EDWISE 

EDITOR AND EDUCATION CONSULTANT

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roots of oppression

Posted on June 4, 2020 at 9:33 PM Comments comments (368)
Don't wanna hear one more talk show host confess what they're just learning now about oppression against people of colour. They can be heard telling "us" (?ASSUMPTIONS!) that we have to pay more attention and be more sensitive. Making pledges to (finally) use "their platforms" (very rich and privileged) to listen to black and brown people and help making change happen. Really? They didn't know about the difficulties facing working people of colour and migrant workers before? Just had dinner and hope I can keep it down. 

Understanding racism in North America and Europe takes adopting a historical perspective to understand European colonialism. especially the master of racist doctrine, bureaucratic rule, force against "the other" and forced assimilation, British colonialism. Leaders must acknowledge this history if they are to make changes. Some have begun to here in Canada and a few other locations, such as New Zealand, but it is not enough.

I also object to racialized intepretations of events and behavior, from any angle. Racism is a double-edged sword.  On the one hand, it is a tool of the oppressor to keep people divided and diverted. Relations are so extensively racialized in some loci such as the USA that it is hard to propose non-race explanations. Whatever one's colour, racism is often an excuse or a cited cause for things not working out. People generally have learned it from a variety of sources. It is deeply ingrained in the consciousness. On the other hand, not recognizing the history and not seeing that age-old oppression bearing down on certain sectors because of their place of origin, language, colour and class position is damaging. Race is not real but racialization is. Racist policy and discourse are real. Socially, race is relevant even though genetically it is not. The power relations, the history of one sector beating down others so as to raise themselves up, is true. It does not just happen in the West. Forms of chauvinism, whether religion or nation-based, is a reality of any imperial system, whether monarchical or corporate, colonial or neo-colonial. 

Racism should not and cannot be addressed as a separate problem from the problem of imperialism and oppression against gender and class. There are elements actually complicit in the oppression who may have a black or brown identity but are very happy to have achieved, by hook or by crook, high status and privilege. They want to talk about their oppression as people of colour or a family history originating in Africa. Feminism poses the same problem. True, violence and discrimination cut across class and unity among the sufferers can be achieved to make certain points. All the same, a social analysis that does not see class and admit to empire will fail. 

Why hasn't more legislation to reduce police brutality against people of colour and alleviate the oppression of the most oppressed in the rich countries been realized despite the decades of abuse? If it is a systemic problem, then it cannot be solved by tweaking the law. If it is a systemic problem then it is about democracy, attaining state power and taking the reins of power to reconfigure society and its teachings.

Why to the racial tensions linger, despite all the talk, changes in law, rise of role models, sharing of knowledge...? The answer is the same in the case of women and the poor: there is a lack of (1) political knowledge and orientation and (2) organization. The people need political education informed by experience on the ground, grass roots organization and mobilization in appropriate actions designed for the time and place and means. 

We all need fundamental change to resolve many problems, racism being one, and others being exploitation of working people, inequality and poverty, plunder of indigenous lands, war and destruction of culture and heritage, etc. Systemic change takes political awareness and organization by the people for a new way.

Sacrifice

Posted on June 1, 2020 at 1:30 PM Comments comments (6)
Empires are always calling upon the people to make sacrifices of themselves for the empire. The demand is framed as a duty. It appeals to the altruistic tendencies of people and good people find themselves complying out of concern and to feel good.

I question the ideal of sacrifice of both old empires and new. An underlying assumption of it is that many people are dispensable, which is itself grounded in the premise of inequality. From this perspective, inequality is a necessity and even natural. In this world view, there is a desrving elite who merit privilege and subservience from the rest of the population. I say nuts to the whole vision!

Sacrifice is a key word in Armistice Day ceremonies, dubbed Remembrance Day in the British Commonwealth, the network of former and lasting colonies conquered and run by the British Empire into the 20th century and longer. We are to remember and honour the sacrifice of soldiers and other military personnel who have done their duty for the state and a "way of life." Coloured in comforting hues of "democracy" and "freedom", "way of life" is the norms and rules of empire. They express shallow gratitude for sacrifices of the past and call for further sacrifices. 

Today empires are private holdings that seek exponential growth of wealth for a smaller and smaller strata that claim the right and ownership of the most enjoyment, materials, status and respect. They enslave others in one way or another: force, debt, starvation, threats, deals and favours, They protect themselves with armies, massive weaponry, technology, spin doctors, lies, murder and intimidation. Their systems are suffocating and confining webs that hold back social progress by greed and bullying and snuff out joy with pain. 

Austerity measures that cut and deny health, education and social welfare services are deemed economic necessities. The people must sacrifice their bodies, families, rights and pleasures for their economy, which they describe as the greater good. It is as if there is only one kind of economy, the kind wherein they rule and oppress others to maintain their rule. However, the labour, production, land, culture and reproduction of all is the whole economy; it is not just some dominating corporations that suck up investments from smaller contributors and state treasuries while workers and nature are plundered and exploited. There are other models, ones in which production is planned according to priorities of life, and surplus is distributed equitably, according to need and merit. 

