In Brief

Prison profiteers drive detention of immigrants

By Fred Goldstein, published April 22, 2015 The U.S. prison system is more and more becoming a profit center for big private corporations. The detention of undocumented immigrants fleeing persecution has become a special source of “profit from misery.” A new study from “Grassroots Leadership” documents how the largest private prison corporations in the country, the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the GEO Group, have spent millions of dollars lobbying the Department of Homeland Security...

Mass protests, boycott specter make anti-LGBTQ laws bad for business

By Fred Goldstein, April 6, 2015 It is rare when the capitalist class openly reveals its relationship to its political servants. But in the cases of the bigoted so-called “religious freedom” laws passed in Indiana and Arkansas, some of the biggest corporations in the U.S. panicked in the face of mass outrage and protests and pressured two right-wing Republican governors to shift course. Passage of the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” in Indiana was right-wing revenge for a string of court rulings...

Bosses get $243 billion subsidy for paying low wages

By Fred Goldstein The capitalist class has found more and more ways to pay tens of millions of workers below-subsistence wages by shifting what should be the cost of wages onto government at various levels. This shift of wage and benefit costs off the payrolls of the bosses and onto the government amounts to a massive subsidy to many of the richest corporations and biggest employers in the U.S. for paying poverty or below-poverty wages. Every dollar not paid by the corporations to keep their workers at...

Protests open cracks in government

By Fred Goldstein posted on February 14, 2017

Feb. 13 — Donald Trump has suffered a series of setbacks in his foreign policy promises while escalating attacks on the workers and oppressed at home.

There were nation-wide protests in México against Trump on Feb. 12.

Trump campaigned against China all throughout his candidacy. He made aggressive charges that China was “raping our country” through currency manipulation and unfair trade. Trump threatened trade retaliation and questioned the One China policy by taking a phone call from the president of Taiwan, which is rightfully part of China.

Reality set in last week. After a phone call with the president of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, who represents 1.3 billion people and the second-largest economy in the world, Trump announced he would follow the One China policy and not recognize Taiwan.

During his campaign, he curried favor with the most right-wing, pro-Israeli forces, like billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson, by vowing to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. No other imperialist country has an embassy in Jerusalem.

But when he sought Saudi and Egyptian help in the Middle East, he was told to drop the idea of moving the embassy to Jerusalem. He has not mentioned it since.

Trump vowed to restore torture as official policy and to reopen secret torture sites that the Bush administration had established in other countries but later outlawed. In the face of potential antagonism from the hundreds of millions of people in the Middle East, Trump has had to quietly back away from both these pledges.

Of course, his ban of Muslim immigrants and refugees has blown up in his face. It provoked widespread demonstrations throughout the U.S. and other continents, which are still going on.

Escalating attacks on undocumented

While the capitalist media were focused on the courts and the travel ban, Trump introduced sweeping new rules for deportation. President Barack Obama was rightfully known as “deporter in chief” for the millions of deportations under his regime. In his last years, however, Obama relaxed the rules governing deportations to exclude all but the most serious crimes.

Trump issued an executive order on Jan. 25 changing the rules. His new rules call for deporting anyone with a chargeable offense, whether or not they have been convicted of a crime.

Chargeable offenses include crossing the border without documents, using a false Social Security card (without which no one can work) and any minor misdemeanor. The new rules give local immigration authorities complete discretion in deportation proceedings.

These rules make all 11 million undocumented workers in the U.S. subject to arrest and deportation at any time.

Immigration, Customs and Enforcement immediately carried out 160 arrests in Los Angeles. An additional 200 undocumented workers were arrested in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. About 200 were arrested across Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri and Wisconsin. (New York Times, Feb. 12)

Breaking up a family

Trump’s message was clear in the high-profile deportation of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, 35, a mother of two who came to the U.S. in the 1990s when she was 14. Garcia was arrested in an ICE workplace raid in 2008, but the agency worked out an arrangement for her to remain as long as she reported to ICE periodically. She had reported eight times since then.

In 2013 an order to deport was instituted, but Garcia de Rayos was allowed to remain. But when Trump changed the rules to allow priority deportation for any illegality, she was seized on Feb. 8 when she reported to ICE and deported within 24 hours.

Protesters were arrested at demonstrations to stop her deportation.

As to the raids over the last week, Trump has announced he was “carrying out my campaign promise.” In other words, he is stoking fear in the immigrant community and stoking hatred in his reactionary racist followers.

Billionaires on a rampage

One of the reasons political machines under capitalist democracy have been hesitant to put billionaires personally in charge of the White House, as opposed to allowing them into the cabinet and other high positions, is the fear that their greed will lead them to wreck the economy and endanger the system altogether.

