Ebola Virus Disease not yet defeated in West Africa

first_imgEven though the three states where the Ebola Virus Disease struck last year have been declared free of the epidemic, cases have been reported over the last several weeks in Liberia.This West African state has maintained close ties with the U.S. since its founding as a republic in 1847. Freed enslaved Africans from the U.S. and their descendants have constituted Liberia’s governments for nearly 170 years.President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, one of only two African women presidents on the continent, continues to rely on funding and political direction from Washington. Thousands of Pentagon troops were deployed to Liberia at the height of the EVD crisis in 2014. They were downsized after the number of cases drastically declined.Recently Liberia has recorded two deaths from the dreaded disease. On July 16, a nurse died in a hospital in the capital, Monrovia, soon after she was checked in.This woman became the sixth case of EVD since it reappeared in June, after no cases had been reported for more than two months. The latest victim lived in Montserrado County, where Monrovia is located. It has been suggested that the Monrovia case is linked to five others from neighboring Margibi County.Reports say that the nurse was caring for her son who became ill. Health authorities in the country are tracking up to 140 people who may have had contact with the latest victim.“We have asked all county health officers to be on the alert,” said Francis Kateh, Liberia’s chief medical officer. “We are not saying the other counties have Ebola. But we need to alert them so that we wouldn’t experience the previous outbreak.” (USA Today, July 16)Ever since December 2013, when the most recent epidemic was first recognized, there have been 27,600 EVD cases, with more than 11,000 deaths. Liberia was the hardest hit, with more than 4,800 deaths.EVD was first recognized in 1976 in Zaire, now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo. There have been several outbreaks in nearly four decades, with the 2013-15 epidemic the most widespread and lethal.The outbreak of EVD in Liberia came only a decade after a 14-year civil war which killed thousands and dislocated many others. The already-limited infrastructure in the country was severely damaged during the conflict.The war also compounded the inherently dependent relations with the U.S. Since the 1920s, international banking interests and mining corporations have largely controlled the Liberian government.Such an outbreak of EVD was bound to cause extreme distress on the population and the economy, given the country’s inadequate resources to build medical clinics and hospitals and to train healthcare personnel. The blockading of large swaths of urban and rural areas during the height of the outbreak took a devastating toll on agricultural production, local commerce and delivery of social services.Sierra Leone and Guinea report casesSierra Leone and Guinea, the other two West African states which constituted the epicenter of the outbreak, have also reported several Ebola cases in recent weeks.The political history of Sierra Leone, a former British colony, is similar to that of Liberia. The country was established in the early 19th century for the resettlement of freed Africans after the conclusion of the war between London and its 13 colonies that became known as the United States.The Liberian civil war during the 1990s spilled over into Sierra Leone, doing damage to the society that it has still not fully recovered from. With the conclusion of the war more than 10 years ago, the Pentagon has utilized the country as the training ground for the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). Soldiers trained by the U.S. Army Africa, a wing of AFRICOM, have been deployed to Somalia as participants in the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), which is financed heavily by Washington and the European Union.Ghana’s Daily Graphic reported, “The outbreak reared its head at a time when the country’s health officers were unprepared for the Ebola battle. The unpreparedness of government to face such a battle was clearly manifested by the few ambulances allocated to referral hospitals in the district headquarters towns. Although some districts have gone for months without recording any case of Ebola, new cases are still being recorded within the Western Area in which the capital city is situated, as well as Portloko and Kambia in the north of the country.” (July 16)In the same report, William Sao Lamin, a programs officer for the nongovernmental organization Health Alert, told Politico SL that Sierra Leone’s medical sector encompasses a staff of 6,000 serving 1,200 health units and 19 referral hospitals across the country. More than 150 of these health officials succumbed to EVD, including 12 physicians.Lamin explained that prior to the outbreak, the health sector was already strained with acute shortages of qualified personnel. “The volunteers in the hospitals cannot be relied upon as they are untrained and unpaid,” he stressed.One of the physicians who died from EVD, Dr. Shek Umar Khan, was the only virologist in the country attached to the Lassa Fever Unit in the Kenema Government Hospital.In Guinea — a former French colony which has undergone several military mutinies and coups since the country’s founder, President Ahmed Sekou Toure, died in 1984 — the social and economic conditions have not been conducive to the building of health care treatment centers with trained personnel. Guinea has been cited as the source of the outbreak in late 2013, which spread rapidly into Liberia and Sierra Leone.The World Health Organization, which monitors the number of cases and coordinates responses in conjunction with regional governments, admits that it failed in not moving rapidly enough to stem the tide of the epidemic. WHO officials now say they are far more prepared to address the cases that have surfaced over the last few weeks.Vaccine testing continuesEfforts to develop a vaccine have met challenges in West Africa over the last several months, with the decline in the number of infections. Meanwhile a trial involving an inhaled vaccine in monkeys has shown positive results, according to researchers.Despite a considerable amount of discussion since 2014 about the development of a vaccine, no medicines have been approved that can cure the disease in humans. Scientists claim that a treatment known as TKM-Ebola-Guinea has the ability to kill the Makona strain of the virus, at least in primates. The vaccine has not been tested on humans. (Tech Times, April 23)Vaccine researchers have revealed that the drug is made by Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp. and is supposed to work by blocking genes that replicate the virus.In another trial ZMapp, an Ebola drug manufactured by Mapp Biopharmaceutical, cured primates in lab experiments. Nonetheless, the primates were infected with another strain of EVD.“We can’t say for certain that an experimental drug that works against one strain will work in another, even if they’re almost identical genetically,” noted Thomas Geisbert of the University of Texas Medical Branch, who is a senior investigator in the study. (Reuters, April 22)FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Chicago protest: NO WAR!