The management of the coronavirus pandemic is done with the same approach. The people are to accept that health care systems are inadequate, that there is no disaster planning and under-stocked supplies and under-paid and insufficient staff to meet all the peoples' needs. Right away, authorities laid the bulk of responsibility on the people, demanding that we either lock ourselves down or face grave illness and death for the good of this society. It has been described as a moral imperative. Of course, without adequate health care materials and services, the safest thing has been to stay home. Those working in the designated essential services have been described as heroes because they are willing to sacrifice themselves. Is so much sacrifice necessary? No. Countries with well developed public services and emergency management plans have demonstrated that risk of infection and incidence of death as a result of this virus could be low everywhere, were such services and plans available everywhere. 


state of the world

Posted on May 27, 2020 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (5)
OPPOSE THE US IMPERIALIST STRATEGY OF REGIME CHANGE! 
 ORGANIZE TO STOP US IMPERIALISM AND BUILD A BETTER WORLD!

The global scenario: acute crisis and inter-imper contradictions. The COVID-19 pandemic has conflagrated it ILPS studies of state responses to the pandemic conffirm the disasters wrought by neo-liberal austerity and privatization policies which have crippled health care systems and put workers in even greater peril around the world.  The military-industrial complex, the engine of monopoly capitalism, including big pharma, seek to exploit the crisis, destroy progress and steal more resources from state, natural environment and labour to keep profits flowing. They demand that the workers sacrifice themselves for the well-being of a few, to give up their livelihoods or risk direct contamination on the job in conditions which have been underpaid and unsafe all along. As usual, the most oppressed, poor and vulnerable populations are suffering the most.  

Meanwhile, tensions among the imperialist states run high and the US keeps punishing states that do not comply with the US imperialist model and policies by maintaining cruel sanctions, depriving whole populations of medicine and food. Neither has the US and its allies relented its militarization, threats and active military engagements from Syria to Venezuela. It continues to support the most reactionary regimes such as those of the Philippines, Israel and India in order to attain their narrow and anti-social goals.  

The situation is driving working people to organize community systems to cope while they raise more questions, voice objections and act politically. The ILPS has called for a week of anti-imperialist activities as one step in uniting and building the anti-imperailst movement for a better way. This follows the development of its international and chapter-wide education programs to discuss and enhance understanding of the crisis informed by Leninist analysis and organization principles in this year of Lenin’s 150th birthday.

Commission 4 operates on the principle of just peace, which is peace with guarantees of social, economic and political justice. The peoples resist imperialism and reactionary, oppressive regimes, rightfully refusing to give up until their demands for land, political and social reforms are properly addressed. In fact, we urge that the people step up their education, organization and mobilization to stop imperialism and win just peace according to local conditions and in whatever ways are currently at their disposal. 

Though its own society is crumbling, its people rising in anger and its global influence waning, the US is still the biggest military force charged with defending the monopoly capitalist system. It is the center of the world arms trade. It has a nuclear warhead stockpile of over 6,000 and has produced some 70,000  since 1945. Its rivals, Russia and China, have likewise kept and produced thousands. The US has at least 700 military bases around the world and sharing or visiting agreements in more locations. It has proxies and satellites such as Australia, Canada, Turkey and Colombia provide resources and act on its behalf. With a 2020 military budget of some $800 million, robbing its people of guaranteed public services and decent living conditions, it demands other states give up funds and other resources and put their own people in harm’s way to supply its war machinery, for which inhumane domestic austerity programs have been intensified. 

The context of all-sided crisis of the global system and the major imperialist powers has inspired the US to adopt a  multi-faceted, aggressive strategy, often dubbed “hybrid war, ”often cloaking these destructive practices in terms such as 'counterinsurgency' or 'overseas contingencies operations.' That is the fierce and relentless repertoire of tactics including WMD, bio-weapons, xenophobia, economic coercive measures, cultural assault, media and psy-war, cyber warfare,  espionage, deals with crooks and murderers, and political interference and manipulation.  Politically, the US and company are leaning further to the Right, away from bourgeois democracy, social development, law and science.  In desperation, they are collaborating with reactionary, fascist and terrorist elements while they try to bend the law and the truth.

LATIN AMERICA

In a recent webinar hosted by activists in the US, Carlos V. Ron Martinez, Vice-Chancellor of Venezuelan Foreign Affairs for North America, spoke about “why the US is obsessed with Venezuela.” He explained the two main reasons for the US’ desire for regime change in Bolivarian Venezuela: the nationalization of its oil industry and its independent foreign relations with states such as China, Russia and Cuba. Bolivarian policies rub against the geopolitical norms and policies that the US imperialists and its allies prefer. [Notes from a webinar entitled “An Inside View of Venezuelan Resistance to US Imperialism and How to Build International Solidarity” recorded on April 23, 2020 and uploaded to the Facebook page “Stop the Machine! Create a New World!”] 

The Bolivarian government uses the oil industry as the “motor of its economy” to help the people.  The late President Hugo Chavez revived OPEC discussions independently and began reversing  privatization  by renationalizing its oil industry in 2001. He renegotiated the terms of contracts with big private players such as EXXON in 2007. When world oil prices were dipping in 2013, President Nicolas Maduro reopened OPEC discussions. That is when US President Obama started imposing coercive economic measures against Bolivarian Venezuela by Executive Order. These sanctions have since intensified. Today some $5 billion are frozen in various banks out of allegations of corruption and $30 billions of revenues have been lost from the Venezuela state corporation’s sister company in the US, Citco, which the US overtook. Thus, the capacity of the renewed state to provide and build services for the people has been drastically reduced. The people cannot acquire daily necessities because of the sanctions. It makes coping with COVID-19 especially hard. [ibid.] 

