Please note I have a new phone number...

512-517-2708

Alan Maki

Alan Maki
Doing research at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

A program for real change...

http://peaceandsocialjustice.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-progressive-program-for-real-change.html


What we need is a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which would make it a mandatory requirement that the president and Congress attain and maintain full employment.


"Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens"

- Ben Franklin

Let's talk...

Let's talk...

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Another big lie: North Korea is provoking a war with us

Perhaps the biggest of the big lies ever perpetrated by this rotten thoroughly corrupt government under the control of Wall Street, is the lie that North Korea--- the Democratic People's Republic of Korea--- WANTS to go to war with the United States.


Think about this:


Why would a tiny little country of a mere twenty-five million people forcefully isolated from much of the rest of the world by the biggest bully in the world want to provoke war with the most barbaric super-power in the history of the world?


We were hoodwinked into believing the lies about North Korea and China starting the Korean War--- none other than Republican Congressman Howard Buffett, father of Warren Buffett--- exposed this big lie.


We were lied to about how tiny Vietnam tried to provoke war with us using the big lie of the Gulf of Tonkin fiasco; a lie concocted by the CIA.


And then the lies got even bigger when George Bush and his Administration concocted the biggest of all big lies (to that point) of the Weapons of Mass Destruction used as the pretext to bomb the hell out of Iraq in a brutal display of the most insane and criminal barbarity.


And now we come to Trump trying to peddle this biggest of all big lies that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea wants to provoke a nuclear war with us.


Of course as this biggest of all big lies gets even bigger, no one mentions the "little" FACT that the United States is constructing a naval base intended to host a huge nuclear arsenal directed towards North Korea, China and Russia. http://m.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20160229001123#cb


Come on really, why would anyone believe Trump's claim that North Korea is trying to provoke a war with the United States?


Every word that Trump utters ends up being part of a lie... and this is the biggest of all of his lies.
If it weren't for how this biggest of all big lies is embedded and packaged in anti-Communism to be sold no one would believe it simply because on its face it is so ludicrous and outrageous that it defies all reason, logic and common sense.


Only one lone Republican challenged the lie used by the United States government to start the Korean War.


One lone Democrat challenged the lie that Vietnam provoked the United States to go to war in Vietnam. That same Democrat, once again alone, tried to expose the lie that ended up with the never-ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Now we have no members of Congress challenging this biggest of all big lies about how North Korea wants to provoke us into war.


It is up to the American people to say, "Enough" and take the required action to prevent World War III and nuclear war.


We have a President who has included the Nazis, the John Birch Society and the KKK in his base and elevated racist hate-mongering warmongers like Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka to advise him when it comes to issues of war and peace.


Anyone who can't understand that we are living in a time very different from any other period with Wall Street tightening its grip on power and control over us, can't be expected to lead the kind of massive people's front movement required to defend democracy and prevent nuclear war.


And, make no mistake about this... this wouldn't be the first time the corporate controlled Wall Street owned media has fabricated and peddled lie after big lie supporting a war.


The government and people of North Korea want peace and friendship with us and the rest of the world. Just leave this little country alone and North and South Korea will find their way to peace and  reunification of their country.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Impeach Trump; stop bullying and badgering North Korea

Instead of seeking a peaceful solution through diplomacy and normalizing relations with North Korea, Trump has chosen to instigate war.

Obviously Russia and China can not be expected to promote a peaceful resolution to this conflict, either as both voted for sanctions against North Korea.

Shameful, too, is the position taken by Evo Morales and the Bolivian government in support of sanctions against North Korea at a time when North Korea requires access to all markets in the world in order to strengthen its economy and provide an improved standard of living for its people.

These sanctions against North Korea which has harmed no one are intended to bring down the socialist government of North Korea.

North Korea has a population just under that of the state of Texas; it is a small country whose government and people have never hurt or harmed anyone.

The United States is building a modern naval port in South Korea to host nuclear armed warships with their nuclear arsenal targeted on North Korea, China and Russia.

The time is long overdue for the United States to normalize relations with North Korea and allow the North Koreans to build socialism in peace.

Trump is a demonic barbaric imperialist monster; it is Trump who must be removed from office through impeachment in order for there to be peace.

Trump spreads the most vile forms of racist hate in our own country and now spews racist anti-Communist hate towards North Korea which is pushing us towards war when we should be working for peace.

The United States has no business maintaining military bases in Guam, Japan or South Korea.

The United States has over 800 foreign military bases dotting the globe according to the U.S. Department of Defense. This is total and complete insanity. Close down these outposts for Wall Street's imperialist policies and put health care centers in every neighborhood and community in our own country instead providing the American people with free health care and millions of jobs a National Public Health Care System would create.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Most Democrats vote along with Republicans for increased spending on militarism and wars...


Surprised?

This is one of the most important articles about military spending I have seen and yet Forbe's is being more truthful than most peace groups which seem loath to expose the Democrats on this most important issue. How do we achieve prosperity for all, mostly achieved through implementing huge universal social programs, when the Nation's wealth, created by the working class, is being squandered on militarism and wars making us all poor?

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

It is time for real socialists to advocate for socialized health care.

In the name of "unity" should socialists acquiesce to Democratic Party hacks when it comes to health care reform or should we clearly articulate the problems with Obamacare and single-payer Medicare for All while stating how socialized health care is the far superior rout to health care reform?


My point is: How does socialized health care ever get put on the table for discussion if socialists don't put it there? I have found, once explained side by side with all other proposals, most people will chose socialized health care when it is explained that public education is the model for it.


There is a difference between working with people who currently support Obamacare and Medicare for All and not bringing forward socialized health care.


We can see here on my Facebook page how people have been misled into supporting Obamacare and Medicare for All because their main proponents are dishonest.


All kinds of people try to tell me single-payer/Medicare for All is the same as socialized health care.


A big part of working with people is explaining these things in a truthful way--- the proponents of Obamacare and Medicare for All are afraid of the truth and as we can see, they try to bully the proponents of socialized health care into silence with the intent of forcing people to support Obamacare and Medicare for All.


Medicare has some good features but it also has many very, very bad features people like Bernie Sanders are adamantly opposed to discussing and they try to stymie this discussion.


If they were honest, they would at least tolerate a discussion about a National Public Health Care System and explain from their point of view why what they support is better... of course, the facts--- these little things politicians don't seem to have much use for--- prove that socialized health care is far superior to all other forms of health care... am I correct in stating this or am I not?


I am being attacked by the Democrats simply because I am advocating for socialized health care and comparing it to Obamacare and Medicare for All.


Socialists should be advancing socialized health care not bending to supporting systems that are based on the the free-market, for-profit and private delivery of health care.


The ideological struggle is really the biggest and most important part of any struggle and this applies to the struggle for health care reform, too.