But now there is a billionaire boss, who came from outside the political establishment, who has moved directly into the White House, and has complete domination of the most powerful governmental executive position in the world.

The Democratic Party administration of Bill Clinton laid the basis for the great financial crash of 2008. Financial policy was dominated by Robert Rubin, Clinton’s secretary of the Treasury and former head of Goldman Sachs, along with Larry Summers and Alan Greenspan, all voices of Wall Street.

This group cast aside regulations that had put a lid on bank speculation. They overturned the Glass-Steagall Act, passed after the Great Depression. The Clinton group fought against regulating a major new speculative instrument called financial derivatives. That unleashed Wall Street and the banks to do as they pleased.

It took less than 10 years for the massive speculation in mortgages and derivatives to build up a bubble. The bubble burst and the Great Recession of 2008 crashed down on the U.S. and the globe. It made the cyclical capitalist boom-and-bust crisis immeasurably worse.

Now the Trump administration is busily crafting new ways of removing all restraints on the banks and financiers.

In the wake of the 2008 crash, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was passed to put some restraints on the banks going forward. Trump boasted to a host of bankers that he was going to get advice from Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase on how to take apart Dodd-Frank, among other regulations.

The working class must get ready for a reenactment of speculative frenzy among the bankers and the bosses if Trump pushes through his financial “reform,” which includes his plan to lower corporate taxes and do away with regulations on corporate crimes against the workers and against the environment.

Attacks breed resistance

The right wing mobilized anti-abortion forces nationally on Feb. 11 to demonstrate against Planned Parenthood. Trump has promised to defund the organization, which provides not only abortions but basic women’s health care throughout the country.

The right-wing demonstrations were met by equal or greater pro-choice forces supporting Planned Parenthood in cities large and small across the country. For example, in St. Paul, Minn., the anti-abortion forces numbered 500 while the pro-choice forces numbered 5,000. (CommonDreams, Feb. 17)

A massive pushback by tens of thousands in the movement against Trump’s Muslim travel ban panicked the ruling class and the courts. Trump suffered a setback as Ninth Circuit Court judges unanimously upheld a Seattle district court ruling that temporarily stopped the travel ban. There is no evidence that Trump has given up the ban, but he has had to say that he might have to redraft it to make it more acceptable in court. But the mass opposition is already in motion.

As demonstrations against the deportations broke out throughout the U.S., a massive demonstration in Mexico City was part of a Mexico-wide mobilization against the wall and the persecution of  immigrants. Meanwhile, in the U.S., workers have been demonstrating against anti-union, “right to work” moves in Wisconsin and Michigan state legislatures.

The temporary victory in court against the travel ban and  deportations is the result of both the demonstrations down below and the harm that the ban does to the tech industry, the universities, hospitals, agribusiness and other capitalist institutions. It is a case in which the movement on behalf of the oppressed benefited from a combination of their own struggle and a split in the ruling class.

Courts no friend of workers and oppressed

The court ruling on the travel ban has been accompanied by mountains of capitalist praise for judicial checks on the executive, the great “separation of powers,” “checks and balances” and so on.

The Seattle and the Ninth Circuit courts issued liberal rulings. Trump will undoubtedly try again, since the judiciary, and especially the federal judiciary, is the most reactionary branch of the three branches of the capitalist state. Federal judges are appointed for life. They cannot be removed by any ordinary means. Therefore, no one should be inveigled into relying on the courts.

Of course, the workers and oppressed are always in favor of rulings they can take advantage of. For example, the Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. the Board of Education overturned the racist doctrine of “separate but equal,” which had been the legal basis for Jim Crow laws enforcing segregation in the South.

But that 1954 ruling was in anticipation of the coming massive Civil Rights Movement and the general Black Liberation struggle rising in the South. It was an anticipatory ruling.

Similarly, the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion was a ruling in reaction to a mass movement of women. It had nothing to do with any progressive leaning of the court. In fact, it was a Nixon court with a majority of Republican-appointed judges who were under mass pressure.

By contrast, the history of the Supreme Court is overwhelmingly reactionary. An 1806 Supreme Court ruling that a union organized by shoemakers was a “criminal conspiracy” was applied to other unions for much of the 19th century.

The Dred Scott decision of 1858 declared that runaway fugitive enslaved people were still property of a master and had to be returned. The Plessy v. Ferguson ruling of 1896 upheld the pernicious “separate but equal” doctrine of racial segregation in public facilities.

This reactionary history extends all the way to this century’s Citizens United decision, which unleashed billions of dollars to further corrupt the voting system and gut the Voting Rights Act, disenfranchising millions of African American and Latinx people.

As for checks and balances, these are applied by currents of the ruling class to check each other when needed. These checks and balances, now being hailed by the capitalist mass media, have little bearing on the condition of the workers and the oppressed.