Vice-Chancellor Martinez describes this “bizarre context” wherein the US is employing a “maximum pressure strategy” to force the Bolivarian government to change. It has tried to take advantage of the switch in government and COVID-19. It is backing the most reactionary elements lead by Juan Guaidó  who block discussions with all the opposition parties in the Venezuelan national assembly, while the US is threatening military intervention unless President Maduro accept its “transition plan” to have Maduro step down and a coalition government chosen by the US take over. It has even proposed this plan to  the UN . It also continues its provocations, such as the outrageous, baseless indictment against the Maduro government for supposedly trafficking narcotics. “This [strategy] is basically overthrowing a government,” says Martinez. The US will not rule out a full scale, all-out military intervention. He describes “the biggest military mobilization in 30 years” going on in the waters surrounding Venezuela, in addition to land border incursions by mercenaries. This scenario of “hybrid war” poses a “very dangerous situation” for the peoples in Venezuela and the whole region. His government is calling for the US to step aside and allow parliamentary discussions to proceed in order to smooth out internal conflict. [ibid.]



WEST ASIA

West Asia (aka Middle East) is rife with conflict because of the long and brutal history of British colonialism, which the US inherited. The US and its partners in crimes against humanity including local reactionary leaders want to ensure that (1) transnational corporations have access to the oil and other industries, and (2) national independence and social liberation are thwarted. They are hostile to nationalized industry and social reforms, not just socialism. The Turkish state enjoys the support of its NATO allies in its barbaric campaigns to subdue labour and crush Kurdish self-determination movements in Turkey and Syria. Iraq remains in turmoil with Islamic state and NATO forces actively present trying to frustrate Iraqi independence. The US is constantly challenging Iran for its independent policies. The US, Canada and European states support Saudia Arabia’s attacks on Yemen, which is destroying Yemeni society and causing famine. (Canada has made deals to supply the Saudi military.) Since at least 2011, the US supported by its allies and mercenaries, and Islamic state terrorists have been assaulting Syria. Today part of Syria is occupied by Turkey and Israel. Millions of displaced Syrians have fled and are languishing in refugee camps with little protection from COVID.

Despite the US’ hypocritic claims about democracy, human rights and international law, US imperialism and reaction oppose Syria’s struggle for sovereignty and independence. Speaking in a webinar hosted by Sanctions Kill on May 9, 2020, the Syrian Ambassador to the UN, Bashar Ja’afari, explained that the “punitive and unlawful,” “unilateral, coercive measures” (i.e. sanctions) impede the Syrian government’s functions to support the health care sectors and finance responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Never endorsed by the UN Security Council, the illegal sanctions have been blocking bank transfers and freezing Syria funds abroad. Price inflation has resulted. Trade and humanitarian assistance is greatly restricted, except that the US has allowed aid to reach terrorist factions in the west and north. Also, the EU refused entry to a Syrian aircraft sent to retrieve Syrians in Europe on May 9. Ambassador Ja’afari sums up the multi-pronged strategy of US-led imperialism as being “health terrorism,” “financial terrorism,” “education terrorism,” and “media terrorism” in addition to military action. [Click on the Facebook or Youtube video link on https://sanctionskill.org/resources-2/]

“All Arab lands are under some form of colonialism today,” said Palestinian activist and writer Khaled Barakat during a webinar broadcast on May 16. The webinar was hoted by ILPS member Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network [https://www.facebook.com/SamidounPrisonerSolidarity/].   After invading and destroying Iraq society, the US wants Iraq, an intersection of various nations and conflicts, to also serve as a second control in the region. Barakat elaborated that Israel, far from having evolved as a nation-state historically, was manufactured by British colonialsm and maintained by US neo-colonialism (aka present-day imperialism) expressly to serve capitalism and Western imperialism.  It is a settler colonizer. US-led imperialism supplies Israel with the arms and technology for it to be the strongest power in the region capable of protecting capitalism and maintaining reactionary rule, said Barakat. “Israel is a deathtrap,” asserted Barakat, one that desires to perpetuate conflict. Israeli reactionary and US imperialist discourse fog up the reality that Israel occupied Palestine. Religion is not the source of the conflict, as three religions have always existed in the Palestinian population. The Israel state always gets in the way of dialogue and cooperation in the region. Peoples’ self-determination movements, such as those in Egypt, Lebanon and Tunisia, have really just begun recently, claimed Barakat, with the only measure of success so far being Tunisia. 

The region is a pivotal arena of international struggle.  It is important to work together to build the anti-imperialist struggle and aim to build socialist societies that do not oppress the peoples. This way, anti-imperialists can push national liberation movements, at their own pace and according to each set of circumstances, unite with sectoral struggles, and march forward towards freedom and peaceful co-existence with social justice. 


