos, qtd. in Henríquez and Petrich) The Zapatistas now claim they are fighting for autonomy and freedom in areas of Chiapas and have worked intensively at courting support of the local indigenous population. While some on the nominal left have lauded the EZLN, noting their insistence on not ‘taking power’ but instead fighting for ‘justice, freedom and democracy’ and ‘neutral political space,’ (Halloway) others have labeled such as strategy as “armed reformism” (EPR qtd in Weinberg 299) and the EZLN has been criticized as “the first post-modern guerrilla group.” (People of Color Organize!)
The Zapatistas are not the only group attempting to lead armed resistance against the Mexican state. The Popular Revolutionary Army (Ejército Popular Revolucionario- EPR) revealed themselves in 1996 with their Manifesto of Aguas Blancas, stating their aim as creating a “democratic people’s republic” in Mexico. (Lemoine) (Weinburg 208) The EPR has been more prone to a focoist strategy of sabotage and coordinated attacks on state forces than the EZLN, and thus been more easily labeled terrorists by reactionaries. In June of 2007, the group briefly crippled the Mexican economy through coordinated attacks on the country’s gas pipelines, resulting in a crackdown from the Mexican state directed at a number of resistance groups, not just the EPR. (Ibid 286) (Tobar) In the past, the EPR leadership has defended such actions, asking, “Whose pardon are we supposed to ask for not letting the government continue to murder people? And for our armed uprising? The government’s, perhaps?” (qtd. in Lemoine) Other armed leftist groups include the Insurgent People’s Revolutionary Army (ERPI), formed from a 1998 split with the EPR, and the Triple Guerrilla National Indigenous Alliance (TAGIN), which has recently called for unity between various groups and an escalation in attacks. (Ibid) (Ross, “A Real Blast”)
Whereas armed groups in Mexico are attempting to push forward towards a second attempt at revolution, reformers and misleaders also pay homage to the ideals and iconography behind La Revolucion. Perhaps this is nowhere better illustrated than by the Revolutionary Democratic Party (Partido de la Revolución Democrática- PRD), the largest nominally-left grouping and one of the three main electoral parties in Mexico.
The PRD was founded in 1989 as a left-wing split, led by Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, from the historically-ruling Institutionalized Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional- PRI). Cárdenas is the son of the former Mexico President, Lázaro Cárdenas del Río, who, beginning in 1934, pushed through the last mildly-progressive reforms on the heels of the Mexican Revolution, including the compensated nationalization of the country’s oil industry in 1938.
The PRD became involved in civil unrest when its candidate for president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, narrowly lost the country’s 2006 presidential election and made charges of fraud. (Campell, “Calderon inaugurated while lawmakers brawl”) Cárdenas, who still leads the party, frequently refers to the Mexican Revolution, its unfinished nature and continuing relevance. “The revolutionaries fought for democracy, for equality and justice, for education, knowledge and culture, for a just and generous nation, for shared progress and a fair and equitable world order,” Cárdenas told an audience at the University of California, Los Angeles recently. “To build a new Mexico, the lessons we can derive from the Mexican Revolution show us the way.” (qtd. in Matthews)
Though the PRD often uses such lofty, ‘revolutionary’ language, their phraseology is not unlike that of the PRI: slogans to bolster and advance their own rule absent any revolutionary transformation. More than anything else, the PRD’s rhetoric shows how both the memory and goals of the Mexican Revolution remain strong with the people. 
In Occupied Mexico and throughout the US, Chicanos continue to hold onto the Mexican Revolution, including its underlying values, as part of their cultural heritage. Beginning in the late-60’s, Chicano nationalism gave rise to a number of organizations, including the Crusade for Justice, La Raza Unida Party, the Brown Berets, MECHA, and the Centro de Acción Social Autónoma (CASA). These and other groups and individuals took up a wide range of ends and means in varying locales to form a quite diverse and tumultuous movement. (“The Question of Youth and Revolution”) 
More recently, Chicano nationalism and its references to the Mexican Revolution have begun to reemerge as controversy over ‘immigration’ has spilled into the mainstream. In 1994, California’s Proposition 187, which barred access to public services (such as schools and hospitals) for ‘illegal aliens,’ engendered nationwide outrage and led to a march of 70,000 in downtown Los Angeles. ( McDonnell, Lopez) Over a decade later, in response to US House Resolution 4437, Mexicans, Chicanos, other migrant communities, and their allies, a total of 1.5 million people in the US, staged massive protests on May 1st, 2006. Since then, International Workers’ Day, a holiday long ignored within the US, has been rechristened as a day of support for migrants’ struggles. (“Over 1.5 Million March for Immigrant Rights in One of Largest Days of Protest in U.S. History”) In 2010 and following the passage of Arizona’s SB1070, which gives the police the power to stop and question anyone who ‘seems illegal,’ rallies were held in over 90 major US cities, including one of 60,000 people in Los Angelas. (McDonnell, Watanabe) Similar rallies in Denver drew around 10,000 people, mainly Mexicans and Chicanos, including many students. (Espinoza, McWilliams)
Whereas figures such as Che Guervara have long been icons within the post-60’s nominal left, Emiliano Zapata prominently occupies this role at such political demonstrations. At one of Denver’s most recent May Day rallies, two large banners featuring his likeness were on display, one reading, “Zapata Vive, Le Luche Sigue” [“Zapata Lives, the Struggle Continues”]. (RAIM-Denver, “Denver May Day 2010”) Similarly, an annual March for Zapata is held in Los Angeles. (LA Eastside) Especially during the earlier protests, Mexican flags have been prominently featured. As time has wore on and as reform-oriented coalitions have seized much of the control over the movement, their display has been discouraged in favor of Amerikan flags. In many ways, this symbolized the internal dynamic of Chicano movements, with Mexicano nationalist and assimilationist factions disagreeing on tactics and long term goals and vying for leadership over the broader movement.
More to any other people’s struggle, that of Mexicans’ is connected to struggles inside the US itself. Due to the relatedness of Mexicans and Chicanos, it should be of no surprise that their respective revolutionary struggles are deeply affective of one another.
John Ross, author of El Monstruo, Dread and Redemption in Mexico City and 50-year resident of the country, recently stated, “Objectively, at this moment, Mexico is overripe for social upheaval.” (qtd. in Ross, “John Ross on ‘El Monstruo: Dread and Redemption in Mexico City'”) He argues that a big cause of unrest in Mexico lies to the north.
“Traditionally, escapers in México came north towards what they called the ‘safety valve.’ But they can’t get across the border now because of the way it has been militarized,” Ross was quoted as saying. “When you turn off the safety valve, you amplify the pressure on the situation.” (qtd. in Terrazas)
It should be of no surprise that the storm center of revolutionary struggle on the North American continent lies in Mexico. There, the masses face the harsh conditions imposed by imperialism and often struggle against its thuggish forces. However, conditions in the north (USA) greatly affect those in the south (Mexico). A speculation-driven ‘financial crisis’ has eroded the confidence of Amerika’s largest body of oppressors, Whites, and provoked amongst them a fascistic backlash directed in no-small part against “illegals;” as well as resulting in even greater militarization of the border. Thus, not only has movement of Mexicans been greatly impeded, but remittances, Mexico’s second largest source of foreign income, have fallen dramatically, down 15.7% in 2009. (Castillo)
Under such conditions, unrest is likely to continue and grow in Mexico. However, a number of other factors need be present in order for a mass revolutionary movement to develop and succeed.
In Taking Power, On the Origins of Third World Revolution, John Foran reduces these factors to five: dependent development, followed by a economic downturn, exclusionary rule, a social culture and coalition of opposition which gains legitimacy amongst the population at large, and a world systemic opening. 
It is likely, if only possible, that these conditions will develop simultaneously and in relation to each other. A general degradation of US global hegemony and the effects this will have on the Mexican economy could conceivable lead to a political crisis within Mexico. Rather than the liberal democracy that imperialism traffics in, such a crisis can only be met with increasingly violent, repressive measures from the Mexican state and the US, resulting in the delegitimization of existing power structures and increased support for existing and new revolutionary organizations and coalitions inside Mexico.
Under such a crisis of open class warfare inside Mexico, it is safe to assume that class struggle in the US would also heat up, much of it in favor of reaction and intervention. In the wake of such reaction, an opening might present itself where Chicanos more widely identify with the struggle of Mexicans and, to varying degrees, the international proletariat. This tide of Chicano radicalism, combined with what larger revolutionary internationalist sentiment could be mustered in the US, would alone not be able to carry out a wider social revolution against the forces of reaction throughout the US. However, it might be useful in impeding reactionaries’ full ability to stifle the revolutionary struggle in Mexico.
While this scenario, a winding spiral of the preconditions of revolution described by Foran, may seem far fetched, it is far less so than the “end of history” theory put forward by Francis Fukuyama and many liberal supporters of the capitalist-imperialist system. Rather than entering into an age of peace and harmony as predicted by bourgeois theorists and new-age gurus alike, the world is becoming more unequal and more conflict-ridden. No doubt, it will be against a backdrop of global social unrest, in no small part directed against the imperialist bourgeoisie and its local agents, that any revolutionary struggle in North America, centered in Mexico, will likely develop and find fertile conditions for success.
Already in the north, where ideas flow more freely, revolutionary Chicano and Third Worldist groups are pushing a political line and culture of broader internationalism of the oppressed and exploited, especially between Chicanos and Mexicanos.
Colorado-based Mexicana Resistencia, in describing the struggles of Chicanos and Mexicans writes:
“We use the term migration as opposed to immigration to challenge the US Settler colonialists’ dehumanizing and dominating view of legality that is based on stolen land and imperialism with the understanding that when injustice becomes law resistance becomes duty; in opposition to the reformist sectors in the non-profit industrial complex working on so-called immigration rights when in actuality they co-opt, pacify, mislead and misdirect our movement; to redefine the perspective as a movement of a people with our own occupied homeland as opposed to a movement into another country; to reclaim the North; to unite our people and political struggle; and to have self-determination in defining our issues and give direction against the oppressive conditions that confront us.[…]”
“Self-determination is based on a revolutionary nationalist culture of resistance with the objective of creating a reunited homeland and liberated future based on human need instead of profit motives.” (Mexicana Resistencia)
Groups such as the Third-Worldist, Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement (RAIM) also promote a revolutionary unity between Chicanos and Mexicans, and supports Occupied Mexico’s “reunification with a revolutionized Mexico,” as part of the “division and ultimate destruction of Amerika.” (“Fuck the Border, Support Mexican National Liberation”)
The Mexican National Liberation Movement (Movemento Liberacion National Mexicano-MLNM) stresses that Chicanos and Mexicanos are “one people divided by a militarily-imposed border,” and describes “socialist reunification with Mexico” as their ultimate goal. They support national liberation struggles throughout the world and its membership has suffered repression, including prison sentences for refusing to collaborate with a grand jury investigation into the Puerto Rican Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (Armed Forces of National Liberation, FALN). The MLMN describe US imperialism as their primary enemy: “We are fighting the biggest empire ever and we are right inside of it.[…] The revolutionary movement here will begin in the south.” (Tizoc)
While there is nothing to suggest any of these groups or their blend of ideologies currently have any mass following in the north, each does represent the kind of totalizing, revolutionary internationalism required as part of any modern, genuine, mass revolutionary movement. As the US becomes more reactionary, their message of unity with the Third World and rejection of the First may gain wider, marginal appeal inside the US. Neither should we discount the possibility of such internationalist messages percolating southward, into Mexico and beyond.
While an open split between Chicanos (or at least a section of them) and Amerika may be heavily influential as part of the revolutionary struggle in Mexico, we should not see it as the overarching factor, or as part of any ‘world systemic opening’ for another, more successful Mexican revolution. While glimmers of light may exist in an otherwise dark, northern sky, the ‘proletarian sun’ will mainly arise from the ‘global south,’ the Third World, and it is these convergent struggles to which particular revolutionary struggles, including that of Mexicans and Chicanos, are bound to.
In 1965, Lin Biao, a general in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and prominent leftist during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, described the situation similarly. In Long Live the Victory of People’s War!, Lin described the “proletarian revolutionary movement” as “for various reasons …temporarily held back in the North American and West European capitalist countries,” and stated that, “In the final analysis, the whole cause of world revolution hinges on the revolutionary struggles of the Asian, African and Latin American peoples who make up the overwhelming majority of the world’s population. The socialist countries should regard it as their internationalist duty to support the people’s revolutionary struggles in Asia, Africa and Latin America.” (49) 
Lin reasoned that expanding wars of liberation would create ‘world systemic openings’ for revolutionary struggle elsewhere and that China could play a pivotal role in aiding these struggles. He saw the revolutionary struggle as one of the Third World masses waging a ‘people’s war’ against capitalist-imperialism, principally that of the United States, and its executioners:
“The struggles waged by the different peoples against U.S. imperialism reinforce each other and merge into a torrential world-wide tide of opposition to U.S. imperialism. The more successful the development of people’s war in a given region, the larger the number of U.S. imperialist forces that can be pinned down and depleted there. When the U.S. aggressors are hard pressed in one place, they have no alternative but to loosen their grip on others. Therefore, the conditions become more favorable for the people elsewhere to wage struggles against U.S. imperialism and its lackeys.” (56)
Unfortunately, the policy articulated by Lin Biao was never implemented in full by the People’s Republic of China. Six years after his writing, Lin disappeared under mysterious circumstances, while China began a rapprochement with the US and deepened its rhetoric against the USSR as part of the Sino-Soviet split. 
While much has changed since Lin’s writing, class struggle has not ceased. Were that the case, there would not be continued migration of Mexicans into the 21st century, nor would there exist the rising tide of anti-migrant, reactionary sentiment amongst Amerikans. Rather, the radical goals of La Revolucion have yet to be reached today.
In this regard, Mexico is hardly alone. Eighty percent of humanity lives on less that $10 a day; almost half live on less $2.50 a day. The richest 20%, the First World, receives 75% of the world’s income and accounts for 76% of the world’s private consumption. Thus, 24,000 children die from poverty each day. (Shah) As the Leading Light Communist Organization (LLCO) has recently described, “The principal contradiction in the world is the First World versus the Third World, the global city versus the global countryside, the exploiter countries versus the exploited countries.” (Monkey Smashes Heaven. “The Sun Rises in the East and Sets in the West.”) 