first_imgShireen Al-Adeimi, a Yemeni-Canadian activist and doctoral candidate at Harvard.Randi Nord, a journalistwith Geopolitics Alert and a member of the Detroit branch of Workers World Party.Maya Arcilla, chairperson of Anakbayan-Chicago.More than 300 people turned out in Chicago on April 21 to demand an end to U.S. foreign wars and to domestic repression, in an action called by the new Chicago Anti-War Coalition. After an initial rally in Grant Park, the demonstrators marched through the Loop to two more rallies, one at Trump Tower and the other at the Chicago Tribune building, chanting “Money for schools, not for war!” and “U.S. out of Syria!” They pledged to return to the streets, and called for a massive action in August on the 50th anniversary of the police riot at the 1968 Democratic Convention.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Labor in motion against ICE

first_imgOutraged nurses march against border detention facilities in El Paso, Texas, on June 19.The terrorist tactics of Immigration and Customs Enforcement come from the top, but can be disrupted in the workplace, especially if unions put muscle into the fight against raids and deportations. Recent examples are presented below, by industry, to get readers thinking about what more can be done.TransportationFlight attendant Hunt Palmquist announced via the Houston Chronicle on June 19 that after witnessing ICE agents taking migrant children to “relocation” in Texas by plane, he decided to never work another flight that separates families. Palmquist vowed to “immediately remove myself from the trip due to the nature of this unconscionable act by my government, and my employer’s complicity.” He added, “I have told my story to many of my flight attendant colleagues and they have pledged to do the same.”The next morning, major U.S. airlines — American, United and Frontier — each released statements and tweets distancing themselves from the practice. American Airlines “requested the federal government to immediately refrain” from using its planes to transport separated children. Were they afraid of “optics” or of a job action by their unionized workforces?Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1700 represents Greyhound bus drivers. The local shares articles such as “Greyhound Should Just Say No to the Border Patrol’s Bus Sweeps” on its social media.TechnologyOn June 19, Microsoft workers put out an open letter against the corporation’s $19.4-million cloud computing contract with ICE, saying, “As the people who build the technologies that Microsoft profits from, we refuse to be complicit.” By the middle of June 21, there were 300 employee signatures. Coverage of this incident said various employees were considering leaving the company. (tinyurl.com/yc9fvfwy)Food industryAfter ICE attacked and detained 140 of 2,800 workers represented by the Retail Warehouse and Department Store Union on June 19 at Ohio Fresh Mark plants, the national union funded legal and financial aid for the family members of those workers.“Our union will not stand for violence against immigrants; we will not stand for tearing families apart; and we will not stand for the terrifying tactics of the Trump administration. The RWDSU is committed to assisting workers affected by this ICE raid and will continue to fight against any and all heartless attacks on immigrant workers seeking to provide for their families,” said Stuart Appelbaum, RWDSU president.The plants had recently been denounced for Occupational Safety and Health violations. (tinyurl.com/y9hrhe6p)Building tradesPainters Local 456 launched Alianza Laboral Worker Resource Center in the southeast Nashville, Tenn., Latinx community, to reach im/migrant workers who otherwise face abusive tactics like wage theft. Among the workplace hazards about which the center holds trainings are ICE raids. According to organizer Rosa Ponce, employers can deny entrance to agents lacking a warrant, “but the general contractor is not going to refuse to let ICE in unless we’re organizing and having these conversations with the boss.” (tinyurl.com/yagax6ds)Health careNational Nurses United members have bolstered rallies against ICE/private prison collusion, notably at Texas marches to border detention centers. Bonnie Castillo of NNU covers these actions in medium.com.Castillo cites NNU board member Martese Chism, who went from Chicago to protest in El Paso, saying, “I felt compelled to come here … because today is June 19, the day that Texas freed the slaves, and so I’m here to tell [our government] to do the right thing and free the children.”Castillo adds that “NNU’s RN Response Network disaster relief program — for volunteers to be on standby for providing first aid to detained immigrant children and families — netted over 900 sign-ups in just a few days.”These union nurses are alerting the medical field that the trauma of separation, on top of war and violence experienced in home countries and during the journey to these borders, is a long-term public health crisis. (tinyurl.com/ycf7djhx)Labor-community organizingMany Fight for $15 formations and unions — International Longshore Association, Service Employees International Union 1199 Healthcare Workers and 32BJ SEIU, for instance — are engaged with the new Poor People’s Campaign, which marched on Washington on June 23. Speakers there added the crimes of ICE to their list of injustices that Martin Luther King Jr. called out 50 years ago: racism, capitalism and militarism. Twitter footage of the march that day shows working-class crowds chanting, “Rise up my people, my condors and eagles! No human being will ever be illegal!” Condors and eagles refer to the Indigenous cultures of South, Central and North America.The fact that working people — in industries capable of servicing ICE logistically, industries which employ many migrants and others — are openly opposing the racist “zero tolerance” program provides hope that we can ultimately organize to withhold our labor on a mass scale and stop ICE.Catalinotto is a member of the Workers World Party Labor Fraction.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Detroiters build support for Lucasville Uprising defendants

