Recent Posts

Pages: 1 ... 6 7 8 9 [10]
91
Watch Tomi Lahren Gleefully Berate the ?Tolerant Left? Then Ask Why We Can?t All Just Get Along


She has literally made millions voicing her ill-informed opinions that consistently distort liberal ideology and attack the left.


 

Lahren is more upset over the press secretary being politely asked to leave and getting her cheese plate comped than she is the thousands of children who very likely will never see their parents again.

Tomi Lahren is back. The conservative Fox News commentator known for her racist remarks last month earned the nickname "Xenophobic Rage Barbie" after defending Trump Chief of Staff John Kelly's anti-immigrant remarks.

Now she is attacking all those on the left, asking why they aren't "loving and tolerant" ? something conservatives claim liberals should be forced to be, even in the face of their own intolerance. And after detailing a litany of insults she feels best represent liberals, while wholly ignoring the extraordinary attacks on America from the right, Lahren demands to know why we can't all just get along (video below).

Seriously.

"When did we get to the point where we can?t even stand to be in the presence of someone with opposing political views?" Lahren, 25-year old a multi-millionaire with a lucrative Fox News contract and a home in Los Angeles asks. She has literally made millions voicing her ill-informed opinions that consistently distort liberal ideology and attack the left.

"It?s ugly and it's disheartening to watch," Lahren says, wholly unaware that her entire manufactured persona exists only because people on the right support her extremist hate-filled views.

"Whether it's Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders getting kicked out of a restaurant, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Cho being shouted down by students, protesters harassing DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen at a Mexican restaurant, or having water thrown at me while I brunched with my parents - one thing is for sure: The so-called 'loving and tolerant left' seems to be anything but," Lahren charges.

Not once does she bother to tell her viewers that those acts of protest against agents of the U.S government who are supposed to represent the American people (sans Lahren) are all because the Trump administration is separating young children, even babies and toddlers, from their parents and sending them to child concentration camps.

Lahren is literally more upset over the White House press secretary being politely asked to leave a rural Virginia farm-to-tabe restaurant and getting her cheese plate comped than she is the thousands of children who very likely will never see their parents again.

Shen then goes after feminists, who she calls "the female empowerment squad," asking "conservative women mean less to you?" and, "Are we not worthy of your advocacy?"

After claiming she supports same-sex couples turned "away for being gay, or otherwise different," Lahren concludes: "can we just treat people like people?"

Seriously.

But Lahren is just cherrypicking and lying.

She concludes by going after Rep. Maxine Waters, whose remarks are now getting her death threats from the right. What did the Democratic Congresswoman say that was so offensive Lahren says a Republican saying the same "would have been shamed into resignation"?

This, as NPR reported:

'If you think we're rallying now you ain't seen nothing yet,' Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif, told supporters at a rally in Los Angeles over the weekend. 'If you see anybody from that [Trump] Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they're not welcome anymore, anywhere.'

That, according to Lahren, is cause for exiting Congress.

It's not. Waters was not advocating for violence, and anyone who claims she was is lying. Period.

Meanwhile, many on social media did "push back" against Lahren's remarks:

 

In her two-and-a-half-minute rant, Lahren makes clear: she is exhaustively insincere and uninformed. And she's not helping America.

Watch:

 

Related Stories


Source: Watch Tomi Lahren Gleefully Berate the ?Tolerant Left? Then Ask Why We Can?t All Just Get Along
92
Richard Mellor / Poem: Appeal to Potential Asylum Seekers
« Last post by Richard Mellor on July 01, 2018, 06:01:23 AM »
Poem: Appeal to Potential Asylum Seekers

We reprint this poem from our friend and satirist Kevin Higgins. If we change some names and other small details it can apply, not only to Ireland and the UK but to the US or any other nation that is faced with economic refugees and those seeking asylum from the numerous capitalist wars and interventions western, and especially US capitalism, wages in the world. This poem was originally published on The Platform writers site.

       


Appeal to Potential Asylum Seekers
By Order of Her Majesty?s Government

The desserts of Vienna are creamier
than is the case in even
the better bits of Leeds or Swansea.
Their trams turn up when they?re meant to,
which is hardly ever true
of an outskirts-of-Great-Yarmouth Saturday night,
except when Prince Edward is dying,
re-marrying, or giving birth,
and there?s an Ian Stuart Donaldson concert to celebrate.

Also, we think it important we clarify:
Hugh Grant is not a real person.
So, there?s no point coming here
in the hope of making him
your husband, or even,
your wife.

