Sunday, April 30, 2006

May Day '06

Don't forget that tomorrow is May Day, the 120th celebration of the Haymarket Martyrs, a group of anarchists who died in the struggle for worker's rights. In their memory, organizers around the country are encouraging Hispanic Americans to stop buying, selling, and working tomorrow in protest of the racist immigration laws that Republicans have been trying to push through Congress. We'll have more analysis of the May Day marches and boycotts through out the week.

Italy to Pull Troops Out of Iraq

Oliviero Diliberto, MP and Secretary of the Italian Communist Party, today promised that Italian troops would be pulling out of Iraq by this Summer. Italian troops were first sent to Iraq by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, a right-wing Bush ally, in 2003 despite widespread opposition by the Italian people. Berlusconi was defeated in an election ealier this month by Romano Prodi who led a Center-Left coalition of Democrats, Socialists, and Communists.

Free Latin America


In a speech before 25,000 Cubans in Havana's Revolution Square yesterday, Bolivian President Evo Morales urged Latin Americans to put Latin American liberation before national or sector interests. Morales praised fair trade agreements, specifically the People's Trade Treaty (PTT), because they put the interests of indigenous people over corporate profits. The PTT increases gas and oil exports to Bolivia from the petroleum rich Venezuela. Morales, Chavez and Castro also signed the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) in an effort to counteract the U.S.-sponsored Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). Chavez said, "ALBA is moving forward, and facing the aggression of the imperial projects of the free trade agreement, all we can do is attack."

The one worry many on the left have when it comes to Chavez and Morales is their alliance with Castro. Despite some of the economic gains made under the Castro regime, he is still a authoritarian leader who has little tolerance for freedom of speech.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Ceasefire Declared in Nepal

The new Nepali government, led by a seven party coalition, today declared a three month ceasefire with Maoist rebels in the region. The Maoists have long been engaged in a violent revolution against the oppressive Nepali monarchy of King Gyanendra, which was toppled this week after nearly a month of mass protests in Kathmandu.

I received a few harsh e-mails from Maoists over the past few days for the anti-Maoist views I expressed in a post. While one fellow called me a "bourgeois democrat" and an puppet of the elites, I personally believe that replacing a capitalist dictatorship with a communist pseudo-democracy is no step forward, and is certainly playing into the hand of the elites. Hyper-centralized democracy, dubbed "New Democracy" by Mao, results in the preservation of oligarchy and the repression of dissent. The Cultural Revolution, despite the rhetoric of Bob Avakian and his cultish followers, shattered the lives of millions, a fact recognized by everyone except for a handful of dogmatic RCP members. Any romantic memories of that period that the left still holds should be flushed down the tubes right along with the capitalist system. Even the Maoist Revolutionary Communist Party has acknowledged that under Mao, workers almost never gained control over the means of production, a key tenant of democratic socialism and communism. Mao may have done a few good things like introduce gender equality into Chinese society, but he doesn't deserve to be on the front of anyone's t-shirt.


Of course, Mao's pitfalls don't necessarily translate into a death sentence for the Maoist movement in Nepal. Rather, the violent history of the Maoists largely discredits their movement. In the long civil war between the Maoists and the Nepali government, as many as 13,000 people are believed to have died. The Maoists have also been implicated in the murders of several pro-democracy supporters. The one thing the Maoists have going for them is a dedicated following which includes a large constituency of poor citizens. This great power means they have a responsibility to their supporters to not only comply to the terms of the ceasefire, but also to peacefully participate in democratic elections, not create a monolithic Maoist state. If the various leftist groups in Nepal - the Nepali Congress, the Communist Party (Unified Marxist-Leninist), and the Maoists - work together, perhaps peace in Nepal can become a reality.

3 Italians Die in Iraq

Three more Italian soldiers have died in the seemingly endless and undoubtedly fruitless War in Iraq. Romano Prodi, Center-Left elect, says this reaffirms his support for a gradual pullout from Iraq. Italy's outgoing right-wing Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi sent 3,000 troops to Iraq in 2003, despite near intense opposition from Italy's population. Oliviero Diliberto, secretary of the Italian Communist Party, expressed the feelings of the Italian people in a statement to the press, "I express my personal grief and my party's grief for the Italian militaries who were killed in Iraq. I'm near to their families in these hours of mourning. As regards the Italian military presence in Iraq the Union's line is clear: we ask the withdrawal of our troops. This new serious and tragic attack confirms our choices are right"

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Chavez Strikes Oil Deal With Nicaragua

Hugo Chavez, the socialist President of Venezuela, has taken yet another crucial step in counteracting American free trade deals in Latin America. In a deal with a group of Nicaraguan mayors and local politicians, Chavez has promised to use Venezuela's massive oil reserves to help provide Nicaragua with affordable oil. Chavez made a similar deal with leftist politicians in El Salvador earlier this year.

Besides providing petroleum to Nicaragua, Chavez has also voiced his support of leftist candidate Daniel Ortega in the upcoming elections. Ortega was one of the leaders of the Sandanista National Liberation Front, who overthrew the Samoza dictatorship in 1979. Ortega was soon elected President of the new government with 63% of the vote. However, Ortega's socialist policies brought the wrath of the Reagan Administration who quickly began a secret war against the democratic government of Nicaragua. Reagan and his buddy Ollie North began funneling money to insurgent forces inside Nicaragua by selling arms to the Iranian dictatorship. The insurgency in Nicaragua, referred to as the Contras, was a ragtag group of drug lords, war lords, and terrorists. The Contras ultimately murdered tens of thousands of Nicaraguans, and the American support of the group resulted in a near unanimous condemnation by the United Nations General Assembly. Despite opposition from the United States, Ortega has a good chance at winning the upcoming elections, especially in light of the left turn that Latin American politics have taken in recent months.

Peruvians Push Humala and Garcia to a Second Round

The Peruvian people have spoken and the election held on April 9th has been finalized by the government. Ollanta Humala, the indigenous left-wing candidate, will be facing off against the centrist Alan Garcia. Humala easily won the first round of elections with 30.7% of the vote to Garcia's 24.3%. The base of Humala's campaign has been the poor population in Peru which have been left out of Latin America's economic growth over the past few years.

Garcia, the former Prime Minister of Peru, oversaw the crash of Peruvian currency in the 1980's, wherein inflation was upwards of 7,000%. Garcia has also been criticized by many of Peru's leftist and poor communities for supporting a bilateral free trade agreement with the United States. Humala opposed this deal, saying it failed to address problems of poverty. In contrast to Garcia's neo-liberal economics, Humala wants to nationalize the mining industry to benefit the public.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Evo Morales Tries to Save the Andean Bloc

Evo Morales, the recently elected socialist President of Bolivia, has joined Venezuela's Hugo Chavez in condemning the free trade agreements that Peru and Colombia struck with the United States last week. Morales says that by giving in to pressure from U.S. corporations, the Andean Community of Nations (CAN). Hugo Chavez said that Venezuela would be pulling out of CAN because of free trade agreements, and proposed that Venezuela and other Latin America nations seeking fair trade deals join MERCOSUR, a bloc created to balance U.S. and E.U. economic power.