first_imgDetroit activists had the opportunity June 30 to learn about the 1993 prison rebellion at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio, and the cases of the Lucasville Five.The five — Siddique Abdullah Hasan, Keith Lamar (aka Bomani Shakur), Nameer Mateen (aka James Were), Jason Robb and George Skatzes — were falsely convicted of murder and sentenced to death for the killing of a guard and, in Skatzes’ case, taking an inmate hostage during the siege. Altogether, some four dozen inmates were charged, convicted and given long sentences, though most of them were innocent men scapegoated for participating in the uprising.The meeting, organized by the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice, began with a showing of the 2013 documentary by filmmaker D Jones, “The Shadow of Lucasville.” Mosi Paki, who along with other inmates was accused of “complicity” in the killing of guard Robert Vallandingham and forced to serve the maximum of his original sentence by SOCF’s Rules Infraction Board, spoke about the 1993 events and the conditions behind the walls at the time. Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan called into the meeting from the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown where he, Lamar, Mateen and Robb are currently housed.The uprising began with what was intended as a nonviolent protest against forcing Sunni Muslim prisoners to take a tuberculosis test involving the ingestion of an alcoholic substance — a violation of their religion. Other aggravating conditions that led to a full-scale rebellion included poor food and medical care, frequent guard violence and guard-instigated inmate-on-inmate violence that had led to a number of deaths, overcrowding and allowing only one phone call to loved ones each year.The speeches and film made clear that the real killer of Vallandingham was likely the state prosecutor’s key witness against the convicted men. The state had singled out inmate leaders who were involved in negotiating a 21-point surrender agreement, when it was actually their efforts that prevented further loss of life beyond the guard and nine inmates who were killed. One of the 21 points was that there would be “no retaliation,” an agreement that was flagrantly violated.Former Ohio and Michigan prisoners and the parents of a Michigan prisoner took part in the June 30 meeting, along with local activists who came after attending immigrant rights demonstrations. The question-and-answer discussion with Imam Hasan covered such varied topics as the unity among Black, white and Latinx inmates during the uprising and discriminatory treatment and surveillance of Muslim inmates in Ohio and other states.Over the years, Ohio supporters of the Lucasville defendants have built a statewide network. In light of this year’s 25th anniversary, and the fact that Lamar could receive an execution date this year, there is now a stronger push to build more support for the Lucasville Five around the country.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Supreme Court: Myths and reality

first_imgEvery kid who attends school in the United States is taught that the Supreme Court is one of the pillars of democracy, part of the system of “checks and balances” regulating the presidency and Congress.Trouble is, like the racist fable of the “first Thanksgiving,” it’s pure myth.In reality, the Supreme Court is a supremely undemocratic institution — its unelected members appointed for life, tasked with defending the interests of the minuscule class of big capitalist owners of high finance and industry from any challenge to their rule over the vast majority.The U.S. Supreme Court has been doing its job with a vengeance lately. In the last week of June, it upheld Donald Trump’s racist ban on travel from five Muslim-majority and two anti-imperialist countries, Venezuela and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. It gave its blessing to anti-abortion “counseling services” posing as reproductive rights clinics which lie to women. And it sided with bosses in the Janus case, striking a heavy blow against public employee unions and the whole labor movement.At the end of the court’s term on June 27, longtime Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his imminent retirement, thus opening the court for a replacement while Republicans have a majority of both houses of Congress. Coming after the string of attacks on workers and oppressed people, Kennedy’s announcement deeply alarmed many progressives, who fear Trump’s next pick will give the Supreme Court an unbeatable ultra-right majority.Kennedy seems an unlikely object for progressive mourning. A Reagan appointee, he put forth right-wing, racist and anti-worker positions over the years. As the Supreme Court and the U.S. political establishment shifted dramatically to the right after his 1988 appointment, Kennedy at times appeared more moderate, compared to the ultra-right headed by Chief Justice John Roberts. But though he sided with the more liberal wing of the court in defending baseline reproductive rights and upholding the right of same-sex marriage, Kennedy continued to help whittle away at people’s basic rights on many fronts.The panic accompanying Kennedy’s retirement shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the court and its role as an institution defending the capitalist system and the billionaire ruling class.Ultimately, it’s not who sits on the court that matters most. It’s the state of the class struggle.When the workers and oppressed are on the move and fighting back, the Supreme Court can be forced to grant concessions — sometimes substantial ones — regardless of who sits on it.That was the case when the court, faced with a rising fightback movement of African-American people, ordered desegregation of schools in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, during the