Contrary to reports in the popular press:
our social security is in fact rubbish.
And we?re working hard to make it worse.
You?ll toil all the hours picking
shells off a beach in the dark;
or clean a pretend bank
for less per week than
Andrew Neil pays to have
his back waxed.

And you?ll have nowhere to live,
given our plan to gift
the last council house to former
model Jerry Hall
for rest and recuperation
the day after she?s taken annually
by Rupert Murdoch, as she?s now
contractually bound
to let herself be.

If you stay where you are,
as a gesture, we offer you
Richard Branson. The first forty four
legitimate asylum seekers
to complete the relevant form will each
be entitled to one of his teeth,
for use perhaps as collateral or
as a miniature sex toy ?

on condition you remove
it at your own leisure using
the rudimentary
chisel provided.

From Poems for Grenfell Tower published by The Onslaught Press
About the author
Kevin Higgins is co-organiser of Over The Edge literary events  in Galway. He teaches poetry workshops and is a poetry critic with The Galway Advertiser. Kevin has published four collections of poetry: The Ghost In The Lobby (2014), Frightening New Furniture (2010), Time Gentlemen, Please (2008), and his best-selling first collection, The Boy With No Face (2005). The Stinging Fly magazine recently described Kevin as "likely the most read living poet in Ireland?. Follow him on Twitter @KevinHIpoet1967.       







Source: Poem: Appeal to Potential Asylum Seekers
93
Infoshop News / How Kurdish women are approaching patriarchy under capitalism
« Last post by Alternative Media Project on July 01, 2018, 06:01:21 AM »
How Kurdish women are approaching patriarchy under capitalism

The Kurdish movement understands that for any successful revolution to take place, a revolutionary ethos must have an integrated understanding of women?s liberation.
Source: How Kurdish women are approaching patriarchy under capitalism
94
Infoshop News / The Only Way to Survive Janus
« Last post by Alternative Media Project on July 01, 2018, 06:01:21 AM »
The Only Way to Survive Janus

via Labor Notes by Alexandra Bradbury Update, June 27: As expected, today the Supreme Court ruled against the union in Janus v. AFSCME District 31, invalidating agency fees. This makes the whole public sector open-shop. Coming soon: the Labor Notes guide to organizing in open-shop America. The snows were still flying, but for unionists, spring […]
Source: The Only Way to Survive Janus
95
AlterNet / Will Trump Pull the United States out of NATO?
« Last post by AlterNet on July 01, 2018, 06:01:20 AM »
Will Trump Pull the United States out of NATO?


The president's words spark concern for the deal.


Will Donald Trump give Russian leader Vladimir Putin the best of all possible gifts: pulling the United States out of NATO? As insane as that sounds, Trump has been making noises to other world leaders threatening to do exactly that. After opining to G7 leaders during their summit a few weeks ago backing Russia's claim to the now-occupied Crimea because, well, the people there speak Russian so there, Trump reportedly complained about the upcoming NATO summit on July 11:

"It will be an interesting summit. NATO is as bad as NAFTA. It's much too costly for the U.S."

This is part of Trump's continued inability to grasp what NATO even is; he continues to believe that other NATO nations not spending the sought-for 2 percent GDP on their militaries somehow represents a payment to the United States(?) that they're holding out on us for. Or something to that effect?he's been largely incoherent in his complaints about NATO and its member nations.

But that's not the only hint that Trump may genuinely be considering the insane proposition of pulling the United States out of NATO. In a private conversation with the Swedish prime minister last March, he went farther:

One European diplomat told me that in a private White House meeting in March, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven explained to Trump that Sweden, although not a member of NATO, partners with the alliance on a case-by-case basis. Trump responded that the United States should consider that approach. A senior administration official told me Trump was joking.

Let's get something straight here: Trump doesn't "joke." Trump says his thoughts out loud to see how his audience reacts. He wasn't joking, during the campaign, about rounding up immigrants. He wasn't joking about launching a trade war as an act of petty, dimwitted belligerence. He doesn't joke about his praise for dictators and his willingness to play ball with autocrats, and despite the damage-control efforts of an anonymous senior administration official, he ain't joking here. He's been blustering about either "renegotiating" the United States position in NATO or abandoning it since the campaign days.

Donald is in a very foul mood of late, and he has been even more eager than usual to publicly repeat Russian talking points over the objections of his own aides. It is more likely than not, during the upcoming NATO summit, that it's going to a repeat of the G7 meeting in which Trump roundly attacked U.S. allies like Canada while suggesting Russia has been getting an unfair shake.

