Thursday, February 28, 2008

Operation Saving Baby Brian

From the fellow African blog Insight Kenya

This is probably the most important post I will ever publish on this Blog. This post goes beyond mere rhetoric and Pictures that capture the plight of a People. This will directly change a life and re-enforce the nortion of the Kenya that we know of loving, caring and a nation that believes we are family. A few weeks ago, we all saw the picture of Grace(below) shot in the head by a rogue Policeman as the security forces carried out Operations in Naivasha. In a baby crib beside her lifeless, bleeding body was a terrified 14 month baby crying in terror. The baby now identified as Brian had just witnessed his mother shot in the head.



In the light of this tragedy, I got together with Lillian Muthoni and Eddie Njogu, my contacts in Kenya and we all whole heartedly sought the whereabouts of Brian and His family. With earnest devotion, Lillian found the village this weekend and managed to meet with Jeremiah, Baby Brian’s father. She was able to get some important information that we desperately needed in order to get assistance for the family. So I commend her for her tireless work.

Folks, we have an opportunity to turn things around in the life of this family and more so, this innocent child! I know many of you visit this site from all over the world and many of your have written offering assistance for Brian. This is the time for that assistance. Carol has offered to pay for the Post-Mortem and I thank her for her kindness. The family needs this post-mortem conducted by a qualified pathologist who may be required to testify in Court. Jeremiah needs to bury his wife so we need funds for the funeral. We also need to get this family basic necessities like food, clothing and toys for Brian. This child’s life has become extremely personal to me and I believe its time to move beyond our dismay and actually do something.I am in this knee deep, but I cannot do this alone, I need you to partner with me. email me at or get in touch with Lillian at My Cell Phone numbers are 214-708-1554 and 214-208-4713.

We are called for a time such at this. If you are an attorney in Kenya willing to help or if you know of one who is willing to partner with us in bringing justice to this family, contact me ASAP. Tell your friends, your family, your coworkers. If you are a well wisher who would like to visit the family they are at Gwa Kanywa, Magumu village near Naivasha.


30,000 Kenya Shillings (US$425) for funeral and Mortuary expences

Milk for Baby Brian

Food for his siblings

Clothes, toys and Books

Well wishers to visit and encourage the family

A scholarship/educational fund for Brian and his siblings

A legal fund for the pursuit and prosecution of those involved in the murder of Grace Mungai

Those in Kenya can donate money at the following bank account at EQUITY 0200190674408 under the name Jeremiah Mungai, ID No. 7156255.

we will have a bank account open on Monday on behalf of the family for those in the United States. I would like to thank Lillian for doing a wonderful job this weekend and Eddie for joining me in this. In the meantime we have work to do. Looking forward to hearing from all of you!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Worker's Action in East Africa

February has seen it's fair share of working class action in Africa, particularly East Africa.
Due to the ongoing economic depression in Zimbabwe and the political violence in Kenya, there has been a series of strikes and protests. Zimbabwe's labor movement continues to struggle on in face of State repression of the Mugabe regime. Due to the various trife that has occurred in East Africa, from the Rwanadan Genocide, Lords Resistance Army insurgency in Uganda to the Ethiopian and Somalia Civil Wars, Kenya and Tanzania are one of the few stable nation-states. Zimbabwe, Kenya, as well as Malawi are East African countries with the more stronger and viable labor movements.

BULAWAYO – National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) workers have downed tools demanding salary increases of between 700 and 1 000 percent, ZimOnline has learnt.

Sources at the NRZ said the workers, who embarked on a go-slow last Friday, finally downed tools on Wednesday after management refused to bow to their demands.

The NRZ is said to have only agreed to hike the workers’ salaries by 230 percent, an amount the workers say is not enough given Zimbabwe’s massive hyper-inflationary environment.


Zimbabwean teachers, who have been on a two-week strike to press for more pay, say they will not return to work until the government increases their salaries to Z$1.7 billion a month.

Oswald Madziva, the national co-ordinator of the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), said although the government had awarded salary hikes last month, the salaries were still way below their expectations.

Madziva said the strike by teachers had plunged the entire education system into chaos after hundreds of teachers failed to report for duty at the beginning of the term last January in protest over poor salaries.


About 30 casual workers at the Kenya Meat Commission in Mombasa yesterday(2/25/07) went on strike, protesting against poor terms of service and unfavourable working conditions.

They said they had worked as casuals since the plant reopened early last year and were yet to be considered for contractual employment. Speaking to Nation on condition of anonymity, the workers said at times they worked for only two or three days a month.

“Given that we are paid Sh310 per day, and with Sh200 National Social Security Fund (NSSF) deductions it leaves nothing to take home,” said one worker, claiming that the money had not even been remitted to NSSF.
The workers also claimed that their seniors intimidated them.


The Kenya Aviation workers union has issued a 21-day strike notice to the ministry of labour.

The union says the move was precipitated by what it terms the ministry's failure to facilitate the continuation of the collective bargaining agreement negotiated between the Union and the management of the Kenya Airports Authority-KAA.

Secretary General Jimi Masege claims that several meetings held with the management have come to naught and that the KAA managers are avoiding contact with them due to the issue.

The Union represents over 400 workers in the aviation industry, including security workers, firefighters and parking attendants at all airports.


Minister of Information and Civic Education Patricia Kaliati was this afternoon expected to hold a closed-door caucus with top management of Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL) to try assist resolve the crisis that has hit the company.

Employees at Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL) have today entered seventh day of their industrial action thereby completely crippling business in the country.

The strike has reached a crisis stage and Kaliati told Nyasa Times just before lunch hour she was not happy with the industrial action.

The industrial action, which started last Friday, is as a result of the company's failure to pay its junior employees their pension money accrued from 1997 to February 2006 when MTL went under new management.

The junior employees claim that all senior managers got the benefits and yet are failing to give them their dues.

But MTL top management has insisted the strike is illegal and has asked all striking employees to resume work or risk unspecified action.

Nyasa Times' visit to MTL offices at the Chichiri Stadium Exchange, Ginnery Corner and Head Office in Livingstone Towers in Blantyre revealed few workers present just chatting.


Union members called for a strike against security company G4S to begin Wednesday, January 30, but the company was able to obtain an injuction against the strike late Tuesday night. The workers and union complain that the company's wage proposal will only deepen their poverty.

Last July, G4S recognized the Textile and Securtiy Services Workers Union in Malawi, and by October, the union and the company started to negotiate an agreement for G4S’ 13,000 workers there.

G4S is the largest private sector employer in Africa , and the second largest private employer in the world. But the role they are playing in Africa is to maintain the poverty of their workforce, rather than to use their economic might to raise standards across the continent. Today, G4S employees in Malawi can barely afford to eat and rarely live in decent housing.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Somali Rapper Exposes Life in Somalia


As the civil war continued and the situation in Somalia continued to deteriorate, K'naan's mother, Marian Mohamed, petitioned the US embassy for an exit visa . In 1991, on the last day the US embassy remained open as the government of Moh Mohamed Siad Barre was collapsed, their visa was approved, and they boarded the last commercial flight out of the country.[2] They joined relatives in Harlem, New York City, before moving to Rexdale, Ontario, where there was a large Somali Canadian community,[3] and his family still lives. In his new country, K'naan began learning English—and also began to start rapping. He dropped out of school in grade ten to travel for a time, rapping at open mic events, and eventually returned to Toronto, Ontario.