There are no checks and balances on the extreme capitalist exploitation and accumulation of wealth in the U.S. that has left the top 0.1 percent of the population with more wealth than the bottom 90 percent.

There are no checks and balances on mass incarceration or racist police killings. There are no checks and balances on the persecution and deportation of immigrants or on the destruction of health care for millions of poor women. There are no checks and balances on imperialist wars of aggression or on the death machines of the military-industrial complex.

As a rule, these atrocities are either ignored or blessed by the courts.

The only true check on the aggression of the ruling class against the workers and the oppressed is the mass struggle.

Trump under siege from above and below

By Fred Goldstein

Feb. 6 – Donald Trump is struggling to stabilize and consolidate his authoritarian, ultra-rightist, racist, misogynistic, anti-working class regime. His government is under siege from below and criticism and legal challenge from above.

Women protest against Trump in Athens, Ga.

Trump is down in the polls and falling lower. He had an anemic turnout for his inauguration, which was drowned out by the national Women’s March of 3.3 million the next day. He is now reeling from the sea of demonstrations across the U.S. and worldwide hitting his Islamophobic travel ban on people from seven majority-Muslim countries.

All the countries targeted have been attacked by the Pentagon. All have either U.S. imperialist troops or Washington’s puppet forces intervening on the ground.

Excluded from the ban are Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, the Gulf oil states, Afghanistan and Jordan. They are all props of  U.S. imperialism in the region.

The ban was temporarily halted by Seattle federal Judge James Robart on Feb. 3. After it was appealed by Trump’s Justice Department, Robart’s order was upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court in San Francisco on Feb. 5.

The inhumane ban has prevented students from returning to classes, turned away workers trying to get back to their jobs, kept families separated, harmed patients coming for medical procedures, barred doctors from getting to hospitals, and in general has caused widespread suffering.

Ruling-class interests also harmed by ban

The mass movement against the ban, the border wall and other odious parts of the Trump program has generated so much pressure that sections of the ruling class and the military, who are also being undermined by the ban, want to contest Trump’s order. They have no other way to legally intervene right now, other than through the federal court system, since the other two arms of the capitalist state, the executive and the legislative, are presently unavailable. Furthermore, the Trump administration remains hostile to the established capitalist media, has sought to discredit it and remains impervious to bourgeois media criticism.

The ban is being contested in a dozen states and by the entire tech industry, including corporate giants Google and Microsoft. Hospitals, universities, scientists and a wide section of bourgeois society have been affected.

The ban has also upset sections of the military, which continue to be fiercely engaged in a campaign to reconquer the Middle East. The ban complicates U.S. relations with puppet forces, for example, in Iraq. It also further inflames anti-U.S. sentiment in the region.

The ban affected between 60,000 and 100,000 people whose visas were revoked late at night on Jan. 27. This is, of course, a potentially impeachable offense. However, a  move to impeach is not on the agenda for now.

Building an ultra-rightist circle in the White House

Trump has brought into his administration ultra-rightists who have been outside the capitalist establishment and on the fringes. He has also brought in forces whose roots are in the establishment, but who are willing to work in the Trump administration.

It has always been the goal of the ultra-right to topple the conservative political establishment. The goal was to reduce taxes for the rich; destroy regulations on corporations; attack Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid; defeat the minimum wage; enact anti-union “right to work” laws; and so on.  This is what the Tea Party was about. Now this current is in the White House and is even further to the right.

Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, is a far-right, extremist ideologue. He ran Breitbart News online — a platform for fascist, racist and anti-Semitic elements. He is an Islamophobe, with an apocalyptic vision that includes war on China.

Trump violated long-standing bourgeois practice by elevating Bannon, a civilian policy ideologue, to a chief position on the National Security Council principals’ committee, a seat usually reserved for the military, the CIA and high national security officials.

Senator Jeff Sessions from Alabama has been nominated attorney general. He is an arch racist who has opposed voting rights, civil rights and immigrant rights. Nominated to become a federal judge by Ronald Reagan in 1986, his virulent racism caused the Senate Judiciary Committee to reject him, only the second such rejection in 48 years.

Trump’s national security adviser, former three-star Army Gen. Michael Flynn, was ousted as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014 because he was a volatile, ultra-militaristic Islamophobe who spread false information.

Others nominees include Andrew Puzder, a fast-food executive who hates unions, regulations and the minimum wage, to head the Department of Labor; Tom Price, a congressperson from Georgia who opposes the Affordable Care Act, for Health and Human Services; Rick Perry, who has campaigned to abolish the Department of Energy, to head that department; Scott Pruitt, the attorney general of Oklahoma who is in the pocket of the energy industry and signed on to 14 lawsuits against the Environmental Protection Agency, to head the EPA; and Betsy DeVos, who wants to abolish the public school system in favor of charter schools, to head the Department of Education.

