U.S. POLITICS 

Almost half of Americans think someone else is making the president’s decisions

A Journal of People report

us president

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 47% of Likely U.S. Voters believe Biden is really doing the job of president. The same number (47%) says others are making decisions for Biden behind the scenes.

The poll results released on March 16, 2021 raise an eyebrow, given the widespread discussion of Biden’s mental state ahead of November’s election.

The poll responses also raise questions about the role of Kamala Harris, who was so widely disliked as a presidential candidate in her own right that she actually dropped out of the Democratic primaries before states began voting, after Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard exposed some of the stains on the California senator’s record on the debate stage. In a year where the country’s reckoning with police abuses featured front and center among election issues, Harris’ term as California’s top prosecutor suggested she was in every way the wrong woman for the job.Read More »

CAPITALISM 

Bernie asks Jeff Bezos: You are worth $182 billion … why are you doing everything in your power to stop your workers from unionizing?

A Journal of People report

amazon union

At a hearing on March 17, 2021, Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke critically about Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who declined Sanders’ invitation to testify, and Elon Musk, the two wealthiest men.

“Bezos and Musk now own more wealth than the bottom 40%. Meanwhile, we’re looking at more hunger in America than at any time in decades,” Sanders said in his opening remarks at the Senate Budget Committee hearing, which was titled The Income and Wealth Inequality Crisis in America.

“If he was with us this morning, I would ask him the following question … Mr. Bezos, you are worth $182 billion – that’s a B,” Sanders said. “One hundred eighty-two billion dollars, you’re the wealthiest person in the world. Why are you doing everything in your power to stop your workers in Bessemer, Alabama, from joining a union?”Read More »

NATURE

What is a derecho? An atmospheric scientist explains these rare but dangerous storm systems

Russ Schumacher

Thunderstorms are common across North America, especially in warm weather months. About 10% of them become severe, meaning they produce hail 1 inch or greater in diameter, winds gusting in excess of 50 knots (57.5 miles per hour), or a tornado.

The U.S. recently has experienced three rarer events: organized lines of thunderstorms with widespread damaging winds, known as derechos.

Derechos occur mainly across the central and eastern U.S., where many locations are affected one to two times per year on average. They can produce significant damage to structures and sometimes cause “blowdowns” of millions of trees. Pennsylvania and New Jersey received the brunt of a derecho on June 3, 2020, that killed four people and left nearly a million without power across the mid-Atlantic region.Read More »

PARIS COMMUNE

The 150th Anniversary of the Paris Commune

POLISTRUM | March 18, 2021

The 150th Anniversary of the Paris Commune

Even though the Commune lasted only 72 days, falling in an unequal struggle against the French counter-revolution, supported by the German war machine, it left an indelible mark in the history of the liberation struggle of the working class in France and the world.

The Commune provided the most important lesson and historical experience, proving that “the working class cannot simply seize a ready-made state machine and put it to work for its own ends,” as Marx noted in “The Civil War in France”. The proletariat must completely destroy it by creating a principally new state, a state of dictatorship of the people, of the working masses, which is true democracy, devoid of the exploitation of man by man.Read More »

PARIS COMMUNE

Paris Commune 150: the economics

Michael Roberts Blog | March 18, 2021

Today is the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Paris Commune.  The Commune (Council) was formed as result of what should be considered the first uprising and revolution led by the working class in history.  This new class was the product of the industrial revolution in the capitalist mode of production that Marx and Engels first spoke of most prominently in the Manifesto of the Communist Party published in March 1848.

Before the Paris Commune, revolutions in Europe and North America had been to overthrow feudal monarchs and eventually put the capitalist class into political power.  While socialism as an idea and objective was already gaining credence among the radical intelligentsia, it was Marx and Engels who first identified the agency of revolutionary change for socialism as the working class, namely those who owned no means of production but their own labour power.Read More »

PARIS COMMUNE 

The Paris Commune of 1871, banks and debt

Éric Toussaint

CADTM (Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt) | March 18, 2021

The Paris Commune of 1871, banks and debt

On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the extraordinary experience of the Paris Commune, it is fundamental to draw a number of lessons from it. The measures a government takes regarding its Central Bank, the debts of working class people, public debt and private banks are decisive. If a popular government does not implement radical financial measures, it will be responsible for ending in failure, with possibly tragic consequences for the population. The Commune, an extraordinary and dramatic experiment, exemplifies this, and must thus be analyzed from this point of view.

