Happy International Working Womyn’s Day: History and the struggle today

Opinion, Revolutionary Perspectives, THEIRstory

 

In celebration, through centuries of toil—bruises, scars and pain—it is March, so we must, dedicate everything we can for womyn.[1] March 8th is International Working Wom[y]n’s Day (IWWD), in 1909 the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) was honored by the Socialist Party of America (SP) because of inspiring strike for better wages, shorter hours and safer working conditions.[2] 1910 saw the convening of the Socialist International, officially the Second International[3] succeeded by the International Workingmen’s Association, in—Copenhagen—where with a unanimous vote, 100 delegates decided to celebrate March 8th as Womyn’s Day, later IWWD, no date was set.[4] It was not until 1975 when the United States (US) officially made March 8th—International Wom[y]n’s Day.[5] Moreover in 1981 Congress passed a resolution calling on the President to authorize the first “Wom[y]n’s History Week,” starting in 1988 Congress passed other resolutions to authorize March as “Womyn’s History Month” and since 1995 succeeding Presidents continued the tradition.[6]

March may be “Womyn’s History Month” but celebrating womyn everyday should be tradition. Studying womyn’s herstory, in the US, reveal the difficulties womyn faced fighting to earn privileges—and dignity of being a womyn, endowed upon men. However—resiliency, power and revolutionary—are more accurate reflections of womyn’s position in herstory. Most clearly, seen in the labor movement of the early twentieth century.

Womyn organizing proved paramount during the rise of intense class struggle in the early twentieth century that attempting to write of it all—would do womyn no justice. Instead narrowing in on the ILGWU encapsulates the power of the organizing done. Formed in 1900, ILGWU was a combination of seven garment producing unions. Early on they struggled to grow, due to inconsistent dues cycles, small membership and manufacturer’s hostility, after nine years of inconsistent struggles—1909—saw, what became known as, the “Uprising of 20,000” where mostly women from the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory go on strike. They become famous because of the strike duration, size of the union and the support they received from middle class white womyn. However in 1911—changed the course of garment apparel and labor history—the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory caught on fire. In total 146 people, mostly womyn, were killed or jumped off the building, incredibly tragic. In response, the ILGWU, organized a funeral procession, leading to a strike by ILGWU members and for the first time—unions, government and activists—work together towards safer working conditions, ends up being the impetus for many labor laws, not possible without the work of the ILGWU.[7]

The ILGWU grew rapidly after the 1910s and by 1969 their membership was almost half a million—making them one of the largest union in US her-story. However, due to deindustrialization, corporations and ruling class capitalists, saw outsourcing garment production to the global south[8] as more profitable and seemingly—less exploitative, to their consumers at home. With the beginning of the 70’s, ILGWU shrunk in size and in 1995 ultimately was forced to merge with their male union counterpart, the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union, forming Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE). Regardless the history of the ILGWU remain legendary.[9]

Today deindustrialization changed the US’s economic policy, like aforementioned, it is cheaper to import garment from the global south, therefore the 1970’s, onwards, opened up trading, influence and leading to the proliferation of sweatshops across the global south. Specifically in countries like India, China, Vietnam and, in this case, Bangladesh.

2013, Dhaka, Bangladeshi, the Rana Plaza Factory collapsed on April 24th—killing 1,134 killed and over 2,515 injured—disastrously making history as the deadliest sweatshop collapse ever.[10] In the wake of Rana Plaza our collective indifference, or momentary empathy, illuminates unconsciousness consumerism’s deathbed. Moreover, worth noting is that the collapse was not a—‘accident’—on the contrary, it was just the opposite, in other words, completely and wholly preventable. Exactly like the aftermath of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, victims of the Rana Plaza collapse, womyn labor in Dhaka took to the streets with solidarity from the global north.

Ironically, the conditions of sweatshops, in the global south, are exactly replicable to the garment factories here in the twentieth century, as well as meatpacking plants, coal mines and steel mills. History is not repeating itself, it’s intentional, a process of neocolonialism.

Kwame Nkrumah, well-known Ghanaian liberator, Pan-African and the Ghana’s 1st Prime Minister Post-independence, developed the idea of neocolonialism—“as the last stage of imperialism.”[11] He posits that this “last stage” of imperialism and capitalism is the most dangerous because at the surface it is docile,even humanitarian, conversely at its root—neocolonialism—is a vicious policy, with a benevolent facade. In other words, defined as an external power controlling many aspects of subject nations sovereignty by way of economic domination. [12] Currently, multinational corporations have pivoted their spending from western nations to the global south. Aided by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and governmental approval have carved out policies that benefit the global north, appease the public, while exploiting womyn in places like Bangladesh.[13] In sum, countries like the US are responsible for deplorable work conditions globally, just like—the US was in the early twentieth century, the connection is inextricable. Therefore, we must fight today as the womyn who sacrificed their lives in 1911 through today, simply fighting for what they believed—justice.

