California's socialist and feminist political party urges you to:
“The Originals” are indigenous farm workers from Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Chiapas, Mexico, who were forced to migrate north where they worked as campesinos and grew maize, the “original” corn. Because of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the inability to compete with corporate agricultural corn growers, who were dumping millions of tons of U.S.-subsidized corn into the Mexican economy, millions of campesinos were forced off the land.
By 1994, Monsanto developed its own chemicals and seeds to ward off pests and introduced them into the Mexican economy. Today, U.S. corn controls the Mexican processing of corn production in Mexico, forcing migration of more than 18 million Mexicans and Central Americans to the U.S. Since the massive deportations began, hundreds of thousands of campesinos deported from the U.S. chose to work in San Quintin, Baja California, Mexico, just five hours from the California-Mexican Border.
Now working with numerous U.S. corporate growers in Baja, Driscoll and Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce are taking advantage of the hundreds of thousands of deported farm workers in San Quintin, paying wages of less than $5 for each 13-hour workday. Although there are federal wage laws regarding overtime, Social Security, medical coverage, vacation pay and sexual abuse, the Mexican federal government refuses to enforce its mandated labor laws.
Join the Peace and Freedom Party’s Alameda County chapter for the monthly Suds, Snacks and Socialism forum at the Starry Plough Pub in Berkeley (3101 Shattuck Avenue; click here for map) on Saturday, May 4. All are welcome to discuss the topic of People’s Park.
As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of People’s Park, the University is developing a new plan to destroy it. Michael Delacour, Carol Denney, Aidan Hill, and Eddie Monroe will discuss the history of the Park and the continuing struggle to preserve it as a community-run space.
Doors open at 2pm. The program will start promptly at 2:30pm and will wrap up by 4:30pm, but folks can stay and talk as long for as you like. All ages welcome!
The May forum on People’s Park at 50 is co-sponsored by the Oakland Greens, the Alameda County Peace and Freedom Party and Bay Area System Change Not Climate Change. The forum is part of our ongoing Socialist Forum Series on the first Saturday of every month. Our purpose is informed political discussion, and the views expressed are those of the speakers only, not official positions of the Peace and Freedom Party or our fellow co-sponsors.
For more information, call (510) 465-9414.
Some on the left criticize the Peace and Freedom Party for our slogan, “Tax the rich and their corporations.” The goal, they say, should be expropriation of the rich. Socialists can be for both. It is a matter of what the time is ripe for.
Taxing the rich: Socialists and billionaires agree
When Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggested a top tax rate of 70% during a TV interview, she was derided by many in the capitalist class—but not by the ultra-wealthy investor Warren Buffett. Why would a self-described socialist and an unapologetic billionaire agree? Or do they? The following article investigates the divergent reasons why some capitalists and most socialists (including the Peace and Freedom Party) advocate increased taxes on the wealthy.
Capitalism is in crisis worldwide. The owning classes, particularly in the United States, are pursuing policies that are only making it worse. The arguments carried on by their politicians and media all misrepresent, in different ways, the nature of the crisis and of capitalism itself. In response to this crisis, some capitalists (and their representatives) advocate increased taxes on the wealthy – as do many socialists. Why would this be good for the capitalists? Why are most capitalists refusing to take their medicine? And why do we, as socialists, support calls for taxing the rich and their corporations?
The Santa Cruz chapter of the Peace and Freedom Party is hosting three films on two nights in April. Each screening will be followed by discussion and/or panel discussion, all movies begin at 7pm, and both events will be held at the Resource Center For Nonviolence at 612 Ocean Street in Santa Cruz. (Click here for map.)
On Monday, April 22, the Chávez: Inside the Coup forum features a screening of The Revolution will not be Televised (2003), directed by Kim Bartley & Donnacha O’Briain. This documentary covers democratically elected Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez’s facing down of a coup d’état by a US-backed opposition party. The two-day coup failed to topple Chávez, but the tumultuous event proved to be great dramatic material for two Irish filmmakers who happened to be shooting a documentary about the president as the coup erupted.
On Sunday, April 28, it’s a documentary double feature entitled Workers’ Memorial Day: The 20th Anniversary of the Battle in Seattle. Leading off will be This is What Democracy Looks Like (2000), directed by Richard Rowley and Jill Friedberg. Compiled from footage shot by 100 amateur video-journalists who documented a story largely ignored by mainstream media of diverse activists: that of peaceniks, tree-huggers, and rank-and-file trade unionists who congregated at the site of the 1999 World Trade Organization (WTO) summit to disrupt the proceedings of this unaccountable and anti-democratic transnational corporate elite body.
The short documentary film Awaken (2000), collectively directed by Plumbers Local 393, goes up thereafter. Awaken covers the contingent of San Francisco Bay Area Plumbers Union who participated in the 1999 Seattle protest of the WTO.
The April 28th scennings will be followed by a panel composed of WTO protest veterans.
