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The Red and Black

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  1. The Red and Black

    2016 Year In Review

    From splits to united fronts, the Left has been active on NationStates again in 2016. For the second time, the Red + Black looks back at major events of the year in the 2016 Year in Review. 5. The Internationale refounded after founder puppetswept (January/June) At the peak of the conflict between The Red Fleet and would-be REATO successor Anticom, Misley—the Editor of the Red + Black and former Custodian of The Internationale—was puppetswept (all nations deleted) by NationStates moderators. In response, Misley retired from The Red Fleet, handing its leadership to Timchiland and Proletaire. Since Misley was the Custodian (Founder) of The Internationale at the time, a plan organized by The Red Fleet to clear and refound the region for the second time was executed, leading to its successful refoundation on June 15, the ninth anniversary of the foundation of the original founder nation, La Pasionaria. 4. FULLCOMMUNISM wins WA Secretary-General election (April) This year's April Fool's Day event was an election for the World Assembly Secretary-General. Begun with two moderator-created candidates, who were parodies of US Presidential candidates Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton, and later joined by other nations, the election took place across several rounds. Caelapes placed at the top of each round and eventually won the election outright, running on a platform of "FULLCOMMUNISM for NationStates." Right-wing regions could not coalesce around a single candidate, paving the way for the success of the Caelapes ticket. 3. Destruction of Nazi regions The URAP and The NSIA (August–November) Initially infiltrated in a sleeper operation by The MT Army, the destruction of The URAP took two months. After The MT Army secured a beachhead, The Red Fleet was contacted to provide reinforcements when Nazi militaries became suspicious. The operation in The URAP concluded in October, and antifascist troops turned their attention to its sister region, The NSIA. The NSIA was Liberated by the WA Security Council, paving the way for eighty troops from the Coalition Against the Ideology of Nazism (see below) to move into the region and secure it from the Nazis at update, making the operation one of the largest single operations in NationStates history. Both The NSIA and The URAP had been decade-old Nazi regions, making their capture historically important. 2. USSD splits from NSLeft (October) After the USSD raided Social Liberal Union, a region with historic ties to the NationStates Left, regions across leftist tendencies united to repudiate their leadership. Among other regions, North Korea, Das Kommune, The Internationale, and the Federation of Anarchist Communes all withdrew their embassies, and a faction of USSD members split to form a breakaway region. 1. Coalition Against the Ideology of Nazism forms (October) Led by Brunhilde, the Coalition Against the Ideology of Nazism (CAIN) was formed in late 2016 to serve as a united front against Nazism in NationStates. While not strictly a leftist project, its prominence as a broad anti-Nazi group has brought the tactics of direct action against Nazism to a much larger audience than the Left alone. View full article
  2. The Red and Black

    2016 Year In Review

    From splits to united fronts, the Left has been active on NationStates again in 2016. For the second time, the Red + Black looks back at major events of the year in the 2016 Year in Review. 5. The Internationale refounded after founder puppetswept (January/June) At the peak of the conflict between The Red Fleet and would-be REATO successor Anticom, Misley—the Editor of the Red + Black and former Custodian of The Internationale—was puppetswept (all nations deleted) by NationStates moderators. In response, Misley retired from The Red Fleet, handing its leadership to Timchiland and Proletaire. Since Misley was the Custodian (Founder) of The Internationale at the time, a plan organized by The Red Fleet to clear and refound the region for the second time was executed, leading to its successful refoundation on June 15, the ninth anniversary of the foundation of the original founder nation, La Pasionaria. 4. FULLCOMMUNISM wins WA Secretary-General election (April) This year's April Fool's Day event was an election for the World Assembly Secretary-General. Begun with two moderator-created candidates, who were parodies of US Presidential candidates Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton, and later joined by other nations, the election took place across several rounds. Caelapes placed at the top of each round and eventually won the election outright, running on a platform of "FULLCOMMUNISM for NationStates." Right-wing regions could not coalesce around a single candidate, paving the way for the success of the Caelapes ticket. 3. Destruction of Nazi regions The URAP and The NSIA (August–November) Initially infiltrated in a sleeper operation by The MT Army, the destruction of The URAP took two months. After The MT Army secured a beachhead, The Red Fleet was contacted to provide reinforcements when Nazi militaries became suspicious. The operation in The URAP concluded in October, and antifascist troops turned their attention to its sister region, The NSIA. The NSIA was Liberated by the WA Security Council, paving the way for eighty troops from the Coalition Against the Ideology of Nazism (see below) to move into the region and secure it from the Nazis at update, making the operation one of the largest single operations in NationStates history. Both The NSIA and The URAP had been decade-old Nazi regions, making their capture historically important. 2. USSD splits from NSLeft (October) After the USSD raided Social Liberal Union, a region with historic ties to the NationStates Left, regions across leftist tendencies united to repudiate their leadership. Among other regions, North Korea, Das Kommune, The Internationale, and the Federation of Anarchist Communes all withdrew their embassies, and a faction of USSD members split to form a breakaway region. 1. Coalition Against the Ideology of Nazism forms (October) Led by Brunhilde, the Coalition Against the Ideology of Nazism (CAIN) was formed in late 2016 to serve as a united front against Nazism in NationStates. While not strictly a leftist project, its prominence as a broad anti-Nazi group has brought the tactics of direct action against Nazism to a much larger audience than the Left alone.
  3. The Red and Black