Let’s continue to celebrate—honor—give thanks to the womyn who have fought, died and continue to fight today; never forgetting that the fight is not over. Ranging from closing the wage gap here in the US to ending sweatshop abuse in Bangladesh to abolishing prisons, as womyn of color make up the fastest growing population, to demanding justice for Trans* womyn murdered/committed suicide, the struggle for womyn’s liberation is not over—in 2015 as the fight grows, so must we.

Happy International Working Womyn’s Day! Solidarity to all those who uplift womyn’s struggles in all their work. Onwards towards liberation for womyn and collectively for all.


 

 

Sources (Footnotes):

 

[1] “Womyn” is used instead of wo “men” to reclaim an identity lost because of discrimination and oppression caused by defining oneself –in opposition to the oppressor (i.e. men). https://www.msu.edu/~womyn/alternative.html

[2] Spedding, Lisa S. 2012 “International Women’s Day and World NGO Day: Celebration and Balance” Women Lawyers Journal 97, no. ½; 13-16. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOHost (Mar. 4th 2015)

[3] “The Second International: Social Democracy 1880-1920” https://www.marxists.org/history/international/social-democracy/index.htm; archive of Social Democracy with prominent socialist parties, figures and documents.

[4] 2015. “History of International Women’s Day” United Nations: Woman Watch. 2015; Accessed: Mar. 4th 2015

[5] Spedding 2012, IWD; Mar. 4th 2015

[6] “Women’s History Month” http://womenshistorymonth.gov/about.html; various governmental and nongovernmental archive documents, pictures and much more in March.

[7] University, Kheel Center – Cornell. The Kheel Center ILGWU Collections. Accessed: Mar. 4th 2015. http://ilgwu.ilr.cornell.edu/

[8] “Global south” may not always be accurate, geographically, instead it provides us with a framework of understanding geopolitics not as a dichotomy between “developing” and “un/underdeveloped” nations, those pejorative titles are remnants of colonial ideology of the “civilized” vs. “heathen” parts of the world. Global south is more accurate for both political correctness but to uplift the lives and struggles of the people in non-western nations.

[9] Kheel Center; Cornell.

[10] Motlagh, Jason. Apr. 18 2014 “A year after Rana Plaza: What hasn’t changed since the Bangladesh factory collapse” Washington Post

[11] Nkrumah, Kwame. 1965. “Neocolonialism, the last stage of imperialism” Marxist.org; accessed Mar. 8th 2015 https://www.marxists.org/subject/africa/nkrumah/neo-colonialism/introduction.htm

[12] Ibid.

[13] Good resources on globalization can be found at: https://www.globalpolicy.org/globalization ; this article provides a simple list of the negative effects of global capitalism: https://www.globalpolicy.org/globalization/globalization-of-the-economy-2-1/general-analysis-on-globalization-of-the-economy/49750.html?itemid=49750

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Upcoming Works

Opinion, Revolutionary Perspectives

I have a penchant for taking on more than I could even hope to manage; much like the previous sentence–I tend to over – do and consistently, fail to finish tasks because I start different tasks with a knack of, once again, ‘over-doing it’. That being said I do have some writings on the way, a lot of them born out of dialogue between comrades, including: a piece Indian identity, Stalin and ‘Hood Politics’.

I hope that people will start reading my blog more, not because I want to be well-known but I need critical eyes–not affirming or berating me–to let me know if my skills, both, as a writer and revolutionary are developing.

Alongside, the research based works, I will be writing about experiences of an organizer; *preview* it’s stressful.

Just know y’all work is on the way and I hope you all will enjoy what comes out of here, vice-versa, I hope to read more from comrades and aspiring writers.

Keep it trill. Salute!

Note: this post was made from my phone. So, I can’t upload pictures.

Why this new movement doesn’t need ‘activists’

Opinion, Police, Politics, Revolutionary Perspectives

2014 was a—year of resistance—brought on through increased tragedy. From ubiquitous violence, from Palestine to Ferguson, to lack of concern for human needs, the “Fight for $15” to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, 2014 has been difficult. Yet, hope was not all lost. A new ‘protest movement’ was born, people filled the streets, simultaneously, and a moment and movement arose.

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2014, especially in the wake of Israeli siege of Gaza and rampant police violence, a new generation of “activists”—were born.

Soles, and souls, hit the streets, commutes were disrupted, Zizek/Occupy style ‘mic-checks’ reemerged, incendiary signs, chants and demands became normal all in part due—a new wave of “activists”— inculcated our psyche (and newsfeed); whether we like it or not, forced the U.S to collectively think about what resistance actually looks like.

These collection of moments, paving the way for a movement, is powerful and necessary. However, it is not infallible, in actuality, it is far from it especially because the ‘over’-proliferation of—“activists’—is doing more harm to the movement, than good.

Regardless of how powerful 300,000 people marching through New York City was, characteristically, it has just become another trendy highlight—in the fetishization of direct action.  Moreover, I am no longer interested in hearing about, seeing or talking about actions or especially “activists”—as I am convinced that their relevancy, both semantically and physically, have become obsolete.

US-CLIMATE-DEMO

To be clear, I am not saying we don’t need direct actions, instead, I am calling for an end to ‘activists’, in their current incarnation. Instead, developing ‘activists’ into the organizers, the movement so badly needs.