depths of the Cold War anti-communism.In 1973, a Supreme Court stacked with reactionary Republican appointees was forced to recognize women’s right to choose in the historic Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. That victory was won by the rising women’s liberation movement and its allies in the Black, Puerto Rican, Chicano, LGBTQ, anti-war and other movements.Many workers and oppressed people are understandably worried by the prospect of a Trump Supreme Court appointment. But history shows that the answer is not panic, or desperate pleading with Democrats to bargain for a “lesser-evil” reactionary appointee acceptable to all ruling-class factions.The answer is to build a militant, independent struggle to defend im/migrants, the movement for Black Lives, women’s and LGBTQ people’s rights, and the rights of all workers.Or as labor martyr Joe Hill — a victim of the Utah version of the Supreme Court — told fellow workers before his execution in 1915: “Don’t mourn — organize!”FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Grandes beneficios farmacéuticos para el dolor

first_imgDsuvia. Ese es el nombre comercial del último opioide de alta potencia que pronto aparecerá en el mercado. Su nombre científico es sufentanilo, y es un análogo del infame y fatal opioide fentanilo. Es aproximadamente 5 a 10 veces más fuerte que el fentanilo y 1000 veces más fuerte que la morfina. Se administra por vía sublingual, toma 15 minutos para comenzar a trabajar y proporciona alivio del dolor durante aproximadamente 3 a 4 horas. Fue aprobado el 12 de octubre por la Administración de Drogas y Alimentos en una votación de 10 a 3.Dsuvia, al igual que otros productos de fentanilo en el mercado, tenía la intención de tratar un dolor insoportable. Está dirigido a personas que no responden a los medicamentos normales para el dolor. Otros productos de fentanilo, como Subsys, estaban destinados a tratar el dolor insoportable del cáncer, pero se desviaron de su propósito y se entregaron a personas que en realidad no los necesitaban.Aunque este producto está diseñado para ser un medicamento de un solo uso, todavía existe el riesgo de desviación y abuso. El grupo defensor Public Citizen dijo al Washington Post que “si se aprueba, Dsuvia sufrirá abusos y comenzará a matar gente tan pronto como llegue al mercado”. (Psmag.com, 2 de noviembre)Esta acción irresponsable por parte de la compañía farmacéutica AcelRx y la FDA será inevitablemente la causa de muchas muertes, ya que el sufentanilo podría convertirse fácilmente en un producto de corte en la heroína y otras drogas o el abuso a sabiendas. Los funcionarios de salud pública ya tienen preocupaciones de que este producto será desviado.Ha habido decenas de miles de muertes por opioides en el último año, y muchas más en 2018, con el fentanilo involucrado en muchos de ellos. La adición de Dsuvia a la lista de drogas de abuso solo derramará combustible en ese fuego. El comisionado de la FDA, Scott Gottlieb, reconoció que los críticos de Dsuvia estaban preocupados por el potencial de abuso de la droga.Pero afirmó que la FDA tenía que juzgar la droga por sus propios méritos y cómo encaja en el cuadro completo de la adicción a las drogas, pero aún así lo aprobó. La FDA incluso invocó a los militares, diciendo que es un dispositivo de entrega que es una prioridad para los militares.La FDA había firmado un Memorando de Entendimiento con el Departamento de Defensa para acelerar los productos médicos que podrían ser útiles para el DOD. Este memorándum es probablemente la razón por la cual el medicamento fue aprobado.Los comunistas y otros progresistas deben presionar a AcelRx para que no comercialice este medicamento. Para expresar su oposición, escriba a [email protected] thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Lessons for the class struggle in the era of Trumpism

first_imgExcerpted from a talk by Larry Holmes, First Secretary of Workers World Party, at a forum on March 28 in New York City.Russia-gate has been going on for two years. The liberal bourgeoisie poured so much into it — CNN, MSNBC, Rachel Maddow. They say the same things every day. A section of the bourgeoisie thought this was the way to take down Trump.The FBI guy, Mueller, gave his report to the attorney general. And now the liberals are fighting to see the whole thing, and they want us to get behind them. Not that some of us might not be curious to see it, but really? That’s their program for the workers? It’s a continuation of the 2016 elections politically. A wing of the ruling class is still in denial. They’re not accepting the reason Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Democratic Party didn’t win is because they didn’t engage the workers and the oppressed. Essentially they threw the working class under the bus. That is why they lost, more than Russia or anything else, although there was a lot of voter suppression, not only in the South but all over the country, especially against Black and Brown people.It is a crisis of bourgeois liberalism. What should we learn from this in terms of the class struggle? Bourgeois liberalism is a mask to hide reactionary capitalism: to pretend there’s a distinction at the end of the day between liberalism and reactionary capitalism. More and more people are waking up to the reality that there’s no difference. I think in many ways the working class is well ahead of the progressive movement, certainly ahead of some of these TV talking heads who give you the impression that “We’re defending democracy, capitalism is decent, all this is at stake because of Trump.”Trump is essentially the face of capitalism. He does what they all do, only he does it openly and brazenly. Elements in the liberal bourgeoisie who are trying to restore faith and confidence in the mainstream of the Democratic Party, a capitalist party, say, “We’re fighting the good fight, to be a decent capitalist country, to have fair media.” Trump and the people in the leadership of his movement are oriented toward fascism. But sometimes they tell