Free trade policies are widely opposed in Latin America, especially since the implementation of NAFTA, which had disastrous effects on Mexico's poor. BY removing tariffs and subsidizing crops, America flooded the Mexican economy with cheap food which inflated the market and put millions of Mexican farmers out of business. Free trade also results in the exportation of American jobs, and replaces the U.S. labor force with slave labor from third world nations. Unions that have attempted to reform workers rights in Colombia, which were non-existent thanks to free trade deals, found themselves the target of an assassination campaign sponsored by Coca-Cola.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

A Word of Caution


The small country of Nepal has been grabbing headlines this week as the people struggle for a democratic society and the overthrow of King Gyanendra. The left-wing of Nepalese politics has seen a boon from this conflict, and the prospects for a democratic socialist society are promising. The Nepali Congress Party (a member of the Socialist International) and the Communist Party of Nepal (Marxist-Leninist) have been leaders in the Nepalese Revolution, but a third "left-wing" group threatens stability and democracy in the region - the Maoist rebels.

For decades some leftists have held onto the notion that Maoism is a legitimate and viable system, we need to disavow ourselves of that illusion. Mao Tse-Tsung's crimes and misguided policies are tantamount to those of Hitler and Stalin. While I have no doubt that most modern Maoists are good people, they are horribly misguided. Mao's theory of "New Democracy", which the Nepali Maoists plan to implement, is little more than dictatorship under another name. The Maoist rebels in Nepal have managed to gain support amongst portion of the peasant population by promising them democracy and an end to poverty, but this is simple deception.

If the Nepali people can't settle for the pseudo-socialist dictatorship like China did in 1949. Today, as King Gyanendra promises to restore the Parliament and give up executive power, Nepal has the chance to do away with poverty, but Maoism isn't the answer. Instead, the Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal (Marxist-Leninist) must provide a democratic solution to the problem.

Latin American Economies Growing

After decades of American economic colonialism and corporate exploitation, Latin America markets have finally found a model that works for them. Despite the cries of Milton Friedman and his Chicago Boys, hyper-capitalism isn't the solution; Latin American leaders have implemented policies that harness the power of national resources to benefit all, resulting in not only unprecedented growth rates, but also a more equitable economy. A report just released by the International Monetary Fund show that Latin American economies grew 4.3% in 2005.

The two nations who have most embraced the socialist economic model, Argentina and Venezuela, both saw growth rates higher than 9%. Argentina also saw a 7.5% increase in industrial output in March of 2006. Mexico and Brazil, the two nations who bent over backwards to please Washington, saw the lowest growth rates, both under 3%.

The indigenous peoples of Latin America are still missing out of much of the growth in the region, which is a catalyst for radical market restructuring and the elections of leaders like Evo Morales and Ollanta Humala. "When you still have 52 percent of Peruvians living in poverty, it's hard to convince people these policies work," said Luis Benavente of the University of Lima in Peru.

While economic indicators are heading in a positive direction for much of Latin America, Lori Wallach of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch reminds us that high numbers don't always mean better lives for the masses, "If your growth rate is achieved by the privatization of a huge national asset, it looks good on paper, but if people lose out who depend on that employment, the quality of life declines."

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Salman Rushdie

This morning I had the privilege of dragging my ass out of bed at 8:30 to go see the great Salman Rushdie speak. Rushdie is infamous for his book The Satanic Verses, which challenged faith, especially Islam. The work was so controversial that the government of Iran put a $2.8 million bounty on his head. He's a great speaker, and if you ever get a chance to see him, take advantage of the opportunity. I even got my copy of the Satanic Verses signed.

Rushdie also championed Latin American independence in The Jaguar Smile, which chronicled the story of the Marxist Sandanista rebels in Nicaragua.

Friday, April 21, 2006

An Alternative to Chavez

Hugo Chavez has been a beacon of hope to many of us on the left. He has proven that revolution is still possible and that the poor masses haven't been marginalized into complacency. He's implemented sweeping social programs that have helped bring many Venezuelans out of poverty. He does, however, have his flaws. Many in Venezuela, even on the left, consider him to be a bit of an authotarian when it comes issues of personal liberty, such as the freedom of the press. Teodoro Petkoff, the newest horse in the race for the Venezuelan Presidency, looks like he may give us the best of both worlds: a libertarian society with socialist economics.



In his youth, Petkoff was a member of the communist guerilla insurgency focused on toppling dictator Marcos Perez Jimenez and later Romulo Betancourt. In 1971 he left the communist insurgency and formed the Socialist Party of Venezuela. Since then, he has unsuccessfully run for President three times. Recently, he has opened the Tal Cual newspaper, which has consistently provided a socialist critique of Chavez's policies. Petkoff wants to expand the oil industry in Venezuela to create much needed jobs. He does however fall behind Chavez in the polls - 72% to 28%.

I'll do some more research on Mr. Petkoff later, as he appears to be a viable alternative to Chavez.

Chavez Kicks the CAN

Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's anti-imperialist firebrand, just announced that Venezuela will be dropping out of the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) in response to new free trade deals made between the United States and other CAN countries.

CAN has always had a controversial history in regards to the free trade movement. In 1989, CAN created a free trade zone amongst its members which had horrific economic repercussions. Between 1980 and 2000, growth in the region slowed to one eighth of its pervious rate. With the recent trade deal raitified and signed by out-going Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo, Chavez has grown more frustrated with CAN's colonialist direction.

As he has distanced himself from can, Chavez has been pushing for Venezuelan entry into the Mercado Común del Sur (Mercosur). MERCOSUR's goal is to provide a counter-weight to America's historic economic hegemony in the region, and is primarily composed of nations that have rejected the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA).

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Royal Presidency Gains Momentum

Ségolène Royal, the presumed Socialist Party candidate for France's 2007 elections, saw another surge in the polls this week. She is now leading right-wing United Popular Movement Party Nicolas Sarkozy by 4%. Perhaps her biggest obstacles could be the crypto-candidates from her own Socialist Party. François Hollande, the Secretary of the Socialist Party, is trying to block her nomination to promote his own candidacy. It's unlikely that Hollande would be able to gain any traction, as most of the current Socialist Party leaders are seen as "stodgy old men".