The role of debt in the emergence of the Paris Commune(1)

It was the desire of the reactionary government to pay off its debt to Prussia and continue to repay existing public debts that precipitated the Commune experiment. Let us recall that it was Louis Bonaparte (Napoleon III) who declared war on Prussia in July 1870 and that that military venture soon ended in a total fiasco.(2) The Prussian Army beat the French Army in early September 1870, and imprisoned Napoleon III in Sedan, triggering the fall of the Second Empire followed by the proclamation of the Republic.(3) The payment of 5 billion francs was the condition laid down by Bismarck for signing the peace treaty and withdrawing the forces of occupation.Read More »

HISTORY OF PEOPLE’S STRUGGLE 

Guangzhou 1927: The Paris Commune of the East

Tings Chak

Peoples Dispatch | March 18, 2021

(Article originally commissioned and published by The Funambulist 34 (Mar-Apr 2021))

It was in the Russian autumn of 1920 when Qu Qiubai first heard L’Internationale – the socialist anthem born of the Paris Commune of 1871. Eugène Pottier, author of the song’s lyrics, was a Communard and elected member of the workers’ state that lasted 72 days in the French capital. Though written nearly half a century earlier, that song had been adopted only recently as the anthem of the Bolshevik Party. Until today, this song is one of the most translated and sung anthems of the oppressed around the world. Qu was attending the third anniversary celebration of the October Revolution, having traveled through Harbin – China’s northernmost provincial capital – to reach Russia. Fluent in French and Russian, he was sent to be a correspondent in Moscow for the Beijing Morning News (晨报), covering the early years of the Bolshevik Revolution.Read More »

IMPERIALISM 

‘The Audacity of Being a US Servant’ or What Bachelet Does Not See in Colombia, Brazil and Chile but Sees in Venezuela (Alicia Castro)

Orinoco Tribune | March 13, 2021

Featured image: Being a US puppet. Photo courtesy of Global Times.

Alicia Castro, Argentine political leader and former ambassador of Argentina to Venezuela and the UK, responded sharply to the recent statement of the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, against Venezuela.

In a post on her Twitter account, Castro pointed out: “What Bachelet does not see nor wish to see: The continuous and serious human rights violations in Colombia, in Brazil—an open-air cemetery, in Lenin Moreno’s Ecuador where the elections are in danger, in Honduras, in Paraguay, in Chile. The audacity of being a servant of the United States.”Read More »

IMPERIALISM 

Militarization of Colombia is a Key Aspect of U.S. Hemispheric Control

Vicente Guevara

Diaspora Tribune | March 07, 2021

Militarization of Colombia is a Key Aspect of U.S. Hemispheric Control

Colombia has historically been of great importance as an ally of the United States. It could perhaps even be said that it has been the empire’s most constant and unfaltering ally in the region since at least World War II.

Today, under President Biden, Colombia is still of great importance for the U.S. and its geopolitical goals of hemispheric control. Colombia is part of the large SOUTHCOM (United States Southern Command) area of control. The country’s abundance of natural resources and cheap labor, proximity to the Panama Canal and Venezuela, and its access to both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans make it a key partner in the region.Read More »

IMPERIALISM 

UN Rebuke of Crushing US Sanctions on Venezuela Met With Stunning Silence

John McEvoy

Activist Post | March 12, 2021

Alena Douhan, the UN special rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, published her preliminary report on February 12 on the impact of US and European sanctions on Venezuela.

The report laid bare how a years-long campaign of economic warfare has asphyxiated Venezuela’s economy, crushing the government’s ability to provide basic services both before and during the Covid-19 pandemic.Read More »