SOUTH ASIA

On August 5, 2019, India clearly unmasked its imperialist face to the world. The Modi government in India revoked Article 370 of its constitution that had allowed the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOK) a certain amount of autonomy: their own constitution, a separate flag and freedom to make laws. From that day onwards, the IOK has been under siege of the Indian military. More than 700,000 Indian troops have been deployed to the region, with the people of IOK facing a fresh onslaught of brutal killings, harassment, and persecution. The region has been completely cut off from all types of communication including mobile, and internet services. 
Kashmiri activists believe that the fascist Indian government is now following Israeli Zionist strategies to subjugate Kashmiri freedom fighters, which is well proven by statements by Indian officials. A Muslim majority area, the IOK faces fresh waves of killings with the ultimate goal of bringing in Hindu Indian settlers to change the demography as is happening in Occupied Palestine. There have been blatant statements about purchasing land in Kashmir and diverting foreign investments to the region. As part of the multi-polar world where imperialist powers are vying to annex and occupy territories, the fresh onslaught on IOK is part of the open race for control of raw materials, labor and markets. Rich in its natural bounty, the Kashmir is a key target for many reasons including its geo-political positioning.
There is little doubt that India is simultaneously flexing its muscles towards China, which also claims territorial rights to parts of IOK. This is also part retaliation to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) agreement between China and Pakistan, the starting point of the corridor being Gilgit, and is considered by India to be part of the disputed territory of Azad Jammu and Kashmir that is supposed to be under Pakistani control. 
India’s imperialist policies in IOK cannot be viewed solely on their own merit and need to be understood in the light of the current strong ‘bonding’ between fascist regimes of United States of America and India. Trump’s trip to India was an open acknowledgment of their combined political and economic ambitions in the Asia region, referred to as the Asian Century, which is where the future growth lies. No doubt, it’s the US hegemonic agenda and military power which India is counting upon for its aggressive posture in South Asia. 
The struggle between capitalist and people movements not only in Kashmir but across South Asia is rising where the various states, through nation-state lenses, are trying to divide the people’s movements and nullify their aspirations of national liberation. The test of time is not to fall sway to the slogans created by fascist regimes that foster religious and national divides, but to come together on the basis of collective peoples’ solidarity demanding social justice and long-lasting peace. This is no doubt only possible by engaging in resistance against monopoly capital.

CALLS TO ACTION

The imperialist system is the root of most of the major problems facing the people. It is imperative that the people rise together against it with a vision to constructing a new way, according to the people’s will and present regional conditions.

Organize, unite and mobilize to stop imperialism!               Deactivate all WMD!  Oppose the arms trade!
End all general economic coercive measures!                                End the occupations now!
Down with fascism and militarization!                                            Just peace!              

work at home

Posted on May 17, 2020 at 6:03 PM Comments comments (11)
I have been thinking about the perspective of working at home and spending more time at home. For some three centuries, Westerners have gotten used to working mostly outside the home. The distinction between private and public has widened, as a consequence. Even farming has been industrialized and monopolized, so that farm work is often outside of one's home and for someone else. Work has been for somebody else or at least for a business rather than a central activity of the home from an employee or business person's perspective.

This transformation has coincided with the devolution of communities. Aware of the loss of benefits associated with community, some citizens have been making efforts to restore communities or build new ones. This helps local economies, culture, relations and health. 

Of course, the home has remained central for the caregivers, the spouses or hired personnel making the home life and nurturing children, disabled and elders. The roles of caregivers has thus been perceived as in the background of mainstream life and not central to the economy. This, too, has required some reality checking and consciousness-raising.

It is interesting to observe how people recently persuaded or forced to stay at home have received and interpreted the change. Largely, it seems to be have been difficult for many, so difficult their health is in jeopardy. It is a psychologically frustrating and confounding adjustment. Identities have been based so much on the idea of an employee or business person living mostly externally to their home life that people are uncomfortable. 

In tandem with the external work life has been the notion of "going out," socializing and seeking entertainment outside the home. This is hard for the petit-bourgeois and bourgeois mindset who have been used to real or imagined petit-bourgeois or bourgeois budgets. (Actually, acting out the delusion had weighed down many such folks down with huge debt loads before the pandemic.) Either because venues are boarded up or incomes inadequate, this aspect of the lifestyle, with exercise at fitness centers and seminars at institutions and performances at auditoriums, is missed by many of those socio-economic strata. Their identity is apparently bound to such activities. 

For myself, a semi-introverted personality with a set of circumstances causing me lots of time at home while studying, working part-time or being unemployed, remaining at home for much of the time is normal. I have not had much of a budget or desire to do the big shows or fancy programs regularly. Except for all the meetings on the internet by use of the computer, this situation has not been so tough or alienating. 

I wonder how many people feel that way. It seems some may have come to prefer work at home: it must be a financial relief as long as income generating work can be done at home, since the commute adds costs and time. 

mercenaries

Posted on May 6, 2020 at 4:07 PM Comments comments (3)
Statement of the VenezuelaPeaceandSolidarityCommittee of Vancouver


DEFEND VENEZUELA AGAINST MERCENARIES ATTACKS!

The Venezuela Peace and Solidarity Committee of Vancouver (VPSC) steadfastly defends the Venezuelan Bolivarian government's swift action to put down a contingent of armed mercenaries on May 3. It has the right to defend its borders and territories, and act against attacks on its people and space. 

The foreign affairs ministry of Venezuela reports: "In the early hours of May 3, 2020, the Venezuelan Armed Force and the National Bolivarian Police repelled the incursion of a group of armed mercenaries into the coastal state of La Guaira. The mercenaries travelled from Colombia in speedboats and were planning, together with local accomplices, to initiate terrorist operations aimed at government institutions and state officials, according to testimony given by those captured." It states that eight of the mercenaries were killed and two captured in a battle. Venezuelan forces remain on high alert.

The Foreign Affairs desk further reports that the renegade retired Venezuelan, General Cliver Alcalá, is probably connected to this mercenary action as its intelligence has been learning that Alcala has been commanding the training of mercenary groups for months with the explicit aim to launch terrorist attacks including assassination attempts inside Venezuela. He is tied to Juan Guaido's and Leopoldo Lopez' coup attempt on April 30, 2019 and other conspiracies.

It is well known and accepted that the US government supports Guaido and other reactionaries and encourages destabilization efforts and coups. Colombia is a NATO ally. A repressive regime that is often responsible for extrajudicial killings of civilians, Colombia is viciously intent upon snuffing out labour organizing while it engages in war with guerrilla revolutionaries within its borders. It also plays a role as a platform for US militarization and interference in the region, in it shared interest in destroying socialist formations and advances in Latin America. 