Ms. Royal recently took her campaign online, in the vain of Howard Dean, and created Desirs Davenir (Desires for the Future), an online forum in which French citizens can voice their concerns about public policy. I, personally, will be using Desirs Davenir as a medium to propose to Ms. Royal.

Real Free Trade

A group of anarchists in Newtown, New Zealand will be protesting American style free trade on May Day this year by holding a "Free Trade Festival" in which everything will be free. The group's spokesman, Mark Rawnsley, said that the purpose of the event was to bring attention to the exploitation that occurs under capitalist free trade, and contrast it to the anarchist/socialist idea of a gift economy.

"Free trade means that giant multinational corporations are able to freely move jobs to places where wages are the lowest and where environmental protections and labour laws are non-existent. It is a contradiction to call it 'free trade' because it is only money and goods that can move freely across the globe, while people seeking to better their economic situation cannot escape national boundaries. Free trade works for corporations not people."

-Mark Rawnsley

Legalize It

Today is April 20th - or 4/20 - the National Day of Marijuana Celebration. And in honor of this hallowed day, I'd like to give a shout out to the good folks at the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws (NORML), who are on the frontlines of the battle for personal liberty. If you've got some extra dollars in your pocket that you haven't already spent on the ganja, send it over to NORML to help advocate for medical marijuana users and recreational users alike.



Don't forget, listen to some Peter Tosh.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Humala Backs Coca Growers

The motto of any humanitarian campaign aimed at curbing drug abuse in Latin America should be the same as Ollanta Humala's: "Zero Cocaine -- Not Zero Coca". In a statement today, Peruvian Presidential frontrunner Humala came out in support of native coca growers who rely on the coca harvest for their basic income. Humala's proclamation comes in response to years of American coca-crop destruction in South America as part of the war on drugs. This past week the United States eradicated 1,600 acres of coca crops from the San Martin district.

Coca is the plant that the deadly and addictive drug cocaine is derived from. Cocaine, on the other hand, is not the only product of coca. In fact, the most common uses of the coca plant are for food and medicine. In much of South America, where virtually nobody can afford expensive painkillers, many indigenous peoples uses a coca paste to treat burns and wounds. Many pain drugs used in American hospitals would not be possible without it. Coca is also a vital source of nutrition to many Peruvians, as it contains vitamins and minerals along with a chemical that alleviates hunger pains. Coca is also used in many herbal teas and other drinks in Latin America. This tea can even be used to help cocaine users end their addictions. These uses do not get the user high or have mind altering effects.

Without the coca plant, Peruvians would see not only a source of medicine and food eradicated, but also a major part of their economy. Humala has joined the ranks of Bolivia's Evo Morales in defending legitimate growers of coca from what is essentially American eco-terrorism. The Drug Czars in America justify the destruction of coca fields in Peru, Bolivia, and Columbia by claiming that they solely produce cocaine and are destroying American society. If we are to have any sense of respect for international law and basic moral standards, this policy is flawed. Americans have no more of a right to eradicate Peruvian coca fields than Peruvians have to come and light American tobacco farms ablaze (tobacco kills far more each year than cocaine).

Coca cultivation is the responsibility of a sovereign nation, the United States has no right to meddle with Peru or Bolivia's domestic crop production. Instead, we should promote a policy of helping coca growers find other crops to produce and/or help them ensure that their product isn't used for illicit drugs. Our drug war at the moment is only exacerbating the problem, and a dramatic policy shift is needed. Eradicating one Peru's only sources of income and supplies is not the solution.

Oh, and I almost forgot, didn't our own President used to be a fan of the yeyo himself? He made Crawford, Texas, look like the final scene of Scarface.

Chilean Amnesty Law Under Fire

On Monday, leaders of Chile's major political parties, including the Socialist Party, the Christian Democrats, and the Party for Democracy, introduced a proposal to nullify the amnesty given to war criminals under the Pinochet regime.

To give a brief background, Augusto Pinochet took power in Chile on September 11th, 1973. Pinochet's rise to power was sponsored by the United States, who wanted to overthrow democratically elected Socialist president Salvador Allende. The Nixon Administration, Henry Kissinger in particular, provided Pinochet with the means to murder Allende and tear down democratic institutions in Chile. After he seized power, Pinochet began a Naziesque program of torture, asassination, and torture. He primarily targeted pro-democratic leftists in Chile, including the family of current President Michelle Bachelet. Overall, Pinochet killed thousands of innocent civilians, displaced thousands more, and destroyed any hope of a democratic society. All of this happened with full funding and complacency of the United States.

In 1978, after Pinochet had solidified power and crushed most dissent, he enacted a law that gave legal amnesty to anyone who committed war crimes from 1975 to 1978. Chile's modern political parties have called for repealing the law after three of Pinochet's military officers were given amnesty in the "Caravan of Death" trial. The "Caravan of Death" occurred in the weeks following Pinochet's coup, and over 70 of Allende's supporters were murdered in just a few days.

The vast majority of Chilean citizens came out in opposition to the amnesty law over the weekend, led by Socialist Party official Arturo Barrios.

Monday, April 17, 2006

EZLN Resists Hyrdoelectric Project

Subcommandante Marcos, leader of the Zapatista Nation Liberation Army (EZLN), today said that if Vincente Fox and the Mexican government pushed began work on La Parota, a hydroelectric plant, that the EZLN would be forced to respond militarily. Marcos points out that La Parota would destroy 42,000 acres of land and displace 25,000 people. The Latin American Water Court says that the only people served by La Parota are the corporations, and that both the government and the environment would be damaged in the construction of the project.

Marcos and the soldiers of the EZLN have a long history of militantly resisting neo-liberal policies imposed on Mexico's poor by the elite. In 1994 the Zapatistas rebelled against the North American Free Trade Agreement and expelled oppressive Mexican soldiers from indigenous land in the southern provence of the Chiapas. Since then they have successfully set up a anarcho-socialist system of self-governance by creating economic collectives and promoting direct democracy.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Stop the Walocaust!

Wal-Mart's mega-corporate wrath came down like the Luftwaffe on Charles Smith earlier this week. Smith is the creator of the websites Walocaust and Wal-Qaeda, which seek to enlighten Americans about the evil of Wal-Mart through some very funny artwork. Their motto is "The World is Our Labor Camp".



The corporate blitzkrieg began in February when Wal-Mart lawyers sent Smith a letter threatening legal action, which culminated into a cease and desist order this week citing copyright infringement. Ralph Nader's Public Citizen and the American Civil Liberties Union have taken up the case and filed a series of counter suits defending Smith's right to free expression. If you're so inclined, head over to Walocaust and lend him your support by buying a t-shirt or dropping him a letter. And remind Wal-Mart that a few lawsuits can't stop a revolution!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Center-Left Victory in Italy

Romano Prodi, Presidential candidate of the Center-Left Coalition, saw the margin widen between himself and right-wing incumbent Silvio Berlusconi as the votes continued to be counted today. Prodi's leads the Center-Left Coalition and represents the LEft Democrats, the Socialist Party, and a myriad of Italian Communist parties.