This is a short list of the fringe elements who want to destroy the gains of the masses. While the capitalist establishment sympathizes with many of the goals of the ultra-right, many are fearful of a mass uprising should the ultra-right get its way.

Trump also has members in his cabinet with roots and connections to the establishment, especially the military.

Trump struggles to build base in ruling class

Because Trump is in a precarious and deteriorating position in regard to capitalist politics and corporate support, he is racing to hand out concessions to the bosses. He wants to seduce and neutralize them with rewards while putting in place his ultra-right program.

He quickly extended sanctions on Iran for exercising its right to self-defense by developing a ballistic missile. The sanctions were hailed by the entire ruling class. But he was sure to take care that Boeing was exempted from the sanctions, so that billions of dollars worth of its airliners can be produced and shipped to Iran.

He is also rewarding Lockheed by endorsing the sale of hundreds of F-35s to the U.S. government. Lockheed had long ago lowered its price for these most expensive planes in the U.S. arsenal of death, but the company allowed Trump to take credit for the reduced prices. And he signed an executive order calling for a major buildup of U.S. military forces.

One of his first acts was to issue orders to start up the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines. He also cancelled restrictions and regulations on the coal industry, including a rule that protects streams from pollution caused by mountaintop mining

These were not only concessions to the fossil fuel industry. They were also aimed at building support among sections of the labor bureaucracy. He invited the building trades unions and the Laborers’ International Union to a meeting, and the bureaucrats left with praise. He also brought in leaders of the United Auto Workers and United Steelworkers to discuss NAFTA.

Sitting between Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, and Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of Blackstone, which manages $361 billion in hedge funds, Trump announced his intention to do away with the banking regulations spelled out in the Dodd-Frank bill. The regulations prevent banks from speculating with their depositors’ money. Trump is also going to do away with the fiduciary rule designed to protect workers’ pensions by preventing financial sharks from investing pension funds in risky financial institutions.

When he met with pharmaceutical industry bosses, Trump kept his mouth shut about “negotiating for drug prices,” which he had promised during his campaign. The man who “makes deals” forgot to bring it up.

This is only the beginning of Trump’s plans to destroy banking regulations while lowering taxes and restrictions on corporations in general.

Movement must stop Democratic Party from taking over

Democratic Party leaders are rushing to get in front of the burgeoning anti-Trump movement. Some have shown up at demonstrations. They are making an appeal to the movement to focus on rebuilding the party along more popular lines.

The surge in the popular movement against Trump poses both a danger and an opportunity. The danger is that it will be channeled into a harmless path of reliance on the Democratic Party and the capitalist courts.

The opportunity is for the revolutionary movement to reach out to hundreds of thousands of people, especially youth, and offer them an independent working-class path to struggle.

An example of a trap is the way the Democrats hailed the acting attorney general whom Trump fired and the dissenting letter by State Department officials denouncing the travel ban. The fact is that the State Department officials who complained about the ban were actually complaining that Trump was messing up their carefully laid diplomatic plans to strengthen U.S. imperialism’s stranglehold on the world. It had nothing to do with solidarity.

The same goes for Democratic Party leaders who have started wars, gone along with the so-called “war against terrorism,” allowed the police to murder Black and Latinx youth with impunity until the Black Lives Matter and similar movements arose, and refused to protect immigrants until the mayors of several big cities were forced to take a stand as sanctuary cities. The Democrats have let the big banks and corporations rule.

The Democratic Party is actually the enemy of the movement. Because it has a mass base, and because it is loyal to and controlled by the capitalist ruling class, it is the instrument to mislead the working class and the people.

The only way to stop Trump is to organize mass resistance on the ground, in the streets, in the communities, on the campuses, in the workplaces.

It is completely timely for youth especially to organize anti-fascist, anti-racist and anti-war fighting organizations. Even if the Trump regime is not fascist itself, it has stimulated the development and the confidence of fascist, racist and ultra-right groups all over the country. These groups pose a threat to the masses.

Trump himself has flirted with fascist symbols. He refused to denounce David Duke and the KKK. He tweeted a Jewish star with dollar signs on it. His regime refused to name Jews as part of the Holocaust and suppressed his own State Department statement on the Holocaust that mentioned the Jews. He supports the fascist Breitbart propagandist Milo Yiannopoulos, who was properly driven off the Berkeley campus. And his chief strategist Bannon is an open anti-Semite, who told his spouse during a divorce fight that he didn’t want his children going to school with Jews.

For these and a hundred more reasons, the time is now to launch a revolutionary, anti-fascist, anti-racist movement and attract the best people from this new surge of resistance to Trump.  