The Democrats will tolerate Bernie Sanders claiming to be a socialist as long as he doesn't advocate socialist solutions to problems... the Democrat's main party hack, George Lakoff, has made this very clear in his latest book, "Blueprint," which is nothing but an anti-socialist/anti-Communist/anti-Marxist diatribe.


Sure there is controversy in bringing forward socialist ideas like socialized health care but we need to bring this into the discussion--- this is the role of socialists.


In fact, because socialized health care is so popular it has the best chance of bringing together the kind of numbers of people required to win the struggle for health care reform.


Of course, the Democratic Party hacks who like to talk about "properly framing issues" to get votes would like it if we don't say we need community and neighborhood health care centers dispensing free health care instead of over 800 foreign U.S. military bases dotting the globe protecting Wall Street's interests. Real socialists will bring this forward... phony socialists will not.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

William Browder testifies before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.

William Browder is a very wealthy investor and investment advisor running the Hermitage Fund.

William Browder is the grandson of Earl Browder, a former Chairman of the Communist Party U.S.A.

Putin is a modern day Russian Czar in the era of imperialism.

One thing not coming out in all of this feuding between capitalists is the tremendous wealth which has been created by labor which is being stolen from the Russian working class since labor creates ALL wealth and literally sucked out of Russia ending up in western banks all over the world.

Browder and his investors lost billions of dollars; Putin stole this money through graft and corruption.

Apparently Browder was happy as long as he was stealing the wealth of the Russian Nation instead of Putin. Two crooks stealing from one another.... as the Russian people are forced to endure poverty.

And we don't even know how Trump is involved with this theft of the Russian 'nation but surely he is.

And we don't know how many Wall Street investors like Browder are still stealing the wealth of the Russian Nation as they pay-off Putin and thousands of his gangster capitalists and enforcers.

Earl Browder would not have been proud of his grandson's role in all of this and as working people we should not be choosing the sides of any of these greedy pigs--- our empathy and solidarity belongs with the Russian working class struggling to regain socialism.

