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Without Culture, Freedom Is Impossible

In 2002, Cuba’s President Fidel Castro Ruz visited the country’s National Ballet School to inaugurate the 18th Havana International Ballet Festival. Founded in 1948 by the prima ballerina assoluta Alicia Alonso (1920–2019), the school struggled financially until the Cuban Revolution decided that ballet – like other art forms – must be available to everyone and so must be socially financed. At the school in 2002, Castro remembered that the first festival, held in 1960, ‘asserted Cuba’s cultural vocation, identity, and nationality, even under the most adverse circumstances, when major dangers and threats loomed over the country’. Ballet, like so many cultural forms, had been stolen from popular participation and enjoyment. The Cuban Revolution wanted to return this artistic practice to the people as part of its determination to advance human dignity. To build a revolution in a country assaulted by colonial barbarism, the new revolutionary process had to both establish the country’s sovereignty and build the dignity of each of its people. This dual task is the work of national liberation. ‘Without culture’, Castro said, ‘freedom is not possible’.

A Socialist Take On The Women’s March Convention

On the weekend of August 12, over 1,700 people converged on Houston, Texas, for the Women’s March Convention. Upon check-in at the almost $200 per night Hilton hotel, the convention displayed in the lobby beautifully painted “protest signs” that read “My Body, My Choice,” “El lugar de la mujer es en la resistencia (women’s place is in the resistance)” and “The whole damn system is wrong.” Images highlighted Black and Latinx women in particular, with radical imagery invoking the Black Panthers and indigenous women in struggle.  The conference was sponsored by the usual suspects — including the Women’s March, the National Organization of Women, and Planned Parenthood, as well as Emily’s List, Vote Run and Lead, Black Feminist Future, and more. It was also co-sponsored by corporations like Ben and Jerry’s, The Body Shop, and Mara Hoffman. 

The Sickness Of The American Left And The Path To Recovery

The U.S. has entered a dark period. Economic crisis wracks its capitalist system. Military instability and chaos reign supreme over its imperialist ventures. Political illegitimacy worsens by the year, at times by the month. These conditions sound favorable to the growth of revolutionary possibilities within the citadel of imperialism. But such is not the case at the moment. Discipline and organization are at perhaps their weakest point in generations. Young people are moving toward socialist politics. However, a similar number of people have embraced the politics of a U.S.-led New Cold War against Russia and China which seek to destroy any alternative to imperialism.

Inside Nicaragua’s Free Socialized Health-Care System

We’re settling in to our daughter Orla’s sixth night in the hospital. Visiting hours are over and only 10 of the beds in our 32-bed pediatric ward are occupied tonight, down from 20 a few nights ago. The patients – mostly young teens in our room – are tucked in under mosquito nets. Their caretakers – mainly grandmas, aunts and moms – are slouched in chairs or curled around their patients on the beds. A few of us stretch out on unoccupied beds to get some rest before the nurse turns on the lights for the next regular blood pressure and temp check. Our 14 year-old was admitted to the pediatric ward with dengue fever on July 19th, Revolution Day in Nicaragua. Poor Orla sobbed in disappointment that she wouldn’t be able to celebrate the holiday.

Understanding Maduro’s Successful Socialist Economic Strategy

In its intensely biased coverage of Venezuela during the hard years of 2014-21 the mainstream media wheeled in every imaginable academic pundit to “demonstrate” that the country’s economic woes were the result of President Nicolas Maduro overseeing Venezuela’s slide “into authoritarianism and economic collapse” (the Guardian, January 24 2019) and not of cruel US sanctions. In 2019, the Economist for instance, in line with US policy, published a front cover with a clench-fisted Juan Guaido titled “the battle for Venezuela’s future,” positing “the world democracies are right to seek change.” Very rarely, if at all, the mainstream media or the activated pundits gave any significant weight to the well over 500 illegal and criminal unilateral coercive measures (aka sanctions) inflicted on Venezuela and its people by the US and its European and Latin American accomplices.

Black Alliance For Peace Condemns FBI Attack On The African PSP

On Friday, July 29, 2022, the FBI executed multiple raids against APSP’s Uhuru House in St. Petersburg, Florida and their Uhuru Solidarity Center in St. Louis, Missouri and the private residence of APSP Chairman Omali Yeshitela also in St. Louis. The FBI employed flashbang grenades and handcuffed Yeshitela and his wife while their house was raided. The FBI claims that the raids are connected to the federal indictment of a Russian national, Aleksandr Ionov, alleging that he has been working to spread "Russian propaganda" in the United States. BAP believes that these raids continue the history of state repression directed against Black people in the U.S. This repression now occurs under the guise of opposing “adversary” nations but regardless of how these actions are characterized, Black people still bear the brunt of surveillance and police violence.

Condemn The FBI Raids In St Louis, MO And St Petersburg, FL!

On the morning of Friday, July 29th, the FBI conducted raids at multiple locations, including the Uhuru House in St. Petersburg, Florida, the private residence of Omali Yeshitela in St. Louis, Missouri, as well as the Uhuru Solidarity Center, also in St. Louis. The FBI employed flashbang grenades and handcuffed Yeshitela and his wife while the house was raided. The FBI says that the raids are connected to the federal indictment of a Russian man, Aleksandr Ionov, alleging that he has been working to spread "Russian propaganda" in the United States. The Committee to Stop FBI Repression and the National Alliance Against Racist and Pollical Repression unequivocally condemn these raids. We oppose all efforts by the U.S. government to target activists in any progressive movement in this country.