During Berlusconi's reign as the tyrannical proto-fascist President, Italian workers experienced a tsunami of oppression not seen since the blackshirt's March On Rome in 1922. In the past five years, corporate profits in Italy shot up nearly 50%. At the same time, the average wages in Italy fell 10% and unemployment rose 10%. Berlusconi also used his presidential power to manipulate media regulation laws, allowing his media empire Finivest to expand. As a result, in 2005 he jump 23 places on Forbes' list of the worlds richest people to number 25.

Besides pillaging the public trust, Berlusconi and his Northern League Party have stoked the flames of xenophobia in Italy during his tenure in office. He has pushed severe anti-immigration legislation not unlike America's own HR4437 and recently told the press that Italians don't want a "multicultural or multiracial society".

While this may be a victory for the Center-Left Coalition, there is a risk that the alliance of socialist, communists, and moderates could water down the beliefs of the more radical parties. As we've seen in the U.S. over the past few decades, revolutionaries who conglomerate into a broader liberal effort tend to become centrists and forget their roots. Italy has a strong socialist history, and Berlusconi's defeat is no doubt a victory for the working class, but they can't forget their radical roots.

"The Revolution Must Be Intensified!"

Orlando Chirino, the national organizer of the up and coming Venezuelan union UNT and leader of the Committee to Promote the Construction of the Revolution and Socialism Party, gave a great interview to The People's Voice about the progress of the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela. Read the interview here.
In the first place, today Venezuela is provided with a government that's independent and autonomous in relation to imperialism. In the second place, its constitution, which was approved by the Venezuelan people, is an important advance for a process of transition toward socialism, thanks to a new autonomy of powers, numerous victories in terms of human rights, the new freedom for trade unions, the increased number of social missions with the creation of free community clinics, with the literacy campaign among the poor. In short, there are various victories that are very important.

-Orlando Chirino

More Good Signs for Royal Presidency

Ségolène Royal saw more poll results released today that boost her hopes of winning the 2007 French Presidential race. Royal will run under the flag of the Parti Socialiste (Socialist Party of France). A full 71% of French voters believe that the conflict over the CPE labor laws will help Royal in the upcoming election. Only 55% believe the same thing about her UMP opponent, Nicolas Sarkozy. Royal still holds a 2% lead over Sarkozy in preliminary election surveys. Dominique de Villepin, the current French Prime Minister who masterminded the CPE, has expressed some desire to run for the Presidency next year, but even Ralph Nader is currently polling higher than de Villepin.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Chile to Increase Pensions to Poor

Chile's Senate approved President Michelle Bachelet's call for higher pensions to poor Chileans yesterday. As ThinkSocialist reported yesterday, Bachelets approval rating is hovering around 72% - higher than even Hugo Chavez. The bill will fund the new pensions by preserving the 19% sales tax which creates revenues of $622 million each year.

Under the U.S.-backed Pinochet tyranny, the public trust was looted and social programs were shut down. One of Pinochet's most radical steps ws to abolish public social security and privatize the system, as was suggested by the Milton Friedman's Chicago Boys. According to the World Bank, Chile's privatization resulted in "more than half of all workers [are excluded] from even a semblance of a safety net during their old age." Viva Bachelet!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Chile's Bachelet Pleased With Approval Ratings

Michelle Bachelet, Chile's first women President, joins the ranks of popular socialist leaders in Latin America alongside Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales. Polls released today show Bachelet with an impressive approval rating of 72%. Bachelet has been on the forefront of resurrecting Chile from its horrific situation under Dictator Augusto Pinochet. She has introduced new social security, health care, and other public good programs.



Of all of Latin America's important anti-imperialist leaders, Ms. Bachelet is undoubtedly the most heroic. During the early days of his administration, Salvador Allende, Chile's first socialist President, appointed her father as the Director of Food Distribution. After the U.S.-backed coup against the democratically elected Allende administration, military dictator Augusto Pinochet imprisoned her entire family. For months, Pinochet's secret police tortured the Bachelets and killed their father. Eventually, the surviving family members escaped and were exiled to Australia. Pinochet continue to rip down the social programs that Allende had established and set up Milton Friedman's neo-fascist dystopia. After returning to Chile in 1979 she set up a foundation to help the victims of Pinochet's reign of terror. Twenty-seven years later she was elected the first female President of Chile.

A hero by any measure. Did I mention that she is single? I found my dream lady.

Peruvian-American Free Trade Deal Signed

Alejandro Toledo, the outgoing President of Peru, today signed a deal with the United States to establish a bilateral free trade deal between the two nations. The terms of the deal mean that large quantities of food and industrial products will be duty-free. Ollanta Humala, the frontrunner in the current election, says that Toledo overstepped his authority and that Toledo should have postponed signing the deal until the new government was ushered in in July.

Critics of the deal worry that the Peruvian-American treaty could have the same disastrous results as NAFTA had on Mexican workers. Due to the lack of tarriffs on food stuffs going into Peru, there is a risk that the market there could become so inflated with U.S. agricultural commodities that the prices of crops in Peru will be forced down. A deflation in crop prices will put the millions of Peruvians who rely on farming in jeopardy of loosing their single source of income. The treaty may also raise the price of medicines in Peru. Jeff Vogt of the Washington Office on Latin America says that the free trade deal "leaves workers to confront routine violations of their labor rights without recourse, and no incentive to the government to improve existing labor laws"

Chavez Mantains High Poll Numbers

Hugo Chavez, the populist Socialist President of Venezuela, continued to show high approval rating in polls this week. The survey, done by IVAD, says that 60.2% of Venezuelans rate Chavez as "excellent" or "good". This is despite a misinformation campaign headed by the corporate shills in Washington with the intention of toppling the democratically elected leader. Chavez's high numbers put him in a positive position for the December 3rd elections quickly approaching.

Playing Taps for the CPE

The French parliament officially voted down the CPE labor laws that sent France into political and economic turmoil earlier this month. THe bill was dead on a political level on Monday when President Jacques Chirac dropped his endorsement of the bill. Surveys show that discontent over the bill will translate into a victory for the Socialist Party in the May 2007 elections. Ségolène Royal, the projected Socialist Party candidate, announced her official entrance into the Presidential race today.

Approval rating of the ruling party, the Unity for Popular Movement (UMP), has seen a sharp drop in the past few weeks. Chirac's approval ratings are now lower than President Bushes - the most recent Ipsos poll showing Chirac at 29%. The same poll shows Royal beating UMP candidate Nicolas Sarkozy 51% to 49%.