    The Other Chicago Teachers' Strike

    As the countdown to the Chicago Teachers Union’s October 11 strike deadline approaches, another teachers’ union in Chicago has voted to authorize a strike as their own contract negotiations have dragged on over strikingly similar disagreements. The teachers and staff at the fifteen-campus UNO Charter School Network (UCSN) have spent seven months bargaining for a successor to their groundbreaking first collective bargaining agreement. But talks with management have stalled. So this week, all but one of the 533 bargaining unit members participated in the strike vote, which delivered a 96 percent vote in favor of strike authorization. The teachers want to limit class size, reverse layoffs of student support personnel, and win more say over the school-year calendar. USCN executives want to shift more pension and health-care costs onto the workers, consolidate the pay schedule, and limit support staff to a 1 percent raise. “We sympathize with the CTU, we support the CTU,” says Erica Stewart, a spokesperson for the workers. “But this is our contract, and we’ve been bargaining on a separate track than the district.” Yet UNO’s management’s giveback demands look a lot like what Chicago Public Schools is demanding of the CTU. While there are many — particularly in corporate education reform circles — who see charter schools as non-union alternatives to school districts, the reality is that teachers at charter schools do not serve as a reserve pool of strikebreakers. In Chicago, nearly a quarter of charter school teachers have voted their way into the union. The UCSN workers were the largest group of employees to organize when they joined the Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff (Chicago ACTS) in 2013. Chicago ACTS is Local 4343 of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the CTU’s sister local. Having directed the AFT’s charter school organizing program from 2010 until 2015, I may be a bit biased. But union organizing in charter schools is a story of union solidarity that too often goes overlooked. Teachers choose to work in charter schools for a variety of reasons, but union avoidance is rarely one of them. And, while union activists have a lot of problems with the role that the charter industry plays in the privatization of education, workers in charters who stand up for their rights deserve support from the Left. Too Big to Fail That the UCSN faces a possible strike at the same time CPS prepares for a walkout would have been unbelievable in 2012, the time of the last major CTU strike. Then, CEO Juan Rangel crowed about the fifty thousand students who would continue to report to charter schools while the public schools were shuttered. Rangel’s pre-strike provocation inspired Chicago ACTS to organize UCSN teachers. The CTU joined the effort and contributed significant staff resources and leadership attention to the project. This was a huge challenge. UCSN was the largest network of charter schools in Chicago at the time, with ambitions to expand to new markets. It was a driving force in the industry lobby, the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, and Rangel had served as transition chief for Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel’s first one hundred days. Up to that point, Chicago ACTS had organized mostly small networks and independent schools. Given the high degree of teacher turnover and the rapid expansion of the network, we knew we needed to pressure management to sign an organizing rights deal — an agreement not to fight our organizing efforts — if we were going to win a union for the teachers and staff. Campaign researchers soon discovered that the same rapid expansion that made the network hard to organize was UNO’s financial Achilles heel. Virtually every year, the network had to float a new bond to Wall Street investors, each time using the newest school property — purchased with the last bond — as collateral for the new one. This meant that any increase in the charter’s network’s revenue went to service debt. Any pause in new growth or revenue would put immediate pressure on their bottom line. In essence, a charter school is just a five-year contract to provide government services. So when charters apply for fifteen- or thirty-year bonds, they are charged extremely high interest rates. Across the board, charter school bonds are only rated one grade above “junk.” But Wall Street investors love them, because they are also classified as municipal bonds, which produce triple-tax-free income for investors. Banks carefully bundle these with safer bonds from actual public entities to produce higher yield, but supposedly safe, bond funds. If all of this is starting to sound like The Big Short, that’s because the bankers who inflated and then popped the sub-prime mortgage bubble are repeating the same scam in the charter school industry. This should be a national scandal. But the actual UNO scandal was a result of the organization’s culture of insider dealing and no-bid contracts. Ordinarily, that’s business as usual in Chicago. But in the aftermath of Rahm Emanuel’s controversial closure of fifty public schools, the question of how public education dollars were spent became highly politicized. When Chicago Sun-Times investigative reporter Dan Mihalopoulos launched a series of UNO exposés in early 2013, the public was outraged by the cavalier and venal misuse of public funds. As Mihalopoulos began to connect the scandal to specific politicians, UNO started losing friends fast. The day the Sun-Times ran a story on UNO’s fundraising for House speaker Mike Madigan — complete with an embarrassing picture of Madigan at an UNO charity golf event — two things happened: first, the governor set in motion the suspension of a special $98 million grant that was supposed to seed the network’s expansion, and leadership called AFT president Randi Weingarten to propose a neutrality agreement. Thanks to that deal, the worker-led organizing committee signed up over 90 percent of the teachers and staff for a May Day union certification. View full article
  4. Nearly all sectors and centers of ruling class power are now mobilized to defeat or eliminate the presidential campaign of Donald Trump. This is a truly bi-partisan effort. The handful of establishment holdouts who hadn’t yet abandoned him have now joined the dump Trump effort following the release on October 7 of a 2005 hot mic audio recording of Trump talking about women in the most dehumanizing and abusive manner. This audio confirms something that is well known: that he is a pig, a vile male chauvinist and misogynist. But naturally the release of the 11-year old audio tape of Trump completely dominated all news coverage. His initial defense that Bill Clinton talked “worse” about women when they played golf together is probably true but it hardly helps him. The timing of the release of the Trump audio tape also totally overwhelmed news coverage of another sensational story – the long awaited “October Surprise” release by Wikileaks of hacked emails revealing for the first time what Hillary Clinton said behind closed doors to Wall Street’s biggest banks. These emails are also damning in many other ways that could have doomed or deeply damaged the Clinton campaign. But with the Trump audio tape release, the emails about what Clinton said became a small side story. Even in the second televised debate that took place October 9, the Wikileaks email release, which could have helped unravel the Clinton campaign, became just a footnote. In the three minutes minute devoted to the subject, Clinton cited the words she spoke to the bankers to compare herself to Abraham Lincoln and then blamed Russia and Putin for releasing the emails, hoping to change the subject from what the documents showed about what she actually said