According to LLCO, the world’s exploited masses must carry out a people’s war against reactionaries: seizing power and building institutions which serve and defend their common interests. This must be extended to a global scale, a Global People’s War, in which the imperialist First World becomes cut-off and encircled by the revolutionary forces of the Third World, the latter imposing a radical global democracy on the former. The LLCO has called for support and solidarity between exploited peoples worldwide and captive, oppressed nations in the US: “Justice will only come when Amerika and the First World are defeated, the land is returned, the imposed border is torn down, reparations paid. Justice implies a society where the land and resources are organized to benefit humanity, not just a few, privileged rich countries.” (Ibid. “SB1070, The Continuing War Against the Mexicano People.”)
The next Mexican Revolution in perspective
The next Mexican revolution will not occur in a vacuum nor be significant unto itself. Rather, it will occur as part of the next wave of revolution, and its significance will be seen in relation to the international movement for liberation, away from a system of capitalist-imperialism and towards one controlled by the masses in their own interest.
In Mexico and elsewhere, the long-term viability of any revolutionary movement will be ultimately judged by whether or not it is ‘part of a worldwide people’s war waged by the peoples of the Third World, against the peoples of the First World.” (Ibid. “Points on People’s War”) The ability of the worldwide revolutionary movement to rally together and defeat the forces of imperialism, concentrated in the First World, is pivotal in the revolutionary struggle of the global proletariat as a whole.
For revolutionaries in the north and throughout occupied America, the struggle remains building an internationalist conception of revolution which explicitly rejects the First World and First Worldism (First World chauvinism/worship) and connects the struggle along the margins to that in the Third World. This means working to build a Chicano nationalist movement which identifies with Mexicans more than Amerikans, which actively seeks liberation of Occupied Mexico and above all seeks to unite with the struggle of the Third World-centered proletariat against imperialism and for a new world.
Ultimately, world revolution rests on those of the global South. However, this hardly negates the responsibility of revolutionaries in the North towards advancing effective strategies, championing the revolutionary struggle and undermining imperialism where possible. Just as the end of La Revolucion hardly suggested class struggle had ended in Mexico, the closing of the twentieth century hardly marked the end of revolutionary struggle internationally. One hundred years since the opening of the Mexican Revolution, Mexican society, like much of the Third World, has rarely been more poised for the outbreak of open class and people’s warfare. At the beginning of the 21st century, one hundred years after the start of La Revolucion, the vast majority of the world’s people, most Mexicans included, have, in the famous words of Karl Marx, “nothing to lose but their chains,” but “a world to win.” (86)
 As the essay the explains, the Mexican Revolution was not a revolution in the full sense, i.e. it was not successful in overthrowing the existing economic and social order. Thus for our purposes, ‘Mexican Revolution,’ ‘La Revolucion’ and ‘the revolution years’ are synonymous and roughly correlate to the period between 1910-19.
 While this paper does not deal with the causes of the Mexican Revolution, they could be summed up as: the dependent nature of Mexico’s economy in which US investors increasingly controlled much of Mexico’s land and capital; the regime Porfirio Diaz had set up had become more exclusionary over time; the additional pressures created under the 1907 financial crisis; the political crisis created when Diaz recanted his public promise not to rerun for president; and the Diaz regime’s loss of patronage from the US.
 While certain political achievements were made through the Mexican revolution, such as the overthrow of Porfirio Diaz’s regime, some land reform and the writing of the Mexican Constitution, social demands of the broad Mexican masses were only partially, if at all, met. Moreover, the Mexican Revolution did not significantly alter Mexico’s path to becoming a nation exploited under capitalist-imperialism.
 W.E.B. DuBois wasn’t the only radical thinker of the time to highlight the fact that imperialism bought off it ‘own’ working-class. In 1916 Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin wrote, “The capitalists [of the ‘Great Powers’] can devote a part (and not a small one, at that!) of these superprofits to bribe their own workers, to create something like an alliance … between the workers of the given nation and their capitalists against the other countries.” (“Imperialism and the Split in Socialism”)
 There was not unanimous agreement on the use of ‘Chicano’ in this sense. Here on some views on the use of Chicano and its meaning.
One view is that because of historically different material circumstance and subjective inclination, there is a substantive difference between Mexicans and Chicano’s, the latter being so distinct that it constitutes its own nation.
Another view counters the first, stating that Mexicans are one people divided by an imperialist-imposed border. This view is in no small part a response to the legacy of ‘Chicano nationalism,’ which includes sell-outs, reforms and co-option into the Democratic Party while not achieving liberation of the Mexican people on either side of the border. This view sees the extolling of ‘Chicano’ as part of the legitimization of US claims to Occupied Mexico.
The final view and one that I hope comes out in the paper is that Chicanos are Mexicans. Just as we could talk about Mayans as being Mexicans, we can say the same of Chicanos: they are a socially/geographically-identified group within a larger. The use of Chicano in this sense is a matter of having clarity and accounting for the material and subjective differences between Chicanos and Mexicans, not to legitimize the root cause of the differences.
 Though we can generally say that today Chicanos are a group born from migration, this has not always been the case. The original Chicanos were Mexicans who stayed on their land in the North after the United States invaded their country and seized its northern half.
 The Revolutionary Democratic Party themselves should not be seen as able to carry through a social revolution in Mexico. Rather, they are contenders for power in an existing system, i.e. compradors in-the-waiting.
 This glosses over the history of late-60s/early-70s ‘Chicano Nationalism.’
 In Taking Power, John Foran discusses these five factors in relation to the 1910 revolution, arguing that Diaz had created a regime which grew exclusionary over time, as well as maintained Mexico in a state of dependent development vis a vis the US. When, Foran argues, Madero launched his revolution (hardly the first against Diaz), the US government essentially sat on their hands, allowing the regime to crumble. Conversely, the revolutionary coalition collapsed, in relation to the closing of the ‘world systemic opening,’ when the US firmly threw its weight behind Carranza.
 Lin Biao’s essay also deals with the political-military nature of carrying out the social revolution. This synthesis, in its details, was described as ‘People’s War’ in revolutionary China.
 The Chinese state claimed, one year after his disappearance, that Lin died in a plane crash near the Mongolian border after a botched coup plot against Mao Zedong. Though a plane did crash near the Mongolian border, there is no independent evidence or researched arguments that support the Chinese state’s narrative around Lin’s disappearance or the plane crash itself.
 This quote comes from the online journal Monkey Smashes Heaven, which has since become the official journal of the newly formed Leading Light Communist Organization.
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Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Hourly Compensation Costs for Production Workers in Manufacturing, 33 Countries or Areas, 22 Manufacturing Industries, 1992-2005” <ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/special.requests/ForeignLabor/indCountryTable.txt>
Campell, Greg. “The NAFTA War.” July, 1996. <http://www.tc.umn.edu/~fayxx001/text/naftawar.html>
Campell, Monica. “Calderon inaugurated while lawmakers brawl” San Francisco Chronicle. Dec 2nd, 2006. <http://articles.sfgate.com/2006-12-02/news/17323950_1_rival-legislators-felipe-calderon-pan-president-vicente-fox>
Carrigan, William D. “The Lynching of Persons of Mexican Origin or Descend in the United States, 1848-1928.” Journal of Social History. 2003 <http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2005/is_2_37/ai_111897839/?tag=content;col1>
Castillo, E. Eduardo. “Mexico Sees Record 15.7 Pct Drop in Remittances.” Associated Press. January 27, 2010. <http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=9678227>
Cevallos, Diego. “20 Million Informal Sector Workers.” Inter-Press Service. Sept. 2nd, 2003. <http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=19946>
DuBois, William E.B., “The African Origins of War.” 1915
Espinoza, Annette, and Heather McWilliams. “Thousands march through Denver to protest Arizona immigration law.” Denver Post. May 2nd, 2010. <http://www.denverpost.com/headlines/ci_15000378>
Foran, John. Taking Power, On the Origins of Third World Revolution.
Cambridge University Press. 2005
Fukiyama, Francis. The End of History and the Last Man. Free Press. New York. 1992
Gutierrez, Teresa. “Masses Protest NAFTA in Mexico” Workers World. Feb. 10th, 2008. <http://www.workers.org/2008/world/mexico_0214/>
Halloway, John. To Change the World Without Taking Power: The Meaning of Revolution Today. 2002 <http://libcom.org/library/change-world-without-taking-power-john-holloway>
Henríquez, Elio, and Blache Petrich, “Interview with Subcommander Marcos.” Zapatistas! Documents of the New Mexican Revolution. Autonomedia. Brooklyn. 1994
“Human Development Report 1999: Globalization with a Human Face” United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), New York 1999
La Botz, Dan. Democracy in Mexico: Peasant Rebellion and Political Reform. South End Press. Cambridge. 1995.
LA Eastside. “March for Zapata 2010.” Webblog post. April 8th, 2010. <http://laeastside.com/2010/04/march-for-zapata-2010/>
Lemoine, Maurice. “Mexico’s New Guerillas.” Le Monde Diplomatic. Nov. 1998. <http://mondediplo.com/1998/11/08mexico>
“Large Groups Of Students Walk Out Over Immigration Reform.” TheDenverChannel.com. April 19th, 2006. <http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/8807653/detail.html>
Lin Biao. Long Live the Victory of People’s War! In Commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of Victory in the Chinese People’s War of Resisance Against Japan. 2nd Ed. Foreign Language Press. Peking. 1966
Marx, Karl. The Communist Manifesto. Norton Critical Edition. W.W. Norton & Company. New York. 1988.
Matthews, Kevin. “Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas says spirit of Mexican Revolution still alive 100 years later.” UCLA Newsroom. March 11th, 2010. <http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/cuauht-moc-c-rdenas-155056.aspx>
Mauer, Mark, and Ryan S. King. “Uneven Justice: States Rates of Incarceration by Race and Ethnicity.” The Sentencing Project. Washington D.C. 2007. <http://www.sentencingproject.org/doc/publications/rd_stateratesofincbyraceandethnicity.pdf>
McDonald, Patrick, and Teresa Watanabe. “Protesters nationwide call for immigration overhaul.” Los Angeles Times. May, 2nd, 2010. <http://articles.latimes.com/2010/may/02/local/la-me-0502-immig-rally-20100502>
McDonnell, Patrick J. and Robert J. Lopez. “L.A. March Against Prop 187 Draws 70,000.” Los Angeles Times. Oct. 17th, 1994. <http://articles.latimes.com/1994-10-17/news/mn-51339_1_illegal-immigrants>
Mexicana Resistencia. Pamphlet of the same name. Received on May 1st, 2010.
Mexico Solidarity Network. “Mexico News and Analysis, March 1-14th, 2010.” <http://www.mexicosolidarity.org/post/2010/march/mexico-news-and-analysis-march-1-14-2010>
Milanovic, Branko. True World Income Distribution, 1988 and 1993. The Economic Journal. 2002. <http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTDECINEQ/Resources/trueworld.pdf>
Monkey Smashes Heaven: The Journal of Global People’s War. “The Continuing War against Mexicano People” June 8th, 2010. <http://monkeysmashesheaven.wordpress.com/2010/05/08/arizona-sb1070-the-continuing-war-against-the-mexicano-people/>
Ibid. “Points on People’s War.” March 1st, 2010. <http://monkeysmashesheaven.wordpress.com/2010/03/01/points-on-people’s-war/>
Ibid. “The Sun Rises in the East and Sets in the West.” January 1st, 2010. <http://monkeysmashesheaven.wordpress.com/2008/01/01/the-sun-rises-in-the-east-and-sets-in-the-west-2/>
Paterson, Kent. “Cananea Mine Battle Reveals Anti-Labor Offensive in Mexico, United States.” Axis of Logic. March 11th, 2009. <http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_58834.shtml>.
People of Color Organize!. “Zapatistas: the First Postmodern Guerrilla Group.” Weblob post. People of Color Organize!. March 1st, 2010. <http://www.peopleofcolororganize.com/analysis/zapatistas-postmodern-guerrilla-group/>
Ross, John. “A Real Blast: Bombs, Resistance Mark 100-year Anniversary of Mexican Revolution.” The Rag Blog. Jan. 10th, 2001. <http://theragblog.blogspot.com/2010/01/mexico-anarchists-celebrate-mexican.html>
Ibid. Interviewed by Amy Goodman, “John Ross on ‘El Monstruo, Dread and Redemption in Mexico.'” Democracy Now!. April 27th, 2010. <http://www.democracynow.org/2010/4/27/john_ross_on_el_monstruo_dread>
Ibid. “The Hundred Year Cycle. What are the prospects for a new Mexican Revolution?” Counterpunch. Dec. 1st, 2007. <http://www.counterpunch.org/ross12012007.html>
RAIM-Denver. Weblog post. The Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement- Denver. “Fuck the Border, Support National Liberation.” May 1st, 2009. <https://raimd.wordpress.com/2009/05/01/raim-denver-may-day-program-fuck-the-border-support-mexican-national-liberation/>
Ibid. “May Day 2010 Denver.” Weblog post. The Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement- Denver. May 6th, 2010. <https://raimd.wordpress.com/2010/05/07/may-day-2010-denver/>
Ruiz, Ramon. The Great Rebellion, Mexico 1905-1924. W.W. Norton & Company. New York. 1980
Shah, Anup. “Poverty Facts and Statistics.” Globalissues.org. March 28th, 2010. <http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats>
State of Arizona, Forty-ninth Legislature. Senate Bill 1070. Signed, April 23rd, 2010. <http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/49leg/2r/bills/sb1070s.pdf>
Talyor, Paul S. “Critique of the Official Statistics of Mexican Migration to and From the United States.” <http://www.nber.org/chapters/c5119.pdf>
“The Question of Youth and Revolution.” La Verdad!. Union Del Barrio. June, 2007. <http://uniondelbarrio.org/lvp/newspapers/97/junoct97/pg02.html>
Tenudo, Mary Ann. “Chiapis: the Reconquest of Recuperated Lands.” Weblog post. Upside Down World. April 28th, 2010. <http://upsidedownworld.org/main/mexico-archives-79/2469-chiapas-the-reconquest-of-recuperated-land>
Terrazas, Elisa. “John Ross- Mexico is Overripe for Revolution.” Borderzine. April 9th, 2010. <http://borderzine.com/2010/04/john-ross-mexico-is-overripe-for-revolution/>
Tobar, Hector. “A small guerrilla band is waging war in Mexico.” Los Angeles Times. Sept 20th, 2007. <http://articles.latimes.com/2007/sep/20/world/fg-guerrilla20>
Tizoc. Speech given at public discussion, hosted by RAIM-Denver on March 31st, 2010.