the truth. The media does lie! About Trump’s involvement with Russia: On one level he represents some in the bourgeoisie who have come to the conclusion that “Our old alliances, particularly with the European imperialist powers, are not gonna solve our crisis, so we might as well maneuver and do other things.” Their real threat is China, more than Russia. What if news came out that Trump has financial dealings in Russia and wants to build a Trump Hotel in Moscow? Well, that’s how they function, that’s crony capitalism.But the struggle in the ruling class is really between the globalists and the neocons — those who want to pull away and do something different. And part of that difference is becoming more reactionary against the oppressed — or at least being more blatant about it. The globalists and neoliberals like the Clintons are as much against the oppressed as the rightwing. They just do their dirty work behind the scenes.Workers have other concernsThe workers don’t seem to care about this. I’m sure a lot of progressive people were hoping that the Mueller report would bring Trump down and be the first step toward impeachment. They’re probably a little down now, including some who honestly oppose Trump as reactionary. But according to the bourgeois polls, the masses are not interested in this. It’s like 20th on their list.The first things are health care, jobs and job security, and economic rights. Then come things like misogyny and racism and immigrant rights. Russia-gate is way down on the list.There’ll be more investigations about Trump’s financial dealings: He didn’t pay his taxes, he cheats, he lies, he’s a swindler. The workers already know this! They’re instinctively smarter than the ruling class. It’s a big problem that some parts of the working class — who are desperate and have been told they’re losing their country and their white privileges — forget everything reactionary and anti-working class about Trump and go along with him. But the working class is not shocked by the fact that a billionaire is a liar and a cheat and a robber baron, because they all are.The masses are becoming more and more radicalized by conditions of economic inequality that expose the system. The last thing you want to do is try to maintain this phony-baloney mask of capitalism being so great and let’s just bring it back to being decent and civil. What crap!Instead of the prime-time attention paid to the Mueller report, what about the opioid epidemic, the increased rate of suicides directly connected to deindustrialization and to globalization? What about the loss of decent, union-paying jobs that are destroying cities? I haven’t seen any hearings on that, nothing live and prime time. What about how the working class is being pauperized and the difference in the conditions and circumstances under which they live compared to a generation or two ago? That would be a great hearing and tell a lot more truth than saying, “The official unemployment rate is now 4 percent.”Students are going on strike around the world because they want a planet when they grow up. Some in that movement are anti-capitalist, and one of their slogans is “System change, not climate change.” Demagogy aimed at working classTrump is about the working class. Here and in the other major industrialized, high-tech imperialist countries, the workers are losing what they had when the capitalist system was stable by comparison to what’s happening now.The oppressed are still far worse off. But what we used to call the aristocracy of labor is being pummeled. Members of the ruling class fear it. And they start thinking about introducing, either wholesale or in small doses, fascist measures. Can you talk about the threat of fascism here? It’s not like during the Great Depression, when there was 25 percent unemployment and big soup lines. A lot of the poverty is hidden. It’s not like Europe, when they dealt with the workers violently in Germany, Italy and Spain. But the ruling class is fearful of even the prospect of the workers rising up. And some of them will do whatever they can to sabotage that possibility. That is what Donald Trump is about. Sabotaging the inevitability of the workers rising up, coming into class consciousness, not just on a local but on an international basis.Trumpism is desperately trying to hold that back. America first. Build the wall. Immigrants are our enemies. The global economy, including the U.S. economy, is slowing down and on its way to another crisis like 2008 or worse. The fascist threat still exists.Brexit’s about dividing the working class, too. For the imperialists, it’s kind of shooting yourself in the nose to spite your face. There’s such desperation to change the subject for the working class, so that it won’t turn against capitalism.Trump’s got an idea. His forces want to privatize health care. If there’s a struggle, it could be dominated by the bourgeoisie. I’m not sure that’ll be helpful. But people are very fearful of losing whatever coverage they’ve got. There’s a big attack on the remnants of the Affordable Care Act, people with pre-existing conditions and so on. Behind all the crazy vitriol is defunding of social services.Workers fight defunding of educationEducation workers are rebelling in large part because of this, which is incredible because it’s not just their wages and working conditions. They’re striking against the defunding of public education. That’s why it’s so popular. Comrades in the labor caucus discussed it a few nights ago and should bring it to the rest of the party. The people around Trump are looking at the South, with its historically low wages, union busting, lower social services, deeper, entrenched poverty, more racism, more white supremacy. The terrible dirty deal made with the white workers and a big section of the white masses in the South was: “You can hold onto your white privilege if you tolerate low wages and no unions and substandard living conditions by comparison to the North.” Trump wants to make that countrywide. They won’t get away with it. Conditions are going to push people to rebel.We have got to turn the party toward the working class in a much bigger way. This does not mean giving up our struggle in solidarity with Venezuela.  