in the private speeches. Obama administration and Clinton’s counter-measures against Wikileaks The Clinton team and the Obama administration knew that the Wikileaks “October Surprise” release was coming. Assange had been announcing they were coming all week. The Obama administration and the Clinton campaign were preparing for it and looking for ways to discredit the damaging information or inoculate public opinion about the revelations which came from the hacked emails of John Podesta, the chairperson of the Clinton campaign. Early in the morning of October 7 the White House made the announcement that U.S. intelligence agencies had confirmed, without providing any hard facts or evidence, that the Russian government was responsible for the hacks of Democratic Party email servers and that “Russia was trying to influence the U.S. elections.” The timing of this remarkable and unsubstantiated announcement could not be coincidental coming just hours before the Wikileaks release. The assertions that the hack of various Democratic Party email servers over the past months was the work of Russia provided the Clinton camp a way of turning attention away from the content of the emails. It also further activated the surveillance state, the FBI, CIA and NSA to go into high gear against Wikileaks now that they had been characterized as a proxy for Russian espionage. The surveillance state and the Military-Industrial Complex, not to mention the neo-conservatives from the George W. Bush era, are working together to elect Clinton. The Wikileaks release of the hacked emails was finally set for October 7 in the late afternoon. The Washington Post version of how the Trump audio tape story broke is that they received a call at 10 am on the Friday morning from a source who had access to the tape. The Post says that they know who the source is but they won’t reveal the name. If the intelligence services did not facilitate the leak of the Trump audio they certainly know the identity of the source. Regardless, there are many other revelations to come from Trump’s rotten portfolio that will be used against him in the coming weeks if he abides by his promise to stay in the race. The Post story at 4 pm thus coincided almost exactly with the long awaited release from Wikileaks of hacked emails. These showed that what Hillary Clinton said to the biggest bankers in private, when they paid her and Bill Clinton tens of millions of dollars in speaking fees, completely contradicted her campaign speeches. The sensational emails confirmed the main charge made by Bernie Sanders and his supporters: that the release of the transcripts of these speeches would prove that Clinton was a double dealing politician who said one thing in public but was really a servant of the biggest Wall Street bankers whose greed and criminal conduct destroyed the lives of millions of working class families. What John Podesta’s emails show The hacked emails from John Podesta reveal that Clinton was telling Wall Street behind closed doors that they needn’t be concerned about what she said about or against them in public. In an April 2013 speech Clinton explained that politicians “need both a public and a private position. If everybody’s watching, you know, all of the back room discussions and the deals, you know, then people get a little nervous, to say the least.” None of this matters now in the election. The capitalist ruling class in America does not want Donald Trump to be their president, the CEO of the state that looks after their vast interests, here and abroad. He is a narrow, unpredictable megalomaniac who only looks after himself. They don’t trust him to manage their common affairs. A Trump presidency would strip the U.S. state of any remaining legitimacy in a world that already resents the bullying and domination projected by U.S. imperialist power. Patriarchy, misogyny and chauvinism are the norm in capitalist political circles Trump’s disgusting comments about women are typical from the privileged and powerful men of the upper classes. Trump is like Bill Clinton and JFK in this regard. And while rich and famous men “can do anything” to women as Trump states in the audio tape, the reality is that the objectification, harassment and abuse of women is epidemic in bourgeois society–one in four women workers in fast food experience sexual assault or harassment–and involves men in all classes. This is known. In the military the issue is especially pronounced. In 2012, the Pentagon issued a report on the 20th anniversary of the Tailhook scandal during which 87 women were the subjected to violence and abuse at a Las Vegas hotel that was the site of a convention of air force admirals and other officers. The 2012 report stated that at least 26,000 military personnel, mostly women, were the victims of sexual abuse in just the past year which was undoubtedly an underestimate. How many of these sanctimonious politicians who are now denouncing Trump also talk and act like him toward women or enable other men to do so? Joe Biden denounced Trump’s language as a form of sexual abuse but it was Biden who shielded Clarence Thomas during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings from law Professor Anita Hill as she tried to document the torment and abuse Thomas inflicted on her. Misogyny, degradation and violence against women are commonplace in capitalist America but these same politicians from both parties who are announcing their “shock, outrage and indignation” over Trump’s vile comments don’t give a damn or say anything every other day of the year. That goes for the Clintons too. As a New York Times article of October 2 reports, Bill and Hillary Clinton and their aides used private investigators, media smear campaigns and many of the most aggressive attack tactics against multiple women who claimed that they were having affairs with Bill Clinton or had been the target of unwanted sexual advances and sexual assaults by him while he was Governor of Arkansas or while running for President. “ … privately, she [Hillary Clinton] embraced the Clinton campaign’s aggressive strategy of counterattack: Women who claimed to have had sexual encounters with Mr. Clinton would become targets of digging and discrediting — tactics that women’s rights advocates frequently denounce. “The campaign hired a private investigator with a bare-knuckles reputation who embarked on a mission, as he put it in a memo, to impugn Ms. Flowers’s ‘character and veracity until she is destroyed beyond all recognition.'” (NY Times Oct. 2, 2016) That Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are the candidates of the two dominant political parties is evidence of the profound lack of leadership from within the capitalist establishment. Both are deeply unpopular. Both are correctly viewed as rank opportunists. Both are reactionaries and imperialists. For the last 18 months the attention of the country has been glued to the election process and the election outcome. It has gone on and on. More than $2 billion will be spent by the competitors by the end. Third party candidates have been excluded from the mainstream media and as a consequence there is no genuine representation from within the political process for working class people. There are no workers in Congress. The great U.S. labor movement has been reduced to a lobby and donor for the capitalist politicians. The real political power in society resides with the generals, admirals and intelligence services.This is a brand of democracy that is so twisted, so stifled and so unreal that it calls out for radical and revolutionary change. For the socialist movement a new day has begun and it will represent a major break from both of the political parties whose grip on society is gradually ending. It will find its voice in the streets. View full article
  5. The Red and Black