US Census Bureau News. “US Hispanic Population Surpasses 45 Million, Now 15 Percent of Total.” May 1st, 2008. <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/population/cb08-67.html>
US Census Bureau. Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Converage in the Unites States: 2008. http://www.census.gov/prod/2009pubs/p60-236.pdf
Ventura, Stephanie J., et al. “Estimated Pregnancy Rates for the United State 1990-2005: A Update.” National Vital Statistics Review. 58.4. Oct. 19th, 2009. <http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr58/nvsr58_04.pdf>
Weinberg, Bill. Homage to Chiapis: The New Indigenous Struggles in Mexico. Verso. New York. 2000
Zapata, Emiliano. “Plan de Ayala.” 1911. <http://www.ilstu.edu/class/hist263/docs/ayala.html>
Antonio on Lowkey’s ‘Obama Nation’
[Last week, we posted the video, Obama Nation, the new single from UK hip-hop artist, Lowkey. The video itself generated some discussion which can be viewed below. Here is a comment by a RAIMer, Antonio, analyzing the content of the song:]
Lowkey is a British rapper, his mother being of Iraqi Arab descent. The title of the song is Obama Nation, pointing out that Obama is a war criminal like every other US president.
Lowkey correctly links the current imperialism of the United Snakes with its brutal colonial history and the national oppression and genocide inflicted upon the people here.
“Since 1945 the United States has attempted to overthrow more than 50 foreign governments,
In the process the US has caused the end of life for several million people,
And condemned many millions more to a life of agony and despair.”
“Natives kept in casinos and reservations,
Displaced slaves never given reparations,
Take everything from Native Americans,
And wonder why i call it the racist experiment,”
“I see imperialism under your skin tone,
You could call it Christopher Columbus syndrome.”
He points out the brutal reality behind the ideals of Amerika and the illusions it propagates:
“The strength of your dreaming prevents you from reason,
The American dream only makes sense if you’re sleeping,
It’s just a cruel fantasy; their politics took my voice away,
But their music gave it back to me,
The land where the lumpen are consumed by consumption,
Killing themselves to shovel down food in abundance,
I guess a rapper from Britain is a rare voice,
America is capitalism on steroids,..”
“The world’s entertainer, the world’s devastator,
From Venezuela, to Mesopotamia,
Your cameras lie, cause they have to hide the savage crimes,
Committed on leaders that happen to try and nationalize,
Eating competitions? while the worlds been starving,
Beat up communism with the help of Bin Laden,”
“Every day you create more Nidal Hassan’s,
Kill a man from the military, you’re a weirdo,
But kill a wog from the Middle East you’re a hero,
Your country is causing screams that never reach your ear holes,
America inflicted a million Ground Zero’s,
Follow the dollar and swallow your humanity,
Soldier’s committing savagery you never even have to see,”
He correctly sees that there is no difference in policy with Obama.
I don’t care if him and Cheney are long lost relations,
What matters more is the policies, I lost my patience,
Stop debating bringing race into the conversation,
Occupation and cooperation equals profit making,
It’s over; people wake up from the dream now,
Nobel peace prize, Jay Z on speed-dial,
It’s the substance within, not the colour of your skin,
Are you the puppeteer or the puppet on the string?,
So many believed it was instantly gonna’ change,
There was still Dennis Ross, Brzezinski and Robert Gates,
What happened to Chas freeman? (AIPAC),
What happened to Tristan Anderson?,
It’s a machine that keeps that man breathing,
I have the heart to say what all the other rappers aren’t,
Words like Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan,
The wars on, and you morons were all wrong,
I call Obama a bomber cause those are your bombs.”
One thing wrong with the lyrics is its wavering on being anti-Amerikan.
He begans the song [thus]
“This track is not an attack upon the American people,
It’s an attack upon the system within which they live.”
The system itself is the enemy but the Amerikan people as a whole benefit from that system. He also states “I’m not anti-America, America is anti-me!.” It is correct that the policies of Amerika turn the masses of the world against it, but the logical conclusion is to go against Amerika and all it stands for. Lowkey likely has an audience in the social movements of the First World who attempt to pander to their exploiter nation’s majority, and try to show their patriotism. Revolutionary anti-imperialists must give the real message out, that exploiter nations and their people who support are the enemy.
In one of the verses he has a version of the Star Spangled banner sung in a hip hop manner. Whether it is to expose Amerikan hypocrisy, or to reclaim Amerikan ideals for the good, is unclear. Either way, the attempt does not come off successfully.
Like other politically minded hip hop artists in the First World, such as Dead Prez, the Coup, Immortal Technique, etc., Lowkey espouses leftist and often revolutionary politics in his music but errs in the direction of First Worldism, or pandering to a majority First World population. At the same time he espouses anti-imperialism he attempts not to offend the Amerikan majority. RAIM takes issue with him on this point. To oppose imperialism is to oppose its main exponent, Amerika. It is no mistake when those rallying around the flag rally for the atrocities committed under that flag. The Peace is Patriotic crowd fails. Those standing with the oppressed and exploited of the world should not play these games by identifying with this symbol of opression. Lowkey should take the logical conclusion that the history of American oppression continues today, and to end it means ending the idea and material reality of Amerika. It did not stray from its ideals in it imperialist interventions, it is what it is about. Amerika from its beginning has been like every other empire, based on conquest. Revolutionary artists need to transcend the meaning of Amerika and the First World and see it for the enemy that it is.
The Expendables: An Action-Packed Thrill Ride for Chauvinist Pigs
The Expendables: An Action-Packed Thrill Ride for Chauvinist Pigs
The Expendables (2010, Stallone) is a reactionary movie in which a cast of pigs must go ‘behind enemy lines’ into the Third World. The plot was minimalist, and the characters, all played by big-name action stars, were largely forgettable. Despite this and in no small part because of its ultra-reactionary message, The Expendables debuted number one in Amerikan theaters, grossing 17 million dollars in tickets sales on its opening weekend.
In the movie, Sylvester Stallone accepts a contract from the CIA and leads to small band of mercenaries to the fictional Latin American island-country of Vilena. There, a rogue CIA agent rules via proxy and profits greatly from the production of illicit drugs. On a reconnaissance mission, Stallone and his partner are discovered, resulting in a high speed chase and the outing of their contact on the island, the daughter of a puppet general who nominally rules the island.
Ostensibly because Stallone feels bad about putting the general’s daughter in danger, he and his team return to the island to finish the job. After killing what seems to be hundreds of soldiers and blowing up the presidential palace, Stallone and his crew succeed in killing the rogue CIA agent and his henchmen. Rather than keeping the contract money, Stallone gives it to the general’s daughter before bidding her farewell.
The general message of the movie is not that ‘Amerika saves the day’ or ‘Amerika always wins,’ though both of these elements were present. Rather, the message behind The Expendables is that it is inconsequential and even heroic to travel to Third World countries, killing nameless, faceless brown people and causing untold destruction. The movie is one of tacit hate towards Third World peoples.
Other aspects of the movie are also problematic. Besides the general’s daughter, the only other prominent female is the girlfriend of a ‘protagonist’ character played by Jason Statham. She seems drawn to controlling and abusive, yet emotionally-distant men. She leaves Statham’s character for another man who physically abuses her, and returns to the ‘protagonist’ after he beats up the new boyfriend and his friends. The general’s daughter herself never acts as an independent agent. In both cases, women are portrayed as helpless, naive and in need of rescue. That said, compared to the above analysis regarding the movie’s view towards the Third World, this is a minor issue. In fact, the First World often cynically raises gender issues in its attacks on Muslim and other Third World countries. If the mercenaries were traveling to Iran or Afghanistan, for example, we imagine the film would have included stronger women ‘protagonists’.
The portrayal of people of color is also questionable. The main non-White protagonist is played by Jet Lee, a Chinese martial arts actor. Jet Lee’s character is docile. Throughout the movie he asks for a pay raise and it is implied he makes less than his colleagues. These requests are met with annoyance and dismissal. He’s portrayed as contributing less to the team’s success. Jet Lee’s character helps promote the Amerika’s ideal oppressed national: subservient and loyal, yet marginalized.
The most prominent people of African descent throughout the movie are a group of pirates in the opening scene. After demanding more ransom money, Stallone’s mercenary team massacres them. One ‘protagonist’ character, played by Dolph Lundgren, attempts to hang one of the African pirates but is stopped by his teammates. Though the scene opens a mini-arc revolving around the character’s fall from grace and reform, the racist undertones are apparent and shocking. The mercenary team does include one Black guy, but his role is marginal at best.
The portrayal of men is also extremely one-sided. They are shown as fighters: big muscles, gun and knife toting, ready for action, etc. In some scenes, contrived dialogue is supplemented with hulkish, contrived poses. The Expendables, though hardly alone, helps promote an imagine of men as warriors whose main value is being able to kill, harm and intimidate those Amerika is set against.
The imperialist media often hypes Third World culture which explicitly (and rightly) promotes hate against the oppressor. However, movies such as The Expendables promote an implicit hate of the Third World and its broad masses. The drama and petty motivations of a handful of pig mercenaries is shown as significant whereas the Third World people they rampage through are not. No moment is paid to question what happened to Vilena after the mercenaries leave, though the movie supposedly ends on a happy note as all the conflicts amongst the pigs seem to be resolved. In short, according to the movie, Third World people are worthless and Amerikan pigs are valuable. While it’s not as direct as the revolutionary slogan, “Hate Amerika,” the reactionary message presented by movies such as The Expendables opens the door for great violence to be inflicted up the majority, Third World masses.
Like much of Amerikan culture, The Expendables has nothing to offer revolutionaries and the new world we seek to create. Along with Amerika itself, movies such as The Expendables will be swept away, perhaps viewed most often by and studied by academics, who will remind future generations just how chauvinist, militarist, hate-filled and reactionary Amerikans really were.
Filed under Imperialism, Movie Reviews, News and Analysis
Dear RAIM-Denver Open Thread
Recently, we received the following letter from a First Worldist critic, ‘Sciencefaction.’ The criticism its pretty basic, and something we’ve encountered plenty of times in the past. Rather than writing some official reply on our blog, we figured we’d post the comment and allow our online readers to respond. The best replies will be edited and included in the next RAIM Global Digest.
Here’s ‘Sciencefaction’s” so-called criticism:
“How is it that first worlders, including whites, are “exploiters” simply by having relatively [and I stress “relatively”] better living conditions?
The logical conclusion is not revolution, but moralism: let’s renounce our computers and cell phones, and live in the most destitute conditions short of homelessness…nah, let’s go whole hog and be homeless, then we can pat ourselves on the back for this gesture of “solidarity.” More than that, let’s not bother to build any struggles in the first world, since, by definition, we are not really exploited or oppressed, so we have no legitimate issues with radical implications.”
Filed under Dear RAIM-Denver..., Imperialism, Organizing, Political Economy, White Amerika
Leaked ‘Afghan War Diary’ Causes Reaction in US
On July 25th, 2010, the website Wikileaks released the ‘Afghan War Diary,’ over 200,000 pages detailing the US’s terroristic role in Afghanistan. (1) The documents, allegedly collected and leaked by Bradley Manning, a 22-year-old military intelligence analyst now being held on allegations of an earlier leak, consist of battlefield reports and classified intelligence estimates detailing what we already know: the US is increasing its reliance on private mercenary forces, covert operations and unmanned airstrikes; propping up a corrupt, unpopular government; killing civilians and lying about it; and quickly causing the Afghan masses to turn towards resistance. (2) (3)
The release of the ‘Afghan War Diary’ has caused some controversy in the US, with reactionaries waging a counter-offensive in the realm of ideas. Military and intelligence officials have described those involved with the leak as potentially emboldening the Afghan resistance forces and endangering Amerikan lives. “They might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family,” one high ranking official was quoted as saying. (4) This is an example of ruling-class double-speak. Not surprisingly, reactionaries malign anyone who resists or undermines the inherently violent and poverty-ridden imperialist system.
Similar oppressor-minded rhetoric has been provided by Adrian Lamo, a former computer hacker who snitched out Manning following private internet discussions between the two. An extreme sycophant of imperialism and the status quo, he didn’t want to be a “coward” and knew the leak of the Afghan War Diary would “endanger human lives,” he’s told mainstream media outlets. He has no regrets about snitching out Manning and describes him as “someone who was easily led.” (2)
Lamo’s reported comments provide a microcosm into the mindset of Amerikans. Values such as cowardice, and abstract ideas such as “human lives”, are seen through an extremely narrow, Amerika-centric lense. Though Lamo had frequent discussions with Manning in which the latter stated his negative views about Amerika’s wars, one gets the impression that Lamo always felt himself above and never connected with the dissident intelligence analyst. He completely disregards Manning’s view on the war, insisting on the imperialist narrative and defending his own role as a snitch. In short, like so many Amerikans, Adrian Lamo is a fucking pig.
Responding to the controversy, Julian Assange, founder, editor and spokesperson for Wikileaks, describes good journalism as controversial, stresses the need for truth in public knowledge and claims those in power often attempt to hide abuses and wrong-doings. Assange denies the leak endangers Amerikan lives and points to the fact that the documents detail massive killings of Afghan civilians by US-led forces. Wikileaks has reportedly withheld 15,000 pages for “further review,” because they possibly contain information which might endanger ongoing imperialist operations in war-torn Afghanistan. Assange and other spokespeople for Wikileaks claim they are attempting to contact Washington for help in vetting the documents before their release. (5) (6) (7)
These latter facts are troubling, raising questions about where Wikileaks’s true allegiances lie. It highlights the disparity between ultimately pro-imperialist, “social-democrat” thought and revolutionary anti-imperialism. ‘Social democrats’ oppose various aspects of imperialism: in the case of Wikileaks, secrecy by institutions of power. Yet, they fail to connect these aspects to the overall system and never make the leap to opposing the system as a whole. They ultimately seek to reform the existing system, not destroy it and build a better one. Why else would Wikileaks go to such lengths as withholding documents and contacting the White House to vet them. Though less extreme and overt, Julian Assange, an Australian, is also a sycophant of imperialism.
The release of the Afghan War Diary will not change Amerika’s public perception of the occupation. Amerikans support imperialism and its various wars, both explicitly and tacitly. This is not due to ignorance or “false consciousness,” but due to their economic proximity to the imperialist-bourgeoisie. The vast majority of Amerikans, like the Amerikan imperialist-bourgeoisie, stand to benefit from exploiting Afghanistan and the entire Central Asian region. Since the election of Barack Obama, the so-called US ‘anti-war movement’ has virtually disappeared while the reactionary ‘Tea Party Movement’ has grown rabidly. Julian Assange is himself out of his mind, if he believes the Afghan War Diary will ‘wake up’ the Amerikan so-called ‘masses.’