The full transcript of William "Bill" Browder’s prepared remarks to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is as follows...
Chairman Grassley, Ranking Member Feinstein, and members of the committee, thank you for giving me the opportunity to testify today on the Russian government’s attempts to repeal the Magnitsky Act in Washington in 2016, and the enablers who conducted this campaign in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, by not disclosing their roles as agents for foreign interests.Before I get into the actions of the agents who conducted the anti-Magnitsky campaign in Washington for the benefit of the Russian state, let me share a bit of background about Sergei Magnitsky and myself.I am the founder and CEO of Hermitage Capital Management. I grew up in Chicago, but for the last 28 years I’ve lived in Moscow and London, and am now a British citizen. From 1996 to 2005, my firm, Hermitage Capital, was one of the largest investment advisers in Russia with more than $4 billion invested in Russian stocks.Russia has a well-known reputation for corruption; unfortunately, I discovered that it was far worse than many had thought. While working in Moscow I learned that Russian oligarchs stole from shareholders, which included the fund I advised. Consequently, I had an interest in fighting this endemic corruption, so my firm started doing detailed research on exactly how the oligarchs stole the vast amounts of money that they did. When we were finished with our research we would share it with the domestic and international media.
That all changed in July 2003, when Putin arrested Russia’s biggest oligarch and richest man, Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Putin grabbed Khodorkovsky off his private jet, took him back to Moscow, put him on trial, and allowed television cameras to film Khodorkovsky sitting in a cage right in the middle of the courtroom. That image was extremely powerful, because none of the other oligarchs wanted to be in the same position. After Khodorkovsky’s conviction, the other oligarchs went to Putin and asked him what they needed to do to avoid sitting in the same cage as Khodorkovsky. From what followed, it appeared that Putin’s answer was, “Fifty percent.” He wasn’t saying 50 percent for the Russian government or the presidential administration of Russia, but 50 percent for Vladimir Putin personally. From that moment on, Putin became the biggest oligarch in Russia and the richest man in the world, and my anti-corruption activities would no longer be tolerated.
Eighteen months after my expulsion a pair of simultaneous raids took place in Moscow. Over 25 Interior Ministry officials barged into my Moscow office and the office of the American law firm that represented me. The officials seized all the corporate documents connected to the investment holding companies of the funds that I advised. I didn’t know the purpose of these raids so I hired the smartest Russian lawyer I knew, a 35-year-old named Sergei Magnitsky. I asked Sergei to investigate the purpose of the raids and try to stop whatever illegal plans these officials had.Sergei went out and investigated. He came back with the most astounding conclusion of corporate identity theft: The documents seized by the Interior Ministry were used to fraudulently re-register our Russian investment holding companies to a man named Viktor Markelov, a known criminal convicted of manslaughter. After more digging, Sergei discovered that the stolen companies were used by the perpetrators to misappropriate $230 million of taxes that our companies had paid to the Russian government in the previous year.I had always thought Putin was a nationalist. It seemed inconceivable that he would approve of his officials stealing $230 million from the Russian state. Sergei and I were sure that this was a rogue operation and if we just brought it to the attention of the Russian authorities, the “good guys” would get the “bad guys” and that would be the end of the story.
However, instead of arresting the people who committed the crime, Sergei was arrested. Who took him? The same officials he had testified against. On November 24, 2008, they came to his home, handcuffed him in front of his family, and threw him into pre-trial detention.Sergei’s captors immediately started putting pressure on him to withdraw his testimony. They put him in cells with 14 inmates and eight beds, leaving the lights on 24 hours a day to impose sleep deprivation. They put him in cells with no heat and no windowpanes, and he nearly froze to death. They put him in cells with no toilet, just a hole in the floor and sewage bubbling up. They moved him from cell to cell in the middle of the night without any warning. During his 358 days in detention he was forcibly moved multiple times.They did all of this because they wanted him to withdraw his testimony against the corrupt Interior Ministry officials, and to sign a false statement that he was the one who stole the $230 million—and that he had done so on my instruction.Sergei refused. In spite of the grave pain they inflicted upon him, he would not perjure himself or bear false witness.After six months of this mistreatment, Sergei’s health seriously deteriorated. He developed severe abdominal pains, he lost 40 pounds, and he was diagnosed with pancreatitis and gallstones and prescribed an operation for August 2009. However, the operation never occurred. A week before he was due to have surgery, he was moved to a maximum security prison called Butyrka, which is considered to be one of the harshest prisons in Russia. Most significantly for Sergei, there were no medical facilities there to treat his medical conditions.
After more than three months of untreated pancreatitis and gallstones, Sergei Magnitsky went into critical condition. The Butyrka authorities did not want to have responsibility for him, so they put him in an ambulance and sent him to another prison that had medical facilities. But when he arrived there, instead of putting him in the emergency room, they put him in an isolation cell, chained him to a bed, and eight riot guards came in and beat him with rubber batons.That night he was found dead on the cell floor.Sergei Magnitsky died on November 16, 2009, at the age of 37, leaving a wife and two children.I received the news of his death early the next morning. It was by far the most shocking, heart-breaking, and life-changing news I’ve ever received.Sergei Magnitsky was murdered as my proxy. If Sergei had not been my lawyer, he would still be alive today.That morning I made a vow to Sergei’s memory, to his family, and to myself that I would seek justice and create consequences for the people who murdered him. For the last seven and a half years, I’ve devoted my life to this cause.Even though this case was characterized by injustice all the way through, the circumstances of Sergei’s torture and death were so extreme that I was sure some people would be prosecuted. Unlike other deaths in Russian prisons, which are largely undocumented, Sergei had written everything down. In his 358 days in detention, Sergei wrote over 400 complaints detailing his abuse. In those complaints he described who did what to him, as well as where, how, when, and why. He was able to pass his hand-written complaints to his lawyers, who dutifully filed them with the Russian authorities. Although his complaints were either ignored or rejected, copies of them were retained. As a result, we have the most well-documented case of human rights abuse coming out of Russia in the last 35 years.
It became obvious that if I was going to get any justice for Sergei Magnitsky, I was going to have to find it outside of Russia.But how does one get justice in the West for a murder that took place in Russia? Criminal justice is based on jurisdiction: One cannot prosecute someone in New York for a murder committed in Moscow. As I thought about it, the murder of Sergei Magnitsky was done to cover up the theft of $230 million from the Russian Treasury. I knew that the people who stole that money wouldn’t keep it in Russia. As easily as they stole the money, it could be stolen from them. These people keep their ill-gotten gains in the West, where property rights and rule of law exist. This led to the idea of freezing their assets and banning their visas here in the West. It would not be true justice but it would be much better than the total impunity they enjoyed.In 2010, I traveled to Washington and told Sergei Magnitsky’s story to Senators Benjamin Cardin and John McCain. They were both shocked and appalled and proposed a new piece of legislation called The Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act. This would freeze assets and ban visas for those who killed Sergei as well as other Russians involved in serious human rights abuse.
Putin was furious. Looking for ways to retaliate against American interests, he settled on the most sadistic and evil option of all: banning the adoption of Russian orphans by American families.This was particularly heinous because of the effect it had on the orphans. Russia did not allow the adoption of healthy children, just sick ones. In spite of this, American families came with big hearts and open arms, taking in children with HIV, Down syndrome, Spina Bifida and other serious ailments. They brought them to America, nursed them, cared for them and loved them. Since the Russian orphanage system did not have the resources to look after these children, many of those unlucky enough to remain in Russia would die before their 18th birthday. In practical terms, this meant that Vladimir Putin sentenced his own, most vulnerable and sick Russian orphans to death in order to protect corrupt officials in his regime.Why did Vladimir Putin take such a drastic and malicious step?
This is particularly worrying for Putin, because he is one of the richest men in the world. I estimate that he has accumulated $200 billion of ill-gotten gains from these types of operations over his 17 years in power. He keeps his money in the West and all of his money in the West is potentially exposed to asset freezes and confiscation. Therefore, he has a significant and very personal interest in finding a way to get rid of the Magnitsky sanctions.The second reason why Putin reacted so badly to the passage of the Magnitsky Act is that it destroys the promise of impunity he’s given to all of his corrupt officials.There are approximately ten thousand officials in Russia working for Putin who are given instructions to kill, torture, kidnap, extort money from people, and seize their property. Before the Magnitsky Act, Putin could guarantee them impunity and this system of illegal wealth accumulation worked smoothly. However, after the passage of the Magnitsky Act, Putin’s guarantee disappeared. The Magnitsky Act created real consequences outside of Russia and this created a real problem for Putin and his system of kleptocracy.
One of my main partners in this effort was Boris Nemtsov. Boris testified in front of the U.S. Congress, the European Parliament, the Canadian Parliament, and others to make the point that the Magnitsky Act was a “pro-Russian” piece of legislation because it narrowly targeted corrupt officials and not the Russian people. In 2015, Boris Nemtsov was murdered on the bridge in front of the Kremlin.Boris Nemtsov’s protégé, Vladimir Kara-Murza, also traveled to law-making bodies around the world to make a similar case. After Alexander Bastrykin, the head of the Russian Investigative Committee, was added to the Magnitsky List in December of 2016, Vladimir was poisoned. He suffered multiple organ failure, went into a coma and barely survived.The lawyer who represented Sergei Magnitsky’s mother, Nikolai Gorokhov, has spent the last six years fighting for justice. This spring, the night before he was due in court to testify about the state cover up of Sergei Magnitsky’s murder, he was thrown off the fourth floor of his apartment building. Thankfully he survived and has carried on in the fight for justice.
I’ve received many death threats from Russia. The most notable one came from Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in 2013. When asked by a group of journalists about the death of Sergei Magnitsky, Medvedev replied, “It’s too bad that Sergei Magnitsky is dead and Bill Browder is still alive and free.” I’ve received numerous other death threats from Russian sources through text messages, emails, and voicemails. U.S. government sources have warned me about a planned Russian rendition against me. These threats were in addition to numerous unsuccessful attempts that the Russian government has made to arrest me using Interpol or other formal legal assistance channels.
The Russian government has also used its resources and assets to try to repeal the Magnitsky Act. One of the most shocking attempts took place in the spring and summer of last year when a group of Russians went on a lobbying campaign in Washington to try to repeal the Magnitsky Act by changing the narrative of what had happened to Sergei. According to them, Sergei wasn’t murdered and he wasn’t a whistle-blower, and the Magnitsky Act was based on a false set of facts. They used this story to try to have Sergei’s name taken off of the Global Magnitsky Act that passed in December 2016. They were unsuccessful.Who was this group of Russians acting on behalf of the Russian state? Two men named Pyotr and Denis Katsyv, a woman named Natalia Veselnitskaya, and a large group of American lobbyists, all of whom are described below.
In addition to working on the Katsyv’ s money laundering defense, Ms. Veselnitskaya also headed the aforementioned lobbying campaign to repeal the Magnitsky Act. She hired a number of lobbyists, public relations executives, lawyers, and investigators to assist her in this task.Her first step was to set up a fake NGO that would ostensibly promote Russian adoptions, although it quickly became clear that the NGO’s sole purpose was to repeal the Magnitsky Act. This NGO was called the Human Rights Accountability Global Initiative Foundation (HRAGI). It was registered as a corporation in Delaware with two employees on February 18, 2016. HRAGI was used to pay Washington lobbyists and other agents for the anti-Magnitsky campaign. (HRAGI now seems to be defunct, with taxes due.)Through HRAGI, Rinat Akhmetshin, a former Soviet intelligence officer naturalised as an American citizen, was hired to lead the Magnitsky repeal effort. Mr. Akhmetshin has been involved in a number of similar campaigns where he’s been accused of various unethical and potentially illegal actions like computer hacking.
Veselnitskaya also instructed U.S. law firm Baker Hostetler and their Washington, D.C.-based partner Marc Cymrot to lobby members of Congress to support an amendment taking Sergei Magnitsky’s name off the Global Magnitsky Act. Mr. Cymrot was in contact with Paul Behrends, a congressional staffer on the House Foreign Affairs Committee at the time, as part of the anti-Magnitsky lobbying campaign.
Veselnitskaya, through Baker Hostetler, hired Glenn Simpson of the firm Fusion GPS to conduct a smear campaign against me and Sergei Magnitsky in advance of congressional hearings on the Global Magnitsky Act. He contacted a number of major newspapers and other publications to spread false information that Sergei Magnitsky was not murdered, was not a whistle-blower, and was instead a criminal. They also spread false information that my presentations to lawmakers around the world were untrue.As part of Veselnitskaya’s lobbying, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, Chris Cooper of the Potomac Group, was hired to organize the Washington, D.C.-based premiere of a fake documentary about Sergei Magnitsky and myself. This was one the best examples of Putin’s propaganda.They hired Howard Schweitzer of Cozzen O’Connor Public Strategies and former Congressman Ronald Dellums to lobby members of Congress on Capitol Hill to repeal the Magnitsky Act and to remove Sergei’s name from the Global Magnitsky bill.On June 13, 2016, they funded a major event at the Newseum to show their fake documentary, inviting representatives of Congress and the State Department to attend.While they were conducting these operations in Washington, D.C., at no time did they indicate that they were acting on behalf of Russian government interests, nor did they file disclosures under the Foreign Agent Registration Act.United States law is very explicit that those acting on behalf of foreign governments and their interests must register under FARA so that there is transparency about their interests and their motives.Since none of these people registered, my firm wrote to the Department of Justice in July 2016 and presented the facts.I hope that my story will help you understand the methods of Russian operatives in Washington and how they use U.S. enablers to achieve major foreign policy goals without disclosing those interests. I also hope that this story and others like it may lead to a change in the FARA enforcement regime in the future.Thank you.