My Old Home

By K'naan.

My old home smelled of birth, boiled red beans, kernel oil, and hand me down poetry. It's brick white washed walls widowed by first paint. The tin roof top humming songs of promise. The wind locked in to demonic rhythm with the leafs. Hugging them, loving them a torturous love. The round cemented pot kept the rain drops cool. Neighbors and dwellers spattering their foreheads softly. Loud children playing football with a sanded sock. No one knew they were poor. All innocent of greed's judgment. The country was combusting with life like a long hibernating volcano.

Farmers, fishers, fighters, even fools had a place in production. The coastal line, the coral reefs, the elastic shore, the sand's hue, the glorious mosques, the magical night collapsing willingly over it's inhabitants, the sun of june, the guarding moon, the nap at noon, the freedom poets, the rampant wisdom, the magnetic tongue: Somalia selfishly blanketed vicious ownership over the world's most intense beauty.

Then one day it came.
It came like a message,
Like a heart attack sudden.
And with a cancerous fume.
Selling proud folly.
But with a diligent mock.
A morning, a night, or a mythical tale.
Brief and long, unjust and wrong.
A blow, a sound, a deafness in glee.
With warning, without and certain in doubt.
A shock, unfathomed like caves beneath.
They came, they maimed, they raped and killed.
They took, they stole, and prayed in filth.
We flew, we walked, we begged in shame.
We ran, we pled, we shed our names.

Oh I must tell you.
Our roads have seen electric hate.
Our women labor beneath stubborn fate.
Our farms produce guilty grub.
Our kids depend on shifty luck.
Our fled are fed on by desert carrion.
Our news is life for death is old.
So don't blame me for truth i've told.

See they rack bodies not grain.
Chop limps not trees.
Spend lives not wealth.
Seek vengeance not truth.
Moist pain not plants.
Sharpen feuds not minds.
Defend kinship not honor.

Nothing is left of my old home.
Goodwill is looted.
Religion is burnt down.
Kindness is shackled.
Justice is raped.
Murderers hold post.
The land vomits ghosts.
There are,
Pistols with eyes.
Corruption and lies.
Suspicious newborns.
Flaming flowers.
Trusted snakes.
Death without brakes.
Bandits are leaders.
Rumors are law.
Sedatives are faith.
Rapers are praised.
Demons dress well.
Infants are nailed.
Spirits are jailed.
Grudges grow tails and wings and.
Things aren't easy at my old home.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Who Rules America

A substantial number of Americans, some two-thirds, view the government as being "run by a few big interests looking out for themselves." The results of the University of Michigan's poll raises an important question, one which cannot be easily dismissed by pundits who try to cast an illusion of American democracy; a nation ruled "by the people for the people". Just who rules America? In his class relations study, Michael Zweig found that the majority of Americans are in the working class. So It should come as no surprise that 60% of Americans feel alienated from economic and political decision making when, as Zweig estimates, it makes up 60 percent of the U.S. workforce.

Modern capitalistic society is characterized by three main classes: an elite and small capitalistic class who own and manage large income-producing properties; i.e., corporations, banks, real estate and agri-businesses, a large working class who do not have their own means of earning a livelihood and must sell their labor power to earn an income, and a middle class of professionals, entrepreneurs, and managers that reside between the two. So just who rules America? Who are the "big interests looking out for themselves? They are as G. William Domhoff states are "the owners and managers of large income-producing properties; i.e., corporations, banks, and agri-businesses, along with the the managers and experts they hire".

The Social Upper Class
Michael Useem in The Inner Circle states, "The upper class consists of the social network of established wealthy families whose status is preeminent , whose culture and identity are distinct, and whose membership is closed to nearly all but those of proper descent". Generally speaking, wealth can be defined as the ownership of marketable assets such as stocks, bonds, and real estate. Income is the amount of wages, dividends and interest paid out to an individual yearly. The people commanding the greatest wealth and highest income are part of the upper class. The .5 to 1 percent of the population that makes up the upper class is also the .5 to 1 percent who owned 39.7 percent of the financial wealth in 2001.

Financial Wealth
Top 1 percentNext 19 percentBottom 80 percent

The upper class has it's own exclusive social institutions which include private schools, summer resorts and retreats, and social clubs and gatherings. Large and well known Ivy League schools such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia and Standford are heavily populated and favored by the upper class in receiving distinctive education. As a result, social clubs also play a unique role in differentiating members of the upper class from other members of society. Membership into these clubs can range from a few to tens of thousands of dollars, as well as being subject to a rigorous screening process. The Links in New York, Pacific Union in San Francisco, Chicago Club in Chicago and the infamous Bohemian Club in San Francisco are a few social clubs with a high concentration of members from the corporate community. The 25 largest industrials have one or more directors as members in one or more of these clubs. Highlighting how the upper class is closely interwined with the corporate community.

The Corporate Community
The nationwide upper class is not only a social class but a economic class deeply rooted in the corporate community. G. William Domhoff states, "Several studies show that those 15-20% of corporate directors who sit on two or more boards, who are called the "inner circle" of the corporate directorate, unite 80-90% of the largest corporations in the United States into a well-connected "corporate community". Chase Manhattan Bank has 45 such connections to other corporations and financial institutions, Wells Fargo Bank has 41 and General Motors 33.

Exxon, the world's largest oil company, contains a large concentration of "interlocking directors". For example, according to Endgame, James R Houghton is not only on the board on Exxon, but is also Chairman and CEO of Corning Inc, on the boards of MetLife, Inc, Corning Museum of Glass, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Pierpont Morgan Library, Harvard Corporation, member of Business Council and Council on Foreign Relations.


This highlights the fact that despite competition among the corporate community, there exists cohesion due to their opposition to the liberal labor coalition, anti-corporation and anti-globalization activists, leftists and environmentalists, which derives from their common goals and values and pursuit of profit.

The Policy Formation Network
The corporate community and upper class are supplemented by a wide range of nonprofit organizations such as think tanks, foundations, and policy discussion forums, which itself forms a policy formation network. These institutions play a critical role in creating debates over public policy and in shaping public opinion. The corporate community and upper class have the ability to dominate these organizations due to the fact they were founded by members of the upper class and are funded by large corporations. The Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation are the most highly influential of foundations. Brookings Institute, The American Enterprise, Business Council, Business Roundtable and the Urban Institute are a few of the more important think tanks and policy groups. In fact, the Business Roundtable was highly influential on the corporate community victory of NAFTA. Policy discussion groups bring together directors, managers, government officials and other wealthy or influential people to discuss local and international issues, as well as political, social and economic issues. These groups frame the debate and set the terms for new economic, foreign and other policies.

