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...

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

Contact info:

Contact info:

Let's talk...

Let's talk...

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Harper's Magazine poses an important question... unfortunately their answer is wrong.

Harper's Magazine asks:

Is Donald Trump a fascist or plutocrat?

For the record; this is what Trump officially is:

Trump is an anti-labor, warmongering, racist, fascist, capitalist plutocrat intentionally selected and chosen by a small secretive oligarchy of the most parasitic financiers, the biggest bankers, oilmen and monopolists from every industry to carry out Wall Street's imperialist agenda--- through Donald Trump the Military-Industrial Complex, the merchants of death and destruction, are in full control of OUR government's apparatus and control all levers of power.

There you have it very accurately in capsule form.

If anyone disagrees, I would be interested in hearing what your disagreement with this assessment is.

My thoughts about Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders woke a lot of people up... plus, most important, he shook things up. But, also important to understand... once he woke people up and shook things up he then betrayed those he woke up and left people hang out to dry because he moved to the right in supporting Hillary Clinton and the Democrats when he should have moved to the left by helping to start a new working class-based people's party with peace and disarmament at the top of an anti-monopoly/anti-imperialist agenda that included real reforms intending to solve our problems while challenging Wall Street for political and economic power.

History has shown many such betrayals--- there was the betrayal by Norman Thomas that led to the decimation of the Socialist Party; and, there was the betrayal of Earl Browder which led to the decimation of the Communist Party USA... both Thomas and Browder had built much larger and more powerful movements than Bernie Sanders has, but we shouldn't minimize what Bernie Sanders contributed because it has been important.

Bernie Sanders now joins the legacy of these betrayals--- those who built large and powerful movements only to take the wrong turn and destroy what they helped to create.

But, life--- just like the class struggle--- does go on and people will find their way to doing what needs to be done... with or without Bernie Sanders.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Citizen diplomacy can stop war against North Korea.

The Trump Administration is trying to find every excuse possible to attack North Korea.

What I don't understand is why a large group of diverse American citizens don't go over to North Korea as a group to sit down and talk with Kim Jong-un and Pak Pong-ju to find out what exactly it is going to take to resolve things.

Citizen diplomacy is what we need now because we have, not only this moron Donald Trump and his goose-stepping Administration; but a bunch of worthless Democrats equally as warmongering working together to inflame bad relations between our two countries at a time when South Koreans and North Koreans are eager for the reunification of Korea as one socialist country. Neither South Koreans nor North Koreans want this Jeju Naval Base to go into operation with nuclear armed U.S. Naval ships always present always trying to inflame tensions.

It would seem to me we could put together a group of concerned citizens to go to North Korea to find a peaceful resolution to this problem.

I would be willing to go. Anyone else?

Maybe a group of labor activists, civil rights activists, peace activists, attorneys, clergy, etc.

President Bill Clinton undermined negotiations with North Korea after Jimmy Carter opened the way for dialog and peaceful diplomacy in 1994.

Now, why can't a group of concerned American citizens take up citizen-diplomacy where Jimmy  Carter left off.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

What is Bernie Sanders up to now?

Bernie Sanders says he is not a Democrat yet he is on a nine state tour with Tom Perez to build the Democratic Party. I'm having a very hard time figuring this out.

I'm guessing many other people can't figure out what Bernie Sanders is up to.

Why isn't Bernie Sanders on a tour with people trying to build a new party?

Look at the United Kingdom... the socialist Arthur Scargill has been engaged in building the non-sectarian explicitly anti-monopoly/anti-capitalist/anti-imperialist Socialist Labour Party; wouldn't this kind of initiative work in this country since we now have millions of people supporting socialism?

We could be pushing an agenda like this:

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.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Socialist Labour Party founded in the spirit of James Connolly by Arthur Scargill...

The Socialist Labour Party in Great Britain was founded in the spirit of James Connolly by the socialist former leader of the mineworkers, Arthur Scargill... there is no reason we shouldn't have a similar party here in the United States.
Check it out:

Monday, April 17, 2017

The staff of the LBJ Library and Museum has taken note... now will they provide the information I have requested?

So, my blog and my Facebook page have come to the attention of the staff of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum.

Perhaps now there will be some movement in opening up to the public the recordings and notes of the meeting LBJ and his staff held with George McGovern and Sargent Shriver at the Johnson Ranch at which time LBJ endorsed the McGovern-Shriver ticket.

