Bourgeois political figures from both the Republican and Democratic Parties are now hung up about Bernie Sanders’ praises for Cuba’s sophisticated healthcare system.
Get over it — objective truth belongs to no one. The entire world is knowledgeable of Cuba’s prioritization of healthcare for its people. The advancements in medicine and accessability to healthcare are among the many achievements of the Cuban Revolution.
Needless to mention how many poor people in countries subjugated by U.S. and other imperialist powers have been able to be seen by medical doctors for the first time thanks to Cuba’s international medical programs.
Whatever you may opinionate about Bernie Sanders version of “socialism” his limited and mild praise for Cuba’s medical system was enough to throw every defender of the capitalist system into a feverish frenzy of anti-Communist hatred.
Why? Simply because Cuban medicine sheds a positive light on the Cuban Revolution led by its historical iconic figures Comandante Fidel Castro Ruz and Ernesto “Che” Guevara. It also sheds light on what is possible in a revolutionary socialist United States.
Before absorbing and mimicking the attacks of the right-wing against Bernie Sanders remarks let’s ask ourselves the following: Why is there such a sense of uncertainty and insecurity among the working poor in the United States when it comes to healthcare?
Everyday we hear Donald Trump threatening to cut Medicaid and Medicare while Democratic presidential candidates echo his views by expressing doubts or disapproval for everyone to receive healthcare — a fundamental human right.
We have yet to see how Bernie Sanders will withstand the onslaught of attacks for his comment recognizing Cuba’s medical achievements. However this controversy results, there are ways to criticize him from the left as opposed from the right. For those with critical views of Bernie Sanders’ version of “socialism” or “Democratic Socialism” we must distant our criticisms from those made by bourgeois elements on the political right.
To his credit, Bernie Sanders pointed to Cuba’s achievements, despite the criminal U.S. economic blockade against that country. His right to state an indisputable fact about Cuba is something we must defend him on, just as much as criticizing his positions that are conciliatory to capitalism.
Healthcare for all was made possible in Cuba simply because the country’s resources are no longer horded by a privileged and wealthy minority, like in the United States. The 1959 Cuban Revolution was launched to abolish that.
Now, imagine what is possible if we were to be free of the parasitical capitalist class in this country. That is why we do not need a new president — we need a new system, where free healthcare, free education, housing for all, dignity and respect for humanity becomes the law.
You say you’re disappointed – what on earth were you thinking about when Mueller was first appointed special counsel?
Sure the rulers are not homogeneous and are contentious among themselves, but keep in mind that it was an inquiry created by and approved by them. Mueller, who is also a Republican, is a staunch cadre of the ruling class, and is highly regarded by them. His military career and as Director of the FBI under both Republican and Democratic presidents confirms his complete loyalty to this system.
If there is a strict rule these villains in power live by is to protect the political integrity of the capitalist system. Mueller’s investigative mandate was not aimed to protect “democracy”, but rather, to protect a system of exploitation, social privilege and inequality.
Whose interest did you think the special counsel really represented? Certainly not our’s, the tens of millions of working class people who are being impacted by the policies of the Trump administration, and every administration that came before — which have acted consistently with the interest of the ruling class — a class interest that Democrats also represent. This fiasco was more like thieves investigating thieves.
Of course Trump should be indicted, most people in this country will agree. In fact, people are now speaking about the Mueller Report everywhere with the highest level of disappointment. But what Trump should have been investigated, indicted and imprisoned for goes beyond collusion — which many in the ruling class are also motivated to engage in for their business interest.
What Trump is indisputably guilty of is stepping up the full agenda of billionaires in this country, who conspire daily to execute an onslaught against poor working class, people of color.
What Trump is guilty of is working feverishly on eliminating the gains African Americans made during the Civil Rights movement and openly legitimizing traditional racist groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazies. He is also guilty of degrading Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Muslims, and other people of color. Special Council Mueller’s mandate did not include addressing questions of social oppression which are the unavoidable consequence of capitalist society.
Trump should also face criminal charges for plotting war against Venezuela; his disgusting and offensive disposition towards the Palestinian people when he established a U.S. embassy in Jerusalem; and his hurtful, chastising imperial behavior towards Puerto Rico, as thousands died horribly as a result of Hurricane Maria.
YES, Trump should be investigated, indicted and imprisoned, but by a people’s tribunal that can guarantee justice in the fullest sense, independent of financial interests and the intricate connections within the ruling class. Such would require a people’s revolutionary movement. Not only would Trump be held accountable for his criminal activities but so too would the capitalist system and the white supremacist movement which he represents.
In the past week many people have been devastated, especially in New York City’s Bronx community, by news video coverage of 15 year old Lesandro Guzman-Feliz, who was also known as “Junior.” The graphic video shows Lesandro being savagely stabbed and hacked to death by members of a street youth gang known as “Los Trinitarios.”
There has been a tremendous outpouring of sympathy by people throughout the city and across the country for Lesandro Guzman-Feliz’s grieving mother and family, who will be impacted by this tragic event for years to come. Unfortunately, public discussion of this case was immediately limited by the media and has not addressed the social context that fuel these events in poor working-class communities.
Media reports have emphasized the perpetrators’ life-time record of criminal activity and zeroed-in on outcries for justice by neighborhood residents. And understandably so, mainstream news outlets sensationalized reports of this tragedy and have in various ways called upon stepping up police activity in oppressed people of color neighborhoods while insidiously attempting to facilitate community support for this end.
First we must ask, why is the racist police —with the assistance of the news media— trying to manipulate the justified anguish of this predominantly Dominican Bronx neighborhood? Why is the police controlling the narrative of these events?
As we well know, the police have never been a friend of the Latino community. The NYPD has historically been responsible for killing scores of unarmed Black and Latino people in this city, with violence comparable to that which was deployed against Lesandro.
And despite the police’s repeated mention that Lesandro Guzman-Feliz aspired to be a cop and that he was a member of the Explorers, a youth club under the auspices of the NYPD, when the police was called to the scene it treated Lesandro with the same contempt it treats all youth of color.
In fact, the attitudes of the two responding NYPD officers serve as a window into how the police view violence among people of color. A later-released video shows that as Lesandro laid bleeding to death two uniformed cops stood back without attempting to save his life.
No one can deny that these hideous crimes merit punishment and justice. Such acts are indisputably a clear indication of a mental and emotional departure from basic moral values and a sense of humanity. Death by senseless violence continues to be part of a disturbing panorama that describes the reality for many communities of color.
Violence conducted by individuals for the pettiest of reason is a behavioral matter that can only be addressed in a discussion of culture of the society within which it happens. That is, the violent historical setting from which capitalist culture developed. And because culture is at the heart of this matter, it is unfortunate that a percentage of unstable individuals among oppressed people will tend to mimic the violence of our oppressors.
Violence among oppressed people will never be a problem that the police will attempt to eradicate. They will point to its existence but only as a ploy to convince us that diminishing civil liberties and other meager freedoms works to our “safety.” In short, the deviant behavior of a few will always be used to enhance the powers of the police, courts and prisons.
In fact, since the very beginning of the police, dating back to slavery, their profession centers on inflicting violence on our people whenever they deem necessary. For this reason alone poor working class people cannot rely on the police state for salvation.
Gang violence was never as acute of a problem as it is now, until the 1980’s, when an influx of drugs consumed many communities of color. There was ample evidence, then, pointing to law enforcement, along with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), as the main perpetrators in what soon thereafter became a widespread crisis. Gang leaders were corrupted which made these organizations an essential part of the operations that led to funneling drugs into poor communities.
Ultimately every oppressed person in this country will be compelled to realize that peace and security can only come about from our own actions and organizing efforts.
Historically, not all street organizations involved themselves in hideous criminal activity. Many youths joined these groups for noble reasons and simply to obtain a sense of safety and belonging. There are instances in history where street youth groups protected neighborhood residents from crime.
One good example is the Young Lords, a Puerto Rican/Latino youth group that developed on the streets and prisons in Chicago during the 1960’s. They were influenced by the political events of that decade, especially by the activist work of the Black Panther Party. Eventually the Young Lords transcended to become a revolutionary entity.
Such is the direction that these street youth groups of today must take. They must either side with the people and fight on their behalf or allow themselves to be absorbed by the efforts of the police state. In which case they would risk feeling the wrath of a rising revolutionary mass movement.
Justice and protection from criminal elements that have gone to the point of no return, and forgiveness, as Lesandro Guzman-Feliz’s killers, can only come about with a politically and organizationally sophisticated militant mass movement. And that would automatically imply our people exercising the right to use all techniques and methods of self-defense.
I’m happy to say that I took some time out and went to see the Marvel Studios movie production Black Panther. I was compelled to make this happen by the range of discussion about it, by people at work, friends and social media. I have to admit that I enjoyed watching it very much. It is the best movie I have seen since the first Star Wars in 1977.
The special effects, color, costumes and most especially of all the cast. Every actor in this movie merits an Oscar, especially Michael B Jordan, Chadwick Boseman, Danai Guirira, Forest Whitaker, Lilitia Whight and Winston Duke. Although “Wakanda” is a fictitious African country the quality of this movie will tend to make you believe for a brief moment that such a place exist.
But despite the movie’s acting and technical sophistication and well deserved praises, like all areas of aesthetics especially the cinema, Black Panther can not avoid having political content.
And for progressive minded people, especially people of color with connections to the liberation struggle, we should not be reluctant to divide the one into the two; this movie production has many beautiful aspects that will be appreciated by all especially young people of color.
One would easily feel that Black Panther is promoting a sense of African empowerment, and understandably so with such a powerful display of Black actors. Unfortunately that is not the case.
Let’s not lose sight that it was the backing of avaricious capitalist corporations, that partake directly or indirectly in the plunder of Africa, that made this movie possible. It became apparent to me how the political content of this movie was insidiously well pronounced and sugar coated for the purpose of mass acceptance.
Throughout most of the stretch of the movie I could not avoid being baffled when Black warriors of “Wakanda” are shown harmoniously collaborating with a white C.I.A. operative played by Martin Freeman. In one of the scenes he is wounded in battle and is affectionately cared for by the Wakadans.
The absurdity in this key element of the plot is knowing the criminal history of the C.I.A. in Africa – from the murder of Patrice Lumumba, the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela, and the countless bloody atrosities it has committed throughout the African continent. The profiteers of this movie are hoping that we are ignorant of these historical facts.
In another insidious and politically significant part of this movie the Black Panther (the King) speaks before an international body of delegates from various nations to announce how Wakanda will no longer keep from the world its precious resources but instead will begin to share them. What is absurd in this scene is that in reality imperialist powers have always robbed Africa of all of its resources, human and material. In this same scene the C.I.A. operative is shown applauding the Black Panther’s announcement, as if giving approval.
Many Blacks and other people of color will feel inspired by this movie for many good reasons; Black Panther was excellently made and its cast was mostly Black who performed their roles with the utmost skills.
But while we admire the talents that comes from an oppressed people let’s not ever forget who controls the aesthetics and institutions of culture in this society, it is not the oppressed. There are reasons why capitalist corporations with complicity in racist oppression in the United States and the colonization of Africa, like the Walt Disney Company, were motivated to partake in making this movie.
There is no such thing as a “shutdown” of the capitalist state while the capitalist class is in power. The rulers are not that stupid to “shutdown” the apparatus that keeps them in power.
The police and the military will continue to function, maintaining this racist and criminal system of inequality. It is really a deception to make us believe that there is something fundamentally different between Democrats and Republicans, two political entities of the wealthy.
In actuality, what this debate among the different sectors of the ruling class is really about is to test how far they can go and get away with their political and economic subjugation of poor & working class people.
Trickery is a characteristic of those in this society who have made their fortunes at the expense of the many. In this case Republicans are attempting to demonize children of mostly Mexican origins as a way to sway the public to support the defunding and eliminate the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
But feverish and self-contradictory policies also existed under the Democratic Obama administration which contributed towards the anti-immigrant posture that exist today.
So-called “non essential” government workers will not be paid; recipients of social security and other desperately needed programs will not receive their checks. The military brass will continue to receive their payment and retain their privileges while the rank & file and their families will be left to float in the wind.
What is most ironic in all this is that the privileged men and women members of the U.S. Congress will continue to get paid, while millions of families throughout the country suffer.
Political crisis amongst the rulers such as what is now taking place, in which poor people are placed in a situation as pawns, is basically a fight among thieves. And as long as capitalism exist these farcical conflicts will continue to flourish as symptom of capitalist oppression. It is a reminder that WE NEED A FUNDAMENTALLY NEW SOCIETY.
Never before in the history of bourgeois electoral politics in the United States have we witnessed anything more bizarre than what has taken place throughout the 2016 presidential campaign. The U.S. rulers have had their share of absurd individual personalities run for the highest political office but never one who has been so recklessly open with his reactionary views as presidential candidate Donald Trump.
The revelation of a 2005 “hot-mic” tape of a recorded conversation from the NBC’s show Access Hollywood with Co-Hosts Nancy O’Neal and Billy Bush has proven to be disastrous for Trump. It involved Trump making lewd, vulgar, demeaning and degrading remarks about women and how he used his “star power” to assault them. This is the latest in Trump’s long list of self-damaging blunders.
But what is perhaps the thing that we should take notice about and examine is, how sectors of the ruling class are now making it a point to distance themselves from Donald Trump and the contents of his remarks, as if they have been pro-women all along. The Republican Party’s gradual coldness towards Donald Trump resulted once they saw that a Frankenstein was created instead of a winning candidate.
What should be most telling to progressive minded people is that the Donald Trump phenomena in this year’s race for the presidency is not isolated from the vile existence of capitalist culture, in particular, its misogynist, homophobic and white supremacist practices and perspective.
Can anyone really say that anti-Latino, anti-Black, anti-women and anti-Muslim sentiments began with Donald Trump? White supremacy and misogynism has always been fostered by both Democratic and Republican figures. These two aspects of our reality under capitalism will continue to be expressed as “norms” as long as this system exists.
What the news media will not focus on is how Donald Trump is not an isolated case but the consequence of long established traditions in this society.
The rallying call for Donald Trump to resign from the Republican presidential ticket came about once he severely embarrassed that grouping in the ruling class. A huge crack was made in the wall of pretentious morals and respectability for the Republican Party, and potentially for the credibility of all bourgeois politics as well.
It is also possible that key elements among the most powerful and influential members of the ruling class decided that Hillary Clinton was their preferred candidate for president. Using a loose cannon like Donald Trump who is unable to think strategically and abide by the discipline of politics, would clear the way for the first woman to take office in a traditionally male dominated post.
It undoubtedly appears that the capitalist owned mass media sought ways to destroy whatever respect Trump may have had even within his own feverish racist circles. And why would this possibility not be far fetched? Trump’s reckless comments have in every objective sense clashed with the desires of significant sectors of the ruling class who wish to maintain a false projection of fairness and decency, in order to preserve a “peaceful” exploitative capitalism.
What we need to ask now is, how much “better” than the Republicans will the Democrats be in the White House? Consider the increasing poverty, mass incarceration, police terror as well as attacks on women, that we have experienced while Democratic Party presidents and politicians of both parties continue to live comfortably in their own privileged world. It is an increasingly doubtful proposition.
The understandable expectation that women in the U.S. will benefit from a Hillary Clinton presidential administration in Washington is just as doubtful as Blacks and other people of color having benefited from an Obama presidential administration. Of course Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party will benefit from this latest bombshell. There is no reason to believe otherwise. In fact, the discovery of the 2005 “hot mic” recording may have very well sealed a Clinton win in November.
But as oppressed and exploited people let’s not ignore or pretend otherwise, Hillary Clinton, like Donald Trump, is herself another prominent member of the capitalist class.
By Carlito Rovira
Public disapproval for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has brought to light a growing problem with suicides committed by U.S. military personnel. Many of these men and women come from the working-class and oppressed nationalities, whose social plight is compounded by the abuses they endure from Pentagon military policy and the top brass.
But news reports rarely mention the growing crisis of suicides among the general U.S. population. According to a 2008 report from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, U.S. suicides are on the rise for the first time in a decade. A report by the American Association of Suicidology shows that suicides figures for 2005 outnumbered homicides by almost two to one, ranking suicides as the 11th cause of death in the United States.