VPSC thoroughly denounces US interference and demands it demilitarize and leave the region. VPSC also condemns the cruel regime of Colombia for its murders of labour and other peoples' organizers, its complicity in narcotics production and trafficking and mobilization of paramilitary and military forces against its own people while it blatantly supports transnational corporations that rob the resources. It is suspected that drug money is funding mercenary operations and coup attempts against Venezuela.

VPSC supports the Bolivarian movement and the social advances that help and protect the majority of the people in Venezuela. We join in calling for an end to the unlawful and devastating economic measures that are blocking trade and freezing Venezuela state assets. These measures cause suffering and death to Venezuelans and are especially despicable in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Long live the Bolivarian movement for social progress and human rights for Venezuelans! Down with US imperialism! US troops, go home! Down with the repressive and reactionary regime of Colombia!

Wild Animal Markets

Posted on April 22, 2020 at 11:20 PM Comments comments (56)
Given that the source of the COVID-19 pandemic could well be live animal markets in China, especially those selling wild animals, I have been playing a small part in discouraging wild animal markets.

There are many good reasons to close them down. First of all, numerous zoonotic diseases can easily sprout from them. In conditions of such markets are on the whole deplorable, with multiple, acutely stressed animals stacked into small cages without proper cleaning, that probability is heightened. Just do a simple "Google" to check and see images of these horrid sights yourself. 

Another thing is there typical location in the center of crowded cities where foot traffic is heavy, and passersby may frequently touch the animals and the cages, accelerating the passage of viruses from animals to humans. The vendor on duty may be holding a creature to lure customers.

In addition, the wild animals languishing in these terrible markets have probably been poached and imported clandestinely. The collectors and shippers are no doubt criminals robbing innocent creatures, even endangered ones, from prohibited areas. They steal from nature carelessly and treat the terrified beings roughly, packing them into vehicles, containers and ships or rail cars to haul them long distances. They thus enter foreign countries illegally and, of course, without proper shots and quarantine. Anything could happen in this scenario. It is to invite catastrophe as much as it is inhumane.

Finally, it is about time that human societies change their relationships with nature, both plants and animals. We need to treat them better, in an informed and kind way. People need to to conserve nature and protect life and biodiversity.

For all the above reasons, I have been commenting here and there on this topic, mostly on social media and in private conversations, to advocate against the poaching, trafficking and trading of wild animals. I have also made a Facebook page, after being shocked that no-one had done it before. 
https://www.facebook.com/groups/502759593748663/ 

I am also concerned for livestock on display in traditional street markets. The conditions and treatment of fowl, swine, etc. at these types of places need to be vastly improved in many of them. There should be more space, hygiene, care, respect and sense. They are also sources of viruses transferred from critters to people. 

US Foreign Policy

Posted on April 16, 2020 at 10:53 PM Comments comments (15)
THE MONROE DOCTRINE REMAINS A THREAT TO THE WORLD
-still the basis for US foreign policy regarding Europe and the Americas

Established by the US Congress over 196 years ago, the Montroe Doctrine still justifies the US' self-assigned right to dominate the Americas. It was mainly implemented to threaten European states with war should any of them attempt anew to expand their power over the Americas. However, it has great implications for all peoples of the Americas, mainly that the US assumed it ought to dominate and run the Americas.

The ambitions of the ruling elites in the US intensified throughout the 19th century into the 20th. They were keen on expanding and in direct competition with Western European powers to do so. Wrote M. Waxman about the MD in 2018, "This was drawing a red line—with an implicit war threat—even though the United States at the time lacked the military power to back it up. The United States was counting on Britain, which too wanted to keep continental European powers out of Latin America, to also intervene if necessary."(1)
Although the John Kerry, Secretary of State for the Obama administration, declared it defunct in 2013, President Trump has restored the Montroe Doctrine (MD) as a guide to ruling the Americas today. Max Friedman of American University (2017) wrote that Trump was especially keen on implementing it to keep China and the Russian Federation at bay. He is also interested on intervening in the Americas as deemed required.

While the US maintained a stance of isolationism with regards to Europe, it left a long legacy of interventionism in South and Central America and the Caribbean region. Explains Friedman, "Even in the 'isolationist' period in the early 20th century, the United States was vigorously engaged in military intervention and outright occupation of several countries in Latin America. The Marines were in Nicaragua (1912-33), Haiti (1915-34), and the Dominican Republic (1916-24)." (2)

Reuters recently reported on Trump's intention to enforce the MD (March 2, 2020). " 'Here in the Western Hemisphere we are committed to maintaining our independence from the intrusion of expansionist foreign powers,' Trump stated at the United Nations General Assembly in New York in 2018. 'It has been the formal policy of our country, since President James Monroe, that we reject interference by foreign nations in this hemisphere and in our own affairs,' he added cynically." (3) This statement reflects the high tensions between Europe and the US. It also implies its aggressive attitude toward all the Americas.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration is busy making deals with right-wing and corporate factions in Latin America and the Caribbean in order to clear a path for US-based corporations and monopoly capitalism in general by weeding out communist and socialist-leaning elements there. It has repeatedly attempted to stage coups in Nicaragua and Venezuela. It was successful in accomplishing a military coup despite the results of democratic elections against Evo Morales in Bolivia. It has operated to help orchestrate putting the Right in power in Brazil and Ecuador, while it supports right-wing terrorist governments of Colombia, El Salvador and Honduras. Canada, the junior imperialist and lackey of the US, has functioned to manage the rogue group of right-wing state leaders known as the Lima Group, because the US and its pals cannot get its way with the legitimate Organization of the American States. 