Now, more than ever, we need to have this discussion made available to the public.

LBJ was a "New Deal" politician who bought into the imperialist politics of "pragmatism" only to find that the Vietnam War halted his attempt to create the "Great Society."

Johnson shamefully bought into the politics of "anti-Communism" late into his political career even though he never really had his heart in it because he understood Communist were leaders and activists in labor and civil rights struggles and he found out very quickly Communists opposed his dirty war in Vietnam. But, even during the war Johnson never severed his ties with Communists which his political handlers hated to no ends.

At the end of his life, Johnson was returning to his liberal New Deal roots and the LBJ Library and Museum seeks to cover this up under the guise that this aspect of Johnson's later life after the presidency is not really of interest to the LBJ Library and Museum.

Also, the LBJ Library holds the archives of liberal populist Congressman Wright Patman and is trying to hide Patman's drafting and introduction of the "Full Employment Act of 1945" which would have made the president and Congress responsible for attaining and maintaining full employment at real living wages.

In fact, very little is available at the LBJ Library and Museum regarding LBJ's activities and allies during the period of the "New Deal."

And even less information is being made available regarding the progressive populist politics of LBJ's father from whom LBJ learned his politics.

I am glad my pushing and prodding while doing research has forced the LBJ Library and Museum to release a number of documents and materials not previously made available to researchers and the public.

It is a disgrace university professors, journalists and researchers are not joining the effort to get access to the Johnson-McGovern meeting so the American people more fully understand how squandering resources and wealth on militarism and wars robs us of a better life while creating so much misery, death and destruction in other countries.

It is time, long over-due, to find out how Johnson and McGovern discussed this issue which led to Johnson endorsing McGovern.

This is a big part of the anti-imperialist education the American people require in order to stop these dirty wars.

Quite frankly, I think the content of this discussion between LBJ and McGovern will show that LBJ would never have supported these other wars for oil in Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Sudan--- nor would he have supported this jingoism and national chauvinism putting us on the path to war with North Korea which will quickly expand to World War III.

George McGovern in his book is on record as being adamantly opposed to these wars for oil and there is no doubt he would have been among the first to forcefully oppose Trump's belligerence towards North Korea.

George McGovern died vindicated in his quest for peace.

Those in power are trying to prevent LBJ's vindication after leaving the presidency. And in doing so deny the American people a powerful weapon in the fight for peace although LBJ's endorsement of McGovern should be such a vindication.

We do know that LBJ's friend and selection as Attorney General, Ramsey Clark, has long ago vindicated himself, too.

And even Robert McNamara in his dying days admitted the Vietnam war was wrong. It is interesting to note that the LBJ Library and Museum places a major focus on a meeting between Johnson and his top Administration discussing waging the Vietnam War under the same old oak tree on the Johnson Ranch where he later endorsed George McGovern.

I have heard through the grapevine, that legendary journalist Walter Cronkite engaged LBJ in conversation about the Vietnam War while interviewing him about racism and civil rights during which time Johnson pooh-poohed his opponents, many of whom were Democrats, who called him a "Communist."

While Johnson never was a Communist, he certainly maintained friendships with many Communists in the labor and civil rights movement.

Just an interesting point: The staff at the LBJ Library and Museum have told me they have never thought of trying to obtain the file J. Edgar Hoover maintained on LBJ during his long political career. I am told I am the first person to ever suggest these files be sought even though everyone has acknowledged such a "file" does exist.

Previously I have made public a vicious anti-Communist letter from a leader of the United Steelworkers Union seeking Johnson's participation in conducting a witch-hunt against Communist labor activist, organizer and leader Clinton Jencks and the Mine-Mill union which Johnson refused to participate in.

There is a whole lot about LBJ powerful people want to keep hidden from the American people.

This is the kind of information that has long been buried by the LBJ Library and Museum:

It would be helpful if the LBJ Library and Museum would make available correspondence between LBJ and Communist Party USA leader Earl Browder during the New Deal era.

Trump operatives are instigating violence at demonstrations here in the United States

Trump needs violence at demonstrations in order to bring about political repression.

What we need now in order to stop Trump is massive demonstrations and people speaking out vigorously for peace--- letter writing, petitions, all kinds of demonstrations (large and small everywhere).