Goldstein is the author of Low-Wage Capitalism and Capitalism at a Dead End. Both are available at online distributors. 

Airport protests set new level of solidarity

By Fred Goldstein, posted February 1, 2017

Jan. 30 — The wave of airport protests against Trump’s Muslim ban represents a new high-water mark in solidarity with Muslims in the U.S. These demonstrations are a political rebuff to the vicious Islamophobia stoked for a year and a half by Donald Trump, along with his Mexico bashing and many other reactionary themes.

In fact, Islamophobia has replaced anti-communism in the 21st century as the primary divisive, racist, divide-and-conquer strategy to foment war, intervention and police surveillance. Now the Islamophobes are being pushed back.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, and the World Trade Center bombings, Muslims and those in the movement who support them against ruling-class prejudice and persecution have been on the defensive. Solidarity activities have been relatively small and have been in the shadows.

But Donald Trump, Stephen Bannon, Gen. Michael Flynn and company, now hunkered down in the White House, changed all that by issuing a 90-day ban on people coming from six predominantly Muslim countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen — and banning Syrian nationals and refugees indefinitely.

This reactionary White House circle apparently did not get the message from the 3.3 million people who demonstrated around the country on Jan. 21 at the Women’s March. That march was marked by a high degree of solidarity with Muslim women. Instead, Trump and his reactionary circle, which is moving sharply in an authoritarian direction, provoked a massive movement that was already in motion.

100 demonstrations in 42 states

As of this writing, 100 demonstrations in 42 states have been carried out or are planned. Tens of thousands have already gone to airports to protest. (getgroundgame.com/airportprotests)

Television networks have carried the larger, more prominent ones in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta and so forth.The movement has been powerful enough to force courts in four states to put stays on the deportation of immigrants caught up in the ban and its sudden application. Requests for injunctions have been granted in New York City, Seattle, Virginia and Massachusetts. The Massachusetts injunction goes further than the others, which block deportation but permit detention. Massachusetts is not allowing detention.

The original ban included all people with green cards. This amounts to a ban on hundreds of thousands of people around the world. In their rush to push the ban through, Trump and his National Strategy Adviser Steve Bannon, an ultra-right, Islamophobic, anti-Semite, informed U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Immigration Services of the ban on the very afternoon it was promulgated. Only the massive struggle that erupted at airports the next day forced the head of Homeland Security, Gen. John Kelly, to rescind the green card ban.

In their fanaticism Trump, Bannon, Reince Priebus, Flynn and company showed no concern for all the students from the seven Islamic countries covered by the ban who were returning to continue their studies. They did not care about workers, scientists and technicians returning to their jobs. They showed utter contempt for people coming to be with their families. Even after several court injunctions were obtained, CBP officials refused to allow attorneys to see some detainees and turned away members of Congress who were attempting to find out the status of those detained.

This reflects the authoritarian stamp of the Trump inner circle.

Ideological and political step forward

The legal struggle to eradicate the ban altogether has a long way to go. It will take a great deal of political struggle in the streets, on the campuses and in the communities to push back the Trump administration. But the struggle has begun in a very inspiring way.

A new sense of solidarity has swept the movement, which got a sense of its power at the J21 Women’s March. That power has been transformed into solidarity and militant rejection of Islamophobia.

Anti-Muslim sentiment has been a fundamental ideological and political prop of the ruling class and much of the political establishment since Sept. 11.

By coming out en masse across the country, the airport demonstrators have put up determined resistance to the Trump refugee ban. But they have also struck an ideological and political blow against the Islamophobic poison of the ruling class. These demonstrations have laid the basis for future political steps forward.

Islamophobia has been used to build Homeland Security. It has been used to militarize the police in cities across the country. Above all, it has been used to promote the so-called “war on terror.”

Under the pretext of the “war on terror,” U.S. imperialism and the Pentagon have intervened in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia and lately in Yemen. The military-industrial complex — the makers of drones, smart bombs, military satellites, bombers, fighter planes, helicopters, tanks, munitions of every kind, military robots, etc. — have prospered producing arms for the “war on terror.”

From solidarity to anti-imperialism

The solidarity shown with Muslims can cause many to question the ideological and material basis that led to the ban in the first place. It is supposedly to protect the U.S. against terrorist organizations like al-Qaida and the Islamic State group (IS). But the ban is part of a broader offensive against the oil-rich and geostrategic Muslim world of the Middle East and North Africa.

It is precisely the Pentagon and the CIA that are responsible for the rise of groups like al-Qaida and IS. Washington has bombed 11 Islamic countries in the last 25 years. The Pentagon has inflicted untold destruction, suffering and death upon countries from Afghanistan to Somalia. The CIA has destroyed all the progressive secular nationalist forces, all those openly anti-imperialist, all the socialist and communist forces in the Middle East.

