Saturday, June 17, 2006

Vacation

I'll be in the wonderful land of Texas for the next week, so don't expect anymore exciting news on the wonderful world of Socialism. As you may know, they have yet to bring the magic of electricity and computers to Texas, so I'll be technologically isolated. Have a good week. I'll still be checking my e-mail occasionally if you need to contact me: mike@thinksocialist.com

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Obrador Gains Traction in Mexican Election

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the Party of the Democratic Revolution has regained his lead in the polls in the Mexican Presidential race. Obrador, who had led for two years prior to the election, overtook Nation Action Party's Felipe Calderon in polls released this week. A poll performed by the newspaper Reforma gives Obrador a 3.2% lead over the right-wing Calderon. Obrador has regained support upon news that his opponent gave out government contracts to relatives.

During his tenure as Mayor of Mexico City, Obrador positioned himself as a champion of the poor. Calderon, on the other hand, is a favorite of the business class and the Bush Administration. Calderon's only real tactics in the race seem to be ad hominem attacks and baseless accusations. Perhaps the attack that most damaged the Obrador camp most was the accusation that he was in bed with Hugo Chavez, despite the fact that there was no substance behind it. Calderon has also labeled Obrador a "radical" and a "socialist".

Even the conservative Financial Times is predicting a win for Obrador, which is a positive sign for Mexico's poor. We can also only hope that upon his election that Obrador will stop the campaign of violence against the poor in Chiapas and against the Zapatistas.

Mexican Government Attacks Striking Teachers

The Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) and the Other Campaign has released an informative bulletin regarding the repression of the Oaxaca Democratic Teachers’ Union in Oaxaca. According to EZLN leader Subcomandante Marcos, on June 14th at 4:30 in the morning, a group of police raided a camp where striking teachers were sleeping. The teachers were striking to "demand better working conditions and against the authoritarian government of Ulises Ruiz."


Teachers face off against Mexican police.


In addition to attempting to break the strike, Mexican police have also destroyed facilities owned by the EZLN and the Other Campaign, including the building housing alternative radio station “Radio Plantón". The Special Forces Police Unit has arrested 12 teachers, injured several people, and possibly forced a pregnant women to miscarriage with tear gas. According to the report, the teachers have retaken the town center in Oaxaca City and are holding it.

These actions by the Mexican government comes after waves of state repression in the city of San Salvador Atenco in early May. Riots began in Atenco after police beat and arrested native flower vendors who set up stands on the of property of a soon-to-be Wal-Mart. The EZLN has been deeply involved with assisting the victims of both of these incidents. Marcos is calling on all alternative media outlets to give these striking teachers and their EZLN allies a voice.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Remembering Che


Today is the 78th anniversary of the birth of Ernesto "Che" Guevara, the great guerilla leader. Che began his life as an Argentinian doctor who traveled South America giving care to the poor. After seeing the destitute situations that so many Latin Americanss suffered, Che became convinced that the only remedy to poverty was revolution. He soon became part of the Cuban Revolution and the liberation of Latin America. On October 9th, 1967 he was shot by U.S. operatives in La Higuera, Bolivia.

"I am not a liberator. Liberators do not exist. The people liberate themselves." - Che Guevara


Today, Bolivia's socialist President Evo Morales is celebrating Che's legacy. In order to commemorate Guevara, Morales will be outfitting the La Higuera hospital where Che's body was displayed after his death new medical equipment. Morales also opened a new literacy center in the city which was donated by Cuba.

"Che was the most complete human being of our age." - Jean-Paul Sartre

Monday, June 12, 2006

U.S. Attempts to Block Venezuela Security Council Bid

On his weekly television program "Alo Presidente", Hugo Chavez reprimanded the United States for trying to block Venezuela's bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council. Using Jack Abramoff style lobbying tactics, President Bush and U.N. Ambassador John Bolton are trying to coerce as many U.N. member states as possible to vote against Venezuela in the upcoming vote for a seat on the Security Council. Chavez said of the American effort, "We will go after this with all our force. This is like David versus Goliath.''

Since one of the seats on the Security Council is traditionally reserved for a Latin American nation, U.S. officials are pushing Guatemala as the opposition candidate to Venezuela. This endorsement of Guatemala comes despite allegations that the Guatemalan government is involved in human trafficking and slave trades at its highest level. Guatemala is also notorious for its corruption and graft. However, for American elites trying to preserve the capitalist status quo, its better to support a nation that is creates a free human slave market than one that is trying to create an equitable socialist society.

The Sexiest Socialist Alive

Segolene Royal of France's Socialist Party has been crowned the sixth sexiest woman on the planet by FHM. Royal even managed beat out traditional choices including Liz Hurley and Penelope Cruz.