But we can't discount the possibility that he's going to come out of the meeting with an announcement that our nation will be abandoning the NATO treaty. He has been telegraphing that move, as he has with multiple other insane opinions that later became new presidential orders, for a very long time. Given that NATO's major role is to deter Russian military aggression, that would be the ultimate gift to Trump's would-be friend Putin?the one man in the world Donald never, ever, has a bad word for.

 

 

Related Stories


Source: Will Trump Pull the United States out of NATO?
96
Richard Mellor / The productivity puzzle again
« Last post by Richard Mellor on June 30, 2018, 06:00:52 PM »
The productivity puzzle again

by Michael Roberts

Just this week, the chief economist of the Bank of England, Andy  Haldane, delivered a speech on the causes of the UK?s productivity  problem.  Entitled, ?The UK?s Productivity Problem: Hub No Spokes? ,Haldane  returned to a familiar theme that has puzzled mainstream economics  since the end of the Great Recession.  Why has productivity growth in  nearly all the major capitalist economies slowed to a trickle despite  the new emerging technologies and the supposed economic recovery?

In the case of the UK, this slowdown has been very severe.  As  Haldane put it, UK productivity has flat-lined for a decade.  Productivity is running almost 20% below its pre-crisis trend. ?It is a gap it is unclear will ever be closed.? In the UK, productivity levels are as much as one-third below those in the US, Germany and France. As Haldane joked ?It  is the source of the oft-quoted quip that the average French worker  achieves by Thursday lunchtime what the average British worker achieves  only by close of business on a Friday.?

Also, the productivity gap between the top- and bottom-performing  companies is materially larger in the UK than in France, Germany or the  US. In the services sector, the gap between the top- and  bottom-performing 10% of companies is 80% larger in the UK than in  international competitors. This productivity gap has also widened by far  more since the crisis ? around 2-3 times more ? in the UK than  elsewhere. This long and lengthening tail of ?stationary? companies  explains why the UK has a one-third productivity gap with international  competitors and a one-fifth productivity gap relative to the past.

Haldane remarked that ?the UK is in many respects a tale (tail)  of two companies: a small set in the upper tail gazelling along the  productivity high road and a much larger set in the lower tail snailing  along the low road.? As Haldane recognises ?Capitalism always of course throws up winners and losers, hares and tortoises, gazelles and snails, upper and lower tails?.  But it appears that in  the UK, however, these differences are far-larger, and have increased  by more, than elsewhere. Over the ten years to 2014, top 1% of UK  companies experienced annual productivity growth of 8% and the top 0.1%  companies (the huge multi-nationals) achieved growth of 12%.  The rest  stagnated.  The bottom 25% of UK companies have levels of productivity  around 80% or more below the UK median. Their Germany and French  counterparts have productivity around 60% or more below the median,  large but not as large a differential as in the UK.

It?s not a problem of so-called zombie companies
,  says Haldane.  Most ?tail? companies are not zombies, overburdened by  an insurmountable mountain of debt or a broken business model. Rather  they are companies surviving, but not yet thriving. And they account for  fully 80-90% of all jobs. ?They are not the tail; they are the dog.? If you restricted ?creative destruction? to true zombies ? those whose  productivity was negative ? this would make little arithmetic difference  to average productivity, raising it by perhaps 1%.

In sum, according to Haldane, the UK?s long tail problem is largely a diffusion rather than innovation problem.  And this problem seems to have its roots in transfer barriers ?  barriers to transferring technology, know-how, people and financing ?  from the UK?s thriving hubs to its striving spokes. ?Stronger, longer spokes are needed to reach the long tail.?

The problem with Haldane?s analysis is this ?long tail? pre-dates the crisis and as he says himself ?thus cannot by itself explain all of the UK?s poor productivity performance since the crisis.?  In the UK, this technological trickle-down, from frontier to tail, appears to have dried up. ?A lengthening flotilla of boats has remained in dry dock.?  By 2015 there were still only 13% of companies who had adopted all  five of these basic technologies. And there was still a tail of 9-10% of  companies who had adopted only 2 or fewer of them. Indeed, the top UK  companies may have improved their productivity more than the small  companies but at a slower pace since the end of the Great Recession and  so overall productivity growth has slowed and fallen even further behind  other capitalist economies.

So why productivity growth collapsed since the recession?   Haldane cannot answer this.  But I think there are explanations that  apply to all major capitalist economies, not just the UK. Productivity  growth in all the major capitalist economies has slowed because of the  failure of capitalists in most economies to step up investment in new  technologies.

