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Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday November News on Politics and History

The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was one of the most important events of the Cold War. Rulers in the East and the West distorted what socialism and any democratic movement was on its head. Both sides did not want the workers to have a truly democratically run society in their own interests and to end imperialism outright. That is why people in the Eastern bloc fought back against dogmatic, Stalinist communism. Many workers set up workers’ councils, which was a legitimate, genuine working class rule system. The Revolution in Hungary came after Stalin died in 1953. His successor was Nikita Khrushchev. He allowed some political debate in order to solve economic issues. Hungary had economic stagnation and the secret police of the AVH spied on people. The AVH tortured and executed anyone who questioned the regime. These acts were wrong. In the end of October, student led demonstrations were formed in solidarity with a protest in Poland. It formed mass action that called for the removal of Russian troops and the local heads of state. People marched. The police fired on the protesters. This caused a revolutionary insurrection to develop. The AVH killed innocent people. The reformer Imre Nagy came into power. Nagy was opposed by the Rakosi regime, which used the AVH terrorists to harm the people of Hungary. Later, Russian troops entered Budapest and other major cities to regain control. Workers armed themselves and even some from the Hungarian army joined the rebellion as well. Councils of workers, soldiers, and students were formed all over the country. They took over radio stations to broadcast their views. They wanted free elections and the removal of Russian troops. The Soviets even refused to negotiate with the revolutionaries. The USSR used tanks and suppressed the Hungarian Revolution. Ironically, many Soviet troops refused to fight or joined the ranks of the revolutionaries. Nagy was arrested and later executed. The Russians used artillery and air strikes. They shelled strongholds of the revolutionary working class districts. So, the Hungarian revolutionaries were heroes while the Stalinists were acting as fascists. Hungary was soon occupied by the Soviets for decades more. Yet, factory workers, workers in general, students, and other people of Hungary stood up heroically against oppression. So, the 1956 Revolution was not an anti-socialist, pro-capitalist rebellion. It was about workers and the people of Hungary standing up against injustices. Ferenc Töke, a vice-president of the Central Workers Council of Greater Budapest, later recalled: “No reactionary tendency manifested itself throughout the entire strike. There was never, at any moment, a question of the former owners eventually returning” (Jean-Jacques Marie and Balazs Nagy [eds.], Pologne-Hongrie 1956 [1966]). The Central Workers Council of Budapest declared in a 27 November 1956 appeal to workers councils throughout the country: “Faithful to this mission, we defend, even at the cost of our lives, our factories and our fatherland against any attempt to restore capitalism.” Workers seized the factories and mines and set up elected workers councils (soviets), embryonic organs of proletarian political power. For weeks the workers fought courageously—by means of strikes, demonstrations and armed struggle—before this political revolution was suppressed. The Hungary Revolution of 1956 should always be remembered.

I believe in net neutrality completely. Some reactionary Tea Party members don’t know what net neutrality is. The Internet is a very important tool in the world. We see that corporate companies like Comcast refuse to treat all web traffic equally. Some Tea Partiers are defending Comcast and AT&T. Net Neutrality is about promoting a free and open Internet. Not just some corporations want to end net neutrality, but some in the FCC too. Protecting net neutrality is about protecting human rights, protecting free speech, and allowing people to be heard on their own terms. So, people should have a free and unfettered access to the Internet. The telecom companies should not be allowed to monopolize the Internet for their own profit. All ideas and all enterprises ought to have equal rights to travel on the Internet. Yes, we need economic justice now. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. radically changed. He wanted poverty to be abolished via an economic bill of rights, a guaranteed annual income, and a radical redistribution of economic and political power, which I agree with. Imperialism is antithetical to democratic freedoms, so that is why Dr. King courageously opposed the unjust Vietnam War. In our generation, we still have to combat materialism, the deification of property, and the deification of money. Human rights and the essence of community are superior to the worship of property. So, we need not oligarchy or plutocracy. We need justice. Men, women, and children deserve freedom. The Black in America series (which soon will show information on the issue of police brutality) just needs to go for broke now and just keep it real with the public. They should talk in a radical, revolutionary fashion. They should mention that black people are being oppressed in many different ways and things must change. A series on police brutality focuses on an important issue. The new series should talk about the system of white supremacy, biases in society, unjust laws, how the police have been used to suppress liberation movements for years and decades (for example, the police outright killed many Brothers and Sisters from the old school Black Panther Party, etc. The police used bombs and bullets against MOVE many years ago in Philadelphia), and other topics to get people interested.

Inexcusable, reprehensible errors were made by the Secret Service. They know that the first African-American President (with huge threats going on against him) should definitely be protected in a forthright fashion. One radio was not working properly and other technical issues represent incompetence. The White House should definitely be much more secure. The Secret Service has no choice, but to radically reevaluate their policies and make the necessary changes (including numerous people being fired), which can protect the lives of the First Family. It is obvious that the injustices in Ferguson and throughout America violate national and international laws. The parents of Michael Brown have shown grace, courage, and strength. I don't know how the UN can help out this situation in a forthright way. I do know that the events of Ferguson signaled that enough is enough. This is a turning point in our history and we express solidarity for black African peoples the world over. I don’t believe that the word feminist should be banned for free speech reasons and for the fact that ideological diversity ought to exist in any society. Also, many black women call themselves womanist and I have no issue with that. A black woman has the right to call herself a feminist, a womanist, etc. People have to allow women to be empowered and to live their own lives without authoritarian oppression. Not to mention that we, as a community, need more solidarity and more self-determination. Real unity is important. I don’t believe in unifying with reactionary extremists. I do believe in an authentic unity that focuses on establishing justice for black men, black women, and black children. It is a type of unity that rejects classism and seeks for the poor to experience economic justice (in giving the poor a living wage and pure human dignity). It is that type of focus which we need more have in this society. We live in a new era. We have witnessed the growth of the service job market while industrialization has declined in many places of America. Ideologically, we have the right to reject consumerism, materialism, and imperialism. We have to think like our ancestors thought (which is the embrace of the communal spirit and the love for the essence of community). We need to further grow the revolutionary voices of the black community, which has existed decades ago. We need not only hope, but action too. I have faith in a better future too.