Since the release of the Afghan War Diary, reactionaries have also been working to spin its meaning. (8) One senior official in the Obama administration described the information in the leak as precisely the reason the US is escalating combat in Afghanistan.(9) Others have noted reports suggesting Iran is connected to the Afghan resistance forces, which the imperialists label exclusively as Al Qaeda and the Taliban. (10) Rather than causing Amerikans to take pause in their support for aggression against Muslim countries, the Afghan War Diary is actually being used to promoting expanding wars.
The real wake up call for Amerikans will come when their expanding wars of aggression are met with expanded wars of resistance; when the imperialist-bourgeoisie’s ‘Coalition of the Willing’ is met and defeated by a coalition of necessity and its massive army of the oppressed. Only revolution, the overthrow of imperialist power and installation of a peaceable, egalitarian society, will forever turn the tide against imperialists and their lackeys.
Filed under Afghanistan, Barack Obama, Black-ops, Fuck The Troops, Imperialism, News and Analysis
Scott McInnis, Plagiarizer and Amerikan Parasite
Scott McInnis, Plagiarizer and Amerikan Parasite
Here in Colorado a scandal in the race for state Governor has emerged. The campaign of Republican front-runner, Scott McInnis, is increasingly derailing due to findings of plagiarism he committed while working for a local, politically-connected foundation. Now, overall we at RAIM can care less about the bourgeois elections in Amerika and have no preference between Mayor Hickenlooper and the Republican candidate appealing to who can give Coloradans more stolen superprofits. We bring this up because the details of this affair is yet another example of Amerikan parasitism in practice.
Before entering the Gubernatorial race McInnis was a congressman from Colorado. After leaving Congress in 2004 he received a fellowship for the next two years from the Hasan Family Foundation, based in Pueblo, Colorado.
The Foundation is run by the Hasan family, who became rich through profit-based managed health care, and who are prominent Republican donors. Some in the family are entering into politics.(1) Hasan family members also formed Muslims for Bush in 2004, later changed to Muslims for America. (2) The purpose of the foundation, founded in 1993 is, “to promote health and education initiatives in Southern Colorado and to bring better understanding of Muslim and South Asian cultures in the United States.”(3) They gave thousands of dollars to McInnis campaigns, and in turn McInnis mentioned the Hasans two times in the public record in Congress. McInnis was paid $300,000 to write and do public work, like speeches, about water policy. An issue not part of the foundation’s goals. This was likely a sweetheart deal for a former congressman and a foundation who wanted a rising political star on their letterhead.
During the campaign questions arose about the work he did for the foundation, and local journalists conducted investigations on that work. The investigations showed that many articles McInnis wrote were directly lifted from previous writings by Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs. McInnis presented the work to the foundation, titled “Musings on Water,” as original and as his own.(4) In other words, he plagiarized and lied about it. After the story broke he tried to place the blame on a researcher, with the researcher calling bullshit on McInnis. Many Colorado Republicans, who had made an issue over Ward Churchill’s alleged plagiarism, called for McInnis to drop out of the race because of McInnis’ admitted plagiarism. Campaign staff have also resigned.
The foundation, with egg on their face, conducted an investigation which showed McInnis, shockingly, had not done all the work he was paid for. The foundation demanded the $300,000 payment back (5).
Not only was the work he was paid to do plagiarized, but the rest of the so-called writing is so substandard that even the Hasans found it unpublishable. At 150 pages it came to $2000 a page that McInnis was paid. Local scene-magazine, Westword, had one of their bloggers read through it. The blogger said that the Hasans got this for their money: “Writing that would have trouble passing muster in a high school geography class — a repetitious, rambling and generally shapeless excursion through “fun facts” of Colorado water law, history and topography that turn out to be not fun and heavily padded. Much of it is so embarrassingly basic in subject matter and inept
in execution that you wonder who the hell was supposed to be the audience for this extravagantly priced pabulum.”(6) The Hasan’s got for their $300,000 a bunch of sloppy research and lazy writing.
RAIM, being Third World oriented, continually points out the amount of unproductive labor in the First World as a result of imperialist exploitation. This is just a more obvious example. Even for academic labor McInnis was by far overpaid. Getting paid vast sums of money for doing next-to-nothing is what life in the First World nations is all about. Under a more just global distribution of resources this money would go to more useful programs to benefit the masses. Previously RAIM created an article about Water and Imperialism,(7) for much much less than McInnis was paid. First Worlders not only get overpaid, but paid to do much less work. It’s as if First Worlders have an aversion to doing work, a trait gotten from living off the benefits of imperialist exploitation around the world.
Thus we have a simple solution we present to McInnis and the Hasan foundation. Previously we proposed Joe the Plumber be sent to Iraq to help rebuild their water system destroyed by the United Snakes. (8) We offer a similar option now. Since McInnis is so passionate about water, we propose to send him to a Third World country to do work on water. He would do work that millions of women in the world do now: gather water. As piped water exists in only 25 percent of homes in the poorest fifth of the world, water often must be gathered from flowing sources like rivers or wells.
McInnis will be paid $2 a day, which is what the poorest half of the earth live on, for his services. This will likely be the most productive work he will ever do in his lifetime, and he will soon be in need of a gig since his political career is going downhill. This will be a task for most Amerikans when socialism is implemented. Amerikans will have to give up their overpaid positions and get down and do physical labor for their reparations. Requiring Amerikans to participate in real labor for human needs will be one part of creating a more equal distribution of the world’s resources, including water and labor. McInnis in his campaign claimed he will be a “jobs” governor. Well, no better time than now to get to work!
6. A whole review of the Musings are at these pages:
Filed under Imperialism, News and Analysis, Political Economy
Monsanto, Settlers Inadvertently Create New Superweeds
Monsanto, Settlers Inadvertently Create New Superweeds
Over a decade ago, Monsanto made a supposed breakthrough. The idea was simple: sell both genetically-modified seeds and herbicide which would kill all other plant-life. It was marketed with great success to Amerikan farm-owners as a low-cost, high-output alternative to traditional agricultural methods. Critics called it “Frankenfood.” Now, Monsanto and Amerikan farm-owners are acknowledging one recent consequence of genetically-modified crops: superweeds.
Weeds, often those long native to the Americas, have long plagued Amerikan farm-owners. However, new superweeds are resistant to Monstanto’s herbicide, greatly diminishing the usefulness of their twin products, and in some cases grow much larger and quicker than their native ancestors. Farm-owners claim the evolution of superweeds has set their practices back by twenty years.(1) In a video from ABC News, a white guy explains the new weeds can damage heavy machinery while Blacks are shown in the fields doing manual labor.(2)
Monsanto claims a solution is only years away: newer genetically-modified seeds and stronger, sometimes older herbicides, such as 2,4-D, a main component of Agent Orange.(3)
On the surface, it’s hard to explain why Amerikan farmers chose to douse their field with stronger herbicides each year. Amerika is hardly short of food. The majority of the US population is overweight or obese, and around 40-50% of all produce grown in the US goes uneaten.(4) Neither are Amerikan farmers compelled by any feeling of altruism towards the masses of people who are underweight and genuinely malnourished throughout the world. That Amerikan farms overproduce food does little to help your average starving African.
In fact, the opposite is true.
As part of the globalized economy and along with subsidies Amerikan farm-owners receive (both in the form of vast amounts of stolen land and cash from the US government), local, largely autonomous economies have been undermined and destroyed. As a result, hundreds of millions of people have been kicked off of their lands, often their only means of day to day survival, resulting in greater food insecurity throughout the Third World. Exploiters’ quest for profits have caused great pain to the world’s masses. Superweeds are a minor problem compared to any number of plagues imperialism has unleashed.
Imperialism is a system which can not rule without destroying local communities, traditional economies or global ecology. While the world’s masses may never recover everything exploiters have stolen or destroyed, a new world can be built, free from this menacing system. It is out of the ashes of a world imperialism is destroying that the struggle for a mutually and equally beneficial order can emerge victorious.
While over the long run this struggle will benefit humanity in its very ability to survive, the task of building a new world rests mainly on those exploited by imperialism, who have “nothing to loose but their chains.” This group resides mainly in the Third World. At most, a small minority from imperialist First World countries will line up to fight on the side of revolution. Nonetheless, the exploited and their allies must press forward, facilitating the destruction of imperialism and creating of a new, revolutionary global society. Despite everything imperialism has thus far stolen or corrupted, it will be the people who own the future.
Filed under Environment, Imperialism, News and Analysis
Corruption skyrockets in Afghanistan
Corruption skyrockets in Afghanistan
Afghans paid nearly a billion dollars in bribes in 2009, up from 466 million in 2007, according to the Kabul-based NGO, Integrity Watch Afghanistan. The rapid growth of corruption in Afghanistan, which includes not just monetary payments but nepotism and sexual extortion, occurs only years into the US’s occupation of the country.
According to the report, 15% of households were affected by land-related corruption in 2009. Another report by the UN paints an even grimmer picture, stating Afghans paid out $2.5 billion in bribes, and that Afghans themselves consider corruption to be the country’s biggest problem.
Presumably, neither of the polls asked Afghans what role the occupation might have or if imperialism was the biggest problem facing the country. This is because both surveys were crafted to serve not the masses of Afghanistan, but imperialism’s long-term rule over them.
Nonetheless, the reports offer important insights. Though imperialists deliver pretty speeches about freedom, democracy and prosperity, they impose and maintain a social order which actively denies these things to the masses of the world. At places where imperialism is most directly involved, whether Third World industrial compounds or countries with militarily-imposed puppets, the masses have the least freedom, democracy and prosperity.
Compared with the paltry 1- 2.5 billion dollars in bribes, Afghans have paid many times more than this in the form of exploitation of their labor and resources, as well as in their lives due to the US’s war. This daily injustice occurs not just to benefit of the imperialists and their Third World lackeys, but their First World lackeys as well, i.e. the majority of people in the First World who are bought-off into supporting this rotten system.
Corruption, like many of the world’s problems, finds much of its root cause in imperialism. It is from the Third World masses’ struggle against imperialism that solutions to this and many more problems will arise.
Filed under Afghanistan, Imperialism, News and Analysis
Imperialism Drones On
Imperialism Drones On
Washington’s Homeland Security Department recently announced its plans to deploy unmanned “Predator” drones on the border of Mexico and Texas. In addition, 1,000 Border Patrol agents and 1,200 National Guard soldiers are being sent to the area. This is the latest in a series of ongoing attacks on Mexicano people and the escalation of militarism by Nobel Peace Prize-winning US President Barack Obama. (1)
Obama recently requested $500 million from congress for “emergency border security.” These funds will provide the drones, which cost nearly $5 million a piece (2), as well as the thousands of soldiers and police heading to the militarized border zone. Obama spending outrageous funds on brash military expenditures is no surprise. Obama has made sure that under his presidency military spending has been higher than it was under his predecessor George W. Bush. No price is too high for imperialism. (3)
Liberals have previously praised Obama for his rhetorical appeals to Chicano people; however, as president, Obama has stepped up the attacks of his predecessor. In his first year as president, Obama deported 5% more migrants than in George Bush’s last, a new record. The number is expected to grow again in 2010. Furthermore, despite some moderate condemnation from the White House, Immigration Custom Enforcement (ICE) raids and detention centers continue on unabated. (4)
The unmanned Predator drones set to be deployed are said to be strictly for surveillance. Such Unmanned Aerial Vehicles were first used by the US for spying in Bosnia and Kosovo in the early 90s. (5) As of late, however, these aircraft have been known for killing large numbers of civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The US military arms these drones with “Hellfire” missiles and, from a remote location, bombs “enemy targets,” almost always killing sizable amounts of unsuspecting civilians. As Obama once joked of the victims, “Predator drones. You’ll never see it coming.” Nearly 1,000 Pakistani civilians have been killed in drone attacks. (6) The US military does not recognize these bombings on record and does not keep track of casualties.
The Amerikan public is predictably on board with this sort of reckless militarization of the border. A CNN/Opinion Research poll taken last month showed that a near uniform 88% percent supported an increased Border Patrol presence. Sizable majorities support a border wall. Majorities also support racist laws targeting Mexicano and Chicano people in the US, particularly the recent bills passed in Arizona. (7)
Amerikans will go to any extent to protect their stolen land. The US/Mexico border is lined with fences, Minuteklan thugs, pigs, troops and now remote controlled spy planes. All to keep Mexicans off their own land. First worldists call for assimilation. To them, the solution to oppression and exploitation is to beg to be a part of the exploiter-opressor nation. Anti-imperialists support national liberation. The only true way to dispose of arbitrary militarized borders and end oppression is to defeat the Fist World and its lackeys. Amerikan settlers are the real illegals. The Mexicano and other Indigenous nations have the only compelling claim to the occupied land in the southwest United Snakes.
6. http://www.asiantribune.com/news/2010/03/21/us-engaged-%E2%80%98extra-judicial-killings%E2%80%99-civilians-af-pak-iraq-us ing-%E2%80%98unmanned-drones%E2%80%99
Obama sends US Special Operations Forces to 75 countries, up from 60 last year
Obama sends US Special Operations Forces to 75 countries, up from 60 last year
The US Special Operations Forces, or Green Berets, are operating in 75 countries around the world, up 25% from last year. Under the Obama administration, special ops forces have been sent to Iran, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, Ukraine, Bolivia, Peru, Turkey, the Philippines, Columbia and Paraguay, among many others. Of the 13,000 Special Operations forces worldwide, 9,000 are split between Iraq and Afghanistan. [1,2]
Obama was and still is perceived by many to be fundamentally different than George W. Bush. This only reveals how widespread gullibility and self-serving ignorance are. Under Obama, the number of US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan jumped to 189,000 at end of 2009, up from Bush’s high of 186,000. Aerial bombings by US-operated drones have increased under Obama. Obama additionally employs an ‘Intelligence Community’ of 200,000 at a cost of 75 billion dollars annually. [3,4]
The United States is, regardless of its individual leadership, the greatest menace to humanity today. There is no force which plays a larger policing or military role worldwide. There is no force which drops as many bombs, invades as many countries, trains as many armed forces and spies on as many dissidents.
While US imperialism and its goons may appear strong, this is not necessarily the case. The real strength lies with the people, the masses of the Third World which make up the broad majority humanity. United under common interest, for peace, freedom and equality, and without illusions about the antagonistic nature of imperialism, the world’s masses can defeat reactionaries and lay the foundation for a better future.