There was one phase during the 34 years of the internet and ICT  revolution when US economic efficiency sharply increased. In the period  leading to 2003, US annual productivity growth reached its highest level  in half a century ? 3.6%. This was explained by a huge surge in  ICT-focused fixed investment. US investment rose from 19.8% of GDP in  1991 to 23.1% of GDP in 2000, fell slightly after the ?dot com? bubble?s  collapse and then reached 22.9% in 2005. The majority of this  investment was in ICT. After this, US investment fell, leading to the  sharp productivity slowdown.

The correlation between the growth in investment and the increase in  labour productivity three years later was 0.86, and after four years  0.89 ? extraordinarily high. When capital investment fell, this was  followed by a decline in labour productivity. In other words,  productivity growth depends on capital investment being large enough.

Why is productivity growth so poor in Britain, especially among the  key big British multi-nationals?  The answer is clear: reduced business  investment.  The latest business investment figure for Q1 2018 showed an  absolute fall in investment.  Business investment growth has been on a  steady trend down since the end of the Great Recession.Indeed, total UK  investment to GDP has been lower than most comparable capitalist  economies and has been declining for the last 30 years.

In the case of the UK, there is another particular problem: the UK is  increasingly a rentier economy, relying on finance, business services  and real estate.  These are unproductive activities that do not boost  the productivity of labour, but do reduce available profits for  productive investment.  Indeed, the relative fall-back in UK  productivity compared to Germany and France etc can be particularly  discerned from the early 2000s, when the oil revenues dissipated and  investment increasingly went into a credit fuelled real estate boom.

A detailed sectoral analysis by the Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence has  shown that three-fifths of the drop in productivity growth stems from  sectors representing only a fifth of output, including finance,  utilities, pharmaceuticals, computing and professional services.  The Bank of England did a similar analysis found that it is the top ones that have become the slackers. The most productive groups are ?failing to improve on each other at the same rate as their predecessors did?,  according to its research. The best companies still improved their  productivity faster than the rest, but productivity growth among the  best has sharply fallen and this has hurt the UK?s growth rate.

Investment in a capitalist economy depends on its profitability as I have argued ad nauseam in this blog.  And there is still relatively low profitability and a continued overhang of debt, particularly corporate debt, in the major economies.  In the case of  the UK, the profitability of the non-financial sector is still some 12%  below its level in 1997.  And in the oil sector, it has fallen 50%.

Under capitalism, until profitability is restored sufficiently and  debt reduced (and both work together), the productivity benefits of the  new ?disruptive technologies? (as the jargon goes) of robots, AI, ?big  data? 3D printing etc will not deliver a sustained revival in  productivity growth and thus real GDP.

And there is another factor, again particularly discernible in the  UK: the lack of funding for smaller companies to invest in new  technology.  As Haldane explains, new, ?upper tail? UK companies can  attract venture capital finance. The UK has a large and liquid corporate  bond market, totalling around £500 billion for investment grade  securities, which allows larger and better-established companies to  raise money at long maturities in capital markets.  But for the rest, it  is much more difficult. Lending to the corporate sector by UK banks, at  6% of their assets, is around one third of the equivalent by German  banks. In relation to GDP, bank financing of companies is around half  that in Germany. The UK?s national development bank (the British  Business Bank) has assets that are a small fraction of its German  counterpart (KfW).  The big five banks in the UK do not help smaller businesses to invest but prefer to speculate in financial assets.

That makes the idea presented in a recent report by the UK?s Labour Party suggesting  the Bank of England set a target for 3% productivity growth in its  policy actions ridiculously utopian. The BoE has no real control over  the lending policy of the commercial banks and no control at all over the investment actions of the major UK companies. Without such control, the 3% productivity growth target is just a  dream.  To achieve it would require public ownership of the major  financial institutions and the top 1% of UK companies (as Haldane has  referred to them).

Compare the inability of the BoE to manipulate the UK capitalist  economy with the power that China?s monetary authorities have.  Last  weekend, the People?s Bank of China cut the reserve requirement ratio,  the amount of cash that banks must hold in reserve at the central bank,  freeing up Rmb700bn ($106bn) for new lending and investment.  Over the  last 18 months, China?s central bank has been reining excessive lending  by local authorities and ?shadow banking?.  This has been achieved ?even as growth remained surprisingly resilient? (FT).

Now the authorities are gradually preparing to reverse that policy as  the trade war with the US rears its head and with a possible hit to  China?s growth.  China?s authorities have the power to launch a massive  investment program, as they did in the Great Recession, to sustain  growth and productivity (which is motoring) because the state controls  the banks and commanding heights of the economy.  That power does not  exist for governments in the major capitalist economies.  In those  economies, profitability rules and productivity stagnates.
Source: The productivity puzzle again
97
Trump Has Yet to Denounce Lynching Threats Made Against Maxine Waters After Telling Her to 'Be Careful'


The president seems to want her life endangered.