So Who Rules America?
Despite competition among the corporate community and threats of hostile takeovers, there exists a cohesion rooted in a strong class consciousness which derives from profit motives and capitalist class interests. "Through open and direct involvement in policy planning, through participation in political campaigns and elections, and through appointments to key decision-making positions in government" the upper class are able to rule America and influence decisions affecting the bottom 80% of the population. This power stems from their great concentration of wealth which is derived from ownership and control of large income proudcing corporations. As Domhoff states allowing corporate leaders to "invest money where and when they choose; expand, close, or move their factories and offices at a moment's notice; and hire, promote, and fire employees as they see fit. These powers give them a direct influence over the great majority of Americans, who are dependent upon wages and salaries for their incomes. They also give the corporate rich indirect influence over elected and appointed officials, for the growth and stability of a city, state, or the country as a whole can be jeopardized by a lack of business confidence in government."

Suggested Reading:
Who Rules America by G. William Domhoff
The Inner Circle: Large Corporations and the Rise of Political Activity in the U.S. and U.K. by Michael Useem
The Founding Fortunes: An Anatomy of the Super-Rich Families in America. by Michael Allen
Top Down Policymaking by Thomas Rye
The Power Elite. C Wright Mills
Democracy for the Few Michael Parenti


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Nationwide Rallies in Egypt

Around 10,000 workers demonstrated in Mahalla Textile Company together with members of opposition parties and the Egyptian Movement for Change (Kefaya).

They protested against rising prices, low salaries and the government's immobility after unprecedented high prices.

The workers held loafs of bread during the demonstration and demanded providing basic commodities after the price of lentils went up to LE 10 per kilo and chickens to LE 5.12 per kilo, while non-subsidized bread rose by 100%. As a result of these highs, low-income people are forced to line up for hours in front of bakeries to get enough bread to feed their children.

The demonstrators demanded that bakeries be provided with bread and basic commodities, which has lately become almost impossible to obtain. They also called for minimum wages to be raised so that they are compatible with soaring prices.

The demonstrators raised slogans against rising prices and the government failing to control monopoly.

The protesters also accused PM Ahmed Nazif and Interior Minister Habib el-Adli of being behind this wave of increases and wage paralysis.

The demonstrators stood in front of the company gates and were joined by Kefaya members and representatives of political parties and forces. They called on President Mubarak to intervene quickly to stop prices from rising further.

Security forces closed all the roads leading to the company from all directions, while traffic police diverted traffic to side roads. As for the demonstrators, they marched more than a kilometer in the city and stopped in front of the company's social club.

The police finally intervened to break the demonstration and prevent it from spreading.

From 3arabawy

The protest was organized by labor activists in the Ghazl el-Mahalla company in secrecy, and they notified in advance only a selected number of activist journalists.. This demonstration is ULTRA-SIGNIFICANT:

1- Whatever happens in Ghazl el-Mahalla sets the tone for the entire working class in Egypt, both in the textile sector and others.. This is not new… The strikes by the biggest textile mill in the Middle East, with its 27,000-strong labor force working shoulder to shoulder on the factory floor, have been instrumental in pressuring the regime into economic concessions that get generalized for the whole class since the 1970s if not before.. The most recent example of course is the December 2006 strike that launched the Winter of Labor Discontent… HOWEVER, in previous strikes Ghazl el-Mahalla workers struck over demands related to the company ONLY.. and the generalization of gains to other fellow workers used to come by the domino effect… BUT in today’s demo, it was the first time since the January 1977 Bread Intifada that Ghazl el-Mahalla workers took to the streets with NATIONAL demands for the whole class..

2- There’s an increasing process of politicization among the workers in Ghazl el-Mahalla (and elsewhere)… with a clear anti-Mubarak sentiments… I wasn’t present in the December 2006 strike, but those who were there said the anti-regime chants could be heard quietly every now and then but not as much as they were heard in the September 2007.. and certainly it was never as clear as yesterday… The chants against Mubarak and his family means more political crystallization for the current labor movement.. and what a leap forward today’s chants in that regards were…

3- Despite repeated requests from friends and readers, I deliberately do NOT blog about the internal politics of strikes, and Who’s Who, and what faction is doing this and what group is doing that… because we are living under a dictatorship, and speaking in details about what’s going on will bloody jeopardize the security of the activists in the factories and will mess up the future of some strikes… Having said that, it is no secret that the revolutionary left is witnessing a revival now, with the establishment of a foothold in some of the major industrial centers… and today’s demonstration which was mobilized by our friends in Mahalla is a clear example of the increasing mobilization capabilities of this leftist revival… One thing I can divulge about Mahalla though, is that among the independent activists whose role was central in December 2006 and in lobbying for the impeachment of the corrupt govt-backed Factory Union Committee officials, there are some who have been gradually co-opted by the authorities in exchange for promises that they would be the “unofficial representatives” of the workers.. This was sensed by some activists including myself in the summer of 2007 during their negotiations with the Labor Ministry and the General Federation, but became clear in the September 2007 Strike (and I’m not gonna mention names or add details, but I think those in Cairo and Mahalla who are reading this know exactly whom I’m talking about). I wouldn’t have even mentioned that, except it’s becoming clear that their role is increasingly negative now in the factory politics, and they have intervened more than once to abort or diffuse protests, or ride the wave if it became clear that the protest will go ahead whether they were there or not… Their role has become sabotaging on occasions, in the same fashion as trade union bureaucrats in Western bourgeois democracies act… It even reached the extent that one of them told Al-Jazeera and Orbit today that the demo included only 150 workers!!!!!! However, this is already costing them politically a lot on the factory floor, in terms of their legitimacy.. And probably the only positive outcome from this is that the other more militant strike leaders who are either members or close to the revolutionary left are now gaining more ground and credibility…

Some Socialists I spoke to earlier in Cairo and Mahalla were literally in tears… tears of joy and happiness that today’s demo was successful… It is another landmark in the struggle to overthrow the West-sponsored Mubarak’s dictatorship… and I can assure you, dear readers, this is just the beginning…

Keep your eyes on Mahalla… more to come…

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

DNC Primary Rules/Disenfranchisement of FL & MI Voters

by Andre Walker

Here's some background on DNC rules, and this research covers those rules pertinent to early primaries. Of course, the devilish details are not reported in the big newspapers or covered by major television news programs. Doesn't anybody in the media check the facts anymore? The DNC has a Convention Credentials Committee and anyone concerned about Election Integrity should be contacting them as well as the Rules Committee. (We're talking over 1.7 million Dem voters in Florida -- an all-time record-breaking turnout -- who have been disenfranchised by its own Party).

Note to the DNC: Apply the rules equally & fairly.

As a prelude to this diary, I am serving notice to anyone who may feel the need to opine about how the Florida & Michigan delegations should not have their voting rights restored at the Democratic National Convention; and how it is breaking the rules by seeking to have those two states' delegations votes count in Denver; notice is hereby given that before you hit that "submit" button to post your comments, you better make damn sure that what you're saying is consistent with the Charter & Bylaws of the Democratic Party of the United States, the Call to the 2008 Democratic National Convention, the 2008 Delegate Selection Rules for the Democratic National Convention, and the Regulations of the Rules & Bylaws Committee for the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Ladies & Gentlemen, this whole mess surrounding the state delegations from Florida and Michigan is a result of the Rules & Bylaws Committee of the Democratic National Committee not strictly adhering to the 2008 Delegate Selection Rules for the Democratic National Convention by applying the rules equally and fairly to all states.