That’s a class issue; it’s not just an anti-war issue. But more and more, we have to become better at drawing the connections so that the anti-war movement is the working class and the oppressed who will fight to support the Bolivarian Revolution and defend it against imperialism.It was Lenin’s dream that there would be no need for a separate anti-war movement, that the anti-war movement would be indistinguishable from the workers. The Russian Revolution was a great example of this. Soldiers and sailors demoralized by the war were open to revolutionary agitation. The old-school communist orientation was that if there’s a war, you bring it home.Very soon, Workers’ Solidarity Days will be established on a monthly basis. We’re going to see how far it can go, not just in this country but around the world. It’ll help us support the gig workers. It’ll help us support the education workers. It’ll help us support immigrants. The theme of Workers’ Solidarity Day is “No walls in the workers’ struggle.”Many workers can’t organize because they’re atomized. With globalization and new technology, a lot of workers in small places feel all alone. Many of them, even if they are radical, don’t see themselves as part of the working class. They feel isolated and insignificant. We need a campaign that tells people you’re part of the working class, whether you work in a shop with three people, whether you have a gig job, whether you can’t work because you’re disabled, whether you have six or seven jobs a year or two or three at once to pay off student debts. Trump No, Workers’ Solidarity Yes.To get involved with Workers Solidarity Day visit  https://workersolidarity.net/FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

COVID figures reveal stark contrasts

first_imgJune 29 — No country boasts louder of its success than the United States. This is the most powerful capitalist country in the world, based on its vast wealth, huge industrial output and formidable military.A medical brigade of over 200 Cuban doctors prepares to leave Jose Martí Airport in Havana on the way to South Africa to provide assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.But the U.S. is also the country with the most COVID-19 cases in the world — by far. And they are spiking right now, just when the powers-that-be were predicting that it would be safe for the economy to open up again.Databases that track the growth of the pandemic around the world are revealing a highly significant fact: The countries where there has been the most progress toward combating capitalism have also most successfully contained the virus.Here are some figures, as of June 28, provided by worldometers.info/coronavirus:Cuba stands out, with only eight deaths per million inhabitants. This contrasts sharply with the other populous islands in the Caribbean. The Dominican Republic, which shares an island with Haiti, has had 67 coronavirus deaths per million people. Puerto Rico, a U.S. colony, has had 64.7 deaths per million.Fidel Castro led the Cuban Revolution to victory over the bloody U.S.-backed dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista in 1959. He announced to the world that the Cuban people had achieved “a socialist revolution under the very noses of the Yankee imperialists.”Since then, Cuba has become a medical powerhouse, sending doctors and nurses to poor countries around the world suffering from imperialist-imposed underdevelopment.Another country in Latin America that has successfully controlled the virus is Venezuela, which reports two deaths per million people.Venezuela’s neighbors include Colombia, where there have been 61 deaths per million; Panama, with 140 deaths per million; and Brazil, now in the grips of a raging epidemic with 271 deaths per million. Except for Venezuela, the economic systems of these countries are rooted in capitalism.Venezuela is on a difficult road to socialism because of its dependence on oil and the world capitalist market. The U.S. government has attempted to destroy its economy by imposing sanctions. Nevertheless, Venezuela’s success in keeping people safe during the pandemic has in recent weeks led many of its citizens who had left the country to return.Al Jazeera reported on June 28: “For more than a decade, thousands of Cuban healthcare providers have been living in Venezuela, helping to build up its health infrastructure for working people. At the same time, Venezuela has been subject to U.S. sanctions meant to destroy its economy.“This led many middle-class Venezuelans to move to neighboring Colombia. But now, because of the high rate of COVID in Colombia, Venezuelans are returning. They are required to stay in quarantine for two weeks before moving around freely, a precaution against spreading the disease.”People’s China, where the initial outbreak occurred, has now contained the disease. As of June 28, its COVID deaths average only three per million people, compared to 388 for the U.S. For the same date, new cases in China were 17; new cases in the U.S. were 40,540. New deaths that day in the U.S. were 285 people — and in China, only three.Facts are facts. Health care is a priority in countries struggling to build socialism in a world where capitalism is still the dominant social system. Capitalism kills people in many ways, but nowhere is the documentation more stark than in the coronavirus figures.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Brexit: Britain leaves the EU, and workers bear the burden