It has been more than 13 hours since Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) announced that she was forced to cancel speaking events due to "very serious" lynching threats, and President Donald Trump?who just days ago warned Waters to "be careful what you wish for"?has yet to issue so much as a tweet denouncing the threats against the life of a sitting member of Congress.

"As the president has continued to lie and falsely claim that I encouraged people to assault his supporters, while also offering a veiled threat that I should 'be careful', even more individuals are leaving [threatening] messages and sending hostile mail to my office," Waters said in a statement late Thursday, specifically blaming Trump's Twitter attack for setting off the wave of threats.

"There was one very serious death threat made against me on Monday from an individual in Texas which is why my planned speaking engagements in Texas and Alabama were canceled this weekend," Waters continued. "This is just one in several very serious threats the United States Capitol Police are investigating in which individuals threatened to shoot, lynch, or cause me serious bodily harm."

Trump's Twitter threat against Waters came after the congresswoman said during a rally in Los Angeles last weekend that Americans should "push back on" White House officials and tell them "they're not welcome" whenever they show their faces in public.

Calling Waters "extraordinarily low IQ person" in a tweet on Monday, Trump falsely accused her of calling on Americans to "harm" his supporters.

On Monday, Waters made clear that nothing in her weekend statement should be construed as a call for anything violent.

"I believe in peaceful, very peaceful protests," she told reporters on Capitol Hill. "I have not called for the harm of anybody. This President has lied again when he's saying that I've called for harm."

At a rally on Wednesday night, Trump continued spreading lies when he claimed Waters "practically was telling people the other day to assault" members of his administration.

"Maxine Waters didn't call for harming Trump administration officials," noted former New York Times labor reporter Steven Greenhouse. "She called for protesting loudly against them."

After several consecutive days of early morning tweets, as of this writing Trump's feed is conspicuously silent in the wake of Waters' statement on the wave of death threats.

Noting that Trump's Twitter attack on Waters "can definitely be construed as a veiled threat against her," The Root's Monique Judge argued that the president's tweet was also "a very loud dog whistle to his base, and intentionally so."

"Don't be fooled; he may look like an idiot with a bad wig, but he is very cunning when it comes to these things. He knows what he is doing. And let's not forget that Sean Hannity blamed Waters for the Capital Gazette shooting only moments after he heard about it. And now she is receiving increased death threats. This is exactly what they wanted."

 

 

Related Stories


Source: Trump Has Yet to Denounce Lynching Threats Made Against Maxine Waters After Telling Her to 'Be Careful'
98
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: The Deepening Crisis of Two Party Rule

Kentucky Teachers Swarm the State Capital in Frankfurt


by Sean O'Torain

There is much discussion about the recent election victory of Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez unseating the ten-term Democratic incumbent Joe Crowley in New Yorks 14thCongressional District. There is much discussion about this on social media, some of it quite heated. I have some thought and observations about this development.

I do not, and have never supported the Democratic Party and will not advocate support for the Democratic Party. It is one of the two capitalist parties in the US and in the division of labor between these two parties it plays the role of containing any movement and struggles that arise around labor or social rights.

Recently Bernie Sanders has been playing a point role in this activity. The Democratic Party has always represented and always will represent US imperialism at home and abroad. It is the also the only party on a world scale that has used nuclear weapons and used them against civilian urban populations at that. Some of us around this Blog have concluded that the two party capitalist monopoly in the US is breaking up. This in our opinion is the context within which all discussion of political struggle must take place.

This break up of the two capitalist party monopoly is because US imperialism can no longer afford its world role and at the same time keep the US working class at the living standards they experienced in the post World War Two decades. US Imperialism?s ?solution? to this is increasingly going into debt and simultaneously cutting the living standards of the US working class. Since Reagan fired the Air Traffic controllers there has been an intensified offensive by US capitalism against the US working class. The result is increased disenchantment with the two capitalist parties. Over 100 million eligible voters did not vote in the last election. One recent poll shows 57% want a new party, that is they reject the Democrats or Republicans.

If the trade union leaders would lead we could already have a mass workers' party, a mass labor party taking off. But the present leadership will not take any serious measures against the bosses as they see no alternative to capitalism and repress any movement from below that threatens this world view and their comfortable positions. So the ending of the two capitalist party monopoly will be a drawn out fragmented process. It is in the interests of the working class that this monopoly is ended, The victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the Democratic Primary in New York hastens this break up of the two party monopoly. 