However, the peoples of the Americas including the people in the US are organizing and demanding just peace. They are resisting war and the right-wing wave, despite some setbacks. In fact, several anti-imperialist and human rights conferences have been taking place. Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela offer just peace, model leadership and hope. 

(1)https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/Latin-America-Monitor/2017/0205/Is-Trump-resurrecting-the-Monroe-Doctrine 
(2)https://www.lawfareblog.com/anniversary-monroe-doctrine
(3)Reprinted in the March 2020 Newsletter of the Canadian Cuban Friendship Association ("From Monroe to Trump" page 7.

(Draft article prepared for the next ILPS Commission 4 Newsletter)

Turnover

Posted on April 6, 2020 at 2:10 PM Comments comments (28)
"World Turned Upside-Down" is a modern adaptation of the 17th century protest song about the Diggers' movement for land rights. The lyrics convey the assumption that a society in which the deprived majority must provide service to the privileged majority is an upside-down world much in need of righting. 

It seems that the pandemic is shaking up the global system and turning things over. Suddenly, human needs have been made a priority and non-productive and destructive activities assigned lower priority.

The pandemic has made the lack of support for health care, food distribution, housing and income assistance obvious. The situation has abruptly forced a shift in social structures and state mandates. Suddenly, many activities have been made to stop to give these causes priority. The least productive economic activities are on pause, such as "cultural industries" from luxury travel and professional sports, to pop music, from beauty care and movie-making to fashion. Industries related to war have had to slow down, including aerospace development by corporations such as Boeing and Bombardier.

The present context is resulting in reduced air pollution as use of fossil fuel-powered vehicles has dropped to a minimum. Motor vehicle manufacturing and petroleum production, both big problems, have been undermined. While the price of gas at the pump has plummeted, to favour the average consumer, car manufacturing plants are starting to switch to the production of more useful items, such as medical gear. 

Another affect of this crisis is the recognition of the service provided by workers in certain sectors that have suffered the lowest respect until now: janitors and housekeepers, food distributors and packers, cooks and grocery store clerks, and drivers, for example. Of course, the important roles of emergency service and health care providers has been amplified. 

Social responsibility to the collective rather than individual right and privilege is taking a front seat nowadays. In this context, governments are actually working hard to govern and take care of everyone. Media has an enhanced role to supply information, rather than "conversational journalism" which has more systematically manufactured speculation and carried propaganda.

Long-time issues are glaring, such as the need to provide more support to the workers and poor in times of emergency or calamity, the need for people to consume more wisely and efficiently without depending so much on debt, building health preparedness.

Some already lucrative industries are benefiting and growing in this situation: industries such as communications technologies, medical supplies and pharmaceutical products, financing, internet shopping and food delivery industries. However, the ethos of having compassion and helping others is stronger, which they have to express. Some services and products are being volunteered and provided without charge because of this atmosphere. 

If the people remain vigilant and engaged with what is happening, raising and discussing questions, and keep intervening in state affairs and media broadcasts, they will have a chance to keep some of the positive developments from this global mobilization to address the pandemic.

ceasefire

Posted on March 31, 2020 at 8:24 PM Comments comments (6)
STATEMENT OF ILPS COMMISSION 4 ON THE QUESTION OF CEASING HOSTILITIES DURING THE PANDEMIC
PEACE WITH SOCIAL JUSTICE! END IMPERIALIST OCCUPATION AND AGGRESSION!
SUPPORT THE JUST STRUGGLES OF THE PEOPLES FOR SOCIAL AND NATIONAL LIBERATION!
 
Commission 4 of the International League of Peoples’ Struggles (ILPS), an anti-imperialist alliance of organizations engaged in mass struggles, is concerned with wars of aggression and counter-revolution and nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction.
 
The Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, called for a global ceasefire in a statement issued on March 23, 2020. (https://www.un.org/press/en/2020/sgsm20018.doc.htm) He wrote, “The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war. That is why today, I am calling for an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world.  It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives.”
 
We agree with the spirit of this call. However, we wish to defend and protect the peoples currently in struggle for their survival, basic rights, basic services including health care, lands and sovereignty. They fight in self-defence against deprivation and hostile governments. Ultimately, we aspire to realize demilitarization and a halt to aggression and occupation, state terror and human rights violations. With this objective in mind, we cannot advise the peoples, armed or not, to give up their life and death struggles.
 
We act according to the principles of just peace, that is peace through negotiations for a resolution to the issues that cause peoples’ revolutions and resistance. Only if and when social justice—land, political and social reforms—are seriously addressed and settled should the people cease their struggles.
 
Consider the views of V. I. Lenin, as interpreted and explained by S. Gnosh in 1960: “https://www.marxists.org/archive/shibdas-ghosh/1959/07/x01.htm, undated) “It would be possible to effectively preserve lasting peace if the significance of the principal characteristic features of the present-day changed international situation is properly understood and the task of conducting peace movement is grounded solidly in intensifying the national liberation movements in colonies and semi-colonies and the struggles for socialism in capitalist countries.”
 
Therefore, we issue the following set of calls. We make these recommendations in the light of the global pandemic and the sound emergency measures to (1) minimize travel and (2) adjust state priorities to address health, food and housing first, ahead of non-productive sectors such as the military. It is an opportune moment to act in the interest of the welfare of all the peoples of the world.
 