Filed under Afghanistan, Africa, Barack Obama, Black-ops, Fuck The Troops, Imperialism, Iraq, News and Analysis
Israel Commits Massacre on Freedom Flotilla to Gaza
Israel Commits Massacre on Freedom Flotilla to Gaza
ISSrael on Monday attacked an aid flotilla heading to Gaza, killing several international activists. The flotilla was attempting to break the Israeli blockade imposed since 2007 and deliver 10,000 tons of needed supplies to the 1.5 million people of Gaza imprisoned by the Zionist entity.
Israeli commandos from 14 warships and military helicopters, reportedly 1/4 of the Israel navy, boarded one of the Turkish ships and began shooting. Recent news reports at least 19 dead civilians. This was all done in international waters, violating international law. But as shown before, no international law or condemnation has deterred aggression by the terrorist nation of Israel.
The pigs in the Israeli government and military said they were acting in “self-defense” and the activists attacked them. This is the typical excuse given by Israel when it uses its occupation military on those who resist. It has shown in the past that it will use violent force on international activists as well as Palestinians.
Israel is a settler state, formed by terrorist occupation of Palestinian land by Zionist imperialists. Just like Amerika, Israel is based on subjugation of native peoples and exploitation of their labor, land, and resources. It is no surprise that Israel and United Snakes are deep allies, as they desperately keep their parasitic way of life going through brutal military force. This way of life is supported by the majorities of each of these countries. Although there will be a few in the imperialist countries to voice opposition to these acts, most of these settler citizens will actively and passively support these policies. The oppressed and exploited majorities of the world should not wait for the imperialist country citizens to wake up. It is right to resist imperialist occupation, and the struggle is now.
There are protests happening all over the world right now in response to this atrocity. We encourage all supporters to assist and organize where they are to stand in solidarity with Palestine and agitate to bring the end to illegitimate terror nations like Israel and Amerika.
Down with all settler states!
Israel and United Snakes!
May Day 2010 Denver
May Day 2010 Denver
This year the May Day events in Denver, as elsewhere in occupied Amerika, were about migrant rights and were influenced by the recent passage in Arizona of SB1070 that would further criminalize migrants without documents. There were two different events in Denver, each illustrating the different politics around the most recent struggle for migrant rights.
The first event was one RAIM participated in and helped organize. The May Day March for Social Justice, Human Dignity, and Self-Determination was made up of a loose coalition of more radical and independent tendencies. RAIM Denver marched with our allies Resistencia Mexicana, with banners featuring Mexican revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata. At least 500 people participated in this march, which went from the State Capitol through downtown, ending in Skyline Park for a rally. A Mexica/Aztec dance group performed a ceremony and led the march.
This particular march was unique with respect to the diverse makeup of the participants, who had a more clearer understanding of the repressive character of the state’s response to the “immigrant rights” movement. It showed that there is a progressive sector in Denver that is against reform oriented liberal politics and for more radical change. There were many beautiful banners and signs, good chants, and a more liberatory attitude. The rally included music, food, tables of the participating groups, and speakers.
The first speaker was Ricardo Romero, a long time Chicano/Mexicano human rights organizer and a leader in the Mexican National Liberation Movement, who brought up the ongoing war against the Mexican people exemplified by the anti-migrant movement. Romero pointed out that there is a coming fascist offensive against the Mexicano peoples on their own occupied homeland, and highlighted the need to get educated, organized, and prepared for self-defense and national liberation.
Antonio spoke on behalf of RAIMD, stating that the recent struggle in Arizona is only one of many that has happened since 1848 when the U.S. settler empire invaded Mexico and imposed a border on its northern half. Today, the fight continues on many fronts with Third World peoples fighting against the exploiter countries of the First World. Antonio pointed out that it is important to support the struggles against imperialism everywhere.
RAIMD also brought a pinata for the festivities, in the form of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer as a pig. The elementary school-aged children at the rally enjoyed participating in the beating of the pig Brewer, and tore it open for the candy and toys inside.
At the rally at Skyline RAIMD and other organizations had tables and distributed information. Here many groups handed out a wide range of literature outside of mainstream discourse. Our own materials were well received by the participants there. We distributed: over two hundred of our program in support of Mexican nation liberation; around 75 new and old RAIM Global Digests; dozens of Troublemaker DVDs; copies of chapter eight from Lin Biao’s ‘Long Live the Victory of People’s War’ and some interviews with J. Sakai, author of ‘Settlers, the Mythology of the White Proletariat;’ even some child-sized t-shirts. Our material sparked many conversations and drew both nods of approval and skeptical looks.
The rally ended later that afternoon with some good music and on a positive note. Despite our real political differences with many of the groups there, overall it showed that there is an organized progressive sector in Denver that is nominally against reform oriented liberal politics and for more radical social change, no matter how small that sector is.
The Other Rally
We should note the other event that went on that day, which was much larger for many reasons. It was organized by Reform Immigration for America, a liberal reformist group that steers the migrant rights struggle into the safe hands of the Democratic Party realm. To illustrate their strategy, at their massive immigration reform rally in Washington back in March of this year, they ended it with a televised speech by President Obama promising reform.
While the coalition that did the May Day March for Social Justice was planning this march months in advance, the liberal groups did not want a march at all. Their last minute changes in response to our organizing and to a changing public opinion show their opportunistic nature. Their original event for May 1st was going to be a “Grade Your Senators” event at Sunken Gardens Park, where participants would fill out faux report cards on legislators. Basically directing people into electoral work, using Latinos as another interest group to gain leverage on the legislative level. The response to Arizona changed this. The days before there were many school walkouts organized in protest of the law in Arizona. In Denver on April 30th many schools walked out and ended at a rally at the Capitol that day. The energy level on May 1st was high, people wanted to march. Also, the legislative campaign would not appeal to the mostly youth and non-citizens that were mobilized. So the liberal non-profits changed plans at the last minute and tailed where the mass movement was going in order to regain leadership.
The resulting march that went from Sunken Gardens through downtown and back to the park turned out about 10,000 people at its height. Their larger turnout was due to the liberal groups larger resource base. They purchased advertising on Spanish television and radio the day before. The organizers brought several pre-printed signs and Amerikan flags to promote “We Are America.” The crowd was encouraged to chant “USA, USA.”
The liberals did what they are expected to do, channel discontent into safe and controllable arenas. In this case promoting assimilationist and reformist messages. Their hope is that mainstream Amerika will see that immigrants are “Americans” too. In the end this strategy, which denies the people the right to their identity, culture, and land, will weaken the necessary independent struggle that is needed to build power to fight against repression. The non-profit industrial complex serves those that use it to continue to get grant funding and patronage, not the people itself.
Our comrades at Monkey Smashes Heaven said this of May Day:
“May Day, May First, or International Workers Day, originally was a day to commemorate the victims of the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago in 1886. Chicago workers had called a general strike for the eight-hour workday. The peaceful strikers were fired on by police. A bomb exploded.
Several deaths of strikers and police occurred. Some of the police deaths were a result of their own hand, “friendly fire.” [Eight organizers were tried and wrongfully convicted, with some getting the death penalty before they all were exonerated (RAIM)]. Since then May Day has been embraced by revolutionaries and reformists in the labor movement alike. However, May Day means nothing to the vast majority of First World peoples who have no interest in building socialism or ending imperialism. May Day when celebrated by First Worldists is nothing but a parody.”
This march we participated in gave some mixed messages too, but created a space where RAIM, Resistencia Mexicana, and others presented alternatives to Amerikan assimilation and to build real power to bring national liberation.
No Love For Land Grabbers, Deport the Tea-Klanners
Politics Are Over created this awesome graphic, inspired by our last protest against the racist Tea Party. We are honored:
They have much more sweet revolutionary agitational art at their site, check it out: politicsareover.wordpress.com
Filed under Agitation Statements, Anti-Racism, Images, Imperialism, White Amerika
Code Pink: Pigs For More Pie
Code Pink: Pigs For More Pie
Times have been tough for the remnants of the antiwar movement in the United Snakes. Liberals crossed over to Obama, a recession has driven down donations, and healthcare reform and Tea Party opposition became the focus in Amerika. Code Pink, led by non-profit profiteer Medea Benjamin, is working to “extend an olive branch” to the reactionary Tea Party, using their anti-tax rhetoric to focus on military spending. Benjamin sent an open message to teaklanners and Code Pink supporters:
“Don’t relax on tax day. Your country needs you to start a difficult conversation right now. Because building peace means reaching out to the other side, CODEPINK is extending an olive branch to the Tea Party. If the Tea Party is really against runaway government spending, then certainly we can work together to cut a slice out of the military pork that is bankrupting our nation. After all, one way to shrink big government is to rein in military spending.
Similarly, we are asking you to reach out to your conservative family members, friends and co-workers, with this very special e-card to start a conversation about how a bloated military budget is affecting our share of the pie. Maybe you will find common ground!”
And a graphic:
Besides the total lameness and lack of direction, Code Pink’s most recent campaign gives a clear message about “our share of the pie.” According to Benjamin and Code Pink, Joe Amerikan should be fat too, not just those at the Pentagon spending his tax dollars.
Certainly, Code Pink isn’t lying about the great amount of Amerikan tax dollars which go to war-making. Obama’s “defense” budget for 2011 will be $663.7 billion, making up 42 percent of all the worlds military spending. This is compared to China with 5.8 percent of world military spending and France with 4.5 percent of world military spending. However, the real victims of this militarism are those killed by Amerikan bombs and locked into imperialist exploitation, not Code Pink and the Tea Party’s reactionary parasite constituency.
The Tea Party almost never brings up the spending on military. In fact many of them are current or former troops and embedded in military culture. Many Tea-baggers wear military caps and insignia and flirt with armed insurrection against the federal government. Their message of reducing taxes and spending is one based on narrow labor-aristocratic interest, not of concern for non-Amerikans facing direct and proxy aggression from the US.
In their attempt to find “common ground,” Code Pink’s politics in essence are shown as no different from the Tea Party’s. Both pander to the base interests of Amerikans; neither question where Amerikan wealth truly comes from. Rather than raising principled opposition to the most murderous system the world has ever seen, US-led imperialism, Code Pink reveals their chauvinism as they opportunistically ignore the blatant racism and jingoism of the Tea Party movement. Code Pink will likely find few supporters within the Tea Party movement, as many of the latter consider the former no more than traitors and subversives. Medea Benjamin and other modern Don Quixotes, rather than standing in principled solidarity with the world’s people, comes off as big chauvinists in an attempt to find and activate a mythical progressive Amerika majority.
The Amerikan right and the Amerikan “left” agree on one thing: Amerikans should have more. They do not question that Amerikans should have so much, just an argument over how it should be directed. We at RAIM say the opposite, Amerikans deserve less. They got their wealth from the beginning of their history through stolen land, labor, and resources. They already get a disproportionate share of the wealth of the world, maintained mainly through the expenditure on the military. We realize this message will not get us supporters, money, or fame, but we say it anyway because it is the truth based on fact. Half the world lives off only $2 a day or less. So we can care less about the menial troubles of an average First Worlder about taxes, gas prices, healthcare, etc. The oppressed and exploited peoples of the world, in the final analysis, will be the ones who in the end bring down Amerikan imperialism and subsequently all oppression. We stand with the majority of the world who wants liberation, not for Amerikan morons wanting more.
On Stolen Land and Borrowed Time
Filed under First Nations, Images, Imperialism, Occupied Mexico/Aztlan, White Amerika
RAIM Protests Teaklanners and Amerikkka
RAIM Protests Teaklanners and Amerikkka
The Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement has always been in the lead of militantly opposing the most reactionary aspects of Amerikan society while bringing to bear larger contradictions. This was certainly the case during the ‘Tea-Party Tax Day Protest’ and concurrent ‘Tea Party Against Amnesty,’ held at the Colorado State Capitol on April 15th, 2010.
RAIM was the first in Denver to put out a call to oppose the Tea Party rally.
Our call-out attracted country-wide attention. Right-wing blog and media personality, Michelle Malkin, quoted our call-out on her website and highlighted the sentence, “Cut loose and let these racist crackers know they’re opposed.” Some find the phrase “racist crackers” to be an oxymoron or ironic. Really though, it’s just redundant. The plug drew thousands of visitors to the RAIM-Denver blog over a period of a few days. Most of these people were racist crackers themselves or of a similar mindset.
The day of the protest was sunny and warm. An estimated 1,500-2,000 crackers and some ‘fort Indians’ gathered to show support for the Republican Party and other reactionary causes. The gist of the Tea Klan Rally was simple: while they don’t mind paying taxes to bomb people halfway around the world, they’re angry about paying taxes to provide services for people perceived as poorer than them (often Blacks, Mexicans, Native Americans, etc). Whereas Obama’s election can be seen as opening up the door for a few others to join the labor aristocracy, the Tea Party Movement is one to contract the labor aristocracy to its core constituents (i.e. Whites).
RAIM isn’t about picking sides in a debate about how to divide up stolen wealth. Our message that day, while including many things, highlighted two points: restorative justice and destroying imperialism and hence the USA.
The night prior, RAIM prepared an awesome and on-point, 50-foot banner which read: ‘TYRANTS, YOU STOLE THIS LAND AT GUNPOINT’. This simple statement was meant to juxtapose the Tea Party’s national and class-centric demands for ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty’ against the reality of the situation.
The counter-protest of around 50 gathered across the street from the Tea Party Rally and berated the racists through two bullhorns. Terryn, a Denver RAIMer, told the racist crowd they were on “stolen land and borrowed time.” She explained numerous times why they are racists: “Colorado is a Spanish word…You stole the land at gunpoint and killed the people. You stole everything you have. You steal the resources and labor from Africa, Asia and Latin America. You bomb people half-way across the world and you don’t fucking care. You don’t have empathy and that is why you’re racists.”
Nick Brown praised those resisting imperialism worldwide, shouting through a bullhorn, “God Bless Iran. God Bless Ahmadinejad. God Bless Venezuela and Bolivia.” RAIMers led chants such as, “Who do we love? Mexicans! Why? ‘Cause they’re people! Who do we hate? Racists! Why? ‘Cause they’re evil!” and, “No love for land-grabbers, deport the teaklanners.” Chants such as “Viva Mexico” and “Sí se puede” also rang out. RAIMers insisted the racists’ grandchildren would learn Spanish and they themselves would be deported to the Third World to “learn some empathy.” One woman even jeered the teaklanners in Lakotah.
In many ways, this is all standard stuff for RAIM. We bring out contradictions and conflicts. It’s what we do; nothing unusual.