Dare to struggle; dare to win.

Bernie Sanders and his group called "Our Revolution" headed up by former Communication Workers of American President, Larry Cohen, and Nina Turner proclaim themselves to be socialists... so why don't they do and say what any good socialists would do: advocate for socialized health care paid for with a Peace Dividend obtained by ending militarism and wars?

Why is so hard for these self=proclaimed socialists to advocate for "socialized health care?"

Medicare is not socialized health care.

Medicare for All--- single-payer universal health care--- is not socialized health care.

Medicare only works for the well-heeled upper middle class intellectuals looking for gimmicks to trick people into voting for Democrats who use Medicare for All as an election ploy to get elected only to ignore their promise once elected.

Lyndon Johnson advocated Medicare for All and had to relent in the face of opposition from his own Democrats who didn't even want Medicare to cover seniors in the first place but were forced by seniors to deliver Medicare... and the millionaire labor leaders sold this to their memberships with a lot of fan-fare claiming Medicare would be extended to everyone in a very short time because everyone would realize how good it was... these were the same labor leaders who so enthusiastically pushed credit cards and consumer debt on their members instead of fighting for real living wages to pay for housing, food, automobiles and education--- and, of course the Medicare co-pays and supplemental insurances required in order to avoid medical bankruptcies.

The phony socialists like Bernie Sanders, Larry Cohen and Nina Turner can pay for their health care--- most working people can't afford the price of health care through Obamacare or Medicare.

Real socialists will be calling for socialized health care--- everyone in, nobody out; publicly funded, publicly administered and publicly delivered, nothing controversial... just like the model of American public education; fully all-inclusive, comprehensive health care from cradle to grave.

Working people are going to have to realize they don't get anything from this Wall Street bribed government unless they fight for it.

If single-payer universal health care--- Medicare for All--- really led to socialized health care Canada and other countries would have socialized health care by now... but, instead, their neo-liberal Wall Street serving governments are cutting their health care systems and privatizing many health care services; why? Because workers have not mounted militant campaigns to fight and struggle for the implementation of socialized health care.

We need real socialists in Congress.

Democrats won't even defend the reforms working people have died to win.

Democrats talk about supporting small business; but, these small businesses ruthlessly exploit workers while many deduct Social Security from worker's paychecks and then keep the money and never pay it into Social Security--- Democrats have done nothing to stop this theft of wages.


Just like Democrats have refused to repeal and rescind the main obstacle to union organizing--- At Will Employment legislation.

Let's get some real socialists elected to Congress. Let's run a real socialist for president.

Dare to struggle for what is right and just; dare to win.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Democrats, led by Bernie Sanders, are organizing marches and protests for "Medicare for All"... but:

The only time Democrats advocate "Medicare for All" is when they are campaigning or when Republicans are in power.


The Democrats did not even improve Medicare when Obama and the Democrats had the opportunity.


Instead the Democrats increased co-pays; made people pay more for Medicare Part B; eliminated many coverages and gave doctors free reign to set fees for Medicare covered health care services instead of controlling their prices and the cost of drugs.


Most working class people can't even afford Medicare Part B.


Never mentioned is the expensive, complex web and maze of the supplemental health insurance industry we are being subjected to to "cover" (with all of its own deductibles) what Medicare still won't cover.


Thousands of working class families are forced to file medical bankruptcies because they can't afford the Medicare co-pays--- working class families are losing their homes, cars and everything they worked a lifetime to buy to pay health care debts.


Working class homeowners are being "offered" the scam of reverse home mortgages touted on television by Hollywood hucksters as a way to pay medical bills.


Hundreds of doctors, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and nursing homes are making big profits off of Medicare; this is wrong, too, but Democrats have done nothing to stop this.


In many cases, patients routinely get double-billed for Medicare services.


Al Capone would have loved the Medicare racket.


As even the Wall Street Journal has noted, doctors and the reactionary American Medical Association have been put in charge of establishing what doctors get paid for their services under Medicare and this has pushed all health care costs up.


Medicare could have been a step towards a National Public Health Care System but instead Obama appointed the reactionary Alan Simpson to launch an attack on Medicare and Medicaid.


And to top it off, all of these profiteers are colluding to undermine Medicare by routinely intentionally not "coding" bills properly so Medicare--- and insurance companies--- will deny claims. Insurance companies will not pay claims denied by Medicare.


Democrats will now try to convince people they are for Medicare for All in an attempt to prevent a discussion about the real solution to this health care mess: a National Public Health Care System which would be based on the model of public education... but, here again, Obama encouraged a massive attack on public education by supporting private charter schools instead of defending the integrity of public education.