“Activists” are defined with 4 blatant characteristics: 1.) people committed to action, activity and ‘showing up’, as opposed to, those invested in building movements, 2.) people attracted to trendy struggles, i.e. Ferguson solidarity, Gaza, etc, 3.) those whose impetus for getting ‘active’ is based on emotional appeal (pathos), not consciousness of systematic injustice and 4.) In many cases, a weak, “liberal” ideology.

Instead, I think there is another way, we need “organizers”, devoted to the development of future organizers, intrinsically what organizers already do; but now it is time to get serious about leadership development.

I define, “organizers”, as displaying 4 parallel, antithetical characteristics: 1.) they see actions, such as rallies and protests, as tactics in a broader struggle for visibility and their role is planning, building and organizing the actions for activists to join, 2.) committed to lasting, systemic altering, struggles, not just the most “hopping”, 3.) commitment to organizing stems from an ethical or logical conclusion of an invalid system and 4.) an ideology, that grapples with liberation—not just progress.

To further explain, let’s take the tragedies of Mike Brown and Eric Garner—and the new ‘protest movement’, alongside it.

Rioting erupts in Ferguson, Missouri after police involved shooting of an unarmed teen

Police violence on communities of color is nothing new, but this level of activity, in response, has been missing in the 21st century. In mid-August, shortly after Mike Brown’s murder, protests erupted in Ferguson, then subsequently, across the country. For the next few weeks the streets were hot, shining a damning light on police brutality. Causing tensions, between the police and communities of color, rising to an all-time high, again. The past few months were ripe with great actions, collective power and thousands, upon thousands, in the streets, but what happened to these ‘activists’? They dropped off because, an inherent flaw of “activism”, they did not have a strong theoretical and logical base for becoming active, other than for activity itself.

With rising tensions, the birth of a new movement and no substantive reform, activists have been running wild—but these ‘foot soldiers’ have run their course, now it is time where we take this tragedy and develop organizers, and organizations, to struggle intensely.

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Furthermore, today’s “activism” is harmful and cyclical (without getting too theoretical). Meaning, for example, a tragedy occurs, the masses are indignant, a ‘protest movement’ grows—and then it either loses momentum, it is suppressed or the activists accept a certain concession—then pattern starts all over again. Organizers see the error in this cycle; therefore, organizers will always prioritize winning campaigns that will change the nature of the status quo and developing leaders so that movements, won’t die out or be conceded, instead—the struggle for a reimagined world—will continue until the day a new world is born.

There is hope, I know there is. Nothing about our current stage is irrelevant; except, activists and those who preach the gospel of action over organization. We have the power to change that. People actually are building powerful organizations, but they are still the minority.

womens-liberation-protest

It is not an easy path, no such thing “short term” win, it is going to take years of painful, grueling, on the ground work but I know that we are more than capable. It will take patience from the older organizers, to teach the newer ones, yet we have the greatest chance at another world because unlike many other generations, or movements, we are guided by hope not despair—and that makes a worldly difference.

Contextualizing the Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Categories, Politics, Revolutionary Perspectives

Great piece! On employing, the revolutionary work, the Pedagogy of the Oppressed–in our fight for liberation.

Bombard the Headquarters!

The generation of wealth based on exploitation and oppression by one class over another class (i.e. the bourgeoisie exploiting the proletariat) breeds resistance of the latter to overthrow the former. As destructive and as violent as it may seem, this very process is the ultimate catalyst of historical development. This was the intrinsic law of transformation that pushed primitive communal societies to develop into slave societies, further on into feudal societies, and eventually into capitalist societies.

But as Mao Zedong said, revolution or the act of fundamentally changing a social system is not a dinner party. It is a violent and rigorous process. It is violent because it entails bloodshed and sacrifice of life is inevitable. It is essentially a war waged against a minority yet oppressive classes by the oppressed majority. It is rigorous because it entails in-depth social investigation and class analysis in order to come up with…

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Quotations on Self-Determination, National Liberation and Imperialism

Categories, Revolutionary Perspectives, THEIRstory

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“The bourgeoisie, which naturally assumes the leadership at the start of every national movement, says that support for all national aspirations is practical. However, the proletariat’s policy in the national question (as in all others) supports the bourgeoisie only in a certain direction, but it never coincides with the bourgeoisie’s policy. The working class supports the bourgeoisie only in order to secure national peace (which the bourgeoisie cannot bring about completely and which can be achieved only with complete democracy), in order to secure equal rights and to create the best conditions for the class struggle. Therefore, it is in opposition to the practicality of the bourgeoisie that the proletarians advance their principles in the national question; they always give the bourgeoisie only conditional support.”

–Vladimir Lenin, “The Right of Nations to Self-Determination” (1914)

mn roy

MN Roy, 1929

“Evidently imperialism has not failed to notice the radicalisation of the Nationalist Movement, and to focus its attention on the force causing this radicalisation. Imperialism recognises its most dangerous and determined enemy in the working class. Its tactics in the present situation, as hinted by the Viceroy, are to point out to the Nationalist bourgeoisie the dangerousness of the situation, and ask their co-operation in meeting the common danger.”