Rule 11.A. of the Delegate Selection Rules for the 2008 Democratic National Convention states the following:


A. No meetings, caucuses, conventions or primaries which constitute the first determining stage in the presidential nomination process (the date of the primary in primary states, and the date of the first tier caucus in caucus states) may be held prior to the first Tuesday in February or after the second Tuesday in June in the calendar year of the national convention. Provided, however, that the Iowa precinct caucuses may be held no earlier than 22 days before the first Tuesday in February; that the Nevada first-tier caucuses may be held no earlier than 17 days before the first Tuesday in February; that the New Hampshire primary may be held no earlier than 14 days before the first Tuesday in February; and that the South Carolina primary may be held no earlier than 7 days before the first Tuesday in February. In no instance may a state which scheduled delegate selection procedures on or between the first Tuesday in February and the second Tuesday in June 1984 move out of compliance with the provisions of this rule.

We already know that Florida and Michigan violated Rule 11.A. by moving their primaries to a date before the first Tuesday in February. There is no argument there, but what about Iowa, New Hampshire, and yes, South Carolina too.

Rule 11.A specifically set the date for the primaries & caucuses for those three states as "no earlier than 22 days before the first Tuesday in February" (Iowa), "no earlier than 14 days before the first Tuesday in February" (New Hampshire), and "no earlier than 7 days before the first Tuesday in February" (South Carolina).

Iowa held their caucuses on January 3rd. That's more than 22 days before the first Tuesday in February. New Hampshire held their primary on January 8th. That's more than 17 days before the first Tuesday in February. And South Carolina held their primary on January 26th. That's more than 7 days before the first Tuesday in February.

Under Rule 11.A., five states were in violation of the Democratic National Committee's Delegate Selection Rules, and as such, all five states should have been punished under Rule 20.C.1.a.

Violation of timing: In the event the Delegate Selection Plan of a state party provides or permits a meeting, caucus, convention or primary which constitutes the first determining stage in the presidential nominating process to be held prior to or after the dates for the state as provided in Rule 11 of these rules, or in the event a state holds such a meeting, caucus, convention or primary prior to or after such dates, the number of pledged delegates elected in each category allocated to the state pursuant to the Call for the National Convention shall be reduced by fifty (50%) percent, and the number of alternates shall also be reduced by fifty (50%) percent.

In addition, none of the members of the Democratic National Committee and no other unpledged delegate allocated pursuant to Rule 8.A. from that state shall be permitted to vote as members of the state's delegation. In determining the actual number of delegates or alternates by which the state's delegation is to be reduced, any fraction below .5 shall be rounded down to the nearest whole number, and any fraction of .5 or greater shall be rounded up to the next nearest whole number.

Yes, you read that right; under Rule 20.C.1.a., Florida, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, and South Carolina would have all lost their super delegates and had their pledged delegates reduced by half since they all violated Rule 11.A.

However, Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina weren't punished fairly. In fact, they weren't punished at all. And what about Florida & Michigan? Well, we all know what happened to them.

Instead of strictly adhering to Rule 20.C.1.a. and reducing their pledged delegates by 50%, the DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee decided to take it a step further. The DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee exercised the authority granted to them by Rules 20.C.5. and 20.C.6. which allowed them to "impose sanctions the Committee deems appropriate." And what were those sanctions the Committee deemed appropriate? Stripping two of the largest states in the union of all their votes at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Ladies & Gentlemen, this is what happens when the rules aren't applied equally and fairly. And as I said before, this mess is a result of the DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee not applying the rules equally and fairly.
So, the next time someone starts talking about the rules, might I suggest two courses of action:

1.) Read the damn rules first!


2.) Let them know that the rules were bent to allow for Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina to keep their preferred first-in-the-nation status.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Food Shortages Forecasted in Africa

From Socialist Banner

The rising price of cereals such as wheat and maize is a "major global concern", the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says. Africa as a whole is expected to see an estimated 49% increase this year.

It is estimated poor countries will pay a record $33.1 billion (£17 billion) for cereal imports in the year to July 2008. This is despite a fall in the total amount they will import.

The FAO warned 36 countries around the world were facing a food crisis. 21 of them are in Africa.

Lesotho, Somalia and Swaziland are said to be facing an "exceptional shortfall" in food supply after years of adverse weather. The FAO this week launched an appeal for $87 million of emergency assistance to help flood-affected populations in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi.

Proof that the capitalist market system cannot provide for all .

A reply to the opportunistic slanders of Trevor Ngwane

A reply to the opportunistic slanders of Trevor Ngwane.
by Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front

In response to the ZACF's article "Collective Bargaining by Riot", online at, Trevor Ngwane of the Socialist Group, "Operation Khanyisa Movement", Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee etc has made a comment that amounts to slander against the Anti-Privatisation Forum and various militants. While the ZACF acknowledges some errors in our article, we wish to respond in full to Ngwane's unsupported allegations. Our response follows.

In response to Trevor Ngwane's comment, we must acknowledge that our article "Collective Bargaining by Riot" contained errors and misleading statements. We regret any statement or suggestion that Ngwane was a candidate either for the Johannesburg metro council in 2006, or for any position as an office-bearer of the Anti-Privatisation Forum at the time of the election of Bricks Mokolo as chairperson. We know of nothing in APF policy that denied Ngwane and his comrades the right to stand in the local elections via the Operation Khanyisa movement, nor would we have denied them that right, although we have consistently rejected electoral politics as an authoritarian method that can only undermine the struggles of the oppressed classes. Let them stand if they want, but we will neither vote for them nor in any way support them. Further, we regret the misspelling of comrade Bricks' name, while noting that Ngwane was also in error on this matter.

At the same time, we stand by our rejection of Ngwane's authoritarian and divisive electoral politics, and we further reject his comment as a whole: it is an entirely unsupported slander against the APF, Bricks Mokolo, anarchists and autonomists. We may, indeed, have gone too far in calling Ngwane a careerist. We must acknowledge that he has made sacrifices. If Ngwane had toed the party line of the ruling ANC, of which he was once a member, he could have been a prominent party bigshot or a "black economic empowerment" businessman. We assume that he rejected such opportunities on principle, and, indeed, that his sacrifices went much further than this.