However, the real high point was a group of local high school students who were bussed in to do interviews during of the tea klanner rally. The students, who were mainly Chicano, Mexican or Black, found the Tea Party repulsive and chose to hang out on our side. Many RAIMers refused to talk to the pig-media, but we gladly spoke with the youth who found themselves alienated by the pasty patriots. RAIMers explained why the Tea Party Movement is racist, including the real motive behind their anti-tax politics, the role of overt and covert US interventions worldwide and our message of militant global equality and solidarity with the Third World. Many of the students explicity identified as Mexican and were visibly turned off by the crackers, even without RAIM having to make the case. At one point, a racist cracker came over to our side of the street and smugly stated, in front of the students, the US should nuke various countries in the Middle East. A RAIMer called the guy a “fascist cracker” through a bullhorn and encouraged the students to do the same, but this was harshly discouraged by a nearby teacher. Nonetheless, RAIMers got plenty of time to talk with the students, passing out dozens of RAIM Global Digests and Troublemaker DVDs.
Numerous times, racists came over to our side of the street, causing some minor altercations. About 20-30 pigs remained behind the anti-racist counter-protest, preventing more serious fighting from breaking out. No arrests were made.
RAIM’s message, both rhetorically and in practice, is clear: it’s right to hate the USA.
Also, check out RAIM-Denver agitating and educating in the first part of this video, exclusively at Denver Open Media.
After Michelle Malkin, the concentration camp loving right wing hack, linked us on her blog, we got the biggest number of hits ever. We were inundated with comments, many with bad spelling, grammar, and logic. There was the common refrain that we use cracker to describe racist crackers.This just goes to show that Amerika has a lot of crackers out there.
Malkin later went into a tizzy over the term “Tea-Klanner” to refer to her teabagging minions. (http://michellemalkin.com/2010/04/15/tea-klanner-the-lefts-shameless-new-smear/)
Of course this is after this of many comments went up on her board. Here was an interesting one:
On April 15th, 2010 at 11:06 am, Ignatius Reilly said:
So the commies wanna rumble, eh? I say, Bring it on! and Remember Greensboro! (They need a little booster shot.)
Of course Greensboro refers to the massacre in 1979 in Greensboro NC where a Nazi and Klan death squad shot dead 5 communists and anti-racists at an anti-Klan rally.
This is the common refrain from Tea-Klanners, they are not racist. Yet it is all there exposed when really pressed. No one should be fooled.
Along with RAIM many other radicals in the Denver area responded to our call. There was also a bunch of liberals and Democrats who were there for different reasons. With much less people and resources RAIM called the action and others responded while highlighting our anti-imperialist, anti-settler, pro-national liberation, pro-migrant and Third Worldist messages. This is significant because many groups there have hopes that the Amerikan labor aristocracy can be moved for progressive social goals. We at RAIM factually see the majority of Amerika as benefiting from imperialist exploitation and shaping their politics to it. This has been the interests of the majority White Amerikan Nation, and also creeping into the captive nations of the United Snakes. The captive nations are still nationally oppressed although growing economic integration leads to a decline in national consciousness in favor of Amerika. The Tea Party phenomena visibly shows that privileged White Amerikans when organized go into a right wing and proto-fascist direction.
Movie Review: Clash of the Titans
Movie Review: Clash of the Titans
Clash of the Titans (2010, Louis Leterrier) is a reactionary film which promotes compradorism and lackeyism in the main, as well as white supremacy and patriarchy.
In the movie, people abandon the gods of Greek mythology, thus incurring their wrath. Perseus (Sam Worthington), the mortal son of Zeus, is chosen to lead a campaign to stop an impending assault by the ancient monster, the Kraken, on the port city of Argos.
Perseus’s journey is long. It is assumed he’s fighting the gods themselves. However, by the end of the film we see Perseus siding with one faction of the gods, represented by Zeus, against another, led by Hades. Rather than overthrow the gods in the entirety, Perseus reinforces their lofty position and remains on earth as a demi-god amongst men.
The “gods” of Clash of the Titans can be seen as representing what the masses must revolt against: capitalist-imperialism and the First World itself. Perseus thus is akin to any number of supposed rebels who cut deals and hold back the whole struggle. As in the film, such people are aided by that which they nominally stand against and rewarded with positions of authority for helping preserve the overall system. By the end of the movie, like many of the struggles of the past, nothing has changed. In fact, Perseus’ campaign ends the revolt against the gods and returns people to their subordinate position. The main character is revealed to be not a rebel but a more effective lackey. Despite the film’s seemingly distant setting and apolitical nature, such ideas defeat social revolutions and subjugate people under continued imperialist exploitation.
The film is reactionary in other ways as well. All of the characters are White, alluding to an overall chauvinism on the part of the filmmaker and audience. Likewise, for his task of only opposing a faction of the gods in service to another, Perseus is awarded Io (Gemma Arteton), a youthful-looking girl who previously guided Perseus but was killed over the course of the journey. All and all, this film is irredeemable.
In the First World, social conflict is non-antagonistic, thus reformism and cutting deals makes sense. However, for the Third World masses, social struggles are matters of life and death. Selling out is an act of treason to oppressed peoples. Underneath Clash of the Titans is a political stance which lauds the ascendency of compradors and the continuing oppression and abject poverty of billions of people. There is no good faction of imperialism or the First World for the broad masses. It must all be overthrown.
Filed under Imperialism, Movie Reviews, News and Analysis, Organizing, Political Economy
Filed under Barack Obama, Images, Imperialism
RAIM Global Digest, Issue 3
Filed under Imperialism, Movie Reviews, News and Analysis, Organizing
Crackers arrest “illegal” McDonald’s workers, cite economic and cultural reasons
Crackers arrest “illegal” McDonald’s workers, cite economic and cultural reasons
In March, raids targeting migrants in Phoenix-area McDonald’s restaurants concluded in the arrest of 21 people and a hunt for dozens more.
Maricopa County Sheriff, Joe Arpaio, who in the past has grabbed national headlines with his ultra-reactionary approach, led the raids. In an interview that followed, Arpaio explained some of the reason behind the arrests. He described McDonald’s as an “American[sic] institution…a place that my kids and yours could always count on for their first job ever” and deplored the company’s “giving jobs away” to people “working here illegally.” The raid is part of a larger effort by Phoenix officials to intimidate and repress Spanish-speaking migrants, in particular Mexicans.
An older Amerikan institution is that of national oppression. The city of Phoenix was founded a mere 150 years ago, after the settler-invasion and occupation of northern Mexico. The city sits atop a network of ancient canals, dating back to around 500 CE, some of which are still in use today. During the 20th century, Mexicans worked in the fields of their occupied homeland, threatened with withheld wages, deportation, etc. This legacy, an ‘Amerikan institution,’ continues today under evolved terms and conditions.
Filed under Imperialism, News and Analysis, Occupied Mexico/Aztlan, White Amerika
US leading offensive against Somalia
US leading offensive against Somalia
They’re at it again. The US is quietly leading a major military operation against the African country of Somalia.
Since last year, the US had been training and funding the ‘Transitional Federal Government'(TFG). Now, the US is planning an offensive in the country’s capital, Mogadishu, in hopes of countering the growing influence of the Islamic group, Harakat al-Shabaab Mujahideen (al-Shabaab).
In 2006, US-backed Ethiopian forces occupied the country’s capital to drive out the ruling Islamic Courts Union (ICU). The task proved too great and in 2009 Ethiopian forces withdrew. Al-Shabaab, a splinter from the ICU, has since made significant gains against the ‘internationally-recognized’ TFG. Despite the substantial backing the TFG receives from the US, al-Shabaab controls the south of the country and much of the capital.
The current offensive against Mogadishu is the first major operation to be headed by the United States Africa Command, or AFRICOM, since it was founded in 2007. However, the US has a long history of intervening in Somalia. In 1993, members of a US Special Forces team were killed, the bodies of some dragged through capital by a crowd. Most recently, in 2006 the US bombed Mogadishu as Ethiopian forces invaded the country.
The US says operations in Somalia are part of a ‘global counter-terrorism’ effort. An ‘imperialist offensive’ is more accurate.
US offensives in Somalia or anywhere else are part of a wider range of wars and conflicts, meant to reinforce US dominance around the world, including unfettered access to cheap raw materials. Sub-Saharan Africa is thought to be the center of the “next big oil-boom” and the “last real high-potential area in the world that hasn’t been fully explored.” Much of the untapped oil resides in the center of the continent, in Uganda and the Congo, and near the Horn of Africa, in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia. Somalia may have 10 billion barrels in oil reserves but, due to instability, these reserves have yet to be tapped. It is the US’s intentions have as much control over this oil as possible. Overthrowing al-Shabaad’s rule and installing the TFG is all part of this plan.
Since Barakkk Obomber was elected president of the chief imperialist country, imperialist aggression has only increased. Troops remain in Iraq and have increased in Afghanistan. In the last year alone, the US has been exposed for drone bombings in Yemen and Pakistan, as well as covert operations elsewhere. Despite this, there has been no rise in anti-war, anti-militarist sentiment within the US. Anti-war marches have been at their lowest levels. For example, in the most recent ‘national march’ in Washington DC, attendance was estimated at 3,200-4,000 people (or .000013% of Amerikan citizens). Not only do Amerikans seem to think it’s OK when Obomber bombs people, some are even saying he should be more aggressive. Michael Bolton, former US ambassador to the UN, and several other conservatives have come out and publicly encouraged the US president to bomb Iran. Behind Obama and Amerika’s progressive veneer, we see the real debate: quietly bombing Third World people vs doing so in a big, highly-visible way. Regardless of which of these ‘policies’ Amerika chooses, it can only be a difference between the manner in which Amerika expands its wars in Africa and around the world.
Filed under Africa, Imperialism, News and Analysis
Movie Review: Shutter Island
Movie Review: Shutter Island (Martin Sorsese, 2010)
Shutter Island, the cinematic thriller by director, Martin Scorsese, adapted from a novel by Dennis Lehane, presents a choice between two narratives. Reality is skewed in the movie. Tension unfolds in an purposeful, ambiguous way, forcing the audience to choose between reality and delusion, normalcy and ‘insanity.’
The story takes place in 1954, during the Cold War. World War II veteran and US Marshall, Teddy Daniels, (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his new partner, Chuck Aule, (Mark Ruffalo) go to the Ashecliff Hospital for the criminally insane on Shutter Island to investigate the disappearance of Rachel Solando (Emily Mortimer), a patient who seems to have vanished from a locked room. Dr. John Cawley (Ben Kingsley), the head psychiatrist, explains that Rachel was institutionalized after drowning her three children. She believes, however, she is still at home and her children are still alive. Dr. Cawley refuses to share any of the patients’ files and implies Rachel may be dead. The island is surrounded by steep, jagged cliffs and crashing waves, the nearby lighthouse was already searched and a heavy storm is rolling in. However, inside Rachel’s room, Teddy finds a hidden note with the message “who is 67?” The meaning is unclear and Teddy begins investigating further.
That night, early in the movie, Teddy has a dream about his wife, Dolores (Michelle Williams), who died in a fire two years before. In the dream, Dolores tells Teddy that Rachel is still on the island as well as Andrew Laeddis, the man who started the fire that killed her.
The next morning, Teddy interviews patients from Rachel’s group therapy sessions. While Teddy’s partner is briefly away, one seemingly ‘normal’ patient writes him a note that says “RUN.” Shortly after, Teddy tells his partner, Chuck, the real reason why he’s investigating Ashecliffe. According to Teddy, Andrew Laeddis, the arsonist who killed his wife, got off for the death. A year later, Teddy says he saw a newspaper article in which Laeddis was found to have burnt down a school and sent to Ashecliff, where he vanished. Chuck asks Teddy what he intends to do once he finds Andrew Laeddis and mentions killing him. Teddy explains he’s had enough of death and recalls his traumatic part in the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp, including an extra-legal mass execution of the Nazi guards. Instead, Teddy says, he wants to find out the truth. From a colleague he heard that Ashecliff was funded by the House Un-American Activities Committee. Teddy says he met a former patient, a student named George Noyce (Jackie Earle Hawley), who killed three people after being at Ashecliff for a year. Teddy thinks the staff is conducting experiments on the human mind. He tells to his partner he’s there to find proof, go back to the mainland and expose it. His partner says they should be careful and agrees something isn’t right about the place. “What if they wanted you here?” Chuck asks Teddy. They agree to find the proof and get off the island.
Back at the hospital, Teddy walks into a conversation between Dr. Cawley and Dr. Naehring (Max von Sydow), the chief of staff at the hospital, about how they should prepare the violent patients of Ward C in the event the electricity goes down during the storm. Teddy notes Dr. Naehring is German, implying he was a Nazi recruited through the Office of Strategic Services. Through briefly listening to the conversation, Teddy picks up on the fact that there are 66 patients at the hospital. Remembering the note he found in Rachel Solando’s room, Teddy asks the hospital administration who Rachel thought the 67th patient was. Cawley claims he doesn’t know but says Rachel was found near the lighthouse Teddy can ask her himself, Dr. Cawely says.
During the interview, Rachel has no recollection of being missing. She still thinks her life is normal. Teddy is introduced to her as a police officer who’s investigating ‘communist subversives passing out literature.’ She claims Teddy is her husband and embraces him, but shortly after becomes upset, stating that her husband is dead and shouting, ‘who the fuck are you?’
After interviewing Rachel, Teddy’s dreams continue. At Dachau, a young girl who is seen throughout Teddy’s visions tells him, “you should have saved me, you should have saved all of us.” Teddy briefly talks to Laeddis and his partner, Chuck, before finding Rachel and helping her re-drown her children. He supposedly wakes up and has another delusion: his dead wife, Dolores, walks in the room and tells him Laeddis is still alive and on the island. She tells Teddy to find Laeddis and kill him.
Teddy wakes up and due to the storm, many of the patients have escaped. Teddy and his partner decide to go to Ward C to investigate. There Teddy gets separated from his partner but runs into George Noyce, the former patient of Ashecliff Teddy had previously interviewed. Noyce tells Teddy the whole thing is a game and says he’s afraid of going to the lighthouse.
Teddy tries to go to the lighthouse, but high-tide prevents him. Instead, Teddy discovers a cave and to his surprise the real Rachel Solando (Patricia Clarkson). She explains she was a doctor at Ashecliff who was institutionalized after questioning shipments of psychotropic drugs and experimental surgeries. She says she was called insane: “reasonable protests are called acts of denial.” According to Solando, mind control experiments are being conducted at Ashecliff to create ghost agents for the Cold War. Rachel warns Teddy the same may be happening to him, but kicks him out of the cave for fear the staff will find her when they come looking for him.