-MN Roy, “The Indian Bourgeoisie and the National Revolution” (1929)

MaoReit

“I call upon the workers, peasants, revolutionary intellectuals, enlightened elements of the bourgeoisie, and other enlightened personages of all colours in the world, white, black, yellow, brown, etc., to unite to oppose the racial discrimination enacted  by U.S. imperialism and to support the American Negroes in their struggle against racial discrimination. In the final analysis, a national struggle is a question of class struggle…at present, it is the handful of imperialists, headed by the United States, and their supporters, the reactionaries in different countries, who are carrying out oppression, aggression and intimidation against the overwhelming majority of the nations and peoples of the world. They are the minority, and we are the majority. “

–Mao Tse-Tung, “Oppose Racial Discrimination by U.S Imperialism” (1963)

Kwame-Nkrumah

“The essence of neo-colonialism is that the State which is subject to it is, in theory, independent and has all the outward trappings of international sovereignty. In reality its economic system and thus its political policy is directed from outside…Neo-colonialism is also the worst form of imperialism. For those who practise it, it means power without responsibility and for those who suffer from it, it means exploitation without redress…Neo-colonialism, like colonialism, is an attempt to export the social conflicts of the capitalist countries. The temporary success of this policy can be seen in the ever widening gap between the richer and the poorer nations of the world.”

–Kwame Nkrumah, “Neo-Colonialism, the Last Stage of Imperialism” (1965)

I want to sincerely apologize for the lack of gender diversity, I did this post a bit rushed and I went straight off the top of my head and I am a guy–so that patriarchy came out swinging. Once again, I will be sure not to make another post that is so hyper-masculine, again. 

A Brief History of US Imperialism

Revolutionary Perspectives, THEIRstory

By

[Reposted from http://screechingkettle.blogspot.com/2011/10/putting-todays-wars-in-perspective.html.

The original article is from 2011, from systemiccapital.com via Jeffery Dean]