Republicans and Democrats despise any program that is public; they love private for profit everything... just like the greedy doctors, pharmaceutical companies, insurance industry, hospitals and nursing homes... and these contributors to their campaigns prove it.


Here is what we need...


A National Public Health Care System---


We need a health care system that is all-inclusive and comprehensive covering everything from ore-natal to through burial:


General health.


Dental.



Eyes.


Hearing--- ever priced hearing aids?


Mental.


Family planning--- including abortions. Everything Planned Parenthood does should be included and expanded.


Publicly financed. Publicly administered. Publicly delivered... just like public education.


How to pay?


With a huge Peace Dividend... end militarism and these dirty imperialist wars. We don't need to update and upgrade the nuclear weapons arsenal. We definitely don't need a trillion-dollar F-35 fighter jet program.


We don't need over 800 U.S. foreign military bases dotting the globe... we do need hundreds of community and neighborhood health care centers dispensing free health care across our country creating twelve to fifteen million good-paying jobs.


Those supporting Medicare for All and Obamacare are very selfish people even though they hypocritically claim to be so concerned about people who will lose coverage but they don't give two hoots about those of us who can't afford the "benefits" of what they are defending and offering. If they really cared they would be calling for reforms to the present Medicare mess rather than calling for shifting this mess to even more people with the co-pays and expensive Medicare Part B.


I realize these co-pays and the high price of Medicare Part B mean nothing to these selfish well-heeled upper middle class Democratic party hacks but they should be held accountable for what they want to dump on the rest of us.


When all is said and done, these Democratic Party hacks don't even have any intention of delivering what they claim to be supporting--- they are just playing us for fools just like they have done in every single election since 1948.


When they finally delivered Medicare it was only for a small part of the population and they never made any attempt to improve it but they sure spent a lot of time making it less inclusive--- these aren't people we can entrust with health care reform--- after all, it was these same Democratic Party hacks who worked behind our backs to derail even the mild single-payer reform.


The price we pay for these dirty imperialist wars is not having the world-class National Public Health Care System we are entitled to. We have created the wealth being squandered on militarism and wars as the Wall Street crowd profits from both health care and militarism and wars and these Wall Street parasites hoard the rest of the wealth we have created.


We don't need, nor want, a market-based for-profit health care system--- the only way to resolve this health care mess is through a socialized National Public Health Care System... about as controversial as public education and would be based on the model of public education which has been proven to work so well when properly funded and administered.


And let us be clear about this:


Defending Obamacare is not the way to get us closer to real health care reform.


The Affordable Care Act should be repealed and replaced with a National Public Health Care System.


Obamacare is nothing but the "Health Insurance and Pharmaceutical Industry Bailout and Profit Maximization Act."


Obama promised single-payer Medicare for All when first campaigning for president which probably won him the election--- and then he turned around a betrayed those who voted for him.


There are many ways to pay for a National Public Health Care System:


Through a Peace Dividend.


A payroll tax on employees and employers.


A hefty tax on corporate profits.


A tax on all Wall Street transactions.


It will probably take a combination of all of these.


And it wouldn't hurt to have a government concerned about a healthy food chain and a healthy and safe living environment, along with a healthy and safe working environment with a focus on an education that emphasizes how to stay healthy and fit... and a health care system which stresses preventative health care.


How can we be healthy when our air, water and land is being polluted and contaminated?


I could mention more about the working environment and the toll working long hours at poverty wages takes on a person, too, but this would be well beyond the thinking abilities of the well-heeled upper middle-class muddle-headed intellectuals who are selfish Democratic Party hacks pushing for Medicare for All in order to keep health care in this country market-based and for-profit.


The American people want no part of a health care system that includes the health insurance industry and its over-paid corporate executives.


The American people want no part of a market-driven for-profit health care system.


It must also be noted the very same Democratic Party hacks, over-paid media pundits, think-tanks and front groups and their "partners" now pushing this Medicare for All scam, which was mobilized under the leadership of the Campaign for America's Future, were the same ones who banded together to derail and disrupt the single-payer universal health care movement in order to make way for Barack Obama's "Affordable Care Act" which has only made health care more expensive for most people while still leaving tens of millions without any access to health care.


We should also remember that it was President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins, who fervently advocated for socialized health care.


We need a National Public Health Care System--- everyone in; nobody left out.


Eleanor Roosevelt advocated health care as a human right in helping to draft the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights; so did Dr. Martin Luther King.


Repeal Obamacare and replace it with a National Public Health Care System.


I'm wondering why all of these other health care schemes have been so shrouded in lies and deceit?


Put doctors and all health care workers on the public payroll and make education free through university.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Unity

I'm wondering why it is so difficult for people to figure out that the solutions to our problems are the basis of unity?

It would seem to me it should be rather simple to build a huge movement capable of winning change in this country under the theme:

Americans united for prosperity for all through peace and disarmament...

And then articulate our problems and their solutions...

And how a Peace Dividend would pay for these reforms.

One of the big problems I view as an impediment to this kind of unity is that we are allowing these politicians to define our problems which they don't understand to begin with because they have no connection to our problems and then they turn around and arrogantly tell us what solutions to our problems are required and even these lame solutions are nothing more than campaign gimmicks they have no intent on implementing anyways...

A perfect example is health care.

These politicians keep insisting that we must maintain a system of health care based on the scheme, and scam, of free market for-profit health care when everyone knows this doesn't work--- except for those getting rich.

Not one single politician in Washington has the moral or political integrity to even tolerate a discussion about a National Public Health Care System based on the model of public education.

And the media suppresses all discussion of socialized health care even though millions of people in this country support socialist solutions to our problems.

Even Bernie Sanders who claims to be a socialist refuses to bring forward the socialist solution to this health care mess.

To achieve unity we need to bring forward issues, problems and very specific solutions to our problems.

Unity is key; we can not afford to remain splintered along sectarian lines.

Education.

Organization.

And Unity in struggle has always been the key to working people solving our problems.

This means a huge broad-based people's front movement made up of liberals, progressives and leftists.

It all starts with small groups of people getting together around the kitchen table... writing letters to the editor, passing out leaflets, circulating petitions, demonstrating.

No one will do this for us; we must take the initiative. We must become the catalysts for united action in the streets and at the ballot box.

Monday, July 17, 2017


About the G-20


FIRE AND RIDDLES AT HAMBURG
Victor Grossman, Tikkun's Berlin Correspondent
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The concert hall in Hamburg’s wonderful new Elbphilharmonie edifice resounded with Schiller’s thrilling Ode to Joy and world brotherhood in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. Nineteen heads of state were there for a G-20 conference; only Erdogan from Turkey was missing; he may not appreciate Beethoven or was too busy worrying about the huge peaceful march to Istanbul, a first major response to his repression. All other leaders and their spouses heard the music; even Donald Trump was seen for a TV moment with half-closed eyes, in euphoric enjoyment of Beethoven, we assume. Or why else? 