Segolene Royal (right) with her worthy oppoenents


This 52 year old mother of four quickly became the sweetheart of French politics in March after she helped lead the movement to defeat the first job contract law (CPE) that allowed employers to arbitrarily fire workers under 26 without justification. Royal, along with being official the official MILF of every leftist on the planet, is a Presidential favorite for the 2007 French elections.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Bush Slanders Chavez and Venezuela

Hugo Chavez and George Bush have never had a particularly good relationship. In 2002, Bush helped overthrew Chavez's democratic government and attempted to install a Pinochet style dictatorship that served U.S. interests. In response, Chavez has labeled Bush a terrorist, an imperialist, and an alcoholic - all three of which are undoubtedly true looking at the man's personal history and the Geneva Conventions. Today, Bush crossed the line of petty insults and viciously attacked Chavez and, more importantly, the Venezuelan people. At a press event today, Bush said that Chavez has been doing a "great disservice to the traditions and people" of Venezuela.

The attitude that this statement reveals is Bush's backward, colonial, and racist ideology. The rhetoric use by Bush is not unlike that of the "White Man's Burden", which was the turn of the century concept that it was the white man's responsibility to rule over all of the other "lesser" races on the planet. Not only is this a racist attack on the Venezuelan people and their ability to autonomously choose their own leader democratically - without U.S. intervention - but it is a clear attack on democratic values. How dare Bush - a man who violates the constitution on an hourly basis and has an approval rating below 30% - attack a leader who actually follows the will of his people (Chavez's approval rating rarely dips under 80%).

It's not for Bush to decide whether or not Chavez has done a "disservice" to Venezuelan tradition. What the hell does George Bush even know about Venezuelan culture? I would be willing to bet my first born son that Bush couldn't find Venezuela on a map, let alone speak the language or comprehend its history.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Garcia Wins Peru Elections

Liberal centrist Alan Garcia of the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance has declared victory in the June 4th Peruvian elections, which he won by an estimated 10%. During the 1980's, Garcia led Peru into economic disaster in which the country experienced 7000% inflation. The outcome of the election was accepted by Garcia's opponent, leftist nationalist Ollanta Humala, who many business leaders in Peru and American feared because of Humala's ties to socialist leaders throughout Latin America.

Humala's defeat is by no means a rejection of leftist or socialist ideology in Latin America, despite what some conservative columnists may claim. It was quite remarkable that Humala, who was a political nobody before this year, was able to garner over 44% of the vote. While the outcome may not have been ideal, the fact that a socialist candidate was able to rally so many around him in a country as conservative as Peru is impressive. Humala told his supporters today, “This is a day of victory: we’ve managed in such short time to awaken so many consciences... we’ve garnered a large social majority and today we are renewing our commitment to work and serve the country, defend the nation and its natural resources”

Garcia's success may be more of a referendum on international meddling in election than a true win for Garcia. Humala's standings in the polls fell sharply after the Garcia campaign accused Venezuela's Hugo Chavez of funding the Humala campaign. This is not to say that Peruvian are hostile towards Chavez or his politics, but rather that they reject intervention - whether it's from Venezuela or the United States - in domestic elections.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Land Revolution in Bolivia

Evo Morales put a program into action today that will redistribute 7.8 million acres of land to the poor in Bolivia. The land will be seized from wealthy farmers and landowners, whose land often goes largely unused. By giving Bolivia's peasants a piece of agriculturally viable land, Morales is doing more than any capitalist welfare system ever could: a constant source of income and economic empowerment.

Of course, as with any revolution, the Morales' land revolution does have its counter-revolutionaries. Those whose land is being seized are forming militias to prevent the redistribution. Of detractor from the process has been the Catholic Church, which owns 90% of all farmland in Bolivia. Nearly all of this land is unproductive and idle, making it a perfect candidate for expropriation by the state. Resistance from the elite class is no surprise, but a few wealthy men can't stop a revolution. As Morales told a crowd today, "The historical enemies of the poor must accept this land revolution."

The Bolivian government intend to redistribute 48 million acres of land by 2011.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Lopez Obrador Pulls Ahead in Election Polls

Mexican Presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador regained his leader position in polls released today. Obrador was the populist mayor of Mexico City and has taken a many soft-socialist positions in his presidential campaign. After a few weeks hovering below 30% in polls, Obrador managed to overtake his conservative opponent Felipe Calderon by 0.5%. Such a lead is well within the margin of error, but it does indicate that Obrador is a contender in the elections, something that has been in doubt recently.

Obrador, who is from the Party of the Democratic Revolution, saw a substantial drop in the polls over the past several weeks as his opponents have been using dirty and sometimes illegal tactics. Current President Vicente Fox has been supporting Calderon, which is questionable under Mexican election law. Calderon has also run overly aggressive and deceptive ads, which he was forced to stop after an inquiry by the government.

For his part, Obrador has been the target of attacks from not only other candidates, but also many corporations who see his pseudo-socialist policies as a danger to business.