“We Americans are the ultimate innocents. We are forever desperate to believe that this time the government is telling us the truth.” — Sydney Schanberg
imperialism: the policy, practice, or advocacy of extending the power and dominion of a nation especially by direct territorial acquisitions or by gaining indirect control over the political or economic life of other areas; broadly: the extension or imposition of power, authority, or influence
For some, the Iraq invasion in 2003 seems unprecedented, as if nothing of the sort had ever happened before; and then, nearly a decade later, it happened again with Libya in 2011. In both cases, Americans were told there was an imminent threat, and military action must be taken to stop it; in both cases, the ‘threat’ was nothing more than fabrication (Iraq) andexaggeration (Libya).These events are often analyzed separately, associated with the individual administrations in charge at the time. One might see the Iraq War as belonging to the “Bush administration”, and the Libya War as belonging to the “Obama administration”. Yet if one examines all of the US interventions as a whole, it becomes clear that the problem is not one of certain administrations or individuals, but a manipulative system which has dominated American foreign policy for decades.
4,000 US troops occupy Corpus Christi, Texas; 18461846, Mexico: US President Polk leads a national sentiment of “manifest destiny“, designed to expand federal rule from the east to west coast, including territory already occupied by natives.He offers to buy land from Mexico, but Mexico refuses. Texas, owned by Mexico, seeks US residents to “settle” there and “help grow the population”. However, these “settlers” eventually grow dissatisfied with Mexican rule and form a rebellion, thus beginning the Mexican-American War.As a result, the US  gains control of Colorado, Arizona, California, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming and New Mexico.
1853, Japan: Commodore Matthew Perry of the US Navy sails into Tokyo Harbor aboard the frigate “Susquehanna”, forcing Japan to sign a treaty permitting trade, and the opening of Japanese ports to US merchant ships.
1893, Hawaii: Hawaii has a large population of American sugar cane planters, whalers, and missionaries. In 1887, a US base at Pearl Harbor is constructed. When King David Kalakaua dies in 1891, his sister Lydia Paki Kamekeha Liliuokalani takes the throne and tries to restore Hawaii’s monarchy to absolute power. However, Hawaii Supreme Court justice Sanford Dole stages a bloodless coup backed by the US military on January 19, 1893 and dethrones the Queen, forcing her to plead with US President Grover Cleveland for reinstatement. By 1895, she abdicates the throne. President William McKinley’s administration then moves for Hawaii’s annexation, giving the US control over coaling stations in the Pacific. 
1898, Cuba: The US blames Spain for destroying the USS Maine, despite evidence that the explosion which caused the sinking came from an internal – not external – source. As a result of the war, Cuba assumes independence, Puerto Rico becomes an American possession, and from Spain, the US acquires Guam and the Philippines. 
1899, Philippines: Through the Treaty of Paris (1898), Spain gives control of the Philippines to the United States for $20 million. The Filipino-American War begins shortly after.
Known in US history books as the “Philippine Insurrection”, it was America’s first true overseas war, lasting from 1898 to 1902.
In those 3 years, as many as 70,000 Americans die, along with close to 2 million Filipinos. 
1899, Somoa: Rivalries between French, British, German, and American forces – all of which valued Pago Pago Harbor as a refueling station for coal-fired shipping and whaling – leads to the partitioning of Somoa. The last chief of Somoa before US rule, the Tui Manu’a Elisala, is forced to sign a deed of cession following a series of US naval trials. 
1903, Panama: Seeking a canal through Panama – a province of Colombia – the US  attempts negotiations and payments, all of which fail. President Roosevelt is outraged, stating that “we may have to give a lesson to these jack rabbits”. Stockholders of the New Panama Canal Company arrange a “revolution” in Panama and fund the rebels, assisted by the US Navy. Shortly after, Panama declares its independence from Colombia. 
1906, Cuba: The United States assumes temporary military control of Cuba under the Platt Amendment, following the reelection of an American puppet government which caused a nationalist uprising. Two years later, the US builds a naval base at Guantanamo Bay and claims rights to it in perpetuity. 
1910, Nicaragua: The US seeks to establish a canal through Nicaragua, but instead chooses Panama. When Nicaraguan President José Santos Zelaya solicits funds to build a second inter-oceanic canal for Germany and Japan, Washington turns against him. After Zelaya’s government executes two Americans for aiding anti-government rebels, Washington breaks diplomatic relations, threatens naval intervention, and forces Zelaya into exile. 
1914, Mexico: Mexican officials detain several drunken US Marines from the USS Dolphin, which is docked in the port of Tampico, Mexico, after they accidentally enter a restricted area. The Mexican government quickly releases them and issues an apology.
Regardless of the regret expressed by Mexican President Victor Huerta, US Admiral Henry T. Mayo demands that Mexican troops salute an American flag as a sign of contrition. President Huerta refuses the salute; three days later, President Wilson orders American warships to Tampico Bay.
Wilson insists that his anger is not directed at the Mexican people, but at Huerta, “and those who adhere to him” because he refused to salute the American flag as an official apology.
By the end of 1914, US Marines had seized Tampico, forced an apology from Huerta, and demanded his resignation from power.
Tampico, Mexico was considered the world’s largest oil port in 1901. Some of the richest oil fields were discovered within a 100-mile radius of the port between 1914-1918.
1914, Europe: The United States claims to be neutral as Germany, France, and Britain engage in conflict; however, US banks and weapons manufacturers continue selling to France and Britain, leading to the German sinking of the ship, Lusitania, and eventual US entry to World War 1.
1917, Russia: Woodrow Wilson funds the “White” side of the Russian civil war. In the summer of 1918, he authorizes a naval blockade of the Soviet Union to help stop the Russian Revolution. American forces penetrate westward from Vladivostok to Lake Baikal, supporting Czech and White Russian forces.
The White Russian forces disintegrate by 1920, and this intervention helps fuel anti-western sentiments throughout Russia during the Cold War years. 
1924, Honduras: Civil war breaks out after liberal president Rafael Lopez Gutierrez establishes a dictatorship. The US lands Marines in the country to “protect its interests”. Gutierrez is killed in March, and the revolution ends in May.
1925, Mexico: The US and Mexico narrowly avoid war after Mexico threatens US oil contracts.
Concluded the United States Strategic Bombing Survey of 1946, “air supremacy over Japan could have exerted sufficient pressure to bring about unconditional surrender and obviate the need for invasion. Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey’s opinion that … Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.” 
1950, Korea: Without the approval of Congress, President Harry Truman sends troops to fight in Korea, asserting an inherent right to do so as Commander-in-Chief.
The Korean War ends three years later, leaving behind 33,600 American casualties, 16,000 UN-allied, 415,000 South Korean, 520,000 North Korean, and an estimated 900,000 Chinese.
1953, Iran: British intelligence agencies join with the CIA to overthrow the Iranian government out of fears it will nationalize oil production.
1954, Guatemala: Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán, the democratically-elected President of Guatemala, issues land reforms which threaten the interests of US-based United Fruit Company. CIA Director Allen Dules, along with his brother, both have stakes in the company. It heavily lobbies the US government to take action. Shortly after, the CIA begins training rebels, and sets up a radio station across the border led by fake rebels to instigate a revolution. Eventually, the Guatemalan President is sent into exile. 
1961, Cuba: US mercenaries depart Nicaragua and invade Playa Girón, Cuba. They suffer a historical defeat known as the “Bay of Pigs.”
 
