California's socialist and feminist political party urges you to:
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.
Peace and Freedom Party of California - State Central Committee Meeting
When: Saturday, March 23, 2019; registration begins at 11:30 a.m. The meeting starts at noon.
Where: Luna Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant; 349 Pollasky Avenue; Clovis, CA 93612 (MAP)
Dues and registration. State Central Committee dues are $10 a month full dues, $5 a month low income, and $2 a month hardship. Payment of dues through the end of March 2019 is encouraged, but all SCC members paid up through November may vote at this meeting. The meeting registration fee is $15, or $10 low income. Some donated funds may be available to subsidize registration for those unable to pay it.
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.
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?
On February 16, Debra Reiger and C.T. Weber represented Peace and Freedom Party and tabled at the local Poor People’s Campaign gathering in Sacramento. There were numerous local party members among the attendees and organizers. PFP state chair John Reiger represented Veterans for Peace; he spoke to the audience about the impact of the country’s war economy on community needs, education, housing and more.
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).”
Donald Trump has just taken one giant step away from peace and toward reviving the arms race with the Russians. He is blaming the Russians for his decision to pull out of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) that was signed by President Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987. But even if the Russians haven’t abided by the terms of the treaty, as he claims, there is no good reason for the U.S. to end the treaty. We should stick by our desire for peace and not engage in an arms race, an arms race that will be costly and add nothing to our military defense.
Growing numbers of Americans are rallying around the “Hands Off Venezuela” cause, and naturally Peace and Freedom Party members have been taking part in demonstrations on the matter. A few words on and images from a pair of recent actions.
On Thursday, February 8, a dozen and a half activists stood in the rain in south Sacramento to protest the aggressive actions of the United States against the beleaguered government of Venezuela. Even in the dark, several people honked their horns in support as they drove by.
Spread the word about the Peace and Freedom Party. Encourage your friends to register Peace and Freedom, join the supporting membership program, and get involved.
Here are some introductory handouts you can download and print for distribution. For a more extensive archive of our literature, click here.