After entering the lighthouse, Teddy finds Dr. Cawley and the plot twist is revealed: Cawley says Teddy is Andrew Laeddis. Cawley tells the protagonist he has been at Ashecliff for two years, ever since killing his wife after she drowned their three children. ‘Teddy Daniels,’ ‘Rachel Solando’ and the investigation is all a delusion he’s created to avoid the painful truth. Chuck appears, claiming to be Teddy’s primary care physician, Dr. Sheehan, the man previously thought to be Rachel Solando’s vacationing physician. Dr. Cawley displays a picture of the young girl from Teddy’s dreams, and tells him it’s his daughter. Cawley says they’ve been unsuccessful in getting him to accept reality with the treatments they’ve tried. Cawley says they let him play out his detective fantasy with the hopes it would bring him back to reality without ‘relapsing’ into believing he’s Teddy again, as had previously happened. “You’ve been running around this place for two days. Where are the Nazi experiments?” Cawley asks. Speaking in humanitarian terms, Cawley says he hopes this therapy will be a breakthrough in psychiatry, one which will forgo the need for more drastic measures. If Teddy doesn’t come to terms with the fact that he’s really Andrew Laeddis, the next step will be to give him a lobotomy.
Distraught, at first the protagonist denies it but then has another vision, this time seeing Dr. Cawley’s scenario play out: an alcoholic with a manic-depressant wife, he comes home to find his three children drowned and shoots his wife, Dolores. He thinks he is Andrew Laeddis and not Teddy Daniels. He believe Cawley’s story.
In the last scene, the protagonist appears to have ‘reset,’ again thinking he’s Teddy Daniels investigating disappearances at the hospital. Dr. Sheehan, who is sitting next to the protagonist, quietly shakes his head while looking at Dr. Cawley and Dr. Naehring, themselves watching anxiously. The movie ends in a moment of high drama. Before going with the staff for experimental brain surgery in the lighthouse, the protagonist looks at his ‘partner’ and asks, “which is worse, to live as a monster or die as a good man?”
In Scorsese’s Shutter Island, the audience is forced to choose between two narratives. Is the movie a fiction about Teddy Daniels, a US Marshall who, after investigating Cold War-era, mind control experiments on Shutter Island, falls into an elaborate conspiracy in which he becomes a victims of such experiments? Or, was the story an elaborate fantasy of Andrew Laeddis, who killed his wife two years previously and created the delusion of Teddy Daniels to shield himself from the truth?
During the period in which the movie is set, the Office of Strategic Services and CIA did experiment with drugs such as LSD on US and Kanadian citizens, recruiting Nazi scientists to do so. Through MK-Ultra, the US government secretly sought to implant thoughts and memories and to control the mind, hoping to create agents for Cold War operations.
From the movie’s opening scene we notice something is amiss. Daniels wakes up ill on a ferry to Shutter Island. He can’t find his cigarettes and is given one by his new partner who he’s meeting for the first time. Throughout the movie, we see Daniels smoking other people’s cigarettes and taking medicine and beverages the faculty at the institution give him. He goes to Shutter Island specifically to investigate mind control experiments and possible connections with HUAC and Amerika’s Cold War policy. Unfortunately for him, he finds what he’s looking for.
Scorsese’s ambiguity, i.e. that he can make the audience question what is real and make them think Daniels may be Laeddis, is a testament to the ongoing delusion of Amerikans today. The choice Sorsese’s offers in the movie translates into real life. Is there something sinister underneath Amerika’s facade; or, is Teddy Daniels- an analogy for anyone who seriously questions and challenges Amerika’s dominant pretenses- abnormal in someway, unstable, delusional, paranoid, etc.? This is precisely the question one must answer while watching Shutter Island.
Like the scripted intrigue which ensnares Teddy, Amerika’s culture is a charade which both covers up for and reflects that which it ultimately serves. In the movie, Dr. Cawley frequently couches his work in ‘progressive’ pretenses even though he is an active accomplice to horrible crimes. Similarly, Amerika promotes itself as ‘progressive’ while simultaneously acting as the greatest global purveyor of violence, both direct and structural.
Teddy, the individual dissident, is pushed to accept a dominant narrative through immense social pressure. In Amerika however, such ‘programming’ isn’t the result of a well-coordinated conspiracy, but a function of imperialism: the bribery of empire’s citizens with stolen wealth.
For anti-imperialists, Teddy Daniels final words are compelling: “Is it better to live as a monster or die as a good man?” Perhaps this should not be taken as a literal choice between selling-out or dying in a blaze of moralistic glory. For us in the First World, being a monster and being perceived as a ‘good person’ are in many ways synonymous: both reflect acquiescence to the system. Thus, once we know the truth, the choice becomes different. Will we succumb to the pressures of First World society and play along, i.e. living as what we know to be a monster? Or, will we continue to inquire and resist, deny the system our active complicity and refuse to be a ‘good person’ by Amerika’s standards?
Filed under Black-ops, Imperialism, Movie Reviews, News and Analysis, Uncategorized, White Amerika
Hit squad kills Hamas leader, caught on tape
Hit squad kills Hamas leader, caught on tape
On January 19, 2010, Mahmoud Abdel Rauf al-Mabhouh, a Hamas senior military commander leader, was assassinated in his hotel room in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. According to reports, he was drugged with a strong sedative that causes paralysis. And, while still conscious, he was suffocated with a pillow.
The Dubai police investigation has revealed that the murder was a coordinated effort that involved several individuals. This hit squad was caught on various video security tapes. These tapes show the hit team marking their target, shadowing him with disguises, and following him to his room where the hit occurred.
Who did it? Mossad is the main suspect. Mossad is Israel’s intelligence agency. They are also responsible for covert and black ops, including paramilitary operations. More than half of the passports used by the hit squad are linked to Israelis who were born in foreign countries but have emigrated to Israel. For example, 12 British passports have been linked to the hit. However, according to the British Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA), none of the real owners of the passports are suspects. This is an indication that even the British are pointing the finger at the state of Israel. Many countries are upset that Israel appears to have forged their documents. Australian Foreign minister Stephen Smith stated that forging passports were not the “act of a friend.”
More evidence points to Israel. The credit cards used by the hit squad trace back to companies with strong ties to Israel. One of the banks that provided some of the funds has been linked to Payoneer, Inc., which provides prepaid MasterCards. This company is headed by CEO Yuval Tal, a former member of Israeli special forces. Tal is known for his strong racist views. He stated in a 2006 interview, “It’s a war that they cannot lose. … The Israelis have to win this war.” Payoneer, Inc. has a history of ties to Zionist activism. Payoneer, Inc. is also affiliated with Taglit-Birthright Israel. They organize trips to Israel for Jewish youth to “strengthen participants’ personal Jewish identity.”
Dubai’s police chief Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim states that they are “99 percent, if not 100 percent” certain that the murder was carried out by Israel’s Mossad. The emerging international consensus agrees that Israel is behind the murder. Of course, the Israeli state denies any involvement. Even so, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, the Israeli Trade Minister, bragged about the operation on Israel’s army radio. He even issued a cryptic-threat by stating that the operation proved that “none of [Hamas’] people are untouchable.” Also, Tzipi Livni, leader of the parliamentary opposition and a former Mossad recruit, said the murder was “good news.”
This assassination is an act in a long series of acts whereby Israel flagrantly disregards international law and standards, yet is not held to account. In the end, there will be no serious repercussions for Israel. Israel is a rouge state that does as it pleases on the U.S.’s dime. The racist apartheid state has waged a continuous war against its neighbors since its founding. It is an imperialist outpost in the middle of the Arab and Islamic world, an outpost used by the imperialists to wage war on its Third World neighbors. It is no surprise that Israel carries out murder operations in the region. Such is par for the course. The only difference here is that the hit squad was caught on tape. Thus the incident has caused a bit of embarrassment for the Zionist entity
Filed under Black-ops, Imperialism, Israel, News and Analysis, Palestine
Northwestern Shoshone Nation Marks Anniversary of Bear River Massacre
Northwestern Shoshone Nation Marks Anniversary of Bear River Massacre
A few weeks ago this year many Native people gathered at the burial grounds of Bear River in Idaho, near the city of Preston, to remember and honor their ancestors who were murdered by Amerikan soldiers. 147 years ago, on January 29 1863 the Amerikan military massacred hundreds of indigenous peoples in Bear River, Idaho. A great many of them were women and children. This massacre was one of the bloodiest massacres of indigenous peoples in Amerikan history, yet it is little remembered as it happened during the Civil War, and Amerika is not too concerned with examining its sordid history.
Other massacres of indigenous peoples were Wounded Knee in South Dakota, where some 146 Lakotah were shot dead in 1890, and Sand Creek here in Colorado which 150 Cheyenne and Arapaho were murdered in 1864.
The number of dead at Bear River is disputed. The commanding Army officer stated 220 to 270 dead, the tribe estimates 400 were killed, white settlers who moved into their land estimated up to 500 dead, a figure cited by the National Park Service. There was never an official count of the victims, as their bones were often left scattered in the surrounding hills.
On this fateful day the Northern Shoshone were encamped along the Bia Ogoi, or Bear River for the Warm Dance, a yearly ritual in winter to drive away the cold.
A collection of sources, including Army reports, historical tracts, and oral histories from the tribe, describe what happened. Col Patrick Conner and 200 soldiers from the 3rd California Infantry attack at daybreak the encampment. There was rising tensions between the Natives and white settlers, with attacks and deaths on both sides leading up to the day of the massacre. The Shoshone were blamed for thefts of horses and cattle, and the deaths of three settlers, although other tribes were likely at fault.
What followed was a day of savagery on the part of the Amerikans, with soldiers smashing infants’ skulls, raping dying women, and ending the lives of the wounded with bullets, clubs and axes. The federal government designated the Bear River Massacre site as a National Historic Landmark in 1990, having admitted many of the victims were women and children.
The effect of the massacre has had long-lasting effects on the Northwestern Shoshone. The killings virtually wiped out the tribe, which today numbers around 500. Many of the survivors in the years after the massacre were taken up by the Morman church, and others dispersed into other Shoshone reservations in the area. The small number of Northwestern Shoshone prevented them from obtaining a reservation of their own.
The policy of Amerikan expansion was one of extermination and genocide of the indigenous peoples. What smallpox and other diseases did not complete, the US military attempted to finish. Many nations were wiped out of existence altogether, and those remaining were subject to brutal national oppression. Yet many indigenous nations survived and continue to fight for their existence.
The fact that it is up to the ancestors of the surviving tribes to continue the memory of these atrocities shows how Amerika is a nation of Holocaust deniers. Its professed values of freedom and democracy are nothing but shallow doctrines to mask a nation founded by murder and genocide. History lessons are not enough to correct these injustices. The ultimate correction for this history of oppression is the return of land and resources to those it was taken from, in the United Snakes and the rest of the world.
Bonner, Jessie L. “Tribe marks massacre with burial ground gathering.” Associated Press, linked at
Filed under First Nations, Imperialism, News and Analysis, White Amerika
Earthquake Strikes Haiti; Imperialism is a Disaster
Earthquake Strikes Haiti; Imperialism is a Disaster
Also available as a ready-to-print PDF
On Tuesday, January 12th, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake rocked the country of Haiti, its epicenter a mere fifteen miles from the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince. By that Thursday, 80,000 people were already buried in mass-graves and 200,000 people were estimated to have perished. In the wake of the tremor, international aid has rushed to the small Caribbean country. The news of the massive earthquake and its human toll has overshadowed a larger crisis in Haiti: crushing poverty, widespread malnutrition and imperialist super-exploitation.
A history of imperialism
Haiti became the second independent republic in the Western Hemisphere after Black slaves rose up against their owners and then the French between 1791 and 1804. Quickly after defeating France, however, they were straddled with debt. Their former colonial masters demanded 130 million francs (later lowered to 90 million) in indemnity for the Haitian war of liberation. The newly consolidated Haitian government had no such funds and resorted to borrowing the first 30 million from the Bank of France at exorbitant interest rates. It would not be until after World War II that Haiti fully repaid debt accrued from its war of independence.
During the Haitian Revolution, US President Thomas Jefferson initial offered military aid to the French, but backed out at the last minute. After Haiti attained independence, Jefferson signed a legislative bill barring trade between the two countries. The United States, a country with its own substantial Black-slave population, refused to recognize the new, Black republic for six decades in an attempt to stifle it.
Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, has also suffered the most imperialist meddling. Between 1849 and 1919 US troops were sent to the country 24 times to “protect American (sic) lives and property.” Throughout the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s, the US supported ‘Papa’ and ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier as strong-men puppets in country. This ended after much conflict in 1990 when a reformer, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was elected to the presidency.
In 1991, Aristide was overthrown by a U.S.-backed military coup. As part of a compromise deal to return to power three years later, Aristide made a slew of concessions, including wholesale, IMF-sponsored structural adjustments and the occupation of the country by U.N. ‘peacekeepers.’ Aristide began appealing to the international community regarding the plight of Haiti and Third World. Aristide was again ousted in 2004, Haiti’s bicentennial.
Throughout this process, imperialism has tightened its squeeze on the Haitian masses. Prior to the 1970’s and 80’s, Haiti was a moderately self-sufficient, agrarian society. Then, the IMF forced the Haitian state to cut tariffs on US imports of rice and other food commodities. Because US farms are heavily subsidized, a flood of cheap agricultural imports drove the Haitian masses off the land and into the slums. Another major blow to Haitians came when international agencies persuaded the Haitian government that a pig acclimated to the island needed to be killed off and replaced. The native pig, which served as a hedge against starvation, needed little water or food, whilst the breed imported from Iowa needed clean water, shelter and feed daily, something the majority of Haitians couldn’t provide even for themselves. Thus, Haitians were deprived of their two traditional, staple foods and left at the whim of international food prices. Western-demanded privatizations have also swept Haiti in recent years, closing of country’s only flour mill and cement factory and furthering the Haitian masses’ dependence on an unfair, uncaring market. Despite so-called ‘aid,’ foreign debt has crippled the Haitian economy. In 2003, for example, Haiti paid $57 million dollars to service foreign loans while receiving $39 million from aid programs.
An ongoing disaster in Haiti
During the Summer of 2008, it was reported that Haitians in the slums of Port-au-Prince began widely eating sun-baked mud pies. Food riots occurred the same year. An estimated three-quarters of the country lives on less than $2 a day. Over half the country subsists on less than a dollar a day.
Cite Soleil, the shanty town adjacent to Port-au-Prince, is home to 2-300,000 residents and is one of the largest slums in the Western Hemisphere. The residents, often the children of former farmers, are said to sleep in shifts for lack of space. Basic education is a privilege; illiteracy is on the rise. There is no welfare or economic safety-net in Haiti. Life expectancy in the country is around 52. Very little modern infrastructure exists.