1961, Iraq: Abdel Karim Kassem, leader of Iraq, threatens western oil interests, causing the US and Britain to begin arming Kurdish rebels in the country. In 1963, Kassem is forced out of power, put on trial, and eventually shot to death. By 1968, Saddam Hussein takes power in the country, backed by the CIA.
1964, Vietnam: The USS Maddox is gathering intelligence off the coast of North Vietnam when a group of North Vietnamese torpedo boats approach the ship. The Maddox opens fire, the North Vietnamese respond with torpedoes, but they are eventually driven away. The exchange prompts the US government and news media to report that North Vietnamese torpedo boats launched an “unprovoked attack” against the Maddox while it was on a “routine patrol”.
Two days later, Captain John J. Herrick of the USS Maddox sees two “mysterious dots” on his radar screen, determines they are torpedo boats, and sends an emergency cable to headquarters in Honolulu reporting that the ship is under attack.
Shortly after, Herrick sends another cable: “Freak weather effects on radar and over eager sonar men … No actual visual sightings by Maddox. Suggest complete evaluation before any further action taken.”
Less than an hour later, Herrick sends a third cable, saying he is now uncertain of what had happened; however, by this time, President Johnson is already announcing a major military escalation in Vietnam.
By the end of the Vietnam War, millions of Vietnamese civilians perish, along with more than 50,000 US soldiers.
1970, Cambodia: President Richard Nixon announces that US troops are invading Cambodia, the country west of Vietnam through which the North Vietnamese are allegedly supplying their troops. For more than a year prior to the announcement, the US had been conducting bombing raids in the country. 
1982, Iraq: US backs Iraq against Iran, supplying Saddam Hussein with intelligence, diplomatic aid, and chemical weapons (which would later be used to massacre innocent people).
1985, Nicaragua: . Congress authorizes $38 million over two years in “non-military” aid to Nicaragua’s Contras. 
1986, Libya: Islamic militants bomb a Berlin discotheque, killing two American soldiers. The White House uses this opportunity to retaliate, and President Reagan authorizes the bombing of Libya without the authorization of Congress. At least 100 civilians are killed.
One year prior, the National Security Council had discussed a plan to overthrow Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi using exiles in a coup, although the idea was eventually abandoned. 
Muammar-Gaddafi-Libyan-le-007[1]
1990, Iraq: In August, US fighter jets, aircraft carriers, battleships, and half a million American troops are deployed to Saudi Arabia to defend against a possible attack from Iraq. Between its own oil fields, and those of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, western governments allegedly fear Iraq could gain control over the majority of the world’s oil reserves. Dick Cheney secures the US-Saudi occupation agreement, ensuring there will be no set withdrawal date from Saudi Arabia, thereby allowing US forces to remain.
Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein eventually annexes Kuwait, triggering the first Iraq War.
Kuwait had been part of the Ottoman Empire province of Basra, and included much of modern-day Iraq. Up until that point, Iraq had not recognized Kuwait’s sovereignty, and the border between Iraq and Kuwait had never been clearly defined.
The US. ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, claims that when she gave Iraq indications that the US would not oppose an invasion of Kuwait, she did not expect Iraq to take “all of Kuwait“.
1999, Yugoslavia: US-NATO bombs drop over the country allegedly to prevent a “massacre”, though this claim is challenged. More than 2,000 civilians are killed.
There are indications that basic infrastructure is deliberately targeted during this campaign. For example, a statement by Lt. Gen. Michael Short, US Air Force, quoted in the Washington Post, May 1999, reads: “If you wake up in the morning and you have no power to your house and no gas to your stove and the bridge you take to work is down and will be lying in the Danube for the next 20 years, I think you begin to ask, ‘Hey, Slobo, what’s this all about? How much more of this do we have to withstand?’ And at some point, you make the transition from applauding Serb machismo against the world to thinking what your country is going to look like if this continues.”
2001, Afghanistan: Over the summer, negotiations between western oil companies and the Afghan Taliban to build a pipeline across the country fall through. Niaz Naikm (former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan) reveals that senior American officials told him during this time that military action to overthrow the Taliban in Afghanistan is planned to occur “before the snows [starts] falling in Afghanistan, by the middle of October at the latest”. After 9/11, this objective is realized.
2003, Iraq: Following western propaganda about Iraq’s alleged “weapons of mass destruction” program, President George W. Bush launches an invasion of the country. This comes after years of western-backed “no-fly zones” and crippling economic sanctions.
By 2011, most US forces leave the country; however, a noteworthy presence remains, including a $700 million dollar embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, the largest US embassy in the world, and a 46-aircraft air service for over 15,000 diplomats working for the State Department. 
2009, Yemen: US aidmissiles – and eventually, aerial Predator drones – are deployed to the country to fight “al-Qaeda” affiliates. From a strategic perspective, Yemen is important because it allows access to a vital world-wide oil shipping chokepoint.
2010, Pakistan: US Predator drones begin attacking targets along the Afghan-Pakistan border, killing dozens of civilians in the process.
2010, South Korea: On the evening of March 26, 2010, the Cheonan, a South Korean ship, is conducting a routine naval patrol when an explosion unexpectedly tears into it, splitting the vessel in half and killing 46 sailors. Shortly after, western powers blame North Korea for the attack, though North Korea denies responsibility. The attack gives the United States an opportunity to prolong its control over South Korean forces until 2015, and also extend its stay at nearby Japanese military bases.
2011, Libya: The US claims Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is ‘massacring’ demonstrators protesting his regime; however, these accusations are drastically overblown. Regardless, a US-backed, NATO-imposed “no-fly zone” is enabled, responsible for murdering hundreds of Libyan civilians.
Many of the NATO attacks target Gaddafi, with one such strike taking the lives of his three grandchildren – two toddlers, one infant. Gaddafi himself is eventually captured and killed.
Two years prior, Gaddafi planned to nationalize Libya’s oil reserves, the largest in Africa. August 2012: Obama authorizes the CIA to fund al-Qaeda-linked Syrian “rebels” in an effort to overthrow the Syrian government.