Say no to imperialist violence and wars in Korea, Yemen, Iraq, Sudan.

Democrats and Republicans are united on wars.

The media is helping to incite wars.

Only informed citizen-activists can stop these dirty Wall Street imperialist oil wars.

Say no to another war in Korea,

I think we are very close to World War III and nuclear war.

The United States has no business occupying South Korea or threatening North Korea.

There never should have been a Korean War to begin with. Even Republican Howard Buffett opposed the Korean War and pointed out that it was the United States who started the war under false pretenses.

Trump must be stopped by informed citizen activists.

Some very important developments are taking place regarding the Trump Administration and North Korea; these developments are not good for the Korean people (North or South) and threaten World War III and nuclear annihilation bringing on a nuclear winter only the warmongering billionaires with their ten year bunkers are stupid enough to think they can "survive."

I hope these points will be widely discussed:

First of all; it is important to note that there is no public support from the American people for any kind of military action against North Korea.

Second; the Trump Administration is now declaring that the era of "strategic patience" with North Korea has come to an end. There has been no such U.S. foreign policy. The Trump Administration and the neo-conservatives and neo-liberals have only recently coined this name for what they perceive U.S. foreign policy to have been--- when this has never been part of U.S. foreign policy towards North Korea. Actual U.S. foreign policy towards North Korea has been one of imperialist bullying and belligerence--- and outright war--- since the end of World War II.

Third; the Trump Administration has hypocritically declared they intend to keep the Korean Peninsula "Nuclear Free" even though it is the United States that introduced and continues to maintain nuclear military arsenal on and around the Korean Peninsula with its warships that are armed with nuclear weapons.

Fourth; there has been no attempt to normalize peaceful and mutually beneficial relations with North Korea.

Fifth; the United States has maintained a foreign policy towards North Korea that is aimed at destroying socialism in North Korea.

Sixth; a new liberal government is likely to come to power in the next election that has stated it intends to normalize relations with North Korea and seek unification. Up to now, the South Korean governments have all been U.S. imposed puppet governments intended to provide Wall Street with cheap industrial and manufacturing labor.

Seventh; a broad anti-imperialist all people's Korean front allied with the United States, China and Russia was instrumental in helping to route the Japanese imperialists and this broad anti-imperialist people's front was for socialism. Truman and General Douglas McArthur drenched this popular democratic will of the people in blood--- murdering hundreds of thousands of Koreans as a prelude to the Korean War.

Eighth; the United States started the Korean War which led to the division of Korea in order to head off the intent of the Korean people for one anti-imperialist socialist Korea.

Our demands must be:

Hands off North Korea.

Stop meddling in the political, economic and cultural affairs of South Korea.

Respect the right of the Korean people (North and South) to seek re-unification.

Respect the decision of the Korean people to proceed with their choice of economy.

Stop bullying North Korea.

Halt the construction of the Jeju Naval Base.

It is Trump and his Administration posing the threat to peace; not North Korea; both Trump and Pence should be impeached and removed from office for their threats, belligerence, warmongering and failure to adhere to international norms and failure to peaceful resolution and diplomacy of international problems which violates all international norms.

Only complete barbaric morons reminiscent of the goose-stepping fascist warmongers like Hitler, Mussolini, Mannerheim, Franco and Tojo would declare opposition to patient diplomacy leading to peaceful understanding and relations choosing to threaten war instead.

The United States has no interests requiring fighting war on the Korean Peninsula.

The Korean people can resolve their own problems and they will manage to do this peacefully.

Make no mistake; history proves that the Korean people were our allies during World War II and sought to remain friends with the American people--- ALL RESPONSIBILITY for the animosity between the United States and North Korea and most Korean people is the responsibility of the United States government acting on behalf of Wall Street's interests.

No Koreans want war; only the morons occupying the White House and Congress bribed by Wall Street's Military-Industrial Complex want war with North Korea.

And only the dumbest of the dumb morons believe it is possible to limit a war to North Korea.

Sane people understand a war against North Korea means World War III, nuclear annihilation and a very long nuclear winter from which humanity will never recover.

Only complete idiots like Trump and Pence think bombs and wars can solve the complex problems in the world today--- especially when most of these problems are directly related to Wall Street's desire and intent to remain the top dog.