But the imperialists have not stopped their plunder and their oppression. They have taken Iraq’s oil. They have destroyed Libya and taken its oil. They have financed a devastating war trying to topple the independent government of Syria. The region is strewn with millions of refugees escaping the destruction of drone warfare, F-16s, A-10 killing machines. The oil barons are searching and drilling for oil in the coastal areas of Islamic North Africa. U.S. troops are spread throughout the region.

Under such conditions, with all progressive and secular forces weakened if not destroyed, it is inevitable that the vacuum of resistance will be filled by reactionary forces. The IS group is a patriarchal, medieval, theocratic organization pledged to drive the Western powers from the Middle East — the powers that divided up the region in the first place.

Such forces are at the same time the enemy of both the masses and of imperialism. The “war on terror” has nothing to do with helping women or freeing society. It has to do with reasserting the dominance of imperialism over the oil-rich Middle East and Africa.

Along with fighting Trump and his ­reactionary anti-Muslim tirades, the movement should try to match its dynamic political resistance with a determination to get to the bottom of the problem. The movement must see the commonality of racism, misogyny, LGBTQ and all gender oppression, anti-immigrant poison and the struggle against the multinational working class as based in the same substance as Islamophobia.

At the root is imperialism, the profit system and the domination of the world by capitalist monopolies.

Goldstein is the author of ­“Capitalism at a Dead End” and “Low-Wage Capitalism,” both of which can be purchased from online booksellers.

(Houston airport photo: Gloria Rubac)

Charlotte uprising forces release of killer cop videos

By Fred Goldstein posted on October 5, 2016

charlotteuprising2

The truly heroic forces of the Charlotte Uprising have carried out a great struggle to get justice for Keith Lamont Scott, who was murdered in cold blood by the cops on Sept. 20 while waiting in his car for his son to come home from school. Now they are also fighting for freedom for Rayquan Borum, who has been framed up for the police killing of Justin Carr during the rebellion. Eyewitnesses say that the rubber bullet that killed Carr was fired by the police. Only the police have rubber bullets.

In the course of the righteous rebellion, the Uprising has pushed back the cops and established an important precedent that the movement should study and try to follow. They have carried their rebellion to the commercial and financial centers of Charlotte, the Wall Street of the South.

For example, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Duke Energy, the real ruling class of North Carolina, were forced to tell their workers to stay home for several days.

Taking it to the ruling class

The commercial EpiCenter, which houses businesses, a major hotel, restaurants and bars, was invaded and business has fallen way off. There were major cancellations at large hotels. The Westin Hotel had three large groups cancel, losing several 4,000-room nights of business. The Aria Tuscan Grill restaurant had 300 reservations on a Friday night and none of them showed up.

According to the owner of the Aria Tuscan Grill and City Smoke, “I remember 9/11 vividly, and remember thinking that was the worst. This event is even bigger.” (Charlotte Observer, “Unrest ‘huge blow’ to uptown hospitality industry,” Sept. 28) There was also damage to Walmart, the Omni Hotel, the Hyatt, the Charlotte Convention Center and an office tower near the NASCAR Hall of Fame. There were boarded-up stores in both downtown and uptown.

Demonstrators blocked interstate highways I-77, I-85 and I-277, all of which are important access routes to the commercial districts. The police had to shut down I-277 for several hours.

The Carolina Panthers game on Sept. 25 was the most undersold game in two years. With tickets costing $120 each, much revenue was undoubtedly lost.

Police do 180 on videos

The protesters’ victory so far has been to force an adamant police chief and the mayor to release police videos of the shooting. The police initially refused to release them.

Police Chief Kerr Putney spoke the day after the killing. With Mayor Jennifer Roberts by his side, he firmly refused to release any videos on the grounds that they were part of an ongoing investigation.

Putney started litigating the case in public right away, declaring that Scott got out of his car with a gun and pointed it at the police.

The next day, as the rebellion grew, Putney said that even if the videos didn’t show Scott with a gun, the cops found a gun. Later they said they found an ankle holster. Of course “dropping a gun” is standard police operation when they want to cover up a killing or frame up someone. One video also shows the cops yelling at Scott, “Drop the gun.” But the police knew full well that the dash cam was on them and they acted out their lines accordingly.

A day later Putney said the cops would release the videos when there was a good reason to.

And finally, in the wake of the movement’s calls for his resignation, Putney totally reversed course on Sept. 24 and said he would release the videos.

So far the police have released partial videos; they are due to release much more video. This victory is going to put pressure on police departments across the country to release videos of police shootings. And it was done in a matter of days.

This is no small accomplishment. In Chicago the movement could not get the release of the video of Laquan McDonald’s murder for 14 months, and it was only released after a court order based on a lawsuit by a reporter.