—It is perhaps too easy to look at US foreign policy by the standards of the post-9/11 world, forgetting all that happened before. Without an accurate understanding of the past, we’ll always be doomed to repeat it in the future.… … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … 

See also:

Six propagandistic terms used by the media that every American needs to know about – Our wars? “Humanitarian”. Our enemies? “Militants” and “Terrorists”. Our news? Sourced by anonymous “Officials”. The American media is Orwell’s worst nightmare

A brief history of George W. Obama  –  Has the same US President been in office for the last 11+ years? The following timeline covers key events between 2001-2012

Eight bullshit misconceptions about the renewed US invasion of Iraq – The odds are high that you believe at least one of the lies mentioned here peddled as truth by US news networks

Blaming the rise of ISIS on religion neglects the major role of US imperialism – When an American is beheaded, we blame it all on freedom-envious religious zealots instead of our blowback-inducing foreign policy

US foreign policy is laying the groundwork for WWIII, and only Americans can stop the process – The odds are stacked against Americans seeking to free their country from asylum escapees, but the fight is worth it

The problem wasn’t Bush and the Republicans, and it isn’t Obama and the Democrats – Far too much attention is spent attacking figureheads who will one day be out of office instead of the actual system and the system’s ideology

The “crisis” in Ukraine coincidentally serves the interests of US corporations – Conveniently, the US-backed “crisis” in Ukraine has also served as an excuse to push European NATO members into boosting their defense budgets

The United States of Predator Drones – From Afghanistan to Yemen, from Yemen to Mexico, from Mexico to your back yard, drone use has drastically expanded and shows no signs of slowing downAmerica’s Global Neocon War – Bush-era neocons are still very much directing foreign policy in the United States, ultimately aiming for conflict with Russia and ChinaWhy the War on Terror guarantees more terrorism and perpetual warfare – This self-perpetuating War on Terror — War OF Terror — may outlive all those reading these words today

Democrats merge with GOP, form War Party – Bush helped Republicans justify needless war, Obama has helped Democrats; now, there is no mainstream anti-war party

The Bush administration laid the foundation for the Obama administration’s crimes – Republicans and Democrats are working in harmony to create a truly horrifying and pervasive monster – one that grows bigger and more brutal with each passing election

The Sinking of the Cheonan – South Korea blames the North for sinking a warship in 2010, giving the US a reason to extend its military presence in the region

A boy named Adam – Largely thanks to a complicit corporate-state news media, the story of a US teenager executed without trial by the government has largely gone under the radar

Rethinking the “non-aggression principle” – Do non-human animals lose the “right” to experience life merely on the basis of their species?

A counterrevolutionary story for a revolutionary life: Leila Khaled

Opinion, Revolutionary Perspectives, THEIRstory

 

A ‘capitulation of power’, ‘weak’, ‘towards…revolution’ and ‘end the occupation’ “NOW!” Wholly encompasses the self-proclaimed “dialectic materialist”, and her worldview (more on that later), Leila Khaled.

Employing both brevity and breadth, Khaled, has become the icon for Palestinian liberation–and an unabashed Marxist. Claiming that “Palestine for me is Paradise. Religions talk about paradise. For me, Palestine is paradise. It deserves our sacrifices” displaying upfront, her words and actions as a visceral embodiment of the same “dialectics” she espouses. Moreover, going back to her words in the beginning, she describes the entirety of negotiations between Israel and Palestine as “weak” and that Palestine is negotiating from a position of powerlessness instead–calling for revolution to end the occupation, as a showing of “dialectics”, because of her contradictory positions, in that, most would see negotiations as progress but not Khaled. Generally her positions, and her being, are seen as revolutionary but dangerous, groundbreaking but problematic, as a symbol of liberation but also as a “terrorist” but all too characteristic of herself–Khaled is solely committed to Palestinian emancipation, a true sign of a revolutionary.

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Born in Haifa, a large northern Israeli city, forcibly joining 6 million other Palestinians in a diaspora of biblical proportions, 4 years after her birth. Settling in Lebanon, ending up in Amman, Jordan today, her family joins the Arab National Movement, where in 1967 the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) is born. Khaled’s indignation, pre-1967, could not be contained, persuading a Marxist-Leninist group to train her in revolutionary warfare which will–end up as her ‘theory’ and ‘praxis’ for liberation.

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Still she was among thousands of refugees who held contempt for the settler-colonial regime, Israel. However in 1969, her name goes down in heroic infamy.