Decent-minded people will insist on peaceful resolutions of all problems. Wars solve nothing.

We are living through the twilight of world capitalism now in rapid decay during its "highest stage" of imperialism--- it's a very dangerous time; a time that calls for informed grassroots citizen activism at every level in the struggle for peace.

We must say "NO" to Trump's dirty imperialist wars; this is our responsibility as citizens.

If we can't force Trump from office, we must at least find a way to force him from this warmongering.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Hands off Syria

End Canadian Complicity in the Dirty War – Hands Off Syria Now

Resolution adopted by the Central Committee, Communist Party of Canada, March 5, 2017

Since its onset in 2011, the devastating conflict in Syria has resulted in a staggering death toll of several hundred thousand, with millions more internally displaced or driven into exile, and with massive destruction to homes, schools, hospitals and national infrastructure. Now in its seventh year, the war has reached a new, critical juncture, and the anti-war movement internationally must do everything possible to demand an immediate end the imperialist interference driving the conflict, and to help bring about a just, negotiated peace.

From its very beginning, the Syrian conflict has never been a ‘civil war’ in any real sense, much less a ‘popular uprising’ or ‘revolution’; rather, it was – and remains today – a proxy war of aggression launched by the U.S. and its NATO imperialist allies, with the active support of Saudi Arabia, the reactionary Gulf States and Israel. Using the 2011 ‘Arab spring’ protests against the elected government in Damascus as an opportunity and convenient cover, imperialism covertly organized, financed and armed extremist groups composed primarily of foreign mercenaries to launch a military insurgency aimed at toppling the Bashir Al-Assad government. The ultimate objective of this ‘regime change’ operation was not only to topple the current (elected) government in Damascus, but also to weaken and eventually split up the country into a number of pliant mini-states divided along religious, sectarian lines. Such a balkanization of Syria would not only strengthen Israeli domination in the region and undermine the Palestinian struggle against the occupation and for national self-determination; it would also further isolate and expose neighbouring Iran as the next target of imperialism and its regional allies.

This ‘proxy war’ strategy however has now become completely unhinged. Ever since the Al-Assad government requested and received military support from the Russian Federation in September 2015, the tables have turned. The assistance rendered by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah forces, combined with the resolute resistance of the Syrian people themselves – the vast majority of whom have rallied in support of the government and army – has dramatically shifted the strategic balance of forces in the country. The defeat and withdrawal of the so-called ‘rebel’ forces from East Aleppo, along with other battleground setbacks for the insurgent forces, including the recent re-liberation of Palmyra by the Syrian army and retreat of ISIS forces in the eastern part of the country, have created a qualitatively new situation.

Some of the ‘rebel’ forces have now been forced to accept a limited ceasefire agreement with the Syrian government, monitored by Russia, Turkey and Iran. Negotiations between the Assad government and at least some of the extremist groups are now also underway in Geneva aimed at achieving a long-term political resolution to the conflict.

There are disturbing signs however that U.S. imperialism is determined to scuttle any possibility of a negotiated peace in Syria that does not serve its interests. It is using various UN agencies and international NGOs, such as Amnesty International, to float wild and unsubstantiated accusations against Syria for using chemical weapons, murdering political prisoners, and committing other ‘crimes against humanity’, in order to further demonize the Assad government and its allies, and prevent any peace agreement.

Washington has also given its official ‘blessing’ to plans announced recently by the Saudi regime to send its troops into Syria to attack both ISIS and government forces and create ‘safe havens’ and ‘liberated zones’ to be handed over to “moderate” extremist forces to administrate and control. This would essentially complete the process of carving up Syria into a patchwork of mini-sectarian states and enclaves.

Already, Turkish ground forces, and US and other NATO special forces, are operating inside Syria without any government sanction or approval. The entry of Saudi forces would further inflame the already dangerous situation, and would likely result in a direct confrontation between Syrian, Russian and Iranian forces on one hand, and US/NATO powers and their state allies on the other, with all of the dire consequences which that might spawn.

Canada remains directly implicated in the Syrian conflict, despite media reports to the contrary. While the Trudeau government reluctantly agreed in 2016 to halt direct Canadian CF-18 air attacks inside Syrian territory, Canadian jets are continuing to provide strategic and intelligence support to the US military campaign, refueling and finding targets for other US “Coalition” aircraft. This is a direct violation of Syrian sovereignty and independence. The Communist Party of Canada condemns this continued collusion with the illegal and dangerous war on Syria, and calls for the immediate halt to this Canadian military involvement.