Humala vs. Garcia

Ollanta Humala, our personal favorite to win the Peruvian elections, has guaranteed himself a seat in the second round of elections. The man who he will most likely face off against if Alan Garcia, the former Prime Minister of Peru. Garcia, who lead the country in the late 80's, oversaw one of the greatest economic implosions in recent history. At one point Peruvian currency was experiencing a 7,000% inflation rate. His term was also plagued by violence from the Shining Path, a militant Maoist group that uses terroristic tactics to complete its objectives.

Reuters says that the votes won't be fully counted for about three weeks, and the run off voting won't occur until 30 days after all the votes are accounted for. The race between Humala and Garcia will be a tight one. Howver, I think Peruvians will realize that Humala's plan of helping the poor and redistributing wealth will beat out 7,000% inflation. Just a thought. Although, judging from the 2004 elections in America, voters can be a bit shortsighted at times.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The People: 1, The Man: 0

Jacques Chirac finally came to his senses today and abandoned the CPE job law that took away job security for young workers. This represents a damning loss for Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, for whom the law was considered his greatest achievement. Chirac joins the long line of politicians including Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy who have condemned the law as destructive.



This reversal by Chirac represents a major win not only for French workers, but also for the 2007 Presidential frontrunner Ségolène Royal. As the lead Socialist Party candidate, Royal has effectively built her campaign on the resentment surrounding the laws. Taking a page from Democratic internet pioneer Howard Dean, Royal has launched a new web-based manifesto that seeks to democratize the election process even further. Ms. Royal will use her website as a forum to discuss issues important to the French and accept feedback to improve her political platform.

Humala Ahead in Peruvian Election

Ollanata Humala, the leftist candidate for the 2006 Peruvian elections, is leading at the ballot box by 1.5% over conservative Lourdes Flores with former President Alan García in third. Humala is likely to face off against Ms. Flores in the second round of voting. If there is any perception of anti-Humala election fraud it will likely incite protests and even riots, says the Financial Times.



Humala has promised to initiate sweeping social reforms ranging from nationalizing the mining industries to increased funding to education. Both of his opponents are widely critiqued for their subservience to corporate interests. During Garcia's last term in office he oversaw the implosion of the Peruvian economy with inflation rates topping out around 7,000%.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Newton's Third Law of Political Science

The great Isaac Newton once said that, "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." Recent developments around the globe are proving that Newton's third law not only applies to physics, but also to our politics and economics. In the past week, millions of poor and disenfranchised have taken to the streets against oppressive laws. The backlash against the global capitalist cabal are undeniable, and the results are promising.

Today, Peruvians are heading to the polls to decide between socialist Ollanta Humala and free-market conservative Lourdes Flores, and polls taken yesterday show Humala with a 4 point lead. Humala has vowed to redistribute wealth in the country to the masses, which is vital considering that Peru is the poorest country in South America. Mrs. Flores, on the other hand, wants to continue the trend of foreigners exploiting the resources and keeping the profits. Peruvians, obviously, want the former.

Italy will be making the same tough decisions today and tomorrow, as Silvio Berlusconi, or Mussolini 2.0 as we call him, will be facing off against the Centre-Left Coalition. Berlusconi is notorious for his racism, particularly towards arabs and Muslims, once telling the press, "We do not want a multi-racial, multicultural Italy.” This has prompted the Muslim community to throw their support behind the Communist Party of Italy. The Center-Left Coalition, led by Romano Prodi, is showing a slight edge in the polls. The Center-Left Coalition contains both the Left Democrats and more radical groups like the Socialist and Communist parties. On a lighter note, Berlusconi did call Romano Prodi a "dickhead" during the Presidential debates. He also accused the Communist Party of eating babies. Seriously, the guys crazier than Vito Corleone.

While the French elections may not be taking place until a year from now, the results are already looking promising. As ThinkSocialist reported two days ago, Ségolène Royal of the French Socialist Party, is crushing her opponents in the polls. Nicolas Sarkozy, Royal's primary opponent and President of the UMP Party, has fallen in the polls thanks to his support of the Contrat Premiere Embauche (CPE), or the "first job contract", which lets employers fire anybody under 26 without reason or notice. Dominique de Villepin and Sarkozy claim this will increase employment amongst the young, but this is a hollow promise that serves only to give executives and managers more power. Royal has been able to harness discontent amongst French workers, 94% of whom oppose the CPE, to become the leader for the May 2007 Presidential elections. Low support for free-market capitalism, which according to last week's Economist is about 30%, contributes to the leftward tilt in French politics. Royal will join socialist Chilean President Michelle Bachelet as the first female presidents of their respective countries.

Humala, Royal, and Prodi will be joining the ever growing international anti-imperialist alliance that is forming to oppose U.S.-U.K. colonialist economic exploitation. The revolution may have CEOs' shaking in their Italian leather boots, but what can they expect? It's just a an equal and opposite reaction.

Friday, April 07, 2006

French Revolution Redux

The French government is out of touch its people. Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin's First Contract Laws (CPE) set young workers back decades and resulted in massive rioting. Jacques Chirac failed to veto the bill despite the fact that 94% of French citizens oppose the law. In times of great social, economic, and political turmoil, the French like to pull out their favorite revolutionary weapons - the guillotine. This time the heads of de Villepin, Chirac, and the corporate government in France are on the chopping block.

The only politician in France that will come out of this conflict unscathed appears to be Ségolène Royal, a leading member of the Socialist Party of France. Royal has an outstanding record on social issues including education, gay rights, the environment, and workers' rights. She is also a member of Parliament, a regional president, and one time minister.



Royal has also come out as a leader on the left against the CPE, which has garnished her much credibility in labor and activist circles. She called the laws "a form of violence" against workers. Last month, Royal even campaigned for Michelle Bachelet, Chile's first woman President and a dedicated socialist.

Last September Royal declared herself as a possible candidate for the May 2007 Presidential elections. Even Bernadette Chirac, Jacques Chirac's wife, has said of her, "She can be a serious candidate and can even win." Polls taken recently show her inching ahead of Nicolas Sarkozy, the current Interior Minister and UMP Presidential candidate, thanks to her vehement opposition to the CPE.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Interview with Mikhail Gorbachev

Mikhail Gorbachev, the final Premier of the Soviet Union, gave a fascinating interview in USA Today yesterday. Gorbachev took many steps to institute democratic reforms in the economy and the government of the U.S.S.R., but this resulted in a coup against him by hardline Stalinist members of the Communist Party. Gorbachev's interview outlines why both authoritarian communism and authoritarian capitalism are unacceptable systems. Read it here.