For the outside world it was not Schiller’s sparks of joyful brotherhood which marked that evening – and two more evenings - but those from the torches of  black-masked figures setting fire to cars and dumpsters, throwing fireworks, breaking shop windows and shop interiors.  

What lay behind the destruction and all the water cannon and pepper gas used in response? Did it overshadow the meetings? Was anything accomplished in polished conference rooms and luxurious hotel suites carefully protected from the wild, fiery street scenes? Was it worth hundreds of injured police officers and arrests and millions in damage?

The event was rife with contradictions and haziness, not only from smoke and tear gas. The groups opposing the conference ranged in tactics from mild disapproval to violent disruption, some condemned climate warming, others condemned capitalism. One group denounced Erdogan, others opposed Merkel, muslimophobe racists, or Putin. For the first two hours, it seems, the police did nothing to control the masked men with torches and hammers but then moved in hard with a water barrage against a large group which was defiantly blocking the street but was non-violent, with no connection to the masked “black bloc”. One police spokesperson explained their long wait to fears of Molotov cocktails, cement blocks or stones thrown from rooftops in Hamburg’s famous leftwing-anarchist Schanzenviertel neighborhood, not wanting to risk lives of police and civilians. But well before any Bush, Obama or other controversial dignitary visits in Germany every sewer is examined and sealed off, divers check river bottoms, windows along the route are ordered shut; even a hostile mouse could hardly get through and do any damage. Here 20 top world leaders were expected, for months, but no-one seemed to think of the rooftops until the flames spread.  

Some things are still hard to explain. By skipping musically from Beethoven to Gilbert and Sullivan’s very British operetta HMS Pinafore, we find a song famously casting doubt on appearances: 

“Things are seldom what they seem, Skim milk masquerades as cream…” Etc.

At heated events in the past, some masked men were rather “skim milk” than cream. When the G-8 met at Heiligendamm in 2007, a leading stone-thrower lost his mask and was recognized as a police employee. The far left-anarchist center in Hamburg (a building known as “Red Flora”), a main organizing center of the current protests, has been infiltrated more than once by very “leftist”, inquisitive, even libidinously active police spies. Some truths may never come out; who is masquerading here and why. New, angry demands from the CDU and the SPD that “leftist-terrorists” from all of Europe should be listed in a register make me wonder; isn’t someone who reads Karl Marx or calls for socialism a “leftist-terrorist” for some dignitaries making these demands? And isn’t this ”down with leftists” campaign one more reason to suspect black-masked provocateurs?  

The city-state Hamburg is now ruled by a coalition of Social Democrats and Greens. The Social Democratic mayor has sometimes been considered as a popular new national head of his slumping party. Only until this weekend, that is! Now he is being pressed by indignant Christian Democrats (Angela Merkel’s CDU) to step down. Germany’s second city is at stake and so are crucial German elections, due in eleven weeks. The calls for even more authoritarian measures than recently approved have grown to a louder crescendo than any joyous chorus in the 9th Symphony. 

The CDU is well ahead in the national polls, at about 38%. Its desired partner, the right-wing big-biz Free Democrats, are moving upward with 8% and could supply the desired majority. But polls often change, and Merkel and her band would gladly squelch any remaining chance that potential rivals might somehow present a challenge. After a brief surge with their new leader Martin Schulz the Social Democrats slumped back downward and now trail by 13 points. But who knows? Some still hope they can overcome repugnance toward the LINKE and join them and the Greens, who will team up with almost anyone to win a few cabinet seats, and squeeze out a ruling coalition trio. For the CDU, angry new demands for more “law and order” from countless frightened citizens might have been seemed just the needed guarantee for rescuing Germany from an imagined “leftist threat”.

Did such tactics play a secret role last weekend? We can only hum again: “Things are seldom what they seem, Skim milk masquerades as cream…”

It would seem, however, that Angela Merkel did hope to improve her world standing, already so strong, with herself as courteous hostess of a great conference, heading toward the top of the world pile, despite differences with the transatlantic ally, indeed, replacing that unruly clown in some areas without quite breaking with big brother’s trade and ebbing yet still powerful political and military muscle. Did she navigate the tight rope? This scene, too, is murky, with deceptive lights and shadows. 

The decision on saving the Paris Agreement, without Trump, is rated as a limited success, since no one expected him to back down. Was nearly everyone else’s yes-vote a triumph for our sea and air? Paris had been a step forward, if a limited one. But the Christian Democrats (and Greens) have ties to Daimler and Porsche; official Social Democrats enjoy financial ties to Volkswagen (sharing with Qatar) and Bavarian Christian politicians are close to BMW. None fought passionately for better air conditions, their electronically deceptive exhaust pipes aimed in false directions. German “Marshall Plan assistance” to sub-Saharan Africa is to be mostly private, hence profit-oriented, fond of wide, monstrous monoculture with few workers, ruined landscapes and countless shaky boats risking Mediterranean waves and winds. That does not bode well for big advances, nor did the lack of any African leader except Jacob Zuma, more an expert on private swimming pools than cleaner oceans. 

The trade agreement has been billed as the one really big success. But trade agreements now on the drawing boards seem likely to be rehashes of the dumped TTIP Trade Treaty between Europe and the USA, beneficial if you’re a big import-export trader but not otherwise. And Washington may come around, anyway. Trump pledges to ditch NAFTA no longer seem so very definite, any more than making Mexico build that wall. Promises can sour, too, like skim milk. 

Two happenings during the conference, though pushed to the media sidelines by the torches or the wardrobes of the Trump ladies and Ms. Merkel, were potentially far more crucial. Merkel, Putin and Macron met to try defusing the Ukraine conflict. We do not know what was accomplished, if anything, but it was good that they talked. Almost immediately NATO boss Jens Stoltenberg raced off to Kiev to undo possible de-escalation by opening an exhibition called “Ukraine-NATO. A  Formula for Security”. His obvious aim (for years now): to fully close the nearly total, heavily-armed NATO ring around Russia. We shall see how many warning statements, euros, battalions and weapons Merkel and Macron will commit to that ring – or will they surprise everyone by working towards peace?
Far more important was Friday’s meeting between Putin and Trump, when they agreed on a cease-fire in southwest Syria. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said: “This is our first indication of the US and Russia being able to work together in Syria… The two leaders had a lengthy discussion of other areas in Syria where we can work together". Both the US and Russia "promised to ensure that all groups there comply with the ceasefire" and "provide humanitarian access". Thus far the cease fire has held. 