Instead, Canada must contribute actively and sincerely to the search for a peaceful, negotiated settlement to the war, one which guarantees the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Syria. Syria’s future must be determined by the Syrian people themselves, free of foreign interference and intimidation.

As a sign of Canada’s desire to help bring about a genuine peace in Syria, the Canadian government must immediately revoke all economic and other sanctions against that country, re-open the Syrian embassy in Ottawa, and renew Canada’s diplomatic relations with Syria on the basis of full equality and mutual respect for the principles of international law.

The massive misinformation and vilification campaign against Syria and its allies over the years has led to much confusion and division within the broad peace movement, effectively silencing its opposition to this imperialist aggression. Given the ever-increasing danger that the Syrian conflict could spill over and envelop the entire Middle East, and even ignite a globalized confrontation between the leading nuclear powers, the paralysis and resulting silence must be overcome, and peace forces across Canada and around the world need to mobilize against this proxy war, and demand a negotiated political solution. The Communist Party of Canada restates its active support for the efforts of the Canadian Peace Congress, the “Hands Off Syria” Coalition and other peace and solidarity forces working to expose the truth behind the insidious imperialist conspiracy against Syria, and for a just end to this horrendous conflict.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Trump's hypocritical empathy... a pretext for barbaric and savage bombing.

Trump says he attacked Syria because he felt so bad about the dead children.

Yet, Trump has turned Syrian refugee families with children fleeing this war away from the United States.

And Trump's empathy for children did not extend to the dozens of children he murdered in air strikes in Mosul, Iraq.

Trump's empathy did not extend to the eight year old girl murdered by U.S. Navy Seals who attacked Yemen.

There is nothing worse than this hypocritical empathy used in order to carry out this kind of barbaric savagery against a country which has never done anything to harm us.

I would point out that Trump probably killed these children in the first place as a pretext for attacking Syria.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Trump meets with the Chinese today and our intellectually challenged moron President is going to talk to the Chinese about North Korea.

Much is being made today about North Korea and Trump's meetings with the Chinese by these over-paid media pundits whose primary job it is to whip people into frenzies to support Wall Street's very profitable dirty imperialist wars.

I make a lot of notes when I'm reading things and often forget to write down who says what and where I got it from so I don't share it.

But, in this case, I'm sharing because there is so much truth involved:

"It’s easy to dismiss Kim Jong-un as a madman. But there’s a long history of US aggression against the North, which we forget at our peril."

Quite frankly, the real madman is sitting in the White House when he isn't promoting his resort and golfing at Mar-a-Lago.

Was it Assad or the CIA?

Did the CIA explode these chemical weapon bombs in Syria to whip the American people into a mood for a big war?

Think about this:

What motive would Assad all of a sudden have to bomb civilians with chemical weapons?
This has all the earmarks of a CIA action.

Have I gone "out on a limb" suggesting the CIA is responsible for the chemical weapons explosions in Syria?

I think not... Remember the USS Maine, the lies that led us into the Korean War, the Gulf of Tonkin and "weapons of mass destruction?"

U.S. imperialism uses incidents it creates while blaming others as the excuse and pretext to justify going to war.

Who, if not the CIA, was responsible for the huge 2011 explosion in Cyprus that brought down the democratically elected Communist government of Dimitris Christofias?

The CIA uses murder and mayhem to undermine governments all over the world not to Wall Street's liking so I don't think it is out of character for the CIA to be behind this release of chemical weapons in Syria.

After all, it was the noted journalist Seymour Hersh who made the charge that it was Hillary Clinton who helped arrange for these so-called "Syrian rebels" to attain Sarin nerve gas.