Chavez's Aprroval Rating at 82.7%

This morning I headed out into the beautiful, sunny Michigan morning and picked up my copy of Failed States by Noam Chomsky. From the interviews I've seen and the reviews I've read, the book is a devastating attack on the expansion of government power and the deterrence of democracy in the United States.

That got me thinking about the media attacks on socialist leaders in Latin America in which Hugo Chavez and his kin are labeled as "dictators" , "Stalinists", etc. These attacks are quite ironic, considering that these leaders actually follow the will of the people and respect the social/political contract. American and European leaders - Bush, Blair, Berlusconi, etc. - consistently belittle the demands of the populous. The results of these two dichotomy's are astonishing. A pool released today by the Venezuelan Institute for Data Analysis shows that Chavez's approval rating is 82.7%. Our own Presidents is clocking in around 36%. After doing some intense math, I've discovered that not only does Chavez maintain a 46.7% lead over Bush, but also that out media has an inherently flawed view of democracy.

Memo to Rupert Murdoch: Democracy is about what the people want, not about men in Ivory towers ruling over the little people down below.

Berlusconi Looses It

Apparently, right-wing billionaires get a bit touchy when their power is challenged. If you thought politics got nasty in America, take a trip to Italy. Silvio Berlusconi makes the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth look like Mother Teresa.

In the debate yesterday between Berlusconi and his center-left opponent Romano Prodi, Berlusconi was obviously loosing. As the debate came to a close, Berlusconi made a desperate (and untrue) promise to abolish housing taxes on first homes. The icing on the cake really came when Berlusconi called Prodi a "coglioni". For those of you who don't speak Italian that means dickhead. No kidding.

But Berlusconi's kindergarten name calling didn't stop there. He then went on to attack the entire Center-Left Coalition because the coalition includes communist and socialist parties. Here's a clipping from the Reuters article:

For Berlusconi, the red flag should be a warning. The media tycoon says it is an historic fact that communists have eaten babies. "In Mao's China," he told an election rally, "they boiled them to fertilize the fields".


I think it's important to assure everyone that neither communists nor socialists have a desire to eat anyones' children. Mao Tse-Tsung was a "coglioni", as Berlusconi would say, and todays' leftists realize the man was a monster not worthy of respect. Berlusconi's cannibal accusations are indicative of any desperate, sinking fascist regime trying to hold onto power despite the peoples will.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Anti-Humala Media Blitz

Pick up just about any newspaper in the United States over the past few days and you'll notice an all out blitzkrieg against Peruvian presidential hopeful Ollanta Humala. An editorial by AP writer Monte Hayes slanders Humala by claiming that his family history makes him a Nazi, a homophobe, and a dictator. Quite the contrary, Humala is none of these.

This Associated Press editorial begins the assault by claiming that Humala's father, Isaac Humala, was "is a Marxist who praises Hitler". Any educated - even any uneducated - person knows that this is a contradiction in terms. Marxism and Nazism are like fire and water. Read a damn history book, Monte Hayes. The editorial continues by accusing his brother and mother of being racists.

This media reaction is no different from the attacks on Hugo Chavez, Salvador Allende, and the countless other democratically elected leftist leaders that have graced Latin America in the past half century. Chavez is almost always referred to as a dictator despite the fact his approval rating hovers around 70% - nearly 40% than our own President. In 1973, the media ignored the Nixon Administration's involvement with the coup against Allende and the installation of Augusto Pinochet. In summation, our media hates real democracy.

Let's go back to Humala for a moment. Family history does not define an individual, and the "independent" media shouldn't use a candidates bloodline to attack their policies. In the 2000 and 2004 elections, how many times was it mentioned that George Bush's Grandfather loaned money to Adolf Hitler? Do they mention that Bush Sr. is a religious bigot and a war criminal? While CNN reports on Evo Morales' coca-crops, do they mention that Bush is a former cocaine user?

Ah, the joys of corporate media.

Anarchist Conference Announced

The Institute for Anarchist Studies and Institute for Social Ecology has announced that it will be sponsoring the Renewing the Anarchist Tradition Conference from September 29th to October 1st at Goddard College in Vermont. If you're interested in learning about libertarian socialism and anarchism and you have a free weekend in the fall, this is the place to be.

"The Renewing the Anarchist Tradition (RAT) conference, sponsored by the Institute for Anarchist Studies, will again take place at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont over the September 29-October 1, 2006 weekend. The conference aims to provide a scholarly space in which to both reexamine and reinvigorate the social and political tradition of anarchism. RAT is meant as one contribution to the project of developing a more rigorous as well as contemporary theoretical framework for anarchism, and to assist in nurturing new generations of anti-authoritarian public intellectuals. As in the past, we hope that RAT continues to raise difficult questions in a support, participatory environment among anarchist peers."


More info at http://homemadejam.org/renew/.

Mussolini Version 2.0

On October 28th, 1922 thousands of young men in black shirts poured onto the streets of Italy led by Benito Mussolini. This was the beginning of the era of fascism. At its heart, fascism is modeled on a form of hyper-capitalism wherein the interests of the state and the corporations are assimilated into one force. Fascism is also characterized by intense hatred towards outsiders, expansionism, and extreme authoritarianism. Fast forward nearly a century, and the picture has not changed.


Silvio Berlusconi is the richest man in Italy and the 25th richest on the planet. In 2001, he increased his hold on power beyond the financial arena by becoming the Prime Minister of Italy. Berlusconi has used his media group, Fininvest to run both his campaign and his administration in a way that would make Il Duce himself proud. Indeed, Fininvest commands 45% of the audience share in Italy, essentially giving the Berlusconi administration its own news network. Like Fox News on steroids.

In the lead up to the War in Iraq, Berlusconi showed his fascist colors again by directly disobeying the will of the Italian people. In spring of 2003, Italian support for a unilateral war against Iraq never rose above 11%, yet Berlusconi lent his support and hundreds of Italian troops to the U.S. led invasion.

Berlusconi showed his fascist roots again this week when he came out against teaching Islam in Italian schools. He was reacting to a statement by Communist Party candidate Oliviero Diliberto that teaching different faiths in the classroom was vital for understanding and peace. Berlusconi went so far as to say, "We do not want a multi-racial, multicultural Italy.”

It looks as if Berlusconi may share the same fate as Benito Mussolini. In April of 1945 a group of Communist freedom fighters captured and executed Mussolini for his crimes against Italy and humanity as a whole. IIn the elections coming up next week, its becoming increasingly likely that the center-left coalition - that includes the Italian socialist and communist parties - will metaphorically execute Silvio's Berlusconi's political career.

Italian Muslims to Vote Communist

As American immigrant rights activists gather in the streets of Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, Italian Muslims are beginning their own campaign for freedom. The Union of Islamic Communities in Italy (UCOII) has called on Italy's Muslim population to vote for the Italian Communist Party.