    Leftist regions unite to repudiate USSD

    USSD has found itself in hot water after a string of actions has brought a heap of criticism against the region and its founder, Vetelo. Vetelo was expelled from The Red Fleet and barred from The Internationale on Thursday after directing reprehensible death threats and sexist slurs against the organizer of an anti-Nazi coalition, nearly leading to the expulsion of leftist attendees from the coalition, and then maliciously attacking The Red Fleet by engaging in what amounted to a failed DDOS attack on the server housing Lenin, The Internationale and The Red Fleet's Discord chat bot. On Saturday morning, USSD forces joined the apolitical raiding organization called "The Invaders" to attack Social Liberal Union, a prominent left-aligned region. SLU was a regional participant in the inaugural LeftExpo festival in 2012 and joined the festival again last year. The region's leadership initially attempted to justify the raid by calling the region liberal, but when SLU's long history of ties to the NS Left was brought to light, including shared embassies with the Democratic Socialist Assembly, Labour and Socialist International, The Proletariat Coalition, Communist International League, and other leftist regions, regional leaders changed tack. Two contradictory stories were instead given: one, that the raid was conducted for fun; two, that the raid was conducted to provide training for USSD troops so they will be ready to attack fascist targets. Leaders of The Red Fleet were quick to point out that sailors who were involved in the invasion of the Greater German Reich, one of the largest and most notorious Nazi regions on NationStates in its prime, trained through invasions of fascist regions or other designated enemies, never by attacking left-aligned regions. These excuses were found to ring hollow, as a plethora of regions lodged their displeasure by withdrawing their embassies with USSD. At publication time, the following regions had begun the process of recalling their embassies with USSD: North Korea Eurasian Socialist Union Peoples Republic of Iceland NSLeft Das Kommune ITALIA The Communist Bloc Marxist Scholars Circle Other regions scheduled votes on whether to keep the embassy, including The Internationale and Federation of Anarchist Communes. Former members of USSD who have protested their regional leadership have moved to USAC, a new region established by former USSD WA Delegate The German Democratic Reich. View full article
  6. The Red and Black

    Nazi region The URAP locked down

    The URAP, standing for "United Reich Axis Powers," has been locked down by the MT Army after a month-long operation was joined two weeks ago by The Red Fleet, Korean Peoples Army, Libcom, North Pacific Army, and other committed antifascists. The URAP is a Nazi region with a history stretching back to 2003, only months after NationStates itself was created. The MT Army's operation began a month ago as a false-flag fascist defense operation, but rising Nazi suspicions forced antifascists to cast the mask aside and pour in support to prevent a Nazi liberation operation. The pile of antifascists buoyed the endorsements of the raid delegate, Metal Manson, above 70. Early Monday morning, after major update had passed, The Red Fleet advised MT Army leader Vippertooth33 on the most efficient way to clear the region. A swath of ejections of friendly nations followed, capped by the establishment of a hidden password on the region. It is possible Ubedarn could return to NationStates to save his region from yet another antifascist operation that has sacked it. "But," in the words of Captain Woodhouse, "there's no guarantee." View full article
  7. The Red and Black