But there is a well-known phenomenon of revolutionary leaders making genuine sacrifices and going on to act in ways consistent with personal ambition, and just as destructive. Consider the Bolsheviks, who made great sacrifices in the revolutionary struggle, but went on to seize state power, install themselves as oppressors and exploiters, and obtain great privilege and power through the toil of the workers and peasants. ("The Russian Revolution Destroyed", online at, explains how the Bolsheviks' authoritarian ideology led to authoritarian and capitalist practice.) Again, Nelson Mandela and many other nationalists in South Africa and elsewhere endured prison and numerous sacrifices. But when Mandela took power, he got rich from the sweat of the workers and became a vigorous defender of capitalism. Whether an individual is a careerist or not, authoritarian politics leads in careerist directions. In a recent article, "The Struggle as Seen from Soweto" (,40,3,1380), Ngwane notes that the Operation Khanyisa Movement's councillor, Joyce Mkhonza, has defected to the right-wing liberal opposition, the Democratic Alliance. We in the ZACF are not at all surprised by such events: they follow from electoral politics, which separate the leaders from the popular classes. Whether or not individual representatives make such open breaks with working class politics, ultimately electoral and statist parties are bound to turn against the workers they "represent", however sincere they may be. We note from Ngwane's article and appended material that he and his comrades of the Socialist Group are aware of these dangers; this leaves us all the more baffled that the comrades continue to insist on participating in elections! As for the expropriation by an electoral party of the name of a direct action movement – Operation Khanyisa, the reconnection of electricity that has been cut off for non-payment – we can only regard this as a travesty of working class resistance.
Indeed, Ngwane himself did not asume the OKM council seat - but the OKM person who did proved our argument perfectly by her actions in defecting to the DA. All that time, effort and money wasted to bankroll her betrayal - and that was the predictably bankrupt strategy that Ngwane argued for - and which we argued so vehemently against, consistently.

Our quarrel, let us be clear, is not with Ngwane as an individual, but with his ideology and practices. At the same time, Ngwane has attained considerable status, in South Africa and globally, as a leader of the APF and the Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee. Such status carries an inherent danger of authoritarianism and careerism, and such individuals must expect to be harshly scrutinised. One hundred years ago, Piotr Kropotkin had earned the reputation of perhaps the world's leading theorist of anarchism. But on many occasions, anarchists rightly subjected him to harsh criticism. And when World War 1 broke out, and Kropotkin made what amounted to a break with anarchism by aligning himself with British and French imperialism, he was duly rejected by some of his closest comrades. Nobody is immune.

On to Ngwane's attack on the APF. He charges that the election of Bricks Mokolo and other office bearers was contrary to "gender equity" because they ran against women. Now it should be clear that the ZACF is fully committed to the liberation of women and to complete gender equality. And we fully agree that there is a problem of sexism in the South African social movements. But we do not stand for gender equality in the manner of President Thabo Mbeki. That is, we do not think having a woman as Supreme Commander, or proportional representation of women in the leadership, secretariat or what-have-you, is the answer to the problem.

The ZACF's own secretariat is currently entirely male; this is regrettable, but the organisation chose those it regarded as the best individuals for the positions. Such situations are not changed by wishful thinking. If we had a chance to elect a secretariat consisting of Mikhail Bakunin, Errico Malatesta, Nestor Makhno and Buenaventura Durruti, based on their record, we would probably do so, regardless of whether someone accused us of sexism. And we would go on to scrutinise their performance, as is appropriate for mandated delegates – all the more so if they have great prestige. We have every reason to believe the APF acted in the same spirit when it elected Mokolo as chairperson. We know that Ngwane and the Socialist Group backed women against Mokolo to become APF office-bearers; but they could have been rejected for any reason from genuine lack of readiness for their positions to their adherence to the Socialist Group's authoritarian politics! Taking the support of female candidates as the one true expression of anti-sexism is the road to Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Hillary Clinton, Condoleeza Rice and Margaret Thatcher. We would oppose sexist candidates – and we know that sexist leaders in the social movements have been a major problem. But it would be absurd to automatically oppose all female candidates or support all male candidates.

The problem of sexism in the APF and other social movements shows itself most deeply at the grassroots. In a movement that is numerically dominated by women, men are the main decision makers; women are excluded in all the standard ways characteristic of a sexist society. The problem isn't that women aren't on the secretariat: we do not believe the secretariat should be the main decision making body in any case! Decision making should come from the membership, from the bottom up. The problem, roughly speaking and hugely oversimplifying, is that women are silenced in discussion and expected to follow men's lead in action. This must be tackled on the ground. Thinking that even an *entirely* female leadership or secretariat could resolve this problem is an authoritarian illusion. Revolution begins, not in the inner councils of the vanguard, but in the sink.

Turning to the alleged "running down" of the APF, we note that it is well known that Mokolo has not been particularly active in his role of chairperson. We also note that this was expected: he informed the APF at the time of his election that his role will be limited. Bricks Mokolo is our comrade, but he is not our hero. Creating heroes is not what we do, and we recognise that questions have been raised about his performance. But to accuse him of running down the APF is absurd. This running down exists only in Ngwane's imagination. Since its launch in 2000, the APF has gone through periods of strength and periods of weakness; it is our view and that of many APF militants that under the current non-Trotskyist leadership, its strength has been growing. In 2007, under this non-Trotskyist leadership, it organised a series of locally initiated workshops, protests and campaigns, and carried on a general public campaign and legal action against prepaid water meters, among many other things. What more would Ngwane have it do? Does he have anything else to offer beyond standing in elections, which we maintain would only make things worse?

Ngwane talks of confusion regarding the APF's "raison d'etre, modus operandi, strategy and ultimate aim". We do not fully understand his meaning here; but while we see that some such confusion probably exists, we hold that this is only to the extent that it can be expected. It would be inconceivable for a mass organisation in the current circumstances in South Africa to have a fully consistent ultimate aim – still less one that made sense to revolutionaries with sophisticated theories, whether anarchist or Marxist. Members' understanding is bound to be uneven. From a Trotskyist perspective, informed by substitutionism and entryism, a fully worked-out strategy and ultimate aim might indeed seem desirable: the Trotskyist vanguard can take the leadership and impose the strategy, regardless of confusion on the ground. But we anarchists do not believe such authoritarian methods can take the struggle forward.

It may well be that there are clearly identifiable flaws in how the APF operates; but Ngwane should point these out specifically, rather than making general attacks that could be informed by an unrealistic pursuit of perfection. All we can see behind his attacks is dogmatic electoralism, authoritarianism and the politics of the sore loser – the trademarks of Trotskyism. We understand that Ngwane has elsewhere attacked anarchists and autonomists, accusing us of undermining the social movements. Not surprising given his politics: Trotskyists seldom see anything in libertarian ideas beyond undermining. But who is undermining what here? Who is spreading unsubstantiated slanders? Ngwane has lost support within the APF; does he maintain that small groups of anarchists and autonomists, who by his account are not active on the ground, have somehow turned so many comrades against him? Does he think that we somehow engineered the split in the SECC, the breakaway of the Soweto Concerned Residents? His response in "The Struggle as Seen from Soweto" is that greater unity is required. He talks of discipline. Does he think this unity and discipline can be imposed from above? Does it not occur to him that his methods of achieving unity and discipline might be part of the problem?

Finally, we must point out that we in the ZACF are not "anarcho-autonomists". We are anarchist communists; we uphold the ideas and practices of Bakunin, Makhno and many generations of working class militants in the anarchist tradition. Among our main principles are anti-authoritarianism and anti-electoralism – and we have consistently fought for these principles within the social movements. On this and many other matters, we have found ourselves in agreement with those militants who are widely known by the name of autonomists. We have much in common with them and our relations are friendly, but we are not the same tendency.