first_imgBrexit — the rupture between Britain and the European Union — was completed at midnight, Dec. 31.In a 2016 referendum, in a xenophobic, racist vote fueled by dreams of a withered and long-passed imperial glory, British voters narrowly supported a proposal to leave the European Union. Only 51.9% of the votes supported the “leave” option; in Scotland, Wales and the six counties of northeast Ireland that voted, the “remain” option won big majorities.Mass anti-Brexit protest, London, Sept. 3, 2020.The 4 1/2 years since the Brexit vote have been devoted to working out the details and settling on the necessary compromises between the British bourgeoisie and the big French and German capitalists, who essentially control the EU. There is a lot to work out since Britain has been part of the European Economic Community since 1973, although it was never part of the eurozone, keeping its own currency.There was a lot at stake. While Britain is on an island separated from the continent, it is historically, culturally and economically part of Europe. Some 250,000 small and medium British businesses find major parts of their markets in Europe. Trade between Britain and the EU amounts to nearly $68.5 billion a year, carried in about 4.5 to 5 million truckloads a year.This trade flowed without hindrance, when Britain was part of the EU. It no longer does.The financial markets in London — banks, insurance companies, stock traders — did about a third of all the financial transactions in the EU in 2018 (the last year figures are available). The negative effects of Brexit on this market, which has brought the British financial capitalists tremendous profits, might wipe the smile off their faces. How deep the British bourgeoisie will frown is yet to be determined.Other issues remain undecided, and many work-arounds could collapse. One of the major wrinkles in this Brexit deal is how the land border between the Republic of Ireland and the six counties in the northeast of Ireland that London still controls has been shifted to the Irish Sea.It is going to take a considerable amount of time to work through the 1,250 pages of the bill implementing Brexit.Effect of Brexit on workersWhile there are no official figures, it’s estimated that there are around 3.6 million EU citizens living in Britain and about 1.7 million British citizens living in the EU.  Their situations are complicated, but Brexit will make thousands of these EU citizens illegal, even those who have lived in Britain for decades.The Trades Union Council of England has clearly stated its objectives on Brexit. Most of its members — at least 60% of them according to polls — oppose Brexit.  The TUC wants to preserve “all the hard-won workers’ rights that come from the EU” and intends to make “sure that [British] workers get the same rights as workers in the EU into the future.” It demands “Guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens working in [Britain], and those of Brits working abroad.” (tinyurl.com/yacjzf6k)Truckers face enormous logjams because of Brexit-related delaysThe European Transport Federation, which represents truck drivers and ferry workers, has built a working alliance with Unite the Union, which is the largest union representing truck drivers and ferry workers in England and Ireland. They are both very much concerned about the delays and extra work that will result from conforming to the new customs declarations and the COVID-19 restrictions about testing and crossing borders.While truck drivers are, after agricultural workers, already the worst off in terms of working time and working conditions, the current limits imposed by European law on driving time “are the only way, although very insufficient, to ensure some safety on European roads” according to the ETF.  British drivers are probably no longer covered by these regulations after Brexit, even if they are driving on the Continent.The ETF, strongly supporting the demands of Unite on the British government, points out “that the average age of truck drivers is 54 years old. They are a group of workers who have been exposed to the stress and pressure of work for decades.” (force-ouvriere.fr, Aug. 27)Trucks were moving additional freight in anticipation of customs duties going into effect at year’s end, as France closed its borders to traffic from England on Dec. 20. This provoked a huge traffic jam. In days, some 17,000 large trucks stacked up in England’s southeast where the ferries and tunnel to France are located. Drivers had no toilets and no food, with many upset they were not getting home for Christmas.Both the ETF and Unite worked to resolve this problem, which involved testing and quarantine facilities for drivers who tested positive for COVID-19. This immense jam showed how sensitive traffic between England and France is to any hitches.Unions representing truck drivers, who will be immediately affected by Brexit, are working hard to keep the costs and pressures of Brexit off the backs of workers. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Criticando a China, EE.UU. comete crímenes contra la humanidad

first_imgEl 7 de abril se anunció que el gobierno de Biden está siendo presionado por los republicanos de derecha para que boicotee total o parcialmente los Juegos Olímpicos de Invierno de 2022 en Pekín, China, que tendrán lugar durante dos semanas en febrero. Como parte de la continua diatriba antichina que se aceleró con la pandemia del COVID-19 durante la administración Trump, estos políticos están acusando a China de violaciones de los derechos humanos, específicamente en las áreas de las protestas de Hong Kong y el “trabajo forzado” sobre los musulmanes uigures en la producción de algodón.Por ahora, los funcionarios de Biden han declarado que no es concebible un boicot por parte de los atletas estadounidenses, principalmente debido al multimillonario patrocinio corporativo que implica la transmisión de los Juegos, especialmente por parte de Comcast. Otra consideración es la de los atletas chinos que podrían ganar medallas y que han emigrado a Estados Unidos. Un boicot no les permitiría mostrar su talento, ni ser explotados por los equipos y las empresas deportivas estadounidenses con fines de lucro.Zhao Lijian, portavoz del Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores de China, rechazó las acusaciones de abusos y afirmó: “La politización del deporte dañará el