    Nazi region The URAP locked down

    The URAP, standing for "United Reich Axis Powers," has been locked down by the MT Army after a month-long operation was joined two weeks ago by The Red Fleet, Korean Peoples Army, Libcom, North Pacific Army, and other committed antifascists. The URAP is a Nazi region with a history stretching back to 2003, only months after NationStates itself was created. The MT Army's operation began a month ago as a false-flag fascist defense operation, but rising Nazi suspicions forced antifascists to cast the mask aside and pour in support to prevent a Nazi liberation operation. The pile of antifascists buoyed the endorsements of the raid delegate, Metal Manson, above 70. Early Monday morning, after major update had passed, The Red Fleet advised MT Army leader Vippertooth33 on the most efficient way to clear the region. A swath of ejections of friendly nations followed, capped by the establishment of a hidden password on the region. It is possible Ubedarn could return to NationStates to save his region from yet another antifascist operation that has sacked it. "But," in the words of Captain Woodhouse, "there's no guarantee."
  8. Nearly all sectors and centers of ruling class power are now mobilized to defeat or eliminate the presidential campaign of Donald Trump. This is a truly bi-partisan effort. The handful of establishment holdouts who hadn’t yet abandoned him have now joined the dump Trump effort following the release on October 7 of a 2005 hot mic audio recording of Trump talking about women in the most dehumanizing and abusive manner. This audio confirms something that is well known: that he is a pig, a vile male chauvinist and misogynist. But naturally the release of the 11-year old audio tape of Trump completely dominated all news coverage. His initial defense that Bill Clinton talked “worse” about women when they played golf together is probably true but it hardly helps him. The timing of the release of the Trump audio tape also totally overwhelmed news coverage of another sensational story – the long awaited “October Surprise” release by Wikileaks of hacked emails revealing for the first time what Hillary Clinton said behind closed doors to Wall Street’s biggest banks. These emails are also damning in many other ways that could have doomed or deeply damaged the Clinton campaign. But with the Trump audio tape release, the emails about what Clinton said became a small side story. Even in the second televised debate that took place October 9, the Wikileaks email release, which could have helped unravel the Clinton campaign, became just a footnote. In the three minutes minute devoted to the subject, Clinton cited the words she spoke to the bankers to compare herself to Abraham Lincoln and then blamed Russia and Putin for releasing the emails, hoping to change the subject from what the documents showed about what she actually said in the private speeches. Obama administration and Clinton’s counter-measures against Wikileaks The Clinton team and the Obama administration knew that the Wikileaks “October Surprise” release was coming. Assange had been announcing they were coming all week. The Obama administration and the Clinton campaign were preparing for it and looking for ways to discredit the damaging information or inoculate public opinion about the revelations which came from the hacked emails of John Podesta, the chairperson of the Clinton campaign. Early in the morning of October 7 the White House made the announcement that U.S. intelligence agencies had confirmed, without providing any hard facts or evidence, that the Russian government was responsible for the hacks of Democratic Party email servers and that “Russia was trying to influence the U.S. elections.” The timing of this remarkable and unsubstantiated announcement could not be coincidental coming just hours before the Wikileaks release. The assertions that the hack of various Democratic Party email servers over the past months was the work of Russia provided the Clinton camp a way of turning attention away from the content of the emails. It also further activated the surveillance state, the FBI, CIA and NSA to go into high gear against Wikileaks now that they had been characterized as a proxy for Russian espionage. The surveillance state and the Military-Industrial Complex, not to mention the neo-conservatives from the George W. Bush era, are working together to elect Clinton. The Wikileaks release of the hacked emails was finally set for October 7 in the late afternoon. The Washington Post version of how the Trump audio tape story broke is that they received a call at 10 am on the Friday morning from a source who had access to the tape. The Post says that they know who the source is but they won’t reveal the name. If the intelligence services did not facilitate the leak of the Trump audio they certainly know the identity of the source. Regardless, there are many other revelations to come from Trump’s rotten portfolio that will be used against him in the coming weeks if he abides by his promise to stay in the race. The Post story at 4 pm thus coincided almost exactly with the long awaited release from Wikileaks of hacked emails. These showed that what Hillary Clinton said to the biggest bankers in private, when they paid her and Bill Clinton tens of millions of dollars in speaking fees, completely contradicted her campaign speeches. The sensational emails confirmed the main charge made by Bernie Sanders and his supporters: that the release of the transcripts of these speeches would prove that Clinton was a double dealing politician who said one thing in public but was really a servant of the biggest Wall Street bankers whose greed and criminal conduct destroyed the lives of millions of working class families. What John Podesta’s emails show The hacked emails from John Podesta reveal that Clinton was telling Wall Street behind closed doors that they needn’t be concerned about what she said about or against them in public. In an April 2013 speech Clinton explained that politicians “need both a public and a private position. If everybody’s watching, you know, all of the back room discussions and the deals, you know, then people get a little nervous, to say the least.” None of this matters now in the election. The capitalist ruling class in America does not want Donald Trump to be their president, the CEO of the state that looks after their vast interests, here and abroad. He is a narrow, unpredictable megalomaniac who only looks after himself. They don’t trust him to manage their common affairs. A Trump presidency would strip the U.S. state of any remaining legitimacy in a world that already resents the bullying and domination projected by U.S. imperialist power. Patriarchy, misogyny and chauvinism are the norm in capitalist political circles Trump’s disgusting comments about women are typical from the privileged and powerful men of the upper classes. Trump is like Bill Clinton and JFK in this regard. And while rich and famous men “can do anything” to women as Trump states in the audio tape, the reality is that the objectification, harassment and abuse of women is epidemic in bourgeois society–one in four women workers in fast food experience sexual assault or harassment–and involves men in all classes. This is known. In the military the issue is especially pronounced. In 2012, the Pentagon issued a report on the 20th anniversary of the Tailhook scandal during which 87 women were the subjected to violence and abuse at a Las Vegas hotel that was the site of a convention of air force admirals and other officers. The 2012 report stated that at least 26,000 military personnel, mostly women, were the victims of sexual abuse in just the past year which was undoubtedly an underestimate. How many of these sanctimonious politicians who are now denouncing Trump also talk and act like him toward women or enable other men to do so? Joe Biden denounced Trump’s language as a form of sexual abuse but it was Biden who shielded Clarence Thomas during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings from law Professor Anita Hill as she tried to document the torment and abuse Thomas inflicted on her. Misogyny, degradation and violence against women are commonplace in capitalist America but these same politicians from both parties who are announcing their “shock, outrage and indignation” over Trump’s vile comments don’t give a damn or say anything every other day of the year. That goes for the Clintons too. As a New York Times article of October 2 reports, Bill and Hillary Clinton and their aides used private investigators, media smear campaigns and many of the most aggressive attack tactics against multiple women who claimed that they were having affairs with Bill Clinton or had been the target of unwanted sexual advances and sexual assaults by him while he was Governor of Arkansas or while running for President. “ … privately, she [Hillary Clinton] embraced the Clinton campaign’s aggressive strategy of counterattack: Women who claimed to have had sexual encounters with Mr. Clinton would become targets of digging and discrediting — tactics that women’s rights advocates frequently denounce. “The campaign hired a private investigator with a bare-knuckles reputation who embarked on a mission, as he put it in a memo, to impugn Ms. Flowers’s ‘character and veracity until she is destroyed beyond all recognition.'” (NY Times Oct. 2, 2016) That Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are the candidates of the two dominant political parties is evidence of the profound lack of leadership from within the capitalist establishment. Both are deeply unpopular. Both are correctly viewed as rank opportunists. Both are reactionaries and imperialists. For the last 18 months the attention of the country has been glued to the election process and the election outcome. It has gone on and on. More than $2 billion will be spent by the competitors by the end. Third party candidates have been excluded from the mainstream media and as a consequence there is no genuine representation from within the political process for working class people. There are no workers in Congress. The great U.S. labor movement has been reduced to a lobby and donor for the capitalist politicians. The real political power in society resides with the generals, admirals and intelligence services.This is a brand of democracy that is so twisted, so stifled and so unreal that it calls out for radical and revolutionary change. For the socialist movement a new day has begun and it will represent a major break from both of the political parties whose grip on society is gradually ending. It will find its voice in the streets.
  9. The Red and Black

    Leftist regions unite to repudiate USSD

    USSD has found itself in hot water after a string of actions has brought a heap of criticism against the region and its founder, Vetelo. Vetelo was expelled from The Red Fleet and barred from The Internationale on Thursday after directing reprehensible death threats and sexist slurs against the organizer of an anti-Nazi coalition, nearly leading to the expulsion of leftist attendees from the coalition, and then maliciously attacking The Red Fleet by engaging in what amounted to a failed DDOS attack on the server housing Lenin, The Internationale and The Red Fleet's Discord chat bot. On Saturday morning, USSD forces joined the apolitical raiding organization called "The Invaders" to attack Social Liberal Union, a prominent left-aligned region. SLU was a regional participant in the inaugural LeftExpo festival in 2012 and joined the festival again last year. The region's leadership initially attempted to justify the raid by calling the region liberal, but when SLU's long history of ties to the NS Left was brought to light, including shared embassies with the Democratic Socialist Assembly, Labour and Socialist International, The Proletariat Coalition, Communist International League, and other leftist regions, regional leaders changed tack. Two contradictory stories were instead given: one, that the raid was conducted for fun; two, that the raid was conducted to provide training for USSD troops so they will be ready to attack fascist targets. Leaders of The Red Fleet were quick to point out that sailors who were involved in the invasion of the Greater German Reich, one of the largest and most notorious Nazi regions on NationStates in its prime, trained through invasions of fascist regions or other designated enemies, never by attacking left-aligned regions. These excuses were found to ring hollow, as a plethora of regions lodged their displeasure by withdrawing their embassies with USSD. At publication time, the following regions had begun the process of recalling their embassies with USSD: North Korea Eurasian Socialist Union Peoples Republic of Iceland NSLeft Das Kommune ITALIA The Communist Bloc Marxist Scholars Circle Other regions scheduled votes on whether to keep the embassy, including The Internationale and Federation of Anarchist Communes. Former members of USSD who have protested their regional leadership have moved to USAC, a new region established by former USSD WA Delegate The German Democratic Reich.
  10. The Red and Black