Ngwane charges that anarchists and autonomists are not building the struggle on the ground. As far as the ZACF is concerned, we welcome criticism; we would be happy to hear any specifics on what we're doing wrong and where we could do better. We would particularly welcome such input from the many comrades who do know us on the ground, but if Ngwane has anything specific to offer, we are ready to hear. He may not know all we are doing on the ground. Being involved at the grassroots is not the same as being involved in APF or SECC leadership structures – and certainly not the same as promoting electoral politics! As for the "autonomists", they have been involved both at the grassroots and in the leadership structures of the APF since its inception; some of them, and some of us, are working closely with the General Industries Workers' Union of South Africa; and not least, "autonomists" have played the biggest part in building Indymedia South Africa, one of the movements' most valuable resources. Some would say these and other contributions are less valuable than standing in elections. We would disagree. We are confident that our comrades of the APF would welcome any constructive suggestions; but we are equally sure that they are no more interested in slander than we are, and are ready to rebut unsupported attacks.

Ngwane accuses us of bias. We fully admit to this. Not being liberals or capitalists, we have no reason to deny our biases. We are biased in favour of the working class, communism and freedom, and against the ruling class, capitalism and authoritarianism. We have no wish to make factual errors or to mislead, and we regret having done this at any time. But we will continue to exercise our bias against those who mislead oppressed people and build new structures of authority under cover of struggle.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Toyi-Toyi of Southern Africa

Toyi-toyi is a Southern African dance originally from Zimbabwe that became famous for its use in political protests in the apartheid-era South Africa.

Toyi-toyi could begin as the stomping of feet and spontaneous chanting during protests that could include political slogans or songs, either improvised or previously created. Some sources claim that South Africans learned it from Zimbabweans.

After Apartheid ended, people have used toyi-toyi to express their grievances against current government policies.

In October 2004 Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe banned toyi-toyi even indoors because of its use as a protest.

The toyi-toyi was also used with chants such as "Amandla" ("power") and "Awethu" ("ours"). These two sayings were often used together.

The UK band, UB40, incorporated the "Amandla, Awethu" chant into Sing Our Own Song from the 1986 album Rat In The Kitchen.

After the 1976 Soweto massacre, the movement gained more militancy, and songs were charged with imagery of an armed struggle for liberation. The toyi-toyi, a military march dance and song style became commonplace in massive street demonstrations. As one activist puts it, "The toyi-toyi was our weapon. We did not have the technology of warfare, the tear gas and tanks, but we had this weapon."

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Workers' Actions in Northern Africa

Egypt has been a hotbed for working class action in Africa, and Northern Africa in particular. There has been alot of great activity in the last year, specifically the strikes and workers actions in the text tile industry. The Egyptians have a strong labor movement and hopefully this tide will increase militancy in other Northern African countries worker's movements. Morocco and Algeria are also both seeing alot of working class actions. Keep your eye on these North African countries for the next year or so. They are the more industrialized nations in Africa and are very critical for the revolution in Africa.


Public service workers across Morocco held a one-day strike today and joined mounted protests demanding reforms and better conditions and salaries from the government.

Workers are making a series of demands, many related to reforms of the antiquated civil service statutes, many of which haven't changed since 1958, shortly after independence.

Workers are seeking to improve upon the guaranteed annual increase of 2% won in April last year and are now looking for inflation-based pay increases. They are also demanding the institution of a minimum salary, improved health benefits as well as reforms to the pension system to make benefits more uniform and to increase them for recipients and their dependants.

Other demands include: increasing the quota of internal promotions to 33% and to institute it retroactively for the last 6 years with a special round of promotions; allowing all workers to take professional exams after 4 years of service; revised status for administrators, engineers, doctors, teachers, nurses and all other categories of state workers; creation of a salary grade for primary teachers and nurses; and a reform to the taxation system, including making those on the lowest salaries exempt from taxes

The independent public service doctors' union (SIMSP) has had 35 of its members on strike on a rotating basis since the fifth of February. The union has chosen to rotate 35 striking personnel to maintain patient care but there is a risk that they will extend the action. The union ordered the strike over the grading of medical doctors and several other demands, the government has so far refused to negotiate with the SIMSP as it is 'unrepresentative' in spite of the fact that it is the largest union in the sector representing 50% of doctors.

The workers are also protesting at violations of employment law, specifically over dismissals. The unions claim that 150,000 local government workers are living in poverty.

In other news, Moroccan fishermen ended a 20-day strike today after winning concessions from the government. The government agreed to continue to except them from paying VAT on fuel and to lower the price of fuel sold to fishermen. The government also agreed to devise and implement a strategy that should lead to the creation of 65,000 new jobs in the industry, the doubling of exports and a 33% increase in domestic consumption.

A workers' rally before the headquarters of the Ministry of Economic Development during a meeting for the National Council for wages has been planned for Monday to demand raising the monthly minimum wage for Egyptian workers to LE 1200, said the Coordinating Committee for Union and Workers Rights and Freedoms.

Committee member Khaled Ali told al-Masry al-Youm the Committee and the Labor Solidarity Committee will join ranks with workers across Egypt to organize the rally and the following mass sit-in to demand raising workers' wages to above the minimum poverty level set by the World Bank at two US dollars per day per person.
Ali said if workers failed to stage their protest in front of the Ministry of Economic Development, they will take their protests to the Nile Delta city of Mahala, while stressing that in the event the demands of workers were not met, they would sue all members of the National Council for Wages, including Minister of Finance and Social Security Dr. Youssef Boutros Ghali, Minister of State for Economic Development Dr. Othman Mohamed Othman, Minister of Manpower Aisha Abdel Hadi, in addition to the ministers of provisions, investment, business sector, heads of the Central Authority for Public Mobilization and Statistics, the Central Authority for organization and management, and the secretary general of the National Council for Women.

The number of Egyptian workers who went on strike from December 2006 (the first Ghazl el-Mahalla strike) to September 2007 (the second Ghazl el-Mahalla strike) is estimated to be over 198,400 workers, according to the study coauthored by Mostafa Bassiouni and Omar Said (Page 13). This does not include the workers who staged sit-ins and/or demos. The strikes during this nine-month period led to the loss of 647,133,637 working hours (No, it’s not a typo: Six hundred forty seven million, One hundred and thirty three thousand, and Six hundred thirty seven working hours)…

The Public service trade unions strike in Algeria continues. The Ministry of Education has sent a letter to the provinces education Directions, requiring them the number of teachers on strike, every 2 hours, and implementing severely the salary discount sanctions, as well as the elaboration of lists and detailed reports dealing with the strike progress at every school, then sending them to the Ministry headquarters.
The strike, for which the Coordination of public service Trade unions, CSAFP, has called, is still underway for the second day in a row. Education, health, higher education, professional training, local authorities, and other sectors, have responded to this strike.
Mr. Mohamed Boukhota, the spokesman of Algiers Secondary schools Counsel, which is one the7 public service trade unions of the Coordination, said the 3 days strike is a success for the first day, notably in the education sector, and 116 secondary schools have responded to the strike, the majority of them responded 100%.
“We are obliged to resort to the protests move, because, unfortunately, the Ministry and the Government does not give importance neither to negotiations nor to partnership” said the same source, calling the Education Ministry and the authorities to open new doors for partnership and negotiations, “we are obliged to resort to protests move”, concluded Mr. Boukhota.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Stuggle and Rebellion: Come meet an original BPP member!