Rebuilding Collective Intelligence

Economists, think tanks and journalists have spent billions of words trying to convince everyone that economic growth comes primarily from technological ‘disruption’ and investment by individuals in their own education and training, rather than from exploitation, imperialism and financial speculation. This belief, a key tenet of neoliberalism, continues to shape education policy in England. The Tories hope that by turning education into a market, young people will begin to think of themselves as education consumers, making savvy choices about what degrees will get them the best paid jobs in the future. Meanwhile, universities will supposedly ‘incubate’ new technologies, create the UK’s own Google, Apple or Facebook and kickstart the ailing British economy.

Celebrating Revolution In Nicaragua

Holidays in the United States celebrate awful events such as the settler colonists declaring independence from Britain so that they might take indigenous lands and protect slavery. There is also Thanksgiving, the commemoration of genocide turned into a day when Americans should think grateful thoughts before spending more than they can afford in order to celebrate Christmas. Christmas is ostensibly a religious holiday but is rarely treated as such. Labor Day was created to prevent acknowledgement of May 1, May Day, which commemorates just one example of U.S. state repression which took place in Chicago in 1886. But this columnist just witnessed two special days in the Central American nation of Nicaragua. July 17 is known as Día de la Alegría, Day of Joy. On July 17, 1979 Anastasio Somoza, the U.S. puppet and dictator fled the country as the Sandinistas, Frente Sandinista de Liberation Nacional (FSLN) prepared to take power.

Nicaragua Celebrates 43 Years Of Revolution

Masaya, Nicaragua - July 19th is a day of celebration in Nicaragua: the anniversary of the overthrow of the Somoza dictatorship. But the international media will have it penciled in their diaries for another reason: it’s yet another opportunity to pour scorn on Nicaragua’s Sandinista government. We’ll hear again about how the government “clamps down on dissent,” about its “political prisoners,” its recent “pantomime election,” its “damaging crackdown on civil society” and much more. All of these accusations have been answered but the media will continue to shut out any evidence that conflicts with the consensus narrative about Nicaragua, that its president, Daniel Ortega, has “crushed the Nicaraguan dream.” Since the violent, U.S.-directed coup attempt in 2018, in which more than 200 people died, it has been very difficult to find objective analysis of the political situation in Nicaragua in mainstream media, much less any examination of the revolution’s achievements.

Brian Becker On Socialism And The US Campaign Against China

In the US, where I live, more than one million people have died. More than 60 million workers lost their jobs in 2020. More than 100,000 small businesses were sent into bankruptcy. While the US was plunged into an economic recession and a healthcare crisis of unprecedented proportions, the Chinese government pursued a policy preventing such loss of life inside a country with 1.4 billion people. This would have been impossible had it not been for the policy, guidance, and unified approach of the government. That does not mean that there aren’t still significant challenges, but this was a huge achievement. Also, while China has emerged as the 2nd largest economy in the world the leadership of the Party outlined a plan so that economic development was balanced or became more balanced, that efforts to mitigate pollution and climate destruction were affirmed and acted upon and that the goal was to create “common prosperity.”

White Socialist Left: Seeing A Bleak Future For ‘Black And White Unite’

The Red Summer of 1919 put paid to the lie of a monochromatic class struggle as thousands of hysterical white workers took to the streets around the country over the course of the year to lynch, beat, shoot and burn to death more than 250 of their African American coworkers who they feared were replacing them in the workplace. One-hundred and ten years after O’Hare published her racist polemic, another white woman with ties to the political Left in the U.S., Krystal Ball, appeared on the Marxist economist Richard Wolff’s podcast to once again downplay the role that racism plays in the struggle between capital and labor.

Building Black Wealth: Understanding The Limits Of Black Capitalism

Beginning in the 19th and 20th century, during the United States’ reconstruction era that followed the American Civil War, an important debate emerged in this country. It was during the era after slavery was officially abolished — after Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas on June 19th, 1865 — what we now commemorate as Juneteenth — to spread the word. The debate, that in many ways is still alive and well, went something like this: what is the best way to end class and racial injustice in the United States and what is the role of Black leadership in this? Two leaders of the Black community during this period , W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington, can be seen as the two main voices of this debate representing each side.

France’s New Ecologic And Social People’s Union

France is set to hold parliamentary elections on Sunday, June 12. The election for the 577-member National Assembly will be held in two stages. The first round on Sunday will be followed by a run-off round on June 19 in constituencies where it is necessary. The voting follows the presidential election in April when incumbent Emmanuel Macron won a lackluster victory. One highlight of the presidential election was the strong showing by left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon who won close to 22% of the votes and ended up narrowly losing to the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen who contested against Macron in the second round. However, in these elections, left and progressive forces were divided. For the parliamentary elections, they have come together under the banner of the New Ecologic and Social People’s Union (NUPES) under Mélenchon’s leadership with a radical vision for France. 

Maduro’s Success: Principled Resistance To Imperialism Pays Off

The world has been stunned by a double wonder: Bolivarian Venezuela’s political survival and its miraculous economic recovery: the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean has reported that it expects the Venezuelan economy to grow for the first time since 2014, by 5 per cent, one of the highest in the region. Venezuela’s rate of inflation has come down from something like 10 million per cent, as reported by CNBC in 2019, and described as the “biggest economic disaster in modern history” by the Washington Post in the same year, to 7.1 per cent in September 2021 and to an incredible 1.4 per cent in March 2022. The March 2022 issue of the PSUV magazine Economia Politica y Revolucion reports that corn production, essential for arepas — Venezuela’s staple food — has increased by 60 per cent, rice 17 per cent, with an increase of non-oil exports of 76 per cent.
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