Ø  cancel NATO missions, close NATO bases and send all NATO troops home
Ø  send all foreign troops to their home countries, including US troops
Ø  cancel all military exercises
Ø  end all general economic sanctions
Ø  free all political prisoners
Ø  cancel all arms trade and call for arms and military contract related production to be converted to the production of human necessities related to health care, food and housing
Ø  initiate a UN campaign to get states to reduce military spending and reprioritize their state responsibilities according to the UN Declaration on Human Rights, that on Indigenous peoples’ rights, and all universal standards set by the UN and other credible international bodies concerned with the rights and welfare of all

Ø  restrain states with penalties for continuing occupations, aggressions, economic sanctions and interference including regime change and elections rigging

War Measures

Posted on March 22, 2020 at 1:26 PM Comments comments (26)
NO WAR MEASURES ACT! Media in Canada seems to be pushing for it, but think about what it means. Army in the streets, police making random checks, raiding homes. Stop congratulating China, which can be blamed for allowing conditions where the virus thrived in the first place. Second, the official word of China cannot be trusted; it is notorious for misrepresenting the truth. It is evident China authorities suppressed doctors' warnings of the new virus in the beginning, punishing them for saying anything about it. Finally, let's look at China's enforcement: random body temperature checks done and anyone just with a high temperature hauled away by the police. (They can be many explanations for a fever.) Police welding doors to residences shut. People with other serious medical conditions not able to exit homes.

Thinking and Doing It Positively

Household Treasures

11 January 2021

I heard an interviewee speaking over the radio talk about cherishing items in the home. It is one way to explore and enjoy surroundings without traveling, he said​I'll try it.


A lot of objects on display in my apartment are artifacts from my travels, ironically. They refresh my most poignant memories of precious and mind-opening explorations.


Sitting atop the filing cabinet next to my desk are to souvenirs from South Korea, where I worked and resided for 10 years. After such a lengthy stay, I have loads of memories prompted by numerous artifacts of my experiences in that country. These two are among the best reflections of cultural and historical particularities of South Korea. They are a framed photo of a hero central to the labour and national democratic struggles and an ornament from folk culture in the countryside of the southern part of South Korea.


Jun Tae-Il was a courageous student activist leading actions against the last dictatorship in his country. He represents the heart of the movement and the victory for democracy. He became a martyr when the police fatally shot him while he was demonstrating in the street in Seoul, the capitol. The ornament is an ceramic fertility fetish, an image of a penis from one of several such parks in the southern region where I used to live. This part of the country remained tribal longer than other parts, so folk traditions such as shamanism and superstitions have endured. Fertility monuments were erected (pun intended), of course, bring about more healthy children. The foreigner exploring such parks giggle at the sights. 


Next to the filing cabinet is a bookshelf. One of the most noticeable objects near the top of this piece of furniture is a tacky, plastic, white alarm clock. It is significant because I bought it to ensure I woke up on time on my last morning living in South Korea. I had an early flight. As a small travel alarm clock had recently failed, and I was not sure my phone alarm would wake me fully, I picked up a cheap clock at a local general store. I don't use it as its ticking is noisy, but I have not thought to give it away. It remains perched on the shelf, deprived of a battery, as a reminder of my departure from the ex-pat life and return to Canada. 


I also have items saved from two trips to Cuba, one in 2003 and one in 2019. Both trips were organized political events. The first took me there with a political choral group to meet Cuban choirs, learn some of their songs, perform with Cubans, attend the May 1st rally, meet labour associations and tour the island for two weeks. I am looking at a typical replication of a sketch of Che Gevarra which one can find easily in street markets. Our choir, supportive of the Cuban revolution, valued the Cuban revolutionary democracy, social arrangements and political principals which that image, the most famous in all the world, represents to millions of people. It inspires and gives hope. I remember strolling through the streets, visiting markets and restaurants, chatting with locals and attending all the meetings on our hectic schedule. I have other little treasures such as a ceramic, hand painted ashtray, photos of our Cuban comrades, and an African-Cuban, wooden statuette.


Above my desk hang a pair of water colour paintings in wood frames. They portray sites in southern Manitoba in the general area where my grandparents met, married and bore my mother. They feature two views of the banks of the Red River, a river highly important to Canadian history. There were battles against invading Americans launched there and a key struggle of the Métis nation. The city of Winnipeg lies nearby, which used to be the industrial hub of Canada until the Panama Canal opened up and undermined the Canadian railway system. I have only passed through Winnipeg by car. This area is not one I remember, for I have never visited it. 


On the floor near my desk lies a wicker hamper. I have mixed feelings about it, but it has been very useful, so I have kept it. You see, it belonged to my father's second wife. My father remarried this odd, older person rather quickly after my mother passed, which denied her children necessary time to adjust. I carried resentment about her, but chose to avoid them rather than say anything or show my negative feelings. As I said, it is a practical item for it holds linens and Christmas stuff and allows aeration through the woven stems.


I originally bought the filing cabinet to organize research, not academic information but information found in the course of activism and stabs at political journalism. It therefore stores records of several international and regional conferences. Though I purge it once in awhile, there are still clippings, leaflets and pamphlets. They cover issues such as Canadian mining firms abroad, human rights cases, privacy rights, student concerns and transportation. I have been replacing old articles and folders with my own writing pieces. Among them are also old, self-published newsletters addressing local and international issues, some of my published articles and unpublished poems. 