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Highlighting Our Long History Of Resistance to Oppression

DHORUBA BIN WAHAD (original Black Panther Party/Former Political Prisoner

ZAYID MUHAMMAD (National Minister Of Culture: New Black Panther Party)

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Egyptian Textile workers continue strike for 4th day

Makarim Textile Co. workers continued their strike for the fourth day in protest against denying them a 15% of basic salary social allowance decreed by the government and a 7% salary increase.

The workers called again on President Mubarak to intervene after Minister of Manpower Aisha Abdel Hadi failed to meet her promise when they ended their last strike.

Workers Mohsen Ali, Ibrahim Hassan and Awad el-Sayed said the workers would not end their strike unless they get all their rights, stressing that the company is making profits contrary to what the management claims.

The workers said Managing Director Ahmed el-Shafei threatened to fire them in a memo rather than solve their problems. "Go strike at home," he wrote.

They said that what was mentioned in the memo about the availability of production requirements was not true, as they have been short for three months, and they threatened to go on hunger strike if their problem is not solved quickly.

On another mote, fifty cleaning fees collectors demonstrated in Mahala before the governorate headquarters for the second time in a week in protest against Governor el-Shafei el-Dakrouri assigning the electricity company to collect the fees, assuring that his decision put them out of work.

They said they have been working on temporary contracts since 2006 after the electricity company failed to collect the fees, stressing that they have generated significant revenues, and requesting the governor to revise his decision or provide them with alternative jobs

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Manufacture of Dissent in Revolution Newspaper: Black Tokenism and White Guilt

newspaper is the central organ of the Revolutionary Communist Party,USA(RCP), a Maoist orientated communist party based in the United States. Even though the party has existed for over 30 years it has yet to establish any mass base or revolutionary movement in the United States. Yet, this failure to draw connections with the masses, especially the Black population is cleverly veiled through the usage of anecdotes and black tokenism. These tactics and others, are used to substantiate RCP claims of having "have forged deeper ties with the masses"(1)

At the same time the RCP heavily relies on language that reinforces white guilt in an attempt to win over white liberals. Both these tactics of utilizing, black tokenism and white guilt achieve the exact opposite of the RCP's intentions. Instead of winning over large segments of the black population and white population, the usage of patronizing language can actually distance these groups from the Revolutionary Communist Party.

White Guilt
White guilt refers to a controversial concept of individual or collective guilt often said to be felt by some white people for the racist treatment of people of color by whites both historically and presently. Condescending and patronizing language and tone towards white readers has become a hallmark of the RCP. This can be witnessed no better than a poster placed in Issue #111 of Revolution. The Poster was entitled Attention White People What is your Problem?!? and used words, images and situations that suggested that all white people are the same, in this case racist. It attempts to invoke a sense of guilt in white people by using a harsh tone directing white people to "Wake the fuck up", "Stop thinking with it's[capitalism] racist values" and "Start resisting". (2)

This urgent and harsh tone towards white people is a reoccurring theme in the Revolution paper. One issue of Revolution featured a letter from a white Jena resident saying, "As a white member of the small town of Jena I am calling on the “majority”—those who oppose the oppression of society, the racism, white supremacists are trying to justify—to stand up to protect the future of our youth." The writer attempts to stir up more of a sense of white guilt by asking, "Would you allow our youth, your son, your brother, to go unspoken for? To spend years in prison for standing up for his rights, for protecting himself from the oppression of Black people? I will not and I’m calling on you, every mother and father, to stand up." Her message picks up a sense of urgency while stirring more guilt of inactive whites when she ends the letter by, "I will be there for the ongoing trials, for any protests, supporting the Jena 6 and demanding they be free. Where will you be? What will you do?"(3)

The RCP has habit of playing up on the inactivity of whites in the defense of civil rights for black people. They assert, "To stand on the sidelines is to stand on the wrong side, with the white supremacist status quo, with the nooses, with the powers-that-be."(4) The newspaper also specifically stresses the racial identity of individuals and groups to further it's agenda on creating white guilt among it's white readership. For example, it notes "on November 16 when thousands of people—mostly Black people—marched"(4) in Washington DC and claiming that "It was shameful that hardly any white people—from Jena or anywhere else—were at the “Free the Jena 6” protest on September 20"(5). Revolution also emphasizes the fact, "When ten thousand people got on the bus to Jena on September 20, there were hardly any white people on board. And again, at the march in DC on November 16, there were very few whites or people of other nationalities in the crowd"(4). One letter to the newspaper claims, "There were certainly more than a few white individuals scattered in the Jena protest crowd and other events," and he reasons, " it seemed that not very many of the progressive-minded whites, young people as well as veterans of the ’60s, to put it bluntly, bothered to get involved in this battle, at least not in any significant number"(6). Thus a strange summation is that not many white people were "bothered to get involved". The RCP cure for this is to "get involved in the struggle and take up this paper, and as you do get into the works of Bob Avakian."(4)

Instead of actually organizing white communities, Revolution's approach is to utilize demeaning and patronizing language targeted at it's white readership in the hopes that feelings of white guilt will propel white people into taking up struggle. It calls them "stupid white people", "complicit"and uses harsh tones against them for not being "involved in the struggle" of Black people like supporters of the RCP. However, this begs the question, does the RCP have a real connection with the black masses or does the Revolution newspaper only perpetuate an illusion that it does?

Black Tokenism
The RCP Draft Programme states that the Party will "need tens of thousands of organized ties", yet the Party has failed to "have forged deeper ties with the masses" which it vehemently claims. However, to hide this failure the Revolution newspaper relies on anecdotes and black tokenism to give off the appearance of successfully creating ties with the black masses. Black tokenism refers to a practice of limited inclusion of members of a Blacks, usually creating a false appearance of inclusive practices, intentional or not. It creates this veil by using language that emphasizes difference; utilizing references to race or stereotypical characteristics.

For example, Revolution #47 features correspondences from readers in Los Angeles who had been reading, promoting, and discussing Bob Avakian's memoir, From Ike to Mao and Beyond. In Letter #2, a correspondence says they "spoke with a Black college student who grew up in the Valley ", that "Another really good conversation I had was when I spoke with a youth who lives in the projects" and how yet "Another high school youth from the same housing projects said that it would be really good to get this memoir into classrooms"(7) This same tactic is applied towards Hispanics as well. The first letter, the writer uses language that unnecessarily emphasizes differences, by asserting he talked to "two Latin-American immigrant proletarians, Tony and Pablo". The writer also had to emphasize the fact that "Pablo said that he was at a disadvantage in this discussion because he had lent his copy of the Memoir to a Latina immigrant friend (who finally has a place of her own after being in and out of homeless shelters and losing all of her possessions including her books)". Yet, it is odd that the fourth letter did not identify the person by identity characteristics, only saying, "A youth in the LA Writers Collective wrote a review of the Memoir last year while he was a college student." Revolution conveniently excludes references to race or stereotypical characteristics(blacks live in projects/ghettos, Hispanics in barrios) when it does not fit into their agenda.

This agenda is based on manufacturing an illusion of the RCP creating meaningful ties with peoples of color. Revolution Issue 100, notes that "One middle-aged Black woman had heard that we were going to be out there because of a flyer she had seen the day before and came over in the afternoon to be a part of it". There are anecdotes of RCP supporters befriending Black Jena residents, as in the cases of "Vera and James" in issue #103 and "Frank and Tyrone" in issue #115.

Due to the fact that anecdotes are essentially stories, a literary analysis can reveal striking information. There are many different critical approaches to literature, but in this case, I will assume a black Marxist approach in analyzing the black/white power structure which makes blacks inferior.

First, there are a series of questions one must ask his or herself during the reading of the piece. Questions like, “What stereotypes of blacks do you find.”, “How do the white characters talk to or treat the black characters.”, “Is there any evidence of the traditional binaries of white/black, intellectual/ignorant, objective/subjective and active/passive. The answer to this question helps us either to perform a studies of difference, studies of power or studies of the black experience.

The article by Alice Woodward, dealt with the efforts to win two local Black youth from Jena(Fred and Tyrone) over to joining protests taking place in Katrina. Woodward notes that Fred was "unsure about how the people in New Orleans would respond to someone like him, an outsider, a Black youth, coming to support them. He had a whole negative perception of the inner city youth. Of gangs and violence, of people without hope or any concern for others." Woodward describes in great detail how the youth were "song after song they spit words full of sexist, degrading, and objectifying shit" and how during the ride they had "a big ongoing struggle" with the Jena youth "over using the word “b*tch” and the attitude that women are sex objects" as well as informing the black youth of the "impact of the N word". (9)

Another Jena anecdote by Li Onesto details her experience with black Jena residents Vera and James. She describes that their daughter "knew her parents had been to the protest on Thursday and all the talk about the KKK and the death threats to the parents of the Jena 6 has gotten her upset." They then go on to mention that the girl looked "a bit embarrassed when her mother tells us this, but then smiles when we tell her that she should be very proud of her parents and the other people in Jena who were standing up to the nooses, standing up for what is right, that this is how history changes, when people take a stand and fight for a better world." (10)

In both stories, the black characters take on an ignorant, subjective and passive role, while the RCP supporters take on an intellectual, objective and active role from the traditional binaries. Revolution portrays Blacks as reactionary and hopeless, while the RCP supporters act as Revolutionary saviors, changing the views and instilling hope in the ignorant black masses giving them courage to struggle to change history. The daughter of Vera and James is "embarrassed" over the fact she is scared over KKK death threats, that is until, the RCP supporters tell her she should be very proud of her parents for standing up against the nooses and she instantly feels better. The black youth Fred uses language "full of sexist, degrading, and objectifying shit" until RCP supporters object to it and Fred ultimately agrees it is sexist. These traditional binary roles can not only be found in these two anecdotes, but many other anecdotes scattered in the Revolution paper.

Manufacture of Dissent
In the book Manufacture of Consent, Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomksy introduced a propaganda model that alleges systemic biases in the mass media and seeks to explain them in terms of structural economic causes. Here I introduced a theory that i call, Manufacture of Dissent, which is utilized by the Revolutionary Communist Party through its central organ Revolution.

The paper utilizes demeaning and patronizing language targeted at it's white readership in the hopes that feelings of white guilt will propel white people into taking up struggle. It curses at them, calls them "stupid white people", "complicit"and uses harsh tones against them for not being "involved in the struggle" of Black people like supporters of the RCP. However, the RCP does not have "organized ties" to the masses, particularly the Black masses as it so claims. So in order to hide this failure the Revolution newspaper relies on anecdotes and black tokenism to give off the appearance of successfully creating ties with the black masses. It thus creates a false impression by using language that emphasizes difference; utilizing references to race or stereotypical characteristics.

These tactics are essentially attempting to "manufacture dissent". The RCP claims to be winning over segments of the black population, as "evidenced" by their anecdotes. Next, they try to win over segments of the white population by stirring up feelings of white guilt due to white people's general complicity to the black oppression and not being involved in the day to day struggle of Black America like they are. However, the RCP itself is not involved in the day to day struggle of black America, nor does it have significant ties to the black population, it only casts this illusion in their approach to win over segments of the white population, white liberals in particular by casting a sense of urgency and guilt.

However, this approach fails on many grounds. One, instead of using the paper to have segments of the population "gravitate towards" the RCP, it actually achieves the exact opposite. The RCP's authoritarian stance and harsh, patronizing language towards white's may offend and repel readers from being potential supporters or even future readers. At the same time, the RCP's authoritarian and "holier than thou" attitude towards black America, as evidenced by the binaries intellectual/ ignorant and active/passive found in the many anecdotes, may also offend and repel black readers from becoming active supporters or future readers of the paper.

The Revolution newspaper is a prime example of how wrong line and approach is the main cause towards the Revolutionary Communist Party's inability to "forge deeper ties with the masses". Yet, the RCP explicitly tries to cover up this failure through usage of anecdotes which it uses as evidence of connecting and "winning over" the masses. Instead of lying and using condescending language towards it's readership, to it's white audience in particular, they need to organize within the white communities, instead of neglecting it. Are the white communities at fault for having reactionary views when progressive whites neglect organizing their communities in order to participate in struggles in black community(which evidently can organize themselves)? Can long lasting ties be established in black communities when white progressives only appear in a neighborhood during major social crisis? Certainly not. However, the RCP has yet to correct it's approach in interacting with and organizing the masses. The usage of the Revolution newspaper is just one prime example. Unless it does so, the Revolutionary Communist Party will continue to fail in it's attempt to "win over" and establish permanent ties with the masses.


1. “Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the RCP,USA,” Revolutionary Worker 1076, October 29, 2000,
2. "Attention White People What is your Problem", Revolution #111, December 9 2007,
3. "Jena and the Big Picture", Revolution #114, December 30, 2007,
4. "The Jena 6, the Nooses, And Why We Need a Revolution" Revolution #110, November 25, 2007,
5. "KKKluckers with NOOSES marching on MLK Day in Jena, unopposed? NO WAY!" Revolution #116, January 20, 2008,
6. "The UNITY WE DO NOT NEED & the UNITY WE DO NEED." Revolution #105, October 21, 2007,
7. "Reading, Promoting, and Discussing Bob Avakian's Memoir", Revolution #47,
8. "Day of Resistance and Rembrance in Harlem, Revolution #100, September 9 2007,
9. "On the Road from Jena to New Orleans", Revolution #115, December 13, 2007
10. "Jena Journal: 48 Hours After a Great Day", Revolution 103, October 7 2007,