The Haitian masses are trapped in their miserable condition. Their border with the Dominican Republic is closed and the surrounding waters are patrolled by the US Coast Guard. Haitians caught on the water or ‘illegally’ inside the US are forced back into the squalid conditions of their home country. Even after the quake, US military airplanes have broadcast a message over Haiti, telling residents to not flee the country. This stands in stark contrast to Cubans, who are deemed ‘political refugees’ and given free residency status once inside the US.
Most Haitians were unaware the possibility of a quake even existed. In 2008 however, Patrick Charles of Havana’s Geological Institute reported, “conditions are ripe for major seismic activity in Port-au-Prince. The inhabitants of the Haitian capital need to prepare themselves for an event which will inevitably occur….” “Thank God that science has provided instruments that help predict these type of events and show how we have arrived at these conclusions,” he added.
Unfortunately, social conditions prevailed over science’s ability to predict and mitigate the human devastation caused by natural occurrences. The earthquake struck Haiti’s capital city just before 5 pm, rocking the imperialist-ravaged country at the peak of daily activity.
The response from the West
Predictably, the response from the West, especially Amerikans, has been disgusting.
Pat Robertson, a right-wing, Amerikan religious leader, said on his television show, the 700 Club, that the earthquake, along with Haiti’s poverty, was a punishment from god. According to Robertson, Haiti’s 18th-century rebels “signed a pact with the devil” in order to get free from the French. Racist to the extreme, Robertson has a daily television audience of 1 million viewers.
Within the more mainstream of Amerikan society, the response has been similar but toned-down. ‘Why were so many Haitians killed? Can’t they build proper buildings? Now we have to help them, again? They really owe us now!’ Most Amerikans expressed a viewpoint which blames the victim; views them as ‘backwards’; offers ‘aid’ as part of the responsibility carried by ‘advanced’ countries; and expects ‘gratitude,’ i.e. unchallenged political and economic control of their country, in return. Amerikan broadcasters played into the view that Haitians are incapable of being anything besides poor and miserable. Associated Press, in one early story, quoted a man who was “wielding a broken wooden plank with nails to protect his bottle of rum.” Western media has sensationalized so-called looting while extolling the roll of the US military in the quake’s aftermath. Youth in “lawless” Haiti are said to be at risk of “sex trade, slavery and murder.” Reports tell of difficultly getting food to hungry Haitians due to civil disorder, as if such is somehow exceptional in a deeply impoverished, densely-populated city after a major earthquake. All of this paints a picture of Haitians as violent imbeciles whose misery is their own fault. This racist narrative ignores the two-centuries-long unnatural disaster that has crippled Haiti’s self-reliance, including Haiti’s institutions’ ability to respond.
US take-over and imperialist penetration
By January 24th, 20,000 US troops arrived to ‘save’ Haiti. As part of the first act of the relief effort, the US military seized the airport in Port-au-Prince, one of the few in the country. Thereafter, the US has controlled all air-traffic in and out of the capital.
Thus far the US has assumed a de facto governing role in Haiti, with the Dept. of Defense, the State Dept., and USAID taking the lead. Of the 20,000 US troops in Haiti, over half are stationed off the coast, a virtual blockade meant to prevent Haitians from taking to the waters in an expected wave of migration.
Some commentators have called it an occupation. Some have condemned the security-style tactics, such as shooting live rounds into the air and pointing M16s at crowds. Others have noted the impediment to relief efforts the massive troop presence is causing. Journalists and Haiti-advocate, Kim Ives, explained:
“Watching the scene in front of the General Hospital yesterday said it all. Here were people who were going in and out of the hospital bringing food to their loved ones in there or needing to go to the hospital, and there were a bunch of Marine[s]—of US 82nd Airborne soldiers in front yelling in English at this crowd. They didn’t know what they were doing. They were creating more chaos rather than diminishing it. It was a comedy, if it weren’t so tragic.”
One thing that can’t be missed is the near-hegemonic role the US has played in the so-called relief and recovery effort. Despite the good intentions of some individuals, intervention in Haiti is part of a larger strategy for imperialism.
One influential group, the right-wing Heritage Foundation, noted early-on how the crisis could be used to further Amerikan interests. “In addition to providing immediate humanitarian assistance, the US response to the tragic earthquake in Haiti offers opportunities to reshape Haiti’s long-dysfunctional government and economy as well as to improve the public image of the United States in the region,” it stated in a draft report.
Thus far imperialism has rushed in and already pulled off a number of PR stunts.
First, Obama granted temporary amnesty to Haitians scheduled for deportation from the US, after it was demanded by advocacy groups. Likewise, it was reported early on, perhaps erroneously, that the US-controlled IMF demanded wage freezes and rises in electricity prices as part of an emergency 100 million dollar loan package. Later, the IMF came out with a statement, declaring that the $100 million loan would be interest and condition-free. Managing director of the fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, went even further by saying, “the most important thing is that the IMF is now working with all donors to try to delete all the Haitian debt, including our new loan. If we succeed–and I’m sure we will succeed–even this loan will turn out to be finally a grant, because all the debt will have been deleted.”
The IMF’s statement should be seen for what it is: imperialist doublespeak. While imperialism, especially Amerikan imperialism, is promising to help Haiti, the real intention is to help itself.
Under the imperialist system, ‘aid’ is almost exclusively used as a political weapon. Aid packages and loans often come with strings, such as the freezing of wages and rises in prices for public services, among other things. When Washington’s edicts are not followed, aid money to poor countries is withheld and instead given to opposition groups, as was the case in Haiti after Aristide was reelected in 2000. Additionally, ‘aid’ rarely makes it to those it is professed to serve. 84% of US aid money to the Third World returns to the US economy in the form of contracts, wages, consulting fees and payments for goods. Of the remaining 16%, an unknown amount is pocketed by the recipient country’s goonish puppet-elite.
Recently, the United Snakes has been touting investment in Haiti. Twice in 2009, Bill Clinton, acting on behalf of the UN, made high-profile visits to Haiti. In one trip, Clinton gave 150 investors a tour of potential investment sites in the country. Prior to this, Clinton visited with UN General Secretary, Ban-Ki Mon, who said during a press conference the country must do more to attract investment. However, this investment is of a narrow type, as illustrated by a post-earthquake opinion piece in the Ottawa Citizen:
“[Regarding ‘rebuilding’ and ‘development’ plans,] [t]he Haitian government has singled out tourism, “export processing zones” (EPZs) and agriculture as sectors that hold promise and should be supported. But donors seem to be placing the bulk of their faith in EPZs, or expanding the textile industry.”
Facing a ‘financial crisis,’ US imperialism likely sees the Haitian earthquake as an opportunity to ratchet up and expand exploitation in the country. Food sustainability and commercial agriculture for Haitians is not profitable for imperialism and will not be promoted as part of imperialist ‘development’ schemes.
Impetus will be given to legal ‘reforms,’ new building construction and infrastructure development. However, such will not be geared to the benefit of the people of Haiti, but rather those who control the Haitian economy: imperialists and a small comprador class. Infrastructure and ‘development’ will expand imperialism’s exploitation of the country and perhaps convert the country’s north shore into a resort destination for the exclusive use of Western vacationers. For the bulk of Haiti’s population though, conditions will not change. Though a few new sweatshop jobs may come to the country, most Haitians will continue to rely on small-scale agriculture, the informal sector and remittances from abroad for daily survival.
Recent resistance in Haiti
Since the mid-90’s, resistance to continual imperialist meddling and economic strangulation amongst Haitians has coalesced under former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the Fanmi Lavalas [Avalanche Family] party.
While president of Haiti, Aristide used Fanmi Lavalas and other independent institutions to provide services to and render support from the poor, especially where the Haitian state’s hands were tied by US-sponsored trade agreements. Chief among Aristide’s plans for Haiti was a more democratic productive and distributive method within the grassroots and informal sector, those areas which imperialism and the Haitian state had the least control over.
Though Aristide was supported by the masses of Haiti, he never prepared them to struggle against inevitable imperialist suppression. His politics and program were heavily tinged with liberalism: an inability to make and follow through with clear distinctions. In a very real sense, he wanted to have it both ways. He wanted to be both a legitimate statesman within the imperialist system as well as someone leading progressive social change within Haiti. This, in addition to his pacifist tendencies, left himself and his supporters vulnerable to attacks.
Aristide’s liberalism was perhaps best expressed as he looked for allies in Haiti’s struggle against imposed poverty. Rather than building alliances on the basis of clear common interest, i.e. with those countries also struggling under IMF-imposed debt and unfair trade deals, Aristide spent a considerable amount of time appealing to rich countries. Rather than championing and joining in solidarity with those being attacked and threatened by the imperialism globally, he formed a government-in-exile inside the US after his first ouster. In Eyes of the Heart, a short book published in 2000, he made a moral case against modern globalization; attempting to expose the plight of Haitians to Western audiences in a non-threatening way.
The logical result of Aristide’s misguided politics came in 2004, an election year. The US-funded opposition made allegations of fraud and labeled Aristide a dictator. They staged acts of civil unrest and launched a rebellion which threatened to violently overtake the capital, prompting the US to “restore democracy,” i.e. kidnap Aristide and fly him to Africa as part of a coup d’etat. Since Aristide’s ouster, Fanmi Lavalas has been banned from running in elections, branded “violent, pro-Aristide gangs” and subject to repression. The small gains Haitians made during Aristide’s short stints as president have been reversed. For all his internationally-directed appeals, they went unheard and ignored in the West. When he was overthrown a second time by the US, there was no outcry from the Western “masses.”
What is revealed here is that the struggle for Third World liberation is a political-military one. In this regard, Aristide’s strategy failed the Haitian masses, leaving them to languish under the jackboot of imperialism.
It also reveals the saliency of class in today’s world. The illusionary ‘morality’ of the First World is not reliable in any effective sense. Any ‘progressive movement’ within Amerika is overstated, largely for propaganda purposes. Generally, First Worlders are exploiter enemies of the Third World masses.
One thing should be clear: the disaster that’s befallen Haiti is not natural. It is the result of an economic system, a class system which actively benefits a minority of humanity at the expense of the majority.
There are two ideas at the core of this. First, Haitians are far from alone in their plight. They are one small part of the exploited masses of the world. Second, it will take more than reforms or even revolution in a single country to relieve its people of the capitalist-imperialist threat eternally. It will take a global revolution- an uprising of the exploited Third World masses against imperialism, its agents and supporters- to end this system forever.
The idea that a cataclysmic, global revolution will be unleashed upon the world is millenarian. Because of this, the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement (RAIM) supports various forces actively opposing imperialism throughout the Third World. We support a united front against imperialism, i.e. unity between forces resisting imperialism in individual countries.
Revolutionaries push for widespread social transformation. While it is important to accept and support reforms when they are on the table, revolutionaries must also defend reforms from attacks and organize to transform society on a more widespread basis. Society must be revolutionized on all levels, including the adoption of a foreign policy based on revolutionary internationalism and not narrow state interests. Revolutionaries the world over must make clear distinctions and have a clear strategy; not cloud up the picture with liberalism, uninhibited moralism and unwarranted reverence for the First World. Above all, revolutionaries are anti-imperialists and see their own struggle as global in scope.
Which way from here
The lack of a revolutionary or popular democratic movement in Haiti places it in great disadvantage vis-a-vis imperialist penetration and restructuring in the aftermath of the recent earthquake. As it looks, the living conditions in Haiti will be hellish for some time.
However, from this ongoing disaster, Haitians and the global masses have the opportunity to learn from and reject the errors of Haiti’s most recent struggles. As revolutionaries, we also have an obligation to study and learn from what is happening in the world, presenting our findings with utmost clarity to the Third World masses and those who might be their allies. In the First World, we have an obligation to agitate for and meaningfully support the united front, using our own bourgeois privilege when expedient. In the Third World, revolutionaries must incorporate these lessons into their struggle, so as to not repeat the same mistakes.
While doctors and food may help in this time of emergency, they are hardly long-term solutions to the problems inherent in capitalist-imperialism. The best form of relief for Haiti would be a global, anti-imperialist movement. Unlike the US-dominated ‘recovery’ effort, a successful, class-conscious movement on the part of exploited Haitians and the Third World masses is the only thing capable of truly saving Haiti.
Aristide, Jean-Bertrand. Eyes of the Heart: Seeking a Path for the Poor in the Age of Globalization. 2000. Common Courage Press. Monroe, ME.
Filed under Imperialism, News and Analysis, Organizing, Political Economy
Amerika “Disappears” Migrants into Secret Detention Facilities
Amerika “disappears” migrants into secret detention facilities
Recently, journalist Jacqueline Stevens uncovered a list of 186 previously-secret Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) sub-field offices. The list reveals the locations into which an unknown number of migrant workers and other non-citizens have been “disappeared.”
According to Stevens, the hidden-plain-sight facilities, five of which are near Denver, Co, are often located in suburban office parks or commercial warehouses. The buildings carry no signs or flags to indicate a government operation. The facilities themselves were designs for processing and transporting detainees; they have no beds or showers. Nonetheless, Stevens states as many as 100 detainees are held at some facilities on any given day. Rather than being deported or sentenced for a crime, they are shuffled between facilities for periods of months, making it virtually impossible for individual detainees to be located by family or legal counsel. They are not told where they are going nor when they will be released.
Such treatment is unusual even by US prison standards. However, it should be of no surprise those with the least power in US society, “illegals,” should be targeted with the most extreme and unusual forms of state oppression. The story for migrants in the US is ironic and sad. Often victims of imperialist-sponsored state-terror and economic strangulation in Latin America, those few who have escaped past Amerika’s militarized borders find themselves criminalized and threatened by both vigilante groups (such as the Minutemen) and extra normal, police-state measures. Many migrants are returning to land that was originally theirs, as the US/Mexican border was established by gun-point after the 1848 invasion and occupation of Mexico.
‘Working’-class Whites are often the biggest proponents of the modern police state. This is because they see it as attacking others within US society, oppressed nations, and not themselves. They have an economic incentive also: rural prisons and border policing provide well-paid pig-jobs that require little, if any, college education. All of this feeds into the fascistic, anti-migrant, anti-Third World sentiment expressed by many Whites.
Thus far, the Amerikan public has shown little outrage over ICE raids, secret, quasi-legal detentions or similar acts of state oppression directed towards migrants. Ultimately though, it matters little what Amerikans think of the system they’ve set up to oppress other people. Real justice will come when Amerika and Amerikans are judged by the masses of the Third World and their allies.
Full list of ICE sub-field offices: