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April-May 2013 – Volume 34, No. 2
Months of drama in D.C. over the national debt peaked on March 1 in “sequestration” of federal funds to scores of programs. This fancy word masks the truth — austerity. And austerity by any name still stinks.
The cuts are “across-the-board,” to military as well as social programs. But military spending is so bloated that even ex-generals call for reductions. Social needs have been under the ax for years. The new cuts will literally starve, kill, and throw people onto the streets.
Programs slashed include Head Start, food aid, low income housing, child care, AIDS drugs, Native American healthcare, and unemployment insurance. Federal job losses and furloughs will cut air traffic control, food and health inspections and pollution cleanup.
The sequester is designed to pit these desperate needs against Social Security and Medicare, setting up these earned benefit programs for huge cuts. No matter that they’re funded from separate payroll taxes and never caused the debt.
This is the twilight of capitalism. Profits can only soar by taking them out of ordinary people’s hides. The bad news will continue until working people dump their misleaders who urge faith in Obama — and inaction. We’re fighting for our lives!
The 14 years of Hugo Chávez’ presidency gave U.S. elites plenty of fits. They were appalled that Venezuela’s oil wealth was used for things like alleviating poverty and building schools and health clinics in poor neighborhoods.
And then there was the people-powered defeat of a CIA-backed coup to oust Chávez in 2002. This was an historic first for the toilers of Latin America, but to the globo-exploiters it set a frightening precedent.
Chávez spoke much about 21st century socialism. But his Bolivarian revolution left the profit system in place. At the end of the day, a revolution is something that needs to be finished — through the working class taking power and changing class relations.
Again and again the long-impoverished people of Venezuela have exhibited a fervent desire for socialism. The imperialist plotters in Washington will see the death of Chávez as an opportunity to quash such hopes and put the nation’s corrupt, U.S.-dependent oligarchy back in charge. And Cuba will be next in line for the predators.
In these perilous times, those living in El Norte have a special obligation to the poor and striving people of Venezuela: to be ready to fight like hell against any form of U.S. intervention in Latin America.
Anyone who stands up to racism or sexism on the job quickly finds out management cares little about whether these prejudices prowl the workplace. But they are ready to demonize the individual who exposes it.
Such was the case when Bradley Manning downloaded the U.S. government’s dirty laundry to Wikileaks. The military threw him in the brig, where he was held in solitary confinement and subjected to torturous and humiliating treatment. Politicians in both parties vilified him as a traitor who endangered U.S. troops.
After two years in detention, Manning recently admitted to 10 of 22 charges brought against him — that is, he acknowledged being a whistleblower. He did not confess to aiding the terrorist enemy, but rather to exposing war crimes by U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the despicable bullying that is U.S. diplomacy. His 35-page statement was no apology, but a clear explanation of why he brought to light things like the “bloodlust” on display in classified videos.
Manning faces up to 20 years in prison for what he has admitted to. He should be getting a medal! Far from betraying his people, he has acted with uncommon valor.
Stop the criminalization of whistleblowers! Release Bradley Manning!
To get involved, see bradleymanning.org.
At long last, a blatant right-wing lawsuit against Mexican American Studies in Tucson, Ariz. has been thrown out of court. Its primary targets were teachers Sean Arce and José González, who organized a dedicated defense against the racist Tucson school district. They need help raising $8,200 in unpaid legal fees. Donations can be mailed to Raza Defense Fund, 300 South Convent, Tucson, Ariz. 85701, or visit the Raza Defense Fund online.
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