    The Other Chicago Teachers' Strike

    As the countdown to the Chicago Teachers Union’s October 11 strike deadline approaches, another teachers’ union in Chicago has voted to authorize a strike as their own contract negotiations have dragged on over strikingly similar disagreements. The teachers and staff at the fifteen-campus UNO Charter School Network (UCSN) have spent seven months bargaining for a successor to their groundbreaking first collective bargaining agreement. But talks with management have stalled. So this week, all but one of the 533 bargaining unit members participated in the strike vote, which delivered a 96 percent vote in favor of strike authorization. The teachers want to limit class size, reverse layoffs of student support personnel, and win more say over the school-year calendar. USCN executives want to shift more pension and health-care costs onto the workers, consolidate the pay schedule, and limit support staff to a 1 percent raise. “We sympathize with the CTU, we support the CTU,” says Erica Stewart, a spokesperson for the workers. “But this is our contract, and we’ve been bargaining on a separate track than the district.” Yet UNO’s management’s giveback demands look a lot like what Chicago Public Schools is demanding of the CTU. While there are many — particularly in corporate education reform circles — who see charter schools as non-union alternatives to school districts, the reality is that teachers at charter schools do not serve as a reserve pool of strikebreakers. In Chicago, nearly a quarter of charter school teachers have voted their way into the union. The UCSN workers were the largest group of employees to organize when they joined the Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff (Chicago ACTS) in 2013. Chicago ACTS is Local 4343 of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the CTU’s sister local. Having directed the AFT’s charter school organizing program from 2010 until 2015, I may be a bit biased. But union organizing in charter schools is a story of union solidarity that too often goes overlooked. Teachers choose to work in charter schools for a variety of reasons, but union avoidance is rarely one of them. And, while union activists have a lot of problems with the role that the charter industry plays in the privatization of education, workers in charters who stand up for their rights deserve support from the Left. Too Big to Fail That the UCSN faces a possible strike at the same time CPS prepares for a walkout would have been unbelievable in 2012, the time of the last major CTU strike. Then, CEO Juan Rangel crowed about the fifty thousand students who would continue to report to charter schools while the public schools were shuttered. Rangel’s pre-strike provocation inspired Chicago ACTS to organize UCSN teachers. The CTU joined the effort and contributed significant staff resources and leadership attention to the project. This was a huge challenge. UCSN was the largest network of charter schools in Chicago at the time, with ambitions to expand to new markets. It was a driving force in the industry lobby, the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, and Rangel had served as transition chief for Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel’s first one hundred days. Up to that point, Chicago ACTS had organized mostly small networks and independent schools. Given the high degree of teacher turnover and the rapid expansion of the network, we knew we needed to pressure management to sign an organizing rights deal — an agreement not to fight our organizing efforts — if we were going to win a union for the teachers and staff. Campaign researchers soon discovered that the same rapid expansion that made the network hard to organize was UNO’s financial Achilles heel. Virtually every year, the network had to float a new bond to Wall Street investors, each time using the newest school property — purchased with the last bond — as collateral for the new one. This meant that any increase in the charter’s network’s revenue went to service debt. Any pause in new growth or revenue would put immediate pressure on their bottom line. In essence, a charter school is just a five-year contract to provide government services. So when charters apply for fifteen- or thirty-year bonds, they are charged extremely high interest rates. Across the board, charter school bonds are only rated one grade above “junk.” But Wall Street investors love them, because they are also classified as municipal bonds, which produce triple-tax-free income for investors. Banks carefully bundle these with safer bonds from actual public entities to produce higher yield, but supposedly safe, bond funds. If all of this is starting to sound like The Big Short, that’s because the bankers who inflated and then popped the sub-prime mortgage bubble are repeating the same scam in the charter school industry. This should be a national scandal. But the actual UNO scandal was a result of the organization’s culture of insider dealing and no-bid contracts. Ordinarily, that’s business as usual in Chicago. But in the aftermath of Rahm Emanuel’s controversial closure of fifty public schools, the question of how public education dollars were spent became highly politicized. When Chicago Sun-Times investigative reporter Dan Mihalopoulos launched a series of UNO exposés in early 2013, the public was outraged by the cavalier and venal misuse of public funds. As Mihalopoulos began to connect the scandal to specific politicians, UNO started losing friends fast. The day the Sun-Times ran a story on UNO’s fundraising for House speaker Mike Madigan — complete with an embarrassing picture of Madigan at an UNO charity golf event — two things happened: first, the governor set in motion the suspension of a special $98 million grant that was supposed to seed the network’s expansion, and leadership called AFT president Randi Weingarten to propose a neutrality agreement. Thanks to that deal, the worker-led organizing committee signed up over 90 percent of the teachers and staff for a May Day union certification.
  11. The Red and Black