In my opinion, it does so in this way. 

It sharpens the conflict inside the Democratic Party between the crazed capitalist leadership around millionaires Schumer and Pelosi. Crowley who lost, and lost badly in this primary, was a major player in the Pelosi Schumer leadership. We?ve witnessed Pelosi's immediate panic stricken denial that the Democratic Party was going socialist. Panic-stricken because she understood she had to rush to assure the Party's capitalist backers that they could still trust the Democratic Party. Frothing at the mouth these multi millionaires like Pelosi will fight to see that the Democratic Party remains a capitalist party and they will prevail in this fight.

Those of us around 
Facts For Working people did not support Sanders in his run against Clinton and explained that not only would he lose the nomination but he would go on to support Clinton who would win the nomination. I believe that it is definite that the Democratic Party will remain a capitalist, US imperialist and militaristic party. 

I believe, as other comrades have mentioned on this blog, that we are on the way to seeing two or more parties emerge out of the Republicans as the Trump elements continue down their path of brutally and crudely carrying out the offensive against the working class, against minorities and against women. There is another wing of the Republicans that sees that Trump's method is too crude, can very easily lead to major battles and fighting in the streets and burning cities, and that a more subtle assault, a more subtle offensive against the working class is necessary. I believe around this element it is likely a new party will develop.

Out of the Democratic Party and from around the periphery of the Democratic Party I believe we will also see two parties emerge. The Schumer wing will remain absolutely committed to seeing that the Party remains a conscious and determined party of capitalism. There will be another wing that will increasingly see that this is not the way that peoples' lives can be improved and this wing will come into conflict with the Schumer wing. It is already coming into conflict with the Schumer wing.

A split will take place at some point, either a formal split or a new party will develop outside the Democratic Party and the anti Schumer wing and its supporters will be drawn to that Party. At some stage, as the Democratic Party fragments and as new political forces develop, a split will open up in the pro capitalist pro Democratic Party trade union leadership and a section of the union movement will become involved in either building or becoming part of a new party. It is the movement from the rank and file of organized labor that will facilitate splits in the present leadership, and throw up new leaders who will take some offensive action against the more brutal aspects of the  capitalist offensive. But having no alternative to capitalism, these elements will also move to contain the new movement and any new party within the boundaries of capitalism and the so-called free market.

As we examine this process we have to recognize the importance of the recent strikes and actions of teachers and education workers in West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arizona and other states. There is talk of candidates being run from amongst the activists in these struggles. This is a very important development, and organizations such as the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) to which Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez belongs, should, instead of running as Democratic Party candidates, be putting their resources in to helping these fighters from the teachers and education workers strikes and other strikes and struggles to run candidates on the issues they are fighting on and run independent of the Democratic Party. 

Because of their lack of a sufficient orientation to the working class the leaderships of organizations like the DSA do not see the importance of these developments where the education workers strikes are talking of running their own candidates. It is out of these struggles and similar struggles in the future that a mass party that represents working people will likely develop. Activists and socialists and the DSA should support these struggles running candidates out of their struggles, rooted in their struggles and around the demands that they fought for in their struggles; running them not as Democrats but as independent working peoples candidates.

The DSA should be helping to bring these various struggles together to run throughout the country as candidates of a unified political alternative, offering a unified political alternative. This would hasten the development of a mass workers party in the US.

So on now to the victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. This in my opinion should be seen as part of the process of hastening the ending of the two capitalist party monopoly over US politics. It is in this sense that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?s victory is positive. If this is correct and in my opinion it is, this raises the question of what socialists should have said and done in this recent primary fight in the Bronx. 

Being opposed to being part of and never supporting the capitalist Democratic Party is in my opinion correct. However, does this mean socialists should never on any occasion advocate a vote for any Democratic Party candidate either in a primary or in a general election?  I believe that, as other comrades have pointed out, it is a question of what takes the movement of the working class forward at any given time and also, what resources the socialists have available?

Some of us around this Blog called for a vote against Moore in Alabama and for the Democrat. This position was taken as it was thought that the defeat of Moore would lift the head of the movement that was and is developing against Trump, and a victory for Moore would have had the opposite effect. Also, it was explained that for socialists to stand aside and say a plague on both houses would have severely cut socialists off from building any base amongst the working class and especially in this case, given the racist and degenerate person Moore was, amongst the African American population and also large sections of women in the state.