Taking on state by pressuring ruling class

At the present time, the movement against racist police killings and brutality does not have the force to take on the state directly. The local police are militarized, as are the state police and the National Guard. The state can only be pushed back indirectly, by interfering with the sales and profits of the banks, big business, and medium and small businesses. Because the cops are, in the end, only the servants of business, it is the capitalist ruling class that can be forced to tell their servants to pull back.

Of course, the ruling class is secretly behind the new wave of repression being brought against the Uprising — including hundreds arrested, new warrants for organizers and the frame-ups of key people. It is quite expected that the ruling class will strike back with repression. But no matter what, the victory has already been accomplished and cannot be erased. And the repression must be fought, not just by the Charlotte movement, but also by people from the entire country in the struggle for Black lives.

Displaying extraordinary heroism and determination, the Uprising refused to be intimidated by a massive show of force. Hundreds of cops in riot gear, showering rubber bullets and tear gas, and wielding clubs, could not drive the demonstrators off the streets.

The Uprising defied a state of emergency declared by the governor and curfews by the local government. The activists came back, day after day, night after night. While they could not defeat the state outright, they also refused to be intimidated. They pushed up against the cops, the Guard and the state police. And they stayed in the streets.

This struggle has illuminated the relationship between the bosses and the cops. That alone is an accomplishment. Of course, there still has to be the indictment, the trial and the conviction of the cops involved. That is a much larger struggle. But the Uprising has shown the great potential of a truly grassroots rebellion.