Conversational News

10 January 2021

It is so good to be able to express myself and have contact with readers through this blog again. The loss of the access to my blog along with other aspects of confinement and restrictions really affected me. There were added unsettling restrictions due to circumstances, even including access to my games when Adobe Flash Player was removed. I was feeling the mounting stress of rising COVID cases and the awareness of the damages inflicted by this disease as well as the damage inflicted by states that remain focused on helping profitable enterprises more than addressing the disease and health care and financial interventions fully and equitably. Most such as Canada are handing the responsibility of pandemic management to individuals. Very unjust!


I had been handling the conditions of the pandemic fairly well, but emotions were catching up to me in December as I personally began to feel tired and stressed. I started to feel irritable and alarmed. I looked forward to two weekends at home over Christmas and New Years, but the employer wanted me to work on the Saturdays. Saturday being the heaviest work day for me with five hours straight teaching and two hours travel, I had been wanting relief to get a chance to rest and calm down. I ended up taking the Saturday following NY Day off, which certainly helped. I am much better now.


I did not carry through with my usual practice of personal assessment and planning in December as is my habit. I was too agitated. I did not want to reflect on this past year, actually. Not then.


Anyway, there is not any change in my goals. I generally carried through with financial, livelihood, social, family, health and growth goals. However, the social and family goals were frustrated by Covid-19 rules. However, there are elder relatives with multiple health problems whose mental health was being upset by the situation, so I have been visiting with them in cafes and such. They are better now. I have also been aiding an elderly neighbour whose health, already in decline this year, was getting worse partially because of Covid-related restraints. (Her degrading sight and hearing, as well as shaking and loss of balance, caused her to stop driving permanently, and skeletal issues caused her to stop regular exercise. She is worried she will be forced to consider entering a facility while many care homes are in crisis!) My exercise regime was also compromised. The local fitness center remains open but I perceive it as risky, so I do not go there. Aside from some hiking and walking to accomplish transit and errands, I haven't been exercising much until recently. Now I do some yoga, lunging, stretching and weighted arm raises sometimes. I am prevented this week because of an inflammation (hemorrhoid caused by lengthy sitting!).


 One big factor affecting stress and anxiety levels is news reportage. State and private corporate news services, like most enterprises today, try to streamline by relying more on tech and web browsing to find news topics. There are fewer reporters and there is less extended, investigative reporting. For the past decade at least, such services have resorted to "conversational journalism." It is an adjustment to distrust of news and official authorities during a trend of democratization, I feel. However, it tends to keep popularity and viewer or reader stats in mind. Topics can be sensationalized by rehashing events and speculation. Commentators are brought in to discuss as are senior reporters, but the discussion is not very productive in that it does not lead to increased knowledge. Rather, it keeps generating more questions. Conversations often entertain unanswerable questions, particularly because there can be no resolution. They just push the topic and stimulate possible answers to stir up controversy and alarm in order to improve ratings. Pertinent information might be omitted if it actually answers a question. Once audiences abandon a thread, they turn to some other topic and start over. It is really unconscionable because of the innuendo, speculation, rumour, omission, lack of investigation, assumptions and biases.


The COVID coverage is a clear case in point. Partial information is supplied, such as a medical official's announcement that is partly based in some truth. The announcement is questioned. Opponents are recruited to present the false arguments. Sideline topics are raised to create more friction. Proper sources are ignored. Questions are recycled and spin round and round with no conclusion. The affect is understandable: alarm, anxiety, fear, stress, accusations, complaints, etc.


I follow a couple of doctors who produce daily videos to update viewers on scientific developments and explore reasoning behind government and medical decisions regarding the pandemic. I rely on Dr. John Campble and Doctor Moran. Find them on Youtube. Campbell is the most digestable, for he uses plain English, which Moran is more technical. The latter seems to be addressing people in the medical field. By following Campbell, in particular, I can see the gaps in the regional and national news reporting. I can see that they are lagging behind the news by ignoring or failing to search for reliable information.

We're Back

07 January 2021

Apologies to my followers and viewers. You have been very supportive and encouraging for many years. I might have disappointed some of you who were looking for new entries from me. 


Let me explain. VISTAPRINT changed its platform last year. When they did that, the method for making blog entries changed. I had no information from them about what to do. It simply appeared that I know longer had any blogging service. 


However, I just spoke to a VISTAPRINT rep who guided me. I can now write blog entries, as you can see.


It was a strange year all the way around. Things seemed kind of more chaotic than usual. I felt agitated and stressed last month for no definite reason. I had trouble sleeping. I felt exhausted.


My general astrology reading asserted that the pulling away of Jupiter, one of my planets and a very powerful one, from Saturn would make Sagitarians feel exhausted by the end of December. Despite the restrictions imposed because of the pandemic, it does indeed feel like I worked and accomplished a lot (activism, teaching, writing). Things are supposed to get easier for us Sagges. 


There was added stress because of the effects of the pandemic. Not only that but worse, state aggression seemed to increased around the world, causing civilian mass responses. Though I had handled it pretty well until the end of 2020, I guess it finally got to me and I started soaking up some of the stress and anxiety emitting from my region and beyond.


2021 is starting out a bit weird, too. Just look at yesterday's events. U.S. Whitehouse invasion. Solar flare sending rays that caused several storms, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. More lockdowns. 


I wish all my readers well. I will resume entering focused pieces when I have more time. Please stick with me. Thank you for your comments to date.


Ed Wise

TEST

15 January 2020

THIS IS A TEST OF THE NEW PLATFORM FORMAT AND BLOG ENTRY SYSTEM.

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