First, in 1969, she along with a comrade of hers hijacked a plane flying to Tel Aviv, forcing it to fly into Damascus, as tactic to free 2 prisoners held by Israel–TWA flight 840 was stolen for the two Israelis on-board as an exchange for the jailed Palestinians. Then again, in 1970, before the brutal crackdown on Palestinian fighters, known as “Black September”, Khaled hijacked another plane but this time it was flying out of EI AI (a well-guarded Israeli airport). Regarded, mildly, as a “success” it led to the freeing of many Palestinian prisoners in Europe but like before, Khaled, was captured by the authorities and her partner, Patrick Arguello, was killed by Israeli guards.

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These two events, marred in infamy, lead to the proliferation of the name: Leila Khaled, as the poster-child for resistance.

After 1970, her name no longer appeared daily on news reels, newspaper headlines but her legend had cemented, still apart of the PFLP she has become the voice for revolutionary warfare, socialist revolution and anti-imperialism, in the Middle East. A solid revolutionary by any standards.

Midst the perpetual demonization, Khaled, has posited various ‘controversial’ standpoints, including: her relegation of women’s oppression to the bottom of the symbolic ladder of oppression, as well as, not being an over-zealous advocate for Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) and, most well-known, for her adamant stance on armed struggle as necessary for liberation.

Mao

“Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”

Mao Zedong (Nov. 1938, “Problems of War and Strategy”)

Revolutionaries see her either: as a mere nationalist provocateur of violence or a true Marxist (Maoist) revolutionary. The latter being most accurate, her life-long commitment to Palestinian liberation, even superseding its importance over other oppression(s) (i.e. the woman question, etc), risking her life on multiple occasions and her contempt with the process of negotiating for “peace” (an example of “combating liberalism”), are simple criterion for a great revolutionary.

Leila Khaled, consistently defamed, labeled a “terrorist”, as “violent” and oft overshadowed, is the among greatest embodiment of the Palestinian struggle. A sound “dialectic materialist”, opposed to Pan-Arabism, always advocating for a one-state solution–the creation (read: return) of a democratic Palestine for all Arabs–regardless of religious affiliation or familial lineage.

Her life, her image and, in essence, her being is one of bravery, tenacity and revolution, therefore solidarity with Leila Khaled is absolutely unquestionable.

Although, in 2014, Palestinians are still not free; the inspiration that Khaled’s words, action and history provide gives me incredible optimism that our fighters will be free–one day, soon.

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Further reading/Sources:

Interview with Leila Khaled, ‘BDS’ is effective but it doesn’t liberate land 

Leila Khaled: Hijacker (English subtitles)

Bio shows why Leila Khaled remains an icon of resistance

“Injustice every day”: An interview with Leila Khaled

‘For me, Palestine is paradise’: An interview with Leila Khaled

**Leon Trotsky: Why Marxists Oppose Individual Terrorism 

THEIRstory: histories of revolutionaries

Revolutionary Perspectives, THEIRstory

History, studied near and far–from academics to “proletarian buffs”, yet it is still widely under used and misunderstood. However, that is not the purpose of this post. As a revolutionary understanding history well is just as, if not, more important than both theory and praxis because it is the umbrella guiding the development of both. In order to develop our theory and praxis to its highest stage–a firm grasp of history is a prerequisite.

History is about development, contradiction and, controversially for me, about people. For the next week I will be writing about certain revolutionary people throughout history. If we are truly committing ourselves to global revolution then it is important to understand the people who have paved the way for us to think, work and organize within the framework today. This is controversial because many people see the focus on people as diluting movement history in favor of “Great Man” worship. I however believe that people are genius and questionable, brave and cowardly, leaders and followers, people are the greatest example of dialectics and so incredibly important to the understanding of accurate historical accounts.

So for people/groups/organizations to make this list I have some criteria that must be followed, diligently.

Criteria

  1. Beginning with an overall understanding that history and these people/groups are NOT absolute–nothing is and pending what research I do, or what others may do as well, we can and will come to different conclusions because of our intents, biases and etc.
  2. To qualify for the list they must be committed to life-long, systemic, change
  3. As well as, actively fighting for said changes; through writing, organizing, etc.
  4. NOT REQUIRED; preference will be given to revolutionaries belonging to oppressed nations (relative to their own standards, of course) and still fighting an oppressive system
  5. List will emphasize people/groups that are Non-Western (U.S.A or Western Europe), as well as, uplifting the voices and movements of people of color, women, LGBTQIA and non-binary/gender nonconforming revolutionaries; not required but highly recommended

Will include people such as:

  • Ella Baker
  • Antonio Gramsci
  • Kwame Ture
  • Amilcar Cabral
  • Thomas Sankara
  • Joseph Stalin
  • Lakshmi Sehgal
  • Blanca Canales
  • Ana Maria
  • Michael Collins
  • Leila Khaled
  • Among (hopefully) many more!

And with groups/organizations such as:

  • the Naxalites
  • Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO)
  • Khmer Rouge
  • New People’s Army
  • Kurdistan Workers’ Party
  • Weather Underground
  • Young Lords
  • Zapatistas National Liberation Army

Stay posted y’all, the first post will be up by tomorrow! Please keep sharing and have a great night!