The suicide of a loved one touches the deepest emotions of families and friends. The physical destruction of one’s own life, dismissing forever the least sense of hope, may seem like the most inconceivable of all human acts.
More often than not, suicide is reduced to an individual choice, a personal tragedy, removed from any social context. But the growing suicide epidemic has its obvious connections to the economic reality. It is not coincidental that the last significant jump in the rate of suicides in all U.S. history was during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Rising suicides are not just a domestic phenomenon. In the last half century, suicides worldwide have increased by 60 percent. Imperialist penetration in subjugated countries, with all of its ugliest features, has had a devastating impact on millions of people around the world.
Studies have shown that most suicides do not spring from a desire to die, but a desire to escape overwhelming and irresolvable situations. African chattel slaves chose to take their own lives rather than continue experiencing the horrors inflicted upon them by the white overseers and masters. Similarly, today’s impoverished workers, losing their jobs and made homeless in growing numbers, may find no other way to cope with despair.
The JHBSPH report found that suicides have increased in the United States for the first time in 10 years. One of the main contributors to the increased statistic is a decline in the standard of living for white men and women between the ages of 40 and 64. The capitalist economic crisis has disrupted the more privileged social position the white population has enjoyed historically.
Native Americans, one of the most impoverished peoples in the United States, continue to suffer the highest rate of suicide, 32.4 per 100,000. Compare the rates of suicides among the different sectors of the population: 14.2 per 100,000 whites, 9.9 per 100,000 Latinos, 8.5 per 100,000 Asians and Pacific Islanders and 7.4 per 100,000 African Americans.
The capitalist class has placed the burden of the economic crisis on the backs of the working class. Two million more unemployed within the last year, growing home foreclosures, families left without health coverage, a 25 percent rise in incidents of police brutality since 2001 and civil liberties blatantly diminished—no wonder there is widespread distress.
The national suicide rate is 10.9 per 100,000 people. More than 90 percent of people who die from suicide live highly stressful lives attributed to financial situations. Among other causes stemming from economic-related deterioration of social life are family violence, divorce, and drug and alcohol abuse.
The economic deterioration has only intensified the plight of children. Millions of children in this country live parentless, with a 50 percent school drop-out rate, and an increasing number are incarcerated. Capitalism cannot guarantee working-class children a decent, well-paying job in their future, let alone a decent education, leaving many with a sense of uncertainty.
Not surprisingly, a Surgeon General report disclosed that suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people. Suicide rates are 1.3 per 100,000 for children ages 10 to 14, 8.2 per 100,000 for adolescents ages 14 to 19 and 12.5 per 100,000 for young adults ages 20 to 24. The last group beats the national average.
In a 2006 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly one of every 12 adolescents in high school attempted suicide, and 17 percent considered making an attempt.
For older or retired workers, ages 65 and up, suicide rates are also high. A 2004 report by the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention revealed that the rate of suicide for people 65 years of age and older is 14.3 per 100,000.
Working-class seniors are often neglected. The capitalist system takes little interest in workers past the prime age for profitable exploitation. If they can stay in their jobs long enough to retire, they face many difficulties, including the threat of losing their retirement plans, medical insurance and other services.
Resources exist, pilfered by wealthy
With modern technological and scientific advancements, the means exist for a scientific approach to address these problems. In a society that has such an enormous amount of resources and wealth, there is no reason for people to be in need. The resources to eradicate misery and want exist, but capitalism perpetuates social and economic inequalities—the material conditions responsible for pushing the most vulnerable to the far depths of hopelessness.
Under capitalism, socially created wealth is pilfered by the rich. While government officials hand over the public treasury to the wealthy, the working poor must confront the consequences of this injustice. Hospitals are closed and health care is denied to working people. Psychiatric and psychological care is part of the comprehensive medical care which should be a right. The vast majority of people are left to suffer in various ways.
Capitalism is to blame for the suffering wrought upon working people day in and day out—the epidemic of suicides being one of its more extreme manifestations. Any system that compels so many to such drastic ends must be indicted, prosecuted, condemned and done away with. Only in a world without class exploitation can human beings progress in surroundings of solidarity and cooperation. Only then will human life be accorded the appreciation and respect it deserves and will all human beings live with dignity.