Of course, no-one knows what Donald Trump will say or do tomorrow, perhaps not even Donald Trump. He has ordered more and bigger maneuvers in South Korea, against South Korean wishes, for they would be worst hit if sparks lead to explosions. He backed off from cyberwar agreements. But volatile and untrustworthy as he is, and a growing danger in domestic policy, the fact that the head of the most powerful military force in the world took one hesitant step toward reducing tension with a country pictured as “the enemy” was a second Hamburg event offering any hope. 

Why do so many US politicians and journalists attack such hopes? Do they want more bloodshed in Syria? Or some bloodthirsty idiot stationed in Estonia or Poland to light that fuse; we have many bloodthirsty idiots around, some with hand weapons in schools and dancehalls, some commanding drones, aircraft carriers and atomic warheads. Should we let them escalate confrontation? 

One such liberal was full of hatred toward Putin for “helping to orchestrate an attack on the sovereignty of the United States during the last U.S. election”. His evidence? “According to all indications”. No more. Yet when Trump shook hands with Putin and patted him on the back he found that “a disturbing if not sickening display….No one is arguing that seeking peace and lowering tensions with Russia isn’t necessary. But demonstrating strength and resolve, in ways small and large, is an imperative in trying to reach those ends. That and making it abundantly clear that mucking around in American elections will not be tolerated.” Such language brings back terrible memories! 

Perhaps, after quoting Dan Rather, I should recall Washington’s total involvement (with Pres. William Clinton) in having Russia “increasingly passing into de facto western receivership”, with American advisors and funds openly backing Yeltsin, leading to the near total collapse of the county. A huge US-backed IMF loan at the time was, according to the New York Times “expected to be helpful to President Boris N. Yeltsin in the presidential election”. As TIME noted, “Yanks to the rescue: The secret story of how American advisers helped Yeltsin win”.

I also think of the Ukraine in February 2014 when Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, after “contributing” $5 billion, said over the phone “I think Yats is the guy.” And indeed, Arseniy Yatseniuk was then “the guy”. There have been so many such stories from Chile to Myanmar; I wonder whether those so horrified today were sickened then at US attacks on others’ sovereignty. There has been lots of masquerading, I think, by disguised provocateurs or indignant sovereignty defenders. Their threats against even hesitant moves toward dialogue, disarmament, de-escalation in the world’s charged atmosphere are what truly sicken me - and frighten me!

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Book Review: Hardboiled Activist: the Work and Politics of Dashiell Hammett

Hardboiled Activist: the Work and Politics of Dashiell Hammett

by Ken Fuller


Praxis Press: Glasgow, Scotland, Great Britain, 2017. $25. 334 Pp.

Revewed by Roger Keeran
July 11, 2017







Ever since Roland Barthe’s essay, “La Mort d’auteur” (“The Death of the Author) in 1967, academic critics have come to regard an author’s political views and biography as meaningless tools for understanding a novel that willy nilly has a life of its own. Though this idea has some merit, it has deprived literary criticism of a lot of pleasure. Fortunately, for readers interested in the life and work of Dashiell Hammett, Ken Fuller does not share Barthe’s approach, and consequently his study of Hammett’s “work and politics” is not only serious but a lot of fun.


This book is particularly fascinating for any leftist who has ever read The Red Harvest or seen “The Maltese Falcon” or “The Thin Man” and wondered what these works had to do with the life of their author, a presumed Communist, whose longtime companion was the Communist playwright Lillian Hellman and who went to prison rather than name names.


Fuller explores the anomaly of a writer whose works unlike his life lacked obvious progressive meaning.


Plenty of material has appeared on Dashiell Hammett’s life and work. At least thirteen studies or biographies of Hammett exist (actually sixteen, if you count multiple studies by the same author). The merit of Fuller’s book resides not in new facts (though he does provide new confirmation of Hammett’s membership in the Communist Party), but in its analysis and understanding of his life and work.


Fuller makes a two-fold argument that departs from earlier treatments of Hammett.   Unlike biographers and critics who have seen Marxist or socialist ideas in Hammett’s work, Fuller argues that at the time he was writing, Hammett was not a Marxist, and that at most he was a nihilist, and that the only thing political about his work was a vague anti-capitalism. During the Popular Front, Hammett joined the Communist Party, and while a Communist, he no longer wrote fiction. Fuller also argues that most treatments of Hammett’s politics are terribly misleading.   Presenting Hammett as a dupe, naïve, or intellectually lazy, most treatments disfigure the man and misconstrue the history. During the last twenty-five years of his life, Hammett was a committed and knowledgeable Communist activist, and he did not travel this path alone.


Fuller is a man of the left. He was a trade union official in London and a historian who has written a history of London bus workers and a three volume history of the left in the Philippines. Fuller shows more empathy to Hammett’s views than anyone else who has written about him, including Lillian Hellman. Fuller observes that most writers have more interest in showing their own anti-Communist credentials than understanding Hammett.  Indeed, Fuller’s refutation of some of Hellman’s memories, recalls Mary McCarthy’s jibe that “every word she [Hellman] writes is false, including ‘and’ and ‘but.’”   In any case, having a biographer who understands a subject’s politics counts a lot when politics occupy as central a place in a subject’s life as they did in Hammett’s. Not only did Hammett most likely belong to the Party from 1936 or 37 until his death in 1961, but also he was involved with twenty-two publications or organizations associated with the Communist Party, including a long stint as a teacher at the Party’s Jefferson School in New York City.


Fuller’s perspective leads to some penetrating insights into Hammett’s writing and such puzzles of his life as why and when he became a Communist and why he never produced another book or short story after 1936. Though not all of Fuller’s answers break new ground or dispel all doubt, he argues well and provokes thought.


The most outstanding contribution of the book is Fuller’s discussion of Hammett’s politics in Chapter 7, “Hardboiled activist.”   Many of those who have written about Hammett hold him in contempt for accepting the “Soviet line” and rejecting anti-Stalinism. As Fuller says, “None of these writers even attempt to explain why Hammett (or Hellman) would have adopted these positions.” Fuller does just that. He imagines why Hammett was attracted to the Popular Front positions, why he supported the verdicts of the Moscow Trials, why he rejected George Orwell’s position on the Spanish Civil War, and why he supported the Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact of 1939 and the change in the Communist Party’s position that came with it.   Fuller’s summary and analysis of the plots of every book and short story can try one’s patience, but with this chapter his account comes alive. The whole book is worth Fuller’s exercise in historical re-imagining.


For someone who has devoted so much time and attention to him, Fuller does not display much liking for Hammett. Fuller’s judgments about the man and his inferences drawn from Hammett’s writings constitute the most problematic aspects of the book. Undoubtedly, there was much about Hammett to dislike. He made a lot of money from his books and screenplays and spent it wantonly on wine, women, and for a time, a lavish, Hollywood lifestyle. He evaded his duties as a provider for his former wife and two daughters. He had affairs, saw prostitutes, and on more than once occasion, hit a woman. In his stories and books particularly in the 1920s, he occasionally used racist language and stereotypes. For much of his life, he had a severe drinking problem, and for the last twenty-five years, he produced no books or stories.