I believe that it is not a principle that a vote will never be cast for a Democratic Party candidate either in a primary or an election. I believe that at times such a vote can be cast as long as it is explained that under no conditions does this mean support for the capitalist Democratic Party, rather it is a vote to place the movement of struggle in a better position and to allow the socialist movement a better chance of putting down roots in the working class, minorities and women. I also believe that this is only  permissible if as part of the overall process, the socialists explain that a party of the working class is needed and that, while advocating a vote on occasion for a Democrat for tactical reasons, they continue to work to campaign for and build a new party of the working class and as part of this build in a non-sectarian fashion a revolutionary socialist current within that party and movement.

In the explanation of calling for a vote for the Democrat and against Moore in Alabama this Blog raised the following point: What would happen if an election was taking place in a state and the Republican Party candidate was running for governor on a platform of closing all abortion facilities in the state and the other the Democratic Party candidate was running on a platform of keeping them open and increasing funding for family planning? Would the socialists stand aside? If they did and the anti choice candidate won and closed all the facilities, not only would this be a major blow to women, but another result would be that the chance of the socialists building a base amongst working people, especially working class women, would, to put it mildly, be seriously damaged. This is especially important today when women are at the forefront of the struggle against Trump and when women have entered the paid workforce as never before.

In discussing this issue and saying that while never supporting the Democratic Party and at all times building support for a working class party and building a socialist current within that party, this does not mean that there never can be an occasion when a vote for a Democratic Party candidate can be advocated. Of course on any such occasion it would be essential and any such step would only be  admissible if the work of advocating for and organizing for a workers party and building within that party a socialist current went ahead uninterrupted. Also it would only be admissible if at all times it was explained that the threat that capitalism means to working people and life on earth can only be ended by the mass action of the working class, not by electoral means. 

In raising this issue and putting forward these ideas and this suggestion I expect an assault from many socialist organizations. My ideas will be treated as treason in some fronts. I am not saying that there may not be flaws in my position and those of us around this Blog that raise it. I long ago learnt that it is a bad mistake to be too certain that we know everything and are always correct.

I am more than open to hearing any criticisms of my views but on two conditions: One, that those who oppose the position I suggest here take up my suggestions in the context of what best takes the movement of struggle forward. And two, deal with the indisputable reality that the socialist left has so far been unable to put down any significant roots in the working class in this country and they include as part of any criticism of my suggestions some ideas of why this is so. 

Source: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: The Deepening Crisis of Two Party Rule
99
AlterNet / New Study Shows Amazonian Psychedelic May Ease Severe Depression
« Last post by AlterNet on June 30, 2018, 06:00:56 AM »
New Study Shows Amazonian Psychedelic May Ease Severe Depression


Scientists have conducted the first randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial of ayahuasca.


 

?Leon? is a young Brazilian man who has long struggled with depression. He keeps an anonymous blog, in Portuguese, where he describes the challenge of living with a mental illness that affects some 300 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.


Leon is among the roughly 30 percent of those patients with treatment-resistant depression. Available antidepressant drugs like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors do not alleviate his depressed mood, fatigue, anxiety, low self-esteem and suicidal thoughts.


A new study may offer hope for Leon and others like him.


Our team of Brazilian scientists has conducted the first randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial of ayahuasca ? a psychedelic drink made of Amazonian plants. The results, recently published in the journal Psychological Medicine, suggest that ayahuasca can work for hard-to-treat depression.


The ?vine of the spirits?

Ayahuasca, a word from the indigenous Quechua language, means ?the vine of the spirits.? People in the Amazonian region of Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador have for centuries used ayahuasca for therapeutic and spiritual purposes.


The medicinal beverage?s properties come from two plants. Banisteriopsis caapi, a vine that twists its way up to the treetops and across river banks of the Amazon basin, is boiled together with Psychotria viridis, a shrub whose leaves contain the pyschoactive molecule DMT


Starting in the 1930s, Brazilian religions were founded around the use of ayahuasca as a sacrament. By the 1980s, the ayahuasca ritual had spread to cities across Brazil and the world.


Ayahuasca first became legal for religious use in Brazil in 1987, after the country?s federal drug agency concluded that ?religious group members? had seen ?remarkable? benefits from taking it. Some people who drink ayahuasca describe feeling at peace with themselves, God and the universe.


For our study, which took place at Brazil?s Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, researchers recruited 218 patients with depression. Twenty-nine of them were selected to participate because they had treatment-resistant depression and no history of psychotic disorders like schizophrenia, which ayahuasca use may aggravate.


These 29 people were randomly assigned to undergo a single treatment session, in which they were given either ayahuasca or a placebo substance to drink. The placebo was a brownish liquid, bitter and sour to the taste, made of water, yeast, citric acid and caramel colorant. Zinc sulphate mimicked two well-known side effects of ayahuasca, nausea and vomiting.