And then we have Trump looking for a way to try to make himself appear to be a legitimate President... something that isn't possible.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Manila to host Cuba solidarity conference

·         Written by  Ken Fuller 
·         Tuesday, 04 April 2017 00:00
·         Daily Tribune short while ago, the discussion at the weekly meeting of the Tagbilaran Debating Society, composed of disputatious foreigners lubricated by beer in a restaurant close by the city’s pier, turned to the subject of healthcare.
With Trump’s supporters among the US expat community anxious to defend his efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act against the guffaws of the rest of us, it is hardly surprising that the issue arose. Anyway, one of the European debaters made the point that healthcare is hotly-disputed all over the world, not just in the USA.
If you’re Swiss, he said, you can cross the border into Germany and buy drugs — manufactured in Switzerland! — at half the price you’d pay at home. The corporations — Big Pharma — were the villains of the piece, and the important thing was to control costs. 
Where in the world were the costs of medical care not a problem?
Cuba, I said.
Yes, he conceded, Cuba has an excellent healthcare system, and its doctors are among the best in the world, but are costs controlled?
They are, and for one very simple reason: In Cuba’s healthcare system there is no private sector seeking to profit from human need.
Quite apart from providing care for its people, of course, the Cuban system also sends tens of thousands of doctors and nurses to assist other countries — often where there has been a disaster, but also where the local system is simply unable to cope.
Last September, following a visit to Cuba by Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial, it was announced that Cuba was willing to provide doctors to serve in remote areas of the Philippines. I wonder what happened to that idea.
At the time of this announcement, the press here reported that Cuba has one doctor per 1,075 people, compared to the Philippine ratio of one per 33,000. Actually, the Cuban ratio is a great deal better than this. According to the CIA’s “World Factbook” (which is hardly likely to exaggerate the Cuban achievement), in 2010 Cuba had 6.72 physicians per 1,000 population.
In case you’re wondering, that compares to 2.45 per thousand in the USA (2011). If Trump’s plan had succeeded, of course, a further 24 million Americans would have lost insurance coverage, whereas in Cuba everyone has access to healthcare, which is free at the point of use.
Another way in which Cuba differs from many other countries is that, at a time when many are pursuing “austerity” regimes, it will often, when faced with a social problem, increase benefits.
One problem that Cuba is grappling with is that over the past 30 years the fertility rate has not been high enough to replace the population. In recent months, social benefits have been improved in an attempt to reverse this trend.
Thus, when a woman returns to work following her prenatal and postnatal maternity leave, she will now continue to receive her maternity benefit, in addition to her normal salary, until the child in one year old.
If a grandparent takes care of the child until the age of one, he/she will receive 60 percent of his/her average monthly salary over the previous year.
Should a woman have two jobs, she will receive the economic and social benefit provided in each of the employment contracts, proportionate to the time worked.
For mothers with two children in a day-care center or half-board school, the rate will be reduced by 50 percent and payment for a third or further child will be waived completely.
The personal income tax of self-employed women with two or more children under 17 is now halved. Similarly, self-employed childcare assistants or caregivers for the sick, elderly and disabled will see their monthly minimum tax payments halved.
Such achievements and initiatives by a third world country, and the fact that for over half a century Cuba has withstood all attempts by its “free market” northern neighbor to subvert its social justice regime, has elicited international admiration. This has often resulted in the formation of friendship and solidarity organizations.
Two such organizations in the Philippines are the Philippine-Cuba Cultural and Friendship Association and the Philippine-Cuba Friendship Society, which have come together to act as the organizing committee for the 8th Asia-Pacific Regional Conference of Solidarity with Cuba.
Presided over by Francisco Nemenzo Jr. (president of the Philippine Organizing Committee) and Kenia Serrano (president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples and head of the Cuban delegation), the conference will be held next weekend, April 8 and 9, at the Holiday Inn Manila Galleria.
The first International Conference of Solidarity with Cuba was held in Havana in 1994, during one of the most difficult periods for Cuba as it came to terms with loss of trade and support following the fall of the socialist bloc in Eastern Europe.
Next weekend’s conference will be the first to be held in a country without a socialist, or socialist-oriented, government. Nevertheless, Mayor Joseph Estrada will host a dinner for the delegates at the Manila Hotel on April 8, and the following evening Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. will host cocktails at MalacaƱang Palace.
The conference will take the form of two commissions. One of these will discuss the role of friendship and solidarity organizations in the campaign to end the USA’s unjust economic, financial and trade blockade against Cuba, and for the return of the Guantanamo naval base to Cuban sovereignty; the other will consider strategies to strengthen the solidarity movement through alternative media, and the dissemination of truth concerning Cuba’s politico-economic and socio-cultural life and achievements.
Best wishes for a successful conference, compaƱeros!