espíritu de la Carta Olímpica y los intereses de los atletas de todos los países. La comunidad internacional, incluido el Comité Olímpico de Estados Unidos, no lo aceptará”. (ESPN, 7 de abril) Los mayores países imperialistas, como Estados Unidos, Alemania, Francia y Gran Bretaña, siguen buscando el derecho a presumir cuando se trata de ganar el mayor número posible de medallas de oro, frente a países como China, Corea del Norte (RPDC), Rusia u otros países que en su día pertenecieron al bloque de Europa Oriental pro-soviético.Independientemente de que el gobierno de Biden ceda a la exigencia republicana, el debate sobre el boicot o no boicot seguirá discutiéndose públicamente, acaparando la atención mundial. La amenaza de boicot se ve intensificada por el retraso en la celebración de los Juegos Olímpicos de verano de 2021 en Tókio, aplazados el pasado verano debido a la pandemia. El mayor violador de los derechos humanosPara ser claros, el gobierno de Biden está totalmente de acuerdo con los republicanos en su opinión sobre China. Su decisión sobre cómo proceder con China se basa en la táctica, no en los principios. Todas las administraciones estadounidenses, dirigidas por demócratas o por republicanos, han tratado de socavar, si no de derrocar, a la República Popular China debido a su economía comprometida pero todavía socialista. Esta es la base económica sobre la que los ataques políticos anticomunistas están siendo vomitados tanto por los portavoces de la derecha como por los liberales burgueses, siendo la derecha la más agresiva.Las protestas en Hong Kong contra China no están dirigidas de forma independiente, sino que cuentan con el apoyo de las fuerzas imperialistas, especialmente de Estados Unidos y Gran Bretaña. Esto se hace muy evidente con el ondeo de la Union Jack pro-colonialista y de las banderas de Estados Unidos en cada protesta. Como explica en parte la declaración “El papel de Estados Unidos en las protestas de Hong Kong”, firmada por el Centro de Acción Internacional el 30 de junio de 2019: “Hong Kong es un centro del capital financiero mundial. Es profundamente hostil a las medidas sociales que han sacado a cientos de millones de personas en la China continental de la pobreza extrema y han proporcionado altos estándares de atención médica, educación e infraestructura moderna”.“Las fuerzas del capital financiero de Hong Kong y sus aliados en Estados Unidos y Europa quieren alejar a Hong Kong de China, para que funcione como un puesto de avance económico y político en la región.“Esto significa limitar al máximo la integración jurídica y política con China. Con este fin, Estados Unidos ha proporcionado un amplio apoyo político, financiero y mediático a las protestas.” (workers.org/2019/06/42820)Compara estas protestas pro-imperialistas con las protestas en Estados Unidos que exigen justicia y cambio social – y que se enfrentan a la represión policial militarizada y a las brutales detenciones masivas. ¿Cómo puede una persona progresista -o alguien con algún conocimiento de la historia de Estados Unidos, tanto del pasado como del presente- tomarse en serio las reclamaciones de violaciones de los derechos humanos en cualquier país cuando Estados Unidos es realmente el mayor violador de los derechos humanos en el mundo? La sociedad estadounidense está plagada de violencia de claseDesde los atentados del 11 de septiembre, hace casi 20 años, los musulmanes han sido perseguidos legalmente por el gobierno de Estados Unidos y han sido objeto de ataques racistas, incluyendo asesinatos en masa en sus lugares de culto e incluso en el trabajo. Recientemente, el 15 de abril, cuatro trabajadores sijs fueron asesinados por un ex trabajador blanco de 19 años en unas instalaciones de FedEx en Indianápolis, Indiana. ¿Cuándo se ha preocupado el poder en Estados Unidos de los derechos de las religiones no cristianas, a menos que les convenga, como ahora con el ataque a China? Los asiático-americanos, especialmente si son mujeres, han sido objetivo de los supremacistas blancos misóginos en Estados Unidos. Por ejemplo, el 16 de marzo, seis mujeres asiáticas que trabajaban en spas cerca de Atlanta, Georgia, fueron asesinadas a tiros. ¿No es esto una violación de los derechos humanos?  ¿Y qué hay de los “trabajos forzados”? Estados Unidos tiene la mayor población encarcelada del mundo, con 2,3 millones de personas, según la Prison Policy Initiative. (24 de marzo de 2020). Muchos de estos trabajadores son esclavos modernos, cuya mano de obra es superexplotada por centavos la hora, o sin salario alguno, para obtener beneficios para las empresas estatales o privadas. Las muertes en estos campos de concentración, donde la gente pobre y de color es encarcelada en un número desproporcionado, han aumentado dramáticamente, ya que a los guardias de las prisiones no se les exige la vacuna COVID-19 ni el uso de máscaras o la distancia social en estas instalaciones superpobladas con poca ventilación. ¿No es esto una violación de los derechos humanos? Y luego está la continua guerra racista de terror policial contra la población negra y morena. Según el Informe de Violencia Policial 2020, de las más de 1.100 personas asesinadas por la policía, los negros fueron el 27% de todos los asesinatos policiales, el 35% de los asesinados sin armas, y el 36% de los asesinados que estaban desarmados y no suponían una amenaza. Estas muertes son claras violaciones racistas de los derechos humanos, teniendo en cuenta que los negros son sólo el 13% de la población estadounidense.Además, el 58% de todos los asesinatos cometidos por la policía en EE.UU. fueron paradas de tráfico, respuestas policiales a crisis de salud mental o situaciones en las que, según se informa, la persona no amenazaba a nadie con un arma. ¡Son más violaciones de los derechos humanos! (policeviolencereport.org)Ninguna sociedad es una utopía, pero sólo con estos ejemplos, Estados Unidos ocupa el primer lugar del mundo en violaciones de derechos humanos, sin lugar a dudas.  FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more