    Everything Old is New Again

    Power comes in many forms, but for the working class it always boils down to the same fundamental ingredient: unbreakable solidarity. In my two decades of organizing across the United States, we almost always win when workers are in the driver's seat. We lose when we forgot about solidarity and think we might succeed with easier, less confrontational activities like lawsuits, policy mobilization, and cozying up to elected officials. Today's struggle for social change requires the same worker-focused strategies and methods that built enough power to achieve the amazing social and economic gains made by ordinary people from the 1930s through the 1960s. Everything old is new again. Think the "gig economy" is something fresh and exciting? Think again. It promises (and delivers) the same endless insecurity, lousy benefits, extreme power inequality, and demoralizing treatment faced by our grandparents who labored in the coal mines and garment factories of the 1920s. Granted, the bathrooms are a lot nicer now, and if you work for a tech company you sometimes get free M&Ms. Workers and worker-organizers in those times knew that they could not address the depredations of ruthless employers without confronting the question of power — both in society at large and on the shop floor itself. Building real workplace democracy is about identifying the already existing, organic leaders of the working class and helping them move into position to successfully lead their coworkers into battle. The goal is what 1930s-era radical labor organizer William Z. Foster called "systematic mass participation." Building that kind of mass participation should still be the principal goal of rank-and-file and staff organizers today. The Class Struggle Theory of Power Capitalism has changed over the past eighty years, but certain things remain the same. People get up in the morning, go to work, and find out that they live in the same old nasty world where you can be fired for any reason — or no reason at all — and someone is always cutting your benefits and messing with your schedule. The basis for organizing workers today, then, is the same as it's always been. In my years as a labor organizer and negotiator, I do this by adhering to a class struggle theory of power, in which I identify and mentor organic worker-leaders by engaging in hard fights and constant testing. I can't do this on the shop floor because paid staff are legally barred from private-sector workplaces before the union is formed (and often through the first contract-negotiations period); I do it by demystifying power and teaching workers how to get it for themselves. Organizers, whether paid or unpaid, are leaders, defined as people with real followers who trust them and support them — not employees or colleagues. A true leader can only serve with the active support of their community or other workers. Most social-change activists, by contrast, are not organizers. Organic leaders are ordinary people inside and outside the workplace who are already leaders before anyone sends them to some "leadership development" workshop. These leaders are the essential ingredient to building power by developing unbreakable solidarity — a solidarity that will not back down in the face of adversity and will do what it takes to win. The most critical skill of an organizer, then, is to be savvy about identifying the most respected workers and persuading them to support the union or fight for any other cause. The role of organizers is to identify the organic leaders and coach them through the inevitable fight with the employer, which is often ugly and difficult. Organizers can only find these leaders by having serious conversations with all of the workers. By the same token, mass participation only happens when thousands of organic leaders rise up from the ranks and help their fellow workers to understand their own power to change their lives for the better. Any labor organizing strategy that puts power in the hands of consultants, union staff, pollsters, political operatives, or backdoor deal-making by top union leadership is doomed to failure. Unfortunately, this characterizes much of what passes for "organizing" these days, in both labor and community arenas.
  12. The Red and Black

    Thinking like a Marxist

    This text is adapted slightly from "Thinking Like a Communist," a contribution to the Educational Program of North Korea by Comradeland. I'd hazard to say that for most people stepping into socialism doesn't begin with theory, it begins with a feeling. A feeling that something isn't right in the world, the inequalities start to mount up and can no longer be ignored, the disparities in power and punishment start to glare. So you say to yourself, "Gee, things sure are unfair, I wonder why that is?" This is the first step on the road for most to Communism. But what does it mean to think like a Marxist? What is it like to see the world through Marxist lenses? Put into four words our thought process can be condensed down to "dialectically, revolutionary, scientifically, practicality". Dialectically To start with, we see the world dialectically. This means we view life and history as a series of contradictory and opposing forces. Rich vs poor, landed vs unlanded, urban vs rural, the list goes on. These forces are opposing, and through their clashing of interest's history is advanced. We view all of history through this lens, with almost no room for "great men" to enact their will on history. Instead, "great men" are just the mouthpieces of dialectical forces moving in the background. A communist knows that there are eternal forces fighting against the advent of worker power. A liberal or conservative might say "Oh unions are weak now, shame that nobody cares anymore!" chalking the bulk of the responsibility to individual feelings. A communist on the other hand knows that the reason unions are weak is decades of attack from the capitalist class to degrade their effectiveness. Nothing happens without reason, people didn't stop caring about unions on their own, they were lead there by forces stronger and richer than unionized labor. Here's a simple way to begin thinking dialectically. Next time you hear something on the news like "People continue to protest the recent shooting in Charlotte", think about the forces that caused this. On one side you have a racist and oppressive police force that stands in defense of bourgeoisie capital, and on the other side you have a collection of oppressed minorities and allies. Rather than looking at it as "a bunch of angry people protesting", look at them as a part of the larger dialectical force of "the unsatisfied oppressed masses". If violence or looting happens, it's not an expression of a few rogue individuals doing what they want, it's the expression of dispossessed class anger. En-masse people are more expressions of class forces than their individual desires. Revolutionary Next, our mindset should always strive to be revolutionary. What this means is that we do not get caught under the wheels of trying to reform a broken system. To us, it is impossible to reorient the class structure without destroying it. In the same way you can't slowly explode a bomb, you can not slowly reform and rearrange classes. Having a revolutionary mindset simply means that we will not attempt to reform the system or accept it the way it is. Only a radical destruction of the existing class structures (banks, government institutions, businesses, ect) and rebuilding under the control of the working class is tolerable. This does come with a certain amount of acceptance on the need for eventual armed resistance. Communists know that the capitalist system will never give up without a fight, and will certainly never allow us to take over and destroy them without a fight. Ideas of peaceful resolution need to be discarded, no class is going to willingly allow itself to be destroyed, especially not the richest, greediest, and smallest class of capitalists. Scientifically Thirdly, our approach to the world is scientifically. The basis of this is our belief in materialism. Materialism means that we believe everything that exists has an explainable and understandable reason. In this life, things like ghosts, a supreme being, superstitions, curses, voodoo, and other non-real things have no impact on reality. The world is a rational and understandable place, nothing in it can not be explained with science. The mind does not control or create objective reality. We believe strongly in learning from the examples of history, and by analyzing the forces at play much of social development can be made into a science. But unlike anthropology we primarily concern ourselves with the economic interactions between classes as the driving force for change. Practicality And lastly, our actions should always strive for practicality. We struggle to move the masses from where they are, not from where we want them to be. Our actions must always be guided by practicality, not by idealism. Here is an easy idealism to get lost in: "socialism is inevitable". There is nothing to prove this is true, history does not bear this out, and yet I always hear it from people. Society is not on some intrinsic path forwards to being more humane and equal, it must be brought there with hard work. We do not believe that thoughts and feelings on matters is good enough, or that our personal feelings justify incorrect courses of action. This is one of the greatest hurdles when it comes to socialists working together. Sometimes the compromises that have to be made for the practical situation upset the more puritanical book learned members of the movement. This is especially true in my experience of followers of Trotsky, who complain endlessly about the failures of various socialist movements yet have exactly 0 of their own successful revolutions to show. Things like Lenin's New Economic Policy, or Stalin's Socialism in One Country may not be the most puritan "correct" communist decisions, but they WERE the correct decisions for the materialist conditions they were made in. We do not believe that any reliable change ever arises from "good intentions". Reliable change only comes from having a practical stand against things that are directly causing oppression. For example, liberals love to talk about "good cops". And while the good cop narrative might appeal to people who want to feel good, or think that the individual matters as much as the system, it is practically speaking – false. Sure there are good individuals, people who tuck their kid in at night, kiss their SO before going off to work, and then plant their boot firmly on the necks of the oppressed. A communist does not care about how nice of a person the police man is, from a practical standpoint that officer is supporting oppression and an oppressive system, this is the only thing that matters about that person if you are fighting against oppression. So to me it hardly matters who that cop is, I must oppose him on the basis of practicality if nothing else. He stands against equality and my interests, thus he must be confronted and known to be the enemy. Communists do not believe that things like "moral character", "strength of will", or "optimism" are acceptable advancement methodologies. Simply believing is not enough to enact change! We do not believe in a liberal concept of "human rights". The idea that the right to education, healthcare, liberty, justice, and all that jazz just because you are a human is great in theory. However, as communists we believe that these things will never be secured if we rely on human's good will and intentions, especially parliamentary politics. Under capitalism the average person is degraded to the point they do not think they can effect change, their vacillitations in opinion at the ebb and flow of corporate media and money means that anything deemed a "right" today can be taken away tomorrow. The only method of guaranteeing effective human rights that can not be denied is to build a just system around them that guarantees them simply through its normal operating procedure. Not only that, but we must set aside a liberal concept of "equality" to remove those who are perpetuating inequality within our system. A liberal might say "A capitalist has as much freedom to earn money as you!", while a communist knows that nobody should have the power to oppress and exploit another, and that the liberals concept of "freedom" is just freedom for the slave owner. A communist economic system is this guarantee. It's not enough to say that all people should have a voice, you have to actually give them one by smashing the economic organs controlling media and voting. It's not enough to say that healthcare is a right and provide a "cheap" way to get it, it must be guaranteed in the constitution and social contract. It's not enough to say that you deserve a justice system that is fair, you have to destroy the corrupt for-profit system entirely. You can not legislate human rights, you can only guarantee them by making their guarantee a vital part of the social contract. Human rights flow from the system, not from individuals or "allowing" people to have them.
  13. The Red and Black