In a e-mail sent to Italian Muslim leaders, UCOII member Hamza Piccardro said that Communist candidate Oliviero Diliberto has been sensitive to the needs of immigrant groups, especially Arabs and Muslims, when he was in power in the 1990's. Hazma said of Diliberto, "We spoke at length about the community's problems and needs, agreeing that the government needed to take more action on its behalf. Diliberto was extremely interested and helpful. In particular, we spoke to him about the problem of celebrating Ramadan in prisons, asking the ministry to make sure that dinner was served when [Muslim inmates] could interrupt their fast."

Diliberto is running in opposition to Silvio Berlusconi of the Northern League Party. The NLP has established itself on a xenophobic - even racist - anti-immigration policy that would hurt Muslims.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Media Blackout of EZLN's "Other Campaign"

The Zapatista independence movement in Chiapas, Mexico represents one of the most important and most ignored revolutionary causes in the world. It all began during the ratification of NAFTA in 1994 as thousands of indigenous Mexicans rose up against the neo-liberal policies being forced upon them. Since then the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, or the EZLN, has been at the forefront of creating communities based on the libertarian socialist model. The leader of the movement, Subcomandante Marcos, has also been cautious to avoid cult of personality that surrounded Mao and Stalin, by donning a ski mask to keep his identity secret. Marcos' goal is to provide a face to oppressed peoples around the world. In his own words:

Marcos is gay in San Francisco, black in South Africa, an Asian in Europe, a Chicano in San Ysidro, an anarchist in Spain, a Palestinian in Israel, a Mayan Indian in the streets of San Cristobal, a gang member in Neza, a rocker in the National University, a Jew in Nazi Germany, an ombudsman in the Defense Ministry, a communist in the post-Cold War era, an artist without gallery or portfolio.... A pacifist in Bosnia, a housewife alone on Saturday night in any neighborhood in any city in Mexico, a striker in the CTM, a reporter writing filler stories for the back pages, a single woman on the subway at 10 pm, a peasant without land, an unemployed worker... an unhappy student, a dissident amid free market economics, a writer without books or readers, and, of course, a Zapatista in the mountains of southeast Mexico. So Marcos is a human being, any human being, in this world. Marcos is all the exploited, marginalized and oppressed minorities, resisting and saying, 'Enough'!


Despite the vitality of the EZLN in resisting America's neo-feudal hegemony, the media has all but ignored the crisis in Chiapas. From NarcoNews.com:

In recent weeks, readers throughout the world — in English, Portuguese, Italian, French and German — have suffered the Commercial Media’s Information Blockade of the most important and newsworthy story emanating from Mexico: the daily march of the Zapatista “Other Campaign” through five of Mexico’s 31 states. And readers in Spanish have had to look hard for the coverage among a handful of alternative media and community radio station websites, and the important narrative provided by Authentic Journalist Hermann Bellinghausen of the Mexico City daily La Jornada, almost never on page one, buried in the “Politics” section among the flotsam and jetsam of the money-drenched presidential campaign that will culminate in Mexico in July. Narco News’ coverage by the Other Journalism with the Other Campaign has been sidelined due to lack of transportation for its volunteer reporters — a problem we hope to solve soon — but meanwhile what has happened along the rebel road? What follows is a summary based on reports, in Spanish, by our colleagues in the alternative media.

Read More

Socialist Novelty Items on eBay

A lighter in the form of a V.I. Lenin bust. This almost makes be want to be a smoker.

Noam Chomsky on Democracy Now!

Noam Chomsky, the greatest political mind alive today, gave an interview with Democracy Now! about his new book, Failed States. As one would expect, Chomsky believes that the United States today shows signs of being a failed state including rampant militarism and the suppression of domestic dissent. See it at DemocracyNow.org or watch the videocast on the iTunes Music Store.

Sarkozy To Meet with French Labor Leaders

Nicolas Sarkozy, France's Interior minister and president of the ruling UMP party, is meeting today with union leaders to try and find a compromise regarding the CPE contract law that would give employers the right to arbitrarily dismiss employees under 26. Anger over the bill manifested itself in a 3 million strong protest last week. Public opinion polls show that support for the bill hover around 5%. Despite this, Dominique de Villepin has ignored the CPE outrage and is trying to push the bill ahead. Sarkozy, who is positioning himself for a 2007 Presidential run wants to soften the CP and make it more "worker friendly", but labor leaders want the law completely scrapped. Even former French Prime Minister Edouard Balladur says that the CPE is dead in the water and should be buried.

Venezuelan Government Seizes Oil Fields

Continue his trend of nationalizing the oil sector in Venezuela, Hugo Chavez has repossed a group of oil fields from French and Italian corporations. Petroleos de Venezuela SA, the state-owned oil company, had recently demanded that all private firms pumping oil in Venezuela had to share 60% of their profits with PVDSA. ExxonMobile sold off its assets because of the profit sharing measures. Spanish-Argentine Repsol YPF, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, and China National Petroleum have all accepted the new operational terms put forth by the Venezuelan Congress.

PDVSA channels its profits to finance social programs that have benefited 73% of Venezuelan citizens.

Volunteer Militias Defend Bolivarian Revolution

The United States has a long history of using military force to topple leftist leaders in South America: Oscar Romero, Salvador Allende, and the Sandanistas to name a few. Hugo Chavez is trying to avoid this same fate.

In 2002, the Bush administration sponsored a coup attempt to force Chavez out of office, but the coup failed, and Chavez was reelected with 77% of the vote (that;s 28% more than Bush!). Since then, various conservatives in America have been tossing around the idea of assassinating Chavez. IN order to avoid another Pinochet from gaining power in the region, Chavez has begun training a massive force of civilian militias.

These militias are all volunteer, and are equivalent to the U.S. National Guard. "I'm here voluntarily and because I adore my president," Marasierra Diaz told the Jamaica Observer. Volunteers are given a small stipend of $7.50 for every training session they attend.

Chavez insists that the force will only be used for defense against an U.S. invasion, and not for offensive purposes.

Zapatistas Perform Anti-Bush Cleansing Ritual

Just a funny novelty story:

Mayan priests tonight carried out "a cleaning against the wickedness of George W. Bush", in the culmination of the first day of protests against the presence of the American leader in this city...

In the morning, the Cancun Other World Committee [Comite Cancun Altermundista] said that attendance at the anti-Bush protests could be reduced, because three buses transporting people to the marches were detained in Campeche and Yucatan.

At 3 PM, some 60 members of the Zapatista collectives Rincón Rupestre, Lucha Libertaria y Subversivo of Cancun and Playa del Carmen, had gathered at Las Palapas Park and were marching towards the hotel zone.