Black August of 1970: The Heroes of San Rafael

In the momentous political event that marked “Black August,” freedom fighter Jonathan Jackson, at the age of 17, burst into a San Rafael, Calif., courtroom, armed, to free his brother, George Jackson, along with Fleeta Drumgo and John Clutchette, on Aug. 7, 1970. The three “Soledad Brothers” were being tried and faced execution — despite a lack of evidence — for killing a white prison guard at Soledad prison following another guard’s murder of three African-American inmates.
George Jackson had been imprisoned for over 10 years for a $70 robbery and faced an indeterminate [read “life”] sentence. He was a leader of the Black Panther Party, vanguard organization of the Black Liberation Movement, founded in October 1966 in Oakland, Calif.
Jonathan Jackson was joined by San Quentin prisoners James McClain, Ruchell Cinque Magee* and William Christmas inside the courtroom where they took a judge, district attorney and three jurors hostage and demanded the Soledad Brothers’ immediate release.
As Jackson drove away, court police and San Quentin guards opened fire, killing him, McClain, Christmas and the judge. The rest survived, including Magee, who has been incarcerated for 53 years, currently the longest-held U.S.political prisoner.
Workers World republishes here the original article written — with some small edits suggested by the author — by Fred Goldstein, who was then a leader of Youth Against War and Fascism and a supporter of the Panthers, and is the author of the books, “Low Wage Capitalism” and “Capitalism at a Dead End.” Workers World staff
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By Fred Goldstein
Aiming to free his unjustly imprisoned brother George, Jonathan Jackson, 17, William Christmas, James McClain and Ruchell Magee take judge, prosecutor, three jurors as hostages to waiting van Aug. 7, 1970.
August 7, 1970, shall go down in history as the day of the heroes of San Rafael. On that day four courageous Black liberation fighters gave the world a truly awe-inspiring demonstration of revolutionary heroism and self-sacrifice in the struggle against the racist tyranny of U.S. imperialism. Their deed has already become an imperishable part of the revolutionary heritage of the Black Liberation struggle and of oppressed people everywhere.
Three of these heroes were prisoners of war — captives in the war of the master class against Black America. The fourth was a young revolutionary whose brother was being held prisoner in the concentration camp called San Quentin.
On August 7, 1970, they tore loose from the very jaws of the monster. In a blaze of glory, these prisoners of war broke the iron grip of the slave master, struck him a surprise blow and captured the enemy in his own lair. By a stroke of historic justice they were able to capture a judge, a prosecutor and a juror — representing the three elements of the capitalist frame-up system which has consigned an endless procession of helpless victims to perish, to die a slow, agonizing death in the dungeon-graveyards of iron and cement. Fate could not have planned a more fitting circumstance.
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George Jackson, by unknown Palestinian artist, Palestine, 2015
Died for the people
“We are revolutionaries,” they proudly proclaimed. “We want the Soledad brothers free by 12:30.” Their deed was performed for the people and for history.
They showed the people that they were not afraid to die for liberation. They showed the people a black-robed tyrant torn from his throne and trembling in the hands of Black revolutionaries.
They proved before the people, the exploited and oppressed Black people everywhere, that the jailer can be taken prisoner; that the prosecutor of the people can be forced to reckon with the people’s justice; that the hangman can be made to beg for his life; that those who torture and torment the people, those who remorselessly show no mercy and turn a deaf ear to the cries of pain and suffering — that these brutes turned loose in society by the master class can be struck down by determined and revolutionary representatives of the people. This is what the heroes of San Rafael wanted the people to see. This is what the people saw. This is what they will remember.
In a flash of revolutionary daring, the heroes of San Rafael breached the fortress of the enemy where he thought he was impregnable — in the court. They assailed that onerous organ which has been held sacred and inviolable by ruling classes throughout history. Since the dawn of class society this institution has served the rich, the exploiters, as the arena of class discipline, where the poor are held to account for every act of rebellion, be it large or small, personal or political, against exploitation and class domination. In all areas of life there is no place where the master class has grown so accustomed to submission as in the courts.
Therein lies a great political, moral and psychological victory won for the Black Liberation struggle at San Rafael. Political because the example has been inscribed indelibly into the minds of thousands of as yet anonymous revolutionaries who cannot but be inspired by such a heroic exploit. This example alone has already prepared a future augmentation of the forces of liberation.
Morally, the people cannot but contrast the heroic self-sacrifice of the brothers with the bestiality of the ruling class which used overwhelming numbers to slaughter its own devoted servants rather than permit Black men to be free.
Psychologically, the slave masters have been terrified by the boldness and innovative tactical conception. The tension in the ruling class must increase tremendously as a result. No court is safe any more. Blind passivity and fatal acceptance by its victims can no longer be taken for granted by the enemy. Every prison has become a veritable cadre school of the oppressed. The courts will have to become armed camps. The bourgeoisie will have to show the people its teeth in every “hall of justice” across the country.
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Rulers sacrificed own stooge
Only those who fail to see the power of the people’s revolutionary potential can see a defeat in San Rafael. True enough, they did not achieve their tactical objective. But this was unavoidable. Even the most seasoned revolutionary could not have predicted that the enemy would, without remorse, without a moment’s hesitation, slaughter its own judge, prosecutor and jurors. In this deed the pigs exceeded their previous record for brutality.
Who could have foretold the complete overthrow of all rational procedures of warfare? Who could have gauged that fear and rage would drive them to devour their own? These brave warriors were hardly naïve. On the contrary, having lived the caged existence of the dungeon, these fighters were on intimate terms with the system in its most brutal and sadistic aspects.
The tactic of San Rafael flows directly from the present stage of the struggle. The revolution, the war of liberation has sunk into the bones of the people. There is a universal desire to struggle. But the people have not yet created an army capable of dealing the enemy blow-for-blow on an equal basis, capable of smashing the power of the oppressor.
Under those conditions the people are forced to begin the struggle sporadically and against vastly superior forces. At these junctures, groups and individuals scale the heights of revolutionary heroism against the most overwhelming odds. Being unable to select the terrain of battle, being unable to commit large-scale forces to equalize the conditions of battle — in fact, being powerless to exercise control over any of the decisive elements which influence the military outcome of any major struggle, the people are nevertheless determined to fight and die for liberation. Therefore, they must begin the struggle under conditions handed to them by the class enemy — that is, under circumstances which must inevitably be unfavorable.
It is at such moments in history that the most fearless and determined representatives of the oppressed people come forward to do battle. They form the vanguard and their deeds become the inspiration and the foundation for future struggles and for ultimate victory.
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Ruchell Magee, George and Jonathan Jackson, by Kiilu Nyasha
It is to such an illustrious category that James McClain, Jonathan Jackson, William Christmas and Ruchell Magee belong. Their courageous sacrifice deserves nothing less than the highest tribute. The only tribute worthy of their example is to build a revolutionary fighting force which shall not only equalize the battle but which shall carry out a relentless and implacable struggle for the revolutionary destruction of imperialism and the capitalist foundation on which it rests.
Epilogue: A year later on Aug. 21, San Quentin guards murdered author and revolutionary George Jackson. Enraged at his assassination and protesting racist “brutal, dehumanized” prison conditions, 1,200 inmates of New York’s Attica Correctional Facility rebelled on Sept. 9, 1971. Four days later, Gov. Nelson Rockefeller ordered 600 state and National Guard troops to storm the prison. Within 10 minutes, they fatally shot 29 prisoners and 10 guards. Surviving prisoners were ferociously beaten, many injured were left untreated.
Soledad Brothers Drumgo and Clutchette were acquitted by a San Francisco jury on March 27, 1972.
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*Tlaxcala’s Note
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Ruchell “Cinque” Magee (he adopted the middle name of Cinque, after the enslaved African who led the takeover of the slave ship Amistad, which eventually lead to the freedom of all the slaves on board)  is today the longest held political pr