We live in a new political era of America with the GOP controlling most of the House and most of the Senate. The results of the 2014 Election was never about the people embracing all of the reactionary Republican policies. It was about the rejection of the status quo. Many voter initiatives involving a higher minimum wage, on issues relating to marijuana, etc. passed in numerous states. The four Republican dominated states even approved measures to increase the minimum wage like Alaska, Nebraska, Arkansas, and South Dakota. Four initiatives requiring paid sick leave also passed on November 4, making it three states and 16 cities that have now passed some kind of paid sick leave law. One of those states is Massachusetts, where voters put Republican businessman Charlie Baker in the governor's mansion. The Democrats lost since many of them refused to courageously stand up for the interests of the poor and the working class. They just want to be more centrist. We know what the Republicans are all about. They are pushing a reactionary agenda like the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline (which is about using American land to export oil globally), anti-immigration policies, cut corporate taxes, and cut Social Security. Many Republicans even support numerous measures to restrict the right to even vote. The proto-fascist reactionary Republicans want the American dream to be government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich. A true government is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Proto-fascist Republicans fear the common people including the poor and people of color. That is why we should focus on fighting for economic justice and prosperity. That will grow families, help the poor, and see marriages improve. We should end the prison industrial complex (or part of the new Jim Crow which Sister Michelle Alexander has articulated greatly). Our communities need to be reconstructed to not embrace materialism or possessive individualism. We need more humanistic, cooperative or communal values to flourish. There is nothing wrong with black people embracing self-affirmation, self-respect, self-love, and black personhood (as a people and as individuals). We have to reject the deification of ego, the deification of property, and selfishness. Greed is not good. Wall Street oligarchs harming the American people have proven that fact. The overarching point is that fascism didn’t end in 1945. It is still in existence today. That is why we need more mobilization, organization, and more movement building in the world. We should embrace the vision of creating a community where universal freedom, dignity, equality, and justice are established. We don’t need propaganda from the Koch Brothers. We need the advancement of transparency, democracy, and true human dignity.

Frederick Douglas was a heroic black man. He stood up against injustice and express amazing courage in the world. He was born in 1818 as a slave in Maryland. He learned to read and write in secret as a child. Later, he defended himself against a slaveholder. Later, he escaped to freedom in 1838. He dedicated his time to the cause to end slavery. He spoke at conventions and at other meetings worldwide. He published his autobiography entitled, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.” To this very day, his autobiography is read heavily not only in America, but worldwide. The autobiography was published in 1845. He also founded the abolitionist newspaper called, “The North Star.” The abolitionist movement was very diverse and it was multiracial in its composition. Some abolitionists were conservative and just wanted to peacefully convince the South to end slavery via just a gradual process. Obviously, history teaches us that action will not work, because social change can only come when resistance and struggle against injustice are enacted. Other abolitionists were more progressive and wanted an immediate end to slavery via political and social actions. Brother David Walker was a great black abolitionist who opposed slavery. He wrote his famous “Appeal” in 1829. He supported the first black newspaper in America called “Freedom’s Journal.” Henry Highland Garnett and Martin Delany were other courageous black abolitionists who followed the Black Nationalist path of emigration (or that black people should go into Africa or other locations when American society oppresses black people so much in America). Frederick Douglas viewed the struggle of black people to have freedom as a racial and class struggle. He called out the exploitation of the workers by the elite. William Lloyd Garrison was a white abolitionist leader. He agreed with Frederick Douglas on many issues like rejecting insurrection and rejecting emigration (my view is that black people have the right to voluntarily live in America or voluntarily live in any nation of the world including the continent of Africa). Garrison and Douglas disagreed on issues too. Frederick Douglas created his own newspaper called “The North Star” when Garrison opposed such an act. Frederick Douglas rejected the notion that nonviolent resistance could totally end slavery. Garrison rejected massive political action while Douglas wanted more political action as a means to end slavery. He is very famous for his speech about the Fourth of July and how it is hypocritical for asking a salve to celebrate the Fourth of July when black people are being oppressed in America. This speech is relevant in our times as well. He gave it to the Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society on July 5, 1852. He later supported the actions of John Brown and others in their Harpers Ferry rebellion in Virginia (which he disapproved of at first). John Brown and others died for the cause of freedom. Frederick Douglas put pressure on Abraham Lincoln to act more courageous in dealing with slavery. Douglas supported black Union soldiers too. After the civil war, Frederick Douglas supported the suffrage movement. He was a great orator and scholar. He worked with the strong Ida B. Wells as well. Ida B. Wells and Frederick Douglas worked together on boycotting the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, for its failure to collaborate with the black community on exhibits representing African-American life. Frederick scarified a lot. His house was burnt down in New York and he has to move to D.C. In 1892, Douglass constructed rental housing for blacks, now known as Douglass Place, in the Fells Point area of Baltimore. The complex still exists, and in 2003 was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Frederick Douglas and Ida B. Wells also worked in anti-lynching efforts and desired freedom and justice for black people. He passed away in 1895 at 77. He suffered a heart attack after giving a speech (in a meeting of the National Council of Women in Washington, D.C.) which received a standing ovation. RIP Brother Frederick Douglas.

By Timothy