Still, some of Fuller judgments though never rash are sometimes harsh. Fuller says, for example, “It must surely be the case that few communist parties in the world would have welcomed someone with a lifestyle like Hammett’s.” This is dubious. Infidelity and alcoholism certainly existed in Communist ranks. Hammett’s drinking and luxury differed not a whit from that of Hollywood Communists, like Dalton Trumbo. Similarly, to say that “a Marxist would never have penned” the “blatant escapism” of some of Hammett’s screenplays, ignores the constraints that Hollywood writers labored under as well as some of the screenplays produced by other Communist screenwriters. Trumbo, for example, no stranger to escapism, penned or helped pen such films as “Carnival Story,” “Curtain Call,” and “Sorority House.”
Moreover, Fuller claims that because of “his ability to give up drink for extended periods,” Hammett was a drunk but not an “alcoholic.” This is a rather quaint opinion. Most medical professionals regard alcoholism as any drinking that leads to mental or physical problems. Hammett’s drinking fit that. It was linked to suicidal depression and a nervous breakdown, as well as deteriorating physical health. Fuller credits Hammett for giving up alcohol for good in 1949 but more scorns his alcoholism than pitying it or even recognizing it as such.


Fuller also scores Hammett’s use of racist language and stereotypes in his stories.   Such usage certainly strikes contemporary ears as offensive. Yet, is Fuller correct to say that “a socialist, let alone a Marxist would not have employed them?” Unfortunately, such American Socialist notables as Victor Berger and Jack London used racist language, and some racially exclusionary practices even existed in fraternal groups connected with the Communist Party until 1930, when the Party campaigned to educate its members and eradicate such behavior. Roland Barthe’s caution about not confusing an author with his/her works might have application here. That is to say, the racial words of characters or even of a narrator are not necessarily reflective of an author’s values.   As Fuller shows, Hammett’s writing often portrayed the corruption, venality and criminality of a capitalist society in which a progressive thought or character rarely appeared. Racism was certainly part of the world Hammett described and hence his description may not be the best guide to his personal views. More telling is the testimony of his daughter Jo Hammett (quoted by Fuller) who said that he had begun life with “the usual racial biases.”


If Fuller and Hammett’s daughter are right, then the most striking thing about Hammett’s “racial biases,” is not that he once had them but how thoroughly he shed them. As a Communist Hammett’s devoted most of his time to the Civil Rights Congress (a Communist-led organization formed in 1946 by the amalgamation of the National Negro Congress, the International Labor Defense and the National Federation for Constitutional Liberties) for which he was the New York president. Fuller says that this organization “would have the biggest impact on his life.” Fuller, however, only discusses one aspect of the Congress’ work, namely, raising bail for Communists indicted under the Smith Act. Hammett’s refusal to turn over names of bail fund donors resulted in him going to prison for contempt of court.   The Civil Rights Congress, however, mainly concerned itself with defending the civil rights of African-Americans. Indeed, the Congress spearheaded the most noteworthy civil rights cases of its time, including the campaigns to free Willie McGee, the Martinsville Seven, and the Trenton Six.   (See Gerald Horne, Communist Front? The Civil Rights Congress, 1946-1956.) Thus, Fuller, who scores the lack of dialectics in Hammett’s writing, does not give quite enough credit to Hammett’s own dialectical change.   Hammett not only changed from an agent for the strikebreaking Pinkerton Agency to a Communist, but from a casual racist to a civil rights activist. If there was much to dislike about Hammett, there was also much to admire.


Such reservations are small potatoes, while Fuller’s book provides both meat and potatoes. He treats his subject with seriousness and his readers with intelligence. I cannot imagine a more politically empathetic and engaging treatment of Hammett’s life and work.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Mayor Bill de Blasio joins protestors in Germany... unity against the G-20, for a united people's front against Wall Street and its junior partners.

The Democrats and Republicans comprise Wall Street's two-party trap. We are caught in this trap and must break free. We need a working class based people's party that is both anti-monopoly and anti-imperialist to get us on the road to socialism or we are doomed.


Join the Campaign for a “21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity”


We are fed up with politicians campaigning on promises of “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs” and then failing to make themselves legislatively responsible for attaining and maintaining full employment.


We are fed up with our tax dollars being squandered on militarism and wars instead of being used to create jobs by solving the problems of the people and defending our living environment… its time to beat swords into plowshares. Put people to work solving the problems of the people.


A National Public Health Care System would create over twelve-million new jobs paying real living wages providing people with free health care--- general medical, eyes, ears, dental, family planning and mental health--- through a network of neighborhood and community health care centers; this is a better use of our tax-dollars than wasting our human and financial resources on a far flung empire of over 800 U.S. military bases around the world. Or, it could be financed the same way Social Security is financed. Or paid for with a tax on Wall Street transactions. Or financed with a combination of these methods. Public funding. Public administration. Public delivery… nothing controversial; just like public education.


A National Public Child Care System would create over three-million new jobs providing working class families with free child care.


We need to restore the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (C.E.T.A.), Works Progress Administration (WPA) and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).


“At Will Employment” legislation in states across the country needs to be rescinded and repealed to expand democracy in the workplace and provide workers with the right to freely participate in the communities where they live.


All attacks on immigrant workers, documented and undocumented, need to end.
Planned Parenthood needs to be defended and programs expanded.


We insist Congress and the president enact full employment legislation which makes them legislatively responsible for attaining and maintaining full employment; assure everyone who wants a job employment at real living wages in line with the actual cost-of-living.


Full employment would provide stability for Social Security; everyone paying in; everyone getting something out. A Basic Income for All must be guaranteed. Pensions must be honored and protected. The Wall Street swindle of pension funds must end; restore the Glass-Steagall Act.


Turn Habitat for Humanity into a massive public works project to create jobs and assure everyone has a decent home.


Free education through university; cancel student debt. End military recruitment in the high schools.
Unemployment and lack of a National Public Health Care System is the price we pay for militarism and wars.


We are entitled to a Peace Dividend……... Let’s talk about the politics and economics of livelihood.


Prosperity can only be derived through peace and disarmament. Militarism and these dirty imperialist wars must end.


The Democrats and Republicans comprise Wall Street's two-party trap. We are caught in this trap and we must break free. We need a working class based people's party that is both anti-monopoly and anti-imperialist to get us on the road to socialism or we are doomed. We must challenge Wall Street for political and economic power.


The imperialist leaders of the G-20 must be opposed by a massive international people's front united against our common enemy: Wall Street and its junior partners.


Democratic New York Mayor Bill de Blasio joining demonstrators at the G-20 Summit should be welcomed and this kind of unity in the people's movements should be encouraged.