This month, we remember poet, teacher, activist and organizer Dennis Banks. Born April 12, 1937, he would be 82 years old had he not succumbed to pneumonia following heart surgery, October 29, 2017.
Rather than mourn, however, let’s celebrate Dennis’s lifelong commitment to struggles waged by oppressed and working-class people, locally and internationally.
As a young man, he fought to end apartheid in South Africa, defended the Cuban revolution, and worked relentlessly to end domestic violence, hunger and homelessness. He always went to where the peoples’ struggles were. During the last year of his life he literally stood in solidarity alongside Water Protectors at Standing Rock, defending and supporting their struggle.
Hopefully, a recounting of a few great moments in Dennis’s long active life will inspire a new generation of organizers to follow his example. For those of us already in the struggle, we’ll be motivated to re-double our commitment to organize, unite and win together.
Growing up poor in Montana in 1937, Banks experienced firsthand the violent racism and repression of indigenous people living under occupation inside the United States.
Beginning at the age of five, U.S. agencies forcibly removed Banks from his family. He was held, under terrible conditions, for the next eleven years in what the federal government called “Indian schools”. In reality, these were little better than children’s prisons. With no further contact with their families, Native children were regularly beaten and mistreated for simply speaking their first language or for attempting to celebrate their culture, rituals, ceremonies or customs.
During the 2019 César Chávez Day celebration and march, Sacramento-area Peace & Freedom Party members joined hundreds of others in watching Aztec dances and Folkloric dancers, listening to rousing union speeches, and marching to the state capitol.
Members in the Peace and Freedom Party booth were busy talking to folks about the party, passing out party literature, selling issue-related bumper stickers and signs, and registering voters. People were especially interested in our position on immigration and any material we had about that issue.
Former Army Intelligence Analyst-turned-whistleblower Chelsea Manning has again been jailed by the U.S. government for refusing to testify before a grand jury, in spite of being granted immunity. This is yet another heroic act by Manning, who beginning in 2010 served six years in military prison for making public war crimes committed by the U.S. government.
This time Manning faces the possibility of detention for as long as the grand jury exists and she refuses to testify.
In 2010, Manning heroically turned over to journalists at Wikileaks hundreds of thousands of State Department documents, chief among them evidence of war crimes committed by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most well-known among this evidence was the gruesome cockpit video, “Collateral Murder”, which documents the moment-by-moment, illegal killing of unarmed civilians (including 2 Reuters journalists) by U.S. military personnel in Baghdad, Iraq.
U.S. politicians and military officials were furious when, in turn, Western media outlets – The New York Times, ABC, NBC, MSNBC, among many others – widely reported these war crimes.
Rather than investigate its own repeated crimes against humanity, the U.S. government instead arrested and prosecuted Manning in military court, sentencing her to 35 years. Six years later, her sentence was commuted by President Obama, but not before she was tortured in prison, denied medical care while she transitioned, and spent two years in solitary confinement.
Similarly, since 2012 Julian Assange has been forced to remain confined continuously in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London after U.S. officials vowed to seek the death penalty for him, all because Wikileaks publicly exposed U.S. government crimes.
The U.S. has never stopped pressuring other governments to extradite Assange to the U.S. for trial. In fact, this current grand jury – meeting in secret and unaccountable to the public – is simply its latest incarnation.
The U.S. is now attempting to force Chelsea Manning to testify against Assange in order to build a case against him. To her great credit, and in a defiant act of solidarity to Assange, Manning refuses to cooperate, and she’s in prison now for “contempt”. She has said she is willing to go to prison in order to defend the rights of whistleblowers and journalists to expose crimes, especially crimes committed by governments that are only interested in keeping them from the public.
Our election systems give a guise of democracy but bipartisan election laws, huge amounts of private money, and the corporate media deny representation for a great many of us. The President is not elected by the people of this country. Instead, the president is selected by a majority of an Electoral College which is tilted to favor states which have much smaller numbers of people where each elector represents fewer people.
An initiative to amend Proposition 13, a taxation measure passed by voters in 1978, has reportedly collected enough signatures to guarantee its inclusion on the November 2020 ballot.
The proposed amendment was put forth by proponents Anthony Thigpenn, Helen Hutchison and Benjamin McBride, has already garnered the required minimum of 585,407 signatures needed to get the initiative in front of California voters in 2020.
In the legislation’s official summary, the proposed amendment “Requires Certain Commercial and Industrial Real Property to be Taxed Based on Fair-Market Value. Dedicates Portion of Any Increased Revenue to Education and Local Services” promises a “Net increase in annual property tax revenues of $6.5 billion to $10.5 billion in most years, depending on the strength of real estate markets. After paying for county administrative costs and backfilling state income tax losses related to the measure, the remaining $6 billion to $10 billion would be allocated to schools (40 percent) and other local governments (60 percent).”