Read More

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Chavez Makes Bid to Peg Oil at $50 Per Barrel

Most people think of the Middle East as the source of the world's oil, but Venezuela is making a bid to become the worlds new supplier. President Hugo Chavez want to permanently lock-in the price of petrol to $50 per barrel. Currently, the price of crude oil is $66.01 per barrel. Chavez's pegging of the price would no doubt lower the price of heating our homes and driving our cars by nullifying the speculation market that pushes commodity prices higher.



Venezuela is poised to make such a dramatic proposal because nearly 90% of the worlds crude oil in located under its soil and in offshore wells. Chavez claims its enough oil to power the world for 200 years, by which time the world will have hopefully moved beyond fossil fuels. Pegging the price of oil is likely to anger U.S. oil traders and Middle Eastern oil barons because it will dramatically cut into their record profits, but the average consumer will be the winner. Viva Citgo!

Redistributing the Apartments

Malcolm X once said that revolutions are the reaction of the landless to the landlords. In Venezuela, Hugo Chavez's Bolivarian Revolution has taken new steps to give poor citizens access to housing. Currently, about 940,000 families live in overcrowded and unsafe conditions in Venezuela as a result of years of neglect by the government. At the same time, real estate prices have risen by 35%. The only affordable solution for poor Venezuelans is to rent an apartment or home. Caracas Mayor Juan Barreto is purchasing 400 apartment buildings and transferring the buildings ownership to the tenants. Barreto says, “The business of renting is legitimate, but it can’t be indefinite because eventually it becomes predatory. The buildings which have been paid for 5 times over should be put on the market for their inhabitants who find themselves perpetually renting." The government is also taking steps to build as many as 150,000 new homes by the end of the year.

Hopefully we'll see the United States government take steps to provide similar relief to poor families in the United States. Currently, families account for between 60% to 70% of homeless Americans. These families are forced into crowded homeless shelters that usually can't provide kids with the needed foundation for proper development. Support Hugo Chavez's revolution in Venezuela and in turn, the disenfranchised in America.

Ollanta Humala's Peruvian Presidential Hopes

Latin Americans are finally beginning to react to decades of American occupation and dictatorship in the region. Led by Venezuelan Hugo Chavez, socialist candidates have democratically taken power in Chile, Bolivia, and Brazil. Thus far, these leaders have carried the torch of Chile's Salvador Allende and avoided devolving into Stalinist dictatorships like Castro's Cuba. Ollanta Humala is slated to be the newest addition to South America's revolutionary leader club in the upcoming Peruvian election.



Humala has never held public office before, but he has still managed to brand himself as a Guevera-esque hero of the oppressed in Peru. Taking cues from Bolivia's Evo Morales, Humala has promised to fight for the rights of the indigenous populations and redistribute land to the peasants Humala's opponent is Lourdes Flores, and arch-conservative freemarketeer who's longtime support of free trade has made her an enemy of the Peruvian masses.

Humala has also promised to follow in the steps of Hugo Chavez and nationalize some of Peru's gas and mining industries. As in Venezuela, these sectors have been traditionally dominated by foreign corporations who have no regard for the nations poor. By harnessing the profits of these lucrative natural resources, Chavez has managed to provide education, food, and land to the impoverished Venezuelan masses. Humala's nationalization of Peru's industries will provide similar social programs to Peru's poor.

Thus far, Ollanta Humala has managed to stay ahead of Flores in the polls. Many on the left and the right have concerns that Humala's family history may influence him into creating an authoritarian state. As socialists dedicated to democracy, we should ensure that Humala keeps his promises of democracy and progress to the Peruvian people.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Debt Relief for Latin America

Evo Morales, the socialist President of Bolivia, is asking the international community to forgive $3.5 billion in foreign debts. Luiz Alberto Arce will present a proposal to the annual IDB meeting also asking for for debt reliefs to Honduras, Nicaragua, and Bolivia, and Haiti.



Massive national debts have prevented many third world countries from realizing their true potential. Most of these smaller governments don't have the tax base to pay off the full debts, and instead can barely afford to pay the interest on the debt. As a result, these nations are forced to continue racking up higher debts and also lack funding for social programs needed to bring their nations the developed world. High debts also reinforce the already rampant inflation in these nations, causing double digit inflation in much of Latin America.

A Nazi and A Republican Walk Into a Bar

Apparently, Adolf Hitler and a Montana Republican Candidate have more than just an ugly mustache in common:

The only Republican running for the state Legislature here has ties to a white supremacist group.

Shawn Stuart, 24, told The Montana Standard on Friday he is Montana's contact point for the National Socialist Movement, a group that describes itself as "America's Nazi Party" on its Web site. Stewart is running for Butte's House District 76, along with Democrats Kevin Lowney and incumbent Jon Sesso.

From the Billings Gazette

My favorite line of the article:

Stuart said he believes his views align with the Republican Party.

Speaking of Chavez...

In the past week, millions of Americans have taken the hint from French activists and taken to the streets to fight oppression. Although we may be fighting a different fight than the French, American immigrants are still victims of the capitalist-corporate regime. HR 4437, introduced by James Sensenbrenner, makes being an illegal alien or assisting an illegal alien a felony. Teachers who have a undoumented student in their class could go to prison for 20 years. If a doctor were to give a band aid to a Mexican with a scraped knee, he could find himself being made Bubba's prison bitch. This law goes beyond the xenophobic realm of past anti-immigration bills and crosses the border into absurdity.



Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's socialist President, is just one of the many Latin American leaders showing solidarity with the victims of this racist law. In a speech on Friday, Chavez asked how President Bush could support this "fascist" law that made criminals of 11 million innocent people.

Remembering Cesar Chavez, Embracing Hugo Chavez

In Los Angeles today hundreds of hispanic workers marched to commemorate the 79th birthday of civil rights hero Cesar Chavez. Until his death in 1993, Chavez campaigned for better conditions and pay for farm workers by forming the United Farm Workers. March organizers say the march will celebrate his "legacy of non-violence and respect for working people, including farm workers." Chavez also won the Presidential Medal of Freedom.



At the same time as we honor Chavez's work with the American farmers, we need to continue our support of Hugo Chavez who has brought Cesar Chavez's legacy to Latin America. Under his rule, the Venezuelan government has raised standards for farm conditions and also redistributed land back to the landless peasants.

Socialism in The Nation

Ronald Aronson proclaims that socialism needs to be rethought as a solution to the world's problems and encourages progressives to embrace it. Bravo!

Read the article here.

This Is What Happens When Workers Loose Power

Alex Geana, a blogger, outlines his struggles with faulty labor laws and bad unemployment policies. This is what the French are protesting against! Read the story here.