The sessions took place in a hospital, though we designed the space like a quiet and comfortable living room.


The acute effects of ayahuasca ? which include dream-like visions, vomiting and intense introspection ? last for about four hours. During this period, participants listened to two curated playlists, one featuring instrumental music and another with songs sung in Portuguese.


Patients were monitored by two team members, who provided assistance to those experiencing anxiety during this intense emotional and physical experience.


One day after the treatment session, we observed significant improvements in 50 percent of all patients, including reduced anxiety and improved mood.


A week later, 64 percent of the patients who had received ayahuasca still felt that their depression had eased. Just 27 percent of those in the placebo group showed such effects.


Building on past evidence

Our findings support a 2015 Brazilian clinical trial on the potential of ayahuasca as an antidepressant.


That study, led by Dr. Jaime Hallak of the University of São Paulo, likewise found that a single ayahuasca session had a fast-onset antidepressant effect. All 17 participants reported that depression symptoms diminished in the first hours after ayahuasca ingestion. The effect lasted 21 days.


This study received significant attention from scientists. Its promising conclusions were limited, however, because there was no control group of patients who received a placebo drug.


In clinical trials for depression, up to 45 percent of patients who take a placebo may report significant benefits. The placebo effect for depression is so strong that some scientists have questioned whether antidepressants really work.


Dr. Hallak and other researchers from the 2015 University of São Paulo study were part of our follow-up clinical trial.


Religion turned science

These two studies, while preliminary, contribute to a growing body of evidence that psychedelic drugs like ayahuasca, LSD and mushrooms can help people with difficult-to-treat depression.


But because these substances are illegal in many countries, including the United States, their therapeutic value has been difficult to test. Even in Brazil, using ayahuasca as an antidepressant remains a fringe, informal enterprise.


Leon, the Brazilian blogger, discovered the drug doing internet research. ?Desperate? to find solutions for his intractable condition, Leon decided to take part in an ayahuasca ceremony at a Santo Daime church in Rio de Janeiro, one of several Brazilian religions that use ayahuasca as a sacrament.


The church does not track its membership, but the União do Vegetal, a similar faith, has approximately 19,000 members worldwide.


These religious organizations are among many groups across the Americas that harvest indigenous traditions around natural psychedelics. They believe psychoactive plants like ayahuasca, peyote or psilocybin open people?s minds to metaphysical realms and deeply meaningful experiences.


This spiritual knowledge is now being translated into the language of science, as researchers in Brazil, the United States, Canada and beyond begin rigorous medical evaluations of these substances. 


The healing power of the psychedelic experience

Leon?s blog provides an excellent description of his ayahuasca experience.


At times, he conjured visions ? dream-like scenarios that offered rare insight into the relationships in his life. At other times, Leon experienced ?a feeling of ecstasy and a deep sensation of a manifesting inner spirituality.?


We believe that these effects are critical to why ayahuasca works.


Participants in our study responded to the Hallucinogen Rating Scale, which helps translate these ineffable experiences into numbers. Participants who took ayahuasca scored significantly higher on that questionnaire than those who drank a placebo.


Those who described the most abundant visual, auditory and physical effects during their ayahuasca trip had the most prominent depression reduction benefits seven days later.


Ayahuasca is not a panacea. Such experiences may prove too physically and emotionally challenging for some people to use it regularly as treatment. We have also observed regular ayahuasca users who still suffer from depression.


The ConversationBut, as our study demonstrates, this Amazonian sacred plant has the potential to be used safely and effectively to treat even the hardest to treat depression.


Luís Fernando Tófoli, Professor of Psychiatry, Universidade Estadual de Campinas; Dráulio Barros de Araújo, Professor, Brain Institute, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (Brazil), and Fernanda Palhano-Fontes, , Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (Brazil)


This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.


  

Related Stories


Source: New Study Shows Amazonian Psychedelic May Ease Severe Depression
100
Inter Press Service - Labour / Breaking the Cycle of Child Labor in Peru
« Last post by Inter Press Service on June 30, 2018, 06:00:55 AM »
Breaking the Cycle of Child Labor in Peru

Most laborers in Peru are forced into a vicious cycle by circumstance. Faced with low-paying, high-intensity work, they have no choice but to make their children work as well. Having spent their lives neglecting education for labor, those children in turn grow up with no options for income besides low-paying, high-intensity positions  – and so […]

The post Breaking the Cycle of Child Labor in Peru appeared first on Inter Press Service.


Source: Breaking the Cycle of Child Labor in Peru
Pages: 1 ... 6 7 8 9 [10]