    LeftExpo lectures sought, submissions welcome

    Organizers of LeftExpo, the interregional festival for leftist regions and players, are calling for submissions for lectures for the festival's fourth incarnation, scheduled to be held in three weeks. The theme for this year's festival revolves around the life and works of Eugene Victor Debs, the American socialist and labor leader who became the most successful Socialist candidate for President of the United States when he earned six percent of votes cast with 900,000 votes. Debs was active as a union organizer and activist, and was one of the founders of the Industrial Workers of the World as well as an influential member of the Socialist Party of America. Lectures based on topics related to Debs's work and life, including unionism, American socialism, and about Debs himself, are especially sought. Submissions can be made via telegram to Caelapes.
  14. The Red and Black

    Decade-old Nazi region "The URAP" raided by antifascists

    The URAP, standing for "United Reich Axis Powers," has been occupied by the MT Army and allies, including soldiers and sailors from The Red Fleet, Korean Peoples Army, USSF, Libcom, North Pacific Army, and other committed antifascists. The URAP is a Nazi region with a history stretching back to 2003, only months after NationStates itself was created. It has been invaded by antifascist forces several times throughout its history, including previous efforts by the MT Army that ended with the return of the region's founder, Ubedarn. After Ubedarn ceased to exist on September 10, the MT Army reactivated its troops and trickled into the region. Using the persona "Nazi Jason," MT Army leader Vippertooth33 fooled Nazi Europa's "Intelligence" director Captain Woodhouse into ignoring the influx of MT Army agents until the facade was too untenable to maintain. The full force of Antifa was unleashed on the region, quickly bringing endorsements on the raid leader nation Metal Manson above seventy, while Nazis squatted in URAP partner region "The NSIA" with only forty endorsements of their own. With no Nazi effort to reclaim the region in sight, the only hope Nazis have of reclaiming one of their oldest outposts in NationStates is the return of its founder. We point to NAZI EUROPE and the Greater German Reich as past examples of this tactic not working in their favor.
  15. The URAP, standing for "United Reich Axis Powers," has been occupied by the MT Army and allies, including soldiers and sailors from The Red Fleet, Korean Peoples Army, USSF, Libcom, North Pacific Army, and other committed antifascists. The URAP is a Nazi region with a history stretching back to 2003, only months after NationStates itself was created. It has been invaded by antifascist forces several times throughout its history, including previous efforts by the MT Army that ended with the return of the region's founder, Ubedarn. After Ubedarn ceased to exist on September 10, the MT Army reactivated its troops and trickled into the region. Using the persona "Nazi Jason," MT Army leader Vippertooth33 fooled Nazi Europa's "Intelligence" director Captain Woodhouse into ignoring the influx of MT Army agents until the facade was too untenable to maintain. The full force of Antifa was unleashed on the region, quickly bringing endorsements on the raid leader nation Metal Manson above seventy, while Nazis squatted in URAP partner region "The NSIA" with only forty endorsements of their own. With no Nazi effort to reclaim the region in sight, the only hope Nazis have of reclaiming one of their oldest outposts in NationStates is the return of its founder. We point to NAZI EUROPE and the Greater German Reich as past examples of this tactic not working in their favor. View full article
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